Mike Simpson

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About Last Night, Asleep on a Hillside


Not all adventures need to be epic, some don’t need much planning or even need a weekend. Microadventures seems to be very popular now, in the past I’ve used a bivi bag a lot during hikes, it’s so much more fun than a tent and means you have so much less to carry. A bivi bag was read more...

Broken Progression but Smiling Through the Mud


On the face of it 8th place in this season's climax, The National Championships at Derby may seem a disappointment, especially having reached the dizzy heights of 3rd last year. But as soon as I heard the event was to be held at Derby I knew that it would be an uphill struggle. My skills had read more...

All the Things That She Has Done, My Pit Girl.


The real heroes of cyclocross are the band of helpers that are stuck in ankle deep water for the duration of the race, unable to see the majority of the racing, just pinned into an enclosed quagmire. For those not familiar to cyclocross, a rider’s pit crew have the unenviable task of having read more...

Fighting Back - A Half Time Report


Despite having been going to races in one sport or other since 1987, the enjoyment has never diminished. The nerves, the joy of racing well and the essential lessons learnt from racing badly all contribute to the day. In my running days though the Saturday night after a cross country race was dee read more...

Away from the Numbers


It’s Friday evening and the first day of a cheeky last minute weekend trip to the Alps, I find myself out of energy on the final few kilometres of a climb. Maybe it was the travelling, the previous few climbs, the poor lunch on the flight or just old age but I was feeling tired. Now gadgets read more...

Last Day Blues


CCC2013 Stage Ten Moustiers Ste Marie to Nice 172km with 3032m of climbing What a start to the day through the Gorges du Verdon. The route is called the 'Corniche Sublime'. We are all in CCC kit except for Lothar.. It looks like we are his bodyguards protecting him. At the 10k read more...

The Easy Day


CCC2013 Stage Nine Bedoin to Moustiers Ste Marie 221km with 3939m of climbing Each Cent Col Challenge has a stage that is deemed slightly easier than the others, although it rarely works out like that. Over the years we've had atrocious weather that turned our easy day into anothe read more...

Dont Mention the V Word


CCC2013 Stage Eight Vassieux en Vercors to Bedoin 206km with 4554m of climbing There may not have been any elephants in the room but there certainly was one on today's profile. An averagely lumpy route but with one massive hurdle at the end......Mont Ventoux. Like the Zoncolan in read more...

Man, Machine and a Custard Slice


CCC2013 Stage Seven Montmeian to Vassieux en Vercors 212km with 5090m of climbing The most famous rider on this trip is Lothar Leder, the first man to complete an Ironman in under 8 hours. I was chatting with him up the first climb today, the Col de Granier. He has kept the mood fun w read more...

A Time for Heroes and the Return of the Rain


CCC2013 Stage Six Annecy to Montmeilian 203km with 4118m of climbing Riding these roads is such a privilege, beauty is everywhere, we are lucky to be here and for most it really is a selfish indulgence. However for a few it has a different perspective. In 2011 I met Kelvin who despite read more...

De la Desespoir a Je Ne Sais Pas Ou


CCC2013 Rest Day "I write this alone on my bed, I've poisoned every room in the house, The place is quiet and so alone, Pretend there's something worth waiting for. There's nothing nice in my head, The adult world took it all away, Wake up with same spit in my mouth, Cannot t read more...

To the rest day and all roads lead to Annecy, except the ones we are seemingly on


CCC2013 Stage Five Albertville to Annecy 201km with 5942m of climbing Yesterday may have been hailed as the queen stage but today's profile was monumental and involved even more climbing, although saying the stage is from Alberville to Annecy does not really give much away as dire read more...

Cest un Col Ouvert et Ferme


CCC2013 Stage Four Briancon to Albertville 233km with 5317m of climbing A pretty big day ahead, there was uncertainty about the route but the mood was set early as while putting on his bibs, Dave smeared a load of chamois cream to the wrong side of this shorts. Laughing and riding wit read more...

I Have Been Unfaithful, Prince Forgive Me


CCC2013 Stage Three Sisteron to Briancon 192km 4421m of climbing I'd been looking forward to this stage, hopefully to finally climb the Col D'Izoard. It had to be missed on the 2009 CCC due to snow and I had been worried that again weather might curtail the stage. However th read more...

Patella Overload


CCC2013 Stage Two Valberg to Sisteron 202km 3400m of climbing Seven days before starting this event, on the last rep, of the last climb on the last day's training in the Italian Alps my knee gave out on me. I had hoped it would be ok but it was not at all happy when I tried to u read more...

Hazing Hurts


CCC2013 Stage One Carros-Nice to Valberg 203km 5770m of climbing To gain access to fraternities and exclusive clubs you need to go through a certain level of discomfort and pain. The Cent Cols Challenge always throws up moments of intensity that, if endured, produces a truly accomplis read more...

Any Garage in a Blizzard


The freak weather had made the Giro organisers modify stage 19 the night before, the Gavia that we climbed a few days ago was deemed unsafe. Our plan initially remained the same............Ride the Stelvio and then watch on the mountain finish in the Val Martello. However on route we hear of -14 read more...

Stupid Stupid Just Stupid


Many times I have been asked what I think is the hardest mountain to climb. My answer has previously always been the same. It depends on two things, the weather conditions, and where the climbs is on the stage. Even the toughest climb is comfortable at the start of the day. However that same clim read more...

Looked OK on Paper


A 70mile ride, two climbs with a drive before and after from our hotel. I had mapped out a ride which included the Gavia and the Motirolo, simple.....we told the girls we should be back by late afternoon. The drive over took an hour longer than I thought it would, these mountain roads take ages i read more...

Where Eagles Dare


Today's plan was to ride the Giro's mountain TT course that the pros would contest in 2 days time at La Polsa. At 19km averaging 6% it would be a gentler test than yesterday crazy climb, and with a few kms of downhill in the middle it should be a fast effort. The highlight of the day howe read more...

Resetting the bar


4.30 alarm at home and by lunchtime we arrived at Lake Garda. Within 15 minutes four other friends arrive, time to sample some Italian pizza. Just 30 miles planned today. But this includes a climb I stumbled upon a few days earlier. I saw a Strava section entitled 'The worst 4kms in the world read more...

London to Edinburgh 2013 Day 2


Keen to continue the adventure, I felt surprisingly fresh and awake at 3am. I start with Chris and at 4am we leave the campsite and start our journey to Scotland. Davina now has the luxury of sleeping in til 6am and packing up all my kit! We ride out of York, past nightclubs as the young and read more...

London to Edinburgh 2013 Day 1


3.15am alarm and within minutes we were driving into London, I’d heard about this long distance sportive a few months back and thought it sounded intriguing. Cycling 444miles in 2 days capital to capital, but now at this early hour as I try and eat porridge while making sure Davina stays aw read more...

The Oldest, the Longest, the Hardest........the Best


The alarm was set for 4.15am but I was already awake half an hour before, today was going to be a long day. At 277km (172miles) Liege-Bastonge-Liege or la Doyenne (the oldest) is a seriously long tough route. Eating breakfast so early is always hardwork but I needed to cram as much in as poss read more...

La Fleche Wallonne and my favourite distraction


2010s Ardennes week was one of the my toughest weeks training ever, over 800 miles in 7 days on some brutal routes (see original blog here). A return this year was planned to increase that intensity but things didn't quite go to plan. Somehow having Davina with me this time, put me on edge. I read more...

Free Beer and Chips


Such a claim would entice anyone to an event and as it was a free event even more tempting. Unfortunately I don't eat chips or drink beer, so I guess it was the lore of the course that propelled me to North London on a Sunday morning for Rapha's Hell of the North. Not an obvious starting read more...

Live Free and Ride Hard


Just back from a 500 plus miles 7 day training camp. The first briefing was slightly worrying, the Train in Spain guru's accent sounded exactly like Staff Sergeant Eddie Stone from 'SAS Are You Tough Enough'. Are we in for a strict, painful week? Far from it, John was kind and conside read more...

Lost fitness but gained a life (temporarily)


I've had the last two months off the bike, the longest break in training ever (since about 1989). Suddenly each day had 3 extra hours, and I was able to do all those 'normal' things, I would never have time for. (Keeping up with correspondences, clearing out the garage and doing a ful read more...

Cold Bothy and Crampons Day 3


Spending a night in a bothy would be such a pleasant experience if people didn't snore. Last night there were 3 at it. So with only a couple of hours sleep in the last 2 days it was time to pack up again and start the last day of the trip. Our first target was to climb Devil's Point. We l read more...

Cold Bothy and Crampons Day 2


The first job of the day was to boil up some snow for breakfast. The view back down the valley from the bothy was a wonderful sight to wake up it, but it was howling a gale outside so we knew the climb would be tough. The aim for the morning was to summit Ben Macdui (Britain’s 2nd highest p read more...

Cold Bothy and Crampons Day 1


I met up with an old college friend last year. It was the first time I had seen him for over 20 years but he still had the same sense of adventure, so as he lives in Scotland I asked him if he fancied spending a few days hiking in the mountains. He was more than keen, so on the 1st February I hea read more...

A National To Treasure 2013 Part 2


 So after a long season whose main aim was this one race, how did I feel on the start line? The plan was that I arrived at that moment just before the start like a rabid dog ready to kill, but to be honest I felt more like a scared rabbit. I had committed fully to this moment over the last fo read more...

A National To Treasure 2013 Part 1


Twelve years ago I travelled to Durham for the National Cross County Championships with my dear friend Sam Haughian. At that time Sam was new to the senior ranks, having been an outstanding junior. Unfortunately I was injured again and was unable to race but watched as Sam surprised many with a f read more...

Replicating Belgium


There seems to be a live stream of a Belgium cross race every day during the Christmas period. Hopefully I’ll get a chance one day to try a Belgium course, but the idea appears to be spend Christmas racing, so I lined up four in Christmas week, Herne Hill/Southampton/Bakewell and Macclesfie read more...

Get a Grip Man


It’s no secret and pretty obvious that I fare better on courses with plenty of fast power sections. I like the mud and got some good results this season in sloppy conditions but as soon as it becomes slippery and technical I am reduced to a pretty pitiful rider. The Shrewsbury and Derby tro read more...

The long trek up North


‘If we go on the Friday we can do the north east league the day before’, so glad I decided to race on Saturday, as Sunday didn’t quite go to plan! We were to leave at 10am on Friday to try and get to Newcastle in the light and before the traffic, however an impromptu lie in and read more...

Im banning any more late night races in faraway places


I think I can change her mind but that was Davina’s response after last weekend’s races. A Saturday evening race in south east London then a Sunday morning race south of Oxford . What made this combination difficult was the wet, muddy and dark conditions of the first race, meaning tha read more...

Sunday Double Sunday


The day started relaxingly enough, our B&B just outside Abergavenny had a bed ‘far too comfortable for everyday use’.The view out of the window was a picturesque fog covered mountain, oh for a lie in. But no it was race day again and I had to sit and watch Davina polish off a full read more...

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 10


The last day arrives and it's massive……or is it? The first climb is the Gavia at a whopping 2650m. The riders head off, I stay around the hotel with Tim Smith. We always hang back and give the field 30 minutes head start. Playing catch up is always good to get the day going. Jus read more...

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 9


On paper this was the easiest stage of the lot, but in the mountains things generally do not go to plan. Soon after the start the rain begins and stays with us all day. Suddenly an easy stage becomes cold and treacherous.We race up the Mendola but no matter how hard I work I do not warm up and I read more...
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