Race Report – Chipping Showground

Race 3:  Longridge Rotary Club

Would you believe it, it’s dry………..nah I’m just joking!!  It was dry, and then as the day wears on the rain starts falling, and as we head off to the race, the closer we get to the location the worse the weather gets!  But like I said last time, the worse the weather the more chance I’ve got so sod it, bring on the rain!

Now this a new race for the calendar this year so my chances of doing ok have already gone up a notch because everyone is jumping into the unknown and the ability to assess a course on the fly has just been made even more of a prerequisite, so all in all I’m quietly positive.

It’s quite funny turning up to this race because you’re driving down a typical country lane and then all of a sudden there’s people on bikes, cars strewn along both sides, and the excitement really starts ramping up!  As we turn into the field chosen for this race, we get asked for a pound to park inside the gates, Ste hands over a £2 coin (I honestly offered, I think?!) and says just keep that.  But the old guy mustn’t have heard and starts fumbling for change before dropping it all over the road.  Then he starts picking it up, meanwhile we’re now helping to block the road completely with cars behind until he finds the all-important 1 pound change!  As we enter, there are 2 tractors poised ready for action, or at least look like they are, and it immediately dawns on us that we might be getting towed out after the race, just like the car wheel spinning in front of us will be in the next 5 minutes!  So all of a sudden that £1 parking is looking good value now!  But we are in a car that Ste assures me is built by French farmers so we should be fine, so let’s get a big shout out to the Renault Megane estate!!

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It’s raining, there’s a race going on and my feet are sinking into the mud as we walk to sign on.  It’s a pretty flat course overall so doesn’t seem like technical ability will be the main requirement, just raw power that can be sustained for an hour.  We watch the Veterans race and see a couple of other Liverpool Century lads racing.  In particular Graham Prentice, who is no stranger to a hard CX race and who can put out some pretty good power in general.  However he’s running with his bike up a bit of a hill, and I can’t help but think, if he needs to run up that, how hard is this course??

The race finishes and we wander back to the car for the second hardest task of this entire day, getting changed into our race kits!  Without causing offense to the public, and without sticking my sock in the wet mud before I put my shoes on.  Once they’re on I couldn’t care less anymore, but it’s the principle of doing things in order obviously!  The rain continues and I’m actually getting a bit cold, even my legs with the old embrocation oil coating them isn’t doing much good, so I stick my jacket on and we do some laps around a part of field with not much mud.  That’s tough as it is, and I’m not really warming up.  I’m asked if I want to borrow rollers and I decline the offer.  I’ve never used rollers before, but I don’t think they can be difficult to pick up quickly, however for my first time it will be indoors, on my own, and preferably with the knowledge that my missus is down stairs ready to leap into medical mode and help should I fall, or at least have her phone ready to take pictures whiles the tears stream down her face!!  It will not therefore be when it’s chucking it down, I’m struggling to keep warm, and my tyre pressures are at an all time low of about 20-25 PSI!  Things aren’t helped when we bump into Graham all changed into full rain gear looking totally warm and dry, who says that the course is just a total slog all the way round!

Anyway our race is called, finally, and we line up on a concrete start line.  It’s narrow, with potholes filled with water and mud, a recipe for disaster.  As I’m trying to hear my name get called for gridding, I realise I can’t hear anything the commissaire is saying because, and I’m going to have my first CX rant here, everyone in the pits is washing their bikes with their little generator and all I can hear is that same ear bleeding humming sound you hear at a camp site when a family of utter *bleeping bleeps* turn on their generator at 7 in the morning in order to charge up their *bleeping* phones and iPads……….but I digress!!  So I’m stuck near the back and it’s going to take a big effort to claw my way to the top half, and I don’t remember being that strong so this is going to be tough.  The race starts and it’s a full on sprint to the first corner and there’s a crash after 20 meters, which me and Ste neatly avoid and no pleasantries are passed on to the victim, I’m passed caring today!  Throughout the race, this section of the course will be the recovery section where the gear actually turns the wheels at more than 35 RPM!  I can see a couple of riders which I know I’ve beaten the last two races, and they’ve been ahead from the start due to the gridding shambles at the beginning, and I start getting into race mode with a little bit of anger thrown in which always helps.  Its difficult clawing back places in cross, similar to F1 where you have to rely on their mistakes and fitness to ultimately topple them.  We get to the first running section and it’s through a wooded area with mud so deep it’s not actually wet, more like a sticky kind of mud, and definitely of the shoe losing sort!  So I jump off and run through it, then jump back on my bike and drag myself up the hill before descending a small section and jumping off again to run up a hill definitely un-ridable now it’s completely churned up!  I didn’t like that, and the next time round and subsequently every other lap I decide to shoulder my bike and basically go for a about a 100-150m run through the wood, up the hill, down the descent and up the final drag before running alongside the bike and jumping on with about 50 metres before the concrete start/finish section.  This was a good move, I must have ran past about 8 riders struggling to keep the cranks turning.  So as I mentioned, I used this tactic every lap and closed the gap to the riders I’m after the entire race.

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I’m pretty good at pinning numbers on these days, no flapping, just straight and neat, but each race I’ve progressively lost more and more pins on both the back and shoulder numbers, somehow without ripping the jersey.  On about the 5th lap I notice my number is flapping in the wind but I ignore it.  On the very next lap I notice something lying on the ground, and it turns out to be someone’s number.  As I’m laughing to myself thinking glad it’s not mine, it turns out to be my number!  So I casually get off the bike, roll it up and stuff it down my back pocket and continue. You have to pay for the number if you lose it so good job I was looking!

As I get to the second half of the lap, the bell goes and I suddenly realise that Giles has only lapped me once!  This is my chance to improve big time and finish ahead so I can do another lap after he’s finished, and also the chance to catch those riders I’ve been after all race.  I make it through the line before being lapped again and set off for one final leg sapping lap with a bit more grit (literally) between my teeth.  I get to the wooded section and see my targets just coming out the other side riding up the hill.  If I can get a good run in again I should get them right by the finish line.  But in the end I just can’t get them, my legs are wellied and I just haven’t got that last bit of energy!  I manage a sprint of sorts up the final straight which on tyres with 20 PSI, is a bit sketchy!!

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Overall that was a good race, and one that I felt I was racing.  The first two races have been a getting to know the bikes capabilities and limits as well as my own, and although this was possibly the hardest race so far, the lessons and knowledge learnt from the previous two have paid off and I can just focus on the race itself.

Now to THE hardest task of the day, getting changed into normal clothes, free-ish of mud and ready to drive home!  I look at Ste and we both just take a second to think how exactly do we get changed?!  I opt for the same as last week, just drop my shorts wipe some mud off and chuck my pants on, which would have been so much easier if Ste’s passenger door didn’t keep flaming closing on me!  Push it open, try and get a leg in your pants and repeat was my technique, but it didn’t work and probably caused more bruising to my shins than the race itself!!

 

Next race is Manchester and I swear this time it’s meant to be dry so the next blog will start with a sunny start to the day…………………Hopefully!!

Oh and Ste has just advised me that I’m 14th overall in the league!  No idea how, but not bad so far for my first ever go at CX and only after my 3rd race.  The impetus of racing as much as possible really is something to think about now, and not just complete enough races to get a final league position.  If I can grab a top 10 overall I’ll be buzzing, and might just give it a go next year, if my contract is renewed of course!!

Thanks to Ellen Isherwood for the great pics

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Race 2: Northwich – By Graeme Veevers

Race 2:  Northwich

Race number 2, it’s about 9 in the morning and guess what, its already raining again!!  I seem to remember a mate of mine, not involved in the madness of the cycling world, asking if any of these Cyclocross races ever get cancelled for weather reasons.  I told him the best way to look at Cyclocross is to know that the organiser of each race quite probably performs some kind of rain dance in the days leading up to race day, and especially on the day.  The reason being, that the potential of more mud means more carnage, and more carnage means actually you’ve got a fairly decent chance of doing alright in one of these races because you’re all in the same “boat”, or literally require one to get to the start area!  Unless of course you’re a certain guy called Giles Drake (apologies to all the other regular top 5 lads, I don’t know you all yet!).  He seems to just turn on both taps at the start and forget to turn them off until he finishes, always in first place whenever I’ve seen him from a spectator, marshal and now as a racers point of view!  He’s that good, he manages to very politely and calmly advise you that he’s behind you and about to lap you, again!!  I can just about manage to grunt a very blue and profanity based language for about 80% of the race!

Myself and Ste make use of the time and decide to ride around the centre field during the persistent rain, and cover our previously spotless bikes in freshly cut grass, but we soon decide to take shelter under the Port Sunlight Wheelers gazeebo, I guess to gather our thoughts of what the race is going to be like, but personally, in an attempt to get dry-ish.  Then the call is put out to get all riders to the start area and the usual announcements prior to the start begin, including a caveat around the descents, because there have been a few ‘lacerations’, caused by nettles and bushes!  Excellent, so now I might actually go home with the full house of “Blood, mud, sweat and tears”!! This doesn’t detract me though, and my initial thoughts are that I can’t wait to go down these descents! That’s the downhill man in me probably, and thankfully didn’t make me out to be a fool, cos I didn’t fall off once this time!

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Next is the gridding of riders based on previous races.  I’m stood just behind Ste and my name gets called out, perfectly pronounced by the commissaire I might add, but only for the 4th or 5th row, so I duly oblige and move up…….I’m now just in front of Ste!  Some would call that “marginal gains”.

The race whistle goes and the carnage commences with the usual string of riders disappearing in front of me, the mud covering my face entirely it seemed, and my legs beginning to burn almost immediately up the long drag to the first corner.  I daren’t look behind because again I feel like I’ve haemorrhaged places already, but as I go round the first corner I notice a pretty big stream of riders behind me, so I’m pleased, but instantly forget about it and crack on with my own race.

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Eventually I get to the first descent, it’s a double with a flat section in the middle, I negotiate both with no stress.  My tip, is to trust the bike, get down on the drops where I believe more control is achievable, keep your grip firm, but with arms and shoulders loose.  This way the bike can go where it wants to go, but subtly you’ll be able to reign it back to where you ultimately want it to go.  It will definitely want to throw you off, but you’ve got to remember it’s your bike, and you are the one who tells it what to do!!  Unfortunately for one poor lad, he didn’t know this prior to this descent, because the first and only time I saw him, he was sitting in the nettles and thorn bushes just to the left!  The customary cyclists concern of, “are you ok mate”, echoed throughout most of the riders going past him, including myself.  But I was just more confused as to how he got there!!

Anyway, shortly after the first descent is the first running uphill section.  When myself, Ste and Alex from PSW performed some much needed reconnaissance of this section earlier, Alex described this as “Vietnam”, in reference to ‘Apocalypse Now’ I think!  It was just a mud hill, mixed with clay and definitely not something you would decide on any other day to run up, especially with a bike on your shoulder!

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A string of corners followed this which further burnt valuable matches until the next descent, which was steeper and a bit more concentration was required.  But again, using the technique described earlier, successfully negotiated.  The final running section immediately followed this, and much to my amazement I managed to find my running legs and managed to claw back a few places, only to lose them again at some point in the near future of the very same lap!

Every time I go past the pits I get mixed emotions.  Jealousy, because who wouldn’t want a spare bike cleaned (sort of) and ready to go each lap?  Anger, because yes I absolutely want a fudging clean (sort of) bike to collect right now and on every lap!  And finally post-race hopes, mainly based around the idea of borrowing someone’s jet wash to clean my bike, and not to mention myself!

After about the 3rd lap, I go to pull my brakes before the first downhill section, and find out there’s nothing there and both levers touch the drops!  Excellent, now I’ve got to tackle these descents with no brakes!  Fortunately using the tip from before, going down them is no different, maybe a couple of hairy moments but all part of the fun!

The rest of the race is pretty uneventful actually from my point of view, except when running up the “Vietnam” hill on the second to last lap I think, a lad in front of me stops dead with his bike and I’ve got to go round him on the slightly less solid ground, I want to shout something blue and angry at him, but I was by now too tired to care.  He did manage to catch me up about 10 minutes later and advised me that he lost his shoe!!  I laughed and was glad I didn’t swear at him when I went past, and instead called myself all kinds of insults when I realised a lad basically in trainees and with flat none clipless pedals has gone past me!  It’s like a ‘ketwig’ going past in his Nike Air’s, that’s how much it annoyed me!!

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So finally I come round the last few corners and the chequered flag is out, meaning I can stop this nonsense and now worry about getting clean.  Do I just lie on the field and let the rain try and wash it away or do I actually go to the pits and chuck someone a fiver for a spray of their jet wash!?

Ste had to go round one more time cos he didn’t get lapped twice by Giles!  But I don’t remember feeling the slightest bit bad about this, I’d finished and that’s it!  Time to head back to the car, but not before a post race photo taken by our swanny for the day, Rik “The Ox” Meadows!  Always on hand for a photo in any weather!

I won’t go into detail about how I did get around the issue of trying to get clean.  But it basically involved being completely unbothered, and stripping off in a car park……..there was no other way in my opinion!!

So onto the next race exactly 1 week away, and I’ve actually cleaned my bike…………..sort of!!

Thanks to Ellen Isherwood for the great photos

 

Cross is Here – 1st Blog from our new CX Team Rider Graeme Veevers

  • Race 1: Hoghton Tower

    So the day I’ve been looking forward to for months had finally come around, my first
    Cyclocross race in Picton Cycles kit!
    It was after a few beers one night that I was asked to fill some pretty big shoes left by a previous rider. I was ‘umming’ and ‘arring’ about it and the cost of a new bike and kit which would be at a time when I was redundant, and it was almost going to be a regrettable no to the idea. Then the offer of a team bike and kit was mentioned as this was part of the deal anyway, and I immediately said yes without my brain being involved in the decision!
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    So after all the tweets from the Picton Cycles advising the social media world that
    @GVSPORTSMASSAGE (that’s me by the way!) was the new team rider, and here is his new team bike in various stages of completion, the morning of the first race was upon me!
    Now I’m normally used to being up around 7am and earlier on race days, as road racing likes to get it out the way as early as possible to avoid upsetting all those careful and considerate car drivers who still, for some bizarre reason, pay road tax, which still confuses me!! Anyway, this early start nonsense was not the case as I wasn’t racing until 14:30, which is a great thing on one hand, but as I stand staring into my garden, and the torrential rain that is falling outside, I’m now worrying about the inevitable mess my bike and kit is going to be in, and just how I’m going to clean it all. I’m 32, and therefore just out of the age limit for asking your dad to clean your kit like the good old days of football as a kid, some 20 years previous!
    The aim was to get there about 2 hours before my race to give me time to practice on an already cut up, no let me rephrase that……..”DESTROYED” circuit, and to sign on etc. etc.
    Not to mention the drive up to a place I’d never been to in my life! So after arriving and getting my rider pack including numbers and transponder for the season, I managed to get a chance to complete a quarter of the circuit before being told to get off as another race was about to begin! So now I have to rely on other mates from my cycling club to advise me of all the wonderful/treacherous parts of the course that awaits me, including a bog, a building and a ‘bomb hole’!! If anything it puts my mind at rest because I’m normally one for over preparing and this was all completely new so I was just going to go into it head first and see what happens!
    It’s raining then it’s about 20 degrees C, then it’s raining again and then 20 degrees C again. I can’t remember the last time I was going to be so muddy that the prerequisites included a bin bag, spare clothes and some cleaning products to help get cleaned up before the drive home! So I’m on the start line and it’s sunny thankfully, and after the whistle goes and we all start racing up to the first corner across a waterlogged field, the spray from the riders in front is more than enough for me to come to the conclusion that we as cyclists all come to when we’re 40-50 miles away from home on the road and it starts chucking it down……….well we still have to ride home so just get on with it!!
    First few corners and I’m already knackered, I knew this was a completely different kind of race but I also knew that it wasn’t a case of battling to stay in the bunch near the front, the front was gone, and the long line of riders was now stretched out along the mostly single track circuit and the real introduction began. After a few corners I learnt more about the bike than I have learnt any other bike. I come from a downhill MTB background and more recently road racing so this hybrid sport was a true test of skill and endurance. On the leg sapping climbs I found I had the power to weight to keep the wheels turning and overtake many riders struggling to push their bike up. Then on the descents and twisty corners, I found my downhill skills helping me to find the lines and the maximum amount of grip available to me. I was absolutely loving this race, even though my speckled muddy pain face suggested otherwise!
    You raced against yourself and a few others and that was it. The
    normal stress of trying to move up and avoiding a dodgy rider in a bunch travelling at 30mph was replaced with self-competitive feelings of trying to go round a corner faster than the previous lap, and trying to gap riders you’ve just overtaken. Then the inevitable happened,
    my first fall! It was an off camber descent with 3 lines, top, middle or bottom. I tried the top and failed, not badly, but trying to remount on the same part of the circuit was the difficult part.
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    The next time round I tried the middle, and fell again, then the bottom line and the
    same thing happened. I was getting really frustrated now because I’m embarrassing myself now. So the next time I drifted through all three lines and nailed it, just after the photographer taking pictures of me falling all the previous laps time had left to go to a different part of the course!! By now I’m covered in mud, wanting it to end but also wanting to carry on! You get the feeling of, “I can do that bit better next time round if I take this line, or if I cut the corner at this speed”, and it makes you want to carry on…….And then you cross the finish line and the marshals tell you the race has now finished!
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    I was buzzing from the whole experience, but the best bit, which I was advised of prior to racing, is how many random people I started talking to and having a laugh about the experience. From people who recognised my jersey and knew full well it was my first ever CX race and offering advice and support, to the mad Port Sunlight Wheelers cycling club, who I’ve got to meet over the years on the road, and more so over the last couple of months from practicing CX skills down at Otterspool prom every Tuesday evening.
    When they noticed me coming past during my first lap (as they’d raced earlier) they ran over to the edge of the circuit when I was going past and started shouting and encouraging me which was a surreal experience! The flip side was a few of our lads on a different section of the course, who after I went past the first time, shouted encouragement, but promptly advised me that they were going to shout abuse for the rest of the race, which I couldn’t help but laugh at every time!!!
    So that’s my first race in CX, and as I sit here typing 2 days later, I’m still waiting for the rain to stop so I can wash my bike……..that unfortunately was not included with the team bike and team kit!! Maybe something to negotiate next year!
    Many thanks to Ellen Isherwood for the great racing photos https://www.flickr.com/photos/100713057@N05/

Winter bike maintenance tips from a bike mechanic

All over the internet you will see sets of winter tips, I thought I would do something slightly different, these few things are what I think not only will keep you out on the road through the winter but keep your bike rolling smoothly as it’s no fun riding a squeaky seized up bike.

 Mudguards

Every article on winter cycling says get mudguards, they do this for a good reason you will ride your bike more over the winter if you have a good set and you won’t spray your mates in the face with all kinds of road spray for the duration of the ride. However from a bike mechanics point of view they are also essential for keeping all that rain, mud, grit, cow dung away from delicate moving parts on your bike. That constant spray of cold water that’s going up your back without mudguards is also going directly into the moving parts of your rear brake, your front mech and a load of other parts that will eventually seize up and stop working, so fit a decent set of mudguards and not only will your mates want to ride with you again you will extend the life of parts of your bike and also be able to change gear and brake.

Barrel Adjusters

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Those twisty bits on your frame, mechs etc, they, especially the ones on the frame will seize up if you never move them. They do have an important job, adjusting your gears so don’t go twisting away if you don’t know what you’re doing but give them a little twist and return them to the original position every now and again and they won’t fuse themselves into your frame leaving us to spend ages drilling and re tapping the threads in your frame trying to get them out.

Cables

Are your brakes stiff to pull or is your gears slow to change down the cassette? Then you will be wanting a new set of cables, It’s not a big expense but your cables take a kicking on winter bikes and even the extra cleaning will leave more water than you want in there which causes them to corrode, go to the bike shop (preferably this one) and get them to change your cables, you brakes will be much easier to pull and your gears will shift much more precisely.

Oil

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Summer and winter place very different demands on your chain lube, I have always used a good wet lube in the winter this is thicker than what you would want to use in the summer so that it doesn’t get washed off in the first 30 mins and your mates don’t have to listen to your squeaky chain for the remaining 5 hours of a ride. For summer though however you want to use a thinner lube on your chain as a thick winter lube will attract dust and muck which will cause premature wear on your drive train and also give you serious risk of getting a 4th cat tat on the back of your leg and all your mates will laugh at you!

Headset

An often overlooked part of the bike and one that gets a direct line in spray from a bike with no mudguards. We quite often get bikes in the shop for repair with a bars that are reluctant to turn and the bike has orange residue streaming down the forks, that’s rust and water coming out from where there should be grease. Greasing the headset regularly helps prolong the life of your headset but also sometimes its worth replacing it as new bearings will have your bike running much smoother for a small outlay.

Tyres

Winter is grim, its cold dark and wet and the last thing you want to be doing is to be stood on the side of the road freezing and soaking wet fixing a puncture so generally in winter it’s a good idea to sacrifice a bit of weight and put some heavier tyres on with more puncture protection than the light weight summer tyres. Another problem with winter is that its slippier than summer so you will be wanting tyres with better grip, this will help you to keep the bike rubber side down but it will also help with braking. Whichever tyres you choose to use its a good idea to regularly check them for slices and nicks, full wrap mudguards are great but they do conceal any problems with your tyres and it’s much better to find the hole in your tyre in the warmth of you house and 40 miles away on the side of a cold bleak country lane in the rain after your tyre has blown.

Keep It Clean

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The best thing you can do to look after your bike is to clean it regularly, It may sound quite obvious this one but as well as extending the life of literally everything that moves on your bike from your brake blocks to your jockey wheels when your cleaning your bike you spend a long time just looking at every little bit of your bike, this is where you will notice any problems with broken parts, loose bolts and even a broken frame and as I’ve said above, it’s much better to find these problems at home where you can have a nice brew whilst you fix it rather than on a baron Welsh hillside in the rain/wind/snow/hail etc

Gear Problems After Fitting Racing Wheels

Do your gears stop working as well when you fit your race wheels to your bike? This is because different hubs have the cassettes in slightly different places relative to the dropouts, this can cause the gears to shift slowly at best and at worst can cause the chain to jump off the cassette and into the frame or spokes.

Adjusting your gears is really easy and only takes 10 mins or so, but please don’t do this for the first time the night before a big race, practise makes perfect.

A Bike stand helps for this as you can pedal the bike but if you can find something to hang the saddle on so the rear wheel is off the floor that would work just as well.

First things first when your swapping your wheel always have it on the smallest cog

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With your racing wheel fitted once again put it in the smallest cog, here we are checking the limit screw for this end, spin the cranks and the chain should spin smoothly, if you hear a ticking here your gears are out and will need adjusting.

There are two cross head screws on the back of your mech, these are the limit screws one will stop your mech from going too far and throwing the chain off the bottom on to your frame and the other stops it from going off the top of the cassette into the spokes.

We start with the mech on the smallest cog and adjust the top screw in or out until the clicking stops and the chain is running smoothly.

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Now we want to get the right tension in the cable, the correct tension is a bit “goldilocks” not too tight and not too loose. From the smallest cog shift up to the biggest cog then back down again to the smallest, if its slow going from a smaller cog to a bigger one it’s too loose, if its slow coming down from a bigger cog to a smaller one it’s too tight. Assuming your gears were working fine before on your old wheels there shouldn’t be too much adjustment needed and you can do this with the adjuster on the mech where the cable goes in, twist it a quarter of a turn at a time out if it’s too loose and in if the cables too tight.

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Once the cable tension is set correctly and the gears are shifting well we now need to check the other limit screw, to do this shift the mech so that it’s in the biggest cog. You then want to tighten the other screw to the one you tightened before. Tighten this screw only a fraction of a turn, you should see the mech move in at this point if it doesn’t it will need adjusting so that the screw butts up against the stopper. Once you have done this check that you can still shift into the biggest cog, if you’ve over tightened that limit screw you won’t be able to shift into the biggest cog.

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Now while you’re at it it’s a good idea to check the other bolts on your mech are tight so using the correct Allen key check the cable is tight and that the mech is tight on the frame.

 

Last of all its a good idea to check that your mech hanger is straight, they can easily get bent in a crash or even by putting your bike in the car

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Don’t whatever you do though try this the day before a race for the first time, practise at home first and make sure you’ve got the technique down, take the bike for a spin and make sure all the gears work and if you are unsure bring your bike in to see us and we will sort it out for you.

Frank Morgan Memorial RR – Taking the camera instead of the bike

Due to a 120 mile ride on Good Friday over the cat and fiddle to Buxton I didn’t feel much like going out on my bike Sunday and so decided to have a rest day, I chose instead to take the camera out to the Frank Morgan memorial road race in Kirkby.

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The weather forecast for the day was for heavy showers and they weren’t wrong, at one point I had to seek refuge in my car, winding the window down to take photos when the race came past.

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The eventual winner Barnabus Purbrook riding for London Dynamo, with an  incredible show of strength rode away from the bunch with 18 laps to go and there he stayed until the end winning with a comfortable gap of 1 minute over a small group of chasers who were off the front of the main bunch. A bit of Strava stalking shows the winner averaged a mind bending 373w for the race, this goes to show the strength needed to keep a bunch of North West heavy hitters at bay.

Click on either of the pictures or follow this link for the full set on Flickr.