Summer Cycling Pics (2017)

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A few cool photos from this year’s cycling trips and events.

Summer for us started early with a January trip to New Zealand. It was mainly to see Lillian’s brother’s family, but we also took our bikes. Here we are cycling in the Coromandel.

After all the blue sky and sun it was back to the English winter. This is my bike after a mountain bike endurance race that did so much damage to my bike that I had to replace my chain, my middle chain-ring, my cassette and my jockey wheels. An expensive race.

A photo from one of the two Gorrick MTB races I did where I managed to improve my position in the Super Vets category from 3rd from last to 5th from last! Someone told me the Super Vets are all ex-elite riders. That may not be true but it made me feel better.

In April Lillian and I had our regular spring trip to Provence; we never get tired of riding through the beautiful scenery there. This is Lillian below the village of Gordes.

In May, I joined a couple of mates, David and Simon, for the Fred Whitton Challenge in the Lake District. This is the three of us on one of the early climbs to Kirkstone Pass. People talk of the penultimate climb, Hardknot Pass, with hushed tones. I wasn’t sure if it was over-rated but I can now confirm that the fear was justified. It was extremely steep and I only just ground my way up it without stopping. A lowest gear of 36-25, my fault for forgetting to change my commuting cassette, did not help.

In the following month Lillian and I were back in the Alps. A fun week doing most of our favourite climbs. As well as the Col du Glandon / Croix de Fer, special mention should go to the road up past Saint-Christophe to La Bérarde which is always stunning.

One of the highlights was a time-trial race up Alpe d’Huez with Robyn and Andy. Andy calculated handicapped start times so we should all finish at the same time. It didn’t quite work but I was happy to top out first. Lill and I also both got PBs. 🙂

On one of our rest days I did something that I had been planning to do for years which was the Via Ferrata Les Perrons, from Venosc to Les Deux Alpes. It was mainly easy scrambling but did have some steep sections.

My equipment was definitely not text-book. No-one is advised to copy me and do a via ferrata without the right kit!

There was a cool view looking down the valley from the top.

On our final day in the Alps, while Lillian, Robyn and Andy were watching the All Blacks beat the Lions, I rented a mountain bike in Alpe d’Huez. (Sadly for Lillian the tour ended as a draw.) Here is a beautiful stream on the Megavalance trail. This is a MTB downhill race made famous for its insane start on the snow (worth googling). However I didn’t realise the whole trail is 32km long. I rode the middle section. There were some tricky bits and I fell off a couple of times. Racing down it would be so physical and scary.

Back in London for the summer, I did several of the Crystal Palace Summer Crits. Here we are doing some team number pinning in Cadence Cycles. I love the race and the course. Within 30 seconds one’s heart rate is maxing out and then it is a question of just hanging on as riders get shelled on every lap. Managed a top ten in the 3rd Cat race, which was very pleasing and well exceeded my season goal of not getting dropped!

A nice picture of me in action by Petros Dourouklakis.

On the road, after a couple of Surrey League Cat 2/3 races where I got dropped on downhills (!) I had a good result finishing 15th on the Bletchingley Circuit in a three and a half hour race that was very attritional. In the Cat 3 races attempts at solo glory failed but I managed a decent 13th on the Norwood Hill circuit, pictured above. (Thanks to Glyn Durrant for the photo.)

The pre-Haute Route bit of summer ended with four races in the London Summer CX Series. Here am I in the race where I got my best result, which was 4th in the Vets. After the Haute Route (Alps), assuming I still have the energy to cycle, the Winter CX League races begin… (Thanks to John Mullineaux for the photo.)

And finally a big thank you to my cycling coach, TC, pictured on the right having won bronze medal in the National Masters Circuit Race Championships this weekend. (Nicole, on the left, is Lillian’s physio.) Since I started training with TC I have stopped getting dropped at Palace, scored points in a Cat 2 road race and come 5th in London Summer CX League. #Welshewecoaching!

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