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.

Nearing Race Readiness (cough)

I just popped out for a quick 10.15 mile ride to get a couple of miles in before the weekends Hit The North event. New wheels are fitted and working very well with a quite  pleasant noise from the freehub.  Just loud enough to be heard, not loud enough to do an impression of a chainsaw/Hope Hub.

I tried out the path that drops down into the woods right behind my house for the first time today, lots of very narrow singletrack and exposed roots. Most of it I managed to ride, with only about half a dozen dabs/get off and carries to contend with. After that I went onto Shawclough road down towards the infirmary before riding down Clement RRRRRRRRRRRRRoyd street God I hate cobbles!

Just the usual Bury Road/Jowkin Lane loop

GPS crashed after 1.6  miles so don’t have anything accurate to report on but i’ll get the routes uploaded later.

Manchester to Blackpool 2010 and the #July150

This morning was the start of a fabulous adventure for me as today I rode the furthest i’ve ever ridden in one day. The plan was to meet up with Phill at around 8am at the start, which was at a ‘football stadium’ in Manchester.

To be hones there were that many riders milling around at that time that we didn’t meet up but started at a similar time. Riders started in batches of 200 or so, in 5 minute intervals (dictated by the traffic lights and marshals).

The route was very well sign posted with marshals at every roundabout/junction and a number of rest halts along the route. It headed out through Trafford Park, past the Trafford Centre and off towards Irlam and Swinton.

My first stop was at Standish Golf club, where I had a quick drink of water and had half a ham sandwich. I sent Phill a text to say where I was and he too was at the rest halt. So for all the route to Preston we rode together… I had to push him a little on the climbs and get him to sprint a couple of times to make the traffic lights before they changed.

At the rest halt we met Emma who was riding her 2nd Manc-Blackpool (I think) and we had a quick chat. I was keen to get to the finish as near to 2pm as I could so said my goodbyes and set off.

I have to say the final 1/3 of the route wasn’t bad at all, there was a long climb out of Wharton towards Freckleton, but it was really manageable and I seemed to pass everyone, but I think I only got passed by 3 or 4 riders on that section. They were riding racing bikes and I was not match.. Maybe next year.

By the time I got to Kirkham the rain had arrived, and how! It was a fairly short shower, maybe 10-15 minutes but it certainly dumped plenty of water onto the road and me. Lots of riders were stopping to put on waterproofs, but I decided to carry on regardless.

After Wharton and as I got towards Lytham, the headwinds really sharpened up and it was quite relentless slogging through along to the finish.

After clearing St Anns and heading along past the sand dunes we all rounded the corner and in the distance, the first sight of the Big One and Blackpool tower. All this section to the finish I found quite emotional. (and no I didn’t blub, but it was close).

The finish was amazing with hundreds of people lining the road clapping and cheering on the line.

A wonderful day. Can’t wait until next year.

63 miles

Approx 5hrs 40 mins

11mph avg (ish)

No logging as battery life not good enough.  A good start to the July150 challenge and I’ve gone over the 500 mile mark for the year.

One good thing about the headwind though was that by the time I finished, I was completely dry.