Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Cicuit Training 20 June 2017

Having had hot sunny weather for several days the summer resumed its normal conditions tonight of just above freezing with a stiff breeze. Nonetheless the conditions proved perfect for at least four of tonight's riders who got PBs. Chapeau peeps!

Adrian did one lap on fixed taking round Jude on his MTB so they both got the same time. We expect great things here!

Blackstone Two Three

Blackstone Two Three will start from the bus stop at the bottom of Cragg Vale this Thursday 22nd June at 7.15pm. Meet at 7.00 to sign on. Unlike last year the ride will end at the pub, rather than at the bottom of Cragg Vale, so that people don't have to head back up to the pub afterwards.

The Robin Hood Inn will provide sandwiches and chips for £5 per person if you would like some post ride tuck.

If you can't make the ride, those doing the usual Thursday ride are welcome to join us at the Robin Hood after!

The ride costs £1 and all proceeds go to Parkinson's Disease Research.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Circuit Training 13 June 2017

After we were rained/blown off last week calm once again returned to the Halifax hill tops and a field of 9 riders including new face Richard Hand from Pedalsport took to the road. Two PBs for Andy Greenwood and Matthew Cockerham with everyone else coming close as well.  Fastest time of the night going to Lewis.

This weeks results and current leader board are below:

Monday, 12 June 2017


The CTC and Halifax Imps organised ride returns for its third year!

After the downpour last June let's hope this year's weather is 'OK' at worst.

This event will replace the usual Thursday night ride on the 22nd June, though if you can't make the 7pm start at Mytholmroyd you're still welcome to end any other ride you may do at the Robin Hood Inn.

We shall meet at 7pm to sign on (£1 per person) with a ride start of 7.15. Most will know the route, but if not here is a very rough map I've just drawn....

Although I would suggest that this time, instead of descending Cragg Vale all the way to Mytholmroyd, we finish it at the Robin Hood Inn, to save those who fancy a drink having to head back up Cragg Road again.

The Robin Hood Inn will  once again be the location for the post ride debrief session, where they have kindly said they will provide sandwiches and chips for a small fee per head.

All money raised will go toward Parkinson's Disease Research.

Hope to see you there,


Eau d’Outdoors and The Mesmerising Crack

After some naïve fool (namely me) suggested a Saturday morning ride, sense prevailed with a collective view that Sunday at 10 am would be a more pleasant and dry affair.  Matt Cockerham was handed the mantle of route creation and therefore, by default, ride leader.  A magnificent seven departed promptly from the toy shop with some differences of opinion as to what constitutes ‘blowin a gale’ versus ‘a light head wind.’

Setting off along the Burnley Road Bridleway we were soon spinning into Hebden; reassured by the familiar smell of josticks.  With the sun letting out a brief blast of heat there was an early break away on the climb up to Heptonstall.  Confusion in the peloton led to a split in the group with some favouring tarmac, others cobbles.  Thankfully all re-grouped for a brief pause in Blackshaw Head and a first foray into Miss Norris’s special flapjack.  Cementing her status as Imps answer to Mary Berry, she triumphed again with what looked like flapjack but tasted like glorious apple crumble.

Long Causeway lived up to its name with an unpredictable wind direction always waiting to blow us across the road into an unsuspecting Bridestone.  With the head wind tamed, a speedy decent into Walk Mill saw us pull into JJ’s café for an early lunch.  A varied menu catered for all tastes with Lewis ‘Baby Face’ Clegg particularly happy at his eligibility for fish fingers from the children’s menu.  The ride leader went for the direct approach by ramming everything on in his plate inside his sandwich before Ms Norris and yours truly got ‘offaly’ excited about some rather fine black pudding.

Heading up the hill in the direction of Bacup, the pressing issue on everyone’s mind was eventually verbalised as the climb progressed.  Without doubting the quality of Castelli bib shorts, questions have to be asked of a manufacturer of such repute that they sold ride leader Cockerham a pair with what can only be described as a rear view window.  His winking crack had already mesmerised all members of the climbing group, so public acknowledgement of the depth of the problem, only served to increase the hilarity for all concerned.

Pre-watershed picture

Dropping into the ghost town of Bacup, Sarah suffered the first mechanical of the day before the heaven’s opened much earlier than predicted.  As all headed for the relief of a handy bus shelter, Dave Saleem’s uncertain membership status with the Imps saw him banished to his own shelter further up the road which didn’t have an entry fee of £8 per annum.
The Imps shelter and, in the background, Dave Saleem in the Star Wheelers Shelter, which, he assured us, was a much better shelter.

Progressing towards Rochdale, the group continued its Tour de Lancashire Bus Shelters as the monsoons came and went.  ‘Top Pumper of the Day’ goes to Mr Brabbin who was cruelly visited by the ‘p’ word at what turned out to be an opportune moment.  As we all stopped to watch his amazing wrist action in the shelter of somebody’s garden, the worst storm of the day passed us by leaving only clear skies ahead as we dropped back into Yorkshire via Denshaw. 

A fantastic climb up to a very wild Buckstones Edge left only a grin inducing descent to our final refreshment destination of the Spring Rock.  As the landlady seemed to delight in our ‘outdoorsy smell’ the conversation turned towards unusual scents, the merits of GT85 as deodorant and the prospect of some Imps patented Sheep Shit Chamois Cream.

As ever, another truly entertaining and hilarious day out with the Imps.

Ed ‘Crevice Gazer’ Jandzio – 11/06/2017

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Car assisted ride from Wetherby with the CTC....(as I am a life member I am allowed to use this title.)

The offer on the Calderdale FB page said this was a pancake flat 30 mile round trip from Wetherby to Rufforth and back. As the weather looked fair to reasonable the Trike-meister decreed that those who were not sleeping off the night shift would be going along to represent the Imps (at least those of the three-wheeled sort).

As usual this brought forth cries of child-cruelty from the rider of trike 4 who was persuaded to get up and go along by the promise of how his life would not be worth living if he did not....

Arriving in Wetherby and overshooting the car park due to the sign being hidden by a tree, Team Trike eventually disembarked and waited the arrival of the rest of the group who eventually numbered some 26 including the Hushes on the ex-Mann semi-recumbent tandem.

Trike 4 spent this time doing doughnuts and sprints around the carpark which no doubt contributed to his lack of get up and go related further down the page...

A group picture was taken minus the crew of trike 4 who was camera shy due to worries that his street cred may be irreparably damaged if anyone sees him hanging around with a bunch of people with bicycles.

You will note how the sun shone upon the righteous....

We left via the Greenway towards Thorpe Arch which is equipped with stupid gates that are just wide enough for trike  4 to get through (narrow wheel-base) but not trike3 and nor for that matter the semi-recumbent Hase Pino - thanks Sustrans you Muppets for the extra weight training and stress to get past the bloody things.

Finally we got back onto roads where gates are no quite so prevalent and sped through the expanse of former military holiday homes that is Thorpe Arch.  At this stage Trike 4 began to complain of stomach ache and we dropped off the back. Reid returned to look for us and was told not to wait as a) I knew the way and b) I didn't think Trike 4 was going to get any faster as he was expending all available energy on moaning.

Trike 4 was bribed to push on by the promise of a quick detour to his favourite Little Chef on the A64 by Bilborough which was en-route and could be easily reached via the bike path.  As it turns out this was a fortuitous event as we were served within five minutes and Trike 4 was somewhat less unhappy. We rode on towards the cafe stop at Rufforth where we were advised that after being there for over an hour only half the main group had got served.

We did not stop but carried on expecting to be speedily caught before we got back to Wetherby but in the end this did not happen and even though we were in the car park at the finish for around half an hour re-embarking the trikes we never saw anyone again....eery music plays.

The return trip was uneventful, broken only by a stop to look at the Marston Moor monument and take an out-of-focus picture of the crew of number 4 looking like he was learning something.

As stated above after some time putting trikes into vans and hanging around to see if anyone else was coming back we decided we'd waited long enough and they were all old enough to look after themselves and went home for tea. A good, if somewhat blustery, day with two five-second showers.

Glad to be back.....

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Lewis and Holly's Monte Baldo Ride

The Strada Statale 12 is an important Italian state highway, travelling roughly in a north-south direction, beginning in the historic town of Pisa on the west coast, connecting the towns of Modena, Verona, Trento and Bolzano, before threading its way through the eastern Alps to Innsbruck in Austria. Though it has now been somewhat demoted in status along much of its length by the three lane Autostrada 22, it remains an important route, used by many cars and lorries who perhaps want to reach some of the smaller towns along its route, enjoy the stunning alpine sceney it weaves through or, more likely, wish to avoid the tolls of the ‘auto’ which parallels it.

Holly and I had to use this road for a 15 mile stretch in order to reach the foot of the mountain we were to be climbing. Up ahead we saw an articulated lorry holding up the opposite side of the road and couldn’t understand what the problem was. As we got closer it became clear that the driver had thought it necessary to park up in the middle of his lane and stop all southbound traffic so that he could get out and buy himself a punnet of grapes from a roadside vendor. He was clearly fussy as it took him a while to decide on which punnet to choose and then negotiate a fair price. It gave a fair indication of an Italian’s approach towards the rules of the road: that they are an agreeable enough idea, so long as they can be disobeyed at any time and for any reason, including ‘no reason’.

Today’s ride was born from my desire to get in a mountainous ride while on holiday in Lake Garda and so naturally I poured over google maps until I found the tell-tale indicator of alpine height gain – the zig-zag. The road from the sleepy town of Avio to the top contained around 26 hairpins, give or take a couple, depending on how strictly hairpins are defined. This would do nicely. Unfortunately for the purist, it was not a true Col, as the road didn’t pass between two hills. Rather, it snaked up the side of Monte Baldo and then, rather disappointingly, levelled out for a kilometre or two, before falling back down the same southern face.

Our ride began from our holiday static-home, situated in Peschiera, one of the dozen or so idyllic small towns which perch along the perimeter of the lake.  It was set to be a hot one, with the temperature set to be 30 degrees in the shade, and all we could see was blue sky above. We’d decided - the night before – against my original route which took in a ‘pre-climb’ before the main event, which would have added around 4,000 feet of climbing to the already fairly significant 6,500 feet we did in the end. This meant that the first 30 miles of the ride mostly flat, as we made our way through the valley to the foot of the climb.

In the town of Avio we turned off the main road and onto the neatly cobbled high street in search of a coffee fix to set us up for what lay ahead. The town was quiet and it was obvious from the long drop toilets in the café that we were somewhat off the tourist beaten track. Since our café wasn’t serving food we then proceeded to the supermarket opposite and replenished water and snack supplies, and bought pizza slices for lunch.

After a quick dunking of heads in the fountain in the square (much to the quiet disapproval of locals) we found our way onto the Strada Provincale 208. The opening kilometres were about 6-7% and we took it easy, knowing that gravity wouldn’t be on our side for a good two and a half to three hours. Thankfully, the road surface was good and we were partially protected from the sun as we were riding through forest. The fact that I’ve only done similar epic climbs to this once before, in Majorca, meant that I was struck by how green everything was here; as well as the leaves on the trees, the meadows we occasionally passed were lush and verdant. The senses were similarly stimulated by constant birdsong and chattering crickets, and the smells of the forest.

Lake Garda is well known as a Mecca for mountain bikers, but seems to have been relatively neglected by cyclists, with bike hire shops tending to be geared towards the ‘recreational’ market and little information on the local climbs being written about online. This was in evidence as we rose up the mountain; we only saw two other cyclists all day - going up or down, and the number of vehicles which passed us could be counted on our fingers. It made the landscape seem all the more intimidating, as we seemed practically alone on the mountain.

After about 7 kilometres we stopped at a stream of water and dipped our heads under again. We’d hoped that with our altitude gain we’d notice the temperature falling, but for now, at around 2000 feet, it was still wishful thinking. We ploughed on.

Around halfway through the climb the scenery changed, and we said goodbye to the familiar views down to the valley floor which had become ever more distant. For an all too brief few minutes we enjoyed a flatter gradient, perhaps 2 or 3% and a cool breeze welcomed us into the second part of the climb. We reached an intersection where turning right meant heading gradually down the northern slopes of the mountain or turning left continued skywards. Unfortunately for us our day of climbing wasn’t over.

We were now on the SP230, which was to be our guide from now until the summit. Our introduction to the road wasn’t a friendly one, as it immediately forced us up double figure gradients for the next two kilometres. Once we had passed that test with admittedly less than flying colours, we were allowed an almost free kilometre, where we re-acquainted ourselves with our big rings. I don’t know if it was the altitude or the food I’d been eating, but I was starting to find it a little difficult to breathe at this point and briefly stopping at a picnic area to find a sign warning of the risks of bears in the area did little to help my heart rate. It did encourage me to keep moving, however.

As the road was starting to feel like a chore to be completed, a mirage appeared ahead, only it was real – a ski lift, at the base of which was a bar! Praise be! I went inside and ordered a large Weihenstephan wheat beer with a reluctant side of coke for each of us. Sitting outside with a beer and congratulating myself that I’d managed to ride my bike to a place where people ski was marred only by the realisation that I could achieve the same thing by climbing up Shibden Wall.

With this new-found beer induced confidence, the final part of the climb was a doddle. The only problem was the lack of notification that we had in fact climbed 1357 metres from Avio at all. No sign triumphantly marked the highest point. There was nowhere to proudly stick a famed gold imps sticker, save for the rough bark of a windswept roadside conifer. We made the best of what we had and marked the non-occasion with a couple of bike photos and without wasting time we were on our way downwards, gravity finally lending a gratefully received hand.

It didn’t take long for my excitement to get the better of me – just as I was getting into the swing of carrying some speed into the sweeping bends and making good use of the empty roads, the first car we had seen for about an hour emerged, rather quicker than I would have liked, from somewhere  near the apex of the bend I was fast approaching. A quick skid from me and a good ticking off in Italian from the driver helpfully reminded me that I wasn’t Vincenzo Nibali and from hereon in I resolved to stay firmly right of centre when it came to all things ‘Italian Roads’.

Holly was next to enjoy a moment of pure fear, though her incident may be weighted more on the driver’s side when it comes to apportioning blame; minding her own business on the right-hand side of the road, the upcoming driver seemed to steer towards her and try to force her off the tarmac. We only hoped it was due to his not being able to see her in the shade of the trees, rather than a malicious act.

The rest of the descent was, thankfully, less eventful and after exiting a small village we finally got our first sight of Lake Garda since the beginning of the ride. The mountains on the distant shores and the vineyards leading down to the lake made for an extraordinary view. The descent ended at the lakeside town of Garda and, having avoided getting knocked off the bike due to the occasional motorist’s cavalier approach to roundabouts, we could reflect on the day’s ride with a well-earned beer by the sparkling azure waters of the lake before making the hour-long ferry trip back to Peschiera.