Cheadle 4

It suddenly dawned on me last week that I haven’t really run in anger, since, well, 17th December last year at Stafford Common in the North Staffs Cross Country League. 

It wasn’t through lack of trying though, my focus for the first end of the year was cycling, as I was training for the Ironman bike leg, and the intention was to get straight into running after that but a bit of knee pain/tendonitis put that back by another week.

I went out on Friday and did a nice cross-country 10k loop and my legs (and knee) felt OK. So, when Sam said we could all potentially run the Cheadle 4 race on Sunday I jumped at the chance. Good bit of speed work, and you always try a bit harder if the carrot is being dangled, and a number is attached 🙂

Cody did the fun run with Sam, running all of the way with a sprint finish, which was amazing! We took the boys to Nana and Grandad’s where they could watch the race, and arrived at the start with 10 minutes to spare. My warm-up was a steady jog around the recreation ground, which wasn’t enough but it’d have to do as it was time to line up for the start …at least the first mile was flat.

Flat out that is, I covered it in 5:34, and felt good. I went with Tim Twentyman of Newcastle, pushing on but not doing anything daft as Mile 2 is the climb up to Freehay. Cresting the climb I’d managed to pick up a few more positions, and still felt quite strong.

Cheadle 4 -1

Descending isn’t my forte though, and Tim pulled away significantly on the descent to Cheadle. I managed to hold my position behind Tim by about 10 seconds, and reached the bottom of the hill running alongside Leon Bailey of Boalloy. I knew I must be having a good race to be around these runners in the last mile.  

Cheadle 4

A sharp hairpin turn into the recreation ground and then a final sprint on the grass. I managed to just pip Leon to the line and finish in a respectable 15th position with a time of 24:02, still about 10 seconds or so behind Tim. 

I was absolutely made up with my run and really pleased how I was able to maintain a high effort with some really decent bursts to gain positions all the way to the finish. 

My legs can feel it today, probably due to the lack of run miles I’ve done this season, but hopefully I’ll be nicely recovered for the City of Sport Birmingham Triathlon next Sunday where I’m competing in the Olympic distance event.

Who knows, I may even do a run this week… Seriously though, if you are thinking about racing, please do, they are such sociable events, everyone wishing each-other the best and supporting their friends and rivals to the finish, they can be as easy or as hard as you make them, and finish off with a tea, a slice of cake and a huge chunk of achievement.




Tillington Bikeability Plus


This was the sight that greeted me at Tillington Primary as I turned up for a staff meeting  to discuss next terms Bikeability Plus programe. Nice to see a good number of children already cycling, scooting and walking.

As the staff arrived I got chatting to a few about some running routes we all used in Stafford and Uttoxeter.  Then the Head Teacher complemented me on the work he’d had done recently on his bike at Velorunner (our sister company bike shop). small world.

It was at this point I knew that we would at least be doubling the number of students  taking part in active travel to and from both this school and as they move up to Graham Balfor.

If everyone believes in it, then the project would work and this is the case at Tilllinton were they see the advantages of active travel in the Students academic life and their physical wellbeing.

Im almost looking forward to Autumn Term  !!!!


Velo Race Team June Update 

June has seen the team get a few good results, as mentioned in my previous blog – early June Grant got a podium at the swynerton road race and I (Martin) started to get my legs back. 

17th June – ZipVit Crit @ Curborough 2/3/4 – weather conditions were pretty brutal, 31 degree heat. The race started as normal, fast! The first 20 minutes are always fast in these type of races, massive surges out the corners, the further back you are the more you are going to suffer. As the race unfolded, 3 men managed to slip away, no one wanted to really chase it down. The heat was unreal and trying to get enough fluid down was becoming hard, dry mouth big time. 

The last few laps Grant decided to attack and got away for a few laps with a mammoth rider. Unfortunately Grant was caught and swallowed up in the pack. Going into the last lap, it’s all about moving up the pack and getting into the right position for the the last left hander before the sprint. With the podium places already gone, it was about fighting for 4th place.  After coming out of the corner 4th wheel my chances were pretty good, unfortunately I left it a little late to start my sprint and lost a couple of places coming in at 9th place. Overall happy to get a couple of points, Grant managed to roll over in 13th – not a bad effort considering his massive attack.

18th June – Mike Jones 2/3/4 RR – After building a bit of confidence the day before, we were looking forward to this race. Although, again the weather forecast was hot it didn’t matter. We had 4 riders in this, myself, Grant, Rich and si. The race was hard from the gun, the course was rolling with a climb up to the finish. The race got harder and harder due to the heat, the same as the previous day, not enough fluid and no one available in the fedstations.

Before we knew it, me and Grant were chatting near the front then out of no where Grant was riding away with 6 others. I immediately sat up, I then got in a heated discussion with a guy because he wasn’t happy I was blocking for my team mate… as these discussions carried on the whole pack had slowed down to nothing and everyone was happy for me to sit on the front. At this point, the breakaway was out of sight…result!

Going into the last lap the break away had been caught. The pack had trimmed right down due to the heat and people simply didn’t have enough fluid to finish the race. Going around the last corner into the climb for the finish, I managed to get myself in a good position on the right hand side of the pack with a nice gap ready to jump for the sprint finish. Then with 1k left some rider came down and brought about 20 others down with him. It was carnage, blokes and bikes everywhere. I had managed to avoid coming down but I was pinned against a hedge. As soon as the crash happened 11 riders had managed to avoid it and sprinted to the line, I jumped back on but only managed 18th place..gutted! After 70 miles of racing that happened 😦 

29th June – Malory Park 2/3/4 – only me on this one. It was a Thursday night race, I had been work all day, it is a 100 mile round trip, and to top it off, It had been raining all day. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t considered pulling out but I had a little chat with myself and just maned up💪. When I arrived it was light rain but as soon as it was time to warm up it was pretty much heavy rain…typical! The race started fast but this race was about looking after the watts and getting the much needed points. After seeing a lot of failed attacks I knew this one would more than likely stay together. 

After a few crashes it was important to keep your wits about you, the surface was bad in places. The second to last lap came and a couple had managed to getaway, to be honest i thought about trying to jump on but I decided not to as I thought the pack would catch. The last lap and again getting into position is vital. As I managed to move up the pack and get near the front, the guy in front of me started his sprint, it was a bit earlier than what I planned but I just went for it. As I looked back I seen a crowd of angry cyclist trying to get over to me, one managed but the others didn’t, it was the longest sprint ever but I finished in 5th place as the 2 that went stayed out for 1st and 2nd place. Again overall happy to get the points.

July seems to be another busy month, myself and Grant start July in Rhyl on the 1st. We both have quite a few midweek races and some important points are on offer. We take June like we do every month as a lesson learnt, every race is different and all the experience helps us build for seasons ahead. 

Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire

When I was first approached about doing a Triathlon as part of a replay I was a little unsure about the idea. But when we found that we could do one of the biggest Triathlon events in Staffordshire as a relay team I couldn’t sign up quick enough. The Ironman 70.3 VeloRunner Relay Race Team was born.

The week leading up to the event we received our race briefing instructions and the excitement grew, the day before the event I went over to Chasewater to rack my bike in Transition, in 30C heat, it was like a proper European triathlon, I was gutted to not be doing the swim leg, Chasewater has never looked so appealing – note in the briefing about strictly no swimming in the reservoir other than race day seemed to be ‘out of the water’ today, every man (and lady) and their dog/child/ice cream were in there!

Race morning, and 8am, already 24C it was going to be a very hot race – my 500ml of juice would be fine. Pre-race toilet stop done and Amy went off to the pontoon to start the swim, I was so jealous it was even calmer and more appealing to be in the water today as I waited in transition getting some shade behind a big hoarding, I was just day dreaming when Amy exited the swim in an amazing 40 minutes, I set off on the bike, the Mountain Biker in me getting an instant buzz out of having to navigate over the speed humps and around solo racers out of T1.



I decided to wear my normal road helmet today to try and get as much air as possible (I don’t mean air over the speed humps of course) and aim to stay as cool as possible on the 56mile Time Trial. The bike course was instantly amazing, going through some lovely Staffordshire country lanes and heading out over to Blithfield Reservoir where I took a bottle from the feed station as it was so warm. The marshals and volunteers were all excellent and I only had to slow to about 20mph to take a bottle. Being on closed roads I was able to take the racing line everywhere, and despite the heat it was a dream to do the bike leg.


Up over Cannock Chase via Marquis Drive, any temptations to complete the final part of Follow the Dog were cast aside as I began the final 6 mile sprint for the finish and T2 where Tom took over to complete the 13.2 mile run after 2hrs and 32 minutes in the saddle. I dismounted the bike and started to run to rack my bike getting cramp in my leg this turned in to a hobble. I handed over to Tom and watched him run into the distance I did not envy him setting off to do a 1/2 marathon in 30C heat. The marshals, helpers and Police did an excellent job though of providing water and direction, even the locals came out to show their support by soaking the runners with their hosepipes, it really was one of the best events I have ever done. If anybody is thinking about doing one then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

Tom came sprinting home in just over 1hr 31 minutes, which is a great achievement in that heat with so many runners on the undulating course to complete our IM 70.3 effort in  4hrs 54 minutes, which got us 2nd Position in the Mixed-Relay category, amazing!!!

IM Finish

Post Race hog roast and plentiful supply of drinks, nothing was forgotten by the organisers. We are already looking where the next VeloRunner Relay Team could race, Europe maybe. As for a solo effort – watch this space…



Riding The Wilier Cento 10 Air – *Deposits Now Being Taken In Store*

When The Velo Store first told us they would be sponsoring the team for the 2017 my first thought was…. what bike would I be getting? After months of Anticipation The Velo Store arranged a demo day with Wilier on their newly Cento Air 10 race machine. The team took them out for an evening and we were all very impressed with the bikes. The guy from Wilier who rode with us on the demo didn’t managed to stay on as we put the bike through their paces. “That’s the fastest demo I’ve ever done” is what we heard at the end. 

I have now had this bike since the end of February and I have done a fair few races on it. The design and colour scheme are spot on, we all agreed on the Matt black / red with a glossy finish – the best colour choice in my opinion. The frame is based on advanced aerodynamics and also features integrated Alabarda aero bars which not only improve aero performance but also finish off the bike nicely. 

We all received the bikes with full ultegra groupsets and Mavic cosmic carbon wheels. At first I was a bit wary of the wheels having not rode on cosmic’s before and hearing a few bad experiences, but the wheels have been awesome, never missed a beat. As for the groupset, I have always rode on shimano and probably always will. Ultegra is a great all rounder and I would recommend it to anyone. 

I could sit here boring you with all the geeky details but I am not going to. All in all I would highly recommend the Cento 10 Air and I will be sad to see it go at the end of the season. If you are looking for a bike built for speed then the Wilier must seriously be considered. For anybody who wants to read the full review please follow the link below:

Whilst at St Johns ….

A fantastic and varied 2 days at St Johns Primary in Stafford. We delivered level 1 training to 30 year 4 children and level 2 to 40or so  year 5’s.

 29 of the level 2’s rode their bikes to school during bikeability, 7 of which ride in on a regular basis though more are hoping to after the course. Just over a quarter of the children go out riding for fun with their families quite a lot and nearly the whole course knew it was National Bike week as it was on the school class calendar. 

 The most unusual comment I have had about bikeability came from the afternoon group as traffic increased on Weston Road when they were given the opportunity to do a series of turns when we were told it was “an adrenaline rush” We were however delighted to also hear the group say that they would use one of Staffords many cycle paths on the busy roads unless they had an adult to ride with. Safe decision making at its best.

Velo Race Team 2017 – Ride Fast And Have a Blast :)

The last few years I have really started to take my cycling a lot more seriously. At first it was a social ride in the country side which then soon evolved into a trip from Lands End to John O’ Grouts and now I am sitting here looking forward to my next race.  

In the last 3 years my racing has got more serious, the first year it was the odd race and gained my cat 3 license, the second year I gained my cat 2, and this year is all about retaining my cat 2 and trying to be more competitive at that level. Being 34 years young sometimes doesn’t help but as everyone knows… age is just a number.

Last year (2016) I was asked by The Velo Store if I would be interested in racing as part of the newly formed race team, alongside R.Lloyd, G.Bigham & S.Williams, for the 2017 season,  without hesitation I accepted this offer. The opportunity to race for my local team with my mates was a no brainer. So the heat was on, although I was very excited about this I also was aware of the added pressure of performing at the level I wanted to.

Training started as normal in October, having a full time job and a wife who works nationwide and 2 children can make training extremely difficult but some how I manage to fit it all in. Sitting in the garage on the turbo trainer, getting up early am, long dirty wet weekend rides, just to ride for the trill of racing in the summer for the team.

After a pretty harsh winter I decided to go on a training camp to Calpe with team mates R.Lloyd, G.Bigham and the current national track champion D.Bigham. This turned out to be a fantastic trip, it was a chance to ride in the sun with good company, it was what the doctor ordered… even though we did get lost on my last day thanks to one of the Bigham brothers which put an added 30 mile on the days ride. The whole trip was massively beneficial and I would recommend it to any one as part of their winter training. 

The 2017 season started – March – Myself and Grant started racing all over, from Lancaster to Wales, if there was an early season crit then we were there. Although I started racing well and felt fit the results weren’t going my way, burning way to many matches early on in races and having nothing for the end…I was just far to excited. Grant on the other hand, he was chipping away at the top 10’s and getting the pts which was good for him and the team. 

April – I got a bit smarter, sat in more, kept myself fresher. I managed to get a few podiums, a 3rd in a E/1/2/3 in Rhyl and a 2nd at a local TLI race. Again, Grant was still chipping away at the top 10’s and getting the pts. In late April Grant had obtained enough pts to retain his cat2 licence so he was happy with that. 

May – this has been the hardest month for myself ever. My legs have felt weak, my mind felt weak, I had genuinely been down about my whole performance. Instead of beating myself up to much I looked at what’s gone wrong and tried to work away round it. I have since had a change of coach and I am having regular massages @ Bd sports massage & injury therapy, I can’t tell you enough how much this has helped me to slowly get back on form.

June – its starting to look better, I’m feeling better and training is going well. Grant has hit some really good form and is starting to look more like a cat 1 rider. Richard has managed to get a couple of top 10’s to help him try and obtain his cat 2. Simon again is getting very strong, he even hurt me going up a hill the other day (I’ll wait for the message now) but collectively we are started to race like a team. 

On the 11th of June we all raced in the local TLI race and managed to help Grant his first podium of the season. The race was full of action from start to finish, Grant managed to get in an early break and on the last lap, another member of the Velo club/team Paul Hollins managed to break away from the bunch solo to get 7th place. All in all a good day all round for the team.

Although racing is fun and the trill makes you go back for more and more, sometimes racing can also be very challenging not only physical but mentally –  “ride fast and have a blast” is my motto cause nothing beats it. Over the next coming months I will try and achieve my goals which I am confident of, if for any reason I don’t, then it’s time to work harder over the winter months until I get where I want to. 

Life is to short to fail.

By M.Hillman