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.

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?

Oh God, i’ve gone and done it

About 18 months ago I half heartedly entered a Manchester bike race called Hit The North 1.5, which was dubbed a winter sprinter. 2 hrs + 1 lap was the format and I think it cost a tad over a tenner to enter.

I’d got a relatively new bike at the time and thought I’d be able to hack 3 or 4 laps of the course around Philips Park.

It didn’t exactly go to plan –

• the preview ride ended up with me ripping the rear mech off on a tree
• I didn’t do any preparation at all
• I didn’t consider the track conditions and how tyre choices would affect the outcome

In all honesty I expected the race to be on a fairly flat park course and didn’t expect there to be as much climbing, descending or singletrack sections.

Race day arrived and the race began, I overtook a few riders on the first lap, so far so good.

Then I got tired…

My tyres were too fat for the muddy conditions…

I got overtaken…

I ran out of talent…

I fell off…

Broke my helmet, cut my chin and ran out of energy so retired at the end of lap 2.

What has this got to do with now?

Well it’s a precursor to me confirming that I’ve entered Hit The North 2.0

And I’m both very excited and truly terrified!

This isn’t a 2hr race, but an 8 hour endurance (for me) event in a similar area to the race I crashed and burned.

Whats changed since then?

My bike is better – gears, forks, brakes and pedals have all been replaced/upgraded.

I’m much much fitter – 6 months ago I could just about manage a 5 mile ride in an hour. Now I can ride 20-30 miles at an average of 10-12mph.

Technically I’ve improved; I can pick better lines, maintain my balance better and thanks to extra strength I can use my gears more efficiently.

Risks? I’m doing the Manchester to Blackpool ride 13 days before, which is 63 road miles and significantly longer than any ride I’ve ever done, so I might be a bit broken.

I’ve not fully beaten my fear of descents. A trip to Cragg Quarry and yesterday’s step riding has improved things but I’m not confident on slippery surfaces.

How will I do and have I got a strategy?

Well I’m not going for an all out victory, so I can’t see any harm in sharing my ideas –

Each lap is 6.5 miles, I can manage a ride of 30 miles on the road in 3 hrs, so off road I’m going to probably manage
5 or so laps. Probably split into 2×2 lap stints with a rest inbetween. If the legs hold up and I don’t break either the bike or me, then I’ll aim for another 2 laps.

It’ll be way off the winner, but I don’t care. I want to do my best and if my best is 4,5 or 6 laps then so be it.

So with much trepidation I say roll on the 17th July.

Incredible #June100

Well it’s the 19th of the month and I’ve bloody well done it. I’ve got the first 100 mile month that i’ve ever managed.

Last night I went into Manchester drinking, so I left my car in Didsbury in a cunning ploy to get enough miles in to take me over the 100 mile mark.

I chose a fairly straight forward route. Road into Castleton and then join the canal towpath and cycle along it all the way to Manchester.

The first part of the plan worked, in that I cycled to Castleton. Could I find a way onto the canal towpath? could I buggery. So I eventually ended up cycling past All in One garden centre to Stakehill Industrial estate to join the canal towpath there.

The towpath was in fairly good (singletrack) condition with deep ruts and drops down the side of each of the lock gates; most of them were smooth gravel, but  there were some that were cobbled and rutted. Today no obstacle was unbeatable as I enjoyed a great ride towards Ancoats.

There were a few areas where I was concerned that I was going to pick up a puncture, but fortunately I avoided any. All flights of steps were ridden, apart from one that was strewn with glass. This warranted a short carry and then I continued.

After about an hours riding I got to the back of Picadilly Station, the wharfes around Ancoats are good fun to ride along, and then I headed off down Oxford Road, through Rusholme and Fallowfield before arriving at work. Looking at the GPS app it said 22.43 miles, but when I opened it up again it claimed the program had crashed and it had registed 21.53 miles, some 0.33 miles short of the 100 mile target.

I thought about whether I could say this and be done with it, but I decided that when I got home I’d have a quick blast up the cul-de-sac and back to get me over the 100 miles.

So what have I gained from this?

  • A Speedo Body (well almost and the fact I have to wear them on holiday has been part of the motivation for the riding)
  • Additional stamina
  • The ability to tackle descents again
  • Increased speed, both average and max mph
  • An incredible desire to ride as often as I can, regardless of time available. Just ‘fitting in’ another 45 minutes or hours ride.
  • I need an excuse to stay in and watch television now in an evening.

Lets see what the rest of the month brings and the rest of the month.

Sorry, but no photos were taken as I was on a bit of a mission to get there in less than 2hrs.

Total time for the 21.53 miles was 1hr 50 mins.

Birtle and Back

I couldn’t let Phill have more miles than me at this point in the challenge, although I think we’ve both surpassed where we though we would be halfway through the month.

I decided to get back off road for more of the ride tonight so I rode a nice loop with probably 60% asphalt and 40%  off-road, singletrack.

I found a new piece of bridleway, which name I can’t remember at this point, but it was nice and slippery, narrow with nettles either side. A real concentration part, followed by dusty rutted farm track that certainly gave my arms a good workout.

The plan for the weekend is to ride to work and collect my car. The route is approx 20 miles so I’m hoping to have the 100 miles sewn up by sunday.

The rest of the month will be prep for Manchester Blackpool and to see how many more miles I can fit in.

Some more #June100 miles

I’ve already added the screen shot to the June 100 page, but this is a quick update on tonight’s miles.

I’d got a window of 75 minutes for a ride so I decided to repeat the ride I did that resulted in the fall.

I approached the steps a bit more cautiously than before, even though it was dry.

A quick squirt down Redfearn Wood to then ride over to Shawfield lane. I seem to be using much less gears than I used to and can rider longer and faster on the climbs whilst using taller gears, do it shows that fitness strength and endurance are all improving.

I carried on over Elmsfield and dropped down Furbarn lane and Jowkin lane joining Norden road at Bamford Chapel.

Down to the lights and along Bury Rd before turning off towards the Crimble and descending down a very slippy crimble lane (marble like stones) over towards bury old road.

I had planned to have a couple of laps round Springfield park but I thought there wasn’t enough time.

Past the sewage works, which were very smelly tonight, to Sandy lane and a climb up Edenfield Rd an Caldershaw Rd.

I noticed after I’d got past the Black dog pub that I’d still got 20 mins left so I did a number of loops around stonehill and elm park to max out the mileage.

Stats if I remember correctly-

11.64 miles

1hr 8 mins

10.2 mph avg

Another #June100 ride

Another ride this morning. Not much to report other than due to a late night last night and a still sore shoulder I only managed 6.74 miles.

Averaged 8.8 mph and took 45mins.

That is all. Move along now please…

Ouch

I got the opportunity to get out on the bike tonight so I jumped at the chance. I’d already worked out roughly where I was going to go.

So I set off, dropped through Stonehill to do practice my skillz on 3 steps, 3 steps! I’d ridden them easily at the weekend so tonight I hit them a bit harder and faster. What I had forgotten was that it had been raining and that the leaves on the corner would be greasy..

Cue my first fall in ages..

Front wheel just slipped away from me and before I could react i’d slammed down onto the tarmac.  I untangled myself from the frame and after a quick sit rep to check everything worked on the bike I continued.

A slower than planned ride over Shawfield Lane and up past Whittaker Moss,  down Furbarn Lane and Jowkin Lane. Rather than returning along Bury Road I turned past the Crimble and on to Bury Old Road to Sudden and back along Edenfield Road and Caldershaw Rd.

I considered doing a lap or two of where I live to get over 50 miles but by then my neck and shoulder were aching like mad, so I decided to call it a night.