An amazing few years – thank you, Wheelbase

Wheelbase Cycling Team

I joined Team Wheelbase in 2005 and will be racing for another team very soon (more on that will follow shortly). It’s the strangest feeling to move on from wearing the black and green kit – there have been some amazing highlights in the last few years and I just wanted to reflect a little.

Basically, when I moved up to the north west again after living in Gloucestershire for ten years, I wanted a break from cycling clubs. I had worked pretty hard at times as a race organiser for a race secretary – as well as a bit of a domestique in road races (translation: I didn’t really get enough results so rode on the front a bit too much instead.) I moved here and said that I wasn’t going to join any club or team – but started to get into the top 5 in some local cyclocross races and suddenly felt like being part of things a bit more.

I joined the then “Wheelbase / Ron Hill” team in autumn 2005 and had to pinch myself riding alongside 3 peaks hero Rob Jebb as well as two team mates who have turned into real chums – Lewis Craven and Stuart Reid. I was the bottom of the pile but being part of a big name really motivated me. Some personal highlights that followed in the following years in my Wheelbase kit:

  • Recorded in a video diary on BBC Countryfile about the 3 peaks cyclocross
  • Won the North West Cyclocross League
  • Rode a few years of British Cycling National Trophy races – my highest position being 17th and the ultimate highlight witnessing Rob win the National Trophy at Bradford
  • Belting along Lakeland lanes, legs delving into the bottom of the sore drawer for the first 45 miles of the Fred Whitton Challenge with Lewis – stringing out 50 other rides, helping Rob to take the event record
  • Organising various races (mainly won by Stuart Reid!) including one in some fairly extreme snow.
  • Was on the podium as part of the winning team – and a gold medal from British Cycling for the National Cyclocross Championships in Birmingham
  • 9th place in the 3 peaks – my lifelong top ten ambition achieved
  • Various podium places in Lancashire’s rounds of the British Cycling Town Centre Criteriums, including a win in the support race in the Blackburn Grand Prix
Those are things that really stand out as highs but where I will miss things most is the craic – the banter – smalltalk, the overnighters in Premier Inn with three lads whining about how tomorrow’s race will be stuffed if they eat the wrong toast at breakfast… those are the things that made this a rounded, enjoyable experience.
Finally, Thank You to Toby, Billy, Matt and the other people who jetwashed my bikes whilst I waltzed round in the mud like a prima donna.


It’s too much of a rubbish cliché to talk of renaissance in cyclocross.  Effectively it’s inaccurate, too.  Cyclocross in our country has quite simply never been more popular. Rider numbers, spectator numbers, bike sales… the whole thing. It’s pretty much there now and has been for 3 or 4 years really.  Continue reading “Raphaissance”

Sid the Kitten

New family member joined the household.   Sid Haygarth (named after Six Dinner Sid) is just over 8 weeks old, a fluffball, bossing the dog around, and very playful and affectionate.  He’s sent two little girls into squeaky cutesy voices so much so that my ears hurt, and he’s in for some mega attention, play and cuddles.  But Elvis has not left the building.  And he’s better at fetching stuff. Continue reading “Sid the Kitten”

Once more unto the bogs

A quick moment to gather my thoughts before the big off in the 3 peaks cyclocross on Sunday.  It’s an annual pattern of familiar routine always peppered with new things each year to distract me.  The basic sectors of the 3 peaks preparation are complex in themselves – training & fitness, equipment, food & nutrition, planning for support crew, co-ordination of family around the weekend (it’s not just about me, apparently)… etc etc.  Hectic times, but ones to be relished.  Continue reading “Once more unto the bogs”

As one door closes… another one opens

Finish Line

“My” day of cyclocross: Rode well, steady start, faded a bit, kicked into a good rhythm after ten mins, then after 40 mins my bike was trashed and the race was over.  It doesn’t sound too good does it. Not even with my rose coloured glasses.  A good couple of k’s worth of carbon fible mashed up after the spokes sucked my rear gear mech into them isn’t exactly silver lining stuff.  But there was a large, very glittering silver lining to my not-so-effective day’s racing today at round 1 of the North West Cyclocross league in Preston.  Continue reading “As one door closes… another one opens”

Lily is Nine

My little Lily turned nine today – stunningly quickly … as these things go … Elsie jumped in to Lily’s bed extra early and we opened a couple of pressies and cards – but on her return to School Day we decided to leave the proper festivities until later today. Happy Birthday my lovely girl.

Photos here


Love/Hate Relationship: The Mary Towneley Loop

Cannondale Flash Carbon 29er

It’s one of those rides.  One of those ‘have to do it every so often’ rides.  One that you look forward to and dread in equal measure.  The Mary Towneley Loop is a 44 mile extension to the Pennine Bridleway and is a doorstep challenge for me, living 4.5 miles from the route itself.  It’s too long to do in all but the brightest and longest summer evenings but it’s not quite a day long ride.  It’s hard, but at times very rewarding, and you always seem to come out of it much fitter than when you start it.  With c. 6,000 feet of climbing it’s bound to be.   I love doing it, but I really hate it too.

Continue reading “Love/Hate Relationship: The Mary Towneley Loop”