Every cloud has a silver lining…

Some of you may know others may not, that eight weeks ago I was told that I had a pulmonary embolism.

Several small blood clots in my right lung and scar tissue from exposure to asbestos were discovered after several weeks of feeling off colour and an aching right side. Several more C.T. scans and a consolation with a specialist; I had to start using a blood thinning drug – Apixaban.

After the initial shock and the panic of what will I be able to do?? A few weeks of light training and a pre-arranged family holiday, the soreness on my right side and the restricted breathing improved.

After a couple of telephone calls with my coach Matt Clinton it was decided to start doing some races and harder training sessions just to see how my body reacted.

My first race back was on a very cold and wet Wednesday evening over 21 hilly miles, organised by Halifax Imps. Although placed 3rd this was a massive shock to the system and took several days to recover. I knew this was just the beginning and hopefully things would improve.

My next race was on the super-fast V718 but this was abandoned following a car crash on the course, after 60 riders had started….

The following week was the YCF 15 mile on V728 again a renowned fast course. I arrived early and managed to get in a good warm up on my rollers before going to the start, 10:50. The conditions were very good and the fast times had started rolling in. Now it was my turn, I started like a scared hare and completely made a mess of the first left turn, (some very strong verbal words to myself to get my act together) and I was off again, working as hard as I could watching both my power and heartrate. I was soon at the turn and feeling o.k., I’d been lucky enough to pass one or two riders so I knew things were going well. Working just as hard on the return leg and finishing in 30:13, I was very pleased with my time knowing that I had performed as well as possible, with just a few speed sessions under my belt. I had made it round the course in one piece, able to fight another day.

With the result in and my overall position being 8th, I had just managed to set an age group record 51 years young and 30:13, even if for only 43 minutes. Thanks Michael Ellerton, great ride mate.

Onwards and hopefully upwards to the next race this weekend and more hard training. I’m still having good days and bad days, but I’m still able to race at quite a reasonable level. With time it should get a lot better.

blair I would also like to take this opportunity to say a massive thankyou for all the kind messages and the fantastic support from my team members and sponsors.    

Learning the hard way…

Never turn until you see a marshal.

Sitting in the car outside HQ waiting for the freak hail storm to pass so that we could go into to collect our numbers, I wondered if the long drive up to Derby to tackle the A50/6 would be worth it.

It’s an extension of the super fast A25/11 with a ‘dog leg’ up a stretch of single carriageway. It was also the reverse of the J course I had set my PB of 2.04.13 on in 2013 and I was hoping for a well overdue update to something much more respectable. Given my notorious ability to get lost on a straight road, I had taken no chances. Friday night was spent scrutinising the course on Google maps and drawing a tiny map on a strip of tape to attach to my handlebars. I marked on every roundabout and expected mileage. The only thing that stood between me and a PB were my legs (no pun intended), or so I thought.

Preparation clearly hadn’t stretched to packing any waterproof kit so I was forced to ride to the start in my oversized pink raincape (with Dalmations all over it) that is normally reserved for windy wet days when I can’t manage an umbrella and the pram. Nothing like being inconspicuous…

First two and a bit miles to the A50 flew by and it wasn’t long until I could see my minute woman up ahead. Mental note to calm down, 50 miles is a long way. First 10 miles done in just 21.45. I hit the ‘Concrete mountain’ and the head wind but even then my average speed has barely dropped below 26mph. Speed was way above what I had anticipated but my power told me it was sustainable. By the time I got to the top turn I had passed almost everyone up to my 9 minute woman with the exception of Angela Hibbs (Nat 50 champion) and Alice Lethbridge (4th at Nat 50).

Back down the Concrete Mountain at some 30 mph and onto the single carriageway. I glance down at my map, straight over the first mini roundabout then turn at the second. I approach the second, the mileage looks wrong, but I’m sure that there were only 2 on the map so I turn. The marshal must have popped off for a comfort break. Almost immediately I regret that move. I squint at the map again but by the time I was sure that I’d turned early I was nearly back onto the DC. (In retrospect, I could have turned, re ridden that section and still got a PB).

Despite that fatal error, I was keen to prove to myself what I was capable of so I carry on back at race pace. If nothing else, this would be good training for the National 100 and provide valuable data. And there was a miniscule chance that maybe I was wrong about being wrong.

Back onto the A516 for what should have been the last mile and a half. I pass the finish time keepers at 49.1miles. Damn, Clarry you really are a complete idiot. I continue until my Garmin says 50 miles and I stop the clock at 1.54.15. That should have been just enough to sneak into the Top 20 on the All time Fastest Riders list but sadly, it was officially a DNF for me. GUTTED.

PS. It turns out the map on Strava is out of date. Don’t trust Strava.

Bolsover and District CC 2 up 10


Following our success in March in the Hull Thursday RC 2 up 24, myself and super espoir Jon Wears decided to see how quick we could go over 10 miles as a team.

The perfect choice was the relatively local Bolsover event held in the single carruageway A60 course at Cucknet near Worksop.

With Jon Wears currently on top form with no less than 6 sub 50 minute rides over 25 miles, it was always going to be a tough race for me but training has been going well  and my new Giant Trinity Advanced Time Trial bike courtesy of our sponsors SSLL, dialled in, I was looking forward to this event immensely.

So the day arrived and while others were getting a soaking in flood conditions elsewhere, we were blessed with warm sunshine and a crosswind breeze.

Off last of 30 teams, we were pre race favourites but took nothing for granted as several other teams were quality outfits including former team mates Robbie Krygsman and Rich Dean of Team Swift and Ian Guillor and Sean Eden from Mapperley CC.

So following a good focused warm up on our turbos , a fuel top up courtesy of OTE , off we went to the start. The start of this course is halfway down a fairly steep climb and so we were up to 40 plus mph within seconds. My new 58 tooth chainring courtesy of Fibrelyte was running perfectly and all was well. Jon Wears came through super smooth to lead us out of the first village which we flew through courtesy of the excellent marshals stopping traffic from pulling out on  us. He was flying and although comfortable on his wheel, it was a while before I could come through to take a turn. However it didn’t matter to Jon as he turned 56 x 11 with ease.

30 plus mph avg after 5 minutes of racing and all was looking good, but then just ahead we saw a problem. A traffic jam had been caused by a Range Rover trying to turn right across the road into a market!! We had to slow and then freewheel dropping from 30 mph to 14 as we somehow squeezed past. Obstruction clear but it took another 40 seconds to get back up to race speed – gutted!

Undeterred we cracked on and still hit the long slow turn in 10 minutes still an average of 30 mph. I ploughed a route through the traffic at the turn and got us back up to 31 mph before Jon was once again pushing the pace upwards on the front . We seemed to be getting faster and very soon the finish line (thankfully before the start hill!) was ahead. A strong sprint at 35 mph and we crossed the line side by side in 20:20 for an average speed of 29.6 mph. Was it enough to win? We were hopeful. However on arriving back at the HQ, we were greeted by the Team Bottrills who gave us the bad news that Guillor and Eden had beaten us by 6 seconds and the Swifts by 1 measly second. Both of us were disappointed but happy that we had tried our hardest.

On returning home I analysed all data and it was clear that with the delay and the huge scrub off of speed that several seconds had been lost and a likely win with it. This is however part of racing on open roads and thats that.

For me I was happy that I could hold a the flying Jons, 24 yrs my junior, wheel . He is really proving to be a superstar and long may it continue.

as usual a big thanks to the SSLL Chiefs Simon Fearnley and Keith Davey for providing us with the best in frames, nutrition and coaching from Giant , OTE and our  Coaches Gary Kristenson and Adam Hardy .



Bridlington 10 – 25th June – YCF Spoco Series

My topsy turvy season continued this weekend with the Bridlington 10 around the undulating course at Burton Fleming. Fresh from a week’s training in Tenerife with plenty of climbing in my legs, I was hopeful of notching another win in the series which would hopefully push me closer to the YCF Spoco title.

 I travelled to the event with my good friend and team mate Blair Buss and we spent 2 hours in the car trying to psyche each other out… Just kidding. We spent 2 hours talking politics! Yawn.

On arrival at the HQ I collected my number, got the bike ready and commenced a 40 minute warm up on the turbo trainer in the glorious sunshine. The legs felt pretty heavy after the week in Tenerife and my negative TSB was at the forefront of my mind as I tried to ramp things up and get my lungs ready to do battle. Final preparations done I rode the 2 miles to the start. The wind was in the wrong direction for this course. Last year the westerly wind assisted in me nearly breaking James Gullen’s course record, but this year the Easterly wind, albeit fairly light, was to provide little assistance other than for the first 3 mile climb, which definitely helped me take the KOM on the day for that particular segment.

After a few weeks off racing I knew I would be a little rusty to begin with but hopefully as the race progressed I would begin to get into my stride. As the starter began to count down I took a few deep breaths and then I was off. As mentioned, the first 3 miles are uphill at an average gradient of 2%. With the tailwind helping riders up the incline I negotiated the first section of the course pretty well and began to settle into a rhythm. After you crest the 3 mile climb you begin a fast descent; flicking quickly through the gears my di2 derailleur decided to throw my chain off, I managed to catch it on the crank arm and reach down quickly to put it back on. A few seconds lost and with oil all over my hands I settled back down into a rhythm and concentrated on catching my minute man, Andrew Askwith. This is a course Andy knows well and it took me an age to reel him in. Course knowledge is really beneficial on a course like this because there were a few sweeping bends were I needlessly braked too hard and scrubbed too much speed off, and a few other bends where I didn’t brake quickly enough in advance resulting in me slamming the brakes on and losing momentum.

 As the miles ticked by the average speed was slowly creeping up to 28mph and I briefly had thoughts of getting close to last years time, but as you take the T Junction at Wolds Newton and commence the run in through Burton Fleming, the headwind put a stop to the increase in the average speed and it began a fight to keep it above 27mph ave. The last 2 miles are really undulating with two lung busting climbs before a very fast descent to the finish. I managed to catch Andy at 8 miles, just before the first climb back up to the finish line. I ramped things up as hard as I could to the finish line, averaging 410 watts for the last 2 minutes, and stopped the clock in 22:04 which was almost a minute slower than last year. On riding back to the HQ I forgot I had oil all over my hands and as I brushed the flies off my skinsuit with my hand I managed to get oil all over my sleeves! Another item of kit ruined.

Upon arriving back to HQ I was told I had won the event by over 30 seconds from an ever improving Stewart Gormley of Team Swift. A fairly comfortable win in the end which resulted in me going to the top of the YCF Spoco Series leader board. On checking my data afterwards I pleased to see a power PB for the season with my levels slowly getting back to the levels I set last year. Thanks to my coach Bob Tobin for his patience with me this year. Things are now settling down at home with the little one finally sleeping a lot better than she was 3 months ago meaning my training has been more consistent. Thanks as ever to our great sponsors, SSLL, No Pinz and OTE.

Our flying junior Max McMurdo reports

Race Report from Harrogate Nova RR where Max Placed 6th


Fathers day should mean the father is spoilt and brought breakfast in bed… a lie in and waited on hand and foot for the day, right? Well not my dad! He came and woke me up at 7 to get ready for racing! I got downstairs to see he was already making me my pre race meal of beans on toast. I knew I’d have to make it a good race to make it all worth it.

We are only a short distance from the infamous Pennypot circuit that todays race was held on, just outside of Harrogate, so its one I know well and regularly train on.

Todays race could be described as a proper Yorkshire local bike race, 15 mile from home to HQ, hang out with my mates, then race, then eat cake after… it was a right laugh. All that pre race banter was flying and it’s such a nice break from revision (As I’m still taking my A2 finals; 8 done 4 to go…)

I got to sign on saw there was a decent field of 80 odd riders of Yorkshires finest, including Ex pro and eventual winner Jamie Sharp. You could say he was at the sharp end of the race…

I know I’m not in peak condition as far as fitness as trainings having to take a bit of a backseat while i get these exams out the way, its been more of a case of maintenance rather than building, with most weeks training totalling 7 hours at absolute most. So looking at the field I could tell I was gonna be in for a tough day.

Nevertheless my mindset remained the same, enjoy it, pay attention to the riders you know are strong and the advice I was given by the legend Tom Barras- “Don’t take shit from no clowns”

Things kicked off at 10 am sharp, it was a steady start with the ever optimistic solo attacks going 60 mile from the finish. I stayed sat in about 15th wheel most of the first lap, knowing… ok, hoping the break wouldn’t go on the first lap and me miss it. The good thing about this lack of training is that 99%of the time I’m feeling pretty fresh, so I felt good early on.

About 2 and a half laps in a break went, 4 or 5 riders went up the road on Pennypot road- Basically the longest draggy bumpy pothole covered road in the world. I wasn’t going to start chasing anything this time trying not to unnecessarily waste energy, I thought it’d come back and it did, but from then on I stayed more alert to attacks. Sure enough another attack went with about 8 or 9 riders, one of them was me! After having seen a few go up the road and still feeling strong I bridged the 200m gap and sat on for a bit to recover. In the next few miles another 4 riders bridged to us to form what was the winning move. 2 laps to go… I was confident I’d made the right decision getting in this break. With one lap to go we crossed the line with about a minute gap on the main field. Nothing was guaranteed with 12 miles still to go but it was looking likely that the winner was going to come from this break.

It felt like we were riding too slowly and that we were going to get caught so I probably did more turns than perhaps was necessary, but I would rather get 15th and last man in the break than the main group catch us and me get nothing. So I endeavoured to get a chain gang working, it worked well enough that we weren’t caught but they had certainly closed in on us at the finish.

The final time up Pennypot road was steady, the fireworks hadn’t been lit yet, but then we turned the corner onto the descent where a rider attacked, me on junior gearing was left searching for gears as I had to sit in and watch him drift off at 40 odd mile an hour. The road kicks up past a famous bikers pub which is where another rider went away, the road then turns left past the HQ and into the final mile or so. I wasn’t cooked but knew I wasn’t the strongest rider there, so I stayed sat in and let others chase the breakaways breakaway riders. There’s a short descent that leads into the final climb, I was sat 4th wheel there with two still off the front, so 6th on the road. It really kicks up with 250m or so to go, I gulped in the air, swung out and gave it everything, but as I said already, I wasnt the strongest rider there and came in 6th place, but 1st junior rider.

After winning my local hilly TT the Thursday prior to today and this result its been a decent week. Now time to crack on with some revision again.



Mel Wasley – Mallorca 312

At the end of April, trainSharp coached and SSLL Racing Team rider, Mel Wasley took part in the Mallorca 312 Km, a sportive that famously completes a lap of the Spanish Island. The 2016 version took a different route, but was no less challenging. Having ridden the previous year, Mel was confident she could push a little harder, especially on the climbs. The weather wasn’t playing ball, however….

“The rain started at 6:45 as we lined up at the start and continued for the next 6 or 7 hours. The first 40 km was spent trying to work through the big packs of cyclists. Once we hit the hills I tried to settle into a comfortable pace where I was working hard but not so much that I risked blowing up in the remaining kilometres. Riding the Haute Route multi-stage event last year had definitely helped me develop a feel for this and when you were pushing too hard or had more to give. “ In the first 2 hours Mel and her group had completed the climb up into Luc and the Puig Major, up to 865 meters above sea level, during which time she has averaged an impressive 217 Watts – not bad considering this was only one fifth of the total time recorded for the day!

Mel Wasley First 6 hours

“We spent 6 or 7 hours riding in the mountains hills. There is 4,000+ meters of climbing in 312km and most of this is in the first mountainous part. I am happy climbing so this bit was in my comfort zone”.

There aren’t many people that would say such a thing, but working with Mel on her sustainable powers and leg strength efforts over the recent months, she sailed over the first 150 Km, in 6 hours.

The route profile meant that the majority of the climbing was complete after 7 hours, an easy ride back to the start you might be thinking…this wasn’t the case.

Mel Wasley 312 Map and trace

“This bit was the toughest part, not least because at 80km we were taken past the finish line where the people doing 160 Km and 282 Km routes were peeling off to finish. It was really important that we got in with a group of people who were willing to work together. Luckily we managed to do this and with 5 of us sharing the work on the front we made good progress to get us to the 230 Km mark.

The last 3 hours were definitely the toughest and felt a lot like a very long tough turbo session. In the context of the 312 80 Km is not "far to go" but then you remember ordinarily that would be a decent training ride. The final 10 Km saw everyone find a second wind so this bit was a speedy run into the finish where I finished with a time of 11:12:27. Definitely one of the most demanding and satisfying rides I’ve done.”

Mel was the first lady to complete the event and came in 134 position overall. Her average power  was 227 W (NP), expending nearly 7,400 calories (Kcal) over the course of the day!

Mel Wasley Power distribution

Having completed the Mallorca 312, Mel has since completed the Tour of Wessex, and recently placed 5 th in the National 50 mile Time Trial (only her second ever 50!). From here the targets are for the National 100 and 25 time trials and getting a national medal.

If you are looking for advice on your next big goal, whether it is a particular event or individual target get in touch with trainSharp (info@trainsharpcyclecoaching.co.uk) and they can discuss the best preparation for you.

Thanks to Elliot Lipski, trainSharp Coaching for his words and analysis.

National 50m TT 2016

Andy Jackson & Mel Wasley made the long long long trek to Plymouth for the 2016 National 50m TT.

A hugely challenging course that was a TT classic, out and back up a DC (A38)… but this was no ordinary DC!   Andy recce’d the course on Saturday…. 8m up some ridiculous long and steep drags and +50mph down… this was no ‘Normal’ 50!

The race attracted the who’s who of the TT world, despite the distance.  Mel approaching her first 50 TT of the year after some fabulous events last year was hoping for a top placing.

In the Men’s the competition was super tough, headed by defending National 25 champion Ryan Perry and National 10 champion Richard Bussell, as well as last years 2nd and 3rd in the 50, Matt Clinton and Brett Harwood.

Sunday am,  early!  Brought rain for the start of the women’s event at 5.30am.  Mel was off near the top of the field and fired up to the turn,  the return leg was a real grind for all. Back at the HQ as results cane in it was clear Mel had done a fab ride,  2:00:48, but was beaten into 5th pace by winner Angela Hibbs (Fusion RT), defending champion Julia Shaw (Drag2zero) and Becky Lewis (Wrexham RC)


Build up for the Men’s had seen Andy record a PB 1:41:05 in the Finsbury pk 50 4 weeks before and a 18:19 ’10’ the Thursday before,  form was coming…!

The Men’s event began just after 6am with Andy off, as 3rd seed at 7:50am due to his 4th place finish last year.

The out leg was fast, trying in vein to hammer the hills and recover down,  he hit the turn in just over 50m to begin the grind back.  Meanwhile Perry & Bussell hit the turn in 48mins !! WOW.

The course didn’t really suit,  give him a long flat DC and its perfect territory, but those ‘drags’ V the flying lightweights were always going to be a challenge!

A solid return leg saw Andy come in on 1:44:27…

BDCA 25 2016 2

Bussell & Perry were a class above and fought out a narrow 12 secs difference with Perry triumphing in 1:39:50 – amazing ride!

Kieron Davies (Drag2Zero) wrapped up the podium.

Andy’s ride saw him 7th, with some notable scalps behind, including Charles Taylor (100m record holder) , Steve Irwin and Phil Graves.

Roll on the National 100 in 4 weeks where SSLL RT will have a full mens and womens team racing and on courses that suit their strengths!