That’s it all finished my first ever cyclocross season done, 14 rounds 11 venues 1 mechanical 2 flat tyres and 100% amazing. My goal was to complete every round which i did so mission complete but a massive thank you has to be said to all those at the Central League for their time and effort in running this for all age groups so Kelvin and co Thank you, thank you to Keith Perry for all the photos this season also to all clubs and club helpers that also made each round possible. Since September 2015 i have made some great new friends through cyclocross namely Simon Young,Keith Perry, Mike Clark, Aaron Beard, Tony Marriott and Greg Simcock to name a few, caught up with some old ones, Murray Frost and Stephen Jones and raced and cheered on current ones.
The one thing everyone involved has in common is their love of cycling and sport, its not so much about winning or loosing but simply being involved. For some it’s a little off season fun for others it’s their main yearly target, maybe its fitness or simply getting the kids involved. It’s away from the traffic which is a big thing for some riders and the surfaces you race on are not that different from good old English roads (rough). No bike or kit snobbery and no one is bothered where you finish their just glad youre taking part, as with any sport the more involved the more it evolves.
Looking at the growth in Cyclocross this year alone is great, junior racing is picking up quickly and so are the Women’s numbers and why wouldn’t they when you look at the likes of Gabby Durrin, Nikki Harris, Helen Wyman and our new U23 world champion Eive Richards 4 amazing British female riders mixing it with the best over the past few years and theres probably a few young superstars sharing the same races as us week in week out and we just don’t know it yet.
With the Gravel road market picking up slowly but steadily in the UK it will bring a whole new line of people into the sport of Cyclocross as they search for a more intense adventure on the weekends and im sure the Gravel market will see lots of interest from the Cyclocross riders as they look for Summer off road rides to keep their hand in. Fatbikes is another one, great off road fun especially for people who have never dabbled in mountain bikes before and before you try to say it’s not for you take one out with some friends and try it you will not be disappointed.
These three forms of cycling go hand in hand with each other and shortly we will be posting some key Summer events for you to take part in and see what you think of the Gravel world for yourself.
So what have i learnt from Cyclocross ? well the biggest thing is do not wipe your eyes or adjust your crown jewels after applying a warm up embrocation cream, results may vary but either way there not good, hot but not good. Tyre pressure is super important although i managed one race on flat tyres and actually did quite well but along with tyre choice keep a diary of what you used and where to work out whats best for you in different conditions, warm up and course pre-rides are crucial if you want to start the race correctly prepared but for me the biggest thing is pain management & fitness.From the whistle you do your best to manage the pain for 40-60 minutes depending on category you are racing in but obviously being cross fit helps. Helen Wyman recently released power data showing what a cross rider goes through in a race which is consistent efforts way above FTP in most cases, jumping off and back on the bike whilst breathing and heart rate go bonkers.
Until you have tried a race you wont really know what to expect and if it’s for you plus as the weather changes so do the conditions which means every week is different, no circuit is ever the same so you cant prepare in the same way as a track or road rider can but like i say until you try it you’ll never know.
Well thats it for now until September apart from various one off events through out the year the first of which is Battle on the Beach in March so once completed we will let you know how it went but we will bring loads of Gravel and Fat bike stuff to you as the months go on to keep you busy.
Enjoy the break everyone.
I cant believe its been over 3 weeks since the last update but January has been pretty fast paced so far. Loads to say but as usual not a lot of time to say it in, so firstly 2 more rounds of the Central cyclocross league are behind us, the first was held at Milton Keynes the day before the National points series and hosted by De Velo. A morning pre ride gave me a fairly frozen course and fully rideable with the added sunshine all looked set for a fast paced race. I have enjoyed the rounds at MK this year but always found them hard as the pace is usually quite high for someone of my bulk.
Move forward some 3 hours and Mother natures pop-de-ping has been on defrost to leave us with a course similar to the consistency of porridge in lots of sections and probably 75-80% rideable. It was hard going with various people dropping out for reasons like 1st lap punctures (Simon Young) to rear mech snapping mud build up, as usual a hard race with no real let up and the chequered flag being taken by Mike Simpson of Beeline cycles. Still the race was enjoyable or as enjoyable as 40 minutes of pain management can be and during the last lap i got Murray Frost from Twickenham cc in my sites but only for a few seconds as the moment i pushed to catch him it all went pear shaped but still you’ve got to try.
Seven days later we are back up in Kettering for the penultimate round due to round 12 being moved to February. This is the third race in that neck of the woods (Literally) and the second hosted by Kettering.cc and all 3 races have been great with lots of woody single track sections and super muddy conditions.
This weekend the course was very slippery with some good off camber sections and soul destroying glupe and a really nice mild downhill section that almost had a berm at the end so you could rail it with speed. The starting field was a little smaller than usual for the Vets 40-49 but that didn’t make it easier. Lots of riders hit the deck on this one namely Michael Clark as he was directly in front of me when he went down smiling and Murray Frost tasted the local hawthorne bushes emerging like something from a Rambo movie but undeterred rode on to the end. The race was eventually taken by Mike Simpson from Sean Dines by 4 seconds and now only 45 points separate the top 3 overall with one round left to go. All results can be found here at CXL’s website for all age groups.
Saturday the 6th of February see’s the final round in Welwyn Garden City hosted by Welwyn.cc at Stanborough lakes so a slippy twisty course is what im expecting there hopefully not to close to the actual lake.
Last few things for now Open Cycles “UP” is now pretty much available in all sizes just a few more days for XL and small but Large and Medium are go go go and gone gone gone and keep you eyes peeled for a some coverage of the UP with another big brand soon (we will give you a heads up) meanwhile check out the bits and peaces here Pedalling Gear UP.
We have a series of shop events coming up this year in conjunction with Le Domestic Tours, our first outing to the cobbled home of Belgium will be written up in March after its maiden voyage but please sign up to the mailing list here to make sure you get all the info first. We are hoping to run these one day events on a monthly basis or fortnightly depending on the interest, they will be to France and Belgium and in small groups of 6-12 will be a great day out and probably include Beer afterwards so keep checking back for Team PG’s first run out mid March.
Last of all Servicing and Bike fitting has picked up very very quickly this month so we are advising you book up well in advance to avoid disappointment, the weather may be a little rubbish at the moment but it will suddenly change so get your bikes and positions sorted in advance to make the most of it.
Enjoy your week folks.
Round 11 of the Central Cyclocross league was held at west glebe park in Corby on the 28th of December by Rockingham forest wheelers, thankfully the weather was good and hard to believe it was the end of December as it was so mild however a partial warm up lap was a different story. The first section of the circuit or first half if i’m honest i found very heavy going and just couldn’t get moving whilst my heart and lungs tried to get out and find a lift home my legs just sniggered as they pretended to go round and i thought thats it day over. Once into the woods which was a little more single track and technical i found a little recovery and picked up some ground “literally” it was a super sticky mud fest. My second lap was slower but i was beginning to feel good and hoping to make some positions back up at which point i started catching Mike Clark from Team Trident.
A fast Michael Clark leaving me for dust Vets 40-49
I kept with him into the start of lap 3 at which point he began to pull away and i had nothing to chase with so accepted my doom and carried on to hold my position until about 1 minute later when my chained said no more. I refitted it and jumped back on and it was straight off, after several attempts i gave up shouldered the bike and began to walk ( i was shattered) once out of the woods on the straight toward the finish i tried again and this time it stayed on, 2 people passed me so i decided to get going at which point the winner Mike Simpson of Beeline Bicycles came past and took the checkered flag so that was it race over.
James Norris Seniors 14th
Aaron Beard Seniors 13th
Neil “Custard” Tandy Seniors DNF
James Norris HWCC , Aaron Beard Thames Velo and Neil Tandy Team PG were all having good races in the seniors until Neil went down in the mud and finished his race earlier than expected and Aaron and James came in 13th and 14th. It was another week of rear derailluers snapping off due to the mud so loads of DNF’s but it was a great course and as always great fun regardless of position or effort required.The next round scheduled for January 2nd has been postponed so nothing now until the 15th of Jan at Milton Keynes and on the 16th round 6 of the National Trophy series is also there so a great weekend of cross almost on the doorstep for those interested.
Sean Dines Vets 40-49
The start of 2016 also sees the end of an amazing career for Sven Nys. The following this guy has in cyclocross is amazing and must be down to his dedication and love for the sport. Since the late 90′s he has collected various titles and medals as he’s put himself firmly in the history books as if not the best then definitely one of the best ever cyclocross riders of all time. He may be retiring but he is taking a bigger role within the sport to help it grow worldwide and focus on the youth riders coming through much like his own son who is already showing signs of a future champ. If you want to find out who he is in brief then have a look here at CXhairs.com Sven to see what the fuss is about.
Simon Young Vets 40-49
Now a few weeks back we wrote a blog explaining how we are changing for the coming year due to online pricing and how the retail side of life is changing in general. A lot of us dont really notice it as its an every day thing changing bit by bit just like mobile phones. Do you remember when you saw that guy with a military looking phone/battery the size of a brief case and how stupid he looked as we all said it will never catch on ?. Mobile phones, Facebook, Shop online it’s normal practice we all do it every day and it’s getting easier and easier, retail is set to change massively over the next few years and we need to change with it otherwise we will disappear for good.
Mike Simpson Vets 40-49 Winner
We are not 100% ready to let you know whats coming from Pedalling Gear just yet but it will be good and far more interesting for you all so if you havent already done so please go to our website and join the mailing list under the social section so you will be among the first to find out what is coming and how you can be a part of it. There will be a little transitional phase over the next month or so in the shop so please bare with us meantime and all the news will go out on our newsletter shortly.Lastly our YouTube channel will have more content going soon and we will always notify people via most social media outlets.
Well its almost 4am so im off to get some sleep but let me wish you a Happy New Year and i hope 2016 does for you what 2015 didnt.
Fresh from yet more Cyclocross exploits this weekend, I wanted to give all the Pedalling Gear supporters and friends an update on the business, and how I see things changing over the coming months and years.
2015 has been a very tough year for the cycle trade. It doesn’t matter how many times the media tells me that cycling is on the up, the numbers at my till don’t lie!
The high street as we know it is going to change beyond recognition over the next few years as the power and pricing of the internet brands means that shops covering staff and overheads simply can’t survive. I totally understand the challenge my customers face, but equally I can’t match, let alone beat the prices of Wiggle and others. In fact I can’t even get close. And on that basis, I would buy online too…
Soon the high street will be service only: cafes and coffee shops, hairdressers and charity shops, with no room for any retail that isn’t urgent.
On that basis, we need to rethink what Pedalling Gear offers, and focus on the parts we’re really really good at.
From 1st January 2016 (ok, 2nd January, we’ll have a hangover on the 1st) we are going to concentrate on custom builds, servicing and bike fitting. We’re going to let Wiggle, Chain Reaction and Ribble fight for the tiny margins in retail and instead we’re going to focus on providing the best service we possibly can for our customers. If you want helmets, shoes etc, you know where to look!
This means we plan to shorten lead times on servicing so you don’t have to wait so long, with a real focus on ‘while-you-wait’ servicing to keep you on the road and your bikes in tip-top condition.
Our re-structured pricing will go on our website over the Christmas period to help clarify costs for all sorts of jobs and you will be able to sit and have a coffee if you are hanging around for quick tweak. We will obviously keep all the parts for servicing in stock, but equally if it’s an expensive item and you’ve found it online, we’ll happily fit it and make sure it’s perfect.
Clothing-wise, we’ll keep selling our awesome Pedalling Gear kit, so feel free to wear our colours with pride.
What we will do is keep building bespoke bikes from the brands such as Parlee – Moots – Open – Scappa – Ritte (and a few that can not yet be announced) because this is what we are most passionate about. We’ve spent a long time trying to get the perfect mix of brands for the discerning bike fan, without making every build impossibly expensive.
Also as our Racing Team has gained some ground this year we are going to grow this a little more and get our Sunday rides back on track from February 2016 getting that good old club feel going again.
I am sure we will evolve even further this year as the industry reinvents itself. When large brands are already following the likes of Canyon (Trek are going to sell online in the States) this is going to have a massive effect on the way bike shops change in the not to distant future.
What it won’t do is diminish our passion and enthusiasm for bikes.
We would like to finish off by saying a big ‘thank you’ to all of you that have stuck with us over the last two and a half years and we hope you stick with us for the future.
Have a great Christmas to you all and we hope to see you back in the saddle in 2016.
Okay so it’s been a month since the weekly blog was updated but by the lack of emails and texts i assume not one person had noticed which confirms my guess on the audience size, so Mum this one is for you that’s if you can read font this size. This weekend was round 10 of the central cyclocross league and weirdly the previous round was round 9 and due to what ever excuse you wish to insert here (excuse) i didn’t write it up which is a shame as GS Henley done a grand job with a diss-used golf course and lots of tape to make another great course with bunkers, trees, sand and of course Mud. Now i didn’t win so lets move onto this weeks round swiftly whilst i can still remember some of it as it is over 24hrs now and it’s all beginning to fade.
Hillingdon is well known for it’s road circuit and mid week crits but there is as i and many others discovered on Sunday so much more to it than that. Theres Mud lots and lots of super evil sticky clay type mud that obviously isn’t happy there as it tried to leave the borough of Hillingdon via everyones bicycle.
This meant there was lots of this.
Regular amounts of this.
And a lot of this aswell.
Unfortunately culminating in quite a bit of this.
This made for a mad race, whilst spectating later in the day it was crazy how many people had to keep stopping to de-mud due to lack of movement of wheels/brakes and derrailuers but it was definitely fun in my book, especially as i started the race with flat tyres which for the 100 meter concrete surface start was not ideal. I vowed to finish every race this season and 2 flat tyres were not going to hold me back, whilst crossing the road circuit admittedly my rims made some interesting noises as they tried to separate from my tyres but once on the grass/mud it was actually ok but not recommended.
Can i just point out all the good pictures are from Keith Perry the odd dodgy out of focus stuff is mine, i call it artistic others call it well shit really but i bet David Bailey was crap once (for anyone born from 1980 onward he was a photographer) Keith’s images can be found HERE.
Some looked for other ways to avoid the mud but the Heathrow flight path was just to close.
I managed to catch up with a few of the usual suspects Murray who was obviously not on form this week because i actually got passed him ( its only taken 4 months and 10 rounds) and Simon who i swapped places with for the best part of the race and if it wasn’t for the final push to get passed someone with a mechanical before a section where passing wasnt possible he probably would of had me but still i enjoyed every moment and look forward to round 11.
Murray Frost and Semi Camo Bicycle
A mooch back to the PG tour bus and change of clothes later i was back to catch the end of the V50 mens and Womens races then a quick off road mission to get set up for the start of the senior race. Representing PG were Neil Tandy and Tim Hawes and close friends James Norris from HWCC, Tom Zittel riding for Willesden in his 2nd cross race ever Ben Thompson riding for the love of cycling, Aaron Beard of Thames Velo and lots of other people i dont know.
Neil, James and Tom all had a good race, unfortunately both Ben and Tim didn’t finish due to last lap mechanicals which were a plenty this weekend and Aarons face lit up every time he saw the gloopy stuff, that boy loves mud. Needless to say the seniors race was as mental as usual with the field spreading out massively over the first two laps as the mud played chaos with some and left others alone to get on with it.
The only results i know currently are Vets 40/49 men winner was Sean Dines and Seniors winner was Bruce Dalton.
This weekend again had more first timers racing and thoroughly loving it, like anything you get into you can tell everyone how great it is and its the best thing ever bla bla bla but if you have a mountain bike or can borrow a cross bike then look up the race calendar at British cycling pick a race near you pay your money and have a go. Novices race for 30 minutes and it is one of the best 30mins you’ll have on (most of the time) a bike regardless of age or gender. And if you have questions then drop us an email and we will be happy to answer them, Get out and Race.
Even the Marshals have fun