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Sunday, 28 February 2016

1602.28 TOM SIMPSON MEMORIAL RIDE

I've never ridden this event but I've certainly heard of it so when my club mentioned joining in I felt compelled to join in. I've been a little off cycling (apart from my commutes). It's common to lose your mojo during the winter months so this seemed the ideal way to refocus. I made sure I told as many people as possible so I'd find it difficult to get out of participating. I got the summer bike up on the work stand the day before (it's been hooked up to the turbo trainer for a while) and gave it a good going over and a clean up.

The alarm woke me about 7am and after getting in my club kit and a bit of breakfast I got the bike set off to the starting point. The starting point was in Bircotes, over 15 miles from home - good warm up ride.

The ride out was good, after a few miles I was feeling pretty good. I took it steady whilst keeping an eye on the time. I thought I'd see more riders on the way up, I only came across a few on the way (although I had no idea if they were travelling to the same event). I arrived at about 9:10am. There were about 15 other members of my club there to ride amongst the hundreds of others.


It was a 10am start but the organisers started to let riders go in groups of 30 or so from 9:50am. We were off and although the organisers had stressed that this event was NOT A RACE it was clear from the off that the pace was much more than I expected. I stayed with my club mates for a while but the speed as we hurtled towards Retford was just too much (most of them are seasoned road racers and time trialists). I reached Retford much faster than I anticipated and before I knew it I was through the other side. I caught up with the club as we headed north and stayed with them for a while. We ended up in a large group somewhere near Gainsborough (I think) which scattered our group a little. I got penned in and lost my club again. As we turned west the field became thinner and where there were large peletons at the beginning now we had small groups and individuals. There was one member that I managed to catch up with and although he was a few hundred yards in front I felt confident that he knew where he was going (he'd said before that he'd loaded the route into his Garmin).

The field of riders had all but vanished except for my club mate who was ahead but still in sight. I had started to suspect that I was going the wrong way for a while and I was almost certain when I started to see signs saying I was on the A18 to Doncaster. I lost sight of my lead at the next roundabout. Knowing I was off course and on my own I considered just heading home but part of me wanted to finish so I headed towards Bawtry (knowing that the route passed through there) on a route that took me through the busy retail parks and past the racecourse.

Reaching Bawtry was a big boost to me after seeing riders that had obviously finished and heading home. From Bawtry it was easy going back to the finish point. I was pleased to have made it round even if I'd added miles to my ride. After a short break I had more riding to do. I needed to get home.

The ride between Bircotes and home had a few climbs, nothing nasty but after almost 5 hours in the saddle I felt them all. Having said that I got over and through at a fair pace and arrived home in good time.

Would I do it again? If the weather was as good then yes, but I'd make sure I had the route nailed down and I think I'd want to train a bit harder.

This is what the organisers said afterwards... 
The 2016 Tom Simpson Memorial broke all previous records today with the leading group that included Russ Downing, John and Jake Tanner racing around the course in 2 hours and 5 minutes taking 20 minutes off the previous fast time set two years ago. 399 riders signed on today breaking the previous best of 225 riders . The total money raised today was a staggering £2106.62 which has been banked today and a chq for half this amount has been sent to the David Rayner Fund . Thanks to all of those that signed on and took part in todays ride.
A great start to hopefully a great cycling year.

Strava
Tom Simpson

Monday, 22 February 2016

1602.22 PINCH POINTS

It's been a while since I've had any issues on my commutes to work. The biggest issue is the traffic islands on the main road towards Sheffield which cause 'pinch points'. Quite often you get motor vehicles racing for the gap which is quite frankly very dangerous for me and other cyclists.

See what you think on the short clip below posted on Instagram (warning, it gets a little sweary).
I'm not a cycling 'vigilante', I'm just trying to travel by bike. I have the camera for my protection following a couple of accidents.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

1602.18 H2 STATION

(Now I want to put it out that I whole heartedly disagree with this project. I feel it's a transport system for the elite, I don't envisage being able to afford to travel on this train. I don't see the point of a new train line when the money could upgrade and revamp existing services (Sheffield to London isn't even electrified). Local public transport system is a shambles and doesn't offer a viable alternative to other transport methods.

I'm talking about this because there has recently been a debate locally regarding the location of the HS2 station in South Yorkshire. The plan is to build it in Meadowhall which is to the east of the city centre where there is already a small station which serves the shopping centre. A lot of people have been pushing for the plan to change and rebuild the old (and long time closed) Victoria Railway Station on the edge of the city centre.

Initially I was on the side of moving the plan to the city centre after all this was supposed to be a city station, why have it on the edge? Then I did some reading and looked at the facts. Victoria Station would mean some major demolition and would the location be difficult for other links (it's a fair distance from Midland Station (Sheffield's main railway station) and the bus station. Also where would they put any car parking? The benefits would be for high end businesses in the city centre only, would that be enough to sustain the project (I'm remember the doomed Sheffield City Airport)?

So why would Meadowhall be better? The plans for the Sheffield City Region (http://sheffieldcityregion.org.uk/about/overview/). If you are looking at a transport system benefitting the whole region then it needs to be somewhere easily accessible from all areas. Where better than an area which is serviced by rail from all the major towns and Sheffield plus bus and tram links. Also the M1 is there as well as potential links to Robin Hood Airport.

So I don't want it but if we have to have it then build it at Meadowhall.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

1602.16 PEED IN THE POOL

I was disappointed to here about Stephen Fry's departure from Twitter. He was one of the early adopters and one of the few celebrities on in the beginning, I myself have been on twitter for 9 years now (find me at @CaptainKirt), back in the beginning there were less than a million users and the atmosphere was very different. Trolling was practically unheard of back then. I think Stephen did describe it well though...
Oh goodness, what fun twitter was in the early days, a secret bathing-pool in a magical glade in an enchanted forest. It was glorious ‘to turn as swimmers into cleanness leaping.’ We frolicked and water-bombed and sometimes, in the moonlight, skinny-dipped. We chattered and laughed and put the world to rights and shared thoughts sacred, silly and profane. But now the pool is stagnant. It is frothy with scum, clogged with weeds and littered with broken glass, sharp rocks and slimy rubbish. If you don’t watch yourself, with every move you’ll end up being gashed, broken, bruised or contused. Even if you negotiate the sharp rocks you’ll soon feel that too many people have peed in the pool for you to want to swim there any more. The fun is over.
I still persevere, it isn't as much fun but I do enjoy the interaction. I too have taken breaks from time to time, I think everyone does. It's a shame about Stephen though, he was the only celebrity that actually followed me back!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

1602.13 VALENTINE LOVE

For the second year running Morticia and me have managed to get out for Valentine's Day. We decided to do pretty much exactly what we did last year.

Dinner at the Anchorage restaurant followed by drinks in town (Sheffield). Back home on the last bus.

A photo posted by CaptainKirt™ (@captainkirt) on

Friday, 5 February 2016

1602.05 COURTESY CAR

Our car has been back to the dealers today for some recall work to do with the engine management software. They told me when I phoned that it could take over 4 hours. I informed them that I wasn't able to wait that long and the dealership was to far from my house to get there and back easily. "No problem" they said, I could have a loan car. Well, I jumped at this. The opportunity to drive a different car was too much to miss.

I dropped our car in this morning at 9am. I told them that if the car wasn't ready by 12 midday I'd have to collect it the following morning (and keep the courtesy car overnight). That wasn't a problem, and I was presented with a 65 plate Fiat 500 to play with.

Now I've never driven the smaller cousin of our car (Fiat 500L) so this was my chance to compare. I have to say that it didn't feel as cramped as other small cars like the Ford Fiesta (we have some at work), the spec was basic compared with our car (but I guess it was the Base model). I don't think we could manage with a car like this long term but as a city runabout or second car (which I've never been in favour of) it would be ideal.

I got a message when our car was done around midday and went over and switched back. Morticia was disappointed since she wanted a proper go in it (I did let her drive it to her friend's on my way to take it back).

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

1602.02 LOCKING THAT DOOR

Every night when I check the house and lock the front door (it's actually already locked, I just put the chain on) and set the alarm just before bed I think of those not inside these walls that should be. If someone is away or sleeping out then it's fine but I give them a thought, hoping they're safe. Every night I think of my eldest. I miss her. She knows even though I lock that door it is always open to her.