Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Minipips gets a bit Faster

This year I've seen Tom's cycling move on to another level. He's probably ridden less miles than last year, but his bike handling, stamina, and road craft have moved on so much, that I no longer plan a ride having to make allowances for any inability. Though we rarely worry about going fast, he's getting faster too.

I could say it's because he's naturally gifted, but that wouldn't be true. He has got to where he is by putting in the miles (3000 in the last two years). He's been too hot, cold, wet, fallen off his bike and been bitten by a dog among other hardships. He loves riding his bike, but as every cyclist knows, it isn't always easy.

One particular ride this year, made me realise how much he has improved.

Our local running club organises a bike vs runner handicap race. Two years ago Tom rode this race, and in spite of setting off well before everyone, he came second from last.

Last year we gave it a miss, but this year we entered again.

Dave who organises it eyed Tom up and down, and decided that though he could set off  before the other cyclists, he would have to leave behind all but the elite runners.

The first section of the race was flat, and Tom reeled in many of the runners as he touched 20mph. What comes next though is a climb of 1 1/2 miles with 800 feet of climbing over loose, then rutted and sometimes boggy ground. He didn't get passed by all the runners, but there weren't many still behind. Still no sign of the other cyclists though.

From the high point there's a technical descent, which then becomes a fast gravel track. He was picking up the runners one by one.

From the road crossing there is a slight climb. I'd told him, if he made the top of it, before any other of the cyclists, he on his mountain bike would have the upper hand against those (training for the 3 Peaks) on their cyclocross bikes on the final descent.

He rode hard to the last col. We passed more runners, but no sign of any cyclists.

He flew down the loose rocky descent. He took a quicker line than me through one section whilst passing a runner I had to work hard to get back on his wheel. We passed lots of runners.

Now back on the outskirts of the village, the surface turned to tarmac, and it was just a matter of riding hard to the finish.

At the finish there were two runners, and Nick Craig the first cyclist who had taken a slightly different line to the finish. So, out of 24 entrants, Tom finished 4th.

Tom was told by the organiser that next time, he wouldn't get away with pretending he was a kid!

Anyhow, 2014 isn't quite done yet. For the third year we'll be doing the Rapha #festive500. Minipips has an ambitious plan for that.

Once that is done, we'll have some exciting news about rides and sponsors for 2015!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Can I ride at Strathpuffer?

"Daddy, why can't kids do 24 hour races?"

I was first asked that three years ago. My answer was something along the lines of "Organisers say you have to be over 18, I'm guessing because they can only get insurance for adults".

In 2012 I mention that a team of riders who were all under 15 have won a 24 hour race up in Scotland called the Strathpuffer. He says "I'd like to ride that next year" to which I reply "You can't, you're too young."

I rode Strathpuffer back in 2008. Wind, snow, ice, wet, and lots of dark. It is billed as the one of the 10 toughest mountain bike races in the world. It was certainly the toughest I'd ridden. After 12 hours I retired.

I did my best to explain the drawbacks of a race that takes place in the north of Scotland in winter hoping that Minipips would not bring up the subject again, or at least not for another few years.

June 2014 "I really want to ride at Strathpuffer, could you ask them if I can?"

I sent an email which didn't get a reply. A month or so later, he's been googling, and asks me if I will ring the number on their facebook page. He wasn't taking no for an answer.

I rang. There was a chance. We would have to phone back though.

A month later I phoned again. Another encouraging conversation. Please send an email with detail of what cycling he's done before.

I knock up my sons first CV and fire it off. I was now beginning to hope as much as Minipips that he'd get the go ahead to apply for a place.

A couple of weeks before the entries open I phone again. I have mispelled the email address. I quickly resend the email.

A final phonecall. Minipips can ride if we get a place, and I must ride with him at all times. Minipips is excited, I'm excited, but there is still the small matter of getting one of the 70 solo entries which sell out in a couple of minutes.

The entries open at 10:00. At 10:03 I receive a confirmation email. Minipips has a solo entry for Strathpuffer.

He's hoping it will snow.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oh go on then, #RaphaRising 2014 Day 8

Even though we'd done enough the day before, we couldn't resist another ride in the sun.

Tom took a picture of me.

Minipips making the climb out of the Roych look easy.

The final numbers

Check the tan lines.

A thoroughly enjoyable few days riding.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 7 - The End?

An earlier start meant we managed to ride through all of the hottest bits of the day.


I got a phonecall to collect my wife and daughter from the train station late afternoon, we headed home.

Had we done enough to finish the challenge? Oh, 2 metres short.

Minipips insisted we went out again.

Job done, we retired to the pub with the girls.

8857 metres, 370 Kilometres, in 3 minutes short of 27 hours.

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 6

Minipips was bored with the road.

Over Jacobs Ladder to Barber Booth on our mountain bikes.

From there, to some friends in Edale, via Mam Nick once again.

Near Edale some refresments at my mates, and then a challenge

Neil had set up a KOM from the main road up to his house, so Tom, then I had a go at it. We borrowed more suitable bikes. Tom made it into the top ten. :)

A bit more still to do, and two days to do it. 7443/8880 metres

A couple of Neil's pics of us going for the KOM ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 5

Another hot one.

A big sky day.

Some techy off road to the South Head Col.

Picked up an email whilst grabbing a drink that there was a prototype Genesis Longitude at 18 Bikes in Hope. So over there next via a couple of other hills. Nice bike.

From Hope, up Pindale road, and Minipips does his best grimpeur grimace.

1131 metres today, which takes us up to 72% of our needed total.

Current world ranking 2721/35655

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 4

We went for a longish ride today in order to get back on track with #rapharising challenge.

Blimey it was hot! There was lots of stopping for drinks enroute, and chips in Macc.

The old road from Whaley Bridge to Buxton, which is no longer suitable for cars. Ace!

There were bilberries galore in the Goyt Valley.

87.2km and 1,885

59% done now.