Archives: Racing

The Baybutt files – X marks the spot

The Baybutt files – X marks the spot


Baybutt Smashing out the smiles at the Laps. Photo: Henry Norman

So as you may have read, our mate and Pro ‘Tog, Rich Baybutt accompanied JoBo to have their cyclocross cherries taken together. Baybutt shared his experiences with me which made me giggle… Rich takes up the tale.

It was as epic as you can imagine. So fun – so much effort! We giggled the whole way round the practice lap. The jelly babies on top of a cheese sandwich before didn’t help but as long as I kept riding, I didn’t vom. Joe’s brakes packed up 2nd lap and neither of us used more than 4 gears the whole race. You could have drowned in the puddles. Like the worst Glastonbury you’ve ever seen. I would say like the Somme but it was no way near as serious as that; although I couldn’t have ridden any harder even if people were shooting at me.

Joe had a wobble in the woods and I had an tumble on a slippery log on the last lap but otherwise we stayed upright. The tyres work really well but then again it might be because you are moving so slowly. Project “don’t finish last” was a success.

We were stood in the van afterwards, shivering, soaking, half naked, trying to get our frozen fingers do do up shoelaces without covering everything in mud, thinking “people actually move to Belgium specifically for this!?” You need it in your life at some point – it makes all kinds of other riding seem easier!


Winter Dual Round 4 – The Christmas Special

Winter Dual Round 4 – The Christmas Special

Sticking with the age old tradition, the last dual before Christmas was a festive affair. This consists of everyone togged up Santa outfits and all the prizes being wrapped up secret santa style. Its adds to the fun and gets us in the festive mood. This year we outdid ourselves and everyone made a real effort including our lady timers, Steph and LJ who were sporting red dresses and LJ even had matching lingerie. Amazing. Thanks as ever to both of them for keeping us on track and timing us.

Ho Ho Ho – A great sackful of Santas. Photo – John Horscroft.

I set out a slightly different course on our familiar hillside with the corners and the big traverse working the other way round. The first set of double lefts into a big right around trees got slick quick but not as much as the traverse. If you lost speed here, you were screwed as it meant a slightly uphill pedal. The remainder of the corners were fast, loose and close to your competitor, especially the last few tight ones. Great fun.

The Lovely LJ Showing off her Christmas goods. Furry Muff. Photo – John Horscroft

The Christmas spesh has also brought a few dual stalwarts out of the wardrobe which was great to see. First off I got a massive man hug from our own James Swinden who’d forgone Pilates in favour of getting sideways in the loam again. Also showing his winter Hobo Chic look for the first time this season was Stephen Peater of Ecclesfield. It was great to have them both back and in the same Santa suits they rocked last year. As well as Cheg’s, Steve brought along his mate Turtle who hadn’t raced our dual before, but more about him later. Henry Norman was also back racing for the first time this season and especially in the festive spirit as his wife Helen is expecting their first child! Congratulations to you both! (Just hope it misses the ginger gene…).

Timmy and Swinny Facing off – Not trying at all. Photo – John Horscroft

We had 28 entries overall which tested the new bye system (which means my comprehension of it). It worked out well though as the Pearsons turned up after eight with Joe Spivey in tow. As punishment they got no practise at all but unfortunately Chay didn’t get the bye he’s been promised. The first round saw a few interesting match ups as ever. JoBo got drawn again Swinny but had an epic fail in the second leg and didn’t put up a fight. Henry was paired up again Jake Monk and unfortunately failed to beat a child, something I hope he continues with into fatherhood. I was drawn against the ever quick Will Swinden. He fell badly in the second leg on the big right hander leaving me with a clear lead. Unfortunately I panicked, froze and still managed to lose. Gutted. In the second round Chegs and Swinny faced off first and it was a close one with Swinny only winning by half a second. Peaty came up against Will who resoundingly took him apart on both legs and 5 seconds overall, maybe it was the increased drag from the beard? Then came the Pearsons. They’d had a few rides down the sides of the track to figure out where it went but no actual practise. Tim had the easier draw and showed Joe Spivy who it was done. Chris was up against Chay who’d been practising for an hour and is rapid anyway. It was very close but Chris took the win in both legs and went through to the quarters. The Quarters were all tight, non more so than the brothers Pearson however Turtle, in his first dual outing, was smashing his way through the field. Watching him ride was an education, he was cornering on drifty loam like no one else, bike right over but still in control, feet up and peddling. I was impressed. The semis saw him face up again Swinny who managed to get a half second vitory and move on to the big final. Timmy brought a halt to Will’s progress and also moved through to the Big final, where Swinden senior beat him enough in the first leg to make up for a second leg loss. First time back this season and he takes the win. That boy can’t half ride a bike (and gives the best man hugs).

Get on board the Santa Train. Photo: John Horscroft

Once the poles and the lights were packed away it was on to the prize giving. With all the prizes wrapped up it made for an exciting selection process. The first few were shown off but it soon descended in to a blur of flying paper. As Turtle picked up his prize for 3rd place a definite grumble was heard from that side of the ring of people. He stepped back in to the ring, head bowed and admitted shamefully that he’d been running spikes. Swifter than the USADA with Lance he was stripped of his prize and his crys of not knowing the rules fell on deaf ears. Spikes are banned to keep things even and this was a very good demonstration of why. Tsk tsk Turtle.

Rhubard. Photo – John Horscroft

The Controversial Turtle using his unfair advantage to challenge the mighty Swinny. Photo – John Horscroft

After the 4th round the top of the Gnar points table is already hotting up. The best 7 out of the 10 rounds will decided the winner but at the moment Timmy is comfortably sitting at the top, with Chay 14 points behind in 2nd and Will Swinden sitting in 3rd.


X marks the spot.

X marks the spot.

In this case, if X is a spot, then it’s a long-lasting, ugly, painful bugger.

If we have any regulars to this wee site, you’d know it’s been mainly Nick holding down the fort this year, (and doing a bluddy good job) whilst I’ve been swanning off round the world/trying to concentrate on running on a new business. This, has resulted in two things… A lack of posts on this here site and a lack of any actual bicycle riding.

So coming into this winter, things began to get quieter and like many, it was time to catch up on things, whether that’s family, friends or a new lego set, the off-season is a blank canvas at the moment. We all know that it can be a time to have our own little ‘Rocky’ moment and fill ourselves with ideas and plans about how we’re going to get mega fit for ‘next season’. I’m not gonna lie, come end of November, I was feeling pretty grim and un-fit, so plans began to form… After a quick encounter (at the Climbing Works) with local Olympian and old school mate Annie Last, I somehow ended up promising to attend a Cyclocross race, out near her home in Great Longstone.


There’s a few things that come to my mind straight away, replicated through the images below:

Now I think you’ll agree, none of those 4 things above, look like a laugh.

But come December 29th, full of Turkey, Beer and anger from visiting family, me and Rich Baybutt, another one of those media types who swans off all over the place, lined up bar to bar, at the SRAM NDCXL Round 12, Thornbridge Hall.

Turning up, we had no idea what to bring, where to go or what to do. There was a lot of folk looking pretty serious, going full bore on wet rollers, with crazy soft tyres (apparently your not meant to have 60psi for X, who’d have known!) all looking ready for war. Walking down to the ‘track’, I imagined we’d be seeing a mix of woods, tarmac and surfaced trails, but I was wrong, very wrong. Thick, wet ,muddy grass straights, 15 feet wide, were taped in up and down the field,  interspersed with 180 switchbacks, all on a completely flat gradient. It looked like the worlds shittest go Kart Track and to say It looked grim, would be an under-statement… Thoughts of  ‘making up time on the downhill sections’, went well out the window and smashed one over the road.

But even after realising our fate, we were both still relatively psyched… Operations ‘don’t finish last’ and ‘beat the gompers on mountain bikes’ was put in place from the off and we JUST about achieved it. To keep things short, as we are talking about riding road bikes round fields after all … It was fun. Yep, in some weird twisted way, kind of like when you listen to Taylor Swift driving by yourself, it just felt right. Being knee deep in mud, with 100+ lycra clad men in December ended up being not too bad ya know. 50 minutes of pain went by pretty quick and during that time, you got to see the top boys come past you like they were on tarmac, pushing that big ring whilst your sat in the granny straining away. Local lad and MTB legend, Nick Craig, races a lot of X and boy can he corner on it… There’s grip somewhere on those tyres. He kind of got stuck in the tape though at one point when he pushed it a bit too far, after flying past me on the inside…. but none the less ended up 2nd, good work chap.

After it was all over, freezing our bollocks off and wanting to puke the morning diet of jelly babys and gatorade back up, it was a surreal moment, as we stood in a sleepy estate getting changed out the back of a van. ‘People actually move to Belgium to do this?’ was the main concern.

Next round’s on the 19th in Ashbourne. Get on it. Here’s a few do’s and don’ts from a first timer, good luck :


– Be fit

– Enjoy gruelling slog fests in mud

– Make sure your brakes are working prior to starting

– Let some air out of your tyres.

– Pass as many on the first lap as you can, find a rhythm!



– Forget to make sure your brakes are working

– Eat too many Jelly Babys and Gatorade for breakfast beforehand

– Have a bottle-cage on your bike

– Use a Mountain Bike.







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.

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

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

Winter Dual round 3 – Enter the Death Chute

Winter Dual round 3 – Enter the Death Chute

Winter Dual round 3 – Enter
the Death Chute Inspired
by a death downhill dual
video posted up on Dirt
and emboldened by certain
comments about the loop
the loop feature I decided
to change things up a little
for my Birthday special.
Now this is where things
get a little hazy and all
information contained in
the rest of this post has
been dragged through a
Rum filter. This is because
my so called mates decided
that for some reason I
deserved to be poisoned
with rum as a birthday
treat. Now I’ll admit
that on occasion I have
been known to encourage
the imbibing of Rum in
celebration and forfeit but
this is always with

Continue reading
Winter Dual Round 2 – Loop the Loop

Winter Dual Round 2 – Loop the Loop

The second round of this season’s dual was a bit too popular. After having spent 10 minutes figuring out how to frig a 32 person gird for 26 the week before I’d come prepared, but then 36 racers turned up and we had to run a qualification. As these races go on, things do get smoother as the way they’re organised evolves. However, that week only Steph was hardy enough to come along and do the timing, which meant that I was on the second stop watch for the first time in a long time. After eventually remembering how it worked, I also remembered just what a job timing is and just how essential it is to everything these races are about. So again, a massive thank you to Steph for coming along and timing for us and also thank you to everyone else that helps out, Izzie, Laura, Mari, Henry. You’re absolute gems and we truly couldn’t race without you. Thankyou. Anyone racing should also pay big thanks to these wonderful people, hugs are free!

Dave Camus breaking loose – Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli

I’d introduced a new feature in to this track which proved to be a bit of a leveller. After a short run in from the start line, there was a triangle of posts with tape around. The rider had to loop around them once before continuing on down the hill. The softness of the ground meant that it was actually impossible to pedal back up the slope. It turned in to a demonstration of cyclocross dismounting and remounting techniques with some much more successful than others. Both riders had to start the loop through the small gap in between the two triangles which did make for some good elbow actions. Once Quali’s were done, we got down to racing. Dunc had a bad loop and couldn’t get back on his bike meaning that he was beaten by two children to a place in the finals even on his brand new 5, courtesy of Orange!

Duncan Philpott in on bike photo shocker. Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli

The first round saw Steve Hardcastle’s return to dual short lived, as was my own, being taken out by Dave Camus. Jim Norton faced Will Swinden but couldn’t match his speed. Ruari very narrowly missed out on a hugely humiliating defeat at the hands of Oscar Monk after a fall in his first run left him need to make up over a second. Luckily he held in together and advanced through.

Malco Carving. Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli

The second round saw the departure of Tom Duncan to the very on form Danger Green who advanced to the quarters for the first time in a while. There was a real nail biter between Chris Pearson and Will Swinden with Chris taking the win by only two tenths. The Quarters saw Chay put out Danger and Craig dispatch Ruari. Luke Meredith missed a post in his second run after a closely fought battle with Chris, setup up a semi again Timmy. Tim’s victory saw him in an incredibly close Big final against Craig Evans who was riding at Whistler speeds. Their first round was too close to call and Tim’s dual expertise and questionable rear tyre were not enough to hold off Craig who got the win. Chay and Chris were equally close in the small final but Chay just took 3rd place by half a second.

Chaymus getting the bike over for 3rd place. Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli

Massive thanks also to Marco Wood-Bonelli for coming along with his camera and documenting the action. Another great round of dual, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the loop the loops again anytime soon but you never know until you try.

Stockholm Sideways: Dual Goes international

Hanna Jonsson is the better half of our own JoeBo and a rider through and through. She’s recently moved back to her ancestral home and taken some of what she learnt on these fair shores with her… Hanna Explains…

Ever since I moved away from the UK, the one thing I really miss is those amazing cold nights in Endcliffe Park, sliding sideways against someone else! So I decided it was time for the notion of “mates racing” to move overseas to Sweden. I planted a seed in a few peoples heads one afternoon riding bikes up in the north to see if anyone seemed keen. When Lina Skoglund called me about a week later, saying she was game, I almost jumped up and down with excitement!

After some good nights of planning – finding a good spot, getting permission, finding prizes, searching the Internet for good dual poles (which we ended up finding in a farming shop for electric fences) – we were good to go.


Me and Lina explaining the rules! Photo Credit: Steve Murphy.

As Swedes are tentative to all new things in life – the EU, taking political stance, change – we weren’t sure how the new concept of “Dual Slalom” would go down. Although there tended to be a good turn outs for local DH mates races around Stockholm, we didn’t get much feed back on our race at first.


No infra-red technology, just basic stop-watches and an old-fashioned “Ready, Set, GO!”. Photo credit: Bengt Luthman.

Come race day, a grey, rainy, cold November day, we thought we were going to be less than 10 people racing. But facing the typical English weather, we started creating the dual course anyway. It became a tad bit longer than the one we normally have in Sheffield, and it was on a grassy, of camber slope – talk about slippy cornering!


Lino Bäckman to the left showing of some one-footed drifts and the winner of the day, Calle Lustfeldt, to the right. Photo Credit: Steve Murphy.

To our surprise, as we started practicing, more and more people started walking up the hill! And, learning that an established cyclocross race was held on the other side of town, we were thrilled to get 19 people racing and a good number of spectators and hobby photographers on the hill watching! One guy even randomly turned up and raced, as he had been stood up by his mates for an xc ride in the area.

Unfortunately, Lina had broken her thumb a few weeks earlier, so she couldn’t race and stood for the timing during the day.


Daniel Chapuis in the orange jacket took 2nd place! Lina stood for the timing. Thanks to Sandra for a helping hand with timing as well! Photo credit: Steve Murphy.


Ricky Larsson’s face showing how much fun it was! Photo Credit: Bengt Luthman.

Smiles were EVERYWHERE and epic crashes were unavoidable. I don’t know the last time I saw so many turtle-slide-crashes! With a very very slippy course, Qualy saw some tentative runs so that people would stay on their bikes; were TIS own JoeBow took the fastest time!


JoeBow showing the Swedes how it’s done, taking a 3rd overall. Photo credit: Bengt Luthman

But when the Dual began, there was no holding back! Racing saw everything from harsh father-son racing, to a DQ due to 3 broken poles, a DNF due to a broken thumb, a fair few crashes and A LOT of sideway action!


Sandra and Alexandra representing the girly mountain bikers category! Also showing what colour your helmet should be! Alexandra was the days DNF, with a badly broken thumb! Healing vibes! Photo credit: Bengt Luthman.


Ricky showing how a turtle-slide really looks like! Photo credit: Bengt Luthman.

What is so great about Dual Slalom, is that it is so easy to organise! Once you got the poles bought, all you need is some stop watches and a sheet of paper to write up times! It was hard to explain to people how easy it is!

As the race went on, the grassy corners got slippier and harder! And although the weather was awful, people stayed to cheer on their friends once they’d been knocked out the competition! The atmosphere was buzzing!

It is amazing how a couple of poles, a group of bike lovers, and a little bit of organisation can transform a grey, rainy November afternoon to the funniest day ever. Thanks a million times to Lina – who had all the right contacts to get prizes, permission, forums to spread the word and the will to get this thing going!! Thanks to Specialized, Evoc and Houdini’s for prizes! And a massive thanks to every one who came to help out, race and spectate, and made it such a fun day!

Till next time!



Winter Dual 2012: Round 1

Winter Dual 2012: Round 1

I was told last week that Winter doesn’t officially start until the end of December, however Dual has begun and it’ll be going on all winter long. It was with some trepidation I got all the posts and paraphernalia together as its been so long that I was bound to forget something. However, once we were in the park with everyone’s lights on posts, course marked out and bikes going sideways I breathed a sigh of relief and got down to practise. What made it even better was the Izzie and Steph were there to take care of the timing and keep us in check. They do such a good job, it just leaves me to shout at the rabble at the top and get them in to the gate. Thankyou ladies!

Steve 'BikeTrack' Taylor back on two fat wheels (Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli)

The racing was brilliant, the conditions perfect. Grippier than we’re used to and usually dry it was really fast, however the corners soon got blown out and back ends broke loose. Some kids had been in our usual spot building shady kickers over logs, perfect fodder to add interest and injury. They corner in to the first one was the wettest on track and caught out many but only Will Swinden head butted the second. I fell foul to the fast traverse loosing both wheels quickly and landing on my shoulder hard enough to pop a rib. The following corner was quite a revelation as it was the first where line choice came in to play, outside and too fast in to the next or slow and tight in but with an awkward setup for the next.

Ruari getting loose on the way to 2nd place (Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli)

With 26 racing I decided that Quali’s werent in order, 10 people not getting a race wasn’t on. Therefore, we raced a 32 person grid with two riders getting a by through a couple of rounds. Not ideal, but a better compromise and we’ll be running this for the season. The Pearson’s cursed me loudly as they were randomly drawn against each other in the first round with Timmy getting the better of Chris by 0.01 seconds. Gutted. Will Swinden was also out in the first round after a tumble as was Steve ‘Roadie’ Taylor who didnt quite get the whistle start. Good to see him back on a proper bike though. Bowman and Philpott were out first round two due to snapped chains! Too much power lads. They raced chainless against their opponents with a no pedalling agreement but couldnt get the better of them.

One of the new features on track (Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli)

The finals came down to Chay Granby and Rob Campbell in the small final with Chay taking 3rd overall and Ruari and Timmy in the big final. Timmy squeezed out Ruari by less than half a second overall and took a well deserved win although there is an investigation in to his rear ‘spiked’ tyre.

Baybutt getting Loose on the traverse (Photo: Marco Wood-Bonelli)

It was great to be back in the woods, can’t wait for the rest of the season. Again massive thanks to Isabel and Steph! Also big thanks to Marco Wood-Bonelli for the photos, hope you can ride again soon.




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.

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.

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