Monday, 28 February 2011

Riding, Running and Rugby

So I'm back on the bike! Saturday I was working at Rivington so Ali dropped me off and I rode back. Felt okay as long as I didn't push hard enough to need to breath heavily as it felt like something was blocking my throat (probably my tonsils). Great to be back on the bike though and the legs were good.

Sunday and I rode over to Lostock to marshall at the Lostock 6 running race. It was raining all the way up to the race but once the race started it held off. Nice to marshall and cheer on others. Then in the evening Ali and I rode over to Wigan to watch the Rugby. We really enjoyed it but need the rules explaining to us.

Monday and it was back to work on the bike, only a 9mile commute. New job starts Tuesday.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Five days and counting

Last week I rode home on tuesday and it was such hard work, at the top of Red Rock Lane I had to stop and recover. I wasn't even pushing I was going as easy as I could. I suppose the sore throat and feeling generally ill should have been a clue. Eventually I got myself home and jumped in the bath, plan being that, an early night and lots of vitamin C would see me right. Ali thought I should take the next day off but I realised that I could get the train and being self-employed I had to go. A night of waking up soaked in cold sweat and feeling rubbish I hoped it was out of my system. I got loads of orange juice and got through the day.

Wednesday night I was struggling to breath and glad I had no work on thursday. After another bad night Ali packed me off to the Dr's, I agreed I should go the struggling to breath worrying me and the fact that I couldn't do anything. The temperature etc I assumed was a virus and would go. The Dr decided I had flu and I should take friday off work, he thought by monday I should be feeling a lot better.

Well its monday, I am feeling a lot better but still not right. I got the train to work today and had to run for my connection at Manchester Piccadilly, bad idea it hurt. So 5days and counting off my bike. Hopefully I'll be feeling well enough to ride soon.
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Monday, 14 February 2011

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Hit The North

The night before Hit the North basically involved people telling Ali she was racing, she wasn't so keen on the idea but eventually decided to give it a go. So on Saturday morning we both lined up in Cooksons kit (after a rush to get Ali's shorts dry as me being helpful had washed them that morning!) Ali was also rushing off to Grimbsy for the football after the race.

My first lap felt like a parade at walking pace, I made the odd place up on the bits linking the singletrack in the purpose built section and rode the berms slower than I ever had before but it was fun and I was able to chat. Ali was somewhere behind me having started with Pauline and probably chatting as well. On the second lap I had more open track, not that I could ride a lot of the muddy stuff. But I was enjoying just going round, I have to admit that I maybe could have put a bit more effort in, I did however want to ensure I didn't fall off as I was still pretty battered and bruised from Thursday. This lap I could see Damien (also racing for Cooksons) ahead of me so that did help with motivation if I did slow down at all.

The course was a mix of very muddy sections, steps or slopes to steep to ride up and the lovely blue route at Prestwich. I enjoyed the course even with the amount of walking I was doing and on my fourth lap I was starting to get into it. I could no longer see the girl who had been on my tail for quite a while but I was hoping to get back just in time for a 5th lap, as it turns out I missed it by about 30seconds.

Still 2hours of riding, average heart rate of 174bpm, 15.5miles covered and 555m of climbing. Oh and I managed to win the race so I got to stand on a car tyre. It was the first race on the new bike and it was brilliant, in fact at times I thought I was probably annoying it by braking as the Superfly certainly wanted to go faster.

Some Thanks:
  • To Jason for organising the event - it was awesome!
  • Chris for putting my pedals on before the race and then washing both mine and Ali's bike after the race
  • Cookson Cycles for helping me out when it came to purchasing the Superflyand gernerally just being great
  • To my Mum for finding a race I had mentioned in passing and buying me a bacon butty at the end of the race.

    Friday, 11 February 2011

    Not quite a road commute

    Today I was working in Irlam. I'd spent a while plotting a route and the only on-road option seemed to along the A57. Google did show another road but it was actually a footpath. So I rode there using the 50mph dual carriageway, not much fun. On the way home I tried the other route. It was nearly all tarmac with just one kilometre stretch of unmade road. It wasn't too bad at all but I wouldn't like it after rain on a road bike with mudguards. It was however a much better alternative to the main road.
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    Thursday, 10 February 2011

    Running is dangerous

    Yesterday evening I went running with Ali. Just a 30 minute loop on the roads near us. I didn't feel like I was working quite as hard as sunday but that we were keeping the pace up. I was pretty sure it was sub 10 min/miie but not loads under. So when I loaded the run onto sportstracks I was ecstatic to realise I had managed 9:12 min/miles.

    I was meant to be meeting up with Vikki this evening and she suggested a run. Nothing wrong with an extra run and I quite fancied giving running off-road in the dark a go. Vikki also text Carolyn and we all met there.

    I drove over and had to go home once as I had forgotten my headtorch! We started off nice and steady up onto Georges Lane. Where I decided to try and fly, failing miserably and landing on my front. It felt like I took most of the impact on the front of my legs and I was just pleased I seemed to have missed my knees. It hurt a lot but felt like the sort of pain that lasts a couple of minutes and then you're fine. I got up and walked a bit, only I felt dizzy so I went to sit down. Next thing I was aware of was Vikki interrupting some random thoughts and I was on the floor. Sat there a while and seemed to feel better. So we walked and ran on. Passed a group of mountain bikers at Pigeon Tower and headed down through Chinese Gardens.

    Back at Carolyns I realised the time and that Ali would be waiting to eat so headed off. Risotto was ready when I got in and then it was time to inspect the damage. Some cuts and grazes on my hands and grazing and bruises on my legs. I'll live ;-)

    So it turns out Chris is right, running is bad for you! Me though, I want to do some more off-road running.
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    Wednesday, 9 February 2011


    I've been working at a school in Atherton so its been easy commuting miles being only 6miles from home. On monday on of the kids had a bike with no front brake. As usual he told me he had bought it like that. After explaining he couldn't come out on tuesday without either sorting out a front brake or borrowing a bike. He seemed happy enough but I didn't expect it sorted. On tuesday I was pleasantly suprised when he handed me a brake (it apparently came with the bike but not attached). It only took a couple of minutes to fit and he could join the rest of the group on the road.

    Amusingly on monday I tried to fix the brakes on my on-one. Expecting it to be a simple case of fitting new pads. Only it wasn't so simple, I couldn't get one piston back in and one wouldn't move. In the end I gave up and dropped it off with Chris on tuesday.
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    Tuesday, 8 February 2011

    Lots of company

    Another tuesday and another ride with Chris so I headed over to the shop. After stopping to add a jacket and then again to answer the phone I was running a little late. Due to me being unable to change the brakepads on my on-one (the pistons were being silly) so I went on Rigger (bringing the brake for Chris to look at). At the shop I found Shaun with a cross bike to ride home (he's borrowed it to ride Hit the North at the weekend). So we persuaded him to join us as far as Radcliffe. Over to the Berms, where Shaun fell off before he started riding down the hill, some excuse about toe overlap.

    Round the blue route before heading along the Nature Trail to Radcliffe, here Shaun headed off home and Chris and I headed over to Bolton to collect our next guest rider of the evening.

    We met Ali at Firwood Fold and headed up through Jumbles to Crowthorn before dropping down towards the Strawbury Duck and then down the Witton Weavers way back home.

    31miles for me and 13 for Ali (at least I could just about keep up on the hills this week)

    Monday, 7 February 2011

    Collecting Rigger

    Tonight I went to collect Rigger after leaving him at my folks house when I went for sunday lunch the other week. Ali dropped me off and headed off shopping while I headed over towards Prestwich to ride home. It was dark but mild and the wind from earlier seemed to have dropped. By the time I reached the Berms I was having fun and had set myself a challenge of getting home with an overall average of 16km/h (10mph).

    Over the motorway and into Moses Gate where I blinded a couple of dog walkers with my uber bright light (which is working again fine). Up to Leverhulme Park and home.

    15miles, overall average of 10.5mph and moving average 10.9mph. I think I earnt my jaffa cakes!

    Sunday, 6 February 2011

    Resting and Running

    We spent the weekend down in Cambridge cat sitting for Ali's mum. So I used the opportunity to have a rest from the bike. Friday I drove to work so I could get back at a reasonable time, but as it turned out it was way to windy to ride anyway. Then Saturday I went to the football with Ali before Pizza Express for dinner. I failed miserably to finish my pizza and ate way too much, I could barely walk to the car.

    Sunday and I had to do some exercise so Ali and I headed out for a run. A loop combining road and some muddy bridleway which wasn't completely flat as I always think Cambridge is. We did 3.9miles at 9'18" min/mile pace. I was really impressed with myself. Although I had to work for it!

    Friday, 4 February 2011

    Just a little windy on my new Wagon Wheels

    Having entered Hit the North I thought I'd better collect my new bike and ride it before the race. I've been really busy with work recently so last night I rode down to Cookson Cycles on Ruby as she needs a new transmission. There we switched the pedals and light mount and Chris and I headed out into the wind and the rain. I was feeling a little cheated since the weather had been so nice all day when I was working. We went round the trails at Prestwich before heading out towards Bolton. I was a wimp again and failed the stream crossing, due to giving up! One day I will be brave. Through the mud and my new bike wasn't looking as shiny anymore through Moses Gate Country Park and over to mine to collect Ali. She had decided to come riding as her running partner had cancelled.

    She had changed her mind, but a bit of persuading and she was changed and out. I switched lights so she had the 6pack and we set up off Winter Hill. I thought the wind had dropped but as we started climbing it came back. When I rode with Ali on saturday she was telling me she was unfit and struggling, today her and Chris disappeared up the hill ahead of me while I tried to keep them in sight. (More hill climbing practise needed). Onto Winter Hill itself and the wind was joined by shards of glass hitting my face (at least that's what it felt like). Ali and Chris seemed to find it easier not to get blown across the road, maybe I'm too light and should eat more cake? Up at the top noone wanted to stop for the Jaffa Cakes I had brought so we set off down the Belmont Descent. Chris took a detour off the path after a couple of hundred metres when he was caught by a gust of wind and I ended up upside down in a ditch. After that it got muddier and I don't think Ali was enjoying it as she had enjoyed going up the hill! Halfway down and her light went out (yes my new light) so I gave her mine and me and Chris rode side-by-side. Interesting to say the least! Chris thinks some water got in the charging port, but I wasn't impressed.

    Home and Ali made us Curry as well as washing  my new bike.

    Verdict, it's lovely and I'm not fast enough for it.

    Wednesday, 2 February 2011

    Riding up and down a hill is normal?

    Hill repeats again today. I thought I was struggling to get my heart rate up on them today but my recovery was fast so that was good. Each rep was just over 5mins but it was a little windy so I'm happy enough with that.

    Still waiting for a chance to have a rest day.

    Tuesday, 1 February 2011

    January Roundup

    Somehow I stopped doing these in the latter months of last year. But after a fantastic January I think it's time to start again. I don't really hold for New Years Resolutions and stuff, but this January has been fantastic and if the New Year has had something to do with that I'm not complaining.

    So the numbers:

    Mountain Bike: 255miles (107miles SS)
    Cyclocross Bike: 48miles 
    Road Bike: 668miles (434miles fixed)

    Total Cycling: 971miles
    Running: 10.7miles

    Which all added up to 83hours cycling and nearly 2 hours running!

    Since records began (2008) I've never had a January like it. So the plan is to continue and hopefully build on it. Still want to get some more hill rep sessions in and hopefully ride with Chris when I have fresher legs one day soon so I can work a little harder. I've entered Hit the North and hopefully will ride another Audax event (although not the North West Passage as I'd hoped as I'm now working). Oh and keep with the running, I'm determined to keep it up this year as it is good for my fitness and less of a shock to the legs if a race has a running start!