Saturday, 27 June 2015

Saturday club ride with C&D Cycles

I was awake at 4am this morning worried there was something I should be doing...oh yeah D2D was last week, go back to sleep. I can't believe it's been a week since our epic ride, however another Saturday means a club ride and on a glorious day weather-wise, it really would be RUDE no to.

Today was another Andy Brown route and as usual it involved all the hills he could cram in. Before that though we had to get out of K-town and even before that Andy F (the dark lord, our super helpful C&D Cycles manager,) needed to give Clive some much needed tlc. The front wheel was wonky, the rear had a loose spoke and then needed straightening...all done in a jiffy, as a club we are spoiled!

Two groups left the shop. Andy B led the quickies who are starting to looking semi pro and Andy B led the banter bunch. I opted for the latter due to the hilly route and well I'm sure those 204 miles last week earn me an easier life. Then we set off. Out of Kettering and right through Geddington we never dipped below 20mph, Andy seemed to have forgotten which group he was leaving or was still reliving his epic TT on Thursday and we passed the quickies who were having a mechanical. It was nice to get a crack on but that pace really wasn't realistic for the banter bunch and thankfully things calmed down...for a bit!

Stunning day out

Handsome chaps

Welland Owd - The largest brick built viaduct in the galaxy

Some of this route had a familiar feel, especially that slog from Harringworth into Gretton. Unfortunately this week there was no tea and brioche at chez Preston. On the way from Gretton to Rocky Hill we passed the quickies again with puncture problems. Then onto the beast that is the latest Northants Hill to feature as a QOM. I'm well pleased to set a PR on Rocky Hill today. No KOM's were harmed in the making of this video!

The problem, as I have often said with Rocky Hill, is that it comes out on the Corby Ring Road. We headed down to the BP roundabout and then turned right towards Cottingham onto the A427 which is a very fast road. We weren't on it for long but needless to be say some very irresponsible motorists completely misunderstood their rights under the highway code and treated us as if we were a nuisance to their day. I hope the fact their saving of microseconds was worth risking my life for. Video footage available below!

With the dramas over we caught up with the quickies again with another puncture! I think it was the same tyre but Andy was once again on a mission and we blasted past the fast group because the little boy in us demands it. From there we tried to catch them again at Pipewell before deciding to act our age and ride more sensibly. The upshot is I have a hatful of PR's today and feel my legs had a good workout. No idea what tomorrow holds but as ever I really can't wait!

Happy pedaling

ps Mark I decided not to mention your incredibly feminine sneeze, it felt a bit mean to bring it up...oh!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Chris Keal - London 2 Paris June 2015

Another guest blog this time from C&D Cycles owner Chris Keal. We owe a lot to Chris but none of us have really ridden with him. He explains in this blog that he doesn't ride much but to make up for that ticks off a ride that a lot of would love a crack at. Chapeau Christophe!

London 2 Paris June 2015

Well most of you will know I don’t do a lot of cycling. I own a lot of bikes and have worked in this industry over 27 years and I never once done a charity bike ride. So I thought it was about time. If I was going to do a ride I wanted something that went to a different country so this is why I picked London to Paris (L2P).


An early start from our prison like Travelodge which was just over a mile away, so we had a walk dragging a kit bag and pushing the bike to the Crystal Palace sports ground where we had to register at 6.00 AM. Once registered we had a quick briefing by the Skyline team, which were the organisers, and given a basic map for when you get lost, and to follow the orange arrows.

Off we went all 85 of us on a variety of bikes, from the all carbon with dura – ace to a mountain bike and a range of hybrids. All riders had various abilities and were excited to get started. We left Crystal palace and I was leading for the first and only time as nobody else wanted to go first.

Riding through London is not great ,  vehicles hitting their horns at you and not respecting us a road users.  We were desperate to get off the main roads and into the quieter lanes. The day was split in to 3 stops , a water stop at 27miles , lunch at 65 miles water stop at 87 miles.

The country riding was fantastic, a nice steady pace chatting to other riders while we pedal along in the glorious sunshine. The route was fairly flat until we got to the south downs then we had our first test of hills. Luckily I live in an area with hills so I was ready for whatever was in front of me. The riders who live on the east coast wondered what they were. After the last water stop we had to meet at a holding point just outside the port of Dover. We were held there so all riders could go in convoy to the port so we could load on to the ferry together. If you got there early you had a long wait for the back markers. Surprisingly we were in the first 25 so we had quite a wait and as the holding point was in a pub time for a pint or 3. Eventually we rode to the port where security took us straight through onto the boat.

The time on the boat was used for eating and a another pint. Once the other side we got escorted off the boat straight through passport control and onto the hotel which was 10 mile away.


Bit off a lie in today as we had to be ready to leave by 7.30 AM.  After yesterday’s glorious sunshine, we had thunderstorms and rain. #NICE DAY TO RIDE.  Off we set heading from Calais to Amiens. It was very humid and wet but the roads were tarmacked and rolling nicely, then the sun came out and the heat went sky high and so did the hills. The Garmin topped out at 37 degrees and it was hill after hill after hill. Long and winding that went on and on. The stops were the same distance apart which in the heat and the hills needed to be closer as we all ran out of water before the next stop. Riders were dropping out with heat exhaustion and some with sun stroke. It was a slog this day , the tarmacked roads turned to farm tracks. This would be a test for the boardman wheels. We made it to Amiens  which was a day’s total mileage of 104. Drained we shower and went for dinner which was provided. Well what they provided was a disgrace. For the amount of energy we were burning dinner consisted of a small bit of mash potato and 3 chunks of beef stew. Not enough to fill my little toe. Vegetarian option for main was a small mound of rice with 6 green beans. #NOT HAPPY. We voiced our anger!


Last day and although the day before was gruelling we were all buzzing as we know that at the end of today we will be in Paris. The weather was a lot cooler today and the group I was riding with decided to leave at 7 AM just in case it warms up to much again. Short day today 98 miles to do . Off we went and as I was from the first day in our little group designated group leader we left the beautiful town of Amiens  and headed directly south. Now this is a completely different day, long rolling roads fairly flat this is what i thought the whole of France was meant to be like. Being cooler and flat the smiles were back on peoples face and not the sweaty grimaces from yesterday. The French country side was gorgeous and riding through the traditional villages you saw nobody. It was deserted.  The pace had picked up and we soon through both water stops and lunch heading towards a holding point about 1.5 miles from our finish point which was the Eifel tower. Now riding in Paris is as wild as London but without the horns. The most terrifying part of the Paris ride was the roundabout around the  arc de triumph .  We waited in a group of six seeing where to go as we still had to find and follow the orange arrows. Once we had spotted our exit we went for it . Sitting in twos behind each other to make a rectangular block. This we thought was the best attack as they must see us as a block of riders. There were cars chopping in round, front, back. Arm signals going out with a flat hand trying to say I” I am coming over” pedalling like the clappers and praying at the same time.  We made it through and did a head count. All present. After that roundabout the roads go to cobbles. So  I have just shit myself on a lethal roundabout now I am being shaken to death and they love cycling!  The guy on the mountain bike that has struggled all the way is now laughing unlocking his suspension and getting a comfortable ride in.

We reach the holding point and wait for all riders to arrive . No pub at this one. Once everybody was present we and to put on a corporate t shirt and we all rode to the Eiffel tower together with the organisers cars surrounding us to stop any traffic cutting in to the group . On the group ride in all you could here were cheers and claps from tourist and locals on the streets cheering you on. At the back of the tower is our finishing point where our friends and family were there to greet us.

We had done it. 300 miles 3 days 2 countries and a lot of memories.  If you believe in yourself you can achieve anything as I have proved.

Another great guest blog, thanks Chris. I assume my 50% discount on that Giant Propel is now a done deal...what...not really...oh ok, you get a guest blog anyway!

Happy Pedaling

Glynn's Grand Day Out

Here's a guest blog from my good friend Glynn Preston. Whilst we all celebrated our longest ride Glynn smashed down all the barriers by joining us for D2D and then riding on to complete 300 miles in 24 hours. Chapeau Glynn you mega monster! Here's his account of the day:

*all green additions are editors notes by me

Glynn is second from the right

So the lovely guys at C & D had a dawn till dusk 200m circular of Northants planed which I got involved with from the start, which got me thinking…

As a lot of u will know the 300 mark is a bit elusive for me, I have done it several times but never made it in 24hrs. I don’t want anyone to feel I sabotaged their ride & to be honest only thought about turning it into a 300 a few days ago.

It just seemed like too good an opportunity (I mean how often do u do 200 miles anyway) so all I have to do is bolt on the extra mileage around their ride.

The Morning Bit

As predicted Fri night I probably had an hour of sleep & sat watching bargain hunt at 11.30 just waiting for midnight.

I had a new bottle stash at my house so it was tricky planning a route so I got back there at 4am to head straight to the shop for 4.30.

I set out with a rough if slightly disjointed route in mind with the intention of getting easy mileage in, so it was off down the A14 all the way to Grafham turn with the exception of a detour through Thrapston to break the monotony. This was entertaining but worked as I averaged over 20 by Grafham helped by a slight tailwind, once I made the turn things got a bit tougher.

I rode towards Kimbolton then took the Bedford rd and a sweeping route to Yeildon, the roads were really good here but I was already struggling with heavy thighs. I went through the usual bit of depression here wondering what on earth I was doing & had a genuine concern I was gonna knacker myself & not be able to complete the C & D bit! With little choice I pressed on down the main rd to Rushden, through the centre & back across to Chelveston.

By this point I was looking on schedule & the thought of getting back to my house was encouraging. I carried on through Raunds, Ringstead, Addington then back along the A14 for one junction.
I didn’t intend to stop at home, but I had 20 min before 4am, so weighed it up between resting my legs & back which I was now suffering with too or getting a few more miles in. The rest won so I had a drink then lay on my kitchen floor for 15 min.

It was soon time to go but I did feel fresh again so headed down to the shop, I was in Kettering quite early so had a spin around Brambleside to bring me up to 68 miles by time I met the guys… much to their bewilderment!

The C&D bit

First thing to say is with Richard & Justin in charge the organisation was impeccable which they have my utmost thanks for. (much appreciated Glynn-Rich)

We were off before the scheduled 4.30 which to me felt more like 10 oclock! It took me until Grafton Underwood to think “crikey this is a good pace” but think I was just feeling the miles. I found the first half of the ride hardest although I was revitalised to be riding in daylight & the company of a group.

We went through Thrapston & I got a distinct feeling of déjà vu having riden the same road 4 hrs earlier!

I had done vague mapping which ended at Wansford as I knew the route from here to Harborough so started to feel more comfortable, with the added bonus of food stop 1 at my parents & the fact I hit 100 miles by 6.30 am!

The croissant & toast food stop went down a treat & on a cocktail of paracetamol & deep heat we continued on the longest stage of the ride between stops to Daventry. To give an idea of the pace I obviously needed to hit 150m by midday... I was there before 10.30am! At this rate I would be home by 9 lol! (dream on Glynn!!!)

There was attacks on the hills mentioning no names (Frank, Heather, Andy) & I was desperately trying to resist the male bravado taking over, I did this pretty well only letting myself go on a few hills throughout the day. ( you didn't!)

After the 10ish the rain came and didn’t really stop till 8pm, this was really heavy at times and I am sure dropped the pace considerably. Control was difficult on some descents and at times (usually when someone was asking for directions) my visibility was practically none. We met Richard senior, Big Dave, at Daventry for bacon rolls despite getting split up & taking an extended route around the ring road (suited me I was up for the miles )

This was the most heavenly thing I have tasted! Another superb bit of organising from Richard was the next food stop was only 36m, then 28 then 20, this worked great as we were all needing the carbs. Oh and lets not forget to mention the smurf juice. I don’t know what Big Dave put in this homemade concoction but it worked for me. (I know and can tell you for a fee, it's mostly EPO, adrenalin, testosterone and bullshit)

We pushed on & I was feeling great, the riding pace was still high but inevitably with a group of 10 some were struggling a bit & there was a fair amount of down time, but touch wood we had had no mechanicals.

I was ever conscious of time and apologise for that, but knew hopes of doing the 300 were dwindling, the figures were going round in my head, Richard predicts arriving back at the shop at 9.30, I should have 32m to do, sounds easy but prob not after such an epic day.

The next food was just after Brackley (which incidentally appeared to be full of car driving morons as a few different incidents within half a mile of each other was the closest we came to any accidents) and another surprise here was 2 members of the air ambulance charity had come out for a photo shoot as we were raising money for them. This just got better as they said “oh we will follow u to the next food stop if u like” kind of like a support car without any actual support!

Quite handy that really as we then got our first mechanicals, a bit of front mech issues then both Heather & Andy puncturing, at least it meant no-one had to carry their old tubes. We cracked on again with the usual crew pushing the pace & the rain letting up for minuets here & there but we were at Salcey in no time for my first experience of chilli. This was fantastic but to be fair I would of probably eaten a snozzberry.

Setting off again we were soon near Cog-en-hoe (which is how it should be pronounced) (kook-nuh Glynn!) it was good to know the roads now, but not that great to think of the climbs to Grendon, Wollaston & Knuston to come. These for me were taken at a leisurely pace as I knew we would be waiting for some at the top, I knew the next stop was at Chelveston but was not familiar of the loop around Newton to get there. It turns out to be mostly flat & with what was now a beautiful evening the pace went bananas to get there. (Heather again honest)

Some quick cake & I scavenged a rear light (thanks Frank) as mine was dying and we were off... for about a min, when Andy's tyre went again! It was 8.30ish & I had 43 to do I reluctantly bided farewell and decided to crack on alone! (Glynn I was pleased to see you go, we were all achieving our goal, it was important to me that you achieved yours)

The end bit

I carried on up the Kimbolton rd past the Hargrave turn a few miles then turned to Keysoe, this was mostly flat, but I was conscious I needed to average around 12 & the few climbs left me reeling as I looked at the speedo. I felt good though so pushed on the best I could to pick up the road to Raunds & follow the guys route to Thrapston.

Wait did I say Thrapston Aaaagh thats the third time I had been there today, all my maps are currently having Thrapston Erased as I never want to go there again!

The only up side is that I caught the fragmented C & D guys while there but I quickly left them again as I was heading through Islip to Corby. I now had 2 slightly dying rear lights & 25m to do, so I ducked off the main rd & went through Brigstock, this gave me an opportunity to grab a quick geochache at the bottom of Saunders Av (Well its not like I was trying to meet a deadline or anything) but to be fair I stopped outside the shop for a breather & to check the stats.

It was difficult psychologically to be heading away from home now, but I continued to Stanion making use of the pathway to save some rear light power. I had 18 miles to do at Stanion & was now just making the route up as I went along.

Again in the interest of speed I kept to the main roads, going straight down to Weldon, then Steel Road around Phoenix parkway. I felt like I could of slept on the bike now but convinced myself to limit the stops & just slow down if needed. If I am honest this was the worst part of the ride & my memory of it is vague! I was convinced I would have to head towards Harborough then cut back through Desborough but I got to 4ways & had a rethink.

12 miles to go, I knew from the old FC in Kettering to home is 5 so it must be 6 or 7 back to Kettering from here. Either way I was heading home & that made me feel a world better.
I trundled up the 6003 & got to the shop with 6ish to go, I did a quick lap of the block then headed out London Rd much to the revellers delight, down past Wicksteed & along Polwell. I got to the end of Polwell & had 1.5 miles to go, knowing it was less to home I took a left around the back of Morrisons.

This really took all of my will power to do, but I landed at my door at 11:20 with 300.5m. Yes I could of carried on till midnight but don’t even go there!

The Aftermath

I was up at half 7 this morn (whoever thought of Fathers day?) and needless to say feel a bit achy. I have kind of been operating in slow motion today, but the weirdest thing is I am so hot like my body is still working!

The 2 things that hurt on the ride, thighs & back are fine, but I have pain just under the knee now & pins & needles in my toes which is something I experienced on one of my other rides for several days after. Oh and I think I have already mentioned my taste buds don’t seem to work anymore.

I actually feel better than any of my previous long rides to be honest.

In reflection I believe 300 miles in 24 hrs is actually quite easy, if you have perfect weather, route, no mechanical's & a couple of really good riders, but you know what I would sacrifice “easy” for riding with a top bunch of guys and sharing in their achievement any day!


Massive thanks for that Glynn, it's a wonderful guest blog and to be fair I think you're a hero for doing this, mad yes, but still a hero!

Happy Pedaling!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

D2D 2015 C&D Cycles 200 mile challenge

Where do I start this? OK let's go for the beginning. Way back in November my boss asked me if I wanted to attempt Chase the Sun with her. That's a 200 mile ride from Kent to Somerset where you leave at dawn and try to arrive before sunset. Never one to back down I agreed. Then I thought about it. Having to be on the Isle of Sheppy at 4.30 and needing to be picked up from Burnham on Sea at sunset really wasn't logical and therefore it required staying overnight at the start and the finish and arranging lifts etc. Not really ideal from our family life so I came up with the idea of trying the same thing locally. Having got some of the club interested Justin Smith came up with a route that closely followed the entire Northants border and dawn til dusk, now known as D2D was born (yeah we changed 'til' to 'to'.) We're a nice bunch but to be fair we're 'not sharp' and before you knew it people were signing up and volunteering to help. It all seemed a long way off then so plenty of time for training and preparing. Then it was the day! 

4.30AM ready to go

Oh hang where's the route?

Ten of us gathered at the shop at 4.30. We were worried about finishing there in the evening due to town centre nightlife however we are silly old fools. The kids were in fact leaving the clubs and in the kebab shops at that time. The plan was to follow the route on Garmin and it was with much surprise that we discovered that Justin had forgotten to download the route! Luckily others had done this and Glynn had a map! So Andy, Justin, Heather, Glynn, Frank, Chris, Ken, Tony, Mark and I set off. Glynn was going for an even bigger challenge of 300 miles in 24 hours. The man who doesn't 'train' is just an animal!

Good set up at Mummy and Daddy Preston's House

I always suspected, having tested this part of the route, that the 45 miles to the first stop would be the easiest of the day and that's exactly how it went. We arrived at the Preston house in Gretton ahead of schedule. Up to then it was a beautiful morning with a lovely sunrise (no pictures we were never facing it!) The roads were quiet and peaceful, it was great. Glynn's parents did us a great breakfast that was very welcome. At this point Tony cheered us all up with the news that the weather forecast had improved. He then ruined it by realising he was looking at Sunday!

From Gretton the world got a lot more lumpy, up Cottingham hill (no idea how I set a PR up that,) and heading round to Market Harborough. My climbing legs started to go then. I find I'm ok on hills for about 30 miles and then after that it's granny gear and survive. My weakness is my weight but it's also my strength because I can catch people coming down hill! I am the fastest rider in the club as long as gravity is lending a hand! Around 70 miles we stopped for a comfort break and both my thighs cramped up getting off the bike. Oh my god, 130 miles to go and I'm already cramping. I also had stomach ache and indigestion. There's was no way I was going to let my body beat me, so we pushed on. At Sibbertoft the rain started. Hills, hills, hills then we got separated and lost in Daventry. Finally we found our way to stop 2 where my parents had set up their mobile home 'the mobile meth lab,' where we topped up on Dad's special blue product 'patent pending recipe 10% discount for D2D riders.' That drink was a bit of research he did and was blue because he looked up the actual bliue colouring used by gatorade! Andy described as 'Blueberry with a dash of Smurf.' We also had a welcome cup of tea and bacon roll. At this point Mark earned himself the title of 'nugget of the day,' with his question "what time is midday?" We arrived at stop two feeling a bit downhearted and left in good spirits. An even bigger boost was Phil 'the beast' Broxton joining our group. We all know he can navigate and we know he can set a tempo and drag us all along.

My legs took a while to get going after that stop and I was struggling more than anyone on the hills. The title of arse ended Charlie was shared jointly on the day between Mark, Tony and I but at the point it was definitely me. I was grateful to Chris for coming back to help me out with words of encouragement and advice. I got a load of jelly beans down my neck and quaffed down Dad's blue juice and boom sugar rush I was back in the game. This was again a challenging part of the route with a massive hill at Aynho, we also went through many places I'd never heard of. It was hard to believe we were still in Northants at times. Stupid place name of the day goes to Aston le Walls. Chris wondered if it was twinned with Bologna the hedge. It was a shorter 36 mile stint to stop 3 at Brackley, we had some more Garmin confusion and then the meth lab was exactly where we hoped it was. At that stop Richard, Phil's mate from the Air Ambulance, joined us. It was great to get a bit of extra marketing for one of our two chosen charities. This time it was more blue product and this amazing flap jack with all sorts of magical ingredients. Whilst I'm bewildered how I can't get my weight down Mum and my wife make amazing things to eat. Hmmm is there a link here?

Stop 3 at Brackley

Having had 131 miles of problem free cycling we set off with Richard in the air ambulance car following us to make us feel extra special. Not long into the ride Mark's front derailleur failed due to a loose cable, so we had a stop and fiddle. Glynn meanwhile was keeping his miles up by going up and down the road. All fixed and not long after that Heather punctured closely followed by Andy. The rain stopped for a while so we got dry for a while but it didn't last. We were virtually in Milton Keynes for a while with even more Garmin confusion. Glynn helped out with his map at times but you had to make sure he'd got it the right way up! Finally we arrived at stop 4 in Salcey Forest. We were still on target at that point to beat the sunset. Mum had made us chilli for this stop and it was very welcome indeed, everyone had double helpings and spirits lifted once again, At this point with just 40ish miles to go I knew I could make it. Cramp and indigestion seemed a distant memory.

Bikes lined up

Stop 4 Salcey Forest...delicious chilli, just what the nurse ordered

Gracie dog was our mascot for the day

My Mum really pushed the boat out

Big 'Heissenberg' Dave 

The 24 miles to stop five at Chelveston was pretty straight forward. As we left Salcey Forest the sun came out and the sky gave us a rainbow. At Rushden we were accosted at the lights by people handing out mars bars, it turned out this was Justin's parents. The weather when we arrived at the stop was gorgeous and we looked forward to the last 19 miles riding into the sunset. Shortly after setting off Andy punctured again on the same tyre. After the dlay we set off again and half way to Raunds (yay Raunds it's never a proper C&D ride without Raunds,) it punctured again. At this stage the sensible decision was to split up. Andy and the stronger riders stayed back to try and sort the problem whilst us plodders got on with it. All hopes of beating the sun were now gone. Glynn also decided to whizz off to complete his challenge. The quickies caught us up before Warkton and at that point we met up with Paul Kelf who had come out on his bike to say hello.

You have to have a picture at Bell End

We arrived back at the shop around 10PM in the dark. It was pure elation to arrive. The queen of cakes greeted us with her magnificent cupcakes and the meth lab was there with everyone's spare kit. This was a huge achievement for everyone involved. I'd like to thank everyone who rode on the day it was a privilege to share the road with you all. Big thanks to the Preston's for stop one and to Richard and Mrs Richard from the air ambulance for their support. Thanks also to Andy and Chris at the shop for lending us the tool kit and providing spares, all will be returned tomorrow. Biggest thanks of the day go to my Mum and Dad. The Meth Lab was the perfect support vehicle, blue product is now my cycling drink of choice and Mum's food really got us through. We all chipped in £10 for that support and in their typical style I've been told to add that money to our sponsorship! That's taken us right through our team target of £750. If anyone else still wants to sponsor us here is the link - D2D 2015

At the finish...200 miles in one day

Video captures a bit of the day

So I got home and had a massive pizza. I was craving fish and chips, well more like moby dick and chips but the chippy was shut! I fell asleep on my second pint trying to watch a bit of telly. My body is a bit sore. My right knee really aches and I have the worst nappy rash, I've never been into chamois cream so I guess that was a mistake yesterday, however we got so soggy I doubt it would have helped that much. Later today I'm going to give, Clive, my magnificent steed some well earned TLC with a proper clean, degrease and lube. People might wonder how hard 200 miles is. I'm not going to lie it was tough. However once you reach a certain level of fatigue it doesn't seem to get worse, it does however get better in bursts and its surprising how much energy comes from nowhere at times. As Andy commented "I'm sure I should feel more tired than this."

That's it then, I have the rest of the day to sit here with a great big beaming smile and a snese of enormous achievement. 200 miles, 300kms and my longest ever ride all ticked off on June 20th 2015. What are we going to do to top that?

Happy Pedaling

Friday, 19 June 2015

Aviva Women's Tour 2015

It was with massive excitement that the 2015 Women's Tour came through the County today and to be fair it passed within 100 metres of my house! As light duties are required today I decided to watch the tour come through Rothwell and then ride over to see the finish in Kettering. That was a great decision because the atmosphere was amazing in Rothwell and how many times in my life will a major sporting event go by my house? The school kids did a great job and the police motorcyclists were excellent entertainment. Don't take my word for it watch the video!

Rothwell gets the tour

After the tour had been through Mark and I cycled over to Kettering for the finish. Again it was an amazing atmosphere and really well organised. Kudos to the tour and K-Town for putting something this good together. Resultt of the day belongs to Frank who rode over from Corby with World Champion Marriane Vos. Marriane who won last years Tour but was unable to take part this year has been working for ITV4 but was doing some recon work for her team on segments of the ride. She'd ridden to Rocky Hill with another cycling friend Simon and he got Frank to join the gang. I'm watching the highlights to see if she mentions our C&D Cycles CC riders.

Big Steve asuhnuhat

Busy busy

I wish I still had my Raleigh Chopper

Classic bikes

more classic bikes

Waiting for the riders

View of the finish

Another pink bike outside the florist

Frank and his new best mate Marriane Vos!

This is them on Gypsy Lane!


What a brilliant day! If you ever thought, whats the point it's over in seconds...well it was but I found it magical. The pace and power of these professional cyclists is something to be in awe of. The average 40kph, that's 24mph. I can't imagine being that fit. This was top quality sport and another example of why more needs to be done to promote women's sports. If you get he chance watch the women's football world cup, it's great. Or watch superleague netball on Sky Sports. There's a lot to see!

Last shout out of the day goes to Andy who is very pleased with his excellent club right now!

Would just like to say thank you to all those that helped today at the women's tour. It was great to have such an active role in the biggest thing that has come to Kettering by far. But it was also fantastic to put the club on the map a little more, since first this morning messages have been popping up on my phone seeing us all in different places of Northants in our club kit, so we'll done to all of you, I now intend to sit back and soak up the rest of the day.... Proud of every single one of you! It takes a fair bit of organising week in week out but today was so worth it.



OK that's it, I have a little ride tomorrow I might do some video and pictures and stuff and cobble a blog together...when I've recovered! Mum and Dad are in full swing getting our support vehicle 'the Mobile Meth Lab,' ready for tomorrow. Looks like they will do us proud and Dad has prepared some special blue product.

Heissenberg's special blue product

Happy pedaling

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Miles, records, snot and all the grace of the fairy elephant...

So here it is this weeks blog of another fantastic week of riding. As the title suggests I've put a few miles in, made some improvements, witnessed remarkable records, suffered with hayfever like never before and erm...had a spectacular tumble!

First off I got out a couple of times for my usual pre work spin. I'm happy with my progress here as it indicates I'm gradually speeding up. If you get PR's on segments you regularly ride then something is going well.

No ride for me on Saturday this week due to Mrs Lindsley being on a Hen day. They went to see Dirty Dancing and then to Jamie's Italian in Nottingham. Sounds ghastly doesn't it! I had to take SuperSam to sailing and whilst he played with boats I did a circuit of Pitsford on foot bagging 16 geocaches. I did this because it was soggy and I didn't feel like messing up my 29r. Well that serves me right for not obeying the rules as I now have sore ankles from a thousand soggy bits of grit getting stuck down the back of my socks. Next time I'm riding!

Sunday was time for a bit of proper cycling. The club had two choices as Andy Brown had created another undulating route this time 100 miles in length and also Steve was running his usual 50 mile mystery tour. I opted for the latter for both time reasons and it's only six days to D2D.

On my way into Kettering I passed the 100 mile mountain goats going the other way. Thanks for the greetings and the abuse guys, I sincerely hope Andy ruined you all!

With very healthy numbers for a Sunday ride in both groups the club really is going from strength to strength. I know Andy is rightly proud of C&D Cycles CC and today was one of those days when you can see why.

Steve's ride was great as usual. We did some of the stuff we did the week before with the climb past stinky Chettles. Steve himself was unusually quiet and it dawned on me he was on a personal quest to achieve a PR you won't find on Strava. Steve was determined to break his record for the most miles ridden without dropping the 'C bomb!' You really have to love the prince of profanity at times. The new standard is exactly 50 miles.

Riding wise I felt I was keeping up with the whippets better than ever and a good average for me plus a hatful of PR's bears this out. However my crowning achievement of this ride was on arrival back at the shop. I dismount my bike by swinging my leg over on one side, coming to a stop and then unclipping on the other side and hopping off. I've done this 100's of times without incident...until now. Today as I put one foot done it slid like a skate on the cleat and I landed on my posterior with the bike on top of me in the middle of the road. Both my legs instantly cramped and I was stranded on my back like and upside down turtle. Everyone tried really hard not to laugh but to be fair it must have been a hilarious sight and despite being in agony I was struggling not to laugh myself, that is until people started giving me 'helpful advice.'

Andy was highly amused

After a good recovery dinner and some re-hydration in the Queen Adelaide, Dad and I had a look at the revised D2D route and planned the food stops. 10 of us are planning to attempt the 200 mile route on Saturday. The route we are following can be found here we won't be the first C&D Cycles CC riders to attempt it though as our very own Nat completed the route on Friday. This is going to be a massive achievement as a group ride so big kudos to Nat on a mahoosive solo ride.

The day before D2D the Women's tour comes to Northamptonshire for the second year in a row, This is a massive honour for the county and I can't wait. Lots of us are planning to see the event and as it comes through Rothwell and then takes a roundabout route to Kettering my plan is to see it in my home town and then ride to Kettering for the finish. link to the route

Next week could be the best cycling week ever!
Happy Pedaling

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Great week of cycling

I'm getting pestered! Where's the blog? Well calm down here it is! Three rides this week and I loved every minute on my bike. Cycling makes me smile. I ride along grinning like a Cheshire cat, I'm sure I look quite mad to passing miserable motorists!

Regular readers have seen this route before as it's just my usual morning quick spin. Too quick this week as I headed back into Rothwell I felt very disappointed it was over for the day. However as people have been pointing out, it's only two weeks until riding all day will be a necessity rather than a desire.

Our Saturday club ride had a different start and finish point due to the shop having a stand at Kettfest. What fest I hear you ask? Well yes that's a bit of an issue. Kettering set up this amazing weekend of events Kettfest2015. However if it wasn't for Andy I wouldn't have known about it and most of the people I talked to hadn't got a clue either.

Andy set up the C&D Cycles stall next to Cycle Northants which seemed appropriate. I arrived quite early for me to show willing and support the club but this was a mistake. The stall was in the shade and a bit of a wind tunnel and it was freezing by the time we set off, in one big group, for a variation of our regular Pitsford loop.

Steve led the ride and Rich did the tail-gunning duties. With a large mixed group it's always difficult and some of the quicker lads ended up going the wrong way and eventually ending up back in Kettering after us plodders had arrived. Back at the stall we were treated to a plethora of cake options, so a big thanks to the bakers: Heather, Mrs Smith and my very own Queen of cakes.

Andy and Chris setting up

Lycra loonies gathering

Cycle Northants human powered music

Handsome chaps

I stalked the cycling mascot

I even managed a bit of video this week

Saturday's remain the most important club ride of the week but for me Sunday's are the most rewarding. Steve plans cracking routes and today's did not disappoint. Usually it's a small group so everyone gets a mention but today we were in double figures. I'm used to being the weakest rider on a Sunday, something I'm OK with, I just aim to keep up for as long as possible as Sunday regulars such as Steve, Nat and Neil smash out a relentless pace. Today was no different but I felt I was keeping up a bit better than usual. At fifty miles I checked my average and it was 17.2mph, not that exceptional for others but that's actually brilliant for me. I was tempted to stop Strava there and then. Perhaps I should have done because back at the shop was 60 miles and I'd dropped to 16.2mph. I did stop Strava then because I knew after tea and cake my legs always tighten and those 6 miles home would completely wreck my average. I also indulged in a bit of segment hunting on my target segment, Lamby Dodger. I set a PR of 28 seconds to record a joint fastest time this year but at 12th place I still have work to do to achieve my goal of a top ten. I've noticed that the 'other' C&DCC Rich is in at 5th but for my age group I'm 4th and for my weight group I'm top! Not that I'm obsessed or anything.  segment link

The route today took us to places less often travelled with great names such as Dungee Lane and beautiful places such as Olney, Lavendon and Harrold but today I'm going to feature Cogenhoe. Non locals have just read cog-en-hoe, the poshest or people might say coh-gen-hoe but they're all wrong because it's 'kook-no.' Yeah we like to mess visitors around in Northamptonshire with our Isham's and Towcester's but I have to say Cogenhoe is the king of ridiculous spelling in Northants. I've known how to say it all my life because my Dad grew up there and it's where my Nan and Granddad lived. If you're interested here's more info on Cogenhoe and where the bizarre spelling comes from wiki link my favourite Cogenhoe fact is that former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves used to live there.

Many senses were challenged on the ride. It was a beautiful sunny day and Northants looked amazing. Emotionally it just felt like a great day to ride. One sense that was challenged heavily was smell. Coming out of Rushden our noses were assaulted by the chicken processing factory, it was really quite hideous. Steve described it as 'like a prostitute's gear box!' He has a special way with words. Luckily it wasn't long before we reached Burton Latimer which always smells nice because Weetabix is made there. Glynn was responsible for assaulting my senses on two counts. Firstly the poor bloke has a broken nose and sniffed round the whole ride, we discussed how Breathe-Right-Nasal-Strips might help so there's a link for you Glynn. I suspect you can do better elsewhere at that price. The next thing he did is a heinous crime under the Velominati rules of cycling as he wore a sleeveless jersey. Pictures to follow (sorry Glynn) People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones though, as I was assaulting all around me with my hayfever induced snot rockets. Apologies to everyone but it's gotta go somewhere! Finally I'm sorry to all for my continual singing of Taylor Swift's 'Shake it Off.' I'd only just this minute got it out of my head and then it came on the telly!!!! Arrrggghhh shake it off!

Great group riding

They had a bad day...Alfa Romeo :/

Quick Stop

I love a good war memorial

Broken down steam engine, driver underneath...


The offending sleeveless garment

I really did dawdle home!

Right that's it for my cycling this week but I'm currently really excited about tonight's Hour record attempt by Sir Bradley Wiggins. As I type this I'm sat in my Wiggo t-shirt. For those who don't know see below.

Happy Pedaling

Ooops sorry Steve!