Friday, 29 July 2011

A day out in Hebden

I was always going to Hebden Bridge today to get my legs massaged by Mills Physio. My legs were in better shape than expected but I think they will appreciate the massage, although I was squealing at points, especially when she tickled my knees!

After that it was lunch with Jenn, which included some lovely chocolate.

Before time to do some route planning for a ride I am leading on sunday. Up into the hills and I found the shortest most rideable loop I could, it will still be tough but the views should make up for it.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

A long day in Border Country

After the Cross Bay Half we had a night in Arnside and a lovely morning walking along the beach, or hobbling in my case, before heading up to Kielder. We've had a couple of nice holidays there before so I was really looking forward to it. Tuesday I was still hobbling so Ali did the Deadwater trail and I sat and read near the castle. Then we both rode over to  Leaplish to the Squirrel hide, no red squirrels though. But I think the 11miles on the bike probably did my legs a world of good.

Wednesday it was time for a long ride, Ali wanted to have another good ride on the Kielder and Newcastleton trails before Kielder100 in September. We set off in a cloud of midges just before 10am, well we were on holiday so we had to have a cooked breakfast. We started along Lakeside Way before climbing up on the Lonesome Pine trail.

Lots and lots of up before we reached the boardwalk, where we turned left onto the Bloody Bush trail and towards Newcastleton. The day was hot and muggy but the views were amazing. Unlike last time Ali didn't set off too fast, getting me to set the pace. So over at Newcastleton she was feeling fresh!
We did a lap of the Newcastleton trails before dropping down to Newcastleton itself. We parked our bikes outside Copshaw Kitchen and headed inside. I was in heaven, there were so many cakes. I ordered beans on toast but Ali went for afternoon tea. She got so much food, I was really jealous!
I did have chocolate cake, but her sandwich, cake, scone, and tray bake looked amazing. She then had to ride back up to the trailhead at Newcastleton with all that in her tummy. But if you are in Newcastleton it is one of the best cafe's I have ever been to.
It wasn't long till we were at the border stone again, obviously after more singletrack, and it was time to head back into England. Just after crossing the border there is a steep climb, Ali hit it as fast as she could before rolling backwards into a very prickly tree. She let me take a photo before saving her!
Back over and back up to the top of Lonesome Pine before down to the castle, with 50 miles on the garmins (well mine Ali's had ran out of battery life) I suggested riding the blue (Osprey) trail as it was apparently 8miles. After 4miles we came across a sign saying it was another 8miles form that point. Still it was a great 12miles with some lovely singletrack, not sure I would recommend it for hybrids though.

Back to the hostel with 63miles of riding and 2300m of climbing and a very tired Ali.

When is our next holiday?

Monday, 25 July 2011

Cross Bay Half

I was getting really worried about this the night before and got very little sleep. Still with the race not being till 12:30 there was plenty of time for packing the car in the morning. Arriving at Hest Bank we were directed into a field for parking and already everything seemed really well organised.

After a little bit of faffing and organising of clothes we got on a coach. I had been really unsure which trainers to wear and had gone for my old road ones, turned out to be a good choice as they are really comfy and it doesn't matter that they are now probably ruined after all the salt water. Some people had trail shoes on but really anything was fine. A longish coach ride took us to the start where we registered before walking down to the actual start. We were scanned in and it wasn't long before race briefing.

Ali said bye and headed off while I made sure to take it easy, letting loads of people go past me. I settled into my rhythm, looking back there were maybe 40people behind me to the sweeper tractor but that was fine as my aim was to finish (they have to pull you if you are too slow since the tide comes in). I was running on my own for most of the race but the views were spectacular. It wasn't far into the race before we had our first channel to splash across so no more dry feet. Running with a camelbak which meant no stopping for water. At 6miles I felt good and knowing that I could definitely finish after my run with Jumbly last week I pushed on a bit, from now on I knew I would finish whatever. Now the deeper channel crossings started although they never got past my waist and seemed easy without a bike to carry. At 10miles my hamstrings and quads were hurting but I was slowly passing people at this point which helped with keeping me going. Mile 11 to 12 was really hard as we were straight into a headwind, this was probably the first time I was running with my head down. But at mile 12 we turned towards the shore and out of the headwind. Slowly I tracked a few more people down before crossing the finish line to a cheering Ali.

I was pleased to get an ice-cream, ali enjoying a beer, before we headed up to Arnside to stay at the Youth Hostel there. Running a half marathon is a new way to start a holiday but it was fun.
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Friday, 22 July 2011

Ferry across the Mersey

Off again to Merseyside to pre-ride a route, this time over on the Wirral which meant we had to get a Ferry across, I am sure you can imagine how excited this made me! It almost made the long journey over to Liverpool not feel like work.

Due to the time we were heading over it was now a Cruise and not a commuter ferry which meant that there was a commentary and it took a slightly longer route, not that we heard the commentary as of course I wanted to be outside.

The route itself followed the coastal path for the first section, only one bit you are now not meant to ride, so I had us following the actual route which was a little interesting to say the least. I enjoyed it on my cross bike, Les probably less so on his road bike. To add to all this I had forgotten my lunch this morning. Still a cafe stop and I had a huge hot chocolate and a sandwich before we carried on for more adventures. We had to do a bit of road work before more cycle paths, only they were blocked by road works and we spent more time in a B&Q car park than I ever wanted to. But after riding in circles and over a fly-over we did find a suitable route.

All that was left was a trip back on the ferry and then what felt like a long train ride home.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Getting the base miles

One thing I always had plenty of was base miles but this year this has been down. What with being ill and injuired more times than I liked there has been a little too much catching the train or even driving when i've been working further away. Today I was going out to St Helen's to ride a route for work. Orginally I was going to get the train but I decided to ride and get some base miles in.

Ride 1: 20road miles

Then we rode the route, it was a nice mix of lanes, cycle paths and bridleways. It'll make a nice ride for taking a group on in the summer programme. The cross bike was ideal but most bikes, not road bikes, will be fine. We stopped at a cafe halfway round and I enjoyed a danish.

Ride 2: 35 cross miles

After eating my sandwiches it was time to head to Manchester and of course I was going to ride. For a long time I was riding along the cycle path next to the East Lancs, I'm not usually a fan of cycle paths but it was better than riding on the East Lancs. The headwind and never ending road made it feel hard I had to stop at a garage and buy some water and the hugest flapjacket in the world ever. I was glad to get closer to manchester and leave the East Lancs.

Ride 3: 26miles road

After sorting things out in the office I had to sprint over to salford as I had tickets to watch a recording of mastermind. It took me a while to find media city once there though.

Ride 4: 5 miles road

All that was left to do was ride home.

Ride 5: 11 miles road

I was glad I had noted each section as my garmin reset itself to factory settings losing all the data before downloading it, good job I had two garmins on for the work bit so only a couple of miles of that missing where I pressed stop instead of lap.

Total = 97 miles
Not bad for a work day
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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Cross bike is no longer being neglected

Somehow my lovely cross bike has ended up at the back of the pile and stayed there, I had a great cross ride earlier in the year with Jenn which reminded me how much I enjoyed it but then nothing. I knew the wheels were dodgy, the rims very concave and that was my excuse. So today I decided to ride it for the Cookson Cycles ride. Riding there I realised that one of the reasons the braking was so rubbish was lack of brake pads to the lads set about changing them, next thing they knew I had them putting wheels on. The bike wasn't really safe to ride and I do enjoy it, this should mean I use it more than just leading rides that are on sustrans trails.

No one else came for the ride so I rode home, 10miles off-road getting nice and muddy and loving having brakes! Next is new cables the current brake cables are a little rusty and clogged up, imagine how amazing the brakes will feel then.

Thanks to Cookson Cycles again, my bikes would cry at the neglect without you lot!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

My first roadie race

A tweet started it all, there was a women's circuit race at the Tameside race directly after the main race and Ali fancied it. A bit of research and I found it was a Go-Race designed to get people trying racing so after a bit of a twitter conversation I decided to give it a go. My bike isn't ideal (it has full mudguards) but I was assured it was fine and all different speeds of people would be there.

Arriving we signed up and in the end there were eight of us, everyone seemed friendly and Ali and I weren't the only first timers. We had one lap of the circuit before we were lined but, I was a little nervous as one corner really worried me still too late now. The start was lowkey just a quiet go and my worries about finding my pedal (the last Lee Quarry race I was last due to not getting clipped in at the started) didn't matter as we all pootled away, not for long though and three of them went on the first corner (all had ridden the circuit more than the rest of us) and then three came past me, including Ali, I was in no mans land on my own. Here I was to stay for the whole race, at one point I was gaining on one girl but then she crashed, getting back on but it eventually led to her leaving the race with a mechanical. I lapped one girl and the winner lapped me. But I managed to hold my position and finished 6th. Ali was beaten in a sprint for 4th.

It was suprisingly good fun and I felt I could have gone faster but my legs didn't respond. Will hopefully do. The next one in August but may have to borrow a bike as apparently shouldn't really have mudguards.

Average speed was 20.5mph (off my garmin so probably higher as it won't cope well with the tight corners) which I was very impressed with. Average heart rate 179bpm.
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Monday, 18 July 2011

Kiwi gets some pretty goodies

A trip to Keep Pedalling to pick up some Surly goodies at lunchtime and kiwi was ready for some spoiling after work. After the soaking I got in the morning I wasn't looking forward to the ride to cooksons. But it was worth it. Kiwi now has a lovely new chainring, cog and sparkling pink chain. The old stuff was so worn its amazing it still worked!
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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Next weekend may not kill me.

I met Jumbly this morning for a run at Rivington, she wanted to test her knee and I wanted a longish run before the hf marathon. I went for the not ideal preparation of a night out in Manchester on the Saturday geting home at 2am. But just after 9:30, waterproofs on we set out for a nice chatty run. Much hilly than next week we didn't set any speed records but we did run 8miles and I felt I could have done more even though it was hurting. I just have to remember to set off slowly next week and it should be fine.
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Friday, 15 July 2011


Cycling isn't a hobby, it isn't a sport!! It's an addiction!! as far as addictions go it ant a bad one...

Thursday, 14 July 2011

A quarries commute

Today I was working at Lee Quarry, I was piKed up in Bury so only a short commute this morning. The weather was lovely and the lads were fantastic, no moaning, no asking for breaks and they all rode well. It was unfortunate when we got back to the minibus a window had been smashed. So be careful if you are parking up there.

They headed back to school and I headed home. First was back up the Lee Quarry climb and I followed the red to the trail up to the Rooley Moor Road where I turned right and headed to Cragg Quarry. Halfway round Cragg and I got a rear wheel puncture, fixed it and finished the loop then did the first section again before dropping down on the concrete road. Down to Ramsbottom and then home on the road to make sure I was home before Ali.

18.5 miles

Home and once Ali got back from her speedy commute home via the climb from rivi to belmont we headed out running. I was working hard, average heart rate 170bpm, but not going very fast. Just over 3miles. I think tthe half marathon in 10days is going to hurt!
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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Holding Ali's wheel

Good commute this morning, I tried to keep someone in sight and it led to a good, for me, average speed. After work I made plans to meet Ali at Tesco Horwich as I had some shopping to do and she wanted a ride. I rode there the long way, via freddies but I didn't stop for icecream! Turning right off middlebrook way into tesco I was beeped at and then shouted at. Once in tesco the passenger found me to say if he had been driving I would be dead and I needed. Cycling lessons which made me laugh!

Ali arrived just after I had packed up the panniers and we planned to head onto the A6, freddies then Chorley Old Road home. We set out with me on the front, soon swapping. I was working hard to hold Ali's wheel but any slight incline and the elastic broke. On way back Ali decided on Chorley New Road as its less hilly and we can at least pretend to ride together.

Home with over 35miles on the Garmin and an average of 15mph, very fast for me.

Not long to get fit for SITS so better do some more rides with speedy Ali.
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Sunday, 10 July 2011

Not a Southport 100

The plan for today was to ride 100miles taking in Southport but I have kindly shared my bugs with Ali and we're both coughing and she is sounding very croaky. So we decided on Southport the shorter way, 5 miles in and the heavens opened. I was glad Ali had suggested lights for the bikes! We changed the plan and rode to Freddies, had ice-creams and rode home.

22miles, so not quite 100 but nice to be out together.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Coughing and Cramping

After a week of being 'sensible' and either driving to work or getting the train this morning I couldn't face it anymore. I had only woke up twice in the night coughing so I rode in. To make my cycle commute even harder I had a headwind the whole way there! Still I may have been slow, I may have been coughing but I was back on my bike!

This morning I woke up with cramp in my calf, proper scream out loud cramp. I've only had cramp like that twice in my life and both times it was receiving a blow to the leg when playing water polo. It's been fine since, just the odd twinge.

Riding again tomorrow, but hoping it is a little easier, the way home was!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Tiger Feet

Yesterday was a scorcher and now I have tiger feet from wearing my sandals, I decided to spare you all a picture of my actual feet though.

I also have burn marks from sliding down a huge bouncy castle slide and my voice seems to have gone missing. If anyone finds it can they please return it I like talking!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

An average June

This year has been up and down. Big miles January, low miles February, big miles March, low miles April, big miles May.....June has broken the spell with average miles. I even almost managed to stay well, obviously the crash in May has limited mountain biking and it was only Thursday, right at the end of the month I started to feel ill. So fever headache and sore throat have stopped me adding any last minute miles. Hopefully it won't impact on July too much I want a good month leading up to a little event at the start of August.

So the numbers:

Mountain Bike: 88.55miles (36.88 singlespeed)
Cyclocross Bike 7.52miles (actually an easy sustrans trail commuting home)
Road Bike: 538.04miles (ALL fixed)

Total Cycling: 634miles
Running: 10.12miles

Running is still painfully low. Not helped by my back but mainly by laziness! Must make myself get out the door as once I am running I enjoy it! Oh and there is the little matter of putting myself on the waiting list for the Three Peaks Cyclocross race!