Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Last ride of 2008

I had arranged to meet Jumbly at Rivington at 10am. Somehow I ended up running late so Ali got up and gave me a lift over I was still a little late but not too bad. The car was showing -3 degrees when I got there so I knew it would be a cold one. We headed up onto Winter Hill and the change in the weather was dramatic, the freezing fog cleared and the sun came out, we were both shedding layers. Over to Belmont and back up the cheeky path. Some riding some skating and some walking due to ice. All good fun. Then along the Belmont Old Road where we were looking down on the clouds, my camera had decided it didn't like the cold by this point. Before heading down to the cafe for cake. Within seconds it was freezing again. So leaving the cafe I put a couple of extra layers on and they stayed on the whole way home, as I slowly tried to avoid the ice.

I felt very lazy when I got home and found Ali back from a 15 mile run, I can't say she isn't training now!

22.46 miles @ 6.9mph
800m climbed

Rounding up 2008

Well 2008 has been a big year for me, I started this blog I started riding more. I entered transwales and finished, on the podium. I have discovered how much I enjoy long rides and managed my target of 6000miles in the year easily. I think this year I have rode more miles than the rest of my life put together.

My three targets for the year were:
  1. Ride 6000miles - Done by the 28th September
  2. Run once a week - Failed
  3. Ride approximately 50/50 road/off-road - 48/52 close enough

Onto mileage for the year:

Total Cycling: 7922.99 miles

Road Cycling: 5145.29 miles

Off-road Cycling: 2777.70 miles (of which singlespeed 1437.28 miles)

Running: 199.24 miles

Then there is timewise. It varied but I'm not sure I'll ever have this sort of time to devote again.

All in all a fantastic year. I finished 3rd at hit the north, 3rd in transwales. I also completed some hard 100mile sportives, this time last year I couldn't have imagined that. So this year was a success.

Here is looking forward to 2009.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

2009 plans

I'm still not sure on my plans for 2009. I am hoping to do the etape du dales again and will try and get into the Fred Witton in the lakes, apparently it is very over-subscribed. I already have entry for the legbreaker and have entered a couple of running races. But as my main event I'm not sure. At the moment I can't afford transwales and Ali still says she wants to do it. I think I might try and do a few 12hour races and one 24 hour race solo, not sure how I will go staying up for 24 hours though, I don't seem to be capable of staying up lae anymore I just fall asleep.

I am also thinking of trying to get into the three peaks, another event I believe is hard to get into. Then I am going to do most of the NWCCA events next year so that I have enough couting events.

What are your plans?

Monday, 29 December 2008

Century a month Challenge 2009

Well it is nearly 2009 so soon a crowd of us will be starting on our Century a month Challenge. The rules are simple, each month you do the required ride, 100km for the metric challenge, 100miles for the imperial version. The ride has to be one ride, although cafe stops are fine. No ride in the morning go home for a few hours and out again, that I am afraid is two rides. The ride must be completely in the month as well, so no starting your first century late on the 31st December I'm afraid.

Let me have a link to the write up to each of the centurys and I'll link to them over there --->

The list of willing participants is here:

Metric Version

Imperial Version

So will anyone be out on the 1st getting their first century in?

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Christmas catchup

Well at last I get a chance to get online, no chance of catching up with all the blogs I read as I'm about to go out for lunch. Christmas has been busy but fun. Christmas Eve I was up early, Ali though was dead to the world so I headed off to the bike shop, cooksons, on the bike in my running kit and then ran to my mums, about 6miles, to help my sister decorate the tree. Lunchtime and Ali turns up with my bike, thanks to the lads for fixing it on Christmas Eve. Then it was off to the Christmas Carol sing-a-long at the Bridgewater Hall, it was good fun but I was left with the feeling why wouldn't you just go to a Church Carol service. Then it was back home where I finished my mum's present, a blanket. It's taken ages but I was really pleased with it, hopefully I'll get a picture of it for the blog soon.

Then Christmas Day dawned, up and Ali opened her first presents, I know we weren't doing presents but I had made her a hat and scarf in Cambridge United colours, oh and a couple of Chocolate Oranges as she had been wanting to open the ones I had got for someone else. Then it was pack the car and off to my folks for more presents and a Christmas Brunch. All the pictures were taken on the camera Ali had bought Helen for Christmas so I'm hoping she forwards me some. Then it was in the car and off to Cambridge, popping in at Ali's Dad's before getting to her mums for a lovely dinner cooked by Wendy. After more presents we played on a Wii - great fun I want one.

A tiring but fun day!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas, I'll be without internet now for a week so I hope everyone has a great time.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

More shopping

Today I had to go and pick up Ali's present from her mum. It's a fab present I want one!

Anyway I ended up going to a place just outside Chorley to pick it up, it was a nice ride there and back and relatively flat - I could have added hills but with no easy gears that wasn't going to happen! I did make sure I waved at Jumbly as I cycled through Adlington, not sure if she saw me though.

Now I need to get on with my presents, all this shopping means I am behind!

30.44 miles @ 15.3 mph
498m climbed

Monday, 22 December 2008

A hard run followed by pizza

I wanted to run today so Ali agreed to come with me as long as it was between 25 and 30 minutes. So a route was planned and we headed out. Somehow it ended up being hard and for me fast. We stopped talking not far in and even coming back up Crompton way kept pushing. I was glad to see when we got back that Ali looked shattered as well!

2.86miles @ 8:38 min/mile pace (It measured as 3miles on mapmyride)
31m climbed

Once home it was time for dinner. I had made pizza's with my sister on friday night while Ali was at her work do and there was loads of stuff left so today we decided to have pizzas for tea. Here they are waiting to go in the oven. I'm hungry now so looking forward to the oven beeping so I can eat!

Back on the bike

After spending the weekend feeling like I had been run over by a truck I was back on the bike today running errands. First it was off to Cooksons about my front mech, they are ordering me one and are going to get it and fit it on Christmas Eve, definetly the best shop in the world! Back home then off to Tesco and Argos over at Horwich for some of Ali's Christmas Presents couldn't find everything so I guess I'll be out again later.

27.62miles @14.8mph - it adds up!
472m climbed

Friday, 19 December 2008

crash test dummy

Today I was meeting Jumbly for a ride at 11am so before I went to Rivi I nipped into Bolton to get a new battery for Ali's watch, it turns out there was nothing wrong with the battery but hey I tried! Since I was then in Bolton Town Centre I took a different route over via Barrow Bridge. Once getting on Georges Lane I had loads of time, so I went down the ICR, I rode it ok although I kept scaring myself and having to slow down as I was going, for me, fast. I know speed is my friend but I'm a wimp!

After this I was heading down the singletrack next to the Belmont-Rivi road to get to top barn, got to the top of three steps, rode one, two, straight over the bars landing on my face! Got detached from my bike and up, face hurt but everything else ok, back on bike, oops I'm a bit dizzy, waited a bit then slowly made my way to top barn. Once there I had a look at the bike, I had already realised something was up with my brakes as the lever wasn't in an easy place to use. The rest seemed fine, I rotated the lever, but I think I have actually bent it as it hasn't been right for the whole ride.

Jumbly was out on her new singlespeed, I had a quick spin in the car park and it seems lovely. We did an eight mile loop over to the nab and back, saw a couple of peeps working on the new trail.

Then it was back to Chapel Tea rooms for some cake. Before splitting and heading home, in my case via Belmont. This is when the rain came and visibility dropped. Still I always have lights on my singlespeed so it was fine.

27.69miles @8.3mph
881m climbed

Thursday, 18 December 2008

An evening run

Ali came home and we headed out running, she imforms me she won't be running in the dark on her own. I knew this marathon was going to be hard work for me! Anyway we did the loop I did on tuesday morning, the difference in running when I'm not trying to do it before breakfast is amazing. Although I still found it hard, the second half was spent just managing to stay on Ali's shoulder. But I like that as it makes me push myself.

5.43miles @ 9:41 min/mile
106m climbed

Front mech woes

On yesterday's ride my roadie wouldn't change into the small chain ring at the front, it wasn't really a problem as the ride was basically flat. So today I'm trying to fix the problem. It seems to be at the mech, basically I change at the levers, the cable goes slack but the front mech doesn't move. I've tried cleaning it, putting a bit of lube on. But no idea what to try now. Was hoping to do a long ride today, now thinking this is not likely to be on the cards.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

A wool hunt

I have nearly finished a present, only I have managed to run out of the wool I was using. Now this wool was given to me as a present last Christmas so I knew this might be a bit of an ask. A bit of googling and I found out that it was sold exclusively at Wilkinsons. So a route was plotted between a couple of the nearest stores and I headed off. First to Bury, no wool at all and I knew at this point it was going to be unlikely as this was a big store. Down to Middleton. On the way I had a near miss when I was spinning a long in a bike lane and the next thing I know a car is driving across in front of me, I think I skidded as I stopped, but I was pleased to have stopped! Then I ended up on something that definetly wasn't a road, but hey my road bike seemed to cope fine with the off-road action. Choosing a line was important and I still had to lift my front wheel up over the odd step. No luck at Middleton either so I headed home. Will have to come up with another solution, but was nice to do an easyish ride - my legs were sore when I woke up this morning.

30.35 miles @ 14.5mph
429m climbed

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Fog is scary

Headed out on the rig tonight, I knew it would be a short one so I planned a route that I thought would take just over an hour. I started off well, climbing up the road better than I would have expected to. Once I was a little higher I entered the fog. Visibility was about a metre, bar light was on low and helmet light turned off. Meant I was crawling for a lot of it. Went the wrong way on a bridleway I only rode last week, was a little scared at that point, had turned round to go back but found the right track.

11.26 miles @ 9.3mph
337m climbed


Last night I stated ny intention on twitter to get up early and go for a run. I snoozed my alarm twice but was up 15minutes after it first went off, good for me at the moment. I had a plan of where I was running and had guessed it would be about 5 miles. I headed off and it was soon feeling hard, I don't think I can really say I was running, more jogging and shuffling than anything. I got a stitch after a mile and I had that horrible sweaty feeling. I find that usually when fit sweat is a clean sweat, it feels fine, doesn't smell when dry etc. But this was the sweat of unfit, clammy like you get when you are ill. Never mind I wanted to complete my plan. Which I did, no walking at any point. I was slow but the point was to get out and do it.

5.44miles @ 10'58" pace
104m climbed

Monday, 15 December 2008

Another week down

So the last week has gone and hasn't been a great one mileage wise. But there have been positives in that I passed my SMBLA Trail Leader assessment.

Plans for the week were:
2 x singlespeed rides
2 x running
1x longish road ride

So what did I do?
I went running once,
did one singlespeed ride
and one road ride.

I haven't been with it since Thursday really, I found Wednesday so tiring, no idea if it was having to conccentrate for a period of time or the driving. I don't drive much anymore now Ali seems to do more of it. Thursday was a write-off I can't remember the day but I'm sure I did nothing. Onto Friday and I made sure I did my errands. Saturday was nice with the tree. But sunday i felt rubbish, stomach was unsettled, then I went to bed, wish I could have stayed there all day but Ali sensibly ensured I got up.

Anyway its a new week and although I'm still not with it, I'm hoping things improve, get through today and back to normal service I think.

So plans for the week I'm unsure, I would like to get out singlespeeding and one long road ride as it keeps the miles up nicely. Also get out running a couple of times, I'm sure Ali needs to go running so maybe we'll run together.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

When do you decorate your Christmas tree?

I've always done the tree on the Christmas Eve but this year Ali was determined that it would be earlier. We haven't had a tree for a few years as we tend to go away for Christmas but this year with no money in the pot we will be around. So at lunchtime we headed off to choose a tree, after an hour we were both muddy from moving and picking up a lot of trees we had found a tree we both loved.

We got the nice men there to help us get it on the roof and headed home, I knew having bike racks would come in useful one day! We manoeuvred it into the house and set about making room for the tree. Then we got the lights on. Since Ali puts them away so neatly they look like they are new from the shop there were no cables to untangle. Makes it easier, if I was in charge they would be thrown in a bag!

Then we had to open the bubbles we had got for this moment!
Then it was time for all the other decorations. I love the smell of a real tree. Now all it needs is some presents. I have some ready to be wrapped so that is tonights plan, as then the tree will be all ready.

Christmas is feeling close with a tree, although I have a lot of presents to make! We've got a plan for Christmas Day that pleases everyone so hopefully it will be fun.

Last Christmas is a bit of a blur, although we were away at the snow, as I was too ill to appreciate it. So hopefully this year will be fun.

The perfect greeting cards

I can think of lots of people to send this to, the site has loads of brilliant cards on it, which is your favorite?

Friday, 12 December 2008

Collecting the Car

Ali is out this evening on a work thing, they were going straight from work so the plan had been she would walk in. Only as always she was running late so I got home from the Doctors to find the car gone. So this afternoon I ran to her work with a rucksac full of her shoes and clothes for going out and collected the car. It wasn't far but it was nice to get the legs moving.

2.16 miles @ 9'31" min/mile pace

Free miles

Yesterday I had planned to go out and pick a few things up that I needed for Christmas, it never happened though I was having one of my I can't leave the house days. So today I knew I had to do it, first I had a Dr's appointment in the morning, which went fine. Then home and straight out. Nipped over to Stockport, then Ramsbottom and then home. Even though it was just to pick a few bits up I got a good ride out of it.

45.45miles @14.7mph
610m climbed

The other thing I'm wondering about is combining blogs, at the moment I have two, although the other one is a different format as it is through a forum. I'm thinking of just blogging everything here, but then the other stuff isn't as much fun and definetly doesn't involve any adventures. Decisions decisions.

Thursday, 11 December 2008


"Train hard or disppoint yourself"

Simon Burton

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Trail Leader Award Assessment

Back in April I did the training course for the SMBLA Trail Leader Award. Today I was back up in the lakes for the Assessment. Arriving early it turned out all of us were early - three doing the assessment. So after some route planning we headed out. I had to start us off and after that we took turns leading, did some coaching of skills and some discussion on map work. Back to base and we each had a debrief, we'd all passed!

Thanks to Jon and Ali I'd have never got there without the two of you!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Attack on Great Hill

Another day and another ride to practise navigation. I headed out over towards Tockholes, while riding along the Witton Way I met this lot who didn't seem to want to move. Never mind they didn't kick me as I squeezed my way past. By this point I was getting good at guessing which bits of ice were crunchy and which bits were deadly. There was a lot of it about!
From here it was new, once in the woods at Tockholes I sucessfully navigated out by a new route and then crossed the A675 and started heading up Great Hill. This was great practice as I had never been up here. So I took compass bearings even though it being a clear day I could see where I was going and tried using the contours on the map to work out exactly where I was. I really struggle with this as I just can't imagine things in 3-D, but its getting better. I had guessed from the map this would be a push/carry but I actually think that in the summer some of it would be rideable. There was a lot of frozen snow about which actually covered some of the boggy stuff up so you could walk on it. The last bit being the steepest meant Rig got carried, sometimes bikes are lazy!

Then it was down a big track towards Brinscall, before heading towards White Coppice. Here I went a slightly different way than I had planned, I was following my route card, but when I checked on the map I had taken a different path. No problems though I was able to work out where I was.
After that I was basically at Rivington so came back one of my usual ways. Failed to clear the school climb for the first time in ages, only because I managed to pull my foot out of my left cleat! Something else I need to sort, tighten my cleats! Coming back through Smithills I was riding across some ice but feeling confident, I had done a lot of ice riding already today, as I could see the end of it when I went flying. After a little bit of lying on the floor hurting the intial pain calmed down and I shuffled to the end of the ice dragging my bike. Back on and fortunately no more ice. Nothing seems too sore now, it hurt a lot when I went down though!
27.97miles @ 7.6mph
920m climbed

Monday, 8 December 2008

Century a month challenge

Starting January 2009!

The idea is to do one ride that is over 100km (metric version) or 100miles (imperial version) so who fancies it? Good way to motivate yourself to do one long ride a month.

Metric Version


Imperial Version

Trio (am I crazy?)

A weekly round up

Well the week that just went is the first time in years I remember getting a reasonable amount of snow. In the end I did a fair few off-road rides in the week, went running a few times and finished the week off with a nice long roadride. So not a bad week.

My week:
Running x 2
Singlespeedmtb rides x 5
Road ride x 1

Next week:
So plans for this coming week

2 x singlespeed rides
2 x running
1x longish road ride

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Cyclechat ride

Today I headed out early to meet a group of people off cyclechat, it was a cold day but the main roads that I stuck to on the way were ice free. Over to Holmfirth where we met some more, then back via Holme Moss. I'm sure it is always a hard climb but with the head wind it seemed very hard. At the top we tried using the cars to shelter so that we might just avoid hypothermia! Over to torside where hot drinks from the ice-cream van were appreciated befor back to the start. I peeled off for home and others headed back to Holmefirth. A great if chilly ride.

77.94miles @ 12.9mph
1950m climbed

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Happy Birthday Pootle

Today was my friend Pootle's birthday so it seemed on sensible since we live so far away that Ali and I should celebrate by going out on a pootle ride. Ali had big plans about where we should go so I suggested seeing how she felt when we got to Rivington. Most of the slush was melted when we got to Smithills and I was enjoying riding my bike up hills instead of pushing. Soon though we were on tarmac and I said something to Ali and she dived at my feet, black ice nothing she could do. Then on Winter Hill itself some bits were impossible due to the ice. Ali tried to find some softer snow for a snow for a snow angel but it was all too hard - shame she missed tuesday she would have loved it.

We then headed back via Barrow Bridge, on the way down I here Ali say I'm going to crash and the next thing I know she is on the floor, I couldn't stop as it was just solid ice till I got to the bottom, fortunately only a few metres away, this time she kindly waited for me to get a picture. I then took Ali home a new way for her, by this point she was a little tired so it was nice to get home.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Road Running

I tend to run off-road as much as possible but this evening Ali said the only way she was running was if it was on road. Since I had told her she had no choice but to run, her marathon training needs a lot of help, I had to agree.

A loop on main roads round Bolton and through the Valley was actually fun although I found all the hills hard. Still it'll get me fitter.

3.59 miles @ 9'28" pace

Cake Stop

Cake Stop
Originally uploaded by jumbly
I set off early this morning to meet Jumbly as I needed to pop into the bank first for Ali. Not long after I left the bank it started snaining, a new word for sleet/rain falling from the sky stolen from Jill. Jacket on and I continued up onto Winter Hill. It was hard going getting there and the mixture of slush and ice is the hardest thing I've ever tried to ride in, I ended up doing a lot of pushing. I was glad I left early as it was slow going and I arrived to find Jumbly with her cross bike, a tyre rim interface problem meant I'll have to wait another day to see her new singlespeed. We did a nice easy route staying quite low, which was nice as I was able to ride and not have to push all the time! Before stopping at lower barn for the compulsory cake stop!

Then I headed home, more pushing up the AICR, along Belmont Old Road and then just road on the way home. A nice ride and home for lunch.

22.26miles @ 7.4mph

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Slush Slush Slush

Winter Hill
I headed out a little later than planned as my friend phoned just as I was about to leave. As soon as I got off-road I found out how hard slush was to ride in, especially on a singlespeed as standing was a no-go area! As it got dark I ended up looking over to Winter Hill to see the mast all lit up. When I got on Winter Hill itself, after a fair amount of pushing, there was a flash and I thought someone was hiding and taking a picture of me, then it was followed by thunder, I guess it was lightening but I was still a little scared. After that it was time to slide downhill, no traction and brakes doing nothing, it was a little scary! At some point I thought of kate all tucked up on her sofa and thought that sounded a nice idea. Once I was home though and no longer scared of the monsters in the dark I realised how much fun it was.

11.72 miles @ 7.1 mph

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


"You have to train, train and train again"

Steve Ovett

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Riding in a winter wonderland.

I woke up to snow this morning so I just had to get out, it was just picture perfect.Fresh tracks through the snow.
On winter hill it was snowing more.
Rig got a little snow covered as I pushed up Winter Hill.
Riding in the snow is a lot of fun, its just a shame I had to come home.

Monday, 1 December 2008

A crazy afternoon

I got an email from Ali saying I was to drag her running when she got home so I thought I'd better get out on my bike. 500m later and I was back at the house changing brake pads, looking at this one you can see it was urgent! It took me ages to get sorted and I nearly gave up but I decided a quick ride was in order and so just followed some new trails, yes in the dark, they weren't technical trails but they were nice.

Then I got back and Ali wasn't far behind me so we headed out, 3.37 miles in the dark at 9'41" pace. Seeing as we were running in the dark off-road I was pleased with that.

leg warmers v tights

A post especially for kate.

"what's the difference between leg warmers and wearing full length tights? pros
and cons please!"

Well leg warmers are basically just long tubes that go under your shorts and down to you ankles, as such turning shorts into longs.

  1. You can wear them to start a ride and then take them off as it warms up and put in a rear pocket/rucksac.
  2. Good for autum and spring riding where tights are a little too warm
  3. Can use them for warming up for events and then easily remove
  4. Cheaper than tights


  1. They are not as warm as tights.
  2. They can sometimes fall down.

In conclusion they are a great addition to the cycling wardrobe and at this time of year you can wear them as well as tights when its cold!

November mileage

End of November and it only feels like yesterday that I was writing my October Mileage post. It was another month of just riding and enjoying it although I was also aware that I wanted to keep my base miles up. As a month I was nowhere near the mileage of Sarah, who went over 1000miles and my mileage was down on last month but more of it was off-road.

Running 22.41 miles (Average pace 9:45min/miles)
Road Cycling 421 miles 65% (Average speed 13.5 mph)
Off-road cycling 231 miles 35% (Average Speed 8.3 mph)
150 miles singlespeed
Total Cycling 652 miles

There was also less running but I have kept it up so I was happy with that.

Looking at my graph for hours spent on each discipline I am close to 50/50 on/off road with cycling. With just slightly more time spent on road. I think that is hard to avoid as road riding leads to nice mileage totals which motivates me to get out and do a long ride once a month.

Now onto December, this is likely to be the last month I have a lot of time during the week for long rides so I want to make sure I am doing at least one long road ride and one long off-road ride a week. With also keeping up the running that will keep me busy. The other thing is to try and do core work at least once a week, I know all the benefits but I am generally just lazy when it comes down to it. So here is to a priductive, if cold, December.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Cross racing in the cold

Today was another race at Leverhulme Park and so it would be silly for me not to do it. I spun down the road to it in loads of layers since it was cold out. By the time I got there I was quite hot as it was actually very sunny. I decided to race in a woolly base layer, jersey, shorts, knee warmers ,my summer shoes and my winter gloves. I actually was okay so I think that was a good choice. The start was frantic and I didn't seem to get away. But it meant there was actually a group of four females all racing close together. For a while I was in third and then I managed to pass the two ahead of me and get in the lead (of the womens race ;) ) But then someone else came past and once we got on the grass and mud she could pull away, my bike was getting heavier and heavier.

It was a good race and I was actually one of the last to finish as I got through the bell just before the winners finished.

I would have waited for results and prize giving but it was getting dark and I had no lights!

Oh and hi to whoever recognised me from my blog, fame at last! ;)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Roadie or mountain biker?

Often when people find out I ride bikes they assume its either on road or off-road. If they ask and I say both then they assume I mean on a hybrid or something (nothing wrong with hybrids). When I was up in the Lakes my friend was saying that when he goes out with mountain bikers they think of him as a roadie, to be fair so did I when I met him in the peaks in his club kit flying up hills and crawling down them! But he was saying when he is out with his road club they call him a mountain biker. It made me think, I don't think of myself as any sort, I just love riding. Some days I want to go and do long road miles on my roadie, other days I want to get muddy and have fun on the mountain bike. I was at a ride recently and my friend told me I was turning into a roadie, I suppose I got into all this riding through mountain biking. I guess I wear Lycra most of the time, but too be fair I find it more comfortable especially off-road - although my waterproof shorts are a near constant accessory at the moment and they are baggy. Most of the people I know are exclusively mountain bikers and find the idea of riding on the road apart from to connect trails odd. But I'm just happy if I'm on a bike.

What sort of cyclist would you say you are?

Friday, 28 November 2008

A frosty morning

I had plans today I was going to get up early and go running a 6:30am, did it happen? No! Just to make me feel bad about staying in bed terrahawk was out at 5am (?). Anyway to make up I got some stuff done once Ali went to work and then headed out running. I had a plan I was going to run up to Bromley Cross, back to the golf course, then up and down the steps five times then home.

The plan started off well, I realised that I was running at quite an easy pace (turns out the first section was at 10 min/mile pace) but I didn't feel like pushing it.

Then it was the steps, I think you can spot them in the elevation profile? The first two went fine, then the third I was attacked by a dog whose owner explained he was scared of people running, I then had to wait for them to clear the steps which took ages! Then it was a slow jog back home.

Once home I did some core work, last week I did none and I really think it will help my singlespeeding so I am trying to incorporate it into my routine.

In total I covered 4.59miles and was out for 50'33"

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Rooley Moor Road

So todays plan was to do some more navigation practice, riding from home. I plotted a route and got out my highlighters and map. The weather forcast wasn't great but when I left just after 9am it was fine. Some new trails from near me took me out in Bury, where I explored a bit and ended up riding up some steps, they were shallow but there were a lot of them! Then I just went on the road to the start of Rooley Moor Road.

First impression was that this would be a great place to practise climbing on cobbles if you were to enter the tour of flanders sportive. Although it seemed steep I had no problems getting up it on my singlespeed, I have to admit I was a little worried about taking the rig somewhere I hadn't ridden before. Maybe I'll start taking it on more rides. Looking back when I got to the top I could see Rochdale in the distance.

Then it was following the clear track across the moors, at some point it got windy and started raining. Before I got to Waterfoot I split from the pennine bridleway and soon realised I had actually been on this trail before and it was taking me to the windmills. I had to walk a lot of it and some of it was very boggy, coming above my shoes. Just as I reached the windmills and was about to descent the weather got worse meaning I went downhill nearly blind.

After that various weaving and some sustrans trail brought me out at Tottington and then it was a case of riding home.

I love exploring from home and I love singlespeeding!

Stats: 29.41miles @ 8.2mph 920m climbed

Night riding with friends

About a month ago the group I used to ride with every Wednesday asked me to organise another Rivington ride so yesterday we all met at the Black Dog in Belmont at 7:15. As I was leaving to ride up to the meeting point I tried turning my light on and nothing happened, so it was a quick rush into the house and grab Ali's light, strap in to the bars and hope it'll stay there. Ten minutes later I was on my way, fortunately I had left loads of time to get there.
There were six of us all together, 5 girlie's and 1 boy who was meant to bring cake but forgot??? We set off from Belmont up the cheeky path, it was a little boggy in places so there was some walking to be had, but it was agreed that it was nice to get rid of the road climb, its nice for rides to be nearly 100% off-road. Then it was along the Belmont Old Road to Pigeon Tower. We dropped down the ICR, obviously no ice-cream van there at that time before climbing back up the AICR.
After this we headed up the Pike, it was a lovely clear day and the views over Bolton and Manchester were great. It was a little windy up there though. Here we went slightly different ways with half the group going off the back of the Pike and the other half following the path back down. Then it was time for the last climb, up two lads onto Winter Hill, once again the gates were open so no boggy diversion for us. Then down the Belmont descent, I had a few moments, like when my light pointed straight in my eyes or it came off my bars completely!
After that the only thing left was to retire to the pub for a quick drink. Then while the rest of them had a nice drive back to South Manchester I took the easy route home and freewheeled down the road.
Stats: 18.72miles @ 7.2mph 675m climbed

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Time to stop ignoring Christmas

I've managed to not notice Christmas approching and the fact that some people might like presents off me. So yesterday I thought I'd better make a start and got my crochet stuff and had a look at what yarn I have. Since I'm not earning at the moment I can't afford to spend loads on yarn and so want to mainly use what I already have. I found a lovely fluffy yarn, which although hard to crochet with seems to work well. So I got to work on a scarf, tigger is modelling the nearly finished project - I just need to weave the ends of the yarn in but I haven't found the neddles I use for that yet!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

10,000 hours

Apparently this is the magic figure to be an expert at something. Research has been donw into Outliers who are the high achievers, the best, the brightest, and the most successful people. Basically the difference between them and others is a magical 10,000 hours of practice by the time they are 20. This goes for all different field, from Bill Gates in computers who spent a lot of his free time in High School programming, to professional musicans - the Beatles being a prime example who have played live more than most other bands - and of course sportspeople. Look at Lewis Hammilton, he has been driving since he was at primary school, he probably had amassed the magical 10,000 hours by the time he started in formula one.

In conclusion you just need to practice practice practice. Those of us out on our bikes all through the winter whatever the weather will have the advantage in the long run as we will reach the magical 10,000hours sooner.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Getting the layers right

My friend Ros has just got a new road bike so today three of us off shecycles headed out for a road ride from her's. I decided that it would be a great idea to cycle over, even though we were meeting at 9am, inspired by groover who is always up early training. So just after 6am I was out the door. I knew it was going to be cold, but then I didn't want to wear too much so I went for a woolly base layer, jersey, armwarmers, gillet, windproof jacket, shorts, knee warmers, woolly socks and waterproof jacket. I took the waterproof off about halfway there but I seemed to have got my clothing right. Once at Ros's I had a second breakfast - thank you for feeding me again! The got rid of the arm warmers. We set out on a loop towards Macclesfield which turned out to be very hilly. Lots of those nice arrows on the map!
I kindly took a picture of Julie at the top of the hardest climb, but we all got up everything and considering it was Ros's first ride on her new roadie and she felt wobbly standing up that was impressive. After this we dropped down into Whaley Bridge, you think this would have been welcome after all the climbing, but no we had a headwind that was meaning we had to pedal downhill and freezing our hands. There we found a cafe that let us put the bikes in the back garden and I enjoyed my third breakfast, a full English followed by a chocolate muffin. The other two had oat cakes. Then it was a short ride back to Ros's.
I had been considering getting the train back, there is a direct train once an hour but being me I decided cycling was a good idea. So I headed off, I had choosen a flatter way home than I had ridden there on. About ten minutes after leaving I got caught in a snow storm, but it didn't last long. It wasn't long before I was passing the velodrome and I knew it was easy getting home now.

Stats: 80.66miles @ 12.2mph 1851m climbed

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Reviewing the week

So how did this week go? Well I certaintly didn't stick to my plans. Lots of reasons, well one main one but it took me till near the end of the week to work out my lack of motivation. Anyway what did I do compared to what I had planned?

Mon 23mile road ride I did this in the rain
Tues 4 hour singlespeed ride + running Nothing, but knee was sore
Wed 46 mile road ride 19mile singlespeed ride off-road
Thurs Running 13mile singlespeed off-road and 3.4miles running
Fri Singlespeed ride 80mile road ride
Sat Southport ride 30mile singlespeed ride
Sun Rest 26mile singlespeed ride

So I guess it was a pretty good week after all. I love road miles as they add up quicker but then I've had some great mountain bike rides this week.

A change in the weather

Plans had been made to meet Jumbly and Carolyn at 11am over at top barn. Since my legs are sore and tired from the last two days rides I left at 9:40am, this should have been loads of time to go the longer way over. Instead I battled hail, rain and wind, took the shortest route and was still a little late! We headed over to leadmines, no chance of me getting the up there it was so slippy and windy! Past healey nab (leaving the woods for another day) and back over to rivington. At this point it got even wetter and the decision was made to leave the cafe for another day. Jumbly headed while me and Carolyn climbed back up the AICR onto Georges lane, her we split we me going along Belmont Old road, didn't fancy ging over winter hill again.

Got home and a quick wash of the bike with the bucket I had left behind the front droor, clothes off and woolly dry clothes on and its time for a lazy afternoon.

Stats 26miles @ 8mph; 850m climbed

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Why I love biking

Jon came up today to ride, at first we had plans for a road ride to Southport but then it was just going to be the two of us so we were going to ride to Altringham with Ali, but the weather and time constraints meant that wouldn't be a good idea either. So I suggested that we rode my local trails, which meant no long map stops and just pedalling to keep warm seeing as it was forecast to be cold cold cold!

Just as we were about to set out I spotted Ali's keys so I thought we'd better drop them off with her. Then Jon realised his chain wasn't on correctly, after watching him struggle for a short while I undid the power link - no idea why he was making it look so hard! After dropping the keys off with Ali, turns out she had taken the front door key off and did have a key! We headed over to Rivington. Once there I took Jon down Jon's 200yards. Past the Lamas, one tried to eat my rucksac!

Then up the commonwealth down, where he rode my bike up and I rode his. I found his hard going, it was just too big, he says mine is lovely but I must have superhuman legs to get up the hills! Then I took him down the ICR, anyone who knows Jon will know he is not the biggest fan of downhills, he cleared it as well! Then over to Healey Nab where Jon thought I was joking when we got to the last drop - it really is a lot steeper than it looks in the photo's it looks vertical from the top - eventually after a few goes I got him down it.

Then we headed to the cafe, while we froze outside and they seemed to forget our bacon butties, but my chocolate cake was good. Before heading home via Belmont Old Road and the cheeky trail I had tried on thursday night, some of it was still a walk even in the light!

A great ride and reminded me how much fun biking is!

30.98miles @ 8.2mph
1100m climbed

Friday, 21 November 2008

How hard was that?

I had big plans to get out for 7am this morning, instead I took forever to wake up this morning, even after breakfast I was like a zombie. I got annoyed at myself though as I knew I would be mad if I didn't go out so at 11am I set off to Southport. I have never cycled in such windy conditions, it must have been a headwind most of the way there, apart from the odd side wind which tried to take me off my bike. I felt like I was grovelling along! At one point I stopped to check my rear wheel wasn't jammed on. After an hour I nearly turned back, but I knew I would be annoyed at myself so I continued battling. I even had hail at one point on the way out. I was pleased to get on the coast road and for a change used all the cycle path, it was taking all my strength to nearly go in a straight line and I was barely moving. By this point I was hurting!

I got to Southport at 3pm, an hour later than I would expect! Took a while but I found a chippy open and enjoyed chips with my sandwiches away from the sea front, I normally ride back to the sea wall but it was just too cold there! Then it was time to go back to the coast road and start the battle again. It was probably after Tarleton that the wind seemed to die down, but no no tail wind! I was glad I had put my Joystick on my bike as it was pitch black by the time I was getting close to Addlington and I was on a country lane, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had enough light to see by. The joystick seemed to work as well on road as my bigger light, I think because it penetrates further it worked well for road riding.

On the way back I was surprised as I could see Winter Hill from the coast, that's normally my sign that I am near home not as far away as I was going to get! There was a lovely sunset which I did my best to capture but I only had my camera with me. Home along Chorley New Road, I couldn't bear the thought of hills. This was when cars started trying to kill me, I guess everyone wanted to get home since it was Friday evening?

When I got home I was so glad to be home but I was really glad I had gone, I know I would have done nothing all day and beat myself up about it. Although I didn't really enjoy it I am pleased with myself for battling through!

78.9miles @ 12.6mph
800m climbed

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Running in the dark

Ali was told at the Physio yesterday to try running with the strapping on her knee today. I suggested this morning but she laughed so once she got home we headed out. We did one of my usual loops. Once we got off-road I found it a lot less scary than last time and havign two head torches was definetly better than one. Ali said she thought it was a little spooky but that she would do it again.

Garmin Stats

3.37 @ 9'39" min/mile pace

Exploring in the dark

I headed out at about 3pm again, so it was lights on ready for when it got dark. I left my route on the map on the wall (now not the same as the one I carried with me). On the way up winter hill I did deviate slightly as I explored a new path at Smithills, it was definetly worth it as although a lot of it was very mud it has a lot of potential and is lovely singletrack.

It was lovely weather as I headed up, well apart from the headwind which meant I was moving so so slow! I even managed to sneak along the road under the mast, no muddy detour today. I kept waiting for someone to come and shout at me. I reached the top just as it was getting dark, probably the worst time to do a descent, lights do nothing but you don't have enough lights. Then on the way back I explored a new path, by this point it was very dark and I walked down it. But I think all but one set of steps will be rideable and I will be back in daylight!
A nice ride and I beat Ali home.
Garmin Stats: 13.73miles @ 7.6mph