Thursday, 31 December 2009

Rounding up 2009

So another year of my blog and another year of riding  Lots has happened again.  The main thing I guess is starting working again.  It has varied over the year how much work I have had but October I was definetly working full-time hours.  This was always going to affect my riding, but since I have been riding to and from where I have been working I've still been getting the miles in.  I also went Bivvying the first time and have had some crazy adventures since then, with my last bivvying adventure being in the snow just before Christmas.

Racing wise I raced exclusively on my singlespeed, completing transwales not just singlespeed but fully rigid as well.  I had two good races at Mayhem and SITS as part of teams, even winning at Mayhem against some srong teams.  The highlight race was Kielder 100, the hardest race I have done and the one race I wasn't sure I would physically be able to finish during it.  It's the first race I entered for 2010 and one I am going to target and definetly try to go faster and improve how I feel during the race. 

I also got a cyclo-cross bike this year and had planned on riding most of the NW races, this didn't happen.  I think I underestimated how long it would take to recover from kielder and going from that to 1 hour long races was hard.  I had some time out for racing and then was working a lot of sundays.  But I have enjoyed the races I have done!  I still need to get better at the format, I am rubbish at the getting on and off my bike and really should try and do a little bit of training!  I also completed the big one, the three peaks.  I sturggled to just get up the first hill with my bike and my lack of ability meant that I was never working that hard during the race.  It's a race that will never suit me, but one I need to definetly try again!

Overall it has been a great year, the memories the adventures are fantastic.  Now I hope I can build on it and hope to have some great adventures in 2010.

December Round-up

So December brought the first snow of the year which involved a couple of snow rides, a bivvy trip and a nice snowy walk to the pub.  I also discovered park runs and started trying to do some more organised training.  Unfortunately it has also brought a lack of motivation towards the end of the month and has meant a really light month time and mileage wise.

The figures:

13.22 mile running
154.69 miles moutain biking (138.35 singlespeed)
8.96 miles cyclo-cross
340.58 mile road

10916m of ascent

Progress on targets:

  1. Run at least once a week Failed in March :o(
  2. Run 300miles in the year 57% complete
  3. Cycle an imperial century a month Failed in March :o(
  4. Cycle 8000miles in the year Completed!
So I did make 8000miles on the bike.  I didn't really get near the running mileage, due to 3 months of nothing in the middle of the year!

This month would have been the one to stop me meeting my targets but it hasn't since the rest of the year was strong.  Some good adventures this month stop me being disappointed.  A ride in the peaks on the geared mountain bike also reminded me how much fun that could be.

So onto January and what that will bring.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Slushy cross racing

After the kind offer of a lift to the cross race in Macclesfield I was up nice and early listening to the rain!  After some pushing of the car after it got stuck on an iced over road when we picked someone else up we were on our way.  When we arrived it was cold and very very wet.  Lots of people were sounding very negative about the course so I entered before I could change my mind!!!  The pre-ride was fine, I was nice and warm in all my layers and although the slush-puppy course was hard going it was mainly rideable.  The only real worry was the two hurdles, they felt very tall with my little legs!!!

Soon it was the start and my last extra layer was shoved in a rear pocket and I was away.  It felt like everyone was moving faster than me but I kept going!  Lap two and I passed another female but had no idea who else was in the race, I had noticed her get away at the start.  Everytime I looked over my shoulder I could see Anita just behind me, she is a lot stronger than me off the bike and I made an error trying to stay on my bike on one climb and she got within a metre of me.  At this point I knew I had to work hard on the parts of the course I was strongest on.  One of my favourite bits by this point was a muddy mess and I had given up changing gears seeing as I was just using my easiest gear the whole time!

Then someone said I was on my last lap, too scared to look back and wondering how everyone lapping me seemed to be going so fast I kept pushing.  I was aware I was slower now and was glad to see the finish.  I crossed the line with noone around me.  At this point I realised that my feet had been replaced with blocks of ice and walking was pretty painful.  A hobble to the car and a complete change of clothes led to me feeling a bit better.

After getting home I got a text to tel me I was the first female, pretty pleased with that as it was a hard race.  Next stop Todmorden next weekend.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

A cocktail purse

Post written on the 21st November 2009

Another Christmas Present finished. This one is a cocktail purse, the idea you put a little bit of cash, lipstick and phone in and off you go for the night. Not something I will use but hopefully perfect for Ali's sister who is a little more girly than me!

Friday, 25 December 2009

A bunny for Christmas

Post written on the 16th November 2009 but published later so as not to ruin the suprise.

I've been crocheting for a couple of years now and it all started with Hats. The problem being that all my family now have hats and scarfs so something new had to be found for this year. I nearly always buy my sister a cuddly rabbit for Christmas so this year I decided to make one. Some searching on the internet and I found a pattern. A couple of weeks later and he was finished. It is my first time making a stuffed toy and won't be the last as I now have lots of toy stuffing to use! Maybe I bought a little too much!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

An Alpine Adventure

I have been feeling like escaping for a bit of an adventure recently and fancied having a go at a winter bivvy.  Kate said she fancied a bivvy as well and suggested meeting up somewhere with her running there and me riding. It sounded ideal, I was a little lot scared of sleeping out in the winter. A date was set and the next thing we know it stops. On Sunday I was thinking it was a silly idea and I should cancel and maybe try something close enough to home to be rescued if need be, Kate was having similar doubts. But once we got on the phone to discuss the plans we were both excited, scared but ready for the adventure.

So on Tuesday morning I left the house in a blizzard, sleeping bag on the bars and a rucksack full of as many layers as I could fit in. The weather got worse and worse and I managed to go the wrong way in Moses Gate Country Park, not a good start but I soon found my way to Radcliffe and back on course. At Prestwich the weather really closed in and I sheltered in a bus stop eating a sandwich debating what to do. Since not riding was cold I decided to get onto Asda at the velodrome for my first cake stop. A quick look at the map here and it was clear I wouldn’t get to the pub we were meeting at for 4pm riding so I decided to head to Piccadilly and get the train out to Edale. With Snake Pass closed riding out that way I might be pushing through snow for hours to get along the road. I timed it well as there was a train leaving in 15minutes, I had forgot they only run every two hours at this point. Once on the train I hear from Kate that she is at Edale and about to set off running.

Arriving at Edale and there seemed to be less snow so I headed off over to Jaggers Clough, it was mainly rideable and I got fresh tracks on the first descent. Then the pushing began! Soon I was disappearing into waist deep snow drifts! I got to the Roman Road and debated changing my plans and dropping down the Beast but I was having fun and decided to stick to my plan of the bridleway to Aston. It started off well, if a little comical as I tried to drag Rigger through the snow. But at some point I began to wonder if I was on the right track, after a while the map came out. I was sure I had worked out where I was – not the bridleway – but I still had that panicked feeling when I realised it was 3:40pm and time to get dark. I then pointed out to myself that it was a clear day and I could see the Cement works in Hope, I was hardly lost. A little bit further and I took a sensible option, straight down the hill towards the road. I found the bridleway I should have been on and it was straightforward after that, as long as I avoided the ice on the road.

I arrived at the pub three hours after leaving Edale just in time to order huge chip butties! I hung my clothes up on all the chairs near the fire which got a few odd looks from the staff! Kate had ended up coming in the car so had put loads of spare stuff in. She started listing all the clothes she had brought, now I was worried she seemed to have loads more than me and I am used to Kate having loads less! A couple of drinks later and a lot of faffing we set out up the bridleway, expecting a nice clear track to follow. Within 5 minutes we went wrong, but where we really went wrong is we didn’t retrace our steps! After climbing over a dry stone wall with barbed wire (and somehow lifting an ice-encrusted bike over) we ended up using the compass to ensure we were heading in the right direction and literally dragging Rigger by his forks/front wheel as we battled knee deep snow, heather and one occasion a bird! As we crossed the tundra with the wind howling I was beginning to worry, no way could we just bivvy there we were too exposed! But where were we. Eventually we came to the track and headed up to the Wheelstones, now I could push the bike again. This bit went very fast! I think it took us nearly three hours to reach our bivvy spot. The comforting thought that the car was only 40minutes away disappeared!

Once up there I had a few issues with the straps holding my sleeping bag on – I need a better method – but managed to loosen it enough to get the bivvy bag and sleeping bag out. Kate laid out our bed for the night – a survival bag chopped in half and opened up and we added a space blanket and our mats. Then it was into all the layers! In total I had on two base layers, bike jersey, bike jacket that I had on all day; then a shower proof, two more base layers and my down jacket. Bottom half was bib shorts, light thermals, bib tights from the day plus a set of woolly thermals (yes pink Chris) over the top. Feet I pulled on an extra pair of socks and head had 3 buffs, a thermal buff, woolly hat and hood from down jacket on. Water bottle in sleeping bag and in I got. Or in I tried, I didn’t seem to fit. I am sure Kate will have been wondering what the fuss was about, it took me at least five minutes to get in and I wasn’t lined up with the hood. Never mind it was cold, sleep time.

It didn’t feel like I was getting to sleep, but I wasn’t cold, I could feel the cold air on my back, but I wasn’t cold as such. I know I must have slept at some point, as I was apparently snoring! But I woke up loads, with cold feet. The mistake was not taking my wet socks off, next time that will not happen. I also had cramps in my calves, unusual for me but I wonder if it is dehydration as I never drink enough! At about 5am I had to give up and go to the toilet, only I had bibs on under 6 of my 8 layers, no way could I do it in the sleeping bag, so out I came and as quick as I could I took layers off, bibs off, layers on. Then feet into boots – they were frozen solid so they didn’t really fit! (Kate used dry bags as boots when she went to the toilet, ace idea!) Round the corner into the wind, back to bed as quickly as possible! Once again getting in was hard, but I wasn’t bothered where the hood was, I found it worked quite well the wrong way completely enclosing me.

Then I slept a lot better, only waking about 8ish to a lovely sunrise that took forever, although I did curl back up into my cocoon so I couldn’t see it. Around 9am, we both got as far as sitting up and Kate produced Bacon and Nann breads, not the usual combination but appreciated. The bacon was just what I wanted but I don’t think Garlic and Coriander nann breads quite worked! Just as we had finished a couple of runners come past. Jokingly asked if we had been there all night, they muttered something about us being mad when we answered a positive!

Then it was time to pack up and head on down, easier this time on the correct path! Although at the end we still came out on the road early, nice for me as I freewheeled to the pub, a little less pleasant for Kate playing with the cars. Time for a hot chocolate, before we split and I raced the train to Hope. It was a little late as it turned out anyway.

After that it was a simple matter of getting home, more snow on the trails but rideable here as it had been compacted. Now all that is left to do is sort out all my kit! I think I did just over 30miles on Tuesday and 22miles today. Even with a fair amount of road they were hard miles, swimming with a bike was a first for me and very slow!

What I have learnt!

1) Take wet socks off and put new ones on
2) You can wear 4 base layers
3) Don’t wear bibs
4) There is no such thing as too many clothes, but sleeping bags seem very small when dressed as michelinwoman!

An alpine morning

Time for breakfast.

Posted via email from trio's posterous

Sunday, 20 December 2009

A winter wonderland

After a bit of discussion about what to do with the day we decided on a walk up to the pub at Affetside, by this point it was 3pm, so I packed some essentials - head torches!  We headed over to the Golf course past the reservoir which was frozen with a layer of snow on top, still not strong enough to walk on though!

Then along a track we had once tried running on, here we had fresh tracks.

We could hear the sound of people sledging on a hill nearby but we were in our own winter wonderland.  Over the golf course and on towards Jumbles, Ali was getting worried about coming back in the dark, I assured her it would be fine and we would be able to see - oh and I had brought lights!

Soon it was time to head uphill as darkness fell but not before Ali drew a picture:

Once at the pub it took quite a while to decide which of the amazing dishes we wanted!  Stuffed it was time to walk home, layers and head torches on we set off.  Stopping for Ali to make a snow angel.

Then I was proved right, no need for torches, it was so bright coming down the hill, at the bottom ali wanted to go back up.  But it was through Jumbles and home. Once home the snow gave way to slush but I think its snowing again!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Out in the snow

I wonder if the snow has improved my mood, all that lovely light being reflected at me?  A bunch of my friends were riding today round rivi before a party in the evening, I had planned to go to the party but not the ride.  But this morning I woke up and thought I would do both.  So after fixing riggers puncture I headed over to Rivi.  I got as far as Barrow Bridge and it started to rain, I was in a winter wonderland!

I dropped down to Ros's and it turned out that everyone else was running late and struggling to get their cars up to the house.  Having gone over on the bike I hadn't had that problem!  Eventually we were all ready to go and we headed over to Rivi, round past the castle and then up the AICR.  Up the pike and the snow was getting really heavy.  Some of them went off the back, I went down the easy way - my head has been all over the place this week so techy downhills are not sensible. 

Then up onto winter hill, where I manage to stay on my bike for most of the climb.  Once on the access road I went left and then headed home over Smithills moor to Smithills farm.   Although I was taking it very easy just incase it wasn't really that icy - yet!

Now home and waiting for my feet to defrost before braving the bath.  Then I'll be heading out again to the party.  I was going to ride over on the cross bike but I think I might appreciate the huge tyres on rigger!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Braving Manchester

Today the plan was to meet Greg in Manchester for cake, well I am sure he said cake!  I was on limited time as I had to get home for a Dr's appointment but it seemed a good idea.  Then this week I've been all over the place and I really wasn't sure I was going to cope with Manchester.  But waking up to snow changed something, after taking photos of Ali in the snow - while still in PJ's - I did some washing and got the cross bike out.  I started off very carefully but halfway there the snow had gone.  Still didn't really bother trying so my average speed was poor.  But I have written this week off as a rest week anyway, think it is more sensible than fighting it.

Got into Manchester and locked the bike up, jeans on so I looked almost normal.  Then Greg turned up on the bus.  Turns out neither of us can make decisions!  So we ended up in Weatherspoons for burgers and then to the Christmas market.  I have never been and although lunchtime friday isn't the busiest time I was pleasantly suprised to enjoy it, no major anxiety with all the people.  No paranoria. 

Wasn't long before I realised it was time to head home, got the train from Piccadilly, being the Edinburgh train it was packed.  Cycling home I passed a street cleaner gritting the pavements on my road, it was so cute!  Suppose that is an advantage to living on a main road. 

Once home I quickly changed - bike tights and jeans would be way to hot at the Dr's surgery, it is always so hot.  Then back out the door.  Amazingly I only waited 5 minutes, he always is running late as he chats nearly as much as me!  I thought will have had him running late again.  I was expecting to be told off but he just smiled, we chatted about kielder a bit and the snow and randomly how another Dr had suggested I should do more exercise, it amused him the assumptions people make.  A promise that I won't wait 6 months before seeing him and I was off home.

Next it was time to get Ali ready for her night out.  She had her hair done at the hairdressers and her sister had sent her a dress.  She looked lovely, and I managed not to laugh at her trying to walk in her heels.  She was shivering in the car, me in my down jacket was lovely and snug!  I'm now on taxi duty so at some time in the early hours I will expect a call.  I don't think she will be going out afterwards this year though, it is cold cold cold and she is only wearing a dress!

Woke up to snow this morning so Ali decided to ride to work, she had thought of driving but the traffic wasn't really moving.  Since her mountain bike still has a puncture I offered her rigger.  She set off all bundled up.  A few minutes later a knock on the door, front tyre flat.  So then she had to think about which bike to ride.

She decided on my trek, which is way too small for her, but she really didn't fancy the road bike, I am going to use my cross bike to ride into Manchester.  All other bikes have punctures - this week seems to be my week for them!

So once again she headed out, once I grabbed some lights off another bike and attached them.  No issues this time as she sailed into work, although I expect she found it slow going compared to the road bike!

Now the question is how many people didn't make it in?  Last time she got the mountain bike out due to snow people who lived loads closer didn't make it in at all, seeing as we are 2miles away from her work I do not understand why snow was an excuse.  They wouldn't have been that late if they had just walked!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Ok I will ride...since I promised.

Kate had suggested a ride the other week and made me feel a little guilty about the fact I am never round, part of that is I don't know the rides are on as they are no longer on shecycles.  But I don't go out of my way to make arrangements to ride with people either - that is the anti-social side of me!  So a road ride was planned for today as she was out this way, only a couple of hours as she had to be back in Manchester for the evening.

This morning getting out of bed was a real effort, I was shattered!  I had gone to bed early last night as well.  After a morning where everything took twice as long I nipped over to Cooksons so they could sort out the mess I had made with my brakes - rounded a bolt off rushing on monday.  So the brakes were sorted and I could ride.

It then took me forever to leave, 15mins to do what I thought was a 5 mile (just over 6) journey was pushing it a lot.  Riding into the back of a car - it was stopped on double yellows but still! - on the way over made me think I should give up.  But I had promised! 

Once there we headed out over to Red Rock when I realised there were no lights on Kates bike, so back round via Adlington as it started to get dark and back to Lower Barn for hot chocolate and chocolate brownies.  Kate informed me that I had to get her fit over the winter by making her get out and ride.  Since she had dropped me by miles on every climb I think it might need to be the other way round.  I was just going backwards the whole time. 

Getting back to the car I clipped one of my rear lights onto her and we set off, she was impressed with the amount of light my little light produced, till I pointed out it was a joystick.  The snow started and the offer of a lift home taken up.  Unusally for me I didn't want to ride, usually even when its the last thing I wanted to do all day once I'm out I want to stay out.

Still shattered so off to bed, later than planned but with some good reading.  Made my day slightly less busy today but still have to force myself into Manchester for cake and a Dr's appointment.

Also key sessions are cancelled for this week, plan was always every 4th week off as recovery but being so shattered this week, and I had planned hill repeats for today and long run tuesday so now would be catchup, I am going to try and be sensible!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Three, no four singlespeeders

Head out to meet the boys at Rivi barn, I have to admit that it took a bit to drag myself out into the big outside world!  An easy route over although I was a little confused that they seem to have resurfaced the bridleway from barrow bridge by making it all muddy!  Be interesting to see what it looks like in daylight.  I got there just as Simon was unloading his bike.  Five of us set out, three of use on singlespeeds.  Up through Chinese gardens and round the pike, misssing out going up to the top since we couldn't see anything. 

Along Georges Lane and we had the first mechanical just as the tarmac headed up, Simon's chain came off and we all sped past him.  After a while I went back down to find him looking at his bike oddly.  The chain was no longer in the rear mech!  So Jockey Wheel out, chain in we were on our way again.  Up the road to Winter Hill, wow that bottom section of tarmac is tough, I was close to getting off and walking a couple of times!  Near the top Giles and Simon were pulling away, since they don't know the area me Johnie and Donk turned our lights off and backed off.  Amazingly they kept going not bothering at all.

Off Winter Hill on a new trail to me, most of which I walked.  I just couldn't see enough to ride it, the mist meant my lights were reflecting back.  Jonnie had a couple of offs on this section as he tried to roll a 4 foot drop off or ride by feel alone.  Including one point when him and Si ended up rolling round on top of each other!  We dropped onto the Belmont road and started heading over to Leadmines.  By this point the conversation had got weirder and weirder!

Here we had the next mechanical when Donk snapped his rear mech clean off, no idea how as we were just riding along.  Time to singlespeed his bike.  He found a gear that gave him a reasonable chainline, got the chain to be the right length and set off.  The rest of us enjoyed some mince pies while he was working on his bike, I did save him one!  Stopping again the chain was moved to another cog and the wheel put in straight, only then it jumped.  So back to the previous setup and just ignoring the fact the wheel was slightly rubbing the frame - it got him home!

Next it was my turn with a rear wheel puncture.  The boys were so amused with my tiny pump that Donk insisted on pumping my tyre up himself, thanks!  The last bit was a steep drop, I rode it but I'm sure they could hear me screaming in Blackpool!

After that it was back to lower barn where we left Giles and Simon with their cars and Donk and I headed up chorley old road.  I went through Barrow Bridge, he stuck to the road, not wanting to chance his luck with his new singlespeed!

A great ride and I went from wanting to hide from the world to having a great night ride.  Same time next week, but fingers crossed for less mecanicals!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Christmas Tree Time!

After a lot of discussion and compromise saturday was Christmas tree day.  So after the run we headed out to find a tree.  Ali spent her time looking at all the trees hidden in the corner that noone else was bothered with.  We eventually found a cute, wonky tree and it was love at first sight.  As the man tried to move it he broke the top off, but I was sure duck tape would fix it so we got it strapped to the roof of the car. 

The men at the place found it amusing we had a mini, but roof racks meant that it was easy enough.  Till we had to get the tree off the roof!  Once in the house and out of the net we realised how wide the tree was - the width of the room!  Still time to decorate.

Bubbles out and it was time to play with the lights and the tinsel.  Even Ali wasn't tall enough and had to stand on the sofa.  The wonky tree also kept trying to fall over but a dirtworker filled with water soon sorted that out!  Tree is perfect, if at a jaunty angle and Ali is a happy girl!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

A girls road ride

Today was a Christmas Girlie road ride that had been organised by the power of twitter.  What started out as a vague idea ended up with a date and idea of where to meet.  A month or so ago I plotted a vague route and this week the time was set.  I realised last night I should download the route onto my Garmin and maybe print a map.  It was actually the last thing I felt like doing last night or this morning, but since I had the route I knew I had to be there.

So up this morning and porridge made I set out to ride over to Rivvy barn, Ali decided to drive as she was aching all over after running yesterday.  The ride over was lovely and it looked like it was going to be a fantastic winter day, cold and crisp.  I got to Rivi and located Kat, and soon we were all assembled.  It's wasn't hard to work out who was with us as we were the only girls with road bikes around.

Out of Rivi and over towards Adlington, Ali managed to find some ice and we had the only crash of the ride.  At this point I had to keep my fingers crossed the rest of the route wasn't icy as I really couldn't remember what I had plotted and if I had even ridden most of the roads before.  (At one time I would have just pre-rode the route but I don't have time for long road rides these days)  As it turned out the rest of the roads seemed fine.

Just as everyone was being to ask the cafe turned up!  It was packed with male cyclists who seemed to find us very interesting.  After ordering lots of food, we played the squeeze as many chairs round the smallest table game!  I of course had to have the chocolate cake - which was delicious!

At some point some sensible person realised the time and we left so as not to be riding in the dark, although I think nearly all of us had a backup rear light.  I had managed to plot a way back with no major hill to get over so it wasn't long before we were on the outskirts of Horwich and then back to the barn.  Here we headed in different directions, some back to leeds or skipton, me to ride home and the others to a friends for mince pies.

Although I was not in the right frame of mind for the ride and glad to get home.  I had a good time and hope we repeat it - as long as there is cake!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Ali comes to Park Run

I woke up nice and early so I was definetly heading over to Heaton Park for the Park Run but the question was would the sleepy Ali who had stumbled downstairs come or curl back up in bed?  Before I knew it we were both in the car, Ali doing her best to sleep while I drove.  We got there in lots of time for a warm up, which involved me trying to jog and Ali telling me to come back she was tired!  Quick talk from the organisers and we were off.  Ali stuck to my side like glue, I told her to go on but my super fast pace was too much for her ;-)  I tried not to go out as hard and then worked on limiting the loses on the hillier parts of the course.  Into the last km and I still had an Ali for company but I could hear the footsteps of someone else right on my heels.  I tried to push on a little bit round the lake and soon it was the finishing straight, I pushed a little harder, at one point I almost got a gap on Ali then in the last 15 metres she did her usual sprint finish and left me as if I was standing still! 

Since I am such a geek I had to compare my splits to last week:

Turns out I was only a second slower in the first km, although I felt slower.  After that I was consistently faster for all the splits.  The pushing on for the last km got me my best split as well.

It felt hard but I'm sure I can still get faster!

Official Time: 25:43  33 seconds faster than last week (Ali 25:42)
Finishing postion 56/96 (13/45 female)

(Pace 8:15 min/mile)

Perfect weather in the Peaks

Rich had suggested a ride last week so after looking at what I had on friday was settled on.  So on friday morning after defrosting the car and the bike rack I loaded up trekster - yes I took the gears and suspension bike!  Part of being more sociable ridingwise means riding a more sociable bike.  Singlespeed is great but you are riding at a different pace to the geared riders.  Traffic was fine till the outskirts of Glossop, in fact I was almost enjoying driving again I had forgotten how nice getting to listen to music can be.  After about three sets of tempory lights, which made me a little late.  After a couple of phone calls I found the right place, only 20minutes late and we got going - Jon had also joined us - there was lots of chatting about where to go, none of which made much sense to me.  Made me realise how much we just rode the same routes in the peaks when my riding involved coming out here every couple of weeks.  Spinning up some climbs I have to walk rigger up I was already having fun.  The weather was playing ball, it wasn't long before the jacket came off.  With some ice on the ground and cloud inversions I am not sure that there are many places I would have rather been.

After lots of up and some scary down - need to trust myself going faster as after a while I brake for no reason.  We dropped into the cafe at Hayfield, lovely place and just what Hayfield needs!  Dizzy me had not thought to bring money though. 

After that Rich left us and Jon and I did another loop which was basically straight up and down.  Jon decided to try and puncture his tyre, it actually came off the rim so wasn't sealing.  Sorted we carried on down, suck along a cheeky path and back to Hayfield.  Jon set off to ride home and I jumped in the car back home.
Traffic was variable on the way home, but most of the time I was moving, so then it was time to get ready and go out to the work Christmas Do.

The fab thing is this ride took me over 8000 miles for the year.  Still not sure how I went from riding a couple of times a month to that sort of mileage!  Time to start planning next years targets!

Thursday, 10 December 2009


"It will be alright in the end.
if it's not alright,
it's not the end."

Thanks for this quote tyres.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Hill Repeats

Once again the key bike session for this week was hill repeats. I wanted to do 5 sets and I figured with better weather I should be able to compare my times to 2008. As always I wasted lots of time and left later than planned. But I got out there which was the important thing.

Once over there it was head down and work, the first one felt ok. Second one harder, third I could really feel my legs. I told myself to push hard for the fourth and I could stop after that one. This one really hurt, legs screaming, breathing hurting, tongue hanging out - so that is what it is meant to feel like. Fifth was the same so now I know what it should feel like, oddly enjoyable, and there is no day-dreaming when working that hard its just not possible!
Times were better than two weeks ago, but not where I was when I was doing hill repeats in 2008. But back then I wasn't working and I knew I had to do something to improve my hill climbing. I think these sessions are going to work for me!
I've added my key sessions to the sidebar ----------->
So you can nag me to complete them!

Long Run

This weeks long run was an hour. So I headed out today to complete it. I had a vague plan of where I was going and was sure it was long enough. As always it was over to the golf course where I nearly ended up face-first in the mud, somehow with a lot of staggering around I stayed upright. Then over to the track to Jumbles that I hardly ever see anyone on. Today though there was a queue of about 20 walkers to get up the steps onto it. So I detoured onto the road and another way in. Jumbles itself saw another two huge groups of walkers so obviously it is the day for it. New bit in Jumbles done and back through Bromley Cross. Around the fields at Hall i th wood and somehow I caught my leg and cut it on brambles. After that it was a last bit of tarmac to get home.

1:12 in the end
7 miles

I felt good the whole time and I was running (still picking the feet up not shuffling) the whole way. I actually felt I probably could have been faster but the aim was time on feet which was achieved.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Sorry you are too fat to graduate

Interesting article from Saturdays Guardian here.

A university in America has decided to test all its students and those with a BMI above 30 and a waist measurement about 35inches for women, or 40inches for men, will have to take a special class to graduate. The fitness for life lessons will including walking, cycling, aerobics and lessons in a healthy diet.

It doesn't say they have to improve their BMI to graduate just that they have to go to the classes.

Is it fair that people cannot graduate because they are obese when academically they have done well?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Shecycles take over Rivi

It was a big night last night for me, at an event I had last been at over two years ago and had been way to much for little me. I had fun and missed the rain riding both there and back!

Today the plan was to see when I woke up and maybe go and join the shecycles easy ride over at Rivi. They had a plan involving lots of cafe stops that I liked the idea of as that means lots of cake. Both of us were up late though so we decided to ride over and do the second loop with them. On the way over I bumped into John and Donk but there wasn't much chatting as it was cold. Then down the ICR to Chapel tea-rooms. Ali cleared it for her first time ever whereas I dabbed numerous times and basically acted like I couldn't ride!

We timed it arriving just as they were finishing lunch. The plan was to head up to the Pike via the school climb so we headed up. Halfway up there was a little playing on a drop thing at the side where I was mean and out-chicked a guy by riding it after he had bailed on it.

On top of the Pike and the temperature was dropping and it looked like it would be getting dark soon so it was time to blast down. At pigeon tower we split, some going down the AICR and four of us doing the ICR, I cleared it and the first two of us down were girls, yes out-chicked the boys again!

Regrouping and there were lots of cold feet so down to lower barn where I got my cake and hot chocolate.

Ali and I headed out again then to ride home. Extra layers and lights on we headed up onto Georges Lane and then home via Barrow Bridge. 23 miles in total and a lovely ride but maybe I should bring the geared bike next time it is a little more sociable!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Park Run Heaton Park

A while ago I read about park run which is a weekly free timed 5k run. My local event is at Heaton Park and I had been thinking for a while I should go along. I find that a race situation makes me work harder than I ever would on my own. So since I couldn't get to the cross race today I made a plan to go. I had asked Ali if she fancied it but after spluttering over the start time she said no. Last night she did say she would drive me there though - which was good when left to my own devices I get too scared to go! We got there with lots of time to spare so I could wander round and feel scared by all the fit looking runners. It wasn't long before we had our briefing and were moved to the start.
Next thing I knew we were off and running, I dodged round a few people and got into a rythmn. Looked at my Garmin and it didn't have my heart rate - must try changing the battery this is happening a lot at the moment! So I just went off feel, the first km went by in 5minutes and I was a little worried that I was going too fast but I think that there was more downhill than uphill in that section. I tried to keep up with the guys in front of me but they got away in the 3rd km, looking at the splits I was a lot slower here but there was also the most uphill. From then on I got back onto a good pace and just hung on to two lads who had gone past me.The last bit round the lake was a little muddy and I did my one bit of overtaking going past a lady who was avoiding the puddles as I splashed through them. Round the last corner and the marshall was saying to push as we were nearly done. Next I heard Ali I was trying to run hard but my lungs didn't feel like they were getting enough oxygen.

Finished and I was handed a metal tag which I then handed in and gave them my details, my bar code I had printed didn't scan (must try printing again) so they had to type the number in. My Garmin had a time of 26:15 - I was hoping for under 28minutes so I was very happy with that. A quick look at my blog shows last year I ran the Gill Pimblott memorial 5k trail race, last year in 24:55 so it's not quite a PB. Guess my aim for next time is to go sub 26minutes then!
It was great fun and Ali says she is going to cope with an early morning and run it next time. My plan is to get there on free saturdays, probably ride over in future now I know its not so scary!
If you have one near you give it a go!
Official results:
Distance: 5k
Time: 26:16
4th female (27 female finishers)
(61/104 finishers)
(Pace: 8:28 min/mile)

Friday, 4 December 2009

New Meal Friday

This weeks new meal is Szechuan Pepper Chicken. Originally it was planned for thursday but due to some missing ingredients (the chicken!) it was postponed till today. It was worth the wait and another one that can join the regular meals.

Recipe added for those interested:

More baking

Today I made Oatie Cake things. After my last post Donk sent me his trail snacks recipe. They are yummy, I think they win over flapjacks. Made this morning, took two to work, came home Ali had found them not many left now!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

November Round Up

So how was November. I had planned to get more cross races in but as it happened I only did the two at the end of the month. But I remembered how much fun it was. Running has been going really well, getting out twice a week most weeks. It's still slow but I can run for an hour now without stopping. If I can keep this up it will be good. Again bike miles were mainly commuting miles but getting in the habit of night riding again. I only get out if I'm meeting people at the moment so trying to be more sociable. A couple of weekend rides topped the month off.

The figures:

32.74 mile running
141.40 miles moutain biking (all singlespeed)
97.41 miles cyclo-cross
497.01 mile road

151923m of ascent

Progress on targets:

  1. Run at least once a week Failed in March :o(
  2. Run 300miles in the year 53% complete
  3. Cycle an imperial century a month Failed in March :o(
  4. Cycle 8000miles in the year 97% complete
I'm getting close to 8000 miles on a bike so that will definetly happen. Running I obviously won't make the target so will think about what I want that to be for next year. August and September I didn't run at all so I need to keep it ticking over. For some reason I seem to manage to run more in the winter.

This month I have no real plans, apart from trying to keep fitting key sessions in. It's looking like there will be a lot less work (if any at all) from next week so I may play out on the mountain bike more.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

A winter night ride

So winter started in earnest yesterday with a cold day and the odd bit of ice. Today it had warmed back up again and I was out to meet the girls in Belmont for a night ride. I really didn't want to go and was feeling completely anti-social but since I was leading there was no choice. For once I left on time and they didn't pass me on my way there! Only four of us in total and we set on up the road, the off-road path would have been a boggy mess. Along Belmont Old Road and down the ICR, back up the Pike, off the back, winter hill and back down the Belmont descent to the pub.

A quick drink and we headed home. Great ride and while out the grumpy feeling went, back again now but hopefully it'll go overnight!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

That's it exactly!

As always I wasted a little too much time on the internet this morning. In doing so I came across this from the creator of Purple Ronnie.

Imagine you’re in charge of one of those giant computers — the kind that you see in movies. The computer contains billions of items of data that together somehow keep the Western world from falling into chaos. One day, as you watch the screen in horrified disbelief, the data begins to disappear. The world’s most virulent superbug has infected the hard drive and every fragment of information is slowly and methodically destroyed until all that is left is a blank, blinking screen.

With depression, that database is every particle of your personality. Every fragment of knowledge and experience that have provided the anchors and co-ordinates from which you are progressively able to address the world with a measure of safety and confidence, with a growing sense of who “me” is, has suddenly been completely voided. Dramatic? Yes. Terrifying? Absolutely.

This is one of the best descriptions I have ever read. It's such a hard thing to explain and I think he has hit the nail on the head.