Going the distance

I’m not really sure why I decided to set myself a new challenge, I’ve had a go at most things in road cycling, so I thought this year why not have a go at some longer distances…

I had a bit of help for Rio from a bike shop Vive le Velo in N. Ferriby, Hull. I had a great laugh with Ed in the shop and he was really happy when we came back from Rio with a handful of medals. I thought maybe he’d be up for helping me out this year with some personal goals, I asked and he has been brilliant!

Ed got me sorted out with the top Giant Time Trial bike and Endura skinsuit and it set me up to be more competitive than ever before

I kept my form from Rio pretty well by training in Mallorca twice over the winter and did some long rides to keep the fitness. I didn’t really think about long distance races whilst training, I just liked riding my bike in the sun and seeing the views.

The time trial season came around and I started entering a few events and realised I was going as well as ever, winning all my opening tt’s by over one mph. I did however always say….I’ll never do a 12 hour time trial in the past, but at the start of this year I said I might have a go and see how I get on over a 100 and 50 mile. If they’re any good I’ll do a 12 hour if I have a chance at the British Best All Rounder competition. This is a national time trial competition that’s been going since 1944 and I remember a lot of people in the clubs talking about it from when I was very young! However, this was always something I didn’t think I’d attempt!

I looked through the calendar and picked out 50’s and 100’s that I had to do to have a chance at getting some fast times, all fitting in around my tandem piloting duties. I realised I possibly wouldn’t get in the fast 100 mile on the A11 in Norfolk without riding another one first, as the races only have a limited number of places and are filled with faster riders first. I thought I’ll just ride the Anfield 100 the day after the Leicester 50 mile TT just so I had a 100 mile time to enter a faster one.

Yes… I thought this was a mad thing to do too. I went to the 50 and felt pretty good. The course was brand new, the day before Bigham had done an 18 min 10 mile ride, so it looked like it may be quite a good course.

I had a tail wind and mostly downhill on the way out and went through 25 mile in 45.45 and caught the guy that set off 5 minutes in front of me at around 27 mile. He’d averaged about 30 mph and must have had a shock when I went past! I got cramp on the run to the finish but got to the end with the fastest 50 of the year so far.

I got my stuff together and drove to Shrewsbury. It was a few hours drive. Had some food and went to sleep, not much though as I was up before 5am! It was raining. Pretty grim. I put my stuff on and just rode to the start and got there with around 1 minute to spare!

I set off steady as it was my first 100 and I’d worked out roughly what power I could average for 100 miles, so just stuck to that. I passed rider after rider. I thought, have I gone too hard? I kept going and going. The rain was on and off for most the race. I was glad of it really as it kept me cool.

I got to the last hour and felt fine really. People were clapping and encouraging me as I went round which is something you don’t really get at the shorter events.

Anfield 100

I got to the end and realised I’d gone pretty quick!! I ended up with an iconic win in an event that has been running nearly 100 years, taking the event and course record! This made me think… maybe I’m not actually that bad at this long distance stuff!

A few weeks later I got in the fast event on the A11 because of the time from the Anfield race. The morning came and the weather was perfect. At 6am it was already 18 degrees and very little wind really. I said to a mate before the start, the competition record will go today… I just hope if I break it, mine’s the fastest!

I again tried sticking to my power I did in the Anfield race. I got excited and didn’t really stick to it that well. I went through 10 miles in 18min 50. My coach that was helping me out on the day shouted to me I was going too hard! I backed off slightly, but I passed riders one by one. 50miles went by in 1hr 37min. I got to 70 miles without slowing down but it then caught up on me. The weather was getting hotter and the sun was beating down. I blew up. My power dropped nearly 50w, over 15% and I was struggling. Only and hour to go and just I dug in.

I’d been having issues with my chain coming off and this event was no different. I’d put on a chain catcher I’d made but it actually ended up making things worse. I got to just 5 miles to go and nearly caught my 10 minute man, my chain jumped off and pushed the chain catcher out of the way and it was hard to get my chain back on, I lost about 20 second in the process. I never did catch the man in front. I got to the line and finished with 3hr 16min 51sec which was 5min quicker than the national record! 4 other riders also broke the record on the day, I finished 2 minutes ahead of 2nd place.

This really had set me up well for the British Best All Rounder competition and meant I really had to at least attempt a 12 hour… the joy.

So plan now was to find a 12 hour I could fit in. I did a bit of research on the courses and where most people did fast times. I figured since the record was set in the Breckland event I would ride that. The Newbury one was earlier but it was only two weeks away so I decided against that.

I got ill 3 weeks before the Breckland. I missed loads of training due to it and I attempted the National 100 mile Time Trial and I lasted till around 50 miles before my illness just got the better of me and at 70 miles I’d given up and got off. I wasn’t sure how I’d recover to ride the 12 hour.

I had the BDCA 50 mile TT on a really quick course the following week, I wasn’t going to go as I was still ill the day before. On the day I decided I had nothing better to do and went anyway! I was glad I did as the time I did made me the 7th fastest person ever, and 2nd fastest this year due to someone going faster in a separate event the same day.

Breckland came round and I still had lingering illness and had to visit a doctor only 2 days before! Not ideal but I was feeling a lot better after my sinuses stopped hurting so much!

A 12 hour is daunting. I really don’t know why people do these every year. You get on your TT bike in a cramped up position with your head pushed up somewhere between your shoulder blades and ride 12 hours. I got on my bike at 6.35am and rode. The start of the circuit is fairly average, mostly newly chipped roads and a rough in parts. Then you get to the rolling road of the A11.
I had an idea of the power I needed to average. Once I’d set off I started looking at this, and quickly just ignored it as I was going too slowly!

I thought my power calculations must be wrong. 50 miles in, it was still a bit damp, and I’d picked up a slow puncture in the rear wheel, I managed to nurse it to where my dad was stood to get a wheel after riding it soft for 9 miles and lost 50 seconds. I then stuck at my gauged effort for hour after hour. I went through 200 miles in 7hrs 19. This was well up on the record speed for 12 hours but I knew the hard bit at the end would soon zap away any gains I made on the dual carriageway.

The 2nd loop came, the turn road surface was rough. Very rough. I tried to avoid it by riding to the left of the white line where cars don’t drive, it had quite a few bits of gravel and stones but was far smoother, I hit a big stone coming back out just before the sliproad and the front tyre blew out. I struggled up the slip road on the rim and got a wheel from someone else’s helper at the turn. The wheel was far narrower than my wheel and I couldn’t get the brake to touch, but I had no choice to use it. I rode to where I next saw my dad a few miles later and stopped on my cleat!! In total that one puncture cost me 3 minutes with the two stops.

This wasn’t long before we got on to the finishing circuit. 280 miles had past. 130 miles further than I’ve ever ridden in one day before! I rode on the rough chipped roads to the finishing loop. I was really starting to suffer. I’d gone through about 20 gels and 15 bottles but the length of effort had drained me. Then at 11hrs my computer battery stopped.

Finishing circuit

I didn’t know how long I had left or if the record was still on. I just kept going. I knew I was going to go over 310 miles which in my head was my realistic aim. I had my helpers shouting to keep going and they were cheering. I even saw the current record holder, Andy Wilkinson, cheering me on which was nice!

I didn’t really know what happened when you reached 12 hours, but I could see what numbers were still riding so I had a rough idea how long was left. I got a shout saying 9min to go from my coach and I kept pressing. My dad shouted 2min left! I kept going and shouted to a time keeper as I passed 2 miles later, he just waved to say that’s it.

I had literally no idea what distance I’d done.

I got off the bike, I couldn’t walk and barely stand. My neck was agony.

I got back to the HQ after a lift and walked badly in to the HQ to be told I had missed the record by just 0.7 miles! This is about 2-3min in riding time. The risky riding in the gutter to avoid the awful road surface had in reality backfired and cost me the record. I was happy but a bit disappointed. The official distance has now been calculated and was 317.343 miles.

Andy Wilkinson’s wife Jill was also close to the women’s record, missing it by just 4 miles, the record has stood since 1967 when Beryl Burton beat all the men in the event and also beat the men’s record at the time with 277 miles.

I said I will never do a 12 hour again, but now my knees and back have recovered I’m wondering if I should!

I won’t find out if all my efforts at the longer distances have been worth it to win the BBAR until all the BBAR counting events are completed, but as it stands today I am leading it overall with a record calculated speed 29.356 mph, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed it’s good enough!

(Past Men’s BBAR champions)



3 wheels is harder than 2

Back in 2014 after joining the Paracycling team I starting seeing quite a few trikes on a weekly basis. It led me to ride around many a car park on Hannah Dines’ trike on two wheels, with the coaches saying ‘Oi! Get off that you’ll break it! It cost 5000 pounds!’

I never thought at the time it would one day lead me to think, I might have a go at a time trial record on one!

I spoke with Carl Saint a year or so ago about maybe borrowing his trike to have a crack at the 10 mile time trial record. He held the record from 2008 to 2012 when Barry Charlton took the record from him by 11 seconds to record 20.51.

Most time trial specialists all have at one point sat scanning through the Cycling Time Trials Handbook Competition Records list dreaming of one day having your name at the top of the list. I was having a look through one day and thought, surely it’s possible to get a trike to go faster than 21 minutes for 10miles, it’s an average speed of 28.6mph. Of course this is pretty fast to be going on a bicycle but to put it in to perspective, the record for a normal bicycle is now down to 16min 35sec, which is over 36mph average!

After deciding that maybe that record was beatable I spoke to Carl about using his trike in 2016 after riding the tandem on the A63 in Hull. He said there would be no issue and would be great to let someone else have a crack, also it was no longer his record!

Steve and I have ridden the 10 mile time trial on the A63 on May Day bank holiday for the last few years, it is a Tandem and Trike only event run by the Trike Association, but this year Steve was away in Scotland so couldn’t ride the event which made me think…. I wonder if I can get a trike to have a go at this trike record? I entered it. I didn’t have a trike at the time but if I didn’t enter it I couldn’t ride!

I spoke with Carl and he was riding on an event the day before but was happy to let me use his, I just thought one day to learn how to ride a trike and set it up would be pushing it! He put me in touch with a guy in Kings Lynn as his family are trike enthusiasts, Carl thought they’d be able to sort me out.

Marcus Hopkins agreed to let me use his trike and I arranged to collect it just 6 days before the race…..

Here is the a photo of the trike after I spent a few days getting it how I wanted. I swapped the bars, put electric gears on and power cranks.

So it was happening. I had the trike and was entered in the race. All I had to do now is learn to ride a trike.

First day I went out and rode it for 20 miles. After about 5 miles I was happily riding along a straight road, next minute I was going towards the edge of the road, I panicked and leaned to try hold it on the road. Nothing happened. I ended up rolling in to the field. Luckily it was a soft landing and the bike and I was fine, I was just a bit shook up. So what had I learned, the camber will steer the bike and I HAVE TO TURN THE BARS!! Leaning alone does nothing…..

Rest of the ride wasn’t too eventful and I got home safely and it didn’t put me off.

The next day I did 30miles and didn’t end up in any fields and practised for a bit going round the streets near my dads. It wasn’t going too bad.

The day before the race, I went out for an hour again just to test out the bike, I’d put new tyres on and had to change the cassette due to a few issues with a Sram cassette. All was working fine and the confidence was high. It was a windy day and in the tail wind I got on the TT bars and it wound up to a speed of 33mph. It was still hard work even with a 25mph tailwind! I was still questioning a bit whether the record would be beatable or not. I came to a corner with a tailwind, nothing difficult about it on a normal bike, so I just went in to it at over 20mph lent over and the bike turned, just not enough, the steering went really heavy and I was 3/4 way around going towards the grass, I thought, oh no not again, I braked and went in to the grass. I stayed on and managed to stop. I rode back on to the road and realised maybe my confidence was a bit high for my trike riding skills.

I worried about the first corner on the course. It is a left hand turn which drops down the slip road on the to A63, it’s a 35-40mph decent on a normal bike. I just thought I better take that steady just in case.

I checked the forecast and started to now worry about the 80% chance of rain at 8am, the time I was due to race! The forecast was an East wind around 10mph and 10 degrees. I thought as long as its not rained off it’s looking good.

The course runs mostly SE / SW and an extra half a mile going West at the end which would be a tail wind. East wind on the A63 course is perfect, and it rarely happens.

The morning came and I checked the forecast again, no rain forecast now! I was happy! I felt sick knowing I’m going to race so early and I was going to have to go hard to beat this record.

The start time came round and I was sat on the start line, worrying a bit about the first corner. I got pushed off and turned on to the slip road. I definitely backed off a bit but really there was no need, the corner wasn’t even that noticeable on a trike. I never have my speed showing on my Garmin. I rode to power and was catching rider after rider although it didn’t feel very quick. I got to the turn and realised I had averaged just under 30mph, this was the headwind part. The slip road up to the roundabout was hard. I was down to 16mph as I hit the roundabout and even pedalled part of the way round them!

I looked down at 5miles, this is after the turn and I was about 30sec slower than 30mph average. I then knew the record was on. I had to average 29mph to beat the record and I had a tail wind for the return leg. There was very little traffic but the wind was good and I got a few lorries help me on the way back.

I really had no idea how fast I was going, I was sat in 60 x 11 most the way back just concentrating on holding the power. I was breathing as hard as I could and the pain was setting in on the drag on the way back.

I was glad to see the last half a mile, I dropped down the little hill towards the finish and realised I was going to break 20 mins, 30mph average! I was pretty shocked but it drove me to try as hard as I could for the last part, I found out later the last 30 seconds I’d averaged over 500 watts, and averaged 33mph for the last 5miles!!

I pressed the lap button on the Garmin. 19min 28sec. I was shocked and happy! All that messing around during the week with the bike and riding in to a field was worth it! I’d done it. The official time was 19min 30sec which was 1min 21sec faster than the previous record!!!

If you ever think riding a trike is easy, it’s not. It’s really hard work, you steer on the straights and sometimes turn the opposite way to go round a corner; if the camber requires…. It’s strange and definitely not like a normal bike. I don’t recommend going out and buying one, unless you’re happy to have far more crashes than you already do and go a lot slower! Thanks to Marcus Hopkins for lending me it, not sure I’ll use it again, but never say never.

First race back on the Tandem!


Steve and I had our first outing on the tandem this weekend in the YCF 25 mile Time Trial at Topcliffe, near Thirsk, on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/mark.haynes.395

We were a bit unsure how it would go and had a plan on how to ride. We stuck to it, near enough, and I think even though we hadn’t ridden in anger since Rio, it turned out to be one of our best paced time trials we’ve ever done! We finished with a time 46 minutes 30 seconds for the 25 mile course, which was actually a fraction longer than 25 miles. It is our second fastest ever time for 25 miles and was a fairly windy day so we were happy, especially knowing we finished stronger than we started!

I did have another 25 mile Time Trial on my own on Sunday which I won by over a minute! It wasn’t anywhere near as controlled as the tandem TT the day before but a win is a win. It’s all good training for our main goal and the form is there! I think the new bike and kit maybe has helped a bit from my new team Vive le Velo too. 🙂

Photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/stephen.lloyd.3382

Next on our list for Steve and I is the next Paracycling world cup in Italy in a couple of weeks. We are hoping to come away with a shiny gong which will get us selected for the World Paracycling Championships in August! The big goal of the year to win our first World title!


2017 season with Vive Le Velo


Excited to announce I will be riding for Ed Neilson‘s bike shop, Vive Le Velo, North Ferriby in 2017.

I’d like to thank Tim Lawson for his support over the last year and really appreciate this and the things he has provided in the past and I can’t recommend his Secret-Training.cc products enough!

Vive Le Velo has offered me a great opportunity to get good personal setup for Time Trials and this fits in nicely with Steve Bate and I’s big goal for the 2017 season. We are aiming for our first World medal in August and the Paracycling Road World Championships. Ed showed great support for Steve and I in the run up to Rio Paralympics and couldn’t do enough to help us!

Vive Le Velo is a top end bike shop in North Ferriby near Hull. They guys in there know their stuff on pretty much any form of cycling, Ed runs a Cyclocross League in Hull and they stock all forms of bikes from Mountain Bikes to top end Time Trial bikes. If you’re ever in the area pop in and have a look!

I did my first race for them today with Ed and Lawrence in the City RC 3up! Was a good laugh, well for me anyway!

Looking forward to the rest of the season with the team. Hoping to add some national tandem TT records this year with the Vive Le Velo name!

Ed, Lawrence, Adam after CRC Hull 3up TTT

Image may contain: outdoor



Went to see the Queen!


GB paraylmpics and Team GB all got invited to Manchester and London for the athlete parades.

We got to Manchester all ready and happy to see all the supporters out to see all the athletes! The crowds were amazing as they were in Leeds but the Manchester weather put a small dampener on the night as it poured down twice leaving a few people soaked to the skin! This didn’t deter the supporters and if anything they got more excited and were screaming and cheering as the rain came down!


We got to then go out for a night out with all the other athletes and we made more new mates from other sports!

The next morning there were a few sore heads after the free drink were flowing rather quickly the previous night, but we all made it to the train bright and early to travel to London!

London’s Trafalgar Square was packed full. We all came on one team at a time as the supporters cheered! It was nice to hear from some of the athletes as they were interviewed thanking all the supporters and the lottery for getting us all to this position.

We honestly can’t do it without the funding and support from the governing bodies so we can’t thank you enough.

The athletes lucky enough to medal got to then go to Buckingham Palace to see the royal family. This was a fantastic experience and one I won’t be forgetting in a hurry! We got there and were greeted by the staff who looked after us well, providing canapes and champagne until the Royal family came in to see us all and ask questions as they wished.

The queen came in to our room and spoke to one group before speaking to our group. She greeted us all by shaking our hands and asking questions, we even had a bit of a laugh and joke with her. She really seemed to be enjoying seeing all the athletes and that made the experience even better.


It was a fantastic experience and it just makes all the hard work and sacrifices we have made over the last few years worth it!