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

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.

End of Month Report

Wow, what a month June has been.  Thanks to the work Phill did to convert my great idea for the #June100 challenge into reality I’ve been using every opportunity to get out on my bike and ride.

The result –

I’m fitter
Faster
Less Fatty
and very fortunate.

This has been my best month of riding ever at 123.24 miles.

Tonight’s ride served a purpose in clearing out the cobwebs and also clearing my head in preparation for tomorrows interview. I headed off down to Norden and then, rather than heading up towards Whitakker Moss, I carried on to the Bridge and rode up past the Three Owls to the tea rooms. In the distance I spotted a group of mountain bikers so I decided to hunt them down.

Within about 5 minutes I’d caught them and one by one passed them. They were on the smoother side of the track on full-suss Treks and I was on the bumpy side with my hardtail. The track brought me out opposite Nutters Restaurant, so I could either head up Edenfield Road or head back down to Norden. I chose the easier of the two and headed down hill.

At the White Lion Pub I turned off and decided to follow the signs for the PB and ended up at Red Lumb. Seeing as I was nearly at the top of the climb up Edenfield Road I turned and headed towards Owd Betts. Before Ashy Valley I followed the PB sign again and found a fab bit of track that lead me down to an area I didn’t even know existed, which was a nice surprise.

Next week I have the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride and at 63 miles will go quite a way towards the July150 mileage.

I’ve also got my 1000 miles in 2010 target back on track at just under 450 miles for the year.

And now bathtime.

Foody help needed

Ok, this weekend I’ve got the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride. It covers 63 miles, which is a huge distance for me.

The furthest I’ve ridden is 28 miles for over the edge. This had a lot of climbing in it and I felt my legs starting to give up 5 miles from the end of the ride.

So, what should I eat beforehand to ensure I’m suitably fuelled for the ride?

Lots if pasta the night before? Is this all I need or do I need to start this a few days earlier?

Later next month I’ve got an 8hr mtb endurance event and I could do with some advice for that too?

I won’t be racing off and trying to beat people on pace; I hope to finish mid to bottom table thanks to a slow and steady pace. Does the type of food differ for this or is it still loads of carbs?

Tonights ride – Practice for the June 100

Tonights ride is a practice for June’s 100 miles challenge.

689ft Ascent, mainly up Ashworth Valley, before dropping down through to Birtle. I’ve not ridden this route before so it’ll be an interesting one.

Target time 1hr 20mins

Time taken 1hr 17mins
Distance 10.76 miles
Avg 8.3mph
Max 32.8mph

Only did part of the Ashworth climb as legs not fully recovered from the weekend and the bike was making a lot of funny clicking noises from the crank.

First Ride of May

I used my helmet camera for the first time last night, in dark conditions. Resulting images are quite blurry as the sensor is too small to allow enough light to get anything meaningful. I’ll process the file at some point and upload it onto here. The descent from Prickshaw to Healey Dell is great fun in the dark, there were definite improvements in the way I tackled the way the route narrowed and turned sharply.

I mixed off-road and on-road to have a bit of variety last night.. I did, however, find a really nice, but very cheeky section near home that was tight flowing singletrack through woodland.  The light really illuminates the trail nicely.

I did dab at one point, but that was to stop me from falling in a brook. Next time i’ll know where the path goes to get a better run through.

7 miles

50 mins

8.5mph avg

32 mph max

Slippery When Wet

hmm, that’s a good title.. Sounds familiar.

Anyway, where was I? Tonight’s ride was planned to be a re-run of last night’s ride, but with an additional loop over Lobden Moor. Legs were a bit too tired to do a second lap, so I dropped down Whitworth Rd, down through Healey Dell and onto Edenfield Rd, before cycling home.

Slippery when wet? That was the climb from Ending Rake upto Dirty Leach past Brownhouse wham. Caught me out tonight thanks to tired legs. Just a couple of dabs and the odd wobbly section.

The stealth horses were out again tonight too.. Scary!

9.2 miles

70 mins

7.9mph avg

Blimey

I decided on a simple road ride tonight as I didn’t trust the old mech to hang together for any hard climbs.3 loops of Bury road and Edenfield road, covered in 40 minutes.

17 miles

40 mins

25.5mph avg

45 mins

22mph avg (Corrected)

No idea what was in my legs tonight, but I want more of it. I was flying. Perhaps a week off has actually done me some good. I’ll try and get out for another ride this week, but i’ll do an off-roader and see how I fare.

Mondays ride

I’ve not managed to get out much recently, two rides this month. Most of the gremlins with the transmission seem to have been ironed out – only the odd slip here and there but I can live with that.

Last nights ride was the first chance I had to test out my new Helmet cam AND it was the first ride of the year in SHORTS!!

It’s very dinky, slightly smaller than my thumb and comes with a number of mounting brackets. For last nights test I stuffed it into the central cooling vent in my helmet.  (only problem was it was pointing to far forward as the forthcoming video clip shows)

I decided to ride straight up RMR from the cattle grid at Lane Head rather than doing the slightly longer detour to avoid the first set of cobbles.

It was hard work last night, but I kept on climbing, to my surprise I was overtaken by an Audi A3 and a young couple asked if this was the road to Bacup. Tomtom strikes again? I told them they’d break their car if they attempted it. ITS A BRIDLEWAY! A big sign at the bottom of the road says NO MOTORISED VEHICLES. Idiot.

Anyway, I carried on. The climb took about 18 minutes and was a hard slog. I stopped to have  a look back over manchester and talked to a helmet cam that had stopped recording by that point (memory full)

I decided to pop over to Cragg Quarry and see the great work that has been done there. I rode some of it but bottled the drops, don’t know why as I’ve done descents like that recently without any problems. I’ve also done descents that have tried to rip me to shreds, so perhaps i’m psychologically damaged 😀

Cut that short as it was starting to get dark and rode back home, got some good pace too.  Only issue on the way back was nearly running into some concrete fence posts that had been dumped in a puddle next to the track.

Oh, and my DX P7 Lamp worked a treat too, really happy with it now it recharges!

8 miles

1hr 13 mins

Max 29mph

Avg 6.6mph

Apologies for the puffing and grunting in the video….