Friday, 31 December 2010


So another year gone and my third year of blogging. The big thing this year was working full-time throughout the summer. In the end it was six months of full time work and I loved it. So the aim for 2011 is to get a new full-time job, this time not temporary. I love cycle training but I don't love the unpredictability of how much work I get and the knowledge that I have nothing all summer.

Cycling wise things have basically kept ticking over. I really wanted to try a 24hour solo and completed two, the first I had to stop for a couple of hours but at Sleepless in the Saddle I rode the whole race and was really pleased with how I did. Kielder100 was again another amazing race, but the standard was so high. At SITS I raced gears and its made me sort out a nice geared bike for 2011, trying not to think how much it has cost! But Ali was a star and gave the go ahead to it. There has been a few amazing adventures and the Welsh Ride thing was probably the highlight, three days of fantastic riding with two nights bivvying. Definetly one to repeat in 2011 and maybe time to plan some of my own multi-day adventures. After SITS I ended up with a few more races, the mudfest of Dusk til Dawn was an experience and the chance to race with Rob Lee was amazing. A week later I was up in Scotland with Chris for Relentless24, this was probably the hardest I have ever raced, but I loved it and it was a fantastic way to end the year of racing.

Cyclocross wise I seem to have lost my mojo with only one race. No idea if I will race much CX next year, probably depends if they split the fields as it was too busy for me. It does mean that I am unsure if I can justify having a CX bike as it hasn't been ridden much.

Mileage wise I didn't quite make my target of 8400miles, but I also didn't force myself too and I could have done it with one long ride this week. Four days in hospital and the recovery from that has ensured I take it easy for a while. There has been more road rides than previously although time on a bike wise I am only one hour down on 2009, not bad as I worked a lot more.

The one type of rides I want to do more of in 2011 are Audaxes. I completed a 300km ride and loved it. In 2011 I would like to go further, a niggling part of me wants to do a 600km, but maybe I should just try a 400km first.

The one thing that really suffered is 2010 is running, I've never done loads but I would like to be running once a week. Mainly as if the weather is really bad or I am strapped for time I can get a quick run in. It also gets me fit. So 2011 I will make the effort to run again.

So how was everyones year and what are you planning for 2011?

Sent to the wrong clinic

Yesterday i had a follow up appointment at 8olton hospital following my little stay as an inpatient in November. The timing was perfect, i got home from work, had lunch and rode over. It was my first time on a road bike in ages which was great, although it isn't as pretty out as it was when there was snow everywhere.

Anyway i was there about ten minutes when someone came to take my blood pressure and weight (i'm hoping my bike shoes are heavy as i weighed alot!) Then i was taken into a tiny room to see the Dr who told me that he thought i was at the wrong clinic, turns out it was general surgery not ENT. So he going to get me referred to the right clinic. They were very apologetic about wasting my time, but you have to wonder how it happened in the first place.
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Thursday, 30 December 2010

A winter adventure

On Boxing Day after spending the whole day doing basically nothing I realised that unless I planned something the 27th and 28th would probably be the same. So I spent a few hours playing with maps and looking at options on the computer. I had decided that 50miles was probably the maximum distance I could plan to cover in the current condtitions and that I wasn't going to bivvy out on my own (that can wait till I have a warmer sleeping bag). Edale turned out to be the ideal distance and the Youth Hostel had beds. So I plotted a route, booked a bed and breakfast for the tuesday morning and headed to bed.

I was out on monday morning just after 9am (my aim had been 9 but Ali rang so I could let her know my plans) and on my way making good time, well I was on road for the first bit. It was snaining a bit but I was hoping that the weather would improve a bit.

A mixture of on and off-road took me over towards Mossley where I had my first bit of navigation to deal with, I had been following my garmin and it took me to a farmyard that was a deadend. No sign of a path the other side and a farmer looking at me as if I shouldn't be there, a little bit of map reading later and it was back down the hill and round by road to the other side (I didn't climb up again to see if they did meet).

I then found my first real bit of ice.

Up till then it had been easy enough to ride round any ice, this had me off and walking/shuffling down the hill.

Round the outskirts of Glossop using the trans-pennine trail and I started climbing, next thing I know I'm on Monks Road. I have only climbed this once on my road bike and it turns out my legs were not strong enough on the singlespeed. Still I gave it a good go, some walking but lots of attempts at riding! Soon it was onto the Pennine Bridleway and down towards hayfield.

Over towards Jacob Ladder and there was no option for me but to push the bike, I met a lot of people coming the other way, probably wondering why I was heading up as it was going to get dark soon! It was still light when I got to Jacobs Ladder, although it was hard to pick out contrast. I rode some, pushed some and slide down some when I found the ice (into a wall which was nice and has left me with some bruises). Before getting to Edale. Here I headed to the pub for some well earned food before spinning up to the youth hostel and curling up with my book.

The next morning I was up at 7:30am for breakfast and on my way before 9am. It was a lovely drizzle and the beginning of a thaw from the monday had frozen overnight leaving lots of ice, so it was very slowly I made my way back to Edale. I then headed onto Chapel Gate for the push up to Rushop Edge.

At some point I realised it would be easier to carry the bike than push it, so rigger got a rest.

At the top and Rushop Edge was reasonably rideable, I walked a lot of the drops but more to be careful as I was on my own and had a long way to go. Onto Roych Clough and this was an ice slide from top to bottom, I fell over trying to walk my bike down and it felt a long way to hayfield, especially as the rain was getting heavier. I wasn't the only crazy person out, I saw plenty of walkers and fell runners.

Once at Hayfield it was over to New Mills and time to push a bit harder, I had to be home for 4:30pm as my sister was picking me up for dinner at my mum's. At stockport I stopped for a hot chocolate but otherwise it was a case of keeping going. Home at 4pm, hungry and tired with over 80miles on the garmin.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

A Christmas Ride

I wanted to ride on Christmas Day, even if it just a short ride as its not something I've had the chance to do before. Since i had spent yesterday and this morning (well most of the day) with my folks i got to ride home. But this wasn't quite enough....

So new light on rigger (lucky me got an exposure 6pack) and straight back out the door. A quick 20km to the duck and back and i didn't see a soul apart from on the road sections (there was a suprising amount of traffic). The new light is amazing! The riding was amazing, i felt so lucky.

Only thing missing is an Ali as she has been in cambridge.
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Thursday, 23 December 2010

Maybe a little late home....

Yesterday I decided to head over to Poynton to ride with the NWMTBladies. It turned out that there was only myself and Anna so I headed over on the train after picking up a few bits of Christmas shopping for Ali. I was pretty warm till the train was delayed by 40minutes. In fact I didn't even warm up on the train! Anna picked me up from the station and we headed out from hers. She was on good form and I found myself chasing on the uphills. But this is what I need as when I ride on my own I just don't push! We adopted a bloke near the start of the ride as non of his usual ride buddies had come out to play, they were the ones missing out as it was a perfect night for riding! I recognised some of the ride from my second ever night ride and the ground was mainly grippy snow.

Back to poynton and the three of us had a quick drink in the pub before I headed off towards hazel grove, then Stockport, Manchester and oh well I might as well ride home. It was hard work though and I had to stop at tesco for supplies as I was seriously struggling! I had definetly not eaten enough and I've lost a lot of endurance. Home at about 1am...oops!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

91 days......

Somehow it has been 91 days since I last rode Rigger (my singlespeed mtb). I've no idea how it ended up being so long and he has been feeling sorry for himself in the corner. As Chris wasn't riding this evening I decided to get my act together and put him back together. Obviously I spent an hour on the sofa thinking about it first before I got round to it. Then I headed out just as it was starting to get dark. I wasn't really feeling like I could be bothered with riding for the sake of riding so headed off round the golf course. I then decided to try and get 10miles and headed towards the Strawbury Duck. Once I got into Jumbles I was having fun and enjoying it. In fact the main reason I turned back as I had told Ali I wouldn't be back too much after her so a long ride really wasn't an option! The surface varied from grippy snow to slippy snow. The worst being junctions where cars had gone in at different angles, or across a different way to me. But it was all great fun.

So time to get out on some singlespeed adventures.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Another walk in the snow

I could have stayed in the house all day yesterday but Ali rightly pointed out that we shouldn't waste the snow. So we headed out for a short walk, it was lovely and we are lucky to have somewhere we can walk from our house. There is no sign of it melting, but no sign of any new stuff either.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A walk with the boys

I've been over to see my friend Ros and her twin boys a couple of times recently. They are now 10weeks old and completely adorable! Yesterday we took them out for a walk in the snow. I'm assuming they enjoyed it as the minute we left the house they went straight to sleep!

It was hard going in the snow with the extra weight.
But the boys got their first fresh tracks.

A snowy adventure

This year when the snow came Bolton missed out, we had a whole inch that just turned into ice. This made Ali every unhappy as everywhere else seemed to have snow. Things change though and I got home on Friday night with tales of fresh tracks and snow falling, an excited Ali crossed her fingers and went to bed, The next day and we had a good six inches of white fluffy stuff. So we had to go out and play. Nothing too tiring as Ali has been ill all week. So we decided to ride over to our friend Ros to see her and her babies.

We wrapped up warm and headed out over to Smithills. It was a winter wonderland and at this point we were mainly riding. Although forward motion was hard work!
Over to Barrow Bridge to head up the bridleway to Scout Road, I was expecting this to be a push. It turned out it was easier to carry, so we swapped bikes (mine being lighter) and headed up.
A rest stop partway up looking back towards Bolton and thinking how pretty everything is in the snow.
We (being Ali) also made the now obligatory snow angels - yes one face first one the usual way.
Then all that was left to do was slide our way down the hill to the twins house.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Chris kills me

I decided it was time to head out on a ride with Chris again. I knew it would be hard but I wasn't sure how hard I would find it. Still I reminded myself it was good for me. So I headed off to meet him at Cookson Cycles, leaving a little later I had to push the whole way there, still it warmed me up.

Chris had his 6pack on his bike and I sneakily switched it onto mine, unfortunately he noticed so I was back to my light. We headed off towards Bolton with the plan being to head up on winter hill. Near my house I was already tired and by Smithills realised we would be doing more than the 25miles I had suggested still I was having fun. I stopped halfway up for an energy gel. Still by the top I was gone. I minced down the descent and found it hard to concentrate on the line.

At the bottom I said we were heading back on the road, that was enough for me. 31miles on the gar,in once I got home and I was shattered. But it was great fun.
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Saturday, 11 December 2010

The thaw is here

Out today to meet simon. For some reason I thought I could get to rivi in 40minutes, more like 50! On the way over it was noticeable that most of the ice had melted, just the odd patch left. It's amazing the difference a day makes.

We headed over to the Nab, where I punctured before we got on the trails there. Simon insisted on finding the hole in the tube, good job as well as I would never have found the tiny shard of glass otherwise. Round the red twice, I wasn't riding brilliantly being a wimp on the downhills and the draggy gloopy mud seemed like hard work.

Back over to rivi where we split and I headed home round the edge of winter hill. 30miles on the garmin once I got home and feeling happy.
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Legs are coming back

Yesterday morning some of the wednesday night girls came over for a ride. We started out round the golf course and it was a case of picking the way round the ice, it wasn't looking good. Up onto winter hill and it got windier and wetter. Halfway up and I decided that it would be crazy to head up to the top. I managed to pick a couple of descents and we headed back to mine. The girls had spent the ride reminding me that 3 hours was long enough and the ride was 3hours10minutes so spot on. I have a reputation for rides being too long.

Then it was time for a Christmas Do I rode into manchester and my legs felt strong. Its the first time in ages and I felt like I was flying. The roads felt like they might be icy later so I Let ali collect me ;-)
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Friday, 10 December 2010

A Christmas Bike

As a suprise for Ali I bought her some battery operated christmas lights. This morning I put them on her bike ready for her commute. She thinks they're great!
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Thursday, 9 December 2010

A leaving curry

My friend Odile is moving back to Ireland, i'm really going to miss our rides but apart from my selfish reasons for her staying I know its something she's wanted for a long time, it justt took time to get a job. So we decided to head out for a curry last night, we did think about riding but the ice put both of us off.

Phil, Ali, Odile and me met at a pub near the science and industry museum and then headed to Akbars - home of the huge naan breads. We ordered loads of food and I ate way too much so walking back to the pub was hard. Although when I spotted the pink mini I was soon running.

Home later than I should on a school night but great fun and totally worth it!
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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Project start running again

It's been over 4 months since I last did any running. It's something I always mean to keep up for a few reasons. The first being I can do it anywhere and it takes less time and equipment than cycling, it gets me fit quickly and although I am not very good at it I enjoy it. Like all cyclists I am good at just going out and running for 30minutes as I am fit enough but then hurting loads the next day. I'm determined this time not to do that. So this morning I was up and out the door just after Ali (work was iced off again). I had planned my route and expected it to take about 10minutes. As it turns out although the pavements on my road had been gritted the rest of the route is not so I was running on ice. It meant I was out for 14minutes.

Once I got home I put the TV on and stretched, another thing that has been really neglected. Winter training has started.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Changing cleats

Oddly this is something I don't seem to do that often. My shoes seem to die by the time I notice the cleats are dead. But i'd been noticing on my boots that my right foot could be pulled out the odd time. Then today it seemed like it came out on every uphill (i was on my fixie) but I really started to worry when it bounced out on downhills.

I was nipping into Cookson Cycles anyway so I got some cleats, I then got Chris to change them as I couldn't get them to shift. Half the head of one screw had come off making it a hammer and molegrips job. It was loads better on the way home, I could pull up on the pedals again without worrying.

31miles in total as I had met my dad for lunch in Rochdale, slowly getting back.
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Monday, 6 December 2010

27 road miles on the mtb

My first day back working since my little stay in hospital and the ground was looking a little icy. So I made the decision to go on my mountain bike, thinking that road tyres might be a little scary, I was pretty sure that all but the last road would be gritted as I had plotted the route along major routes. I was really looking forward to riding but knew it would be slow so I was out the door at 7am. It was cold and frosty and although I didn't hit any ice that I noticed but I was glad to be on the mountain bike. I actually rode straight past the school as there was no big sign outside.

Once there we were hopeful that we would get out, the caretaker had been gritting the playground. Unfortunately when we went out to check we both were sliding round, me in my hiking boots. So it was indoor sessions and no riding for the kids.

Riding home I decided to work on the hills, heart rate was up but I felt fine. Still not fast, partly as I stopped at tesco and bought lots of heavy stuff. I also dropped in on Ali at work with some cookies as a treat.

So no work tomorrow and fingers crossed it warms up a bit for wednesday.
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Sunday, 5 December 2010

Playing out with Hugo

 My friend Kate has been working down in Wales and due to me working a lot at the weekend or away racing its ages since we've seen each other. This weekend she was back up in Manchester so she came out to ours with her dog Hugo for a walk. Last time I saw Hugo he was a cute little puppy. Now he is huge, but he is still cute!

We took him out on the golf club near us, although we haven't had loads of snow it was enough to keep Hugo happy. His favourite game seemed to be chasing snowballs and didn't even mind that much that there was no ball for him to actually find. He even tried to catch them if you threw them up in the air.

Two hours later and I was shattered, hugo was still running round in circles in our house while we had mince pies. Dogs are great fun.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Back on the bike

Time off the bike is beginning to show along with the lack of work and I'm getting a little low and anxious. Not wanting that to stick though it was time to get on the bike again, although I feel fine I know I have to be careful as I'm sure I am not 100% recovered yet. So this week I rode, not far and certainly not fast, but it was so good to be back on the bike.

Monday: Met Vikki and Carolyn at the barn - 18miles

Tuesday: Met my mum at her work for lunch - 31miles

Wednesday: Rested was tired from the tuesday ride.

Thursday: Rode over to see Ros and spent the day with her and her 8week old twins - 13miles

Then friday, saturday and sunday I've done nothing. It was a good start and I certainly took it easy, being scared of the ice helps that. Next week I have some work so I'll be riding there in the morning and probably train back so I don't push it too hard.