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Knog Muddy Hell
Herne Hill Velodrome
Saturday, October 27th, 2012.
Knog Muddy Hell earns it’s name. Nick Craig dominates in tough conditions.
Finally, after three years with dry conditions Knog Muddy Hell truely was a mud-fest. Plenty of rain leading up to the event, plus downpours on the night and the action of over 700 wheels, churning up the course created difficult conditions for competitors but great entertainment for spectators.
Course designer Phil Glowinski, created a smooth, flowing course, whilst maintaining the popular features of wall-ride, bridge, whoops, muddy corner and hurdles but it was the conditions which had the greatest effect on the results. A confident Nick Craig knew that his years of experience at top level off-road riding would stand him in good stead. Fresh from his recent win at the (slighly warmer) Mountain Bike Tour of Langkawi Nick indeed provided a master class in technique, though he was distanced in the sprint from the start, his superior bike handling soon saw him opening up a big gap with National Junior champion Hugo Robinson chasing. Hugo however suffered a mechanical as did many others, Ed McParland made a valiant effort to catch the veteran, but it was never going to happen and Nick took the £400 from Knog with a huge gap.
Three previous winners of the Women’s event took to the line, and Louise Mahe took her second Knog Muddy Hell title with Claire Beaumont second, National track champion Corinne Hall did not repeat her podium finish instead Leona Kadir took third spot.
Supported by Vulpine cycle clothing the vets category saw a very competitive field, multiple Knog Muddy Hell winner Mick Bell could not repeat his usual top spot due to mud-induced mechanical issues and relinquished the top step of the podium to Kevin Knox of Vicious Velo.
Racing at the same time as the women and vets, 2012 saw the largest junior field in the history of the event with Chris McGovern the clear winner finishing up amongst the first few vets.
The ever popular Novice race had over 100 entries, the best fancy dress, two tandems (one pantomime horse) and the worst weather, this is when the rain hit and there were more than a few retirements. James Flury was best male and Lise Sorenson best female, both taking prizes from Cycelab.
The youth categories saw record levels of entries, organisers Rollapaluza claim that over 70 entry enquiries were received for the U12 event alone, because of the high level of interest they will look to accomodate more youngsters in 2013. In all over 350 racers took part with, despite the rain, hundreds of cheering spectators enjoying the racing, atmosphere, food, mulled cider, “Off-Road” Rollapaluza competition and bike polo skills try out.
AEphotos full galleries of all races: http://aephotos.co.uk/muddyhell2012
1. Nick Craig
2. Ed McParland
3. Darren Barclay
4. Chris Metcalfe
5. William Thomson
6. Bruce Dalton
7. Richard Mardle
8. Jack Finch
9. Will Fooks
10. Uldis Karklins
1. Lousie Mahe
2. Claire Beaumont
3. Leona Kadir
1. Kevin Knox
2. John Lyons
3. Nick Walsh
1. Chris McGovern
2. James Wood
3. Ashley Dennis
1. James Flury
1. Keith Brewster
3. John Coolahan
1. Lise Sorensen
2. Lesley Auchterlonie
3. Hester Polak
1. Sam Titmarsh
2. Matt Clements
3. Thomas Finch
1. Luke Mitchie
2. George Finch
3. Freddie Argent
1. Noah Charlton
2. Charlie Craig
3. Aaron Freeman
‘Cheering on a Competitor’ – My daughter Megan takes on the climb – Image ©David James
When I wrote my first blog for Cycling Shorts I was quite worried when I would be able to write a follow up. Well here I am one day after my “Ponderings from the Velodrome” went online and I find myself with about five hours to kill as I’m on a rapid return journey to Manchester by train.
As I get on the train in Abergavenny I am quite excited to be able to wear my new adidas Sennheiser headphones which were a present from Becky, so my first job is to select some appropriate music on my iPod and make a choice; either continue reading Rough Ride by Paul Kimmage, someone who I am really pleased to say I share a birthday with, or get my note pad and pen out and start scribbling. The fact that you’re reading this gives away the winner!
I did suggest last time that I would write about organising my first ever hill-climb and the thrills of cyclocross, but as the hill-climb was such a success and as I have been hassled ever since to make it an annual event, I am going to stick to just the one subject.
When as a family we first joined Abergavenny Road Club nearly ten years ago I remember one of the first ever road events we went to watch was the club’s Hill-Climb Championship. Living in Abergavenny we are fortunate to have many fantastic road climbs in close proximity to the town, the most famous of which is ‘The Tumble’. This climb has been used on many major events over the years; I can remember watching the Milk Race going up there many years ago and more recently, watching at the toughest part of the climb the last time the National Road Championships were held in the town in 2009.
‘Marking Up the Road’ my son Gareth on the right and my daughter Rachel’s boyfriend Luke on his hands and knees – ©Image David James
The club’s hill-climb used to start just as the road up The Tumble comes out of the trees about half way up the climb and was about one mile in length. In those early years I can recall about twenty riders taking part. I remember the winner the first time I watched, Nick Kenwright, someone who I believe had represented GB. Last year only two riders took part! Whether this drop in competitor numbers is because of the toughness of the climb, because there has been an increase in traffic, or for some other reason, the club’s committee decided we had to do something to rejuvenate the competition.
As we are good friends with Wiggle rider Ben Simmons who has been winning a few Red Bull Hill-Climbs around the country I thought it would be good to try something similar. I suggested to the club committee “Why not use the hill up to our house? We can get a road closure and all the kids can take part as well.” And so the inaugural ‘Cwmheulog Hill-Climb’ was born.
As we live up a dead-end lane, first thing was to get all the neighbours on board: job done! Next up was to speak to Monmouthshire County Council about the road closure. As a local authority Monmouthshire are a pleasure to work with and do everything they can to help with cycling in the county: job done!
Now the question was should I widely advertise the event or just keep it local and see how it goes? Keep it small scale was the consensus of opinion, so I sent out a leaflet with all the details and asked people to email or ring me to let me know if they were coming in order that we could provide free food for all competitors and spectators. With one day to go only one email had been received and I was starting to think it was going to be a big flop. That was until the night before the event when I was made aware that the email address I had put on the leaflet had been misspelt! How could I be so stupid?
A disturbed night’s sleep deliberating what to do, so first thing Saturday morning I’m in Tesco Abergavenny with my youngest Megan buying 120 sausages (half fat!), 120 fingers rolls and 25 garlic baguettes thinking I can always put the surplus in the freezer.
‘Hoping For A Top Quality Competition’ – Image ©David James
5.00pm comes around and the barriers and road closure signs are in place and there’s already a steady stream of cyclists and spectators making their way up the hill to signing on at our house.
51 competitors, 39 youth riders and 12 adults signed on to compete and there was a great deal more than that ready to provide vocal support. It wasn’t a case of putting surplus in the freezer, but raiding it for more supplies!
What can I say about the racing other than I know all too well what it’s like to ride up our hill, so every single person who gave it a go deserves a shout out. The spectators made for a brilliant atmosphere, ringing cowbells, cheering and shouting encouragement to every single rider.
It would be amiss of me not to mention that a youth rider, Evan Davies from Maindy Flyers who completed the climb in 1min 10secs, set the fastest time. Fastest adult was Abergavenny Road Club member James Woodier with a 1min 14secs ride and is the 2012 Abergavenny Road Club Hill-Climb Champion
Other notable facts from the night – all the food went! My wife Christine and Stephanie Best, one of the club coaches and a great volunteer, didn’t leave the kitchen as they slaved over the cooker!
It seems pretty certain with all the feedback I’ve received the hill-climb will become an annual event. Even Ben Simmons and Amy Roberts who were both there as spectators seem eager to get their best wheels out next year! I’ve also tapped up Magnus Backstedt to compete and he said he might as long as it is no more than a minute long!
So watch this space for an event next year that should be a lot bigger and even better. Before I get the go ahead though, Christine said she wants guarantees we are getting caterers in as she is not going to be missing out on all the fun.
Thanks again for reading, now back to Rough Ride.
On Your Bike! The Complete Guide to Cycling
by Matt Seaton.
For somebody who has ridden a bike for quite some time, I was interested to see what would be included in something dubbed “the complete guide to cycling”. And, I must say that I was quite surprised at the book’s ability to make me see the bike from a different angle.
When you take up cycling, whatever age you are, you don’t think about the bike itself – it is merely the tool by which you can get out on to the road/track/rough terrain (whatever floats your boat) and get “on your bike.” And to be honest, I wasn’t expecting to find a book that was so easy to read, so interesting to read, especially on a subject that can seem quite mundane.
However, Matt Seaton appears to have successfully completed a somewhat impossible task – it has made me think differently about how I look at my bike. No longer do I see it as an inanimate object that helps me keep fit. No, I am now able to see the bike for what it really is – a concept built out of the Industrial Revolution, a tool that has helped normal folk (as in those who weren’t aristocrats) develop a sense of freedom and something which has transformed personal mobility into social mobility. Yes, very deep. But I bet you never even stopped to think that the bicycle was such an important tool. In fact, as Matt Seaton rightly asserts, “cycling [has] become synonymous with progress.”
So, maybe the idea of a history lesson doesn’t set your world on fire. Well, don’t worry, Matt Seaton merely uses the evolution of the bicycle as a tool to set the scene, to make you realise that the bike in itself has its own place in history. Did you know, for example, that Peugeot, Singer and Triumph all started life as bike manufacturers? Me neither.
Matt goes on to cover the rise and fall of the bike’s popularity, including the BMX’s development in the 1970s, to the mountain bike phenomenon of the 1990s to the carbon fibre road bikes that we have today.
Most of my cycling friends would agree with me that my knowledge of mechanics is somewhat sketchy, to say the least, despite my years of cycling. However, this book is quite good in that it explains about the different types of bike and the basic measurements. There is also a nice double page spread on what the different components of a bike are. If you are pretty handy with mechanics, you will probably find this part basic, however if you are new to the sport, then the book acts as a useful aide-memoire. It covers all types of bikes, from road, to track, to cyclo-cross, to BMX and mountain bikes, and it also provides information as to what to look for in a good bike lock and bike light. It even covers tools, clothing and helmets!
Included in the “Your bike – and how to love it” section is also a useful sub-section about how to clean your bike. This may seem quite a useless thing to include however, I do know people who have purchased bikes worth over £3,000 and then not known how to keep it clean. Remember that this book is aimed at all cyclists – both those new to the sport and seasoned riders.
I must admit that I don’t currently commute by bike, however after reading the chapter entitled “Cycling and the city”, it did make me think twice about doing so. It reminds you that cycling is a great antidote to stress, that the threat to your health from pollution is far outweighed by the other health benefits of cycling and that you can also benefit from the Government’s “Bike to Work” scheme. But perhaps most important of all is the chapter entitled “How to stay safe on your bike.” This is a valuable read for anybody who shares the road with other road users, which is most cyclists. You tend to take things for granted, but this helps you to become ‘actively visible.’ Surely that in itself is worth a read?
The penultimate chapter deals with “Cycle sport”, including the pro peloton, how teams work and a piece on the issue of doping. There is also some useful information on other types of riding, including track racing, cyclo-cross and sportives.
If you are looking for a well-written, informative, interesting book on cycling as a whole, then this could be the book for you. It is full of colour pictures, is easy to pick up where you left off (one of those books where you can pick which bits you want to read) and is definitely worth reading if you have just taken up cycling for the first time after having been inspired by Brad Wiggins and Team Sky in this year’s Tour de France. However, it is a bit out-dated, having been written back in 2006, but having said that, the basics and the history of the bike will always remain the same.
If you are looking for a book that will make you a faster rider, this isn’t the book for you, but if you want a book that does what it says on the tin, then you should definitely add it to your Christmas list.
Title: On Your Bike! The Complete Guide to Cycling
Author: Matt Seaton
Published by Black Dog Publishing
Available from 7th June 2012 in Hardback & eBook
RRP Price: £16.95
Some of the Cycling Shorts. boys and girls have got their hands on the pre release howies Men’s Brenin Cycling Jacket to put it through it’s paces.
If you’re not familiar with howies they’re an independent active clothing company based in the beautiful Cardigan Bay in Wales, UK. The company has a passion for cycling and the outdoors. They produce high quality and environmentally friendly thoughtfully designed products. howies have recently taken to sponsoring track cycling, now they are turning their attention to the road. This is the first time howies have ventured into road cycling specific clothing. Having such a good reputation we would be expecting nothing less than great… is it a tall order?!
Brenin Windstopper Jacket
The lightweight shell pack-away jacket is made from 100 percent recycled polyester. It features stretch and wicking fabric in the arms and side panels for unrestricted movement when cycling. It is being sold predominantly as a Men’s jacket but we’ve found it really works for the girls too with it’s stretch fit.
Design details include a zipped chest pocket with earphone cable slot on the inside and an internal clip to attach your keys. Reflective bars on the cuffs and hips, a reflective logo on the chest pocket, adjustable hem and soft fleece lined collar. The jacket rolls up and zips into it’s chest pocket for storage with the key clip becoming a clip to secure the jacket pouch to you while riding.
The windstopper qualities of this jacket are excellent and we love the breathable panels on the arms they allow you to stay warm without overheating. The wicking properties of the fabrics are very good. It doesn’t feel like a crisp packet as these jackets often can, the fabric actually feels very soft. Although the jacket isn’t described as being water or showerproof we were pleasantly surprised that when we got caught out in the rain the core of our bodies were totally dry and the only damp areas where our outer arms but they dried out quickly while cycling. The jacket is very easy to care for and well constructed. You can just leave mud to dry on and let it crumble off, rinse it under the tap or just pop it in the washing machine at 30 degrees. It can’t be tumble dried but it dries very quickly on it’s own and if required you can give it a warm iron….
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What the boys say…
Good length at the back to cover your rear and protect it from mud when on the bike. It looks good off the bike too, it’s not too obvious that you’re wearing a road cycling jacket. We love the chest pocket for you phone, MP3 or other device it has a slot on the inside to feed your headphones through from the pocket up to your ears, protecting the cable as much as possible from the elements. You can also clip your keys into the pocket. Initially we had mixed feelings on only having one pocket but the general consensus was one was fine; you have other layers that contain more than enough packets and the position of the zipped pocket is perfect. The soft fleece lining on the collar is welcome on a cold damp day and it isn’t the sort of fleece that will stick to your stubble and make you look like you’ve been intimate with a wookie. The soft shell construction means it’s ideal for days when you don’t want to carry other bulkier layers around with you. It fits neatly into your jersey back pocket like a cycling cape or gilet would.
What the girls say…
Us girls don’t get very excited when presented by men’s/unisex clothing… we have visions of looking like we’re wearing our dad’s cast offs but we were more than happy when the Brenin Jacket landed on the doorstep. We all have our own styles and we come in assorted shapes and sizes so it was going to be a challenge for the Brenin to please everyone. The biggest test was going to be the fit. First impressions out of the bag were good. Well made and nice design touches.
Sizing… well obviously the sizing is in howies men’s S,M,L and XL, this seems to translate as small being a women’s generous 10-12 and medium a 14-16 (and so on). The sizing is flexible thanks to the stretch fabric panels and it will of course depend on how many layers you intend to wear under the jacket as to which size you require.
It fits your curves thanks to it’s uniques side stretch panels that hug your body. If you’re short in the body most female (never mind unisex or mens) shell jackets are a problem as the waist often sits on your hips which means it’s too narrow to zip up comfortably and the hip part of the jacket is somewhere further down and in Anna’s case generally somewhere near her knees. With the Brenin the extra stretch accommodates curves so you don’t end up looking like you’re sporting a high tech bin liner. If the Brenin is too long you can use the adjustable hem to lift it up. Sleeve length is obviously a problem for shorter ladies on unisex clothing as they can be hanging off the ends of your hands but the elasticated cuffs and slim cut sleeve of the Brenin mean you don’t have a balloon of fabric on each arm. The cut really is great for most heights and shapes. We would like to see an XS in the range at some point… Oh and can we have more colours please?!
To sum up… In the very apt words of that influential cyclist Shakira (well I’m sure she must at least own a bike), if your breasts are “small and humble” or even like some (I’m paraphrasing here) “mountainous region” this jacket will work for you… and dare I push it too far… I feel I can’t help myself… our “hips don’t lie”… ok that was too much…. but I know you were all thinking it! Thankfully that has drained my vast knowledge of Columbian songstresses lyrics… The Brenin gets top marks from the girls!… Buy one for the other half, I’m sure he won’t notice if you borrow it!
It’s the first time we can really say… one style fits all!
Jacket weight: 200g
Size when packed away: 14x12x7cms
Available in UK Men’s Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Available from: howies stores and howies online now!
excellent adaptable fit for both men and women
Packs away neatly inside it’s own zipped pocket
reflective hi-vis areas
easy grip zip pull
internal earphone cable slot
environmentally friendly (made from recycled materials)
extremely well constructed
No colour options (yet)
Doesn’t come in female specific sizes (a problem for ladies under a UK size 10).
Same problem at the other end of the scale for the more substantial gentleman.
Pricer than some other brands but you have to take into account the eco, ethical and quality standards for the product that other brands don’t necessarily meet.
The Brenin is a favourite of ours it’s earned itself one of our “Star Buy” ratings!
1st Snow Ride Of The Season By Will_Cyclist
Santa is coming with many gifts for all of those who have been good this year and I’m sure everyone is getting ready to have a nice dinner and spend time with their families this weekend. But how is Christmas in the life of a bike rider??
For road riders this is the off-season, they don’t have any races at this time of the year, its more about recovering and getting in shape for the next season. But for track riders and cyclocross riders this is where they need to be 100% and really focused on riding their bikes and pushing themselves further in races. Don’t ask me much about MTB, BMX and other cycling disciplines because to be honest I really don’t know much about those disciplines!
Lets start with road riders; I think the hardest thing for them is to stay in shape, at Christmas there’s a lot of good food and people tend to gain weight in the winter, that’s something that a bike rider and especially a road rider can’t allow themselves to do as weight does matter!
Drem Airfiled Snow Ride By Jason Liddell
There are usually training camps with their team to build up relationships with new and old teammates and to get a nice block of training for the next season under their belt, they need to stay focused to achieve their goals for the upcoming season and manage their time wisely to also be able to spend quality time with the family.
It’s harder when you live in one of those really cold countries in Europe where there is a lot of snow and rain during the winter and you need to go to other places to train, my boyfriend, Jetse Bol had to go to Fuerteaventura for training last year and couldn’t spend “Sinterklaas” (it’s what Dutchies celebrate over Christmas) with his family in Holland.
Things are a bit more complicated for the ‘cross and track riders, they are in the middle of the season right now and they do have to train and compete at the highest level in the World. The cross riders have a World Cup on December 26th and plenty of other races after that which means they probably won’t be out celebrating on New Year’s Eve!
The track riders don’t have big races close to Christmas but for example, the case of my sister Sofia; she is based in Mallorca during the winter because it’s better for training than Mexico and because it’s easier to travel to all the races but she was lucky that there was a World Cup in Colombia this month so she could come over to Mexico to spend Christmas at home but she is flying to Mallorca on the 26th in order to get ready for her next event in Beijing.
Sometimes you need to make some sacrifices and sometimes you are lucky enough to be able to do it all but in the end all that matters is achieving the goals set for the season, the Olympic year is coming!!!
TZ-3 Super Bright Flexible LED
I’ve opted for the Red rear LED Light. The LED light is a great addition to your high-vis set up. This little light has a recessed button so you can’t accidentally switch it on by dropping it or resting something on it, it has a large button that is easy to use with gloved or cold fingers. It comes housed in a solid body with a stretchy flexible silicone mount loop. Press the on off button once and you get a solid light, press it again and it will flash intermittently (don’t use in flashing mode if on a bicycle or motorbike), press once again and it switches off… simple. There are two small recessed screws on the underside of the body to allow you to replace the battery (CR2025) which the manufacturer says should last you 100 hours.
I’ve tried the light on my bike frame and handlebars and because the light has a shaped underbelly it sits comfortably on flat or curved surfaces and with the silicone stretch loop it won’t slip or move against metal, handlebar tape, carbon fibre or painted surfaces and fabric. The loop can be pulled up and fully over itself depending on the diameter of the item you’re wrapping it around, you can put the strap over the front of the light body or further back over the casing and it doesn’t press or restrict access to the button. It’s coped fine with the scrapes and drops it’s had so far. It really is ideal to attach to your helmet, it neatly slots through the helmet vents and is a real upgrade to just using a reflector, because it’s so lightweight you don’t notice it’s there. I’ve also attached it to bags and backpacks and it works a treat. When you pair it with the Verso High-Vis Gilet by TwoZero (read our review here) it sits neatly on your back just above your shoulder blades and when you have a backpack under your gilet it sits up and faces behind you without being obscured by your backpack, it takes over from your helmet reflectors if they become hidden behind the bulk of your bag. It comes in a choice of white or red LED light and both provide a strong bright light. A great addition to you cycling safety gear, it’s small, lightweight, flexible and it fits neatly into a pocket when it’s not in use.
Colour: Red LED or White LED
RRP £9.99 with free UK delivery
Available from: www.two-zero.co.uk for delivery worldwide
also available from other online and high street retailers
What TwoZero say about their product:
Easy fit silicone loop LED
Flashing or Solid State
Long Battery Life 100hrs (replaceable)
red and white LED version
easy to attach to TZ bags, Verso Gilet and rucksacks