Finish line soon! Its here…
Yes the Cycling years, and after seeing that guy (Lucien van Impe) in the Polka-Dot jersey in the 1977 Tour de France I was hooked, He punctured on this huge climb (L’Alpe-d-Huez) and had no chance of catching Hennie Kuiper (who went on to win that stage but apparently he never crossed the line due to being swarmed by the crowd!),
The next 5 years in brief!
I decided that I needed a drop handle bar bike, im sure you have read the story that includes that very first road bike? It got to Jan 1978 and I was so unsure about joining a cycling club, A lad I admired and knew was good on the bike lived just down the road, I went out of my way to chat with him, his dad worked at the cycle shop (Ellis Briggs) and knew my family as my uncle also worked at that shop.
So I got all the information I needed and met up for my first East Bradford CC club run, turning up in trainers and a Green tracksuit (yes green!!!) I just said hello to some of the folks there, I did get some funny looks (it must have been the green ha) though. This run was to Bland Hill and it was the Yorkshire Cycling Federation winter run meet up. I was amazed by how many cyclists was in the EBCC (Members of the band 53/12 Watty, Woody, and Scotty).
Well I could do a full story about that day and how I suffered but still made it, I was so chuffed and getting home I just needed a bath, Hmmm that bath and from now on each time I went on a club run and returned for the bath my Sister decided to have one just as I walked in, she did this for months and months-maybe a couple of year, right annoyed me…!
My main years with the EBCC was 1978 till 1983 (then joined the RAF), Iv mentioned elsewhere how I managed to get my cycling equipment and clothing built up as that is what I needed to progress. During 1978 I met some great folks and even started out on my first time trial, it was a 10 mile distance and was held near Pool near Otley, 5 miles out and 5 back, Thing is I didn’t realise the danger of turning in the road. When I reached the half way mark the road marshal pointed so I turned, it was an empty road-I believe I recorded about 30 mins and was not last-in fact I beat a few others who had the equipment and training etc, I know some of them was amazed ha ha!!! On his return the road marshal give me such a bollocking for not looking when I turned and I then understood the danger and never ever carried out road crossing etc without fully looking, thinks Jim.
1978 passed and during the winter my parents good me a lightweight frame from the folks who they knew son, They didn’t realise that it was just the frame for that cost and that’s when I started my way of obtaining the gear. 1979 approached and I decided to enter some school boy road circuit races, I found it well difficult but carried on, I don’t think I managed to finish many races but it certainly did not put me off, This year also had a lot going with school or should I say not attending school and not riding my bike enough… Teenage input time!!!
Ok 1979 we can say was a short year?! Ha ha. 1980 started and I felt good, during this time a lot of cyclists and very good cyclists were emerging from Yorkshire and a lot from the Bradford area alone. Again I entered schoolboy road circuit races and faired much better, I would finish most events, In fact in the West Yorkshire Champs held at Shibden Park Halifax I was in the lead group most of the race and at some point was trying to get away on my own, the group pulled it back on the last lap-unsure but I ended up 8th, I don’t know who won it but I was pleased with the effort I put in as was folks who watched.
1980 was the year when I left school, I was aged 15 and not in any frame of mind to be ready for the big bad world of crap jobs… I should not have been allowed to leave hmmm but I never liked school…
I’m actually abit unsure of other results but do remember being in another event at Thorpe Arch trading estate, This had 3 events and in some pretty bad weather, 1st event I was 3rd and 2nd event I think I was in the lead but fell off on a corner with a couple of laps to go, I tried taking it like Barry Sheene! Ha ha… So I missed the 3rd and still got the scars…
Ok then we start onto 1981 and again I was buzzing to get on with it, my 1st event was the Bradford cycling clubs 25 mile Time Trial around the Pool Triangle, junior now. I started this event like a train and caught a few riders (riders start at 1 minute intervals), it was over 2 laps with some difficult climbing but I was a very good climber! I believe I finished 4th or 5th with a time of 1:04/05 ish? Unsure who won but I think it was a guy out of the Pennine cycling club (Willy Bell?). This year I got some ok placings in the Junior road races and was accepted into some bigger events, some I finished and some I didn’t. Thing is many of the Professionals from the Bradford area knew I had it in me but it was difficult getting to some of these events and I lacked constructive family backing. I would usually ride out to these events with my pals and then race… my parents did not drive.
Pulling to a halt on 1981 and moving into 1982, This year was far more built up to and I knew I was going to have good form (not much drinking had been going on!), I am unsure if I entered the inter-clubs 25 this year? But I do know though not winning Junior events I had started placing ok and started to get accepted into the Peter Buckley Junior national road series, On the junior Tour of the Peak I had mighty fine form and first lap up Axe edge I would say a group of about 20 of us got away, I was in the first 6 or so on that climb and pushing hard. Yes on the descent and up some other climb this group was still together and I was pretty much enjoying it but I had never rode this event before, We were descending fast into a sharp bend and most od the other riders had all shifted into a very low gear but I thought ‘Nope I can manage on the big ring’ so your guessing correct-we shot round this bend and hit a huge steep climb, a ground to a complete halt Arggghhh, I should have done the same as I was flying, I chased hard but could not get on so packed, I was up there thou… I think future pro Chris Walker won?
During this year my old good friend Dave Rayner had been achieving some amazing results in his last year as a school boy. We trained hard together and often, we decided to enter a Pro-Am 2-up time trial in the Harrogate week of cycling (I love Harrogate for many reasons…), This day we rode to Harrogate and visited all the shows, we also went through some tests that were being developed, these test machines covered a distance of 25 miles, I think my time was about 55 minutes and Daves about 53 minutes. We was told we should expect to do a great ride in the Evening. The evening arrived, this 12.5 mile hilly time trial was based on the Penny-pot lane circuit starting and finishing just outside Harrogate.
Me and Dave decided he can climb better than me so I would drag him along the flat and he would drag me up the climbs, dragging as riding so hard that you can barely keep the wheel in front. We lined up side by side and it was counted down and we were off, I set off like a crazed mad man, Dave stayed on my wheel for most of the flat, His words were something like ‘F**k’ ha ha, As we hit the short descent and turned left to climb up passed the Sun Inn Dave flew passed me, I just got his wheel but the descent give me a breather (a note for folks, me and Dave rode 10 gears with a junior high gear of 52/16 (time trials did not have restrictions but we decided too)). Right then and we hit the climbing and it was my turn, my turn to say ‘F**k’ ha ha. Dave stayed on the front all the way up to Prime point and out of the saddle, that is the most my legs ever hurt anywhere anytime on a bike, (thanks Dave my truly missed good friend). We got over prime point, I breathed abit and went on through to give Dave a rest, this descent is fast and we was spinning big time. A few turns and last climb up to the finish line we passed, that was hard.
A friend John G had spent the day with us and looked after our clothes etc, we waited for the result and I think we got joint 7th? A fantastic ride and we was so so full of ourselves as was John and on the way home we called in for fish and chips in Otley, fish and chips after that ha ha. Daves dad was really pleased and went over to chat with my dad at the cricket club, anyway it was a superb ride, me and Dave were going to make plans for for 2-ups during 1983 but a few things happened, his form went off the Richter scale as being one of the best Juniors in the country and eventually racing abroad and I decided drinking and music was far easier!!!
John ‘G’ comes back to mind, john introduced me to this fantastic instrument called the ‘Guitar’, All my music is Johns fault and your going to read about that in the music story?!
Just a note on these years, I had some of the best times of my life and miss them, these years had mostly great points, some middle points and a few low points but they kept me mostly away from the folks I had grown to know (as you’ve read about) and could have fully taken me off life’s track. The high points had to be seeing the Tour de France and touring some of Europe’s countries in 1981-82. Climbing the L’Alpe-du-Huez and experiencing so much, so many laughs. Tell you what, as with all the other stories I hope to get photos and have them attached etc…
I’m hoping during 2009 to get my sons mountain bikes and aim on off-roading, they have mentioned how they would even in future attempt the road? Lets wait and see eh?…