Friday, 18 April 2014

Scotland 2014 ride 2

Tuesday dawned bright and blue skied & after a massive breakfast the crew hit the trails hoping for more of yesterday's fun. We had the whole day with no pressure of having to do anything else but ride and ride we did, mostly the same route as yesterday plus the rest of the red trail and selected best parts of the blue, multiple runs down "berm baby berm" trying to beat the no pedal record that we'd spotted in the trail centre shop. This was a bit of an eye opener actually as when you can't pedal and have to "pump" the trail & stay off the brakes to carry speed through the corners you actually seem to go quicker!, thoroughly knackering but brilliant! Today i also left the ground over the jumps & there is photographic evidence! We may not have done a long distance ride but we packed a lot of trail in today, riding our favourite sections over and over with a lunch stop in between before heading back out for more trails. we have been so lucky, every local we spoke to said that this was the 1st week where the weather had been settled and dry.Add the light winds and it couldn't have been better. Tired but happy our thoughts turned to chippy tea!
ride 49
19 miles
total 816

scotland 2014 ride 1

The NWAlps crew consisting of Dan, Craig, the Puppy and myself arrived in Peebles in Scotland for three days of biking. Paul and I had been before, Dan once but had hardly touched the trails and Craig was a newbie so it was interesting to see what the guys thought of the riding after all the hype and stories  i had been feeding them about how great it was.
It took around 6 hours to drive there in Craig's amazingly comfy "Super Custom" mini bus, we dropped our stuff off at the B&B, had a quick drink at the trail cafe and started the climb up the Glentress's freeride area. We got our eye in on the skinnies and black short cuts on the entertaining climb before reaching Buzzard's nest and the jumps, drops and obstacles of the free ride area. We spent a good hour here, we'd picked this week hoping it would be quiet, and it was so we had run after run on the jumps until someone suggested "just one more go" which is fate's code to produce a disaster and we knew it was time to continue on.We'd planned to stick to the easier Blue route as we were all suffering from "van-lag" But as we passed the final climb to "spooky wood"which is on the blue route, we thought, sod it, lets do the climb and put our feet up later.
Spooky wood needs no description here, It's well documented and anyone in the UK into mountain bikes will have heard of it but suffice to say the giggles and smiles on the lads faces told the whole story as we regrouped at the end of the 1st section. the 2nd and third brought similar results and quite a lot of arm-pump with stories of near misses and how we tamed the terrain and went faster than each other.
It was a great first day and as we rolled back to the B&B we knew after a refuel, tomorrow would be even better
ride 48
12 miles
total 797

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Roubaix day

today is Paris-Roubaix day, what better preparation than a ride. In almost the perfect opposite to how the professionals will experience things we had no dust, no cobbles, no hoards of screaming fans, no crashes and no team car. What we did have was sunshine, empty roads, some hills and a refreshing cuppa and a teacake! wae also made it back in time to see the peleton hit the forest of Arenberg where the fun begins
ride 47
29 miles
total 785

an average ride

I've been invited on a ride by some local riders, they told me they do 30-50 miles which is within my range but when I asked what speed they average I was told 15-20mph. I've never done more than 16mph average on my road bikes so the last few rides I've been trying to up my speed and tonight was the latest attempt. I had limited time which i thought would be an incentive to get a move on. I also change my GPS so that it stopped recording when i stopped moving,this is useless off road as trees affect the signal and it thinks you have stopped, but on the road it works a treat. With the stop/go option engaged I did my personal best for the route going as fast as I could on the flat and not hanging about on the climbs either but to my dismay when i got home i had done a paltry 14.82mph average. I know the stock answer to "what can i do to improve" is either pedal faster or pedal at the same speed in a higher gear but if anyone has any ideas I'm all ears
ride 46
11 miles
total 756

Oil seed rape scene

country lanes in the early evening are the best, maybe there's no chorus of bird song heralding a new day as you would get in the early morning and there's also no peak temperature of a lunch time jaunt but after 5 pm on a lovely sunny dry day the roads are a dry and as quick as they are going to get, flowers are in full bloom, bees are busy collecting nectar and the slowly setting sun sets the sky and clouds alight. They say a picture paints a thousand words but this picture just doesn't do the moment justice as there is no way to convey the intense sweet smell of a full field of oil seed rape in full bloom. In fact it was rather overwhelming  and it didn't hang around as insects other than the lovely bees had started to notice my presence and given my luck on the last few rides i didn't want to share any more blood
ride 45
15 miles
total 745

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

mental block

I've ridden this climb before. I've had any thoughts of being reasonably fit destroyed on it. I've been passed three times by the same rider (twice up and once down, Hello Isla Rowntree) and almost gave up cycling there and then. So you can see why I usually avoid it or take a route the opposite way and descend it instead.
But today I thought sod it, I've not been up it for at least a couple of years, now is the time to see if I humiliate myself as usual.
The thing about this sort of mental block is that when you actually confront the obstacle it's never as bad as you remember, I'm expecting a long drawn out climb with numerous steep ramps that seem never ending where I'll wheeze and huff and puff my way up wishing for another gear to drop down into. Not today, i was a little shocked to find myself on the more open twisty section in next to no time and i arrived with three sprockets to spare. Job done, metal block dissolved. Now all i have to do is improve my time on the next attempt!
ride 44
22 miles
total 730

Monday, 7 April 2014

well, as it turned out I did have time to get out today, more due to @charlotteTCR doing a great time in a 10K run, so before settling in to watch the Tour of Flanders I did the "up the canal" route and was more than satisfied to achieve over 10mph average on the one geared bike, which is the same as Ive been doing on the geared bike!
ride 43
14 miles
total 708
commute 290

I wanted to get a longer ride in today as I wasn't sure if i could ride tomorrow. So i set off towards Worcester on the singlespeed bike via the canal system. It was quite muddy in places, a semi slick rear tyre didn't help grip and the lower part of the towpath near Hanbury is quite neglected and technical because of large holes, off camber roots and deep mud pits. It also didn't help as i suffered a puncture on this section. Tube replaced I joined the Droitwich canal which is now happily fully open, there was a dangerous bridge at one point and the towpath was diverted through a farm and along some lanes to avoid it but it's now open and easily navigable. A bit of tarmac and a nation cycle path later i was near Worcester race course. I pedalled over the cycle bridge to the opposite bank of the river Severn to have a look at the houses built on stilts to avoid the flooding that occurs ( and did not a month ago). Crossing back I found an American football game, the home team being Worcester Royals Uni AFC before hitting the Pumb house Eco cafe for some lemon drizzle and a cuppa!
ride 42
22 miles
total 694
commute 290

Thursday, 3 April 2014

riding the Sahara

"the old and disabled should avoid physical exercise in the outside air" was the warning |I heard today from the media, or words to that effect. Wind in an unusual direction was the culprit, bringing a large part of the Sahara with it. After rain showers, all cars were left with a dusting of light brown sand.
Now I'm not disabled and although I'm getting on a bit I don't consider myself an O.A.P. yet but even I thought twice about riding and getting a lung lining of silicate particles. Then i thought that in the summer I've ridden through a lot more dusty conditions especially in races where I've ridden through clouds of the stuff so I thought I'd risk it. In the event the rain was more of a hindrance than the air. Now, if we could have some Saharan heat along with dunes falling from the sky things would be great
ride 41
14 miles
total 672
commute 273

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Vicious Buggers!

I think I only uncovered my legs for about 2 hours and much less than that was actually in the woods but my skin must be like a beacon lit and burning on the highest hill around as something homed in and feasted on my blood with abandon and not just once! spring has finally arrived. fecking insects!
ride 40
8 miles
total 658
commute 273