Monday, 30 August 2010

My first Geocaching adventure

I had to do a presentation last week as part of the inhouse training we are getting at work, I chose geocaching as my subject as its something I had always meant to look into. Today Ali and I headed out to find the four caches closest to us.

Off to the first cache, following my GPS down towards where we used to live. Ali found the cache really quickly, so we signed the logbook and continued onto the next one.

A little more hidden, but not too hard to find. This time we took a travelling coin out, Ali is planning on where to leave it to help its trip round the world.

Onto the third cache and we found the spot easily, but we couldn't find the cache. Climbing up and down a cliff looking in all sorts of places we were nearly ready to give up (well I was with my short concentration span). At this point another two people arrived, also out on their first geocaching adventure, between us with lots of searching we found the tiny cache and signed the logbook.

Then onto the last one at a nearby industrial estate.

Another tiny cache with just a logbook to find.

Definitely recommended and we are already planning our next adventure. Go to for more information and to find the location of caches.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sky Rides

I've been leading some skyrides again this year. Today was just perfect, although it rained all morning it cleared up for the afternoon ride. All the leaders worked really well as a team and we had lots of smiles. It's great to help people get into cycling.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Not enough blogging

I am being very slack with my blogging these days. I do apologise but I just seem to be busy and I don't have much to blog about as I am mainly working. I am riding but it is commuting or taking groups of young people out riding. Still the miles are still ticking by. Kielder100 is next week and I have decided on a gearing of 32:19. My main aim is to be faster than last year but I really would like to win the singlespeed prize again, still that depends on who else turns up on a singlespeed as much as anything.

Then its time for the cross season to start, hoping to make a few races this year but realistically it might be hard with work. Another two endurance races on the calendar as well, but these as a pair. Guess then its time to start thinking about next year?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Wanting a century ride

My endurance is lacking these days as most of my riding is my commute, which at just over an hour each way is never going to be enough for all day rides. So with Kielder100 coming up in two weeks it was time for one last long ride. I had orginally thought I would go out on the singlespeed, but its in the process of getting new tyres (I'm going tubeless and there has been some teething problems). So I decided a century on my fixie would be ideal. The original thought was a ride out to Southport and back by a non-direct route but then I came across a forum thread about a Rochdale to Blackpool ride. I was too late to join the start in Rochdale, but linking up at Rawtenstall should give me a good ride.

I made the decision to wear shorts but I still had armwarmers, showerproof and a waterproof with me just in case. I got to Rawtenstall in loads of time but with the sun out it was a nice place to wait, another cyclists arrived soon after me to meet up with the group. A little late, rides always start a little late due to the faff factor, the peloton rolled in. I think at this point we had about ten riders. I had only met a few in real life before but its always nice to meet new cyclists. The day got sunnier and sunnier. Between Rawtenstall and Blackburn we gained a few riders and lost a few, I got a little confused. The few climbs stretched us out a bit but we all regrouped at the top. I was pleased that I was coping with the downhills, although people were passing me on them with ease I wasn't miles behind. At some point I realised that we had missed a turn, a shout to the lads in front and Fiona and I turned round and collected someone else on our way back to the junction. The five of us set about catching the three that had been behind, assuming wrongly as it turned out they were now ahead of us. Stopping at a juntion I ran ColinJ and it turns out he had broken a spoke so was limping his bike slowly into Blackpool. He told us to head on so we powered off to Blackpool through some lovely villages and past an all you can eat Chippy!

Arriving at Blackpool there wasn't much to be said, it isn't somewhere I will necessarily choose as a ride location again. We got as close to the sea as we could, but building work put a stop to that. We then tried to find a chippy, but only Harry Ramsdens could be found. Eventually with the help from some locals we found a Chippy that was nice and had reasonable prices and sat in the square that would be home to the Nocture later that night munching away.  After that and an ice-cream for me we got ready to head. A message from Colin said he was on the train and we hadn't seen the other two. Two of our group headed up the coast, Fiona was cycling home to Kendel! I set off back towards Blackburn with the two speedy blokes. We apparently had a tailwind but it was still hard work, we didn't stop and although I dropped back on the hills I could keep them in sight at all times. They did have to stick with me as my GPS was how we found our way back. At Blackburn we split with two of us continuing to Bolton. Climbing the hill out of Darwin I was impressed I could get up it, I remembered it being really hard with gears when I was commuting years ago (nice to see progress). At the top we split as I would be slower down the hill, although I did almost stay in touch. A little loop of Bolton to get my century and I got home just as the rain started.

101miles with 1500m of climbing
A new max speed of 31mph (my little legs were spinning)

Monday, 16 August 2010

A group cancelled on us today but we were already up at Lee Quarry so we had a look at the new trail to and from the car parking. Short and sweet but definetly more fun than carrying straight on down the track.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Endura Sleepless in the Saddle - Rider Interviews

Joolze kindly interviews me just after I crossed the line....

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Sleepless in the Saddle 2010

Last year when I first thinking about riding a 24hour event solo SITS was the one I had decided on. I raced my first ever 24 there in 2007 as a team of four girls and last year I had a great time racing in a mixed team. But then I got sidetracked by solo24. I enjoyed the race but never felt I completely got into it as I was so aware I had to work on the monday. So after talking it through with Ali I decided to enter SITS, form in the post I booked the friday, monday and tuesday around the event off. Plans had to be changed and I had to work the friday but Ali had the afternoon off to pack up the car and working kept my mind off the race. I had good intentions of being all organised but that didn't really happen, although I was more organised than I realised! We travelled to Catton Park on the friday set the tent up trackside and then headed to my sister's so I could sleep in a real bed. Helen had prepared us a great meal and then packed me off to bed so I could rest. As it turns out I slept really well, a first for me before a race. In the morning all I had to do was eat and then we headed back to Catton Park. All my kit was arranged so Ali knew where everything was and she got her whiteboard ready.

Since we hadn't got there till 11ish the wait to rider briefing didn't feel as long as it sometimes does and I was soon wandering over to the start line. I said I had no intention of lining up at the front but since I was chatting with Jase and Dave that is where I ended up. It meant I spent the whole run with people going past me but probably gave me a better start than if I had started further back.

Out onto my first lap and I didn't get stuck in too many queues for singletrack. It felt like I was riding a couple of sections too hard to keep my place, but on the climbs I just span to recover. I came through with 53minutes on the clock in first place. No stopping for me as my sister did a perfect handover and Ali was further along to pass me food. This continued for four laps where I was gaining time. Someone said I was a lap up but I hadn't noticed any other female soloists yet.

After four laps I had a brief stop to go to the toilet and then it was back on the bike and out again. The course was so dry my back was really struggling, I was trying to stretch it on the bike and started doing more climbing stood up which seemed to help. But the course was so rough it was a case of just putting up with the pain. Another three laps and I was slowing down but looking forward to it getting dark. I stopped, changed and put lights on the bike and then it was back out.
Lights went on at 9pm and thanks to the loan of a MaxxD I knew I could just put my lights on full and not worry about battery life (I had an Exposure Joystick with a triple piggyback battery, two Exposure Enduros and the borrowed MaxxD. This was the ideal setup and now I'm trying to work out how I can afford a new Exposure light). Getting to midnight felt like an achievement till I realised I wasn't even halfway through. That's when I started to think I wouldn't finish! By this stage I was just plodding round, I knew I was still in the lead and someone told me that it was three or four laps. I told myself I just had to keep going. At some point Ali went to bed for a bit so I just grabbed my own bottle. The nice thing about being slow and there being teams in the race was that there was a constant stream of people passing me nearly all of who at least said "keep going solo". That and the friendly marshalls kept me going till Dawn. I then had a really bad lap, the singletrack was fine, but anything else and I was falling asleep on the bike. I think I walked most of the lap. I got back to the pits and just started crying, I was sure Ali would stop me (I felt so bad I really wanted her too). But no she fed me some food and an energy gel, got me changed and sent me back out. I was round in an hour and 15mins, feeling better and riding most of the course again.

I kept going and although I slowed a bit and walked more of the hills I was still lapping reasonably consistently.

Before I knew it I was out with two hours to go, I was four laps up so I knew this was to be the last lap. I took my time, thanked the marshalls, chatted to people. Lurked for a bit at the end and then crossed the line just after 2pm. Joolze kindly interviewed me straightaway so I probably was making no sense at all. Not looking forward to that video popping up somewhere.

All that was left then was to wait for the podium and let Ali and Helen pack up.

Back to Helen's for Pizza and then I was put to bed since I was falling asleep.

A fantastic race and so hard, unsure at the moment if I want to do another one but I think I will.

Lots of people to thank:
  • Ali for being the best pit bunny in the world
  • Helen for the bed, extra food and perfect bottle handups
  • Chris at Cookson Cycles for the loan of the bike (you did notice the gears in all the pictures?)
  • Mike for the loan of the MaxxD (So generous seeing as I only met him once at Gisburn)
  • Squirt Lube for keeping my bike running
  • The marshalls who kept me going through the night
  • Cookson Cycles for all the support and advice (oh and putting up with me talking at them everytime I go in).
  • Minx for help with clothing - no one else seems to have such a great range of womens bike clothes.

Monday, 9 August 2010


Full blog to come when I'm a little less tired!