Friday, 30 September 2011

The Runcorn Bridge

After the bad news of last night I knew I had to be careful today, that didn't change the fact that I had to do a recce ride today. Fortunately the ride itself was quite short and flat. I met Jen on the train and we headed over to Merseyside, this time the ride started in Speke. Once we got on the trans-pennine trail Jen started demanding geocaches (I think someone is hooked!

The first couple were fine, although I let Jen do the scrrambling through the bushes this time. But then we got stuck, the clue being a slab and no slab nearby. Never mind we moved on to the next by the bridge. No luck again but time I think it was us as it was a difficult one, one I'd like to retun to. One last one had me scratched to pieces and then we got the train home. (before I broke myself we had talked about riding).

Next week I have two days in schools in merseyside so train times are planned, work is giving me an easy week mileage wise the week after so hopefully the back will improve. I've even taken the advice on ibuprofen and I'm taking it. So heal back heal!

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Well it seems I really am broken this time. I had the weird bum/leg/back pain again so tried massage/exercises/stretching with no luck. So after another night of waking up in the night I emailed mills physio with a help fix me plea. Today I headed over to hebden bridge after work, ok riding up the road to her house on my fixie my not have been sensible but it was too much of a challenge (i made it just!)

Anyway she poked, prodded and did lots of clever and painful things but the muscles in spasm just wouldn't relax. So i'm now taped up and have to try and rest as much as possible including no long rides where 5miles counts as long! I'm still hobbling when walking but no way can this get worse so I'm being sensible, already asked for an easy rota for next week at work to cut down the miles. Anti-inflamitories taken, tomorrow will be heat/ice etc.

Guess that means the end of exploring on my commute like this morning, just followed my garmin and found a nice path. Although I wasn't quite on the right bike for it!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Commuting with lights

I was ready for some dark commutes with rear lights all attached and front light in my pannier at all times. But it seems to haave suddenly happened. Monday I left for work just as it got light, tuesday we had to finish a session early as it was dark and then today I left in the pitch dark. If it wasn't for how warm it is I'd say it is definitely winter!

Monday, 26 September 2011

No Three Peaks for me

The day before I got my bike ready, kit laid out and I was feeling ready. My aim was to finish so there was no real pressue. My back was doing the thing that sent shooting pains through my leg and bum but I was sure I'd get through the race. I went to bed early as I was feeling a little under the weather but once again I thought an early night would sort me out.

During the night I woke up a few times but that was normal before a race. My alarm went off at 6am and I felt pretty rubbish but thought I'd be fine once i'd eaten. That was when I realised I really wasn't right, I couldn't eat my breakfast. That was so unlike me that I went to talk to Ali. She told me to try again so I did but no still couldn't. I also had a banging headache and was burning up I had to make the sensible decision and not race. It was back to bed with paracetamol.

I spent most of the day in bed and by the evening managed to eat and was beginning to feel a bit better, although still grotty so I knew I had made the right decision.

It was pretty gutting not to do the three peaks, but I guess it just means i'll have to enter again next year!

Saturday, 24 September 2011


Last week on thursday I sprinted to Cooksons when I finished work to collect some cables for my cross bike. The plan was to fit them that evening as I was going to ride the bike for a recce ride over in Merseyside the next day. In my usual fashion that didn't happen and I got sidetracked and instead shared a bottle of wine with Ali that evening and then did the ride on kiwi. Since then I've kept meaning to do them but other things and my laziness have got in the way. Today I had no choice, tomorrow is the three peaks, without brakes it would be impossible. So workstand up and I did my own fettling. Now its fingers crossed they all work tomorrow as it'll be a little different to a workstand!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Working, caching, trains and beer

I had another merseyside recce ride to do today, this time from St Helen's to Southport. I was a little worried about the ride as it was longer than we would have liked and I was yet to find a cafe stop on the way. Fortunately I was out with Jen so I knew problems would be sorted.
We met at Manchester Victoria and the first cache was in the station car park when we got off the train. Then it was time to head off on the route. Some cycle paths but mainly road and a change in route meant I spotted a cafe at 10miles, perfect. Bacon butties and we were ready to find the trans pennine trail. I had quite a few caches downloaded that were right on the route and we had quite a few find, unfortunately two we failed to find.
After that we had chips at Southport before beginning the long journey back by train, our tickets were via liverpool! Once we arrived in Manchester we rewarded ourselves with a beer and I decided on the train home since it was gone 7pm already.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Becomming a panniers bore

I caught myself singing the praises of panniers again today and realised i've become a bit of a bore! Then today I went into work to collect folders for next week, they weigh a suprising amount and I was so glad the weight wasn't on my back. I can't believe i've done my job for so long without them. But the initial outlay was always a stubbling block along with the idea I had in my head that with a bag I could ride any bike. Since in reality I hardly ride any bike to work but kiwi it wasn't actually something I needed to take into account.

I'm really taking it to the next stage as i'm going to put a kickstand on my bike. So mudguards, rack, panniers, kickstand.....what comes next?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


I'm working out in Delamere in a couple weeks. Although I have led a ride in Delamere before it was a while ago and it is a hard place to find your way around as there is lots of singletrack but you need to know where you are going to get onto it. I also had to find a suitable junction to teach Bikeability. So I got the train over and with a rough map headed out.
I got a nice 5.5mile route together and rode it a few times, will still need my garmin on the day but feeling pretty confident.
Then checked out the only junction nearby, it is just about useable, before heading home on the train.

Not a bad day at work and nice to play on the singlespeed, although I felt unfit!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Manchester to Blackpool

I had been asked about being a ride leader on this ride ages ago but never heard anything. I had said I couldn't do other work due to it but when that came up again I decided to have the Sunday to ride. Next thing I know is an email apologising for the short notice. So at 10:30pm on saturday night when I would normally be tucked up in bed I headed out on my bike to the Trafford Centre. I was so glad I had got ruby's mud guards back on her as it was wet, wet, wet.

Due to slightly lower numbers wanting to be part of a led group myself and Phil ended up sweeping. The first half of the ride was mainly spent with two lads, one was very unlucky with punctures the other struggling with being cold. I was wishing I had worn my warmest winter gloves as I was a little chilly even with tights, winter gloves and numerous layers.

By the time it was light I was riding with a lady who had never ridden more than 30mies and had raised an incredible £1000. Finishing just after 8am we had got everyone to Blackpool.

Then it was time for me to ride home. I got warmer and warmer and had to find more places to stash my clothes, the winter boots felt like overkill then! Riding through Preston I saw TwinklyDave heading out for some three peaks training.

I finished with the downhill from Belmont with some good miles on the Garmin. Managed to stay awake all day but now very tired and need my bed.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

I did it!

The other evening I tried to fit the mudguards that I had taken off Ruby for a road race the other night. The mudguards had been modified by Chris for Ruby but I couldn't get them on kiwi without rubbing and getting the rear wheel in and out was an issue. I couldn't decide what to do, Chris would modify some for kiwi when the shop is quieter but till then should I put some some plastic raceguards on till then. The problem is I always break them.

Then yesterday I ended up doing recce rides in Merseyside on kiwi (I was meant to be on the cross bike but in usual trio style the bike is awaiting new cables). I was very jealous of Jen and her mudguards as I got covered in mud and had to keep my waterproof trouses on even when it stopped raining due to all the puddles. Kiwi needed a good wash when I got home.

So today after refitting Ruby's mudguards (I'm using her for an overnight ride tonight) I got an old set of mudguards out of the lean-to and set to work. Front went on fine, a couple of zip-ties and a hammer, no rubbing. The rear took a bit more thought. I shortened it so I can get the wheel in and out, means its not so great for people following me but I don't tend to ride in a group with kiwi as it is my commuter, a zip tie was used to hold it by the downtube and a hammer to push it as close to brakes as possible. It isn't rubbing but if it moves I will have to punch some holes where it goes under the brake and zip tie it on there as well, that might involve the use of a drill though so that would be a job for Ali. Now for the first test ride, I'm sure I won't have to wait long for a wet ride!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Lego fun

Lots of bouncing at home with the arrival of some new velocake kit, I was meant to be getting a jacket but Ali may have claimed that for herself....will have to make Mikey do another order! Inside was a couple of little presents, chocolate for me and some lego for Ali. Tea was delayed while she played!

Monday, 12 September 2011

My first attempt at three peaks training

So with less than two weeks to go till the thre peaks I decided to try some training. Most sensible people started this months ago but i'm hoping the saying 'Better Late thann Never' holds true. Since all I want to do is finish the thing and hopefully not slower than last time it is all about survival.

I know that my weakness is carrying my bike up vertical slopes so I set out towards Belment. Half a mile in and I punctures, I wasted 11minutes fixing it as it took me ages to get the thorn out....I had to use my teeth. Still it would have been longer if I hadn't found the thorn.

On my way again, a little worried as I had used my CO2 and my pump was next to usess, it was a little windy and I was working hard on the hill but having fun. Onto the Belmont-Rivington road my plan was to carry up the shoulder, but before I really started climbing on the road I saw a path that looked almost vertical at points. That was as close as I was going to get to Simon Fell so I headed up. There were a couple of steep sections, others I probably could have pushed my bike, but I carried the whole way only putting my bike down to rest my shoulder, and adjust where I had the pipe lagging, once. It took me 30minutes to get up the hill, my calves were screaming, my shoulder hurt, but I did it!

At the top the wind was picking up so I minced my way down the Belmont descent, I know I have to avoid punctures and going slower is part of that. Back onto the road and as fast as I could home.
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Thursday, 8 September 2011


I'm down in Wales for work. Those who've had to put up with me online or real life will know I was quite anxious about it. As it turns out I'm having a great time. Work is fun, group I'm teaching are lovely. We're staying in a nice hotel with a gym and pool, I've been taking advantage although I definitely prefer my bike to the gym. I purposely left my bike at home and brought a Bromptom to give my legs some time off.

This afternoon after work I went geocaching, two found. One took a bit of searching but it was fun. Thought one was clever, a magnet in a container.

Back home tomorrow and can't wait, living in a hotel isn't for me I miss home.
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Monday, 5 September 2011

A holiday in Cornwall in Pictures

We recently had five days in Cornwall staying with our friends Mikey and Katie. We had lots of fun and hopefully we'll get to go down again in the future.
We climbed on rocks.
Went paddling, kite flying and even swimming on the beach.
Did some pedalling.
Some walking.
Lots of geocaching.

A bit of riding in the sea.
Playing with lego
We visited Lands End
Oh and course there was cake!
So much fun, shame its so far away.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

I survived kielder 2011

73miles, 5miles to the cut-off, 30minutes. No slacking. Push up the first hill then power power. No granny ring, stand up, use those singlespeed legs. Downhill big ring and pedal. 78miles, rushed across, last one to make the cut-off.
Coming into this race* I wasn't feeling great. I was probably over raced and under-rested, I was stressed because of changes at work, good changes, and I had been away from home. All this meant I had been really anxious recently. Ali was also riding and determined to finish. she had trained well and was looking good for the finish. I got out of work early so we were able to get on the road nice and early. Thanks to the Chadwicks we had a pod on the campsite so there was no pitching a tent just throw everything in.

The morning of the race came and it was raining steadly, up to the start and I started quite close to the back. I was with Ali all the way through the neutral section but she told me to go once we turned off forest drive, I did push on a bit but everyone seemed to be coming past me and my average speed was well down. I thought it was just my legs. As with last year I rode through the first water stop and feed stop and got my bag at 50miles, I was hungry and there a lot later than expected. By this point the mud and rain were turning it into an epic and I was thinking about bailing. Still everyone was saying how hard it was so I carried on, turning left towards Newcastleton when I knew I could just drop down the singletrack to Kielder Castle.

Over Bloody Bush road and the conditions seemed to get worse, I minced across the boardwalk and then ploughed on through a headwind. As I dropped down my barely functioning brakes stopped functioning. I was so scared descending, I nearly walked but instead kept diving into braken. Coming to the food stop and I could see our car, that meant Ali hadn't made it. Turns out she had issues with the gears (she thinks she bent her rear mech) and had to bail at 30miles. In some ways I was glad as it was really horrible riding conditions. It also meant she changed my front brake pads while I stuffed my face! Leaving Newcastleton I had half an hour on the cut-off.

I enjoyed the Newcastleton trails and I was soon on the long fireroad back to the border, crossing the border the sign said five miles to the checkpoint, I had half an hour. That is when I had to sprint, not something I ever want to do again. When she told me I had made it and to quickly cross I was in shock and confused. A guy handed me my bag and I was on my way. As my aim was finishing I was just riding then, but seemed to be passing a few people. I was still riding up the hills and luckily my front brake still worked so unlike many I could ride downhill. I finished in just under 13hours, my longest kielder yet.
I was 4th female and 146th overall. Only 177 finshed out of the 650ish that startered (about 200 never even made it to registration). Although I was dissappointed with my time and since I finished feeling strong probably could have been faster, I was pleased just to finish. It was an epic day!

*for me this year was survival I certainly wasn't racing!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Re-discovering the cross bike in August

I managed to avoid illness in August and had a good month race-wise with winning at both SITS and Llangdela. Workwise I have been doing a lot of route planning and risk assessing over in Merseyside. This has involved a lot of trains but also a lot of riding my cross bike, I had forgotten how much fun it is.

So the numbers:

Mountain Bike: 232.90miles (none singlespeed)
Cyclocross Bike 229.10miles
Road Bike: 283.22miles (200.54miles fixed)

Total Cycling: 745miles
Running: 0miles - oh dear better start again

I've entered the three peaks and kielder is this weekend so lots happening in September.