Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Feel the burn

After the lakes ride i rested monday, rode in yesterday was feeling a bit ropey and the usual night ride crew were either busy or too tired with only Giles was up for it. I didn't wanna waste decent weather so agreed to meet giles at barrow bridge. Riding home from work my legs started to feel drained, not a good sign, bananas and bowl of porridge at home before setting off. Met Giles and off we went, barrow bridge still had a little snow but was doable, the usual route up onto winterhill then over to do kennel run, down wildeswood up bastard/school climb and then ice cream run where I flatted :-( Coming back up AICR my legs were complaining so we skipped the pike and straight down george's to hole in't wall. Halfway up my energy (and sweeties) ran out, blood sugar bottomed out big time. Frantically I searched my bag for food and thankfully found a power gel stashed in the bottom, lifesaver! On with the climb, a lights off sneak passed the security hut at the top and on to belmont decent. Brilliant, firmer than the last few times I'd been down and I ripped down, lots of fun. Road climb up scout road was ok now that gel was doing it's thing and the drop back down smithills was tame but fast. Good ride out, 23miles over 3000ft, not an epic but my quads were proper burning when I got home, seems I hadn't fully recovered from weekend.
Giles seemed impressed, bit tougher than the usual night rides but I reckon he could have managed a couple more hills.

Edit oh yeah I managed to ride the drop on wildeswood corner without scoping it out first, might try that more often, trouble is lines there change and speeding towards a drop is a bad time to realise your usual line has been washed away!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Proper ride!

First big ride ride of the year on proper hills (local stuff doesn't count) only 21ish miles lousy weather and an average speed of about 4mph but it was a cracker. Lowey kindly chauffered me up there, loads of faff at carpark, about an hour before we eventually set off and just as the first riders headed off I turned back to see a bike upside down back wheel removed. Fortunatley it wasn't Johnnie :-) so 1 didn't even leave the car park. First climb was a toughy, up loughrigg fell and then off piste further up till we got to a hole in the wall where we were presented with lovely singletrack. The slippy covering of leaves had me on edge and I nearly died when on a long off camber straight followed by a left hander my front wheel slipped way over to the right and I had visions of straightlining over the edge into thin air. I panic braked and managed to slow right down and turn, need to stop doing that, I could probably have easily made the corner if I'd commited to it but once things start going wrong I tend to hit the anchors. Difficult one to practice tho.
Steve's shock jammed just after that so our numbers thinned even more. Woodland singletrack was nice if a little squishy and hard going then we started up to iron keld. A lunch stop before the killer climb, not huge but gets steeper and more rocky as it goes. Prizes were offered, one local cleared it, my chest had been feeling tight so there was no way I was going for it. I had managed to time it so I got a clear-ish run and was doing ok and whatever the red mist equivalent for climbers is descended and I pushed on. Did OK still a bit away from the top but I was awarded a pair of socks for my efforts :-)
Descent was fun till I pinch flatted and then more woodland singletrack at hodges close, this stuff will be brilliant in summer if we can avoid walkers. A steep down at the quarry got a few worried but most (if not all) came down it and only Ton crashed. SFB managed to make it look steep in a pic too.

A silly steep but smooth climb took us to yet more singletrack and then onto more familiar langdale, elterwater and the excellent loughrigg terrace this time devoid of walkers - excellent. It turns out I've been doing the wrong route here, so found the full BW route and its even better (altho you do miss the cool tech steep step) Back to the cars for tea and cakes with very tired legs. Same route waypoints as a ride me and johnnie did last year but a LOT of new alternate trails found. Hope this is the first of many.

All pics by SFB

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Bloody bloody bugger

*New drivechain on Heckler*

It's official I've got a cold, this could put a dampener on the weekend, there's a lakes ride planned. So scrap riding in to work, couple of bananas with brekky and I shall be chugging orange juice all day. Try to if not get rid of it then atleaat try to lessen the negative effects.

On a positive note, Charlie woke up same time as me and he didn't seem interested in feeding just wanted to laugh and smile at his mum and dad so a bit of a cuddle with him before I left was a nice start to the day. Yes OK I admit it i've turned into a big jessy, apparently kids can do that to you.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Suffering from a bad case of wind*

Nightride last night, we had lost Johnny and Trio to commuting duties so it was just me Si and Giles. I wasn't very psyched up for it, had considered bailing myself but set off and was doing OK till I got to the first offroad bit which was still full of ice. Oh dear not a good sign at all so road schlep up scout road, matchmoor and georges lane, wind was really bad on the tops but fortunatley behind me mostly. Wildeswood wasn't too bad bit of ice on the corners (nice) but had a decent run down.
Met up with the lads and off we went, didn't want to get to exposed or stray too far incase we ran into more ice so a lot of cheek was involved, some good some not. Couple of runs up and down the mainhill then we did ICR and it was ace, best run down in ages being on FS may have helped :-) Si's first go down there on his new 5 and he was impressed too. Was gonna call it a day but it was still early so back up this time to the pike. We got blown all over the shop, the last section I was zigzagging get blown way over to the right muscle it back to the left get blown across again. Mental! Never been riding in wind so bad. Steep downhill where we had to pedal sections to keep going and georges lane to finish with wildeswood. Giles was thirsty for more but I wanted to get back and Si didn't have the legs so we split.
Good start to the years nightrides. Quite impressed with the new storm control tyre I had on too, got it cos it was so cheap, £14 from edinburgh, bargain kevlar bead and dual compound too.


Monday, 18 January 2010

Rough as toast

I'd forgotten how much havoc you can reek on your body with just a few hours down the boozer solid drinking. My mates birthday meant a meet up round his local and he drinks quick, the first couple pints take a while to go down but he gets quicker and pretty much doesn't stop accellerating til...well until it gets pretty messy. I bailed at 9 but am still feeling ropey this morning, was having dificulty remembering how to put on socks first thing, I had hoped the ride in would clear my head which it did but still suffering. Was a good afternoon, setting the world to rights and talking bollocks. Oh and I already knew strongbow was the devils piss but it turns out cool, clear, crisp, innocent looking Kopparberg is pretty evil stuff too, it's just a pity it's so tasty.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Wrong sort of snow

Plenty of that about yesterday, rode in offroad and wasn't too bad one narrow section the snow had turned into that grey thixotropic stuff thats a nightmare to ride on. On the way home it was a whole different receptacle of seafood. Lots more thixo and slush, proper slog to get home, over 2hours for ~13miles last snow ride for a bit I reckon. Looked fine as I left this morning but as soon as I got out the door it started raining, I'm really warming to that altura jacket, it's been plenty warm all winter and shrugged off the medium to heavy drizzle this morning. As pointed out in singletrack lycra thumb cuffs are rubbish when they get wet but if you got long enough gloves its ok. Gonna be too warm for milder weather tho so will have to look out for a thinner version.

Nearly had a heart attack when I thought a lorry hadn't seen me this morning. Him and a car infront of him were waiting to turn right blocking up a box junction I was going to cross, lights changed and car infront showed no sign of moving I waited a few second but still nowt so I went. Of course car chose that precise moment to move and so the truck moved too. Eeek. Fortnatley truck stopped and beeped. Pretty sure there should only be one vehicle waiting to turn right on a box junction tho and he should have stayed put behind the line.

You are in

Looks like I will be allowed to ride in the SSEC after all. Got the invite this morning woohoo. Well I'd have thought woohoo but not feeling too excited about it at the moment but I'm feeling ropey and it's pissing down. I'm sure I'll get more excited nearer the time.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The need...

Commuting has been hard work but not in the usual sense, knees are delicate so gotta take it easy but I've not been riding much so all this pent up energy is building up, it's difficult not to give in and go for it, lay down some tarmac shredding, stomach churning, knee crunching power and enjoy the speed and the burn in my legs. But no I resist, no point fecking my knees up on the daily commute and not being able to ride at weekend. Last night I saw a rider in the distance but let him go (!) however a bit later the road was oh so flat, my cadence high and I could still see him, how much damage can I do to my knees at over 100rpm? Not much surely so I opened the taps a bit, chased him down and passed him then had a bit of a chat when I got stuck at a redlight soon after. I set off again sloooooowly, easy on the knees then wound it up again to drop him. Felt good to coax a bit of speed out of the bike. Knees weren't sore later but definitley felt a bit 'tight' like your muscles do after a good workout :-( shall have to try harder to resist the need for speed in future.

Monday, 11 January 2010

How cute...

is he?

Grumble grumble

Well another failed attempt. Got the etsx out last night to try another xc commute, shock was bit soft but I thought it would be fine with a full 3 propedals of damping (I've lent my shock pump out) but out on the front street this morning it felt like a chopper, far too laid back. Damn! Back for the road bike again. Good job too, even after a few days rest my knee isn't 100%, it's aching now after the gentle commute in. Glucosamine, ibuprofen and cod liver oil are back on the menu :-( After a good start last week things have taken a turn for the worse.

Last week people were complaining about getting bored of the snow, not me I much prefer it to the dark wet weather we normally have about now. It's brighter, drier, the place looks better and it's fun for riding in, snows ace and I wouldn't have minded another few weeks. Unfortunatley it's now (very) slowly melting and turning to slush, which I hate grrr. More snow and cold temps or hurry up and melt please.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


Just left a review on wiggle for a mech hanger (! What do they want me to say about it?), I'm guessing it won't get published but we'll see, I hope so I spent a bit of time on it :-) Apparently hell is too profanity-ous for wiggle but heck is fine.

The lunacy continues...or possibly not

Who's stupid idea was it to try to ride in offroad this morning? I set off with good intentions but after 15mins of slipping and sinking in the snow I turned back and picked up the road bike. Snow had been packed down a little by walkers but was very uneven so difficult to hold a line and I was still sinking into it making it very hard going. Road wasn't too bad, with snow/slush in the bike lanes I was being careful going a bit slower than usual in the middle of the lane, the snow along the centre meant very few chances for cars to overtake but most drivers were patient. Bit iffy in city centre again as it seems the council cannot keep the roads there clear. Must try harder!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snow day

Work was cancelled today (Yay) so a lie in then a walk in the snow with the Mrs and Charlie (in one of these) to give sister in law her birthday present. Carrier is OK much better than pushing a pram around and charlie is comfy enough. Nice day and all the snow made a pretty mundane town walk a bit more challenging and a lot nicer looking.

Gonna try and ride into work offroad again tomorrow, I rode home on the road yesterday was knackered knees wrecked, quads were burning on the slightest incline, I wasn't going very fast with a 32x16 and enormous knobbly tyres either. I've stuck a 18t sprocket I had in the cupboard on the inbred, narrow tyres too it should help get through the snow and hopefully my knees wont explode this time. If i end up on the road again it'll take forever and rim brakes which will no doubt ice up but doubt I'll be going fast enough to require much braking besides the kinesis didn't have enough slack to fit 32x18.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Sublime to ridiculous

Last night I was planning to ride in xc this morning but with all the ice I was hoping for a good bit of snow to improve grip, bloody hell did it deliver, a l;ittle too much I think. Got up looked out the window and thought "wahey today is gonna be either a great laugh or an ordeal" The amount of pain coming from my legs as I walked downstairs should have been an indicator of which. Between 4 and 6 inches of snow overnight! Never had that before even on ski holidays. Looked like they'd had a snowplough out on our local streets so going was okay at first then I got off road. Under the trees was OK just a couple inches of powder but in the open it was horrible, like pedalling through glue. Singlespeeding doesn't break your knees but SS through deep snow definitley does. Halfway to work I was regretting it, I'd expected it to peter out as I got near manchester but no, after clifton and the last of the tree cover I switched to roads which were fairly empty but still that treacherous loosely packed down snow. City centre still had loads of snow and the main roads were in right a state, whoever is in charge of keeping them clear must be shitting themselves right now, they'll be on fish4jobs by the end of the week.

No-one in at work, wish I hadn't bothered, should have stayed at home. My legs are already making subtle suggestions that riding home would be a bad move. Still it should be good for shifting the christmas weight and the amount of 2 wheel drifts I've managed to save my mud riding technique should be ace by the time the snow melts. Hardest commute ever!

Monday, 4 January 2010

The Two Towers

When I eventually made it out yesterday I had stupid plans of a 3 towers ride but it was after 1 when I left so no chance. Lots of snow about as I rode up the jumbles, packed down but a sprinkling on top from the other day so grippy-ish. I still had no idea what route to do, halfway round Wayoh I decided to give peel tower a bash. Upto crowthorn was hard work, the option of deep snow or follow tyres tracks with minimal grip. Getting offroad at longshaw head the snow was very deep lots of keeping low and putting some serious power down just to keep moving. I was thinking I wouldn't be coming back this way but after the 1st stream crossing it was great, God bless ramblers, the snow was packed down just enough for fast riding but loads of grip and I made the best progress I managed all day. Climb to the tower was impossible so pushed the top half, some walker told me to man up and get back on cheeky bugger. Back the same way, going down crowthorn was interesting. Legs were feeling the strain as I got round entwistle res but I headed for darwen anyway. It was a push to the tower again and the sun was setting as I started the descent, brilliant views. Round roddlesworth I was already depending on my "get me home" light and at Abbey village I decided to go for the hat trick and headed for rivi. First ride of the year a mental 3 towers in snow on a singlespeed sounded cool. Wheelton was 'orrible quite icy but doable, the track from white coppice was snow free and I was just thinking it looked quite wet till the front wheel slid to the right, think I pulled something in my grioin stopping myself hitting the deck. Took it easy and slow after that, I could see flahing lights at the bottom of moor road, police and 2 flat bed recovery trucks, one car was severly embedded in the corner of the wall at the parking spot and another smashed into the wall at the other side of the road. Ouch. I couldn't even walk round the 1st car the road was so icy, I had to chuck my bike over the wall and walk in the field. All the way to the barn it was iced over, one short staining moment going downhill I realised I was going too fast, back wheel was just sliding, touching the front brake would be disasterous and dragging my foot did nowt, just had to stay loose and hang on, only just got away with that one. At the barn I realised rivi was a no go, it was getting late and very cold, legs were dying and the ice was lethal, I could have managed a push up to the pike but if georges lane was iced over too getting home would have been a nightmare so I took the blacktop home. Gutted! I'd done 90% of the donkey work but couldn't finish it.

Legs are screwed today, proper painful, they never get like this from riding, that snow really takes it's toll. 43 miles 5200ft climbing, good start to the riding year.

Nowty Knickers

I've been known to be a bit grumpy and I have a bad temper, when I do loose my rag 99.99% of the time it is with inanimate objects - like banks or internet providers. Anyway I've not been doing any riding since before christmas so yesterday I was trying to get out the door for a ride but things kept going wrong, camelbak leaked and while pulling out the bladder in a mood it pissed all over the only decent pair of cycling shorts I could find (I've got loads...somewhere) couldn't find other stuff, couldn't get bike out from between the rest under the stairs etc etc I had a bit of a strop swore a lot and was ready for giving it all up and vegging out on the sofa with the playstation instead when my fantastically insightful Mrs said "maybe your stressed cause you haven't been riding? Just an idea." Oh yeah! Doh. I chilled and went out asap and despite my cleats loosening (again) in the first half hour it didn't bother me, I just stopped and calmly fixed it and carried on. Lots of pent up energy is a bad thing.

That was 09

So how was it for you? Quite a good one for me, I hit nearly all my goals* and became a father too which was a bit of a bonus ;-) Charlies first christmas was fun despite him completely ignoring the HUUUGE pile of presents and toys everyone got him. This sociable riding lark is pretty good, average mph drops but more smiles per hour rises, hope to start getting to the STW rides again this year (if they continue) Guess I need to pin down some targets for next year, having my goals this year definitely helped to get me out riding this year.

Lets go for 3000 offroad miles this year, this is quite aspirational as mileages haven't been high since fatherhood and I only scraped 2.5k this time but lets see how I do, another 5200+ total would be nice too.

Coast to coast (road), Johnnie did this over 2 days with some non-bikey types so we should be fine doing it in a day that should also tick the 100mile ride I've been trying to achieve for ages.


Singletrack weekender - Good laugh this year, hoping for less punctures next time.

Kielder100, hmm, still not sure about signing up for this yet, don't wanna take up a place if I'm not fairly confident about finishing.

Other stuff, get charlie walking and get a bike seat so I can take him for a ride. Snowboarding holiday, fingers crossed, really missed it this year specially with all the snow we've had here.

That'll do for now.

Totals for this year
Road 2707
Offroad 2521
Total 5228

*only missed the 100 miler but who cares about road riding anyway?
** bitter? me?