Friday, 29 May 2009

Fater Faster

A couple of guys from work fancied a road ride so I planned out a route pencilled in for last night, anyway it got cancelled and it was raining in the morning so I was on the pompino, the route has some big steep climbs so I wasn't going to drag the singlespeed round there. Anyway it brightened up during the day and I fancied a bit of a ride on the way home so I ended up giving it a go. Not bad, just shy of 40miles and 3800ft of climbing mostly b roads once out of manchester. Legs were tired when I got home so I intended taking it easy riding into work today. A lovely morning so I grabbed the canondale, gears will make it even This bike isn't subtle, it doesn't whisper to you, it just shouts at you "faster, FASTER you bastard" and your legs say OK. I caned it all the way in and I was on a green wave most of the way to the city centre, it was looking like I was on for a good time but oxford road is all screwed up, I don't go down oxford road but they've screwed around with light timings on nearby roads so I had to stop at 4 red lights one after the other. Grrr. Still managed over 18mph average, not good for recovery tho. Lets hope this glorious weather lasts a while, bowderdale at weekend.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


It was our wedding anniversary yesterday, as we got married in Greece Mrs D and I decided going to a greek resteraunt would be nice. We had a meze which was superb but I'm feeling a bit rough this morning, thick head and that, I only had 1 pint so it's not the booze, pretty sure I'm suffering from garlic poisoning :-)

Sokrates in Horwich top notch food.


Lowey has put up some lovely pics of us see all of them here.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

I'll claim my hero biscuit now please

Phew Jonnie hasn't been on abusing me yet. Tour of coniston, what a brilliant day! Weather was gorgeous, blue skies, nice and warm, gentle breeze. We parked up above coniston at the bottom of walna scar road. A rocky, slippy downhill threw us straight into the action, very wet but good fun. Through coniston and up through lawson park, everyone rode to the top, a good start. Parkamoor was fantastic as ever, dropping down to high nibthwaite on the fast rocky track, you had to pick your lines round the bigger rocks and drops/ditches. A quick stint up the road to Blawith and away across the moors. Sat having lunch it was gorgeous, chilling in the sun watching the buzzards. A bit of navigational trouble followed but we quickly got back on track. A new (to me) BW up to broughton woods was much nicer than the road route and I thought it was a good climb (others may disagree) Juicy singletrack goodness through the woods and a quick rest at the river belwo stephenson ground before "The Ascent" A looooong climb to the top of walna scar, upto natty bridge was a nice leisurely ride in the sun after that it got steeper and technical and our tired legs protested but everyone pushed on. As we got to white peak while we regrouped I lay down, the sun on my face, listening to the birds, thinking there really is no better way to spend a bank holiday like this. We had a break before the final climb, walna scar side. 20+ miles in we were all feeling the strain, we sat discussing the climb, a clear wide track with a not too steep gradient twisting away to the top, it looked doable but our legs were indicating otherwise. We set off, I was in bottom gear and dispite never changing every couple of minutes I was clicking my shifter looking for an easier gear that wasn't there. I was doing OK and just about managing when it got steeper, I slowly winched up that untill it leveled of to its constant steep gradient but I could see another coming. I tried to recover taking this relativley easier section as slow as possible. I got to the steep bit not confident a bit of wandering side to side but I kept on keeping on. Then it got steeper, then came the (steeper) switchbacks. All of my mental effort went into breathing as hard as I could and eventually I made it, cresting the top I fell to the side and remained motionless (apart from my heaving chest) and tried to keep my lunch down. I'm quite happy with that :-)
The descent was sublime, absolutley fantastic fast rocky downhill, some big loose rocks for drifty cornering and the odd section where it got all steep and techy. Bloody brilliant, downhill all the way to the cars where we had cake waiting. Best ride of the year so far, no doubt about it.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Shoulder Barging With 2 Tonne Tess

Commuting in this morning was interesting, several people passed me in their cars then moved over to try and prevent me passing them on the left (they failed in most cases) so I was a bit nowty by the time I got to the city centre. Coming up bridge street not far from the (red) lights there was a HGV parked on the left so I started to move right when a big gold lexus came slowly passed me and again tried to box me in, there was plenty of room to the right but car was within 2ft of the HGV, suitably riled I decided to push it, 2ft i splenty of room so I kept going, car has slowed so I'm slowly passing it when it moves even closer in, eek. I actually end up leaning on the car both hands on the bars, my elbow against the rear window, both of us coasting along for a few feet till car has to stop but not before the driver points the nose even more to the left. I keep going till I run into the wing mirror and have to stop. Not sure whether driver has not seen me the whole time (despite having overtaken me) or has just been being a cock trying to push me around, but the driver finally see's me (or admits defeat) and moves right slightly. I called him a knob, then realise it's a woman, then get on my merry way. Funfilled way to start the day which admittedly could have ended in tears, partly my own fault for being so bloody minded (having the audacity to ride down the road) but mainly hers for being blind/being a knob
Ho hum.

Wet weekend

Was suffering from some serious lethargy all weekend, even the offer of a trip up Helvellyn on sunday did not stir me into action. Saturday was spent on the couch until the father in law rang to say he couldn't get the hang of his new laptop. "how do I get rid of the letters I've just typed?" and "I've got to confirm my password but I can't type on the confirm password line" (I kid you not) So a quick trip round there to help setup his broadband and show him keyboard basics. Virgin BB installation was crap BTW, the guy wouldn't setup the cable modem in the room where my FiL wanted it and the wireless router doesn't turn up till next week! Sunday was a little more active, after a long lie in and wha'd'ya know there are better ways of spending a wet sunday than storming down helvellyn.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Day off

Nasty horrible weather today but my wet weather gear did a sterling job again, just a bit damp this morning. This doesn't bode well for a ride tonight tho and weekend is looking like a wash out, we shall see. Me and burk went to Grizedale on wednesday and we struck lucky, sun and clear skies for most of the ride, a nasty bit of headwind ontop of parkamoor but otherwise lovely. Still got filthy mind you, loads of puddles about. The view from parkamoor was fantastic, I've never been up there when it was so clear, we could see the sea to one side and a lot of the lakeland peaks (most of which we failed to name) a good view of walna scar road gave us ideas for the next ride. We did the same route as the STW ride in March, it was even more fun in the dry(ish) and I did OK navigating, saw a few other bikers and the odd walker but it was pretty quiet. Burk had his new tyres on, Panaracer Fire DH, huge chunky tyres with big man-size knobbles, unfortunatley his chain keeps catching on them which is not great, but he was rocking on the downhills and no punctures so good stuff. The weather turned as we headed home tho and the car was getting blown about on the motorway. Nice long bath when I got home then chippy tea cos I couldn't be bothered cooking, a cracking day off work.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

High winds and low times

I've broken my legs again. Rode into work OK and apart from me not being able to trackstand for shit and a bus driver trying his best to run me off the road it was fine. Went out for a quick spin to test out the heckler before a lakes ride tomorrow after putting new bars and shorter stem on. Good job I did testride, the bottom brackets on its way out, I had to tighten it a few times. On my way to meet up with Junkyard and Lamus I did the kennel run off winter hill and then jons 200. The kennel run was ace and I was quick so I thought I'd time myself on Jon's 200, a few years ago I was trying for quite a while for a sub 2 minutes time but I've not bothered for ages and just enjoy it instead of pushing myself. Anyway I hit it pretty hard, nailing the corners and sprinting whenever I could get the power down. I've got the sharp righthander by the stud farm sussed finally and then just the long sprint down the dirt road. I hit the bottom and slammed on the brakes, checked my watch, 1:57 come on! I was proper made up. I guess the new bar/stem configuration will be staying :-) and now I can finally cut down that stupidly long steerer. Met up with J and L and went up to the pike where it was stupidly windy. Then we went down to jons 200 where we tried a few new lines and the dropin to the woods. Down the backs of the houses to the school and up the bridleway where I split as it was getting late, I put the power down as it was getting dark quick. A full on headwind all down georges lane and chorley old road was murder, once I'd dropped into barrow bridge it was better but by that time I was cold, shorts were a bad choice in that wind. My knees were killing me when I got home and legs were toasted, bit sore today.

Friday, 8 May 2009


Well my gloating about lack of flats the other day has come back to bite me on the ass. I had to get cross town yesterday to do an exam, 10min ride no worries, inside the first couple of mins I can hear a sss sss sss, is that my brakes rubbing, no it's a slow-ish puncture, keep riding see how far I can get. I got about another 100yards. Bugger, but still got a spare and spare time. Fix flat (thankfully its front wheel so I don't have to fanny about with chain tension when I put it back on. Fixed I set off, drop off the kerb and Fffsssssswwwssswwww big old flat on the back. Buggeration! Sat outside an office block in the sun fixing my tube cursing glass, thorns, nails and screws lying in the road everywhere. I was only a little late and the exam went OK so I head home, went via bury and walshaw near tottington. Lots of very nice houses round there, they also have a decent 2mile/500ft climb, bit tiring on the pompino, specially after a few days riding. Then a nice swoopy downhill, well it would have been nice if it wasn't for the chewed up road and all the grit and gravel meaning corning was a bit hairy but after a week of duff weather it was a nice afternoon ride home.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Hitting the sweet spot

After years of commutiong and waiting at red lights I can trackstand a bit, most commutes I clip in as I leave home and unclip when I get to work, if I hit a red light jam on the brakes, left pedal at 9 o clock slightly turn handlebars and freeze, or in most cases wobble about til the lights change. Fixie riders do it differently, they pedal back and fortha little and for the first time ever I managed it too. Theres a steep bit over a bridge on salford crescent, I had to stop at the lights and I tried letting go of the brakes, with the hill I could push the pedals a tiny bit then roll back, pedal, rollback. Front wheel only moves a teeny tiny amount more of an oscillation than a back/forth but I'd got it sussed, I was so impressed that when the lights changed I just kept on balancing - til I realised there was a bus behind me and I was blocking the lane. Only really doable on a slope with a freewheel but I shall try it again.

Another nightride last night with junkyard and lamus (I think, apologies if I misheard/spelt it wrong) went up rivi then across to lead mines clough, not been there for a while, back via the resers. Good little run out and I was cleaning stuff pretty well on the singlespeed. I've been riding SS for quite a while now and I'm still surprised at what you can get up with a 32:16, a good rear tyre, some determination and a devil may care attitude towards the health of your knees! A fast spin back home for a properly balanced recovery meal - fray bentos boozy pie with bread and butter, a bacon and melted cheddar buttie (red sauce obviously) and a couple of southern comfort and cokes to knock me out, it's what all the pros have on the TDF :-)

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

5-2 on aggregate

Weekend was fun, saturday me and burk nipped up to Lee Quarry for a quick blast, took the heckler this time, it was faster and the corkscrew was less hairy but I think the hardtail is better on the jumps, tight berms and trialsy sections. Saw someone fall at the berm on the corkscrew and his mate decided the bit after was too steep so he put both feet down and walked it... still astride his bike, looked like a recipe for disaster but he made it ok. Sunday we went to the peaks again, I packed summer gear and sunscreen (Ha!) but in the car on the way it started to drizzle, oh dear. As we got to stockport it was raining and on the road up from chapel-en-le-frith it was hammering on the windscreen. The mood in the car was not good, I don't mind a bit of rain but not whilst dressed in summer gear. Anyway the cloud broke just as we passed rushup edge and and as we parked up near mam tor it looked a lot drier in the edale valley. It was windy as we got ready so we set off quick, I wanted to get down cavedale before it rained. Cavedale was fun-ish still a bit wet and slippery but not too scary - not sure if Burk will go down it again tho, his first time and he had an off near the bottom. Up the road to do the pindale downhill, round to aston and up hope brink, the following downhill, normally fun, was rubbish, really strong headwind meant you had to pedal hard to get speed and you soon lost it. Jaggers clough was better and that just left the climb to hollins cross. As we looked across towards Jacobs ladder we could see a thick curtain of rain but again as it crossed the valley the clouds dispersed and apart from a few drops we remained dry. A short route which took a bit of time due to punctures, 1 for me and 3(!) for burk who never normally gets flats, he really doesn't like the contis on his orange 5 so has ordered some big Panaracer Fire DHs. I warned him, it started with chunky tyres for me too and now I've ended up with a 34+lb behemoth of a bike. Anyway that brings the puncture score to 5-2 to burk which I'm quite excited about considering the last 3 years scores have all been around 35-0 to me. Whilst a 30-2 final score sounds tempting I'll be hoping we remain on 5-2 for the rest of the year.

That fine stuff that soaks you through

Boo to the weather. Lots of rain this morning, I think it's the first real soaking since I got all my commuting gear during the winter, there's been plenty of showers and horrible weather but no proper test of the waterproof-ness-ability. Altura jacket (dunno which, cheapest I think), HH lifa baselayer, Altura "waterproof" gloves, endura clip bibs with waterproof shins over the top of altura stretch over shoes over some old Shimano winterboots. Not a bad ensemble and pretty cheap, top of my feet were a little wet but I was warm and mostly dry when I got to work. Gloves probably won't have dried properly by the time I go home (inner membrane is waterproof the outers still hold some water) and they could do with a towelling/snot wipe (to mop up all the rain running down my face) but most waterproof gloves seem to have the same problems so not bad. The enduras are ace, with double thickness knees they cope with pretty cold weather but you don't melt when it's mild and the waterproof shins means you can get water to run off over your overshoes. Sorted.

Monday, 4 May 2009

My Bike Is Faster Than Yours

Want one!

How cool? This one is pretty good too

Friday, 1 May 2009

Bloody Plates Of Meat

Me and my damn size 12s, they really are a pain in the arse. They make shopping for trainers a major operation: "DO you have these in 12s?" "No" "these?" "no" "Just bring me any size 12s you've got" which usually results in a 20 yr old pair of pumas, some reprobate reebok 'early parole's and some black and gold monstrosities Flavor Flav would think were garish. They were a pain during my teens when growth spurts meant I'd constantly be tripping up on the slightest uneven pavement or twatting my toes on door frames or any other immovable objects. I'm surprised my little toes weren't bloody stumps by the time I hit my twenties. These little piggies didn't go wee wee all the way home they'd be locked out for scaring the others. If the RSPCA had been round the other piggies would be stood around looking shifty muttering "honestly he's always walking into things". When I switched to SPDs the extra weight of the shoes meant whilst walking when I turned, my outside foot would swing out more and I'd inadvertently kick the crap out of furniture and fixtures at home. I've had to give up regular 5 aside coz I constantly scuff my toes on the astroturf and actually go over on my ankle every other match.

Anyway the curse of the battered little piggy rose again last night, caught my left foot on a door frame, ow, ow. Bloody ow, a few minutes later and the pain wasn't going away. I've managed to lift whats left of the nail up. Putting on my cycling shoes this morning was painful and every uneven bit of road I hit caused me to swear. This is not looking good for visiting lee quarry tomorrow. If I could I'd get my little toes surgically removed and replaced with rubber bumpers.

So I wasn't in the best of moods as I set off and my fellow users didn't improve matters, a couple of people felt the wrath of Dave. Guy passed me really fecking close in moses gate 20yards from a red light so I put on a sprint, got in front of him and give him a talking to for passing so close. He was unapologetic saying i should be "over the other side" eh? I was about a foot from the kerb, where the hell else am I going to be? A white van man shouted "nice arse" at a set of lights (har har) then i got to the big roundabout at salford precinct. At least 2 lanes on/off at each section, I'm going round and indicating to take the next exit, a car and a van waiting to come on just before my exit, classic "didn't see you mate" territory so as with any 2 wheeled tarmac venture, proceed with caution. Anyway I'm indicating to come off the woman in the car is going left (the same way I'm heading) I look at her she looks at me I start to pull across to the exit...she sets off, feck I start to slow and look at her she looks at me and waves me to go so I let go of the brakes, she keeps coming, I slow some more. Dunno whether she was expecting me to go down the right hand exit lane so she could undertake in the bus lane me or whether she was going to slot in **right** behind me (maybe she wanted to check out my arse) but with my reluctance to go across the front of a moving car and her reluctance to take her foot of the go pedal we ground to a halt. Where upon I finally got use of my tongue and told her as loud as I could to fuck right off. So i was in a filthy mood by the time I got to city centre, good job no-one else wronged me or I'd have probably foregone the verbals and just ripped their wing mirrors off. (This isn't the first time, at big roundabouts people are always gunning their engines and setting off just as I'm exiting the roundabout in front of them scareing the shite out of me but this was a lot closer than usual.)