Tuesday, 30 March 2010

I Love Wheels ( and red things)

Arggghhh. It took me nearly 2 hrs to clean up the Fulcrum racing zeros to get them in a condition I was given them. He wouldn't lend me anything else in the future otherwise. He has a pair of Zipp 404 clincher....*droooool* I DONT WANT TO GIVE THEM BACK. I hope he's reading this :P From the piccies I dont think they suit the bike but that isn't the reason I didn't end up purchasing these. I always like to try new/different things for example if I had a box of choccies Id take a little bite out of every one just to see what they taste like.
There have been some good things said about the Dura-ace cl c24's and are quite a bit cheaper than the zeroes. Their weights are fairly similar at 1400g.
Initial thoughts....... flimsy, thin, light, braking surface too smooth? bearings, whilst smooth don't spin well at all. I hope I haven't chosen wrong. The Fulcrums are miles ahead of the dura ace at the moment but the proof is in the riding.
Red anodised brakes just to lighten Jamis up a bit. Look ace so I might have to put them on Scottie. You can see how much juice I had left after my 70 mile ride on Sunday, quite a lot! That the only bottle I took.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

I apologise to my legs for the pain and hurt.....

I figured I could do with a proper rest week as I can't sleep and feel shattered which are classic signs of overtraining. Im soo glad it rained virtually everyday as both bikes were ready to go at a moments notice. Monday/Tues were total rest days with minimal sleep and I drove to work. I promised Lee from Rochdale Tri club that I would go running at Spring Hill School's track as I hadn't been for months and not many people were showing up. I had to do as he said as he leant me his Fulcrum racing Zeroes as Im looking for a new pair of wheels for my commuter :). Actually that reminds me he gave me the wheels at a swim session on Tuesday so that wasn't a rest day, it was a hard session too.
I really didn't want to run on Wednesday but I had promised my mum that she could look after the baby so off I toddled thinking Im not going to do very well. Completed 5 laps warmup then did a 5km timed run. Ideally we were told to do the first 200m 80% and the 2nd 200m at 90% of each lap. About lap 5-6 I started to get a stitch due to stuffing my face full of Maccy D's at lunch. I took the 2 laps easy until it died down and from lap 8 onwards I felt great, going faster and faster. 12.5 laps later my legs were crying, burning and can't carry on. I got timed at 21mins 30secs and couldn't believe it. I have always aimed for a time of 25mins and wasn't expecting to beat that by much. The fast guys got 17.5mins and Lee didn't lap me! Woohoo I was ecstatic! I think he's scared I might beat him at the only discipline he can thrash me at :P A few laps, drills and a warm down later, it was time to feel agony for 4 days. So thats until Sunday I did nothing but drink milk and try to sleep. The knee was fine too.....for now.

SUNDAY 28th March

My thighs were still a little achey but knew it wouldn't affect my cycling too much. The weather forcast on MSN around 10pm showed clear, dry and still air from 4am-7am with wind speed and chance of rain increasing exponentially as the hours passed. I went to bed at 11pm after devouring chicken curry again and doing final checks and brake pad change on Scottie then realised the clocks went forward in the morning so set the clock to 12 and was due to wake up at 4.45am to avoid the shitty weather.

Crawled out of bed at 5am and made a filter coffee, looked outside, it looked promising and txt Pantani what a lazy git he is. Was out for just after 5.30am and it was raining very very slightly. The Fulcrum racing zeroes are very light,stiff with superb silky bearings but performance out of the saddle is where it excels with very little drag and flex. They sound super with a hint of buzzzzz and whirrrr. I decided to do Holmfirth Rd and the Moss. The wind hadn't materialised yet until the top of Holmforth Rd and I was thoroughly enjoying the ride and the speed, due to the wheels? or the rest? or training? or slight tail wind? I didn't drop below 10mph which is fantastic and when I did hit the top the gales started and 40mph was too easy. BIG PROBLEM I rarely venture past 40mph as I dont like going fast downhill but since I wasn't going downhill ish I was well over but the computer can't register ( Blackburn Delphi 6) and sets itself to ZERO until the speed drops to 36mph. What a ball ache. The speed did't last long as I soon 'U-turned' onto Woodhead Rd to Holme Moss. 25miles ish completed. The rest of the journey would see me go into a terrible head/cross wind virtually all the way home. I was at 19mph! average at the bottom of Holmfirth rd-Yorkshire side. The Holme Moss climb was difficult but I didn't give in and the wind was trying to force me back down the hill it was that fierce. It was hard work to get above 6mph. The down hill bit was scary as the wind was straight across the bike and I had to lean the bike into the wind. If the wind let up for a split second the bike wobbled as I tried to rebalance then the wind applied the pressure again causing me to shit my pants even more. At the bottom of this one the wind was worse, if it could get worse but since I decided I wasn't going to ride my normal 100miles I'd really go for it.

That was easier said than done. My thighs were killing but I knew it would help so kept powering through as best as I could. I don't think I've tried that hard on flat sections before. The worst was when a long downhill bit approached and went without going over 20mph - now that is demoralising and that's when I was trying my hardest. A couple of miles on Oldham road, uphill, saw a change in direction of road so a slight tail wind guided me on the awaiting head on stuff further up on Broadway. Some cyclist tried chasing me on Victoria Av but he gave up very quickly. More pain was to come in the form of Wood street, the last climb home. Previously not too long ago I hit a top speed of 15mph at the top steepest bit. OMG 8mph is all I could manage.
I hadn't looked at my average for a long time but I was pleasantly surprised.

Average Speed 17mph
Distance 69miles
Ascent 5400ft

I got home unable to stand, thighs were on fire. I literally had nothing to eat or drink all ride, just 2 swigs from a 1litre bottle but that wasn't the problem. My ickle legs had suffered all week so I am sorry. I quickly downed 4 pints of milk to aid recovery.

It was difficult to get a good proper experience from the racing zeros but initial impression are quite good. Im not sure they are worth £215 more than the dura ace cl which I suppose is the cost of ceramic bearings but its breaking surface is miles better than what Im used to. Also the 'orange' anodising is ghastly and won't go with any bike it's paired up with. The tyres were Vittoria Diamante pro? which seemed very bouncy and gave a comfortable ride especially on my stiff Scottie bike. Shame I have to clean the wheels and give them back. I have ordered another set of RSP lights as Im fed up of swapping and changing them.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Happy Feet

After last weekend's ride I was going to take it relatively easy this week. Monday and Tuesday were rest days which I hate taking even though I'm sure it will do me good.

Wed,Thurs and Fri I cycle to and from work and as its relatively short I try to go as hard as possible.
On Wednesday I was still in my winter gear and went out of the door straight into a blowing head wind. So from 20mph normally to 17mph on the way in but achieved 17.5mph on the way home where there was no wind and was close to my personal best.
Thursday saw the same head wind but averaged 18mph this time into work but coming home from work at 1 in the morning the air is quite still but with a slight tail wind. I absolutely flew up the hills and although still getting stopped around 3-4 times at lights I averaged an amazing 18.8mph. I suddenly felt much much stronger on steep inclines and even in the head wind I can finally feel the power being transferred to the road. This seemed to be a problem I kept having on the flats/descents but the force I can put down with zero discomfort is really giving me a boost.
Friday I took the summer stuff out, shorts and shirt and the wind had died down a bit but more of a cross. Attained a respectable 20mph on the way in. I did think Thursdays ride home was a bit of a fluke so was determined to beat it. The inclines were tough as usual but managed a max of 20mph on Rochdale Rd climb about 3.8miles in on the map and 15mph at the top of Wood st where I have usually collapsed at 6.8 miles in. Final average was 19.5mph with 2 traffic light stops and all uphill more or less. This was in the wet and minimal wind.

Seems to be remarkable progress which I can measure from feeling it in the legs and average speeds. I am putting it all down to warmer weather, summer clothing so cooler and sweat evaporates quicker and drinking 2 pints of milk after each ride and inbetween. I have been drinking gallons of the stuff, the red top and sometimes orange top. I wonder if the doughnuts with the milk is part of my elixir.


For once it wasn't the wifey that spoilt my plans for the day which were to ride to Mossley and ride with the fast gang that Jack had introduced me to.The night before I had chicken curry and rice and that was going to be it until the end of the ride. I set off 8am and drank a pint of milk and a coffee but took some chocolate egg with me just in case. I took it very easy to save all my energy for the quick ride that was inevitable. On the way, past Failsworth, I passed Dan-Bo and another fellow cycle chatter going in the opposite direction and gave a quick greeting. On Coal-pit lane I finally had my first true puncture. Ive had pinch flats and backup if needed but I was alone this time. It was the front tyre a 20mm V.Rubino. OMG could I get the tyre off?? NOOO!!! not for a good half an hour. In the mean time lots of cyclists and runners had gone by and offered help which I declined, trying to prove my macho worthiness to myself. To be honest I dont think they could have helped with this terror. Eventually I somehow prised the tyre off and extracted the offending piece of glass with my raw fingers. Managed to fit the new tube fine but needed the tyre levers again to force the tyre on the rim. I knew my crappy little mini pump would come in handy some time which I used to check that the innertube was seated properly and I hadn't damaged the new tube. Once the test was passed I got out the heavy weaponry in the form of co2 pump as recommended by lost sheep. The cannister screwed in with little force, I pushed the valve on the presta connector, unlocked the fire button and pulled the trigger. Psssssst, white powder flew everywhere but the tyre was rock solid in less than a second. Fantastic! I had very nearly phone the father in law to pick me up and once the tyre was sorted nearly turned around but still had 20mins to meet up with the gang so carried on.

There was a blustery tail wind which meant I could go fast yet still take it easy. I was hoping I would see them come in the opposite direction but there was no sign of them,even at Mossley. I went to Greenfield and up and down Lees road into Oldham and from there to the moors at Saddleworth which was a long climb. The descent brought me out to Newhey and Milnrow and the steep short section at Kiln Lane which I murdered for a change 11mph and not a point below. In Littleborough I saw a guy from Rochdale Tri club. I then decided to go up Blackstone Edge to see how my legs were really feeling. The climb was interrupted by 2 sets of traffic lights....at least I wasn't going down past them! Apart from the stops I didn't drop below 10mph but then realised I had quite a nice tail/cross wind. Still good going. At the top I saw Dan from the tri club, absolutely loads of cyclists out today.Across and down Cragg I had the biggest tail wind ever and hit 40mph very quickly. I had to pedal at a cadence of 130 to achieve this but halfway down I saw my mate Lee ( who I rode with on last Sunday) so stopped and turned around and joined him UP Cragg. Was having a good natter and went DOWN Blackstone edge being stopped twice by those bleedin' lights and killing the speed.
Lee left me to go back home and I turned towards Walsden and Tod. Bit of a head wind but I was putting the power down quite effectively. In Hebden I looked all over the show for the cafe that Rochdale Tri club usually go to but since my memory is crap it took a good 10mins. The Tri club were there but not the big hitters. They were ready to leave but I managed to sup a coffee and a slice of toast (only had a £20 note) in record time to set off with them to Sowerby and beyond. We didn't go up Cragg but carried on further and up some humongous climbs. The pace was leisurely but at the start of the first climb I blasted off, waited at the top and was going to do the same at the biggest and longest climb but the head wind was exceedingly bad. The others took shelter behind me until I began to pull away and only Jack remained ( who didn't ride with the Mossley lot either) I wasn't sure where I was but suddenly found myself going down Blackstone Edge again. I left the others as I was on the home leg now. I joined them to pass the time as I get bored riding alone even though my averages were hit then suddenly Jesus!!! those traffic lights again!!!!
The head wind was as strong as ever and my legs were really pushing through it. The last 15miles I gradually increased the average as if the wind wasn't there.

For the last 3 months my knee hasn't been affecting me at all, I have been concentrating higher cadence which saves the legs so I can do the longer distances easily. The last week though, using the bigger gears I can feel the knee go a little and is a real shame as I might have to tone the training down.

Average 17.4mph
Distance 90 miles
Ascent 6300ft

Monday, 15 March 2010

Sunday windy,hilly superb ride


Met Lee H (Rochdale Tri) at Rochdale baths for a century ride. He has always wanted to do one and I said I'd help him through it and as a big bonus I don't get bored shitless riding on my own. He was fully loaded with gels, bananas and a Soreen malt loaf brick which he gorged on constantly. I just had my water bottle and train pass, nothing else including money which was probably a bit stupid. The advice I offered was to take the hills easy and keep the cadence as high as possible. The first 30 miles he flew up the hills and due to a double chainset or not being used it, his cadence was a lot lower than mine. I kept mine around 88-90, although the legs felt fine, even after yesterday, I didn't want to risk blowing up as my glycogen stores wouldn't be fully replenished.

We started fairly quickly into the headwind towards Clitheroe so I took the lead to slow it down a little ( i hope) and so he would draft me up the long climbs from the start to before Burnley. For some strange reason anyone I ride with don't like drafting me, I'm happy to sit back and go with the flow usually. It was then all downhill to Clitheroe and was a little shocked to hear that after 40 miles he wanted to stop at a cafe and demanded an egg buttie. Fair enough however finding an open greasy spoon in Clitheroe is like looking for a hair on Pantanis head. After circling every road in the town centre I suggested to go to Waddington as I remembered the tri club stopped there when doing the Northwest Passage Audax. I the said that I knew a nice scenic route through Bolton by Bowland and Gisburn but neglected to tell him of the monster climbs. He wanted to go a flatter route via Blackburn and Bolton.

Found the cafe in Waddington and it was jam packed with two wheeled, weekend warriors. Luckily for us a big group was just leaving and asked if we wanted the chain and lock. I questioned it and they replied that the cafe supplies them for all cyclists. Wow that is fantastic and a custom that should be adopted further afield. Lee got his buttie and kept insisting I ate and drank something. I repeatedly declined but gave in and ordered a pot of tea and said for food all I need is fresh air and sunshine of which there was a plentiful supply. Lee proudly declared he was riding with someone who was on a 200 mile weekend whilst I tried to hide, a little embarrassed. By now I was getting a little harassed with all the questions being thrown at me, one being why don't I race hmmm. I'm not used to the attention and when leaving there were whispers ' he's the guy on that bike' lol. Supped up and asked an elderly gent where to go. After 5 mins of umming and ahhing he looked really pleased with himself and said take a right here and straight on for a long way.

The narrow quiet roads were a dream to ride on especially with the warmth of the sun belting down. Took it easy as Lee said something about low glucose level after food ??? then ate another banana 10 mins after the cafe. We were enjoying the ride until after bolton by Bowland and he wasn't impressed by the climb that was ahead. I tried to go at his pace but found it difficult so opened a gap up only to find him trying to keep up. I slowed again and told him to go at his own pace or he'd suffer. Anyway he put a lot of effort into the climbs which is the only way to get better...it was only a matter of time. All the effort was worth it as we descended into Nelson barely having to pedal as by now we actually had a tail wind albeit a little swirly. Burnley was soon upon us and Lee said to go on ahead before the climb to Tod as his legs had gone, so he stopped off in a layby and I carried on. He had done around 70 miles, 80 by the time he got home and was chuffed with his 5hrs 15min ride time. I took advantage of the tail wind until Walsden where the wind got stronger and stronger and more tornado like. On the home leg it was like riding through treacle with 2 punctured tires and an elephant strapped to my back. I was starting to get dehydrated too as I had only drank 500ml of my bottle and a cup of tea. The legs were great still but my insides were crying. I got back before 4pm too so Im still alive to tell the tale.

I felt a lot more aero with the longer stem and being stretched further out, my back was fine too! This bike is turning into a dream.

Distance 95 miles
Average 15.5mph
Ascent ~6000ft ( my cycle computer has it exactly the same as 'ride with Gps')
( Thanks to lost for the new mapping tool)

Just over 180miles for a weekend's work and 12000ft of climbing...Lovin' it.

Saturday windy, hilly but superb ride.


Pantani had devised a route to Kirkby Lonsdale which mimic'd the Northwest Passage long route. Total would have been around 130 miles but since we only set off around 10.30am that was going to be out of the question and he had a backup plan just in case, it involved taking my train pass!

Route was Tod via Whitworth, then to Burnley and Nelson. Through Blackho into Gisburn and up the A65 towards Kendal. Pete was hating the hills as ever but giving them a good go whilst I was using my new technique to waste as little energy as possible but keep the average speed on the climbs high. The howling head wind on the A65 really screwed around with us and I wanted to turn around but didn't say anything. -2% gradients we slogged it out at 10mph and a 6% climb on the same stretch saw the same speed attained.

There was a little campervan cafe at the Orcaber Lane turn off. I had spam,egg and black pudding buttie and Pete sausage, bacon and egg. It was for the novelty value and to stop the rumbling rather than fuel as it takes ages for my body to convert food into useful stuff. Once that was devoured we entered the head cross wind and the spectacular climb of Keasden Road. It is around 5 miles long of steep gradient and I gave it some welly. I rarely dropped below 9mph on the whole climb even on 9%-10% sections. Totally secluded farmland with views for miles of clear skies and the rolling peaks. Naturally I waited at the top for the navigator and we took the descent to Slaidburn relatively easy as there was another killer climb to come which had even steeper gradients. It started off from Newton and is called Hallgate hill. Its 'only' 2.5miles long but I waited 8 mins at the top for the knackered old man. The only part of the ride where we had a strong tail wind. I was feeling great and on form. Pantani's fitness is coming on leaps and bounds and is finding the 80 miles with lots of climbing easier and easier. He was complaining about back pain from 20 miles onwards.

We finished at Clitheroe and got the train back to Manchester as is was getting dark and late. A quick 9miles home removed anything I had left in the legs. At home I reflected on what was an exceptional ride probably the best I have ridden so far partly due to the effort I was able to put in on the 2 climbs at the end of the ride,the company, the views and the weather.

Distance 85miles
Average Sp 14.7mph
Ascent ~6500ft
Max Grad 25.7% :P

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Off roading isn't for me.

Being a nice morning and having the mother in law over last night meant I just had to go out on the bike at 7.30am. Don't usually manage to get out so early on a weekday but Im off work for a week so what the hell, I'll brave rush hour.

My Sidis were covered in mud from the audax completed a few weeks ago and I really wanted to use them again. They had totally dried out so whacked them against a wall and all the mud dropped off leaving a nice shiny pair of cycling footwear. I wonder what would happen if I whacked my bike against something hard. Would she come out just as clean? I got to find out later.

The route would be Norden, Edenfield Rd, Rawtenstall, Bacup, Todmorden Rd, Walsden, Littleborough and home. Roads were quiet, the direction I was travelling in, a different story on the opposite side. Cross-head wind bothered me mucho as I have come not to expect a tail wind at any time these days. I didn't have long, approx 2hrs otherwise the missus would start to get angry so I had to make the most of it. It takes me a while to get warmed up, around 30 mins or so, but once I had got going I was powering through the wind. I had a couple of hairy moments with the rear wheels sliding out - Vittoria Rubino pro Slick 25mm. Must be a little ice on the road as it was below zero that night. Once on Todmorden Rd, I took it in turn to stand up for a few spins then sit down and repeat. It doesn't tire you out as much as constantly standing but you get that burst of speed which you can continue for a few seconds until you stand up again. That was the theory anyway.

At the top the road drifts slighly right initially and on the descent I wasn't counting on a massive tail wind. So when I approached a 90degree turn about a quarter way into the descent I was shocked to see 40mph on the speedo!!! OMG thats 10mph over my comfort zone. That corner was coming towards me way too quickly and by the time I realised I needed to brake ( carbon wheels) I knew it would be too late as braking into a corner at that speed will make me lose control of the bike and I would have been splatted onto the rocks/road. I could have leaned in the corner like a motorbike and try to take it without braking but again I wasn't feeling optimistic due to the previous slippy wheel problems and my line was all wrong. Time was running out. I tickled the brake and went straight on. I was preparing to jump the curb but the cycling gods must have been smiling at me as my wheel was guided through a small opening in the curb about half an inch high and a foot wide. I then had to negotiate lots of rocks and the banking was raisied quite high but didn't seem to slow me down. I turned the bike to the right and eventually stopped in the mud and grass and next to a big rock which I leaned on. I was still clipped in and upright! I looked back at the trail of carnage and just thought how on earth did I get through that without damaging myself or the bike. The adrenaline was pumping treble time and I loved every second. I got back on the bike asap without checking it over and went as hard as I could, not quite reaching 40mph this time. At the bottom I turned right to Walsden and found the chain wouldn't stay in the big ring. 2 or 3 of the teeth on my new Ultegra sl crank were bent and forcing the chain back to the little ring.

There was now a nice tail wind all the way back home and I was able to get the big ring if I was in one of the 3 smallest sprockets on the back. 2 of the teeth seemed to have bent back into shape and one of them was a little mashed but hammerable? I was going to take advantage of the wind so went as hard as possible.

Got back totally 'buzzin' (stupid Manc word) and just slightly over time.

Distance 40miles
Average Sp 18.4mph
Time 2hrs 10mins
Ascent Just under 3000ft

Wednesday - 2 spinning sessions 1 3/4 hr
Tuesday - 10mile TT on gym bike 21min 16 secs and 1hr swim.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

A spoonful of sugar helps your legs go round.

After Wednesdays ride and mishap I finally got round to changing the gear cable on Jamis. So I changed the gear cable and DISASTER. I found out that the gear lever only shifts in and out 3 notches so the mechanism must be screwed. I've trawled ebay for a tiagra right hand shifter and missed 2 at £35. There seem to be quite a few posted on the site so should get one eventually for fairly cheap. Well it made me a bit depressed seeing Jamis in 'bits' and feeling helpless so I had the perfect remedy. Whilst at work on Saturday I visited the Co-op across the road and bought 2 bags of doughnuts. One jam and one custard. I ate 8 of them with a pint and half of milk then a few hours later I revisited the crime scene to buy a chicken pasta, greek yoghurt granola and a Snickers duo ( as a just in case for my ride on Sunday). All carb'd up I was well prepared for a ride but was not sure where I would be going or for how long. Pete and I had discussed about doing a ride with 10,000ft of climbing so I thought I'd do a little reconnaissance to see how he would cope hehe.

Had the mother in law looking after baby on Saturday night so I had a nice sleep til 6am when the alarm woke me up. I then proceeded to wake the rest of the house which made me the most popular person around. I needed to finish 'Scottie' off by changing sadddle, screwing bottle holders back in and sorting out the frayed front derailleur cable, oh and a little lube. Hopefully the bike would behave and be a lot more comfortable and smoother than previous trips. Managed to get out at 7.15am and it looked like the day would be a stunner and it did turn out that way.

I hadn't been up Holmfirth Rd for ages due to snow and ice, that used to be my usual early Sunday morning jaunt and it was full of hills! The legs were feeling terrific today so I was keeping a good eye on my average speed and keeping it as high as possible. The cross winds had other ideas though. Although there wasn't really a head wind at any point, it was all cross, which still plants a wall of air in your path and is highly annoying especially when it lasts all of the ride. I reached the bottom of Holmfirth rd with an average of 17mph, attained by not using too much effort, or excessive effort I should say 'cause I was trying quite hard. I have done it before but nearly killed myself doing it as there is a slight up hill gradient all the way. I was expecting lots of snow and ice, there was but not on the roads. The climb was fun as I kept looking at my average and seeing that I never dipped below 9mph and hit over 10 a few times. The only time I had previously gone over 10mph is with a strong tail wind. Once at the top I have been used to getting up to 30mph before the drop into Holme, however that bleedin' cross wind limited me to 20 max. Even the descent into Holme was a struggle just about hit 36mph with limited brake use, for a change.

Next climb was up Woodhead rd to Holme Moss Summit. Very steep in places. Altimeter gave a good indication of gradients which rarely fell below 7%. Previously struggled at low 5mph-6mph but was doing high 6-7mph, saving some for the climbs to follow. Once at the bottom I didn't want to hang around so had a quick drink and turned back to retrace my rubber. Up and down then up and down again I was back in Greenfield after completing about 50 miles. Went back to Oldham, through Shaw, Newhey and Milnrow and up to Littleborough and Blackstone Edge. My mums house is on the way, not far from Kiln lane, so popped in to relieve myself and to tell her Ill be back later. At the bottom of Blackstone Edge climb I had done about 70miles and was getting tired as I was still putting all the effort in to get a good average. Usually keep to above 9mph but was lurking in the high 8's. Just past the White House pub there is a left turn and a flattish/slighly up hill run to the Cragg Vale drop. I have done over 30mph across here but that cross wind was annoying the hell outta me and just over 20mph was attainable. Even the mad descent into Mytholmroyd was getting on my nerves. Well over 35mph should have been easy but not today, around 25mph.

At the bottom of Cragg Vale I saw Rochdale Triclub, about 12 of them, headed in the opposite direction. They instantly recognised me and asked me to turn and join them. I didn't have the heart to climb something like that again and I know that I wouldn't have made the 100miles. What was on my mind most was that my average would have taken a hit as going back through Tod was virtually all downhill to my house. I was expecting some sort of tail wind but was sadly mistaken so plodded on as fast as possible which was getting more and more difficult. Any gradient I had to stand up, power up and grind my teeth or I'd have rolled backwards.

Got home and the bike was caked in salt but had held up brilliantly and I nearly collapsed as I was exhausted. Actually 'Scottie' was a hell of a lot more comfortable and the 100miles wasn't a chore. The last 15 mins I was seeing red spots all over the road.

Average Speed 16.1mph
Distance 100.2miles
Time 6hrs 13mins
Ascent Funny one this as MMR-7500ft, BikeHike-8800ft, computer-9800ft.
Quite a big difference. Its a lot of ft whatever the actual figure was.

I was aching a while afterwards and took about 3 hrs to recover but the day after I really feel I can do another 100miles. Maybe its just the gorgeous weather we are having but if I did go out my train pass may have to have been used? Treated myself to KFC.

I have noticed that my bike riding is a lot like my running. My flat/downhill speed is close to appalling compared to others but stick me on a hill and we have a level playing field so to speak.


Still feeling good and still gorging on Thorntons choccys and Chicken Vindaloo I went to the gym a bit stuffed and bloated. Missus joined me as baby was with my mum. She went on gym bikes I warmed up for 10mins on the bike then hit the rowing machine. 5000m 19.28s. Don't seem to be improving but I was a little shattered after the ride on Sunday. We then both did the Tri club spinning session which was a bit boring but worthwhile.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Comedy of Errors

Route Hill1 Hill2 descent

Considering the new circumstances I have been managing to get out on the bike a fair bit recently.
Monday and Tuesday were cycle to work days, averaging 19.5mph on the way in and 16.7 mph on the way home. One of the days I was at 21.5 mph average 500yds from work with 3 sets of traffic lights on a steep down hill section. I arrived with just over 19 mph average. Devastated. I could have broken PB easily oh well.

Il Pirata had devised a very hilly route for us to ride on Wednesday which passed some UFO site he kept going on about that he wanted to visit. Knowing Pete though, I took his version of lumpy with a pinch of salt as he would describe 'The Netherlands' as 'hilly'.

I was running a bit late as I was playing with Scottie and found out one of the main problems I have been having with her. The chain had been stretched considerably and is more or less unusable. No wonder I haven't been impressed with my new, expensive aquisition. I had done less than 1000 miles on it too!. Im guessing that it due to the extreme chain tension as the rear derailleur is virtually horizontal on the 28 sprocket and 53 rings and virtually horizontal in the opposite direction on the 11 sprocket and 39 ring. The derailleur must be close to its limits. I have now got an Ultegra Sl compact crankset, new 11-25 cassette ( which should keep the gearing spacing closer) and a new chain. Runs a lot smoother now. Just awaiting a selle royal viper saddle ( same as Jamis) from some kind gent off bike radar forums and to put on 25mm rear tyre then Scottie should be sorted. Due to this lot I hadn't managed to give Jamis her usual once over before our ride. During the week I had noticed the 9 speed shifter becoming a little slack so once at Petes tightened the barrel adjuster but didn't test it out.

After a brew and a bit of banter with Pete's missus we set of towards Tod and Hebden around 11.30am, the boring, Steve F ( roch tri) way. The day started nice and warm and sunny and nearly left my wind jacket behind but on arrival at Tod that all changed as cloud appeared, the wind picked up and it became close to freezing at 1pm. We spent ages looking for church lane.' It's just round the next corner' Pantani said after every bend since Littleborough. Eventually got there ( SEE HILL 1 above) and the climb started off steady for about 50 metres then picked up immediately afterwards..13%-14%-15% my computer with altimeter (Pete got me for Chrimbo) told me. That was the easier bit over and done with 17%- 18%-20% - 21%. About half a mile up Pete screamed he needed a rest so after averaging 4-5mph I stopped on a fairly flatter section just before a humongous hill that was steeper than anything we had already been up today. Pete wondered why I had stopped and I replied that it was because he asked for a needed rest, the fool. He apparently didn't mean to actually stop. This is where everything gets interesting and this tale will go down in cycling folklore for seconds :P.

I tried putting the bike into the lowest gear for the hill before I set off but for some strange reason it wouldn't. I had a quick tinker with the barrel adjuster and rode off again. The roads were very narrow and a car was coming down the hill, Pete had already started the climb. Another car was coming from behind me so I thought I better stop and let them both past as they would have trouble even without me being there, it would give me time to look at the derailleur again. When I looked up, I had only just clipped in and was going extremely slowly, lost my balance as I turned around and had my first ever clipless moment. I hoped Pete wouldn't hear what had just happened but fate is cruel and even though he was halfway up the hill he heard, turned around looking at me picking the bike up, slowed and nearly came off himself as the hill was over 20%. I started to blame him for these events by making us stop in the first place and he seemed to be taking it on the chin. The fun doesn't end there. I spent the next 5 mins trying to get the last gear. I kept telling Pete I wouldn't need it but he insisted it should be fixed at the roadside as I would never make it up, hahaha. Whilst screwing with the Tiagra shifter, I pushed it in a little too hard and snapped the gear cable. BOLLOX! Cheapo Wilkinsons crap. There must have been a bit of the end still on and stuck in the outer cable as I could shift to a higher gear but not to a lower one and the tension was still there but couldn't put extra tension in. I left it in the 19 sprocket and we went back down the hill, wearing the brake blocks down as we went just as slow down as we did up. Please bear in mind I have hardly any sleep at this point but when I got going again in the 34 ring -19 combo I forgot about the 50t ring and had to peddle at 140 rpm to keep up with Pete. Needless to say I was miles behind. This went on til we arrived at Todmorden, 15 mins later, then it suddenly hit me my front derailleur and gearing was fine. It still doesn't end there.

Pantani had been going on about how his new Treviso Prolite wheels were amazing value for money, fairly light at 1650g and that I should get a pair. I kept telling him how 25mm tyres would make a big difference to ride quality so we decided to swap wheelsets as we both had 9 speeders. As I took mine off and handed it to Pete the free wheel and cassette vitually fell off, being held on by a thread and the quick release skewer. 'F&^% that have ya wheel back' hmmmm. I screwed it all back in an assured him that it would be fine to ride on. He grudgingly accepted this and we went in search of this 'UFO' site. I now know why I couldn't get the small gears and couldn't blame Pete for anything :(. Pete never told me it would be up some more 20% profiled hills and Im sure he wanted to get his own back at me for leaving him on previous rides.

Pudsey road saw the start of HILL2 ( see above) and my cadence dropped to 20-30 as my thighs screamed up the ascents. 34-19 was my lowest gearing available and unbelievably I made it to the top, all 1.2 miles, without stopping. We had finally reached the destination and the picture above shows what all the fuss was about. I couldn't move the picture so it kinda spoilt the suspense. It shows an aircraft navigational aid thingy which is at the top of Pole hill, used by aircraft going towards Manchester Airport. Bit of an aircraft buff is Pete. I took the chance to phone the missus as I was going to be very late home but was going to set off again asap as I was freezing. I couldn't zip up my back pocket so asked Pete to do it. He said it looked like he was trying to fondle my arse. What a thing to say in the middle of nowhere. He then proceeded to say that there wasn't a no entry sign on the gate to the 'UFO' so he wasn't trespassing. I told him that there isn't a no entry sign on my arse, it doesn't mean that he can go up it!! Numpty.

The DESCENT followed at a super slow speed as the gradients were -20% in places. What a dent it would put in my averages. My numb fingers and toes were screaming out for a cafe stop and we found a place called 'Oddies', a bakery, back in Todmorden. The girls in there were very hospitable, usually they wouldn't give you the time of day. A tomato soup, hot choccy and meat and potato pie later we commenced the home leg.

The wind was in our faces most of the way but the ride was generally enjoyable for winter.

Distance 60 miles
Average 14.5 mph
Ascent 3300 ft

On Thursday I went on a taster session at the velodrome so that I could try out my Planet x track bike. I used the 48-14 gearing and found it was great for short sprinting but found I tired very quickly during a 1hr session. Will try a 15 sprocket next time.

Went to Leisure lakes in Bury to get a gear cable and to see if they had a Scott helmet in stock that was reduced £70. The lady serving was on the phone answering a query about a bike for sale. Talk about unhelpful. She wouldn't ask the guy next to her if she didn't know anything and replied to most questions...'Yeah I think so'. Find out so you know so, dumb cow. Another question was 'What is the spec?'' Its standard' she said. What he bleeding heck does that mean? The colour? Blue. NO! Its orange the bloke next to her said after overhearing the conversation. FFS. Serving me, she was disgustingly chewing some gum and tried selling me brake cables. Jesus Christ, how do these people get jobs? That single experience is enough to stop me going there again.