BLOG: ANDY JONES
I hope everyone has stayed safe in the mix of weather we have had this week. The country seems to have had everything thrown at it over the last week. Snow in some areas, icy and frosty mornings for most with blue skies though some have had mist and fog to complicate things. High winds arrived at the back end of the week followed by spells of rain.
It turned out to be quite a busy week for me. Monday as always is making contact with the office and checking all is in order. It was a quieter week the previous week so not too much to worry about. Finished my blog and got my flight to Beijing booked for the Olympics in August.
I'd been looking at the flight costs on the BA website over the last week or so and it was amazing to see how the flight prices fluctuated daily. They varied from around £450 to £1,100 one-way and changed in price on a particular date quite significantly from day to day. Anyway, got myself booked up for under £1,000 return. I'll be out for 10 days covering all the track events in the week which we all hope the GB team will be topping the cycling medal table.
Monday was a beautiful cold crisp day here in Sheffield and I took the opportunity to spend a couple of hours out on Stanage Edge in the afternoon. It was relatively pleasant temperature wise considering the heavy frost from the morning.
The visibility was a bit hazy, so not the best for landscape photography but interesting nether the less by giving soft recessive horizons fading into the distance. There were a number of Red Grouse about and I managed some stealth tactics to grab a picture of one. I find them comical birds, especially their cackling call as they break cover from their heather hide aways.
Watched and photographed climbers at various points along the edge too. Also watched a Hawk jet chasing across the Hope Valley just across from Stanage. It wasn't flying too low due to the poor horizon visibility. Still interesting to watch as it did a couple of circuits before disappearing in to the haze.
On Tuesday I was up early to travel up to the NE to meet Richard Meadows for a ride feature. It was -5 in Sheffield as I defrosted the car before setting out at 07:00. Finally arrived in Great Ayton five minutes before the arranged 10:00 meet time at the bridge there by the Buck Inn.
The traffic on the M1 just north of Sheffield to the Leeds turn off was horrendous as ever. Just as well I gave myself three hours travel time. It wasn't much warmer in Great Ayton at -3 with mist and fog drifting in. The countryside looked fantastic though with the landscape covered in rime or hoar-frost. Spotted a beautiful male Bullfinch in a rime covered hedge on the ride route. The contrast of the icy hedge thicket and the Bullfinch's crimson chest and slate grey back fluffed up against the cold made a very evocative winter scene. Just didn't quite manage to grab a picture unfortunately.
Richard is the two time junior BBAR champion and has joined Dave O'Loughlin in the ranks of Pezula RT for his first senior season. More of that in the 'Rides' story which you should see in a week or so. Have to say it was a really interesting area with dramatic scenery.
Wednesday was again another cold crisp morning. I spent the morning making a start on writing up Richard's ride story from the previous day. It was about 14:30 when I decided I'd get out for a pedal. It was a pleasant afternoon and the temperatures had lifted from first thing.
I set out on my usual Matlock run and was quite enjoying it until I got to Bakewell. The roads were generally dry with the odd section having a bit of moisture making the roads slippery and greasy in places which you find after a spell of weather like we have had. I came to the Rutland Hotel roundabout and turned left towards Ashford. The road curves round to the right after the roundabout past the Ridgeway Gallery and the small pudding shop opposite. It was here that a hit the deck.
The front wheel hit some grease or diesel, I don't think it was ice, and snapped away from me. I wasn't going particularly fast and I thought I was going to hold it at one point. You seem to hit the tarmac harder at slower speeds. I trapped my right arm under my body which proved painful to my ribs and back. I picked myself up and took a moment to compose myself. I didn't think anyone had seen me but the women from the pudding shop popped out to check I was ok.
After straightening the right lever and realigning the front brake the bike was ok. I'd not damaged my Assos airblock top either thank goodness. I'd have been gutted if I had as I've not had it long. Damaged my Assos gloves though, putting a hole in the palm of the right glove and a small nick in the little finger. Started pedalling back from Bakewell finding I couldn't take a deep breath making me think I'd perhaps broken a rib. The worst bit was coming up Froggatt.
Anyway, got back ok and checked myself out. I found I'd cut the little finger on the right hand and also had some friction grazing to my right forearm. My ribs were tender but not overly painful where I'd trapped my arm between them and road. The worst bit was my mid to upper back preventing me taking really deep breathes. It felt more muscular than anything else.
Thursday I found I didn't feel too bad. A bit sore and with some bruising coming out on my right hip and knee that had felt ok the day before. No noticeable bruising to ribs but my back was feeling sore making deep breathes and certain movements uncomfortable. Continued with my Meadows Ride story before going for a dental appointment in the afternoon. Very windy here in Sheffield, so not a day to be out on the bike anyway even if I was feeling fit to.
Friday a slight improvement to my back but still tender. Spent all day completing my Richard Meadows story. Didn't feel I could venture out for a pedal as I was still feeling uncomfortable. Took a quick stroll up the Mayfield lanes instead.
Saturday morning was mild, bright and less windy than the previous couple of days weather. Decided to venture out on the bike and see how I felt. Just did a short run to Baslow, Calver and back up Froggatt. Still my back was feeling sore, though muscular I think more that anything else. Still quite uncomfortable to take deep breathes but nice to clear the system out after being in all day writing on Friday.
Saturday evening saw the final Revolution for the 2007/2008 season. The stands were packed once again to see the action. Geoff Thomas the ex-Crystal Palace and England football player was there to promote his Geoff Thomas Foundation Leukaemia charity along with England rugby star Martin Johnson. They captained the two teams in the Italian pursuit for the third event of the evening.
Martin Johnson is a giant of a man and his bike visibly flexed in his starting effort from the back straight as he lead his team of Corinne Hall, Chris Worrall, Victoria Pendleton, Peter Schep and Arnaud Tournant. Geoff Thomas set out from the home straight with Hannah Manley, Dan McLay, Anna Blyth, Iljo Keisse and Chris Hoy in tow.
It was a close run event and just a whisker in it at the line. First it looked like the Johnson team had got the nod but the judges over ruled after analysing the photo finish for the Thomas team to take the honours. A fun event for a worthy cause.
There were more serious battles for the GB sprinters. World's selection was on their minds and all the GB coaches were there along with high speed cameras to analyse proceedings to determine the final selections.
A mix of kierin, Madison, DHL future stars and sprints made for a good evening overall. A real crowd pleaser was the world's greatest 'Kilo' men in Hoy and Tournant pulling off a stunning 1km Madison TT time of 54.5 seconds, giving them a new Revolution record for the event.
I went to the Clayton Velo Handicap on Sunday morning. The weather was not good with low cloud and drizzly fine rain over the Bashall Eaves course between Clitheroe and Preston. The Rapha Condor Re-Cycling team were out in force and set out with the elite and 1st cat group eight minutes after the 4th cat group. The 90km race over 14 laps of the sporting course saw the race come together with three laps to go.
Dean Downing and Chris Newton made an attack leaving a group of four chasing which included Graham Briggs. Briggs was able to bridge across to Downing and Newton for the final lap. Newton took the win comfortably from Downing with Briggs just a short way behind for a Rapha 1,2,3. Despite the weather I quite enjoyed the morning.
Got back home about 15:30. Felt quite tired really. Had a bite to eat and have to admit to a quick snooze. Popped up to mum and dad's for an evening meal which was appreciated. Spent the rest of the evening starting to edit all my pictures from Revolution and the Clayton Velo race ready to send on to the FTP for Monday.
That's my week once again. Hopefully I'll be able to get out on the bike later this coming week once the back has healed a bit.
Andy Jones is Cycling Weekly's resident photographer, and has covered pretty much every major cycle race there is, from downhill mountain biking to the Tour de France. You can see many of Andy's photos in our online Gallery section.