Race Reports

Le Jog Days 1 - 4

LeJog Day 1 

Land's End to Okehampton 100.04 miles 6h28m58s average speed 15.51mph.

We started just after 8.30 after the obligatory photos at Land's End. Ian had bought a new bike at 12 days notice when his original Ribble bike (actually hewn from solid rock) had finally died and was deemed beyond repair. He was therefore making adjustments right to the last second. As we started he realised the saddle wasn't right and he had left his glasses behind, so our first pitstop was after less than a mile to get him sorted. The other problem was that he has always used Campag group sets, and the new bike was Shimano which is sufficiently different to cause trouble until he got used to it. So the very first significant hill after 6 miles required a gear that he just couldn't find, the chain came off and jammed and we had another lengthy pit stop!! Remarkably another lad (also riding LeJog) had a chain problem at exactly the same place at the same time so a large group of cyclists were hanging around the roadside.

The only rule we had made before setting off was that everyone should get new tyres to reduce the risk of unnecessary punctures. So guess what? Yes - the only old tyre in the whole group had the only puncture of the day. Mark got it changed quite quickly but it happened on the most exposed part of Bodmin Moor with a howling crosswind so by the time we got going we absolutely freezing.

In spite of taking the most direct route along the A30 it was still a very hilly ride. The 4 mile long hill as we approached Okehampton was expected but still tough. The steepest climb of the day was a mini Cobb Lane in the final half mile to our night stop at the Youth Hostel. At the top we realised we had done 99.6 miles so we cycled round the car park several times to make it 100 miles before we stopped.
Sad - or what?


LeJog  Day 2

Okehampton to Burnham on sea 77.50m 5h7m44s average 15.11mph

Total so far 177.53m

There is a cast list at the end of this report so you know who I am talking about.

Day 2 started much brighter than yesterday. The sun was shining and everyone was up in time for an early breakfast sorted for us by the Saint. It turned out that the Tour of Britain was finishing in Okehampton today so there were many cyclists at the Youth Hostel, but there were also road closures in place which fortunately didn't affect us.

Today we kept off the major roads and were rewarded with generally low traffic levels. There was one kamikaze tractor driver who managed a 90 degree left turn into a field at speed while the Ox was trying to draft him on the way to Crediton. Minor roads does of course mean monster hills, and today's special was Cadbury Hill on the way to Tiverton - 3 miles long with a similar incline to Kidds Hill made it quite special, but having a vintage car tour going the opposite way was quite spectacular. There were about 30 or so pre war motors, and most of the drivers gave us a cheery wave. I distinctly heard a young passenger in an old car shout something about old gits on new bikes though.

We stopped in Tiverton town centre for a bite to eat, and received our 3rd spontaneous public donation to the charity ( that is £12 so far). We then took a detour to visit Churchill's sister to find the Saint already there. We were treated to another tea break as well as a delightful ride along the narrow Devon back roads which also included encouragement from the local youngsters. Single track roads with steep descents and climbs to match were about as far away from yesterday's riding as it was possible to get. Only Cling On struggled and came down the hills with his brakes glowing red hot!

We then had a faster ride on into Taunton then Bridgewater where we planned another break. Before we got there though, Brace had another puncture, and we then had the comical scenario of 5 men changing an inner tube. Unfortunately Brace's pump was not suited to the type of valve he had, and after fully pumping it up, twice it released the valve insert and lost all the air. Luckily we had spare pumps and we eventually got it fixed.

After our tea break in Bridgewater, The Wobbler confidently shot off in completely the wrong direction, eventually realising he was heading for Minehead and not Bristol. Once on the correct route though we managed to reach Burnham on Sea for our next stop.

Cast List

Ian Anderson - now known as 'the Ox' - for his formidable power over any terrain and in any circumstances.

David Ricketts - after tenaciously sticking to the back end all day yesterday - now known as 'Cling On' Cling On clung on as only a cling on can!

Brad Williams - needs no introduction as he is the legendary 'Wobbler' and has already lived up to his reputation.

Mark Jordan - now known as 'The Brace' after hobbling everywhere the day before the ride with a purpose made knee brace pretending to be injured before wiping the floor with us on his bike. Whilst riding if you hear the command 'Brace! Brace! ' it means that Mark has another puncture!

Emma Alden - now known as 'The Saint' for her amazing efforts behind the scenes, driving the van, making sure everyone has a proper breakfast, loading and unloading and generally being completely fantastic!

Steve Alden - now known as 'Churchill' - because of his natural leadership and organisational skills. NO - it is because he nods his head when he rides - just like the dog on the insurance advert - Oh Yes


Le Jog Day 3
Burnham  on Sea to Leominster  100.55 miles 6h22m57s 15.75mph average.

Total so far 278.08m

We stayed at a great B&B which meant a late start as we had to have the full breakfast but it was well worth it. We headed off via Bristol at quite a good pace - only slowed down by 2 huge hills which seemed to go on forever. The first view in Bristol was the magnificent sight of the Clifton suspension bridge over the gorge. We eventually cycled underneath it before heading around the city to the old Severn Bridge which had a cycle path to cross the Severn. Unfortunately we came across literally hundreds of people who were also crossing by the same path. However they appeared to be dressed as dalmation dogs. On closer inspection it turned out they were actually meant to be cows. They were all on a sponsored walk for a local hospice but the connection to cows was never explained!! Because they were going the same way we had to slowly weave our way through dozens of small groups whilst also contending with the powerful cross winds. Cling on clung on to one of the groups by mistake and there was an anxious wait at the other end before he finally emerged unscathed!

We had now crossed our first international border successfully. Only the Wobbler was concerned about the visa requirements for entry to Wales but luckily there was nobody in customs to check and we got in safely.

The Welsh had been warned that we were coming and had resurfaced the entire road network which made a very pleasant change from what we were used to. The road from Chepstow to our lunch stop in Monmouth was delightful following the Wye valley and passing Tintern Abbey.

We met Andy Lennox and his charming wife Helen in Monmouth and put away huge numbers of calories. Of course Churchill could not resist commenting on seeing his desert 'Look at my Spotted Dick'

The final run via Hereford and Leominster was all up and down with the Ox leading the charge up most of the hills including one monster hill. Brace worked hard to keep Cling On going until we finally neared our destination when he started riding like a Cling On posessed.

They all asked Churchill 'Have we done 100 miles'

Oh Yes!!


Day 4

Ludlow to Runcorn 86.47m 5h21m27s 16.14mph average 

Total so far 364.55m 

We had a really good meal in plush surroundings last night in Ludlow and also sampled the delights of Butty Back beer, a Wye Valley speciality! It certainly got the Ox thinking so he turned out this morning with his Ann Summer's bib shorts that were completely see through. It was like following a bike rack! I have heard stories about the Ox and the Ass, but not the Ox's ass, and none of us will be able to sample 'Oxtail' soup without remembering! Having a crack at the front has taken on a whole new meaning and in the interests of transparency the story has been told in full! 

Brace really struggled with his knee all morning today and was in a lot of pain, being forced to virtually 'one legged pedal' to get by. Fortunately it settled later in the day but it has been quite worrying. By contrast Cling On shot off like a scalded Cling On and almost had to be restrained until he ran out of steam before lunch by which time he was clinging on!! 

It is always good to see some great views as you cycle. As we approached Shrewsbury the Ox pointed out the hill range named after him The 'Quantox' ( Quantocks). The Wobbler had a near miss when he was so dazzled by the appearance of the Ox in front of him that he almost didn't react to a pothole in the road. However it was he who had to shout Brace! Brace! to announce the only puncture of the day, which he changed in record time.

The team spent a happy few miles counting Churchill's 'bob count' and the record was 141 in a minute. They were all very pleased though, with his route today as it was gently rolling for the most part, and some great views in the Delamere Forest. All was well until we approached Runcorn, which appears to be a series of major roads joined  together by other big roads, and we really felt we were taking our lives in our hands as we switched from one dual carriageway to another. We got there in the end, to a fine hotel under the flight path, next to a railway station in the middle of a motorway network, to be greeted by the Saint, who yet again had checked us all in, organised food, got everyone's bags out and has been completely saintly. 

Have we had a good crack today? 

Oh Yes!!!


Photos are uploaded daily here

Bala Standard Distance


I arrived on the Saturday afternoon to register having travelled for nearly 5hrs and when i looked at THAT lake i said to myself " why the hell are you doing this again" !!! Maybe they will cancel the swim and turn it into a duathlon!  I stopped moaning to myself [something you do when you get older!] and went and found my B & B.

After a very fitful night's sleep i had a bowl of porridge and cycled down to the race start at about 08.00. On arrival in transition i looked out at the "lake" and it was like a mill pond, not a ripple in sight!! No wind, blue sky and reasonably warm. I thought this looks good!!!

By the time the first wave set off at 09.30 the sky had begun to cloud over and the wind had picked up a little and the water was no longer FLAT!! Well by the time my wave, the last, went off the wind was whipping down through the valley and the water was covered in "white horses" and it was really choppy. Within 100m the wind got worse and the waves got bigger!! I thought if i swallow enough water i might just empty the lake and run round the course!!! I continued to struggle through the water and eventually i could see the exit pontoon but the nightmare is not over yet as the last 15 or so metres is so shallow you almost have to crawl as you can't stand and walk because it's really rocky!

With a helping hand i was up onto the pontoon and running into T1 which went without too much trouble. Although it was cloudy it was fairly warm, unlike last year, so i didn't need a long sleeve top on for the ride and i was soon out onto the out and back undulating bike course on closed roads. The first half was into a strong head wind, so it was difficult to get a good speed going but i did manage to overtake a few riders. The return section, although undulating, was a lot faster, so i was soon heading back towards T2.

This transition went without a hitch and i began the run, which is an out and back undulating course on pavements. Although the wind was bad the run went very well and i even managed negative splits. By the time i crossed the finish line the wind was howling and the sky had really darkened but i did manage to return to my B&B before it rained!!


                       2012 Result                   2011 Result

swim 1500m   45mins 45 secs              52mins 1 sec
T1                 2mins 59secs                6mins 16secs
bike 40k        1hr 16 mins 43 secs       1hr 20mins 14secs
T2                 1min 11secs                  1min 35secs
run 10k          52mins 31secs             55mins 9secs
overall time 2hrs 59mins 11secs        3hrs 15mins 17secs

As you can see i improved my time from last year in all three disciplines, so i was really pleased.

Bachuss - Wine & Jelly babies


Jeans Report

What a fantastic time I had, could not have enjoyed it anymore. Having all those familiar and friendly faces on the start line definitely made it more of a social fun run.

13 miles seem to fly past, maybe it was the continual talking! dancing at the water stops or just the wine!! whatever it was I was disappointed when we got to the finish.

Mile 2   First taste of white wine, Trevor's eyes lit up at all the Power Gels and started to fill his pockets.

Mile 6   Brought a queue for the toilets and welcome sponges, supplied by an old gentleman having the time of his life, sponging down all the ladies!!

Mile 10  Brought extra wine tasting - a water fight with me and Kay - Two courgettes! carried by Trevor and Jules (have you cooked them yet?) and a lovely picture of Claire skipping off into the distance.

Mile 13  MSTC competitiveness kicked in and there was a dash for the finish or it just could have been the tea, coffee, cake, fruit, Bar b q and more wine supplied at the end, so we greedily put back all the calories we had lost.

Bring it on again next year:)

Trev's Report
I'd just like to mention the pumpkins ... I was first competitor over the line carrying a pumpkin!

I also managed to eat more crisps , pretzels and jelly babies than anyone! And despite a valiant attempt from Jim I won the competition to earn the entry fee back by collecting as many gels as possible , even managing to store some inside Roses sports bra !

Also the MSTC medics at mile 12 ... Steve pumping that poor woman full of gels until she vomited!

And it was Roses first half marathon!


The "courgettes" are actually the size of small pumpkins rather than the sort you find in Sainsbury's!

Definitely the most fun I have ever, and I'm sure will ever, have on a half marathon. I echo Jean's sentiments when I actually got quite sad At mile 9 when I realised there were only 3 miles left!

I think the quantity of wine increased each stop due to realising that there were fewer and fewer people following us :-D

Clairs Report
Sunny 'Skippy' Sunday
I went to bed on Saturday night and slept soundly. On Sunday it was a perfect day, I left with my printed out map of the bike route to get to Denbies and met Jean on route.

Cycling to an event has to be the way to go, no problems with nerves. The route was great and Jean and I enjoyed the bike ride so much, it was more of a concern that my map reading skills - while cycling - would get us there (which they did). It was a beautiful scenic route and didn't feel like the 30 miles at all. We got to see the Olympic rings on the heights of Box Hill as we made our final road towards the Vinyard.

On arrival at Denbies, which was so lush-green and beautiful we were surrounded by runners dressed up to the nines! I liked the runners dressed up as vineyard grapes - by the time the run was done their balloons as had deflated with the heat of the sun pounding down on them and every so often a few would bang as the balloons burst with all the friction created.

It was Such a relief to be back in the swing of things, again. It really didnt feel like 13 miles. I was pretty certain that post injury that I would run 4 and walk the rest. I ran and skipped a very decent 12 plus miles. Meeting up with Fiona, Jo, Sharon, Graeme, Steve, Kay, Jim, Helen, Juls and of course Trevor and Rose was superb.

We had an enormous amount of fun, we chatted, danced and stopped of course at every feed-drink station to make sure that we were hydrated, re grouped and then we all ran on again. I did quite a lot of skipping ... I found that too much sugar does make for a very skippidy hoppidy me - thank goodness I didnt have any wine !

This event was really well organised, lovely marshalls and a really good event to be part of - sometimes running for fun, chatting with friends and enjoying the scenic view has to be a founditory reason for all the training that is done in the year. They provided a great post BBQ, music and the atmosphere was fantastic. I would definitely do this again, be more organised and dress up and would cycle back next time too.

Jim's Report
A great day for a PW (personal worst finish time).
Brilliant fun race with fancy dressing, wine, sunshine, friends and great scenery.
Felt like it was the South of France running beside vinyards in blazing heat.
Had the rare privelage to run with (and chat to) the race leader (eventual winner) for a couple of miles. Jonathan Ratcliffe had lapped me and I had no trouble keeping up with him for a while seeing as his legs were 13 miles more tired than mine. Jonathan is a 2:45 marathoner and won this event in 3:11, which shows how tough the course was with hills and half-drunk half-marathoners to negotiate.
Not for the first time, my competitive wife sprinted past me on the finish and beat me by a couple of seconds.

Sharons Report

Best half marathon I have ever done & best of all I achieved a PW (Personal Worse) - also the first time I have ever finished a run feeling a little bit tipsy (lightweight - I obviously don't get out much).

I've just checked the pics on the website & it's the first time I'm smiling while running - he! He! The scenery was fantastic and it was great to just stroll up the hills exercising the jaws from all the chatting

Also needs to be said on the race report that Steve was "chicked" at the finish post by at least a second - lol xx

Steve's Report

What a great race and my kind of nutrition plan more wine than you can drink and more jelly babies than you can eat a great social run except for the last 5 meters when the girls got a bit competitive :) think this will have to be a club run for next year.

Place Time Name
48 01:56:44 Fiona Bussell
138 02:14:54 Joanna Rendall
193 02:23:38 Helen Graham
194 02:23:40 James Graham
242 02:30:06 Graeme Fitzjohn
509 03:19:08 Claire Cresswell
562 03:43:56 Sharon Chladek
563 03:43:57 Kay McMenamin
564 03:43:57 Jean Fish
565 03:43:57 Steve McMenamin
567 03:44:05 Rose Ryan
568 03:44:05 Trevor Moore
0 03:43 Jules - times missing




LEJOG - 2012


Land's End to John o' Groats is the traversal of the whole length of the island of Great Britain between two extremities; in the southwest and northeast. The traditional distance by road is approx 900 miles.

The five - Brad Williams, Dave Ricketts, Ian Anderson, Steve Alden and Mark Jordan are going to try to complete the journey in 9 days - indeed they have to because Dave Ricketts is booked to perform surgery on the 10th day and has his flight booked from Wick to Gatwick.

LEJOG might be a common and well trodden path but it will be  real challenge to the five.  

The planned route is to pedal just under 100 miles each day. Amazingly, Emma Alden is driving the support wagon for the entire journey; what a star!!!!  

They are raising money for Help for Heroes andy have set up a website for sponsorship/donations click here

There will be a daily post on this club website to keep you informed.


I should have the route up here soon so you could pop out and join in for a day.

BRAT Standard Triathlon


5:30am - Race day starts at a hotel in Coventry where my first concious effort is to down the pint of sports drink placed next to the bed, closely followed by two hob-nob cereal bars (chocolate covered), a banana, and more fluid. It's the breakfast of champions. 

6:00am - I'm on the road getting increasingly nervous (and tetchy) but somehow navigate my way safely to the venue where it all starts to go quite badly wrong. I get out the car and promptly turn my ankle on a large lump in the ground, then to help me get over it the valve on my front wheel shears off as I put the pump on it - to put it in context, it is now 6:55am, race brief is in 15mins, and my wave has to be in the water in 25mins - my kit is not yet in transition, and my water bottles still need filling. 

Much swearing ensues and my (long suffering) wife sorts out the water bottles and my race belt whilst I flap big style and change the front inner tube. 7:06am - wheel changed but I am flapping even more as I think I pinched the inner tune when I put the tyre back on - It is pumped up and appears sound but I still flap like a good 'un. I dare not check the pressure on the back wheel - it was 110 last night - that will have to do. 

7:10am I get my kit into transition and roughly laid out. A quick sprint to the race briefing where I use the time profitably to get into my wetsuit and pray I heard all the important bits. I race back to transition to check the layout of my kit and do some last minute prep. I look at my watch and it is saying 7:25am - I should be in the water now!!!!! A quick sprint and I am at the water where I literally have enough time to let some water into the front of my suit and we are into the 30second countdown. 

The horn goes and we're off. I reckon it's 350m before I  man up and deal with the cold water on my face, but from then on all I can think about is whether I pinched the inner tube and am I going back to a flat front tyre. My mind is nothing if not focused! I try to practice all my drills to be hydrodynamic, and exit the water in 31mins - a PB (thank you Mark). Up the hill to transition pulling off my wetsuit as I go, at the bike my drills are a little slow but and I exit without further mishap.

I quickly get passed by one guy on a swanky looking bike, but he applies the brakes going down a hill shortly afterwards (pussy) so I pile on the gears and fly past him. Onwards we go and I quickly start passing the faster swimmers. I know I am pushing hard as my legs are feeling the burn after 5 miles, but I am having a great time hunting down those in front of me.

Into my second loop it starts to rain, but as anyone who has been cycling this summer will know - it is just part of your Sunday morning ride. I am now a little worried about the run as the course is primarily on grass and it could be a little slippery, but I am on a flying lap and stop worrying too much. All the marshals are awesome and manage the traffic to allow the bikes to exit junctions without danger - I shout my thanks to as many as I can.

Back into transition, where my wife (and fellow triathlon widows) are cheering hard. I look at my watch and realise I have done 40km in about 1:07 - ANOTHER PB!!! My goal for the whole event was sub 2:45:00 and I am well ahead of that target. Good drills follow and I am out and running (slight embellishment there - more of a fast shoe shuffle) on the four laps of a flat (Ha!!) course. What they failed to mention was the 50ft tall berm you have to climb/descend on each lap, but like a good boy I keep running (unlike some).

By the time I get to the final lap, I have been needing the loo for some time (drank too much lake water), and when the kidney pain sets in I debate the pros and cons of peeing on the run or darting behind a container - decency prevails and I lose 45seconds and 600mls - a quick dash to the finish and it is all over: 2:31:29. It's not every day you take 38mins off your PB and finish in the top half of the field (just)! 

My post stretch reward is copious amounts of fluid and a bacon buttie - nutritionally dubious but well received nevertheless. 

Lots of lessons learnt about prior preparation and planning - but all in all a very successful day out. 

Andy Lennox