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Dear fellow road users…

I’m a driver and a cyclist.  I pay Vehicle Excise Duty and have done for years.  That ‘Duty’ isn’t Road Tax before we start, that was abolished in 1937 but it was never called Road Tax. Anyway, I digress…

I cycled 5 miles yesterday with my video camera turned on and saw a driver nearly hit another vehicle trying to pass me and 2 more dangerously speeding.  As I’m tootling along I just think ‘why?’.

The driver who appears first in the clip, NU60 KYE, gives me plenty of space and I applaud them for that, but in doing so on a corner where you can’t see what’s approaching due to the bridge, narrowly avoids hitting another car head on.  Now what did this pass accomplish?  Not much.  We were heading into a 30mph zone where the driver could have easily and safely passed me.  I would estimate it might have delayed them 30 seconds but that time would have been made up by the time they caught up with the other traffic.  So no real gain.  Madness.

I then cycle along and a group of cars passes.  all give me space but the final 2 cars (DV57 NYT &  Y837 HNL) appear to be racing – maybe going 70mph and having to slam their brakes on to avoid the cars in front.  The final car has it’s windows down and the driver and passenger have their arms out of the window shouting.  I have no idea what they said but due to the cars in front they made no time up speeding and only made me feel unsafe on the road.

So why do we do it?  I have no idea.  We all turn into different animals when we get behind the wheel of a car.  If you are reading this thinking ‘Bloody cyclists, what do they know’ etc I beg you – get on a bike and cycle a busy main road and see how safe you feel.  We don’t have a metal box keeping us safe.

Since I took up cycling I’ve slowed down when driving.  I did used to break the speed limit and get frustrated.  I do get it.  But just think, is the few seconds that you MIGHT gain when passing a cyclist on a blind corner or at 70mph worth risking their life or even your own?  Or even the lives of the children that might have been in the car you nearly hit head on at the bridge?  Possibly not.

Let’s all try and get along eh?

Tour de Yorkshire 2016 – Stage 3

Having decided to have a day in front of the TV to watch Stage 2 (that worked out well didn’t it?) I was all set to watch Stage 3 of the Tour de Yorkshire from Sutton Bank.

Having checked the weather forecast the night before it looked to be dry but as I picked up Farny in the car the heavens opened.  Great.  The rain showed no sign of easing up so we though ‘sod it’ and set off regardless.

The conditions were pretty horrific and 7 miles in they finally got the better of us.  As we turned left to Ainderby Quernhow Farny’s bike slid from under him and he skidded along the road.  As I was following pretty close behind I grabbed my breaks no no avail and ran into the back of him and ended up on the floor.

After the initial shock thankfully I was ok but Farny had ripped his shorts and jacket and got some pretty bad road rash.  We decided to call it a day as his bike wasn’t selecting all gears and phoned the Mrs up to collect us.

So it was decided that after a quick shower we would head to Northallerton and watch from there then have some recovery ales and big up our crash.

The last 20 seconds or so show a little bit of the damage to ferny’s bike and clothes!

Only managed to take a few pics:

Break

The break passed through with a  2 minute gap over the peloton.

Peloton

NFTO were busy on the front, closely followed by Lotto Jumbo.

So with that the Tour de Yorkshire was over.  We went to the pub and enjoyed a few beers then I watched the highlights back.  Sutton Bank looked incredible and i was gutted that we didn’t make it there but hopefully next year we’ll get to watch the riders up another iconic Yorkshire climb.

And finally if you don’t like gore please don’t scroll down – this is a pic of Farny’s road rash!

Road Rash

Tour de Yorkshire 2016 – Stage 1

It is that time of the cycling calendar, the best race in the UK graces our fine (pothole ridden) roads and we get to watch our cycling heroes race within a bike ride from our homes.  I love the Tour de Yorkshire!

The first stage of 2016 was from Beverley to Settle, 185km long and would go though Tadcaster meaning from York there was plenty of opportunity to spectate nearby.  I decided upon Cawood – a lovely village just outside of Selby and only 10 miles to cycle.

I have been checking the weather forecast religiously all week but unfortunately the promises of 4ºC, wind and rain hadn’t altered as Friday loomed so on with the full winter kit and off I went.

My mate Farny joined me as we set off from York.  We made good time but the headwind made it tough going, for me anyway.  As we made our way from Riccall to Cawood the wind was immense.  It just didn’t let up.  The open landscape let the wind continually batter us which made it even more impressive when watching the Pro’s travelling along the same roads doing about 25mph to our 13mph!

Riding into Cawood me and Farny found a pub with a decent beer garden overlooking the bridge in the village.  It would provide a good place to watch from.  With beers in hand we waited.

Beer

First up came the rain.  It poured down.  Then came the break.  They had 4 minutes on the peloton which was great going considering they had gained that margin in a mighty headwind.

The Break

Forgive my ignorance but I have no idea who was in the break.  As I write I have still not watched the stage back.  Then came the main group (see header photo).  As always is the case when the weather is bad it’s hard to pick out individual riders but I managed to spot Pete Kennough driving Sky on at the front but it was;t until I got home and checked my photos that I spotted a few other British riders.

Russ Downing

I think this one is Russ Downing due to the beard but I may be wrong!

Sir Brad

I’m almost certain this is Sir Brad.  You can spot the black bike and the familiar nose underneath that aero helmet to keep the rain out.  It was a shame that he abandoned today without completing the stage but he says he didn’t want to risk a crash with Rio coming up.  If that was the case surely he shouldn’t have entered but then again he’ll be under massive pressure to take the start as his name alone adds kudos to the race.

And that was that.  Cold legs and body went back onto the bike and enjoyed a short tailwind before hitting a headwind for the last 7 miles back to York.  It was the hardest 30 mile ride I have ever done so I doth my cap to the riders today who completed the 115 miles to Settle.

Not going to Stage 2 but will be on Sutton Bank for Stage 3.  See you there!

2015 Cycling Review & 2016 Targets

It’s the 4th January, the holidays are over and my 2016 Strava mile count says ZERO.  Time to write about cycling and then get out and do some!

Last years goals were simple, but how did I get on:

  • Cycle 500 miles in a month

Failed miserably!  Not even close!  Managed 325 miles in August and that included a 112 mile ride.  A holiday and a week off the bike put pay to a 500 mile month but I’ll try again in 2016,

  • Cycle 2,015 miles in a year

Done!  Ended up doing 2,255.  I need to up this in 2016.

  • Beat my 45mph record and try to break 50mph!

My Garmin told me I broke 50mph, my Strava says I did 49mph.  I’ll believe my Garmin!

  • Lose 2 stone cycling in 2015

Done.  Ended up losing over 2 stone ( but then promptly put half a stone on over Christmas)

So, not too bad.  On to 2016.  I have a decent base from last year so January and February shouldn’t be as hard as 2015.  Hopefully I will be able to push on, lose more weight and maybe get faster, well hopefully a lot faster.

2016 Targets

  • Complete half of the Strava Gran Fondos
  • Cycle 500 miles in a month
  • Lose a further stone and a half
  • Cycle 3,000 miles in 2016
  • Cycle EVERY week, without fail

My 2015 in video format:

And finally my Veloviewer 2015 wheel

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No 57 The Stang (and No 51 Tan Hill) – 100 Greatest Climbs

I don’t normally do a blog post for every climb I do on the list but The Stang was a bit of an achievement.  It was the first one on the list that I have ridden from bottom to top without stopping.

Now you may not think this is that good but last year I was 2 stone heavier and would do anything to avoid hills and now I go actively looking for them.  I don’t know why but I do… I kind of enjoy the pain.

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The first part of the climb was tough but then following a short downhill section it was just pretty steady, never really getting above 12% as I churned my way to the top.  But the best part about getting to the top is going down…

After that it was straight on to Tan Hill, a long 6 mile morning slog to the highest Inn in the British Isles.

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So that was two 100 Greatest Climbs, back to back, in a day.  No wonder I could barely make it up the little hills on the way back to Reeth.  Still, it was all worth it and now that’s 8 down, 92 to go.  Think I’ll try a few in West Yorkshire over the coming weeks, I’m keeping away from The Dales for a while!

 

Buttertubs Pass (The Wrong Way)

So why the wrong way?  Well I wanted to do Buttertubs and I hadn’t read 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs yet so we rode part of the 2014 Stage 1 Tour de France route – little did I know that the official 100 Climbs segment is the reverse!  Oh well, just means I’ll have to do it again.

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We started off from Hawes and climbed up the modest 5-6% gradients through Simonside before the ramps got steeper.  As you can see from the above photo it is quite a big hill that we were attempting.

It’s a long old drag for a mile or so then it begins to ramp up quite severely up to the first cattle grid.  The sign says 17% from memory but my Garmin was showing 20% at parts.  There is two steep ramps on the way to the first cattle grid – the first was a struggle but doable, on the second I had to stop.

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As you can see with my hands slumped over the bars I was struggling.  I didn’t even stop at my max HR, I had just ran our of oxygen.  I was on the limit so I admired the view for a couple of minutes and then slogged on.

It was worth it though.  Once you hit the top the descent is pretty good.  A couple of sharp corners and a few long, straight drags to get some good speed up on.

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Overall I was expecting to stop 2-3 times so I was chuffed I only conked out once.  I expected the climb to be harder though, even at my low speeds.  I think climbing the ‘official’ way will be a lot harder so I’ll maybe leave it for a bit before attempting it again.

Here is my Garmin Verb video of the climb and descent – it’s long but if you skip to 33 mins you can see the descent.

I am delighted that I did it though and I would recommend others to tackle it too.  The long, steady climbs like this are hard to find and you feel like a GC contender slogging up them!

Halloween Bush Tucker

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Last night was the Halloween Bush Tucker Trial!! As you can see I splashed the cash on my costume and entered into the spirit of things!!

Unfortunately the trial came around quite quickly and I was presented with this table of delights…

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On display there are lambs testicles, kidney, eyeballs, fish eyeballs, pigs snout, live crickets and widgety type grubs.

I made it all the way through but got beat because my opponent swallowed the lambs eye before I did so I spat mine out!

Overall, an enjoyable experience but if I could give anyone any advice from my experience it is never to eat a fish eye!

Here is a video of me eating the stuff…