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…


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

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


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


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 !!!

View from the mirror (Tumby’s Road Race 2010)

11 Aug
August 11, 2010

If you are rich and famous enough the prime car seat for a cycling fan is possibly the
commissaire’s car in the Tour de France. The downside of course is that you could end up
sharing a car with Tom Cruise or President Sarkozy. The latter is affectionately known
as ‘Sarko’ in France as I found out on the Col Mont Cenis last year.


Much better, especially as I only had to share the car with the Wu Tan Clan and the
Bad Plus, is lead car in Tumby’s Road Race. With the race split this year into two
concurrent races the sole Rutland representatives in race 2 were Darren Otter, Gary
Horsefield (would he be Gary Chevalchamp in France?) and Richard Gouldbourn. The
rear view mirrors are not the best screens to watch a race on but judging by some of the
commentary on ITV4 my mirrors must be better than Sherwen’s and Liggett’s monitors.

Things didn’t get off to a great start. One third of the way round the second lap I came
across Gary fiddling with his bike. He had clearly had a problem within the first 2
miles. He jumped back on his bike and re-joined the race as I passed him and radioed
his number through to the commissar. Maybe he thought he could argue that it was just
a long criterium and after some discussions with the motorbike outriders he carried on in
the bunch.

Four laps later and I saw Richard sitting on the grass near the finish line so by now
things were looking less rosy for the chances of a home victory. All hopes were
now resting on Darren but reports from John Hadfield were that Darren was flying.

The second race was lively right from the start. As soon as I’d turned the first corner
and left the neutralised sections the attacks started. First 2 then 4 riders got a break and I
could see the whole bunch lined out whenever we got on a straight.

All the early attacks came to nothing, including one that looked like Darren, jumping
away on his own with the whole bunch chasing him back. Numerous attacks continued,
all neutralised until a group of four got away with about 5 laps to go. These 4 were
working well, I could see them chaining in the mirrors but looking round on the corners I
could see there were no Rutland riders in it. Their lead stretched out over the next 2 laps
and with three and a half laps to go and the bunch out of sight I thought that this was the
race winning move.

With just over 3 laps to go I was relieved to see the headlamps of the second motorbike
on the back straight and as the leaders climbed the hill before the finish the bunch were
making headway.

Two and a half laps to go and it was gruppo compatto. Driving through Harworth was
getting a bit hairy by now. The roads were getting busier and I’d already been stuck
behind some half asleep driver who couldn’t make his mind up whether to turn into
the co-op or not and who almost took the break out after they passed me on the inside.
So, I was well in front coming through the village and couldn’t see much of what was
happening behind me. As I approached the bottom corner I could see 3 riders making a
very determined break and as they started the climb up to the conveyor I could see that
one of them was Rutland’s Darren, low down on the bars and with that slow roll of the

shoulders that I usually only see from the very back of the Tuesday chaingang. They
totally hammered it up the incline and I could see they were opening a gap. By now there
were tired legs in the bunch and the chase was looking determined but disorganised and
ineffectual. Up the hill towards the bell and they had about 40 tick tocks of my hazard

Coming through Harworth for the last time I could see a green bus ahead and as I
approached it pulled out in front of two other cars. Merde, now down to about fifteen
miles an hour and the break approaching fast. With hazards and orange roof light
flashing I got to a few feet of the bumper in front hoping that the drivers would see the
sign saying ‘Cycle Race Approaching’ and not be Top Gear fans. One car pulled off into
the co-op, only a very slow bus and a car to go.

The marshals controlling the roundabout helped the bus get through and away but the
car was going nowhere so I swung across to the right and saw 3 riders flash through
on my inside. Car out of the way and I roared off after the break (if it’s possible to do
much roaring in my 8 year old Skoda) winding down the window to give them a shout of
encouragement. By now I was really enjoying this, best seat in the house for the whole
race and with 5 miles to go we have a serious chance of winning. But who are these
other guys and can either of them sprint. It’s a 2,3,4 race so there must be some pretty
handy riders in it. How will Darren’s 40+ year old fast twitch muscles fare at the top of
the hill for the last time?

Along the back straight and one of the other riders tries an attack on a short incline.
Nothing doing and there is only one chaser miles back with the bunch even further
behind so they can take it a bit easy before the finish. Up the hill for the last time and I
put plenty of road between mysef and the riders so had no idea if anyone had attacked on
the climb. Through the finish line and I can see Ray parked up in the middle of the road
100 yards beyond the finish ensuring a safe sprint for the line. But where the hell am I
supposed to go. Spotted a little road to the right, swung the car round, dumped it in the
middle of the road, nipped back onto the main road just in time to see Darren winning
race 2 for the Rutland by two bike lengths.

Tumby’s Road Race (Race 2) slow mo finish cam

Well done!!!

Tumby would be well pleased to see a Rutland rider once again winning a race held in his
honour and a Rutland victory makes a very fine memorial.

What happened in race 1, no idea ask Marc and Danny

Thanks to Steve and Louise for a great day out and a fantastic race.

Amazing tour de france…

04 Aug
August 4, 2010

…pictures. Sadly I can’t claim that these were taken by me but they are are amazing and definitely worth a look. Tour de France pictures

Rutland Double Team Week – July 2010

31 Jul
July 31, 2010

A good week for Rutland team riders with two team awards in the week the first was at the clubs own open 10 mile TT on Cuckney last Tuesday (27th July) with Marc Mallender finishing second overall 59 sec down on  Kevin Dawson who apprently was not pressing on due to a back injury (I wish I did those times not pressing on) Danny Lowthorpe and Nick Latimer were the other winning members of the team award. Then today the Rutland lads took the team prize again in the Sheffrec CC 25 mile TT at Hatfield  with Marc Mallender, Danny Lowthorpe and this time Tom Bailey. Marc finished 4th overall with a 56.45 and Danny and Tom were also in the top ten on a tough windy day.

Rutland ride the Peaks Sportive – July 2010

07 Jul
July 7, 2010


July 4th saw 4 Rutlanders set out to cover 102 miles of the Peak District on a Windy morning in Sheffield to join 300 others to raise funds for Action Medical Research, a charity supporting research into diseases affecting children and babies.
Andy Ralph, John Smallwood, Marc Jacobi and Wojtek Siodelski left Sheffield Tigers’ Rugby ground with a smile which was soon to be wiped off their eager faces when they found that the only flat stretch of the ride was from Bamford to Hope.

The climbs were relentless from Mam Nik until the finish. Horrendous headwinds around Macclesfield and the surrounding moors made the stretch after lunch really hard. John had a broken chain at about 40 miles and Andy got cramp at about 90 miles.
We rolled back into the Tigers after about six and a half hours riding. John and Andy were then grateful for a free massage, courtesy of the event staff.

The event was well organised with support vehicles and a great lunch stop. It is running again next year on 26th June as the peak district 100.

Nick rides from Land’s End to John O’Groats (2010)

30 Jun
June 30, 2010


Nick Latimer put all the fitness he’d built up from short 10 mile time trials to good use by riding the end-to-end in 7 days with cycling buddy Simon Hearne. 130 miles per day was a bit of a shock to the system and for the last few days of the ride pretty much every bodily part hurt – knees, back, neck, thighs, quads, calves, feet, wrists. My stomach was ok, but when we arrived in John O’Groats at 7.30pm after a monster 135 mile day into a fierce coastal headwind and discovered that we couldn’t have a photo next to the famous sign because they take it down at 5pm to stop people dodging the £10 photo fee I was almost sick. So you can add stomach to the list too.

The ride was monstrously hard, the prevailing wind let us down as we faced a headwind for 6 days out of 7, and our bodies were pushed to limits they’d never even contemplated before. After 7 days (54 hours, 38 minutes and 13 seconds in the saddle), 908 miles (average speed 16.6mph), and 13,133 metres climbed (who knew how hilly GB is – that’s 1.5 times the height of Mount Everest) we rolled into John O’Groats broken men. Since the end of the ride I’ve been experiencing some pretty nasty muscle cramps, to the extent that the longest I’ve managed to stay on a bike without being forced off due to pain is 8 minutes! It was a great ride though, and all for charity too. If anyone’s interested in a blow-by-blow account of the ride, go to

And for anyone wishing to give to a good cause, we did the ride for Beating Bowel Cancer ( and the Haemophilia Society (

Peak RC very hilly Time Trial – June 2010

20 Jun
June 20, 2010

Last Wednesday night saw the first promotion by small local club Peak RC and with all there members helping to MARSHALL it was a  fantastic well organised event  helped also by  great summer evening weather. The course was tough, taking in the climbs of Stony Middleton and Millers Dale and covering 17 miles in total. Rutland members faired very well with Marc Mallender finishing 3rd overall in a time of 46.14 riding a normal road bike he also picked up the atheletes competition prize (great wine Mr Gibson are you a wine buff?) and was only beaten by a Rapha Condors Dan Craven 43.50 and Charles Taylor 44.20 of South Pennine CC who both rode TT bikes . Tom Bailey posted a 48.37 to finish 7th after taking the train from Nottingham to Cheterfield and riding to Calver while Tom Webb finished 16th with 51.28. Rutland CC just missed out on the team prize to rivels Sheffrec CC (or did they James?)