Thursday, 31 March 2011

Making the most of my commute

I was in the office again today so decided to make the most of it and rode in on my cross bike. I then rode home off-road. Twenty miles, two new trails one led to steps, the other was fun muddy singletrack.
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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Getting to the top in the light

This week for a change I rode with Chris on a Wednesday. I was working in Bolton so it was an easy commute but when I headed over to Cooksons to meet Chris my legs made it clear they had nothing in them and going uphill was not in their plans for the evening. I ignored them as I had already eaten loads in preperation (after last week I also took loads of food with me).

Ali wanted to come with us so we headed to Bolton to collect her, linking a few different trails. Then up onto Winter Hill, where Chris decided to soak me using his rear wheel to splas water at me. Halfway up he decided we could get to the top in the light. He was right and we made it with no need for lights.

Downhill and something clicked, i've been riding downhills rubbish recently, and I felt like I wasn't constantly braking.

Home and I realised i'd rode 30miles (13 of them with Ali)
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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Dusty commute home

This morning I rode in on Rigger so I could ride home off-road. My legs were spinning and spinning but 15mph and I spun out. Still managed a reasonable pace.

I left the office at 4pm and headed to the trails at prestwich via the canal and sustrans route 6. On my second lap round the trails I bumped into Adi Laurence, we did another couple of loops and he showed me some, new to me, singletrack. I headed off through Moses Gate then round the Golf Course. I had thought aboiut heading up Winter Hill but I was tired so headed home. Still over 20miles on the mountain bike.
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A morning shuffle

I really am rubbish when it comes to running regularly but this morning I set my alarm to go for a small run before leaving for work. As it turns out it was more of a shuffle than a run and the problem with my back/bum/leg might be fine cycling but not running. I was slow but I did the 20mins I was planning. It's a start!
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Sunday, 27 March 2011


Last week the weather was perfect for my job and on Wednesday a bunch on us had lunch in the park. I of course had to play on the swings and see-saw.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Enjoying the weather

I've been loving the weather while commuting this week. I've not been the only one enjoying the weather. Ali suprised me by taking the long way home from work on wednesday, getting home just as it got totally dark. I'd better watch out if she is going to up her miles.
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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Must eat more....

Not usually something I need to worrry about as usually I eat too much - I must be the only person who puts weight on when they have flu! But last night I was out riding with Chris and I certainly didn't eat enough.

It was a lovely day, so lovely in fact I rode home in shorts. I ate some toast, fixed a puncture and then Chris arrived so we headed out. I decided that it would be a good idea to head to Great Hill and it was a perfect evening for a night ride. Chris hadn't done the descent off Great Hill before and from there we headed round to Rivington. I had an energy gel and we headed up the school climb and then on up Winter Hill.

At the top I realised I was going to struggle I was shaking and obviously out of energy. I'm not sure what made me think a four hour ride and one energy gel wouuld be enough? The Belmont desent was very slow and I was pleased to get on the road.

Home with 29miles and 1000m of climbing on the Garmin and a lecture off Ali about not bringing food, I really should have known better!
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Monday, 21 March 2011

Whinlatter Challenge

Chris and Shaun from Cooksons were heading up to Whinlatter on Sunday for the Whinlatter Challenge a 30mile enduro round Whinlatter Forest. I have been to Whinlatter once years ago before they built any trails and before I was a cyclist. It seemed a good opportunity to try riding somewhere new. Just after 7am the boys collected me and we headed up to the lakes into constant drizzle, not my ideal weather. Arriving with plenty of time we wandered down to sign on and I realised it was reasonably warm. So I made the descision to race in shorts, jersey, arm-warmers and knee-warmers. I was a little worried I was underdressing but not cold waiting at the start.

When we got to the start there seemed to be hundreds of people there ahead of us, so we got as close to the front as we could and made our way through the traffic on the first fireroad climb. I soon lost sight of Shaun and Chris but kept my own pace up. I had no idea how I was going to get on and my main aim was sub 4hours and my ideal was 3hrs30.

As soon as we hit the singletrack we were riding at less than walking pace, a fact that annoyed two lads near me who tried to push past everyone. But after that we were pretty spread out and on the whole I didn't get stuck too often behind people.

Two girls came past me early on riding for planetFear and they looked fast. I just kept at my own pace as I didn't want to blow up on the hills. The other thing I was aiming to do at this race was take on a gel at least once an hour, preferably a little more. I managed about one every 40minutes in the end which I was pleased with but finished my water, probably needed a camelbak one bottle was not enough for 30miles. But I've got used to the fact I hardly drink on the bike (I know something I need to change!)

At some point I passed one of the planetFear girls and a little later another girl I hadn't seen earlier so must have started further up the bunch than me. I saw a lot of a couple of people I knew in the race and near the end started to pick off the odd target.

I enjoyed the course, which was very hilly. But felt I was rubbish downhill, not sure if that was just because it was slippy!

I finished in 3hours 30minutes and 11 seconds. I was so pleased!

Average Heart Rate was 169bpm

I was 4th female and 120th out of the 342 that finished the full distance.

Thanks to Ed Rollason for the photo

Friday, 18 March 2011

Commuting Miles

When I got the rota I knew this week I would be getting the miles in commuting. After plotting it all it came to 190miles. Well its Friday now and i've managed 205miles of commuting. Two trips to Warrington and one to Runcorn mean it really added up. Next week will be about the same. Hopefully it all counts as training?
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Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A short night ride

I've a fair few commuting miles this week, starting yesterday with 20miles each way to Warrington and another 20 each way today to another part of Warrington. I still wanted to ride with Chris so I told him he'd have to come to mine and we'd ride from there.

At aabout 6:30 we set out up Winter Hill, Chris tried to ride up the steps again and failed, again. Down the shoulder... I rode terribly with lots of screaming. Down the ice-cream run, up to the Pike and off the back, up Winter Hill and down there Belmont Descent.

It was very hilly although shorter than usual. Back to mine and Pizza was ordered, I think I deserved it after 60miles in total today.

20miles, 750m ascent.
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Monday, 14 March 2011

Todmorden Loops Audax

Saturday evening was spent rushing around finding pedals, packing a saddle bag and attaching the laminated route sheets to ruby. While feeling a little panicked about hilly the route was and how few real hills I've rode recently. Still too late to do anything about it so I got myself to bed and tried to sleep.

Sunday morning and everything was going to plan till I asked my Garmin to follow the route. It started buzzing and froze on the screen saying Garmin (this has happened a few times now). So back in the house, computer on, load course onto old Garmin, sorted? Nope it didn't download, 2nd time lucky and it worked. Follow course nad no there must be a course error. Ahh well better go as i'm now going to be late...

I had to stop on my over to adjust my saddle height but made it 5minutes before the start, which I missed by going to the toilet! I was riding with Ali from MillsCC and she had kindly waited for me. We actually had a group of five of us and I was glad of my warm legs as we set up the first hill, I think a rope might have been more appropriate than a bike it was so steep! Lynne who was riding with us got to that stage on the steepest corner that its too late to unclip but you can't keep riding, only one place to go - the floor! The first loop was dispached just as it was getting a little warmer to be greeted by a spread of cakes. It was hard not to eat too much.

Out onto the second loop and along the valley road to Hebden Bridge (my least favourite bit of the ride) and onto another cliff to climb up. Before heading round to Cragg Vale which I think may have been the easiest climb of the day! Then it was time for more cake. Here two of our little bunch decided to abandon and we were down to three.

Off again and up more hills. With 13miles to go Lynne's chain came off, back on and up the hill. At the top I began to wonder where the other two were, especially as Lynne was faster up the hills than me, so I headed back down. Only to find Lynne's chain kept coming off. I adjusted the stops so it shouldn't come off. Then Ali noticed a broken link, only one side was attached. A look around and I realised that I didn't have a handy mechanic with me and it was up to me. It took a while but I got the dodgy link out and rejoined the chain. I noticed a couple of other cracks in some links but it seemed to be working fine. Another four miles and it seemed fine. I stopped to take my jacket off and rounded the corner to find a battered looking Lynne and Ali wheeling a bike with a broken chain, yes it snapped again. One of the dodgy links! At that point Emma came down the hill having finished and backtracked after finishing. I fixed the chain, a little quicker this time and Emma sorted out a lift for Lynne. Then me and Ali headed off to finish. There I ate a load of sandwiches and some soup before heading home. No idea why but I decided to go via Bacup to get an extra hill in.

An excellent ride, fantastic company and amazing cakes.

180km and 3670m of climbing.

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Sunday, 13 March 2011

Broken wheel and Pancakes

Tuesday found me once again heading off to Cookson Cycles to meet Chris. I was feeling like trying to chase him up the hills but managed to forget to put my heart rate monitor on. Shaun came out with us as well so they chatted their way up the hills while I worked hard just to keep them in sight.

Chris has being having problems with his rear hub for a while, he's rebuilt it a couple of times but it doesn't seem to last. This ride was to kill it. Just before Cragg Quarry he realised that it was basically fixed wheel and he couldn't stop pedalling. Then just as we started downhill if he put his feet on the pedals it just went really bad. So he ran parts, rode parts with his legs stuck out and pedals still going round. At the bottom we went to Shauns and they switched the wheel.

Back to mine and it was pancake time, no idea how many I had but it was loads!
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Thursday, 10 March 2011

Running without falling.

Yes running fell by the wayside again, but I think flu was a good excuse and I wanted to give myself chance to recover fully. So today I ran two miles to collect the car. Not far but aat a reasonable enough pace. Now to work out when to run next week.
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Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Springtime 150km

We're down in Cambridge this weekend so I entered an audax on the saturday. Being sensible I entered the 150km (actually 155km) instead of the 200km. Once I plotted the route, including there and back it came to just over 240km. Since Ruby is at Specialized getting accessed as she may have a crack in her frame (update: the frame is fine just the dropout is corroded slightly but its safe to ride) so I was riding kiwi, it was to be my longest ride fixed. When I plotted the route it looked a little hillier than I would have liked but nothing looked steeper than roads I have ridden commuting before. So friday once I got home from work was getting kiwi ready and laminating the route card before meeting Ali to drive down.

Saturday morning and I was up at 6am creeping round trying not to wake up Ali and her mum before heading out at 6.30. It was already getting light outside. I enjoyed the ride out but had to stop a couple of times, once to adjust layers and once at McDonalds as I really needed the toilet.

Got to the start at 8:30 so had half an hour to enjoy sitting in front of the fire. Just after 9am we were on our way and somehow I was at the front but soon some club boys in purple came past. I stuck with them for the first 10km but realised that I was working too hard on the uphills and scaring myself on the downhills as I pedalled down and they freewheeled.

From then on I was riding on my own. At Baldock I missed the cafe on my first ride through, turns out it was closed, I soon found a sandwich bar with lots of bikes outside. I got myself a hot chocolate and bacon roll. I headed out again, past an information control at the bottom of the one climb mentioned on the routecard my rear brake stopped working, I stopped to adjust it but the cable kept pulling through, I thought I must have snapped it. Then I noticed the cablestop out on the toptube. Sorted I continued onto HQ. Here I had beans on toast and a blueberry muffin.

Out again on the last loop, about 55km, and I started missing turns, no excuse when I had my garmin on my bars. Partway round and it started getting misty but not quite raining, eventually it started raining so I put my waterproof on. Back to HQ and there was a handful of 200k riders there who had just finish. I had an Eccles cake this time.

It was dark when I left to head back to Cambridge so all my lights were on. Onto country lanes and I realised that I should have put one of my bigger lights on and not just rely on my spark. It was plenty bright enough but the batteries did not last long enough to use it on bright. Felt a little silly as I have such good lights at home.

I got back to Ali's mums just after 7:30pm and they were cooking dinner, veggie lasgne yum yum!

150miles, 1880metres of climbing

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Friday, 4 March 2011

A dusk-night ride

I'll bein trouble with Chris since he sent me the pictures and I haven't posted a blog!

On tuesday I was back up to riding with Chris (well if he went slow) so I met him at the shop. I was a little late and the poor boy was waiting outside for me. Since it was light (I can't remember the last time we met and it was still light) Chris suggested we head to the trails at Prestwich to make the most of the chance to ride a bit in daylight! First downhill and I could tell it was a while since I had been on my mountain bike, but I loved the berms.

Over to the stream crossing and I decided I needed to clear it, nope my brain had other ideas and I kept braking and unclipping. I will do it again one day soon! It's annoying as I know I can do it as I've done it before!
By now it was getting dark so we headed up the nature trail to Radcliffe, waiting a little longer than we maybe should before turning our lights on before heading over to Ramsbottom and then round the horseshoe. Home via Jumbles and I nearly got took off my bike turning right onto my road by an idiot undertaking me.

32muddy miles and I was a little tired.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

On the track again

A post on the Mills Cycling Club forum about a track session went up the other week and I was quick to sign me and Ali up. It was a late one running 8pm-10pm and I was working in Warrington so I had lots of excuses for being slow.

We were asked to go on the track if we were 'experts'. Ali and I didn't think we were in that category but apparently being accredited meant that we were. So we went on and a huge long line formed as we warmed up. After this I made the decision to drop to the 'intermediate' group as my twitter friends were in it and I like to talk at people! The first session was the same for both groups, standing up on the bends. I've tried this before during intervals at a cyclechat session and did not enjoy it. This time after the first couple I started to feel more comfortable.

We did a couple of other skills and then time for a chaingain in pairs, I like this as I seem less scared with someone next to me. I grabbed fellow Velocake rider Tim and we worked together, I thought we communicated well and did a good job of dropping back into the line. We also tried to speed the group up a little.

Meanwhile Ali was still flying round with the huge group of 'experts'.

Reminded me I do like the track, when is the next cyclechat session?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Outside workouts

At lunchtime today the sun came out so we had a plesant stroll to look for suitable roads to teach the kids on. We wandered back through a park where we found an outdoor gym. The threadmill was a particular favourite with running on it involving holding on for dear life.

Hopefully this is the start of spring and the sun will come out to play more days.
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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

February's Miles

After an amazing January I was hoping for more of the same. But it wasn't to be, a dose of the flu led to ten days off the bike. Still I should still have my base fitness and I'm back riding now.

So the numbers:

Mountain Bike: 96miles (46miles SS)
Cyclocross Bike: 0miles 
Road Bike: 339miles (301miles fixed)

Total Cycling: 435miles
Running: 13.3miles

Running was going well, but obviously not ran with being ill. Still if I manage 13miles a month I'll smash my target (120miles) for that.

I also won my first race of the year at a muddy hit the north, got offered a job and got a date for having my tonsils out. So all in all a good month if I ignore being ill.