Friday, 31 December 2010


So another year gone and my third year of blogging. The big thing this year was working full-time throughout the summer. In the end it was six months of full time work and I loved it. So the aim for 2011 is to get a new full-time job, this time not temporary. I love cycle training but I don't love the unpredictability of how much work I get and the knowledge that I have nothing all summer.

Cycling wise things have basically kept ticking over. I really wanted to try a 24hour solo and completed two, the first I had to stop for a couple of hours but at Sleepless in the Saddle I rode the whole race and was really pleased with how I did. Kielder100 was again another amazing race, but the standard was so high. At SITS I raced gears and its made me sort out a nice geared bike for 2011, trying not to think how much it has cost! But Ali was a star and gave the go ahead to it. There has been a few amazing adventures and the Welsh Ride thing was probably the highlight, three days of fantastic riding with two nights bivvying. Definetly one to repeat in 2011 and maybe time to plan some of my own multi-day adventures. After SITS I ended up with a few more races, the mudfest of Dusk til Dawn was an experience and the chance to race with Rob Lee was amazing. A week later I was up in Scotland with Chris for Relentless24, this was probably the hardest I have ever raced, but I loved it and it was a fantastic way to end the year of racing.

Cyclocross wise I seem to have lost my mojo with only one race. No idea if I will race much CX next year, probably depends if they split the fields as it was too busy for me. It does mean that I am unsure if I can justify having a CX bike as it hasn't been ridden much.

Mileage wise I didn't quite make my target of 8400miles, but I also didn't force myself too and I could have done it with one long ride this week. Four days in hospital and the recovery from that has ensured I take it easy for a while. There has been more road rides than previously although time on a bike wise I am only one hour down on 2009, not bad as I worked a lot more.

The one type of rides I want to do more of in 2011 are Audaxes. I completed a 300km ride and loved it. In 2011 I would like to go further, a niggling part of me wants to do a 600km, but maybe I should just try a 400km first.

The one thing that really suffered is 2010 is running, I've never done loads but I would like to be running once a week. Mainly as if the weather is really bad or I am strapped for time I can get a quick run in. It also gets me fit. So 2011 I will make the effort to run again.

So how was everyones year and what are you planning for 2011?

Sent to the wrong clinic

Yesterday i had a follow up appointment at 8olton hospital following my little stay as an inpatient in November. The timing was perfect, i got home from work, had lunch and rode over. It was my first time on a road bike in ages which was great, although it isn't as pretty out as it was when there was snow everywhere.

Anyway i was there about ten minutes when someone came to take my blood pressure and weight (i'm hoping my bike shoes are heavy as i weighed alot!) Then i was taken into a tiny room to see the Dr who told me that he thought i was at the wrong clinic, turns out it was general surgery not ENT. So he going to get me referred to the right clinic. They were very apologetic about wasting my time, but you have to wonder how it happened in the first place.
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Thursday, 30 December 2010

A winter adventure

On Boxing Day after spending the whole day doing basically nothing I realised that unless I planned something the 27th and 28th would probably be the same. So I spent a few hours playing with maps and looking at options on the computer. I had decided that 50miles was probably the maximum distance I could plan to cover in the current condtitions and that I wasn't going to bivvy out on my own (that can wait till I have a warmer sleeping bag). Edale turned out to be the ideal distance and the Youth Hostel had beds. So I plotted a route, booked a bed and breakfast for the tuesday morning and headed to bed.

I was out on monday morning just after 9am (my aim had been 9 but Ali rang so I could let her know my plans) and on my way making good time, well I was on road for the first bit. It was snaining a bit but I was hoping that the weather would improve a bit.

A mixture of on and off-road took me over towards Mossley where I had my first bit of navigation to deal with, I had been following my garmin and it took me to a farmyard that was a deadend. No sign of a path the other side and a farmer looking at me as if I shouldn't be there, a little bit of map reading later and it was back down the hill and round by road to the other side (I didn't climb up again to see if they did meet).

I then found my first real bit of ice.

Up till then it had been easy enough to ride round any ice, this had me off and walking/shuffling down the hill.

Round the outskirts of Glossop using the trans-pennine trail and I started climbing, next thing I know I'm on Monks Road. I have only climbed this once on my road bike and it turns out my legs were not strong enough on the singlespeed. Still I gave it a good go, some walking but lots of attempts at riding! Soon it was onto the Pennine Bridleway and down towards hayfield.

Over towards Jacob Ladder and there was no option for me but to push the bike, I met a lot of people coming the other way, probably wondering why I was heading up as it was going to get dark soon! It was still light when I got to Jacobs Ladder, although it was hard to pick out contrast. I rode some, pushed some and slide down some when I found the ice (into a wall which was nice and has left me with some bruises). Before getting to Edale. Here I headed to the pub for some well earned food before spinning up to the youth hostel and curling up with my book.

The next morning I was up at 7:30am for breakfast and on my way before 9am. It was a lovely drizzle and the beginning of a thaw from the monday had frozen overnight leaving lots of ice, so it was very slowly I made my way back to Edale. I then headed onto Chapel Gate for the push up to Rushop Edge.

At some point I realised it would be easier to carry the bike than push it, so rigger got a rest.

At the top and Rushop Edge was reasonably rideable, I walked a lot of the drops but more to be careful as I was on my own and had a long way to go. Onto Roych Clough and this was an ice slide from top to bottom, I fell over trying to walk my bike down and it felt a long way to hayfield, especially as the rain was getting heavier. I wasn't the only crazy person out, I saw plenty of walkers and fell runners.

Once at Hayfield it was over to New Mills and time to push a bit harder, I had to be home for 4:30pm as my sister was picking me up for dinner at my mum's. At stockport I stopped for a hot chocolate but otherwise it was a case of keeping going. Home at 4pm, hungry and tired with over 80miles on the garmin.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

A Christmas Ride

I wanted to ride on Christmas Day, even if it just a short ride as its not something I've had the chance to do before. Since i had spent yesterday and this morning (well most of the day) with my folks i got to ride home. But this wasn't quite enough....

So new light on rigger (lucky me got an exposure 6pack) and straight back out the door. A quick 20km to the duck and back and i didn't see a soul apart from on the road sections (there was a suprising amount of traffic). The new light is amazing! The riding was amazing, i felt so lucky.

Only thing missing is an Ali as she has been in cambridge.
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Thursday, 23 December 2010

Maybe a little late home....

Yesterday I decided to head over to Poynton to ride with the NWMTBladies. It turned out that there was only myself and Anna so I headed over on the train after picking up a few bits of Christmas shopping for Ali. I was pretty warm till the train was delayed by 40minutes. In fact I didn't even warm up on the train! Anna picked me up from the station and we headed out from hers. She was on good form and I found myself chasing on the uphills. But this is what I need as when I ride on my own I just don't push! We adopted a bloke near the start of the ride as non of his usual ride buddies had come out to play, they were the ones missing out as it was a perfect night for riding! I recognised some of the ride from my second ever night ride and the ground was mainly grippy snow.

Back to poynton and the three of us had a quick drink in the pub before I headed off towards hazel grove, then Stockport, Manchester and oh well I might as well ride home. It was hard work though and I had to stop at tesco for supplies as I was seriously struggling! I had definetly not eaten enough and I've lost a lot of endurance. Home at about 1am...oops!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

91 days......

Somehow it has been 91 days since I last rode Rigger (my singlespeed mtb). I've no idea how it ended up being so long and he has been feeling sorry for himself in the corner. As Chris wasn't riding this evening I decided to get my act together and put him back together. Obviously I spent an hour on the sofa thinking about it first before I got round to it. Then I headed out just as it was starting to get dark. I wasn't really feeling like I could be bothered with riding for the sake of riding so headed off round the golf course. I then decided to try and get 10miles and headed towards the Strawbury Duck. Once I got into Jumbles I was having fun and enjoying it. In fact the main reason I turned back as I had told Ali I wouldn't be back too much after her so a long ride really wasn't an option! The surface varied from grippy snow to slippy snow. The worst being junctions where cars had gone in at different angles, or across a different way to me. But it was all great fun.

So time to get out on some singlespeed adventures.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Another walk in the snow

I could have stayed in the house all day yesterday but Ali rightly pointed out that we shouldn't waste the snow. So we headed out for a short walk, it was lovely and we are lucky to have somewhere we can walk from our house. There is no sign of it melting, but no sign of any new stuff either.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A walk with the boys

I've been over to see my friend Ros and her twin boys a couple of times recently. They are now 10weeks old and completely adorable! Yesterday we took them out for a walk in the snow. I'm assuming they enjoyed it as the minute we left the house they went straight to sleep!

It was hard going in the snow with the extra weight.
But the boys got their first fresh tracks.

A snowy adventure

This year when the snow came Bolton missed out, we had a whole inch that just turned into ice. This made Ali every unhappy as everywhere else seemed to have snow. Things change though and I got home on Friday night with tales of fresh tracks and snow falling, an excited Ali crossed her fingers and went to bed, The next day and we had a good six inches of white fluffy stuff. So we had to go out and play. Nothing too tiring as Ali has been ill all week. So we decided to ride over to our friend Ros to see her and her babies.

We wrapped up warm and headed out over to Smithills. It was a winter wonderland and at this point we were mainly riding. Although forward motion was hard work!
Over to Barrow Bridge to head up the bridleway to Scout Road, I was expecting this to be a push. It turned out it was easier to carry, so we swapped bikes (mine being lighter) and headed up.
A rest stop partway up looking back towards Bolton and thinking how pretty everything is in the snow.
We (being Ali) also made the now obligatory snow angels - yes one face first one the usual way.
Then all that was left to do was slide our way down the hill to the twins house.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Chris kills me

I decided it was time to head out on a ride with Chris again. I knew it would be hard but I wasn't sure how hard I would find it. Still I reminded myself it was good for me. So I headed off to meet him at Cookson Cycles, leaving a little later I had to push the whole way there, still it warmed me up.

Chris had his 6pack on his bike and I sneakily switched it onto mine, unfortunately he noticed so I was back to my light. We headed off towards Bolton with the plan being to head up on winter hill. Near my house I was already tired and by Smithills realised we would be doing more than the 25miles I had suggested still I was having fun. I stopped halfway up for an energy gel. Still by the top I was gone. I minced down the descent and found it hard to concentrate on the line.

At the bottom I said we were heading back on the road, that was enough for me. 31miles on the gar,in once I got home and I was shattered. But it was great fun.
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Saturday, 11 December 2010

The thaw is here

Out today to meet simon. For some reason I thought I could get to rivi in 40minutes, more like 50! On the way over it was noticeable that most of the ice had melted, just the odd patch left. It's amazing the difference a day makes.

We headed over to the Nab, where I punctured before we got on the trails there. Simon insisted on finding the hole in the tube, good job as well as I would never have found the tiny shard of glass otherwise. Round the red twice, I wasn't riding brilliantly being a wimp on the downhills and the draggy gloopy mud seemed like hard work.

Back over to rivi where we split and I headed home round the edge of winter hill. 30miles on the garmin once I got home and feeling happy.
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Legs are coming back

Yesterday morning some of the wednesday night girls came over for a ride. We started out round the golf course and it was a case of picking the way round the ice, it wasn't looking good. Up onto winter hill and it got windier and wetter. Halfway up and I decided that it would be crazy to head up to the top. I managed to pick a couple of descents and we headed back to mine. The girls had spent the ride reminding me that 3 hours was long enough and the ride was 3hours10minutes so spot on. I have a reputation for rides being too long.

Then it was time for a Christmas Do I rode into manchester and my legs felt strong. Its the first time in ages and I felt like I was flying. The roads felt like they might be icy later so I Let ali collect me ;-)
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Friday, 10 December 2010

A Christmas Bike

As a suprise for Ali I bought her some battery operated christmas lights. This morning I put them on her bike ready for her commute. She thinks they're great!
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Thursday, 9 December 2010

A leaving curry

My friend Odile is moving back to Ireland, i'm really going to miss our rides but apart from my selfish reasons for her staying I know its something she's wanted for a long time, it justt took time to get a job. So we decided to head out for a curry last night, we did think about riding but the ice put both of us off.

Phil, Ali, Odile and me met at a pub near the science and industry museum and then headed to Akbars - home of the huge naan breads. We ordered loads of food and I ate way too much so walking back to the pub was hard. Although when I spotted the pink mini I was soon running.

Home later than I should on a school night but great fun and totally worth it!
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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Project start running again

It's been over 4 months since I last did any running. It's something I always mean to keep up for a few reasons. The first being I can do it anywhere and it takes less time and equipment than cycling, it gets me fit quickly and although I am not very good at it I enjoy it. Like all cyclists I am good at just going out and running for 30minutes as I am fit enough but then hurting loads the next day. I'm determined this time not to do that. So this morning I was up and out the door just after Ali (work was iced off again). I had planned my route and expected it to take about 10minutes. As it turns out although the pavements on my road had been gritted the rest of the route is not so I was running on ice. It meant I was out for 14minutes.

Once I got home I put the TV on and stretched, another thing that has been really neglected. Winter training has started.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Changing cleats

Oddly this is something I don't seem to do that often. My shoes seem to die by the time I notice the cleats are dead. But i'd been noticing on my boots that my right foot could be pulled out the odd time. Then today it seemed like it came out on every uphill (i was on my fixie) but I really started to worry when it bounced out on downhills.

I was nipping into Cookson Cycles anyway so I got some cleats, I then got Chris to change them as I couldn't get them to shift. Half the head of one screw had come off making it a hammer and molegrips job. It was loads better on the way home, I could pull up on the pedals again without worrying.

31miles in total as I had met my dad for lunch in Rochdale, slowly getting back.
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Monday, 6 December 2010

27 road miles on the mtb

My first day back working since my little stay in hospital and the ground was looking a little icy. So I made the decision to go on my mountain bike, thinking that road tyres might be a little scary, I was pretty sure that all but the last road would be gritted as I had plotted the route along major routes. I was really looking forward to riding but knew it would be slow so I was out the door at 7am. It was cold and frosty and although I didn't hit any ice that I noticed but I was glad to be on the mountain bike. I actually rode straight past the school as there was no big sign outside.

Once there we were hopeful that we would get out, the caretaker had been gritting the playground. Unfortunately when we went out to check we both were sliding round, me in my hiking boots. So it was indoor sessions and no riding for the kids.

Riding home I decided to work on the hills, heart rate was up but I felt fine. Still not fast, partly as I stopped at tesco and bought lots of heavy stuff. I also dropped in on Ali at work with some cookies as a treat.

So no work tomorrow and fingers crossed it warms up a bit for wednesday.
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Sunday, 5 December 2010

Playing out with Hugo

 My friend Kate has been working down in Wales and due to me working a lot at the weekend or away racing its ages since we've seen each other. This weekend she was back up in Manchester so she came out to ours with her dog Hugo for a walk. Last time I saw Hugo he was a cute little puppy. Now he is huge, but he is still cute!

We took him out on the golf club near us, although we haven't had loads of snow it was enough to keep Hugo happy. His favourite game seemed to be chasing snowballs and didn't even mind that much that there was no ball for him to actually find. He even tried to catch them if you threw them up in the air.

Two hours later and I was shattered, hugo was still running round in circles in our house while we had mince pies. Dogs are great fun.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Back on the bike

Time off the bike is beginning to show along with the lack of work and I'm getting a little low and anxious. Not wanting that to stick though it was time to get on the bike again, although I feel fine I know I have to be careful as I'm sure I am not 100% recovered yet. So this week I rode, not far and certainly not fast, but it was so good to be back on the bike.

Monday: Met Vikki and Carolyn at the barn - 18miles

Tuesday: Met my mum at her work for lunch - 31miles

Wednesday: Rested was tired from the tuesday ride.

Thursday: Rode over to see Ros and spent the day with her and her 8week old twins - 13miles

Then friday, saturday and sunday I've done nothing. It was a good start and I certainly took it easy, being scared of the ice helps that. Next week I have some work so I'll be riding there in the morning and probably train back so I don't push it too hard.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Track time

I got an email on friday asking if me and Ali fancied joining the cyclechat boys at the track on sunday. Obviously even I knew me riding was a silly idea but Ali was keen. So we headed down at lunchtime. It was great to see some of the forum regulars as I don't go on cyclechat that much these days. There weren't many of them so the coach had them riding lots. It looked tiring but fun. Hopefully i'll be fit enough for the next one.

Oh and at long last we collected our track accreditation cards.
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Next seasons bike

Yes I'm going to be racing gears. Isn't it pretty? Now I just need to get fit enough to do it justice!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Only a week late

Ali had planned to cook Veggie lasagne the sunday I ended up being taken to hospital. It is one of my favourite meals but I wasn't up to eating then so she made it this sunday.

Certainly lots of veggies.
Looking all yummy.
Oh dear all gone.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


The first two days out of hospital I slept through the afternoon. But I was feeling bored. So on friday my mum took me out to Chapel tearooms over at rivington. Chocolate cake and a chance to get out of the house was great. But it was tiring. Yesterday we went and visited my mum, only a short visit as I got tired. Today was all about resting. Looks like its going to take me time to recover. Had a look on sportstracks, a big zero for training hours. The first time I think thiss has happened since I started recording and riding consistently in january 2008:
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Thursday, 18 November 2010

A hospital stay

Too much detail for most people!

Generally I am quite healthy (apart from mh issues) but I do tend to get ill the same way. My tonsils and my glands swell up. This has been happening since seondary school and back in sixth form I remember being really ill. I've got pretty good at looking after myself and when the first signs come I rest and look after myself. I've had a cold for the last couple of weeks, well I thought I had got rid of it but it came back again and by friday I was having the hard to eat problems. But I didn't feel too bad. Friday night wasn't great and neither of us got much sleep but Ali headed out for ice-cream on saturday and I started to feel better. Saturday night I slept loads better (although I did wake up twice for painkillers). But on sunday I was a little concerned by how little I had to drink and I was really struggling to talk no matter eat. This is when the excitement started.

We decided Ali should ring NHS direct, I expected to be told we were doing the right thing and to go to my GP tomorrow. Initially Ali spoke to someone who took the information and said someone would ring back within four hours then a nurse rang about an hour later. Lots of encouragement to get me to try and drink, eat ice-cream etc but she said she would be forwarding me onto my GP's out of hours service and to expect to hear from them within two hours. It was probably only 15minutes when an out-of-ours GP rang and after speaking to Ali asked me to come in for an appointment at 9:50pm (about and hour and a half later). So I had to make the effort to get dressed and head out. At this point I thought I was wasting everyones time and really I should just have waited till monday morning and made an appointment with my GP as they were likely to just give me anti-biotics. We weren't waiting too long to be seen and he said he wanted me to go to hospital as I probably had a Qunisy (apparently the difficulty talking and opening my mouth are giveaway symptoms). I thought he meant on the monday till he checked Ali was okay to take me there and then got on the phone. I started feeling a little dizzy so he had me lie down while he sorted out for me to be seen. Back on the chair and he started to take my blood pressure, I went really dizzy and the next thing I knew is I was on the floor, oops. The Dr was shouting for some help and Ali was telling me I was fine. I was actually embarrassed to find myself on the floor and wanted to get up but was told I had to stay there and an ambulance had been called. After taking my blood sugar levels and blood pressure again I was allowed to move onto the bed and put on oxygen till the ambulance got there.

So that was how I ended up getting taken to hospital in an ambulance, they took me to the ward that the Dr had organised but there were no beds so I was taken to another. Left there waiting for a Dr. I wasn't allowed anything to drink and noone was sure if I was staying or not. The dr took 3hours as she was on call and so had lots to deal with. Once I saw her it was clear I wasn't going anywhere, she got the nurse to start me on IV fluids, anti-biotics and paracetamol. Ali was told to go home and that a Dr from ENT would come and see me before 9am in the morning. So Ali left me at 4am and I was left in a hospital bed on my own for the first time ever.

I didn't get much sleep before the lights were on and breakfast was being done, I was down as getting nothing till I had been seen by the Dr, to be fair I didn't feel like eating much but it would have given me something to do. The Dr came just after 9am, she said she thought it was a Quinsy as well and that it would probably need to be drained, lovely. She said she would be back with her boss later. I asked about eating and she said that I was welcome to try and eat as much as I could. Ali came and dropped me off some books and some PJ's but she couldn't stay as it wasn't visiting hours. She promised to come back at 2pm and went off to work, she must have been shattered. The Dr and her boss came back, they would try and drain it at about 12noon and before then I was to have a steroid injection which would help reduce the swelling - I was still on all the IV stuff. Lunch came and I was given soup, not really enough for me but I did actually find that hard enough and didn't finish it. Ali turned up saying mum was on her way just before they came to take me up to ENT for the draining. Ali was allowed to come with me, which was great as we were waiting up there for ages. Dr Kat struggled to get the local anesthetic on as my mouth just wasn't opening and they had to try a number of needles before they could reach. Apparently they got 2mm out which was a lot, I don't know my eyes were shut and it hurt a lot.

Back to the ward and I was told I could eat what I want and to keep trying to drink. Mum and Ali had to go but came back for evening visitng. I had managed sausage and mash for tea, the trick was cutting everything up small enough to get it into my mouth. I was still really struggling to drink but at least managed to go to the toilet for the first time within 24hours, I was really dehyrdrated. That evening I was moved up to ENT and once there fell asleep, I was so tired. I slept through most of the coming and goings on the ward as well. That morning I got my weetabix so I was happy. Dr Kat came to see me again with a number of other Dr's and explained they were going to try and drain some more later. I was beginning to feel a lot better and getting bored. They came for me before lunch this time and got about 4mm of lovel yellow pus out this time. She was just going to get another needle to have another go, apparently there was still lots there when I started to get dizzy, next thing I know the chair had been lent back and the nurse was taking my blood pressure and heart rate (44bpm which suprised me as I felt like it was racing!) they laughed when I asked if I was going to get to go home that day.

More IV fluids and another day of reading, Ali brought me a chocolate brownie that evening to make up for the lack of cake which was good. Another reasonable nights sleep, once the nurse finished all the medications at midnight and I was feeling quite perky. Dr Kat commented on how well I looked. My mouth still wasn't opening but I was not managing to drink. So the decision was taken to allow me to go home with anti-biotics. I was suprised as I thought they would try and drain again. I had instructions to come straight back to hospital if it got worse or my voice went funny again. So Ali was rang and she came to collect me.

So now I'm at home. Think it may be a little while before I am out on a bike though.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Chasing Boys

Tuesday night and I turned up at Cooksons to ride with Chris to find that Shaun was joining us. I knew this meant I was in for a hard ride. Both these boys are fast. We headed out up Rooley Moor Road and although it was a cold night I was soon hot on the climb. I could just about keep them in sight (okay they were probably waiting for me) and after a bit of the Crag Singletrack I had to stop and have some food.

Dropping down into Edenfield Chris gave me the option of road home or Robin Hoods Well, I of course chose another climb even though my legs had given up by this point. I think Shaun was ready to go home since we were near his house but he was persuaded that another climb was a good idea.
This time I couldn't keep them in sight. apart from chris kindly stopping to take a picture of me suffering. I was glad to jump on the road at Ramsbottom and arrive home. I was empty and shattered but they say it makes you stronger?

32miles and 870m of climbing

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Commuting home

I was leading a group from Whitworth yesterday morning. It was their first ride on natural trails having had a number of sessions at Lee Quarry. The day was perfect for riding and the kids loved all the muddy puddles and they all finished covered in mud.

When it came to riding home it was too nice a day not to go over the moors. I manage to puncture just as I got to Bury, but on a sunny day it is less annoying. Days like thuis don't feel like working.
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Saturday, 6 November 2010

Maybe my last day

Lots has happened this week and there are lots and thoughts and feelings going through my head. But yesterday I did what might be my last session in a school for the company i've been working for since march 2009; first as a freelancer and then for five months as part of the mountain bike team. I can't afford to stay freelancing again as the work is so unpredictable so from monday I will working somewhere new. All this meant that friday felt strange. I really like the people I work with and friday reminded me of some of the many reasons I didn't want to leave. I had a lovely group, we did wheely practice and when my lock refused to open Billy smashed it off for me. All in a days work.

So onto next week, who knows if I have made the right decision but I know I had to take the chance, I don't think I will have lost anything if it doesn't work out as I would be needing to job hunt even if I didn't go.
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Friday, 5 November 2010

Embracing the dark

I know it happens every year but it always feels quite sudden that its dark when i'm home for the evening. But it does mean one thing night riding season. It's been a stressful week while I make decisions about work, its all change and only time will tell if it is the right decision but I was going nowhere with the company I had been at.

So onto night riding, on wednesday all the girls came over to Bolton to ride the usual loop. We were late heading up the Belmont road as the traffic problems on the M60 meant people were late arriving. It was really misty and I had my light on low but it was still reflecting back at me. I also forgot how to ride downhill and dabbed I don't know how how many times on the ice-cream run. Back down to the pub before riding home, lovely evening if a little wet.

Onto thursday and I picked chris up from cooksons and we headed out towards entwistle where we were actually riding through the reservoir at one point as the water level was so high. Onto the Darwen moors and I remembered how much I loved being up there as you really do feel out in the middle of nowhere. I could hear the grit wearing away my brake pads but Chris was telling me his last forever. Along the witton weaver way and Chris annouched there was something wrong with his rear wheel. Turns out his brakes pads had worn out and the spring was catching. Next thing we know his front pads go as well. Good job we were on the way home. Back after 35miles of mud.

I always forget how much fun night riding in the winter is, so get the lights on and get out there.
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Tuesday, 2 November 2010


I was working over a blackrod this morning so dropped in on Vikki for lunch. Along with a lovely homemade soup we had gingerbread scoobies. After that I got drenched riding home.
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Saturday in London

On Saturday we met up with Ali's Australian cousins for a treasure hunt in London. On the way to meet them I spotted some Boris Bikes, in typical trio fashion I had to sit on the time we will have to look at using them.

The treasure hunt itself was really good fun, although hard! It was a fun way to spend the morning and certainly made you pay more attention to what was round you.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

A weekend in London town

Down in London this weekend for the NFL game at Wembley. Ali is a huge fan so has spent the week trying to educate me again...i've forgotten everything since 2008 when I last came down with her. So far we've had burgers, beer and a go at the watt bike challenge. Ali went into the lead on that, I want her speed!

Yesterday we went on a treasure hunt that started at liverpool street station. It was hard, with all sorts of difficult questions to answer but fantastic fun. It was organised by ali's cousin and I would definetly do another one. An afternoon in the pub and I then had a tipsy Ali to get back to her sister's.

So all that is left is to hope for a good game, we have good seats and my personal commentor will help me follow the game.
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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Racing in 2010

Well what a fantastic summer of racing, odd as it wasn't meant to happen at all. Due to not having any money and not getting enough freelance work the plan was only to do the Kielder100 and then solo24 thanks to Ollie gifting me his entry. Then just before solo24 I got a full-time job for the summer. It meant that at 24solo it was always in the back of my mind that I had to work on the monday, although my main problem was the heat at that race. Still I felt like I had a reasonable race and apart from one two hour stop I rode the race.

After that I got thinking about doing another 24hour solo, I wanted to see if I could push myself harder. So I booked some time off work and entered SITS. In between I rode the Gisburn 12 hour as training, I felt good at the race and despite being the only female pushed myself to finished 11th soloist. After this I was looking forward to SITS. SITS was hard and without my sister and Ali I wouldn't have finished. The lack of long rides was telling but even when I thought no one could be riding slower I kept going. I finished on 20 laps, so 160miles and the top step of the podium. I was very glad of the time off work afterwards.

Then it was time for Kielder which was orginally going to be the last race of the year, but I had now entered both Relentless and Dusk til Dawn. My aim was to ride faster than 2009 and that I managed. I also realised how much faster I needed to be to get near the podium. Ali was meant to ride this race as well but injury put paid to that so we'll both be there in 2011, I am going to try it geared this time.

Onto Dusk til Dawn in a mixed pair with Rob Lee, slightly worried that I was just not fast enough. But the conditions meant that noone was fast. 2nd in the end well beaten by a team from finland, I do want to go back and try the event in the dry, I imagine it would be super fast.

Relentless was the last race and Chris and I wanted to win. It wasn't going to be easy though, mixed pairs is a hard category and our plan was to ride equal time. It was close the whole time with us spending most of the race in 2nd. But in the end we won by ten minutes. Probably the hardest I have rode my bike. So rewarding to feel that shattered though.

I also managed a brownbacks race and a cross race, there may be one or two more but I'm not feeling it for cross this year.

So what of next year. Well keilder100 and 24solo are definitely on the calendar. I'm hoping to be at Mayhem with a mixed team - I am yet to have a fantastic race there - and I also want to do most of the brownbacks races this year. I also fancy SITS again, D2D and the Gisburn race but depends on real life.

In other words I am job hunting, from sunday I have no job. Unsure what I actually want to do and how to persuade someone to give me a job. But need to look, as no job, means no money, means no racing.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Pignuts CX

Otherwise known as velocake northern meet

Sunday was a lovely day so Ali and I decided to ride over to the cross race in Northwich. There was going to a lot of cake there, or so I promised Ali so she would ride with me.

30miles later and it was time to race, I didn't feel like it at all but once there it seemed silly not to enter.
Apparently its not normal to smile and chat your way round a cross race?
Mikey was velocakes star rider, finishing well up the field after running most of the last lap - some excuse about snapping a rear derailleur.
After that the happy lot had a pub dinner and no cake was consumed! Beer was though!

Turns out I was third female, had a phone call asking for an adress to send the cheque too. Maybe next time I should try running up the odd hill?

chocolate and cake

Met up with Velocakers Mikey and Katie before they headed back down south. There was lots of lovely cake although Mikey made a shocking shocking I can't mention it. It was a nice couple of hours out of my working day and if they didn't live so far away something I would like to do more often.
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Friday, 22 October 2010

Recovery ride

Met up with Chris last night. Both of us still saying we haven't fully recovered from Relentless. So we rode to the pub, okay there was one hill on the way but we didn't even go to the top! In total I managed 30miles and I remembered that night riding is so much fun.
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Sunday, 17 October 2010

An easy week

This week has been an easy week after last weekends efforts. On monday my legs were so sore that demonstrations while teaching bikeability had me gritting my teeth. So I spent most of the week on the train. This weekend I was working both days. Saturday was Lee Quarry so I rode out there. Nothing in my legs on the hills but as long as I didn't push. Today was my last Sky Ride of the year. Out at Preston. I considered getting the train till I realised how much it cost. So that was another 35miles. Once again nothing on the hills but actually my average wasn't too bad for a ride on cross tyres. Next week i'll be commuting but mainly taking it easy. Then next weekend might be the first cross race of the season.
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Saturday, 16 October 2010

The chocolate challenge

My mum took me to Slattery's for afternoon tea. As we were there after 3.30pm it was drinks and cakes only. So I took the opportunity to attempt the chocolate challenge. I've never seen such a huge slab of chocolate fudge cake. I did try but I was easily defeated. Feeling a bit to full of sweet stuff now.
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Thursday, 14 October 2010

Getting ready for Winter

Spent tonight getting the fixie ready for the winter. New tyres (okay not winter specific but I couldn't resist!) Mudguards on, have a set of the mk2 crud road racers, they look better than the mk1 but only time will tell.
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Wednesday, 13 October 2010


It seems ages ago that Chris suggested we pair up for this event. He has raved about no fuss events in the past and I thought it sounded like fun. I had already realised after D2D last week that mixed pairs is one hard category. Our plan was to ride for an equal amount of time as well which would make it harder, often the bloke does more riding. But I was determined that we should give it a good go to get on the podium, winning it being the ideal outcome. Mike was kind enough to drive us up and more importantly drive us home. So we set out early on Friday, a stop for burgers at the Drovers and we got there with plenty of time to get a good spot. We were right next to the track so we could swap over here. This was fantastic in the middle of the night as you could stay wrapped up in a sleeping bag till the last possible minute.

As always I didn't get the best nights sleep on the friday and I was very nervous on saturday morning. Chris was the complete opposite and completely laid back, I think him and Mike found me funny! Before we knew it the race started. Chris sprinted the 100m run and got into a good position on the bike. He then went on to do the first lap and a half, coming through up in the top ten. No pressure on me then! I headed out and straight up the 4X course. Who thought that would be a nice climb! I enjoyed the course although it was pretty technical, lots of squealing and screaming from me. The first lap I did at least ride everything. Chris out again and another fast lap. We kept going till night time. We were in 2nd at this point by about ten minutes so we had to keep pushing. Through the night we ended up chatting to the girl in 2nd, turns out they had the bloke out doing doubles. We could only hope this would tire him out and that we would stay consistent. The night was hard, coming in and eating as much as I could, drinking loads and trying to stay warm before heading back out and trying to ride fast. At the end of the night Chris put in a double, my lights were both ready to die as I had done over 6 hours of night riding. This pulled us back up into first by a minute. The race was on. There bloke kept catching me, then Chris would move us back into 1st.

Going out for my last lap, knowing Chris would have a lap and half to do, I knew that I had to stop the gap getting too big. I knew which bike he was on now so when he came past me just after the last technical descent I put my head down and tried to hang on. 10seconds was all I lost so Chris was able to storm round. I was basically collasped in a heap. Chris of course thought he was right behind so kept pushing as hard as he could. He basically collasped across the line. But we had a ten minute lead in the end.

It was one of the closest races I have been in and certainly one of the hardest. It was good to be pushed so hard and there is no doubt that mixed pairs is a hard category to race in.

Thanks to Mike for being a fantastic support in the pits and sorting my bike when I snapped my saddle! Oh and of course to Chris for being a fantastic team mate and being super fast!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Dusk til Dawn

The last time I got so muddy was at Hit the North in 2008, this time though I wasn't riding solo but as part of a mixed pair. Rob Lee had asked if I fancied it and never one to say no I was there. The race is in Thetford forest down in Norfolk so I drove down on friday night and stayed with Ali's mum. She did that great mum thing of spoiling me so when I headed over to Thetford I was ready for the race and had a parcel of food to keep me going. Getting there and wandering round I wasn't seeing anyone I knew. The camping was also away from the Arena so I wasn't sure where to set up. Rob found me wandering round and fortunately recognised me...he looks a little different without his riding glasses and helmet on. We found Josh who was riding Solo and set up there.

It seemed no time at all and it was time for the start. I was glad Rob did the first lap as it looked crazy. He was up on the 2nd row and they were led round a short loop by the quad which came back through the arena to fireworks before heading out on the lap. There must have been over 300riders all trying to go as fast as possible and not crash. He came round after 50minutes looking strong and headed straight out for a second lap. Waiting to head out for my first lap I was hearing tales of mud and how hard it was. But there was no time to worry about it and as soon as I was on my bike it was head down and push. The first lap I rode as hard as I could on the fireroads and basically held on for dear life on the downhills. I came in and sent Rob out again, he came through looking strong and headed out for another lap. This time waiting for him I began to get concerned, the course had slowed but I was expecting him in by how. When he came across the line running, rear mech bust. Out I went and the course was even muddier. There was little difference between the fireroads and the singletrack, I had a demoralising moment when a girl came past me running! But I had to ride my own race and for me staying on my bike makes the most sense. Rob went out again, a little slower again and then I was out, I knew this was to be my last lap and we were comfortably in 3rd, 2nd were maybe catchable and 1st miles ahead. On a fireroad I went past the girl I thought was in 3rd, so I knew I couldn't let up. Back in and no sign of Rob, back to the tent and there he was all ready to go. Out he went and I got changed into clean dry clothes.

We finished 2nd with 9laps. A lot of people had stopped and I heard tales of 3hour laps so I was happy to have stayed under 2hours the whole time. I want to race there again in the dry as I think I could have been faster. I was struggling so much to ride in the mud I couldn't push as hard as I know I can. It was great fun though. The hardest thing of the weekend was the drive home. With no Ali to drive me I had to stop numerous times, twice to get some sleep as I was worried I was about to fall asleep behind the wheel. A four hour journey took 7hours in the end! Still it was worth the journey, next year I'll take the monday off and stay in Cambridge.

Friday, 1 October 2010


It was the last race of the brownbacks series up at Lee Quarry on Sunday. I really enjoyed the ones I did in 2009 but missed all of the last series and most of this one. So although I was working Sunday afternoon I was determined to get up there. Initially I had an idea I could ride there, race, ride to work etc. Until I looked at the timings and realised I would have to leave before the race finished. So I drove. It was still close getting to work, thanks for doing my prize first. It was really close racing with all five girls and I was beaten into second on the hills, need to work on getting uphill faster! But I got a prime for the fastest lap which was nice.

Odile came up and took pictures instead of racing. Got some good shots of me as well.

I really enjoyed it so thanks to the guys who organise it and Baron Aggregates for sponsoring the Racing Diva category, a good prize list definitely raised the quality of those racing.

I wrote up the race over on the cooksons blog as well so wander over and have a read.