Wednesday, 31 March 2010


This week I have been working a lot at Lee Quarry, my days have consisted of getting up early and heading into the office in Manchester, packing the van and then heading over to Bacup. Here I have had the fun of spring as I put about ten layers on and even the climbs can't warm me up. We've had rain, hail, snow, wind and even one afternoon the sun. But its been great fun! Small groups meant a chance for me to play on the pump track and each day I am feeling stronger on it. I've been riding on flats all week and it has been showing up where I use the fact I am in spd's, this can only be good for my skills. But however cold it has been and even when I have been washing muddy waterproofs again I have to say I wouldn't change my job as there has been fear and tears but after every sessions smiles and can we do it again!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Ali's longest-est ever ride (just)

Today's plan was to head to the seaside with Ali she had decided to plot a route last night so I wasn't actually sure which way we were going. The clocks going forward meant that I decided not to get up silly early and do a ride before we set off - that and a promise to make Ali oatie cakes! After lots of faffing - mainly by me who decided this was an ideal time to catch up on paperwork? We left just before 10am. It was a little overcast but not too cold which was good. Pedalling off towards Horwich it wasn't long before I was stopping to take a layer off and to look at my bike. It felt like the brakes were on but I assumed it was just me! As it turns out the front brake was on - this must be the only time that has happened and its not just me imagining it!

It seemed like no time at all before we were out in the lanes, at this point it became apparent that not only was it windy but that it was going to be a headwind the whole way there. Ali was doing a good job of sitting right on my rear wheel so I was left to battle the wind, still I am sure it is good training. I love the road names in this part of Lancashire and with the route being slightly different to my normal route there were a few new ones to me.

We arrived into Southport a completely new way to me but still on quiet roads so that was a win. There was some debate about eating inside or out but we both agreed it was still a little too cold, I especially seem to get really cold once I stop pedalling.

So it was fish and chips for two before heading back down to the seafront so Ali could get onto the beach. I prefered not to get covered in sand so was boring and stayed on the seawall.

Time to head off and after a pleasent ride along the coast road we headed off along the Banks only to take another new route. It avoided the main road but did become a little interesting on road bikes!

Then all that was left to do was stop at Freddies for ice-creams before heading home.

At this point Ali changed her mind about climbing over Sheep House Lane to Belmont and we went the flatter route home.

76miles makes it the longest ride mileage-wise for Ali, if she keeps this up I am going to struggle to keep up with her at Kielder100!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Lee Quarry and night ride fail

Yesterday I was working up at Lee Quarry in the afternoon. This time there was no hail, wind and only light rain. The group was a lot smaller than expected so it was a fun afternoon. First we played on the pump track for a while - I need more practice as I had to pedal a little on the way back. Then over to the new skills area, it really is great. I have to get back over there again to explore all the new tracks - we just used one of them!

Tuesday had meant to be a night ride with donk. But as soon as I realised there was a problem! I was pedalling yet going nowhere! Appears the rear hub is a little dead. So Cooksons have now sent it back to Hope, lets hope it is back for Easter as Ali and I have riding plans which might be a problem if I don't have a bike to ride!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Project ride my mountain bike begins

Although my mileage has increased to a level I am happy with and I have started to do longer rides it has nearly all been on road. Now that would be fine but the race in May is off-road and at a trail centre, a type of riding that I don't do much of when I am riding off road regularly anyway. So a plan was hatched! It started with arranging to meet Odile for our evening ride at Lee Quarry I then added in a daytime ride with Jumbly and the day was set.

I was all ready to go an hour and a half before meeting Jumbly so I could go a longer way over and take in the ICR, only when I got rigger out his rear tyre was flat. So the extra time was spent putting a new inner tube in. The way over was nice and I was wearing just a base layer and a Jersey. Climbing up Barrow Bridge I felt so unfit as I made slow progress, but at least I didn't stop! Up onto Georges Lane and I decided to drop down through Wilderswood, then along to meet Jumbly. She had some excuse about sore legs, something to do with running 18miles yesterday. So my suggestion had been two hours riding, over to the nab play on the trails, then one hour of cake at the cafe!

The nab has some new stuff since I was last there including a singletrack climb which we both enjoyed. But a lot of the downhill sections showed me I have a lot of work to do. We started with me taking 3 attempts to ride over some logs and there were plenty more bits to scream down or have to try again after stopping. All I need to do is get over there regularly as it will help me with my riding.

Back to the cafe and amazingly enough I had timed it perfectly and we arrived at 1pm. But then it got odd, neither of us had cake. Although the sandwiches on this new bread were amazing!

At exactly 2pm I set off towards Lee Quarry. A mixture of roads and trails taking me towards my destination. By the time I got there the sun was out and I was looking forward to riding. As I was a little early I headed up to do some riding. Partway up I bumped into Chips and Matt Wilderness they said it had been windy earlier but the new stuff was great. So I headed up and did the last descent before getting to the car park. Here I had some food and waiting for Odile. It wasn't long before she arrived, after stripping in the car park to change while a local tried to have a conversation with us we were off.

Partway up the climb and we joined the new singletrack climb, here it got windy and I was reduced to walking up something that didn't look that steep! But it was worth it with some lovely flowing singletrack bringing us back down to what was the top of the climb. At this point staying on the trail was getting harder! We got to the skills area and it has completely changed. The plan was to play but the hail came and it was impossible. We set off following the red arrows, only to find ourselves with four options (I think this might be the new pump track) before getting back to where we started. Here I led us straight down the shortest way. Back to the car and Odile was shivering!

Not long after my last companion for the day arrived when Ali rode up. She had rang me when she finished work unsure of what to do, she wanted to go for a ride but wasn't sure. Next thing I know she was ringing me again, she had a plan, she was going to ride out to meet me and ride home with me as long as I was riding home on road. So with perfect timing she arrived just as I was ready to leave. So we set off, both cold by this point and wishing it wasn't downhill to Rawtenstall. In fact the hill out of Rawtenstall wasn't long enough to warm up on. I was starting to warm up but then I was on a mountain bike so putting more effort in than Ali on her roadie. She tried going ahead and coming back but no still cold. We were both glad to get home and take the wet layers off. Pizza for tea was the easy option. I finished feeling strong which after 9 hours out of the house was good.

90km, not a bad start to mountain bike miles.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Recovery Week

No posts this week as I have basically been on a recovery week. Not quite in the convential sense as I have still been riding everyday, but only commuting miles. Nothing extra, no pushing and the shortest route everyday. But not quite going as far as taking the car or getting the train. I was pleasantly suprised that my legs were fine on monday, unfortunately my stomach was not! I was up most of sunday night with stomach cramps. I think it might have been the speed I inhaled the roast dinner at my folks. In the morning I nearly rang in work but decided to see how I felt after the first couple of miles. Turns out all I needed to do was ride, by the time I got to the school I was working at I felt great! The rest of the week my digestion wasn't quite right so I tried to concentrate on eating well and resting lots.

Thing is now I am ready for some more miles! Working tomorrow but monday I am off and the plan is to get out on the mountain bike its been way too long!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Could have been a disaster

Today I headed out nice and early to meet ColinJ for a nice hilly road ride as I need to get out in the hills again. He had put it up on the cyclechat forum so there were a few of us meeting up. I felt like I was going well and then on the hill out of Littleborough towards Todmorden I went to change gear, it shifted all the way down the cassette, what was going on? An investigation revealed this.

See the problem, it had actually snapped in the shifter! I sent a text and started heading home, I was not happy. In fact I was struggling not to cry! Part way home I remembered Cooksons now open on a sunday so I thought I could head home and look at what time it opens. After passing through Bury I realised this was a bad idea and in the frame of mind I was in I would just sit on the internet all day and miss the lovely weather. So I headed to Cooksons, getting there at 11am just at it opened. Martin took minutes to put a new cable in and I headed back out. I made a decision to follow the route backwards and see if I could bump into the others. I had sent Colin a text and he had text when they were in the cafe, a different one than planned. So when I passed the original one I guessed I had missed them. I sent a text saying where I was and I was going to be looking at heading home when he rang, they were 15minutes away! So I met up with them and then turned round.

At this point the route was shortened as it was getting late so I rode back to Hebden Bridge with everyone. We all headed our seperate ways with me riding out to my mums in Middleton to suprise her, not before stopping for more food in Todmorden. A nice roast dinner and she insisted on dropping me home however much I insisted on riding.

110miles on the Garmin, longest ride ever!

Friday, 12 March 2010


Well its happening! Due to Ollie having to have shoulder surgery he has transferred his entry to me. So after all my talking about wanting my next challenge to be a 24hour solo it is now happening in just over two months, eek!

I suppose now its time to practice for the race, up the miles. Get used to eating and drinking on the bike and generally panic! Ali is kindly coming to do support, although she said something about getting some sleep at night so she can drive me home. I suspect she is the only one who can cope with me in the hours leading up to the start!

So hints and tips on the race day and training please!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Meet Kiwi

Well better late than never here is a picture of the fixie that I got in January, he was actually a Christmas present from my mum. I know that some of you asked for a picture at the start for for various reasons it never happened. Today we went over 1000miles probably the fastest any of my bikes have made that landmark and gives away that I have hardly been riding any other bike!

Like last wednesday I was off to Halton in the afternoon. So yesterday I came up with a plan, I would leave earlier and cycle over a longer way. Plotting commenced and I ended up with a route about 46miles out. I left at the same time as Ali, stopped at Asda for some supplies and set out. Apart from the wind it was lovely out, perfect for some base miles in fact. The route worked well untill I turned a corner and was greeted by a 13% sign. Up the hill I went, speed about 2mph. I was overtaken by a jogger and would have stopped and walked only I couldn't unclip without falling over - oh and the fact that walking would have been giving up!

Arrived at the school in perfect time. Ate lunch and tried not to think how my back was hurting, problem with riding to work is carrying all the stuff! The kids were in high spirits but riding well. One of the girls pedal fell off as she was riding along, a first for me! Then all that was left was the 28miles home. Rode to the outskirts of Warrington with two of the other instructors and then I was on my own. The hill from Atherton to Bolton wasn't too bad considering the miles in my legs but I was glad to get home.

So 75miles commuting in total!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Not me screaming this time

A suprising message from Ali at lunch meant I went night-riding with her this evening. I was made to promise it wouldn't be too long or too fast and we headed out towards Winter Hill. After 3km I was asked if it was time to go home, I think she was joking! Met two lads on their way up too, one singlespeeding who asked if I was "the singlespeeder", I'm sure I can't be the only girl on a singlespeed around here. At the top of Winter Hill it was time for a cookie break before heading down. The snow has melted and left some slippy mud, I don't think Ali liked it. There were a fair few screams and part way down she agreed to go first - apparently I had gone a little fast. All that was left to spin along the road and then eat some food. At 13miles it was shorter than planned but just a lovely ride.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Adventure time

Now the fitness is starting to come back, it is time for some adventures. I don't know if it is the change in the weather but I found myself daydreaming about bivvying on tuesday.

Onto Wednesday and the opportunity for an adventure presented itself as I was on the rota to work at a school in Runcorn in the afternoon. At first glance at the map all I could see were Expressways - huge dual carriageways in the sky - that I did not fancy riding on. But lots of time playing and I had a route planned at just under 30miles. Worried about how long it would take I was out the door just after 10am, to be greeted by the sunshine. The route was lovely, a couple of towns but lots of lovely country lanes. Even the drivers in leigh seemed nice! Halfway there I had a gel stop (decided that I should get used to them again before racing a 24hour).

Once I was a couple of miles from the school I found a bench by the canal and enjoyed my sandwiches. I really didn't feel like I was commuting! The last couple of miles were hilly. All new estates and just up for ten metres, down for ten, repeat. Work was lovely as the children were bright and lovely to work with.

Just riding back again would have been enough of an adventure, but no I had a plan. So I set off to Manchester, a nice 27mile ride this time. My plan was to go and meet Ali who was staying in Hope as she is working out there at a clients. I got to the train station an hour before the next train so only one thing to do and that is have a hot chocolate.

Once at Hope I met Ali and we walked to the pub. A beer and lots of food later we were both falling asleep, only the next train was 11:12pm. So lots of chatting and then I left and she went to bed. Back into Manchester just after midnight and all that was left was for me to cycle home. Roads were lovely and quiet! But I was shattered, still cycling when tired is good practice?

A great adventure but tonight I need my sleep!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Chasing Donk

Tuesday night and I was meant to be riding with Odile, unfortunately she has been ill so cancelled. I knew I wouldn't go out on my own so I text Johnnie and Donk to see if they were riding. I haven't been out with them for ages as first I was ill, then just too unfit. But after feeling strong the last couple of days I decided to give it a go. Headed out and started on up winter hill but realised that I didn't have time for that route so dropped to Chorley Old Road and just sprinted over on the road. But still a fair amount of climbing on the way over. I got there and it was just me and Donk so I knew it would be hard, he is fit and fast. We headed up to the Pike, I failed on the corner not quite enough power in the legs. Then off the back, scary after so little mountain biking recently. Before heading up Winter Hill. We got to the top and there was snow. Time to mince down the descent, well if you are me Donk seemed to ride it fine. At the bottom he told me he liked the running commentry the whole way down. Well I aim to please!

Over towards Entwistle, before taking a nasty track with some nasty climbs. I walked one but the rest were cleared, my cadence was probably 0.4rpm or something silly! Then down the Witton Weavers and home.

Great ride and I had to work hard but hey its good for me!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Comedy commute

Yesterday I had an interesting commute. After running in the lovely weather I was looking forward to getting on my bike and looking in my book I thought the school was 10miles away. I left myself 50minutes to get there but 2 miles in a look at the Garmin made me realise it was more like 13miles. Time to get a move on. For the first time in ages my legs felt strong, I was pushing in fact I was flying. Turns out I averaged 15mph so I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Outside with the kids and it started hailing, only light though so no problems. Stopped pretty soon and I carried on. Next thing I know is the sky goes dark and we are in a huge hailstorm. Get them back to school as quick as possible and do indoor activities.

After that I popped to the office before heading home. Stopped at the lights on Oldham road some school kids decided to throw stones at me. I ignored them but it continued till the lights changed. Nice of them wasn't it? I was more worried about the ones that hit my lovely bike!

Stopped at Cooksons on the way back. Chris kindly spoiled my bike taking the front brake off and actually making it work. It was a good job as on the way home three cars turned right across me causing emergency braking moves. Nice of them to let me test the new brake blocks - fortunately they worked.

It was a great day and I think the sun coming out has made me smile!

Monday, 1 March 2010

February Round-up

So after January where I did hardly anything how was February. The answer is lots better! Running was down but only a couple of miles off where I need to be for my target. I managed 649miles on the bikes which is fine for a february. Most of this was on-road but 180miles were off road and compared to the 22miles of off-road in January it is a huge difference.

Onto March and the plan is to maintain the mileage but hopefully get some more off-road miles and most importantly some longer rides. I am doing lots of short rides and with a little race coming up in May that needs to change. Plan is to try and get a longish off-road ride in one day at the weekend, the other being rest days. If this sun stays out I'll probably get Ali out to play a bit as well.

I am also noticing the loss of fitness most on the hills so it is time to try and do some hill work again, I think this means some hill repeats as it is the easiest way to get hills in. Most of my bike miles are commuting and so essentially reasonably flat. I will be taking this easy as I am not sure I am responding well to intensity. Watching how it effects me and ensuring I don't let it make me ill.


Woke up this morning and it was already getting light. By the time I had eaten breakfast the sun was out! It seems that at least for the first day of March we have spring. Had plans for this morning since I wasn't working, haven't got a lot of time off this week and don't want to waste it all on the internet. So today I was to go food shopping and then for a 50min run. Left the house later than planned for food shopping, but got everything on the list and managed to get it home, wished I had gears as standing up wasn't an option with the heavy bag which made the mile feel longer. Back home and I started thinking that I wouldn't bother with a run this morning, just go later maybe. Then I realised what I was doing. So a quick change into running stuff and I was out the door. Breathing felt hard but otherwise everything was okay, I had sunglasses on and was wishing I wasn't in tights as it was warm! Then I got a stictch! Everything slowed down, I debated stopping but decided to continue. Got to the 50mins and was speeding up again near the end. Lovely day for a run.

My aim for this week is to try and stay hydrated. I am not drinking at all on the bike and hardly at all when I am working. This needs to change! I then try and drink loads once I get home but it is not really working. I need to be more consistent. So I am setting myself a challenge. Two bottles of water throughout the day - meaning I have to finish the first by lunch to fill it up. I manage this one day and then fail for two. This week the aim is everyday. I think staying hydrated will make everything easier!