Duathlon 2019

Payhembury was the venue for the second Honiton Running Club and Honiton Spinners inter-club duathlon, which took place on Sunday 2ndJune. The big questions of the day were who would take First Lady and First Man as Sherrie and Marcus were unable to replicate their successes of last year, and who would win in a Spillers v Ferris re-match.

The routes took runners and cyclists around the undulating lanes around Payhembury. Despite the gloomy weather, the runners managed to stay dry for both the 6K (3.82m) and 3.5K (2.41) runs, but the cyclists caught a heavy rain shower during their 24K (15.42m) middle leg. There were 23 participants, the same as last year, with Rod Inglis, Katy Lancaster and Hannah Brown completing both the runs and the ride. There were also four female teams, four male teams, and two mixed teams. Although he had a leisurely chat during the transition, Rod stormed home to win the Solo Male prize and Katy managed to stay ahead of Hannah to win the Solo Female prize. Paula Ferris joined forces with Suzanne Spiller to win the Female prize, whilst Jay Sweetman and Mark Newson left everyone else far behind to win the Male prize. Meanwhile Alisdair, who discovered a few minutes before the start that he was competing in the first run and the ride, and Esme Moffett shared childcare duties and won the Mixed prize.

The two clubs kept up the tradition of providing delicious cakes and refreshments, which were served by Kathy, Angie and Oliver.

It was a fun, social occasion and thanks go to Roger Saunders, for all the organisation, supported by John and Jennie.

The two clubs will make a contribution to the school as a ‘thank you’ for the use of the playground.

Exe Valley Triathlon

Tony Ballinger participated in the Exe Valley Triathlon. This was his first one, so he entered the novice event and came 4th overall. He was helped by his bike fitness and came 2nd fastest on the bike stage. Tony was justifiably pleased to come 1st in his age category. That’s impressive for a first attempt.

Dartmoor Demon

Adrian Buckley had an impressive ride on the 87 mile Dartmoor Demon achieving a brilliant 6th place in the all-time list for his time between the 1st and 2nd feed stops. He managed to knock Bruce off the top spot for the Widecombe Hill climb, so Bruce will have to go back and re-take his crown!

Trans Kernow

Craig Boyde is a long-distance man – the longer the better for him. He rode the Trans Kernow, which is a self-organised ride across Cornwall starting in Saltash and finishing in Plymouth, via Lizard Point, Penryn, Newquay & Bodmin . He did this over two days, covering 200 miles and nearly 20,000ft of climb.

“I’m still buzzing from adventure I’ve just had; it’s been tough, but it’s been truly amazing as well.”

EWCC 10 mile TT

Jack Dallyn continues his races and training rides with stats that just make the rest of us exhausted reading about them. He rode the EWCC 10 mile TT at an impressive 26mph and that on a road bike with junior gears. As he said, “I’m very happy with that!”

The Isle of Wight Randonnee

On Sunday saw several Spinners, including John Burgess, Rachel and Tom Dunn, Rod Inglis, Mike Bowring, Kevin Goss, Jennie Sleeman, Malcom Street, Julian Gigg, Nikki Gigg, Rod Inglis, Kevin Goss, Jonathan Davies, Rob Conabeer, Mike Wilkins, Scott Rumens, setting off early to catch the 9.15 ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth. Nikki and Julian decided to catch the ferry from Southampton, so weren’t spotted on the island. The ride is a 65 mile circuit of the island where you follow the blue cycle route signs (if you spot them in time!), signing in to various checkpoints and food stops on the route. The roads were mostly smooth tarmac so a joy to ride, and there was 5000ft of climb to keep the heart-pumping. Spinners rode in various groups so it was great social ride and definitely a date for the diary next year.

Velo Birmingham and Midlands 100

Several Spinners tackled their first 100 mile ride in 2019 at the Velo Birmingham and Midlands 100, joining 17000 riders starting in Birmingham city centre. John Burgess, Lyn Pike, Sue Jones and Jennie Sleeman were at various start points early on Sunday. The closed road route took in cobbles in Coventry, scenic countryside and cheering crowds in the towns and villages along the generally gently undulating route. The sign at mile 80, advertising the lumpy last 20, certainly wasn’t welcomed by tired legs! It was well-organised, if rather busy at the food stops, but the event was marred by a fatality. Riders were able to offer their support for the family by contributing to the air ambulance charity.

The Somerset 100k

At the weekend, Rachael and Tom Dunn took part in the The Somerset 100k starting at Westhay near Glastonbury. It is a non-timed Sportive, with 35m, 100km and 100m route options through quiet lovely Somerset towns and villages. Having completed the 100k (66.2iles) in just over 4 hours, averaging over 16mph this year, they recommend it and plan to return next year to do the 100 mile distance.

Tour de Yorkshire 2019 as suffered by Claire Barrow

The route started in Leeds, a fair distance from the event village in the Millennium Square. It was bitterly cold and I was glad of my two pairs of gloves, headband, arm warmers and shoe covers; less glad of crop pants instead of long tights! The first 40km were undulating and I was wheel-surfing trying to find someone who was riding at a suitable pace to tuck in behind. This is a moveable feast as even when I find one, I usually fall away as soon as the road starts to climb.

Then came the first big test at Hartwith Bank, the description of which I have borrowed from www.ridethestruggle.com “Hartwith Bank begins steep – and just gets steeper. Hartwith Bank is narrow and not traffic free, so there’s no chance of using the road to zig zag your way. Unfortunately, it’s out of the saddle and straight up.


As you rise up between the houses the road takes you through a long, dark and tree-covered section. The eerie atmosphere and foreboding feeling evoke fear and self-doubt.

A wheel spin on the wet leaves or a bump on the uneven tarmac can mean it’s game over, foot down and you’re walking to the top.


Suddenly a right hairpin ramps up the gradient just as your legs are feeling the lactic burn. If you manage to keep momentum as the road then bends left, you’ll crest the top of the steepest section and can finally sit down, click up and tap your way to the top.

Top tip: “Don’t go too deep. Keep your powder dry. Greenhow Hill is only five miles away.”

According to the Strava segment it averages at 11% but is 24% at its worst. I confess to walking a little of it in the middle.

Tour de Yorkshire Route Profile

After this there was quite a lot of descending until about 60km where we had a cat 4 hill nearly 6km long, topping out at 7.8% but averaging only 2.1% because of some short downhill respites. This was roughly where we joined the Stage 4 route of the TDY proper.

My water bottle was empty by the second feed station at Pateley Bridge but it was a seriously bad plan to fill it just before Greenhow Hill, all that extra weight up the beast, described here by Simon Warren “The toughest part of the course by some distance, this four kilometre climb is a formidable foe with maximum gradients of over 18%. Like a giant flight of stairs, the tough climbing comes in four distinct sections, broken up by periods of calm to allow partial recovery. Each steep stretch is slightly easier than the one before, and each rest slightly shorter until you leave the trees and face up to the block headwind which ALWAYS greets riders at the top. This may not be true, but I have never experienced anything else, and even though the slope is shallower over the last kilometre it has the tendency to feel just as hard.”

At 103km started the Cote de Otley Chevin which along with Greenhow you might have seen on the  Tour de Yorkshire highlights show. We were greeted with a sign which said KOM summit 1.7km and there followed what looked like a wall. The actual climb is 3km long, the first km is cat 4 and then the rest is cat 3, topping out at nearly 18%. The only good thing about this bit was that the road was closed by the time we got there so it was possible to zig zag up the hill safely. I walked 50m or so but got back on with 500m to go to the KOM line and gave a little spurt at that point because I thought I ought to! In my defence loads of riders walked far more and far earlier. There followed 9 km or so of mostly down until Tinshill Lane which was steep but mercifully short at 1.2km of between 5 and 8%. Some of the descending on this ride was exhilarating because it was straight down and you could see that you were going straight up at the end of it so didn’t need to slow down at all. I hit 59km/h at one point!

There was a little kicker of 10% at the 120km mark and then it was downhill all the way to the finish. It was in fact a very slightly uphill finish but at the speeds we hit you didn’t notice that. It was very exciting to turn into the barriered section and then suddenly have the finish in sight – that was actually a bit of a surprise as the last 20km had flown by. Spectators were in place cheering already, ready for the pro race later on, so it felt really special.

Arctic April

Congratulations to all Spinners who rode yesterday in arctic conditions. John’s Garmin logged 0.1C on the Brendon Hills at 10am. 

Particular mention must go to the Dustman Dave Demon Hilly Audax riders, Steve Triner and Craig Boyd who clocked up 70+miles with some ferocious climbing over Exmoor – 8200ft in total. Steve had a great ride, well up with the sharp end, but then he’s already clocked up over 3000 miles this year!

Also braving the Exmoor wind, on the Exmoor Beauty (71 miles and 5,500ft of climb) were Adrian Buckley, Sherrie Hair and John Burgess (who would have preferred to be at home in his slippers). How on earth did Adrian manage 17.4 mph on that route in that weather? It was Sherrie’s first Sportive, her longest ever ride and she said she was nowhere near bike-fit, yet she battled the cold, the wind and the climbs at a 14.3mph average and is on the ladies’ leader board for one of the climbs. A great debut – how well can she go when fully fit?

The Dustman Dave Audax took Marcus and Rachael Mattocks out onto the Somerset levels for a 70+ mile ride, but it was just as cold and windy as the moor and with enough climb to test the legs. Rachael came back with a couple of Strava cups and they both racked up an impressive number of PR segments.

Meanwhile, young Jack Dallyn had his first race without incident, riding the Brentor 45 mile race at an impressive 22.1mph and coming 17th. Jack is a Cat 4 rider and was competing against older Cat 3 riders. He says, “Happy with that after being ill this week. But cramped on last climb meaning I lost a few positions and couldn’t contest the sprint.”

Kudos also to Marcus Durrant and Suzanne Spiller who both ran the Honiton Hippo in under an hour, including lots of freezing cold water to wade through.

Nine other members were also out on their bikes, including Steve Driscoll, Liz Polley and Kevin Goss ignoring the wind and cold to do a 60 mile loop out to Bampton.