Thursday, 27 September 2012

Scafell Pike Race

No matter when you get to the main cairn on Scafell Pike it is always busy. This year's fell race to the top and back was no different. Lots of walkers on the main path made descending on the way back down interesting.
I had a pretty good race and battled to get 1st Vet 40 which I was well pleased with. 
The race is the classic up and down short fell race with every type of terrain thrown in but lots of rock which I love.
A brilliant day  


Thursday, 20 September 2012

You know who you are

As a pretty Non Judgemental type person maybe I am guilty in seeing the good in everyone.
But it seems that in the male dominated world of Road Cycling we have a minority of guys that seem to just, well have a laugh when they come across a woman on a road bike and really really are not being good. Maybe I am just a gentleman.
Tell me it doesn't happen and I will tell you I have seen it.

I have even heard it from Female Roadies.

You have to wonder
Three MEN cyclists are out in front. Oh we can all ride at twenty five miles an hour eh lads.
Picture the scene.

Now she has a dilemma. SHE , does she have a name, Lets call her Joanne. Hey well maybe we could ask. After all she is a person and a fellow rider and hey must be pretty good because she has caught us. Oh and its windy. So that's even more embarrassing

To catch up and try and have a chat with the three guys whom she has never met before. Will they be accepting and allow Joanne into their little world of proper bikes and correct ways of riding.
( Err no we will keep quiet and say nowt )
( Ive seen it and heard it). There was a comment on the fellrunner forum about a bloke not speaking to another male rider. What chance has Joanne got?.

Does she pass them and risk them thinking ( WE AINT HAVING THAT , NO WAY )
( Ive seen it and heard it ) and in fellraces.

So pretty negative. I know I know most men will be accepting and welcoming but there does need to be a change.

I was riding in a group with a Joanne a while back and after a few miles it was her turn to ride point which she duly accepted and took her turn and went on the front and pulled us along nicely. I was amazed at the difference in attitude when the guys realised that actually she was strong enough and willing enough to just not want to be towed around but to be treated as an equal.

So cm on guys
Play the game and lets really start to promote the Women who try desperately hard to get recognition in our sport. Lets do our bit.
Yes at this current time the ration is probably about 1 in 20 riders you see are Women.
It starts at our level
Do your bit

In short

Pat Mcquaid says the sport simply is not developed enough

What a joke.
I am glad I do not go round with that attitude in life Pat

Here you go

Comment: Is there any point to dreaming big?

  • Tuesday, 11 September 2012
  • Lousie Mahe

Between now and the end of 2012 will be inviting people to write their thoughts on the issues facing the women's cycle racing scene. Our first piece is by former junior national champion Louise Mahe.

After an amazing women's Olympic road race, hailed by many as aggressive and entertaining, everyone thought the interest and sponsorship around women's racing could only improve. But it's almost done the opposite and gone back to the same post Olympic lull that happened after Athens and then Beijing.

Recent news of AA Drink dropping their sponsorship of the women's team that backs many Olympians, including Britain's silver medalist Lizzie Armitstead, has shocked many involved in women's cycling.

Such news not only affects the best riders in the world, it filters down to national, and even local level. The up and coming riders, inspired after watching the success in the Olympics, begin to question the feasibility of chasing that dream.

In 2005 when I was 16, I became Junior Road Race National Champion and a year later went on to podium at the under-23 Nationals Road Race Championships. I dropped out of cycling the next year.

I hadn't made it firmly on to the British Olympic Development Programme, despite my consistent results, and was left somewhat disillusioned.

This season I have begun finding my legs in national level races again. Although my success has been limited, knowing I've achieved results despite missing my winter base training has inspired me.

It's also got me thinking that maybe I can fulfill my childhood dreams of racing at World and Olympic level.

But what hope do I have as an amateur cyclist dreaming of success and wanting to go pro when the current Olympic medal winners are struggling to find sponsorship? With many of the top pro riders in the women's peloton going public about the inequality and frustration they feel occurs in cycling it looks like it's going to be an uphill battle.

I am currently riding for Mule Bar Girls and race locally and nationally with my team. We get kit, helmets, national race entry fees paid and are self sufficient in our approach to organising our racing. The next step up in my racing would be to dominate the British road scene and then go and race abroad as much as possible next year.

To take this step would be harder financially too, as I would have the same backing from my team but will be traveling and racing even more than this year. To be honest this is the same for most riders, male and female. They do this in the hope of performing well and getting noticed by a bigger team.

But for women, a bigger team often doesn't mean a bigger budget so this self-sufficiency often doesn't end. So is it even worth it?

Current women's world road race champion Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) was famously quoted saying how she would not advise women to start cycling seriously as it is so hard to pursue a career at the top. That really brings home the enormity of the problems female cyclists face.

But why is it so hard at the top? Many riders and team managers are calling for the UCI to do something about the lack of support and sponsorship. After a call for the UCI to guarantee a minimum wage for riders of pro Women's teams, similar to that of their male counterparts, Pat McQuaid said that the sport was not developed enough.

This is an extremely negative attitude from the UCI President, but in a way I can understand this view: there's no point forcing sponsors to pay riders more, what we need is sponsor actually wanting to pay riders at all.

So what will I do? At the moment I'm fresh out of university, on the search for a ‘proper' job. I do feel I need to give cycling a real go, so hopefully I can find a job that allows me to get a solid winter base so I can build on this seasons' results.

Then I'll just have to see how it all goes. I know it's going to be a struggle, but hopefully by the time I get to that top level things will have changed. And if not I'll perhaps be one of the riders that can help make a change, ready for the next generation.

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To look at


Possibly for me the memory highlight in a cycling packed year. But there is a problem still in cycling and I am not talking about doping.
Women's cycling for me has huge potential. Whenever I ask a fellow rider on what they think of women's cycling at the top level, a lot of them just simply reply well women are something nice to look at on a bike !!!!, Hey what ?.
This really winds me up.
For too long now women have had to put up with a rubbish infrastructure, crap pay, poor exposure, lack of interest, and a general well its only women attitude.
Well its time it changed.
I will say what I think.
Women should have a system in place that treats them equal to the men in cycle racing.
The UCI or Pat and his cronies need to start getting real. They have done virtually nothing to promote the sport of Professional Women's Racing.
Teams come and go and what incentive does that give to an up and coming young female rider. The pay they receive is a pittance.
Hey SKY. what about sorting out a Pro Cycling Team. I have personally asked Dave Brailsford this and Shane Sutton.
Both replied that it is out of their hands.
SKY could fund a Women's Team on the back of half a days profit. So why not ???.
Is it lack of public interest = Well bloody promote it
Is it lack of infrastructure or lack of races = Well lean on the damm UCI
Is it too risky = Hey whats to lose, the public love cycling and I am confident they would watch it more if it was just actually known about and covered more.
At the moment some of our best Female cyclists are struggling to make their way in the sport whilst the likes of Cavendish, Wiggins and many of the young SKY riders and other riders on British teams make a very good living.
We have had a fantastic year and right up until just after the Tour of Britain I was thinking hey come on SKY announce a bloody women's PRO cycling team.
Its all gone quiet though.
I say cut the men's team in half and form a women's team whilst they have the chance.
Will they wont they.
Come on SKY lets have a bit of common sense

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Three Shires Fell Race


The Three Shires Fell race was a huge learning curve for me when I first tackled it. I have done the route a few times since mind and it has got easier. Basically there a three tough climbs whereby if you want to do well you have to give your all and go as hard as you can. The downhills will take care of them self.
I wanted to do well on this one and I was super motivated after getting back into my training after the Ben Nevis race which did not go all to plan. The start was steady enough and I was at the front of the second group climbing up to Wetherlam and as we topped out I found myself with Paul Cornforth of Borrowdale Fell Runners.
We just worked together all the way round and didn't see anyone else until Dave Wilby from Ilkley Harriers joined us at the last climb.
The run in back to the Three Shires pub was near enough and I was happy to finish behind those two who were stronger than me on the run in.
5th place which I was more than happy with.
Conditions on the route were perfect and the sun came out at the end. A pasty and a nice diet coke paid for by my team mate Hanno.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Ben Nevis Race



The Ben Nevis race is a special one. I try my hardest every time I do it but this year I knew on the way down the road I would not be as strong as last year. I had not done the same amount of training and as soon as I started to climb i could feel it in my legs. The weather on the upper part of the mountain was very windy and by the time I handed the summit marshal my tag I was frozen. I couldnt descend like I normally do and the wet rocks didnt help matters and by the time I pulled out of the beck to start the final run down the lower slopes my legs were gone.
I made a mistake going down one of the shortcuts on the path and was glad to see the finish field.
1 hr 46 something.
Some fantastic performances from the Penniners that travelled up.
The weather was not great but it was a brilliant weekend.
My good friend Andy Fleet managing to win the Under 23 prize. I was made up for him.
Well done Fleeter.
So I will be back next year to try it all again.
The Ben Nevis Race as usual lived up to all its expectations.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Ray Booty ( The Boot )

 Ray Booty. A quality Roadman. R.I.P Ray


Thursday, 23 August 2012


A quick 57 miles last night over the Peak taking in Beeley and a few other climbs and then back to see how Mr Froome was getting on in the Vuelta.
A key stage yesterday. The race has been pretty good so far apart from that dire Criterium stage the other day. Froome performed well up the climb at the end and made his intentions clear. 
Lets hope he has no bad days and can go all the way to the end.   

Pictured here when I saw him at Samatan in the Tour.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The ultimate in bling

How about these
The latest in womens cycling shoes.
Heels with cleats.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Weasdale Horseshoe Fell Race

Newbiggin On Lune was the venue for the latest round of the English Championships. The Weasdale Horseshoe was not going to be an easy affair as it was devoid of any rocky terrain which is my favourite. After seeing the Ladies set off and come back covered in mud I knew that this was going to be a tough cross country style race and I was not to be dissapointed. The mens race as usual went off at a million miles per hour after hearing everyone on the start line to a man say that they were taking it steady for the first bit. I have heard all that before.
Anyway blast down the field and right on the road then into the boggy section of pasture land before the fell starts proper. I was struggling getting going in the boggy part but the championship is run over a variety of routes so that everyone comes across some type of terrain that they are either good or bad at. It evens itself out in the end.
A tough damp, spongy runnable climb up the fell which zapped me and I was struggling to hang on at one point and the checkpoints seemed to take ages to come. By checkpoint 3 though I picked up a little bit and recovered slightly on the long grassy run back to the start. The final section over the bog again and then just a run back UP the field to the finish funnel.
I collapsed on the ground in a daze.

Not my favourite route but on a dryer day it would be better I suppose.
There is one race left up in the Kielder Forest and that will be the championship done. Hopefully I will have done okay.
Back to rock now I think.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

It really does hurt

Anyone who runs and rides a bike a lot will at some point have questioned themselves WHY.
Why do we do this. Its a question some cannot answer. There are many reason why a person puts them self through the pain barrier.
I shot this picture on the Tourmalet when I was on the way down. It would have been nice to have cycled uphill over it. I stopped and laughed.
Just remember if your in a race, training or even picking yourself up after a fall.
Pain at some point will go away.
Normally ten minutes after it does your already planning on the next journey into the pain barrier.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Parwich Fell Race

The Parwich Race was a tough event. My legs were not working at the start when I was warming up, mainly due to the 65mile bike ride that I did the previous night. It took a couple of miles to get into it but I just could not catch the Ashbourne runner in 2nd position and by the time I started to push on a bit he was just to far away. I made ground on the final climb but it was not long enough to catch him.
You get that sometimes with races that don't have much climbing in them. This course is quite technical in places and If you put the many stiles out of your mind it really does make for a nice race.
The hard bit that I learned last year is just to hold on as you run for about a mile on the trail.
I managed 3rd and First Vet which was okay but I was 18 seconds down on last year. And today I turned 42.
Sorry just slipping slightly out of Laidback mode.
Who cares about times. You train, you turn up, you do your best and do another one.
Must do something about my white legs !!!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Mr Organiser

David Denton has probably been responsible for introducing more runners down her than anyone else into fellracing. Now in his seventies he continues to put on some brilliant events. Last night typically he was out there organising the Junior races at the Parwich 5 fell race. You probably could not add up the amount he has raised over the years for charity, and I have no idea how many races he has organised since he started. Without the likes of David we would have no fell races. It does not matter if your in the High Peak, Bowland, Lakes, Calder Valley or wherever. Every area has its heroes. Alan Greenwood, Pete Bland, David Woodhead, Wynn and Steve. All race organisers deserve much respect.   

Monday, 6 August 2012

A view from below

Bloody Ech Stephen your studs are a bit worn !!!!!

Are we getting there

I must have been asked a thousand times over the years about doping in cycling. We seem to have turned a corner these last 2/3 years. The times have changed and the old ways seem to be a thing of the past. We will never eradicate fully the problem of doping.
We are having a fantastic Olympics and the Tour was just something that I never thought I would see in my lifetime.
The new era has arrived and we have many to thank for that. 
Cycling is becoming popular again and a new interest has developed with the success that we have had. Lets hope it continues and more people will get on their bikes.
Bradley Wiggins summed it up  
Anyone can get on a bike.

My advice to anyone that has just got a bike is to not try and break records. Just pedal and do a few miles. It takes time for your fitness to come and more importantly it takes a while for your backside to get use to sitting on a saddle for long periods of time. Take plenty of breaks and maybe a Cafe stop or two. Get some good quality clothing and cycling shoes and go from there.
If you have yet to purchase a bike. Pleeease Pleeease Pleeease get the correct size. This is paramount.
So many new riders get a bike that is too big for them. It is now much easier to get sized correctly. It can cost initially but is worth it.
Like doping, bike fitting using the old black art way is a thing of the past unless you get fitted by someone who actually knows what they are doing.
So all you need then is a milkshake in your bidon and your away. 

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Cracken Edge Fell Race

Hayfield hosts many fell races and the Cracken Edge race is one of them. Now run by the Kinder Mountain Rescue guys. They are the people that will save your life if your in bother in a remote place. So donate a few quid each year.
The fell race is a pretty good route. A tough long climb that has boggy parts and is pretty technical on the descents. Only a small section of road in the 7odd miles. I am told about 1400ft of climbing.
By the time you head back up to Big Stone on the return journey your legs are screaming and you just want the finish to come quickly. It does and your soon in the finish field fighting off the biggest flies that the world has ever seen.
Pennine had a good turnout and I am sure we won the team prize but I could not hang around so had to come away early. We had the first lady with Steph Curtis and there was some pretty notable performances from our lot and we even had Dave Ward take part after doing his Paddy Buckley round a couple of days before. Some new club members were present as well which was good. Strange though I now start to feel old as I line up to race.
About 140 lined up which is a good turnout for a midweek race.
Good support on route from Andy Howie at Big Stone.
I managed 4th place after an epic battle with Stephen Pike of Staffs Moorlands AC.

 Winding gear at the Quarries

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Signs to the summits

Technically Not signs to the summits but to the Col's
For those who have not ridden any of the climbs of the Tour. You get a little reminder every kilometre of what is still to come.

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Tour

Not sure how I managed it but I did go to the Tour. As soon as It was looking like we could have a winner it seemed right to go.
I only really managed one decent picture of Wiggins which was here on the Mur De Peguere
He came over the top leading the bunch and I was jumping around I nearly fell down the bank behind me.
This was the stage where he waited for Cadel after the tacks got threw on the road. I had ridden about 50 miles of the stage before I arrived on the climb and it was bedlem. I was getting cheers, screams, allez allez allez all the way up to the top and even the Gendarme brigade on the summit clapped as you arrived. There were thousands of people up there.
Twenty minutes after the riders had gone through I plummeted down the descent back to Foix at breakneck speed with a load of French club riders. It was Chaos in Foix as it was in most of the places I went.
But just to say I was there.
I will post more pictures when I get time.


This man above is probably responsible more than anyone for my obsession with professional bike racing. Freddy Maertens was the real deal when I was growing up. I finally met him on a detour to the Tour Of Flanders museum in Oudenaarde. He was a brilliantly gifted rider. He could sprint as fast as anyone. He nurtured Sean Kelly in his early years and won a lot of races. He fell on hard times after he finished racing but in the late seventies and early eighties he was the man.
He rode for Flandria which after Raleigh was my favourite team. You never got much information at that time but odd snippets came through. I remember reading about him when I first got my Raleigh racing bike. I polished it most days and pretended I was a racer.
Freddy was in the museum and casually told me he won the World Championship twice.
Of course I already knew that and responded by telling him that he was as quick as Mark Cavendish. He replied "We will never know eh".
The museum is a nice place to visit and I have wanted to go there for years. I might even go back and do the Tour Of Flanders route.

The first time I ever heard of him was when he won all those stages in the Tour De France. I even had to look it up.
Eight ( YES ) Eight stage wins.
Embroiled in controversy from the early years until he retired. That was and still is Freddy.
Even Kelly admitted he was the fastest man he ever raced with.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


 Mark Cavendish has a bit of a reputation for not being able to climb the high mountains which in my eyes is total rubbish. He is actually a pretty good climber. As he came over the Tourmalet he looked pretty impressive. Mr Eisel may have helped him a bit but to be fair he was climbing well. Maybe not the standard of a true climber but definitely able to hold his own further down the peloton.
I did offer to throw water over him but he declined.


 Yep its that time of year when every run you do off road leaves you with a scratch or a rash. Fear not as its all part of the seasons that we run through. How much does it hurt though when you plough through some thorns. Its just the worst thing. Every night I must get some kind of cut or graze or rash which results in another night of itching or patching up. Roadies dont know what they are missing. 

Monday, 23 July 2012

Great Hucklow Fell Race

More about the Tour De France later. I arrived back and decided to do the Great Hucklow Fell Race. After riding 20 odd Cols my running legs felt very strange. I think I may have managed 6th which I was happy about. What a lovely registration sign. I think it may have been a fiver actually. The race was a tough one and I didnt use fell shoes which was a mistake. A good turnout and a banana and a flapjack after.

Finally I pay my respects

I have wanted to climb Mount Ventoux for more years than I can remember. On the way down to the Tour De France I headed over to Bedoin and cycled up the famous mountain. Everyone knows the story of Tom Simpson. He was a brilliant rider who tragically died on the slopes of the Ventoux. The mountain indeed lived up to its reputation. It was over 30degrees and very windy on the top. I purposely climbed it pretty quick wanting to get a feel what it was like on that fateful day in the tour all those years ago.

I found it pretty tough but managed to climb it in the 39x23 gearing. Its a hard pull up and goes on forever with the heat like a furnace coming first off the road and then off the rocks as you come out of the forest. Ten minutes on the top then I freewheeled back down to Tommy's memorial stone. ( There is now a Pete Bland bumbag there). I then blasted back down to Bedoin at crazy pace. A couple of hours riding on the flat roads around Carpantras and then I called it a day and started the drive down to the Pyreneese.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Its that way Badger

Badger seems to have an inbuilt compass in his head. All Border Collies have this I am sure of that. You only have to take him on a route once and he will remember it months and months later. So If your planning on doing lots of recces just show your dog the map and off it will take you. Forget the quickest lines. The dog will happily guide you around. All for just a few dog treats.
Seriously though he is the perfect running partner.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Can you think of anywhere better

The Screes above Wasdale overlooking Wastwater
It does not get better than that

Monday, 2 July 2012

Fed up with it yet

So tonight I set off on the bike. 54miles later after having done a few big climbs and clocking just under 19mph I arrived back at base totally soaked. I think I have had only two nice weather rides this year.
Can we actually have anymore rain.
Tonight I was riding in possibly the worse rain I have ridden in for 10 years.
Roll on August

When you need that little bit of

I very often will think of the people that inspire me in our sport. Joss Naylor the Wasdale shepherd has through his exploits possibly been responsable for more runners getting into fellrunning than anything else. I first heard about him years ago and his achievements never fail to amaze me. He is in his seventies now but still out there doing it. If I am struggling to motivate myself I very often will read a chapter of Joss's book or a tale about one of his massive days out on the fells.