BLOG: ANDY JONES
It barely seems five minutes since I was writing about the Monsal Hill climb last weekend. Well, what's been happening this week? The first part of the week I was catching up on some writing.
I've had a Time Edge Racer on test so I've got the words together for the 'First Ride' piece which should hit the pages in a few weeks. I've also done the write up to the Rourke Ride which I actually got to ride this year.
I used a Canon G7 compact at the time to get a few shots for the feature. It seems a good adaptable little camera as you have a choice of program, shutter or aperture priority and manual override. The focus tracking and continuous frame advance seemed adequate too. Anyway, all the results will be revealed later in the year when the article is published.
Went to catch up with Les West on Thursday morning for a ride feature. A beautiful crisp autumn morning. Had to clear the car windscreen of ice before I set off for Stoke for our nine thirty meet.
The two-time Milk Race winner is nearly 64 now but still showed his class on the hills around the Staffordshire and Cheshire lanes. Story in the Weekly on Nov 1st.
Friday I caught up with Ben Swift for his Ride feature from Throapham, near Sheffield. He was joined by his Dad, Mark and long time friend Adam Blythe. Adam will join Ben and the rest of the U23 academy out in Tuscany for 2008. Ben's had a fantastic season and it was good to catch up on with him to talk about his successes.
Saturday night I went to the first Revolution of the track season. The 17th edition pulled in a good crowd in to see all the action which included Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas. Francesco Chicchi of Liquigas was there with team mate Magnus Backstedt. Chicchi had got second to Petacchi in the previous weekend's Paris-Tours.
Mark Cavendish at Revolution 17. Photo by Andy Jones
Chicchi entertained the crowd after his final race appearance by throwing track mitts, helmet and jersey in to various sections of the crowd. Backstedt followed suit with some lucky spectator now owning the Swede's Liquigas jersey in Swedish national road champion colours. A gallery of race action is now up on the Cycling Weekly website. It was a strange night for me as I never quite felt in the groove. Anyway, hopefully there's a pic or two that you like.
On Sunday morning I went to grab a few pics from the Riber Hill climb at Matlock. The field was headed by current national champion James Dobbin out testing his form for this coming weekends national championship down in Cheddar Gorge.
Between all the goings on I've still managed a few miles on the bike this week. Tuesday afternoon I got out for 41mls. There was a bit of drizzle about and just got back before it got any heavier. Wednesday afternoon was much better weather wise with nice autumnal sunshine. Cooler though. That was 53 miles.
Managed then to get out on Saturday morning. Beautiful weather, though it was below freezing in the valley bottoms due to the temperature inversions holding in the cold air. Another 53 mile spin. The same again on Sunday afternoon after I'd photographed the hill climb. 200 miles for the week.
I'll just mention here that I'm a bit of an ornithologist and it's great being out on the bike at this time of year. Late afternoon you can always hear the busy twittering of small birds such as long tailed tits, coal tits and blue tits as they flutter through the hedgerows finding food before they go to roost.
There's regularly a Dipper on the river near Calver. Kingfishers at Cromford Mill ponds. On Saturday morning I saw a Buzzard sitting on top of a Hawthorn bush in a field on the road to Winster Bank. There was also a Heron standing on one of the fishing stakes at the small private fishing lake at Grangemill which made me smile.
Anyway, hope to catch up again next week.
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.