Ronde Van Oost Lancashire 2012 – the trailer

Bezzy mate Alan ‘Crossjunkie‘ Dorrington’s ‘own’ ride – the Ronde Van Oost Lancashire – is in its fourth year now and growing exponentially in popularity each time round. It’s on the 31st March this year and I’m getting all little-biy-excited again for a lovely “grovel on the cobble” day out. Especially good this year is that it’s going to turn out to be a bit of a school reunion for me with – hopefully – Phil (brother), Tolly, Rich Bardgett and Rich Hannaford. That truly is a treat and I haven’t ridden with some of those people for 20 years!

Continue reading “Ronde Van Oost Lancashire 2012 – the trailer”

Don’t get ‘cross? Get even.

Cyclocross, Shrewsbury

January 15th: The year has ended.

The last cyclocross race of the season and all too soon it’s time to hang up the racing wheels and have a few months of more bike fun and less training. A glass half full person like me never gets too worried about things like that. No matter how much I just love cyclocross I know it’s good because it’s a limited season. All your round just wouldn’t be right. Imaging racing your bike and not being muddy and cold. Yack. Continue reading “Don’t get ‘cross? Get even.”

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.

Ronde Van Oost Lancashire

Very much looking forward to the second running of the Ronde Van Oost Lancashire on the 2nd April this year. Friend Alan’s organised it again using the same route as the first Ronde in 2010. Named and themed after the Ronde Van Vlaanderen (or Tour of Flanders for you Anglophiles), it’ll visit some of the backest of back lanes and 2lb loafiest of cobbles streets.

Adding to the value, my brother (and recent Here Come the Belgians signing) Phil ‘de Vlaeminck’ Haygarth will be joining us, as well as Matthew ‘Bosberg’ Pixton, and many other classics riders of note.

Full route, description etc here on Crossjunkie’s blog

Life-Long Learner: In Pursuit of the Rad

Had been very much looking forward to yesterday since January, and it didn’t disappoint. Matthew had very perceptively noticed that no matter how much we ride bikes, there is still some learning to be done. We spend so much money over the years trying to upgrade our bikes. Uber-legend Mountain bike Skills Coach Ed Oxley‘s business strapline is ‘upgrade yourself’. The one thing missing from the mix with stuck-in-their-ways 40-somethings like me. Continue reading “Life-Long Learner: In Pursuit of the Rad”