And now for something completely Different… ‘Hells 500 – High Rouleurs Society’

Andy Jackson  19/9/16


For the past few season I have decided on an ‘end of ‘season’ epic..  2 years ago I decided to ‘Everest’.  A simple concept dreamt up by the mad people at ‘Hells 500’

Simply pick a route, and climb the height of Mt Everest, 8848m in one ride.  Piece of cake – 4.3x up Mt Teide in Tenerife should do it!  Here is the write up

Last year I went for a simpler,  circumnavigation of Tenerife (*note a theme appearing here!)

So this year, there was only really one thing for it,  it had been nagging at me for ages to go for the BIG Hells 500 challenge… the ‘High Rouleurs Society’.  Another ‘simple’ premise.  Climb 10000m in one ride ‘The limit’, or on 2 rides in 36hrs ‘The Journey’.  There was only one thing for it.  ‘The limit’ for me!


So after a mediocre few weeks due to a combination of a virus I struggled to shift,  work travel, moving and doing up a house the prep wasn’t ideal.  Also TBH I was only ever half set on the idea, so the week before saw no specific training, no taper at all.  All combined with arrival to Tenerife on Friday night followed by 2 swift pints and half a bottle of Vino Blanco all was perfect!

So Saturday we were go,  Bottles made up (OTE of course!)  countless gels and bars and kit laid out.

kit-prepI have already had countless comments (Thanks Team mates 🙂 !)about why no SSLL racing kit?  well Hells 500 ‘The keepers of the clouds’ produce limited edition kit ONLY for those completing challenges and ONLY to be worn on epic days… This had to be one.  So, for once the SSLL racing kit stays in the drawer and its time to get ‘epic’.

Alarm sounded at 4.45am… really?! Holiday?!  so I jump out of bed, quick breakfast and the obligatory can of Monster and off we go.

My plan was loose TBH,  ride straight up high a couple of times and see how we were doing, then potentially in the afternoon I’d identified a 6% gradient loop I could use to try and bag some decent climbing.  Today was about 1 thing VAM – vertical ascent in metres.  Nothing else mattered.

Everesting took me just over 14hrs, so realistically I was aiming for 15-16hrs.. LONG day!

The first 4-5hrs were honestly boring, I probably started too hard with 2.5hrs in Zone 3… Hmm I could pay for this.  After 5.5hrs I headed back to the apartment for a quick refill and solid food. then off again.  I started on my chosen loop, but soon realised it was a bad idea.  after nr 8hrs I had done 18k ft.  not bad I thought, then I switched to Metres on the Garmin.  5600m.  Bugger near double to go.  and it was HOT.  feet were overheating and hurting in my shoes and power was dropping.  I was in trouble at this point.  I got rescued via a ‘home made’ ice vest of Ice in carrier bags, stuffed in my helmet and bacon sandwiches and coke.

At this point I was honestly in debates with myself.. do I finish this, do I just make up an excuse and can it… you go through so much self talk in hrs of solitude on the bike.  The only thing keeping me going was the innate knowledge that IF I didn’t do it today, I never would, and to be that would be a failure.  After a rough 3hrs between 5-7km (*noticeable by how quiet my copious (!!) social media posts went… I was back!).  I hit 7.5k and I knew I’d make it.


I also discovered a ridiculously steep road, 3k, 15% avg gradient.  3x up there added a few Metres elevation! The pics don’t lie, I was literally weaving for Z4 power at 60-70 cadence – insane!  I checked after , 57th on Strava segs… TBH what I expected – I aint no climber!


By now it was about 5pm and I was, depressingly calculating that at the VAM I was hitting 630-650 / hr I was in for a LONG night.  The biggest issue with the whole thing is the time it takes to descend.  Its totally wasted time against the challenge so picking the balance of steepness (for VAM) but also the ability to recover was a challenge.

I decided to take a good hour run up high and managed a VAM of near 1000m.  a quick blast down and repeat and I was now over 8000m… ‘just’ 2000m to go!.  One more long trek down and then up should do it.. By about 11hrs in I actually started to feel good, anyone who has done a bit of long distance cycling will know the weird stages you go through.  for me I was average and ‘forcing it’ for hours.  by hrs 11-16 I was flowing.  Power was good,  cadence good I was supple and gliding.  mad!

I hit the ‘Everest point’ 8848m around 8.30pm, just outside Arona – deserved celebrating…


One last push. I just knuckled down, I was debating dropping to sea level and then going back up,  I was unsure on the descent in the dark (*my lights were crap and my ‘moon light’ the battery died)… I decided to just keep going, gambling that the full moon of the previous night would rise and give me a moon lit hurtle down.

Thank God it did…

So around 10pm I hit the magical 10k metres.  I was now near the top of El Ratemer (1800m) and getting cold.. so time for a quick (last!) pic

… Yes I looked tired by now…

So now for a moonlit descent – FUN FUN FUN!  15m in 33mins was epic fun.  quiet roads, follow the white line and hope.  the way I love it.

So at near 10:40pm I arrived back cold, elated, with the worst saddle sores ever and ready for a bath.  But its done and will be in the HRS ‘hall of fame’ alongside my first ever Everesting of Mt Teide.

The Ride – strava

The stats:

10019m climbed

213m total covered

16hrs 23mins

13mph avg

VAM 610m

241NP watts

13k calories burned 🙂

10 Bottles OTE Vanilla

20 OTE Gels

2 cans Monster

3 bottles coke

5L water (over me as well as in me!)

4 bacon butties

bag of haribo

SSLL Charity 10 – Report from Eugene.

Saturday the 10th of September was the date that we had all been told was the day we must keep free for the clubs 10 mile TT.  Most of the work before that point had been done by Simon Beldon, we just needed to be there on the day and look useful.  The event had been planned from before I had even heard of SSLL, so to not have turned up to help out would have been a real death wish.

On the morning of the 10th I went out on my bike first thing in the morning before setting off to the HQ to arrive (40 minutes later than half the team) at 12:30.  In Newport Village Hall the usual smell of stale sweat at the results board had been replaced by the smell of coffee.   Cakes were piled high in the kitchen and Andy was setting up the projector for the results.  For most of us though we just stood around drinking coffee and discussing how it was unfair that we wouldn’t get to ride on a day that sure looked quick.

Simon and Keith (our generous sponsors from SSLL) turned up not long after with fleeces and high-vis jackets for those of us that had 2 hours 30 minutes of standing on the roadside coming up.  Not long after we piled into the team car and headed 5 miles up the road to the turn and took up our places.  I assume all people took up their positions at start finish and HQ as the event ran as smoothly as we could have hoped for.

The next couple of hours are hard to elaborate on from my point of view.  I stood at the top of a slip-road and prayed cars didn’t come around the roundabout at the same time as a cyclist.  Around half way through I received a message to say that the Women’s Comp Record had been broken by Anna Turvey (Tyneside Vagabons CC) with a time of 19:08 beating the previous record of 19:18 set earlier this year by Hayley Simmonds.  It was clear that as we feared it was a quick day out there and we were all missing out on PBs.  As we got towards the end the job became slightly more entertaining.  Marcin Bialoblocki (ONE Pro Cycling) came storming up the slip-road at a noticeably quick speed.  Around the roundabout is one place where you can really see who is going well.  Marcin powered right onto the roundabout rather than slowing up as you take the right turn.  James Gullen (Pedal Heavan) had the same determined approach, racing around the turn which had already seen one rider (Clarry’s Husband David) hit the deck earlier in the race.

At the turn Joel had been asked by James to give a time check as to how he was doing at the turn compared to Marcin.  The answer was probably not what he was expecting considering how well James was going.  Marcin was 26 seconds up at the turn (a little under half way).

We cleared up the signs that had been stuck up around the course and headed back to the HQ whilst debating what whether or not the Comp Record had been broken.  Before we even reached the HQ we got a text saying that Marcin had done a 16:35 and James a 17:09.  Both had broken previous the Comp Record but only Marcin Bialoblocki gets the bragging rights on the occasion.

We got back to the HQ and everyone you walked past outside was discussing that Alex Dowsett’s record had been broken by 40 seconds.  I walked briskly inside, partially to see the results board partially because I had heard that they had nearly ran out of cake.  Fortunately I managed to get some Victoria sponge.  Other marshals weren’t so lucky.

A few minutes later Marcin walked in to hand in his number and received a round of applause from the room.  The best part about it being a quick day is that everyone is happy, almost everyone has a new PB.

The prize presentation was soon delivered by Simon Beldon as he announced £2000 had been raised for Erb’s Palsy Group and we had 2 new Comp Records.  The event had been more successful than we could possibly have hoped for and will be remembered for years to come.

As a team we would like to thank everyone for taking part and SSLL’s backing for making the event possible.

We hope to see you again next year.


1. Marcin Bialoblocki 00:16:35
2. James Gullen 00:17:09
3. Stephen Irwin 00:17:49
4. Simon Wilson 00:17:52
5. David Allonby 00:17:53
6. David Crawley 00:17:54
7. MARK JONES 00:18:06
8. Philip Graves 00:18:19
9. Daniel Barnett 00:18:26
10. Peter Barusevicus 00:18:28
11. Gavin Hinxman 00:18:38
12. Adam Coffey 00:18:39
13. PAUL ELCOCK 00:18:41
14. Alex Foster 00:18:43
15. Sam Henning 00:18:46
16. Oliver peckover 00:18:47
17. jon wynn 00:18:48
18. Stewart Gormley 00:18:53
19. Stuart Travis 00:18:54
20. Richard Harrison 00:18:56
21. Aled Roberts 00:18:58
22. Neal Parkin 00:18:58
23. Christopher Jones 00:19:00
24. Harry Walker 00:19:06
25. richard dean 00:19:06
26. Anna Turvey 00:19:08
27. PAUL DABLE 00:19:10
28. Shaun Eden 00:19:18
29. Neil Palmer 00:19:21
30. Carl Ruebotham 00:19:22
31. Michael Cross 00:19:22
32. Nick Rogers 00:19:22
33. Tom Thornely 00:19:25
34. Alex Russell 00:19:25
35. Dave Elliott 00:19:25
36. Jack Levick 00:19:27
37. mathew Eley 00:19:28
38. Eric Grill 00:19:28
39. James Lindsay 00:19:30
40. Matthew Hallam 00:19:31
41. Philip Jones 00:19:32
42. Nick Nettleton 00:19:33
43. jeremy stone 00:19:34
44. Liam Bosley 00:19:36
45. Simon Cannings 00:19:39
46. Christopher Bates 00:19:40
47. Jason Swann 00:19:41
48. Paul Deen 00:19:41
49. Stu Wood 00:19:42
50. Robin Brennan 00:19:42
51. Ed Neilson 00:19:45
52. Steve Colloby 00:19:45
53. Alex Leek 00:19:47
54. Greg Plummer 00:19:50
55. Mark Morgan 00:19:52
56. Dael Sidwell 00:19:53
57. Shawn Gough 00:19:55
58. Kris Bowditch 00:19:55
59. Chris Henderson 00:19:56
60. Stuart Wells 00:19:56
61. Simon Gibbs 00:19:57
62. mark bembridge 00:19:57
63. chris sleath 00:19:58
64. Steven Fullerton 00:19:58
65. Alastair Semple 00:20:01
66. Richmond Denton 00:20:03
67. Edward Priddy 00:20:03
68. andrew cutts 00:20:04
69. Neil Cleminshaw 00:20:06
70. Andrew Wright 00:20:07
71. Dave Robinson 00:20:08
72. andrew ASKWITH 00:20:12
73. Justin Ford 00:20:15
74. Martyn Shore 00:20:17
75. MICHAEL WILLS 00:20:18
76. Ross Holland 00:20:18
77. Neil Holden 00:20:18
78. andre dyason 00:20:19
79. Daryl Maffey 00:20:19
80. Simon Coates 00:20:21
81. Tim Wheeler 00:20:25
82. Paul Mason 00:20:28
83. Daniel Shaw 00:20:29
84. jeffrey regler 00:20:30
85. Mark Woolford 00:20:31
86. michael lawrenson 00:20:33
87. Ian Manders 00:20:33
88. Ritchie Towers 00:20:33
89. Paul Arnold 00:20:33
90. John Martin 00:20:34
91. Robert Cooke 00:20:37
92. paul granger 00:20:39
93. Richard Hey 00:20:39
94. Jim Trevor 00:20:40
95. Ashley Roue 00:20:40
96. Dave Hudson 00:20:42
97. robert grainger 00:20:43
98. Steve Burrows 00:20:47
99. andy gates 00:20:49
100. Lee Watson 00:20:54
101. Mark Symons 00:20:56
102. Mark Rowland 00:20:58
103. Steve Mountford 00:20:59
104. Ian Garbett 00:21:03
105. Adrian Humpage 00:21:04
106. Steven Loraine 00:21:04
107. Rich Banks 00:21:11
108. Mark Haynes 00:21:13
109. Simon Geraci 00:21:18
111. Ray Gullen 00:21:30
112. steve wilkinson 00:21:32
113. Anthony McNamara 00:21:45
114. Tony Stott 00:21:51
115. Oliver Wright 00:22:08
116. Francesca Rust 00:22:09
117. Mark Philipson 00:22:09
118. ANDREW CARROLL 00:22:14
119. Barry Teal 00:22:24
120. Andy Fretwell 00:22:32
121. allen bell 00:22:41
122. Joanne Burnett 00:23:00
123. Sue Cheetham 00:23:25
124. Michelle Morley 00:23:43
125. Tracy Rowlinson 00:23:56
126. tony jackson 00:24:30
127. Cheryl Trueman 00:25:07
128. Helen Hudson 00:25:38
129. Gill Henshaw 00:27:05
130. mickie Hornby 00:27:46

For sale…GIANT TT bike and all the kit … Well it feels like I should!

Andy Jackson    11th September

BDCA 25 2016 2

Well I think today brings (prematurely) to the end a very ‘up and down’ season for me.

RTTC Circuit Championships in Alcester today, ended with a disappointing 3rd place in the Vets (40-45) and 13th overall in a time of 53:46.

Huge congrats to a great guy Ryan Perry, and deserved winner of the race and Champion of Champions! Its been great watching him dominate this year!

Also special mentions to Matt Smith (Team Bottrill) , for an excellent 2nd place just 6 secs behind the winner.  Also to David Crawley who won the Vets age group after a stunning <18min ’10’ on the V718 in the SSLL racing team event yesterday.

Team mate Simon Beldon did a fantastic ride to end in 53:44 and win the Vets (B) category.  Simon has been a team mate for years, yet the progression under the tutelage of TT god Matt Bottrill has been astounding.  His race and Vets win have been great, as well as setting (now beaten) a Vets age 10m TT record earlier in the season.

My own season started well, with 17 wins and I was going well to the National 50 after a close Team Silver in the TTT champs earlier in June.  I was pleased to win the Vets at the National 50, but since its been a slow death…

Still PB’s at 50m 1:41:06 and 25m 47:05 were highlights.

So the last few months have been blighted with a  nagging virus that’s started mid July that I have struggled to shift.  The odd highlight since , but generally a disappointing end.

Its been a busy weekend after the hugs success of the SSLL Racing team promoted event on the V718 on Saturday that saw stunning records in the men’s and women’s events, and great rides by 6 riders (WOW!) to go <18mins.. Special mention to a great guy in James Gullen (Pedal Heaven RT) who has had a fantastic year, who after equalling the 10m record 2 weeks ago beat it with a fabulous 17:09 yesterday, only to see OnePro Cyclings Marcin Bialoblocki go even faster with a simply stunning 16:35!! And to top it all he finished off with 44:04 (another record!) in the 25 in South Wales today.

So after a busy day yesterday sorting time sheets .. which proved what everyone who works with me knows, I am CRAP at Excel, and 5hrs driving.. it was up early for a quick trip to Alcester today.

On arrival, first things first,  the ‘pic’ of the newly livered ‘team Jag’ and the race bike..


Special thanks to Simon Fearnley, SSLL main sponsor, for the decals!

Well on the warm up you just know when you have ‘legs’ or not… Not today they told me. Anyway,  man up Jackson,  You are here!

So 12:42pm arrived,  was good to chat to eventual winner, and newly married Ryan Perry, my 2 minute man, on the start line… then BANG off we go.

I head off at stupid watts (standard) flew (*well for me!!) up the first hill and settled in, to watch the watts drop… ever so slowly!  I was bloody trying though!

First lap in 27:27 (I think) .. and I hadn’t been caught… yet!  So plough on… The drag through Dunnington and Harvington was hard.  head wind, heavy roads, then the turn onto the fast run home to the DC and via Salford Priors.  Past the Best Western I used to stay in when working down there and home.

2nd lap saw Ryan catch me before the DC, what a rider!  I kept him ‘in sight’ to the line and TBH his carrot helped me up it a little to the end.

Crossing the line I knew at best an ‘average’ ride 338w NP.  Put it this way I did 367np at the National 50. Not great… Anyway its over!

So.. what next?  I have in the RTTC Closed Circuit champs on 23rd October.. but we will see… Main target now is the ‘World Long course Time Trial Champs’ in Borrego Springs in Cali in November.  Such a ‘USA’ race – world champs – anyone heard of it?!  NO!  ah well be a good excuse to do what I do best.. ride long and average hard!  Can’t wait!

So… the inaugural season for SSLL racing team is coming to a close… but its been a privilege to ride with some great long term friends, new friends and great athletes… the team have achieved some great things, lets just remind ourselves…

  1. WORLD 1 hour AG record holder Clarry Chunghouse
  2. National TTT silver medallists  Andy J / ALi Wareham / Jon Wears
  3. Vets National 50m Gold  Andy Jackson
  4. Vets (B) 10m TT record  Simon Beldon
  5. Scottish 25m Champion  Max McMurdo
  6. VTTA 30m (fastest time)  Andy Jackson
  7. Yorkshire SPOCO winner   Ali Wareham
  8. BUCS silver Medallist  Sophie Household
  9. Multiple race winner Joel Wainman
  10. Junior BBAR WINNER  Eugene Cross

And many more I can’t even recall!

So, maybe not exactly what we hoped for… but still its been a great journey and great season.

Thanks to all my team mates and competitors and special thanks to:
Simon Fearnley & Keith Davey (SSLL)

NoPinz- Blake Pond

Aerocoach – Xavier Disley

OTE nutrition – Matt Harrison & team

Cyclesense – Paul Stainthorpe

Bob Tobin – Coach

Matt Bottrill – Coach





Junior Tour of Wales 2016

All photos courtesy of Andy Whitehouse.

Last Thursday (25th August), due to me foolishly assuming that the race was Friday – Sunday, I went to Wales for the Junior Tour of Wales.  Although my error meant an extra day in Wales it did give me chance to ride the course of stage 1 and the finishes of stage 2 and 5.  With this being the biggest junior race in the country by some way my targets were to get a top 15 and hope for a possible top 5 on a stage, ideally stage 2 or 5 with their hill top finishes.

Stage 1

On the Saturday, after extensive recce of the TT course, I set about my warm up.  My aim was to come as close to David Millar’s time set in the race in 1994 of 12:12 on the 4.7 mile course.  The previous year I had come in the top 40 in the TT, which is far from spectacular.

TT profile
The profile of the TT course

I set off hard, yet seated due to my rear tyre slipping on the wet road.  I averaged 400W up the initial climb before settling down on the gradual downhill, after struggling to get the chain onto the big ring.  I then averaged 320W on the downhill section where all riders are restricted by the junior gears which does give you a little rest before the climb to the finish.  The second that I turned the corner onto the final hill I thought I had probably gone too hard too early.  I pushed on up the climb averaging 400W once again.


I was pleased with my effort after finishing.  It was one of the few TTs this year where I felt I’d managed to completely empty myself.  Regardless of the result I knew I couldn’t have done much more.  Back at the HQ I found out that I was sat 8th overall and was 11th quickest up the final climb.  I was very happy with this as a result.  The 5 stage race had got off to a good start.

Stage 2

After 2 and a half hours of recovery and lunch we had the first road stage.  I had ridden the last 20 miles of the course the day before so I was confident of what I needed to do to stay up there.  My plan was to sit tight, wait for the final climb, then hold on as long as possible and push on if I felt good.

Rolling out for stage 2

I executed my plan as best I could positioning myself at the front going into the final climb.  It had rained heavily half way through the stage and I was glad to get all the descending out the way as we started the final climb.  The climb first went up to Rhigos (the start of the R25/3H TT course) before taking a right at the badly surfaced roundabout up towards a quarry.  The stretch up to Rhigos was kept quick with VCUK, who had the leader’s jersey, keeping the pace high.  When we turned right the pace dropped dramatically but the climb wasn’t steep enough for people to get away too easily.  Peter Kibble did manage to break away and win the stage.  I was left feeling disappointed that I hadn’t tried harder to try slip off the front.  I finished in the group and as one person previously above me did not I moved up to 7th overall.

Stage 3

The following morning was the crit stage and I am absolutely useless as crits.  They require good bike handling and group positioning of which I have neither.  My aim, and possibly least likely aim to achieve that weekend, was to not lose time.  This could be achieved by riding at the front at all times and not getting stuck at the back of the field and someone letting a gap go.  The crit went extremely well and with one lap to go I thought I had cracked it.  I eased up a bit with half a lap to go, allowing myself to drift back through the group as to not get caught up in any crashes as people go for the sprint.  Unfortunately somebody let a wheel go on the final corner and I lost 13 seconds.  This was not a disaster but disappointing after having ridden my best performance in a crit ever.

Stage 4

A flat stage up and down a dual carriage way on restricted gears meant that sitting in you hardly had to pedal.  This was the easy stage on which you should be able to recover.  The stage is designed to find the best sprinter in the pack, which was not going to be me, so I decided I would probably give it a shot off the front in the final few km.

The kind of road that I’m evidently at home on

The race was easy, with an average heat rate for the majority being 147bpm.  With 6 miles to go when rolling through to the front I realised that whoever had been behind me had parked up and that I had about 10m gap on the bunch.  Two people were up the road already so I squeezed on in pursuit thinking this is probably the best opportunity I will get.  After about a mile I glanced over my shoulder to see Billy Robinson, another lone entrant from Yorkshire who I’d been in a break with earlier in the year in an E123 race, was coming across to me.  When he caught me we worked well together.  We both were of the mind-set that we need to nail it all the way to the line and not really think about the win, it’s the staying away that counts.

We kicked each other’s heads in for the next 10 minutes.  We caught the 2 up the road and one jumped on the back of us the other didn’t even try.  Me and Billy kept doing big hard turns while Fred Wright (current European junior team pursuit champion) who had been away for a while hung on. As we got towards the line I carried on drilling it thinking about the time gains more than the stage win.  I was happy to see Billy win the stage, Fred took 2nd and I came in 3rd.  We took 16 seconds out of the group and I received 10 seconds bonus on the line.  Due to some time-penalties handed out due to an altercation before one of the intermediate sprints I was in 5th with only one stage to go.  I was very pleased as this was a standout performance for me in one of the biggest races in the country.


Stage 5

Only 58.7 miles stood between me and a really exceptional performance.  I was 5th overall surrounded by big names on the GC.  People who are next year going to GB or applying for domestic teams at home and abroad.  There was no denying I was out of my depth.  Being on a bit of a high from the day before I thought my best tactic was to sit in, get onto the climb, hold on, finish in the group and hold a top 10.  A break went and as the gap grew I regretted more and more not going with it.  The break stayed away.  Had I slipped into the break I probably would have finished well up overall.

profile of tumble
Strava segment of the final climb (identical to the Ras de Cymru earlier this year)

My group started the climb and I held on for the first half.  On the steep ramps of the tumble when people started to attack it was clear I didn’t have the legs today to stay with the front group.  I was dropped with about 2km to go and struggled to the line. I lost a minute to the group that I started the climb with and slid out of the top 10.  I finished 15th overall.

Somebody who really plans ahead by choosing OTE

In total the race was an undeniable success for me.  A disappointing final stage left me with mixed emotions about my performance.  The race showed me from stage 1 and 4 (perhaps stage 5 as well) that I need to have more faith in myself and try roll the dice a bit more rather than playing it boring.  The race has also given me confidence for riding consistently well in stage races even against the best under 18s in the country.

GC Final