Thursday, 29 April 2010

Wednesday recovery commute

Very quick one to show the total contrast with my commute to work and then my commute home.

The was a mega blustery southerly-ish wind which got right in front of me. When I woke up around lunch time I could barely get out of bed as if my legs had totally given up. This combination didn't bode well for my average speeds. Downhill more or less all the way I managed a measley 15mph!! This put me in a bad mood all day and kept thinking to myself 'how many rest days should I take this week?' 'I should have taken the car' 'What would happen if I dont ride Sunday?'

ROUTE Before I set off for home I moved my saddle forward and tilted the seat down a little as my backside was a little tender. I was hoping the wind would be as strong as it was earlier on but at half past midnight it had died down to a trickle but it was still there to give a little helping hand especially on Oldham Road. What was funny about this ride was that no matter how hard I tried, especially on the steeper sections, I didn't get any unfavourable response from the legs,knees or calves. If it wasn't for me running out of breath I could have gone even faster. This was more like it! Now I didn't plan the route in advance I just took a different way home for a change and coincidentally its 10miles, all uphill, give or take.

Distance 10miles
Average speed 20.1mph
Ascent 600ft

Bet its a long time before I do that again?

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Beaten by Pantani!


Pete was up for another ride today, this time to Blackpool a quick way, around 55 miles. I was unable to do the whole lot as I had to be back relatively early so said I'd join in to Preston-ish and back giving as much encouragement as possible :P. Donning my Rochdale Tri Club gear I met at Pantani's and set of minutes later ( made a change) into the lovely day ahead of us.

Pete led the way as I was unsure of the route and he was unable to make full use of the cross- tailwind we had. SouthSouth Easterly wind today ( - as in originates from the South and not blowing South for those not in the know). I was feeling much better than yesterday and was trying to push Pantani but he had lots more miles to do than me, sensibly stuck to his guns and actually listened to what I advised a few months keep his cadence as high as possible on his longer rides.

BELmont road was the first big climb. The whole road lasts for about 15 miles and the road surface and views are fantastic. What made it more amazing was the force of the wind pushing us up it, at one point I was doing 35mph slightly up hill. The Picture above is taken just before the road descends towards Preston and is showing the wind direction. Its so rare to have a full on tail wind we had to catch it on film! I just wanted to see how aero my position was too on the hoods too.

After over 30 miles I left Pete at the Preston/Blackburn turn off, he went towards Preston and I, towards Blackburn. Wasn't sure where to go exactly but I saw signs for Haslingdon, which Im familiar with. Haslingdon road took me to Haslingdon (hmm) and I wasn't expecting the big climb - not been this way before. Found my rhythm fairly quickly and started to enjoy it more and more. The more I did the stronger my legs were feeling and thought I might as well carry on instead of going the quick way home via Edenfield. I hit another of my favourite climbs, bacup/tod rd and thats where the fun began. There was an energy zapping cross-head wind from Blackburn but as soon as I went past Tod to Littleborough and back home there was an almighty hurricane style wind :) sending me back to where I came from. Luckily there's a lot of downhill parts so wasn't as bad as it could have been and I managed to power through it.

That completed a great weekends work of cycling for myself and Pete, who has impressed me ride after ride. I think I missed my 200mile total by about 0.6 miles in 3 days. Pete completed 300miles in 3 days.....the %^&%^, well done to him with an average of just under 16mph.

Distance 75miles
Average 17.4mph
Acsent 5000ft.

Went swimming afterwards too 7-8pm with Tri Club and did a lot of pull bouy work to take the emphasis away from the legs. Still felt strong in the water, considering what I did earlier. Approx 90 lengths and lots of chatting.

Super aero bike, blingy bike

Rejuvenated Pantani

On Saturday, Pete had boasted of doing about 130 flattish miles with an average of over 16mph. Now having previously rode with him recently I didn't believe this to be possible as he couldn't even get that on a ride half as long. I decided to test him to see how far he really had come.

I wanted to ride through Ramsbottom and find the really nice climb I went up last week coming home from work but I took a series of wrong turnings and somehow ended up in Accrington. Neither of us had been here before so it wasn't a total failure and its also probably the most direct and definitley quickest way to Clitheroe for future reference. Wind was all over the show again and I was struggling badly after yesterdays ride. I shamefully clung on to Pantani's wheel for dear life as, whilst sitting down, my legs felt like jelly and there was nothing going towards the pedals. From Todmorden, however, I found out that if I stood up I felt miles better, putting loads of power down, but had to control the length of time in and out of the saddle to get maximum effect. This new found lease of life shook Pete up a bit and I started to pull away when he least expected it and I ended up having to wait for him a few times after some climbs. He likes to lead and puts in way more effort when he does so when I got ahead on climbs he drifts back at an alarming rate.

We spent a lot of time messing about in Accrington centre looking for toilets and trying to find a way home, also lots of temporary traffic lights about and general traffic at 4pm so our final average was quite a good one.

Average Speed 16.2mph
Distance 56miles
Ascent 4000ft

I was on Scottie today and she looked very sexy. Im going to have to put up a new photo of her. I ordered a new adjustable stem for her too as I think its having a massive effect on my times. Pete is going great at the moment, improving day by day. Can tell he is putting the miles in unlike a couple of months ago. Hopefully out on bike Tuesday too but that 300mile total is out of reach. Maybe next long weekend when I have better weather.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Slow recovery?

Monday 19th April - Cycled to work, long way in, short way home totalled 27miles. Finding it very hard to pedal with any conviction and strength. Went to the gym to test my power output on the gym bikes. I averaged 270 watts over 10 miles in 22min 14secs. In Decmber I did it in 21.46 but I felt miles, miles better today so there must be a variation in the different machines. That's my excuse anyway.

Tuesday 20th April - Cycled to work again but would be my last for the week due to it being freezing cold on Wed and Thursday morning. Needed Deicer on the car. The trek home was very slow for my standard and only averaged 16mph. Went swimming again to keep that side of my fitness up.

Wednesday 21st April - Running at Springhill School's Track. Started off with a mile(4laps) warmup then a 1.6km run, 1min 30 rest, 2 x 800m 1min 15 rest, 3 x 500m, 1 min rest , 4 x 400m, 45 secs rest , 5 x 300m 30 secs rest, 6x 200m 15 secs rest. Bit of a killer session that as Im not used to quick sprinting-ish short sets. I think I pushed Lee quite hard as he said he was going to take it easy as he had a half marathon on Sunday but as I was going the fastest I have ever done, I don't think he wanted to get beaten :) so he ended up pushing himself for every set. Just 2 laps for warmdown.

Thursday 22nd April - Rest day. Aching only a little from running usually it cripples me for a few days.

Friday 23rd April - Footie day. Aching more from the running and after this 1hr 30min session my legs were worse. Managed to do lots of running all over the pitch especially longer sprints as the pitch was huge for the number of players we had.

Saturday 24th April - Rest day and boy do I need it. Legs, arms, chest, stomach everywhere was in pain OUCH!

Sunday 25th April - Big cycling day!! Or so I thought. It was my long weekend away from work so the missus and I agreed Fri was us and baby day, Sat was me and the wife day and Sun, Mon AND Tuesday were do what I want days! How I managed to negotiate that one I do not know. Maybe she saw the weather forecast before I did! I had it all mapped out. 3 days 300 miles.

8am I was due to set off and meet with the fast Mossley gang. It was wet and raining but I heard that the weather was due to brighten and warm up later so I held back til around 11 ish. In the mean time I quickly changed from cycle to swim gear and went to Rochdale baths for a swimming session 9-10am to pass the time and maybe the roads would have dried up.

30 lengths warmup then a pyramid of 2-4-6-8-10-10-8-6-4-2 lengths with 15 secs rest! and I used a pull bouy through out to firstly strengthen arms and secondly to simulate the added bouyancy as if I was wearing a wet suit for open water swimming.
Next was 8x100yrds on 1min 40s fast then a warmdown of 4 lengths. Total number of lengths was about 120. Good training session as an old training partner from Aquabears turned up and
piled on the pressure. Not many at the pool either as there was a triathlon at Chirk which most of the Tri club were doing.

I was going to do my own ride in the end. Im liking the Edenfield Rd climb at the start so that's where I went and the even bigger Bacup/Tod road was next at a height of over 1300ft above sea level. Despite the battering my legs took during the week they were feeling good today but it did take a good half hour to lose the niggling achyness.

I had bought a new stem for Jamis, one that is adjustable through 60 degrees so that I can get in a really super aero position, even being just on the levers. Also changed the 25mm tyres for the ones on Scottie the GP4000s and attack as I have some shiney new Michelin PR3 for Scottie.

With the new aero position comes a couple of little drawbacks. The shoulders,neck and forearms were taking up most of the upper body weight so started to ache but not so that it was unbearable and I need the saddle lower as I sit further back so legs were slightly overstretched. As I headed up towards Halifax via Tod and Hebden the sun shone boldly onto my new Rochdale Tri Club gear which in turn made me feel like I had to go faster. It is a really nice kit, the bib shorts have the best pad I have ever used and the s/s jersey fits like a glove. I went to Halifax and as I hit the centre I had averaged 19.6mph for about 36miles with 3000 ft of climbing. I turned around and wanted to go the flattest and quickest way home so that I could break the 20mph barrier. No problem I thought, what can stop me? A bastard thunderstorm with accompanying tornado... That's what!!! As soon as I turned to head back home it suddenly materialised leaving me a quivvering drenched wreck.

I gave up the fight for a 20mph average and just wanted to get home ASAP. My fingers started to go numb and my forearms cramped up due to the new bike position and the coldness. I didn't put my over shoes on and my toes were blue too, Im guessing. I hit Walsden and after thinking that that was no point in putting my waterproof on I thought it might warm me up, which it did perfectly. When I finally arrived home, it had dried up and the sun was out again but what depressed me was that I waited for the rain to stop before I headed out in the first place so that my bike wouldn't get dirty and it ended up in the worst possible state that I have ever seen her in. She had a brand new chain on which I had to take off and thoroughly degrease and deshittify.

Distance 68miles
Average Speed 18.7mph
Ascent 5000ft

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Rain Rain RAin

Im trying to get out on my bike but its GOD DAMN RAINING!

Monday, 19 April 2010

2010 Club Track Championships - Round 1

Sunday kicked off the Middleton Cycling Club Track Champs which was held at Manchester's Velodrome 3-5pm.

In the morning I went swimming with the Tri Club as I hadn't swam in a while again and don't want to get too rusty as it takes ages to get my swimming fitness back. Started off with a 40 length warm up the 8x100m 20 secs rest, 4 x 150m 30 secs rest, 4x50m sprints, 10x25m sprints. Took me ages to get warmed up and my arms started to ache after the first few lengths but I got stronger as the session went on. Hopefully it would be good preparation for the track later on.

I noticed that there was very little/no wind today and was a little disappointed not to be out on the bike. It was cold and cloudy though. At home I got the Planet x track bike ready by pumping up tyres, changing saddle height and set back, and lubing a bit. We set off to the Velodrome at 12 as we are sure the news letter said 1-3pm but when we got there another club was on and the MCC session was at 3pm so we went back home and went back.

Got ready and psyched myself up. I was really excited as I had some new competition in the form of Paul J (MCC) who is a very good triathlete, tied with me in the club hill climb and can run 10km in 36mins. I was hoping all the road miles would serve me well and for once I hadn't overtrained before the event. We had a 30 min warmup where I put in some good efforts to get the legs warm but Paul was having trouble as he used his own shoes with Look Keo cleats, the velodrome bikes take Look Delta....D'OH! Quite dangerous as he unclipped twice and had no control over the bike's speed.

I was first up in the 200m flying sprint, 1.5 lap run up. Tried to stand up on the corner but couldn't so sat all the way and gave a lot of effort. Time 13.90! Previous best was high 14's. Paul J got 14.5s

Next was the 1km time trial ( 4 laps) and I was really nervous for this, No idea why. I got some pointers on starting from the holder and before I knew it he was counting me down. Start wasn't great but I managed to stand up for half a lap to get the speed up. I tried to keep it up but felt I was slowing on the 3rd lap and by the forth I was calling upon the powers of my mind to get me across the line. At the start of this I was contemplating wether to go flat out on the 1km or the 2km as I'd have been happy with 2 wins out of 3. Time 1min 24.6 previous best was 1min 28.6 and Paul got 1 min 26s. 2 nil.

There was a nice 20min gap til Paul and I went head to head in the 2km Pursuit and my legs felt they had sufficiently recovered to have a stab at this one too. Strangely there was no nerves present for this one, so relaxed, must have been the thought of reaching my goal already and I had taken the pressure off. Don't get me wrong I wanted to win this one too. GOOO! Both of us had similar starts and were neck and neck. By the 3rd lap I could see I was pulling away and let off the gas a little as I thought I had it in the bag. By the 4th we were neck and neck again and I had to dig deep but save some for later. Lap 6, my camp said I was behind, didn't look like it to me but it kinda pi55ed me off that I had let him get ahead and I kept my eyes on Paul all the way round the 7th lap. We were still exactly opposite each other, crossing the line at the same time but on the last lap I sat back and pushed as hard and as fast as I could. As I crossed the line I gazed at his finishing line but couldn't tell who had won until I heard my camp shout that I had got it..just. Wow that was difficult and I was cramping up a little. Time 2min 53s my previous best was 3mins. Paul got 2min 54s. 3 out of 3 ain't bad ;P and it added to my enjoyment.

Finished the session with 20 laps going quite fast then I was called in and that was the end of Round 1. 2 more to go and I know I will have to work hard to keep the Track Champion Trophy at home. Cycle Chat forums have a 2hr session booked in June which should tell me what kind of form I am in for July's round. I don't think Ill get much track time in by myself as the weather is picking up and I have new goals to aim for. There is going to be a 'Crit' series in the Eastlands area of Manchester starting middle of May, this should be my first road race. Not sure weather to start of with the Go-ride version or the full blown E/1/2/3/4 cat. There are a couple of Triathlons in June too I am thinking of entering.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Extended commutes

Just a quickie and as the sun has got his hat on I have been taking a long way into work. Still very windy out there and I've learned to kinda ignore it instead of worrying about it slowing me down too much.

Friday - 17 miles worth with an average of 20.4mph. Way too many traffic light stops on Oldham road and the roads are pretty hectic. Wind was tailing on tuesday or was it monday but today it was a cross wind. Wasn't feeling good so couldn't push as hard as I wanted, the legs just moaned and cried. Some nob head driver turned right, infront of me, and I managed to react and turn the corner with him but I didn't want to go that way! I heard his passengers 'gasp' loudly then shout at the driver so a little justice done.
Cycle home at midnight was a nice ride for a change. Not as blustery as usual, slight head wind but averaged 18.9mph for 7.5miles. I should hope so too as I went through the pain barrier to get that. Target of 20mph for hilly ride home is very achievable in the next 3 months I think.

Saturday - Another 17 miles, same route as Friday but the difference is that the wind was in the totally opposite direction to the beginning of the week. I had a tailwind up and down Victoria Av towards Oldham, woohoo, but on Broadway and Oldham road it went to a Cross then a full on Head wind, booooo. Stopped at all the lights again and was upset at the 20.1mph average, though not all my fault.

Definitely getting stronger as the week is getting on which is highly strange but good news as I have the Middleton Cycling club Track Championships on Sunday. Still debating wether to turn up or not, if I do I will go swimming with Tri club as I've not been for a week and half.

The past month or so, coincidentally since the supermarkets started selling cheapo easter eggs, I have been eating lots of sugary foods and I mean lots! I suppose you can count Mcdonalds as a sugary food too. After my ride on Sunday I had 2 Bigmac meals then straight away went to the mother in laws for a full roast then 4 hrs after, a massive stir fry. That was one of the good days! I haven't weighed myself for ages either as I am too scared to see what it displays and Im fed up of limiting myself. If I dont eat loads my performance drops too. I will weigh myself next week just to see what effect it has had the last month. I feel my flat speed is improving lots but my hill speed slowing a little, must have put a few pounds on.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Can't stop stuffing my face....

full of crap. That is all for today.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Dull and Dutiful

Monday/Tuesday I cycled to work, extending my usual distance due to the sunny spells we were experiencing. Did about 3hrs but couldn't measure speed or distance due to forgetting to put magnet back on wheel.


All I wanted today was a nice, quiet,enjoyable, flat recovery ride around Cheshire somewhere which the first 15 or so miles were so full of promise.

Met at Pantani's and as usual he wasn't ready, screwing around with his wheels whilst juggling breakfast and making the brews. eventually we got out of the door about an hour later than planned, really there was no plan just the short brief above.

We tried to head in the direction of a tail wind but it didn't last long and neither did the flat bits of the ride. To be fair I did request going up the Cat and Fiddle but didn't realise what to expect as I heard rumours it was a gentle climb. Grads of double figures isn't gentle nor combined with cross head winds which insist on pummelling you into the ground for a submission. The wind direction was a pain in the arse too as Im sure it kept switching from E to N to W and back to N and E. I waited a couple of miles up for Pete, for what felt like ages and when we set off again I noticed 2 roadies on the prowl. I stopped chatting and put some distance between all 3 of us. Pete was gobbled up very quickly whilst they passed me when I stopped to see the Peak View cafe was closed after speaking to a very nice elderly couple. I wanted to hunt roadies but Pete wanted to stuff his face.

Stopped at Cat and fiddle pub as Peak View was closed and had a BLT and coffee as Pete was struggling. More work and less f^&*ing about I say, Pete! THe day was going very very slowly and my average hit a low of 15.3mph, didn't help having to wait for hours at the top of each climb. To Buxton and Long hill then the worst slog home I have endured. It wasn't pretty. I stood up most of the way home even though Id feel the full effect of the wind, it made me feel better. I did practice standing up, hard efforts on the drops for the aero effect.

Missus said it had been gorgeous all day in Manchester whilst every where we went it was dull and overcast with a hint of rain. Crap ride and can't believe we did just under 80 miles.

Distance 78 miles
Average Sp 16.1mph
Ascent 5600ft

Sunday, 11 April 2010

What a weekend!

Sunny and warm weather awaited all those that dared this weekend. Sunday morning at 7.30am was still a little cloudy and slightly nippy especially in my shorts and ss shirt. The plan was to ride as much as possible until 10.30am where I would meet Rochdale Tri club at Rochdale baths after their swim. I would normally join them for a swim but just cannot be bothered and am concentrating all my efforts on cycling.

I was using Scott for the first time with the new KCNC brake callipers, dura ace wheels and patched up latex tubes. I took out alot of crap from my saddle bag that weighed around 1kg too including tool kit, 2 inner tubes, spare lights and batteries and rain proof thingy. Didn't need my big thick gloves or over shoes either.

Head/cross head all the way to Rochdale baths more or less so I took it fairly easy just incase the faster lads were turning up. Still averaged just under 17mph for 40 miles with quite a bit of climbing, namely Edenfield Rd and Bacup/Tod rd.

Not all that impressed with the brakes, firstly the cable affixes to a plastic 'drum' with a flimsey tiny allen key, single pivot - kiddies bikes setup which seemed to take a lot of fiddling to get right. I was working blind as I didn't have a clue what adjustments could be made or how to fit and Im still not sure if the callipers are supposed to pivot where it fixes to the bike unlike the normal dual pivot shimano thingies which are fixed. They seemed to work without rubbing but move the wheel laterally a few millimetres under braking. Braking power and features were similar to my carbon wheel set up. The ultra smooth braking rim of the dura ace wont help either. They weigh next to nothing though! 200g a pair. I had a few concerns regarding the dura ace wheels when I first got them but testing them out on a ride has changed my perception. They don't 'feel' as aero as the fulcrum zeros but are just as stiff even with super thin spokes and rim, roll a lot better than expecting but when climbing I am a different animal. Ok not quite, as Im quite a capable climber already but as a little guage, when on a steady climb I stand up a few strokes to keep the speed up and sometimes go up a gear or not at all but vitually every time I did this today I had to go up 2 gears even in a head wind. I do this route a lot so know what gear I am usually in and when. I love these wheels.

Back to cycling and when I got to the baths the Tri club had finished their swim and readying their bikes. Lee and his mate, Mike were last to set off so Martin and I waited whilst the others set off. Martin is supposed to be a good bike rider so I was hoping to see what pace he would set but had to turn back after 3 miles as he forgot something at the baths, never saw him the rest of the day. On the way met Kieron who is probably the fastest short distance triathlete we have and sure he's won some events. Kieron and I over took the gang and went on ahead, gauging each others efforts. Soon after on the way to Walsden we latched onto 2 guys, a 16 year who rides in the revolution events at the velodrome and Im guessing his dad, who had a wheel guru top on....ring any bells? It did to me anyway so I knew they would be fast. We drafted them for a mile or so until they waved us through and we upped the pace slightly, even Kieron said to slow down a little and heard from behind we had increased pace. We kept it up until some lights at Tod and the youngster took a sizeable lead. I kept up with his dad but we weren't gaining so sprinted to close the gap and caught most of the time on a short steep climb. The other 2 drafted me and when I caught up, quicker than expected, I drafted until I got my breath back. The kid had slowed down quite a bit now so I took over and we were all in single file. I led for what seemed ages, must have been going well until Kieron took over just before the little climb to Hebden. I got about a minutes breather then the other two went past us and slowed the pace right down. I said to my tri club mate about 2 mins after we joined these that I wonder if they'll try to drop us on the climbs, he said nah, but I had a feeling them were up to something and they were! Suddenly on the steep climb they hammered it up and I reacted but was 2 bike lengths behind. I soon caught them back up and the lights were kind. On the descent to Hebden they both looked round and I was still on their tail, must have been a road race tactic. Kieron missed the cut and pootled up. They stopped at a cafe in Hebden and I thanked them. I waited for Lee and Mike as they were carrying on. The other tri lot were also stopping in Hebden.

Mike hadn't been getting the miles in so we went at his pace until Luddendenfoot, 5 miles ish then it was just Lee and I and went at his pace. When I hit the front and think Im not going too fast he drops back, not too sure if its on purpose but he does go faster up the hills so I ended up riding side by side until the next big climb at Ripponden - Rochdale Rd. I said I couldn't be bothered going hard but Lee said what's the point then, and I think he likes to watch me climb. I stood up a lot of the way, much more than last time I went up here. I waited on the flatter bit before the road climbed again for 2 miles to the top of Blackstone Edge. I used my technique of standing for 6-10 pedal strokes and then holding it as long as poss until repeating. I was hurting at the top and waited again. Had a tail wind for the half of the way home and I still had the legs to press on hard.

Average Speed 17.5mph
Distance 82miles
Ascent 6000ft+

Saturday, 10 April 2010

A bit of TT training

The last few days of this week I have used to train specifically for a 10 mile TT. Adjusted seat further forward, post higher and tried to adapt position as I think getting a great position is half the battle or even 75%. So on the first trip to work I noticed I was pedalling at a lower cadence but putting more power down. I think a trick with TTing is the seat height as to get the most power you have to be virtually standing so you are balancing on the tip of the saddle and at the bottom of the pedalling motion your leg is stretched, but not over, and puts the leg in a more natural position to pull up.

Thursday I managed 20.3mph with 3 traffic light stops at 3am! Good going but I was really going hard and it takes it out of you for the rest of the day.
Trip home was a more sedate affair but 17.2mph wasn't bad.

Friday morning I felt terrible, I think 2 hrs sleep solved that riddle and I rode an 18.6mph average into work. The journey home I took a little diversion and rode 13 miles as hard as I could and as its 'all uphill' it was a killer.

Average was 20.3mph.
Ascent was over 800ft.

I'd say that was good going but the knee was aching and my backside too from all the bouncing with the seat post a little too high.

Saturday's early morning commute was as difficult as Friday's but I went to bed 6pm the night before and managed a good 8hrs but my legs were still aching from last Sunday and Tuesday. Completed the trip with average of 19mph.

The return leg was going to be a longer TT as fast as possible. Wasn't sure of the route until I set off so I eventually chose the road to Bury, towards Ramsbottom, up some long climb Holcombe? then through Haslingdon and Edenfield and back home.

Average Speed 18.8mph
Ascent ~3000ft
Distance 40 miles

I hadn't done most of this route before so made a nice change. I can't believe the average either as there were some big climbs especially on the road to Holcombe where I over took a roadie but I did go as hard as I could with a little in reserve just in case. Excess energy was depleted on the final sprint home.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Muscle Soreness

When I apologised to my legs last week for putting them through intense pain, I guess I didn't mean it and proceeded to repeat the feat the very next week. The thighs were very tender and the vastus medialis was 'stinging' for days after. That area doesn't normally hurt but I have been told the longer stem I used can change the way you climb and help put more effort in/use slightly different muscle groups/more efficient but unusual position. Could also be that I hadn't ridden for a week.

I used Monday as rest day but played footie on Tuesday, knees still aching. That finished at 7pm and I was up for work at 3am the next day where I cycled to work.' Doms' hadn't kicked in by then so was able to put quite a hard effort in, breaking my record for average speed into work at exactly 21mph for 7.5miles. This time though I didn't stop at a single traffic light which would have had a big impact.
The ride home was a different story as I could barely walk. With a head wind I still managed an extremely respectable 17mph - all up hill more or less. In fact that is close to impressive. Yes, I am impressed.

I had planned to run with the Tri club at the track on Wednesday but there was no way I could. Even though I got up early enough to cycle in on Thursday morning I couldn't have turned the pedals more than one revolution and the temperature was 0 degrees! I went to the track wed to drop off the Fulcrum racing zeros which Lee was grateful to receive them in one piece. Not tried out the Dura Ace ones yet.

Sorry to Redbikes, I finally got round to repairing the many innertubes thrown in the corner of my room and found the PARK super patches are exactly that. I've done a few rides on mended tubes including a latex one and they are holding solid. They come in a tiny box, only six of them for £2, are translusent, stick with 'no gaps' if the tube is prepared well and can mould around any imperfections ie rubber seams.

Its fast approaching timetrial season and hope to better my turnout from last year when I completed one measly TT. That was run by PETTS in Preston and only managed 27 mins 08 secs. I had only been riding my bike a few months though.The goal for 2010 year is 23mins. Pantani got a 25mins last year at a fast course in Levens so I think it is feasable.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Pendle Witches Vintage Velo


A few guys from Rochdale Tri club had persuaded me to enter the Pendle Witches Vintage Velo Sportive longer route of nearly 60 miles. Some of the faster lads said they would be going so I wanted to show off my stuff. I looked at the website the night before and it looked like a route that I kinda knew and was very familiar with. It also stated entries were via post only so I turned up and took a chance.

Not exactly my usual 5 am wake up call but was out of the house for 6.30am to climb Edenfield road to the Pub HQ in Rawtenstall which is about 16miles from my house. Arrived in good time and met Dan and Jenny ( both Rochdale Tri) +mates. Whilst waiting for the others I managed to register (£10) , affixed number, and drank copious amounts of free coffee available. There was also water if needed. I ogled most of the bikes on display but was more than happy with Jamis's appearance who was constantly in the spotlight. It was close to the start of 9am and Martin rang Dan to say he was 5 mins away so we said we'd set off and he'd catch up. Apparently he set off 30mins after we did. The vintage bikes set of first then 5 groups set off seperately to spread out the riders.
First big climb was just outside Padiham and we formed a group of 6 ish. I went off quickly not expecting anyone to tail me but Dan was fairly close followed by the others. The next big climb was shortly after out of Sabden and you could see the full extent of the beast from a distance at the top of the first climb. Some of the others got a little disheartened but I attacked it as usual and overtook about 20 riders. Once again Dan was only 30m behind and we waited a couple of minutes at the top for the others.
The night before I had changed quite a few bits on Jamis like new lights, changed wheels, tyres dura ace brakes and most importantly an 130mm stem. It puts me in a much more aero position to fight the forces of nature. On the descents Jenny was beating us all due to her super aero position, I held back due to my carbon wheels and specific brake blocks. The trip through Clitheroe was lacklustre due to the regularity of me passing through but the 4 mile gentle to steep climb to Newton was a very welcome distraction. I left the others for dead after a couple of hundred yards and achieved my rhythm in double quick time. I over took a large group near the bottom and was on my own til the top where I waited about 4 mins. There were a few marshalls there whom I chatted to and wished us all luck when we restarted. A chilly descent to Dunsop Bride was where our 'food' stop awaited. On offer were energy bars, flapjacks, drink tablets, chocolate, gels, water and lucozade sport. I took a gel and plonked a 'salt' tablet in my bottle. Jenny and I got a brew, expecting the others to follow suit but as we did the others decided to set off and said that we'd catch them up. Hmmm.
It wasn't long until we did move again and tagged along with a 'fast looking' group mounted on Colnago, Dolan and Cervelo crafted frames with exotic wheels and jerseys to match. Jenny struggled a little on the climbs but was more than a match for them on flats and descents. It was funny watching others try harder as we passed and overtook group after group, must be humiliating to be overtaken by a girl. I started to get severe cramp just after Whalley, so still quite a long way to go, was quite happy to go at Jens pace on the ascents. I had the same problem at swimming on Thursday night, but the legs felt full of energy. I ate my gel and a snack size snickers and drank as much as possible but the only cure was to keep the pressure off the pedals. The worst bit was when I had to stop at a set of lights near Blackburn when both my legs simultaneously tensed involuntarily. I pedalled through the pain which lasted only a couple of minutes and the climbing that followed, I concentrated extra hard on technique, trying to give a constant force what ever the angle of the crank. I kept getting twinges all the way home and just had to lay off standing, and power work.
It was a relief to get back and as we did the guys that left us at the food stop had just finished propping up their bikes so had caught up a fair bit.

I passed on the pie, chips, peas and gravy being offered as part of the fee but took my high 5 goodie bag with loads of 'nutritional ' crap inside as well as a complimentary bottle of lucozade and certificate of completion. I wanted to get a good long ride in as training for a 'surprise' bike ride Pete and I are doing in August. The only other thing I will say about it is Pete had better get some more miles in and lots of them! I climbed Bacup rd and descended past the scene of my little accident on tod rd. I was hurting badly but clenched my teeth tightly and pushed on. The legs were starting to go, was it the legs? or was it my body just telling my legs?

No idea why I got cramp, could be from pushing very hard on the climbs, it wasn't nice anyway.

The actual event was very well run and organised, sign posted well and gave quite good value with a top hilly route thrown in for good measure. Im typing this at 3am the morning after and I am still getting twinges in my muscles.

Distance Sportive 'the Trial' 53 miles + Extra = 105miles
Average 15.8mph
Ascent 8500ft +