Mike Simpson

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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...

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 8


As our hotel is perched on top of a climb we start the day with a great 12km descent. After a few 5km climbs (they seem very short now) we have two very long climbs today, firstly the 26km Branchetto. The open barren windswept highland scenery marks another change of region. The descent down to l read more...

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 7


The stage starts quick from the off with the 12km timed Vezzena starting just 3km from our hotel. This is a wonderful road carved into the mountainside and pretty steep, averaging over 10%. A group of three of us battle it up with Rob Waller setting a very strong pace. A long way from the struggl read more...

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 6


News filtered through during the rest day that due to a mountain bike race an entire village (10K from our start) was going to be closed the following morning (imagine the uproar in the UK if they closed all the roads into a village just for a race).The Cent Cols team quickly acted on this info a read more...

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 5


Another fright 1st thing as my left achilles was unable to make that first step out of bed. I had to walk sideways down to breakfast, unable to put hardly any weight on my left leg and after tucking to a monster breakfast I went in search of physio, Chris. I was worried, so close to tomorrow' read more...

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 4


Woke up with a problem… I literally could not open my eyes. Initially dismissing it as just being tired, I had to prise my eyes open. Upon inspection in the bathroom, I realised that my eyes were looking a hell of alot more tired than usual - I'd had an allergic reaction to something ( read more...

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 3


Early and tired, we are soon woken with the tough climb of the Cerada, although the stunning rock skylines really do seem to mask the effort of climbing. Next up was the more famous Passo Duran, often used in the Giro d'Italia, although it was the Cibiana, another picturesque climb through th read more...

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 2


Stage 2 started much the same way as Stage 1 ended… in torrential rain. A minor course detour meant that all riders had to be escorted through a long by pass tunnel - at this stage my previous relaxed nature continued a bit too much as I had neglected to really study the days profile. Crib read more...

Dolomites Diary 2012 Stage 1


So here we go again… and although I've never stepped foot in the Dolomites it was not a step into the unknown. Having the Cent Cols team guiding us through another journey meant I was organised, excited and very relaxed. As previous years, 2 of the day's climbs would be timed, the read more...

I'm Peaking and I Have Heroes To Thank


Etape Du Tour Act 2 2012 I was always a little unsure when was my sporting peak. In running finishing just a minute behind the Kenyan legend Paul Tergat at a cross country race in Belgium was probably it or at rowing maybe the win (and subsequent disqualification for being 0.1kg overweight!) at the read more...

A Few Less Demons To Worry About


Etape du Tour Act 1 2012 I'm lying on my back in the mud, the rain is lashing down and stinging my eyes as it mixes with sweat. I'm cold but smiling, I've just completed my best training session ever. 15x1km around the rugby pitches and river path in Marlow. In five days I have th read more...

It was all so much easier in a Calibra


The last time I was at the Millbrook Proving Ground it was the early 90s for a fun day test driving Vauxhall cars. We were told we would be red flagged if we exceeded 110mph on the 5 lane banked 2 mile oval high speed test track, needless to say there was a lot of red flags that day. My abiding memo read more...

Cent Cols memories 2011 - Wheel Sucking the Pailheres


At the start of stage one I had singled out two riders who would figure in the king of the mountains title, Belgium Matthias Meul and Israeli Lenny Engelhardt but it was the American Tim Smith who proved to be the real handful and no more so than on day 8. I had built up a good lead but that coul read more...

Cent Cols memories 2009 - Feed stop revamp


We were extremely well looked after by the organisers of the first ever cent cols challenge but by stage 7 the food at the morning feed stop had become very repetitive, eating the same make of cake/biscuits day in day out had started to make the stop very mundane and dull. The pleasure was fading read more...

With A Bit Of Luck......


"Be careful it's very icy in Marlow" But Dad I'm in Dorset!........he knows I am, I spoke to him last night. Even though I'm approaching 42, he is still worrying about me, (bless) and waking me up, phoning to warn me about the road conditions 130 miles away! Oh well there go read more...

Perverse Pleasures


Etape du Tour Act 2 2011 Sunday's 7 hours of cycling proved to be undoubtedly the hardest thing I've ever done in 24 years of sport. The route from Issoire to St Flour was billed as 130miles of tough riding through the beautiful Central Massif but atrocious weather conditions and a woefully inadequ read more...

Turning Yourself Inside Out


Etape du Tour Act 1 2011 The perception of a short 70mile stage (compared to the usual 100plus routes) instills a ferocious appetite for keeping the pace very high and so it transpired from the off. The first 10miles averaged 34.5 mph and then the climbing began. The col de Telegraphe often o read more...

Ardennes Week April 2010


Saturday 5pm........last stop of the day, legs have just about had it, struggle to dismount, collapse in a cafe, everyone is shattered but it's Graeme's round and the waitress sure looks pretty, so everyone is smiling, life is sweet. A few minutes later we are back to it, no easy finish to this week read more...
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