Monday, 20 March 2017

Don't Panic!

In the words of Corporal Jones, DON'T PANIC!
there has been a lot of tree removal on the NWAlps because of a tree disease and the need to remove the affected trees and space ou the others to help stop the spread. areas are being made back into the heath land that they originally were.
the pile of wood is huge, you'd think that there were no trees left at all and the fanced off bits of the forest look like all the best trails have been affected and maybe lost forever. but fear not, a recce yesterday showed that all the old favourites look intact so far. Also all this clearing means we can get access to parts that were overgrown before and we can start to shape and build new trails, all is not lost, DON'T PANIC!
ride 20
15 miles
total 413

I am not road bike fit

I like to think i'm reasonably fit for my age, my peers from school mostly seem to be fat and look at least 10 years older than they are but i certainly not road bike fit.
today was the first Cycle Studio Redditch social ride with Alex, Dan and Mark two of our customers. Alex is the one we all tried to hang on the back wheel of, but he is 22 years younger than me! more worrying is that Mark is 9 years older than me and he kept up with Alex the whole ride, he does however have a carbon fibre wonder bike and i'm using that as an excuse. i was barely able to hang on to Dan's wheel though and he's hardly ridden lately due to a back injury. so not a very good performance. I will say i rode 30 miles on a fat bike into a bloody great headwind 16 hours earlier and my legs were showing signs that they needed a break.
It was though, great fun.
ride 19
18 miles
total 398

a day of fails and wins

win: western power turned up early and finished in an hour
fail: the lawnmower was out of fuel
fail: the petrol station doesn't sell petrol cans
fail: fully fuelled the lawnmower pull cable snapped
win: the local lawnmower repair place had what i needed for 1/3 of the pride of B&Q
win: i was able to ride there
win: and extend the ride
fail: the grass still needs cutting
ride 18
30 miles
total 379

pre work ride

I don't particularly like working the late shift as it seems in impinge into my after work riding time especially in the winter when every second of daylight is important. but now spring is beginning and days have more light. so if i can get my arse into gear and get out early enough i can get a good 1.5 hour ride in before work. The boss isn't keen on me turning up on a bike covered in mud, but i reckon that's just jealousy as he was in early.
ride 17
18 miles
total 349

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

MTBers go road riding

Last year I didn't do as many road rides as i'd have liked to do, i concentrated more on off road. But as is usual as the professional races start and are shown on the TV i start to get the itch. In fact it's 12 months to the day since i did my first 100k of 2016.
I'd managed to borrow a Trek Emonda SL from work so it was with some trepidation that i met Ian and Russ, as i'd never ridden the bike before and didn't know if the saddle would suit my backside. the planned 50 miles would return a verdict on the comfort one way or the other. Also ever since I did that 100k ride last year I'd been suffering with hamstring pain in my right leg, it comes and goes but is more prevalent after a long ride or lots of consecutive short rides. As part of adjusting the demo bike to fit me i got my colleague to give me a basic bike fit. Nothing too scientific just a measure of leg angle. it seems i have been over extending my legs with the saddle set too high. an adjustment of a few cms felt very strange on a test ride but I'm willing to try it out and i guess we'll see on this ride.
 The weather played ball, there was over night rain but it had stopped by the time we met up, the roads though were still damp with puddles, i was glad of my Cubeguard ass saver especially on the very Strada Bianca like wet Stratford greenway where the bike took on a distinct beige look from the gritty loose surface. there were a few occasions where we had to take to a little bit of off road, mainly due to pedestrians on shared use paths but it was good fun. some of the lanes we used were very mucky too and fast downhills take on a new level of commitment as you round a corner to see the road strewn with an inch of mud.
we happened (ok i'd planned it) to pass a decent pub near the end of the ride and celebrated with a beer and a ham roll, we had done 52 miles at this point and it seemed like a reward was in order.
 And that saddle? well i didn't notice it to be honest which is the ultimate compliment you can give a bike seat and the bike? well i didn't want to stop ridng it, it was light, but not so light it was skittish, it was comfy over some very rough roads and very responsive to any quickening of pace and very neutral to ride for a race orientated frame. I don't want to give it back. in the end i kept on pedalling until my free time was up and did 70 miles, the longest ride so far this year
ride 16
70 miles
total 311

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

the waiting game

the weather forecast was spot on, heavy rain from 8am, I'm not a fair weather rider by any means but even I didn't fancy the downpour combined with lashing winds. So it was time to use the car and go for breakfast out somewhere and play the waiting game. would it or wouldn't it stop? 
about 11 o'clock sitting watching the skies from a comfy seat through the coffee shop window there was suddenly a glimpse of blue. It wasn't the frequent trams that stop outside it was actual blue sky! From that moment on things only improved and i began to get itchy. this maybe just a temporary window of opportunity. the clouds might gather again and dash my hope before i made it home. Sensing my eagerness to get back my OH suggested we leave and i didn't need to be told twice.
I've never got changed quicker and within moments i was pedalling up the road in bright sunshine, yes the trails were a tad...well damp shall we say but wet ground is no chore compared to wet air. it was still windy but i was just glad to be out. it was even warm! I will admit to feeling a bit smug having waited especially as a few guys i know had been suffering all morning in the rain in a local sportive but i'm not as hardy as they are!
hopefully spring is now going to begin and start a few weeks of drier weather.
ride 15
15 miles
241  miles

Monday, 27 February 2017

To be expected

I had a complete nightmare of a week since my last ride, the dreaded Norovirus struck and at times i didn't even have the energy to walk up and down the stairs. obviously at it's height i wasn't eating anything and afterwards I just lost my appetite. so a week long diet of nothing and dry crackers has radically effected my fitness. I may have lost 7lbs in weight in 4 days but that was mostly water and not fat so I'm still pedalling that flab around but with no fuel to power the pedalling. so i took it easy and tried not to get too unmotivated at the drop off in performance.
it was however great to be actually out on a bike again after a very long week. hopefully it's all behind me now and i can start to rebuild all that i've lost, not including the weight!
ride 14
22 miles
226  miles

a friday at Cannock



This is what days off are for, empty trails, some dry weather and a good healthy dose of singletrack with a bit of way marked trail thrown in. Even the climbing was fun. really loving how the bike rides with these wren suspension forks. I managed to get 11 PRs on strava so tehy and the frame are certainly having an effect
ride 13
8 miles
214 miles

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Destination Clent, a ride with dirt in wearable and edible form

It all started out with a vague plan to ride, Ian and I had ridden on Monday, i had ridden the single speed yesterday and Howard had indulged in many a libation over the weekend and also does that daft "running" sport so non of us were in particularly good shape and the rain that started when we met could have put a literal dampener on things. but I'm proud to say we MTFU and decided to ride to Waseley cafe and assess the situation over a hot drink. 
the trails were pretty grim but nothing we weren't expecting or have experienced in the NWAlps at this time of year before. we made the best of it and giggled our way down some really sketchy muddy trails. Bus stop  in particular is now back to it's slick, greasy best
By the time we reached Waseley the rain had stopped and once again we vowed to carry on, over the summit of Romsley and via a diversion due to road works up to Nimmings cafe (these road closures were to become a feature of this ride) where we indulged in a warm drink. the day seemed to be getting colder and toes and fingers were protesting as we descended off the Clent Hills via a very entertaining seat of the pants trail. then began the ascent of Calcott Hill. never easy in the summer but now a real challenge. Howard received a "Bro fist" for clearing the entire technical climb without dabbing a foot. Ian could clearly be identified as a non mudguard user by wearing most of the trail on himself but he was still grinning.
back now in "civilisation" i was desperate for something warm to eat so in keeping with the dirty theme of the ride we took as many off road routes as possible, including a play in the skate park to Greggs and stuffed a hot sausage roll each into our faces whilst getting funny looks from the locals. feeling like we'd earned that fat fest we then tried to burn it off up the narrow climb of "between the garages" a bar banging bonanza of thick off camber mud, loose bricks and bmx trails in the woods.
what a top ride, awful conditions, it probably took longer than the duration of the ride to clean the bike and myself but I'd not change any of it. top wrk guys, great determination, just imagine how great this route will be in the summer!
ride 12
24 miles
206 miles

Single Speed Shenanigans

After a cuppa with Howard where we discussed the merits and possible stupidity of running a mountain bike with just a single gear ratio i converted my Singular back into what it was designed for and originally was, a single speed bike. i feel this is going to hurt for a while but hopefully get my fitness back quicker than using a geared bike!
ride 11
14 miles
182 miles