Monday, 29 August 2011

Goecaching cornwall style

We are down in cornwall on holiday so far its been lots of fun. The first day we went down to the beach, lots of paddling and kite flying followed by food and icecream before meeting Mikey for his commute home. On the way we found a geocache.

Sunday and we headed out on food for more goecaching, this time walking along the coast. Most involved a little bit of scrambling but one had Ali really scared climbing up the rocks. Still four caches found followed by scones.

In total we walked over 8miles and finished the day with a bbq. Now I just have to be brave enough to go for a swim in the sea.
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Friday, 26 August 2011

Still loving the panniers

Another week of my summer holidays spent working. The first three days should have been teaching cycling skills but due to having no children booked onto the sessions I basically sat reading books in a playground. Then thurs and fri were in the office where I was offered a new job, basically doing what I have been doing but not termtime only. I start on the 1st September and I'm so happy.

Alll this means that the legs haven't had much recovery and i've rode 30miles most days commuting. I've also being doing errands on the way home. With one day involving shopping for cereal and packages from the post office. My panniers managed to cram it all in, just! Although when full pulling away from lights and on hills I can notice the weight. My back though is thankful that it isn't having to carry it!
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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Women's Crit Race

This was the last race in the series and although both me and Ali were tired we both wanted to make it. I met her there as I had been working in Manchester. This meant in the morning I was trying to get my mudguards off the bike and not be late for work!

There were 13 of us in total and some of the girls looked fast and serious. I ended up lining up on the back row with Ali and Jenn but that was fine as I expected to be dropped pretty quickly since I only lasted till the first tight corner on the last race. This was almost the case again, coming out of the corner and I was on the back and a group (well actually most of the race) started to pull away. I chased and chased and got back on after a lap. But this was to be repeated a few more times. I just didn't seem able to hold a wheel, I tried to move forwards in the group but always ended up on the back. As they started to count down the laps I was back with the group, this time it had gone down to about 9 of us, with two laps to go I decided to try and pull Ali up. There had been a bit of a splinter with two girls off the front, closely followed by another couple, then we were spreading out. I pushed on and Ali, although suprised to see me, caught my wheel. We caught the girl in front and I started to die, Ali came round me closely followed by Jenn. We were all trying to sprint for the line and I finished a couple of bike lengths behind them with Jenn just getting Ali on the line to take 5th and get into the prizes.

It was great fun and if they are repeated next year I will definetly be there.

This time I was faster, average 22.5mph, average heart rate 181bpm. Garmin data is here.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Deg Yn Llandegla

When this event was first announced I planned to enter but then it was only two weeks after SITS and Ali was away with the car. I still wanted to go though and when Andrew from work offered me a lift it seemed like I had to go. So on Friday I met him and Becks in Bolton and we headed down. Getting there in time for the pasta party (we got loads) before curling up in my tent. As always I slept really badly and then was woken up early by the guy who had parked next to my tent driving off at 7am. I got up ate my breakfast and got everything ready. I knew I had to be prepared as I had no Alison to look after me.

It wasn't long before race briefing and it was slightly hard to hear due to there being no PA, some regulation or something. But I gathered that we had a long section for transistion where we had to walk our bikes. Wayne had kindly given me space on the JMC table so I had all my bottles out. I joined the boys near the front but was happy that the start was on the bike.


It wasn't long till we were off and there was pushing and shoving where I got a bar end in my leg, its now a huge bruise! But they sent us up a fire road climb which spread the riders out. I spotted an Isle on Man rider go past me and I was sure she was in the same category. But it was too early to worry and she was flying. First lap of the course and I loved it! Wayne was amazing and was stood there to hand me my bottle and gel, so no time lost. Out on the second lap and entering my favourite bit of the course, the black downhill section, and I caught the Isle on Man girl. She caught me again on the uphill and I tried to keep up but she was amazing. I had realised she was definitely solo now so I tried to keep her in sight but it wasn't happening and then I punctured. Thinking I was only half a mile from the end of the lap I opted to run. Turns out the first lap was slightly shorter and I ran a mile. Wayne then was a star, fixing the puncture and getting me on my way. Unfortunately two solo girls passed me when stationary. Heading back out I worked hard and got those two on the first half of the lap but I was sure the speedy climber was well gone!


A couple of laps later on the black descent I caught her again. This time I let her go on the climb, I was impressed to find out she was meant to be riding pairs but was her partner was injured. But she was obviously struggling and I was having fun. But I knew if I tried to hold her on the climb I would die. Coming back to transition and she was there downing a gel, I grabbed a bottle off Becks (thanks to her and Liz taking over Pit duties) I headed out first but it wasn't long before I was caught on the climb. This climb wasn't as steep though and I managed to push on a bit but she was always there. After the climb we turned into a muddy section through the trees, I couldn't see her when I came out and it turns out I rode the steep muddy chute and she walked. Only one thing for it push on. I kept expecting her to catch me on the climbs and so didn't stop at transition pushing the whole time.

Next time through I knew it was last lap, I was still loving the course so grabbed a bottle and headed out, hoping that my speed on the downs was enough. I was still loving it and was told by a couple of people I should have stopped smiling by then, but how could I on such a fun course?

After finishing I was obviously tired as I went to change and forgot to take my clothes! They had a BBQ which got me much needed protein and I took some advice to drink beer to rehydrate. Waiting for the podiums meant it was a late night but lots of lovely people to chat to.


So I finished 1st female and 10th overall soloist, my first top 10!
Garmin Stats for geeks like me.

Thanks to:
  • Rich for the photos
  • Andrew and Becks for the lift
  • Becks, Wayne and Liz for the help during the race
  • Cookson Cycles for everything as always!
  • No Fuss for an amazing event I really hope they put it on again next year!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Danger panda

A few friends on twitter had been taking danger panda's. This is where you take a picture of yourself while riding without keeping one hand on the bars. I can barely get a picture of myself while holding onto the bars, but today on a cycle path I gave it a go. I just about got myself but i've no idea how people hold the camera with both hands, I wanted to be ready to grab the bars!
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Monday, 15 August 2011

SITS Stats

This year the results are up on the singletrack website. Someone has done some playing and all the important stats are there.

Rider Number102
Rider nametrio25
Team NameCookson Cycles
CategorySolo Women
Total laps20
Total time (h:mm:ss)24:04:17
Average lap time (h:mm:ss)1:12:12
Fastest lap time (h:mm:ss)0:53:59
Slowest lap time (h:mm:ss)1:29:34
Distance (km)250.53
Distance (miles)155.67
Average speed (kmh)10.41
Average speed (mph)6.47
Speed rank748 / 982
Distance rank16 / 982
Total rank324 / 982

I'm pretty happy with them, 16th overall in the solo and amazingly not at the back for my speed rank. Not sure how total rank is calculated but top third for that as well.

So next time.....and yes I am thinking about another one I am crazy! I want to not slow down as much, my plodding was pretty slow by the end!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Checking out routes

Work sent me out to show someone a route they would be leading in a few weeks so it was another day over in Merseyside. On the train to Wigan I noticed I had a puncture, so on the liverpool train fixed it. After putting wheel back on the bike the inner tube exploded, making me and most of the train jump. Fixed it again, but no CO2 this time. Once I got to liverpool I borrowed jen's pump as it was much more effective than my tiny one.

We headed over to the Wirral on the ferry and had a great ride. I was more confident with the route than expected and we avoided the one heavy rain shower when we were in the cafe.

Back over to Liverpool and we headed up the coast to Hightown, I had bribed jen with the promise of a pint when we got to the end. Onto the canal and I punctured, fixed it and ten minutes later it went down again, this time we found a shard of glass (i was also very pleased jen had patches as I had forgotten mine and got through my inner tubes. Riding again and something was catching, stopping I realised that the tyre wasn't seated and the tube coming out. Quickly down and pumped it up again, fingers were now crossed.

An icecream on the way and we were soon at the pub, here we ate for £1.01, bargain. Then it was train back, changing at liverpool moorfields we spent longer than it would have taken to ride the short distance changing to what is basically an underground and going one stop to liverpool lime street. Just as we walked in I saw a train to wigan was about to leave, running I just made it.

Long day but lots of fun, hard to believe it was work!
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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Cute baby bikes

I had thought about riding to work today but looking out the window I changed my mind. So the train took the strain and I rode a red brompton as it has mudguards.

Problem is now I want my own brompton.
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Wednesday, 10 August 2011


I can't remember how recovery went last year, but this year I was determined to make it as easy as possible and blog so if I'm silly enough to do another 24 I have some idea.

Sunday (after the race)
Ali gave me a recovery shake once I finished and back at Helen's we had Pizza and Bubbles. I realised I had forgotten my recovery tights. Went to bed and fell asleep early.

Up early and on the road at 6am, Ali had to work, stopped at a service station and I was stiff and walking funny. Hands and feet hurt. I slept a lot of the way back though. After dropping Ali at work I had a lazy morning but didn't sleep. Afternoon I returned the gazebo to cooksons and the went for a massage with Ali@MillsPhysio. Think that reallly helped my legs.

Train to work, walking okay and steps hard. Riots in Manchester so I borrowed a brompton and rode to victoria to get the train, legs felt fine pedalling.

Train into victoria and rode to the office. Home rode to piccadilly and then from Bolton. Hands and feet hardly sore now.

Thinking of riding into work tomorrow....
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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Sleepless in the Saddle 2011

All too soon we were in the car and heading down to Catton Park, the car was full of food and kit with two bikes and a gazebo on the roof. We got there mid afternoon and set up the Gazebo and tent trackside, said hi to a few friends and headed off to my sisters. She kindly provided me with loads of pasta and packed me off to bed to get some sleep. Morning came and I tried not to be too stressy as I ate breakfast and then the three of us headed back to Catton Park. A lot more people had arrived since we had left and the solo area was noticeably busier than last year. A bit of catching up with people and I had a little rest in the tent before eating some lunch. It seemed no time at all and I was lined up near the front ready to start the race with a run. Once again everyone headed off and I went backwards through the crowd. I thought I saw two solo girls go past me but I stayed at my steady plod as I didn't want to pay for the run later in the race. I was just behind Ros at this point who was racing in the Women's team category. Helen had my bike ready and I was out on the lap and making sure I kept my spot in the line, half a lap was spent with queues into the singletrack but nothing too ridiculous.

Amy, 1st Lap (of many)

Through after the first lap and the commentators announched I was the first solo female through, Ali agreed with them. I was handed a bottle and some food without me stopping and headed back out. I was walking a couple of the steeper hills and was rubbish through the twisty singletrack but I was enjoying the course and for the first few laps was riding with the same few riders who were also soloing. A couple of times I even rode the "Jump of Doom", I was having fun!
Then came the rain, first was a five minute shower which wasn't too bad but it quickly was followed by a 15minute deluge, I got drenched and started to get cold. Into the pits shouting for clothes, Ali sensibly stopped me at just a base layer as by now the rain had stopped and I headed back out. The next lap involved a lot of dragging my bike around as the mud became unrideable. Back to the pits and I headed out on rigger leaving Ali and her helpers (thanks Jenn for washing the bike and Shona and Rich from Keep Pedalling for lending us a Dirt Worker so no-one had to queue at the bike wash) to sort out a muddy clogged up bike. The course had dried up so it was back onto the Superfly.

Nighttime came pretty fast and it was time for lights and partway through the night 3/4's. I kept plugging away and by now the lead had gone up to 30minutes, but I knew anything could happen and so I couldn't stop. Each lap I came in and demanded a doughnut whatever else Ali tried to give me, this apparently caused lots of amusement.

Morning came and another change of outfit, by now I had been wearing my cooksons jersey for longer than was probably pleasant and it was warming up so I wanted to get shorts on (and back into bibs). I was slowing down and now I wanted Bacon Rolls, two in total. My body was playing a which bit hurts the most game but I knew if I kept moving I could keep the lead (now at over a lap).


I realised that I could get to twenty laps without having to speed up much, I didn't fancy pushing my body to go five minutes faster so I could get out for 21! The second to last lap was the hardest, my knees decided they hurt the most and I was a little worried I was doing permanent damage. But heading out on the last lap things felt a bit better, I bumped into Paul who rode with me through the singletrack and suddenly I could follow and not think. Lots of people were cheering and I was still smiling. The singletrack lurkers tent gave me some bucks fizz and I cross the finish line five minutes after 2pm to shake hands with Pat.


It might be a solo race but I'm not sure I could have done it without Ali, she was a star in the Pits and also stayed up for the full 24 hours!

Winning ComboWinning Legs

All that was left was to shower, pack up and me to be helped up onto the podium. Ali is already planning next year but I'm not so sure!

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
  • Cookson Cycles for the help with the bike, getting it ready when they are busy, lending us the Gazebo and basically being the best bike shop in the world. 
  • Squirt Lube for keeping my bike running
  • The marshalls who kept me going through the night
  • Rich and Shona for the Dirt Worker and Jenn for washing the bike
  • Minx for help with clothing - no one else seems to have such a great range of womens bike clothes.
  • Everyone else I have forgot because I am still really tired!

Friday, 5 August 2011


I had lots of good intentions to do a few long rides in preparation and then have a really easy week this week. Obviously none of that has happened. There have been a couple of 8hour rides but they have had work in the middle or at a reasonably easy pace. Still taking it easy this week should have been fine as I am officially on holiday? Well no I have worked everyday and even getting the train where possible a couple of days work has involved riding. In fact I have clocked up 10hours of riding this week. Still having today off. The other plan was to lose the extra half stone I put back on, but once again I ate too much cake and chocolate and if anything added to it.

Still its all about having fun and I know I can finish as I did last year, Ali is there as my Pit Bunny and my sister is also coming over and she was fab last year so at least I know I will be well looked after!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Ticking along in July

Another month and another illness, this time a sore throat that led to a cough that went on my chest. Over a week off the bike and another week of very easy miles. Still from that I have managed a consistent month even after killing my legs running a half marathon off nowhere near enough training. August is here and I am off to SITS again, no real long rides in preparation but hopefully my base of riding most days will see he through, that and the fact that Ali is an amazing Pit Bunny so will make me finish.

So the numbers:

Mountain Bike: 105.37miles (none singlespeed)
Cyclocross Bike 117.07miles
Road Bike: 401.15miles (229.37miles fixed)

Total Cycling: 624miles
Running: 24miles