Severn Across 400k Audax – 9th May 2015

Quick Summary of the Severn Across 400k PBP qualifier I rode this month…

4am – Cycled out to start, arrived late again but not as late as last time so I’m getting better!

Cycled, saying hello as I passed Ray and Mike, got wet, ate cake (thanks @YarntonNursery).

Cycled, got wet again, talked to Frank for a while, dried out by standing outside a cafe eating cake (Tewkesbury).

Cycled, said hi to Martin at Tesco and ate a Turkish Delight (Chepstow, this time not experienced whilst covered in grit after changing tubes).

Cycled, ran out of fluids (stupid small Lucozade bottles) so stopped for a pint and grabbed bottle refill from a pub in Malmesbury.

Cycled, memory failing me now but definitely went for more food oddities at Membury Services – steak crisps? wtf? Pocketed a Jimmy’s iced coffee for later.

Cycled, darkness descended, dodging deer decidedly dangerous during descents. Impressed that Henley put on a fireworks show for my arrival, that was very nice of them!

Cycled the long way to the finish based on the GPS and picked up a receipt in Chalfont St Peter (need to check credit card – that’ll cost me).

Headed to the HQ to see if anyone was there and told the previous community centre users what I’d been up to, the bloke was amazed at the distances covered.

Liam arrived just as I had my phone out to ask him what to do with my brevet card. Consumed a bakewell tart and an espresso and rolled on home, arriving some time before 1am.

2am schleepies!

GS Henley H25/1 25mi TT – 18/04/2015

55:1225mi PB by 21 seconds (3 years ago!) and a course PB by 33 seconds (2 years ago during the Newbury RC – Pete Jarvis Memorial).

Cold, bit windy from the NE, decided against overshoes (which was silly as it took ages for my toes to thaw out afterwards) but it was dry so I used my bling Shimano shoes. New gearing setup (single 55T carbon ring) seemed fine and the cranks I installed didn’t fall off so that’s a bonus!

Not sure why there were so few racers but hopefully James gets more riders for his other events in the future.

High Wycombe Lesley Cole Memorial 10mi TT – H10/22

20:53 (PB)


The crew came out to ‘watch’ this one (read: drink coffee in the carpark for ~20min) but it’s always good to have someone there to help or support or both. Arrived in good time for a change and had decided not to bother taking a turbo for warmup due to the rain. Of course it wasn’t raining when I arrived so I just rode up past the start and then back close to go time.

I’d not ridden this H10/22 course before so had collected some useful tips from the ‘sperts on lfgss as well as a bit of Google StreetView crawling (I must’ve been keen!). Plan was basically not to go out too hard like last time and then lift when it ramped up a bit on the way out and again on the way back. It kind of worked. I felt I’d done pretty poorly, but to be honest my power wasn’t as far off the last 10 mile I rode (and won).

I took heed and started out ‘easy’ but then found I couldn’t really lift later on so settled into a bit of a miserable groove thinking I was doing rubbish. Both the RABs were taken very slowly because it was damp, my brakes aren’t the best in the wet and I couldn’t see a bloody thing through my stupid visor! I had to keep sitting up to look under it and wiping it off with a finger to get about 30 seconds of decent vis before it fogged up again. Grr.. serves me right for taping up the vents. I should’ve applied some of that anti-fog stuff I bought last time this happened. At least I’ll know for next time. I was managing to lift the power quite a bit on the draggy uphill sections but it was annoying I couldn’t seem to motivate myself to keep it on for the flatter parts. WIth a mile to go I was confident I could PB and I picked it up a bit, stopping the clock but not really noticing what time I’d done. I only accept official times anyway so I like to wait until I see it on the board. PB by 23 seconds on less power thanks to the course mostly I’d guess. It wasn’t windy which helped too although the vis problems counteracted that.

Adam Topham won the event with a 19:16 (but he writes books on time trialling so he should be fast ;)).

Met Andy from the forum and chatted, ate some cake, clapped the winners, drove home and took Mal to brekkie. Thanks to the organisers and the (large number of) marshalls, helpers, etc.

West London Combine 10mi – H10/2

First race of the season, first win!

21:58 (H10/2 Course PB by 4:10 and *cough* slight improvement on my previous ride, 5 years earlier)

hippy 10mi TT win?! WTF?! Ron Purdy Pics 20150303-1-02-combine-10-1-3-15-9-640x384.jpg

Bit of a surprise to be honest – 10mi TTs aren’t exactly my forte (they’re about 500 miles too short!) and this was a full field of 120 riders. Although it was windy as buggery, the sun was shining so I think most people started. The last 10 I’d ridden was a couple of years ago at the end of the season in Kingston Bagpuize where I’d PBd with a 21:35. This one was entered as a bit of a laugh since it would be the first time on my TT bike since winning the World 24hr TT Champs and it was far enough away from any of my goal events that it wouldn’t hurt to have a crack.

The race itself was a bit rubbish – I rode out to the start and of course arrived in a panic with little time to spare, threw all my warm kit at Scherrit who’d come out to watch and pinned on a number. Nick McCullough kindly used his warmup to tow me to the start line – thanks!

Started out reasonably well and controlled, until baulked at the first turn and then proceeded to put down way too much power in a silly attempt to secure a power PB. This worked for a while but at the turn RAB I was starting to struggle. At the slight rise after the turn, my power was about 200W down on the outbound leg, at least it was when I glanced down – I wasn’t really paying much attention to the Garmin to be honest. The cool thing about 10s is they’re half over before you realise you’re in a world of hurt! Struggled along basically recuperating and then, with a mile to go started to cane it again. Ploughed into a big trench that caused my recently ‘recalled due to safety issue’ S-Works bars to twist so the Garmin was on a funny angle! Awesome! Hope they last until the finish..

Specialized Aerobars meet British roads

They did and I stopped my clock at 22:05, having started it on the 5s count. So short 22 or long 21? Went back looking for the gloves at the start but the Middlesex RC starter/organiser had grabbed them and taken them back to the HQ for me. Thanks!

At the HQ, chatted to some people and saw I’d pretty much posted the fastest time and then they wrote “1st” next to my time so that pretty much confirmed things. Wow, I’d won a 10mi TT. :)

2015 WLC Middlesex RC 10mi TT hippy wins!

Thanks for dropping the chainrings off umop3pisdn, sorry I didn’t get to see you in person. Thanks to the marshalls and organisers, Scherrit, anyone who helped put cake in my face hole after the event, basically.

Wonder how I’d go if I trained? Don’t listen to anyone who says commuting is junk miles. 😉


Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Here’s a quick tip for flying – do what they say and walk around during long flights! Seriously.

Wearing flight socks and taking an aspirin is not enough to prevent DVT! I know now, since it happened to me when returning from the USA to England after the 24hr TT Worlds.

The ‘fix’ involves injecting yourself for a month with Fragmin/Dalteparin and then starting a course of rat poison (anti-coagulant drug Warfarin) to help remove the clot. To reduce the likelihood of permanent damage from the clot, they also suggest wearing compression socks for two years, yes two whole years, after the fact! Not cool!

Athletes on cattle class flights are particularly likely to become victim to DVT due to their larger muscles requiring larger veins, their lower heart rates and lack of ‘muscle pump’ from movement that helps to return blood to the heart. These factors combine to create an environment for blood pooling, particularly in the calf muscles, when sat immobile for long periods.


2014 World 24hr TT Championships, Borrego Springs, USA

1. hippy, 493 miles, 20.7mph

2. Meurig James, 484 miles, 20.3mph

3. Chris Hopkinson, 439 miles, 18.5mph

4. David Haase, 439 miles, 18.4mph

5. Barry Dickson, 439 miles, 18.4mph

It’s almost a month after winning the World 24hr TT Championships and I think I’ve forgotten most of the bad things that happened – most of my body parts are back to ‘normal’ although I did manage to get DVT on the flight home – make sure you move around on long flights kids!!!

Malwina and I flew into L.A. and drove straight to Borrego Springs a couple of days before the race to try and acclimate and adjust to the timezone change. It didn’t work – we were up at 5:30 on race morning! Doh! The weather though was lovely! We did some taste testing of American food (*cough* and beer *cough*) and some previewing of the course as well as meeting some of the local wildlife.

Borrego Springs sunrise

California Tarrantula

Registration and bike inspections happened on the afternoon of the race and went without any issue other than a bit of discussion about race number position.

One interesting new fact I discovered was Meurig James was now on the start list. Meurig used to be a member of one of my clubs, the Willesden CC before he moved to the USA. Back in 2009 Meurig set almost all the club’s time trial records and it got me thinking “I’d love to have my name in the history books of British cycling, a club record sounds really cool”. Thing was, Meurig didn’t hold the 24hr club record, it was long-distance cycling guru and author Simon Doughty and it seemed achieveable (it took two years but I got it!). So, I would be racing against a former clubmate and a guy I knew was faster than me over most distances. Beating his club 12hr record earlier this year might’ve helped reduce the shock of seeing his name on the start list but not by much!

World 24hr TT Champs #50

The race itself was going to be a bit strange compared to British time trials for a few reasons (other than it being warm and dry! :P). First, it started in the dark at 6pm. Secondly, it started in waves of riders rather than riders being started at 1 minute intervals – I knew everyone would go off fast and I wondered how this would change my race.

Also the pit arrangement, where all rider support was to be given from one place, basically made fast handups impossible. There would be a lot more stoppage time for me compared to the Mersey Roads National 24hr last year.

Riders were also required to slow down when crossing the start/finish line so that the timing system and manual timing people could see/hear your rider number. For almost the whole race I avoided the ‘speed hump’ here only to realise after the event that it was the electronic timing pad! Lucky I was very vocal when calling out my number.

There was one big junction on the course that also required riders to slow down to 10-15mph. This took a couple of goes to get right – it really was a crawl through there!

During the TT I was fine for the first few hours, gradually reeling in the fast starters and taking the lead after five hours. An existing injury (an abrasion from a long training ride in the wet the week before) flared up and at 2am, after eight hours of riding, I had to add a pair of knicks over my skinsuit to reduce the pressure on my raw inner thigh.

Towards the twelve hour point I was struggling to stay awake (I guess that’s actually 24hrs awake at that point). A lot of the other racers are RAAM riders so they’d probably laugh at me admitting this but I was really struggling to concentrate, almost binning it at one point with a wobble into the very soft, sandy verge. That woke me up! :S

After fourteen hours riding I was starting to get weary of the (in any normal situation great tasting) Torq fuel I was using, so Mal did a runner to a nearby cafe to grab me a bacon and egg bagel. This probably didn’t sit well for a lap but after that was a nice change of flavours. At 1pm (19 hours elapsed) I had to stop and have Mal and Hoppo’s partner Jen remove my aero overshoes as they were causing some pretty serious pain to my feet. It was the first time I’d worn them for longer than twelve hours – even now, a month later, the top of my right foot is still sore from the pressure. At the 3/4 mark the race was no longer on for a PB but the thought was that 500+ miles should be doable.

At some point during the Saturday afternoon, the wind picked up, massively. In some sections of the circuit I could barely control my sail, I mean, bike and I’m weighing in around 90kg, so I don’t know how the lighter guys felt about it. It never really felt like you could take advantage of a tailwind either because it was on the straight with the slow-down junction or the there were a bunch of turns to go around but the difference was doing 35mph on one side of the circuit vs. doing 6-8mph on the other side. Barely walking pace!

In those horrid conditions I remember riding so pathetically that I spent most of a lap looking over my shoulder just waiting to be passed by Meurig. It didn’t happen and my team (Mal and Jen knew each other and so had kind of teamed up) said I still had a 30 minute lead. Whether it was a psychological boost from this news or whether it was just a couple of gels kicking in and getting rid of the bonk, I’m not sure, but basically the next lap was back on at my normal pace and I was feeling good about the race again.

The organisers decided to move racers onto the shorter finishing circuit early, due to the strong winds being a bit of a safety concern. Unfortunately they made that call a bit late as I headed out for yet another windy long loop. Around this stage there was some confusion about lap times as Meurig had suddenly jumped in front of me. What had happened was that he was put onto the short laps before me and they’d counted his first finishing circuit lap as a long lap. I tell you what, it caused all my ‘fans’ watching the timing online all manner of stress! 😀 Mal told me as well and so most of the finishing circuit was ridden in anger – “how could a rider be in front of me yet I’d not been passed?” kept repeating in my head. I remember David Haase (RAAM rider) kept telling me to hammer it or something of that nature – it was another quick finish from me!

Crossing the finish line for the last time I’ve done 497 miles but the last lap isn’t counted so officially it’s 493 miles. I’m told I’ve won but I wary because of the aforementioned timing issues so I’m wanting confirmation. I can’t physically get off the bike. Someone congratulates me on the win and a woman tries to interview me but I’d just smashed it trying to get the final lap to count so I mutter something at her not really thinking straight (see below). If you don’t finish the lap before the time is up, the whole lap isn’t counted, something else that differs from the British TTs where a series of timekeepers will work out your average speed and thus your final distance based on that between two points. Eventually I can get off the bike, get my shoes off and sit down to have a chat with Chris ‘Hoppo’ Hopkinson a British rider, also a multiple RAAM competitor and pretty much every other ultra race on the planet this year! There’s some packing up going on and we head to our hotel to clean up and then on to the dinner. I thought there’d be a formal presentation but that wasn’t the case – just a lot of people wondering who the hell I was and was I going to be racing RAAM next year… “no” is the answer to that one!

2014 24hr World TT Championships

Glad it's over! - hippy wins 24hr World TT Champs

As it was our first trip to the USA we now had a week or so to relax and do some touristy things like see Las Vegas, visit the Hoover Dam, visit Flagstaff and a bit of Route 66, marvel at the Grand Canyon among other things. I’d like to thank Mal for being awesome, The Bike Whisperer duo for helping me get there, all the guys and girls that were supporting me from back at home(s), the organisers and all the lovely Americans that made our whole trip great fun! I’m totally up for doing some more racing over in the States.

Recovery begins

2014 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trial Championships – Episode 01

2014 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trial Championships – Episode 02

2014 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trial Championships – Episode 03

2014 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trial Championships – Episode 04

Cool lap time chart from David Baxter:

David Baxter, World 24hr Lap Times

“Chart of the top men and women in the 24-hour race, showing progress over the main loops. Hippy Hippy didn’t start out the fastest, but he had the most consistent lap times, with only one lap over 1 hour. Interesting late charge from Valerio Zamboni! (from”

2014 Windsor Hill Climb (HCC011) – Track Terminator Tommy Z tears up tarmac to topple Helpless Hippy


– Photo by Kulvinder Hambleton-Grey

A large field of riders was in attendance at this year’s West Drayton MTB Windsor Hill climb, inlcuding Willesden’s Ed Packard who’d driven for 2 hours just to suffer for 2 minutes. Good to see you, Ed. Let’s get that 12hr team happening!

The more the merrier might apply to rider and spectator numbers, but I can tell you it doesn’t apply to hill climbs, as I found out when I had to race up Windsor Hill a second time due to a timing malfunction on my first ride which meant no time for me. My legs were already toast but being a gutton for punishment I went again, clocking a pretty poor 2:16 I think. It really didn’t matter what my first time was though because Tom Zittel absolutely smashed it this year with a 1:4x (I’ll confirm times later). Well done man, top ride and it’s about time someone from Willesden rode under the 2 minute mark!

I’m not sure of any other times as I was too busy trying to force air back into my body to bother asking but it was good to see so many riders out. Now, some brekkie, before heading out for something I’m a bit better at – long TT rides.

2014 AAAnfractuous 200k Audax

AAAnfractuous Dirty Legs

Tucking into a lovely homemade curry now after getting around in just over 8 hours. My second audax can be nicely separated into two halves. The first half battling the elements and the second half battling my bike!

As usual I left the house late so had to haul arse to get to Chalfont. I still didn’t start until 8:30. The rain started shortly after that. My habit of wearing too little continued and I definitely felt the cold after being turned into a drowned rat. Next time I’ll bring a rain jacket or at least arm warmers, promise. Being cold did encourage me to keep the pace up though so I started to catch up with other riders. At the first proper control (The Waterfront caf? in Benson) I managed to leave my glasses behind so had to go back for them. Not to self – don’t put anything down at controls!

Off into the rain again and as it was quite exposed a lovely headwind. This leg to Wantage was a bit of a slog!

Into the Vale & Downland Museum caf? for a sticker and a couple of pieces of cake then back out for more rain – damn it was cold now! Pace goes up!

Around the 100k mark the route headed south and then swung around to head back east – beauty, now the rain had stopped and there was a tailwind to help out.

The next leg to Pangbourne and Little Henry’s Cafe wasn’t too bad but my crash-damaged (not on the audax, it happened years ago) shifters meant I couldn’t get my low gear. I was already over-geared on some of the nastier climbs so this was definitely pushing far too hard. Oh well, HTFU.

Stopped for a piece of Victoria sponge at Henry’s and as I’d run out of liquids grabbed a can and some sparkling water (1.75L in about 5 hours was a bit on the low side). I should’ve got more but they didn’t have my usual refill choice of Lucozade Orange and I was in a bit of a hurry anyway.

I thought with only 60k to go it would be relatively plain sailing from now until Chalfont Saint Peter. That wasn’t to be though as more and more climbs were piled on and the nature of the lanes meant full gas on the descents wasn’t an option (not a safe one anyway).

Then, after crunching through something on the road, the back end starts getting washy. Damn it! Flat rear tyre. So I spend a good 10-15min with numb hands swapping the tube. While I’m doing so a rider goes past. “I don’t think so!” as I take off in pursuit, smashing some climbs ignoring the power meter like the rest of the day (don’t tell coach). I collect him and carry on. All of about 15min later tssss “ARRRGH!” another rear flat!! I triple check the tyre just to make sure I’ve not missed a piece of flint or something but, like the first time, I don’t find anything. Last tube better hold. It does and I’m soon off after the ‘rider in red’ again. I collect him down the road as now HE is on the roadside fixing a flat. Someone really needs to sweep the lanes in the Chilterns.

I’m out of water and food but reckon I can make the last 20k ok. It’s a bit of a struggle with a partially inflated rear tyre but half way back I find a half-eaten Torq bar. Sweet! A few more hills are put away and then A413 and HQ! Nice! I’m totally caked in black road grit, brake dust and assorted other gunk but Paul kindly sorts me out with a drink and a jam doughnut, I have a chat to some other riders and then I’m off heading for home.

All in all a good day and anyone out there would’ve earned some hardman points. Many thanks to Paul and anyone else who helped organise. Also to the controls that I dripped my way through :) Respect to the slower riders too who have some crazy lanes to negotiate in the dark!

Dirty, busted Kinesis

– Carrying an extra couple of kilos of dirt and crud didn’t help

If you want to ride it next year, check out Paul’s Anfractuous website.

2014-06-15 Newbury RC 12hr TT – H12hr/8

293.63 miles

I’d started writing this after the race but seem to have got busy in the mean time. Here’s a quick summary, basically for my own notes. Contains some of Rachael’s race report too.

Second place to current BBAR Champion Adam Topham’s 298.13 miles as well as a PB and Willesden CC club record by over 20 miles.

This was my first race of the year – yeah, straight into a 12 hour, no mucking around and the first time I’d ridden the race bike since last season. Just to make things a little more worrying, we’d swapped the cranks for shorter ones and changed my brakes over the Friday just before the race.

The loudest team in the UK, Mal and Scherrit, were back out on the roadside supporting me.

I started a bit faster than I’d planned to and than I’d usually do but I knew I was fitter this year and hadn’t ridden a 24hr TT three weeks prior so I was fresh and pretty sure my power should be up. It was and I felt comfortable holding the higher power. It was a power PB by almost 20W for the 12hr duration so pretty good.

The main problem with not having done any training on the race bike was that the saddle was different and even stopping twice to reapply chamois cream, it cut me to shreds. Not smart. Not fun.

Big thanks to the organisers, all the marshalls, competitors and of course, my team. 300 miles… ? 😉

Snippet from Rachael Elliott’s race report:

Running a 12 hour event is never an easy task, but organising an event on an entirely new 12 hour course is one which takes military precision and patience. For this, we are extremely grateful to the huge team of helpers (please see the back page of this results booklet) ? as well as the riders ? for supporting the first (and hopefully the first of many) Newbury RC 12 hour time trials. We were pleased to be blessed with good weather for the event, although an ever increasing breeze during the day meant conditions got steadily harder for the 27 riders who started the event.

Back at HQ, we heard that both David Triska (Farnborough & Camberley CC) was first back to Chawton and looking ?exceptionally fast?. However, it was Adam Topham (High Wycombe CC) who stole the first big news headline of the day. Topham covered his first 100 miles in 3:47:42 ? and quick calculations showed that if he could keep this pace up, he would cover 316.7 miles in 12 hours ? a whisker away from competition record. Sadly, two punctures and some kit issues meant Topham was forced to spend a significant amount of time off the bike in the second 100 miles, and allowed National 24-hour champion Stuart Birnie (Willesden CC) to clock a second 100 miles faster than Topham. It was getting painstakingly close. Somehow, despite his issues, Topham managed to put in a third 100 miles in a sub-4 hour time and finished strongly to record an exceptional distance of 298.13 miles. Birnie meanwhile, who reportedly spent just 31 seconds off the bike all day, broke his old personal best by over twenty miles with 293.63 miles. And testament to his long distance credentials, circuit timekeeper Marion Fountain reported that Birnie finished the 12 hour time trial looking stronger than most riders do at the end of a 10.

Tom Glandfield (Lewes Wanderers CC) was perhaps the surprise placing of the day. Although entering with some good credentials, Glandfield was riding entirely unsupported and only decided to enter the race after riding the Hounslow 100 three weeks previously. Politely acknowledging Chief Timekeeper, Jim BUrgin every lap, Glandfield went on to ride a massive PB with a stunning distance of 286.41 miles.

Amongst the ladies, Sharon Clifford (Coventry RC) and Mandy Hibberd (North Hampshire RC) were battling it out for the win. Clifford’s primary aim was to beat her club’s 12 hour record of 221.93 which (impressively) had been held by Sheila King since 1959. Clifford successfully smashed this record with a distance of 235.10 miles, whilst Hibberd – who changed from her TT bike to a road bike part way through – also recorded a new club record of 228.33 miles.

2014 Newbury RC 12hr Results

Blog of the hippy. Mostly cycling these days.