Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Time trialling again

Back in 2008 I rode two club 10's. I always meant to do some more but somehow it didn't happen. Anyway tonight I went over to Rainford again and had another go. I'm guessing 192miles at the weekend wasn't ideal preparation so I'm happy enough with my 28:30. Ali came to and beat me by 9seconds. Looking at my heart rate I can go faster an average of 175bpm is low for me. But that was as hard as my legs would go!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Poynton Plains 300

Yesterday I spent the day trying to rest and eat loads. The eating loads was easy but the resting was hard as it was a perfect day for cycling. But it was all for a good reason and after attaching lights, saddlebag, maps and garmin to my bike we packed the car and headed off to Poynton as I had entered the Poynton Plains 300. It was an ideal training ride for the 24solo, with it going to be my longest ride to date and riding through the night. As well as being a huge challenge in its own right! After getting the bike out and collecting my brevet card I was stood round chatting to Ali when someone said off you go then, opps I hadn't turned my garmin on. So on quickly and head off to hold on to the group. I got myself somewhere in the middle and was feeling comfortable all the way to the first control. Which seemed to come very fast. Still water and crisps purchased and the all important stamp and I was on my way. Onwards and through Nantwich where a closed level crossing meant carrying the bikes over a footbridge, I was glad of my light bike although the road shoes were not ideal! This time I ended up in a group of about eight and it was clear when we were getting close to Dinky's Dina as the pace went up and we caught up with two in front just before we got there. Turns out we were the first group there. A cheese and ham toastie was appreciated.

Onwards to Newtown and now it was raining. I was glad I had put my waterproof on. The group I started with soon split and I worked hard to hold onto the front group. As we dropped into Newtown it was Dawn and we went a little further to McDonalds instead of standing on a garage forecourt. Having not been to MacDonalds in years I was not sure what to expect at all. Turns out I had a nice bacon roll, hot chocolate and muffin. Since we all know McDonalds is high calorie food this was ideal. A big group left at the same time, but the first hill split us up. I was suprised to be amongst the strongest hill climbers - think the fixed riding is working. A missed turn just before Dinky's Dina meant chasing to arrive at the same time as the other four. Here I just got an orange juice as I was full and headed off quickly (well so I thought it was still a 30minute stop). I rode by myself for about 30minutes before meeting up with someone else. After an hour of riding we collected someone else and rode together to the next control. This was a lovely cafe at Radway Green Garden Centre. A chocolate eclair here and another orange juice and the three of us left just after the next group arrived. Only 42km left!

At first the hills seemed hard and I felt slow but soon I was hammering up the hills as the distance came down. I had text Ali to say that I would be there by 1:30pm (I had said 3pm the night before). The last stretch was on a main road and we all put our heads down and pushed on, wanting to get under 14 and a half hours. I got to the co-op at 1:25pm, Ali was there to get a picture of me and bubbles were bought to go with the celebration pizza later. Just as we drove out of the carpark the rain came, seems like I had timed that right!

All the stats are on Garmin connect above. But for the imperial amongst you the ride was 192miles and my average moving speed was 15.8mph!

Me at the finish.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Winter Hill

My rota this week seems to involve lots of miles so my only real day for a night ride was tonight. Odile was onboard and turned up to mine at 5pm. My grumbling about the rain in the morning worked and it turned into a lovely evening. I was still glad of my tights but the sun was out and the trails dry.

We went up Winter Hill, down past the quarry onto Georges Lane - really impressed I rode it. Back up Winter Hill and down the Belmont Descent. Which was in fantastic condition. My legs were sore buy the time I reached the gate though. Then it was an easy spin home, well that was what I thought but Odile put herself in big ring and stormed back leaving me spinning like a lunatic!

200km - fixed

I had it in my head that I wanted to do a 200km ride, it would be my furthest ride and its a nice round number. The weekend was the ideal time for it and I had a number of plans, then Ali suggested going to Cambridge and maybe I could ride down. It turns out I had plotted this route previously and at over 300km it was going to be a little long. Ali wanted me to spend some time with her and her mum once I got there. So I plotted another route which came out at 206km, ideal. We had planned to leave our house at 6am, instead we got up then. Something to do with me being out late the night before. So it was 9am before I started pedalling.

On my way and it seemed a little hillier than I was expecting, I was wondering if I had made the right choice to try and do my longest ride ever fixed. But the riding was lovely, little country lanes, hardly any traffic and hares in the fields beside me. Soon the layers were coming off as I warmed up. Through the centre of Newark and I knew it was all villages from here on, not that Newark had been that busy unless you count the huge club ride heading out in the opposite direction to me. Somewhere after the outskirts of Grantham I realised I was getting low on water but I thought it would be fine as one of the villages would have a shop. Before that point I had passed a few. But no this was when I started going through villages with no facilities except pubs that were shut. My next thought was to ask the next person I saw gardening, but no they had all disappeared as well. A look on the map and I decided to divert to Bourne as it looked a reasonable size on the map. Stocked up with water and headed back on my way, past an open pub, village shop and petrol station! So I would have been fine. Still on such a lovely day who minded an extra few miles?

At this point I was down to wearing my shorts and jersey, unheard of for me in April. I was amazed at how much stuff I actually got in my rear pockets! I was to find out later that when I put my suncream on I hadn't considered that I would actually take my knee-warmers off and so ended up burnt between my shorts and my knee on the right hand side. It seemed no time at all till I was in Cambridgeshire, fortunately I am all too aware how long a county this is so I didn't think I was nearly there.

I spent most of the time in my own bubble, waving at the odd cyclist who was taking advantage of the weather. Until just before Earith where two cyclists went past me. No one to not take advantage I got onto the rear wheel and stayed them. Some chatting about if I had come far, as soon as they heard they had lots of questions, some chatting about cross racing and that five miles flew by. I was feeling strong now so I decided to push a bit. I was hoping to do the 200km in 10 hours total time, I had my garmin on continuously so my average speed was the overall. Even with the extra distance I could see that 10hours was a possibility. Last stop and text was sent to Ali saying I should be there by 7pm and on I went. Pushing on through the villages I recognised from riding round here previously. Before I knew it I was pulling into Harwick and waving through the window. 15minutes before my 10 hour cut-off. 

Then it was time to go out for Pizza amazing I didn't feel that tired!

So total stats:

Distance: 217.31 km
Elevation Gain: 603 m
Moving Time: 09:01:07
Elapsed Time: 09:53:02
Avg Speed: 22.0 km/h
Avg Moving Speed: 24.1 km/h
Max Speed: 46.5 km/h
Avg HR: 124 bpm
Max HR: 172 bpm

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Recovery Running

This week is basically a recovery week after three weeks with lots of riding. Means that apart from tuesdays ride I had done nothing till today. Popping in to the office and meeting my my mum for lunch added up to 32miles on kiwi. When I got home I considered taking rigger out as it was such a nice day. But then I came up with another idea I would try running. I haven't ran in nearly a month after hobbling home the last time I tried. Since then I have made an effort to stretch after every ride and that and a break from running seemed to have worked. Today I ran 3miles in just over 30minutes, slow but steady as planned, but the important thing was nothing hurt! Now cycling is a good recovery session for runners, unfortunately I don't think it works the other way round. Still I got to go out on what was a lovely afternoon and enjoy some dry dusty off-road trails.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Dusty Trails

First thing on the to-do list for yesterday was to get Rigger sorted, he needed a new chain and the chain tension was so loose on the old one I couldn't really get away without doing something. Unfortunately I could not get the EBB to move. Hitting with a hammer, spraying in lube, cycling up a steep hill, etc just didn't work so off I went to Cooksons. Here Martin got to work, no big hammers for him just some nice tools. He also greased it all up and put the new chain on for me. I also picked up some new bar tap for rigger as ge has needed some new stuff for a while.

After some doing some bits round the house it was time to head over to Lee Quarry to meet up with Odile. After our last attempt at riding up there we were both hoping for better weather. Odile did ring to check we were still on as the weather looked like it was going to change. As it turned out the weather was fine, a little windy but nothing like last time. We headed up to the pump track and then went to play in the skills area. After a while we did the red route before heading back up to the skills area. Here we met up with Donk, Junkyard and Si. At this point Odile decided to head off and I stayed on with the boys. Some more skills area playing and then I showed them where the pump track was. Donk made it look easy! He then started talking about a vertical wall in the Quarry he wanted to ride. We all encouraged him but none of us offered to join him!

Partway up with his bike I think he may have been wondering what he was doing, he was soon carrying and practically crawling up! A nervous look over the top and in he dropped. Using my phone meant the pictures were rubbish. He refused to do it again for the camera though.

Then it was time for a lap of the red, me and Si peeled off at some point to head over to Rooley Moor Road and down towards Heywood. Where we split and went our seperate ways.

A lovely evening and a real change to ride dusty trails, although I did have some skids as it was such a strange surface!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

A sunny Sunday

here was another CycleChat ride organised for today. This time it started at Whalley although a fair few were meeting up at Hebden Bridge and cycling over. I persuaded Ali that she would like to get the train out and join us and then if she felt okay ride home with me. I was up nice and early as I had planned to leave at 7am. I had plotted a nice 100km ride out to Whalley which included Waddington Fell, where there is no point going the direct way when the indirect way is so pretty. Garmin issues (basically it seems to have frozen) meant that after stressing and then taking the older one with me I was on the road for 7:30am, not quite enough time but it was such a nice day I wasn't for taking any shortcurts. When I got to Waddington I realised I would be a little late meeting Ali at the station, which would make me very unpopular, so it was head down and try and get there as soon as I could. I was about to ring her when I realised that I had a text saying the train was running late. Meant I could slow down a bit.

As it turns out the cyclechat lot were running late so we still went to the meeting point and had a ice-cream. Some who had rode out from Hebden Bridge had to head back but the rest of us headed back to Waddington. Then it was a "flat" loop from there. Compared to the hills ColinJ normally drags us up it was flat but there were a few nasty little climbs. Back to the cafe in Waddington and I had a well deserved Bacon Butty followed by ice-cream while Ali enjoyed a Quiche followed by cream tea.

After this we split and headed our own way home. I had kindly plotted a hilly route for us, although not as hilly as I could have made it. I made sure I was constantly feeding Ali sweets and was impressed that she finished tired but strong. The weather couldn't have been nicer but for some reason I managed to take no pictures!

170km, 2750m ascent, Average Speed 21.1km/h - I was happy!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Sunny Days

The weather yesterday was lovely and I am glad to say I took advantage of it. After dragging myself out of bed I sat out in the back yard with my sister for a while before heading over to meet Ali for a picnic lunch in the park. I had brought the frisbee so we had fun running round the park. Unfortunately for Ali I am not very good with the frisbee so she had to do a lot more running than me.

After that it was home and then it should have been out to Lee Quarry only my little bit of bike maintaince meant I was too late to get there so I ended up riding with Odile from home. It was a lovely night to be up on Winter Hill and I was riding with gears for a nice change. We went off the shoulder from Winter Hill, I have done this trail once but the weather meant I couldn't see much so I ended up pushing. This time there was just one section I walked and I know its rideable, one to try again!

A little detour as I wanted to see where a trail went led to lots of pushing, but the plus side was seeing loads of baby sheep wearing little coats. No idea why but it was cute.

Home just as it got dark with 15miles on the GPS and a huge smile.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Easy miles

Yesterday I headed over to pick Jumbly up and then ride into Manchester to go to Bike Doc so I could pick up a new cog for the back of my singlespeed. The day was lovely and I was glad I hadn't worn tights, although I still had my knee warmers on. The ride in wasn't that exciting, straight down the A6 is never going to be. But the bike shop was sucessful. Then we headed into Manchester on a cafe search before getting the train home. I was very suprised to have clocked 45miles as it really hadn't felt like much.

Once home it was pizza and time to head out and see the Saw Doctors. One of my favourite bands and they didn't disappoint. It was such a nice night that we walked home at the end. I am very tired today though.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Easter Sunday

After a leisurely breakfast including a fry-up, well we were on holiday, we headed off to do the deadwater trail. I was finding it harder today and Ali was getting away from me a little on the uphills. But on the downhills she had a huge advantage as I struggled with the rough trails. As we headed up on deadwater fell we came across snow. Of course Ali wanted to make a snow angel but the combination of the wrong sort of snow and her not taking off her camelbak meant it wasn't the most sucessful attempt.

Dropping back to Kielder we went to the cafe for soup followed by the all important cake while discussing a plan for the afternoon. We both thought something easy was in order and then Ali suggested riding round the lake. There is a multi-use path the whole way round and although it is 27miles round it we both assumed, wrongly, it would be flat. We followed the sign for the north shore and somehow missed the lake - typical of us - eventually someone pointed us in the right direction and we were on our way. The first hour was spent meeting people coming back the opposite way who had set off in the morning and realising that it was very hilly for a trail round a lake.

On the way we had a few diversions for various art installations including my favourite which was these giant chairs. I just had to have a little rest. We seemed to have all sorts of weather in the afternoon with sun, rain and hail all making an appearance.

Once back at the hostel we decided to head out for dinner and drove to another village to try a pub there, only it was full with a sign saying go away if you haven't booked. We ended up somewhere else and the food was amazing. Sometimes it is the less obvious places that are a real gem.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

An evening at Lee Quarry

After our weekend away Ali was all keen to do some more biking. She suggested a trip to lee quarry so I could help her with some skills. So I headed over on the bike and she followed later in the car after work. I was there by 4:30pm and had some fun on the pump track before trying all the tracks in the skills area. So far I had only done one of the reds. There seems to be another route (black I assume) that starts elsewhere although it finishes in the same area so I need to try and work that one out! I also tried the new climb again and failed to clear it again, one day. This time I took in the black slab thing. A little scary but fun! Back to the pump track and on the dot of 6pm Ali rang! So I headed down to the car.

Up the climb again and onto the pump track, she took one look at it and said she didn't like it. She had a few goes round but then a group came up and she didn't want an audience so we went up to the skills area. A bit of playing on the drops and me attempting to persuade her to ride over the log before we headed to the new climb. This was to help Ali with her fear of edges, but she managed it fine! In fact she got all the way up while I pushed some of it - she had gears though ;-) Back to the skills are and I took her down the berms run. Not sure she loved it but she did it well. Back to the pump track and she had improved loads! All that was left was to drop to the car! Back to the bottom and Ali was cramping I think she may need a rest day!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A Good Friday Biking

Since both me and Ali were not working over Easter a plan was hatched (egg pun fully intended!) to travel up to Kielder/Newcastleton for some biking. A lazy start on friday morning meant we arrived at Newcastleton just before 3pm. Minimal faffage and we were pedalling up the hill to the start of the trails. Into the first section of singletrack and I was having fun and feeling fast. I turned round to check on Ali and she was right there, I offered to let her go first but she told me that she was working hard to stay on my wheel! I suprised both myself and Ali by taking the harder choice at one point. I then had to go back so Ali could watch and record the moment!

Up to the border stone on various fireroads and it was time for a snack, yes I had made oatie cakes!

Soon there was more singletrack, including a steep section I just could not get up. Ali used those magic gear things on her bike to ride past me! A bit of singletrack section we both loved brought us back out at the skills section and we set out round the second loop of the red (shared with the blue). Partway up the climb and I pulled away from Ali as I was at the limit of my bike and she was happily spinning away. We went past a couple on their bikes, just as I had slowed down to regroup with Ali the lad stormed past obviously working hard, leaving his girlfriend (I presume) behind. When Ali and I got to the top he was trying to look like he hadn't been trying, think he needs to work on the "that was easy" look ;-) A last few bits of singletrack and it was back to the car and time to drive over to Kielder.

A Mini Kielder100

Saturday Ali was off to the football so it was my day for a long ride. After a look round the maze and a peek in the bikeshop we parted ways with me heading off to find some bike trails and Ali to drive to Gateshead. We had asked in the bikeshop how to get on the bloody bush trail over to Newcastleton but I have to assume the women there has never done the trail. After telling me that the trails could be followed in either direction (not really the case as lots of them had no entry signs) and telling me that everyone asked by names but she didn't know them! Anyway it was slow going at first as I used a combination of maps off the internet and the OS map to navigate to I made it onto the boardwalk that headed onto the bloody bush trail. I actually recognised this from kielder100 and was confident enough to stop checking the map every 5 minutes. Coming off the boardwalk I stopped to chat to a guy who had come off on a patch of ice, he had some issues with his brakes but got them sorted. He warned me that there had been snow on the trail a couple of weeks before. As it turned out there was still snow. I made a brave attempt at riding it till I got back on boardwalk, here I was slipping everywhere and decided walking was more sensible! Off this and some more singletrack appeared that was snowfree, although I managed to nearly go flying on a bump and still have no idea how I stayed upright!

Dropping down into Scotland I was faced with more snow, at this point I decided my plan of a 50mile ride was out of the window as I was making slow progress at least this meant I didn't miss any of the signs! I popped out onto the blue at Newcastleton and headed on round the red and then back to the trailhead. Time for a toilet stop. Up again to do the first loop of the red but time was ticking so I didn't do the red/blue loop again and headed back via the red to the border stone. More food and it was time to head back towards England.

This was the easiest riding of the day as I followed a river, most to the climbing was seated and I was beginning to bring my average speed up. Back over to Kielder and I started to find it hard, everything hurt. I have no idea what they have done to the trails in kielder but riding rigid was not a good plan! My hands could barely hold the bars and my arms were screaming. Still I soon got onto Bloody Bush and then dropped onto Lonesome Pine before making my way back to the Youth Hostel. I had just hung all my clothes up in the drying room and was grabbing a drink in the kitchen when Ali pulled up, so it was perfect timing.

I got the 50miles, with about 100m of tarmac or something in the whole ride, and was out for 8hours. Not sure how I managed the kielder100 in September?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

March round-up

So another month down and this one has had loads of miles. In fact 996 of them on the bikes. Nearly all on the road with less than 100 off-road. But that isn't too much of a problem as more work on the mountain bike this week (where I don't record the miles as we don't cover much ground) has meant lots of skills stuff, including demonstration drop-offs by riding a drop that is bigger than anything I had ever done before, riding across a log without falling in and lots of playing in a pump track. I also got in a nice long road ride out Hebden Bridge way so there were some nice hills there. In fact another month like this and then into May I might even be ready for the race!

Running hasn't happened this month, a mere 5miles covered. I haven't ran in a couple of weeks as the last time I went out it turned into a hobble and then a shuffle home as I was in pain. Instead of running I am trying to make an effort to stretch - something I am really bad at neglecting! So its been get in and stretch, get to work and stretch, have a bath and stretch. With some added work on the foam roller I am noticing the difference. I find it hard to keep it up but keep it up I must! Hopefully next week I'll try and short run again, but I don't want to hurt myself so I won't push it!

Hope everyone else had a good March? I enjoyed feeling stronger on the bike again.