I’m hoping this will be a challenging year.

I originally set this blog up to chronicle my love of mountain biking and over the years had improve from a 1 hour, 4 mile slog to 25 miles in 90 minutes with the odd Manchester to Blackpool thrown in for good measure.

Well.. I’ve not posted much about my mountain biking for a while now and there are a couple of reasons for that.

  1. Work. I’ve been incredibly busy with my job and have been very lucky to spend quite a bit of time away from home in China, North America and Europe

2. The big reason is that I discovered Road bikes…

I went from this

raleigh pursuit

A 1980’s Raleigh Pursuit (library image) that I discovered being thrown in a skip. I rescued it and added some new tyres, quite enjoyed it and sold it for £70

 

2013 - 1

Then bought this,  leaned it up and realised it was too small. Sold for £100

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Then bought this from a neighbour for £60, lovely bike but I didn’t get on with the gearing. 1980’s SunTour with EX600 groupset. Sold it to a collector in Ireland for £200!

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I then got this! Reynolds 531 groupset, Biopace crank and rubbish brakes. Which resulted in..

ouch

30mph crash with a stationary car. Trip to A&E to be glued back together. Miraculously, nothing broken just a buckled front wheel. I sold the bike and got this..

decathlon sport

I got this for £150 as I wanted a more modern bike with STI levers and brakes that actually stopped 200lbs of stupidity. Quite enjoyed it and then saw….

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I managed to sell the Decathlon Sport for the same price I paid for this Cannondale, which I absolutely love. I did the Manchester to Blackpool and knocked 1hr 20 minutes off my previous ride time of 5hrs 40. I’m hoping to get the time to nearer 4 hours this year.

I’ve also got an entry in the London 100m which will require a lot of training for. I haven’t been on my bike since some fairly rubbish rides in October!

What’s the plan… Well I’d like the weather to get a little calmer before I get back on my road bike as I don’t like the idea of being blown off in front of a lorry🙂

The mountain bike is going to be used more this year as it’s a good alternative and I miss getting muddy!

 

 

I’d forgotten this existed….

Just remembered that I had a blog many moons ago, which detailed my cycling trials and tribulations..

So, what has happened since my last post, 15 months ago….

sensa-sella-tnt-tour-special

Got a new bike!

Sensa Sella TNT Tour 29er, Quite a fast bike, not as light as my old Orange G2, but that was heavy before I replaced all the bits on it!

 

 

Semi-converted my brother-in-law from a Golfer to a Mountain Biker.

I’m now really enjoying my cycling again.

April was the first month since 2010 where I have ridden over 100 miles.

My pace is starting to get back up to where it was previously.

My BMI has, today. dropped into the ‘normal’ zone for the first time in a very long time (still work to do though)

I’m more confident about riding more technical/narrow/rooty singletrack sections.

I’ve been to Lee Quarry!

Done Hit the North again, didn’t die, didn’t finish last!!

Don’t fall off anything like as much as I used to.

Bike is remaining intact, although that means I haven’t got excuses for upgrades (yet)

I’ve discovered Strava, I can’t decide if it is the best training tool ever, or really really dangerous; I do find myself pushing myself much harder than I used to on climbs or fast/flowing sections.. Just.. Need… To… Find… A… Few…. Seconds…. Damn, missed the KOM.

I’ll probably start posting my ride’s on here again along with the stats I’m gathering for pace/HRM etc..

9 months…

No, before you ask, we’re not…

It’s 9 months since I last posted on here.

Quick update –

  • Job’s fantastic
  • Location is fantastic
  • Bakery opposite with good bacon butties
  • Rode approx 80 miles in the last 9 months
  • Put on about 20lbs

So, now it is getting lighter, i’ll be getting out on my bike and will be looking to address the shortcomings of the last 12 month’s riding.

Bike is prepared and ready. I’m motivated and will start hitting the trails very soon..

Time flies…

Goodness… It’s been 8 months since I last updated this. Quite a lot has changed during this time.

I’ve got a new job, which is absolutely fantastic. My daily commute of 70 miles takes much less time than my previous commute of 35 miles. Odd really.

I’ve only done about 40 miles on my bike so far this year, which is absolutely pathetic.

I competed in Hit The North again, in February. OK, I turned up and pootled around, but… I didn’t die/fall off/break anything for a change. Hopefully the summer 6/8hr race will be back on this year and i’ll aim to do better with that one.

My plan to get out riding this week failed when I managed to snap the gear hanger off the back of my bike after refitting the whole of the chainset. No riding this weekend either, so that means  I’ll miss Over t’Edge.

I’ve got some new tyres for the bike, which I’m itching to test out. 2.2″ dual compound Kenda Karma Kevlar.  They’re 670g each, which is quite a bit lighter than my previous Michelin tyres so it’ll be interesting to see if I notice any difference.

I have to say that the lack of cycling really has impacted on my energy levels, which are through the floor at the moment.

There is motivation there to get back on my bike and it lies in this…. (in green, not pink!)

or this

Which, thanks to my employer’s cycletowork scheme could be highly attractive.

The ScandAL is favourite at the moment as i’ve got a bit of a thing about 29ers, but the thought of having a carbon bike is very enticing too.

Update

Its been 3 months since I last posted on here. I’ve still been cycling, but I have not really had the motivation to put fingers to keys.

As far as the monthly challenges go,i’ve done OK, but not brilliantly considering the level of free time i’ve had.

August – 67.5 miles

September – 105 miles

October – 80 miles

I’m determined to get the last 20 miles in this week for the October challenge despite having a very sore shoulder.

So what’s been happening? Well, i’ve been looking for work, looking after the kids, looking after the house (to my best ability) and have been doing longer rides.

My favourite rides now seem to head out over towards Todmorden/Walsden via Healey Dell, Watergrove Res and sections of the Mary Townley Way. Most rides are now around the 20 mile distance, which is a massive improvement over the 4-5 mile distances I was doing towards the end of 2009.

Downsides – Destroyed a set of shoes, gloves are falling apart, brakes are needing servicing more regularly and i’m going through brake pads for fun.

Having said that, my technical abilities on the bike are improving steadily and I now find myself really attacking sections that previously would have had me on my back/face.

I’ve given up looking for work now as i’m about to start up on my own. Most things are in place for this (including a couple of  projects via another IT Company)

So here are a few pics taken over the last 3 months

done it! #July150

Not a massive distance, but enough was covered to get me over the #July150 target for this month.

That means that July 2010 is the best month for cycling i’ve ever had. I’ve never got anywhere near this, apart from last months 120 odd miles that I did.

Nevertheless I feel really good. Did as much of the ride on the big ring as I could to work my thighs.

I’d post a picture of the stats, but my phone is playing silly buggers and won’t share it.

4.39 miles

10.2 mph avg

36.0 mph max

25.55 minutes

Creeping up #July150

My sportstracker has completely killed my phone today so i’ve had to do a factory reset.

Managed a 1.11 mile ride this afternoon cycling down the hill on the road bike to collect my car from the garage meaning i’ve got 3.86 miles left.. gaah!

Exhausted

Today was Hit The North, dubbed a Mancunian MTB/Cyclocross 8 Hour Endurance Event. (Not allowed to call it a race as it used public land/bridleways in parts)

I arrived at around 9.30 and signed on, got my shiny number 41 to attach to my ‘non carrying’  arm. One arm to carry my bike, yeah right! and my timing chip which had to be swiped at the end of each lap.

Unfortunately, the weather was exactly as the BBC Weather predicted- Light Rain, followed by heavy rail, followed by more heavy rain followed by sunshine. The sunshine did arrive a couple of hours earlier than planned which did help to dry the course out as it was slippery as hell in places.

After the briefing and more rain it transpired that we had to run for a couple of hundred yards to where the bikes had been stacked up against the barriers and an overseer from British Cycling would keep an eye out to make sure that no-one got on their bikes until the end of the barriers. This was to reduce any risk of ensuing chaos with people all trying to get on bikes at the same time.

Anyway, I don’t do running and neither did a few other riders, so we had a nice leisurely walk to where the bikes were stacked and got on and started riding.

The Course –

The course was a mixture of grassy tracks, some roads and quite a bit of recently made bermy type sections made from compacted gravel, oh and a couple of nice rocky bits to ride over too.

Right from the start the grassy bits had become very slippery muddy bits and my tyres didn’t like it at all – If my tyres didn’t like it then neither did I!  I took it very easy on the first lap as I didn’t want to crash/die. The muddy sections then turned into a nice tarmac section (I think), but then there was a really horrible bit where you had to carry/push your bike up a really steep embankment approx 50m long followed by an equally steep descent back on to the track that we’d been cycling along.

After that there was some compacted gravel followed by a climb up some slippy cobbles that led onto a really swoopy/bermy switch back section that headed out towards  a crossing over the M60. By this point my right knee was giving me serious gip and my front mech had decided not to play ball thanks to copious amounts of mud that had manked up its workings.

Thanks to NBT off singletrackworld for the picture

At this point we were riding near Phillips Park on the land near the Pilkingtons factory and using the newly installed rock beds and sweeping bermed sections. Another crossing took us back over the M60 to another really slippy climb, again on cobbles, that then brought us eventually out onto a short road section before turning off and dropping down a gravel track, along a flat concrete road and then a long section of sweeping gravel track.  A steep drop brought the course down onto what looked like a disused railway line and the final part of the  lap; a quick drop with a climb over some exposed tree roots and then a choice of a steep descent down to a stream or a chicken run that was less steep. I opted for the chicken run, then carried the bike over the brook and pushed/carried/dragged my bike up the other side to complete the lap.

Lap two didn’t start too well. I should have changed over to my narrower tyres before the start but didn’t so I’ve only got myself to blame. The  first descent was really cut up and muddy, but it was really fast too. So I tried a little too hard and the front wheel jack-knifed on the mud and pitched me in to the ferns that lined the route. That I have to say was the only off of the whole day and I carried on for an uneventful lap, being passed on a regular basis by the quick guys. Lap 3 I managed to find a perfect spot to be lapped – A bed of  nettles, so managed to sting my legs and arms, but at least I did get a thanks as I was passed.

Start of Lap 4 I decided to stop and get some lunch as I was starting to tire. Stupidly, I’d not brought enough money with me, so I had to drive to the ASDA in Radcliffe to get something to eat. Got back to the campsite at Ringley and quickly wolfed down  a pasta salad and two packets of hula hoops. I swapped my tyres over to slightly narrower ones and managed to pinch flat my front tube. Fortunately I had brought some leeches with me and they fixed the leak without any further drama.

Lap 4 was fine, but the pasta salad repeated all the way round the lap and my legs were really really starting to hurt.

On lap 5 my front mech decided that it would work fully and I could select the bottom ring, but by this point it was too late and i’d used up all the strength my legs had to offer.  What I did do though on the final lap was I made sure that I rode the rock section down to the river and also rode the final steep drop (which wasn’t that steep after all) and finished the race.

Times – If you’re interested –

Lap 1 1hr 12min 56 secs

Lap 2 1hr 04min 39 secs

Lap 3 1hr 20min 36 secs

Lap 4 2hr 39 min 48 secs (including lunch/trip to Radcliffe/tyre swap/puncture fix/bike wash)

Lap 5 1hr 14 min 56 secs

Total time 7hrs 32mins 55 secs

32.5 Miles

BLOODY HARD WORK, but so so fantastic!

Results at SportIdent

I think i’d have only improved 2 places if I’d spent an hour less lunching!

quickish but sore final ride of the week #July150

I knew doing sit ups would be a problem.. So i’ve now got very tender abs and I don’t want to risk doing myself any harm prior to doing Hit The North.

On the other hand, I couldnt have @Phill sitting above me in the leaderboard either.

So I did my usual loop round Bury Road with a couple of laps of stonehill thrown in to make sure I got over 10 miles in.

Nothing to report, bike’s working nicely but I still need to put a longer outer on the rear mech cable as the current one is limiting me to 7 of the 9 rear gears which is reducing my top speed capabilities. (not that i’m going to get anywhere near top gear on Saturday)

So that’s me signing off for the rest of the week. Hopefully I should get about 5 laps on Saturday, although 7 laps would get me over the 150 for the month. I think thats will be a tall order for me to complete.