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.
FRIDAY 11th DEC
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.