Monday, 28 February 2011

Okay here he is

Okay so not been a while since we had a picture of him so here he is
Looking quite clean actually

Sunday, 27 February 2011


A conversation at the Fell Race today with my good friend Trevor about road bike wheels made me smile. I liked the way he is getting into biking. A Roadie can talk about parts for road bikes for hours. We agonise over our choice of equipment like its a life and death choice. We didnt have time to chat long as when I bumped into him we was warming up.
But Trevor as far as wheels go it has to be Campagnolo. In fact everything has to be Campagnolo.
Yes I admit it I dream about having Campagnolo Super Record.

Oh and for anyone who doesnt know, its Campanyoooooooooooooloooooooooooooo. Thats the correct way to pronounce it.

James Thorn Fell Race

A cracking little race today. 5 miles and over 1500ft easy. A very tough climb but enjoyable as it was technical in places. Id never run up this track before so was a little weary going up it. Des the race organiser had flagged it well and no one was going to get lost today despite a bit of clag and wind on the top. I hammered the descent and really let go. The little track back up to the A57 hurt a bit but then it was just a matter of running the last quarter mile back down the road to the pub.
The Royal Oak made for a nice race HQ. As usual brilliantly organised and well run by Des and his team of helpers.
4th place for me and a bottle of red wine. I even managed a Vanilla Latte on the way home.

The A57 snake pass,not to be taken lightly.

Sometimes it just has to be

When your serious about your running or cycling.
All bikies and runners know that extra weight is your enemy, especially on the fells. But every now and then no matter how hard you try you have what I call a bad food week. Now I like a Pie or two and so do others. You try to be good some weeks but before you realise you have sinned.
Well sinned a bit harsh I suppose but when your running and cycling loads of miles getting the right balance is quite hard.
I find a Pie every other day is about right

Only kidding
Ive not had a Pie in ages but I could murder one right now

Friday, 18 February 2011

Its not all cols and sunflowers

This is a cracking picture. Taken during last years Tour of the Battenkill. Cycling can be for most people a little bit like tennis. They tune in during the Tour and then some only watch the riders going up the mountain stages. I prefer to watch the early season races like the northern classics. I suppose its the rough weather that appeals.
Coming home covered in mud with the bike filthy is part of the attraction for me. The suffering of both man and machine is very evident in this picture as the riders roll through the Battenkill Valley.
Some people ask me why ride a hundred miles in the wind and rain. My answer is simply because I can and it makes me feel truly alive.

So hopefully my ride tommorow will be as hard as this one in the picture.

Mind a tailwind for the final 20 miles will be nice

Thursday, 17 February 2011


This week Lance Armstrong announced his retirement from the world of professional cycling.He did that before but this time will be for good.
I was never really a huge fan simply because of the way he just targeted the Tour De France. A seven time winner who had a tam each year devoted to the cause. Some Tours it seemed that he had won before the first stage had started such was the power he had over the peloton.
I remember that sad tour when Fabio Casartelli crashed and died on stage 15 in 1995 and then Lance took stage 18 and pointed his fingers to the sky in memory of Fabio. Was it really all those years ago.
So at 39 a year younger than me he retires. Who knows what the future holds for him ?.
I dont think anyone will ever have the influence on cycling like he did. His battle with illness and comeback was just truly amazing.

Like I say not the greatest ever rider for me but certainly one of the best.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Mickleden Straddle Fell Race

At nearly 14miles and just shy of 2000ft this would be the longest distance I have raced for a good while.
Starting at Langsett Barn the route takes you through the woods and up onto Mickleden Edge before climbing up the Cut Gate Path to Cut Gate End. Conditions were extremely windy on the climb with gusts of over 40/50mph easy. Once over Cut Gate conditions didnt improve until we arrived at Checkpoint 2 near Slippery Stones. I spent most of the race swapping places with a lone Ellsmere Port runner as we shared the work in the wind. When you get to checkpoint 3 you start the steep climb up to Howden Clough but the wind was now behind us. We trudged over to Checkpoint 4 and traversed Upper Hey back towards a seriously windy Cut Gate. from this point the tail wind blew us back over the technical terrain back down towards Langsett.
The run back down was a blur but I enjoy technical descents and managed to pull back two places but the leaders were long gone by the time I reached the Fjord and the little climb through the woods.

The run back along the track dragged a bit and my Cap blew off on the final bend but I was not about to run back for it as I was shattered. I run into the finish funnel in 6th position.
A lovely spread of food was waiting in Langsett Barn provided by the club hosting the event, Denby Dale Travellers.
Soup, Tea, Coffee, Cakes and Sandwiches for all the finishers.
A couple of the Pennine throng recieved prizes in their categories which was nice as its always good to see a Pennine runner collecting a prize in Dark peak country.
So another good race. Onto the next one which I am not sure what that will be yet.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Whats Rollers

Right I must get at least half a dozen people ask me a week whats ROLLERS. I posted a picture of me on my rollers in the shed a while back. But for those that dont understand what they are they are simple 3 x rollers that you sit your bike on and pedal. Very simple but you need to master the art of balance first. Then you need to master the repetition of being on them for an hour or so. The first twenty minutes are fine but then gradually the fatigue builds up and the boredom sets in. For me it doesn't matter because I quite like the on and on nature of it. By the end your wet through with sweat and your backside is numb but they are great for maintaining your cycling fitness throughout the winter months.
Maybe a 46 inch plasma TV in the shed will help. Still for now its the I phone, a few tunes and looking at the shed wall. Although I do have a nice old photo of my Nana pinned on the wall to give me inspiration when it gets tough. She suffered with a lot of illness in her life and I always look at the picture and think cmon Darren crack on.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

PAV'E. The Road to Roubaix

A mate of mine mentioned the book about the Paris / Roubaix race. I think this picture of George Hindcapie sums up the Queen of the Classics. Taken in 2006 this photo shows a rider exhausted from the ordeal. Shame his bike broke.
Can wait for this years race. Somehow I think Tom Boonen will be seeking revenge.

Tigger Tor Fell Race

Yet another new race for me. The Totley Fell Races run from the Sheffield Tigers Rugby Club and although Ive done some of them I had not done this one before. At 10 miles and 1700ft it would provide a nice early season test. On the way to the race I passed dozens of bikies on the roads around Hathersage and it left me thinking that it would have been a nice day to do a hundred mile ride as the wind was minimal and it as a dry day. But the pull of the Fell Races is always there and I arrived in plenty of time for registration.
A good few of my Pennine teammates had also made the trip and it as good to see a couple of friends that I had not seen since last year.
Wel the race went well for me simply because I pushed at the start to stay with some of the front Dark Peak lads. I was a bit unsure of the route and must admit used there knowledge a little on the route.
I crossed the line in 1hr 8 mins ish for 7th place just narrowly missing out on 5th position but I couldnt keep with the two Dark Peak lads at the end.
A good race though and I will take that. Along with Shining Cliffs thats a good start to my 2011campaign. Still upping my bike mileage though and have cut back on the running although Badger did make me run 10 miles on Monday night after the race on Sunday.
Def will do this race again