Friday vid!

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The Lakeland 200

5 am Saturday morning, the sun was shining and all was quiet, after a cup of coffee and a big bowl of porridge, I quietly extracted myself from the sleeping house and threw my bike on the back of the car then loaded my minimal kit into the back seat. At the back of my mind I was still debating whether a light bike without a granny ring was my winning ticket, versus the heavier full sus with a granny ring!? I picked Dan up at Junction 7 of the M60 at 6am and we hit the road north.


We met Jez in the car park shortly after Rob turned up and we were ready to roll around 8, pretty unprepared for the task that lay ahead. It was our intention that if we could maintain 8km/h average, we would have around 10 hours riding with lunch in Coniston at 13:00.


The day started in high spirits regardless of the constant route checking comparing Garmin data to Strava data, but the sun was shining…. For a time! It was around 11 when the rain set in, and it really set in, soaking us as we climbed the fells out of Ambleside. As the morning slowly turned to afternoon it became clear we weren’t going to be enjoying a pint and a pie outside the Black Bull in Coniston, an image that I had been enjoying for weeks leading up to the ride!

We finally made it into Grizedale Forest visitors center around 15:30 amidst the washed out scene very reminiscent of my last visit there a couple of months ago! Whilst we devoured beans, toast, pasties and anything else we could get our hands on, the cold really began to make itself felt, the thought of leaving the cafe wasn’t a very appealing one for anyone except for the ever positive Jez! There was talk of taxis, there was talk of going home, the one thing we all agreed on was that climbing Harter Fell wasn’t a sensible option, and an alternative road route to Eskdale was agreed on. I found myself standing under the hand dryer in the toilets for several minutes, much the same as last time I was there!

We left with gritted teeth and headed up through the forest in an attempt to pass over into the Coniston Valley. This we did, eventually arriving in Coniston around 16:30, with a lot of road miles left to cover, the rain however was beginning to abate.


The climb out of Coniston was slow, my legs were suffering and we still had a lot of miles to cover, energy gels didn’t seem to be touching the sides! The sky cleared however and the sun began to shine again as we crested the last big climb of the day and I found myself on the long familiar road down into Eskdale. It was getting on for 20:00 when we arrived at our B&B, tired hungry and getting eaten alive by midges! We got cleaned up and made our way to the pub for beer and food! We all agreed that we couldn’t survive until 3pm for lunch the next day, which boasted the biggest climbs of the entire route!


The next morning after an average night’s sleep but a great breakfast, we were greeted with sunshine and blue skies, we were away by 9:30, once Dan had “adjusted” his saddle bag!

The first climb of the day was stiff but not unpleasant, it was nice to get off the bikes and push whilst chatting, using a different muscle group to the tired cycling legs of the day before! The first downhill of the day was pretty rewarding with almost Alpine style trails over a quaint little hump back bridge.

The second climb up Black Sail was a different story though, from Wasdale head the trail soon steepened and the bike was soon on my back, and remained there for a good hour of climbing. The summit however proved to be little reward, since the trail down to the Youth Hostel was equally unrideable.


Pretty demoralising stuff, especially when the climb over Scarth Gap Pass was much the same. The last bit of the descent to the base of Honister Pass offered a little bit of action, but was small consolation! It was past 14:00, no lunch and we still had Honistor to climb!


After Paninis at the summit all round, we dug deep for the 30km we still had to ride to Watermillock, although tired and stamina running at an all time low (Except for Jez!) the scenery was beautiful. That evening saw us in pretty nice accommodation, good food, but we all had mad dreams, no one slept very well!

Day three saw the rain return, and a decision had been  made the night before to make our way to Stavely via the path of least resistance, bodies were tired, but so too were minds by this stage. Rational decisions were becoming hard to come by!


The path round Ullswater soon became unrideable, and everyone turned to their own quiet thoughts whilst we battled through, looking forward to the conclusion of the route. From Patterdale the rain really turned savage again as we embarked upon Kirkstone Pass, the last giant standing in our way. Once we regrouped at the summit, we made our weary way back to Stavely, yes there were more climbs, it’s the Lakes! We arrived in Stavely around 2pm, and in that time we surpassed our Just Giving target of £1,000, it was for a good cause, but we worked for it this time, no messin’!



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What beautiful day!


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One week to go, over 50% of our target raised!


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Friday vid!;

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VeloUK talking with young star Matt Gibson


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Matt Gibson wins at the Loughborough University Junior Road Race

Matt Gibson followed on from his first Tour Series show down with a great performance at the Loughborough University Junior Road Race in Leicestershire, narrowing the gap in the National Junior Series by taking the victory on Sunday.

Gibson, previously third, beat series leader James Shaw (Haribo Beacon) to the line at the end of the 68-mile race near Melton Mowbray. Still 32 points behind Shaw, the win moves Gibson above Haribo Beacon’s Joe Evans into second place in the series.

It was Shaw’s team mate Tom Baylis who made the early running – making a solo break on the second lap of the circuit but he was joined by Oliver Maxwell of Windmill Wheels Cycling Club, Lincoln winner Joe Wiltshire of NFTO Race Club and Elliot Reynolds Clay Cross Road Team for the second ascent of the finishing climb.


They had a 75 second lead over the main bunch with Zak Loney of LFH Team in no man’s land attempting to bridge the gap to the leaders. Alexander Braybrooke of Velocity WD-40, Charlie Tanfield of Adept Precision RT/NE Healthcare, and Leon Mazzone of Team Isle of Man led next time round with a lead of a bike length or so over a large bunch containing Walker, Fry, Maxwell, Baylis, Lovibond and Spedding. From first to last the leaders were separated by just 40 seconds.

In the key move of the race, Gibson and Shaw joined the now consolidated lead group on the run up to the bell with Baylis, Mazzone, Fry, Robbins, Braybrooke, Hogg, Williams, Lovibond, Maxwell, Spedding, Walker, Holt and Grieve still together and Tanfield and Wiltshire slipping off the back.

Alex Braybrooke made a move on the final lap but was chased down by Shaw, Gibson and Spedding and it was this quartet that made the final break with Gibson riding away at the base of the final climb. Shaw had no answer and rolled home 43 seconds back with Braybrooke a further four seconds back, five seconds ahead of Spedding.

Matt Gibson spoke to British Cycling after the event: “Early on, a few breaks were going up the road – the race was a bit neutral in the bunch, nobody was really doing anything, letting the breaks go up the road – Tom Baylis, who’s a very strong rider – got up the road early on. That was quite worrying. But I just kind of relaxed and just knew that later on in the race, people would tire and it would be easier to bridge across.

“With two to go me and James (Shaw) managed to get across to a group of five that was further up the road and we then joined with the front group on the road – a group of about 20. My team mate Alex (Braybrooke) did a brilliant job – me and him one-two in the break, making some people hurt up there”.
“With about three quarters of a lap to go, Alex got off the front. A Scottish lad joined him and then with about a quarter of a lap to go me and James bridged across making a group of four.

“I attacked from the break about three to four kilometres from the bottom of the climb and managed to stay away. I was worrying all the way to the finish – until the car came behind me about half way up the climb – that was a reassuring sign. But it’s always a panic – you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

1 Matthew Gibson Velocity WD40
2 James Shaw HARIBO Beacon Cycling Team
3 Alexander Braybrooke Velocity WD40
4 Max Spedding PH-MAS
5 Tristan Robbins BH-Solidor Wamyouth
6 Thomas Baylis HARIBO Beacon Cycling Team
7 Gwyn Lovibond Teamwallis CHH Racing Team
8 Joe Holt County Cycles Racing Team
9 Joseph Fry RST Racing Team
10 Oliver Maxwell Windmill Wheels Cycles


Source: Team WD40’s Facebook page


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