Cycling Climbs of South West England

cycling-climbs-south-west‘Cycling climbs of South West England’ is the latest instalment of Simon Warren’s 100 Best Cycling Climbs Series. The format is similar to previous books, such as 100 Greatest Climbs. It is the same handy size with photo and description of climbs. Some climbs are featured in the original book, but there are many more which may or may not be well-known to those who live in this area.

Cycling Climbs of South West England at Amazon.co.uk

More interesting is to review the climbs themselves. For me, the region can be split in two. The first is the ‘deep’ South West – Cornwall, Dorset and Devon. Places which I am yet to visit on a bike.

The second section is the ‘north east’ of the South West – Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset. This section has climbs which feel like an extension of my own local roads. I’ve raced up Burrington Combe so often, I have developed quite an affinity with ‘The Combe’ and other roads around the Mendips. Continue Reading →

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Part-time Cyclist

I’m a bit of a part-time cyclist at the moment. Still some lingering hip troubles so I just do the odd ride here and there. It’s not as much fun with nagging problems, but it’s still a relief to be able to get out and do something.

clee-hill

I visited Clee Hill at the weekend.

I keep trying different things. I visited a third osteopath last week. The second osteopath did very deep tissue massage – quite painful. The 3rd osteopath just held his hands at various pressure points on the back. It was quite meditative lying back looking at the sky. It barely felt like anything happened. Very different approaches, I wonder which one works best? If you go to a physiotherapist, they say it is one thing; if you go to an osteopath, they say something else. Everyone offers a diagnosis from their perspective. Continue Reading →

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Sweet spot vs Interval training

To me, sweet spot training is riding at a high intensity, a little below race pace. (80-90% of FTP) It corresponds to Level 3 in some training manuals. It can also be referred to as ‘threshold training’.

To me, interval training means doing 3-5 mins @ 110-130% of FTP.

If my FTP is around 300, a ‘sweet spot’ ride may average 230-260 watts.

Hill intervals will be around 330-400+ watts.

  • To confuse matters, you can do intervals of ‘sweet spot’, but I never do. I just do 1-4 hours or however long I can maintain it)
  • One other point, this assumes some degree of more traditional endurance base level riding.

Which is best?

There is a debate between the different methods of training. Some coaches and riders, place a lot of faith in ‘sweet spot’, others put more focus on intervals. I know riders who, at different times, have talked about the superiority of both! Perhaps I fall into that category too. In recent years, I have done more sweet spot training than I used to.

In a sense, ‘sweet spot’ is pushing from below. Intervals are pulling from above. Both can give benefits to race performance but in different ways.

Advantages of Sweet Spot

ilkley-cc

Endurance

Continue Reading →

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Proof-reading blogs

It was interesting to write about the evolution of blogging and also gain a quick glimpse of my first efforts at blogging – 12 years ago.

One issue about blogging is checking your writing for grammar and spelling. How important is it?

Readers will fall into different categories.

  1. Some will not notice mistakes.
  2. Some will notice quite a few but not mind.
  3. Some will notice small mistakes and feel it diminishes their reading experience.

Can you spot the difference?

  • Clean up your rubbish!
  • Clean up, you’re rubbish! (1)
  • A panda comes into a bar. He eats, shoots and leaves.
  • A panda comes into a bar. He eats shoots and leaves. (2)

At school, I gained a grade A in GCSE English. But whatever I learnt in school, it wasn’t anything about grammar or spelling. I remember my English teacher putting copious amounts of red ink on my scripts, but I never remember learning any particular rules about grammar.

When I went to Oxford University, I remember a professor handing back an essay with a mark B+. He added the comment – “Very good, but it would have been an A – if you had given even the briefest attention to correct grammar and spelling”. I remember being very happy to get a B+ from Oxford. That was good enough for me!

When I started blogging and writing, the occasional reader would point out a mistake. My reaction has always been to correct any errors and try to learn. No one likes to be corrected, but I take corrections in the spirit of learning. Over the past 10 years, I am grateful to people who have taken the time to point out mistakes.

Generally, I’m not a great fan of internet comments; but I find it amusing/ironic that I’ve learnt more grammar rules from internet comments than I did from school or at Oxford University. Continue Reading →

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Original Cycling Blog from 2005

I believe this was my original attempt at a cycling blog in 2005. I called it “It’s all Downhill from here”

Just out of interest, I’m going to archive here. I’m not correcting the old spelling errors and grammar – just to prove I have perhaps made a little progress…

It shows some things change, back in 2005 I wrote:

“…In Belgium cycling is the number one sport after football. In the UK cycling is probably just a little above crown green bowls…”

It was also interesting to find a photo from 2005, and the days of a full head of hair!

Thanks to David Coleman for finding on the Internet Wayback Machines


All downhill from here

Bristol South CC hill Climb 2005

burrington_combe-2005

At the Start – The only place you can smile on a hill climb

Last year I finished 2nd in 7.12. Danny Axford won with a new course record of 7.02

This year I had  a new bike about 1.2KG lighter.
See: Hill Climb Bike

The weather was very good for October with just a slight headwind at the top of the climb. Last year there was quite a strong tailwind so most people’s times were slower this year.

For the first 4 minutes I rode at a relatively comfortable pace (for a hill climb). Just over half way there is a cattle grid and then small descent. At this point I made a bigger effort trying to accelerate towards the top. I nearly caught my minute man and was pleased with my time of 7.05 it would have been nice to go under 7 minutes though.

I prefer these long climbs to short steep sprints like the National at Rake, Ramsbottom. I suggested to the organiser Dave Keene he try and get the National held here one year. He said he would try.

It was also good to have another Sri Chinmoy Cycling team member for a change Ed Silverton finished 40th in a respectable time of 10.19. If he can stay injury free next year he should be able to make big improvements.

 

Name: Cat: Club: Time 2005
1st Richard Pettinger S2 Sri Chinmoy CT 0.07.06.83
2nd Danny Axford S3 Artic-Shorter Rochford RT 0.07.10.94
3rd James Dobbin S2 Artic-Shorter Rochford RT 0.07.21.84
4th Neil Blessitt V4 Severn R.C. 0.08.02.43
5th Peter Wheddon V4 Clevedon & District R.C. 0.08.02.48
6th Rob Adams S2 Bristol South C.C. 0.08.03.08
7th Matt Lelliott S2 Severn R.C. 0.08.06.31
8th Martin Bawden S3 RAF C.C. 0.08.13.87
9th Derek Smetham S3 Dursley R.C. 0.08.19.69
10th Rob Pears V4 Bath C.C. 0.08.22.14

Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team

2005-09-09

Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team have a new place on the web at:

http://www.srichinmoyraces.org/cycling/

There are a few articles and pictures. There is quite a bit of interest in the club, so hopefully there will be stuff coming from Australia, Europe and the US.

I’m going to write a training manual at:

http://www.srichinmoyraces.org/cycling/cycle_training/

Not that I particularly know what I’m doing.

Hardcore Trophy – BMCC

The evening before I flew to NY I rode the 10 Mile TT at Weston on the Green. I won in a time of 21.35. The event was organised by BMCC, they are a great club and I enjoy there events at the airfield where there are no cars to contend with.

I won a great trophy which was sponsored by a cycling shop Broadribbs in Bicester. They named the trophy after a brand of mountain bikes

I was also joined by another rider from Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team, Roger Chamberlain. Roger was in a running race at the weekend and so did well to finish in 26.41.

British Time Trial Championship 2005

The British Time Trial Championship was held in Penistone, South Yorkshire. I travelled home on Friday afternoon and rode round the course a few times. It was a very hilly course and I enjoyed riding it. I met a few people doing the same on Friday. I rode around with Daniel Lloyd, he is currently racing in Belgium for Team Flanders. He said the racing in Belgium is very different to the UK, which is not suprising. In Belgium cycling is the number one sport after football. In the UK cycling is probably just a little above crown green bowls.

Anyway there were 252 riders and I came 14th in the Senior Men.

14th R.Pettinger  26 miles in 1.06.21 –  24.1 mph

The event was won by Stuart Dangerfield 1.01.?? who finisished just in front of Michael Hutchinson.

Reading CC 25 Mile TT

2005-08-13

Set a new Personal Best for 25 miles – 53.41.

This was despite my tribar extensions falling off with 5 miles to go. I had to hold them in my right hand and cycle on my other handlebars.

– I blame the bumpy H25/1 A4 Aldermaston course
– but it’s probably my fault for not tightening them up. A new set of tribars are definitely on my wish list.

– The weather was pretty grim with constant rain, however there is a theory that with rain there is less friction so you go faster. There were 102 entrants but only about 40 made the finish line.

Reading CC 25 Mile TT 13th August 2005
Weather Conditions = Rain, light wind
1 P.Kench Liphook Cycles RT 53.17
2 R.Pettinger Sri Chinmoy CT 53.41
3 S.Batsford Oxonian 55.12
4 R.Hughes Clarence Wheelers 55.24
5 A.Baker Charlotteville 55.24
6 T.Thorne Bath CC 56.39
7 M.Clutton Charlotteville 57.17
8 J.Woodburn Maidenhead 57.18
9 M.Pardoe Reading 58.01
10 A.Bojarski Hemel Hempstead 58.05

 

Rudy Project Time Trial Series

2005-08-07

Sat 6th August 2005 Rudy Project Time Trial Series – National Round 4 out of 6

I came 3rd in 1.04.01  AV Speed 25.5mph for 27 miles.

M.Hutchinson won in 00.59.46

There were some good riders in the field so I was pleased to come 3rd. It was a good course based near Gloucester.

I won a pair of Rudy Project sunglasses and socks –

25 Mile TT – Aldermaston

2005-07-30

Sat 30th July 2005

25 Mile TT H25/1 Aldermaston Time = 53.58 came 1st

W.Girvan came 2nd 54.07.

A new PB by 2 seconds. Last PB was in National Championships in May

Added: Beryl Burton to Great Cyclists

Burton

Beryl Burton won the Best British All Rounder title for 25 consecutive years

Updated World Hour Record, new record set by a Czech rider from AG2R

Latest Races

2005-07-27

Sat 23rd July 20.5 Mile TT

Finished 2nd. Time of 46.28 AV.Speed 26.5 mph

Good quiet circuit near Quainton, organised by North Bucks CC. Event won by D.Axford in a new course record

Sat 24th July 50 Mile TT

Finished 1st : Time = 1.54.??

First 50 Mile TT so a Personal Best. Course record is 1.51.?? Course was the H50/1 on the A4 near Aldermaston.
It rained all through the race, pretty unpleasant not many people finished.

ROger Chamberlain of Sri Chinmoy CT finished his first TT 10 miles in a very respectable 25 minutes (no tribars)

2005-06-16

Newbury CC 10

It was my first 10 Mile TT for a long time. Got a new PB by 2 seconds 21.11

Wanted to go under 21 minutes but didn’t go quick enough.
Came second which was quite good.

The winner’s time was 20.59
The Course was the H10/1 near Aldermarston.
Aldermarston is famous for something but I’m not sure what. I’ve just looked on Google – “Aldermarston March” campaign against nuclear weapons. I wonder if it was the same Aldermarston

Tomorrow is the Tour Of Cotswolds 100 miles etape style day. Hopefully will do it in under 5 hours.

National 100 Mile TT

I finished 4th in the National 100 Mile TT Championship (result is provisional at the moment). I particularly like the course which was hilly.

My time was 3.55.04

Oxford – Henley

Today was the Oxford to Henley and Back Time Trial. I like the course as there is about 8 miles of flat followed by a long climb into Nettlebed and then a long descent into Henley. At the turn I was 45.30

Last year I won in a time of 1.37.07. This year I won in a time of 1.32.32, (AV. speed 25 mph) which is a new course record by 2 and a half minutes.

The weather conditions were very good with only a light wind.

* The Tour De France is looking quite good with many riders attempting to attack Lance Armstrong. I’m going to watch it now.

10 Mile Time Trial

Newbury CC 10 Mile TT H10/1

Came second in the Newbury CC 10 Mile Time Trial at Aldermarston.

My time was 21.11 – 12 seconds behind the winner.

Its a long time since my last 10 Mile Time Trial I got a PB by 2 seconds which was good.

Tour Of The Cotswolds

Rode the Tour of the Cotswolds today, ending up doing 130 miles see. Tour of the Cotswolds

First 100 Mile Ride of The Year

In preparation for the National 100 I rode 100 miles for the first time this year. It actually included 6 miles commuting in the morning. But in the afternoon I travelled 90 miles averaging just over 20 mph. I quite enjoyed it, despite it being quite hot, it is suprising how much drink you can get through.

However although its hot here, Abichal and the other 3,100 mile runners are experiencing heat of over 95 degrees in New York, glad I’m not doing that.

Entered National 100

Entered the National 100 Mile Time trial today. Am planning to ride 100 mile  training. It will be the first time I have ridden 100 Miles for nearly 2 years.

Raining again today. When its raining I like to do interval training the intensity makes you forget the wet.

I have added some writings by Sri Chinmoy about sports. Includes some articles on drugs in sport

Cycling Photo

richard by dennis

Photo Copyright: Dennis Sackett.

This picture was taken at OUCC 10 Mile Time Trial 1st May 2005

Dennis has many more excellent cycling photos on his website
Cycling Photos.org

These include photos from the current Tour De France.
It’s interesting to see the riders time trial style

25 Mile Time Trial – 12th July 2005

This evening I rode the BMCC club 25 at Weston on the Green.

I set an new course record in a time of 56.50.

Looking forward to the National 100 mile Time Trial on Sunday.
I’m really hoping to go under 4 hours, we shall see!

Verulam CC 27 Mile TT

Today I rode the Verulam 27 Mile Time Trial near Luton Airport. It was generally a rolling course with one steeper hill on the second lap. I enjoyed the course, although I did get held up behind some cars on the last 5 miles.

I felt pretty good having recovered from last Sunday’s 130 mile epic.

I finished in a time of 1.02.04 Average speed 26 mph.

The second placed rider finished in 1.06.57.

25 Mile Time Trial – 1st

Tuesday evening. Rode the 25 MileTT organised by Bicester Milenium CC at Weston on the Green Airfield.
10 laps of the 2.5 Mile circuit is pretty boring but it is interesting to see the splits
(well its interesting to me if not to you!)

Richard Pettinger 06:06   05:32   05:38    05:40    05:45   05:44   05:48    05:46   05:50     05:46    Final Time+00:57:35

Slowed up in the middle with a bit of saddle sore – glad it wasn’t a 100 miles would have been torture.

Riding a 10 on Saturday and then the Tour of the Cotswold, I need to finish in under 5 hours because I have so many exam papers to mark this weekend.

Other comments from other pages

Tour de France 2005

(Rasmusen is nicknamed the chicken because of his lanky build. Quite a few people have noticed the similarity in build between me and Rasmusen, but the comparisons just about stop there.)

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Tips for the cycling blogger

Quite a few people ask about blogging in general. How do you make money? Is it realistic to have a career from blogging and writing for websites? Is blogging not a bit web 2.0?

I started building websites back in 2003 with Poetseers.org – a  non-commercial site on poetry. I found using certain keywords helped get more traffic and I enjoyed seeing the traffic grow. This was in the day when knowing how to edit a website was still a minority – almost exotic interest.

In 2006, I was working full time (teaching economics) but with a desire to spend less time working and more time cycling. So I set up some commercial websites with an idea to make money. Early sites included Economicshelp.org / Biographyonline.net, Cyclinginfo.co.uk, mortgageguideuk.co.uk, netwriting.co.uk, housingmarket.org.uk, uk-houseprices.co.uk. The majority of my commercial blogs failed and have now faded away.  It’s better to do one site well, than several with mediocrity.

In 2012/13, Google changed their algorithms, and cyclinginfo.co.uk saw a big drop in Google searches, so I gave up the site and started a new one – cyclinguphill.com (Ironically, cyclinguphill.com is a much better domain name, and I was lucky to get a good .com domain in 2013) My first post on Cycling Uphill was  26th September 2013 – Mow Cop – the Killer Mile – it helped from a blog point of view that in 2013 I won the national hill climb championship. It definitely helped get the new blog off the ground.

(BTW: My first ever cycling blog was on Richardpettinger.com in 2005/06. The blog was entitled “It’s all downhill from here” – which I thought quite amusing for the title of a cycling blog! I’ve lost most of the posts from that blog which is a shame because it had a write up from National Hill Climb Championship 2005. It now languishes in a moribund location, with broken CSS in a place no one can find.)

These days I make a good income from websites (primarily economics and biography). It means that I’ve been able to give up teaching completely and spend more time cycling and blogging. In terms of my cycling career, having more free time is a big factor in being able to do better. I couldn’t have achieved the same with a 40 hour a week full time job.

I don’t think any careers service would suggest blogging as a viable career, but I feel fortunate to do something I enjoy and make a living. Continue Reading →

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Yorkshire Dales – country lanes

ba2-riders

Three riders on Sunday.

In the past week, I’ve been to Bolton Abbey a few times. On Sunday it was sunny and the roads were quite busy with cyclists. The weekend enables a lot more cyclists (and cars) to be on the road. During the weekdays, there are not as many cyclists, but still quite a few on the back roads. I think the riders mid-week are more likely to be serious racers. There are quite a few professionals who live in the area, and these are popular roads for training on.

rider-barden2

Barden Tower in the background. Continue Reading →

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Cold winter miles

otley-2

Cycling in the cold doesn’t have too much to recommend it, especially if you are 61kg and 190cm. Or in old money – 9½ stone and 6 foot 3″ (135lbs for American visitors). On Friday I went out with the temperature hovering just below 2 degrees. I didn’t enjoy the ride at all. After a few miles, I did a u-turn and went back home. When hands are freezing to the handlebars, I don’t worry about trying to take any photos; but today the weather was a little more clement and it made a big difference.

road-dark

I rode out towards Knaresborough and Harrogate because the forecast in the East was drier than in the West. But, despite the lack of rain, I still got wet cycling over a lot of small lanes covered in wet greasy farm manure. You just have to surrender to getting wet and dirty this time of the year. Still it was a mistake to take only one pair of legwarmers up north (originally colour of white) Continue Reading →

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Off the beaten tracks

As a partial follow up to finding cycle routes, sometimes I will take a short detour from roads frequently travelled. After spending 20 years cycling along a road, inquisitiveness makes the better of me and I will go up a side road, even if it is a dead end. It’s like wanting to tick off all the roads in the local area.

In trainspotting circles, there is something called a ‘line basher’ – it means you endeavour to travel over every railway line. Apparantely, you used to be able to do the whole London Underground network in a day, if you travelled non-stop. I’ll take their word for it. But, after 20 years cycling over the same terrain, there is part of me which wants to go down that road I’ve always gone straight past, just because – well it’s there.

Quite often these dead-ends are just that. Another road to nowhere, but sometimes it can give a rewarding view, interesting location or even unexpected climb.

road-from-botley

View from above Oxford Eynsham road

Last Saturday I was on the road from Eynsham to Oxford, after 50 miles in the Cotswolds. It is a flat, rather uninspiring road – a narrow B road, with a constant stream of cars overtaking at 50mph plus. For cyclists going back to West Oxford, it is a road much travelled as there are not too many alternatives. When you get on this road, there is no relaxation or admiring of the scenery. It is the kind of road which is head down and get home as quick as you can. Continue Reading →

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How to plan cycle routes

A reader asked an interesting question – how to plan a cycle route?

cycles-only-cycle-path-oxford

Part of the attraction of cycling is finding new routes to ride. If I go on a long ride, of over 3+ hours, if possible, I like to find a road I’ve never been on before. Even if a minor variation, it is always good to take a new direction.

luddenden-map

Generally, I don’t use any technology, I have a Garmin, but have never used the map function. For someone who makes a living online, I’m a relative Luddite. I prefer the old school plan of looking at an OS map 1:50,000 series and then trying to remember it. There is beauty in an OS map. I’ve spent many hours looking at the contours, trying to find the hilliest route within the shortest distance. (most uphill meters in shortest number of miles, if you can follow my thinking)

These days, my one concession to technology is sometimes taking a photo of a maps when visiting new areas. But, generally I quite like to just ‘follow my nose’ and see where I end up.

dent-dale

There is a certain freedom in just choosing the road which looks most inviting and hope it is going in the general direction. If you follow this approach you will both win and lose some situations. I remember riding up and down this busy A road by Sowerby Bridge, in the rain looking, for the start of Dog House Lane – a new steep climb in Todmorden. I never found it that day, but I did ride up and down a road getting overtaken by articulated lorries. I kept racing up these right hand turns – uphill farmtracks which proved to be dead ends. Taking strava segments which had about four people on the leader-board. Some poor chap thought that “climb to Uncle Bill’s old farm and then a dead end” was a safe KOM and then some mountain goat comes along and nicks it off you just because he got lost. It has happened quite a few times! It has also happened that some farmer has come out to eye suspiciously this sweating cyclist – why has he come up this road when it ends in my farm? I sheepishly do a u-turn. Continue Reading →

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