Monday, 21 December 2009

The Knutsford great race 2010

Well it's been a while but at last I have some really exciting penny farthing news!

I have entered the Knutsford great race 2010, a three hour road race for penny farthings.

Take a look at the web site for full details, I can't wait.. and I intend to win!

I have spoken to the organiser and so far they have 35 riders entered and the race is not untill September 2010!

On boxing day I will start my penny farthing race practice by doing my cyling clubs 10 mile time trial on the penny.

Monday, 14 September 2009

2 up time trial

A couple of weeks ago I raced in a two up time trial. Normal time trials see riders starting at one minute intervals and racing on there own, against the clock. In a two up riders ride with a team mate and start together. By doing this you can take turns riding on the front, so the rider behind can take a rest from the wind resistance of being on the front. It's calculated to take about 30% less effort to ride as the second rider in a line so if the two work well together they should be able to record a fast time, faster than they would as a single rider.

Anyway, I rode this event with a friend from my cycle club. We are of a similar standard and worked well together to record a decent time of 55 minutes and 55 seconds for 3rd place. That resulted in me receiving some prize money! A whole £12.50! 2 up time trial result...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

One second from glory!


10m tt Severn Stoke 27/08/09

Name Cat Time
S O'Toole V 23.50
D Preece SG 23.51................ One tiny second.............
D Evans VG 24.02
M Amery V(F) 24.04
B Boswell S 24.06
J Barnett SG 24.26
N Preece SG 25.08
T Bird S 26.14
S Price V 26.17
G O'Mahoney V 27.00
D Yapp V 27.24
D Burnage V 28.10
H Walker S 28.32
T Knight V 29.58
M Aston L2 30.00

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Tour de France, Mont Ventoux.

I have just spent a fantastic weekend in France for the Tour. I went to watch on Mont Ventoux, the hardest climb in France.

The day before the race came up the mountain I rode up it on the same road. It was an amazing experience. The first few km ar actually not that hard, at one point I was even in the big chainring, but not for long!

The climb is about 21km long at an average gradient of about 9%. I managed to get up it in about 1hr 44mins and felf ok at the end. The outright record is about 55 minutes...... Different class.

Anyway, on race day we walked from our tent, which was on the roadside at about 14km from the top, and watched from about 7km from the top. We had a great spot, The highlight for me was when David Millar came past us. He looked almost dead but when he heard our support he managed to raise a hand from his handlebars and nod his head in apreciation of our support.

Millar had a good tour, he got into a few break aways, almost won a stage, did well in the time trials and road himself into the ground in support of Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins was a incredible, 4th overall and never out of the top 10. Sometimes a rider gets a bit lucky and finds themselves in a breakaway that gains 25 minutes on the main group. They then find themselves in the top ten for a while, but Wiggins started like a freight train and just kept going! Seeing him going wheel to wheel with Armstrong on Ventoux was fantastic, and to finish 4th in the strongest tour line up for years was just ace!

Of course there were other british riders in the tour, Charlie wegelius was there to help Cadel Evans in the mountains, but Evans couldn't stick with the other big hitters. There was also a guy called Mark Cavendish, a sprinter from the isle of man. Cav did ok..... He won 6 stages, but somehow managed not to pick up the green jersey for the best sprinter?! The way the points work for this are a bit silly, so on Ventoux we made our own little comment about this. On the mountain stages people often write words of encouragement on the road for the riders. So we wrote, Cav 5, Hushovd 1. In referance to the number of stages that each rider had won at this point. Cav went on to win in Paris for 6... but Hushovd still won the green jersey!

Anyway, Cav is the fastest bike rider on the planet, Millar was awesome, Wegelius rode a good solid tour and Wiggins was fantastic! Not that they are going to be, but if any of the british tour riders are reading this, thanks for making it the best tour I can remember! In 2010 I want Millar to win a tt, Wegelius to win a mountain stage, Cav to win 7 and Wiggins to win the overall!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Famous cyclists that I have raced against..

I've not put anything on here for ages, so thought I would try to make an effort to do a bit more. Since my last post I have been cycling quite a bit. I've riden the penny farthing a few times but just don't seem to have the time do use it as much as I would like. The main reason I have not ridden it much is that I have been doing time trials and have been trainning quite hard for these.

I have had a some mixed results, some good some disappointing but on the whole I am pleased with how I am going.

My best ride this year was in the 39.5 mile little mountain time trial. Last year I rode it for the first time and was really pleased to get inside 2 hours as it is a very hilly course with some seriously difficult climbs. This year I went even better and managed to go 4 minutes faster.

I have also bought a single speed cyclocross bike in the January sales. I hope to race this in the west midlands league over the winter.

Cyclocross is fantastic, I love the fact that some really top quality cyclists sometimes just turn up and ride an event. There can't be many, if any, other sports where the likes of me can compete against people at the top of there sport. Running the London marathon doesn't really count as you are never going to even see the fast runners, but in cyclocross you can actually see them and talk to them.

This had led me to make a list of famous riders that I have raced against, and lost....

1) Roger Hammond. is a current full time professional cyclist. He lapped me, but only twice, in a cyclocross race in Solihull in 2008. He came past me on a muddy section where I was strugling to go about 8 mph, Roger was probably doing 15mph....

2) Liam killeen. Liam has riden mountain bikes at the highest level, in the Olympic games. When he came past to lap me in a cross race he was good enough to advise me on which side of the next climb was easiest.

3) Flavio Zappi. was a top quality professional ride a few years ago, he rode the little mountain time trial the first time I did it in 2008.

I am sure there are a few more, but these are the three that stick in my mind.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Lanzarote International Duathlon 2009

I have recently returned from two weeks in sunny Lanzarote where I competed in a duathlon. The event was organised at Club La Santa, a large sports complex that also holds the legendary Ironman Lanzarote.

A friend, Les Bailey, did the Ironman last year and set an over 70's age group world record,. to read about it see...

I went to Lanzarote firstly to have a holiday and secondly to do the race. I did the same last year and finished 72nd, so my aim was to finish a bit higher this time. My build up to the event in England had gone really well. I had done a few cyclocross races and really concentrated on doing more running as last year I hadn't really done much and after the first run I was already a long way down the field.

I arrived in Lanzarote nine days before the race. On the first day I rode from the resort I was staying in to Club La Santa to register. The ride from Costa Teguise to La Santa is not an easy one. The two places are on opposite sides of the hilly, volcanic island. Last year I rode to the start of the race, raced and then rode back to the resort... This ment I had ridden 20 hilly miles before the race and worse, had to ride 20 hilly miles back afterwards. Needless to say it turned out to be a really tough day!

This year I was going to organise a lift to the start and back after the race. Then I could race as hard as I could with fresh legs and not have to worry about getting back on the bike to ride back.

I spent the days after registration but before the race riding my bike around the island, doing the odd short run and eating and drinking a less than purfect diet! I didn't do a huge number of miles in the week before as I wanted to do my best in the race. I rode around 250 miles and ran only about 6 miles. The cycling might sound like a lot but it's quite easy to rack up a few miles when you have all day to do so, and I wanted to enjoy riding in the sunshine.

Come race day I was feeling pretty good and planned to run the first leg quite quickly to get away with some of the faster competitors. I've done a few duathlons in the UK but they have always been non drafting events. This meens that on the bike leg you can't ride close up behind another rider to take shelter from the wind. When doing this it really makes a massive difference, the second rider in the line will use about 30% less effort to go the same speed. Non drafting events meen that usually the strongest competitor will win, when you can draft this is not always the case. In this race in Lanzarote drafting was aloud, so I wanted to get away with the faster competitors so that I didn't spend the whole of the bike leg dragging others along.

After a short warm up we were soon underway, the starting gun was fired by Chrissie Wellington, a World class athlete. See for more details.. I started quite fast and settled into a pace that I could maintain. I ran the 5km in 20minutes 34seconds and felt good when I got on the bike. As I am a stronger cyclist than runner I soon found myself passing other riders on the uphill climb away from Club La Santa. I rode all of the climb on the big chainring and felt really strong. Two of the riders that I passed managed to follow me to the top of the climb and then passed me on the down hill run. I then got myself in to there draft for a while and took a breather.

As a group we then caught two more riders and became a group of five. I did a couple of short turns on the front but then found myself going backwards and dropping off the back. I wasn't too worried about this as I knew I could climb well. At the turn I was only about 20 metres behind them, the turn was very tight and was easier for a single rider than it would be in a group so I was soon back with the others and feeling good. I passed them all quite easily on the climb and none of them came with me. By the top of the climb I was feeling great and started to catch and pass other riders on the way back to Club La Santa.

Getting off and running after a big effort on a bike is never easy and when I first uncliped from my bike and stood up I was fairly sure I had overdone it on the bike. My legs were shaking and I didn't feel good. I changed into my running shoes and slowly jogged out onto the running track. Within a few metres of the final run I was being overtaken by others. I tried to follow them but all I could do was to limit my losses. After about 2 or 3 minutes I started to recover a little and was able to hold a gap to one of those who had come past me. The last run was only 2.5km so it was just a case of holding on for a few more minutes. I did the last run in 10 minutes 50 seconds, the guy who finished one place behind me did it in 8 minutes 53 seconds but I had taken 5 minutes and 4 seconds out of him on the 20km bike leg..

I crossed the line in 35th place, 13minutes behind the winner, and world Duathlon champion, Joerie Van Steelant. Last year I was almost 22 minutes down and in 72nd place so I was over the moon with my result. My splilt time for the bike was 22nd fastest, not bad considering I was riding a basic road bike that would have been at least 7lbs heavier than the top guys bikes and for most of the week I had been eating full English breakfasts and drinking lots of Lager.. I can still ride better than I can run, but the gap is closing.

The event was fantastic and very well organised, with a bit of luck I will do it again next year.

More pictures of my holiday are here....