Race Report: Yorkshire Road Club Spoco 10

Today marked my first race of the season. I’d decided that this year I was going to target courses that I haven’t ridden before with today’s ridiculously hilly V810 in Addingham being one of them.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to ride the course beforehand therefore I had to ride it ‘blind’. That said, team mate Simon Beldon had given an excellent description of the course which consisted of a couple of words, namely ‘‘it’s horrendous’’. I can confirm the profile of the course is a little bit like this….. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\…

With international triathlete Phil Graves on the startsheet as well as former National Hill Climb Champion, Dan Evans, I knew the win was unlikely but it would be a good test of my early season form.

It was a lovely day to be riding a bike and we were pretty lucky with the weather. It was 4 degrees, the sun was shining and there was a gentle breeze. Knowing that the first 2 miles to the first roundabout were mainly uphill I tried to set off conservatively and save some energy for the fast finish that I had been told about.

My minute man didn’t start but I caught my 2 minute man after a couple of miles and all seemed to be going well, although there was a nagging head wind up all of the main climbs. It was good to see team mate Simon Beldon out in support at the top of one of the climbs hurling words of encouragement.

The miles were ticking by nicely but the relentless nature of the course was starting to tell with my legs giving me a regular reminder that trying to push 400w on the climbs was out of the question.

At 6 miles you take a final left hander for the run in to the finish. I was hoping it would be more down hill than up but I was sadly mistaken, save for the last 1.5 miles which were supersonic.

I stopped the Garmin in 24:07 which was 12 seconds shy of Tejvan Pettinger’s course record. I knew I had ridden fairly well for my first race of the season but looking at the results board I was soundly beaten by Phil Graves who set a new course record of 23:39 and Dan Evans who wasn’t far behind with 23:52.

Last season I would have been disappointed with my ride and proceeded to spend the rest of the week reflecting on my ride. However, knowing this was my first time on the course, where there is lots of time to be gained by knowing the climbs, then I can’t be too disappointed. I also think having a child  puts things into perspective. Gone are the days when I could do 14 hours a week training. 7 hours is about as good as it gets these days. I now try and enjoy the time I get on the bike because it’s becoming more and more infrequent. I wouldn’t change it for the world though. There’s no better feeling than coming home to a gleaming 7 month old child. Win or lose, she doesn’t care!

It would be unprofessional of me not to mention our superb sponsors, not least because I know how much it annoys Matt Sinclair! Big thanks to the men at Selectrical Services Leeds Limited, Blake Pond @ No Pinz and the nutrition guys at OTE.

Big thanks to Paul English for giving up his breakfast in bed and coming out to take some photos.


March 13th – Andy Jackson race #3 A5 Rangers Hilly 34m

3rd Race for Andy Jackson … and just the 2nd Weekend in March!


I was looking forward to getting back to racing this great event hosted by the A5 Ranges club on a great fun 2 lap course just outside Towcester.

I raced this last year and was pleased with a  solid second place behind a flying and in form Matt Bottrill.

This year with no Matt racing I had just one target – the win.  There was a small but quality field, with National Circuit Champion Brett Harwood, Team Bottrill’s James Perkins & Gareth Pymm.

The weekend saw great weather and meant for me the perfect warm up with a 24m ride out to the event.  I had spent all the previous week constantly tweaking my position after the realisation that last week my saddle had slipped 5cm… that certainly explained my disappointing power numbers!  on the way to the race I was up 4mm, down 3mm up 2mm and settled on a slight 2mm change V’s my original set up position and all felt good!

I was off scratch man at 13:15, Brett 13:10 and James 13:05.  The course had been adjusted, and upped by 3.6m to 34.4m as the organisers (rightly) took out the narrow cut through of Duncote village and went further down the A45 and via Farthington.

Last year I came in on 1:12 dead for around a 25mph average.  I started strong on the first lap and on the first 6m section down the A5 I was able to make good progress on my competition.  As we turned onto the hilly and winding back roads I managed to catch Gareth Pymm for 3 mins and aimed to consolidate my position.  Knowing my competition had power / weight advantages on the steep hills I settled into a consistent pace over the tops before being able to pick up on the fast run back past the start I was able to log the fastest first lap (and only lap in the 1 & 2 lap races under 40m), The first lap was done in 39:29 and saw me comfortably in the lead.

The second lap continued well, I had a slight slowing down for traffic but nothing major and was able to cross the line in 1:19:26 to give me the win by 1:28 over Brett Harwood in second… and a new Course Record (*ok so the only time its been raced but hey still a record!)

Overall a really pleasing ride, re-finding a strong and aero dynamic position and coming in with an average sped of 25.6mph.  It was great to see coach Bob Tobin out to support both myself and Brett his coached riders

Final results showed the win:


Although the best bit for me was the ‘House brick’ award –  a collection of two now with my 2nd last year… it may take a while to build a house from but you have to start somewhere!


Again I was very pleased with how all the kit performed, especially the Giant Trinity (Courtesy,  Cyclesense Tadcaster),  the Revolver Assym wheel, the NoPinz ‘trip suit’ and of course great nutrition from OTE Sports.

3/3 is as good start as any for me and very pleasing….Now onwards to a showdown next week in the Harrogate Nova 24m hilly against Pro-Triathlete Philip Graves – on a run of 4/4… something has to give… we shall see!




Lets have some Calpe sun…and wind…and a bit of rain

Mini training camp – Calpe
Get me! Mr training camp with the stars and pros in Calpe, Spain. I have wanted to visit here for many years having read what great roads it has and how the weather seems more consistent than places like Majorca where I have known it to snow in February! (I only mentioned this about 16 times a day whilst here)
Anyway, I finally got around to it and we booked a really cheap deal in a brilliant hotel on the beach. Pre arrival I did lots of research on routes and managed to blag some from an excellent blog by Paceline RT. Armed with my training schedule from Matt B and an instruction `Not to exceed 800 TSS…` we awoke on the first morning full of enthusiasm, breakfast and sunshine. We also woke to a fully broken rear hanger and my Di2 rear changer hanging off the frame! Full panic mode set in but thankfully we had a bike shop 200 yards from the hotel. In true Spanish fashion the laid back attitude saved the day. I alawys have a disaster with my bike abroad but this was a new record time.
View from the Hotel breakfast

Day one
The first brilliant thing was getting to put all my new kit on from Nopinz and no arm warmers, gloves, hoody, snorkel parker or full ski suit to train in! I really cannot wait for summer. Needless to say I set off harder than I probably should having no clue what was to come, namely over 7000 feet of climbing, strong winds and 5.5 hours in the chair. `Don’t worry` I said we will have a tea and cake stop halfway around- well that didn’t happen obviously. We went Calpe, up the coast road to Javea, over a surprise climb to Denia and then….tough roads to the bottom of the infamous Val D`Ebo climb. It was never ending! A bit of pro spotting at the top with some geezer from Data Dimension looking like he wasn’t even trying and then the wind from hell over undulating roads at tempo. We got to Margarida a bit desperate to stop after constantly killing ourselves just to stay upright and eventually found a bar that gave us coffee and the worst sandwich I have ever eaten, however it saved the day! Next up another ridiculous climb to Tollos, followed by the best descent in the whole world when you are knackered for about 15 miles. Eventually we saw the rock at Calpe and limped sadly, with much less enthusiasm than when we set off into the hotel. That night my first beer in weeks lasted about 4.3 nanoseconds.
Day two
Legs not quite so fancy this morning let me tell you. Today`s route was a similar leg ease up the coast road and then across to Parcent for a look at the Col de Rates. I did promise we would stop at the café at the top this time which I expected cycling friendly banter would be available with lashings of coffee…again this didn’t happen obviously! Great climb this for its iconic status in the area but nowhere near as good as Val D`Ebo in my opinion. At the top I was surprised that the café really isn’t that welcoming and there was no way I was leaving my bike in the car park unattended, so quick picture and off we went again, back to the flatter roads and into Calpe for another 60 miles to add to yesterdays 90.
OUTSIDE the café. Sadly. Its not like I need cake anyway is it


Day 3
Today was the easy `rest` day. I tell my training partner that we will ride to Denia at steady level 2, stop at the cycling café by the Marina, watch some of the E3 race and then ride back level 2. Did this happen! We set off on the coast road and as we started to go up a small 16% climb I noticed a rider had suddenly appeared wearing distinctive orange kit. I paid no more attention and the competitive person in me decided to put a touch on. This turned into 400 watts and me starting to breath out of my arse. At the top the cheeky monkey was still there and talking to my mate!! It was at this time I noticed he was a pro for the CCC team and asking where we were riding that day and how he would come with us. Oh dear. The look on poor Michael`s face at this prospect has amused me ever since.
We got to a café in Denia (obviously not the cyclist one with cake and Eurosport). Mr CCC pro tried speaking to us in his broken English (better than my Polish) and then duly paid for the coffee`s. Ride straight back as planned? No of course not why would we on a rest day, lets go with Mr Pro into a block 50 mph headwind. Mr Pro went to the front and after a few minutes I thought I should do the right thing and do a turn to get us through the hurricane. Imagine my surprise when I was still on the front 10 km later as he was having an `easy rest day`!!! When he realised I would probably need an ambulance to get back to Calpe he kindly came to the front for a bloody awful climb and smashed it whilst I pretended not to be in any kind of pain.

As close as I got…..

IMG_1948 (2)
The `easy day` climb with Mr CCC. Good to see our sponsor Paul from Cyclesense on there!

Last day
Ruined is an understatement. I looked at what Matt had set for today with a huge sigh but decided to man up and go to a nearby climb to do some intervals. How I got through them I have no idea but it shows what you can do if you at least try and my reward was a nice easy ride to Parcent to watch the world go by in the café at the bottom of the Col De Rates. The Fixit.No Danish pro team were testing on there so it was good to see the (young) riders prepping and enthusiasm for what they were about to do. A nice easy ride back into Calpe and that was it! Gutted, but what a brilliant place, I for one will be back. At least I stuck to the plan boss honestly……

First weekend racing done… TFFT! Jacko’s first weekend racing

Well finally its here… After what seems like an eternity of hard graft winter miles the race season arrives…First up the Sheffrec 2up TT with Simon Beldon on the Hatfield Woodhouse course.

pre race


Race face on and ready for Simon!

A very cold, windy but dry (it was!)  day began and looked promising.  A good warm up in which the immortal and erroneous agreement that I would take the start line first was made…  at 3pm dead we hit the start and fired over the motorway at about 3million watts for the first 5 minutes.  Hmm I do never quite learn to start slow and build up!  Oh and it belted down and we were soaked by mile2. So much so when I tried to speak halfway through it came out as a slurred dribble I was that cold!

The first 2 legs were tough then onto the old ’10’ course, a superfast blast to Blaxton and crawl back.  Working well together we managed to cross the line in 52:18 to win by 1:19.

http://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/event/20678 – race report.

Part 1 complete.

For me this was a 2 part weekend.  Felt like going from zero to a thousand miles an hour in one go – but in for a penny in for a pound I’d signed up to repeat the Kettering CC 20m Hilly on Sunday on the undulating, bumpy but fun course near Thrapston in Northamptonshire.

Really - do I have to?!
Really – do I have to?!

The Sunday alarm arrived oh too quick to sore and tender legs… this was going to be tough. As tradition for me I cycled a circuitous 17m to the HQ and could tell I was on for a tough day!  But it was sunny at least!

I was off last man with a nice target of Team Bottrill’s Elliot Gowland as my minute man.  I did my usual and flew off the start line – then was quickly reminded of yesterday’s effort! into the wind I focussed on aerodynamics over power and made surprisingly good progress catching Elliot on 9minutes.  At this point I knew I was on for a win and even though struggling to get used to a more extreme position, that proved very aero, but difficult to get the power down I focussed on aero-dynamics and churned it out.

The finish was nothing like as quick as last year, where we had a roaring tailwind the last 10miles,  still I stopped the clock on 44mins dead, 30 secs slower than last year, but 2min 30 ahead of Gavin Hinxman who rode to a solid 2nd place.


Now to ride home…



Race result board
Race result board learnt:
  1.  Why do we race this early?!
    1.  No idea!
  2.  The compromise between aerodynamics and power is a fine one and I still have not got the happy medium!
  3.  Really – have I entered another hilly 30m next week?
  4.  Where is the nearest shrink… I need seeing to…