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Strava Smashing 5 – January

Strava Smashing 5 – January

Its Wet out there, there is no denying it, so I’ve been thinking about something rocky that we wont do too much damage too and will still be fun to ride. Therefore, we’re heading out to the Peak District and the classic descent of Hope Cross, The Beast. This is also motivated somewhat by the uphill domination of the last couple of segments but this will still require pedalling to get in and out of the DH as it starts way before the steep bit. Watch out for the sharp left at the bottom and there are two gates to negotiate, don’t leave them open!!!

If you don’t know The Beast, there is a great description, photos and details of over on MonkeySpoon. Here is Jeff King’s video of Bike Garage’s James Irwin riding it on a hard tail.

Be careful riding this segment you’re on a public bridleway. You’re Strava time is not the most important thing, the use, acceptance and permanence of the trail are. If there are others on the trial, give way to them, give them a smile, you can always have another go. DONT FUCK IT UP FOR EVERYONE ELSE.

ThisiSheffield.StravaTrailRacing.co.uk

You’ve got until the 31st January and can have as many goes as you like, only your fastest will count.

All we ask is that you ride responsibly. Be respectful to other trail users, the trail itself and yourself. Don’t piss anyone off, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple. There’s not prizes, only bragging rights. You race completely at your own risk. We take absolutely no responsibility for your actions or any injuries sustained to you or anyone else.

Strava Smashed 4 – Dallow’s Deliverance

The 4th outing of Strava Smashing was a celebration of the newest addition to Sheffield’s network of trails, the purpose built 2km loop at Parkwood Springs. Entitled Dallows Deliverance in deference to Jon Dallow of Sheffield city council that made it all happen, we cant do new years honours so this will have to do.

The Loop is great fun and the ups are soon forgotten when you hit the flowing downs, railing berms and pumping bumps. However, its only short so to make it a bit more interesting I decided to start the segment at the bottom of Rutland road to give a nice little warm up before hitting the trail itself. When having a go at the segment myself, I did actually question the wisdom of this, but it was a good bit of winter training I suppose.

The Segment was another popular one with about 30 people having a go, many multiple times with 79 total rides in November. Pete Crawforth put in 6 laps alone. Again it was great to get feedback from riders through Twitter and Facebook, we always like a bit of banter. As usual the action didn’t really get going until a week or so was left to go but it came thick and fast. This being a mainly uphill segment it was really a fit mans track which showed in the results. Chris Siddall took an early lead with a 12:14 on the 17th November which lasted until the 22nd when Will Bloomfield cracked out a 11:48. This was snatched from him by Pete Crawforth the following morning with a 10:22 but his crown was stolen by Ross Phelps that afternoon with a 9:57. The following day, the 24th, Andrew Douglas again stood up to the plate and smashed out an 8:56, the winning time which no one else could get near.

Using RaceShape gives an interesting result. Andrew was well ahead but struggled a bit getting off Rutland road before putting the hammer down and pulling away.

Our ladies league this month was won by Victoria Gray with a 12:58, a great time and good enough for 18th overall

This then leaves the overall league and once again it shows that turning up is the key, as somehow I’m topping the table. Just. Sim Hartley, who consistently beats me by a few seconds, is in 2nd by 2 points, with Ross Phelps, John Inman and Andrew Douglas making up the top 5.

Great work all. Hope you enjoyed last month’s race, the next segment for January will be revealed shortly and will be different than the last two. As always if you have any suggestions for segments you’d like to race or comments please get in touch at stravasmashing@gmail.com

Finally a massive shout out and our sincere thanks to Dan Nisbet who made all this possible through the original StravaTrailRacing.co.uk. Thank you Dan, you’re a legend!

Strava Smashing November: Dallows Deliverance

This month we celebrate the latest addition to Sheffield’s trail Network, Parkwood Springs. If you haven’t ridden it yet, you really should have, and now is your chance. Its great fun and with a little added twist at the start, should count as some good winter training. This segment, named after the man that made the trail happen, Jon Dallow, starts at the bottom of Rutland road under the bridge. You then turn left on to the bridleway at the top which brings you in to the bottom of the trail. Turn right and follow the BLUE Loop around (no red opt ins) before finishing where you started. Its great, you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.

As detailed, be careful riding around Parkwood. You’re Strava time is not the most important thing, the use, acceptance and permanence of the trail are. If there are others on the trial, give way to them, give them a smile and encourage them.  You can always do you lap again. This is VERY important when you cross footpaths and bridleways. Be mindful of this, DONT FUCK IT UP FOR EVERYONE ELSE.

ThisiSheffield.StravaTrailRacing.co.uk

You’ve got until the 3oth November and can have as many goes as you like, only your fastest will count.

All we ask is that you ride responsibly. Be respectful to other trail users, the trail itself and yourself. Don’t piss anyone off, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple. There’s not prizes, only bragging rights. You race completely at your own risk. We take absolutely no responsibility for your actions or any injuries sustained.

Strava Smashed 3 – Whining Brook

Well, that was quick a month of ‘racing’.

Whining Brook has been by far the most popular segment for TiS’s Strava Smashing to date. A total of 47 people put in a time over the 3 weeks however about half of those I’m pretty confident weren’t at all aware of Strava Smashing, here’s hoping they get to know and join in. What has also been good this month has been getting some rider feedback through Facebook and Twitter. I like to know folks are enjoying themselves and it’s actually worth doing.

This was a new style of segment in that it was on a very popular section of bridleway widely used by Sheffields mountain biking community. However, putting the Smashing spin on it certainly made it a different animal as I’m sure anyone who gave it a go will agree. The DH is really fun but pedally with only one section really requiring line choice, but then you hit the flat. The flat contains two anti-MX gates, which are basically railway sleepers separated by a 4 foot gap. Can you bunny hop them? Can you trials them? Do you get off an cyclo-cross through? The later was my chosen method but I’d like to know if anyone cleared them or died trying? The up, was well, ‘Ard, nothing technical, just an all out pedal-and-destroy-yourself-fest where the segment was basically won or lost. Good for your winter training.

I had a couple of goes myself at this segment as I knew I could do better than my first go. I met up with Swinny and Jolley one Saturday morning who insisted on riding up the DH to spot lines, a new one on me but very productive. We had a great morning trying the segment then riding the trails of Wyming Brook. I managed to put in a better time than Swinny which was an absolute revelation to me as he is one of my riding heros and makes me nervous when riding with him (which showed by all the offs I had later that day). However, in his attempt he had a big off on the descent then a battle with two dogs on the way up. But that’s racing and I’m taking the win!

Looking at the top 4 results there was 47 seconds between them, that is, I was 47 seconds behind the winner, Andrew Douglas, who smashed it in a time of 8:49. Amazing. Using RaceShape’s brilliant Strava analysis tools, it’s possible to see where the time difference was made. 3rd Place Sim Hartley and I got the better of Andrew and 2nd place Pete Crawforth on the DH a maxium of 12 seconds ahead. However, he’d got the better of both of us shortly in to the uphill section as had Pete. Pete was consistently just a few seconds behind Andrew right up until the climb kicks again after a mid flat section where he pulled out his 20 seconds.

This leaves the question of the overall, 3 segments in to the 6 of the inaugural series. Theres been a fair bit of movement in the top 5. Swinny still sits happily at the top with me in second, but Sim Hartley jumps up two spots to 3rd push Simon Price down to 4th. Rob Whiteman falls to 5th place but its still very tight on points.

We’ve no way to have a separate Ladies leader board but Esther Hobson finished 1st, Victoria Gray 2nd, Rachel Young 3rd and Lucy Sibbald 4th which is how the overall sits too.

Great work all. Hope you enjoyed this month’s race, the next segment will be revealed shortly and is a future classic. As always if you have any suggestions for segments you’d like to race or comments please get in touch at stravasmashing@gmail.com

As always a massive shout out and our sincere thanks to Dan Nisbet who made all this possible through the original StravaTrailRacing.co.uk.

Strava Smashing October: Whining Brook

This month we head to the west of the city to Fox Hagg and Wyming Brook. We start on a descent which was reclassified to a bridleway earlier this year thanks to the continued work of Ride Sheffield. Its a brilliant descent that still requires a good deal of pedalling and there’s some line choices to be made in the middle. Don’t ride it in the wet, its just not worth it and will knacker the trail. The descent finishes at Rivelin reservoir where the assent though Wyming Brook begins. The segment finishes just before the gate at the top. This segment was suggested by our own Duncan Philpott as a personal favourite.

ThisiSheffield.StravaTrailRacing.co.uk

You’ve got until the 31st October and can have as many goes as you like, only your fastest will count.

All we ask is that you ride responsibly. Be respectful to other trail users, the trail itself and yourself. Don’t piss anyone off, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple. There’s not prizes, only bragging rights. You race completely at your own risk. We take absolutely no responsibility for your actions or any injuries sustained.

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Photos: The Philpott courtesy of  Rubarb

Strava Smashed 2: Steel City Laps

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I really stress about picking a segment to race each month. So many things to consider: is it legitimate; is it fun; is there too much up hill; will people be smiling or cursing my name under their breath as they ride? However, this month I was confident, I knew this was a brilliant segment which ticked all the boxes.

The Steel City track was built specifically for Peaty’s DH race earlier this year by BikeTrack.org, its existence was negotiated by Ride Sheffield, financed by the race itself with the permission of the land owners the Wildlife Trust. There were certain patches of the track which didn’t take well to the British weather and were pretty boggy even for the race itself. However, hard work done by volunteer crews from Ride Sheffield and further work by BikeTrack.org (again paid for by the race, more of that in a later post) have hugely improved the track and should hopefully see it through winter (if people stay off it when its really wet!!).

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Photo: Henry Norman

The segment itself started at the bottom of the push up track just up from the bomb hole, sticking to the bridleway all the way up to the top of the Steel City track. It’s actually a bugger of a climb which varies in steepness but demands constant effort, not technical but loose in places. The mini DH track itself is just brilliant, top to bottom flow with enough rocks to keep your wheels skittering, berms to keep you grinning and jumps to get you airborne. The recent improvements have really added to the track and are testament to the building skills of Cheggers, Jordan and Chris from Biketrack.

The racing this month saw a much bigger uptake of riders with 17 in total having a crack. This included a good battle between brothers Joe and Dan Emery (who finished 7th and 14th respectively), the return of the ‘Udents represented by Ross Phelps and John Inman (6th and 3rd). Rob Whiteman and Stephen Bloomer (4th and 12th) both returned for a second Strava Smash having both posted times on last month’s segment. There were also many new entrants this month including Sim Hartley (recently returned from catastrophic ankle snapping snowboard injury) who finished second with a 5:48. However first place was a joint affair this month with another new entrant Simon Price and our own Swinny both posting 5:21, 30 seconds clear of the nearest rival. Interestingly, Simon was 3 seconds faster on the climb but Swinny made is up on the descent (although that’s well within the bounds of accuracy of Strava).

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This leaves the overall in a good looking position (from my perspective at least). Of the 4 of us who have posted times each month, Swindog is out in the lead. I’m tied for second place with Rob Whiteman and Stephen Bloomer is in 10th. Simon Price’s winning time this month puts him in 3rd place, due to the larger number of entrants this month, which leaves Sim Hartley rounding out the top 5.

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Great work all. Hope you enjoyed this month’s race, the next segment will be revealed this weekend and we’ll be back to more natural terrain. As always if you have any suggestions for segments you’d like to race or comments please get in touch at stravasmashing@gmail.com. Massive thanks as always to the Man that made all this possible Dan Nisbet who had the original idea for StravaTrailRacing and has kindly set us up with his code and server.

Cheers

Nick

Strava Smashing September: Greno

Another month, another Segment to be Smashed! This time we are heading over to the other side of the city and to the Steel City race track, built specifically for this years race by Ride Sheffield and BikeTrack.Org. However, its not just the mini DH route, you’ll also need to pedal. The loop starts just above the bomb hole on the ride back up to to the top of the track. Then dive in and smash the DH like Peaty was chasing you down. The segment finishes before the bottom so you don’t need to cross the bridleway before the bomb hole.

ThisiSheffield.StravaTrailRacing.co.uk

You’ve got until the 30th September and can have as many goes as you like, only your fastest will count. Ride Sheffield have recently managed to find more cash for trail development so Bike Track have been up and sorting out the parts of the track that needed it.

Be aware, on Saturday 15th September there is a dig day going on to continue improvements to the track. Do not ride that day, go a give a hand instead!

All we ask is that you ride responsibly. Be respectful to other trail users, the trail itself and yourself. Don’t piss anyone off, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Simple.  There’s not prizes, only bragging rights. You race completely at your own risk. We take absolutely no responsiblity for your actions or any injuries sustained.

Go have fun on a great trail!

Photo: Tom Richards, Furnival Media

Strava Smashed: 1 – Moor Blacka

Where did August go? For lucky ones like me.. off to france so soak up the sun and ingest the fine living. However for 8 other brave souls a small part of August went in to competing against Sheffield’s finest for honours in our inaugural Strava Smashing round. As ever with the Sheffield Crew, much of it was last minute. The last week of August saw a doubling in entries and oh how they smashed it. Well some of em. I put in an early opener to kick things off and had a terrible run. The track I chose was a bit of a mash up (as a last minute change of course was requested) and wasnt really an obvious loop, but at least it stuck to bridleways. Riding it, you got a slog out of the way to start with and gate opening technique was critical. But what got me was the downhill, totally over cooked it went straight through the front door. Therefore I knew there was a lot of time to take out of my 8:27.

Rob Whiteman was next to take up the challenge on a Thursday afternoon and nearly had me with a 8:34. Then Jon Himsworth, Chris M and Steve Bloomer all had a crack over the next couple of weeks but posted 10 minute plus times. Rich Baybutt was next up cutting it fine on the 28th and I can only assume he stopped to take photos of the view as his usual speed wasn’t evident with a 9:49. The Pearson’s then snuck runs in later that day with Chris having a beaut and smashing the lead by over a minute. Timmy was less lucky and punctured on the descent but manned up and ran the rest (it must be all that fell racing training you’ve been getting in!). So it was all looking rosy for Christopher, a minute up and only 3 days of August left what could possibly go wrong? The Rocket Man himself. TiS’s Swinny for the winny once again. Swinny chopped 16 seconds off Chris’ time 14 seconds of which were on the final descent (give or take 5 seconds with Strava’s accuracy).

So that’s how it ended up and this means the we have the opening points on the series leader board. The number of points you get depends on the number of people you beat, so its pretty low scoring but hopefully as word spreads and people get back from holidays entries will be on the up. Thanks to everyone that gave it a go.

Stay tuned to thisisheffield.stravatrailracing.co.uk for Septembers segment which will be announced this week. As ever, if you have a suggestion for a good segment that sticks to the Bridleways of Sheffield and the Peaks please let me know at StravaSmashing@gmail.com.

A finally a massive thanks to the man that made all this possible, Mr Dan Nisbet who has very kindly allowed TiS to use his original idea www.stravatrailracing.co.uk for our own Sheffield Based purposes. There’s more about Dan is this post. Thanks again Dan, you’re a Legend!!

Strava Smashing

Strava Smashing

Back in May we came up with the idea of Strava Smashing. Following a bit of internal rivalry and one-up-man-ship at TiS towers over supremacy on a certain Strava segment we decided to open up our mate’s race to anyone. This seemed to go down very well and got a positive response from everyone that took part.

While doing a bit of research in to such things I came across stravatrailracing.co.uk a site set up by Dan Nisbet doing exactly what we were only automatically and oh so slickly. Based further up north and using segments from trail centres Dan was doing what I wanted to do, only he wasn’t pouring over a spreadsheet and producing dodgy looking tables. He’d got the skills to do it properly. Wondering if Dan would be interested in a collaboration I dropped him an email and low and behold he had heard of TiS and was keen to get involved. Amazing!

A few months later, here we are, ready to Smash Strava Properly! Dan has been kind enough to develop us our own version of his Strava race system. It’s so good. We set a monthly segment and Dans code does the rest. It even has a monthly series so we can keep a tally on who’s been performing best over the year.

To introduce the main man himself, Dan Nisbet, he was kind enough to answer some of my inane questions.

Name: Dan Nisbet
Age: 31
Star Sign: Aries

You are responsible for the development of StravaTrailRacing.co.uk, which is a bloody brilliant idea, how long have you been Stravaing?

I started to play around with Strava at the end of last year, after racing my first segment there was no looking back. I was hooked.

Have you found that it has changed your riding? Has this been a good or a bad?

It’s certainly made me push myself that little bit more both on the ups and the downs. Ultimately, I ride because it’s fun. A big part of that is trying to get that little bit better, that little bit faster. Anything that helps keep me on my toes is a good thing.

Some of our mates have started taking things a bit seriously and now never ride without a GPS or a segment in mind. Have you found a similar effect?

Yeah, especially with riding in the STR series. As casual as it is, I’ve found that it’s really focused my riding. It’s amazing what a common goal and little competition can do. Sometimes though, you need to forget the virtual leaderboards and just have a good old blast out in the hills.

What inspired you to develop this application and what is your day job that’s given you the skills.

I love the idea of mates races and after gunning for KOM bragging rights against a friend of mine, it struck me. Would it be possible to combine the two? Armed with some local knowledge we’ve cherry picked the best segments, given you specific time window in which to race and weaved it all into a regional point based series.

The skillz… I’ve been designing and building websites for around 10 years.  By day I’m an Art Director for a digital agency based in Newcastle. By night… well, that’s probably best left unsaid.

What do you think the future of Strava and mountain biking is?

Strava seems to have really set alight a competitive spark within MTB riders. Whether you race regularly or would just have never considered it, we all want to get a little higher on the leaderboard.

I don’t think the connection between real trails and the online world has ever been done so well, if at all competitively. With the explosion we’re seeing in cycling at the moment they seem to have struck gold. You never know, this may yet prove to be a major catalyst in getting people interested in organized racing.

For the future. With personal GPS devices getting ever more accurate, could we see something slightly larger in scale? gpsenduroracing.com over in the States looks to be a pretty interesting format.

Do you know how Strava works and why its not very reliable on some segments which means my mate has beaten me when I’m sooo much faster than him????

Ha! I know what you mean. I have a friend who has a habit of leaving his fastest run till the very, very end of the month, managing to just edge ahead every time. Infuriating!

Strava takes a GPS file which you can record using their smartphone app or Garmin. It then tries to match your GPS tracks to any number of nearby ‘segments’. A segment is a section of pre-defined trail from someone else’s ride. If your GPS tracks fall within a reasonable tight threshold, your time is taken and you’re automatically placed into a leaderboard. If your GPS is inaccurate or you stray too far from the trail, it fails to match and doesn’t count.

Some segments are better suited for racing on then others. One of the benefits of the STR Series is that we nominate trails that help keep everyone playing the same game. Given the amount of different devices people use, Strava is never going to replace a professionally timed event. It is however, as close as you’ll get without taping out the course.

Thanks very much Dan! You can get in touch with Dan direct here: str@dannisbet.co.uk

This all kicks off on Tuesday 1st August right here at:

http://thisisheffield.stravatrailracing.co.uk/

You’ve got until the 31st August to put in your best times and you can have as many goes as you like. All we ask is that you do so responsibly. Be respectful to other trail users, the trail itself and yourself. Don’t piss anyone off, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you dude. Simple.  There’s not prizes, only bragging rights. You race completely at your own risk. We take absolutely no responsiblity for your actions or any injuries sustained.

We’re kicking off with a bit of a different trail to last time; it’s got up and down. You’re going to have to pedal. Racing around the well used trails of Blackamoor we hope you have some fun. Have a look on the map and figure it out where it goes, it makes in to a good loop.

We’ll be offering a new segment to race on each month and that’s where we will need your help. If you have a good segment you think we’d like to use, drop me a line at StravaSmashing@gmail.com.

See you out on the trails!

Nick

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