Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Sustrans trails are dangerous!

Last night riding with Chris heading along route 6 towards Radcliffe I managed to catch my bars (well I was on Chris's bike so his bars) on a fence post and go flying. I smashed my head into the floor and head was sore, I was very glad to be wearing a helmet! After a bit I got back on the bike, mine this time, and headed on out to Jumbles and then Winter Hill. We went up the Belmont Descent which I just walked. Chris likes loops so we went down the way I usually climb. My thumb was hurting and using the front brake was a little hard. Home and I iced the thumb.

Waking up this morning it was really swollen, more ice and off to work. Holding the bars was a little hard and front braking not a really option. Quite a few people told me to get it checked out so I went to the hospital after work. Xrays showed nothing, its been strapped and i've been told to rest, not ride and go back in 10days. Not good when the Welsh Ride Thing is this weekend!
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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Sleeping and running

I woke up a couple of times in the night thirsty, obviously I'm still not drinking enough. My planned lie-in didn't happen either as I woke up hungry. But after breakfast I went back to bed, I didn't expect to sleep the window was open and the wind was howling causing lots of door banging etc! Next thing I know its 12:30 and Ali was telling me to get up. Guess I needed the sleep.

Although I knew I should run today I had decided not to. But then Ali told me to go get ready that she would do the first part of her run with me. I was suprised thinking I would be way to slow with her, think she just wanted some company since she was meant to be running 10miles. We headed out to Jumbles where we split, me to head home Ali for more miles.

5.5miles after I did a little extra thinking I was going to be short. Pace was very slow this half marathon is going to take me a long time.
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A Minx Girl Ride

Ali has been building up her bike miles recently so when I suggested riding to Hebden Bridge for the minx girls ride she actually agreed, as long as we could get the train home if she wanted to. We set off a little later than planned on the road to Rochdale and eventually getting on the canal for the rest of the way, well until Todmorden where we got a little confused and just ended up back on the road to Hebden, we wanted to ensure we had time for food though. Arriving just after 10:30am we had time for breakfast panini's/bagel's, cake and a hot chocolate for me.

There were thirteen of us in total and we headed out on a typical Calderdale ride. It went up, then down, up again, down again, up again and down again. I don't think there was any flat on the ride apart from the bit of canal at the start.

We lost a couple of riders along the way, family commitments or broken bikes. Jenn came up trumps and fed us flapjack at the top of one of the climbs although after another downhill she did lead us up another climb.

Back to Cafe Cali for more food, including cake of course. There were lots of tired legs and lots of smiles. The sun was shining and for some unknown reason there was a guy stood in the river balancing rocks?

As we all headed our seperate ways Ali decided to start riding home and see how she felt at Todmorden, she looked very tired at this point. Here it was on towards Rochdale, an emergency Haribo stop at Littleborough and we made it all the way home.

63miles for us and Ali was ready for bed!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Shop Ride

Wednesday saw another shop ride from Cookson Cycles, there were eight of us out and after a day of constant drizzle the sun came up. We rode a mixture of the purpose built trains at Prestwich and some slightly muddier singletrack. Getting back to the shop at 9pm it was time for me and Ali to ride home, we took the road option to try and get a slightly earlier night. I was on my singlespeed and remembered how much I love riding rigger, this year hasn't seen enough singlespeed miles.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Might as well ride there.....

Last week the rota came out and it was a mixture of close to home and miles and miles away. Monday I was in Chester but there were three of us there so we met at the office and took the van. Today however I was in Ellesmere Port, I looked at the train option and I would have to be on a train from Bolton at 6:10am there were also two changes and how would I get on getting a bike  on all those trains at a busy time of day. I realised that it was about 40miles so I began to  think about riding it. I could probably leave at the same time. This morning my alarm was set and after a late night following a night ride the 5am alarm call was not appreciated. But I was out the door at 5:45am, back 5minutes later for the folder that I forgot, then on my way again. I went past the train station with just enough time to get a ticket and the train and headed off towards Cheshire.

The ride out was lovely with some lovely roads and some not so lovely dual-carriageway, but I wanted to keep the route as short as possible.

I had a nice day working with five lads who were good riders and really nice to teach. Then time to reverse the route, more uphill on the way back but I was determined not to be too late home. Once I was home Ali made fajitas. I'm a little tired now, I certainly couldn't do it everyday and I was glad I had moved most of the weight off my back and onto the bike.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Riding with Chris again

Chris keeps reminding me I am lame as I haven't been out riding with him for ages. So this tuesday I ignored all my good excuses and got myself down to the shop for 5:30ish (Okay I was a little late but neither Shaun or Chris were ready). They both told me they had tired legs due to riding the Etape du Dales on Sunday. As always they seemed fast to me though! Up onto Rooley Moor Road and the boys wanted to bypass Cragg Quarry but I was having none of it. I've only ridden it twice and the last time with Chris was so windy I couldn't really ride. It's lots of fun but very pedally.

Down to drop Shaun off near Ramsbottom and then back along the road with Chris. I noticed that my front tyre was a little soft but there was enough air to get me home.

Another good ride and I'll be out again to slow the boys down.

Come and ride with the Minx Girlies

This coming saturday (21st May) a crowd of girls are descending on Hebden Bridge to get muddy on mountain bikes. Why don't you join us?

Details here.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

A Mills CC ride

I was meant to be on a course this weekend but it was cancelled meaning I had a spare saturday so I used the chance to head over to Hebden Bridge to ride with the Mills CC girls. It turned out to just be three of us, maybe the wind and rain had something to do with that? But the ride had everything. Me pushing hard to get there on time, holding on for dear life as the wind tried to pull my wheel on descents, my chain coming off on ascents, a 1940's weekend in Haworth and two muffins for greedy me.

76miles and 2250m of climbing
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Not a day to forget my lunch

I had a little later of a start yesterday, not that i didn't end up rushing at the last minute. Partway there I realised I'd left my lunch hanging on the fridge, never mind there would be plenty of time to pick something up on the way back to the office with Jen.

Then I received a call, could I go to Warrington for the afternoon. So at 12:15 I left trafford to ride 15miles to Warrington, oh and the session started at 13:15. Part way there the rain started and near the end it was so hilly it felt like hail. Got there 5minutes after the session started and I wasn't really needed.

I was so cold, had no spare layers as had expected to be sitting round the office, I got the train back to Manchester.

Lesson learnt always carry lots of clothes, the weather forcast may be wrong!
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Friday, 13 May 2011

Recovery and Running

I've been commuting a bit this week but I've felt slow and sluggish and the average speeds are lower than I've seen in a long time. I've been getting the train home and on Wednesday got the train both ways. I also been really tired. I think its a mixture of recovering from the weekend and recovering from the tonsil op. It still hurts to yawn so obviously its not quite healed.

I've also been eating constantly, at some points I was just really hungry probably from the weekend. But lots of time I'm just eating for no reason, undoing all the good work I've done recently. I'm just destined to always be slightly overweight unless I sort my head out.

In the back of my mind is the half marathon I've entered. Last week my training plan had two 5 mile runs, I did nothing! This week is meant to be two 5 mile runs again but I think that if I run 5 miles I will be hobbling the next day, so I've deviated from the plan and on tuesday I ran for 30minutes. It was very slow and steady but that was the aim, keep heartrate down but get the muscles used to running. Today I did another 30minutes, its almost embarassing how slow it is, but average heart rate was 150bpm which is lower than I've ever had running. Hopefully I can build up from here and legs will be fine tomorrow.
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Wednesday, 11 May 2011


The weekend of 24solo came around way too fast and I had to accept that I was in no state to race a 24hour and so took the sensible option of riding the 12hour. The plan being just to ride it, enjoy it and not put my body through too much. Unfortunately my brain decided to get completely stressy and I was a complete nightmare for Ali to cope with. Due to use being completely disorganised we headed up on saturday morning which actually worked out okay as I got a reasonable nights sleep in my own bed and we picked up a load of food on the way. Getting to Newcastleton we(Ali) got the tent up and I put my bottles and food in the JMC/ragley tent and registered. It wasn't long before riders briefing and then I had to get my kit on and ride downto Newcastleton for the start. Jane was riding the 12hour as well so we set off together, she was soon off chasing the girls ahead of us but I knew I had to be sensible and let them go, it was hard to do but I knew I couldn't 'race' and was looking forward to just riding for as long as I could. Up the first hill and the first bits of singletrack there were a few bottlenecks but we were always moving.

First lap done and I came in to the arena, new bottle and a belgain waffle were handed over and I was off again, it felt like I was near the back of the field but that was fine. Round the arena and I found that there was a nice rooty section around the cabins, not so great while trying to eat. It was at this point I realised the big hill up to where the arena was based last year would be in every lap. It was okay at this point I was getting up it in middle ring (Chris's voice nagging me in my head) but I knew soon it would be a granny ring climb.

Round again and more food and lots of cheering followed me round the arena, I think it was this lap it started raining. I ended up riding the singletrack from halfway with two guys, for the first time I had a wheel to follow and it definitely meant I rode it faster. Into the arena and I grabbed my gillet, more food and a gel for halfway round the lap.

Out again and I was slowing but definitely having fun, I had decided my aim was eight laps. You had to finish before midnight so there was no chance I would get more in. Eight would give me about 90miles of riding as well. It stopped raining and I was doing my usual of chatting my way round the course. Coming in on this lap Ali tells me I am in third, about five minutes down and maybe I am trying too hard. But I was feeling fine.

Out again, more food, more cheering people were great in the arena. A warning that a short slippy section was slippier meant I rode into the tape getting a little tangled. But I felt I was riding the singletrack sections well and on the climbs just settled into a pace and let people ride off on me.

At some point my light was put on my bike and 500m later felt off, some kind soul came to my rescue and put it on and tightened the clamp for me. Exposure Lights also helped me out when I realised the connector on my piggyback battery was bent by lending me a spare Joystick for the race so I didn't have to worry about my lights. With my 6pack on my bars and a joystick on my head it felt like I was riding as fast as I had been in the daylight.

Out of the last lap and Ali thought I had about half an hour on 4th so I just had to enjoy the lap and ensure it took me less than two hours. It started raining again this lap and a very soggy Ali was waiting for me at the finish.
I actually felt I could have easily continued and riding at an easier pace meant I had found eating and drining my way round easy. Although when I was lay in the tent listening to the rain getting heavier and heavier I wasn't too unhappy to have only ridden the 12hour.

The next day we packed up the tent in the gaps in the rain and headed to the prize giving. First was the raffle where Ali won a huge food hamper! Then I was up, 3rd in the 12hour. I was really pleased to make the podium.
Then it was time to drive home, we still have lots of kit and bikes to sort out, the fun of racing.

Thanks to:
  • Ali who was fantastic in the pit, put up with stressy me on friday night, did all the driving and most of the packing up on sunday.
  • Chris for making me work hard on our night rides, even if at the time I don't appreciate it.
  • Cookson Cycles for ensuring I had the best bike in the world.
  • Exposure lights for help with the lights
  • Everyone who was cheering for me, it makes me keep going
  • Joolze for the Percy Pigs
  • The JMC/Ragley lot for all the encouragement

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Evening guided rides

Cookson Cycles are starting a regular ride from the shop. It's going to be the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month meeting at 6:30. Tonight was the first ride. Shaun and I headed out with four other riders onto the Prestwich trails. Hopefully everyone enjoyed it and will be back for more.

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Monday, 2 May 2011

Dusty trails

While i've been sat around feeling sorry for myself most of the UK has been bathed in sunshine. I've been reading tales about rides on dusty trails but all I can remember is mud. Today I was teaching a one2one at Prestwich so I rode there. The trails were very dusty, if I was on form and their were less people I imagine they would have been fast. The wind was less welcome.

My bike is also creaking. I tried tightening a few bolts, next thing is to try cleaning seatpost.
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Sunday, 1 May 2011

April's lack of Miles

As expected April has been a low month, in fact Ali has just done more miles than me. It was lower than expected, I thought I would be fine after the op expecting to be back on the bike within a week and have no problems riding a 300k Audax the week after. The reality was a little different but I've moaned about that here and over on twitter enough. I am back on the bike now but still having to take it easy, throat is still a little sore and noticeably sore when I yawn.

So the numbers:

Mountain Bike: 32.5miles (all with gears)
Cyclocross Bike: 10.1miles
Road Bike: 257miles (120miles fixed)

Total Cycling: 299miles
Running: 9.6miles

Into May and I've entered a Half-Marathon in July so I have to keep up the running, which wasn't too bad last month, although it was actually only two runs in the whole month. I am aiming to run twice a week between now and the half-marathon. Next week is 24solo and I've already realised that riding for 24hours is not going to happen. At the moment the plan is to head up and ride the 12hour race for fun. There is always next year and hopefully having had my tonsils out will mean I spend less of the winter ill.