Monday, 28 September 2009

Easy Audax.....hmph not a chance.

Route to Hebden Bridge and back, Audax route

Originally Steve F (M.C.C) Joe (M.C.C) and Pantani (C.U.N.T) were going to do an audax in Cheshire on Tuesday but I had a dental appointment so asked Joe if he could do Monday, he couldn't. I told them just go on Tuesday there'll be loadsa time for me to do another audax but in the end Monday was decided with Steve and Pete. Steve being Steve the route must be nice and flat so I'd go out on an easy spin. Met at Steve's where Pantani and I drank a can o' Red Bull as part of our training ritual.They had decided to do an audax around Hebden Bridge instead which Steve found on the net, just 60 miles I was told. Easy Peasy! I was fully kitted out as usual but dosy Pete left his ruck sack full of goodies at Steves so guess who had to pay for all the brews....Steve hehehe.

Like I said before nice and easy to Littleborough and Pete forged a good lead getting up to the start of the MCC hill climb. He carried on whilst I stopped to set my watch and time myself. My previous best a couple of months ago was about 10mins 30 ish? a previous blog post should confirm that. Conditions were perfect. Dry, little wind, little traffic and a pace man! Slowly I was catching up my pace man who looked back about 3/4 way up and kicked whilst I was 20m off his wheel. Managed to overtake him very close to the top and either Pantani had done really well or I had done pretty bad. I sprinted the last 50 metres and collapsed at the top!! Gasping. Stopped my watch but couldn't look at it yet and Pete stood over me saying he was saving himself and he'd never get in that state :P He disappeared round the corner to breathe/ suck up copious amounts of air. Looked at my time of 9mins 5 secs. Very impressed. Not too sure on the record, S Penny had done 8.53 and W sutcliffe 7.59 but hes over 70 years old isn't he? is that right that time? Lost? Bloody good going if thats what I have to beat but I did do my time on a very heavily laden Vanquish. (I'd say +4kilos over a clean Jamis and little gear)

Carried on to Hebden where the other 2 were thinking about a cafe stop already. Forget it I said, only just started! FFS. Another killer hill beckoned where we waited for Steve near the top and at every junction as he had the directions. Can't be any more hills after the 2 killers we had already been on? It was getting very drizzly and a little foggy the higher we were getting. Scenery was terrifc and we were all loving the ride so far anyway. Another ascent followed after a quick descent and another 'killer mile' just like at Mow Cop was infront of us just before haworth. It was getting very very wet now and all the downhills were taken carefully. In the dry there were some 40mphers but I would max at 17mph as it was way too dangerous coz I didn't know the route and there were always twisty curves all over the show.We missed a designated coffee stop and asked directions for Scar Top which a geezer didn't know but 1/2 mile further up the road from him was Scar top!More climbing followed by more climbing and I can't believe map my ride has the middle portion at near 0 feet because we were permanently high up in the hills and going higher until a mad descent into Keighley. -12% for a long way. Steve had a planned cafe stop on his Audax route map called Rossi's?

This trend of being soaking wet on every ride I have done recently has to stop! I asked some stuck up cow in the cafe if we could put our bikes inside at the back where no one was sitting, it was empty too bar 2 couples. She refused so I just left without saying anything.The high St was just round the corner and another cafe was found with an outdoor shelter, it was called Wild's. Steve and Pete went in whilst I looked after the bikes. There were undesirables circling like hawks just out side the Post Office and if they got too close I was prepared to head butt a few of them but they never entered my exclusion zone.In the cafe I noticed a massive pile of Bavarian slices or similar on the counter as samples so asked greedy Pete if he would give me one. The fecker gave me the bird. I asked again very politley before the artillary was going to come flying and he refused again, as he took another few slices.Right, I shouted into the shop that greedy Pete was nicking all the samples and that he wouldn't need any tea tonight as he has already stuffed his face. The servers didn't know what to say or do so I shouted again to kick the git out. Some big builder bloke was in the shop and heard what was going on so snatched the plate from Pete and went out side to offer me some cakey. There was hardly any left and the plate was a mountain to begin with. I took a piece but was still unhappy so asked Pete to give me a piece!!!I shouted to the scrotey's who were still loitering round if they wanted a free bike and pointed to Petes! hahaha he came running out of the shop with a couple of pieces of cake. The girl behind the counter said to greedy Pete that he might as well finish the plate off, which he felt obliged to and then we left him to stuff his face with pizza and pasty. I just had a tiny sausage roll and a brew.

My gloves were soaking but put them on anyway and it was very cold as we stood around for a while. Set off back to Hebden, Steve said 8 miles but the signs said otherwise at 13miles. More climbing and more climbing and more climbing and more climbing then another steep slow descent into Hebden. That part of the ride was the worst as there was a good 1/2cm of water on the road, it was still throwing it down,cold and very foggy. Just like Holmfirth Rd yesterday. Home beckoned and we were a bit demoralised. The anticipated cafe stop at Hebden never materialised and we kept going once Steve eventually arrived. He had bonked about 40 miles into the journey and was struggling big time. We tried to go at Steves pace but he told us just to go on ahead. The final journey home was trivial and not worth describing except a gazcident where a silly cow over took me, turned left infront of me and stopped in the middle of the bastard road so I nearly whacked her car. Lucky there wasn't another car on the outside of me so I swerved, but I was prepared to run into the silly cows car just in case so I could claim from her insurance. I should have stopped and given her a massive earful but if I stopped I wasn't sure that I could carry on again. I wasn't bonking or anything just a little achy from all the bastard climbing and me being me didn't like to mess around with them. I am quite surprised I can last so long on little/no food. A quick conflab with some MCC members yesterday suggested I should be feeling dizzy after a couple of hours + with no food but not me. Rode quite strongly home as was able to hit small hills hard, just wanted to get home for a hot shower and a chippy tea!!!!!!!!!!!

4000ft of climbing, map my ride has to be wrong! 85 miles and 13mph average :~( which couldn't be helped really. It started off as one of the most fantastic rides ever as it was sooo challenging just as I thought my legs were going to have a rest day but quickly deteriorated due to the extreme weather conditions.

I have ridden virtually every day for 11days, last Friday Pete and I went out which I forgot about 35miles 17.5mph average to Edenfield, bacup,Whitworth and back. Its time for a rest and recouperation. The last 2 days I have done 180miles and been out 16 hrs!!!!! Pete spotted that my tyre sidewall looked like it was ready for bursting as it had a gash in it so looks like Ill be getting new tyres after all. Shame, because nothing would puncture my Stelvios. Thinking of some 20's instead of 23's not for winter though more for racing. Joe has 20's and they look so narrow. I wonder if they are faster must be some advantage or they wouldn't sell them?

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Solo - Group Sunday ride

I love Sundays and this this one would be no exception as its bike riding day!! Wooohooo. I'm always out early on Sunday to avoid traffic and the air is usually calmer. Out of the house at 6.32am and I had flashing fluorescent bands round my legs, the altura night viz jacket, very good front led and rear leds, compression top, overshoes, long sleeved jersey, bib longs and cycling shorts oh and my bike. I think I was prepared for the worst? Was going on a solo ride then join the club at velodrome for another ride to Tatton park.

Humidity was very high must have been close to 100% It wasn't raining and I was getting drips of water on my helemt and plastic over shoes. I couldn't believe I wasn't the only cyclist on the road there were around 4 other serious roadies out and about. Wasn't sure how visible I would be in the dark but as soon as I saw road signs reflecting my front led from a long way a way any doubts disappeared. I was going to Holmfirth road and then up to holme Moss and back to velodrome via Woodhead, not too sure if I had time. The climb up Holmfirth rd decided my fate. It was like entering a whole new continent with a totally different climate. High swirly winds, lots of rain and worst of all FOG so visibility was down to 10-20metres. I carried on going until I thought there is no way I should as it looked like the conditions were getting dangerous and not sure if cars would see me. I turned around at the Meltham sign. I have never ridden in rain or dark before so decided to try my brakes. Oh oh, not a big reaction if any at all then my rear wheel kept sliding. Took it very easy on the descent then at the bottom suddenly everthing was perfectly clear again. The skies were lightening up, no rain and not a trace of fog. Went past Mossley and saw a tri club member, couldn't recognise who it was but saluted anyway and carried on my merry way. Very nice gentle downhill all the way to the velodrome, felt like it anyway and average went up to 16.9mph after a slow middle.

Arrived at the velodrome after 40 miles and 2hrs 20 mins ish and I was 30 mins early so headed into Maccy D's for a large coffee. Took it over to the velodrome steps, sat down , unzipped and realised how wet I was, VERY! Took a few layers off and froze for 15 mins whilst the others arrived. Met the guys and gals and couldn't wait to set off again to get my body warmed up. Links to Lost and Jobys write ups. I cannot be bothered to write my own, no dedication. I do like to read every one elses daily updates.

Did another 54miles, average under 14mph So thats 95 miles altogether. Couldn't be arsed to get another 5 in. What a day!! very eventful, super company and an unrepeatable experience.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Brrrrr its cold!

Saturdays, well any day I like to lie in and have lots of sleep and since I haven't had much lately I thought I would skip the original plan of biking to the reservoir to have a swim. All my gear was ready and when my alarm clock went off I got out of bed to turn it off and had 2nd thoughts as I was out I will stay out. Now I have moved my alarm clock from my bedside table to the furthest point in the room so pressing snooze means I have to get up every time. So far its working and only pressed snooze once theis week. Trundled downstairs to get dressed as my gear was in the drier from the night before.

Set off on the easy ride to Whitworth and came across some members of the tri club on the way, we greeted each other but went on different routes. I was testing out my tri bars and I dont think they fancied taking me on :) It was a little cold this morning but my woolly bib longs and windtex jacket kept me toastie, probably too toastie as when I arrived at Cown reservoir I was soaking wet and I wasn't going to hard. Took my jacket and cycling shirt off to dry out leaving only my wet tri suit on but had to wait outside for what seemed like ages as the owner/manager didn't realise the last res swim was today and not last week!! So whilst we waited freezing our arses off we changed into our wet suits. 10 mins later I was about to zip myself up and realised the zipper was at the front and that I wasn't putting bib longs on. Hmmm had to take it off again and put in on the right way round. D'oh nice of the rest of the lads to tell me I shouted to them as they lay on the floor pissing themselves.

So hastily I put the wet suit on. Now because I was so cold already I didn't think I would feel the cold of the water but boy was I wrong. I was flapping away using as much energy to transfer as heat which took 10 mins before I reached a comfortable temperature and them went off to catch the others. I started a little quick so had to slow a little but managed to catch up about half way round 800metres ish. The suit wasn't on properly and the arms 'tugged' on each stroke. Zoomed off as I just wanted to get out of there. Finished way ahead of the others and had a shower. Clothes not dry yet so put them on anyway and paid for a well earned brew. There was a very good turn out considering the temperature but have loved every minute of the reservoir swims. Will definately get myself a wetsuit for next season. Some nice bikes about and took a little time out to have a nosey. Noticed most of them with spd-sl or look cleats so asked about them. I'm not too happy about the spd system as I can't fully utilise my pull stroke. It was general consensus that spd-sl/look were better at transfering power, something about being more positive? and made you feel more like a pro hmmm at the last one.

Left the gang early to get back home and although it was windy, but downhill I felt I was going at a very good speed. I couldn't time or get a speed as my tri bars took up all the bar space so I put the cy comp at the tip of the bars but the range must be poor so nothing registered.

Once on the net I figured I would need 2 sets of peddles and cleats as I only have one pair of shoes at the mo as the mtb ones broke - cheapo Lidl shit the screw plate broke and the screws went flying. I think the problem is easily sorted though as I think you can use the shimano plates the cleats come screwed on to when you buy a fresh blister pack. I threw all mine away as I didn't think they were needed for anything. Any ideas guys?
So I have thought about the new look keo 2 max for jamis and a pair of keo easy for the vanquish. No good deals on shoes yet so will wait for another pair. Could this be a waste of money though. I'd be saving a bit of weight too aparently. I was going to get some michelin pro race tyres but figured I might not benefit too much from them compared to my schwalbe stelvio race guard so money will go on pedals unless I can be persuaded otherwise.

Got both bikes ready for the MCC club ride 2 moz. If its wet its Vanquish. Hopefully I will get up early and go for a ride past/up Holmfirth rd before meeting the clubbies at the velodrome. I hope its the velodrome we are meeting at anyway?

Friday, 25 September 2009

Last day of MY week


Another bike to work day and it was dry but very nippy. Good job I had my new bib longs and windtex jacket to keep me warm. Its amazing how something so thin can protect against very cold conditions. The best things I have bought are the overshoes. No more frost bitten toes,they are waterproof just incase I get caught out and look fab. Just need something like that for my hands now.

On to the ride and I just wanted to go as fast as I could its just a shame traffic lights get in the way all the time. I always stop at the lights unlike some I know :) The bike didn't seem like she was going faster than yesterday but a quick look at the cycomp showed I was well up on the average. Morning traffic was well behaved and seem to give me a wide berth which I am always grateful for.
Dripping wet, I arrived at my destination with an average this time of 20.8mph 21.10mins. 7.3miles.

The ride home was going to be a little more leisurely as I had circuit training and spinning not long after I was to get home. There was a bit of a head wind too. A good thing about this week has been the lack of wind. Took a while to get out of the shudehill area due to all the buses stopping in undesignated areas but once away I strolled on the flats and sprinted up the hills.
Got home in under 25mins 17mph average 7.2 miles. I was very happy with that.

Circuit training was the usual stuff but started to get a little cramp on the runs and spinning was as productive as ever, sweating bucket loads and running to exhaustion on a hard resistance.

All in all I was more than pleased with how the week has turned out. I really didn't expect to ride to work every day and I have been restricting my diet to nothing in the morning, banana and plums later on and chicken and sausage from Gabbotts for a late lunch followed by more fruit as a snack before I went home then a proper meal . Bonk training results are amazing. Weight is now 70.6kgs so not lost too much but the fat is dropping off. I have a soft spot for jelly beans and that is the only thing that could ruin it for me. Long weekend off is upon me and Pete and I have lots of rides out planned, weather permitting.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

More commuting madness


Nothing much to report. Couldn't be arsed to reset my cycle computer so no time averages or anything really. Was a little dark in the morning and should really have had a front light on but had my night vision jacket and rear light on. Also fitted the crud guards which seem to take me ages but I seem to have done a grand job and they have performed admirably. No noise, scrapes or problems with them. No incidents and a couple of mtb overtakes again.

Decided, even after a hard ride home that I'd go swimming with the tri club.Started off very strong but faded very badly even with the longer than usual rest period. 16 lengths warm up followed by 15x100m fast 2 min rest between sets. Finished off with 12 x 1length flat out sprints on 1 min. Had no energy for a warm down. Could tell that I hadn't swam for a while.


3 days in a row I will have commuted on my bikey and Vanquish feels loved once more. Reset the cy-comp as I was going for a record. Traffic was a little heavier as I set off later about 7.20am. I was really flying and everytime I got a good pace going without tiring myself out too much I came across some red lights. I stopped3 times this journey, not as many as usual. Got to Victoria station with an average of 20.1mph just under 22 mins the journey of 7.3 miles. Phew I was gasping and took me a while to get my thoughts together and to get myself out of my wet clothes. Route is here.

Way home I thought I'd set a record to get a proper time for it instead of a rough guestimate. Didn't start off well as I had to weave in and out of pedestrians and lots of buses. Shouted at a few as they really dont look where they are going, those pesky peds! Now its time for an incident of my own. Joby and Gaz cant have them all to themselves. Coming up to the lights at the junction of Miller street, corporation st and the bottom of shudehill? the lights were on green and I was shooting through, no traffic in front but a load of cars were coming from the opposite direction and turning to their right across my path so I slowed a little. Can you see whats coming? Some retard who never looked once just following the feckers infront of him turned as I crossed over the junction, I was headed straight on. I shouted as loud as I could and some how he managed to hear me, look and stop and missed me by millimetres! 'You fucking tosser, look whats coming next time, you fucking tosser' sorry I couldn't think of anything more imaginative at the time to scream. The driver looked well sheepish and a little shook up, and loads of pedestrians looked and asked if I was ok. Nice peds. Unfazed by it all I carried on as I had a recored to set. I passed 2 roadies, yay, but they were going slow as it was up a hill and hills are my forte. Traffic was building up at the junction with moston rd? so had to slow quite a bit and stop at the lights then had the first of my 'big' hills and more lights at the top. Didn't look what average I was doing along the way so just carried on as hard as I could. Took it easy down the big hill at Manchester old rd and tried to power up wood street but faltered towards the end after a strong start so had to stand and grind for a bit. Final average was 17.6 with some big but fairly short ascents thats 7.1miles in under 24min.

More commuting on bikey 2moz!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Vanquish is back....the commute.

Woke a little earlier than planned to check on my tyre and it came as no surprise it was quite flat. Had a bit of toast and jam then set to work on changing the inner tube. It was another pinch flat where the pinches are exactly the same distance as the rim tape...again. Thought I had this one sussed. Might have to ebay the things and get some carbon specials :P Thing is I wouldn't mind too much if I could use normal £1 a piece inner tubes but I need the long valved things or the pump wont fit on and these feckers cost about a fiver.

Relatively new to this commuting malarky, I set off wearing full uniform with my trousers tucked into one of the pairs of socks I had onas my new gear hadn't arrived yet. It was a bit nippy and my long fingered gloves were still damp from the weekends activities, not a nice feeling at all. Initially I was going to take it easy but I was raring to take on any car that dared and made haste to Victoria train station. Traffic was a little bare at 7am, strange but all went well and I was a work in no time at all. What surprised me was my average speed at 19mph ( 7.3miles) . The last time I commuted I went full pelt and only managed 17.5mph ish but that was a month ago. I must pay more attention to my computer as I forget what it reads and I dont get an accurate statistic. Secured the bike well as I get lots of peeps looking at it on platform 3 at the station then got changed. My shirt was drenched. Could I find a dry spot, nope, soaking wet as well as Petes hi viz jacket he lent me. And I thought it was cold outside. Lucky I had spare uniform in my locker. I GOT MY CYCLING COMPUTER BACK a few weeks earlier believe it or not. Handed in at the booking on point. I had my eyes set on a nice garmin too :(

Ride home was great considering I just did a whole days work. Don't cha just love riding past all the gridlocked cars in rush hour? No punctures yet. I over took loads of mountain bikers going at 5 mph :) I sprinted home as a work out as I couldn't be arsed going to gym. Average this time was 16mph with lots of stopping fastest before this was about 15mph.

When I arrived home my stuff had come. Weeeeeee. Crud guards, overshoes, Altura Night viz jacket ( £24 wow) winter bib longs and rear lights as I have lost 3 sets already due to road vibration. Going have to commute more often so Im riding out 2moz too.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Training, paying off?


Swimming is becoming a bit of a bore for me lately and I haven't been for over a month, training properly I mean. So Thursdays is now just circuit training and spinning.
The former is so enjoyable and I am seeing improvements every time I go, I put alot of effort into it. Coach can tell too and is giving lots of encouragement and adapting each set so that it gets more difficult. For example a simple dumb bell press and squat would turn into a squat with arms extended infront keeping elbows straight stand up and lift above head then arms dropped to the side slowly, elbows straight puttin lots of pressure on triceps for little weight. Get that?15 min rest then Spin.
Intervals, hills and sprints all in the comfort of a gym, sounds good doesn't it? Very sweaty, very likeable and very exhausting. Chatted briefly to a lycra clad spinner and turns out he's a member of tri club whos also fed up of swimming. Asked me to come to club ride on Sunday. I haven't been to a tri club cycle before as I've always had another, more important distraction but I should get to go this time. Saw Steve F (MCC) and said we'd meet up for a quick ride Fri.


Steve F (MCC) was taking his car in garage so I kindly picked him up from garage so that we could start cycling asap. Bob from Roch Tri was joining us too. Cycled to Todmorden at such a relaxed pace about 12mph that when we finished at the cafe stop I was due in work in 1.5hrs. Time flys when you are having fun and going slow. I left them and had to sprint the 18miles home. I was shattered. I really went for it not just to get to work on time but to also remove all the excess energy as this was another BONK day. Average on the computer was 16mph so I must have done well over 20mph average on the way back home. I did 18 miles in about 50 mins.
I had planned on Sat to go to Cowm res and possibly have a swim and cycle but had to take missus to A and E so didn't get to bed til 5am! Im sure she planned it :P


Wasn't sure what to expect, how many turning up, pace, distance or direction this ride was going to take so went at an extremely leisurely pace to meet up at Littleborough. A good 15 riders turned up, 4 of whom were female :) A nice trip to a cafe in a picturesque park near Burnley (just like Haigh Hall in Wigan) saw the average around 14mph and all I had was a tea, a nana and apple. I was gagging to sprint past and overtake and use up my energy but I managed to hold back and not look too much of an ungrateful twit. One of the ladies had a puncture, I was trailing the group. We shouted to the others to stop but they carried on so I stayed and helped supervise the tyre change. Eventually the others heard of our predicament via mobile so stopped and waited. Previously decided was a hilly route back, very hilly indeed!
Joined back up and went up some causeway place (any ideas, its near Burnley?) Nice steep gradients. I asked one of the members if it was sprintable and the distance til it levelled off. Up to the bungalow,hmmm only a few hundred yards. So off I went and heard someone shout 'go get him son' Some young whipper snapper went past me and beat me but not by too much, he was disguising his breathing whilst I nearly collapsed on the floor. The bungalow was about half way in the end and I had used a lot of energy in a fairly short hilly sprint. That was not the end. The yound un' carried on fast so I felt obliged to follow, with his pa just infront. The climb was horrendous as was the speed this kid was going. His dad had pulled away but I caught up and we ended up drafting each other to catch his son up. Daddy wasn't happy he was sprinting away as he had a race 2 moz. Races quite a lot. I have since made it my goal to enter more races so I can be as good as kiddo as a quick chat with the tri lot revealed race fitness is like match fitness in footie. The others were miles behind and a very windy (as in sharp turns not blowy stuff) descent to Hedben followed. Father and son carried on home I waited ages for the others to catch up. Some had decided to go an easy way to the MCC hill climb start pub but the hardcore went up Cragg Vale (Mytholmroyd end).
The 3 ladies joined us and 4 blokes went ahead. Started off easyish but the leading 2 didn't like us 2 at the rear not doing anything so tried to drop us and upped the pace. It is a very long climb with a unforgiving slope. The guy next to me was dropping slowly behind as I was tempted to overtake the 2 ahead but bided my time as there was still a long way to go. One of the leaders kicked and his m8 dropped to join my m8y. It was me and Jack. (Jack and I to the Grammar Nazis)
Now there is a little history here because Jack was a semi-pro? rider and I have ridden with him before along with Chris Newton ( Rapha Condor) and a few others. I was a cycling newbie at the time and got dropped after 100mteres of any hill ( they went up Holme Moss) but managed to claw some time back on the flats. They were taking it easy! It was the most painful experience but most informative and rewarding in my cycling life which left me slightly demoralised, suffering bad cramp as I had to walk 1/2mile home but with a desire to train so hard I could ride with them again without feeling like a trailing gooseberry. They did offer so much advice and encouragement though and it was since that day I ride up and down Holme etc to get better and better.
Anyway, back to Cragg and Blackstone edge. I drew along side Jack and kept his pace for a while. Anytime I let my foot off the gas he would let me know about it and inch ahead. One of the guys we dropped was out of his saddle and trying to get back to us, what an effort he must have put in to get within 15m! But I looked around and saw this and applied the pressure. Jack snuck inbehind me as I powered away, still on this difficult climb. He was still with me, jus,t and as we got to Halifax rd chatted bout the race. He admitted he was as his limit and struggled even drafting me but tried not to show in his face he was about to go. Another effort and I would have been away but I was saving some just incase he attacked. He said thats what racing is all about, its a mental game, getting into the opponents head, making him think you are 'fresh' when you could just drop and die any second. We ended up crossing the 'line' together but he had me as I could have been away. I fell into his trap. I learn loads from this guy, he doesn't race now as he says its full of stuck up &^&*^*& but in the end he said that I would have no problem at all keeping up with his Saturday 'chaingang' Fantastic compliment but I'm not getting complacent as I have some kid to beat now from earlier on!
We all met at the pub but I had to go as we had been out along time and wifey wasn't happy so went home past the jam packed Hollingowrth lake doing the odd sprint here and there to BONK my body.

Thats another 60 miles completed, 4 hrs, 15mph ish, slow start and very hilly return leg.

Car is in garage 2moz so Im taking Vanquish to work. Her tyre was still flat. Considering the unusual circumstances of it going flat I pumped it back up to 120 psi and banged it about a bit and so far the tyre is good. Very strange.

Bonk training is going as planned, not eating too much after rides and looking forward to some more gear arriving in the next few days ready for winter/night riding :(

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Stage 5, Tour of Si and Pete.

I haven't been in a blog updating mood lately as I'm still recovering from jet lag and going to bed at 11pm, waking at 2am staying awake and feeling knackered by 10am. It was on one such night at 4am when I was on my computer when I heard a Shhhhh, Crrrrrrr behind me. The bloody tire on Vanquish had decided to deflate itself. This has happened twice before in identical situations and thought I had sorted it by fitting good cloth rim tape. Boss rang me to come in Early on Monday as I was due an assessment. Good job as I was out for the count and wouldnt probably have not got up for my first day back at work :) I was wide awake by 3pm though.

Sunday, I had my MRI scan on my left knee so am waiting for the results. Was in and out in 30 mins. Result! I had planned to be in there for over 2 hrs and then do a short bike ride but was able to do one of my favs up Holme wassit called thingy. Set of around 1.30pm and thought that because it wasn't my usual 6am sunday jaunt that I might actually see some other roadies out and about. It was a variable day, super windy as ever with sunny spells and getting quite cold early. Well I obviously hadn't recovered from what ever it was that was affecting my riding and went at a crawl up towards Holme Moss. Must have been about 4.5 mph at the speepest bits when I easily did 7mph with Pete a month ago. Head wind was terrible, not swirly today, and only managed a tail wind somewhere near Hyde for a mile or 2. Was soo glad to get home as my toes were about to drop off and my legs ached like mad, probably due to a bad seat position as I had adjusted it again. Average speed was shamefully low and was riding for about 4.5hrs. WEDNESDAY SPETEMBER 16th

Ok, so fast forward a couple of days, Pete and I decided to have a look at the Tour of Britain stage 5 at Stoke on Trent. We were going up to Gun Hill as Pete said that Cycling weekly had told him it was the best place to watch from. That is his Bible. He sounded really excited about watching the pros and even rang me at 8.30am to make sure I was still coming when he usually aint out of bed til midday!! Lazy fecker! I felt good on Tuesday but used it as an extra rest day so Wednesday came and I set off to Petes after 2 cans of red bull and I was flying. 'Bout time. Thought I had lost my touch.
Arrived in good time as he like to screw around, putting his makeup on, making sure his shoes match his hair style :P and making me a brew. Still had to wait 20 mins for that. He showed off his 'new' 10 year old carbon wheels he purchased from some dodgy geezer on Ebay, which were in excellent condition. He's been showing them off at work all week so I wasn't too interested and figured they wouldn't help him one little bit anyway. He's been after a set for ages and thats all he kept on going on about. About 2 hrs he fig
ured it would take us, I guessed at over 3 hrs for some odd reason. Probably coz i'm used to going up hills and not riding on the flats, I was taking a very low average and it was Pete that was riding with me :)
Set off just after 9am, and straight away down the first hill Pete was on his poncy tribars powering down the hill. I just let him go off and caught him on the first incline heh. After 10 mins riding the route was quite flat and Pete was going at some pace. I sat back 20 metres waiting for him to slow the hell down as he knackered himself out. As he pulled away I thought I better do something to catch up as he was not tiring

. We were going at some average, well over 25mph in a slight head wind. Traffic was busy but the lights were kind to us. We were averaging 23mph after 10miles ish I didn't think he/I could keep it up. Could his new wheels and tri bars really make him soo much better or had he been doing some secret training. That I would find out later. At times Pete was so far ahead that I had to sprint flat out just to go at the same bleedin' speed as him, I'd catch him on the uphill bits slighly and then he was gone again. If I caught up, because of lights, up he'd get on his bars and a few strokes of his legs later he was gone I just couldn't get on his rear wheel at all. I needed a plan. I was leading up a hill, a rare moment and could hear some car beeping his horn frantically behind me then Pete came zooming past with a van . They were both exchanging words on the move, quite funny really, and didn't know what had happened. Apparently they were both in the right lane trying to get to the same place and I think Pete was blocking him off but there was another lane on the outside going to the same place so Im not sure what the van driver was complaining about. At this point I had to execute my plan. Instead of waiting to sprint flat out after he had pulled ahead, I would do it as soon as poss so I was right on his wheel. It was quite difficult but once on his wheel it was still hard work keeping up as I was unable to free wheel. Average speed was awesome for us still at 23 mph and we were at 33-34 on some dual carriage way in the head wind. Eventually we stopped at the foot of gun hill so that I could have a go on his bike. At last. What a time to let me have a go eh on an uphill bit so I couldn't give him the full force of his own medicine. We started seeing other roadies 10 mins before this and had overtook a few, on the way up I blasted away and overtook 8-9 more leaving Pete miles behind. It was good that no one had over taken us all day considering the large turn out that was already at the top 2.5hrs EARLY. As the Dolan peered over the edge all eyes were on me, on my own, looking at Petes stupid wheels :P Good job I was sprinting up fast or I would have looked stupid along with the bike. So thats an average of about 22+mph in 33miles I think, possibly more in a time of 1 and half hrs.

The time at Gun Hill flew by even though I was
getting desperate for a piss. We spoke to an elderly couple who used to live in Middleton and knew a few of our members. The leaders were 20mins late so the wait was longer. The sun decided to disappear and I was freezing my arse off. The old lady kindly dressed me in her waterproofs as we all just chattted about anything and everything. The atmosphere was electric in anticipation of the cyclists especially when loads of police motor bikes zoomed up. People started to jossle for position when the leaders were sighted. Pete barged his way onto the road and I stayed high up. BLuuuuuuur. That was it. Didn't see much. Oh well maybe the peloton would be more exciting. I stared at the bikes and wheels ontop of the team cars and nearly missed the main group as they blurred past too. Everyone was clapping and cheering, I'm sure Pete gave someone a push up the hill, one of the slackers. We discussed that waiting up there all that time wasn't really worth the effort in the end but most of the peeps told us it was the atmosphere they came to absorb really. Both of us needed refreshments and toilets breaks so headed towards Leek. What a nightmare. The road could only really accomodate 1 and half cars and we saw transit vans and a lorry going past stupidly parked cars on the verges. There was a stalemate half way down and nothing was moving up or down so we dismounted and climbed the verges to get past the traffic. There were lots of cyclists trying to get down and when the traffic disappeared the groups spread out. Pete got miles ahead somehow and waited for me at the bottom whilst I overtook lots of peeps going very slow DOWN the hill. A fairly short climb to the main road and more overtakes later, I was still not overtaken myself, we found a refreshment van and a well placed toilet, I mean tree. I somehow, miraculously managed to bypass the bacon butties as I was still BONK training and just had a 50p cuppa. Leek was the next stop.

There was a nice little market on and we decided to have fruit for lunch. Some trader yelled out 'nanas, bowl for a quid' so I went to investigate. Hmm very big bowl with 9-10 bananas in. Great value. The locals took time out to check out the aliens that had landed on their patch but left us alone. Lunch was eaten on a shop step when a reporter from the local rag came to talk to us. She wanted to interview us about the race and asked us some not very well thought out questions. Vague, is being a bit generous but Pete blagged it. Our piccies were taken and she said we would be in the Leek Tribune, I think it was called, on Wednesday. Cool.

Pete didn't want to go home the same way so he decided to 'find' Holmes chapel railway station. I forgot my train pass but it should be ok. I took his Dolan out for a spin again on flats and down hills and it was effortless pulling away from Pete in a head wind. I couldn't believe his setup had suddenly made a massive difference. He didn't waste any time in requesting 'Dolan' back!! SPOIL SPORT!!!!! Good job most of the journey was uphill. Overtook a couple more roadies but Pete started to struggle and I went ahead til a juntion for Congleton/Buxton/Manchester? Headed for congleton and Pete was loving the straights for a bit until some guy with a 'STOP' sign halted us in our tracks. Managed to keep on his wheel all the way back but powered ahead up the hills. We past Congleton station and stopped at the post office just after as Pete was hungry still. There was such an amazing smell of macaroons coming from somewhere and I wanted one but couldn't see where it was coming from. Went back to the train station as Pete's energy had gone but just missed a train so decied to go to Holmes Chapel after all. Ended up a a little town called Biddulph. Haha just looked at a map and we had gone in totally the wrong direction. There were no signs in Congleton though for Holmes Chapel? Back to Congleton and I decided to show the old man what I was made of and tried to sprint all the way back. Bad mistake because the head wind was blowing a gale and Pete was sticking to me like glue and I was knackered when I hit the train station. Good ending to remove any excess energy but I still had to ride from Piccadilly to home.

Got on the train and the guard was very understanding. Good lad. We discussed the days events and concluded that I should get some carbon wheels and some longs too :) Petes aiming for a 23min 10mile TT and wants to beat the club record of around 22mins. I again was testing out new techniques as always and was finding my up pull on the pedals could accelerate me quicker than a push. Good for short burst as I cant totally maintain it as it aches and its gets difficult at higher cadences and good and keeping a smooth rythm up hills. Easy spin home in rush hour. ( I love cycling in traffic, Pete hates it.) Just watched the coverage of Tour of England onITV4 and you can see Pete near the top in his Hi viz yellow top cheering the guys on!

Distance ~70 miles
Average ~ 19mph

Friday, 11 September 2009

The joys of just........cycling.

MAP of Ride

So its 9am. I've had no sleep since 3pm yesterday, I've got no energy from yesterday and I'm aching all over. What do I decide to do? Go on a bike ride. This was going to be a very easy ride and to stop me from getting stupid ideas I took Vanquish, if you remember has no computer, so I didn't know what speed/distance etc I would be going at. Just as long as my legs or lungs weren't screaming in agony I would be fine, so I thought.

The sun was out playing with my cat. 'I'm really going to try and enjoy this ride' I thought to myself as I placed my Oakleys over my eyes. Just to Edenfield and back or I might see how I get on. I swigged 2 cans of asda cheapo diet cranberry redbull stuff and set off on my merry way, on an empty stomach. (read somet on cycle chat/bikeradar about it dropping lots of weight so I gave it a go).

Woah, I can take it easy and I was loving evey minute of it. I had almost forgotton how enjoyable cycling can be. ( the sun did help). I was taking in the fresh air and scenery instead of tarmac and potholes. So what if I felt like crap and I couldn't cope with a gradient greater than +0.00001 I went out to enjoy myself and that I did so I extended the run to Burnley. Just passing the killer hill that is Brunshaw road (20% +) taking it very easy I kept seeing and smelling spam butties. Usually I go home via Walsden and stop at the garden centre where there is a snack van that sells Spam butties! That was my target. I knew there was a Morrisons on the way too so I was going to get a couple of bananas too. On the way past Todmordon, the market was on so I stopped for a rest and to have a look around. Not many stalls but there were many people about in a very nice neighbourly way all greeting each other. Suppose thats what happens where inbreeding takes place. There was a fruit and veg stall, every thing looked so sweet and juicy, even the wasps circling the strawberries would have tasted good. 3 bananas 57p, not bad and a couple of handfuls of cherries £3.50 robbing bastards, no wonder there was no price on it but they looked sooo good I had to have them. Noooo my change was less than a quid, NO SPAM BUTTY! I was devastated. I ate all my fruit next to some aging bikers when some gypsy came round and showed me a handful of gold shite. I swatted her away like a fly and she disappeared into the nearest pub. The biker dude followed her and came out saying the most she was offered was £3 hehe.

I wouldn't usually stop and take time out to experience such trivialities but it was a welcome change. Set off again making sure I didn't go past the spam butty shop so headed to Mytholmroyd and up Cragg Vale, which is an easier climb than I thought, and down into Littleborough. Saw an MTB'er eating a butty on a wall halfway up cragg. I was going to stop but I dont hink my legs would have carried on afterwards. Most of the ride I had that feeling of 'no energy' but I stood up and rode like that for about a mile up Cragg Vale and wasn't bothered by it. I dont usually stand up, it has to be an extremlely steep hill when I am tired. Usually lose acouple of mph by standing but I had no computer so what the heck? Hills suddenly looked easy again, any incline and I was up off my arse.

Eventually made it home with 1 MTB overtake, hmmm. Surprised I wasn't overtaken, I was going slower than normal. My legs are currently in hibernation mode as they cant stand the pain much longer. Feels like 'DOMS' (delayed onset of muscle soreness) but I've been excercsing them lots at a very low intensity. I even started getting cramp in my buttock. I know I need a few days, maybe a week total rest but I can't bring myself to do it. I did the route in some time close to 4 hrs, 60 miles, whats that in mph? 15 isn't it, ughgh.

Long time coming - update at last


After yesterdays antics there was no way I was going swimming with the tri club so booked into circuit training and spinning. Donning more of my new gear I hit it quite hard, especially the shuttle runs. Tricep dips seem to be getting much easier, pressups as hard as ever as well as the 'bench' Felt like I had a good workout and was ready to hit the spinning after I went down to chat with some of the tri lads.
Was going to work my socks off again but found myself 'bonking' quite early on. First time I have really felt like this. My lungs could keep going but there was no way I could lift my legs at all, I didn't have an ounce of energy to keep going but really wanted to. Only been working out for just over an hour which is nothing for me. Can't understand it. I wonder if the extra weights sessions were having a massive effect?


First day back in training after the 2 week holiday I went on a bike ride at 10am up Blackstone edge just an easy 42 miles as it was nice and sunny and there was little wind. I started off thinking I would try and beat my 18.4mph average or whatever it was I did on it last time. Was going strong up to Littleborough at 17.4 mph then went to 15.2mph across Blackstone edge. Last time I averaged over 32mph from Blackstone to Mytholmroyd but there was a big headwind now and I really struggled to get over 23-24mph nevermind that as an average. In typical fashion the head wind followed me all the way home. I was trying different techniques to make the wind easier to cut into but nothing was working so just had to grind my way through it. My legs felt terrible at the end as if I hadn't ridden for a few months and I could barely stand - no joke! I had averaged 17mph dead on, I'm hoping I did quite well considering the bad wind after 30 mins riding but the stats and the condition of my legs say otherwise :( I had over took 4 roadies, woohoo but they were all over 60, boooohoo.

Went to gym at 7.30pm to try out some of the new clothes. ( I bought some kiddies tops and shorts which fitted haha well cheap too $2.50 for a pair of Addidas shorts, yes you read that right) and did a big weights session then swam at 9. I dont think you could call it swimming. My arms wouldn't take me past 6 lengths and Im used to 140!!! So I did some intervals, 20 single lengths on 30 secs so about 10secs rest. Only in the water just over 20 mins and again struggled to stand up. Managed to weigh myself and I'm coming in at 73.2kgs!!! OMG have I really put on 2-3 kgs in 2 weeks!


Managed to fit in quite a few gym session in. 1st week did a lot of intervals on the excercise bike and lots of weights and 2nd week did more on the cross trainer and lots of weights. Didn't think I was eating too much either. Only 2 meals a day (although quite hefty but healthy). It was a pain in the arse finding diet drinks in Vegas. Found a shop that sold big bottles of diet Mountain Dew and cleared them out. Never saw it on the shelves again. Towards the end of the holiday I found myself gorging on a couple of big macs and the odd doughnut :) I thought The 2 weeks 'rest'would see me refreshed but i was wrong.....