Sunday, August 31, 2014

Back Across The Pyrenees

Like all my high mountain rides, this one came from winter dreaming.  In the grey days of February I was casting around for something suitable when I chanced upon a tour called the 'Pro Strength' Coast to Coast, offered by a company called Pyractif.  The route is from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean taking in many classic cols linked by decent road mileages.  Not as hard as last summer's Raid Dolomites, but a good ride nonetheless.  Internet reviews were good, and for me it had the advantage of being an entirely commercial offering.  So if I were to get a bit lazy and hitch a lift in the van on a hot day then I wouldn't be disqualified, as you would be on a proper Raid.  An exchange of emails, a deposit paid and the deed was done.

A week ago I flew to Toulouse where I met Henk, Sam and Craig, three of my fellow riders. We were picked up by Helen in one of the support minibuses and taken to Pyractif's base at Bertren.  We assembled our bikes, picked up Peter, another member of the support team, and drove to Biarritz.  Here we met Chris, the ride leader, and the rest of the party.  Substantially British, but with Australian, Canadian, Dutch and New Zealand riders, there were seventeen of us.  The rest of them looked unreasonably fit, and unreasonably young too.  All were experienced mountain riders and all had ridden in the Pyrenees before.  Hard ride coming.

Next morning we set off to the seaside for a departure snap, then the ride began; 103 miles and about 9000 feet of climbing on the first day; more to come as we hit our stride.  In all I clocked about 450 miles and 48,000 feet of climbing before we arrived at the Mediterranean on Friday morning.  We did most of the classic cols - Marie Blanque, Aubisque, the Tourmalet-Aspin-Peyresourde 'Circle of Death', Portet d'Aspet, Port de Pailheres and plenty of others.  A very good ride, and good weather too.  We had a bit of drizzle for a couple of hours on Wednesday morning, but otherwise it was a blue sky ride, which is a blessing in the Pyrenees.

Support arrangements were good, as I have come to expect on these trips.  Two vans, mechanical support, a lead rider on many of the passes and convenient and enjoyable alfresco lunches.  Decent enough hotels - truth to tell, there's not that much choice if you're crossing the Pyrenees.  If you run a hotel that's good for cyclists you'll have plenty of custom in the summer season, and I've stayed in several of them before.  They know their business.

My riding companions were a great bunch and touchingly considerate of an old man; I had a great time. There were some very fancy bikes, but few problems.  One set of carbon rims repeatedly caused punctures - mainly heat blow-outs on the descents - but another pair (Zipp 404) were trouble free.  There were a number of sets of electronic gears, Campag and Shimano, no problems with them, and most people were running 11 speed.  All frames carbon, all light builds.  I took my Condor and all I had to do was wash it.  Great bike.

So, if you're looking for a hard ride in the mountains that's a little out of the ordinary, give this one a shot.  You won't be disappointed.


Hilly 12 Pictures

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hilly 12 - start sheet

Hilly 12 & Club Hill Climb Championship
Sunday August 31st 2014

No  Name                Hcap          Start
 1  Mike Morley         7:30          08:00
 2  Phil Todd           5:00            :01
 3  Steve Rigby                         :02
 4  Gavin Hughes        8:30            :03
 5  Alex Kew            2:00            :04
 6  Ann Bath           13:00          08:05
 7  Rohan Dubash        PTT             :06
 8  Joe Bertorelli      6:00            :07
 9  David Watt          1:00            :08
10  Chrystal Sheldon    9:00            :09
11  Jo Whiting          PTT           08:10
12  Stuart Downie      11:00            :11
13  Mark Cawood         PTT             :12
14  Matthew Whitaker   Kingston Whrs    :13
15  David Vine         11:00            :14
16  Natalie Gentry      PTT           08:15
17  Alice Lethbridge   Kingston Whrs    :16
18  Simon Trehearn      Scr             :17
19  Steve Hillier       5:30            :18
20  Andy Avis           9:15            :19

Alex Kew

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Phoenix hit the £100 in SCCU 100

Having returned from York & the Birthday Rides via Derbyshire & Nottingham it seems like I have been away for ages and the Pru - 100(curtailed to 86) a distant memory! So much to my surprise on my return I open a brown paper envelope with a £50 cheque inside from the SCCU.
Don't suppose it's a record but I won 1st H/C and Richard Addis got £30 for 3rd H/C. To add to the glory Jake got £20 for second fastest lady with a very good time of 4:56:17. Richard did 5:06:24 and me 5:08:41

So all in all on that day KPRC members won £100 - Well done!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Member Profile - Lisa Colombo

Lisa has been an active member of the Phoenix for over 30 years and until recently was the club's secretary with many years' service on the committee. She has developed the club website and blog and keeps the results and competitions tables up to date for us.
What’s your bike ownership history or what do you currently ride?

At last count there’s over a dozen bikes, a couple of tandems and a trike.  Unfortunately all of them require at least basic maintenance at the moment and since life dumped on me I don’t have the room to do the maintenance nor even find or access the necessary tools/parts from wherever they are stored.

None are modern, whizzy or especially lightweight, but they include the custom built race bike that I persuaded my parents to buy me for my 21st birthday instead of jewellery – and which still sports the chainset that my club friends bought me for that same birthday. 25 years on it holds the enduring memories that a 21st birthday present should.

How did you start cycling?

I liked riding my bike as a kid and did some moderately adventurous stuff – at least by my parents’ standards. My English master at school rode a bike and he was a member of the SWLDA, so he introduced me to the world of clubs and organised cycling in my early teens. I started with the Family Section, but was dismayed to find that although they were friendly enough they seemed to meet outside of the advertised gatherings and I felt excluded, so I tried the Cheam & Morden Section and never looked back.

What made you join Kingston Phoenix?

In the summer of 1982 I went into Richmond Cycles with my parents to buy some ‘proper’ cycling kit. They asked if I had ever considered racing, to which my answer was that I was a “confirmed tourist”. By spring 1983 I had made friends in, and joined, the Kingston Phoenix - because of the link to the Cheam & Morden - and when they all rode the Medium Gear 25 it was natural that I should do it with them. I didn’t give a second thought to riding a 25 as my first event.

What has been your most memorable cycling experience?

There have been many, so it is difficult to pick one. I have especially happy memories of cycle touring all over Italy; of a tour in Scotland where the group fell out with each other and went our separate ways for the day – I remember a beautiful sunny day all alone in the wilds of Scotland and the feeling of freedom of being all on my own and self sufficient, with everything that I needed with me in my panniers. I have many strong memories of riding and helping in TTs as well.

And then there’s the night of the Great Storm in 1987, it was a Thursday and a club night, riding home with a roaring tailwind, it was obvious there was something different happening that night. We went to Crockham Hill Youth Hostel in Kent two days later, a trip which required a lot of cross country travel as we navigated the bikes around roads blocked by fallen trees.

What has been your worst cycling experience?

That tends to be things like being knocked off the bike, something that fortunately hasn’t happened often in 30+ years of riding. I spent one Christmas on crutches in the late 80s when a car came out of a side road and hit my leg. Having things thrown at you from moving cars is not pleasant either, it happened once riding home from club many years ago, when the same car kept buzzing me, and also more recently riding from the car park to the start of the Consolation 25, a few years ago, when someone threw a full 500ml bottle of water at me from a passing car – you could see the ridges of the bottle in the resultant bruise on my backside.

Pete’s funeral rates as something of a best/worst experience too, it was amazing having so many people turn out for the procession, but it was his funeral...

What cycling / sporting achievement are you most proud of?

Again, so many to choose from. Finally completing a 12hr on the tandem with Pauline Casey for 220 miles rates highly – as a pair we were much better than the sum of the parts – even though beating the then Comp Record of 236 miles proved a lot harder than we imagined. Winning a Tandem 100 against actual competition is another – I have a trophy for that! I am also pleased that I managed to beat Pete in a race just once when I did 209 in a 12hr to his 202.

What are your plans for the rest of this season or next season?

No plans for anything. Life has taken away all my plans, hopes and dreams at the moment. I just need to get through this dark time and hope that there is a new life awaiting me after.
When anything bothered Pete he always went off on his own on his bike – I could never have imagined how painful that would become for me now that I can never go for a ride with him again – so even that has been stolen from me as an escape from my current problems.

Unfortunately not riding brings fatness & unfitness which makes group riding hard – it’s going to be a long and difficult return to life when I finally get the chance again.

Do you have any particular cycling or sporting heroes?

I loved Miguel Indurain, but was he on drugs too? – the whole drugs scandal has soured me somewhat on pro sport. Not so much because they were taking drugs, but because of the whole hypocritical action of the governing body that claimed to be trying to do something about it – and now we know they weren’t. I can understand the mentality of the riders – in the closeted world of pro cycling events if it’s something everyone else is doing then it doesn’t seem like cheating, or even doing anything wrong - but I don’t condone it. I also hope that my experience of amateur TTing is correct, that very few try to cheat by using drugs.

Sum yourself up in three words.

I am me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Afternoon 10 - result

Saturday August 16th 2014

No  Name              Time    Hcp/T  Hcp     Vets    Std  Scr/Hcp  Award
10  Russell Williams  24-03   22-03  2:00    +3:17  27:20  7 / 2  1st Place
 5  David Watt        24-24   22-09  2:15                  6 / 2
11  Alex Kew          24-48   22-33  2:15    +1:18  26:06  5 / 2
13  Simon Waller      25-04   20-04  5:00                  4 / 6  2nd Hcp (PB)
14  Daniel Arthur     25-38   Epsom CC       +1:16
12  Steve Hillier     26-11   21-56  4:15    +2:41  28:52  3 / 3  (SB)
 6  Robyn Yates       26-31   Addiscombe CC  +3:03
 8  Rachel Watkins    27-26   19-41  7:45    +2:36  30:02  5 / 7  1stW/1st Hcp *
 7  Emma Potter       28-51   Kingston Whlrs -1:44
 9  Philip Burgin     29-33   21-33  8:00    +0:43  30:16  2 / 4  (SB)
 1  Deborah Hurst     31-27   21-57  9:30    -1:55  29:34  4 / 2
 3  Angie Launder     33-03   21-18  11:45   +0:15  33:18  3 / 5  (SB)
 2  Ken Williams       DNS (Apol)    11:00          33:50
 4  Mark McNamara      DNS           13:00          33:50
14  Marcus Edwards     DNS (Apol)     Scr

* = Best for 7 years
SB = Seasons best
PB = Best ever ? (I think it was Simon’s PB)

John as Pusher Off
Steve and Ron for placing and retrieving the event signs
Ron for marshalling at the turn
Judy as number spotter.

Frank Cubis

Friday, August 15, 2014

Afternoon 10 - start sheet

Saturday August 16th 2014

No Name              Hcp     VetStd   Start Time
 1 Deborah Hurst     9-30    29-34     14-01
 2 Ken Williams     11-00    33-50     14-02
 3 Angie Launder    11-45    33-18     14-03
 4 Mark McNamara    13-00    33-50     14-04
 5  David Watt       2-15              14-05
 6 Robyn Yates     Addiscombe CC       14-06
 7 Emma Potter     Kingston Wheelers   14-07
 8 Rachel Watkins    7-45    30-02     14-08
 9 Philip Burgin     8-00    30-16     14-09
10 Russell Williams  2-00    27-20     14-10
11 Alex Kew          2-15    26-06     14-11
12 Steve Hillier     4-15    28-52     14-12
13 Simon Waller      5-00              14-13
14 Marcus Edwards    Scr     27-33     14-14

1st Fastest
1st & 2nd Hcp

Frank Cubis

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Climbing Everest via Boxhill

Tomorrow, Roger Barr, a Thames Turbo triathlete, will be attempting to ascend the equivalent height of Everest on Boxhill, which will mean he will be riding up it 71 times! Apparently, he would like some encouragement so if you are planning a training ride out that way tomorrow, then it might be worth swinging by and giving him some encouragement.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Prudential London Surrey 86

As Mark states, weather for participants depended on start time and, for me, it was wet, very wet, torrential and, at all times, gusty winds, with a few minutes of sunshine to delude one into a sense of well being. Irrespective of the rains, the saving grace was that it remained a pleasant temperature.

Deborah Hurst and I started at 8:10 am having waited patiently in our 'wave pen' for an hour. Russell, not having got a place in the ballot, graciously drove us to Blackwall Lane and we started at 5:45 to ride the 7 miles to the start - weather at this point was dry and pleasant.

In the pen, I met up with Paul Kelly's (of Midweek Wayfarers fame, etc) wife, Vicky, who I used to coach when we members of Horseferry Rowing Club (now defunct). By coincidence, at the finish I met a 'girl' (now married with 2 children) that I coached at MAABC,  my current club.

At the start, DH was rapidly away and I went at, for me, a fast pace through London (tagging onto suitable groups/ individuals as available) and my first stop was MAABC toilets - clean and warm - taking the opportunity to dump my sweat ridden arm warmers into the Captain's rucksac - wonder if he's still a mate?

Rejoining the event, a pleasant ride to Richmond Park until everyone came to a halt shortly after Pembroke Lodge. It transpired that rivers of mud were flowing down the hilly sections and we were reduced to walking or standing still, in hail-like rain, for the next 20 minutes or so. Exited the park to find the Kingston floods, again bringing progress to to walking pace for about 10 minutes. Particularly galling to see the early starters returning on the other side of the road which was not water logged.

Eventually normal progress was resumed and apart from negotiating large and small puddles, all was straightforward with good warning given by hi-clad stewards.

Chain drop just prior to the climb to Newlands Corner rendered my 'granny' ring unavailable and, with some trepidation, set off towards Newlands but made it comfortably even though many were walking (probably would have been my fate if LH and BH hadn't been deleted from the route).

My diet of Jordan's breakfast bars, SIS gels and fluids served me well, supplemented by a cup of tea and a doughnut at the Fairfield Centre at the Leatherhead Hub.

The ride to the finish was without incident except, shortly before Kingston, seeing a young, male rider, lying spread eagled and being tended to by a medical team.

Nice to see that the medals were year updated and were 'gold' instead of last year's 'silver'.

Got back to Russell's having completed 106 miles and was treated to barbecued steak and a glass of red wine.

The Good. Tremendous improvement in starting arrangements.

The Bad.   Lack of common sense among the 'speedier' riders of all ages for slower riders.

The Ugly. Roads bestrewn by gel wrappers, drinks bottles and INNER TUBES..

Ah, well, the ballot opens next Monday for 2015.

Alex's Hilly 12 training

Congratulations to Alex who completed the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon (result) last week. Following a dip in a pretty chilly alpine lake the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon includes cycling the legendary 21 hair pin bends (with a maximum gradient of 13%) and then a run around the ski resort at the top...... Box Hill at the end of this month should be no problem, and we promise we won't make him get off at the top and complete a run - he's obviously pretty serious about retaining the Hilly 12 Trophy!

This also came just days after he (and Simon T.) were two members of a relay team of five that ran in the 24 hour Thunder Run - each member of the team ran 50km over the 24 hours......... preparing for another 24 hour event (in due course) I wonder?!

438 Alex KEW  Kingfisher Triathletes    2:47:16.27
Swim  -   26:36.15
T1    -    4:03.02
Bike  - 1:38:49.23
T2    -    1:41.79
Run   -   36:06.08
Climb of Alpe d'Huez (bike) - 1:10:42.82

1 Tom RICHARD Poissy Triathlon  1:54:41.26 (Winner)
Swim  -   15:23.11
T1    -    1:24.93
Bike  - 1:12:06.09
T2    -      39.57
Run   -   25:07.56
Climb of Alpe d'Huez (bike) - 47:35.31

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Prudential London Surrey 86

Well, that was a rough old ride.  People's experiences will have differed depending on their start times, but basically you got a dry bit, a wet bit, a very wet bit and then a fairly dry bit.  There was a very great deal of water around, both at the sides of the road and across it.  At Oxshott and Esher there were hub-deep floods under the railway bridges, and there were still large puddles across the road on the Embankment, a couple of miles from the finish.

I thought the event was well run.  I was shepherded into my start pen, along with thousands of others, on time and got away promptly.  The peloton effect of last year, which enabled greater speed, worked well for a bit but fell off once the rain started, for obvious reasons.  But there was still a high level of camaraderie and, if you close the roads, 24,000 riders can have a good day out without much mischief occurring.

Spectators were, unsurprisingly, fewer, but the charities put on noisy and encouraging displays to support their riders.  I thought the cheerleading pom-pom dancers at Kingston were complete heroines - they were dancing in the rain on my way out, and were still there, still in the rain, on my way back a couple of hours later.

I was disappointed - as were many others - that the route was shortened because of the weather and Leith Hill and Box Hill were removed from the course.  I had been looking forward to these.  But the reason for the change was the fear of crashes on the descents due to standing water.  It is hard to argue with this, as there was a lot of standing water.

On the way out I saw John Beer at Hampton - I shouted but I don't think he saw me.  Most rain capes look the same.  On the way back I saw Terry on the cycleway near Denbies.  We did see each other and he shouted kind words of encouragement.  Stephen Roche was in the wave in front of me at the start - closest I'll come to riding with a Tour de France winner - and I saw Laura Trott and her Dad at Weybridge.

My plan had been to improve on last year's time by cunning tactics.  I planned to save time by not going in to the busy food hubs, and by not having a puncture.  This half worked - I didn't go in to the food hubs.  But I did get a puncture four miles from the finish.  Hey ho - there were a lot of punctures about on the wet roads.  While I was fixing it a marshal ran up and asked if I had requested medical assistance.  No, I said, but if one of those Mavic support cars is about it would be very handy.  He looked as if I was a loony and ran off to find his medical emergency.  No sympathy.

So I did get a better time, but by the not entirely satisfactory method of riding a shorter distance.  Accurate apportionment is mathematically improbable, so I'll have to wait until next year to find out.

As far as I know all of our riders finished, and I bet they were pleased with themselves and have tales to tell, too.  I look forward to hearing them.


Thursday, August 07, 2014

Eve 10 #8 - result

Wednesday August 8th 2014

No  Name               Time     Hcp/T   Hcp   Vets  VetStd  Scr/Hcp  Awards
20  Russell Williams   23-58    22-13   1:45  +3-22  27:20   7 / 2   1st Place
15  Simon Trehearn     24-15    22-15   2:00  +1-50  25:30   6 / 2   2nd Place
11  Phil Todd          25-25    21-10   4:15  +0-41  26:06   5 / 6   3rd Pl/2nd Hcp PB
22  James Roberts      25-28    21-13   4:15                 4 / 5   3rd Hcp
27  Salim Mohamed      25-58    22-58   4:45
25  Richard Addis      26-04     PTT
19  Robyn Yates        26-11    Addiscombe CC
28  Steve Hillier      26-17    21-32   4:45  +2-35  28:52   3 / 2
10  Joe Bertorelli     26-27    22-27   4:00  +1-45  28:12   2 / 2
29  Mike Morley        26-29    21-29   5:00  +6-17  32:46   2 / 2   PB
16  Jake Dodd          26-44    21-44   5:00  +3-04  29:48   7 / 2   1st Woman
12  Ross Gentry        27-32     PTT
 6  Gavin Hughes       27-38    21-38   6:00  -0-44  26:54   2 / 2
17  Emma Potter        28-10    Kingston Wheelers
26  Mark Cowood        28-35     PTT
 7  Andy Avis          28-44    20-59   7:45  -0-58  27:46   2 / 7   1st Hcp
21  Steve Rigby        29-17     PTT
 8  Grant Pyke         30-21    21-36   8:45  +3-34  34:06   2 / 2
14  Philip Burgin      30-29    22-29   8:00  -0-13  30:16   2 / 2
13  Natalie Gentry     31-25     PTT
24  Sam Pickup         31-31    22-46   8:45  -3-58  27:33   6 / 2
 3  Deborah Hurst      32-09    22-24   9:45  -2-35  29:34   5 / 2
 4  Patrick Ryan       32-12    21-27  10:45  -1-56  30:16   2 / 2
 5  Angie Launder      33-19    21-19  12:00  -0-01  33:18   4 / 4   ARR
 2  Mark McNamara      35-22    21-22  14:00  -1-32  33:50   2 / 3

 9   Jennie Chapman   DNS               9:45  27:59
23   Rachel Watkins   DNS (Apol)        7:45  30:02
25   Marcus Edwards   DNS (Apol)        0:30  27:33
30   Stuart Pearce    DNS (Apol)         Scr

£10 donated by Simon Waller to member riding road bike = no disc wheels, aero bars or pointy hat.
The winner Andy Avis

Frank Cubis

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

More Pics from SDW MTB

Where it all started Guildford Station

 Our Leader
 Fields of wild flowers to go with the wild bunch of KPRC MTB'ers
Where it all ended thanks to Alfred the Great (or was it where it all started). Actually it all ended in Wetherspoons Winchester before we all went our separate ways hom. Thanks to Trevor for the lift in his Transit from Woking to Epsom Downs where Barry and I got soaked on the last leg home.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Belated South Downs Way MTB weekend

 The gang ready to ride in Style!
 The incomparable, ever delightful Geraldine falling in love with a frog (wish I was a frog)
Now I'm for the high jump! Would Merik ever forgive me for the crush on Geraldine!

Well done Andy for organizing a splendid weekend and the weather was so good. I must admit that the first day 50 miles off-road was a killer for me. Thanks to all who helped me over the fences especially Andy & Trevor.
I will try and post more photos later.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Eve 10 #8 - start

Wednesday August 6th 2014

No  Name                  Hcp       Vets       Start Time
 2  Mark McNamara        14-00      33-50        19-31-00
 3  Deborah Hurst         9-45      29-34           31-30
 4  Patrick Ryan         10-45      30-16           32-00
 5  Angie Launder        12-00      33-18        19-32-30
 6  Gavin Hughes          6-00      26-54           33-00
 7  Andy Avis             7-45      27-46           33-30
 8  Grant Pyke            8-45      34-06           34-00
 9  Jennie Chapman        9-45      27-59           34-30
10  Joe Bertorelli        4-00      28-12        19-35-00
11  Phil Todd             4-15      26-06           35-30
12  Ross Gentry           PTT                       36-00
13  Natalie Gentry        PTT                       36-30
14  Philip Burgin         8-00      30-16           37-00
15  Simon Trehearn        2-00      25-30        19-37-30
16  Jake Dodd             5-00      29-48           38-00
17  Emma Potter           Kingston Wheelers         38-30
18  Geraldine Glowinski   VC Londres                39-00
19  Robyn Yates           Addiscombe CC             39-30
20  Russell Williams      1-45      27-20        19-40-00
21  Steve Rigby           PTT                       40-30
22  James Roberts         4-15                      41-00
23  Rachel Watkins        7-45      30-02           41-30
24  Sam Pickup            8-45      27-33           42-00
25  Marcus Edwards        0-30      27-33        19-42-30
26  Mark Cowood           PTT                       43-00
27  Salim Mohamed         4-45                      43-30
28  Steve Hillier         4-45      28-52           44-00
29  Mike Morley           5-00      32-46           44-30
30  Stuart Pearce         Scr                    19-45-00

1st, 2nd & 3rd Hcp
1st, 2nd & 3rd Fastest
Fastest Woman
Special award donated by Simon Waller

Frank Cubis

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Prudential London-Surrey 100

The Wayfarers and Kingston Phoenix have quite a good showing for this year's event.  Riders I know are:

Jake  Start 0630
Ged #22142 Start 0757 Black
Geoff #8705 Start 0730 Yellow
Mike M  Start 0747
Tim M Start 0632
Paul   #8443 Start 0700 Green
Vicky #12289 Start 0810 Green
Mark #42107 Start 0652 Black   

As it's pretty certain I've missed someone out, please email me if you want to be added to the list.  I'll also add start times if people are prepared to share them - please let me know. They're spread over period of a couple of hours, but will give spectators some idea of when to expect their clubmates at various points around the course.  As a rough guide, times should be in the six to seven hours band for most people, give or take.  As I know from last year, it's pretty hard to spot a rider amongst the thousands passing, but it's much easier for riders to spot their friends.  Don't know why, but it's encouraging in any case.
The long range forecast is for showers - could be worse, and may improve - so I hope everyone has a great day.


PS:  Mike informs me that St Raphael's Hospice, for which several are riding, has a 'cheering point' at the White Hart, Hampton Wick, just next to Kingston Bridge.  The ride passes going out and back.