Sunday, 20 December 2009

Winter sucks as does Christmas


It was supposed to be my inaugural run at the 5km Parkrun Heaton Park. I looked on the website the day before and familiarised myself with the course and spent ages looking for a barcode I was supposed to laminate and hand in but I think they have done away with that. The website also said that the run was on subject to a last minute inspection. I decided I didn't want to waste my time going down as the paths outside my house were pretty bad and I only live less than 2 miles away


Middleton Cycling club was hosting its third and last track day at Manchester Velodrome. Preparations, I thought had gone well and to plan but I do tend to go overboard with my training and this 'tapering' before a major event never seems to materialise. Previously I had done a few taster sessions at the Velodrome, the last one being a 'half' session on Thursday. Also been on Youtube to find the best line to take when on the flying 200m sprint and I did think I would improve my times considerably.

We set off very early due to the massive buildup of snow and the inevitable traffic jams and go slow. Was everyone going to turn up?
Did lots of laps to warmup with and was first up on the sprint. I hit the top, coasted on the banking and put a little effort in on the straights as I was told to do a couple of weeks earlier. On the last banking about halfway across it you are supposed to accelerate hard by standing up but the bike is geared terribly for myself. If I tried to stand up the pedal would already be on the bottom, there was no way I can get my power to the cranks as they turn way too quickly. I believe the ratio to be about 48-16 ish, going off my road bike I think I'd need a 53-15. I was hoping for under 14 seconds but did 14.2. I timed the others and found the 'official' timing was about half a second off! so I probably did do under 14.

There was about 8 of us altogether so there wasn't much rest until the 1km. This is the one I wanted to go for. On Thursday I tried it, went hard for 3.75 laps and died on the last quarter. This time I was going well for 2 and half laps and died with 1 and half laps to go. I was aiming for 1 min 25 which I could do easily with better gearing and if I was fresh but I did just over 1 min 28. Next closest was 1min 34. When I crossed the line I did a couple of warm down laps and felt there is no way I could do a 2km. All the others were thinking the same but after a bit of rest we all eventually did it.

2km pursuit, my favourite. Last time round I did a 3min but that was with an easy 1km before hand. I wasn't feeling good and neither was Pete, my rabbit. Anna was my holder and pusher off'er and she did a sterling job. So I had a great start but kept looking across to guage the effort I needed to put in. First 2 laps Pete was flying as usual but faded badly and I caught him on the last lap. I was struggling as well but managed to pace it well. Under 3 mins was the time I was aiming for but knew I was no where near. 3mins 03 wasn't too bad. Pete was 10 secs slower than last time!

If you look at the piccies I tried to tuck inwards by holding the middle on the tops and not go on the drops which was a mistake. THe piccies also show how cramped I look on the bike. The frame is a good size but the seat is too far forward and the stem too short which if changed would lower the back and make me aero naturally instead of forced and totally un-aero. The flash on the camera showed off my 'night-viz' helmet nicely. A little disappointed with the times but I dont really want to get a track bike if I dont know if the gearing is actually going to help. I'm fairly sure it will do.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Bits and Pieces

FRIDAY 18th Dec

Footie day and it had snowed quite heavily but the roads were quite clear so I thought everyone would turn up as usual. Ended up 3 a side with a keeper who changed ends after every goal. I didn't stop running for over an hour and was shattered. No injuries or bad tackles for a change but I used the snow and placed it on my knee to keep any swelling down that might have emerged.


Another taster session was booked at 8.30am til 9.30 or so I thought! Arrived at 8.20 and the lady at the desk said I was late so hurry up and get on the track. Missus said the stuck up girl who she arranged it with said it started at 8.30! I did manage to get 35 minutes in and try out my new Sidi's which are nice and comfortable. Just rode in circles and joined a train and 1 or 2 sprints. Spoke to the lady afterwards and she offered me a free place on another taster. We got talking and apparently she has some sort of affiliation with Middleton cycling club and is attending the club dinner in February.

Before swimming with the tri club I went to the gym to do a quick 10mile Time Trial on the exercise bikes. I can feel the difference all the training is making but due to the strapping, was unable to pull up on the pedal. I averaged 2min 15secs a mile, completed in 21mins 46 secs. My previous best was....22.16! There wasn't a pool of sweat on the floor either, musn't have been trying too hard.

There wasn't really actually any proper swimming done just a big fun session where we all donned our baggiest trousers and t-shirts and put into 6 teams of 5. It was a series of relay races with a wacky twist. Props used were leprechaun hats, rudolph noses, foam dumb bells, surf boards, foam noodles, rubber rings and our imagination.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas comes early, AGAIN.

Received my lovely pairs of Italian hand craftmanship, a Size 42 and 43 in Sidi's. I had been told they come up small so ordered 2 to try on just in case. Now I was a 42 in Specialized s-works, 42 in Shimano ( if only I knew earlier) and 42 in adidas. I am now a 42 in Sidi's. They look tiny and wrap extremely closely to the contours of my feet and could be mistaken for being a little small (width is spot on, toe volume needed a little push over, just worked with a finger, too much on the big toe side and not enough on the little toe.) but after walking round the house in them for a couple of hours there's no blood supply problems, aches or anything untoward. The ratchet system is more solid and responsive than the Shimano r085's, it also has a race micro switch to loosen the shoe when the feet expand/swell. Look Delta cleats fit perfectly with the supplied bits unlike the Shimanos which needed another 12 washers! There is a special 'heel cup' system which isn't adjustable on my pair but doesn't seem to need it. It behaves like 2 clips on the outside of the shoe that wrap around the thin achilles tendon bit to keep the heel positioned in the shoe when pulling up on the pedal. Not sure how effective it is but feels very very snug. I will use them at the velodrome 2 moz and will post any problems.


Figured I did need a rest day at some point so took Monday off. Tuesday I swam, 20 lengths warmup, a few one length sprints then 25m/50m/75m/100m/75m/50m/25m pyramid repeated twice where we were working to go faster up to the 100m then gently slow down. rest was 5 secs per length done so after 100m got 20 secs rest. More sprints followed. Nothing too strenuous tonight which I appreciated.


Not many at the track which is a disappointing, it was cold but perfect for running. I always do my best to support the triclub or anything I get involved in, work permitting. Five of us altogether and I started with a 2 mile warmup. 200m gentle jog/200m fast eight times. Main set was 5 x 400m at 5km pace with 75sec/60sec/45/30 then 90secs rest and repeated twice so 6km there. Last set was to go faster and faster with each 400m. I thought i would have to give up during the warmup as I ate so much at pizza hut and finished off with the cookie and ice cream and started to get a stitch. It wasn't as bad as last week and managed to run through the pain. It eventually went and came and went but on the last 400m I gave it my all. I had been doing 1min 35's/1min37's and 1 min39s on the 400s quite consistently but managed to do 1min 17 on the last one and collapsed, gasping for breath but recovered quick enough to join the others in a 2 lap warm down and stretch. Knee is doing well and I felt much much better running these days, might be the bouncy track surface. Legs are not filling with lactic as quick and so my recovery rate is improving.

Reading Trio's blog and encouragement from some tri club guys I have registered for the Heaton Park runs on Saturday mornings which consist of a 5km timed run and its free! So hopefully, injury permitting ( playing footie on Fri) I will run this coming Saturday. Hoping to do 25mins or less which I would be very pleased to achieve. That's 1km every 5mins, 100m in 30 seconds, 400m in 2mins. Its do-able. I don't want to do too much running too soon but I really want to see the progress I am making on paper. After that I'll take a week or so off from running.

Apparently my Chrimbo pressie from Pantani has arrived in his post but he wont divulge anything. I have also been looking at upgrading my frame, somebody please give me a big slap before I buy anything else.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Sunday Tri club Jaunt

SUNDAY 13th Dec

After having a good week of training I could have been forgiven to have a Sunday off but I have the next 10 days off work WOOhooo so there's plenty of time to rest. Forcast was once again good/great for the time of year so I packed my swim gear, spare shirt, buff, scarf, gloves and spare socks and toddled off to Rochdale baths for an easy swim session at 9am. I have been out on Jamis all this week, the saddle bag is on Vanquish, and once I got half way there I realised I haven't taken tyre levers out with me all week including today. Fate is terribly coincidental so crossed my fingers and toes. Arrived very early even though I was holding back so my clothes wouldn't get sweat laden so had a nice hot cuppa chocolate with extra sugar to perk up the constitution. Its taken a while for the newish Sunday swim to take off but today was a record of around 20. I stored my bike with the others in a safe locked room ( thx Rochdale Baths) and got ready to rumble.

20 lengths warmup. The next bit looked difficult as we hadn't done sets with more than 4 lengths for months. 5x200yds on 3min15 then 5x100yds on 1min 35 and then repeat!!! That is a lot of hard lengths! What made it worse I was moved from the slow middle lane to the fast outside lane :( where a 'new guy' was. It happens I knew Clem from 14years ago swimming for Aquabears and Rochdale. He still swims for the bears 'Masters' class. I was doing well to keep up, lost time on the turns as he is over 6ft and I am 5ft ( feels like it) but caught up a little on the swim. He was relentless, never taking a breather, but I was holding up very well considering I used to hate doing 8 length sets. The others were complaining we were going too fast but the session would have done them the world of good. The were getting some good rest/recovery periods by going fast as the times we were set are quite quick. Well, after the swim came the bike leg. I only saw 2 others with bikes but there ended up to be about 13 of us! That's the biggest chain gang I've been in. I gorged on a Snickers before we left as I had no breakfast again and tagged to the back of the line.

Traffic was heavy at 10.30am but very understanding as we travelled at a pace equal or lower to Steve F :) A very quick stop at Littleborough to pick up 2 others then up to Walsden, a route done millions of times by us all. A breakaway group of 3 started to form, I waited for the distance to increase, I was still near the rear of the main group. I made my move to join them at Summit and swung to the outside of one to get the full effect of the head wind. At Tod, myself, Lee and Phil made a move to distance ourselves. Phil was doing a grand job of leading for a mile or so but a couple of short steep hill later and Lee and I dropped him....unintentionally, its just when I looked back I couldn't see him. I really really hate leading anything, whether it we swim or bike as I think I'm going too slow for the guys or gals behind especially if they are keeping up. They could be busting a blood vessel or 2 to keep up but I would think they want me to go faster. I know Lee wanted a fast ride so set a good pace so that his day wasn't wasted. I wanted a nice leisurely spin to ease the legs after a good hard week....the things I do for others :P He also goes running on wed and kicks my arse so wanted to get my own back heheh.

Cragg soon came and if you remember I did it all standing up a couple of days ago so thought I'd try to repeat the feat depending on how my training partner was coping or vice versa. On the steeper sections I'd say standing up loses me 2-3 mph and a lot of energy but found once the ground flattened out I actually had a big advantage by standing. Lee told me not to wait although I was adamant that I would. Knowing he would be really pissed off if I didn't do what I was capable of I quickly forged a lead of around 70m, the early stages are quite steep and he managed to hold the gap at that for a kilometre or so. Still in the big ring, the' flatter' sections appeared about half way up. 11mph climbed to 13, 14, 15 ,16, 17, 18, 19 then 20 about 1 mile from Halifax road. Overtook a roadie. My gearing 53-11 wasn't big enough for my standing effort, the cadence would have to be sky high ( in standing terms) to go faster and max'd at 26mph. If I had my new computer I would loved to have known my cadence then. I waited for Lee where the Ice-cream van usually is during summer, felt like I was riding with Pantani again :) On the descent I took it carefully due to traffic lights and Lee insisted he led the rest of the way to the baths where he had left his car. Looked like he was putting a decent amount of effort in too.

Quite interesting to get a faster ride in. 44 miles with an average of 17.5mph ROUTE HERE. There's good scope for improving that average too due to riding with the 'peloton' for a while. Don't think they'd appreciate us going off like that, I think they were stopping in Hebden though. Cracking to see lots and lots of other roadies out today, gooo cycling!!!

I tried out some new gear today, some Aldi bib tights. Highly recommended. I got the ladies ones and when compared to the blokes they only come up a size smaller, the cut and pad are exactly the same I think. £12.99 a bargain. They have waterproof and windproof panels where needed,a good coolmax silver pad and are fleesey lined. I got a medium 28-30 waist and the leg was a little long and therefore slightly loose around the ankles ( I am a short arse) and the top a little short ( comfortably tight) but Im goona try on the small if I can find any. On my search for a small one I purchased a ladies fluorescent running rain jacket which folds to nothing and can store in my big saddle bag and have room for sandwiches if needed.

Its going to be another hectic training week with a fully booked schedule so no rest between now and the MCC track Championships on Sunday 20th Dec.

Saturday, 12 December 2009


I had to mention this because I can't believe I forgot. This should give Pantani a little chuckle. Steve's house is at the top of a very steep driveway must be 1 in 4 or 1 in 3, when I go down it I do the baby step shuffle, sideways, to get down which takes me a good few minutes. I had cleats on and bike in one hand and other hand clinging on for dear life onto the railings. Ste confidently shouted that I should get on my bike and ride down and commenced to show me how its done!. He got down the drive way easy enough then as he turned the handle bars the rear wheel slipped underneath him, the front slipped too and he went into a slide to next doors garden :) It looked really nasty but he got up and dusted himself down and limped onto the bike. He spent the next 5 mins mending the rear derailleur and attending to his bruises, shame I couldn't get my camera out in time.

Also my spending spree continues as Wiggle had a 1 day special on a pair of cycling shoes PLUS an extra £15 off which I have been eyeing up anyway. Typical! I had to order 2 sets as I don't have a clue how Sidi's sizing comes up. I have shimano 44's which are too big, I tried on specialized s-works 42 which fit great but just a tiny tiny bit tight width ways and the adidas adistar sl the velodrome uses are exactly same as the Specialized. I have ordered a 42 and 43 so see what happens, one set are easily sent back and refunded.

Pantani has also been giving me a few clues to what computer he is thinking of getting me for Chrimbo. It has HRM, Cadence, Altimeter and the usual gubbins. RRP is over £100 but he isn't paying anywhere near that....I hope! Its also supposed to have a colour scheme to match Jamis. I think I have it sussed but he still wont tell me. Shame coz if he doesnt he's getting an innertube!

Just at work now but not cycled in as it's a Saturday night, one of the busiest days of the year, crawling with piss eds. I value my bikes! doesn't matter bout my life.

When I get home from work on Sunday morning :( I had better get Jamis cleaned and lubed up as Sunday is looking like another sunny one. Thursday I have another taster session booked at Velodrome.

Friday, 11 December 2009

No cloud, no rain, no wind, pure sunshine. Can you guess the country?

THURSDAY cont....

Swimming with the triclub consisted of 16lengths warmup, 8 25m sprints and a main set of 5x100m then 200m fisting, 4x100m, 200m fisting, 3x 100m, 200m fisting etc.... My swimming is feeing very strong since I change technique a little. Head is up so eyes just below the water, legs are kicking gently to keep the body balanced and bouyant and arm stroke is powerful and lengthened. The legs are the main change because if I use them too much I tire very very quickly, heart races and gasp for oxygen. My times are improving with less effort but my arms are constantly aching to compensate for the lack of leg use. Stevie F arrived at swimming 30 mins late, wan't much point in him joining in :) but he did. We arranged to meet Fri for a bike ride to nowhere. He then disappeared to the pub. Nice one.


I booked an annual leave day for today at the end of last week thinking there isn't a hope in hell of getting the day off as all the drivers have an extra 2 days holiday as of last month. Only the first 5 are guaranteed the day off and if I dont take the days before end of DEC we lose them. I was shocked to be granted it so wanted to make the most of it.

Headed to Steve F's at 9am and the weather was looking very promising but very cold. I left my gloves off for the 10min trip and regretted every second as they started to feel numb and turn to a purplish blue hue. I had to demand my obligatory brew and was told another guy Bob H(Tri club) was joining but was going to be late. 20 mins later we set off to meet at Bobs house still without a clue where we were riding to. Had to make our own brew this time as Bob tried to frantically look for his gloves, I told him sternly he definitely needed them or not to bother coming. Steve and I were left to rummage around the kitchen, helping ourselves to chocolate covered ginger, looking for milk only to be told he aint got any. This guy eats way too healthily, there was fruit on the side, on the table, in the fridge, herbs on the window and some green looking leaves and veggies occupying the remainder.

It must have been about 10.30 when we left Bob's and I thought we aint going to get much cycling done here, I only wanted an easy ride too. They decided to meet at Theresa's (TriClub) near Tandle Hill who had a cycling accident a few days ago and sustained a small fracture. Only Bob knew where she lived and I was leading, sure he said go to the end of the road and not wait at the top of the steep hill. Anyway Steve and I went down the hill only to find Bob had vanished. Steve didn't look pleased when I started climbing the hill to look for Bob.

We carried on regardless due to losing Bob and headed to Greenfield. There are a good set of short sharp gradients and Steve looked like he wouldn't last 5miles nevermind 50. He seemed to get his mojo back on the descent into Greenfield and went towards Mossley . I asked what he wanted to do, don't think he thought I wanted to ride with him but he said he planned to ride for 4 hrs. So thats what we'll do!!The day was simply stunning. Visability was excellent, roads were drying, sun was blaring on England and the views, breathtaking. Toes were a little cold but the saddle sores distracted my attention away. I tried to find Glossop. Been there once before on a MCC club run but wasn't sure how to get there. We hit Mottram road and the lovely long gentle climb to where ever..Mottram then followed signs to Glossop. We were soo close when Stevie changed plans again and wanted to go towards Marple as he thought it was closer to home. The 5-7 or so miles were a joy to ride, peaceful, scenic with rolling terrain.

We stopped at Marple Bridge for a coffee, choco brownie and cheesy bean panini. The proprietor looked at us strangely when challenged if we could leave the bikes in the shop. 'They'll be fine outside' she quipped ...'but our bikes are worth thousands' I piped. 'This isn't the centre of Manchester' came the reply. Hmmm women! She put us at table 5, next to the window, so our nervousness was eased, slightly. She gave us some very good directions to head home for, it was 2pm and would start getting dark. Our aim was the A6, bit of a busy un through Stockport etc which we navigated with ease, precision and a bit of luck. I came across a roadie who thought it wise to overtake me on a downhill bit whilst I was coasting, waiting for Steve. The challenge would be met head on but the victory was too easy. He thought he would spin away from me on a steepish hill, gave it his all but I just skipped past. The shock on his face was magical. Roads were gridlocked and the u-turning taxis and wagons parking up didn't help but we sailed round. My cycling buddy put in a much greater effort the last 20 miles. Didn't have to wait as long as I have done on past rides. He might have even been enjoying himself....without a pint in his hand. Soon enough and much much quicker than I expected we were in Manchester and on the final leg. I left Ste with 4 miles to go, as he was getting stopped at every set of lights, and did a few sprints thats I do when I come home from work just to get an idea how the 'new bike' feels. One hill I averaged 17, hitting 18 when I usually did 13 on Vanquish. Wind was virtually non existant or in our favour today too which certainly enhances the experience.

It wasn't a particularly fast ride. Though we haven't had many summer days as good as today it was one to be savoured to its fullest.

The winter miles are clocking up nicely after a slow start, just have to keep this momentum ticking over. Roll on Sunday.

Tonight was also the Tri Club's presentation evening/Chrimbo do combined with transpennine road cycling club in Castleton. Turn out was great, food lacking choice but better quality than expected and I only had 2 drinks of the alcoholic variety. One of the couples said they saw me and Pete around Denshaw on Wednesday and commented how good my cycling looked and if I competed in any races. Not yet but would love to and do well. All good fun but I left early as I was knackered as I haven't had a decent night's sleep for a few days.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

A long-ish ride at last!! and a the weather. YAY!

Quick Catch up.... Wed 2nd Dec was running at the track 1600m warmup then drills. The idea of the main set was to keep 10mile pace for the whole excercise bar the sprint, something about lactate threshold.1600m then 800m, then 400, then 200m and a 200m sprint. This was done 3 times. I timed my laps (400m) For the first 2 mile set I kept a constant 1 min 45secs (7 min mile ish) a lap, next set 1 min 49 ( 7 min 16 mile) and last set 1min 53 (7min 32). After the 200m sprint we only had 30 secs rest before we set off again for the mile. Needless to say I was miles behind the others. One guy did a 5min timed mile!!!!

I was knackered so missed swimming and circuit on Thursday and did nowt on Fri/Sat except cycle to work and play footie. I thought some cunt had crippled me at footie because I couldn't walk to the car or around Asda that same night. The day after I felt no pain whatsoever!!! Unbelievable. I swam with Tri club at Rochdale on Sunday which consisted of 10 x 100yds which I consistantly did on 1min 13 secs bar 1 @ 1 min 18 each on 2 mins. Then 10 x 50yds doing 33secs on a minute. Spent the rest of the day looking for a 5 door car as we have a little girl on the way. Didn't really find much as I am really specific with what I want but CarCraft is the biggest rip off in history.

Mon/Tues 7th and 8th Dec were just cycle to work days.

WED 9th December

Mr Pantani and I went on a nice hilly ride. Originally he said a quick 30 miles but the weather was good and was going to stay that way. Didn't think he would chose a fairly hilly route as we haven't done a ride like this for a while and it definitely showed. I took Jamis and her shiny new wheels to see what effect the hills would have on her new sleek and slender image.

The first main drag was Huddersfield rd and I was determined to keep a high cadence instead of power up, which apparently saves energy. The road on the other side was absolutley jam packed with cars and lorries for 3-4 miles and we had no idea why. I kept an excellent average of 10mph ( last time was about 7mph) but wasn't sure how the cadence was affecting me. My next cycle computer needs a cadence monitor (hint hint). A quick descent and another climb past ' the little house on the prarie' ( the one in the middle of the M62 motorway) followed. I used this hill as a recovery phase as I was going to hit Cragg Vale hard. We could see the M62 at a stand still for miles and miles no wonder traffic was bad. Pete loved the next long drop into Sowerby Bridge, its the only time he actually tries. I have to be very careful with the wet roads and carbon rims as they aint as good at stopping as regular pads and rims.

In Sowerby, which is a bigger town than I had thought, I found a nice greasy spoon for a quick spam buttie and coffee. 65p for a brew and a quid for the spam. They do a full breakie for £2.50! It's located just after Tuel Ln which we climbed up after the short break. I was soaking due to sweat. I had my bib longs on, s/s shirt and wind jacket. The temp must have been in double figures as I didn't need my gloves.

Cragg Vale was looming, the longest continuous gradient in the country? Correct me if I'm wrong. Wind was kind to us so far but once we hit the climb there was a fairly gentle head wind. I made the decision to climb this monster standing up all the way a la Contador. I have been using the spin classes to test my standing up climbing to the limit and this would be a good tester to see my progress. So I think its just over 5 miles of ascent, nothing compared to some of the climbs in France but nevermind. My cadence was relatively slow but I was churning quite a high gear a good 3 or 4 higher than if I was seated. Sometimes I could feel the lower thigh ache so upped a gear to slow my spin down. The ache would disappear quickly and the gear was dropped to increase cadence again. Well I managed it all the way standing up and felt really great doing it. I would love to see my cadence up another 10-15 a min but because my legs are sooo huge and the muscles need massive amounts of oxygen its going to be tough. I won't say how long I was waiting for Pete at the top...... alright it was 7 mins :) but he said he was bonking as he had nowt to eat all day. Surprise surprise, when it came to the big drop to Littleborough Pete hit the reserve supply and powered to the bottom whilst I coasted so I didn't have to brake. Note to Peter; there are no big hills to get a run up at the track. HAHAHAHa. hmmm.

I pootled behind Pete for most of the way back home as my 2 new friends, which I shall name saddle & sores, were hurting me. I was leaning to one side at one point. I think they were caused by not using padded cycling bottoms as my saddles are very comfortable so must have rubbed more.

I treated my self to a big fat carvery afterwards and tried to go running at the track a few hrs later but kept getting a stitch which wouldn't go away so returned home early after 4 laps.


For part of Petes chrimbo present we treated him to a taster session (+ shoe hire!) at the Velodrome. We were hoping to get the pink(or is it blue) slip to go up to the 'next level' but there were an unusual amount of newbies so it wasn't possible due to time and chain length. It's so much different to the road due to the bigger gear and it really takes it out of you especially when I built sprints (250m and 1km) into the session. We timed each other on a 1km TT, not quite a standing start but a very slow rolling one. Pete got just over 1min 29secs and I got 1 min 24. Last times track meet saw me get 1 min 31 and a beating from Pete. We had another 15mins left so did some 250m interval sprints which killed me. After the session Pete was caught talking to the instructor, who was drawing diagrams for him on the whiteboard, concerning the best and fastest line for the flying 200m.
Whilst this was going on Chris Hoy, Vicky Pendleton and crew were whizzing round and it was difficult to take my eyes away...She's hot! and fast! My missus says my thighs are about the same size as Hoys, Jeez that's saying something. Surprised she was only looking at his thighs with that skin tight suit he had on.

Very happy with my carbon wheels, the new bearings seem to be loosening up and are spinning better with every revolution, just unsure if the road grit and brake pads are having any detrimental effects on the rim. The wear on the brake pads has stabilized after they wore half way down on a quick 30 mile ride but I ordered some more just in case. I love the Adidas shoes at the Velodrome and more so after trying the new ones they got in last month with carbon bottoms. Only problem is I'm sure they dont make them anymore or have a limited supply and are very difficult to source. I am booked in the Velodrome next Thursday for a last practise before the Club Championships and hope to go on a ride with Steve F (MCC) and Paul G (MCC) on FRI.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Spinning sesh

Just a few piccies of me at a spinning session with Rochdale Tri club. Some belting pictures taken by Dave Smith. Thanks dude.

Winter Training cont...


I am really 'anti' social (not as in ASBO style) but try sooo hard to mingle and get to know other people. Thats where my wifey comes in handy because she is totally the opposite and will talk to anyone with a mouth. She tries to come with me everywhere to give me moral support but when I'm out on my bike I am all alone in the big wide world. I had heard some guys on the cycle chat forums were doing a ride round Hebden, around Colne and Keithley and back to Hebden. Similar to a ride Steve, Pete and I did as a perma audax not so long ago...very hilly just my style . I have no idea why I talked myself into going, I wouldn't know a soul but 100miles sounded good so I was determined to attend. I was getting mixed weather reports, snow was one and sunny spells another, but I thought I was fully kitted out for any eventuality.

The morning stated off a little damp with very light drizzle and flashes of blue sky so I figured the sunny spell forcast was the one to go with. However it was terribly windy. I allowed myself what I thought was ample time to get to Hebden Bridge which was 1.5hrs and have time spare for a quick cuppa. I didn't have a cycle computer as mine is totally screwed now and a little bird tells me someone is thinking of getting me one for Chrimbo so Vanquish is going to be without one for a month.

I usually hit Littleborough in 35 mins but thought the wind would only add another 5 mins or so onto my journey. I had set off at 8.10 and when I passed Hollingworth lake it was 9.07. Oh dear. They were meeting at 9.45 at a car park I don't know where it is. I was going to go through Todmorden but thought it might be quicker going up Blackstone Edge and as they were going to come the other way on their route anyway, if I was going to be late, I'd meet them. The rain was really pouring down now and rivers were forming down the side of the road and a few 10 metres across the road!!! It was these ones that caused the most pain as just as I was crossing the 'river' a car would come flying past, overtaking me and absolutely drenching my lower half. This happened at least twice. The wind, rain and cold was really getting to me as I crawled to Cragg Vale, and struggled down it. My gloves were soaked and the bitter cold was attacking the tips of my fingers and toes. Turn around!!!! I kept hearing but carried on hoping the weather would change. As I hit Mytholmroyd at 9.45 I kept looking out for a group of cyclist coming the other way but none materialised. The rain had virtually stopped too and my fingers were warming up. I had my balaclava on, although wet, was keeping my ears and neck warm but what a pillock I must have looked, I wasn't arsed. I must have followed signs for every car park in Hebden until I saw a parking attendant, ON A SUNDAY screwing about in the wet. I was going to ask him where Market place car park was until suddenly I saw 3 cyclists!!!! I asked if it was Colins ride and it was Wooohooo!! They said they were waiting for someone ( NOT ME) so after a very quick introduction 2 x Colin and an Alun we set off a little later than planned.

The other Colin had a little incident with his chain after the first bend then we climbed Cragg Vale with a tail wind and no rain. I was warming up nicely and wished it would stay dry or I would turn back. I stayed with Alun as he was getting a little left behind but I dont think my breathing down his neck made him feel any more comfortable. He had a nice Ribble Sportive bike with the same saddle bag I had bought. The red and black frame seemed to repel dirt whilst mine lapped it up in shovel loads. Organiser Colin had stopped to answer his phone so ALun caught up and I decided to sprint after Colin 2 to let him know what was happening and have a little chat. It started to throw it down again on the descent to Littleborough. Had to stop at some lights half way down where Colin1 had a little problem with his Bolle glasses as it looked like a protective plastic covering was scrunched up but wouldn't come off so he couldn't see. He ditched them in the end and took a little hilly detour to Walsden. I wasn't happy one little bit at this point as I could feel every part of me wet and cold and it looked like it was going to get worse so just before Walsden I told the gang I was going to head back. I apologised ( ihope) and thanked them for letting me ride with them and asked if they were going to carry on the full distance. They were unsure but would see how things panned out. I thought at this point if I carried on I couldn't really go back. I would have loved to carry on, under different circumstances, weather wise, but I was so dejected and demoralised I just couldn't do it. Another time and weather front.....definitely.

Homeward bound, the legs still fresh so a few sprints were in order to keep myself a little warm but nothing could heat up my soggy toes and fingers. I took off my gear at home and literally there wasn't a dry piece of me or clothing, even the waterproofs were wet. A hot shower saved the day. Today showed my inexperience and inability to prepare for the worst and am sure there are even more hellish adventures lurking round the bend. I was all prepped for a cold ride and thought I could cope with rain but my super thick woolly socks let me down, as did the overshoes and gloves. One ray of sunshine was the balaclava, not waterproof but remained cosy. I might need some thick waterproof gloves and light waterproof over trousers which will solve alot of the problems as they would go over the over shoes and keep my socks dry?


Not too disheartened, the excitement of using Jamis with new wheels combined with dry weather meant I had to go out to make up for Sunday. I phoned Pete but he was already out, he did offer to meet up but there was no point in him turning around so I just followed the route he took. Wind was the main offering from the gods, no surprises there, so a long hard slog was in order. I went up Ashworth rd, a nice steep climb with killer gradients which joins Edenfield rd. About half way up the road became totally flooded and was going to turn back but I decided to phone Pete as he came this way and wondered why the fecker never told me! He said it was only a couple of inches deep and to stop being a wuss....thanks. I went through it without incident. Ashworth road is quite well sheltered until the top and was climbing well but that all changed when I hit the road to Owd Betts and Rawtenstall. The odd shower came and passed, just a minor irritation but with the gusts of wind holding me back on the mad descents it wasn't too enjoyable at all. I tried to practise high cadence pedalling but wasn't sure how fast I was actually pedalling and felt my feet going too fast at times and was slowing me down. I NEED A COMPUTER WITH A CADENCE METER AHEMMMM ( and heart rate monitor with GPS and map storage) Absolutely love the drop into Whitworth as that is relatively sheltered too in places and before I knew it I had negotiated the rush hour traffic and got back home. I was surprised at the average of 16.7mph (37 miles) as the wind was really holding me back most if not all of the way. I can definately tell the difference with the new wheels on up hill sections but cant gauge their effect the flats or downs. I kept hearing a squeak which I though was coming from the rear wheel but turned out to be the bottom bracket...phew. The cold weather seems to be affecting my knee a little to as I can feel it aching annoyingly without actually causing me pain. Could be my saddle height which I am constantly adjusting. This time it is close to my straight leg limit but it helps my pull up stroke seem more effortless.


Had arranged with Pete to go out for a ride but was stuck in Hospital for ages with missus. How can a 10am appointment turn into a 11.15 one with all the consultants available. Also strange how the room was full at 9.30 but emptyish at 11.30. No one booked in after us? No way. I decided to ride to Petes for a brew and to drop off a wireless dongle. Good job I didn't go out for a long ride as the old legs were a little worn out. Jamis is feeling as good as ever and the saddle height raised again, feeling a little uncomfortable probably due to no padding but more productive for less effort.

Went swimming with tri club. 2 lanes again and lots of people turning up so sprints were the order of the day. One of the life guards commented how much stronger my stroke looks. I think he was right too. I dont think I have improved my swimming in 6 months until the last 2-3 weeks.

Club track championship at the Velodrome is nearly upon us ( 20th dec) so Pete and I have decided to do a little training by doing a taster session Thursday next week and hopefully another, the week after, depending on availability as these things fill up quick especially with the shite weather. Shouldn't have invited him along as he is my main challenger but I wouldn't feel any sense of acheivement if I didn't think we were on a level playing field.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Winter Training

Ill talk about my new purchases first. C02 pump .Think I have already mentioned this but here are some piccies, can't review as I haven't needed it yet. Carbon specific brake pads for........Bontrager xxx race lites. Another ebay special. I had a few problems initially with the rear hub as the bearings were screwed but took them to Shepherds cycles in Heywood who sorted them out and even went to the velodrome to source a special tool to replace the bearings no extra charge. Even got a refund from the seller who had described the item as 'mint' Just need the weather to try them out on Jamis! New topeak humongous saddle bag which has enough room for my bits and pieces and loadsa space left over for a rain mack which Ill need to purchase. I bought a balaclava from Harphurhey market, took me ages to find a stall that sold 'em. Considering the area, I thought every stall would sell it. The SLR saddle has arrived too. I have ordered some tri club cycling kit which could appear anytime next year. Was thinking of some sealskinz waterproof socks and gloves but have heard some negative reviews on them so some market cheapos are in order. I need a new pair of shoes too as the ones I have are way too big, size 44 and I need 42. I went to Evans to try on some Specialized s works but at £200 I cant justify the price even though the missus has just bought some £200 Uggs. I really like the Adidas ones the velodrome use but I cant find any where locally that sell and Adidas cycling shoes so I can try them out. I like lightweight stuff and would consider Sidi's but they are quite hefty things. Nice pair in Merlin, discounted, I might try on. I've trawled the net for general reviews but haven't found anything conclusive.

Back to the nitty gritty. I cycled to work everyday last week bar one again due to horrendous wind. Did the tri club spinning on Monday last week and yesterday. Good fun but I had to change bikes twice as the first one's seat collapsed and the 2nd one seat adjuster disappeared. Swam on Thursday which was a great session as the coach had worked out our 'speed levels' and we had to do sets to our own personalised times. I adjusted my stroke slightly and found I was going a good 5 secs quicker per 100m. Usually hate doing lots of sets of 100m as my legs and lungs give up but I found it incredibly easier. I think the running is helping.

On Saturday I tried out Jamis with the new carbon wheels, just to Pete's house and back. Also with the new Selle Italia Slr saddle. The problem with trying lots of new things at once is you dont know where the improvements are coming from like the well cushioned ride I was experiencing. I could feel a 'spring effect' over minor bumps taking the sting away. Steep hill number 1 came up, recently have been going up it at 12-14 mph if that on Vanquish and hit a max on Jamis of 16 mph. This time with new wheels I held 17mph and max'd 18mph from start to finish. Now I guess I could have been wind assisted but wasn't sure so hill number 2 is in the totally opposite direct and steeper. On vanquish I struggle to hit 10mph at the top and12 with Jamis. With new wheels on Jamis I held 13.5mph and hit over 14mph on the steepest bit at the top. This is a very quick snaphot and will have to ride against Pete to get a more accurate feel for the new found speed but first impressions are encouraging. Only problem is the brake blocks nearly wore half way on the first ride, which has stabilised a little now and braking power is terrible.

Sunday and Monday rides to follow......

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Keeping up appearances


I knew the fast guys were turning up to running with the Tri club but decided to join in to improve my fitness. I really think that it helps my cycling immensely as it constantly 'puts pressure' on the lungs which I don't feel my cycling or swimming is doing. I am hoping that cycling becomes my 'main' sport. Five or six of us turned out today which is a good show and found out I didn't have to pay as my gym membership at Middleton covers me. Warmup consisted of drills for 15 mins then 4 x laps (400m) of the track fairly easy. The hard bit was 10 x 400m with 200m active recovery walk and 200m active recovery jog in between each hard lap. Warm down was 2 laps very easy and stretches. Thats 10.4km and my knee was fine!! If this carries on I might have to rethink not doing any triathlons. First one is in April, the countdown begins.

I then went swimming to loosen up and remove lactic, managed 50 lengths and a 200m I.M before I got bored and achey.


I haven't been circuit training for 2 weeks and really needed to go to give all my muscles a work out otherwise they seize up when I eventually do use them. Nothing different today. Since I have been enjoying swimming lately I joined the tri club for their session. I must have pulled my shoulder or got a nerve trapped whilst doing tricep dips as I found it painful to pull using my left arm. I started off easy and the shoulder got better as the swim went on. 20 lengths warmup with drills then 24 lengths constant pace, 20 lengths ( 3 constant 1 fast), 16 lengths ( 2 constant 2 fast) 8 lengths (1 easy 3 fast) 4 lengths fast then 2 fast then 1 fast. Spent most of the night drafting the swimmer infront which I hate doing. Finished doing a few lengths butterfly. The running from the night before was starting to have an effect as my muscles felt tight, tense and sore so have been stretching, exercising and eating lots to aid recovery.


The only day I didn't cycle to work as I had footie straight from work and had to carry some passengers. It went unbelievably well considering 2 weeks ago I could barely run past the half way line and be expected to defend too! Felt sooo much fitter and recovery was quicker but afterwards the pain set in due to lactic and is still hurting Sunday night. I was fouled badly soo many times too, surprised I haven't picked up any injuries at all. I had a scare though as my knee gave way at one point but found out I had my strap on wrong and it had caught under my kneecap and tendon. It was like getting hit on your funny bone but worse! Lucky escape methinks.


Don't usually work Sunday but I need to pay for all the gear I keep buying so both days I cycled in but couldn't go too fast as my legs haven't yet recovered from all the running. People at work have been saying how thin I was getting but haven't lost any weight for ages. Seem to be losing the fat which is my aim. Still weigh just under 70kgs.

Not been able to record my speeds on Vanquish as my cycle computer has been stuck on 75.9mph so need a new computer, shoes that fit, saddle bag and tri club gear. Im sure theres more. CO2 pump has arrived with 30 cartridges, seemed cheap enough and got the saddle too which looks, feels and smells quality. Don't you just love the smell of proper leather? and it is soooo light. Hoping to get some big rides in at the end of next week which will suit me as I wont be able to do much during the week due to work.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Monday, Tuesday, yesterday I don't know what card to play.


Had to get up early for work which usually means me draggin myself out at the last minute and driving in . I got up very early and had a filter coffee ( can't stop drinking the stuff) and grapefruit for breakfast, which goes against my bonk training but is on hold for a while. I changed into my cycling gear and couldnt believe I had actually made it outside on my bike soooo early. Ride to work was dark and damp, just the way I like it but would have been perfec
t with traffic on the road. I've started to use some normal fluffy winter gloves instead of my specialized ones as when I arrive at my destination they are not soaking wet. I wish I timed my self this morning as even though I had a head wind I felt like I was powering my way through it. I dont set my computer sometimes because I have to reset the whole
thing and go through all the settings and I cant be arsed. New computer time! bollocks another expense. Finished work about 2pm and roads were generally quiet and didn't have any problems. I think I broke my record again for the journey home. I set the computer this time as I was felling good. My average this time was 17.7mph. Im hoping this sprinting home will do me good for the club track championships in December.

Triathlon club had just started a spinning class at Rochdale leisure cen
tre which lasts 1hr. Wasn't expecting many to turn up but there was about 10 of us. Same bikes as the Middleton one. I always give my all in a spin class as I know I can make it back home :) The class wasn't particularly well structured as the teacher wanted feedback so that she knew what our aims and goals were and to see what level of fitness we were up to. Hill climbs I used the hardest setting and wanted to give up but didn't and the high cadence stuff which I usually hate I liked this time as my legs weren't dying after a few minutes. At the end, as norma,l I was surrounded by a moat protecting myself and the bike from invaders. I asked for interval training as thats the only real stuff in my opinion that will give an all round improvement in the time but someone wanted aerobic endurance which I think is a waste of time as the session isn't long enough. Might as well go on a long bike ride. I guess he wanted to
maintain fitness over winter, might as well try to improve it.


The night before I had one of my fabulous filter coffees so got to sleep quite late but still managed to get up to ride to work. Head wind into work and head wind outta work. Started at 8am and finished 5pm which is more like it, also had lots of traffic to contend with so time passed really quickly. I would definately be getting to work and home quicker on the bike especially at these times. I seem to get a lot of comments from pedestrians that the light is very bright, I just tell them not to look at it :) I angle it away from the right hand side traffic so I dont dazzle cars so peds on my side get a faceful even though it is pointing groundward too. I have to say the spread is a bit much and a more concentrated beam would have been more useful. It does mean I can be seen from near 180 degrees. It looked like the day was going to be nice and clear and sunny all day, until I finished work and had toget home when the heavens opened. Lucky I always take my waterproofs. Was going to swim tonight but was sooo knackered I went to bed at 6.30. ish.

Before bed though I had a bit of time to trawl ebay for more gear and purchased
a Selle Italia SLR which looks like it might suit my seating style. I dont seem to sit on my 'sit bones' or on the back of the saddle but more in between the legs towards the crotch and on the thin bit of the saddle at the front.
I think its because my legs are sooo huge I need something small between the them.
The black saddle (viper) on the vanquish is very comfy and I dont even need to wear a pad to ride it but its my commuter one and heavy and I need something similar
but lighter and longer for Jamis. The black/grey specialized one is the right size but sooo painful due to the cut out which puts huge pressure on where I sit. Its like sitting on two metal pins. I have to sit really far forward to ride this one it weighs 270g. The white Specialized one is average but you might be able to see that there is a slight cut out/ indentation down the middle so the outside bits put pressure on my sit area but it isn't as bad as the other one this weighs 350
g. The Slr seems to have a long nose and is rounded/convex like the viper and weighs next to nothing, 135g.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Very Quick weekly round up

Used this week to cycle to work every time bar one day as I was working lates so wouldn't have much time for anything else. Its only 7-8 miles each way so used the time for interval sprinting and ended up at work/home dripping wet. Friday night about 9pm was an amazing time for cycling. I tried my new front light and had 30 mph winds up my backside all the way home. The big problem was that I didn't turn my bleedin' cycle computer on and would have broken my record by miles. Cars struggled to keep up and had to rev their engines very hard to overtake. Most enjoyable.

Tuesday and Thursday I went swimming with the triathlon club. I went through a period where I found swimming very boring and couldn't motivate myself to go but recently I have been putting the effort in to get back up to fitness. It helps when the sessions are varied but very challenging which they have been. Also went swimming on Sunday which was an adult only lane swim at Middleton Arena. All lanes were out which was unusual but was for Aquabears swimming club later on, the session was 1.5hrs long and it was nice and quiet. Used the ooportunity to swim as long and as far as possible. Managed 200 lengths in about 1hr 20mins which is 5km and have never swam that far before in my life in one go.

Before the swim on Sunday I went on a bike ride, was going to do a quick one but didn't realise how quick it would be. I went 2.7 miles when I felt my rear tyre go. On inspection a very large shard of glass went all the way through the tyre and because it was so big once I changed the tube I didn't want to carry on so turned back and limped home. My pump is tiny and thought it would be really handy but it is a bit pathetic. After 200+ pumps I would estimate the tyre pressure at about 70psi. So need/want CO2 pump, more innertubes, new winter tyre,new saddle, another set of bib longs erm sure theres a few more bits.

Was messing with Jamis too and was cleaning out the tension and guide pulleys when I accidentally opened up the sealed bearing on the guide and little ball bearings scattered everywhere. I ordered 5600 ones instead of dura-ace, price difference being £40, and cant tell the difference in shifting.

More goodies have been arriving, I have 2 new front lights which seem to take a while to arrive from China but not as long as my look keo 2 max pedals from Shiney Bikes which I ordered in September and only received this week.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Lactic Buildup


I figured an easy day would help my aching legs recover so I went to circuit training and trained at a moderate pace. I would usually go spinning afterwards but I tend to go a bit too hard so went swimming instead with the tri club. 20 lengths warmup and we were told we were doing a 400m time trial followed by a 50m time trial. Effing hell. A bit of warning would have been nice. One lane was used for swimming up and down what ever we wanted. I was first up, a little nervous. I did some warmup sprints before hand to loosen my legs up a bit. 30 secs before the off I was really up for it. I set off on the first length taking a good lead over the others. Turned at the wall and pushed off.........DISASTER. I had to pull up and pull out due to bad cramp in both legs. I must have looked a right prat as I was expected to be the one to beat. I just went in the swim lane and did a few lengths but got cramp again so rested until the 50m.
I was pretty pissed off now but thought I'd give the 50m a go. I lined up and got in an 'explosive' position to pounce off the wall and get a good start. 30 secs to go I got cramp again just holding onto the wall and yelped. The others were in fits of laughter and I got the 5 secs to go signal and set off. The guy next to me set off 3 secs early which fucked me off but caught him on the turn. I felt cramp just after the turn and nearly stopped but took it easy and got my legs back. Managed to win my heat but I didn't want to know the time as I knew I could go another 5 secs quicker. Bit of a waste of time that.


Football at Wright Robinson college, was throwing it down but settled just before we kicked off. 4.5 a side on a massive pitch for 1hr 15mins absolutely killed me. At least my knee holds up well playing footie. Not played for months and loved it. Just need to keep it up which I doubt will happen as they aint great at organising stuff.


My legs were feeling very bad so did a lot of stretching but this was a rest day.


Once again, using my feeble thinking powers, the best way to loosen up my legs for MCC hillclimb would be to have a swim with the Tri club. Never attended a session on Sunday before, this was at Rochdale baths. 20 lengths warm up, lots of drills then a hard session of 4x100 with first set very fast, 2nd 50m then 10 secs rest then 50m very fast, 3rd 25m the 5 secs rest very fast and the last active recovery this was done 4 times. It was a very good as interval training and every one said how much it made them work.

Went to the Moorcock Inn in the car, watched the remembrance day march and got the bike out and had a ride up and down the hills to get the blood pumping for 30 mins where I met and joined Pete. I was going to struggle big time and to cut a long story short, I did. I set off last which I was happy with as I had someone to chase but my legs just wanted to give up and had to coax them to carry on by using a lower gear than I would have liked. There was a head wind but it wasn't bothering me for a change. The lower gear and higher cadence was making me use my lungs more so having a negative effect rather than a positive one I was expecting. I upped the gearing too late and felt much more comfortable. I was catching Pete but very slowly. I gave an all out effort near the top to try and catch Pete but failed and I ended up collapsing in a puddle looking up at the sky. Paul missed a right good photo there. 9mins 27 secs, but had done 9 mins in training and was aiming for 8mins 30secs. Also had to use Vanquish as I screwed up Jamis's guide jockey pully. Same time as the new guy, the other Paul. Have I given enough excuses?
The 16oz rib eye steak and my first pint for ages at the White House made up for a terrible week. The support for the hill climb was tremedous and if I forgot to thank anyone here is a big thankyou for cheering us on. Track day in December is the next event.

On a seperate note and continuing the trend of buying new stuff every week, one of my new torches for my helmet or handle bars arrived and within minutes of receiving it I got a phone call from Steve Foley asking to borrow a front and rear set so lent him my brand new Raleigh Astrium and p7 led one from China. He was doing an 162km Audax around Cheshire. The p7 led looks very nice and powerful and should make a good backup for my main light which is due to arrive late next week. Keep tuned in for more goodies arriving!!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Light training


Cycled to and from work. Nice and uneventful just the way I like it. Could do with a bit more traffic on the road though. Averaged 19 mph there and 17.2mph back which I think is a record for me, the hilly return leg. 14.5 miles total.

Went swimming with the tri club. Normally there are just a handful that turn up but as winter draws nears and the days are very dark around 12-14 swam in 2 lanes. A little hectic but workable. 20 lengths warmup followed by 10x25m sprints and 10 x50m sprints. Then some drills and breathing work. 5x100 where length 1 was dont breathe, 2nd swim, 3rd breathe every 3, set 2 breathe every 4,5,6,7 etc then swim last. Lastly were some drills and counting strokes so first length was long hard strokes and the return leg was trying to do less strokes. Just as was leaving I was coaxed into running at the track on wednesday, I said I'd turn up and see what I could do.


It was lashing it down most of the day with some spells of light drizzle. I was determined to do a little running so set off to see if the rain would subside but needed to get petrol anyway from Morrisons which is just 2 mins from the running track at Spring hill school. Got there very early as I thought it started at 7pm but it was at 7.30 and waiting for people to turn up. There was little rain and only Lee turned up with myself. The weather turned out to be perfect running weather, so comfortable. What a poor show :( He had come a long way from Ramsbottom so decided to have a run anyway. Warmup 2x400m light jog then 4 x 400m where we took turns to lead after 200m and 200m fast walk after each set. He was quite quick for me and wondered if he was holding himself back. We then did 4 laps (1600m) at my pace, concentrating on my breathing and trying not to get a stitch which always happens. Knee was holding up fine until the next set which was going to be 2 x 400, 1st100m at 50% then 60% then 80% then finally full out sprint. I lasted the first 100 until my knee started to go so just did 2 laps warm down. I could definately tell I hadn't run for a while and my muscles were starting to cramp. I will go again but if the club actually turn up I would probably have to do my own stuff as there is no way I 'd keep up and do 35 mins max. I loved every minute of it though.

My rear lights came today Raleigh Astrium or somet as recommended by redbikes and true to his review they are excellent for £8.50 from ebay. They left a sticker on, the price being £25.99!!! Very bright and great build quality. I managed to wrap a jubilee clip round it and my seat post so I shouldn't be losing this one. Still waiting
for my Keo 2 max pedals, still not in stock. Found a website that do deep section carbon wheels in clincher form for very cheap and are very light too so might have to get some. About £500 60mm clincher weight is about 1650g. Planning on either rest or light swim thursday, might miss circuit, and then Footie on friday at Abbey Hey which could be a mistake.

Friday, 30 October 2009

I am Alive

Sorry for not updating to those who read this blog, my super laziness is getting the better of me but I haven't been lazy on the exercise front. Since I have been hiring the 'House' box sets, every second of my spare time has been watching these things. Theres about 25 hrs in each and have watched seasons 2-5 and season 6 on sky on a sunday. Unfortunatly I have just been leant season 1 now :(

Over the last 2 weeks I have been swimming lots, cycling to work lots and doing usual circuit and spinning on Thursdays. Doing a few rides also been eating lots of crap like currys and pizza and Maccys.


Pete seems to have recovered from his bout of Swine flu and the weather looked like it could be gorgeous so we decided to have a 'nice easy ride' to Macclesfield and beyond. Nothing major to write about average was 17.5mph for about 37 miles. He then surprised me and said there was a 25 mile TT course at the exact spot he decided to have a quick break. This is right next to Jodrell bank and Goostry. I would have saved a lot if I knew we were gonna do a tt especially a 25mile one! I thought I'd try for a fairly decent time as I have never done one before. I was planning on leading then Pete to take over to help me out but his help never materialised and ended up leading all the way which does make a change. We said we wouldn't leave anyone too far behind and there was a big hill after the first bend and I pootled a bit to wait for Pete, didn't think Id have so wait to soon but he kept up the rest of the way just about. He kept on going on about how lovely the scenery was, all I could do was look at the tarmac ahead and pedal. I prefer cycling in busy roads, the cars break up the swirly wind we have been having the past week or so. So after 10 miles he shouted I needed to pick up the pace as we were only on 28 mins, the wind was killing me. It seemed to go on and on for ages and it didn't help with Pete calling the mileage every 5 mins. After 20 miles I was going to hit the last 5 hard but remembered I hadn't eaten all day and didn't want to bonk after the last experience I had. Finally completed the 25 mile course in a time of 1hr 13 mins which is an average of 20.6mph. Not bad going after nearly 40 miles and holding back a little and waiting for Pete a couple of times. We did finish together too. Next stop was a shop to get a drink where we begged some passing charity people for some money as we were short then to Goostry train station as it was getting dark. Felt like it had suddenly got cold but I think it was the sweat as my body cooled down due to inactivity. Took a quick trip to Evans in Manchester which was a dream cycle for me as there were cars....lots of them, all gridlocked down and around Deansgate. Some nice but expensive gear in Evans and had a nosey at one of Jobys potential bikes the Cannondale 6. Looks even nicer in the flesh. Couldn't see the LaPierre one. Back home we had clocked up 72 miles with an average of 18 mph possibly higher if we hadn't counted the 'go slow' through Manchester. Wasn't expecting such a hard work out but the time trial would have done us the world of good.


Went out on my own today as Pete had to keep the missus happy. I have been using Vanquish the past month so saw no reason to change it. Headed towards littleborough and was going to go up blackstone edge but wasn't feeling great and just wanted a recovery ride. So went to Walsden and turned up Bacup rd which is a nice long climb with a couple of monster gradients. I did a few sprints and recoveries and started to feel much better, my legs were much looser. I decided to hammer it home with a head wind too. Vanquish felt very very sluggish but I think it was the wind. Went past Whitworth very quickly and back past Norden and Bamford. 37 miles in 2hrs 6 mins average was 17.5mph.

Went to circuit training and spinning as normal for Thursdays

Weight 68.5kgs


Didn't really want to go out today but after all the crap I have been eating I needed a ride out. I was going to make it a fairly long recovery one. I prepped Jamis as I hadn't ridden her for ages and needed to make sure she was fine for the hill climb next week. Took it very easy from the end of my street and enjoyed the tail wind, it would be the last I would see of it all ride. I went up Edenfield road which is another nice long climb with some steep bits at the start. I saw my first target in a long time, another roadie! woohoo. I caught up to him on the start of the steep section and breezed past and gave the usual ' morning' which kinda sounds like you are taking the piss but I thought I'd be nice anyway. He gave me what I can only describe as a 'snarl' he scrunched up his face and saw him trying to keep up. I saw his shadow next to me so put in a bit more effort. I sprinted to the top of Edenfield rd and had enough energy to get a decent speed on the straight, that shadow was still there so I looked back and the other guy was miles behind. The shadow was my own bike d'oh. Descended into Rawtenstall where I thought I would do Bacup rd backwards to yesterday but on the climb to Bacup it was soooo windy and all my effort was going against the wind I just wanted to get home so headed towards Whitworth. The wind was very bad and speed was low. I dont know how the pros can pedal so quick against the wind and still keep up a good average. Sometimes I put in some super sprints and really go for it and my mph increases by 1. Waste of time and effort that was. Went down a big hill where I did 38mph the day before , just about managed 23 mph today. It is mentally soul destroying and you feel like you aren't getting any better after all the hard work thats being put in. Jamis did feel miles better on the climbs which is a good sign for next Sunday.

33miles in 2hrs 5 mins 15.7mph average.

Hopefully I get my new wheels before next Sunday :P Need a new saddle as my arse is killing. OOOh yeah and Im watching Greenday tonight at the MEN and work very early the day after so Saturday is going to be a rest day.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

All Bonked Out!!! part 2.......

Lets see if I can squeeze a whole week and a bit into a post thats as short as possible. Righty then, what did I do Fri last week? ermmm Im sure I did something but cant remember, same for saturday so its going well so far. Sunday was my day for a long ride but not last Sun as I have moved links at work and I didn't have time to sign my Sunday off so had to work all bleedin' day :( I did cycle in though, oh yeah I cycled in on Sat too. Im getting good at this commuting on a bike thing.

Monday, I drove in and was late for work due to water mains replacement all around Shudehill. Thought I would get the first part of my job covered but I wasn't late enough and had to drive to Southport. Working 10-8 all week. So its get up, go to work, work, get home from work, make somet for tea, sleep and repeat for 3 days.

Tuesday, I decided to cycle in as I was fed up with the road works on Monday, I really enjoyed it as I usually loathe riding to work for some unknown reason. Just a quick 7.3 miles either way but I like to hammer it as much as my little legs can take. Swimming was at 9pm and I managed to do 142 lengths this time, just to better last time.

Wednesday, Cycled to work blah de blah, I cant remember what happened or any exciting incidents, I do remember calling a taxi driver a fucking cock for nearly pulling right out in front of me and him following me only for him to chicken out when I turned around and approached him. I lost another set of rear lights AGAIN!!!! FFS!!!!! FFS!!!! FFS!!!!! so went to get a cheap set from poundland £1 which seem to work great until I stopped at the first set of traffic lights to find the rear lights I just bought had turned themselves off :( Turned it on and a little bump later it was off again. Lucky I had my flashing fluorescent straps round my legs or no one would see me. Night riding is the best thing ever though. I have been dreading it but now wish it was dark all the time. I have ordered a couple of led lamps from some place in China that are supposed to flood light the road, one ofr helmet and one for bar so Ill review them when/if I get them. £100 smackers worth. Also ordered a 10th rear light I think Im up to? Think I need a new saddle bag too. Part of my 'be seen so no bastard excuse' excercise I decorated my little back pack as it covered up my night vision jacket so the night vision bits weren't doing their job. I ordered some diamond grade? super reflective white and red waterproof tape from ebay, not cheap shit this, and sewed lots of panels on the back, underneath and side. Looks fab. Also stuck loads on my helmet. Some smart arse at work said ' its a bit early to be turning ya chrimbo lights on' Took me ages to sew them on too so did it through the HOUSE marathon season 2 and 3 box sets 40hrs worth in a week and half. Got a late fine too :( To be honest I dont have a clue where I found the time to watch all that as Im barely in the house to start off with, only to eat and sleep.
Was going to swim at 9pm again but I was really feeling it on the ride home and struggled to get up the last hill, bonk training was working as I ate little all day but stuffed my face at night. I didn't swim.

Thursday, more cycling to work and another reason why its more fun at night , well 8pm, is that I get chance to overtake loadsa cyclists. Don't see many in daylight hrs. Took it easy on the way home so I'd have energy for spinning at 9.15pm. Good session and I really caned it. Managed to weigh myself and was 67.5kgs!! wow and that was before the spin session and a big crap.

Friday, took missus to work so had most of the day for a bike ride. Pete has had swine flu for a couple of weeks so was avoing the fecker. Am I the only cyclist not to get swine flu? I had to put on my new GP attack front wheel on with latex tube, was a struggle and had to use tyre levers to get it on. Hope I didn't do owt to the tube ;) Rode past Haigh Hall, Parbold and to Rufford? Then a ride to bike shop mecca, Buy a bike where I got Jamis from. I was screwed. No water, no food and was knackered after 30 miles. Used any energy that I had to fight the wind going to Parbold and a quarter of the way back to Manchester. After 55 miles, I obviously hadn't fully bonked before but had now and I wanted to get the train home. Its a terrible feeling. I couldn't lift my legs at all. The thing is I would feel energy less for 10 mins then get a burst for 10 mins but any gradient made the burst dwindle to 2 mins. My stubborness made it worse as I kept telling my self that I could eat as much as I wanted when I got home but at this rate I wasn't getting home. I had to stop at a petrol station near Swinton in the end for Lucozade and sweeties I was that bad. I needed to prop my self up using the bike and my head was starting to spin. Just in time. After 5 mins of the drink I was good to go again but I wasn't. I hit a pothole and heard a clunk. Front tyre had deflated. No sign of glass etc in tyre so pumped the tyre up and the pressure seemed to hold. Kept checking it after a couple of miles, the air was leaking but very slowly. Had to pump it up once more to get back home.

74miles 17mph average (god knows how I kept to that, must be the tail wind on the last 30 miles, makes a change) Was out for5hrs not sure on riding time. Perfect cycling weather too.

Ate 2x Big macs, 2 bags of sweets and a whole 14" PIZZA on my return. Think Ill take Saturday as a rest day.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

All Bonked Out!

Rang Pantani Wed night as I hadn't heard from him for a while and since we were both free Thursday we'd take a ride to Clitheroe. He'd bought new tubs for his carbon jobbies and a double bottle holder for the seat post so he wanted a longer ride to test them out, taking a spare tub just in case. I had new pedals ( LOOK keo Easy) 2 new 'part worn' tyres for the bike with double layering of duct tape for the rim to try to avoid another punture, this was on Vanquish.

ROUTEish Met up at 10.30am and went a back road to Edenfield rd which has quite a few nice short steep climbs and is surrounded by farms. Once on Edenfield rd, headed towards Rawtenstall then to Burnley. This didn't pass without incident as a flying water bottle tried to attack me, which I skillfully dodged. I carried on whilst Pete retrieved the animal. This happened again on the descent into Rawtenstall but this time I was ahead so the bottle tried to attack a car instead. Descended into Burnley and another pothole later the water bottle tried a different tactic. Instead of just flinging its way towards me it would lose its head too and fluid sprayed every where. That was bound to get someone!
Stopped at a nice little bike shop called pendle cycles where I browsed a nice TT frame but it was alloy £750. I pondered what I could get on cycle to work, only a measly grand to spend :(
Nice and flat to Clitheroe and cant say that about many of my rides! Stopped off at Booths where Pantani had a sausage and apple pie, egg and bacon sandwich and an apple danish which he tempted me with too even though Im on bonk training he wouldn't take no for an answer. It rained for 5 seconds exactly then the sun was out again and skies cleared. It was a little windy but when it blew it was very chilly.

Set off back home about 1pm after lots of faffing about and 3 mins into the ride something else from Pantanis bike decided to fling its way at me!!! This was getting ridiculous!!!! It was a sheared head off a screw holding his new dual water bottle holder in place and it had totally gone now. I ate a banana whilst he decided what to do with his broken toy. He used an elastic band to tie it to his tri bars and put the tub down his top and he threw his water bottle away. We were off again. Pantani didn't look like he was on form today and struggled up every hill, he didn't even try which was unusual. The new tubs were very hard and the road surfaces were vibrating through the frame and up Pantani. The route back was virtually identical with a couple of incidents. A coach overtook me then turned infront of me. I gave the wanker sign only for the coach to turn and lots of kids started waving at me. My hand unclenched and waved back :P Then a white van man nearly cut me up on a tight bend and a silly cow nearly reversed into both of us and she heard me call her a silly fucking bitch. So when she was the right way round I went as slow as possible in front of her whilst she blew her horn. Nearly did a Joby and threw the bike to the floor infront of her but I remained calm :) The route isn't totally correct and we ended up doing 72 miles with an average of 16mph. Pantani wasn't on top form and it showed, guess it was an off day.

Now the pedals have to be one of the best things I have bought recently. My pedalling action is now unbelievably smooth. Instead of push down and pull up hard with lots of loose points between cleat and pedal, its all one continous action in a circle! Also my cadence was usually very low but I could definitly tell it was alot higher. Hills seemed so much easier and that is saying something. Someone did say stick with spds for my commuter, Vanquish is turning into my fav bike, I can see why as the look cleats are very slippy and wear very quickly. Already the bottom looks mangled. If the Easys are that good the keo 2 max must be even better? Highly recommended over spd's for performance but not for practicality.

In the evening I did circuit training and spinning class. By the end of spinning I was totally Bonked out and when I got home ate 2 bowls of soup, 2 chiken butties and lots of water. Weighed myself before and after the gym. Before 69.8kgs After 69.4kgs and thats without having a shit for a day. Weight loss is going great after I hit a plateau and I guess its all down to Bonk. I suppose its helping my riding too, I feel better and better every time I go on a bike it cant be a coincidence that I felt like crap and rode crap when I put 3-4 kgs back on in 2 weeks a few months ago.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Lazee days


Just a quick spinning session at 7am, went all out as it was only 45 mins long and tried not to eat anything until lunch time. Weight was an amazing 69.9kgs before the session so lost all the crap I put on in Vegas. Most of my ordered stuff arrived and will fit it 2moz.


Quite a nice day considering the crap weather we've been having all year but the missus had me chauffeuring her here there and everywhere so I only had time for swimming at 9.05pm. Before that though I stripped Vanquish and changed her tyres with Jamis's as one of them had a damaged sidewall, also changed the pedals. A thorough clean later and I was onto Jamis. I did her rear weel with contiGP4000s, the Conti GP attack for the front arrived on Fri but the feckers sent the old one not the new Chili compound so I sent it back. Then I did the handle bars, stem and new bar tape. I was going to take it to LBS as I couldn't be arsed to do it myself but I had a change of heart and just went for it. Turned out great in the end and saved myself a tenner. Gave Jamis a good deep clean too and she is nearly ready to go out again, just need to lower seat a couple of mm and change front tyre. Oh yeah the new pedals for Jamis never arrived either so gotta wait for them. At least they sent the other stuff.

Back to swimming, I thought if I did 120 lengths I would be more than happy due to the lack of swimming done. I used the time to concentrate on my breathing and stroke length but sprinted 4 lengths after 80 and sprinted 6 lengths on 114 to finish off. I looked at the time and I had a good 7-8 mins left so carried on and see how I would do. After the first 2 I was feeling strong so went fast for the next 13. I looked at the time again, still a couple of mins til kicking out time and asked the life guard if he'd let me finish off my five lengths as they were removing the lane ropes. He said yes so I sprinted the last 5. 140 lengths 3.5 km in 57mins. Not done 140 for a long time and knew I could go on for another hour, if I hadn't sprinted the odd few. Usually when I haven't been swimming a while my arms give up after 50 or so lengths so maybe the weights on mon/tues helped?

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

MRI results & Just a Gym day

Had a very long day at work today and was glad I was just passenger back from Wigan so I could relax and read some of my cycle mags. Had an appointment at 6pm to see the Doc about my knee scan results but traffic was hectic and had to ring to delay it 20 mins. Anyway as I have already mentioned on facebook the diagnosis is :-

'minor degenerative changes of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus without any underlying tear'.

So there is no muscular damage and since I can walk normally there isn't much they can do. I'm on anti inflammatorys and physio but sure none will help. Not happy that it can't be easily fixed and I suppose my running is out of the window for good just as I was enjoying it. Won't need my England Athletics membership card anymore.

Figured I should use my gym membership more often as I spend over £20 a month on it. If I don't I could have £280 to spend on bike goodies!!!! hmmm Garmin, wheels, new bike, credit card bill :(
Warmed up on the cross trainer for 10 mins and boy did it feel easy. Level 15 usually felt quite hard and slow. I suppose its like cycling standing up. Concentrating on my core, I did weighted sit ups, super hyper extensions and flexions and their sideways equivalents then just a few heavy lateral pull downs for a little back work. Finished off with a 10 mile virtual TT on the exercise bike. I was sweating buckets and had to mop up the floor. Heart rate was at a constant 171 bpm which went close to 180 the last 2 mins. Just for a personal record I did it in 22.16 level 14 with 6000ft climbing lol.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Hard on a Sunday Morning

On saturday night/Sun morning when I finished work, about 12.30am my legs were itching to go out and cycle. In my usual style I prepped everything before trotting off to bed to be awoken 5 hrs later.

6am on the dot I got out of bed and changed into cycling stuff. Looked like it was going to be dry with only a 25% chance of rain and not much cloud so wore shorts and my wind jacket. Had all my lights set up and my flashing fluorescent bands around various parts of my body as I wasn't expecting it to be light for a good couple of hours. As soon as I opened the door I was greeted by daylight! It was a little dim so left on the lights but took off the bands. Holmfirth Rd and Holme Moss was my destination as always when I ride solo on Sundays except the week before I had to turn round half way due to bad weather.

I had to tell my legs to slow down as they seem to want to sprint up every hill and I wanted some energy for later on. I got lost negotiating Oldham town centre as the main rd was closed and managed to find a road to shaw and royton!! I could get back home that way! Found my way again and Hit the bottom of the climb with an average of just over 17mph. I had already started getting cramp 1 hr into the ride, very strange. The skies began to clear and the sun shining helped take my mind from the gradient ahead. There was a light breeze which didn't seem to help too much. As I descended towards Holmfirth the breeze picked up and had a tail wind to the bottom hitting close to 40 mph. As I turned off I hit a big pot hole and another rear light went flying and smashed to pieces. I think thats set number 5!!!!! The climb to Holme Moss was harder than I previously remembered, there was a head wind but was going faster than the last time I hit this hill with a head wind. My head wanted to take it easy but my legs kept pushing and pushing. Eventually I reached the top and was helped back down by an unwelcome tail wind/cross wind.

I turned onto the Woodhead Road where now the wind was in my face all the way back home. Saw the odd roadie on the other side and overtook 2 roadies who were heavily laden with shite/panniers. I cant believe my legs still had lots of energy left in them after all the effort I was putting in or seemed to put in. My averages were up a bit and the wind was aginst me. I was beginning to think this bonk training wasn't working anymore as I have been getting home with energy left but with 8 miles left, going through Denton I began to lose heart. I haven't been this way before and didn't know what to expect. I went down devils hill and came across a steep climb further on which I tried to go hard up. I gave it my all and when at the top the gradient levelled out a bit but was still climbing. I guess this is the way Gaz and Joby go to Manchester Centre. Once in Manchester I must have stopped at every set of lights. With 5 miles left I had just about enough to go at an easy pace and 2 short,steep hills to climb. The weather had been perfect apart from the wind and 1 mile from my house a rogue dark cloud appeared above me and released its juices. Managed to cycle out of it in 5 mins but the damage was done. The last hill was painfully slow, about 8mph avaerage when I had got used to 11mph. Again the wind didn't help. Don't ya just hate it when you get a sea of leaves headed straight for you and down the hill. Gives you a sense of the strength and direction of wind. I kept getting cramp which disappeared quickly over the last hour, it didn't slow me down really though.

Arrived at my house totally bonked out, thirsty with my belly rumbling. Average was 15.8mph about 62 miles in under 4 hrs with 3400ft climbing. Not bad as my nose was constantly blocked up and dribbling at the same time. Route here.