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......