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 “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.

Isle of Wight Ride 5th of May

Isle of Wight Ride 5th of May

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been looking at possibilities for riding on the IOW. The simplest thing would be to take part in a free event called the Randonee which is a 100k circuit of the island on Sunday 5th of May. You can join the event at any check point, one of which is Yarmouth, the town at the other end of the Lymington ferry.

As it is only 7 weeks away it would be good to make an early decision to take part. I’m keen to have a go at this, anyone else? It would be good to have enough interest to form different speed groups.

Full details can be found here


Mad March Spinners

This weekend several Honiton Spinners braved the strong winds for their first sportive of 2019. A sportive is an organised ride, but not a race, with two or three distances. The ‘No Excuses’ sportive is a UK Cycling event, which raised funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Scott Rumens earned himself a much-deserved silver certificate for his 77 mile Epic version, tackling the stiff climbs of Dartmoor, including the lung-bursting Widecombe Hill. Meanwhile, Mike Bowring, John Burgess, Dave Hawton, Vanessa Glynn Jones and Jennie Sleeman just about avoided being blown off their bikes during the 45 mile Standard route. Highlights included riding through the Teign Valley and by the seaside at Dawlish and Starcross. To finish, all riders faced a gruelling 20% climb on Haldon Hill before returning to Exeter Racecourse.

Meanwhile, Kevin Goss, Rachael Dunn, Rachael and Marcus Mattocks were combating the gale over 70 miles on the Mad March Audax which took them from the start at Cranbrook down to East Budleigh then up over the Blackdown Hills.

Many Honiton Spinners swapped their cycling shoes for trainers on Sunday and scrambled up the East Devon cliffs, charged over pebble beaches, and waded through muddy bogs at the Grizzly.

Well done to everyone who took part in these events and helped to raise money for charity.


The Warm(ish) Weather Is Nearly Here!!

The first evening ride will be on Tuesday April 2nd, leaving the layby at 18:30, directions can be found here.

The re-joining fee is £10 as last year and £15 for new members. As an added incentive you will be entered into a £20 draw for goodies from Cycle Honiton if you join before the end of April.

Here is the link for joining / rejoining.

Honiton Clubs Come Together

The lanes around Payhembury were the perfect setting for the first joint Honiton Spinners and Honiton Running Club Duathlon held on Sunday 3rd June. Cyclists and runners tackled the three-leg event consisting of a 3.82 mile run, then a 15.8 mile ride and, finally, a 2.41 run. Distances may not seem long, but changing from riding to running is surprisingly challenging. As one entrant said as she finished the ride and started the second run, ‘My legs feel all wobbly’. Several entrants completed all three legs, whilst others formed teams of runners and riders. It was a fun, social event for club members, but that didn’t stop wife and husband teams Paula and Adam Ferris tussling with Suzanne and Simon Spiller throughout the course. The Spillers edged home first only 40 seconds ahead, winning the Mixed Team prize. The youngest entrant, Ashley, joined Grandad Alan Nicholls and John Burgess to win the Male Team prize. There was just over a minute between the two female teams of Sharon Wells and Joanne Davey, and Claire Barrow and Mandy Ward. ‘It was tough in the hot and humid conditions,’ said overall female winner, Sherrie Hair, who completed all three legs in only 1.37.57 and was still smiling as she sprinted to the finish. The overall winner was Marcus Durrant, who breezed to the finish in a superb time of 1.34.09. Entrants, families and canine friends thoroughly enjoyed the morning, especially the wonderful cakes provided by members of the two clubs. Thanks go to Payhembury School and Hall for the use of their facilities, and to everyone who was involved, especially Roger Saunders.

Jennie Sleeman


Honiton Spinners

Moor2Sea Sportive

Several Honiton spinners took part in The Moor2Sea Sportive on Saturday 2nd September, starting at Exeter Racecourse, Haldon Forest, Devon. There were three routes. The Inspire was 37 miles (60 km) with 2,600 ft (750 m) of ascent. The Challenge covered 65 miles (105 km) and had approximately 5,700 ft (1,700 m) of ascent. The Extreme route covered 112 miles (180 km) and had almost 10,000 ft (3,000 m) of ascent. The Maximum gradiant was 26%.

Congratulations to Ellie Dominey, who was 3 rd female on this tough event and did a Gold Standard ride in 4h 11 mins – 64 miles and 5700ft climb including many of Dartmoor’s finest hills. She also took QOM for the Haytor climb in 20min 4secs.

Even better, by one place, was Alister Trendall who came 2 nd in the Extreme ride – 110 miles and 10,000ft of climb, going round at 17mph in 6hrs, 32mins.

Congratulations too, to Angie Triner who chose this as her first Sportive – nothing like plunging in at the deep end. Angie has been improving all season and had the stamina to get up Haytor and the nasty climb near the finish.

Not to be outdone by his other-half, Steve Triner tackled the Extreme and also had a great ride, coming in 11 th overall in 7hrs 10mins.