Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Decisions, decisions

So the nights are drawing in, I've been caught short on 2 evening rdides already and I envisage that in the coming months most of my riding will be in the dark so I'm thinking about supplementing my little joystick with some beefier lights. So do I spend an obscene amount of money on one of these 2 powerhouses?

Or just a rude amount on sommat like these?

And hope or exposure? Exposures are cable free, nice tidy units, hopes are mountable on your helmet - I'm not very likely to as I have my joystick but a useful option. I may go and ask this on STW but chances are half will say buy Hope, Exposure are rubbish, other half will say the complete opposite and a few will say "neither are worthy to illuminate the contents of my fridge, buy the Daylight 1250xp with the power of a MILLION candles, only £800".

This week I shall mostly be aching

So I finally went and did it. I was going to review it as "mleh, there's a couple of good bits", but that would be unfair. It took me an appalling seven and a half hours. I got lost and went the wrong way 3 times, mainly caused by the map I'd taken, it didn't match the actual route. Eg near blackshaw head my map said turn right (up the hill) so I did, climbed to the top, no sign of the trail I wanted but that's coz the map route met the road a lot lower than the proper MTL route which I was on. Back down the hill take the left turn and sure enough found the trail, which took me to the top of blackshaw head again, bugger! Stuff like that really pissed me off and put me in a mood but a nice downhill would soon follow and cheer me up again, like the one from blackshaw head into charlestown, brilliant. The Shepherds Rest pub right next to the trail was shut(!) so I had to make a detour into walsden a bit further on for water and food, time consuming but it was nice and sunny as I sat in beer garden necking coke. After that it started raining and pretty much didn't stop, the section from summit to watergrove was nice tho, twisty turny undulating and well drained. The cobbles at spring mill res were treacherous, they had me off and I had serious trouble just walking up them. The climb to top of leach was 'orrible I was really struggling, one of those head down don't look to the top just sit and spin. Rooley moor road was worse tho, cobbled, a proper bone shaker not good for my tired aching back and by then I was soaked through, I was getting pretty cold too so I peeled off a couple of wet layers and put on my other jacket and gloves (never underestimate the power of fresh, dry gloves) and had an energy gel. Sure enough 15 mins later I was spinning the pedals like a dynamo and soon made it to cowpe and the last downhill, brilliant way to end the ride.
High lights, the downhills to Widdop res, charlestown, broadley and cowpe.
Low lights, getting repeatedly lost, rain, cobbles, stupid maps.
I actually ended up doing 50miles and in the region of 7500ft climbing, I think I could realistically drop and hour off my time just by knowing the route and not getting lost, with dry weather and no detours maybe get my time down to 6hours, not sure I can be bothered tho :-)

Monday, 24 August 2009

I am Nick Craig...not

So we went to the peaks and lined up to have a go at cleaning Jacobs Ladder pfff! yeah right! My first attempt did not go well, got about 15metres up the trail, frontwheel slipped round something swinging it right where it hit a rock pushing it further around a full 180 degrees throwing me off. Ouch. So I picked myself dusted myself off and went back down and had another go. Still nothing scintillating, I made it about 2/3rds of the way to the switchback before having to stop. I tried to ride all of the rest of it in sections just to prove I could clean it if I was a shedload fitter. Was ok up untill the very top section, I rode nearly all of the fixed cobbles right up to where there are a couple of big steps (where I collapsed in a heap) There is a line up those too but I had no chance of getting started again and my legs were turning to jelly. Nice rest at the top, it was a lovely, only slightly marred by the clouds of massive flys, dunno what they were no the usual bluebottles. The rest of the ride was great, me, Burk, Junkyard and JXL, roych clough and rushup edge were great, the drop into edale has huuuuge waterbar drops and the last descent past spray house farm was loads of fun despite me nearly stacking it. I hit a spot of sand, front wheel drifted badly, I just managed to save it, Burk behind me was pissing himself until he realised he was going to run into the back of me and had to slam on. Really good day out, caught a bit of sun and was too tired to do the intended road ride when I got home, pretty achey on sunday. A harsh 19miler.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Proper commuting

Wow a full week of off road commuting, well 4 days which is a week to me :-) Trails were dryish, no dodging idiot car drivers, all round a nice way start and end the day. Not all perfect mind, serious overgrowth meant getting soaked from dew in the mornings and nettle stings twice a ride on average, I really need to get down there with a strimmer and sort it out but can't really be botherd plus wouldn't fancy explaining it to a copper in the unlikely event I got stopped. Over a hundred miles already for the week and more to come tomorrow as we have a peaks ride planned, jacobs ladder here we come.
Couple of mishaps, the tight left, steps, tight left section I've mentioned before had a huge puddle of sick halfway down the steps and a big old turd at the bottom right in the middle (human or animal not sure) Thats enough to put you off your line! Wierd thing is that whole mess wasn't there in the morning just the evening. On weds I went exploring a bit and found some pipes, think it's for TA training or something, just some huge piles of dirt with big concrete pipes going through, I thought it would be fun to ride through. If I leaned the bike over and ducked down I could squeeze through. Well I could fit untill the middle where the guage of pipe changed and I couldn't go any further. Couldn't turn round either, had to back out of the pipe pushing the bike - muppet!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Home invaders, lethal violence and explosions...

...well ok explosion - singular. Sounds like a recipe for a film don't it, but it was just my weekend, a lot less fun than it sounds. Got round to working through the punctured innertube pile mountain friday night, fixed a few and swapped the pompino's tatty front tyre for a new one, bugger to fit, eventually got it on started pumping it up got to 80odd psi when BANG! tube exploded, must have been caught under a tyre bead, damn apologies to the neighbours. Went in the kitchen later on hit the lights and found a couple of slugs that have been leaving trails on the floor, salted and binned them. Saturday night I was up late on the playstation, in the dark, on screen I was getting attacked by a giant spider when out of the corner of my eye I think I see something but carry on battling the spider then I definitley see something scuttling along the arm of the settee towards my head - eek! I'm not normally bothered by bugs but when they surprise me like that I freak a bit (big girls blouse that I am) jumped up and battered it to death with a magazine, looked like some sort of ear wig but without the pincers. Finished watching series 4 of The Wire, been buying my dad the box sets over the last 12 months or so christmas, birthday etc, finally got round to borrowing them off him a couple weeks ago and motored through all 4 - he's still on series 3. Excellent stuff, bit funny bit, sad, bit of social commentary and just bloody good entertainment. Will have to buy him the 5th series for christmas - tho the sellophane wrapping may not be intact when he gets it :-) No riding and not very rock and roll but it was a decent weekend.

Thursday, 13 August 2009


Just had to share this

Dead legs

Dunno how Matt does it, a couple of days on the bike and my legs aren't fit for owt. Legs were feeling a bit sore yesterday after the A&E ride, I'd taken it real easy on the way in and going home was going proper slow, a guy I've seen before on a nice but really creaky scott road bike came passed me, I resisted the urge to chase and watched him slowly pull away from me. Five miles later just before I got home I caught up to him, he'd got stuck at a load of red lights, more haste less speed and all that. Went out up rivi with Johnnie later, felt fine sprinting up leadmines clough and round anglezarke but the race home (got stuck without lights again) legs didn't feel too hot. Was considering not riding in this morning but can't miss weather like this so dragged myself out of my pit and rode in offroad. Just mapped out last nights ride 27 miles no wonder my legs are fooked, 19 hilly miles on tuesday, 52 yesterday and I'm now halfway through another 25 today.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A and E

Nice day for it yesterday, me and burk went to the lakes and did an Ambleside and Elterwater ride, started looking very gloomy all dark skies and low, low cloud but halfway up the first climb we were shedding layers and an hour later the sky was clear and the sun was beating down. Good day out. Last time we did this ride I came off and trashed my mech hanger, I didn't escape unscathed this time either. Before the ride even started I had to bend Burks disc rotor back into shape, must have been a rock strike at the end of the 3 passes ride, we both got 1 flat each during the ride then on the downhill into elterwater my back wheel seems to hook up on something. Quick inspection at the bottom showed it was my bash guard and chain ring that had caught on a rock I think, writing off the bash guard and bending the chainring. I bent the ring back and carried on but thats gonna cost me.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Wasted days

Thats 2 sundays in a row that have been good weather for riding that I've missed. Last week was due to me being a tart, not signing up for the STW ride so ended up going out on saturday getting tanked up on dirty, dirty cider and being too hungover for a local ride. This week I just could not motivate myself. Come winter when I'm trudging through the mud and slop I'll be regretting these missed opportunities!

3 passes

So I went back to Nan Bield on Friday with Mark, weather was looking good and I guess it was, clear blue skies but it was uncomfortable, not that hot and didn't feel humid but as soon as you put in any effort at all sweat pored out of you. Different route to last time, parked in kentmere and went straight up stile end cutting out green quarter, loose rocky drop into Sadgill and first big climb up gatesgarth, nasty. A "bit" of pushing ensued, but was dispatched without too much unpleasantness. Gatesgarth was said to have been sanitised which had me worried but it seems rather than turn it into a tame boring downhill it's actually harder. On the switchbacks they've cut a run off ditch out, so as you get to the corner your stuck in a ditch you have to climb out of as you corner - tricky. Anyway pretty good downhill. Quick break at the bottom before the 'orrible climb up NB. An hour of pushing carrying swearing and cursing followed. The downhill was worth it tho, bloody brilliant and no offs this time. Coasting back into kentmere we ignored the car and the easy way out and instead headed up passed kentmere hall going for the hat trick, garburn pass too. About 10 minutes from the car I ran out of water, damn, 2 litres in just over 3hours, ah well I could scrounge a bit of Burks 3L only for him to announce a few minutes later he'd run out too. Ah. The route round to garburn was OK, and the climb started off easy, despite being bloody thirsty. It soon steepened up tho but was mostly rideable and is probably 100% rideable on fresher hydrated legs. Garburn was a decent downhill, fast rocky bit of tech just not quite as good as the other 2. Was pretty knackered by the time we got back to the car and needed a caffeine boost at Staveley before the long drag home. Legs didn't feel too bad Saturday but my back and arms were aching from all the carrying. Good route tho, well recommended.

Monday, 3 August 2009 cyclists a bad name...

Been making a mischief of myself of late, last week on salford crescent a guy on a boardman bike came flying passed me, I was taking it easy. On friday much earlier in the commute I see the same guy infront, I'm going quick that day so I closed the gap and sat on his tail for a while, we were motoring along pretty quick, I took a decent turn up front then coming into swinton I waved him passed for another go in lead - which he did. Not much later at the Height roundabout heading for the east lancs slip road he slows and looks back at me, wanting me to take the lead again I guess, so I say OK and overtake him, go down the sliproad and put the power down. Look behind me and he's nowhere to be seen. Hmm. Oh damn, he wasn't waving me through, he was going right and was checking for traffic at which point I overtook him, he probably thinks I'm a right cock. I guess he skips the east lancs section and joins the crescent later on. Will have to apologise next time I see him.
This morning on my way in I'm coming to a right turn, there's a guy (facing me) crossing the side road I'm turning into, he's already crossing so I lazily turn ready to pass behind him, bloke sees me and bricks it, starts to step back (into my path), I slow, he steps back more til he's back on the pavement he came from, I turn the corner, him mouthing off. Oops, bit late to apologise, that's another bike hater. My bad.