|Team Cyclewise Altura|
Whinlatter Offroad Hill Climb Winter Series - November 24th, 2012
The first round of the series took place on Saturday, November 24th. Here's Craig report...
Saturday the 24th greeted us with a cold bright dry day (unlike the sodden day Dave and I spent setting up the course on Thursday).
The course was set and riding well. The big question was, MTB or Cross bike? With 1st, 3rd, 4th taken by Cross bike and MTB’s 2nd and 5th, there was a good split. In all, 30 riders tested themselves against the hill. 1.2miles of pain, with Keith Ashbridge taking the win and uttering the words, “That’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
The next round will be held on Saturday, January 12th, on a different course. See you there. Keep an eye on facebook and our Cyclewise Events page for updates.
Here are the full results:
The Cumbrian Cracker - November 25th, 2012
Craig reports on this year's Cumbrian Cracker, a 60-mile road sportive starting at Grasmere...
“Should have worn waterproof shorts.” That was pretty much all we said to each other on the drive down to take part in this year's Cracker.
The rain from above was one thing, the spray from the ground was something else. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
As it turned out, we were worrying about nothing - yes, the roads were wet, but the rain was almost non-existent.
This year's event was never going to match last year's in terms of weather. What it did provide was a cracking route in great company and a really nice day out on the bike. Top marks to the organisers, especially the ladies at the feed station.
Transmaurienne, August 2012
Our newest Team Cyclewise Altura rider Ben Bardsley reports on his marathon MTB challenge in France...
Last year, while searching out routes in the South East French Alps, I stumbled across a 4-day MTB stage race, The Transmaurienne. The locals assured me that this race was the real deal. Killer climbs, full-bore technical descents and NO TARMAC!
Inspired, I resolved to return to the Transmaurienne this year, get involved and see what it was all about.
The race turned out to have all the hallmarks of a great event and thus was typically French. Great course, amazing competition, bags of enthusiasm, incredible value for money, NO HYPE and a kiddies' event to boot! The event has been going since 1989 - won back then by the legendary Mike Kloser.
Prior to day 1, there was a 'prologue' in St Jean de Maurienne - a time-trial involving narrow streets, a park and plenty of steep flights of steps. Great laugh!
Days 1 to 4 were gruelling mountain stages, the real tester being a whopping 3,600m ascent on the Saturday. The course was put on by the FFC - the French MTBing trail gurus. Suffice to say the singletrack was sublime and pretty much endless. Technical sections were prolonged and testing to the limit. It was the perfect MTB event, especially as the sun shone ALL the time. The only downside? I suffered mechanicals every day, including a snapped hanger, munched rear mech, flattened front mech and bent chain!
I'm determined to do it all again next year - but this time I'll take loads of spares, some riding buddies, lots of sun cream... and I'll ride plenty of hills before I go!
3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross - September 25th, 2011
It's billed as the 'toughest and biggest cyclo-cross event in the UK', but that didn't stop our Dan making the 3 Peaks Cyclo-Cross his parting challenge for Team Cyclewise Altura.
Held towards the end of September each year, the event covers 38 miles within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, comprising 20 offroad miles and 18 miles of road - of which 34 are rideable... if you're Nick Craig maybe!
Starting at Helwith Bridge near Settle, the route is not for the fainthearted and takes in the three peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent. While he spent a fair bit of time pushing his bike, Dan hammered the last descent from Pen-y-Ghent (pictured right) to the finish in 26 minutes... riding all the way!
Dynamic Dan completed the exhausting event in 5 hours 17 minutes and 19 seconds... just a couple of hours (or so) behind winner Nick Craig!
A huge 'well done' to Dan - here he is with his 'certificate of merit'.
Cyclewise take podium place at Kirroughtree 10hr on Cube Reactions
Team riders Phil Davies and Bob Glaister rocked a few boats when they finished an impressive 3rd at the annual 10 at Kirroughtree event in South West Scotland at the start of July.
Phil took off on a flying first lap, coming in first after the 50-minute lap to lead the field. Meanwhile, the twisting and technical trail suited Bob who put in six consistently fast laps to secure Cyclewise 3rd place, only 1 minute behind the runners-up after 10 hours of riding.
Both Cyclewise riders raved about the route which took in swooping single track, some eyeballs-out fire road climbs and even a rooty section through the woods which required lifting front wheels and careful judgement on the corners.
Phil’s steed for the race was his carbon Cube Reaction fitted out by our shop manager Sean with some light Olympic ZTR Crest wheels on Hope Hubs, plus Maxxis Crossmark tyres.
“The bike was perfect,” says Phil. “Super fast but with a design that isn’t harsh despite its stiffness. It handles like the original HPA Reaction which is why I chose to stick with this model. I’ve now ridden it on 5-hour trips across the Lakes, down some rather gnarly rocky descents and also raced on it. For a hardtail, it doesn't disappoint.”
Fred Whitton Challenge - May 13th
Here is Sean's report on the gruelling 112-mile sportive challenge ride round the Lake District:
Well, Fred has come and gone again. I have been trying for the last 4 years to get under the magic 7 hours, failing dismally each time, and this year I managed to not do anything silly and made it around safely in 6.48.58. Very pleased.
Gary and I set off this winter determined to get as many training passes in and miles as possible. We managed to get over Hardknott and Wrynose early Jan and even dragged poor Dan over the last half of the Fred route (for his first ever time) in the dark after work. All the training seemed to be paying off and in the last couple of weeks the legs were feeling good.
The weather leading up to the final couple of days did not look good but hey its the same for everyone. I woke up on the Sunday morning and sure enough the weather was grim - as Chris would say, you can only control the controllable so I made sure I packed some waterproofs and suitably warm clothing and headed down to the start.
While Dan headed off as soon as he was ready, I waited for Gary who somehow slept in on the big ride day. We took off nice and steady remembering the years of going hard from the gate only to blow up before Honister.
Garry seemed to be struggling a bit up Kirkstone so I eased it up a bit to wait for him. There was no sign of him by the bottom and a couple of handy riders had just passed me so I made the selfish decision to go it alone (I figured it’s what he would have wanted). A large group down the A66 and Borrowdale was a big help, I made sure to be near the front on the climb up Honister so as to not get caught out by someone doing some crazy weaving all over the road.
No stopping at the feed station as Jane was waiting at the top of Whinlatter for a super-quick bottle swap and much-needed support. The weather took a bad turn after Whinlatter - a strong head wind with constant rain is the last thing you need at the halfway point.
I stayed with the odd person but mostly rode on my own for the remainder of the ride. The passes may be tough but there is still a load of climbs to do until you reach Hardknott. I had just over an hour left at the telephone box to get back and make it under the 7.
Slowly but surely I wound my way up the pass, determined to ride the whole thing. I managed to ride the steep S bend and keep the legs ticking over on the remaining drag to the top, super pleased with myself I had to keep on concentrating on the rough descent to keep the rubber side down.
Over Wrynose and then into Coniston, there was nothing left in the tank. I was doing all I could to keep the legs ticking over, through the last couple of tight corners then into the finish to find the man with the Dibber.
James practically carried me to the timing station, making sure I had some cake to eat. I was so relieved when the lady said my time of 6.48.58 that I nearly fell over.
Jane had booked the ferry to Holland for that evening giving me the extra incentive to ride under the 7 as we now had 3 hours to get to Hull. I ate half of my pie before she tracked me down. I was allowed a quick wipe down and change of clothes before putting the bike in the van and hitting the road. We made it to the ferry with a little time to spare, now I could look forward to relaxing for a couple of weeks in the Italian sunshine.
MacAvalanche - April 30th
The UK's version of the Mega Avalanche, run by No Fuss Events, took place on the slopes of Glencoe mountain resort - involving 100-plus riders, a mass start, 700m of descending, snow... and a helicopter uplift.
Craig was one of those 'lucky' riders to take part, finishing a very respectable 19th Senior Male. Here's his report...
The concept was simple. Take 100 riders, use a mixture of cable cars and helicopters to get riders and their bikes to the top of a big hill, then say GO!!!!
The venue for this was Glencoe ski centre. Thankfully the weather was warm and sunny, a little windy but for Scotland amazing.
Bikes were taken up the mountain in the morning then all the riders walked the course, think big open fell with all the features you can imagine and you get an idea of what we were about to ride.
After a briefing, we were ferried to the top by helicopter (an event in its own right), for what I can only describe as an interesting flight, especially the landing at the top in the wind. Once all the riders had assembled, we were given our starting orders and off we set, a short run to the bikes then hit the first section of snow which was best taken with a run/fall/slide ... you get the picture.
I had a good start getting myself up into the top ten, which I held through the pedalling section toward the last part of the descent. But then a foolish bit of overtaking put me in the dirt, and after I'd straightened my bars, I cruised the last section.
96 riders finished the event and all seemed to really enjoy it, something to do with the laidback feel that the No Fuss team create.
Will I be back next year? You bet!
More info can be found on www.nofussevents.co.uk
And for a video link, go to http://www.mtbcut.tv/News/Article/31/IXS-Macavalanche
RRP Midlands XC Series, Round 1 - Cannock Chase