Thursday, 27 January 2011
Artwork: Duncan Astle
Date: Sat 2nd April 2011
Start: Pendle Heritage Centre car park, Barrowford, Nelson, Lancashire, BB9 6JQ
Time: start riding from 10am up to 10.30am with a faster group going out at 10.30am
Photos and cake from Sportsunday....
Route details available on the links over on the right of the page.
What started off as my grump about not being able to go back to Flanders after a riotous Ronde sportive weekend in 2008, morphed into an absorbing and eventful group ride for about 35 of us last April.
Using some beautiful Lancashire lanes, hills and leftover cobbled climbs from a past Industrial era, the Ronde van Oost Lancashire seems to have taken on a momentum of its own now.
Word of the fun day we had last year seems to have spread and I have had fairly frequent requests to hold the ride again. So, book a pass out for April 2nd and come and see what we have here in a tucked away corner of the North West.
The parking opposite the Pendle Heritage Centre can be a bit limited (Honesty box provided) so further parking is available a few hundred metres further down the B6247, just near Barrowford Locks, right over the canal flyover.
Some of the climbs are very steep and I would recommend a minimum gear of 36 x 25 or similar if you have it. Road tires are fine, but the roads are rough and the cobbles rougher so if you have fatter tires then use them. Cross bikes with Landcruisers work well too.
Some of the route is over exposed hill country and I would take a windproof/racing cape. The weather on the route can be lashing down, very blustery or lashing down and blustery......
The winter of 2010/2011 has been a little hard so far and the roads reflect this. There are some spectacular potholes in places, often where you want them least. Please warn others behind you by pointing them out, making sure you have avoided them yourself first of course!
There is a good cafe at the start and finish (in the Heritage Centre) and food stops available at Padiham, Townley Park (Burnley), Hebden Bridge and Coldwell Activity centre near Widdop. There are also bike shops in Padiham (first cobbled section) and Hebden Bridge.
Regular local cross, sportive and running photographers Sportsunday have offered to come and capture the ride, and just as importantly, or more, are offerering a cake stall mid ride. Mint.
All participants ride this route entirely at their own risk.
Monday, 24 January 2011
Monday, 10 January 2011
All photos: Joolze Dymond (from British Cycling website)
It had been a while since I had ridden a Nationals - 19 years to be exact.
I placed 25th (if I remember rightly) in 1992 at Harlow - got a mention on Grandstand, live, from (Sir) Hughie Porter and then disappeared off the radar, not riding another again.
Until last Saturday. I won't bore you with an in depth account - grab me at a race and I'll happily do that face to face. Suffice to say, I had a superb day riding the National Veteran 40+ race, shaperoned and looked after by Dave Haygarth and those very nice people at Wheelbase Cycles. Being helped with bikes, preparation and pitting makes a big difference at any race, but particularly at a race of that standard.
I had a solid race, complete with minor mechanical and pitched up 35th out of a field of 90 or so. Season long colleagues at League level were behind me, including a couple of other riders whom I measure myself against. It was all in all, a brilliant way to round off a season, one in which I have made some big advances in technique and fitness, and consequently produced some much better results.
Get a training partner for regular outdoor cross intervals - Dave is much quicker than me (he placed 12th at the Nationals), but shared lunchtime enthusiasm, skills and pain on our local circuits, in all weathers. Cue massive jump in fitness. Many thanks.
Practice your offroad skills - time and time again. Unless you are Nick Craig (Vets National Champ), but even he probably practices them from time to time.
Learn how to race - this is harder to explain, but in effect get the 'mindset'. Know when to relax, when to push, how to hold it together if you crash or bobble. No matter where you race within the field, ride with insight and self-knowledge and make the most of your skills, equipment and fitness.
Have fun - I had more fun, with less races, than ever before. I'm happy to finish the season on a high. It only makes the anticipation for a new season all the greater.