Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Ilkeston RC

Someone said to me the other day they have never seen me in Ilkeston RC colours. Well to that person here you go.
This was taken during my Leg on the Hilly 100

Picture taken by El Capitano Sharratt

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Whos Boss

Last night I would have to say Badger for sure. He was in a mood after me not taking him a run the night before and I certainly paid the price. We did about 14 miles and he just wouldnt hold up.
We arrive back home. I slumped on the lawn and Badger just gave me that. Your not in the same league look.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Cycle Jumble

This is were I was on Royal Wedding morning. I travelled to a local cycle jumble. An underworld were anything and everything to do with cycling is sold. Frequented generally by old Roadmen I just love the atmosphere of these little jumbles. Younger bikies would look at the stuff on offer and think it all tat. No fancy carbon frames here but if your after some 1935 gear levers this is your place. Ive picked up some nice bargains recently but generally I go to have the crack and meet some great people.



Josh took this picture of me recently after 90minutes on the rollers. I sometimes set them up on the drive which creates odd looks from neighbours, dog walkers and passers by.
The children on the street sometimes point at me and laugh which makes me laugh and breaks up the monotony. I of course am miles away listening to the Kings of Leon or Rolf Harris.
I think it somes up the pain of being a cyclist

Cotswold Hilly 100 Relay Race

Last Sunday I ran the Cotswold Hilly 100 road relay race for Ilkeston Running club. We have done this relay a few times. 10 x legs each 10 miles.
The route sets off from Stratford On Avon, does a loop around the Cotswolds and then finishes back at Stratford much later in the day. The Leg that I normally run is Leg 4. This leg has some really steep climbs, four I think but I cannot remember as each time I do it the pain blocks out my memory.
I travelled down with my clubmate Colin who is a very similair paced runner to myself. He was doing Leg 3 which also has some tough climbs in it. Problem was the wind which was gusting north which meant we would both have a headwind. Now I was confident both of us could do 60 minutes for our legs but the wind was going to make it very hard. Although I dont have the official times we both did 62minutes which I am immensly proud of. Given that wind and the climbs it was a job well done. We didnt see many of the other legs as we had to get up at 4am and by the time we had finished we had to get home. The other team mates ran brilliantly and we finished quite high up in the field.
The route is marked with little green 100 stickers that can be quite difficultto find on the signposts, but after a few years I am used to them now.
You run through some amazing areas. Think 1 million per house and fantastic scenery. Not quite the fells but as hard as. My legs felt very strange after 10 miles of hard pounding on the black stuff.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Its odd but I had until about a month ago never been up Haystacks. I have now and whilst up in the Lake District I was taken up there by a fellow runner. The route we did also took in Fleetwith Pike which I posted a picture of earlier in the blog.
It was a great run and to be honest i didnt once think about Alfred Wainwright. We reached the summit on our run, had a quick look at the tarn, took in the view and then ran down off it. A special moment in my life. Its really about the last Lakeleland summit that I had not done and I suppose a bit like finding a needle in the Haystack, its just taken me a while to tick it off. Thousands of walkers and felltype persons make it their first summit. Yes its made famous by Mr Wainwright so they head there in droves. For me it was a couple of hours after a race, perfect weather and a spur of the moment idea. Tired raced out legs made the climb up a tough one but it was certainly worth it.

Etape Du Dales

I dont do many Cyclosportives to be honest but the tough ones have an attraction. The etape du dales is about as hard as they come.
At 110miles with about 12,000ft of climbing involved it certainly is a hard day in the saddle. Sunday was very wet and windy which did not make for an easy time on the route.
I knew it was possible for me to achieve a gold sub 7hr standard but by how much was hard to predict. Anyway I set off quickly in the first few miles and had a couple of riders with me, we worked together until the first climb and then just did our own thing. I can only climb at one pace and thats quick so i just paced myself and told myself that i would climb at that pace on every climb of the day.
I didnt stop at the checkpoints and managed to get with a tiny group after Tan Hill who were cleary good riders and we worked together through and off for 15 miles. We then got split and I was alone again for a long long time. I managed to catch a rider towards the end but he was totally shattered and couldnt work so from there on I was alone. The final feed station came into view and I climbed over the tops and blasted along the valley back to Grassington to the finish. 9th place overall and 6hrs 36minutes of lets say hard work.
I have been training for this since the back end of last year which is when I started to up my bike training and concentrate on more riding than running. It has got me thinking about riding a few races and getting a race licence. I know I would be better on a bike than at fell running but I have known for a long time you struggle to do both and I love the fells too much. It felt good to be tramming along quickly over the hills and the descents seemed comfortable even in the rain at speeds approaching 50mph.
I even got asked by some of the Skipton lads to join their club as I pulled them along at one point. I didnt quite average 18mph which would have given me a sub 6 1/2 hour time but then again you have to stop at least twice for mother nature.
Fuel for the ride was a huge bowl of porridge,raisins,bananas which was cooked up in the van before the off which made a huge difference. Plenty of coke, a snickers bar and 2 x gels.
Too many people set off on these epics without enough fuel in them and quickly hit the wall after all the energy has gone. I didnt once feel ill or drained. What now on the bike ?

Glorious Views and a brutal course make this a brilliant day out. All the proceeds go to supporting The Dave Rayner fund which funds up and coming riders trying to make it as professionals which is what its all about. many of the UKs top riders have come through this system

Friday, 13 May 2011

Burbage Skyline Race

This really is a gem of a midweek race and it gets popular. Its possibly because of its location and the fact i has a bit of everything. It was another Pennine Championship race but I am trying not to think about that too much. A manic start like last year and I think over 300 runners turned up. We all went slightly wrong at one point and had to bound our way through some deep heather. That didnt help the legs going up Higger Tor but then it must have been the same for everyone else. I knew I was having a good run as I didnt walk at any point during the race. The only downside to this race is that you simply dont get chance to see a view because of the speed of it. The run back from the bridge is quite technical in places and before you know it your flying down the track to the finish. We had a big turnout from Pennine whic was really good. I managed 9th place which Im happy with.
Highlight of the night was seing some of the new Pennine runners doing very well and also a special mention to a fellow blogger and clubmate Noel's partner Mrs Noel who has returned to racing. Well done Mrs Noel, take it steady and have a speedy recovery. good luck with the scans on the knee.

Pictures courtesy of Bryan and Al

Monday, 9 May 2011

A sad day

The world of cycling today is in shock. The young Lepoard Trek Rider Wouter Weylandt crashed during stage 3 of the Giro D Italia. He was descending the passo del bocca when he fell from his bike. Aged 26 the former Quick Step rider is very much tonight in my thoughts. I love professional cycling and I had forgotten to record today's stage after not setting the recorder after watching the previous stage last night. When I got home from work today I decided on an hour on my rollers. I switched my I pod on but after 30 minutes just clicked on the cycling App on my phone to check on the results of today's stage and immediately saw the desperate news that he had been killed on the race. Whether it was something to do with my misfortune yesterday or that I have such an affection for professional cycling I just started to cry. I managed about 5 more minutes on the rollers the just got off my bike and put it to one side and sat quietly on the shed door step. I removed my hat and just sat there thinking of what his family must be going through.
A terrible day and my thoughts are with his family and friends
RIP Wouter

Sunday, 8 May 2011

On a more serious note

Well today I had a great time with Badger at the fell race and upon arriving back home I decided to have an hour on the bike on my rollers on the back garden. Trouble was my next door neighbours children was playing on their back garden and the rollers are noisy so I thought I know I will do short hill reps up our hill for an hour. Now this involves a short loop with a climb of about 2 minutes that I do flat out and then coast around the loop. Total time about 4 1/2 minutes per loop. I set off and after about half a dozen hill reps I start another loop and all of a sudden I feel a twang across my chest. At first I thought my headphones had come out and I had yanked them from my ears, but no the Smiths were still playing away. I then thought Id had a sharp pain in my chest. Well I carried on thinking I had imagined it then on the very next loop after the hill climb it happened again. Twang and a sharp pain across my chest. This time it was like a pulling on my jersey. The bike even lurched and I thought " what the hell". Now I know I had not imagined that. I carried on feeling my chest and jersey wondering what was going on. Once more I descended after the hill and sure enough It bloody happened again. This time I floored it up the hill and low and behold as I desceded again I caught two lads tying fishing line from a lampost across to the back of a pick up van. I was totally staggered. The two lads shot into a house and I was left there in the middle of the road wondering if this was really happening. By now I had noticed that the line had actually cut into my jersey and that they had left the fishing reel on the pavement that they had been getting the line off to tie across the road. So they had cottoned on that I was doing repeat efforts and decided to tie the line across the road and then see what would happen. God knows what would have happened if the line had been a lot stronger.
So I knocked on the door and 15 minutes later the kids were getting a major telling off by their parents. In all the years of running and riding Ive seen some things. I have had bricks thrown at me. Flour and eggs. Ive been pushed in a canal and even slapped on the back by a passing car, but never had anyone try and physically go out there way to try and decapitate me or try to pull me off the bike.
Its left me wondering if these lads actually know the difference between right and wrong.
Was it because I have a nice fancy bike or maybe its that I wear lycra in various colours of that they simply just was bored on a Sunday afternoon. I will never know.
There is not many things that leave me speechless but this is one.
Next post will be happier I am sure