A mixed bag

Giles Drake maintained his winning ways in the North West Cyclo-Cross Association league by notching up another victory, this time on a course he has grown to love. Despite the wet weather making for a heavy course Giles was able to overcome a pubcture which temporarily saw him relegated to the pits and fight his way back. His account of the race and his season so far continues below.
Photograph by Martin Holden Photography

We’ve reached the fifth round of the North West Cyclo Cross League, as near as makes no difference, a third through. Without fail, I always make a slow start to the season. Usually because of some daft event like Kielder 100 or in this year’s case, Leadville 100. That being said, the start of this year has gone much better than I really expected back when lining up at that first event in Leverhulme Park, Bolton. At that time, I was tired, I hurt, I generally didn’t want to know & honestly regretted the time I’d spent building up two Specialized Carbon Crux cross bikes!
A few weeks on and I’m back in love with cross, this past week was one of two visits to Otterspool, Liverpool. My local venue that for the longest time I didn’t get on with, I couldn’t ride the banks, I’d come to a virtual stop on the cobbled climb & a couple times, even crashed into some trees. Nowadays its one of my favourite venues and I can’t wait to return to it in two weeks time for the Geoff Bewley Memorial. Turning up, I expected the worst, with heavy rain on and off all week but the ground had held up surprisingly well & it was really only the latest fad in cyclo cross, “The Spiral of Doom” that was a touch on the sketchy side. There were a few guys on the grid that I knew could give me a run for my money, James Dalton, Matt Lawton, Dan Wells, Scott Wilson & Rich Wilkinson so I was keen to get a good start & ride my own race from the front. Despite the initial false where the whole field ended up going the wrong way, I got a comfortable start and was soon away with just Matt & James. By the second time up the cobbled climb, I knew I was riding within myself and took to the front to push the pace. I almost instantly escaped and started to eek out a lead. James managed to keep me within sight but it gradually grew out to a comfortable distance. Comfortable at least until I felt my rear tub getting soft. It quickly went from soft to flat, I had at least a quarter lap on the rim, my lead disintegrated! As I exited the pits picking up my spare bike, James was back on my wheel! Starting again with a couple laps to go was far from perfect but I still had enough in the tank to distance James again and cross the line for my third victory in five races.
I’ve previously always treated cyclo cross as training during the winter but this year I want to make an attempt to do some of the more local high level races, all being well, building towards the National Championships mid way through January so hopefully have some updates in the coming weeks.

In the National Hill Climb Championships four time winner Lynn Hamel was only able to manage second place on The Stang in North Yorkshire. In what were squalid conditions on a long course for a hill climb of 2.33 miles, rising 833 feet from Arkengarthdale on to the border with County Durham. Once past the steepest section of 18% the road crosses the cattle grid and rises up on to exposed moorland.


Lynn Hamel - The Stang, National Hill Climb Championships

Lynn Hamel – The Stang, National Hill Climb Championships

National Hill Climb photographs

Lynn’s course record was smashed  by the winner, though clearly the strong tailwind meant some very fast times were posted throughout the day.
Also competing in the event was Alastair Kay, a veteran of these events. Unfortunately Steve Lawley was unable to compete due to illness picked up earlier in the week.







Lynn Hamel - The Stang, National Hill Climb Championships

Alastair Kay – The Stang, National Hill Climb Championships


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More Cyclo-Cross success

Giles Drake continued his success in the North-West Cyclo-Cross Association league where he left off last season as the overall winner. Having won the second round at Heaton Park, Manchester, taken second in round three, he made it a second … Continue reading

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King of the Hill

Steve Lawley, winner of last years Kingscavil hill climb has done it again, this time in the colours of Herbalife Leisure Lakes Bikes.com and furthermore this year he has beaten the course record, going under the 2 minute mark with a time of 1’59″.


Steve Lawley winning the Kingscavil Hill Climb – photo Ire74

Winning the West Lothian Clarion event in glorious Autumn sunshine for the second time on the 900 metre course was another affirmation for the team in signing Steve for next season as he beat his nearest rival by 5 seconds.
Next week Steve takes on the 28 mile time trial on a hilly Tour of the Trossachs and then joins a Scottish select team to travel to France and compete in the acclaimed Criterium Levallois. Unfortunately this will mean missing defending his title in another hill climb Up the Kirk, however the following week sees Steve and the team competing in the National Hill Climb Championships on The Stang, Arkengarthdale in the Yorkshire Dales where four times winner of the Lady’s title, Lynn Hamel will defend her title for another time.
This weekend saw Lynn secure third place in the Lady’s BBAR with her average time being 25.277 mph, only 3/100 off second place which is averaged over her best times in the 100 miles, 50 miles, 25 miles between April and September.

Lynn Hamel

Lynn Hamel

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Velocity Street Race

In  the first event of its type to be held in the UK, Harry Tanfield won the Velocity Street Race, with the main focus being on sprinting. The racing started with a neutralised section behind a super car; as we … Continue reading

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Meet Steve Lawley

New signing for the team, Steve Lawley may not be familiar to many in cycling. He originates from near Glasgow and grew up on an atheletic track, mainly competing in 800m and 1500m, later developing in to a successful steeplechaser … Continue reading

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Technique: How to tackle hills | Total Women’s Cycling

Technique: How to tackle hills | Total Women’s Cycling.

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Leadville 100 MTB Challenge 2013

I’m writing this as I fly from Denver International Airport into Charlotte. This flight itself was not part of our original schedule, waking on the morning of our departure to an email from US Airways stating that our flight from … Continue reading

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Leadville Basecamp Camp

After a not ideal day of travelling we finally arrived in Leadville in the middle of the night, wide awake built our bikes, then tried to sleep. We woke at 8 and headed off down to base camp WOW! That … Continue reading

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A great month

Over the last month one of the main focuses for the team has been the British Cycling Elite Circuit race series.
With Andy Hawdon taking an excellent 3rd place in the opening event of the series at Otley, the aim was for him to continue securing consitantly high places in the series.
In the next round in the north-east at Stockton, Andy was unfortunate to double puncture and came down, but was determined enough to finish in 11th place.
Competing against full time professional riders from UCI registered teams requires a great deal of drive and commitment, something Andy has bags of. The next round meant a long trip to south Wales and a 12th place meant that Andy was still placed in the top ten overall in the series.
On more local circuits, the long standing Colne Grand Prix, a short fast circuit that Andy has raced numerous times, he managed to get back in to the mix of things, finishing 5th, followed by a 6th place at York.
The final round at Sheffield needed another high place to see him finish in the top ten overall. On a tough circuit with a cobbled climb coming in to the finish it was a fast race with all the main contenders fighting it out to secure their placings. Having avoided a couple of splits in the peloton and then moving up on the final few laps the lead group caught some tail enders that were about to be lapped, causing some confusion at the finish. Taking 10th place in this event, Andy took a well deserved 7th overall in the series.

Highlights from the Colne Grand Prix

In other races, the team helped promote the Silverdale Handicap which was won by team rider Tommy Bustard and Giles Drake coming in 3rd.
Last weekend at the Mike Binks Memorial race in the north-east Tommy Bustard broke away from a group of riders towards the end of the race only to have Nathan Edmondson, brother of Team Sky rider Josh Edmondson bridge across to him and snatch victory with Tommy taking 2nd and team mate Harry Tanfield taking 5th.

Next Sunday in Colorado is the world famous Leadville 100 mountain bike race starting at 10.152 and climbing to 12,424 Andy Hawdon and Giles Drake have been invited to race alongside the Herbalife team in this prestigous event. Follow @AndyHawdon and @GilesDrake for updates.




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Andy Hawdon takes 3rd at Otley

In the first of this years British Cycling Elite Circuit races in front of huge crowds at Otley, Andrew Hawdon took a well deserved 3rd place. In its 28th year of running the Otley Circuit Race has grown in to … Continue reading

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