Tuesday, 28 October 2008

National hill climb championship 2008, the big day!

.........................................................................Photo 1. Looking back down Bank street, Matlock from about one third of the way up.
Photo 2. Looking up Bank street from the same spot.
Photos 3 and 4. Me, suffering like you wouldn't believe!
After pre riding the course the week before, and doing some research into the other riders, I was actually really looking forward to the race. I knew that I could get up the climb in reasonable time, as I'd kept a little back and done 3minutes 50 seconds the week before. I also knew that I wasn't going to come last. Not that there is any disgrace in finishing last in a national championship, it's just not a possition anyone really wants to see themselves in.

The day before the race I cleaned my bikes and sorted out what I was going to take with me. I was going to ride the hill on my fixed gear bike, but I was also going to take my standard road bike with me. This was mainly because it's easier to warm up on a bike with gears and a freewheel, and it also gave me the option of using it in the race should for whatever reason I couldn't use the fixed bike.

The drive up to Matlock was straight forward, and I arrived in time to drive up the hill. Mickey and Cassie had travelled up with me to offer me some much needed moral support, when they saw the hill, I don't think they fancied walking up it to watch, let alone cycle up it at maximum effort!

We parked up in a free car park, about one third of the way up the hill and went to find the headquarters. As I signed in and collected my new, unused numbers, Matt Clinton signed in straight after me. Matt was the hot favourite for the win, having gone about 11 hill climbs unbeaten in the run up to the event. He looked fairly nervous to me, I suppose he knew lots of people were expecting him to win it easily, but he knew it was never going to be that straight forward.

Everyone seemed to think Matt would win it, but who would join him on the podium? One thing was for certain, it wasn't going to be me! I thought David Clarke and Lewis Cowley would take some beating, others were saying Bill Bell or Jim Henderson, but nobody seemed to think the deffending champion, James Dobbin would make the top 5. I wasn't so sure, In a recent hill climb on a hill near to me, Dovers, Dobbin started a few minutes after me and when he finished he looked like he was just going for a short ride to the shops. I wondered if he was trying to take attention off himself for the big day.

After a quick walk round Matlock the road was closed to traffic and before we knew it the first rider was off, setting a time of 3 mins 49.6 seconds. I watched quite a number of riders go up the hill as my start number was 141 so I had plenty off time to kill. Watching the riders go up gave me a bit of a boost, quite a few seemed to be of a similar standard to me.. and one or two were clearly much faster! When Bill Bell went past us at about half way, he was flying! It looked as if he was sprinting for the line with half the hill still to go. As it turned out at half way Bill would be almost 5 seconds up on Matt Clinton.. But would he hold on?

I stayed and watched upto number 82, Xavier Disley, as he is about the same standard as me. He looked to be going ok. On the hill climb of Dovers he beat me by about 15 seconds in 5 minutes. I then went to the car park, put my road bike into my turbo trainer, and started my warm up.

Considering this was bar far the most important race I have ever been in, I wasn't nervous at all. I suppose I knew I wasn't going to win anything, and I wasn't going to look too out of my depth. I was much more nervous earlier in the year when I was entered in a local 25 mile time trial. I was trying to go under the hour for the first time, and my time would be there for all to see. As it happens I did 58minutes 51 seconds, but all the way round I was wondering if I would make it. Now I have done it once I think I should be able to go a bit quicker next year as I can afford to start a bit faster and if I blow up it doesn't really matter as I have a decent pb anyway.

Back to the hill climb, Before I knew it, it was time to get to the start. As I swapped bikes Simon Wilson, who used to ride for my club, Worcester st Johns, came over and wished me luck which was nice. Simon had done his ride and would finish in 40th place. I walked down the hill to the start and had about 10 minutes before I was off. I popped in for a last minute toilet stop and had a quick look at the times that had been recorded. Xavier had done 3 mins 30.8 seconds. That was 20 seconds faster than my practice run last week, but I felt quite good and thought I might just beat that.

After a short ride up and down an ajoining road, it was may turn.. As I waited I watched Matt Clinton start. He looked awesome! Fully committed and very fast! I quickly put this out of my mind and concentrated on my ride. My plan was to start within myself and to stay sat down for as long as possible. This was to last for about 100 yards...

As the time keepers counted down from 10 seconds, I concentrated on breathing deeply and I was completely focused on doing the best that I could. 3, 2, 1, GO! I always start with my left foot, I had noticed that Matt started with his right, but stick with what you know. As I pushed down and turned the first few peddle strokes I imediatly felt over geared. Oh, well I couldn't do anything about that now as I was on a single speed fixed gear bike. Besides, I knew my gearing was about right as I'd made the climb on the same ratio last week. I sat down and started to spin as best as I could. On the right hand side of the road was some metal fencing which I had planned to get at least half way along before I stood up on the peddles.

I was feeling ok at this stage and as I got up I felt in control, may pace was about right. Then I got into the Crowd.. I guessed the first person would shouted my name must be someone I knew but hadn't seen. Then when it happened again and again it dawned on me that all these people had programs and were happy to encourage anyone.

I stayed up on the peddles pushing out just off my maximum power, after about 300 yards of this I started to think I'd probably gone out to hard. I tried to sit down, not really to rest, just to regain control, but it was no good. The damage was done. I couldn't turn over my peddles while sat down so I had no choice but to get straight back up and try to hang on.

I got to half way and remember hearing Cassie shouting encouragement at me, I didn't see her or Mickey as I was pushing so hard all I could do was to look at the ground a few feet in front of me. I passed halfway in 1 minute, 24.2 seconds (I only know this from the results print outs, at the time I had no idea how long I had taken). Unfortunatley the second half of the climb was steeper and being tired was going to take everyone longer than the first half.

The crowd was at it's biggest from here to the final bend, every was cheering, it was great, but it did make me push even harder. By the time I got to the final bend I was suffering big time. I sat down as the climb became less steep, my legs were on fire and my arms had gone almost completely dead. I forced myself to stand up again and give it one final push for the line and as I crossed the finish my vision was starting to go very blurred. Two marshals ran along side me at the finish, to catch anyone who had overdone it and were about to pass out, but I was ok. Sort of..

I rode a few yards past the line and unclipped fom my peddles. As I put my foot on the ground my leg just gave way and I ended up sitting on the cross bar, which is where I stayed for about 5 minutes. When my heartrate and breathing returned to normal I begain to ride down to the headquarters. After about 100yards I noticed a rider stoped and slumped over his bike. It was Matt Clinton. I asked if he was ok, which in hindsight was a silly question. After he had finished being sick, he replied, "not really". I stayed with him for a minute or two, but when it was clear he was going to survive, I left him to recover on his own.

As it turned out Matt had just managed to win the event, after being 5 seconds down at half way he won by the narrowest of margins, 1.2 seconds, from Bill Bell, with 5 time winner Jim Henderson in 3rd, only 1.1seconds further back. Defending champion, James Dobbin could "only" manage 21st. Aparently he snapped a carbon crank arm whilst doing his warm up and had to borrow a bike from a team mate.

I'd managed to do a time of 3 minutes 25.3 seconds, 25 seconds faster than my trial run last week and good enough for 96th place out of 139 starters. At half way I was 76th so I probably did start out a bit too fast, but it's hard to say if I'd have got the time back if I'd have started slower. I'm pretty pleased with my ride, I can't say the ride itself was enjoyable, but the day was fantastic. Maybe next year with some specific training I might do a bit better... Maybe top 50?

As I type this on Tuesday night I'm feeling ok, my legs transported me by bike to work today and I'm pretty sure I've not done myself any lasting damage. My lungs still feel a little sore, I've never breathed as deeply before, its amazing what the human body will put up with.
All in all, it was agreat finish to my racing year. I've set some new personal bests, 10 mile tt 22minutes 2 seconds and 25 mile tt 58 minutes 51 seconds. I did a decent ride in the little mountain time trial and I managed to win the clubs time trial points series. It's going to be a tough year to follow!

Monday, 20 October 2008

National hill climb, dry run...

With only six days to go before I take part in (I was going to say compete in, but that might be pushing it a bit) the national hill climb championship I thought I better go up to Matlock and pre ride the course.

So after a 2 hour drive I parked up and road my standard road bike around to find the start. I parked a couple of miles before Matlock so this acted as a decent warm up.

The climb of bank road turned out to be very similar to my local hill climb course of Ankerdine. The gradient and distance are about the same, although the road surface is much much better up Bank road.
Bank road starts as it continues, on a hill! Mentally it's quite a tough hill too. It's very straight for about three quarters of its distance so it will be best not to focus too far up the hill as it will seem like you're getting nowhere.
It's about 14% gradient average and has a maximum of about 20%...
My plan is to start sitting down, and to stay down for as long as I can. For me the hill is just that bit too long to sprint, standing up all the way. Although I'm not going to be winning anything myself, it's fair to say nobody has ever won a hill climb in the first 100 yards, although I'm sure somebody will have gone out to fast and lost one in the first 100 yards..
I aim to stay sitting down for about 30 - 50 seconds. This doesn't sound like much but the hill is so steep that once you have got out of the saddle you are going to have to stay there and the steepest section is about two thirds of the way up, so you have got to be able to stay out of the saddle to get over this part.
The only corner comes after about three quarters distance and is one of the steepest sections, by this time it's really just about survival, but once round the corner the last 50yards or so are a little flatter than the rest of the hill, so I'll probably sit down for a very short while before giving it everything when the finishing line is in sight. When I say in sight, that's assuming I can still see at that point... Hill climbing at maximum effort does strange things to your body..
The photo is a graph comparing the two hills, ankerdine is the slightly longer line. The other photo is of me on my hill climb bike, on my way up Ankerdine in the clubs hill climb a few weeks ago.

After riding up Bank road on my standard bike I returned to the car and changed over to the fixed gear bike. After a slow ride to the bottom of the hill I started my stop watch and started to suffer.. I did the climb in about 3 mins 50 seconds. I was trying quite hard but held a bit back for the big day. The last 100 yards or so I sat down and just rode to the top, and I would think on the day I may be able to go 20 seconds or so faster.

That's going to keep me from finishing last, but I'll be nowhere near the top. A time of about 2 mins 30 seconds will win it... I might just get into the top 100, which I'd be happy with.

So I now have no excuses, I have a light bike, I know the course, and my gearing felt about right at 39 / 20 (51.8"). Talking of gearing, Matt Clinton said, on the cycling weekly web site, that he thought he would be using 42 / 20 (55.8"). I think I could just about turn that over on the last section that is a bit flatter, but I'd really struggle on the steeper parts. That's probably why he is the favourite and I'm just one of the many making the numbers up!
People who I'll be cheering on.. (if I'm able to / not warming up etc)
No. 39 Adrian Bird. past member of Worcester st Johns cc. now rides for a local bike shop, echelon... where most of my bike stuff comes from. http://www.echelon-cycles.co.uk/index.shtml
No. 125 Tejvan Pettinger. Fellow cycling blogger. http://cyclinginfo.co.uk/blog/
No. 126 Alexandra Zebedee. If your knee holds out that is..
No. 135 Jim Henderson. Hill climbing legend! http://website.lineone.net/~jim.henderson/cycling/hc/hc.html
And everyone else mad enough to take on a hill climb!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

National hill climb championship

Well, it looks like I'm in! Here's the start sheet.. http://cj.orpheusweb.co.uk/cycling/01clubev/clbev08/ss.html
The photos are of my training rides.. 25% hills on the penny should make the national seem easy! The other bike is my lovely daily ride, nothing too flash but everything works and nothing ever goes wrong with it.

Back to the national hill climb championship...
I start number 141, one minute behind Matt Clinton, who was today named by cycling weekly as the hot favourite! It will be interesting to see how fast he attacks the hill. I'll take a good look as he leaves the line, as that's the last I am going to see of him!

I'm no expert, but I'm not sure he will have things all his own way. In the recent hill climbs I did up Dovers and saintbury I started a few minutes in front of the 2007 champion James Dobbin. I was able to watch him finish at the top of each climb, and to be honest, he came over the line looking like he wasn't even trying. OK, so Matt Clinton beat him in both climbs, but not by much, and Dobbin looked to me to have something in reserve.

While all of the big names are doing as many hill climbs as possible to get fit, I am just riding to work and back. It's not even a hilly route, so on my way home I am sprinting in as big a gear as I can pull, for as long as I can do it for. I did go on a hilly trainning ride yesterday which covered most of the Little mountain time trial route that I did earlier in the year. The toughest sections are Stamford bank and Ankerdine, made even harder by my heavy winter bike!

I guess we will find out whos the best climber soon enough. As for me, I'm going to be giving it everything and if I make the top 100 I'll be over the moon.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Hill climbs..

I survived the two stage hill climb, and with the weather the way it was survival was the name of the game.. The picture is of my warm up for the second event.. It rainned all morning which made warming up difficult. I rode the climbs on my fixed gear Specialized Langster, but took my winter bike to warm up on. Even with mud gaurds I got pretty wet.. As I understand it, the shorter the event the longer your warm up should be. Well I figured 30 minutes in the pouring rain was enough, I then swapped bikes, took off my waterproofs and leggings and rode to the start.

The first hill was Dovers hill. This has been used for the national hill climb championship in the past, and I think it may be the venue again in 2010. Anyway, earlier in the year I did a club time trial up it, organised by Evesham wheelers. It was the day after my clubs hill climb up Ankerdine where I had tried really hard. On Ankerdine I did 3mins 33seconds which was a pb for me. I'd ridden up Dovers on my standard road bike before but never raced so I had no idea how I would go. I managed 5mins 13 seconds and felt ok most of the way, so I thought 5 mins might be possible on a good day.

The day of the hill climb was not a good day though! I also messed up and sat up about 200yards before the finish thinking I was at the end... I realised almost straight away but it's hard to get going again. Even so I did 5mins 13sec, the same time as I had done before!

The next climb was up Stainbury hill and I had almost 2hours to prepair. I spent this time wisely, sitting in the car with the climate control on maximum, trying to dry my clothes! My warm up for the second hill was the grand total of the 5minutes it took me to ride to the start. I was properly cold and still wet, not nice. Even so I felt like I went better up the slightly longer and more varied gradient of Stainbury. my time was 7mins 57sec. I'd only riden up this hill once before on my fixed bike and did 8mins 15sec so I was quite pleased with my time.

My total time was just over 13 minutes, I had hoped to get just under 13, but as it was such a horrid day a few seconds outside was ok. The problem with bad weather is that some people don't turn up to ride. Unfortunatly the ones who don't turn up are usually the only ones that I can beat, the quick guy still race, so my overall position wasn't up to much, but at least I was there.

The winner, Matt Clinton managed 10mins 7 seconds! and beat national hill climb champion, James Dobbin into 2nd place. Also riding was a guy called Tejvan Pettinger, who also knows how to ride a bike up a hill.. The day before the race I googled Dovers Hill and found his web site. It's really very good.. much better than this blog! If your into cycling, check it out. http://cyclinginfo.co.uk/blog/

Anyway, I really enjoyed the event and as a result I have done something really stupid... I've sent an entry off for the national hill climb championships! 150 of the best climbers in the country going up a big hill at one minute gaps, against the clock. I doubt if I'll get in as they obviously pick the fastest riders first, but I figured I may as well enter as I would have gone to watch anyway.. If I do get in my aim is not to come last, a top 100 place would be fantastic.....

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

My week off work

I've just had a week off work, and had a pretty good time. The first weekend was spent at the bmf bike rally, which is always good.
Then I spent a few days with Kat in Wales on our penny farthings. We covered about 70 miles and had a good time. The b&b we stayed in even had an old duke box with vinyl records, cool!
I seem to be having a bit of trouble uploading pictures on here, so take a look here for more... http://www.flickr.com/photos/10804338@N06/
My final few days off were spent at the Motocross of Nations, which was awesome. Although I did have my money stolen from my tent while I was sleeping in it, which wasn't nice. Some people will do anything except go to work to get money... Although they are not mine, there are some great photos of the motocross here.. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jj-pix/sets/72157607595237992/
My next cycling event is on a fixed gear bike, but not the penny. I'm in a two stage hill climb on sunday. Also in the event is a guy called James Dobbin, who just happens to be 2007 national hill climb champion!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

10 mile tt pb..

I've managed to get my 10 time down a bit to.. My pb is now 23mins 22secs. At the weekend I'm down as 10th reserve in a big quality field of riders on a fast course, so if I get a ride I would expect to get a 22min ride.... If it's a really good, warm and still day and everything goes well I may even manage a long 21min... We shall see...


Monday, 28 July 2008

25 mile time trial pb!

I made it! A 25 mile tt, on my tt bike not the penny, in under an hour. 58 minutes and 51 seconds... This was one of my targets for the year. I still have a few left though, one of which is to climb a local hill in a hill climb time trial in under 3mins 30seconds.. My bike of choice for this event is to be my new fixed gear bike. I plan on testing gearing, and my legs, this week. Here's a picture of my hill climb weapon, although not yet geared down for the 17% climb of Ankerdine.

The other pic is of my time trial bike that I used for the 25 mile tt..

Saturday, 19 July 2008

pedal in the park worcester

Photos are , Dave Walker roller racing and Martins time trial tandem
A free cycle event a Worcester! I was on the St Johns cycle club stand for most of the day. There was lots for people to do and see including a mountain bike trials display team, which was awesome!
I rode the penny down and went out on the guided ride, about 10miles through the lanes. All good fun. I met up with Chris Ford from cycle active, the company who I did coast to coast with. Cycle active had a mountain bike skills area to teach kids about bike control. They do loads of mountain bike trips, and a few road ones so if you're after a holiday check out the web site... I've been on a couple of mountain bike holidays with them in the past and had a really good time..http://www.cycleactive.co.uk/

.................................................................... ............................................................. ............................................... ............................................... ..........................Other stuff that was fun was the roller racing, check out this site for the results... I was 10th..

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

I won a local time trial last week! Hardly the national 25, but a win is a win! The route covered some small lanes around the area that my parents grew up. Part of the route went along a road that they would have cycled along to catch the scool bus, on this road my Dad once managed to knock my Mum off her bike and cut her chin open, what a charmer! Anyway, here is the results sheet...

10 mile TT Mere Green
Name Time
Dave Preece 0:25:36
Joe Bloxsome 0:28:05
Gary Davis(Bromsgrove) 0:28:07
Martin Tinsley 0:28:42
Tony Crossland 0:28:49
Hellen Russell 0:29:12
Richard James 0:29:51
Richard Archer 0:30:03
Mike Matthews 0:30:04
Constantin Murray 0:30:13
Adrian Clifton 0:30:38
Alan James 0:30:58
Gary Davis(RRPCC) 0:31:44
Bob Pritchard 0:32:24
Brian Dingle 0:33:43
Nev Billington 0:34:52

Monday, 16 June 2008

national fame!

Firstly, the picture of the beetle is here as I have just sold it... I'm quite sad to see it go although the guy who bought it seems to be really keen so I'm sure the car is in good hands... Back to the national fame thing... The second photo is a scan of a picture that appeared in the Times on 14th May 2008. It's of the world record attempt that I have written about earlier in this blog. A similar picture was also in the daily mirror, but in much the same way that a royal flush beats a pair in poker, the Times beats the mirror in journalism!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Fixed gear time trials

....................... ....................... ............................ ....................... The penny farthing is the ultimate fixed gear bike (no freewheel) but when my local cycle club decided to organise a fixed gear time trial league, I decided that if I was to stand any chance of winning it I'd have to use a different bike!

So this is what I came up with, It's a Fuji track bike with a few modifications.

- The standard front wheel has been replaced with the carbon one from my time trial bike.

- An old front brake from my first real road bike, with new cork brake blocks.

- Cut down handlebars from the same old racer.

- Added an old set of areo bars.

Appart from that its just a cheep steel track bike, but it rides really well. At the moment the gearing is 50 / 15, about 90" in old money.

The league is now well underway and I'm going quite well in it. The first race was a short 5.5mile tt, where I did 11mins 28secs came second by 2 seconds.... Next was a 19.5 mile tt ( 48mins 34sec) where I was 2nd again. I've just done the 3rd race in the series (10 miles 24mins 34sec) and finished..... 2nd again! With only one race remaining my only chance of an overall win is if Steve, who has beaten me three times, fails to turn up!

It's been fun though and has opened my eyes to fixed gear tt bikes. Even with a basic effort like mine it's possible to post some decent times. I'm probably slightly fitter this year than I was last but even so on the fixed bike I'm only about 20 seconds slower over 10miles than I would be on my 20 speed areo, carbon time trial bike.

So drag that old roadbike out of your shed, convert it to fixed for a few quid and start showing people what a waste of money there flash tt bikes have been!

Monday, 12 May 2008

World record attempt

............................................................................. Saturday 10th May 2008 Beaulieu..

We needed 132 and managed 104 penny farthings, so the record didn't go. It was good fun though and quite a sight to see that many pennys together.

I drove down to the show on the Saturday morning so I had quite a long day. Not half as long a day as Kat had though. Kat had been away in Hong Kong and only landed at 5.00am on the Saturday morning. Most people would have gone home and gone to bed, but not Kat. For one Kat had no home to go to, but that's another story, and for seconds, Kat is not most people! (I meen that in a good way Kat)..

The Veteran bike show itself was a little odd, you could feel a bit of a divide betwen the owners of original pennys and the owners of replicas. It's strange really as we all have the same love of a strange bike, it's just some of us want to ride the things too and have bought replicas. I for one don't trust riding around 8 feet up in the air on 120 year old steel, and it would also be a shame to ride an original bike and watch it fall to bits. If there was no world record at stake I'm sure the replicas would have been asked to stay away.

Some of the owners of the old stuff were quite rude. One looked Kats bike up and down before saying "I used to have a cheep replica as well." Maybe he used to have friends too. We also received no help at all when ever we asked people if we could get some spare spokes from anywhere. I'm sure If we had turned up on original, older bikes, and if we were 40 years older ourselves, people would have been more helpful.

So when the penny stack was over Kat and I went for a ride and then went to a pub as the show at Beaulieu didn't have a bar!

My parents came to the pub too and we all sat and chatted for a couple of hours then Kat had to get the train "home"

All in all it was a fun day, although I'm not sure either Kat or I will be rushing off to join the veteran cycle club any time soon! If anyone wants to take a look at a few more pictures of the event, take a look at, http://www.flickr.com/photos/10804338@N06/

Sunday, 4 May 2008

little mountain time trial

This is me, a few miles into the hardest time trial I have ever done! The little mountain tt is not to be taken lightly, it's over 39 miles long, has more than 3500 feet of climbing and includes two very steep climbs of over 17%. The first big climb comes at about 20miles the last one at 33miles. So the penny farthing wasn't really an option!

My time trial bike was almost the perfect tool for the job, fast on the flat and light enough up most of the hills, although bottom gear was too high (42/23) for the two big climbs.

My time was 1hour 58mins and 59 seconds, I was aiming to get inside 2hrs so I'm really pleased. Full results are on this web site.. http://www.beaconrcc.org.uk/open_races/lmtt/2008_results.html

Next week I should have some good penny farthing stuff to report on as it's the world record penny stack, so more on that next week..

Thursday, 17 April 2008

World record attempt..

On May the 7th I am taking my penny farthing to the international veteran cycle club rally at Beaulieu in the UK. There is going to be loads of penny's as part of the rally will be an attempt on the world penny stack record. It's hard to explain but it's essentially a record where riders mount there bikes and get in a long line, handle bar to handle bar, all facing the same way. So the line is one bike deep but many bikes wide. It should be good fun and will give me chance to say hi to some of the people who helped me to find my bike.

Other news from me is bicycle related but not penny farthing news. I've started time trialing again this year and over the winter I have tried really hard to get fit. So far my results have been a little mixed. My first race was a disaster, I was about 2minutes slower than I thought I would be over the 10 miles. The next one went much better, it was only a 5.5mile race but I managed a personal best by 2 seconds. Then came my finest hour, well my finest 24minutes 59seconds. I won a local time trial in pouring rain and freezing cold. I usually go really badly in the cold and when I finished I was disapointed with my time, I thought I would do about 23mins 45secs. But as it turned out I was the fastest on the night.

I've got a few local club time trials lined up but my next big race is the little mountain time trial on 27th April..

Anyway, here is the result sheet from my win!

Broadheath 10 Results K46/10B 15.4.08
1st Dave Preece 24.59
2nd Mark Allen 25.48
3rd Simon Rousell 26.03
4th Richard Graham 26.05
5th Ed Dursley 26.08
6th Steve Price 26.29
7th Sean Dyson 26.45
8th Stuart King 27.48
9th Jason Griffiths 28.18
10th Chris Sherratt 28.36
11th Mick Hedges 28.58
12th Andy Johnstone 29.36
13th Jeff Grainger 30.06
14th Ros Hope 30.31
15th Richard Finch 31.04
16th Chri Cox 31.47

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Cycle touring

No penny farthing but hills this steep are tough enough anyway!

More to follow, I'm off to bed in a bad mood after my first time trial of the year ended with me posting a terrible time..... Probably something to do with these hills...

Kat and I recently went to the lake district on a cycle tour, 3 days lots of hills and 180 miles. We had planned to ride the sustrans route following Hadrians wall but after the first day we changed our minds. The route takes in some of the most scenic sights in the lakes, or that's what sustrans would have you believe. What we saw was Sellafield Nuclear power station, and about 10miles more of Whitehaven when we got lost.. Hadrians wall seemed to be hiding so we got as far as Carlise and then rode into the heart of the lake district. This was much better, nice landscapes, wildlife and big hills. We rode over wrynose and hardnott pass which have gradients of over 30%! All in all it was a really good, if short, holiday.

It's now Thursday and I have just done my first club time trial of the year. After the open tt on Saturday where I had a bit of a nightmare I'm back to somewhere close to the times I expected. Tonights tt was only a short one, 5.5miles, but I did a fairly good time of 13mins 15seconds. This was obviously on my tt bike... I have done the same course on the penny and I think I did about 21 mins..

Sunday, 23 March 2008

VC Sevale open time trial

Well as anyone living in England already knows it bloody cold! Can't believe that on the 29th I will be sucking in lung fulls of freezing cold air doing my first time trial of the year ( on my tt bike, not the penny). I've been riding quite a lot but haven't really done any speed work so no real idea how I will go.

I did do the bike leg of a duathlon as part of a relay team last week, with my dad doing the running, but I find it hard to go flat out when I'm not racing.

Looking at the start sheet Steve Price, a fellow member of my club Worcester st Johns, should have a good chance of a win. Worcs St Johns could have a chance of winning the team competition too as along with Steve we have some quite usefull riders entered. Realisically my aim is to get somewhere near to 25mins. My pb for the course is 24m 2 secs but I'll need the perfect day to get anywhere hear this!

Well I'll update this post later in the week when I've seen a weather forecast for Saturday!...

The time trial is now over, I put in a really poor performance in the worst weather I think I've ever raced in. My excuses for my time are as follows!
1) In the week leading up to the race I went cycle touring with Kat in district and cycled 180 hilly miles in three days, on my road bike with panniers and a bottom gear of 39 / 23... i had a great time though.
2) The weather was terrible, strong winds and rain. I hate getting cold so I made the mistake of time trialing in my water proof, not good for aerodynamics!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Slide show at the Dragon

Some time ago I was contacted by a local cycle club to see if I would do a presentation about my penny farthing adventures. At the time I was really excited about doing it but now the time is almost here, it's on friday 14th at 8pm in the Dragon on the tything in Worcester, I'm getting quite nervous...

Presentations are not really my thing so I hope my slide show goes ok, I'm told people are really looking forward to it so hopefully it will be alright on the night!

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes.....

Quick update... The show went well, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The real ale in the pub probably helped though! It's one thing blogging and typing rubbish but it's another to stand up and say it. Not sure I'll do too many more presentations but in the end I quite enjoyed doing it..

I'm not doing much tonight as in the morning I'm doing a local duathlon as a relay with my Dad doing the running and me the cycling. So I'm trying not to drink too much so that I don't let the side down, I expect Dad is having an equally dull night too...

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Shimano 24hr road race

I've just received confirmation that my entry has been accepted for this race, http://www.shimano24.co.uk/

I'm one of a five man team from my cycling club, http://www.worcester-st-johns-cc.org.uk/index.html so I now have the much needed motivation to keep trainning. I find if I am only going to let myself down it's sometimes hard to get out on the bike if the wheather is bad. However, if I feel I'm going to let others down by staying in I am more likely to train. I'm fairly sure the others in my team will want me to leave the penny at home though...

After coming back from Lanzarote I've been quite good and managed a few hard rides and averaged about 150miles per week. I should be going quite well when the time trials kick off again.

The event is also an excuse to start saving for a flash new bike... Kuota KOM?..

Friday, 1 February 2008

Lanzarote international duathlon

I've just spent two great weeks cycling in Lanzarote. I borrowed a bike bag (cheers Sam) and took my standard road bike. Whilst there I competed in the La Santa Lanzatote international duathlon. I did ok considering I had to ride 22 miles to the start, and 22 miles back again afterwards! I finished 72 / 112 and my bike time was 52nd. The bike course was very tough, climbing from sea level at the start to 800feet in about 4 miles.. If I had tried it on the penny I would still be riding.

I've not used the penny much in the last few weeks, but I am doing a presentation for the local cycling touring club next month. So I'm busy putting together a bit of a slide show of places and events that me and the penny have been to.

Anyway, I've put some photos on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/10804338@N06/ if anyone wants to check out Lanzarote.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008


Happy new year everyone! Loads of people make new years resolutions and don't keep them, me included. This year I have decided to put some of mine in print, hopefully this will encourage me to stick with them.

My resolutions are more like targets so here goes:
1) Ride the penny farthing from Lands end to John O'groats.
2) Do a personal best 10mile time trial on my road bike, 23mins 37secs to beat. (on my normal bike) JUST MISSED THIS ONE / 23MINS 39SECS... 30th Aug 22mins 2 seconds.. Come on!
3) Do a 25mile time trial in under an hour. (on normal bike) ALMOST... 1HOUR 3MINS 19 SEC ON A HILLY COURSE 27th july 58mins 51seconds..
4) Do the club hill climb up Ankerdine in under 3mins 30seconds. (deffinately on normal bike) just done 3mins 28secs on my fixie..
If I put my mind to it I think I can do them all......
Anyway, on a different note here is a scan of my favorite Christmas card of 2007. I received it from a fellow penny farthing nut, Pete. Pete lives in Ireland and he goes to Evendale for the world championships each year. I had asked him for some advice on packing a penny for the flight. He sent me back a great letter and this card. Unfortunatly I will not be able to go to Evendale this year but I'm sure the advice will come in handy one day. So thanks Pete and good luck in Evendale.