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 figured 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