My Cross season and on to 2019

All 3 races of it in a single blog.

I have decided not to race cross this year after my crash, lack of confidence not just in my ability but also my body to take the strain. A few MTB rides had shown I was struggling to muscle the bike around.

That said somehow I found myself on the start line at a CX race, it was a grass crit really and riding from the back I knew I wasn’t going to be competitive but finished 16th vet. Mildly pleasing but really not CX.

Time passed and in a moment of madness I entered the Midland Champs, I got a gridding from my one race and off a poor start I finished 11th vet, even though still not stressing it I suddenly started thinking maybe I could have a late season flourish and maybe do a National Trophy and the Nationals in Jan so when Matt suggest Wessex league I thought why not.

Sadly this weekend supplied the reality of how bad my skills are, yes I had issues at the start and yes I slipped my chain but I did manage a few laps without any “incidents” , sadly they highlighted how far short my skills are as my best clear laps are someway short of the guys in the top 10. Not good enough mate.

With that in mind I posted on social media that I won’t be doing anymore this year, I need to train and with Christmas plans to sort I just don’t have the time to devote to the CX bike.

The big plus out of these 3 hard efforts was no CALF issues which plagued my CX season last year.

What this means is …..

Duathlons are coming and I can turn my focus to FTP and the TT bike, I hate testing on the watt bike and hate riding my TT bike to early in the year but sometimes needs must so I shall enter the event on Jan27 with a view to AG qualification in 2020.

Onwards ……………..




Gobi on vacation

Simply put this was 6 days in LA to ride my bike mainly and the initial reason blog is here


Distance 6.1 mi
Moving Time 0:37:03

all lost in a ride out and back :¬)
Position 36th Overall 9th V40-49
Avg Watts 290 W
Elev Gain 2,593 ft @8%avg

I shall not dwell on that one except to say that on the Thursday my old friend Peter Abraham took me south and I rode the Glendale loop, this was on its own a spectacular loop and the climb would have been worthy of a hard effort.

Distance 39.9 mi
Moving Time 3:05:29
Avg Speed 12.9 mi/h
Avg Watts 120 W
Elev Gain 4,370 ft


Phils Cookie Fondo Day 1

Distance 47.5 mi
Moving Time 2:47:28
Avg Speed 17.0 mi/h
Avg Watts 170 W
Elev Gain 5,180 ft

These are the basic numbers, the day before I had met Jeff from Canada and we rode a bit together, basically until the Strava segment climb where off he went and I didn’t go so hard. I rode too hard on the Saturday but with Sunday in mind I did hold off a little.I really enjoyed this and reflecting on how I like to ride my bike and what I think about real long days in the saddle this was a perfect day out for me. The routes were well marked which was great and yet I still turned the wrong way. 100% my fault. This was a good day on the bike, the roads are nice and the drivers are pretty chilled out. I think the roads being wide really helps with attitude. Back at base I had lunch (including cookies) with “the fast lads” which was great. I think the only downside of staying in LA was that I couldn’t really hang about for an evening social and that would have been nice but then I got to go to the M Street kitchen with Peter and watch the baseball so you can’t have it both ways.


The good news about Video is you  don’t need to see my ugly mug :¬)

Phils Cookie Fondo Day 2

For reasons I still don’t understand I had decided that I would ride the “Double Fudge loop” basically 110 miles on the bike, anyone who knows me will know I have been over 100 miles twice ever, I have a history of doing 70/80 even the occasional 90 miler but considering this after what I had done was not wise really. That said I’m in great shape, my legs felt ok and if I know one thing it is how to judge an effort. Early out I rode with Jeff again but said I would let him go on one of the climbs as I wasn’t keen on the Zone 4 effort to stay on board, I know if I ride Zone 3 maybe low Zone 4 I can keep on trucking.

All was going quite well really until I did it again, I was enjoying the descent(not the one above) and totally missed the turn(let’s be clear there were signs and they were big). I was shouted at as I shot past a young lady we chatted and then off she went back up the hill. I realised at this point I had done enough. I felt aerobically fine but my legs were tired and I could feel some pulling in my adductor (this has happened before and if it goes totally I can’t ride). Having gone the wrong way I was then rewarded with this.:¬)

At 1.20 you can see me get cozy with a Mustang (oops) but skip to 2.10 if you want to get straight into the twisties. At 3.30 you can see the poor girl who went the wrong way, stopped me, dropped me and then her rim over heated and blew the inner tube. One of those moments where beyond telling them at the aid station you can’t do anything.

I made an aid station in for me was about 60 miles and made sure I could head straight back along the Pacific Coast Highway, still 28 miles but just cut out the last 2 climbs. It was the right move as I could ride find on the flat but where the road climbed my adductor pulled so I have no regrets about my decision.

Distance 88.2 mi
Moving Time 5:17:12
Avg Speed 16.7 mi/h
Avg Watts 170 W
Elev Gain 7,195 ft

In conclusion I am not a Sportive man but Phil organised a very relaxed event and it removed all the guess work for me on routes, I met some great people who I hope to see again one day and caught up with an old friend.

It has been a truly excellent 6 days and I know I will come back. Thinking in 2020/21 for another shot at the hill climb, maybe with a few more days beforehand just to get used to the heat.

The watt bike has been an excellent tool and no doubt without it I would not have been as ready as I was.

I need to thank Ian @Northroadcycles for building me an excellent bike but also thank Erick at Helen Cycles for fixing the Headset that I somehow messed up and to Keith at Velofix for sorting the rear mech hanger which had bent slightly in transit(Ian I need a new hanger).

Finally to Phil Gaimon for amusing me into entering his event and seeing California in a new light as a cyclist. I’m even reading one of his books!

Now to eat everything, get fat and have a few days off the bike!!


Gibraltar Road – Phils Worlds

Phils Worlds

So I have become a fanboy, no kidding! I am here in Los Angeles because a Retired
Pro spends his time attacking KOMS and his Videos/Strava amuse me.

In a roundabout way this trip was also caused by my crash and my quest for something
to focus on. I guess my down time gave me time to surf and see what PhilG was up to. and start thinking well how far behind a PRO would I be? It is a well known fact that I am too heavy or don’t have enough power to be a hill climber, you chose ? For 4 months I rebuilt my engine, specced and had a bike built. I have lost weight and trained using my road bike at TTs plus my watt bike and the good old British hill climbing scene, what a great scene that is :¬)

I arrived on Tuesday and planned to ride the course Wednesday, so did that and
concluded there was nothing silly just a good honest climb.


So race day arrived and I got there early, had a coffee and some breakfast, Keith
from Velofix tweaked the rear hanger as it has been bent in transit and I rode for
6 mins just to be sure the bike was ok.

So it was finally time and as planned the warm up was the ride out which started easy
but as recced soon started to climb, some 26 mins, 467peak watts and 163bpm later we
rolled through the start. Instantly a group splintered off and I realised within a minute
I could not go with that pace so settled into around planned power. At this point I
will sound like the boring Brit as nothing happened I just rode along on power. I
stood occasionally and overtook a few people on the way, as strange as it sounds I had time to appreciate where I was and what I was doing. With 2kms to go I had caught 7th and it just came 2 kms of what I had left, up the steep section I got close but never past
and as it went round the corner I got slightly gapped. Must admit initally I was disappointed I hadnt just pushed past to see if he would break but I didn’t/couldn’t. I pushed hard for the line as I was being chased and actually won an uphill sprint to finish nowhere :¬) The gutting thing was on countback I lost out as he went through the start mat after me.

Analysis afterwards tells me the power was close to what I wanted but lower, HRM data
tells me the average was in ZONE5, which explains why I couldnt respond on the steep section but then I managed 600 odd watts and 181 HR at the end so I was strong just not good enough.

2018-10-27 (1)

It was good talking to people at the top and the ride down was enjoyable, looking
forward to the rest of the weekend.

I stayed for all the prize presentation, I think the world champion might be
stretching things a little as the entire field had less than 10 non Americans but
it was very well run event, the police were engaging, the staff helpful and Phil
takes the time to talk to people, do pictures. Its also not all about him making a living as there is charity work going on, there really is a trying to make a difference feel about it. The quality of the riders through the field was best summed up by the guy who came 1st in the 40-49, he would have been 4th in the pro race.

If you really want to do something a little different then this is a good idea, the
only other place I have seen events done like this are at Alpe d’Huez and it is fun
racing a hill climb.

I shall report back on the rest of the weekend I am sure but for now I am happy I
got the effort out and really enjoyed the event.

Can someone please get me a cookie !!


Hill Climbing

I find myself sat in a cafe in Santa Monica waiting for a bike shop to open and even though it is not the end I find myself blogging about the only course I did this year that I did last year.

Last year was supposed to be my look at hill climbs but for various reasons I only rode 2 and Oxford University was the 2nd. It was not a good day out with me blowing a tyre not long before the start and riding Ems wheel having failed to remove my helmet or my spectacles. End result being a very embarrasing 4.57 and power that this season I put out for 16 mins !!!

So as the event approach I received 2 pieces of bad news, I lost 2 friends in the same week both of which were way too young and frankly after crying I eat, only once in my life have I been so down that I stopped eating and I NEVER want to go through those feelings EVER again.

That said come Sunday morning I built myself up, the bike was smooth and I really needed to put last years ride to bed. Damn cold as I warmed up and I really hope someone produces a picture of me in my trackies, hoodie and Horace. Even the warm up told me things would be different.

Target on a 4 min plus climb is to be within 1 minute of the winner, harsh but fair indication of how far I need to improve to get near the sharp end, ok I am 50 in 2020 so if I stay the same I may improve (so to speak)

From the get go I was different as I drove hard into the first climb, still embracing my go out hard and risk it approach of recent weeks

DqDUCqaW4AUjI8K.jpg large

Check that gurn!!!! (oh yeah and my skin suit zip broke!!!)

I just felt different and off the turn I kicked hard on the flat and drove into the next climb. I crossed the line in officially 4.21 and initially I was disappointed but it was 37 seconds faster than last year and more importantly nearly 50 watts more.

Last years HC bike was not shabby and the 50 watts proves it is not all about the bike. Richard Gildea broke his course record by 3 seconds so it wasnt a terrible day on the course but 37 seconds!!!!!

In some ways this shows how your head can play important parts in the race as well as your body as I was in good shape last year as well. I have enjoyed my foray in to Hill Climbs but I am not competitve with the pro chaps at all.

With that in mind here I am in LA about to race some of the best uphill riders in the states, goal is not to totally suck, it is a 6.1 mile climb so a Time Trial really and I am ok at them. The bike has been set up(compromised a little) and looks good.


Oh and this is my hire car

suburban.jpg large


WAVA racing

It’s a thing to make old people feel better, ironically I am now that old people.

As a rule I have tried each year just to keep my basic level above 80%, I feel if I do this I am in control of aging. (loose statement obviously)

Everyone who reads my blog knows how badly I crashed this year and the damage I did to myself, you will also know about the huge amount of effort I have put in to get my bike legs back. In the background I have of course been running/coaching and even doing the occasional speed work session. That all being said and done as I headed into Oulton Duathlon I didn’t real have anything beyond belief in myself to say how I would run so when I dialed that last km and ran 3.20 it was safe to say that I was surprised. I also believed I needed to fit a parkrun in and try hard.

As miracles and Hill Climb scheduled had it I was available for a hard effort and a chance for coffee with Nat at Stratford on the 6th of October.

My plan was to treat this like a RACE and do my full prep. I was also wearing the new Nike 4%(Mr Rix has a lot to answer for) . Breakfast was had and I prepared with a few miles warming up and full drill set. The only downer was the rain as Stratford has a grass section. Mentally I convinced myself the lack of rain until this point meant the ground would stay hard.

I hate rain, have I mentioned how much I hate rain ? Yet there I was on the line in race shorts in a vest having done proper preparation for a parkrun !!! Went off hard and by the grass I was already settled in behind the fast lad(settled in means I was 2nd and he was gaping me). Flew over the grass and targeted 5.30 mile pace, mile 1 came up in 5.30 ish so it was on. Into the 2nd mile and across the grass I felt like I was going ok, didn’t feel overly delayed by traffic yet mile 2 came up in 5.42(maybe I stopped to feed the ducks) who knows but strange. Hill Climb season has been about training for 3-6 min efforts and the last .1 is that effort so I kicked again across the grass I was ok, there was slipping but nothing tragic and as I hit the turn at the top of the course I kicked again for home. Mile 3 was 5.30 pace and the last bit came in at sub 5mm. I crossed the line in 17.11, realistically the target was 17.25 but the fact is I went out looking for 16.59.

Happy covers it well, yes I am questioning the 2nd mile and how I slipped so badly but given conditions this was a well executed run and I was stunningly strong at the end.

Oh the WAVA was 83.8 which is higher than my 5km PB. I’m 58 seconds slower than I was in 2008 but yes WAVA says I am a better runner or does it just say age allows me to be slow ?

All I know is this, it is the fastest I have run since 2014 and I think I can go faster.

Bad crashes are part of racing as injury is a part of sport, don’t let it stop you. Patience and planning makes anything possible.



Oulton Park Sprint Duathlon

I wasn’t supposed to be at this race as it’s the wrong time of year but given my crash in April I concluded a late season event would be fine. That said I gave this event no real focus at all. I’ve been running but all my focus has been on hill climbing really.

With race day here I knew I had good bike legs but there were as always questions about the running. I did my research and knew what pace I had done the first run and what my bike speed needed to be. The 2nd run was so bad last time I didn’t even need to know the time.


This was my post on Fetcheveryone.com just before the race

” So as I sit here the day before Oulton at 68.8kgs the following should be said.

I have bike legs although ironically not sure I have 30 mins of them but if I can find a wheel and get a minute off around half way expect a solid bike.

Run legs are unknown. Usually weight loss is coupled with more run miles but not the case here. I am largely untested with18.12 on a lumpy multi terrain course my only run that was anywhere near a brick session and I had about 40 mins between.

Yeap no brick work as I just don’t have the focus for duathlon at this time of year unless fun on an mtb.

So to wrap up

No brick work at all run to bike
1 session bike to run
Minimal run work
No 5km test of note
No bike work for this beyond saying for 16 mins I can ride a long way above 10 mins power and Thursday saw a spikey 10 mins just below 330watts at my current weight
Gary at Sportstest advised I didn’t go below 70.3kgs but I have by a lot and largely through shrinking my Upper body as my legs are bigger.

I do expect to be strong on the slope and my bike craft is awesome.

What could possibly go wrong?”

As you can see from this I was not feeling overly confident about my running.

Onto the race itself

Run 1 – within a few seconds of last year and completed in 15.33. I didn’t bother to warm up properly, I had jogged around a little in and out of transition to the toilet etc but knowing I would stand around for 15 mins it seemed foolish but on reflection I’m not sure ss the middle mile was somewhat laboured.

T1 – nothing to write home about, it was smooth and efficient just not fast, I dont flying mount so some time is always given up to putting my shoes on, as I leave T1 I always pass people feffing so think, time wasted in T1 is often saved on the bike

Bike – headed out quickly and was rapidly into a group of 4 that became 7 that became 17, reality was I felt good and strong and could get off the front but I couldn’t stay away when the wind was at its worst. Spoke with 2 lads from Wakefield Tri and on laps 3 and 4 we had a go to at least break the band but by then people were not quite strong enough.  On the final lap on the final climb a few of us jumped off the front, not a massive gap but it meant a smooth dismount and into T2


T2 – I am what I am which is smooth and organised, its not fast but not slow really either so nothing really changed.

Run 2 – having got off the bike(big improvement from Bedford) and through T2 without issues about 90 seconds in I had a small calf twinge, this repeated on me until the slow but come the bottom of the hill I was ok, at 4 mins in my hamstring pulled once, just once and the first mile came up in just over 6 mins, nowunderstand this is not a great mile and I had been caught and dropped by a few of my protagonists including the chap leading my AG. As I went round the hairpin another chap caught me and I realised I needed to raise my game. Could I ? Initially that kept me with him but as the course hit the 2 little slopes I moved back in front  and realised I was catching people. Another 6.0X mile but this one better for 2 reasons, it was a harder mile and it was faster than I ran on the first run. At this point the strangest thing happened, suddenly I was moving like I did 10 years ago, my stride flowed and yes I was working hard but I was covering the ground rapidly, a glance at the watch showed 5.20 pace. I just kept pushing and made more placing coming in just behind the V40 5th place finisher but given the same time.  38 seconds faster than my first run!!!!

27th overall Age Group win



It has been so long since I have been able to run the 2nd run in a multisport event and look like I was full gas not managing my body so I have to start here and wonder where the pace came from and why my body held together. As I said very little specfic work has been done but in the last 4 months I have done more leg training in the gym than the previous 4 years. I have done more sprint/powerwork on the bike than ever before. I’m the lightest I have been since I was a teenager. I had a rec right with efforts on the bike. I write all these things down and think they are all valid but in a situation that is rare for me I do know where 5.20 mile pace came from.

I think I need to grow a pair and go out a little harder on the first run.

The bike, I honestly believe I made the right decision sitting in as we went faster than I did on my own and less effort probably helped my run.

The 2nd run, yes I was fresher than normal due to not doing ALL the work but that last KM, I am rarely surprised when I race but this has me looking at training and trying to see where it came from.

I’m happy with my race.

Recovery has been good I took 3 days very easy and backed the running down as I had some pain in my left calf but this morning I was back putting in sessions on the bike.

Happy days indeed





This was supposed to be about CX but.

Oh lets be clear I got back on the CX bike and raced without crashing badly


Rode from the back of the grid to 45th overall and 16th VET. The big thing for me is that I really enjoyed it. Not sure when I shall ride again, the 7th Oct I think and I will again start from the back and not stress it. Gobi in not that bothered about the result shocker !!

So that is CX :¬)

Now onto what has really made me blog

This is Sue, she is a 1997 Mitsubishi FTO GR

I have been looking to take some miles off the Yeti by getting a run around and have viewed various vehicles over the last 6 months. Then almost by accident I saw one of these and remembered how much I liked them. After that things happened fast and Sue is mine.

There are issues, she is 21 years old but the engine seems sound and the body work is solid. My only concern is that I like her enough to start spending money :¬0

Petrolhead has a new toy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


December 2018
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The Dark Lord Speaks