Startlist: Harold H Nelson Memorial Day of Racing

This Sunday, Manchester Bicycle Club are hosting the Harold H Nelson Memorial Day of Racing at Darley Moor, event 1 in the Percy Stallard Series (BMCR) (was LVRC)

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Startlist: Harold H Nelson Memorial Day of Racing

PLEASE HELP VELOUK SERVE THE SPORT OF CYCLING – THANK YOU (thanks to Sheldon for his donation). 

Where: Darley Moor Sports Centre, A515, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 2ET — the Darley Moor Circuit is a 1.5 mile (2.5km) circuit on a World War 2 aerodrome on the edge of the Peak District. This is a triangular well surfaced circuit with chicanes and a hairpin. Although at more than 800ft, the circuit is almost flat. The racing is almost always tough, as the exposed location often has a stiff breeze. All the races are run according to the British Masters Cycle Racing (BMCR) rules.

Harold “H” Nelson BEM (1928 – 2016) was a cycling coach who helped amateur and professional cyclists. This series of races is intended to keep his memory alive. Going round to Harold’s house in Wythenshawe was part of the weekly routine, and learning the basics of training and looking after your self – “where’s your hat?”

Remembering “H” with John Herety
“I must have been about 16 years old, and went along to a Cheshire Roads Club dinner, with Dave Robinson. Harold was there, surrounded by people, like some kind of Svengali or something. Anyway, I ended up speaking with him, and he said ‘have you got a coach ?’ ‘No’ I replied. ‘Right then, my house Monday night 6:30’. And that was that. Every week. 6:30. That was my slot”. As a youngster John enjoyed a variety of sports: football, lacrosse, cross-county running and cycling. Yet, he had most fun when cycling. It was the social side of the sport and friendship he made which meant cycling would be a life-long passion. “One of my first thoughts when starting out with Harold was that he’d make me get rid of my girlfriend at the time. But he said ‘no, that’s fine, I don’t really care what you’re doing in your private life, as long as you are getting the balance right’.

Early Days
John recalls ‘H’ being much more than a trainer or a coach. In fact John thinks of Harold as more of a “life coach” than someone who would prescribe a set of training workouts. “I would see him on the Monday, and by the time I’d got in, sat down and was ready for my session on the rollers, he’d be asking how the race went on Sunday, and before you knew it, you’d had a post race de-brief. He’d know what had happened in the race, as he’d heard from other riders and people who’d been at the race too”.

‘H’ didn’t set any of his riders a training programme – “you know, 30 mins on the rollers wouldn’t have that much training effect”. It was the other riders, the community that ‘H’ had establish and the connections made that proved the real value. “I would pick the brains of other riders about what to do in my training: Monday round to ‘H’s , Tuesday – chain gang, Wednesday – long ride, Thursday – chain gang, Friday – off, Saturday a little ride and get my bike ready and then Sunday – Race”. That quickly became John’s weekly structure. “As time went on, I’d leave work a bit earlier and get a ride in before training in the evenings”.

Harold was way ahead of his time with regards to understanding how you respond to training. “He was one of the first people I remember to use heart rate monitors in training and over the years developed a fantastic network of contacts who would always be willing to help out”. John had a few trips to Salford University to undergo sessions on the trainer there – “we were guinea pigs for research project into energy drinks”. Harold was a stickler for punctuality – he didn’t like people being late for anything and didn’t like excuses either. John’s time on the rollers was 6:30. “It was half an hour before Brian (Cookson), but I liked to get there in plenty of time, and would arrive about 6:00. Once I got there a bit later, about 6:15, but still in plenty of time for my slot. ‘H’ was not having it; “what happened to you ?” “I had a puncture, so had to stop and fix that” “well, you should have checked your tyres”. No excuses.

Looking after yourself, and establishing basic disciplines was fundamental to Harold’s approach. “Not just ‘where’s your hat’ but teaching us how to take our heart rate every morning, asking questions about the quality of our sleep and how we were feeling. He showed us how to wash our kit when we were away on a races – in those days you had to do it yourself in the sink and try to dry the tops and shorts (often woollen) with the hotel towels”.

‘H’ seemed to have the knack of doing the right thing at the right time. “One year we did the team pursuit at the national track champs, where there was always a bit of rivalry between the track riders and the roadies. We were doing OK, and make it through to the final. I remember Alan Geldard, who was coaching us at track side, going though the splits we’d just done, and basically telling us that while we’d done well, we would be settling for second place against the opposition”. As the team was preparing for the final race, the team briefing started. “Alan was a really nice bloke, but he couldn’t really make a frog jump. Harold was having none of it, he stood up, smashed Alan’s clipboard out of his hands and shouted at us ‘FFS, right, come on, we’re going to go out there to shit them up’ – he gave us a full on talking to, and we went out swinging. We still ended up with silver, but much much quicker that we expected”.

Harold had eyes and ears out everywhere, an amazing network of contacts “he was like Alex Ferguson in that way – he’d somehow know what you’d been up to”. John would be greeted at one of the Monday night sessions with “Oi, Little Legs – what were you doing out at the bus stop last night?”

Cycle racing has always relied on people putting something back into the sport . Harold was no exception to this and expected his riders to contribute too. Sometimes the request would be quite specific: “Harold had been out to the Peace Race (Warsaw-Berlin-Prague stage race) and had seen the GDR (German Democratic Republic) riders eating rice cakes during the the race. The next time I saw him, he said ‘right, you’re a chef, you can make me a load of rice cakes for the Mersey 24’. You had to your bit, and we were happy to help out”.

Harold inspired loyalty in all his riders, and this was reciprocated. “Once, we were on our way to the GP Essex, the car we were in broke down, and couldn’t be easily fixed. Harold told us to wait at the car, and off he went across the road (this in the days with no mobile phones). 10 mins later he shouted over. He was standing outside a pub with a pint in his hand ‘all sorted lads, we’re staying here tonight and will get the car sorted for the morning’. That was H down to a ’t’ – he’d just get things sorted out, all we had to do was ride our bikes”.

Enduring Lessons
Part of John’s current role with British Cycling is helping to develop young riders in the squad. A lot of ‘H’s lessons still hold true today. “The main thing I take from my time with ‘H’ is that an athlete is not just a cyclist, they are a person, with lots of other things going on in their lives, and that man-management, that psychological aspect is so important now”.
“I think that kind of holistic approach is key. Harold was always impressing on us to get the balance in our life right. He was as proud of my work as a chef and of Sherwen studying for his degree as he was of our race results”.

“The riders these days have so much information available to them, whether its watts per kilo in training efforts, or the weight of manufactures’ handlebars, they sometime forget that what’s most important is a solid foundation of discipline and getting the basics right”. Harold’s approach to training and racing was; strong discipline, treating the whole person, and getting the balance right. These are as true today, as it was back on that Monday night at 6:30, when John turned up for his first session on the rollers.

Thank you to John and Dave Robinson for making their time to share their recollections about “H” – it is really appreciated.

THE RACES:  start times for Sunday are:-
09:00 AB
11:00 CD
13:00 E&W
15:00 FGH


Start sheet for AB Race, 09:00
AB Karl Freeman Team wheel guru A
AB Kurt Hatwell Na A
AB Gavin Howell Ride Revolution RT A
AB David Inkson None A
AB Paul Allen Casp RT B
AB Mark Astles Pocomotion RC B
AB Moray Brown Lichfield CCC B
AB Lee Brown Trek Sheffield Fox Valley B
AB matthew carter Squadra RT B
AB Stephen Cartlidge Stone Wheelers B
AB Marco Coppola Arctic RC B
AB Angelo Derosa Graham Weigh RT B
AB Paul Dring Echelon RT B
AB Damian Evington Addform – Vive Le Velo B
AB Valentino Fontana Gemini Bc B
AB Chris Garner Coalville Wheelers B
AB Mark Greenwood Lungs 2 Legs B
AB Mark Hassall Pocomotion Road Club B
AB matt holmes Arctic-Aircon RT B
AB Jonny Mason Casp Racing Team B
AB Bob McGlue RideRevolution B
AB robert noble Infinity Cycles B
AB David Parry Anglesey Cycling Group B
AB Antony Ryder Velo Bavarian RT B
AB Matthew Sewell Beeston RC B

Starts sheet for CD Race, 11:00
CD Richard Allcock Worcester St John’s CC C
CD Andy Bennett BioracerUK C
CD Stephen Brown Reifen Racing C
CD Nigel Byrne Corley Cycles RC C
CD david cole Weaver valley cc C
CD ian cooper Team Ohten Aveas C
CD Michael D’Arcy CC Luton C
CD Simon Davis Born2bike racing team C
CD Matthew Foster Liverpool Braveheart BC C
CD Jimmy Froggatt SKCC C
CD Gary Heald Velo bevarian race team C
CD stuart jameson Solihull CC C
CD Craig Lamont PdC CC C
CD Gavin Lancaster PDQ RT C
CD Martin Lawless CC Ashwell C
CD Kieron Lewis CC Luton C
CD Wayne Mckeown CASP RT C
CD Kenny McLellan Reifen Racing C
CD Nigel Modlinsky Seamons CC C
CD Simon Mulholland Hoppers Rollers C
CD martin nelson Out Of The Saddle C
CD Jamie Pleavin Liverpool Century Road Club C
CD Christopher Quin BioRacer UK C
CD Glyn Rossant V-Sprint C
CD Justin Smith N/A C
CD Chris Spencer Bioracer UK RT C
CD Lee Steele Liverpool Braveheart BC C
CD david tate Arctic Aircon RT C
CD Lee Turner Arctic Aircon RT C
CD Dave Turton Pronto Bikes C
CD Shaun Tyson Protech Velo C
CD Chris Vaughan Hoppers Rollers C
CD Antony Wallis Regents park Roulers C
CD Jamie Woodward Gloucester City Cycle Club C
CD stephen woodward No club or team C
CD David Allen Bridgnorth Cycling Club D
CD Paul Bird CC Luton D
CD Julian Bray Dulwich Paragon D
CD Dean Cross Moda RT D
CD Alan Galloway CC Luton D
CD Geoff Giddings Private Member D
CD Tony Grassby Peak Road Club D
CD Mike Harrison Congleton CC D
CD John Hind Bolsover & District CC D
CD Paul Kennedy Sowerby Sunday Club D
CD Andrew Lowe Corley Cycles RC D
CD Paul Molloy Dolan ellesse D
CD Richard Moore Squadra RT D
CD Rob Muzio Team Ohten Aveas D
CD Richard Norris Haste CC D
CD Mark Northover Stourbridge Velo D
CD richard oakes TEAM OHTEN AVEAS D
CD Tim Preece Alba Rosa CC D
CD phil rayner Welland Valley cc D
CD Brian Seward Fenland clarion D
CD Deano Sibthorpe Echelon RT D
CD karl Smith Bott Cycle Team D
CD Paul Thursfield Graham Weigh RT D
CD Paul Turner Arctic Aircon RT D
CD john watson Hitchin Nomads D
CD Andrew Whitehead Rockingham CC D

Starts Sheet for E&W Race, 11:00 Start
E&W Alison Fovargue Empella W
E&W sarah cramoysan REIFEN RACING W
E&W Elaine Simpson Nottingham Clarion CC W
E&W Helen Taylor-Carter Beds Road Race Team W
E&W Sara Northover Kenilworth wheelers W
E&W Clare E Belle Simon Racer Nan W
E&W Helen Waugh Merseyside Ladies Cycling Association W
E&W Linda Dewhurst Team MK W
E&W Mark Hammersley Graham Weigh Racing Team E
E&W Jeremy Adamson BMCR E
E&W Jeff Baird Team Enable MI Racing McCann E
E&W Tom Begg Cambridge Vets RT E
E&W Robert Blackburn Nigel Smith Racing E
E&W Melvin Blackford Vive Le Velo E
E&W Richard Blackman Solihull CC E
E&W Steve Blake Plymouth Corinthians E
E&W Barry Bonnett None E
E&W Tony Clack G S Mossa E
E&W Steve Davies Bioracer uk RT E
E&W Simon Dighton Beacon RCC E
E&W Gary Hodkinson Bridgnorth Cycling Club E
E&W Eddie Humphreys Nottingham Clarion CC E
E&W Steve James CCLuton E
E&W John Moore Manchester Bicycle Club E
E&W karl moseley Droitwich cycling club E
E&W Stephen Piper Velo Schils Interbike RT E
E&W robert pye ASL Bolton E
E&W Chris Ranson Reifen Racing E
E&W Paul Stewart Moda RT E
E&W Robert Tillott St.Ives CC E
E&W Adrian Trott Cheshire Mavericks E
E&W Mike Twelves Team Ohten Aveas E
E&W Mark Wiffen Team Ohten Aveas E
E&W Paul Young Doncaster WCC E

Start Sheet FGH Start 15:00
E&W Steven Buckley PDQ F
E&W Ian Cowan Solihull CC F
FGH Iain Turnbull Reifen Racing F
FGH Steven Buckley PDQ F
FGH Steve Cronshaw Brooks Cycles – Cronshaw coaching F
FGH Neil Dean Cliff Pratt Racing F
FGH Chris Dunn API Metro F
FGH Steve Dunton Enable MI Racing F
FGH Patrick Ellerbeck St.Neots/ Veloelite F
FGH Vince Ellis Velo Schils – Interbike RT F
FGH Rob Finch Arctic Aircon RT F
FGH John French Team Enable Mi Racing F
FGH James Giblin Manchester bicycle club F
FGH Phill Harding Gregarios F
FGH Kevin Hickman Anglia Sport – Metrow Foods – BodybyJRF
FGH Ian Iveson East Lancashire F
FGH Clive Jones Velo Schils interbike F
FGH Maurice Laing Perth United F
FGH Keith Middleton Velo Club Lincoln F
FGH Mark Minting Dinnington RT F
FGH Jim Moffatt CC Luton F
FGH Rob O’ CONNOR Team Enable Mi racing. F
FGH Brian O’Kelly Bristol RC F
FGH John Phillips Sotonia CC F
FGH Geoff Rawlinson Manchester Bicycle Club F
FGH Tony Rees F
FGH Dave Robinson Manchester Bicycle Club F
FGH david robinson VC Veldrijden F
FGH philip rose Wheel Guru RT F
FGH james Rutherford LVC RACING F
FGH randle Shenton lageto raceing team F
FGH Mark Smith Wahoo Le Col F
FGH John William Tusting QN Racing F
FGH Stephen Wilkinson Team Wheel Guru F
FGH Tony Willday None F
FGH John Buxton Coalville Wheelers G
FGH Alistair Cameron Alba Rosa CC G
FGH Brian Cookson CC Lancashire G
FGH john duckett MotoTec kalas G
FGH ralph keeler ST IVES G
FGH Terry Meechan Ride Coventry G
FGH Dave Scargill Team Albany G
FGH Geoff Cooke Bush healthcare H
FGH Bill Cotton Belper Bicycle Club H
FGH Rob Stones Hull Thursday RC H



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