Wednesday, 30 November 2011

And I will Ride 1000miles....

Yesterday I rode too and from Warrington, I also got pelted by rain and hail when out with the kids which led to a mad dash to the school. But when I put the stats on sportstracks I realised that I was only 28miles off riding 1000miles for the month.

Today I was doing a Recce ride in Liverpool, problem being that would only be 20miles. I was way too tired to get up early enough to ride over so train it was. Ali then suggested she met me in Wigan, where I normally change trains on the way back, and we ride home. I would definetlg get the miles that way. Plans changed a bit and I had to do a Learn to Ride in liverpool in the morning. Then the recce ride was completed partly in the dark. Partway round I went into a boots to collect my prescription, went to Dr's yesterday. I knew I had to get it as I had ran out of meds. Just as I collected they mentioned they didn't have enough and i'd have to come back, not so easy as its in speke. Fortunately they open sunday and I am working over there on sunday.

Back to riding we finished the recce and I got on a very busy train to Wigan, although after three stops it was quiet again. Partway there and Ali phoned she had punctured and was struggling with the pump. I explained how to use her CO2. Then she rings again, it all went wrong and tyre still flattish. Fortunately she was by tesco so she sheltered inside and I rode from wigan to rescue her.

Getting home, stats on computer and 1008miles for the month.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Off-road commuting

I was working in Horwich today and the one thing the last couple of mountain bike rides have shown me is that my skills are lacking. Anything remotely technical and I forget how to ride. The way to improve this is to ride off-road more. So I took my mountain bike to work so I could ride home off-road.

Getting all my work stuff in a camelbak wasn't easy but I managed it. It did mean that I was a little cold as I didn't have my usual 20 layers. Leaving the school I just headed towards Winter Hill, a bit of cheeky riding later and I was at Georges Lane. Up to the top and then down the Belmont descent. I then headed over to Turton Tower before home.

16miles, lots of smiles and hopefully the start of more mtb miles.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Rivi Ride

I got Ali out on her bike today, she actually had to ride mine as I never got her gears sorted....need new cables and randomly it was zip-ties I was missing! We were a little late leaving, both of us probably at fault there and there may have been a little arguing. Still Simon was happy enough to meet half an hour later.

Getting to lower barn was hard, my legs were tired and it was a headwind the whole way. But once there we headed over to Healey Nab. Ali started struggling, her wrist which has been playing up just got worse. At the nab me and Simon did a lap, I was mincing like a girl and Ali took the sensible option and waited for us as she couldn't hold her bars.
We left Simon at the cafe, well we went to the cafe and he went and rode some more. Lots of food seemed to help Ali and we took the least bumpy way home.

No hands!
26miles on my Garmin and it turned into a lovely day.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Lady of the Manor CX

Thursday and Friday I commuted to Southport, no mishaps meant 70miles both days. I couldn't decide about racing today but in the end decided to drive instead of ride and went for it. Ali came as well, mainly to drive me but she also got some pictures.
At the start I stuck to Jenni from Liverpool Mercury's wheel. She is so strong and sees all the gaps whereas I just slow down as I'm too scared of crashing. Powering past her on the first straight I set my sights on second female. I caught her but once we got to the muddy section she ran past me with ease. Pushing hard I caught her again on the straight after the start finish, but once again the mud caught me and she got a bigger gap. I caught her again but this time she got too big a gap on me through the muddy section.
I kept pushing but I was struggling with the mud. I was trying not to lose concentration and think I managed that. Battling a bit near the end with a guy but riding a descent got me a gap.

I finished 3rd female and 72nd overall.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Running and muddy commuting

On monday I went for a short run with Ali. I think that running a bit is good for me and probably helps balance out cycling a bit. But I know I have to ease into it slowly. So we ran a mile at a steady pace.

Tuesday I was meant to be in the office, I decided to ride there off-road. I got very very muddy on there way there. This meant of course I was sent to a school! Took a work vehicle as it would have taken me ages on rigger to get there. Got lazy when it came to heading home and got a lift!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A more sucessful day

I had a bit of a later start so no geocaching on the way to Southport, but also no off-roading or dual-carriageways. So even though the route was a little longer it was a sucess.

Leaving I made sure to follow my route and there was no getting lost, I had also charged my light so no worries there!

To celebrate I decided for some reason to come back via Chorley Old Road from Horwich, doubling the amount of climbing.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Not my finest day commuting

Working in Southport today I had an early start, not ideal after a late night the night before. I was awake well before my alarm and even had time to make Ali sandwiches before I left. I'd brought a couple of travel bugs with me to drop off and had chosen a premium member cache as I really don't want them to go missing. The weather was nice, although once over Parbold Hill I had to add another layer as it was colder there than Bolton. The roads were also very muddy and my mudguards were getting clogged.
Leaving the geocache my Garmin tried to take me down a muddy track, I knew I would be walking so I followed roads which unfortunately brought me onto a dual carriageway and somehow my 29mile journey turned into 33miles.

Work went quickly, I was teaching level 3. At lunch we headed to the chippy for lunch since we were by the seaside.

Leaving at the end of the day I was looking forward to the ride home although I wanted to avoid parbold hill as its steeper from that side. After my usual faffing I headed out and soon had to take a layer off. I was on some really muddy roads and I could see winter hill in the distance. I had to ignore my garmin several times as it tried to take me down muddy tracks before having no choice when the road just ended at a track. Please to get on tarmac again I turned left as right had a dead end sign, slowly I started to recognise things before I realised I was back in Southport, yes having ridden for an hour I was nearly back where I started.
It was fine though, the weather was nice, so I text Ali to let her know I'd been dumb and made sure I headed the right way. Finding signs for sustrans route 91 I was happy as I knew that basically took me to Adlington.

At some point the battery light on the back of my Six Pack had started flashing, so I unplugged the rear light and hoped I had enough juice to get home. As it turns out the light may have an amazing battery life but I can't run it forever (two night rides and the audax) without charging it. On a singletrack road it went out, pitch black. Ali responded to my plea and looking on my garmin there was a train station just over a mile away so we agreed to meet there (after losing my wallet last night I had no card to pay for a train). All I had to do was get there. I have a very cheap cateye on the bars just incase but it casts no light so it was riding using the force. Getting on a slightly busier road every so now and again a car behind would illuminate my way but those coming towards me just left me unable to see.

Finding the station, I put all my layers on and waited. I think the local youths thought I was a little odd. I was so pleased to see Ali and the car.

Working in Southport tomorrow, think I may try and do a better job of route finding!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Girls Night Ride

Tonight the girls were over Rivington way so I thought I should make the effort to ride. The legs felt fine on the way to and from work (all 1.2miles of it) so I had no excuses. We were meeting near lower barn so I aimed to get there just after the meeting time as I didn't want to be hanging round on my own in the dark. It was perfect and most of the girls were just getting bikes out of cars when I got there.
We set off towards the Nab and I hung round the back of the group chatting. At the Nab we did two laps and I was please to ride all but one uphill section as my technical skills are non-existent with my recent lack of mountain biking.
Got home and realised I had lost my wallet :-(

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A lot of miles - The Eureka! 200k

I just got my entry in for this Audax before it closed and I was really looking forward to a long day out on the bike. Obviously racing CX yesterday wasn't ideal preparation and I was unsure how I'd get on with such a long ride. I haven't done any long rides recently, although long commutes have been fine, if not particularly fast. To make things a little longer I planed to ride to and from the start, nearly 20miles each way.

I didn't sleep amazingly after 1am, constantly waking up so in the end I got up before my alarm. Breakfast and I was out the door. It didn't take me long to feel hot and the showerproof came off. Riding through Manchester at 7am was interesting with plenty of people making there way home after a night out. Getting to the hall in Cheadle I bumped into Rich and Shona from keep pedalling. I grabbed a couple of biscuits, got ride of another layer, I was now in 3/4 bibs and a long sleeve jersey, and it was time to head off.

The first section was the usual sprint and I concentrated on just holding my line and staying on the wheel in front. Eventually a hill split us up a bit and a front group got away, I settled in the second group which was being led by four lads from sheffrec cc. Taping along at what I thought was a good pace Rich and Shona sped past. But we saw them again at the first info control. From here the Sheffrec guys raised the pace and I worked to stay with them, they suggested some people came to the front but I was the only one to take them up on the offer. As we neared the cafe the pace went up again and we got there with barely any queue.
It was my first visit to the Eureka cafe and I wasn't disappointed. Beans on toast, a hot chocolate and a 7up before I headed out on the road. I was riding with a guy called Paul for a while but when the Sheffrec lot passed I grabbed on. We worked pretty well together and made good time to the next cafe, the Ice Cream Farm. My legs were a little sore by this point and I didn't have ice cream, instead a chicken peri peri baguette. We'd been seeing a lot of Rich and Shona and they arrived at the cafe only minutes afterwards.
Leaving the cafe I managed a good turn on the front. But any slight hill and I went backwards (something to work on) I wasn't the only one finding the hills hard although H was on a fixie (I hadn't been brave enough to bring mine). There was one last stop at a petrol station where I inhaled more food, before the last 30km back to cheadle. The pace was high now and it was all I could do to hold on. My garmin was so useful now it was dark!

Back to the startal and soup was served, Rich and Shona once again just behind us. All that was left was to ride home. The three of us rode into Manchester and I kept waiting to completely die but I made it home 20mins before i'd told Ali I would be home.

In total I cover 172miles with 1888m of climbing. I'm a little tired now!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

More CX this time in Merseyside

After enjoying racing down South with Mikey the other week I decided to race one of the North West events. Chatting to Jen from work it turned out that work had a stand there so I was going to have a cheer squad! Originally I was going to drive over but Ali's plans would have meant an expensive train ride home so I told her to take the car and decided to ride to Irlam and get the train over.
It was a lovely morning and I had to take layers off on the way to the station, I was a little worried I was going to overheat as I was wearing tights, skins ones to see if they help me recover from the race as I have a big ride planned tomorrow.

The train turned up on time, I got to the race an hour before it started and signed on, got time for a lap of the course. It was so different to the one in the South-West! There was of course draggy grass but also some technical bits, two huge hills (well they felt like it when I was carrying my bike up) and some hurdles.
The start was hectic with nearly 130 of us in the race and I was a little worried it would be too busy. The first lap was spent racing another female rider and saying hi to people I hadn't seen for ages. Everytime I passed the BikeRight stand I got a huge cheer!
I felt I wasn't doing too bad a job of dismounting but the carry's were all at a walk, I think a couple of the top guys actually rode up which is impressive! I was lapped after two laps by the leaders and in total I did 5 laps. My average speed was lower than in the South West but that wasn't a suprise. Some of the grassy banks I really sturggled with my tyres just washing out, maybe I need mud tyres?
I really enjoyed it and I'm planning on a few more this season. Surely the more I do the faster I get? Average heart rate was 182bpm so I was certainly trying although there is the odd dip where I obviously wasn't pushing as hard. I also slowed near the end but I think that was as much to do with the course as me.

Results are out and I was 2nd female out of 8 and 83rd out of 118 finishers.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Back on the mountain bike

I rode Rigger round Kielder following Ali round the marathon but other than that I haven't rode a mountain bike since I hurt my back. So I decided on a nice easy ride back, but that was last week and I never got out. Today I had arranged to ride with Chris, to make it even easier I was on a fully rigid singlespeed. Shaun also joined us so I knew I would be following rear lights the whole time.

It was a usual ride up to Rooley Moor Road, as expected I was well behind on the climbs. Shaun pushed me a bit on the road sections when I spun out. Once we started descending I lost them again, a combination of riding fully rigid and not having ridden off-road in ages. Then suddenly my rear wheel locked up, my saddle bag had come undone and my spare base layer fallen out and was now stuck in my brake. I had no tools with me as I had been in such a rush to get back. The boys soon returned though and it was quick to sort. Base layer isn't much use any more though.

Dropping Shaun off at home we span back along the road. 30miles of riding and my back seems okay.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

A crisp and cold commute

I had a very early start this morning as Ali was off down to Thetford Forest. It looked a lovely day so I decided to ride to work in Liverpool. Leaving at 730am I was wearing two base layers, a jersey, my fleece, a gillet, tights and waterproof shorts. I was expecting to have to stop and take a layer off pretty quickly but no it stayed cold. It was a proper winter morning and I was loving riding.

Crossing the M6 I found a quick geocache, getting closer to Speke I found myself on the Knowsley Expressway, not my idea of fun riding. So I came straight off and seeing signs of the transpennine trail I thought I knew where I was. Then I saw the Runcorn bridge getting closer I realised I was going the wrong way, oops!

Work involved an 18mile and the sun was out, it warmed up and we had a lovely crowd with us. We were finished by 3pm and I decided to ride home, it was too nice a day to spend sat on a train. At 430pm it suddenly got cold again and the fleece was back on, but only one base layer this time. I got home with 84miles on the garmin, not bad for a work day.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Time for bigger panniers?

Been an odd week with having monday off, then working close to home on tuesday. So close I came home for lunch as Ali was at home. Yesterday I was only working in Horwich so it was another short commute. I had got up early with the intention being to go for a ride but it never happened. I spent the day feeling like I had never woke up. After work I needed to go shopping, tesco was only a couple of miles from the school, but I knew I needed to ride so I went straight-on instead of turning left. A loop past freddies and over to red rock, which is hard work on the fixie, back via aspull where I decided to get a couple more miles and headed to Adlington and then back along the A6. That wasn't much fun as its all coned off so nowhere for traffic to overtake. I got to Tesco with 18miles on the garmin.

Since i've got panniers I always get a trolley, hard to carry them and the shopping. Once again this led to me buying way too much. I don't have much spare room in the panniers anyway with all my work stuff in. So once again they were packed and stuff strapped to the top. As the shopping included two big bottles of beer and an orange juice it was a little heavy. Maybe it would be easier if I just used my bigger bags?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

October Roundup

The start wasn't great, back being injured meant I had to be sensible. I did my best but then work stuff was getting to me, I try and look after myself but nothing helps more than riding. My back feeling better I rode over to Liverpool a few times but the odd bit of off-road showed me that it wasn't 100% The month finished with a holiday in Cornwall, I feel a little guilty that I wasn't on great form till near the end of the holiday. But I did get some nice rides in down there and they were hilly.

So the numbers:

Mountain Bike: 39.6miles (33.6singlespeed)
Cyclocross Bike 82.8miles
Road Bike: 364.6miles (480.41miles fixed)

Total Cycling: 757miles
Running: 0miles - oh dear but obviously till my back is sorted still no running

The one thing I've realised is that I am getting very few fun miles in and very few hills. As soon as my back is better I want to get out with Chris and maybe some fun road rides especially as I really enjoyed riding with Mikey and realised that I only seem to ride o I really enjoyed riding ruby again. I'm also going to try another cross race after enjoying the one down south.