Friday, 30 December 2011

Soggy Geocaching

I didn't wake up till late today and had no motivation to go out on my bike in the rain. I also had no motivation to do any of the things on my huge to do list. Eventually I knew I had to get outside so Ali and I went geocaching. There are a number of new geocaches since we last went geocaching in our local area, also our first geocaching experience.

The first one we attempted to find didn't happen, not sure if we were looking round the right tree or not. It wasn't ideal conditions with the constant rain. Never mind we headed on to the next one which Ali found quickly. Next one was a muddy sliddy walk across the golf course. The next one should have been close but we couldn't even see a stump, which was the hint, suspect all the leaves were hiding any that were there. One last one and then we headed home via the shops to get a few bits to add to Ali's sisters Christmas presents.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Riding Home

So after Christmas Day and Boxing day being spent with Ali's mum I left on the 27th to ride home. As I was unsure of the weather I had planned to take two days, staying at my sisters on the tuesday evening. I left a little later than planned but made reasonable time riding lots of country lanes made me glad of my exposure 6pack, otherwise I would probably ended up on main roads and the tiny bit of the A6 and A50 I did wasn't that enjoyable. I had one stop to pick up more water and once again the last 10miles was uphill. Turns out Coalville is on a hill. I had also worn summer gloves as it was lovely and warm.

The evening was spent drinking wine and eating pizza. Helen had to be in work for 7am so it was to be an early start. Unfortunately I didn't sleep well, think I was scared I would sleep through the alarm.

I was on the road at about quarter to seven and Coalville being on a hill played in  my favour as I set off downhill. I was making steady progress to Derby then I started climbing towards Ashbourne and it got slower and slower. The hills didn't help but neither did the fact that the wind was trying to blow me back where I came from. It felt a long way to Ashbourne and any downhills had to be pedalled so that I kept going forward! I stopped in Ashbourne to grab a sandwich and change into winter gloves, it was a little colder today!

Then it was time to Climb again to Buxton and then over to Whaley Bridge. Here I spent some time looking for a cafe as I was cold, even after adding a waterproof for the descent, and hungry. But they were all closed. I headed off towards Disley on a back road which was another huge hill and was very glad to see Disley. At Bramhall I was so happy to see Sainsburys had a cafe but I wandered around in a daze for a while and only bought cake, could have done with some 'real' food as well.

By this point the wind was a constant battle, the only respite from the headwind came when it started gusting from the side, which meant wrestling my bike to not end up under a bus on the A6. Through Manchester and still not making any time as the wind was against me. I was glad to get home, two hours later than expected, and find that my mum had been round and left me a Pizza and ice-cream.

Day 1: 80miles 1770m ascent / 1400m descent
Say 2: 92miles 2980m ascent / 2640m descent

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Hope everyone has a Happy Christmas. Last few days at my sisters have been fun. Ali arrived just in time to help with tree decorating. We had a Christmas brunch before heading down to Cambridge for Christmas part 2.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Across the Peak District

Today I rode from home to Leicestershire where my sister lives. I was hoping Ali's present would arrive so I didn't leave till after 1pm which meant most of the journey would be in the dark. Heading through Manchester and Stockport wasn't fun especially with rubbish brakes but once I got to the Peak District it improved. It also got hillier, I felt the weight of the panniers going up the hills and since I was cautious down them my overall speed was low.

I passed through some lovely villages and even in the dark some of the views were great. I had forgotten that it was so hilly to get to Helen's (probably as I am usually in a car) and they last ten miles all seemed uphill.

My Garmin turned itself off a number of times and definitely missed 5miles between Whitefield and Manchester but it recorded 133km and 1600m of climbing. Good ride overall although I was overdressed as it was warm.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Audax Cyclo-Cross


Sunday morning and at 7am I was outside in my PJ's checking for ice, if any of my neighbours had been awake they probably would have thought I had lost it. Both the main road and the side street were completely clear and with a weather forcast of above freezing for Cheshire I was all ready to ride the Winter Solstice Audax. I had spent saturday sorting out my bike and Ali was giving me a lift to the start in Bredbury. Although I was still coughing I felt fine.

Then it all changed, it started snowing, my friends were tweeting that they weren't going, the organiser had suggested not riding. Ali sensibly pointed out that driving in the now snow covered road was not a good idea and I reluctantly went back to bed. Getting up an hour earlier and reading on the forum it sounded like I had made the right decision the roads over in Cheshire were a mixture of slush and ice. Only one thing for it cyclo-cross. It was the day of the Horwich CC 4 Season Cycles Humdinger Cross which is held less than two miles from my house, it would be rude not to go and race.

I had to change my bike back from its off-road commuting duties by removing the rack and I also put my new cross tyres on, should be less likely to clog in the mud and hopefully grippier. Then I headed off making my first mistake by trying to ride down the back street which was now an ice-rink. Ali followed on foot wanting to get some running miles in. Signing on I went for a ride round the course. I was already out of gears but I was also nice and warm. The course was covered in snow but this was causing it to be very very muddy. Ali arrived and I gave her all my spare clothes so she was warm and lined up at the start.

My head was still in long and steady mode and I pootled off the startline and round the first lap. The odd time I really tried pushing I got nowhere, seems like I can't ride on mud! Still my heart rate was up so I was getting a good workout. I was trying to be careful as I didn't want to end up coughing and coughing but it seemed fine racing. After three laps I started to warm up and was able to reel in and pass a few people ahead of me. I still felt like I was descending badly, especially on the big muddy descent where I was shouting at myself, I knew I had to get my weight over my forks or my front wheel just washed out, but I am a wimp! The race finished a little early for me as I had halved the gap to the girl in front in one lap, but I had enjoyed it which was the important thing.

Then I rode home, I walked through the park as I was too scared of the ice. No pictures as the camera decided to stop working and all the pictures are just black!

I finished third female and 67th overall. Shame the season has nearly finished I was just beginning to enjoy it!

Here is a video from the race:

Friday, 16 December 2011

Another muddy commute

Repeating yesterday I met up with Colin, although a little earlier so we weren't late to work. It was snowing most of the way in but luckily the only ice I encountered was the paths in Leverhulme park. Once again I dragged col round the singletrack although he gave the berms a miss.

Coming home I had company as Col got to finish a little earlier. His light is impressive for the money but unfortunately for him I had my six pack with me. Which made his look a little weedy. It was great to have company on the way home.

Once home it was wash the bike, again - a twitter friend is sending me mudguards which will help. Then a lazy evening as Ali was out on her Christmas Do.

33miles ridden, still coughing but hopeful for Sunday.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Off roading with panniers

Most of this week I'm working in the office as there is very little cycle training taking place at the moment. So this morning I arranged to meet Colin and we rode in together. I dragged him round the berms at Prestwich and was impressed at how well the bike coped seeing as it had a rack and panniers. I struggled with uphills, running out of gears and this cold still lingering. Getting to work I was covered in mud, Colin was clean. Mudguards were needed.

On the way home I decided it would be a waste not to ride so it was another 16.5miles and I got home covered in mud.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Cargo Bike

My friends from Keep Pedalling had been kind enough to lend me, well I suppose Ali as I was busy riding, their Dirtworker during SITS. It's been in the back of my mind that I should return it but getting round to it was a different matter. They need it back for over Christmas so today I got the train into Manchester and then pedalled across town with the Dirtworker on the rack on the back. It actually worked really well. Then I pedalled off to work.

If you are in Manchester make sure you pay Keep Pedalling a visit they are on Hilton Street, just off Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The ultimate bike?

Not been 100% since I got back from my ride on Sunday. Yesterday I wouldn't have ridden to work only I was delivering level 3 training so needed the bike. In the session we rode 18miles so it certainly wasn't a rest. Today I would be riding again as I was doing a reece ride/risk assessment.
I was awake early coughing so instead of just lying there I got up and put a rack on my cross bike. This meant I could ride gears and use panniers. I can't believe I used to think I wouldn't like them I love riding with nothing on my back. I also added a water bottle cage and lights to the cross bike which means its all ready for riding down to my sisters for Christmas.
Jen and I met at Irlam station which meant a nice ride across the moss for me. I was glad of my cross tyres on the off-road section and was moving a lot faster than the car behind me. The route was pretty straight forward and we collected four geocaches on the way to the cafe. I keep expecting to do a route with no new caches along as I'm reusing trails but once again there were some right on the trail. The cafe ar Croxeth Park was really friendly, although I wasn't popular with jen after having the last jacket spud.
As the route is an out and back, its for January so we wanted something easy for bad weather, all that was left to return to the station. Getting off at Irlam I was even across the moss before it got dark. I stopped at the supermarket on the way home for food. Coming out I realised I had no bungy to strap things on the rack. Somehow I managed to get everything in the bags, not easy when you have two bottles of pop, orange juice, milk as well as other bits.
Getting home, helmet off and rear light attached to helmet was flashing away. I realised I had walked round the supermarket like that.

Monday, 12 December 2011

GLOW ride

GLOW is a women's cycling club, it started with an aim of getting 100 women riding the Manchester 100 in September. Although I couldn't make the Manchester 100 due to being at Kielder but since then they have been running regular rides. This Sunday the ride went from Horwich, most are South Manchester, so I decided to make the effort. The weather was wet but six of us turned up and headed over to the lancashire plains. I was on kiwi thinking it would be flat, but Martine (Ride Leader) had managed to choose the hilliest road. Only one moment when I ended up stopped as I pulled my foot out of my pedal.

It never actually stopped raining and the soup at the cafe was appreciated. I got home with a smile and 57miles.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Madison Cross

Today there was a Madison Cross event at Clayton Vale. I wasn't sure what it involved but had planned to race with a friend. I then cancelled as I was meant to be working, this was then cancelled. I didn't set an alarm since I had a late night on my work Christmas Do and decided to see what I felt like when I woke up. Waking up at 9am I fancied the race but it was a bit late to get the bike ready and ride so I drove down. Getting there I signed up and on the start line had to find my matching number.

Soon we started, the course was short and laps were all less than five minutes. It was also very muddy and a little cold. The hail storm in the middle added a bit of interest.

After an hour both me and Phil, the guy I was paired with, had done 7 laps each which meant we won the 'First team with a female rider' prize.

Afterwards there was soup for all the riders at the velodrome cafe. Then Ali and I went and had a look at the BMX track, maybe something to have a go at.

Some riders got into the festive spirit, maybe I should start planning for next year?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Fresh Tracks

I was wide awake at 3:30 this morning, not reallly a time I want to see but the one good thing was I saw the snow. As by the time I got up at 7am it had all gone washed away by rain.

Once again I was working over in Horwich so I jammed everything into a camelbak and went on Rigger. Leaving the school I headed for Winter Hill and as I headed up there was still pockets of snow and at the top everywhere was covered with a dusting. Heading down the Belmont descent the first half was all fresh tracks, okay it was only a dusting of snow but it was still snow.

From here I headed over the Darwen Moors, they were muddy so progress wasn't fast and one uphill had to be walked. Over to the A666 and down to the Strawbury Duck. From here I headed home.
20miles of mainly off-road fun, an ideal commute.

I noticed on Winter Hill 'my' bench had gone. It's a silly thing but I often sat there when I was out riding when I was ill. There are a fair few pictures on this blog of Rigger at the bench. I was suprised how sad I felt about it not being there. Now I'm working I am less likely to have a day where I just ride out to the bench and back and there are always other benches.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

November Roundup


I've had a great month and its been completely unexpected. I've tried to get less stressed with work stuff which hasn't been as sucessful as it should. But the big thing is I've made the effort to always ride to where I am working, to ride off-road and to ride a couple of cross races.

So the numbers:

Mountain Bike: 116.16miles (all singlespeed)
Cyclocross Bike 16.4miles
Road Bike: 875.66miles (662miles fixed)

Total Cycling: 1008miles
Running: 1.2miles - its a start!

So slowly I am adding more off-road miles in. Overall mileage was amazing and I'm building a good base. When I look back on last November I can't help but see the differences. Hoping this is the start to a healthy year!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

And I will Ride 1000miles....

Yesterday I rode too and from Warrington, I also got pelted by rain and hail when out with the kids which led to a mad dash to the school. But when I put the stats on sportstracks I realised that I was only 28miles off riding 1000miles for the month.

Today I was doing a Recce ride in Liverpool, problem being that would only be 20miles. I was way too tired to get up early enough to ride over so train it was. Ali then suggested she met me in Wigan, where I normally change trains on the way back, and we ride home. I would definetlg get the miles that way. Plans changed a bit and I had to do a Learn to Ride in liverpool in the morning. Then the recce ride was completed partly in the dark. Partway round I went into a boots to collect my prescription, went to Dr's yesterday. I knew I had to get it as I had ran out of meds. Just as I collected they mentioned they didn't have enough and i'd have to come back, not so easy as its in speke. Fortunately they open sunday and I am working over there on sunday.

Back to riding we finished the recce and I got on a very busy train to Wigan, although after three stops it was quiet again. Partway there and Ali phoned she had punctured and was struggling with the pump. I explained how to use her CO2. Then she rings again, it all went wrong and tyre still flattish. Fortunately she was by tesco so she sheltered inside and I rode from wigan to rescue her.

Getting home, stats on computer and 1008miles for the month.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Off-road commuting

I was working in Horwich today and the one thing the last couple of mountain bike rides have shown me is that my skills are lacking. Anything remotely technical and I forget how to ride. The way to improve this is to ride off-road more. So I took my mountain bike to work so I could ride home off-road.

Getting all my work stuff in a camelbak wasn't easy but I managed it. It did mean that I was a little cold as I didn't have my usual 20 layers. Leaving the school I just headed towards Winter Hill, a bit of cheeky riding later and I was at Georges Lane. Up to the top and then down the Belmont descent. I then headed over to Turton Tower before home.

16miles, lots of smiles and hopefully the start of more mtb miles.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Rivi Ride

I got Ali out on her bike today, she actually had to ride mine as I never got her gears sorted....need new cables and randomly it was zip-ties I was missing! We were a little late leaving, both of us probably at fault there and there may have been a little arguing. Still Simon was happy enough to meet half an hour later.

Getting to lower barn was hard, my legs were tired and it was a headwind the whole way. But once there we headed over to Healey Nab. Ali started struggling, her wrist which has been playing up just got worse. At the nab me and Simon did a lap, I was mincing like a girl and Ali took the sensible option and waited for us as she couldn't hold her bars.
We left Simon at the cafe, well we went to the cafe and he went and rode some more. Lots of food seemed to help Ali and we took the least bumpy way home.

No hands!
26miles on my Garmin and it turned into a lovely day.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Lady of the Manor CX

Thursday and Friday I commuted to Southport, no mishaps meant 70miles both days. I couldn't decide about racing today but in the end decided to drive instead of ride and went for it. Ali came as well, mainly to drive me but she also got some pictures.
At the start I stuck to Jenni from Liverpool Mercury's wheel. She is so strong and sees all the gaps whereas I just slow down as I'm too scared of crashing. Powering past her on the first straight I set my sights on second female. I caught her but once we got to the muddy section she ran past me with ease. Pushing hard I caught her again on the straight after the start finish, but once again the mud caught me and she got a bigger gap. I caught her again but this time she got too big a gap on me through the muddy section.
I kept pushing but I was struggling with the mud. I was trying not to lose concentration and think I managed that. Battling a bit near the end with a guy but riding a descent got me a gap.

I finished 3rd female and 72nd overall.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Running and muddy commuting

On monday I went for a short run with Ali. I think that running a bit is good for me and probably helps balance out cycling a bit. But I know I have to ease into it slowly. So we ran a mile at a steady pace.

Tuesday I was meant to be in the office, I decided to ride there off-road. I got very very muddy on there way there. This meant of course I was sent to a school! Took a work vehicle as it would have taken me ages on rigger to get there. Got lazy when it came to heading home and got a lift!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A more sucessful day

I had a bit of a later start so no geocaching on the way to Southport, but also no off-roading or dual-carriageways. So even though the route was a little longer it was a sucess.

Leaving I made sure to follow my route and there was no getting lost, I had also charged my light so no worries there!

To celebrate I decided for some reason to come back via Chorley Old Road from Horwich, doubling the amount of climbing.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Not my finest day commuting

Working in Southport today I had an early start, not ideal after a late night the night before. I was awake well before my alarm and even had time to make Ali sandwiches before I left. I'd brought a couple of travel bugs with me to drop off and had chosen a premium member cache as I really don't want them to go missing. The weather was nice, although once over Parbold Hill I had to add another layer as it was colder there than Bolton. The roads were also very muddy and my mudguards were getting clogged.
Leaving the geocache my Garmin tried to take me down a muddy track, I knew I would be walking so I followed roads which unfortunately brought me onto a dual carriageway and somehow my 29mile journey turned into 33miles.

Work went quickly, I was teaching level 3. At lunch we headed to the chippy for lunch since we were by the seaside.

Leaving at the end of the day I was looking forward to the ride home although I wanted to avoid parbold hill as its steeper from that side. After my usual faffing I headed out and soon had to take a layer off. I was on some really muddy roads and I could see winter hill in the distance. I had to ignore my garmin several times as it tried to take me down muddy tracks before having no choice when the road just ended at a track. Please to get on tarmac again I turned left as right had a dead end sign, slowly I started to recognise things before I realised I was back in Southport, yes having ridden for an hour I was nearly back where I started.
It was fine though, the weather was nice, so I text Ali to let her know I'd been dumb and made sure I headed the right way. Finding signs for sustrans route 91 I was happy as I knew that basically took me to Adlington.

At some point the battery light on the back of my Six Pack had started flashing, so I unplugged the rear light and hoped I had enough juice to get home. As it turns out the light may have an amazing battery life but I can't run it forever (two night rides and the audax) without charging it. On a singletrack road it went out, pitch black. Ali responded to my plea and looking on my garmin there was a train station just over a mile away so we agreed to meet there (after losing my wallet last night I had no card to pay for a train). All I had to do was get there. I have a very cheap cateye on the bars just incase but it casts no light so it was riding using the force. Getting on a slightly busier road every so now and again a car behind would illuminate my way but those coming towards me just left me unable to see.

Finding the station, I put all my layers on and waited. I think the local youths thought I was a little odd. I was so pleased to see Ali and the car.

Working in Southport tomorrow, think I may try and do a better job of route finding!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Girls Night Ride

Tonight the girls were over Rivington way so I thought I should make the effort to ride. The legs felt fine on the way to and from work (all 1.2miles of it) so I had no excuses. We were meeting near lower barn so I aimed to get there just after the meeting time as I didn't want to be hanging round on my own in the dark. It was perfect and most of the girls were just getting bikes out of cars when I got there.
We set off towards the Nab and I hung round the back of the group chatting. At the Nab we did two laps and I was please to ride all but one uphill section as my technical skills are non-existent with my recent lack of mountain biking.
Got home and realised I had lost my wallet :-(

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A lot of miles - The Eureka! 200k

I just got my entry in for this Audax before it closed and I was really looking forward to a long day out on the bike. Obviously racing CX yesterday wasn't ideal preparation and I was unsure how I'd get on with such a long ride. I haven't done any long rides recently, although long commutes have been fine, if not particularly fast. To make things a little longer I planed to ride to and from the start, nearly 20miles each way.

I didn't sleep amazingly after 1am, constantly waking up so in the end I got up before my alarm. Breakfast and I was out the door. It didn't take me long to feel hot and the showerproof came off. Riding through Manchester at 7am was interesting with plenty of people making there way home after a night out. Getting to the hall in Cheadle I bumped into Rich and Shona from keep pedalling. I grabbed a couple of biscuits, got ride of another layer, I was now in 3/4 bibs and a long sleeve jersey, and it was time to head off.

The first section was the usual sprint and I concentrated on just holding my line and staying on the wheel in front. Eventually a hill split us up a bit and a front group got away, I settled in the second group which was being led by four lads from sheffrec cc. Taping along at what I thought was a good pace Rich and Shona sped past. But we saw them again at the first info control. From here the Sheffrec guys raised the pace and I worked to stay with them, they suggested some people came to the front but I was the only one to take them up on the offer. As we neared the cafe the pace went up again and we got there with barely any queue.
It was my first visit to the Eureka cafe and I wasn't disappointed. Beans on toast, a hot chocolate and a 7up before I headed out on the road. I was riding with a guy called Paul for a while but when the Sheffrec lot passed I grabbed on. We worked pretty well together and made good time to the next cafe, the Ice Cream Farm. My legs were a little sore by this point and I didn't have ice cream, instead a chicken peri peri baguette. We'd been seeing a lot of Rich and Shona and they arrived at the cafe only minutes afterwards.
Leaving the cafe I managed a good turn on the front. But any slight hill and I went backwards (something to work on) I wasn't the only one finding the hills hard although H was on a fixie (I hadn't been brave enough to bring mine). There was one last stop at a petrol station where I inhaled more food, before the last 30km back to cheadle. The pace was high now and it was all I could do to hold on. My garmin was so useful now it was dark!

Back to the startal and soup was served, Rich and Shona once again just behind us. All that was left was to ride home. The three of us rode into Manchester and I kept waiting to completely die but I made it home 20mins before i'd told Ali I would be home.

In total I cover 172miles with 1888m of climbing. I'm a little tired now!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

More CX this time in Merseyside

After enjoying racing down South with Mikey the other week I decided to race one of the North West events. Chatting to Jen from work it turned out that work had a stand there so I was going to have a cheer squad! Originally I was going to drive over but Ali's plans would have meant an expensive train ride home so I told her to take the car and decided to ride to Irlam and get the train over.
It was a lovely morning and I had to take layers off on the way to the station, I was a little worried I was going to overheat as I was wearing tights, skins ones to see if they help me recover from the race as I have a big ride planned tomorrow.

The train turned up on time, I got to the race an hour before it started and signed on, got time for a lap of the course. It was so different to the one in the South-West! There was of course draggy grass but also some technical bits, two huge hills (well they felt like it when I was carrying my bike up) and some hurdles.
The start was hectic with nearly 130 of us in the race and I was a little worried it would be too busy. The first lap was spent racing another female rider and saying hi to people I hadn't seen for ages. Everytime I passed the BikeRight stand I got a huge cheer!
I felt I wasn't doing too bad a job of dismounting but the carry's were all at a walk, I think a couple of the top guys actually rode up which is impressive! I was lapped after two laps by the leaders and in total I did 5 laps. My average speed was lower than in the South West but that wasn't a suprise. Some of the grassy banks I really sturggled with my tyres just washing out, maybe I need mud tyres?
I really enjoyed it and I'm planning on a few more this season. Surely the more I do the faster I get? Average heart rate was 182bpm so I was certainly trying although there is the odd dip where I obviously wasn't pushing as hard. I also slowed near the end but I think that was as much to do with the course as me.

Results are out and I was 2nd female out of 8 and 83rd out of 118 finishers.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Back on the mountain bike

I rode Rigger round Kielder following Ali round the marathon but other than that I haven't rode a mountain bike since I hurt my back. So I decided on a nice easy ride back, but that was last week and I never got out. Today I had arranged to ride with Chris, to make it even easier I was on a fully rigid singlespeed. Shaun also joined us so I knew I would be following rear lights the whole time.

It was a usual ride up to Rooley Moor Road, as expected I was well behind on the climbs. Shaun pushed me a bit on the road sections when I spun out. Once we started descending I lost them again, a combination of riding fully rigid and not having ridden off-road in ages. Then suddenly my rear wheel locked up, my saddle bag had come undone and my spare base layer fallen out and was now stuck in my brake. I had no tools with me as I had been in such a rush to get back. The boys soon returned though and it was quick to sort. Base layer isn't much use any more though.

Dropping Shaun off at home we span back along the road. 30miles of riding and my back seems okay.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

A crisp and cold commute

I had a very early start this morning as Ali was off down to Thetford Forest. It looked a lovely day so I decided to ride to work in Liverpool. Leaving at 730am I was wearing two base layers, a jersey, my fleece, a gillet, tights and waterproof shorts. I was expecting to have to stop and take a layer off pretty quickly but no it stayed cold. It was a proper winter morning and I was loving riding.

Crossing the M6 I found a quick geocache, getting closer to Speke I found myself on the Knowsley Expressway, not my idea of fun riding. So I came straight off and seeing signs of the transpennine trail I thought I knew where I was. Then I saw the Runcorn bridge getting closer I realised I was going the wrong way, oops!

Work involved an 18mile and the sun was out, it warmed up and we had a lovely crowd with us. We were finished by 3pm and I decided to ride home, it was too nice a day to spend sat on a train. At 430pm it suddenly got cold again and the fleece was back on, but only one base layer this time. I got home with 84miles on the garmin, not bad for a work day.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Time for bigger panniers?

Been an odd week with having monday off, then working close to home on tuesday. So close I came home for lunch as Ali was at home. Yesterday I was only working in Horwich so it was another short commute. I had got up early with the intention being to go for a ride but it never happened. I spent the day feeling like I had never woke up. After work I needed to go shopping, tesco was only a couple of miles from the school, but I knew I needed to ride so I went straight-on instead of turning left. A loop past freddies and over to red rock, which is hard work on the fixie, back via aspull where I decided to get a couple more miles and headed to Adlington and then back along the A6. That wasn't much fun as its all coned off so nowhere for traffic to overtake. I got to Tesco with 18miles on the garmin.

Since i've got panniers I always get a trolley, hard to carry them and the shopping. Once again this led to me buying way too much. I don't have much spare room in the panniers anyway with all my work stuff in. So once again they were packed and stuff strapped to the top. As the shopping included two big bottles of beer and an orange juice it was a little heavy. Maybe it would be easier if I just used my bigger bags?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

October Roundup

The start wasn't great, back being injured meant I had to be sensible. I did my best but then work stuff was getting to me, I try and look after myself but nothing helps more than riding. My back feeling better I rode over to Liverpool a few times but the odd bit of off-road showed me that it wasn't 100% The month finished with a holiday in Cornwall, I feel a little guilty that I wasn't on great form till near the end of the holiday. But I did get some nice rides in down there and they were hilly.

So the numbers:

Mountain Bike: 39.6miles (33.6singlespeed)
Cyclocross Bike 82.8miles
Road Bike: 364.6miles (480.41miles fixed)

Total Cycling: 757miles
Running: 0miles - oh dear but obviously till my back is sorted still no running

The one thing I've realised is that I am getting very few fun miles in and very few hills. As soon as my back is better I want to get out with Chris and maybe some fun road rides especially as I really enjoyed riding with Mikey and realised that I only seem to ride o I really enjoyed riding ruby again. I'm also going to try another cross race after enjoying the one down south.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Cyclo-Cross South West Style

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

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

Can't wait to race with Mikey again!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Cornwall Holiday

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

Friday, 28 October 2011

Getting some miles in

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

Friday, 21 October 2011


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

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

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

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

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A day of weather

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

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

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Much better Monday Commute

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

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

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


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

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Failing at commuting

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

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A muddy day at work

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

Monday, 10 October 2011

The life of a supporter

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

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

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

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

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

Taking BeeMine to Kielder

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

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

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