22nd November 2009
Marcus has put together an inspired video to advertise the LVIS Audax on 28th March 2010
12th November 2009
The video from the recent LVIS weekend at Afan Argoed is now available thanks to Helen.
6th November 2009
9th October 2009
John raced solo at last weekend's Dusk till Dawn finishing 76th in the solo category but his early lap times suggest that without the mechanicals, he'd have comfortably finished in the top 10:
Rode the Dusk till Dawn this
weekend - a 12-hour overnight (duh) race in Thetford Forest. You might think the
term "mountain biking" is misplaced here as Norfolk isn't renowned for its
vertiginous terrain (indeed much of it is below sea level) and on arrival it
turned out that it hadn't rained for more than a week so there wasn't even any
mud. Even an hour of rain just prior to the off made no difference to the going
which was either firm or dusty. Any preconceptions that this was going to be
easy were soon shattered as soon as the mass of riders hit the first patch of
loose. The soil was like flour and phenomenally slippery and energy-sapping; in
addition to which it kicked up into the air and hung around for ages coating
sweaty riders in a way reminiscent of early motor racing drivers on dirt roads.
The organisers had also managed to find some slight gradients and a few challenging bombholes which were sensibly bypassed in the opening lap to avoid the inevitable log-jams. The highlights were the "Blair Witch" tree sections and the swoopy singletrack. Pine forest is notoriously dense and the singletrack in places resembled a tunnel barely 2 bikes wide and 8 feet tall creating a really menacing atmosphere and some dramatic photos (see Joolze Dymond's site).
My enjoyment was tempered by 3 chain breakages and finally light failure after 8-hours. It really is very dark when you've just got a pokey headtorch to see with! Still, it was a great event which really does defy preconceptions about flat-land MTBing.
7th October 2009
Purdown CX race report. Oct 4th 2009 By Tess
(Pics in the gallery)
Roaring into the first race of the season saw
four LVIS captains of cyclery flex their muscles and demonstrate the meaning
of endeavour. Antony, Scott, Leon and Nouveau all rode to great acclaim. LVIS
put up more riders than any other team in the Senior competition. The course
was distinct in that the grass hid many stuttering ridges that, in the less
sturdy, could have led to vibration white finger and a lack of hurdles was
made up for with a rather nasty off camber descent and a nausea inducing
A covering of sunshine and a smattering of spectators saw the first CX race of the season start with a What Ho! on Sunday October 4th. This was the third Round of the Western cycling league held at Purdown, a suburbia enclosed field with a small hill just off the M32 near Ikea in Bristol. The full series calendar is here
The race started bang on time which was good because LVIS stalwart, Antony arrived just as the other competitors were lining up to start. It is to Antony’s credit that he rode so well on what can be described as his Dad’s bike with retro brass bell and over designed bottle cage (or a lovingly resprayed Kona Jake). Antony came in at a brilliant 28 in a field of 38. Anty beat 100% of the grrlz and 85% of the old men and Mike from Strada who had some very fancy new wheels. In Preparation for the race Antony drank heavily the night before, ate a huge breakfast and rode like stink from Bitton to Bristol (7 miles) as his pre-race warm up. Barry would undoubtedly have been proud.
Nouveau rode to a glittering 8th on his Kona Jake the Snake. His choice of CX bike for the day was literally the one on the top of the pile – it had gears – but the one with out gears would have been just as good – so quoth he. Nouveau was put off during the race by a wailing infant who seemed to be channeling the pain of all CX competitors.
A moment of laudable light headedness caused Scott to climb over the barrier tape and pin a number on to his glorious purple and gold tunic. Bone-dry terrain and brilliant sunshine did not put him off this technical cycling challenge. Nothing can quite describe the CX race and all who ever enter one should be credited with bravery. Scott rode a solid race on his Zanella, a mysterious, svelte gazelle of carbon-fibre master craftsmanship, but just how is that carbon held together? A brave man indeed!
Hot off the blocks Leon took up a champion’s position near the front of the pack, past the stands on the first lap he overtook Nouveau on the descent to raucous cheerings from assembled Gierats, only for the positions to be reversed on the climb. For the majority of the race the two were separated by less than one London Bus and Leon finished a highly creditable 11th . A fine performance!
In uncompromisingly coloured kit the race winner (William Bjergfelt -Sport Beans-Wilier) led all the way round and seemed to be phoning his race in, I don’t think he broke a sweat and lapped in about 4 minutes. He raised both arms as he crossed the line and a small boy was heard to say ‘what a show off, even I can do that’ in not so ‘sotto voce’. I think having a continental European sounding name probably helped. The tiny boned Scott Chalmers (Science In Sport.com) came second to the sound of his gears ringing out a horrid grindy tune. Such is the stuff of CX.
6th October 2009
Don your beards, mudguards and sandwiches and prepare for the 2010 LVIS Audax event - Barry's Bristol Ball Buster and Barry's Bristol Bash. Andy L and Marcus have put together two excellent routes to test even the best riders.
Barry's Bristol Ball Buster is the ‘classic distance’ 200km route (Brevet 'Randonnée') circumnavigates the city of Bristol before climbing up on to the Mendip Hills then down to the Somerset Levels before returning to the start point in Long Ashton.
Highlights include: Clifton Suspension Bridge, views of both River Severn bridges, Cotswold Escarpment, the Mendip Hills, Glastonbury Tor, Somerset Levels, Gordano Valley.
Barry's Bristol Bash is the shorter 100km route (Brevet Populaire) takes in the same route as the start of the 200km option but heads back to Long Ashton just south of Bristol instead of continuing onto the Mendips.
Highlights include: Clifton Suspension Bridge, views of both River Severn bridges, Cotswold Escarpment, Bristol City views from Dundry Hill.
Details available in the Events section ( full info sheet here )
7th September 2009
John W finished the Bristol Half Marathon in a time of 1:22, in 169th place - quick but maybe not quite as quick as we've come to expect of John over the years. Of course, this may have something to do with the small matter of his 5th place the day before in the Kielder 100 - a brutal 100 mile (NOT km!) off road mountain bike event in North England. Off the 200 or so riders who started, almost half dropped out through the day, such was the toughness of the event.
To have finished 5th alone is quite an achievement. To follow it up with a half marathon the next day is truly awe-inspiring.
In John's own words (he's clearly not quite recovered yet):
Essential kit inspected before start: whistle, spare pads, tubes, space blanket, rain top, tools, food etc. Clouds of midges before the off. Hungry ones. "Neutralised" start behind a quad. Too slow and everyone is tripping over each other. Fire road. Uphill. The most effective way to spread out a pack before the singletrack. Dense pine forest shortly after dawn. Blair Witch Project. Wot no lights? Overgrown vehicle tracks. Downhill. Pinballing from one side of the ruts to the other. Too scared to brake hard. Not happy. Rocky fire road, 4-up timetrialling in the big ring and running out of gears on the descents. Skating over loose rocks sweeping from left to right through the bends. Better than telly. Leg aching climbs on sodden ground. I think I've seen that tree before. Newly completed "designer" singletrack: swoopy, grippy, wooded, bumps, jumps tabletops.... mmmm. Pity we won't see that again: one lap only. Fire road slog. Tyres too hard. Back stiffening up. Minutes of non-stop banked curvy boardwalk over windswept, heather covered moorland. Mist blowing across the border from England to Scotland. Distant wail of bagpipes and a lone piper against the skyline. Drop a few coins in his case, nod to the piper, back on the pedals. Steep sandy climbs where the granny ring wasn't small enough. Get off and push. Not faster but it's a change. Keep eating. River crossings where there should only be streams. No punctures. Please, no punctures. Eating more gels in one race than the rest of the year put together. Grinding gears, juddering brakes, sore back, soaked feet, caked legs. 60 miles to go. No Ibuprofen. Oh. Trees. More than you can shake a stick at. Uh? Doubletrack. Overgrown. Flooded. Riding at walking pace on the flat. Front wheel disappears below the water and everything else follows. At least it's a soft landing. Dodging bigger puddles to save the drivetrain and brakes form gritty water. New pads can't wear out in a day's riding. Can they? What's brown and sticky? A stick!. Laugh till it hurts. Too tired. No more than a mile of tarmac in 9 hours riding. Bracken, heather, wide open space. Don't miss a turning. Don't ever miss a turning. Chatting to fellow riders. "I live 20 miles form here. I never ride Kielder". Oh. Broken bottle cage from hours of hammering over rocky trails. Bottle down the jersey. Used gels tucked in the shorts; sticky ooze running down legs. Bloodshot eyes. Soaked kit. Blistered hands. Grazed, scratched, knees and elbows. Brake pads on the metal. Gears jumping. Back aching. Prunes for feet. 20 miles to go. Nearly there. Fellow rider getting tired. 100 miles on soaking trails and no rain. Thanks goodness! Final singletrack park and across the finish!!! A race that deserves the title "epic".
30th August 2009
Dylan completed the Lap the Lough sportive in Northern Ireland at the weekend.
The Lap the Lough is an 85 mile sportive round Lough Neagh on a fairly flat/rolling course. The lack of big hills meant that the first half of the event was carried out at quite a pace due to the large groups (50+ riders) with inclines being tackled at 25mph+. The pace settled down later on as fatigue set in and the forecast torrential rain hit. Most riders managed to stay upright but there were a few crashes so hopefully those people have are recovering ok. All in, it was a great event, well organised but sadly marred by the death of one competitor from a heart attack.
Thanks to the guys from
Apollo CT for letting me tag onto their group as it made the strong headwind
on the second half of the event bearable.
17th August 2009 Part 2
Some more missed results - the Triathlon boys becoming Ironmen! Report by Marcus M
17th August 2009
10th August 2009
7th June 2009
19th May 2009
LVIS fielded an intrepid squad at the CLIC 24 hour mtb race last weekend with the Andy B, Marcus, Leon and Nouveau racing as the Singlespeed Superstars (more of that later) and Andy L, Mike and Fraser choosing the solo option.
The omens before the weekend weren't good with torrential showers predicted over the weekend and unfortunately as race day dawned, they were proven to be right (despite the pictures above looking nice and dry). Regardless, all LVIS riders put on an excellent show with the Singlespeed Superstars finishing 3rd and the soloists all finishing high up the order - Andy L in 6th place, Mike in 9th and Fraser in 14th out of a field of 133 soloists. Andy L in particular did a fantastic job, having crashed around midnight and injured his hand badly enough that he couldn't really ride properly afterwards.
It's worth mentioning that the Singlespeed Superstars did unfortunately sully their name somewhat by deciding that due to the amount of road in the lap, they'd ride geared. Shame on them and a suitable punishment will be applied at the Bristol Bikefest...
Nouveau put together the race stats in a highly scientific
29th April 2009
An update to the story below, just in! Marcus M writes:
23rd April 2009
A Vegas team of 6 rocked up at Bodmin on Sunday 19th April to take part in the second North Cornwall Tor Sportive, set over a fiendishly tough course hugging the north Cornish coast. Once transponders had been fitted to bikes and final adjustments made to nervous grins, the guys rolled over the line and set off for a day of pretty much non-stop climbing.
Marcus, Neil, and Stu set off to tackle the 100 mile route, while Giles, Baggy, and Jimmy chose the 70 mile option. There have been allegations, verging on the slanderous, that Giles had originally taunted those who had opted for the 70 mile route, saying it was the girls' route and that he hoped they had nice wicker baskets fitted to their bikes. Clearly this is not the case, and the shorter route is just as manly and worthy of chest-beating as the 100. Ahem….
Predictably, Marcus disappeared off the front immediately, hotly pursued by Neil and Stu. The weather was superb, blue skies and sunshine all day, so the 70 milers decided to set a steady pace and save their energy for the incessant climbs to be encountered once hitting the coast road. At the first feed station at Tintagel the trio were greeted with a huge mound of cakes, always a welcome sight. After partaking of energy cake the guys continued and soon engaged lowest gear as the 20% + climbs began.
The second feed station at Wadebridge saw a quieter, more subdued crowd as legs were paying the price for the tough route. Only 20 miles to go, how hard could it be? The answer soon reared up in front of us – very! A long 28% climb up through Bishops Wood drove grown men close to tears, and the organisers threw in a 33% climb for good measure. As Giles was grinding up yet another steep climb within the last 10 miles he heard a cheery “Go Vegas” and looked round to see a fast-approaching Marcus. Marcus rode the 100 miler in 5hours 58 mins, 2 minutes faster than Giles rode the 70!
All in all great day, superb (in a very painful kind of way) course, and a good showing by the Vegas boys. Congratulations to Marcus on his superb ride (3rd in category) and the other 100 milers – having done it I know how hard it is. I reckon the NCT will become a regular fixture on the calendar and it would be good to see more purple and gold on the roads of North Cornwall next April.
It's also worth mentioning that two trialists for the Las Vegas Institute of Skort took on their first ever sportives, admirably choosing the hardest route on the calendar to test their legs. Well done to Kat for completing the 70 mile circuit, and showing some of the boys how it's done in the process and Kirsty for nailing the 43 mile route. Hopefully we'll see them don purple and gold jerseys soon.
17th April 2009
A quick Get Well Soon message for LVIS's resident bon-viveur, Rus, who is recovering from surgery on his throat. Initial reports suggest that after the Easter weekend, Rus was complaining of something like a fishbone stuck in his throat after an trip away, spent 'Training'. A trip to hospital and an X-Ray later showed that the offending item was in fact a pork scratching...
Surgery and a night in hospital has resolved the problem and Rus was well enough to be quoted inquiring as to where the pork scratching was as he didn't want to miss out.
Get well soon, Rus!
5th April 2009
The 25th Edition of the Hell of the North Cotswolds (HONC) took place in unseasonal conditions with baked trails and sunshine. LVIS fielded a strong team with a mix of aspirations - some going for fast times, others just happy to go around at a decent pace but with an emphasis on enjoying the day with a bunch of mates.
Nouveau and Leon finished in the top few riders (there are no official placings since HONC is not officially a race) while the main group of LVIS riders (varying beween 5 and 9 riders along the course) took a more leisurely approach but seemed to be enjoying the day more than anyone else around and the sight of the 'Purple Peloton' was quite impressive.
Pics in the gallery
16th March 2009
LVIS's annual spring mtb trip proved another big success with proper Vegas-style weather for once and a couple of days worth of brilliant riding. Pics are in the gallery
22nd February 2009
What a night!
The 2006 LVIS Christmas Party went of with a bang - a sell out event, the party was quickly in full swing as the pics (in the gallery) show.
Congratulations to the award winners:
|Barry Jaeger award for racing
in the true spirit of the Institute (aka The Golden Bar)
won by Nouveau for not only being fast but being supremely relaxed, even to the point of turning up after the start of races.
|Timothy Westwood award for
Also won by Nouveau for the original LVIS design bike
|Vivienne Westwood award for
the best purple/gold outfit on the evening
Won by Lauren for this startling outfit with gold leggings
|Evil Kneival award for crash
of the year
Won by Steve for his crash at Brechfa with resultant broken finger and separated shoulder
|Chris Hoy award for best
racing performance of the year
Won by Marcus for generally being silly quick
Thanks to Performance Cycles for providing the prizes
Hopefully everyone's recovering today - special mentions to all those who made it out mountain biking the next morning (Andy L, John, Gus, Dylan, Neil, Marcus), Neil in particular for bravely soldiering on despite his suffering...
19th February 2009
LVIS riders were out at the weekend to test their early season fitness and the quality of Cotswolds village hall cake baking in the form of the Cotswold Corker Audax. The 106 km reliability ride had less ice than last year but that was replaced with a wonderful snowy vista. Starting with a 25% then a 20% climb the route may be short but wasn't easy. This year's route was more like a cross ride in places with frost damaged roads and a fun bit of walking/carrying the bike past a Juggernaut that had tried to climb up a single track road in six inches of snow and ended up half in the field and half on the road (Clarkson's right about lorry drivers). And finally, the stereotypes were confirmed, Marcus, Andy L and friends powered round to finish in the top ranks, Neil and Stu were narrowly beaten by the horse riding helmet wearing octogenarian (again) and Giles was still sick.. but bravely managed the course.
Giles, not knowing that Neil was writing also wrote :)
On 14th February Giles, Marcus, Neil, Andy L, and Stuey headed at an ungodly hour up to Bishops Cleeve to fly the Vegas flag at the 2009 edition of The Cotswold Corker audax. Giles had missed last year's event due to illness and had received savage abuse as a consequence; when he mentioned a few days before this year's ride that he was again under the weather the resulting grief filling his inbox convinced him he had to ride and uphold Vegas honour come what may.
After an unplanned detour through Regency Cheltenham due to road closures the guys headed to the start, noting nervously that the surrounding hills were still thick with snow. The 25% climb after only two miles and hence ridden with cold legs caused the usual pain, with people walking up forming a slow-moving slalom course to get round. At the first checkpoint Marcus and Andy were nowhere to be seen, having disappeared off the front into the distance some time before. After customary cake and tea the other guys came out to remount only to find Marcus and Andy arriving. They had got lost and made a four mile detour. The classic line was uttered: "The GPS said we were going the wrong way but I didn’t trust it".
The LVIS contingent stayed fairly closely matched for the bulk of the ride, with the exception of Giles who was feeling the effects of ill health and hence using the granny ring on his (triple, thankfully) chainset every time the road went up more than 1%, i.e. most of the time. Matters were not helped by two punctures and the discovery that his saddle pack held one spare tube instead of the expected two tubes and a repair kit, leading to a period of walking until patches and glue were purloined from a sympathetic passer-by. The innocent Cotswold sheep nearby were treated to a fine display of Anglo-Saxon expletives…
On the final long drag up Cleeve Hill, Marcus and Andy pulled away and came in with a finishing time of around 5 hours, with Stuey and Neil roughly ten minutes behind. After a rather shocking six and a half hours, sick boy Giles' grey countenance appeared at the village hall finish point demanding cake. Lots of cake.
All in all another great edition of the Corker which will surely become an annual fixture for many Vegas riders as it mixes a very tough course with fine home-made cake, a winning combination if ever there was one. Well done to Marcus and Andy on their good finish times, only trust the GPS next time guys!
5th January 2009
Andy K and his daughter started off the new year in style riding the Corinium Cycling Club New Year's Day 10 mile Time trial though he's keeping the results quiet...
1st January 2009
Happy New Year! Hopefully 2009 will be another brilliant year for LVIS.
The Hell of the North Cotswolds has opened for entries. It's filling up fast so if you want a place, enter now!
Details will be emailed out but the 2009 LVIS mtb weekend will be held on the 14th/15th March.
Also, Leon got some video of the recent Conham round of the Wessex Cyclocross league:
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