les Alps

26 Oct
October 26, 2010

Last month Dick Cubison and I spent a week cycling through the Vercors and the Alps.   Five trains got us from Sheffield to Valence in less than 12 hours then we spent the next 6 days cycling 700 Kms (720 for Dick as he added in another col) in an arc east, then north and finally west to Geneve.

IMG_2692We only needed three trains back in another 12 hours to Sheffield.  Going by train is a breeze.  No airline baggage attendant to trash your bike and you are with it all the time.  Because of different bike carrying rules on the different trains we packed them up on the way out.  Dick got his in an old Planet X cardboard bike box and mine dropped into a £1.99 laundry bag.  This has the advantage of being free and disposable.  On the way back we paid 28 quid to get them from Geneve to London in the train.

The weather was mostly excellent.  July and August can be just too hot in central France, even quite high in the alps.  We ended up putting a few layers on in the descents but as it was dry no problems.   Everywhere we stayed was really friendly although getting lunch was sometimes a bit difficult.   For the first three days everywhere we seemed to try first was either full or lunch was finished.

IMG_2726We rode every day although day 3 was only a half day’s ride because of rain in the morning.  As soon as it stopped we were off up Alpe D’Huez and the col Sarenne.

Over the 6 days we managed  a whole bunch of cols including the spectacular Combe Laval, The beautiful CroiIMG_2746x de Fer, the awesome Iseran and the very pretty Saises with it’s views of Mont Blanc to name but a few.

There were a few Rutland members who expressed an interest in going.  All I can say it that you missed a fantastic trip.  There are few better places to ride a bike within relatively easy reach than the Alps.  One is of course the Dolomites and I’ll now give you plenty of advance notice for the ‘Andy Tours’ trip through the Dolomites with a saddlebag in 2012.  Now that will be spectacular.

Full picture set is here  http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/nd.smth1/20100906_alps#

Mark at the 3 Peaks Cyclo Cross – 2010

11 Oct
October 11, 2010

Rutland’s own Mark Jacobi recently completed the three peaks cyclo race in North Yorkshire. Here is his full account of the day.

What possessed me to start planning to ride the 3 Peaks I’m not entirely sure, it has been 25 years since I have ridden Cyclo-cross and I didn’t have a X bike!, but as I wasn’t racing this year for the first time in a while it occurred to me that this was the ideal year to train and fide this Cyclo-cross ‘Monument’.

The final decision was made when I sent a speculative email round to a few riders that I know ride X asking for advice and if anyone had a bike. Danny was the first to reply with the words ‘ After I rode it…I considered giving up riding a bike all together’, not quite the encouragement I was looking for, but better still he had a bike for the job and plenty of advice for the training.

So with a reasonable amount of preparation I was on the start-line with close to 600 others. I had heard endless stories of how difficult the first peak was and how after that the rest becomes a blur. I took the first peak Ingleborough steady and felt fine going over the top. The descent was fast and boggy but mostly rideable.

Nearing the top of Whernside (that’s a smile on my face!)

Nearing the top of Whernside (that’s a smile on my face!)

The 2nd peak Whernside gets gradually harder as you climb (walk!!) but there are fantastic views below of Ribblehead viaduct and the rest of Ribblesdale below. The photo below was taken two thirds of the way up.

The descent was rocky and highly technical and I erred on the side of caution rather than risk punctures or more serious tumbles. The trail emerges at the viaduct, and you briefly have an opportunity to enjoy the stunning location before hitting the road down to Horton in Ribblesdale where the last climb of Pen-y-Ghent begins. The trail here skirts the mountain for what seems an eternity, slowly climbing upwards but never getting any closer until for the final time you shoulder the bike and begin another 20 minutes up a sections of steep rocky trail.

The final descent follows the same path you ascend on making for a difficult and uncomfortable drop. At some point during this my hands unused to gripping the breaks so hard for so long cramped. I ended having to pick a soft looking area of peat bog to bail out on and then lay there until I got feeling back in my fingers. I did the final part of the descent with the brakes locked o because had I released them I was pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to pull them on again.

The first part of Pen-y-ghent, photograph by Andy Jones.

The first part of Pen-y-ghent, photograph by Andy Jones.

From there it is just a few minutes road ride to the finish. My time was 4 hours 21 minutes, and I immediately started working out in my mind just how much time I could take off that with a bit more experience before the realisation that my plan had been just to complete the 3 peaks and enjoy the experience. It really is a fantastic event, genuinely hard but with some preparation achievable.

Most importantly, no need to ever do it again.

Monsal Hill Climb 2010

10 Oct
October 10, 2010

Well done to all the Rutland riders in this years Monsal hill climb. Marc Etches and Sheffrec put on a great event once again and the large crowd must have been inspiring for the riders. There was only Jamie Burgan, John Smallwood and myself at the meet for 10:00 am and we arrived just in time for the start.

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First Rutland rider up the hill was our veteran Steve Ellis who rode up like a twenty year old. Steve didn’t ride into anything (has a bit of history here!!) and got 2nd place in the gurning competition.

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Next up was Sarah Birkby. All that grimacing and puffing on the tea cake was obviously worth it and she floated past the point where I was stood.

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I didn’t catch her time but she certainly looked quicker than the women who had gone past me earlier and much quicker than these 2 Rutland members who are now too slow to even try it. If only she didn’t have the extra weight of that helmet…

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Michael Birkby was up next at number 49. Seen here with the endorphin stare wishing the finish was closer and demonstrating Einstein’s special theory of psychological relativity whereby time slows down in relation to how much your legs are hurting.

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Into the top half of the field and Robert Stewart came up the hill at number 64 posting a 2 mins 12 secs.

 

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Twenty minutes later and Richard Lindsay flew up to post a 1:52. Twenty seconds faster than Robert but still outside Steve Ellis who by now had been at the top of the Rutland leader board for almost an hour and a half.

 

We were now waiting for lightning Nick Latimer. He went past me so fast I could only get a slightly blurred picture of him so no picture Nick, sorry. Fresh from his victory in the previous weeks Pea Royd Lane hill climb Nick came in with a storming time of 1:38.7. putting him well up the overall classification.

 

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Only 2 Rutland riders left. Would Danny or Tom be able to beat Nick’s time. Danny tried but only just failed, posting a time of 1:40.1.

He does however win first prize in the gurning competition and please Danny, next year, can you borrow Sarah’s helmet so you don’t mess my light meter up.

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Last Rutland rider up was Tom. Pushing a fixed he flew across the finish but he also failed to topple Nick posting a 1:41.2 although he told me later he’s come up that hill quicker in the past.

 

A few minutes later Russell Downing crossed the line and claimed victory with a 1:20.5. If Sky haven’t re-signed him for 2011 they will now once Brailsford hears about this.

Thanks to all the Rutland riders for turning up. There were some riding up who were even bigger than me so next year…..

And well done Marc and Sheffrec for a really professional event.

Full results can be found here.

Rutland success at Birdwell Whls HC – October 2010

05 Oct
October 5, 2010

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Despite the torrential rain that covered Sheffield on Sunday 3rd October, Nick Latimer and Gavin Evans turned out in the Birdwell Wheelers Hill Climb, up Pea Royd Lane in Stocksbridge. Rutland dominated, with Nick winning and Gav coming 3rd. Also seen in the pic Ashley Proctor of Sheff Rec took second and the Junior prize.

Andy the pilot…

30 Sep
September 30, 2010

trandem

Pilot is of course what you call the person who sits on the front of a bike with more than one seat on it.

Next Friday (8th October) I’ll be ‘piloting’ either a tandem or a trandem (see attached picture) to enable Dave and Val Radford to do their sponsored bike ride to raise money for guide dogs for the blind.

They need a pilot as they are both blind. They are raising money for this charity as they have both used guide dogs for almost their entire life

We will be riding about 36 miles on a looping route between Hornsea where they live and Beverley, home to the Yorkshire branch of Guide Dogs.

I used to pilot their trandem when they lived in Sheffield but they moved to the East coast a few years ago and Val has also had cancer. She now feels sufficiently recovered from the chemo to attempt this ride. The 18 mile practice ride last Sunday was challenging as I’d forgotten how hard it is to steer the damn thing.

So if you think that a 68 year old, blind cancer survivor riding a bike for 36 miles to raise money for guide dogs is worth a few quid of your money..then donate some cash at the following address… http://www.justgiving.com/tandemtobeverley

Obituary – Derek Morris

21 Sep
September 21, 2010

Just a brief note to let you know that one of our oldest Club members Derek Morris passed away on Monday evening 13th September 2010.
Derek was 78 years and had been battling cancer for the past 4 months.
Our thoughts are with Babs, Paul, Susan, John and the rest of the family at this sad time.

Service arrangements:-

Derek had decided to donate his body to science so there won’t be a funeral as such but there will be a service to remember Derek and the life he had.
The service will be on Tuesday 28th September, 11am at Grenoside Crematorioum, S35 8RZ
Anyone wishing to join the family for a drink afterwards can do so at The Hillsborough Hotel on Langsett Road, S6 2UB

Bealach Mor sportive 2010

21 Sep
September 21, 2010

At the start of September, two Rutland members, Michael Birkby and Rob Stewart tackled one of the biggest sportives in the country, the Bealach Mor. Here is their story…

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Saturday 4th September saw the 4th running of the Bealach Mor sportive which starts and finishes in Kinlochewe at the head of Glen Torridon and runs around the Applecross peninsula. I’ve ridden a lot of these sportive-timetrial-race-charity ride type things in the UK over the last 5 years and become pretty fussy as there are lots of lame ones. But I have to say that this one really is the most spectacular, consistently presenting stunning scenery, amazing winding roads and one bloody big hill right in the middle. Its a lot easier than the likes of Fred Whitton, Etape du Dales and some of the more recent additions to the sportive calendar with a little over 2700m of climbing (claimed 3000m on the website) over just under 90 miles. But the route really is amazing and the Bealach na ba pass, at 626m, is not only the UK’s highest pass but arguably the best with a spectacular setting up a glacial corrie, between tall craggy cliffs. Following a gentle warm up from sea level it has a few steep bits, but never more than probably 1 in 6 which lead into several Alpine style hairpins before a rewarding summit view over to Skye and the Cuillin (on clear days at least). The road over the pass is closed to cars for the event so its possible to give it some on the quality, winding descent, taking care to avoid those who’ve got carried away and crashed on some of the tight bends!
There are no restrictions on mass starts so those who like to make a sort of race of it can make the most of some bunch riding, although there was the usual assortment of randoms who really can’t ride in groups. The 9:00am starters set off to the sound of bag pipes, distracting them from the morning midges around their legs. There were plenty of friendly supporters and marshals on the road sides and fairly frequent food and drink stops, all of which I neglected to stop at, perhaps the main reason I cracked with 15 miles to go and was dropped from my group!

As with many other of these events its not cheap to enter (about £40) and as its not a race, no prizes. Having ridden the narrow Bealach na ba pass twice in the last year, riding over with 500 odd others made me thankful it was closed to traffic, somewhat justifying the price. In the end I managed 4:49:16, with Rob (Pogtani) Stewart coming in at 5:16:01. The quickest time, a much more impressive 4:22:27! The main downside to the event for us was the 9 hour drive up from Sheffield in the van but also being forced to wear demeaning reflective bibs (see photo)! Apart from that, if you’ve never ridden up there before its a bloody good event.

Beallach na ba profile

Gongs for Rutland

07 Sep
September 7, 2010

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On 15th August saw the National TLI road race champs at Alborough North Yorkshire with Marc Mallender and Gary Horsfield lining up in the 40-45 cat and 45-50 cat respectively. The course was a tough undulating circuit made harder by a strong northerly wind. After a few skirmishes on the first lap Marc Mallender got away with one other rider and forged ahead to force a good gap. On the next lap a group joined the pair to swell the group to eight in all when the junction was made it was touch and go if it would stay away as the bunch was only 2 or 3 secs away but after the a call from one of the break to ‘F@*?ing nail it’  (No wonder they don’t allow much racing on roads in North Yorkshire) the gap was made. The rest was through and off until the last lap of mad none successful attacks. It came to the long up hill sprint Marc Mallender took the silver medal and 5th overall while gary finished in what was left of the bunch to just miss out on a medal this year.This was a great event but needs more Rutlers next year. Don’t think it will be in North Yorkshire as the TLI was forced to pay £300 for some temp traffic lights!!! just to get event on.Is this the start of the end for roadracing?

Rutland riders pictured in Cycling Weekly!!!

01 Sep
September 1, 2010

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Imagine my and I’m sure your surprise as you thumbed through Cycling Weekly this week and were greeted by the glorious blue white and gold colours of Rutland !!

John Smallwood and Andy Ralph were snapped whilst riding in the Sheffield 100 sportive earlier in the year. What the report didn’t mention was Andy and John’s My Ride comments.

Possibly they figured that they weren’t fit for public consumption but I am pleased to report that I have managed to get hold of their post event reports and can share them with you now.

My Ride : John Smallwood (24) : Rutland CC: “It was a great event and I’ve had a great day…them sportivists aren’t that fast for a hardened teacaker such as myself so we’ve done a lot over taking today! I must say I was very disappointed that they didn’t have any Stella at the feed stations…”

My Ride : Andy Ralph (22) : Rutland CC : “That f*****g wind…I almost got blown from my b*****d bike….and as for them Sountherners…they are worse bike handlers than f*****g Sheff Rec.”

Blimey Andy, I’m not surprised they didn’t print that !!!

The full article can be viewed here.

North Mids Road Race League 2010 ends in Rutland Triumph!!!

26 Aug
August 26, 2010

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The final round of the 2010 NMRRL was run off last week in appalling conditions. It quite literally wee’d it down for the whole event. But luckily for the Rutland, we produced some pretty good swimmers !!!

Jamie had already sealed his victory in the overall with what can only be described as a truly emphatic series win. Right from week one he has proved to be the strongest rider in the race and a more deserved winner you couldn’t find.

However the competition for the podium places came right down to the wire with Dan Storey from SheffRec, who has enjoyed a very successful racing season this year, Jordon Skinner from Dinnington and our very own Marc Mallender all with a few points of each other. Any one of them could have made second place overall with the result in the final round.

It was clear from the start of the race that it was going to be a tactical affair with all the riders still in with a shout marking each other closely. A a few failed attempts to get away, the race winning move formed. In the move were Jamie, Marc, Dan Storey and Steve Ellis. The odds were looking good.

In the end though, try as he might, Marc was unable to shake off the very strong, Dan Storey, who just pipped Marc in the sprint to take the second place overall. Marc well and truly beat young Jordan though to secure and excellent third place overall !!!

To top off a great night for the Rutland, sensing that the other riders were watching each other, Steve Ellis clipped away from the breakaway to secure an excellent and very deserved final round win! Sources of mine who watching from the finish said that Steve’s great victory was somewhat let down by a very disappointing victory salute…so just for you Steve here is a picture of one to practice over the off season !!!

So massive congratulations go out to Steve, Jamie and Marc who have the done club proud. I’m sure everyone who road the series this year would agree that the new format has been a real breath of fresh air to the road race league and reaffirmed it’s position as a must do weekly series. So get your entry forms ready for 2011 and let’s see if we can get three riders in the top three overall next year !!!