One year has passed since I completed one of the hardest fitness challenges in my life. I don’t use that statement lightly either. I’m used to pain, but this challenge is different.
The TumbleU4Life makes you want to quit! The tumble makes you want to throw in the towel and give up. And it does this within about 4-7 hours (for the fitter cyclists). 8 hours to go and your body is already quitting on you.
Why is it quitting on you? The tumble up for life goes up one of the hardest hills in the area. How hard? Well my team mates at Pontypool RCC diverted their normal club ride to show their support, by cycling down the Tumble.
With the middle 4km over 10% it’s a brute of a climb.
It’s the equivalent of Alp D’huez 6 times in a day (at a steeper gradient)
It’s not just for the fit mountain goat cyclist. Many have never ridden a hill, let alone a mountain. Some use mountain bikes and Peter & Diana (the organisers) bring their tandem along. The challenge symbolises the uphill struggle faced by cancer patients all day every day, the race supports Cancer Research UK in their work.
The ride started at 5am for the serious climbers (riders can start any time during the day). In the dark before the sun had risen and with rain for company. On average each ascent and descent takes about 50-60 mins starting a km before the official climb and finishing a km after at the highest point on the mountain.
The first 4 hours were wet and as you creep over the end of the steep section a nightmare wind hits you hard in the face making the 5% gradient feel a lot harder than it should
The sun finally came out and with a supporting cheer at the top and bottom of every climb the day was getting better as the bodies were getting worse.
One of the most motivating factors for us climbers is seeing many beginners struggling on their 1st or 2nd climb. Even though we are suffering, and going slow we are still over taking others who are in as much if not more pain than us. The sense of respect and pride in them taking on the challenge is immeasurable.
By the time the sun was setting, bodies were becoming very weak and tired, with only one rider looking like they would make 15 climbs.
Traditionally everyone ascend the last climb together and finishes as one. The sun was setting and the lights were back on the bike. At the top a big welcoming committee and a lot of congratulations on making it till the end of the day.
15 climbs Lawrence Gruijters (Cardiff Ajax rcc)
13 climbs Nick Wachter (Pontypool / Ajax rcc) http://app.strava.com/activities/52341666
12 climbs Nathan Priest
For information on the next TumbleUp4Life visit: www.tumbleup4life.wordpress.com
For more information about Cancer Research UK visit: www.cancerresearchuk.org
When I saw the bombardment of tweets about those that had been lucky enough to get a place in this year’s RideLondon, I realised I was missing out on something. At the time, I was living in Amsterdam. I didn’t know where I was going to be come August 2013, and I hadn’t really grasped just what RideLondon was at the point of the application deadline back in August 2012.
As more and more friends around me started to brag about their place, I was secretly plotting to turn up and ride the course not wanting to miss out, although I wouldn’t have the medal and official finish time to brag about at the end.
And then, I just happen to see this:
“Calling all female readers – this competition has been extended as we are looking for some female entrants to… fb.me/I2dhuqpJ”
Hmmmm…. This sounds interesting! Thinking nothing of it, I wrote a short profile about my cycling experience and my goals for the year – to start track racing and become a competent hill climber – added a couple of photos and sent it off to CyclingPlus and Bike Radar. Expecting there to be many stronger riders than myself applying, I was rather in shock to open my email one morning the following week to this: “Congratulations! You’ve been picked as 1 of 6 to ride for Team Skoda!” ARGH!! I was stunned. Me? They picked ME?!
Prudential RideLondon is an annual world-class festival of cycling developed by the Mayor of London, London & Partners and Transport for London in partnership with Surrey County Council. Held over the weekend of 3rd and 4th August, Skoda are supporting the weekend as the Official Car Supplier with over 30 support cars provided for the event.
The weekend features a series of events for amateur, club and world elite cyclists, the 100 mile road race will take place on closed-roads through London and Surrey and is expected to attract up to 200,000 visitors and 70,000 cyclists including an eight-mile family-fun ride featuring London’s most iconic landmarks. It’s quite possibly the largest event of it’s kind in the UK, and continuing the legacy of last year’s London Olympics is expected to be a fantastic weekend on two wheels.
Not only do I get to wear Team Skoda kit as I train over the coming months (eagerly sat waiting the postman for delivery) but we also get the privilege of training with Rapha-Condor JLT and Matrix Fitness. This is an unbelievable experience.
On April 17th, I set off to the Welsh town of Pontipridd. Set up on the forecourt of the Skoda garage were the event trailers of Skoda Cycling and the Rapha-Condor JLT and Matrix Fitness support cars, complete with team members. Ed Clancy and James McCallum representing the force of Rapha, and Helen Wyman and Harriet Owen of Matrix Fitness; the latter whom I had the pleasure of spending 60km of challenging Welsh terrain with.
Harriet Owen & Helen Wyman of Matrix Fitness
One of the best experiences of the day was having the Matrix Fitness support car with Stefan Wyman up along side me for majority of the ride, who thankfully, provided some much needed motivation and words of advice on the 12% sharp climbs and 5 mile “mini Alpe d’Huez” of the Blwych. In the car with Stefan was our camera man for the day – recording every moment of my ride. Trying to look comfortable (and keep the language clean) on those tough climbs was not easy, especially as all I wanted to do was hold on to the car and let it do the hard work for me – couldn’t have that on camera though! After all, I have 100 miles of tough cycling ahead of me in August.
Getting to ride up, close and personal with pros is a priceless experience – seeing just how they handle certain ride situations, their power output on climbs in comparison to the flats, and receiving general advice from those that know best. And, there was no need for any star-struck moments, they were typically happy to share their passion for the bike with us.
For once, Wales stayed dry and fairly warm apart from a decent headwind which only helped as a natural break reaching 70kmph on the decent from the top of the Blwych. Wales, which will feature highly in this year’s Tour of Britain, can be best described as the ‘Alps on our doorstep’. Fantastic challenging climbs perfect for a long-weekend without the long travel time. And, the boys from Ajax Cycling Club who lead us out that day, would be more than happy to lead you out on a Sunday too!
For more information about RideLondon visit: http://www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk
You can also track our progress in Cycling Plus magazine over the coming months, or following #teamskoda.
Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Cycletta Aims to Help Get One Million Ladies on their Bikes by 2020
– Victoria Pendleton CBE hoping to see lots more ladies taking up cycling as a way of staying fit and having fun.
– 56% of all Cycletta participants were taking part in a cycling event for the first time
– 96% of participants, who weren’t already regular cyclists, said that they had been inspired to cycle more regularly in the future.
Cycletta, the UK’s leading series of women only bike rides, is showing its support to British Cycling’s plans to get one million women cycling by 2020.
Victoria Pendleton CBE launched the 2013 Cycletta series last week. Following the success of last year’s events which saw thousands of women across the UK take to their bikes, Cycletta 2013 is coming to even more stunning locations, including visits to Scotland and Wales for the first time, as well as a new Surrey location.
During the 2012 series, 56% of all Cycletta participants were taking part in a cycling event for the first time and an impressive 96% of participants, who weren’t already regular cyclists, said that they had been inspired to cycle more regularly in the future. It is results such as these that show how Cycletta has been effective in partnering British Cycling and the Breeze Network in their initiative to increase participation of female cyclists.
Cycletta 2013 is open to women of all ages and abilities, where distances include the Classic route (40 km) and Challenge (52-82km). With the Olympics inspiring a wave of new cyclists series organisers, Human Race, have added a shorter 20km distance at all venues, continuing to develop the core motivation behind Cycletta and make cycling participation accessible for as many women as possible.
Cycletta ambassador, Victoria Pendleton will be aiming to take part in as many of the events as she can, and encourages women everywhere to give the events a go. She said: “Cycletta has been encouraging women to get on their bikes since 2011. The fact that the series has grown from two events to seven over the last few years proves that more and more ladies are taking up cycling.”
She continued: “Last year just over half of all Cycletta participants were taking part in a cycling event for the first time and with the addition of the new shorter 20km routes this year, we are hoping to see lots more ladies taking up cycling as a way of staying fit and having fun.”
This year, girls aged between 12 and 16 years can also take part when accompanied by an adult, with the organisers hoping Cycletta will inspire the next generation of Victoria Pendletons and offer the opportunity for mums and daughters to take part in events together.
For the younger children, all events (with the exception of Brighton and Cycletta at Wiggle Dragon Ride) will host a Scootathlon taking place on the same day. The Scootathlon is a fun mini triathlon for children between the ages of 4 and 8 where they scoot, bike and run. Girls and boys will race together in various age categories for the title of Scootathlon champion.
Each Cycletta will take place in stunning surroundings, on safe well-managed roads and with loads of fun for all the family. Each event will feature all the unique touches that made the 2012 events so popular. A pop up spa by Unlisted, London’s leading authority in beauty, fitness and wellbeing, will be offering all Cycletta participants post-ride spa treatments to ensure that riders relax, rejuvenate and revive within the Unlisted oasis.
Ian Lulham, Cycling Events Programme Manager for Cycletta’s Official Charity Partner Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We want as many ladies as possible to take to two wheels, get outdoors in the great British countryside and take part in Cycletta for Macmillan in 2013. Not only will you have a great day out, but you’ll be helping us on our way to raising much needed funds to help support people affected by cancer, every step of the way.”
The Cycletta website offers a host of information on training, on-the-day advice and bike maintenance. Also keep an eye on the Cycletta blog, Twitter (@cycletta) and http://www.facebook.com/cycletta to stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments. Cycletta is part of the Human Race Women Only series which includes triathlon, swimming, running and cycling events. To find out more go to: http://www.humanrace.co.uk
See below for all Cycletta events and visit http://www.cycletta.co.uk to book your place.
Cycletta Cheshire: 12th May, Tatton Park
Cycletta at the Wiggle Dragon Ride: 9th June, Margam Park, South Wales
Cycletta Bedfordshire: 30th June, Woburn Abbey
Cycletta Surrey: 7th July, Loseley Park
Cycletta Scotland: 15th September, Scone Palace, Perth
Cycletta Brighton: 29th September, Plumpton Racecourse
Cycletta New Forest: 13th October, Beaulieu
Wiggle Etape Cymru Hits 1000 Entrants and Welcomes New Partners Giant and Mavic
Following on from a stellar 2012 event, it comes as no surprise that places are being snapped up quickly for this year’s Wiggle Etape Cymru, having already passed 1000 entrants, a 145% increase against this time last year.
After taking ownership in early 2012, Human Race have worked tirelessly to ensure the Wiggle Etape Cymru is now recognised as one of the ‘must do’ events on the UK sportive calendar, with 98% of participants rating the 2012 event overall as “Good” or “Excellent”.
As well as the incredibly positive feedback received from participants the event has also been widely acclaimed within the cycling industry and as a result has attracted a range of respected cycling brands who have now partnered with the event, including the new Title Partner Wiggle.
The latest brands to partner with the event include the world’s leading bike brand Giant, who will be providing bike checks and mechanical support for participants from the venue, and Mavic who will be providing riders with a Tour de France style support experience on the route. As more respected brands look set to add their support the 2013 participant experience will continue to improve from the already extremely well received 2012 event.
The 2013 edition takes place on Sunday 8th September and once again offers participants the unparalleled experience of riding through the stunning Welsh countryside on traffic free roads.
Starting and finishing the Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse in Wrexham, the 92 mile route features some truly testing terrain. Passing through quaint Denbighshire and Wrexham villages, riders will be able to take in the spectacular views of the Clwydian range (an area of outstanding beauty), while tackling lung-busting climbs such as Panorama, The Shelf, World’s End and the iconic Horseshoe Pass.
Olympic medallist and Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas is the event ambassador and speaks of great scenes awaiting those who are lucky enough to get a place: “My home country of Wales makes me feel so lucky to be a cyclist. North Wales, in particular, is a really special area with quiet roads, tough climbs and the reward of spectacular panoramic views.”
He continued: “At nearly 100 miles, the Wiggle Etape Cymru is a grueling sportive but everyone taking part will be rewarded with a fantastic day in the saddle on stunning roads.”
Nick Rusling, CEO of Human Race said: “The Wiggle Etape Cymru is a wonderful event and it is great to hear that we have passed 1000 entrants so early on in the year. We’re delighted to welcome the new partnerships that will continue to improve the rider experience and quality of the event.”
Participants in the event will be encouraged to fundraise for the Official National Charity Partner Macmillan Cancer Support. The money raised will be used to help Macmillan support not only people affected by cancer, but everyone their cancer has an impact on, from partners, to children, to friends and carers.
Riders will also be supporting Local Charity Partner Nightingale House. The charity provides specialist palliative care services, completely free-of-charge, to patients and their families across a wide area stretching from Wrexham, Flintshire and East Denbighshire to Barmouth and the border towns including Oswestry and Whitchurch.
DHL Future Stars Leading Team – Team howies – LtoR: Emily Haycox, Tristan Robbins, Ellie Coster & Joseph Wiltshire.
Click play button to listen.
Ellie Coster at Cycling Shorts
Cycling Shorts Revolution 37 Report
Cycling Shorts Revolution Series website
‘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.