Monday, 31 October 2011

Cyclo-Cross South West Style

To finish the holiday I rode a cross race down in Somerset. I orginally had to intention of racing but Mikey talked me into it and Katie kindly lent me Ted. On the start line I looked around and noticed that not only was I the only femal but all the others looked like fit men, this was going to be hard and maybe just involve me riding round on my own.

On go we set off and I had a bad start for me and ended up right at the back, well there were two or three people behind me. All I could do was keep my head down and keep pushing. The course was mainly round a playing field and the only vaguely interesting bit was some off-camber through the trees.
There were also some hurdles, I at least did better than I had in macclesfield a couple of years ago and almost managed to take one of them at a run. The other was uphill and was a lot harder.
Mikey caugt me just over halfway through the race so my aim was that he didn't catch me again! Ali and Katie were out cheering and taking photo's which kept me going and show me pulling some fantastic faces.
Into the last lap and the guy who had been on my tail all race went past, I had to dig deep. Halfway round I passed him again, I had no choice but to run the hurdles. Ali was screaming at the finish as I pushed as hard as I could, just holding him off. I was ready to die after I crossed the line! I may have only been racing for second to last or third to last but it was fun. I was of course first female!
I enjoyed the race so maybe might think again about selling my cross bike. It's ages since I've worked that hard on a bike and I was so sleepy afterwards. Apparently intensity is what I need to get faster!

Can't wait to race with Mikey again!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Cornwall Holiday

Back from a fab time in Cornwall that involved bikes, geocaching, cake, cyclo-cross, swimming and friends. Lots of individual posts to come about the days. We got there on monday and had an easy pootle on the bikes on tuesday. Then on tuesday evening we planned the rest of the week, I think my friends were humouring me but I like to know what I am doing. Amazingly we stuck to the plan. So on wednesday we went geocaching on foot nearby, on thursday we went to Lizard Point, friday was riding day, saturday we watched Ali swim in the sea and then today we went to the cyclo-cross race.
Fab week and over way too quickly!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Getting some miles in

I'm currently down in Cornwall with Ali visiting my velocake pals. We've done more geocaching (post about this once I get home) but the last couple of days have involved the bikes. Yesterday we went to Lizard point. Ali and Katie went in the car while Mikey and I rode there and back giving us 55miles. For some reason I still didn't sleep brilliantly. Today we all went out, I had ice cream in Mousehole, the others had cake. Then we headed up to see the Merry Maidens stone circle to leave a travel bug that is trying to visit as many stone circles as possible having started at Stonehenge. From there we grabbed some food and then headed back. 26miles on the computer. Mikey and I then headed out for a quick 19miles giving me 45miles. Some miles were just what I needed and eventually i'm getting less anxious and more relaxed.

Friday, 21 October 2011


When the rota came out for this week I was a bit gutted, I had been taken off my school in Southport and sent to one in Kirby. I had really been looking forward to riding to Southport, especially after oversleeping last week and getting the train. Route plotting was difficult and I struggled to avoid the East Lancs, I managed to plot a route but I wasn't sure how rideable it would be on a road bike.

I'd got as far as middlebrook when I punctured (front tyre again so may be time for a new tyres). New tube and I headed to Wigan and then out towards Rainford. I stopped for a geocache that apparently had a view over to Jodrell Bank but it was too hazy to see. It's the real problem with riding to Merseyside is that I miss the sunrise as it's behind me! Through the lanes and the next thing I know is i'm on the East Lancs, at least it was a short section. All in all it was a nice commute.

After a lovely day, due to lovely kids I still ended up outside in the rain, I left to ride to Manchester to meet loads of work peeps for a belated celebration for Mary's birthday. I managed to pick up another geocache and avoid the East Lancs, which made the route slightly longer and hillier and ended up with me lifting a muddy bike over a fence. Still its nice to have a trio adventure on the commute.

I met up with Ali, she hadn't brought her bike which confused me a little, and we headed to the pub where I changed out of lycra so I looked a little less of a bike geek. Eventually we all moved to the all you can eat chinese where as usual I ate way too much! I couldn't help myself when it came to the chocolate cake though. I was glad that with Ali there I didn't even have to think of riding home.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A day of weather

Lovely Pink Leg Warmers to keep me warm
Once again I was off to Merseyside with Jen to do a couple of recce rides. We had to meet early to make the most of daylight and we knew that there would be very little time for geocaching. I went to Irlam as well but missed the nice route and ended up on the main A57 worrying that I was missing the train. As it was I had about 5minutes.
An unusual geocache container

The first route went fine, including a nice cafe stop. Route two and we were hoping it was more rideable than last week. Turns out that it was relatively straight forward and we even had time for some geocaches, getting back just before it got dark we even had time for a sneaky pint in Manchester before I got the train home.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Much better Monday Commute

Last monday I rode to Liverpool for work. I set off just after 6am and then battled a headwind the whole way there, ended up riding on the East Lancs and eventually arriving 20minutes late, not good. So this monday I left just before 6am, didn't go the wrong way in Wigan so was on Country Lanes and arrived 20minutes early after having time for some Geocaching on the way.

The way home I nearly escaped the worst of the weather, but just after collecting Ali on my way past the heavens open and we swam home together.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


After work on saturday I jumped on a train and headed down to Loughborough to see my sister. Only one change at sheffield made it an easy journey, I should do it more often! I got there in time for us to get pizza before I fell asleep on her partway through a film - some things never change.
On Sunday, after a rubbish nights sleep, we took the dogs she is looking after for a walk. Of course I had to introduce Helen to geocaching. Dragon and Twitch seemed to be loving it, although they never got the hang of actually finding the caches. There was a series of eight near Helen's so we headed there, missing 8 after a little search we found 1/8 just as I got it out two other caches 'caught' us. So we collected the next 7 together. I hadn't brought the clues for a bonus cache, a set of mathematical formulae, but they had. So at the end we even got a 9th.
Parting ways we headed back via another couple of caches but me and the geohounds tired and hungry.
Turns out Helen enjoyed it but the series of caches were premium member only caches so she couldn't log them. She then found us a couple to do on the way to the station.
I was shattered when I got home, but it was a fun weekend.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Failing at commuting

This morning the radio alarm went off and I woke up, unfortunately that was set for Ali to get up and my alarm hadn't gone off. This meant it was 6:30am and if I was going to ride to the school I had to leave at 6am. Fortunately I could leave at 7am to get a train.I told myself I would ride home, but I'm tired, stressed and grumpy so I got the train home. Feel very lazy now!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A muddy day at work

I was doing another risk assessment/recce ride over in Merseyside today. The ride started at Halewood so I decided to join the train at Irlam instead of Manchester, a good decision as it was a much nicer ride. Unfortunately just as I got to the station one of the straps from my pannier got caught in the wheel, fortunately apart from a broken strap everything seems ok!
Too many people around meant no searching for the cache near the station so we headed off on the route, the part I had plotted, apart from one dead end up someones drive it was all quiet roads and straightforward. Then we headed into the Sankey Valley. This wasn't so good and was very muddy. One bridge they had built the gate just too small for bikes. Fortunately it did improve just before we found the pub. After that it was a short hop to the transpennine trail with a couple of caches that we had to find as we were passing.
My day wasn't over though, a sprint to Liverpool to deliver adult cycle training before getting the train back to Irlam and riding home. I wasn't sure who had more mud on them, me or the bike, so I washed both!

Monday, 10 October 2011

The life of a supporter

Yesterday Ali ran the Kielder Marathon. The weather was very similar to the kielder100, drizzle wind etc. This time it was my turn to be support, Ali has certainly done her fair share of staying up through the night to support me! First thing to work out was getting her to the start as although everyone thought originally shuttle buses were running from Kielder it turns out they weren't. So I dropped her and someone else who was staying at the hostel at the start then rushed back, got my bike and rode up to cheer her off.

They did a startting loop and she came through smiling and headed out and I set off down the road, wishing that I was on a road bike (I had brought my singlespeed mountain bike) as lots of people sped past me. I got to the four mile point (ish) and it wasn't long before Ali turned up. I passed her a gel and headed to the viaduct. Here there were lots of people cheering and a smiling Ali took another gel off me and asked for sweets next time. Now I was glad I was on a mountain bike as I headed off into the forest to try and see her on the North Shore. As it turns out there was a fireroad that ran parallel to the lakeside way they were running on and I was able to drop down loads to see her.

At this point there was about five of us on bikes that kept seeing each other, all arriving at the points at slightly different times to cheer our respective other halfs on. It seemed no time at all and Ali was running across the dam and ready to turn back home. She told me that enjoyment was 7/10 - not bad for 18miles into a marathon!

I managed to catch her another few times on the way back and she was aiming to get as close to her london time as possible, not easy on a very hilly course. I even ended up sprinting up a hill to make it to the finish in time after the last point I had seen her.
A very happy Ali soon had all my extra layers on and I rushed off to get a car.

She is already talking about next year so I'll get another chance to be the support crew!

Taking BeeMine to Kielder

Ali collected a travel bug on one of her recent geocaching adventures.

Since it is trying to get home to Canada we decided not to leave it in a cache at Kielder but since we were going to be doing some caching bring him to visit some caches.
The day was wet, reminded me of the kielder100, we set out to find the one closest to the castle. Ali was searching down by the river when I found it on the other side of the path!

Onto the next one and we walked across the kielder viaduct, which Ali will be running across tomorrow! Really interesting to read about how it had to be built due to the flow of the water. Then we decided one more. Most of the paths at kielder are not on my gps maps (must look at adding some on openstreetmaps) so it was a case of walking towards it. After failing to find a path I decided we should go cross country. It did get us to the right place but it was hard work. We walked out via the path.
Tired from our geocaching adventures we took BeeMine for afternoon tea and grabbed another geocache over in Newcastleton. So lots of caching for the little travel bug before he continues on his travels.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Not a very good bike courier

What I was doing yesterday at work kept changing and in the end I wasn't needed in a school so I volunteered to drop off all the Bolton files for the schools next week. I'd collected them on Thursday and then spent some time plotting a route, it was great fun and reminded me of how much I had enjoyed Critical Path Analysis when I had studied Decision Maths.

Friday morning, files in my panniers in order I set off, school one done I rode back past my house to school two. This was fun, another couple of schools and then it was school six, riding up and down the road it was meant to be on but there was no sign. I asked a couple of people but they couldn't even think of a primary school nearby. In the end I rang the office, turns out the school had moved.

A couple more schools and a shortcut through Moss Bank Park and I was on my way to the office, two files dropped off in Salford and I was done. A quick look at my average speed, wow how slow? Don't think I could make my living doing it but it was good fun and much better than someone dropping them off in a car!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Commuting and Caching

As I was working over in formby again today it was an early start for me. I had decided to try and grab a couple of caches on my commute so found two that were right on the route and downloaded them. I set off in the dark but by the time I got to Parbold Hill it was light and time for my first cache. A short walk from the road and I had the log signed. Continuing with my commute the little bit of off-road clogged my bike up less this week, I think the gravel was new and its now been packed down. A couple of miles from the school I found a bigg cache, I nearly missed it as well! That done it was time to get to work and teach some bikeability.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Adventures round work

I was working only 5miles from home today and last week I went along the road but my Garmin kept trying to send me through Moses Gate Country Park. This morning I decided to explore and follow the Garmin. I knew where I was the whole way having rode it on my mountain bike numerous times and I have to say my mountain bike would have been the better bike for the job. It was a little muddy and by the time I got to the school my wheels weren't turning very well and I had to use my keys for some un -clogging. Still I think a bit of off-roading on an unsuitable bike is the ideal way to start the day!
My other aim was to do a bit of geocaching, Ali is getting in the habit of doing one or two when she is out and my recent adventures with Jen have been great fun. Yesterday I was over in merseyside and tried and failed to find a cache. So today at lunch I was determined. A ten minute walk took me there and I found it straight away, it was a nano as well. New log in it so I was the first name. Then a nice walk back to finish teaching level 2 bikeability.
Now what shall I plan for tomorrow?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

September round-up

So September, on the 1st I started a new job (which to be fair isn't that different to the old one but is permanent!) It was also the kielder100, which I finished. I then went away for a week and left the bike at home followed by another week of using the brompton and keeping the miles down. It wasn't long before the miles to schools went up (at first I was based close to home) and I was adding up the miles.

The end of September wasn't great with no three peaks due to illness and then this injury to my back. The good news being it is a lot better today! Heat treatment seemed to really help yesterday so I'll keep going with that and the ibruprofen as that is apparently meant to help. Fingers crossed that it will be fine.

So the numbers:

Mountain Bike: 123.1miles (24.67singlespeed)
Cyclocross Bike 157.55miles
Road Bike: 352.92miles (267.01miles fixed)

Total Cycling: 634miles
Running: 0miles - oh dear but obviously till my back is sorted no running

Onto October and depending on my back mileage may be low. I guess its just wait and see.