It's all uphill from here

  • Posted by ade
  • 20 December 2012

When I started writing this the list wasn't very big. Then I asked for everyone's list and the year filled up. Turns out 2012 was full.

In January we bought howies back from Timberland and all the staff got shares.

Then the games began. Hazel won the Brecfa enduro, and we ran the Endurancelife CTS Anglesey Ultra.

February we headed to Devon for the CTS Ultra Marathon. It was quite the worst weather.

In March we rode from Cardigan to Abergavenny through the night with Rob Penn whilst the clocks changed. Then did the Bath 1/2 marathon.

April a bunch of us were back down south on Exmoor for more CTs trail running. That was a hilly course.

May the office rode the howies Dyfi Enduro on a short sleeve sunny day. And then the Tour of Pembrokeshire on the hottest day of the year. Then is was back up north to run the Anglsey ultra.

June we all went to Italy to race the Castelli Feltre 24. The rain stopped 2 hours before racing and we were into 24 hours of racing road bikes round an Italian town with top professionals. When we got back Chris our store manager ran the Endurancelife UTSW 100 mile coastal run in under 30 hours and finished smiling.

In July, the girls came second in the Gower Kinetica triathlon. We also fielded a team in the Bontrager 24 that was mainly underwater. Ruben ran up and back down Wales highest mountain  in the Snowdon race and we wizzed round the St Clears 10km. And the Tenby 10km was a watershed moment for two of our guys who gave up smoking after a hard battle, pulled on the running shoes and have never looked back.

Despite August being holiday time Hazel became the Welsh Ladies DH champion. Da iawn Hazel. Then Chris went home to see his parents and run 100km in the Northumberland Ultra.

September was running Bristol 1/2. Easy month that.

October we all piled down the Coast to Little Haven to run 10km, 1/2's Marathons and Ultra's in the autumn sunshine and warmed down with the Cardiff 1/2. Whilst we did that, Alex went solo for a 100 mile sportif in mid Wales. And Hazel rode Oktoberfest in Bristol.

November we ran various distances in the Gower CTS and raced DH at Newquay.

And in December only Peter made the solo trip to run 10km in Devon.

A few more days and we can get on with 2013.

 

Sideburns Returns

  • Posted by alex
  • 11 December 2012

Sideburns of Glory T-shirt available again - but only until Thursday.

It's a hive of activity in the Printshop today as we're reprinting our sell-out Tee, Sideburns of Glory.

We launched this design in the summer and sold a record-breaking number of tees in only 7 days. We donated £5 from every tee we sold to the Dave Rayner Fund and raised a little over £5500.

Now it's back ('til Thursday anyway) and we're donating £5 from every tee to the fund again.

So, if you missed out, here's your chance to get your hands on one and help us raise some money to help up-and-coming cyclists racing in Europe.

But don't wait too long, they're already selling fast.

Mens T-shirt >
Womens T-shirt >
Kids T-shirt >

Revolution Round 1 round-up

  • Posted by alex
  • 30 October 2012

"1. Don't crash.
2. Be in the front third"

Mike and I headed up to Manchester Velodrome at the weekend to watch our track team race in the Revolution Series.

Standing trackside we listened in on the team briefing for the evening -
"1. Don't crash. 2. Be in the front third" Team manager Kyleigh tells everyone. You can't win from the back and that's where the crashes happen. It sounds simple enough, but with steep bankings and wheels nipping at the rider's tyres in front, anything can happen. It's what makes track cycling so exciting.

A gentle hum from rollers set a tone for the evening. Riders spend longer warming up and cooling down than they do racing, occasionally turning the roller-hum to thunder as legs went into a sprints to stay warm and race-ready.

The team love racing in front of such a big crowd - especially the juniors. Normally, track events aren't as well attended, but at Revolution, the deafening cheers from the stands will on aching legs and make for a great atmosphere.

Between races everyone fettles their bikes; swapping sprockets to change gearing and fixing punctures. Everyone has their own spare wheels, cogs and tools - some borrowed, some hand-me-down - all tidily stowed in the tiny team pit.

A crash in the boys final race called for Dust Busters and gaffa tape to take up splinters and plug gaps in the track. Pringled wheels are swapped for true and grazed knees stay on for the last few laps. Even a crash wouldn't stop the guys from getting back on their bikes and everyone finishing the night on a high.

Mike captured a bit of video and we'll be doing little film about the team and the event which we will release at the end of the series.

In the meantime, you can watch highlights of howies in action on ITV4 Player and the team will be back on the track 1st December for Revolution meet 2.

For a peek into the track centre and what’s happening in the team pit, follow @howies on Twitter and @howiesclothing on Instagram. We’re using the hashtag #teamhowies

Back to the track

  • Posted by alex
  • 24 October 2012
Star riders Mark Cavendish, Michael Morkov (who briefly held the KOM jersey this year in his 1st Tour De France) and Leif Lampater headed up the team last year, helping inspire numerous race wins throughout the series and an overall 3rd place finish.

Our track team will be returning to race in the 10th series of Revolution this weekend.

We've got 4 talented junior riders from the Welsh National squad riding in the Future Stars event who will race alongside professional riders in four track meets over the winter.

Previous Future Stars have gone on to win Olympic gold medals this year and with Wales producing current Olympic and World cycling champions, Revolution will be a great place for our Welsh team to battle it out against cycling's giants.

Pete has even tweaked this years team kit to include elements of the Welsh flag for our riders to fly in.

Star riders Mark Cavendish, Michael Morkov (who briefly held the KOM jersey this year in his 1st Tour De France) and Leif Lampater headed up the team last year, helping inspire numerous race wins throughout the series and an overall 3rd place finish.

6 Olympic gold medalists, the World road champion and Tour De France riders rode last winter and with more big names set to join the team this season, we roll onto the boards in front of a sell-out crowd at Manchester on October 27th with race highlights on ITV4 after every event.

Pine. Rubber. Lycra and speed.

For behind the scenes Revolution action, follow @howies on Twitter and @howiesclothing on Instagram.

Autumn Epic

  • Posted by alex
  • 12 October 2012

I've never been so glad to see a sign for the Finish. Especially when it was accompanied with the handwritten note "Downhill. All The Way." As I freewheeled, the speedo began to pick up and I knew I could make it home. All the pain from climbing masked by the feeling of accomplishment.

My first attempt at a century ride was crunching out of the Rest Less ride in the wilderness back in March and it's been on my Bucket List since.

With regular trips over the rolling hills at lunch time, racing in Italy and week night rides, it felt like it was time to take on 100 miles again.

So I set off - a 5am departure from Cardigan - for the Autumn Epic last weekend. A ride just short of 100 miles through mid Wales with some 8000ft of climbing, notorious for usually being in an apocolyptic downpour but as luck would have it, it was cool but a dry.

We set out in a group of 6, soon merging with a quick bunch and relishing the chance to be swept along and settled into a rhythm. Scott soon powered on and then we were 5.

The first real climb split the bunch and I was soon spat out of the back, gladly resuming my own pace and reminding myself that there were some 80 hard miles to go - I was already starting to feel the pace. As I rejoined the guys as the hill levelled out, we were soon up to cruising speed again and could start to take in some of the beautiful vistas from on top.

Just before the first feed station at Rhayader we started to climb again, before dropping into town. Out of the saddle, leaning hard, Laurence snapped his handle bars at the stem. Despite our best efforts with a handful of zip ties and a stick, his ride was over. He seemed pretty un-phased by the winding downhill on one drop bar and brake!

We pushed on as a 4 as we wound through forests and rolled over hills into the stunning Elan Valley. The road rose before descending round sun-lit hairpins into the open valley floor accompanied by buzzards and kites cruising over the plains.

Before we knew it, we were half way round, passing the cascading dams and heading back towards Knighton. The feeling of achievement was soon broken as we turned into Glascwm hill which felt like trying to ride up a travelator continually tapping my levers, trying to find more gears. I slowly made my way up passing riders who had opted to get off and push, while others zig-zagged up the road shaving attempting off a % or two. It was gruelling. Let alone this far in.

Just before the second feed station, the roads began to roll again and became muddy and potholed. A ping from behind revealed Doug had broken a spoke but managed to limp on to the final stop where a mechanic was able to swap his cassette onto a borrowed wheel and we pressed on.

With less than 10 miles to go, we were stalled again by a puncture. Riders who we had passed and re-passed throughout the day's escapades rolled by as tyre pressure was re-established.

We turned past the final way marker, ushered by an outrider who called after us "6 miles to go. 3 to the top of the big hill". Everyone cursed. Surely not nother big hill?

As it turned out, it wasn't big, it was just long and the sapping came from previous miles more than the incline.

Elated at the summit, I've never been so glad to see a sign for the Finish. Especially one accompanied with the handwritten note "Downhill. All The Way." As I freewheeled, the speedo began to pick up and I knew I could make it home. All the pain from climbing masked by the feeling of accomplishment.

Nick and I rolled through the finish, some 6 hours 24 minutes in the saddle I was over an hour behind Scott, 2 minutes behind Doug and James.

It was certainly epic and a great way to mark the end of this summer's riding.

Image ©rightplacerighttime.co.uk

Last Day of Summer

  • Posted by ade
  • 21 September 2012

It rained but we still rode our bikes.
It rained but we still ran new trails.
It rained but we still swam open water.
It rained but the days were still long.
It rained but we still had summer holidays.
It rained but we still went to the beach.
It rained but we still wore shorts.

It rained but it was still a great summer.

Welsh Downhill Championships

  • Posted by hazel
  • 17 August 2012

The track was so fast; real flowy and dusty to the point your tyres would slide out of the bermed corners, making it super fun. With the sun was out and a relaxed atmosphere around the site, everyone seemed to having a cracking day.

Peer pressure and gentle persuasion is a powerful thing. I’m a sucker for it and just can’t say no. I hate missing out on things so my outside-of-work life becomes quite choccer-block.

This was the case come Friday last week. I was beginning to feel pretty beat, it had been a long week and tiredness was starting to set up camp in my muscles. So the thought of going off to race in a downhill mountain bike race at the weekend was not looking that appealing… but you know I’m not one to miss out…

With race day on the Sunday and practice on Saturday, we set about learning every inch of the course, well I say we – mostly Jon, Sam, Si and Josh! I have trouble learning courses. I think it’s from the many years of riding XC - I'd rather just ride it and deal with obstacles as and when I reach/ hit them.So with a van full of bikes, snack and the Season’s soundtrack turned up, myself, Jon from decent world and Cardigan’s own Jesus set off at the crack of dawn towards Moelfre for the Welsh Downhill MTB Champs. We met up with the other Ceredigion riders and set up camp. With Si Williams aka fretter, Sam aka fretter junior, Tomos and Aled aka Axe and Shotgun!

The track was so fast; real flowy and dusty to the point your tyres would slide out of the bermed corners, making it super fun. With the sun out and a relaxed atmosphere around the site, everyone seemed to having a cracking day.

Roll on Sunday…

Oh wait it’s absolutely peeing it down – what a surprise. And what’s that, yeah I’m sat in my tent wearing a woolly hat, merino softshell and thick socks! This is summer! Ah well, nothing that proper cup of tea can’t sort out.

Heading up in the uplift trailer along with 30 other riders for the start of our first timed run, there was only two subjects of conversation – the weather and what tyres to run. I participated in neither of them mainly because I thought there’s no point getting down about the weather and secondly I can’t take my front wheel out so there was no chance of me changing my tyres. I’d just have to like it and lump it.

My first run went well - I wanted to keep it smooth and consistent as the course was becoming quite slippery. The bottom section of the track was my favorite with a couple of jumps that you could launch off, nothing like the feeling of fresh air between the tyres and the ground. I managed to take the lead with a good amount of time between 2nd and myself.For my final timed run, I thought I’d open it up a bit and try pedaling more - "Giving it the beans". It paid off and I was able to knock 5 seconds of my first run. Awesome. Plus it meant that I had a comfortable lead to take the win.  Woohoo, I just won the Welsh Champs, what a result!! As always, I’m glad I went!With banter on tap and some great riding the weekend ended up being so much fun. Jon and myself are now the proud owners of a Welsh Champs jersey. Also in the Ceredigion camp, Si took 2nd in the vets, Sam took 10th juniors and Josh was 24thin the senior cat. Not bad at all!Thanks to MIJ racing for a brilliant race, Jon for playing taxi, tea maker and bike mechanic. Tomos, Aled and Josh for the hillbilly entertainment, Si for his constant fretting and Steve and Vicky for being loud marshals!

You guys made the weekend, the result was just a bonus!!

Merino, Merino, Merino.

  • Posted by alex
  • 10 August 2012

We don't just love Merino because it's 100% natural. When it comes to running and riding, nothing beats Merino wool.

The secret behind our love affair isn't complicated at all, it's simply down to the amazing fabric.

Merino breathes and wicks away moisture because they are hydrophilic at one end and hydrophobic at the other; soaking up moisture like a sponge and releasing it away from the body.

Merino wool is naturally antibacterial and bacteria has a hard time sticking to it - so you can go a ride or two (or three) before you smell like it and your new favourite top needs to see a washing machine.

And unlike man-made fabrics, Merino will still regulate body temperature when it's wet - keeping you warm when it's cool and cool when it's warm. A bonus in the months when it can go from skin-tingling in the shade to beach weather over the crest of a hill.

Take a look at our Merino clothing for men and Merino clothing for women.

£5k for Britains future cyclists

  • Posted by alex
  • 3 August 2012

If you follow the Tour every year, like us, you will have waited a lifetime for a Brit to win it. If you're Bradley Wiggins, you've been training for it all your life.

We wanted to celebrate the amazing win and commissioned a limited edition tee "Sideburns of Glory", that became our fastest selling tee of all time.

For the week after the Tour, we chose to donate part of the proceeds from our cycling themed t-shirts to the Dave Rayner Fund, raising £5560.

Since 1996, The Dave Rayner Fund have supported hundreds of promising British cyclists. By issuing grants to cover training and racing costs, they bridge the gap into making a successful career from cycle racing in Europe and it's great to be able to donate such an unexpected sum.

The fund has supported the career progression for the likes of David Millar and Charly Wegelius and receives ongoing support from professional riders, such as Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish.

There's going to be loads more British Cycling success on the TV over the next couple of weeks and some great tees to celebrate.

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