We lOVe lUCy
We’re baCk. DiD yOU miSS US? gOOD, We miSSeD yOU tOO. thankS fOr POPPing baCk anD We really hOPe that yOU enjOy a SeCOnD helPing Of What We haVe tO Offer at SPin CyCle magazine. First up is an in-depth interview with local legend Stan Brittain, who was one of the original British pioneers that headed for the Continent during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s with Brian Robinson and cycled shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greatest names in cycling, including Tom Simpson, Jacques Anquetil and Louisan Bobet. With the TDF starting in Yorkshire next year, it’s very fitting to feature one of ‘Robbo’s’ right-hand men. Then we get down and dirty in the muddy world of cyclocross and feature some of the top races in our region, such as Stadt Moers, Otterspool, Waddow Hall and Beacon Country Park. Next up is the first is a series of special reports on women’s cycling. We take a look at how a recent increase in the number of races is helping bridge the huge gap that has existed between elites and amateur competitors. Plus we’ve a cracking interview with Olympic star Lucy Martin. Killer Hills in back with a vengeance. This time it is the dreaded Anglezarke, which we couldn’t be bothered to ride ourselves and so we got our training buddy Dave ‘The Rocket’ Ricketts to do instead, while we shouted ‘‘one more time’’ from the top before heading off to the nearest cafe - obviously, without Dave. He was left to ride the 40-odd miles back home in the wet and cold. Well, he is in training. Huge thanks must go out to everyone who read our launch issue. We had more than 2,000 downloads within the first three days and then went past the 4,000 mark within three weeks. Not including the 20,000 people who visited our website to read the magazine online. We also had some lovely feedback off readers as far afield as Finland, Germany, Spain, Australia, America and Canada.
All information contained in Spin Cycle Magazine is for information purposes only and is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of going to press. Spin Cycle Magazine cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies that occur. Readers are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this magazine. If you submit unsolicited materal to us, you automatically grant Spin Cycle Magazine a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including all licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Spin Cycle Magazine nor its staff, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage.In relation to any medical queries, the advice given is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner and we strongly advise all readers with health problems to consult a doctor.
James Maloney Editor
Editor James Maloney
Managing Editor Dan Kenyon firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors Paul Francis Cooper
Chris Keller-Jackson email@example.com
Thanks go to: Stan Brittain, Heather Bamforth, Biketrek Women’s Racing Team, Velocity WD-40 Race Team, Sam & Stuart Turton, Dave ‘The Rocket’ Ricketts, Tim Wiggins, Tim Dalton and everyone at Uniform, especially Nick, Marcus and Ali.
Follow us on twitter: @SpinCycleMag
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mUD, SWeat & tearS
– Getting down and dirty with the wonderfully muddy world of cyclocross
greaSeD lightning –
The North West’s super-slick Velocity WD-40 Race Team tread the boards at Manchester Velodrome
– Liverpool Mercury’s rising star Sam Turton reveals his goals for the year ahead
Biketrek Women’s Racing Team rider/manager Heather Bamforth lifts the lid on the changes in women’s cycling
Stan the man –
Will you live to tell the tale after taking on this month’s Killer Hill? Bet you’d like to try, wouldn’t you?
the WizarD– gOeS tO Oz
Cycling commentator Tim Dalton bids a final farewell before heading off into the warmth of the Australian sun. Jammy thing.
Tour de France star Stan ‘The Man’ Brittain chats about his career on the Continent and racing alongside Simpson, Anquetil and Bobet
Advice for the season ahead from our man in yellow. No, not Brad - Tim Wiggins. He’s just as fast - only minus the sideburns
We lOVe lUCy –
Team GB’s Lucy Martin reveals the real legacy left by the Olympics.
reaD all–abOUt it
Proper cycling journalism for grown-ups arrives in the form of this month’s book review, The Cycling Anthology Volume One
mUD, SWeat tearS &
“An hour of that - it would kill me,” confided an admiring, but incredulous, cyclo-cross spectator at the Waddow Hall 2012 North West League race, while, nearby, the riders panted, slid, cursed and slogged their way through the energy sapping mud of CSP’s punishing Ribble Valley circuit. She had a point. It is cold, intensive, muddy, frequently an early grave for expensive rear derailleurs - and, it’s also the country’s fastest growing cycle sport. British Cycling recorded a 30 per cent surge in participation for cyclo-cross for the season 2011/12 putting it significantly ahead of new uptake for all other competitive disciplines. So, just what is it about that grueling weekly toil in the local league race that makes cyclo-cross such a bright spot in the dark winter months for the sport’s increasing number of followers? Cyclo-cross now has elite specialists of its own, not least, Lancashire’s high achieving Paul Oldham, from Team Hope Factory Racing. But its origins lie in the early 1900’s, when heroic age road racers like Eugene Christophe, cyclo-cross pioneer and seven-time French national champion, used it to maintain their winter fitness. And, with its 60-minutes of intense energy output and the unique resistance and core stability demands of racing through mud, it certainly is still good for that.
This year’s North West League saw a number of race appearances by St Helens based pro-continental rider Jonny McEvoy, from NetApp Endura. The former GB Junior World Championship cyclo-cross rider, a committed fan of the sport, relished the opportunity to compete in the league as part of his winter training schedule. Jonny, who managed to catch his breath after November’s Beacon Country Park race, said: “I used to do a lot of cyclo-cross in Belgium, where it is really big. It’s great fun and a brilliant way for a road racer to keep up some decent intensive riding during the close season.” But it’s not just McEvoy who relates winter training to fun and cyclo-cross. Wirral’s Giles Drake, from Team Elite Paul Bethell Electrical, elite mountain bike racer and, for a second successive year, North West Cyclo-Cross League Champion, sees the sport as an ideal way to maintain fitness through, refreshingly friendly, winter competition. Drake, who after putting this year’s championship firmly under his control with his seventh win and ninth podium finish of the season at Waddow Hall, said: “I’m really happy with how the season has gone. Cyclo-cross gives me exactly what I want from it, which is great intensity and great training throughout the winter. You are pretty much up near your lactate threshold from the start for most events. So it’s great, full-on effort. It gives exactly what you need for fitness without feeling that you have to go out and train at threshold for an hour.
it iS COlD, intenSiVe, mUDDy, freqUently an early graVe fOr exPenSiVe rear DerailleUrS - anD, it’S alSO the COUntry’S faSteSt grOWing CyCle SPOrt. 8
“But more than that, it has a great atmosphere. Sometimes road and mountain bike racing can get a bit fraught, but I have rarely seen that in cross. “It’s such a friendly, social atmosphere. The courses vary, but you see the same people each week. It’s like an all-day coffee stop.” Craig Tabiner, former fell runner and longstanding club rider with Port Sunlight Wheelers, took up cyclo-cross in the North West League at the start of the 2012/13 season. Competing on all of the league’s varied courses, he says, has fired a real enthusiasm for the sport. “I like the craic,” he revealed. “It’s serious sport, and, if you are like me and new to it, getting up to pace, at the start, really hurts.
But the banter and the atmosphere are really good.” And he has some good reasons to explain why. “It’s grass-roots sport, a lot like the fell-running scene,” Tabiner added. “The length of the courses, and the fact that most races only last an hour, make it spectator and family friendly. “Also, if you do come off, at least you’ll probably only land in the mud. It’s safe, accessible and a great way for anybody to get into competitive cycling.” So, the short course, multi-lap formula provides a great winter workout within a tight, competitive and safe race, which - packed neatly into an hour - is ideal for spectators and families. But what gives cyclo-cross its special friendly feel?
After the race, at Waddow Hall, about 30 riders waited at a standpipe to hose the mud from their bikes before heading home to hot baths and tea. As they stood in the cold, rainy, darkening December afternoon, what was striking about them was their exceptional good humour. Maybe there’s the answer. Probably one of the greatest experiences in any sport is that special camaraderie that comes from competing not only against one other, but also tackling the hostile conditions. And cyclo-cross, with its tough, condensed winter package, has it in abundance.
Perhaps, though, the last word should go to one of the sport’s youngest recruits, Port Sunlight Wheelers’ Nicole Clarke - the 2012, Welsh National Under-12’s Champion. Asked why she liked cyclo-cross, she had just one simple answer: “it’s fun”. Words Paul Francis Cooper Photography James Maloney, Dan Kenyon & Paul Francis Cooper Paul Francis Cooper is a freelance sports journalist. www.paulfranciscooper.co.uk
“It’s such a friendly, social atmosphere. The courses vary, but you see the same people each week. It’s like an all-day coffee stop”
“It’s serious sport, and, if you are like me and new to it, getting up to pace, at the start, really hurts”
greaSeD lightning 34
the ObjeCtiVe iS tO get talenteD yOUth raCerS thrOUgh tO 2nD year jUniOrS in the beSt POSSible ShaPe - hOPefUlly With the One team aS the CatalySt Setting up camera lights for a shoot with Velocity WD40 during the Christmas doldrums, I pondered how the team that I’d seen launch at the December round of the Revolution Track Series would present themselves at Manchester Velodrome. Hailing mostly from the North West, the team comprises of Matt Gibson, 16, from Lymm and part of the BC ODP, Matthew Walls, 14, from Shaw, Alex Braybrooke, 15, from Wilmslow, Andy Leigh, 17, from Urmston, Adam Hartley, 14, from Carlow, Blackpool, Fabian Brennan, 15, from Bentham and part of the BC Talent Team, Jack Escritt, 15, from Penkridge, Christian Braybrooke, 16, from Wilmslow, and Will Thomas, 17, from Congleton. Coached by Chris Pyatt, World Masters Champion with Sprint and Tandem titles, the team have an impressive list of sponsors behind them, including the likes of Pro-Lite and Kona Zing Supreme. Of course, WD40 are the headline sponsors, but there are also USN, Star Balm, Pedal Precision and BioRacer. Making the transition from youth to junior and then onto senior (Under-23s) is often a difficult time for a cyclist. Lots of things tend to get in the way for the majority of young riders. School is a major obstacle, as too peer pressure and the lure of the opposite sex. Those distractions aside, riders then have to deal with the aspects of longer
races and the transition to open roads and much tougher competition. Many good riders fall by the wayside because other things take priority in life. Cycling as a competitive sport takes commitment at whatever level. Cold weather, early mornings and physical exercise are not always traits associated with teenage boys or girls. Thankfully, the stigma and generalisation applied to the ‘yoof’ of today is a world removed from this team - all present and correct in their smart new BioRacer skinsuits emblazoned with sponsors logo’s, the most prominent of which is the WD40 logo. It turns out ‘WD40’ is a continuation of the 3-in-One sponsorship for the previous two seasons. I remember my grandfather using it and it being the de-facto chain oil of my ‘yoof’ on my first racer, an Apollo from Brooks Cycles in Eccles, if you must know. WD40 was there too as a competitor brand, though now WD40 is the parent company for 3-in-One. With the proliferation of technical lubricants, chain waxes, kind to the environment oils, lubes that clean and reduce wear, pressure resisting oils, impregnated oils, nano technology...what does WD40 have to do with cycling? WD40 might be an oldie, but its also a goodie because ‘W’ stands for something every North West based cyclist wants to reduce. Water.
Anyway, back to the team. Firstly, the ethos - Phil Braybrooke, who is joint team manager, explains that the objective is to get talented youth racers through to 2nd year juniors in the best possible shape - hopefully with the one team as the catalyst. This is where many teams fail. They only take racers so far on the journey, can’t manage the transitions or don’t last long enough to maintain the stability needed. The team have a framework that takes 14-year-old youth racers and progresses them up the structure until 18 - breaching the gap at 16, when many teams either drop riders or are only just beginning to take an interest. Importantly, they convert good individuals into team players with well-drilled racecraft and a team based winning mentality. This is a great feeder squad for bigger teams and certainly one to watch.
Ethos is all well and good, but how about the real world? The Palmarès? Well, the team took the winners jersey at the Youth Tour of Scotland courtesy of Joe Evans, as well as the team win in 2012.
as part of a private training session with mixed ability riders, the team are somewhat dominant.
There were also stage wins, team wins and high individual GC placings in the IOM Youth Tour 2012. WD-40 also won the Tour of the North West in 2012.
Not as individuals - the drills are meant to develop close riding skills within the team and with others. The iOptix team, also on the boards, were impressive (but much older) and struggled to dominate during the competitive drills.
Individually, Matthew Walls won the Under-14s Omnium Championships, while Alex Braybrooke won the Tour of West Flanders’ White Jersey against very stiff Continental and US competition, helping the composite team to second place. Alex and Matthew also recently took third place in a youth competition in Amsterdam.
The WD-40 lads were an example of how to behave on track and off - a real credit to the team ethos. The riders took direction from their coach, were disciplined enough to look and act the part and, while for some, this was a Christmas shutdown, they did not appear to have left anything in reserve. There are future stars amongst the ranks.
This is impressive for a young bunch of lads and bodes well for the future as the core of the team is still present going into the 2013 season. Out on the track,
Watch out for the team at youth events throughout the North West and beyond, including the Eddie Soens handicap at Aintree. Last year, Will Thomas
stayed away for some time and put in an impressive performance. The team will also compete in the CDNW Road Series and the National Junior Road Series. Thanks must go to the team and managers, Phil Braybrooke and Andrew Thomas, the Bury Clarion team for their track time and access to the Velodrome apron, as well as the co-operation of the riders on the track.
Words & Photography Chris Keller-Jackson Chris Keller-Jackson is a professional photographer working primarily in two-wheeled sports. For further information, vist www.crankphoto. co.uk or follow him via Twitter on @crankphoto
Stan the man 46
“Did you get out yesterday? How far? Terribly icy wasn’t it?” It is not every day that you’re asked about your Sunday training run by someone who’s ridden the Tour de France. That’s typical Stan Brittain, for you. Tall, straight-backed with neat hair and bright blue eyes, Stan Brittain is every bit the quiet, modest gentleman that I’d been told to expect. Born in Knotty Ash in 1931 Stan’s one of the originals - a select group of British riders who rode the Tour in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, shoulder-to-shoulder with Louison Bobet, Frederico Bahamontes and Jacques Anquetil. He was a domestique supporting Brian Robinson on the 1958 Tour and ended up being the only British rider to finish and, at the time, was only the third-ever British rider to finish. Between 1949 and 1960, Stan rode for Great Britain and won a silver medal in the team road race during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He also rode the Peace Race (the Eastern block version of the Tour de France) four times, finishing an impressive third in 1956 and second in 1957. Stan retired as a professional bike rider when he was 33, but has been involved with his local cycling club ever since. He has been a member of the Aintree Phoenix for more than 60 years and still gets out on the bike whenever he can. I’d first seen Stan in 2007, when I was out on a ride with one of our older club riders in the Liverpool Mercury, Jim Kay. Suddenly, Jim whispered: “That’s Stan Brittain in front he rode the TDF” “Are you going to go talk to him then,” I replied. But at the age of 72, Jim suddenly became like a shy schoolboy. “Oh no. I couldn’t,” he insisted, before I ushered him on and hung back. Jim caught Stan up and had a chat before their routes diverged at the next junction.
“I thought that I’d rather be a drill instructor in Catterick than getting shot at in Korea” DK: Stan. It’s great to meet you. I’ve seen the back of you once. SB: [Smiles. Get’s up and turns his back to me] Was this me? DK: Yes. That’s you. So tell me, how did you get into racing? SB: You have to go back to the late 40’s, I suppose. I first started riding a bike as just transport when I was 13-14. Everybody did. If you were serious, you joined a club eventually. I was in the YHA club in Huyton and then five or six of us formed the Woolton Wheelers in 1949. It ended up with about 30 of us. DK: And you began racing? SB: In 1949, a pal of mine in the Wheelers, Frank Fell, wanted to race in a club event up near Preston on what they called the Brock course. It was a 25-mile time trial, so we cycled up on the Saturday afternoon to a B&B in Garstang and then rode to Brock three or four-miles down the road for the race on the Sunday. At the start, they said to me “you aren’t on the this race - you’re on the overflow race on the Blackpool course”. I quickly cycled the 10-miles over to Preston, got there lathered in sweat with a few minutes to spare and then was off out of Preston on the Blackpool route. DK: So at least you were properly warmed up then?
SB: Well, yes. In fact, it paid off. No-one warmed up really in those days, so I ended up beating the field by about three minutes. I caught the rider in front, a guy from the Century called Harry Dollington, who was quite decent. I didn’t know what to do, as I’d never caught anyone before. I felt a bit embarrassed having to go by him. Then Wally Watkins, who looked after riders in the Phoenix, asked me to join them. I rode with them for a year before National Service. DK: So did cycling go on hold then for two years? SB: Well, actually, no. It worked out fine. I was posted to Catterick Camp in Yorkshire. I was in the Signals and did basic training for the first six months. At the time, the Korean War was on and Palestine was also an option. Palestine was dangerous - full of snipers. If you got posted to Korea, you’d better write your will before you left. I didn’t fancy any of that, to be honest. A chance to train as a drill instructor came up and, as my uncle was a drill instructor in the Coldstream Guards - he was nick-named the loudest voice in the British Army - I thought that I’d rather be a drill instructor in Catterick than getting shot at in Korea. So here I stayed. DK: Tell me about the Army’s Northern and Western Commands. SB: I was in the Northern Command sector for the Army and the Western Command, which took in
Merseyside, had some great riders - Brian ‘Robbo’ Robinson, Peter Proctor, Bernard Pusey, Les Wilmot and Billy McAtteer, from over the water. They were all top internationals, stars of the road and track. I’d be the kid hanging over the barriers as they flew past at Bootle track. Then Robbo was posted over to York and I began to train with him and a decent road man called Jimmy Greaves. As the third man, I was put into good events with them representing the Army. I was only a tupp’ny time trialler when I met them, so I was out of my depth at first but quite strong. There wasn’t a points system then, it all worked on merit. I managed to beat the King brothers from Coventry, Bill and Bernard, in a race. From then onwards, I was able to get into first class events on my own merit, as I’d won a race. DK: So in essence, the Army and the RAF were running a set of racing teams around the country? SB: Looking back, I think I had 400 days leave in the two years to train and compete. I rode at Catterick, the Isle of Man and something called the Leicester Forest race, which I won. We rode for Catterick Wheelers, Northern Army Command and even the Army Cycling Union. DK: And ‘Robbo’ became your tutor? SB: Yes. I learnt a lot from him - and from making mistakes. We once did a race in Derbyshire, which started in Macclesfield. We slept overnight at an RAF base at Harper Hill on the other side of the Cat and Fiddle, rode over the Cat to Macclesfield for the start and then back over the Cat and Fiddle, as well as a circuit around the Derbyshire. Now, I was never a climber. At over 6ft and 12st 4lbs or more, I was OK for power, but for climbing, the power to weight wasn’t right. I’d seen the break go away with Robbo and a few climbers, but I worked really hard and got across to it. Robbo dropped off the back to tow me onto the break. I’d made my effort but I then saw Man Tor...and went backwards. It’s been shut for 30 years now since a landslide, but it was open in those days. I was almost crying on Man Tor. All good experience - know the route before you set out.. DK: Tell me about the UCI World Road Race championship in 1953.
SB: I’d done some decent rides and was quite a decent sprinter, if the group stayed together. I’d done the Tour of Ireland with the British ‘B’ team and won the Grand Prix of Kent, so I was chosen for Germany. It was near Cologne in West Germany. It absolutely chucked it down with rain. The course was uphill and downhill, as well as over a temporary bridge left over from the war - a pontoon with metal plates covering timber. The only flat part was the start/finish line. With about a lap to go, I touched wheels with someone and went down. I thought to myself ‘well, that’ll do me’. Then, unfortunately, some great big German policeman picked me up, put me back on my bike and pushed me off again. I think that I ended up about 18th - the first British rider. DK: What was the team kit like for that event? SB: Heavy. Especially in the wet. We had the woollen shorts, of course, and the top was also woollen - pockets back and front, with red, white and blue ‘V’s sewn onto the front. When this lot got wet, it weighed a ton. But that was what it was like. DK: You rode the Peace Race, which was the Soviet Block version of the TDF, four years in a row between 1955 and 1959. Coming third in 1955 and second in 1957. SB: Yes. The race went between Berlin, Prague and Warsaw - alternating the start city each year. The Soviets were out to impress, so we were well-fed and looked after. They even had motorcycle police with us when we went out on training runs, stopping all the cars at junctions as we went through. DK: Was there a lot of local interest in the race? SB: At the time, almost more than the Tour. We’d start some stages in football stadiums and there’d be 50,000 people there just to see the officials setting up and us leaving the stadium. I suppose there wasn’t much else going on in those days. DK: You also rode some six-day stage races in Sweden?
SB: The Tour of Sweden. It was a four-man team and we would have left on the Horwich ferry to where ever it was. The Swedish and Danish teams liked to take turns winning that race, so they weren’t happy when I led it for a while in ‘56. We soon went down to three riders. That’s when the Swedes and Danes got together and worked us over. I ended up fifth in the end because they’d all ganged up on me. After the race, though, the Danes and Swedes got together and bought me a nice suede jacket as a sweetener.
DK: But the following year, you got your revenge.. SB: It was being led by a Dane called Dalgaard for the first three days. I was up there, or there about’s, so I went and talked to the Belgians and we agreed to work together. Then we had eight riders. The Belgian, Declercq, went into the lead and I was about a minute behind him going into the final day. The last day was a split stage day, a 60-70 mile morning road race and an afternoon 19-mile time trial. Our team got together on
the last morning and I said “yesterday’s ‘combi’ is now history - today we have to attack the Belgians”. Alan Jackson was a minute down on me in third place, so I had the best option. As it happened, in the road race in the morning, I got away with two Danish lads. Declercq made a big effort to get on, but he never made it. I was then race leader. But going into stadium, I came down on the cinder track with 100 yards to go and ended up third. I was covered in grit and road rash with the chain off. I had to push the bike the last 100 yards.
DK: So you entered the afternoon time trial injured? SB: Yes, but it was only skin. A bit of road rash nothing broken. Declercq couldn’t make up the time I had in hand (even with the crash) and I won. He sat on my wheel when I came past him, which annoyed me, but I came second in the TT and so the race winner overall. You didn’t get prize money in those days trophies, glassware, cameras. Cameras were very valuable then. Eastern Europe had great cameras. Over here in the 1950s, you couldn’t get them. I’d get them as prizes and sell them when I got back. DK: Then came the Tour De France in 1958. It’s often a clichè when people say ‘it was harder in my day’, but with the TDF, it really was, wasn’t it? SB: The 1958 tour was 22 days. No rest day. The nearest thing to a rest day was a time trial up the Ventoux - and not only that. The last day was from Dijon to Paris, which was 200-miles. The years before that, the stages were even longer. No transfers. You did literally rode around France. DK: Before package holidays and quick flights all over Europe, it must have been very exotic riding abroad - especially the tour? SB: A different world - 1958 was the first time I’d actually raced in France. It was unknown territory. The Tour started in Brussells, so I knew that area, but we went off across Brittany and down to the Pyrenees. DK :Although the race was smaller in those days [the race started with 120 riders: 10 x12 man teams] you must have been excited? When you went to sign in the first day, how did you feel starting the actual Tour de France? SB: Well, you take things in your stride, don’t you? I didn’t appreciate at the time how big the Tour was really. Of course, the preparation before the Tour for the riders wasn’t like it is now. I was just riding races in Belgium. There was no training camps. We just met the night beforehand. I knew Robbo, of course, and Shay. DK: You were part of an international team?
SB: Yes. We had 12 riders in all. Three Brits - Robbo, Ron Coe and myself. Then there was Sheamus (Shay) Elliot, from Southern Ireland; four Danes; two Portuguese and two Austrians. DK: With no team training and roles, was there a plan? Were all the British riders there to support Robbo, as he’d finished 13th place the year before? SB: Well Robbo talked to Adolf Christian, the Austrian, who was in our team. He’d been third the previous year and so wasn’t interested in helping us. So with Shay, we just rode as our own unit within the team. DK: So you were at a disadvantage from the start? Four men against all the 12 man national teams and regional teams? SB: I know Robbo won a stage, but we were never in contention against the others. I was just there to support him and Shay to win stages. In all honesty, I always say ‘I rode the Tour De France’. I never say that I ‘raced’ it. DK: You didn’t expect to place with the ‘big hitters’? SB: No. I was just hoping to hang through the mountains and finish. The nearest thing to mountains that I’d done were the Maritime Alps in the South of France. I’d never been to the Pyrenees or the main Alps at all. One French journalist was most concerned about me getting over the mountains. I was concerned for myself as well. DK: You crashed in the first week? SB: I came down pretty hard on Stage 7 into the Brest - the stage that Robbo won. I’d cracked a couple of ribs and there were no team doctors in those days. The Tour doctor strapped me up and on I went. DK: But you were only a couple of days from the Pyrenees. It must have been a problem? SB: Well. By this point, the pain in my legs was already masking the pain in my ribs!
the vehicles? That couldn’t have helped? SB: People would hand you things from the road side and you never knew where they’d got it from. In the hot weather, you’d stop in a village and just dip your water bottle in the fountain - not the best of things to do. DK: I would have thought by then that people would have worked out the link between dehydration and heatstroke? SB: Yes, but there were other things to worry about, weren’t there? We never did drink enough. When we rode domestic races, generally speaking, if the race was 80-mile or less you just carried one bottle. If it was 80-120 miles, then maybe two bottles. In the Tour, the real key was good health. You’d either crash, get a stomach bug or a chest infection, which was the easiest thing in the world over the mountains in wet wool. Robbo won the stage into Brest on day seven, but he abandoned with a couple of days to go. He had some kind of infection. Anquetil got pleurisy, I think, and abandoned as well. It wasn’t all hot weather. We had a bad rain day from Briançon to Aix-Les-Bains and 30 of us, including Baffi, finished outside of the time limit. Luckily, the conditions were classed as ‘extraordinary’ and so we stayed in. DK: Talking of rules, I hear there was a rule on the Tour about wheel spokes? SB: They were very strict in France. You had to have a certain spoke count on your wheels. The minimum that you could use for the Tour were 36/36, so the officials would check and give you a wheel from the service car if you had too few spokes. In those days, British riders would use 32/40 and I had to give up my front wheel and use a duff 36 spoke wheel that the officials gave me. DK: Any team bikes or kit?
DK: What gears were you pushing? A 42/25 maybe?
France during the summer?
SB: Not in those days. We all rode our own bikes. We had two mechanics, but the equipment wasn’t interchangeable. If you got a puncture, you could use a team mates wheel. You would use the same bike for it all - road, mountains and time trials. No comparison between the equipment then and the equipment now.
SB: Oh no. It was only a five-speed block on the back and 52/48 was the norm for the front. By the late 1950s, it could have been a 52/45 on the front. So maybe I was on a 45/25.
SB: We were wearing the white wool jersey’s, with a black band across the front, that were tour issue for international teams then. All the other riders were in woollen vests, too, though.
DK: The heat must have been intense in the South of
DK: You weren’t allowed supplies or water from
DK: With no transfers, I suppose you were staying in hotels in the finish town each night and starting next morning? SB: There were no Ibis and the like then. We stayed in typical French family hotels. Coming from Britain, where rationing had only finished four years before, we were pretty happy with what we were given. There
was one occasion, when someone from the British Diplomatic Service turned up to the Tour and asked us if we needed anything. I said ‘yes - a box of Cornflakes’. You couldn’t get cereals in France then. DK: The TDF finished at the Parc De Princes. From the English speakers in your team, there was just you and Shay Elliot left. No medal or brevet stamped. Must have been a strange anti-climax to finish like that?
“He’s only a bike rider after all - although quite a good one obviously”
SB: There was an interview with a cycling magazine and a night in a hotel in Paris. Then we went our separate ways. I hadn’t an agent that year, so wasn’t riding any crits. For me, it just stopped and went flat. I was living in Kortrijk in Flanders then with Bernard Pusey and Ian Brown. We went down to Uzerche in Corrèz and raced there. Sat in cafes, ordered a beer and a nice piece of cake. Watched the world go by - like you still can do in France.
a team award. The Italian, Baldini, was first and the Frenchman, Geyre, second. Jacko came in with two East Germans and beat them in the sprint. I led the next small group over so came sixth. With those two placings and Billy Holmes in 14th, we came in just a point behind the French and got the silver.
DK: Tell me about the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. I was amazed that it took five days to get there?
SB: We were eventually invited, late in the day, a few weeks before and asked to go to the Opening Ceremony and the road race. They’d had five to six years to organise invites, so I thought that was poor treatment. Harry Reynolds went with Tommy Godwin, but my wife wasn’t well and, with the notice given, I couldn’t go. When the Tour started in London in 2007, they treated us as if we’d won the blooming thing - never mind just finished it. For that, we were sent invitations to the team presentation 12 months beforehand. Then at the meal afterwards, our names were called out and we had to stand up to be presented to the press and the teams. We also had VIP tickets for the prologue. It was very special.
SB: The road race was on the last full day of the Olympics on the Friday. Alan Jackson, Billy Holmes, Harry Reynolds and myself were the road team. The Suez crisis was on, so we couldn’t go via Egypt. Instead, we flew straight to Bahrain and then on to Colombo in Ceylon for the night. From there, we went to Singapore for two nights while we swapped planes. There was an RAF base in Singapore and we went on a bit of a ride with the RAF lads. Then onto Darwin and from there to Melbourne. DK: Tom Simpson attended those games? SB: ‘Simmo’ was with the track team, who went out a week before us. He was 18 when they went out and had his 19th birthday out there. He was a fantastic rider even then. Far better than me and most people - a class apart. We rode in the 1960 Tour together. DK: The Olympic road race was a combined individual and team event? SB: Back then, first second and third were medal positions and, in those days, there was also
DK: Did you get to see anything first hand at the 2012 Olympics during the summer?
DK: You train on the same roads and frequent the same cafe as another local Tour de France rider, but have you met Wiggins? SB: I’ve seen him out on the road now and again. We’ve let on to each other, as cyclists do. He always says ‘hello’ to everyone. He’s only a bike rider after all - although quite a good one obviously. Words & Photography Dan Kenyon
leaDing laDieS 66
With a great showing at the Olympics, a new women’s pro team in the form of Wiggle Honda, and Sarah Storey’s Damehood, women’s racing is finally getting some of the attention it deserves in the UK. Christmas came early in late November, with the announcement by British Cycling that two more events were to be added to the Women’s National Road Series, as well as one-a-piece to the Junior National Road and Circuit Series. There are three new races in the women’s calendar - the early season Perth Two-Day, Otley Women’s GP and the Ryedale Women’s GP. Next year, the Women’s National Circuit Race Championship will sit alongside the men’s event for the first time. In the North West, plans are brewing that aim to develop women’s cycling talent in new ways with the announcement of the inaugural Cycling Development North West Women’s Road Race League for 2013 starting at Pimbo Industrial Estate on March 3. Heather Bamforth, who is involved with the CDNW, revealed why it’s going to be popular. She said: “It’s not the first women’s road race league to exist, but it is the first specifically devised to give women in the lower categories a proper stepping stone to elite racing. Last year, I came back to cycling after I had chronic fatigue. I approached British Cycling to find out what there was on offer for the gap between riding crits and a 50-mile road race. Sadly, they said that there wasn’t anything, so I asked them was it possible to bring something in and that’s when they put me in touch with Ivor Armstrong from CDNW. After that, we managed to put together a working group before looking at what sort of market we would be targeting for these races. CDNW were really happy to support that and now we have five races that weren’t there beforehand. Due to the various costs of organising a race, and the relatively small numbers of women riders that currently compete, most road races have to be open to all categories of women - from Elite to 4th Cat. Many races also take place over 50-miles on tough roads.
Before throwing yourself into a race like this against some of the best, the only other races that you can compete in as a woman are usually circuit races, lasting around an hour and typically cover no more than 20-miles.
The idea with these races is that they’re shorter and they specifically for people starting road races or people who want to develop their tactics, skills or competitiveness without getting shot out of the back of the bunch within 10 minutes.
Of course, there is a big difference between finishing a circuit race over 15 to 20-miles and being able to be competitive in a race over more than 50-miles.
Hopefully, we will eventually get 30-50 riders, who are all at the same level, and they can compete competitively and fairly. To me it’s important to try and get women who have never thought about road racing involved. That’s the important thing for me.
Heather added: “Under the current system, some women travel hundreds of miles to get a ride in a road race, only to get shelled out of the back on the first lap. If you’re a fourth or third category rider looking to switch over from crits and make a move into road racing for the first time, you are totally unprepared for what is waiting for you when you line up on the day. For me, cycling is road racing. Itís not riding round a circuit like Salt Aye or Litherland. Itís racing on the road like the men. Unfortunately, womenís cycling is an elite sport, if you want to do road racing then youíve got to race with Elite or 1st Cat riders, so itís a massive step moving from riding a 45-min crit to doing a 50mile road race. It is putting people off because they don’t think that they have a chance of winning. To be fair, they won’t with those circumstances. If you enter the national series of road races and you work full-time, or you’re just starting cycling, then the last thing that you want to do is a 50-odd mile road races with the best women in the country. If you were a bloke, you wouldn’t expect to be racing every week with Node4. Worse still are the crashes that can occur because some riders lose concentration, as they’re not used to bunch riding over such a long distance. Heather said: “Fatigue and nerves set in and you either get shouted at for nearly knocking somebody off or you just get really disheartened because you aren’t as good as you expected to be and you think ‘why do I bother’. All the fun is taken out of the race and you forget why you are there in the first place.
To lessen this steep learning curve, the CDNW Women’s Road Race League are only open to second, third and fourth category riders, with the longest race being around 65km (40-miles). It’s not just the distance that’s more manageable. The races themselves will not be easy, but neither will the courses be hilly or over-technical. They’ll allow riders to practice their race skills without having to mix it up with the elite riders and hopefully build up their confidence, as well as strength, to the point they can move on to the next level - the longer road races and eventually the National Series Road Races. So if you’re a young rider wanting to make the move from Youth ‘A’ circuit races onto the road for your first season as a Junior, new to the sport of competitive cycling - or wanting to make a transition from sportives, MTB or triathlon - these races are made for you. Heather’s pretty confident that the CDNW have got it right and are looking forward to a good turnout come March. Time to clip in and get training ladies. For at last, in the North West at least, 2013 is going to be a proper racing year. She added: I have already got one woman signed up, who had never thought about racing before this year. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about trying to grow the sport from the bottom up. Maybe five more riders, who are quite good but have been put off in the past, might start our races and keep coming back because they enjoy them.
At the minute, there is a pool of about 40 riders nationally, who keep winning everything because there is no competition. What I want to do is show others that there are more women out there and to make it more interesting and competitive. Not that the same people win all the time. The thing about women is that you’ve got to give us confidence and that’s the point behind these races. Also, we are still looking for a series sponsor who could help with prizes, so if you think you could help with promoting the development of grass roots women’s racing, please get in touch. Dean Downing, from Madison Genesis, said: “I’ve been following Heather on Twitter and it’s really interesting that there’s more women’s cycling on offer now - grass-roots stuff. There are a lot of youngsters on the track and Rapha have sponsored a women’s team, so it’s picking up and just needs more sponsors to get involved.” The road race league events will be held as follows: March 3 - Pimbo Industrial Estate (50km); March 17 - Nateby/Pilling, Lancashire (65km); April 21 - Great Budworth, Cheshire (65km); July 7 - Pimbo Industrial Estate (65km); September 1 - Nateby/Pilling, Lancashire (50km). In order to ride the events, it will cost £5 to enter the league itself, with each event being £20 in advance. For more information please visit www.cdnw.org
Words Dan Kenyon Photography James Maloney For more information please visit www.cdnw.org
We l Ve lUCy 76
On July 29, 2012, North West rider Lucy Martin reached a career high as a member of Great Britain’s Olympic women’s road race team. Only days later, on August 16, she was facing career uncertainty with the announcement that her trade team, AA Drink-Leontien.nl, was to lose its main sponsor and fold at the end of the year. Two experiences, in just over two weeks, capturing two major aspects of women’s cycling. On the one hand, the women’s Olympic road race, an enthralling affair, widely acknowledged as one of the 2012 Games showpieces, raced courageously in a spectacular thunderstorm, and finished with an explosive sprint by Holland’s mighty Marianne Vos taking gold ahead of Martin’s impressive team mate, Lizzie Armitstead. Then the other side of the coin, the announcement of the closure of Netherland’s well-loved AA DrinkLeontien.nl team - a feature of the tough financial conditions of the women’s sport. Two experiences, which frame the outlook of the talented young rider from Widnes as she heads into her 2013 season. Interested in running and swimming as a schoolgirl, Martin had no experience of competitive cycling until 2005. Aged 15, her potential was spotted on a British Cycling Talent Team visit to her secondary school. She graduated to the Olympic Development Programme in 2008 after winning the National Junior Road Race Championship, and joined her first professional road race team in 2011. Aware that her unusual route into the the sport was an exceptional opportunity offered to only a few, she was quick to use her Olympian status to motivate, encourage and inspire other youngsters to come into cycling. With London Olympic fever still high, she made a late summer visit to Merseyside’s Litherland track, and, meeting young cyclists there, commented: “I really want to encourage youngsters, especially girls, who are not represented enough, to get into the sport and enjoy the
excitement and freedom of being out on the bike.” Hopeful that interest arising from the Olympics will have a positive effect on women’s elite cycling by generating media interest and financial support for the sport, she backs up her aspirations with action. Her early days with the Olympic Development Programme were primarily on the track. In 2008, she won silver in the points race at the track World Cup held in Manchester’s Velodrome, but her move to a professional team in 2011 led to an almost exclusive focus on the road. In December 2012, though, she was back where she started, on the boards at Manchester, appearing in the second round of the Revolution Series. Apprehensive at appearing in track race action before the night’s capacity crowd, she explained why she had she made her return. “The last time I was on the the track was at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010,” revealed Lucy. “But the race organisers were keen to recognise interest in the women’s sport and built in some elite women’s racing. When they asked members of the women’s GB Olympic team to come, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.” At last, with signs that women’s cycling may be picking up a 2012 dividend, she may have good cause for optimism. Last November brought the news that Boels Rentals had taken over as top name sponsor of the Dolmans Boels women’s team, now known as Boels Dolmans. Both sponsors had guaranteed their financial backing through to the 2016 Olympics. Also announced was the recruitment of British talent Emma Trott, Lizzie Armitstead, and Lucy Martin to the Dutch outfit. Yvo Hoppers, marketing and communications officer for Boels, said: “The sport suits us well and the goals are clear. We want to be able to hold our own among the world’s top cyclists and become a top three team. We have attracted a number of excellent women cyclists
“It’s really moved forward with a lot more interest in the UK since the Olympics” (and) we have an ambitious team. Everyone looks forward to the upcoming cycling year.” Martin is delighted. Recently home in Widnes from her training base at Girona, Spain, she said: “I get the impression the team really wants to have a big year in 2013. It is a good, balanced group of riders with a full race programme arranged and planned by last November.” Preparing for the Ronde van Drenthe and the Tour of Flanders, and with plenty of opportunities to target podium finishes throughout the season, she optimistically eyes the year ahead. “I would like to target the World Cup in China,” explained Lucy. “I’ve had some good results there in the last few years, so I really want to go for it this year. Also I am looking at the early season classics such as Drenthe. And, of-course, with so much competition this year, the British National Championships.” Upbeat about UCI women’s cycling initiatives and, the all important growth in media interest, she is hopeful for lasting change for the future. “It’s really moved forward with a lot more interest in the UK since the Olympics,” added Martin. “I think it really made people aware of the quality of women’s races. “The UCI are really trying to improve things for teams and I’ve generally seen a lot more press around women’s cycling, which is great. I just hope it continues.”
Words & Photography Paul Francis Cooper
O b r U t geD r a Ch On t r U t 84
Liverpool Mercury has a long history of producing some of the best young riders in the North West.
JM: How has your last couple of seasons gone? Any notable wins or results?
Over the last half century, Pete Matthews, Ken Hill and Terry Dolan, as well as the husband and wife duo of Phil and Vicki Thomas, to name but a few, have all pulled on that famous blue and white jersey before crossing the finishing line as victors, arms aloft, in some of the country’s top races.
ST: Yeah, I won the TLI National Time Trial in 2011, but last year I broke my arm just before the summer holidays and I missed out my two big goals - the national pursuit and the GHS.
Sadly, that dominance has dwindled over the last few decades, but with the resurgence of club membership that looks set to change with the latest batch of talented young riders emerging from the famous ‘Merc’. One young star in the making is 15-year-old Sam Turton, from Skelmersdale, who has been notching up a series of impressive results over the last two seasons. They include 2nd overall in the Litherland ‘A’ Junior League; 1st in GHS Heat; 1st Junior West Pennine 10; 1st Junior Liverpool Century 10; 1st Junior Aintree Phoenix 10 and 7th Overall in the Manchester Track League. Unfortunately, he failed to reach his full potential last season after taking a tumble and breaking his arm while riding home from school. Undeterred, the teenager took to his turbo trainer, complete with arm in plaster, to knuckle down and focus on this forthcoming season. The result has been a much improved time trial position and even more determination to achieve his goals this year – all under the watchful eye of his dad, Stuart. Naturally, Turnton Snr is Sam’s biggest fan - even if his own son now drops him on the local chain-gang. Stuart would be disappointed if he didn’t. JM: Tell me how you first got started in cycling? ST: My dad asked me did I want to go to a mountain bike race at Leisure Lakes and I just went to see what it would be like. I ended up coming third, so I liked that and then started going out training. That was really hard, but I wanted to beat my dad so I kept going out. Then I started doing road races with Southport in the Dolan Series and it just carried on from there really.
JM: So you’re focusing a bit more on time trailing now. How’s that going? ST: I prefer the youth crit races because it’s more enjoyable and I suit it better – it’s going well. I have done the GHS the past three years [Sam’s dad, Stuart, starts counting on his fingers in the background to double check] – yeah, the last three, dad - and I have got into the finals for all of them, so it’s going quite well. JM: How do you manage to fit in all the training round your school work? ST: I normally get home, sit round for a bit then do a bit of training. I try to do my school-work when I get in, but it doesn’t work like that most of the time. I am still in high school, but I prefer science and stuff like that to sport or PE. JM: What are you aims for this coming season now? ST: I am going to be carrying on with time-trialing, but I am first year junior this season so I am going to be doing a lot more road racing and probably do the Tour of Wales or a few more stage races like that. First part of my season will be focusing on my exams, but I have got some big goals coming up this season. Apart from the Tour of Wales, there is the TLI national final. That normally falls on the same date as the GHS, but it’s a week after this year. So they’re my big aims this year. JM: So what sort of times are you getting in the 10s? ST: Before I broke my arm last year, I did a 22min 30sec at Garstang. I’d be hoping to a 21 for GHS, so I’ll be aiming for low 21s this year. JM: A lot of people have been commenting on how good your position on the bike has been lately?
ST: [Laughs] Yeah, it’s quite extreme. I do work on that. I’ve got other team mates that race at the likes I am not naturally flexible, so it has taken a lot of work. of Litherland, which is always good for motivation. I am always tinkering with my bars and saddle height. JM: You’ve shot up from 5ft nothing to around 6ft JM: A lot of people in the Liverpool Mercury are in a matter of months, you’re looking more and more very supportive. Tell me a bit more about how they like Bradley Wiggins – albeit minus the sideburns. encourage you? How does that help with boosting Do you hope to follow in his footsteps at all? your confidence or your general racing? ST: I hope so, but I am not too good at climbing, so ST: It’s good to have ex-pros like Phil Thomas advising I need to lose a bit of weight like him before I do that. you. I’ve also got Terry Dolan, who gives me a lot of In all seriousness, I wouldn’t be able to race if it wasn’t support with my bikes and equipment. Apart from that, for the support of my parents. They’ve been really
important to me and are always driving me to my races, as well as buying me equipment. JM: Speaking of which, what’s it like to finally be beating your dad on the local chain-gang and leaving him off the back? He probably doesn’t tell you, but he always has a little smile when he knows that you’re up the front of the group with the heavy-hitters. ST: [Laughs] It’s good, but a little strange. I never thought that I’d get to that level. That’s my highlight of the week. I’d be quite happy never to race again
as long as I can do the chain-gangs. You get a lot of the local pros and Wiggins turning up on them. It’s great because they’re happy to chat and offer advice, but finally beating my dad is definitely a highlight. For more information about Liverpool Mercury, visit: www.liverpoolmercury.co.uk Words & Photography James Maloney
“finally beating my dad is definitely a highlight”
“insert quote here, insert quote here, insert quote here”
SPin CyCle magazine PreSentS
killer hillS 92
Distance: 0.7Miles Avg grade: 8.3% Lowest elevation: 468ft Highest elevation: 772ft Elevation difference: 304ft Popularity: Ridden 712 times by 313 people Kom: Steve P (00:03:21 - July 20,2012) Qom: Alison M (00:05:08 - July 7, 2012
ANGLEZARKE. It sounds brutal and harsh - like the name of a viking axe or a large angry bird of prey, ready to harry you all the way home.
to leave this hill until the April issue, as it’s 30 miles from home for me and therefore something I only visit when the weather gets better.
According to the source of all knowledge - by that, we mean Wikipedia - the word ‘Anglezarke’ is a combination of “Anlaf, a form of the popular Scandinavian personal name of Olav” and the “Old Norse word erg or the Brythonic word cognate with Gaelic word eiridh (dialectal arke or argh) both meaning a ‘hill pasture or shieling”.
Thankfully, one of our training mates, Dave ‘The Rocket’ Ricketts, volunteered with a joyful “I’d love to help” and, as the owner of a gold medal from last year’s Marmotte, we knew we could rely on him to climb it a few times for photos - before we nipped off to the excellent Rivington Hall Barn for a cuppa and cake, while Dave was left to ride home. Alone and unfed. He likes it that way. Honest.
Sometimes ‘Argh’ is just ‘Argh’ and if there is ever a hill in Lancashire that should be spelt ‘Argh’ - or even ‘Arggghhhhh’, then Anglezarke is it. I wanted
Anglezarke hill runs up the east side of Rivington reservoir, past an abandoned quarry and hills featuring
an old coal mine, an abandoned farm, a Bronze Age tumulus and the pathetic skeletal remains of a cyclist who collapsed and died on the hill in 2003 while trying to summit using a 39/23. You reach the climb by skimming down over the Rivington Reservoir, avoiding the car doors and the tutting at those that like to park at reservoirs and contemplate the strain on the reservoir caused by all their on-suite bathrooms.With the rain in the past 12 months, it’s now full to overflowing but some years you can see it half empty by June. The gradient rises and you turn left at the green before beginning the considerable warm up
“I first did this hill as a club run and one of the old hands revealed “When I scream ‘bottom gear now’”I mean it....” He wasn’t wrong”
climb straight up Sheep House Lane, over the cattle grid and first left at the top by the copse. This road takes you down to the reservoir again and you turn right this time before following the bank for 200 yards to the climb itself. I first did this hill as a club run and one of the old hands revealed “When I scream ‘bottom gear now’ I mean it...”
This is a hill report with a difference - as I also want to comment on the descent. If you’re going into Chorley, the descent off Anglezarke needs a bit of care.
He wasn’t wrong. There’s a short right hand curve that takes you immediately into Moor Road and up to 26 per cent in only a couple of pedal strokes - for 75 metres. If you aren’t in a sensible gear by now, you aren’t moving fast enough to change down without stalling your gears.
It’s a gently twisting descent, which takes a gentle lefthander down through the trees. You’ve built up some nice speed by this time, but don’t be tempted to let the bike roll on at this pace. It’s time to start feathering the brakes. The road drops quickly at this point, straight into a sharp right-hander over a stone bridge.
Remember, you can always change up if you need, so pick something very low. The climb then guides you around a left hander and continues on straight at an average 8.5% for almost a mile.
It’s an unsighted narrow stone bridge that the pros would treat with caution on an empty road. In the years that I’ve been doing this descent, only once has the bridge been empty.
Outside of the peak district and maybe Quernmore over at Bowland, it’s the best way to see how your power to weight ratio is fairing, It’s just short enough to get into a reasonable rhythm if fit - and just long enough to kick you in the teeth if you’re ill prepared.
Instead, there is usually some muggins either standing on the bridge gazing into the water, parking badly just on the other side or merrily wandering down the middle of the road waving a lekki stick at the surrounding hills.
With a compact and a dinner plate cog, you can sit back and twiddle this. However, if you want to test yourself and look the part, then standing up will give you a lovely old burn in the legs by the time you reach the first false summit near the car park over looking the highest reservoir basin.
Dad mode now. Remember, the key to all climbs is to take the descents carefully and you’ll live to climb another day.
You can see the whole of Lancashire laid out before you here, and a selection of fast food packaging left by those special people dedicated to the UK’s most popular past time - visiting beauty spots, enjoying the view then scattering litter before driving away again. Pushing on for another quarter mile, you’ll reach a farm on your right and then another right-hander for the last straight up to a sharp left-hander and the true summit.
This is the traditional watering station for the Ken Hill Sportive in September, where you will be welcomed by howls of derision by a certain ex-national champ that mans the water bottles.
Thank you to Dave Ricketts for tackling the climb. We’ve spoken to Rapha about modelling Dave, but they say you don’t look exhausted and gritty enough.
Words & Photography by Dan Kenyon Strava weblink goo.gl/Nj8oq
You’ve bought your race licence, so there is no turning back now. For many of us, turning over the calendar at the start of January is more than a formality - it signals a start of resolutions, objectives and aspirations for the New Year. This year, mine include attaining my first category licence and riding an off-road century. Last year, they involved starting on the UK road racing circuit from a mountain biking background and working up to second category race wins. However, a New Year resolution of starting road racing can seem a daunting prospect. How should I train? Where should I race? What should I do to prepare? These and many other questions often flash through the minds of new racers. After my experience last year, and previously in mountain biking, I hope to share a bit of advice about training and choosing your race that will help to get you to the start line in the best possible condition. Training: It all starts right here, right now. There’s no hiding from the fact that these early months of the year are a critical starting block to fulfilment in 2013. Since November, you have likely been enjoying cafè-runs and gentle base-mile rides. But with the season starting in a few months time, it is time to step things up and iron out your weaknesses.
a SeaSOn On the rOaD aPPrOaCheS
If you have raced before, you may know what you need to work on. For example, I am certainly not a sprinter, far more a climber. My training from February will focus on power and building a better sprint, as well as interval training to improve my threshold. If you are completely new to racing, then sprinting is a good thing to practise. As a 4th Cat road race often finishes in a sprint, doing three or four ‘sign sprints’ in every training ride will help to build power that can be utilised in that finish line effort for glory. The New Year also signals a time to start picking up the pace. The majority of 4th Cat races will often
average over 21mph. Don’t be intimidated by this, you will be surprised how easy it is when you are sat in the bunch. However, you do need to have the ability to ride at or above that rate for a reasonably sustained period of a few minutes - just in case you drop off the back of the group, or find yourself on the front. The best way to build up to this is doing intervals of speeds around 21-22mph, and then gradually progress the length of these intervals, or lower the rest period. It will take time, but start now and you’ll be able to do it before the season begins. Commit: Some of the best motivation for training will come from having a date to commit to in the diary. Come March, the British Cycling Racing calendar will have been released for a month or so and you will be able to select your first target race. Most 4th Cat races are ‘Closed Circuit’, so you don’t have to worry about playing chicken with cars at the same time as racing in the bunch. Pick a race on a course close to home, which is reasonably flat, open and safe - such as an airfield or race-track. Sign up early and pay your entry fee. That way there is less chance of a last minute bail-out. Getting your training off to a good start and committing to your season are two fundamental blocks to start your road racing campaign. Put the effort in now and the rewards will come later.
Words Tim Wiggins For my full guide on Hints and Tips: A Beginners Guide to UK Road Racing, and further advice for new and experienced racers take a look at my blog: timwiggins.blogspot.com
the WizarD gOeS tO Oz Words Dan Kenyon
‘Old Big Mouth’ is leaving us. Friend of the great and good in pro racing, ace commentator for the Soens and countless other race events in the NW, loyal member of the Liverpool Century CC, daring sporter of a full Mapei Team kit - Tim Dalton is fleeing these dark and dreary shores and moving to Melbourne Australia to take up a new job and life with his partner, Rebecca Koss. Sad news for us, but Tim’s apparently been making it a little easier for the Liverpool Century CC - his club of the past 14 years - to wave him goodbye. “I’ve sold my winter bike and I told my club mates that I’m thinking of having a bonfire of the kit I won’t be needing anymore: winter gloves, tights, capes, over shoes, mudguards...”
he hopes to be able to commentate on the local racing scene in Melbourne. Tim has a club picked out - the achingly trendy St Kilda’s CC. Their website features gently blowing palms trees as a background image. Makes you sick, doesn’t it? Still, it’s a real shame to think that here in Blighty we won’t hear Tim’s knowledgeable and funny commentary anymore. That aside, it will be nice to think of him gliding along on his bike through the Blue Mountains or along the coast road west from Melbourne. All the very best to you Tim - from Spin Cycle Magazine and everyone who knows you. Thank you for all the laughs and may the wind be always at your back.
Yeah. Cheers Tim. Tim comes from my neck of the woods in Hull, but unlike me has a pretty fine cycling palmares. He was a Cat 1 rider with a 16th place in the National Champs in 1980 and three seasons with Team Mirage - so his knowledge of the sport always shines though his commentary. Tim was asked to pick up the microphone and take over one day when Mike ‘Hysterical’ Smith couldn’t get to a race. He’s become a favourite on the North West racing scene over the last five years, working with Hugh Porter on every Revolution event at the Manchester velodrome since the start and commentating on the Tour of Britain stage finish at Knowsley last year. One of his last outings was the recent Otterspool cyclocross - a fine example of his knowledgeable and encouraging banter featuring a tip of the cap to one of his club mates: There’s Trevor from the Liverpool Century CC. Fighting his way down through the leaders...just proving what you can’t do with not enough training.” Tim already has cycling work lined up upon touch down in Australia with Rapha Condor JLT - helping on their pre season training camp in central Victoria and
reaD all abOUt it The Cycling Anthology Volume One By Ellis Bacon and Lionel Birnie Peloton Publishing £7.99
Review by Dan Kenyon
Haven’t you grown sick of the cyber-chatter this year? God it was awful. A Brit winning the Tour and Armstrong’s long overdue downfall were both stories quickly blighted by the new host of pseudo journalists all over the web - tweeting here, pontifi-blogging there.
There was the twisted logic of hinting that Wiggins was probably on drugs - all because Kimmage hadn’t been allowed to accompany Team Sky on the tour (funniest line of the year from Kimmage, “And I’d already bought a camper van...”) - and because Wiggins had delivered a swear fest at the self same trolls for accusing him of being on drugs.
that you may have wondered about, but don’t often get to see in this detail outside the pages of The Guardian.
Daniel Friebe offers a fascinating piece called ‘Cyclonomics’, which lists the rules that Bill Stapleton use to build HTCHighroad. Looking at the Billy Beane baseball system, Stapleton worked out that cycling was similar. Why chase big riders and put them in a same nationality team full of fellow stars when you could ‘shop for guys with warts’ and pick good riders with psychological or physical handicaps that other teams don’t want?
Patrick Gretsch has one leg longer than the other, while ‘There’s no smoke without fire’ is normally quoted - only Peter Velits has a dreadful riding position holding him by those presumably not rock ‘n’ roll enough to have ever back? Fine. Both problems are superficial and fixable - ‘only the other teams haven’t grasped that, and so the seen a smoke machine. rider is under-priced and underrated’. Then, after Lance was outed, there was the attempted Combine them with a mixed bag of other nationalities, lynching of Phil Liggett and the laughable suggestion all glad for the attention, and an unproven, cheap little that he should retire in shame. upstart from the Isle of Man and set them loose. I wore my thumb out pressing the ‘unfollow’ button on Meanwhile, David Millar’s piece ‘Gone Biking’ is a people waving pitchforks that I had previously counted slightly Brokeback Mountain dedication to his long-term on for sensible, considered opinions. I’m re-following training pal Michael Barry. A farewell eulogy to a retiring them again now - only so that I can send them a link to riding partner; memories of the tours they’d suffered The Cycling Anthology. I hope they read it. together; the texts of a morning before meeting up on the same empty road outside Girona to train together; ‘The Cycling Anthology’ is professional pro-cycling their wives discovering them ‘wrestling’ together in a journalism for grown-ups. There are no lazy clichès, egotistical pretences to any inner circles. No sound-bites tent... I made that last one up. It’s a lovely story. or gossip presented as fact for the cheap thrill of basking Alasdair Fotheringham’s ‘The Exile’ on Oscar Freire is in all the retweets. worth the price of the book alone. It’s also a eulogy for Fourteen of the world’s best writers on cycling and David a literally retiring and very underrated rider who lived outside of the drug culture and still managed to win Millar (who apparently knows a fair bit about cycling) the World’s three times. have offered up 15 gems. These are the kind of stories
nO lazy CliChéS - jUSt CyCling jOUrnaliSm fOr real grOWn-UPS
ClUb riDer – ...every club has ’em by Wheelsucker
‘Freire was never too big on cultivating the image of a cycling star; he’s too practical and unpretentious for that’. Practical? Oh yes. Apparently Freire loves yogurt so much he keeps a spoon in the glove box of his six-year-old Opel Corsa so that he can run into supermarkets and buy yogurts he hadn’t see before and test them straight away. That’s so practical isn’t it? And, according to Shane Sutton, Cadel Evans always rewarded his riders post stage with a Toblerone each. Interesting and essential news to a saddo like me. Just a sample of the riches: ‘Pendleton versus Meares’ by Owen Slot; ‘The Original Individualist’ on Robert Millar by Richard Moore; ‘Il Magnifico’s Twilight’ on Cipollini by Samuel Abt - all superb. As is Edward Pickering doing a whole piece on the real star of the tour for the past two years - ‘In Praise of Thomas Voeckler’. Heaven. For the Grassy Knoll brigade, the year’s biggest stories are sensibly assessed in ‘Bin Bag of Dreams’ by Jeremy Whittle - despite being embedded on the wicked smoke machine and mirrors world of the Team Sky bus. Also ‘Another World’ by Kenny Pryde reflects on his return to cycle journalism after 14 years to find that the taboo story of drugs has become ‘the most important story’, but in danger of becoming the only story. “Riders are under scrutiny like never before, social media is hijacking and bypassing legitimate journalism and press officers are acting as human shields to protect riders from all media other than tame TV.” Luckily for us, a few people who still have some access - and know what they are talking about - are still getting through and reporting back in more than 140 characters. I look forward to Anthology Two.
WWW. SPinCyClemag .COm
“...popped over to Whitley Bay from Workington on Saturday with Bob from The Wheelers. Rain stayed off as far as The Pennines. Only 163.5k. So after a quick cuppa from the trusty flask, Bob set off back for his car and I pushed on back home down the A1 to Ramsbottom for me supper. That added a more respectable 244.1k to the journey...I passed that hospital in Weatherby, where I got stitches after coming off on the Edinburgh-London-Edinburgh weekender in 2004. Lost a little time that day, but got me brevet signed in A&E - so not all was lost. Big Frank, Bob and I are all down for the Super Radonneur: Durham to Durban, South Africa in March. That’ll be a cracking little trip. Careful preparation will be needed. I’ve been told on good authority that you can’t buy Blue Riband bars south of Nairobi...”
We talk to local Mark McNally about his team An Post and we take a look at one of the toughest and most secret sportives in the UK. Thanks for dropping by again and see you on April 1st