Sunday, 27 September 2009

Up to Sunny Scunny

Had the Friday night booked off work and my alarm set for 04.45 on Saturday morning ready for the 3rd annual 600km ride organised over on yACF. The last 2 yrs these rides have been on have had 6-10 people on helping them get their there first SR and others just for the company.
I posted it again this year and had a few interested people but as time got nearer they had to drop out due to "real life" getting in the way. It was only me and Steve Abraham outside the local garage at 6.00 this time for the start.

As it was just us we decided to do a quick ride straight up the main roads through Wellingborough, Kettering and past Corby towards Oakham for the first control. A quick stop at another garage to refill our bottles and onto the windmill cafe at Wymondham.
100km in 4hrs most of which was non stop undulating hills.
The next section started off with more hills but got flatter as we neared Lincoln. We had to walk our bikes again through another closed road where a bridge was being rebuilt.
I managed to snap my chain while negotiating the traffic in Lincoln, but as I always carry a chain tool this wasn't a problem. Apart from greasy hands!

More drink brought and on again along the ridge northwards out of Lincoln, it was getting hotter as the day progressed and I was having my doubts about finishing watching Steve disappear into the distance as I dragged my 16+ stone up another hill.
Uphills always mean a downhill section and it was a fast blast down the A18 into Scunthorpe and into a Morrisons for dinner at 16.00. Back on the bike ready to go, that feels odd! front wheel puncture, bugger!
Back up the hill we'd just shot down but at a much slower pace! as we headed for Caister I could see the ridge ahead with the road up the side of it then the 10% sign!
I didn't walk but it was hard work in the late afternoon sun and almost in the bottom gear. Any slower or more vertical I find the front wheel lifts and I nearly fall out the back!! Lol
Once on the ridge there were great views across the Lincolnshire plains as the sun set.
Another fast downhill and another climb up out of the town to mack up the height I'd lost again.
As darkness fell we got to the flatlands of the fens around Boston where we stopped at another garage for more food, bottle refills and a rest.

It was getting late now and as we left Boston at 22.00 the roads were starting to get empty so it was another A road blast down the A16 towards Spalding and a McD coffee.
Slight mishap while going along there though. One minute I was riding along quite happy then the next I know there's a noise like a tyre scrapping along brick and I fall in the grass verge!
I must have shut my eyes momentarily moved left and hit the kerb, It definitely woke me up.

Quiet lanes towards Wisbech had both of us getting the dozies and a quick stop on a bench at about 1am sort of sorted it. The sky was clear now and the stars looked great from the laidback position of the recumbent. It was getting cold now though.
We eventually got to another garage for more drinks and it was away again to the planned stop at Ely getting there just after 3am.
As the garage was shut Steve put his card in the machine for some money, nothing happened.
I then tried and mine, windows is rebooting. It stayed in there never to be seen again!!

We managed to get 3hrs sleep and were up again at 7 into the chilly, foggy morning and a Tesco breakfast consisting of a cold sandwich and a drink.
Onwards towards Red Lodge Cafe (nr Newmarket) for proper fried breakfast then Northwards to Swaffham. The roads around Brandon were now getting busy and there were a few impatient muppets on the road.
More food and drink consumed sat in the sun watching the good people of Swaffham stare at my bike as they went past. We were across the road eating and Steve wondered if we could set a remote speaker up on them to make a loud bang at the push of a button. May have to try a walkie talkie next time, "this bike is alarmed, step away from the bike".
Another quick blast down an A road, this time the A47 and it was downhill to the next junction and a left turn for Downham market.
As we approached Downham Market the area started to get flat again and after there it was flat, the tailwind in places had the riding speed up to 32kph for fairly long sections.

The rolling hills east of Cambridge and into Bedfordshire were starting to slow me down now and the miles were starting to be felt in my legs. Another quickish stop at Biggleswade and the homeward stretch along the busy A507, not too bad though as it is a very wide road. The climb up through Woburn park was hard but I crested the hill just before a car had chance to pass me, it never made it as I accelerated down at 70+kph.
Downhills are always fun when you've had to slog your way up first.
It was then just a ride through the woods and down the A5 to arrive back at the start garage at just after 19.30.

Cycle comp showed 628km, total time out was 37.5hrs. 10hrs of those were off the bike though. With a ride time of 28.13hrs and an average speed of 25.9kph it makes it my 3rd fastest ride this season, I'm very pleased with that beings as it was a long ride.
All in all a good weekend.

Things learnt,
DO NOT ride a 600+ ride wearing shoes that you brought the day before. They will hurt your feet.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Delivering a lorry to Doncaster

The week started off at work with an email about taking a lorry to Doncaster. Opened MS autoroute to work out the distance back, 210km. A plan is hatched :-)

I emailed them back and said if they pay me 1/2 a day I'll take the lorry up early on Sunday morning with the bike strapped to the back and then cycle home.
I got comments about being mad, but they knew that already and it was OKed.

Was up at 05.00 and out the door just before 6 and rode over to work. I managed to get the bike inside the cab so that sorted the problem/worry of it bouncing down the M1 if I hit a bump.
I arrived at Donny unloaded the bike and went to find the local Tesco's for food.
I was away at 10.20 heading southwards through the town centre and going the wrong way!
GPS's are great if you load the route on to it in chunks of routes of only 50 points and not try to do one route for the whole route.
Didn't hear the thing bleep at me and was further along the road than planned so had a slight detour around past the airport.
Back on route and towards Gainsborough for a coffee then following the Trent towards Newark and a McDonalds lunch knowing the next section was going to get hilly.

Leaving Newark was ok but I found myself on the wrong side of the hill at Belvoir so had to winch myself up towards the castle and around the other side. Wasn't sure if I could get back onto the planned route easily without backtracking as some roads were not on the GPs.
I then saw a sign for the next village so I followed it and was pleased to see the route I should have been on and as I was on top of the ridge it was an easy ride to the next stop at Oakham for the audax staple of garage sarnie and milkshake.

I couldn't be bothered with the lanes towards Desborough so followed the main road towards Corby which is quite rolling! At one point I was doing 80kph downhill and could see the person in the car behind me looking at her speedo and talking to the passenger. The car came past me on the next straight bit with a couple of kids giving me the thumbs up with big grins on their faces.

The roads got a bit busier as I went towards Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough and they seemed to get more hilly as the ride went on.
As darkness fell cars started to give me a wider birth and the rest of the ride through Olney and back through MK went without problem.

Total for the day was 226km (16km over distance for a diy is not too bad) which I did in 11hrs with 2.20hrs off the bike eating, resting at the top of hills and generally faffing.
I averaged 26kph which is slightly faster than the usual speeds and the 2nd best avg this year.
I spent most of Monday eating though! always get "THE HUNGER" after an audax ride.

Now to get ready for next weekends 600km to Scunthorpe, Boston and a loop round the fens. Think I'm looking forward to it! I'd only be drinking at a wedding celebration anyway if I was not out riding! Lol.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Records keep going

Sam Whittingham does it again. Last night he broke the record again and reached 82.82mph.
This is the 10th time he has set a new record in the 10 years the event has been running.
He wasn't the only one to break a record though, Barbara Buatois riding the Varna Diablo 3 clocked a speed of 72.534mph then on another ride she clocked 75.46 to become the fastest European outright and the fastest woman ever at the event.
Greg Westlake went 41.5, 42.3, then 43.49 for a new arm powered trike record.

Copied from the battle mountain thread on

Some historical perspective of the significance of tonight!...

Speeds emailed to me by Craig Johnsen, Chief Timer

SAM WHITTINGHAM, 82.819 MPH, 133.284 KPH, Varna Tempest
WORLD RECORD - 10th time setting a record at Battle Mountain, on the event's tenth anniversary! The fastest cyclist in the world! It's Sam's 7th time being timed over 80 mph on the course. Only one other challenge remains! ... Sam, the first man over 70, 75, 80 mph has his sights on 85 mph. Short of that, can he be the first over 135 KPH or 83.9 mph? Sam is and continues to be phenomenal! He is The Man at Battle Mountain! Before Battle Mountain, the record for human powered speed stood at 68.723 mph, 110.593 kph by Chris Huber a professional cyclist in the Cheetah. This was set in 1992 in Colorado. Sam raised this mark by the following amounts with (year): 72.41, 72.74 mph (2000), 76.61, 77.03, 77.59, 80.55 mph (2001), 81.00 mph (2002), 82.33 mph (2008), and now 82.43 mph, 82.819 mph (2009). So he's personally increased the record by over 14 mph / 22.68 kph in ten years.
Note: The newly repaved stretch of Highway 305 outside Battle Mountain, which the racers have raced on is contributing to higher speeds. Significant lobbying was done by the event organizers Al and Alice Krause, working through NDOT and the local town of Battle Mountain to make this happen!

BARBARA BUATOIS, 75.458 MPH, 121.437 KPH, Varna Diablo III
WORLD RECORD - FEMALE, EUROPEAN RECORD, First Lady over 75 mph, 120 kph, becomes 4th fastest cyclist in the World, matches feat of being 4th fastest in the One-Hour. Georgi predicted 75 mph (120 kph) was possible by Barbara at the Ford event. Historical Note: Barbara achieves speed of 75 mph once thought to be the upper limit of human powered speed predicted by a computer in the 1989 if you cloned two Fast Freddy Markhams, put them in a Double Gold Rush, which later built, and took them up to 11,000 foot elevation in Colorado (over double Battle Mountain's 4600 foot elevation) with the maximum 2/3 of 1% downslope allowed. This was published at the speed championships that year.

Sam and Barbara duplicate their feat of setting both Men's and Women's One-Hour records on the same day at the Ford Human Powered Vehicle Challenge, two months earlier on Sunday July 19, 2009. Team Varna is the first HPV team to have both Men's and Women's Top Speed and One-Hour records. Georgi Georgiev, the builder of these wonderful Varna masterpieces, must be so proud!
Note: only one other time has the Men's and Women's 200-meter record been set the same day at Battle Mountain. This was on Tuesday of the first year of the event 2000 - when Sam (72.41 mph) and Andrea Blaseckie (54.04 mph), Sam's wife, both set records, the first world records set at Battle Mountain.

YANNICK LUTZ, 73.067 MPH, 117.590 KPH, ALTAÏR2
PERSONAL BEST, stays at the 7th fastest cyclist in world spot, Fastest student-built vehicle ever, French Men's Record. No university built machine has ever gone over 70 mph before IUT Annecy - University of Savoie in France achieved this feat, five times now at Battle Mountain. Yannick is a 36-year old, experience recumbent rider, who is considered a "test pilot" for the bike, and can help improve its design with his feedback. He is currently taking graduate classes at the university and is managing a shop in his spare time. He is very strong rider, though as Philippe, their teacher has pointed out, IUT Annecy has a few students that are in national team, and 3 former students are actually road biking professionals and did the Tour de France 2009.

ERIC WARE, 71.070 MPH, 114.377 KPH, Wedge
Personal Best, Joins 70 mph plus club, becomes the 8th fastest cyclist in the World. Team Eric Ware, Mark Anderson and John Jackstone have made it a historic five riders to have topped 70 mph at one event at Battle Mountain! Participants and observers are happy for Eric and Mark Anderson, they came to Battle Mountain last year, and worked almost 20 hour days for six days straight and only got one run in with the top off. Now all that hard work has paid off! Their new Mueller Windwrap fairing head bubble too is working well.

GREG WESTLAKE, 43.495 MPH, 69.998 KPH, Avos Arrow
WORLD RECORD, Arm Powered, 4th time in event, Historical note: exceeds the first legendary leg-powered HPV record of 43.02 mph by Ron Skarin in 1974. Ron was pedaling Dr. Chet Kyle's upright streamliner. He was an Olympic cyclist, later in the Hall of Fame. That speed started off the modern-day human powered speed championships. Now Greg, using only arm-power has exceeded that!

RON LAYMAN, 66.595 MPH, 107.175 KPH, Primal II
Personal Best, joins 65+ mph club. Becomes 17th fastest cyclist ever. Ron is approximately 27 years old, an alumni of Cal Poly where he first began racing these form of speedbikes at Battle Mountain in 2004. he came agonizingly close to 60 mph with a 59.9 mph run that year. Last year he came back as an alumni and topped 60 mph 3 times. This year, he goes over 65 mph in a updated version of the Primal 1 he rode last year. The Primal II has the head bubble removed for a smaller frontal area. George and Carol Leone, advisers of the Cal Poly HPVs, are behind the design of Ron's last two bikes.

ROB HITCHCOCK, 60.663 MPH, 97.627 KPH, Kyle Edge
below his Personal best of 63.91 mph in 2006, but showing increasing speed as the competition continues one more day. Rob showed similar speed improvements that year as well. The Kyle Edge was designed by Matt Weaver in 1990s when he was just 24 years old. Eight years later Matt raced it to 78.02 mph in an infamous duel with Sam Whittingham at Battle Mountain 2001. Sam first exceeded 80 mph that year. This vehicle is still the 2nd fastest HPV in the world. It was designed to achieve laminar flow and uses a video camera for the rider to navigate.

Mike Mowett
IHPVA Records Committee
Check out my list of the world's fastest at

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

New HPV world record 82.4

Sam Whittingham last night rode his fully enclosed streamlined bike to a speed of 82.4mph at the WHPSC (world human powered speed challenge) in Battle Mountain, Nevada.
Last year he reached a 82.33mph, this year hopes to be better as the road has been resurfaced and more records could go be broken before the week is out.
Barbara Bautois broke the womans record by 3mph but with an illegal wind speed.
I'll be watching with anticipation.

Sam writes on his blog

Mon, Sept 15, 2009 11:30pm
NEW WORLD RECORD 82.4 MPH!!! Evening Runs. Perfect Weather (almost!) Tonight was the first real test for team Varna at this years event. We loaded into the truck at about 4pm and headed south to our asphalt arena with the usual anxiety about what might or might not be possible this early in the week. The sun has been shining hard and the wind low. Barbara, in the Varna Diablo III was first off in the first session. She had a bit of a shaky beginning with several miss-starts. We where to learn later that she was having some trouble with the gears, which certainly was not helping! She had an otherwise very good run and went an amazing 69mph! This is faster than the previous women's record of Lisa Veterlain (sp?) by 4 mph. However, the wind was just slightly to high. The record is sure to fall officially in the next few days. I headed off the second heat at about 6:40 just as the sun was beginning to set behind the mountains. The tarmac was still warm and the winds where non-existent. The stage was set for a record but was I? As many people know, I tend to get faster as the week goes on. The dry air and elevation of 4600 ft always takes me 5 or so days to get used to and needless to say I am still feeling a bit sluggish. I was also distracted by the fact that the front tire we are using was becoming dangerously thin in places and I could see the actual thread in under the rubber! Nothing to do but hope that it held for one last waltz down the dance floor. I went quite hard but not maximum. I was missing the "kick" I rely on for most record runs. Even so, I managed to hang on for a new record. I can only hope that we have similar conditions throughout the week as I get my form and confidence. 85mph would be nice wouldn't it? I think I will put on a new tire first………………. All runs had legal wind except Barbara Otherwise record count would have been 2! * Sam Whittingham, Tempest 82.4 (with poohball guy) * Barbara Bautois, Diablo III 69 (illegal winds) * Fred Markham, Mephisto 75 * Yannick Lutz, Altair II 70 * Jason Erickson, Varnator 67 * Eric Ware, Wedge 65 * Larry Lem, Scimitar DNF (Mechanical?) * Specter 57??? (unsure. Cleats coming out. Flat tire right at end in catch!!) * Bobby Erman Cal Poly Atlas (unsure of time) * Barclay Henry White Backslider (unsure of time) Another Salad bar dinner at the Owl club, one celebratory pint of Fat Tire Beer (or as our french friends keep calling it "Flat Tire"), glue on a new tire and off to bed. Tomorrow is a new day……………

Saturday, 12 September 2009

FSoTM rides 2010

Cycle Rides from Bletchley.2010.

Start at 10am from Elizabeth Square Bandstand, Bletchley.
Rides are approx 20 miles.Unless stated otherwise.

Jan 3rd. ~ Ride to Stony via Whaddon.

Feb 7th. ~ Ride to Woburn via Great Brickhill (a few hills).

Mar 7th. ~ Ride to Stewkley via Swanbourne and Dunton.

April 4th. ~ Ride to Stockgrove park café via Leighton Buzzard (a few Hills).

May 2nd. ~ Ride to Salcey Forest café. (30 miles).

June 6th. ~ Ride around the Millennium cycle route, (Parks Trust)13 miles starts at Furzton lake (At the bridge by the bowl).

Jul 4th. ~ Ride around the back of Linford lakes and return via Newport. (Parks Trust)

Aug 1st. ~ Ride to Winslow using Sustrans Route 51 (Parks Trust)18 Miles starts at Furzton lake, (at the bridge by the Bowl).

Sept 5th. ~ Ride around the lakes of MK. (Parks Trust)

Oct 3rd. ~ Ride to Marston Vale Forest Centre café (30 miles).

Nov 7th. ~ Ride to Stockgrove via Wing (30 miles).

Dec 5th ~ Ride to Woburn via Wavendon. (A few hills).

(Parks Trust) listed rides are rides put on in conjunction with
The Parks Trust as part of their Easy Rider rides programme.

These rides were started to get more people out on their bikes,
And to show how easy it is to get around MK
And the surrounding areas.

All the rides are taken at a pace to suit the slowest
With plenty of stops if needed.

Children are welcome
But under 16’s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The rides will use a mixture of surfaces so robust tyres are advisable.
The rides use the redways, shared use paths and quiet roads where possible.

You are advised to
Ensure that your bicycle is in a roadworthy condition.
Carry a puncture repair kit or spare inner tube.
Bring along a drink or some money to get something at the stop.
(Which is usually about half way or so).
Helmets are a personal choice,
(I’m not going to stop you riding if you’re not wearing one).

This ride is not a race or trial of speed.
The route is on open public shared-route paths and roads.
You are expected to follow the rules of the road and
show consideration to other road/path users.
Although lead, the route is not waymarked or marshalled.
The organiser provides no rescue service.
You are responsible for your own safety/conduct.

For more info on any of the rides
Rich Forrest

Another weekend and another FSoTM ride

Last weekend saw me and 11 riders meet at the bandstand in Bletchley for the September edition of my First Sunday of the month rides, This one was in conjunction with the Parks Trust Easy riders programme and was a ride around the lakes of MK.

I'd been on the go since 5am as I was out early with some other riders helping put signs up along the Millennium route around MK for the Cancer Research UK charity ride.

The FSoTM ride took in nearly all of the lakes around MK starting by heading for Caldecotte lake then along the river past the OU and Walton Lake. Keeping to the right of the river helps here as there are no cattle grids to go across on that side.
Around Willen lake, We were going to stop here for coffee but the jetski national finals were being held there. On through Willen village and past Tongwell lake and a stop at Blakelands shop.
From here we took the old railway line that used to go from Newport Pagnell to Wolverton and met up with the riders doing the longer loop of the Cancer ride.
Tried to confuse them by then going the other way to them at a junction :-D but none followed us. I would have told them honest.
A slight deviation to the planned route took us over the A5 to Wymbush and around the other side of the Lodge lake and bringing us to The Talbot at Loughton.
Have always had good service here compared to the Fountain Harvester up the road, who seemed to want us weird cyclist types out as we were taking up seats that could be used for more profit.

On around Teardrop lakes and Furzton lake leaving only Mount farm lake to do before heading back to Bletchley and the start of the ride.

Back home for more food and I was away again with just the eldest as I'd said I'd collect the signs that were put up earlier.
This took longer than expected and we were out until gone 7 but that did include a stop at KFC for a snack :-D

I'd managed to clock up over 60 miles just riding in circles and the eldest did a PB of 45 miles. Really good considering he was riding a heavy BSO (bike shaped object) and wearing jeans.
Must try getting him in Lycra! the thought of it might be too much for an 18yr old though :-D :-D.

Friday, 4 September 2009

That long....

...since I last posted! Must try harder.

I've kept meaning to post on here but haven't had the time this last month what with cycling - family - cycling - family - playing with my new Garmin Legend GPS - family and 12hr shifts at work.

Since the last post I've managed to get a couple of 200km+ rides in. One up to Market Harborough - Daventry - Thame and back and a longer one of 290km over towards Downham Market to meet some friends from yacf for lunch. I seemed to have sorted the shorts problem out as I've had no trouble on the last rides I've done.
I should've worn something underneath them on LEL last month.

Last weekend I cycled over to Mildenhall cycle rally and had too much cider, then it was over to Essex for more cider :-D and back home to have the kids for three days and more cider!!
Damn Tesco, 30 cans for £10!! Weight will go up again :-D

Tomorrow is another FSoTM ride which starts from Bletchley and goes around the lakes of MK.
Also tomorrow there will be the Cancer research ride around the Millennium cycle route.
Hope to see plenty of people out on both rides.

I've also got another 600km ride coming up later this month up to Scarborough and back via a loop around the fens. Hopefully the weather will be better than I've had on the 2 I've tried so far this year.