Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Shopping on the way home

I went shopping on the way home again, this time there was no handy box so I just filled up the panniers. There was no chance of closing them, but a bungy cord over the top and everything stayed put. The more I ride with them the more I think they are great!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Running woes

I set my alarm to go running this morning but turned it off and went straight back to sleep. I knew that I couldn't not run so I did a short 25minute run when I got back from work. It's the first run in a long time that I felt like I was running not shuffelling. But it was only 25minutes and in less than a month I have aa half marathon to run. No excuses now.

It's also our nine year anniversary today, I can't believe anyone could cope with me for that amount of time!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Monday, 27 June 2011

Loaded Up

Stopped at the supermarket on the way home for some bits. Ali asked me to get some fruit and try and get it home without squishing it or battering it. I put it in a box on top of the rack which meant I could carry more stuff. I think they are slightly bumped about but hopefully i've done a good enough job.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Alton Towers

My sister and dad had tickets for Alton Towers so we met them there for a day of screaming. Lots of fun and the queues weren't too bad. I even coped with all the crowds. Ali made sure I was soaked by holding me in a vice grip on the log flume so I couldn't duck. On a sunny day it wasn't too bad getting soaked though!

Friday, 24 June 2011

The oddest mechanical

Yesterday I went to Hebden Bridge and back for Physio. Using kiwi I had strapped a bag on the rack to keep weight off my back. The first hill on the way back and something went into my wheel, stopping and looking round the bag was in the middle of the road. The bungy cord was completely wrapped round the freewheel (I was lucky it didn't go into the fixed side). After resucing the bag, I set about freeing the wheel, eventually using the screwdriver on the multi-tool to cut the cord a strand at a time. It took ages but at least I was able to pedal again. I guess this means I need a racktop bag for when i'm not carrying much?
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Mountain Mayhem

I was racing Mountain Mayhem in a Sports Mixed Team for Cookson Cycles but things didn't work out quite as planned and we only had four riders. The organisers said we could race as a non-competitive team or change into the Expert Category. So at 12noon on saturday we sent Shaun out on the run against Nick Craig. The top teams had lapped us by four laps in, but with Liam Killean racing for the Hope team we knew that we had no chance of matching them. The suprise came in the fact we were having a close race for 6th/7th/8th place.

I was 4th man out and the boys had all done sub-hour laps. The pressure was on me! I had plans of doing some intensity work in the leadup to this event. But with a combination of a operation and then crashing my bike it never happened. All I could do was push as hard as I could, I was at my limit on all my climbs but the lack of recent mountain biking showed on the descents and I was struggling to ride them and crawling down them. Still with lap times between 1:08 and 1:18 throughout the race I was pleased with my riding. On my night laps I was caught twice by Anna Buick riding for Salsa. The first time it was at the end of the first climb, I held on till a descent and she got a gap, I worked on the hills to slowly bring her back but every descent she seemed to fly putting 3 minutes into me at the end. The next lap I was already finding it hard to get my heart rate up but I held on as long as I could, she lost me on the final descent. That girl is amazing downhill!

The boys tried some fast laps but at the end they were shattered and so I did our final lap, I couldn't hold off the fast guys so we finished in 8th in our category and 22nd overall.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Feeling stupid

Today started off as normal, up breakfast, faff, cycle to work. Get there and lock bike up with pink knog lock, sat in staff room chatting and I suddenly realise key for said bike lock is in waterproof jacket I wore yeesterday. This is currently hanging up at home to dry.

Cue a phonecall to Ali who then rushed round on her lunchbreak to bring me the key, not helped by me sending her the wrong postcode. Hopefully I won't repeat that trick in a hurry.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Monday, 13 June 2011

Turning work into an adventure

I was working the Nightrider event in London this weekend. It's a charity 100km ride around London with start times between 11pm and 1am. We headed down to Cambridge to stay with Ali's mum on the friday. Saturday. Lunchtime we went out for a huge and lovely curry.

6pm and my adventure started and I left to ride to London. 57miles with the first half being small villages and the last London. I took it easy although one hill had me thinking about walking. Got up it just, the extra weight on the back was really felt!

The night went well, I was in my element talking about bikes, keeping up the food supplies which included lots of my favourites. It was great to see people managing something that was a huge challenge. I'm not sure riding round London would be my choice and the section through the centre of town was apparently interesting for some groups that got there at pub/club chucking out time.

During the night I felt really bloated and had heartburn. I even struggled to eat many biscuits! But at 9am I set off to ride to Cambridge. An hour in and I stopped for breakfast at a fantastic little cafe. Then it was back into the rain, it had stayed dry all night but started when I started riding home., for the ride home. I was struggling, still bloated, heartburn that felt worse when I put any effort in. Eating and drinking weren't happening. Halfway back I was thinking of calling ali for a lift. With 20miles to go I was wondering if I could do it. My thoughts were if I couldn't manage this how would I manage a 24hour race? But manage it I did. I got back. Ali was great got me in the bath, fed me crisps and water. I then feel asleep on the sofa. Ali drove us home and I crawled into bed.

I rode 112miles in total and it was one of the hardest rides I remember riding. Great adventure though.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Plodding along

Up at 6am this morning and out for a run, only it was more of a plod I'm getting slower instead of faster. Still I managed 4.5miles. Part of what made it a plod is my back which has been sore a lot recently. But in the last week it has become more annoying and very stiff. I think carrying all the stuff for work isn't helping. As it was so tight it seemed to keep me down at plodding pace.

Due to the back I have beenn thinking I should try a rack and panniers, only problem its not cheap to try. Colin from work offered me some of his to try for a week. Fitting the rack was easy if fiddly and time consuming. I was worried how it would affect the handling but that was fine on my short journey home. Carrying the bike or wheeling it around is a little more awkard. But I will have an idea if I get on with them after a week of commuting.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Wet Ride Thing Day 3

Another morning and more rain, although not as heavy. This time once up I could hang around a bit in my waterproofs. Suprisingly my spot found in the dark had been flat and hidden away in the trees I had slept okay. Once again it was straight up a hill to find the first chequepoint. My thumb was hurting a bit and I was worried about the off-road.

After the bridge we rode my favourite part of the ride, through an amazing valley and somewhere I really want to return to, maybe in better weather!

After this it was back up into some woods, we were all a little wet by this point!
Descending we were all getting cold and were glad to get on the road back to Forest Freeride. Just as we finished the sun came out and we sat round eating flapjacks and reliving the weekend.

Lots of thoughts on it, but I can't wait to do some more bikepacking!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Wet Ride Thing Day 2

Waking up to the sound of rain on my bivvy bag I found I was curled up at the bottom. Guess I was avoiding the rain in my sleep. But I had also thrown part of my sleeping bag out into the rain. Eventually I looked at my watch and realised it was 7am, we all got up and breakfast. Once Ali and I were up that was it, nowhere to hide from the weather. I was feeling jealous of Andy and Jane's tarp!
Just after we started riding two lads caught us up. As we got damper and damper we decided to head into Mach and find a pu. A sunday lunch later and we headed back out, feeling warmer and the weather decided to play as well.
Eventually we headed to another pub and I got my sleeping bag out to dry it out. Leaving the pub, plan was first suitable spot sleep. Not so easy in a steep sided valley, eventually I spotted a flattish spot, probably not ideal but it was starting to rain so I was quickly in my bivvy bag...

Monday, 6 June 2011

A thumb update

Friday I had my hospital appointment. Xrays showed I had chipped a bit off the bone but the Dr was sure the ligaments were fine. So advice is to use it even if it hurts. So that means riding again. After 3days of nothing it felt great to ride into the office for files.

Saturday I was working and to risk access I rode a loop of the lake at Trafford Water Park. It was mainly well surfaced paths but I was stilll struggling to grip the bars and brake. Think mountain biking will have to wait a little longer!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Welsh Ride Thing Day 1

After me being very grumpy all week due to thinking I was going to be missing out on all the fun I decided to go down to wales with Ali and walk ridearound on the roads and meet the others in the pub for an evening meal and bivvying. Fortunately Ali had arranged to ride this year with a couple of our friends so I didn't have to worry about her being on the hills on her own. All this meant that I was route planning and packing for two on Friday night. Ali was busy laminating maps for her bars and getting her food ready, I had very little food since I could stop at shops and Ali had only really shopped for her seeing as I was meant to be staying at home.

Saturday morning and it was raining at home, one of the bike racks broke but we still got to Forest Freeride with time for faffing before the bike weigh-in and raffle. Neither of us had anywhere near the lightest setup but we were half the weight of the heaviest, an impressive 129lbs! Time came to leave and everyone set off, except us as there was still no sign of Andy and Jane, we knew they were on their way but with no mobile receoption we had no idea where they were. Turns out they were stuck in the famous Newtown traffic jam. But once they arrived it wasn't long before we were on our way, the first section being road so I was joining them.
Ali with this year's WRT map(Photo by Andy Chadwick)

A nice uphill road took us to the first off-road section, it was only short so I decided to give it a go and at least bag the first checkpoint. It was an out and back, for our chosen route, and the first section was a nice wide track. We all took the sensible option of walking the last bit to the checkpoint, fully loaded and on day one it wasn't worth it. There we met some other riders enjoying the view.

After a bit lot of chat, not by me for a change! We headed back up the hill, I was glad of footwear suitable for walking in and wishing I had done more running as my calves were complaining.

Back to the road and my route took me left round the roads, oddly I turned right with the others, well the thumb seemed fine with my not holding on or braking method so I thought I'd try some more off-road and it was fun!
Esgair Wen

It turned out to be a lovely rideable track with lovely views (Ali liked being able to see the windfarm). We met some more WRT people at the top of the hill, they had just pushed up a huge grassy slog, at this point Ali got loads of bonus points for her route (unlike the last checkpoint where everyone else headed down a lovely looking descent and we climbed back up the hill). Down to a gate and another checkpoint where we met some more people, it was certainly busier this year!

We headed into the forest for the first time before climbing out up onto a mountain again (or near enough they were tall!)

Back down onto a road for some easy tarmac miles into Abercegir and onto Glyndwr's Way over to the next checkpoint.

Down what turned out to be the White Road, an ice-rink may have been a better description, Andy tried to ride it but just slid off at my feet! We started to realise we were not going to get to the planned pub in time and after passing a huge wedding do in a field Ali was getting tired. So a quick look at the map and we realised that the next village had a pub marked so that was our aim. Stopping at Cenmaes we bumped into more riders and had a very average but welcome meal. Back out and the aim was to find somewhere to bivvy, only everywhere was hilly. It was getting dark as we snapped our last checkpoint of the day.

The only flat area (that wasn't a bog) was the bridleway and it was nice and grassy. So we set up camp there. As the rain started I was a little jealous of Jane and Andy's tarp but I was soon hidden away in my bivvy bag and fast asleep.