Tuesday, 30 March 2010


Oh dear that's done it, I've just signed up for kielder 100. Hope I don't live to regret it. Need to get in some serious mileage training, I was out for 10 hours on sunday and still only managed just over half that. I think we get about 11.5 hours to do the 100 at kielder...hmm. Need to lose some weight too, about half a stone to get back to normal i reckon. I feel in pretty good shape, getting lots of excercise, I'm just eating too much.
Nice easy commute this morning, well it wasn't planned but going up the small hill from my house my legs screamed at me that this would be a recovery ride, a flatter, slightly longer route took an hour! Good job we're not nightriding tonight.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Local trails for local people

STW forum came to rivi this weekend, last time they were here I rode out to the meet point and back and managed a nice 47mile ride, this time we were meeting a bit further away so I was hoping to hit the big 50. Lowey and friends had a similar idea, ride out, do most of the ride and then dig in for the day at the pub stop (their nightride local). Usual route over to rivi then back up to the pigeon tower to meet lowey. ICR then mostly road to botany bay. Only 18 riders in all set off, not much for an stw ride but that meant a faster pace. Healey nab and wheelton plantation got us up onto great hill, and the sun came out melting all those wrapped up for the cold morning. Loweys mates were tiring so split at this point (maybe I shouldn't have reminded them of the climb to follow up winter hill - oops) Drop into white coppice was ace tho not without incident in the muddy top section, couple of wheel catchers and I nearly lost it in the very slippy mud. 2 proper quick guys came flying passed me whilst on the wrong line, a line change kept them in sight but I was on my limit they looked like they were cruising. Cross anglezark to rivi and we were hemorrhaging riders, we got to George's with just 7 left! Met up with another group so had some company up to winter hill, we nailed san marino which the visitors loved. Pub stop was a welcome rest (and a catch up with the early retirees :-) but we paid dearly for it, the climb up hoar stones was terrible with cold legs (and pretty boggy) over to ICR and then to lead mines clough, the climb out was not nice for tired little legs. We had a blast round the healy nabb red run then I split for home (via san marino again)
It was a good ride with good company, nice to do your local stuff with fresh eyes, Ton kept saying how much he liked the place and the massive variety of trails, open moorland, rocky trails, twisty singletrack forest stuff etc It got me thinking, yeah actually we are bloody lucky to have all this on our door step.
Anyway turns out botany bay is a lot further away than I thought I'd done 16miles before the meet no wonder my legs had a "run in" feel on the first climb and I overshot my aim a bit, 57miles 7700ft, walking up the hill to the train station was hard this morning. RIDING :-)

Saturday, 27 March 2010

I'm sorry....have we met?

"...pushing's strangely satisfying. Everyone knows someone who treats an unrideable climb as a personal insult and throws himself at it repeatedly, suffering failure after failure and apparently confusing it with some sort of domination of the landscape, his bike, body and mind. In the meantime, the rest of us have sloped off up the hill for a virtual fag break whilst waiting for the novelty of smacking pedal against shin to wear off."

Nope I don't know anyone like that, oh no, not me, doesn't sound familiar at all. Uh uh.

Taken from Johnnie Pink's column in singletrack magazine, if you want to read the rest go buy it, it is rather good.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Blowing down the crescent

Forgot to mention this before, last week, this was a new one. Picture the scene, thursday evening rush hour, salford crescent (big road out of city centre) chockablock traffic, you're in your silver audi, you had a stressful day and the traffics doing your head in. Do you?
A drive carefully home and have a nice relaxing bath
B drive like a nutter get home and sink a few bevvies
C reach over to your wife/mistress/lady-friend/professional-lady-friend-currently-in-your-employ and pull her head down for a nosh to relieve the stress?

Yep some doughnut getting a gobble while driving through busy rush hour traffic, I was travelling at a similar speed 2 lanes away, thought I saw something dodgy and did a double take. Sure enough, everytime he has to slow for lights/traffic a head pops up, when they get going again down she goes.

"But officer there's no specific law against it and it is hands free"

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Its grim oop on'thills

Plans were set for niteriding with trio and johnny, unfortunatley Johnny had to cancel. Got dressed up was just heading out into the gloom when trio rang to say she couldn't make it either. Some spurious excuse about a broken freehub, these part time fair weather cyclists eh?* Well I was all dressed up anyway so just grabbed my MP3 player for company and set off. It was horrible weather, proper grim rain and wind, soon had to bin my glasses due to them misting up, rain and fog so got plenty of grit in my eyes on the downs. I was hammering it, with all the rain I just wanted to get done and get home. Up barrow bridge, up old rake where it got a bit wierd, halfway up the gradient eases slightly, it felt and looked like I was on a flat road but it's still fairly steep, mind playing tricks on me. Was foggy on winter hill til I came round the shoulder of two lads where it suddenly cleared. Down wildeswood and up bastard climb where someone had helpfully left the gate at the halfway point open so I didn't have an excuse to stop (git) Down georges and up winterhill again and the fog was back, the pace was killing my legs, the climb was a slog. Didn't fancy san marino in all the rain and fog so down via holdens and along scout road to come down through smithills and home, only out for 2hours, I was in my wet weather gear and still got soaked through. Very tired today, a commute with a constant headwind this morning hurt. I need a lot more practice at quick rides.

*only joking Trio, hope rigger is better soon :-)

Monday, 22 March 2010

No introductions needed

So I finally went out mountain biking again, Junkyard came round and we set off from mine, he only had his SS available so I thought I better take mine too. About 2/3s of the way round Johnnie said "I've not ridden properly for 2months I was expecting a nice gentle introduction back into riding" Oh. Maybe should have mentioned that earlier, route was barrow bridge, winter hill, witton weavers, darwen tower, jumbles, home, 25ish miles I thought, turned out to be a hefty 30. I cut out the forest at entwistle (big steep power climbs) near the end as I didn't want Johnnie refusing to ever let me choose routes again. Was a good ride out, cold to start but gorgeous once we got on top of winter hill, bit of an inversion going on in bolton. Cleaned the steps at holdens for first time SS, got up first two stalled on the 3rd so hopped up it then had to hit the power to get up the last, san marino is well cut up but not too wet/muddy. Had to climb walls at belmont res again, riding up darwen tower from tockholes was a first for me on SS (cleaned), bombing down the other side was ace, stupidly fast with big water bars to jump/hop.
Cracking ride, loads of people out walkers and bikers, no crashes or mechannicals, 2 flats (boo!).

Friday, 12 March 2010

The Dreaded Lurgy

My mrs got struck down with flu so wednesdays planned nightride was off while I helped out with his lordship. Yesterday I rode in, just as I got to work I had a call off the mrs asking me to go home as she was worse - she's hard as nails normally so must be bad. Jumped on the train home and took charlie off her hands so she could spend most of the day sleeping and today I'm feeling rough so I'm resting, riding the train and hoping the flu passes me by. Missed riding opportunites, bugger and march started so well, hope this is just a blip.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Suddenly I'm Mr Sociable

I've been doing my usual commute for quite a few years and in all that time I've spoken to about 2 people (not including "hi" to bikers and profanity at idiot drivers) Occasionally I take a different route home, this year I've been through cheetham hill/whitefield about half a dozen times and I've already chatted to 2 bikers. First my doppelganger the other week then a nice young lady last night who puts my 3 or 4 commutes per week to shame, she does Darwen to manchester EVERY day, she drives into work monday with bike and gear and leaves car there til friday. She drafted me for a while then showed me a shortcut - well not much shorter but it dodges a shedload of traffic - through radcliffe. She's also a mountain biker and a HTN-er like the guy the other week and she does the brownbacks series too.
Seems the A666 is a road of solitude while all the chatty people are down the A665.

Well it made me chuckle

Monday, 8 March 2010

Amblekiller v3.0

Sunday saw my annual trip to ambleside to kick off the riding year proper. A very early start, parked up at rothay bridge and headed off, gorgeous day nippy but clear skys. Loughrigg was fun but they've sanitised the bottom half (booo!) Iron Keld was a bugger to climb, the grass was frozen solid so loads of grip until there suddenly wasn't and the rear spun wildy. Patches of ice I think, mind you my new rear tyre hasn't got quite as much bite so that wont have helped. Over to colthouse another big climb, more do-able but this is oh so much better as a downhill but claiffe wasn't a bad consolation. I skipped the bloody awful slack wood climb, I took the longer higher road around. Over to grizedale another lungbuster that I've never cleaned and a proper steep rocky track down to the visitors center. The day was warming up nicely the climb up to parkamoor had me steaming but when I rode into the trees it got all cold again. Anywhere in shade was freezing everywhere else was lovely. Parkamoor was ace as ever, as was bletherbarrow lane, rocky tracks my fave type of riding. Was tiring by the time I hit the visitors centre again just after lunch, titties track is a big old rocky climb, a loss of concentration had me dabbing halfway but I cleaned the mental rocky bit on the upper half so not bad and that lead to Lawson park, brilliant fun just too many gates! After hodge close I decided to take the quarry climb we did last month but instead of the singletrack descent I skipped over to the bridleway for more rocky goodness. Good job too as I rode passed the bottom of the cheeky track there were tonnes of walkers, I'd have run into them halfway down and they looked the militant type. By this point I was buzzing from a caffeine power gel, I went up langthwaite and bust a gut going up sawreys wood, a little worried I'd blown up. That just left loughrigg terrace, road climb wasn't too bad considering and not too many walkers about on the terrace. I even had enough energy to hammer the road back to the car. Brilliant day out and didn't end up in the world of pain I was in last year. 46miles 7800ft and lots of smiles.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Freeze dried trails

Nice commute this morning, very frosty so I went offroad, very fast and clean, all the mud was frozen and I've seen a fun route around the perpetual puddle at clifton, great stuff. It's looking like a bright clear day so I doubt it will be as nice on the way home, infact I think I may go home a different way. Last time I commuted offroad me and my bike got a full all over coating of mud and I was sliding about all over the shop on the way home, I'll see if the canal/train line is any drier, the route is a bit longer tho and not as fun.
[edit] Did the canal and trainline route home, dull dull dull, only fun bits were finding some old train platforms to jump off. Was fairly mud free tho and was good training as it's just flat and straight you wind up the speed intil you're sprinting - for 16miles, legs were tired when I got home.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

nightride irregulars

Nightrides have been a bit hit and miss lately, Si's on running training for his half marathon, Trio's had a quiet start to the year xc-wise, Junkyard has had trouble making it and me, well I've just been a bit lazy. Anyway plans were made, a later meet than usual so I thought I'd nip an extra hill in beforehand. Pushed pretty hard from the start, skipped the top of winterhill on the way out but still did wildeswood and then back up school climb all the way to the pike and down ICR and on to the lower barn. Junkyard had to cancel at last minute so just me and trio, we both live other side of bolton so we went for winterhill and back home via entwistle and turton tower. It was a clear night, could see all over bolton and manchester and the moon was on the horizon seemingly bigger than usual and bright orange, lovely but temp was dropping quick so kept the pace pretty high. Belmont was full of packed snow but it was grippy and fun with running commentary from trio :-) The road over to Ent was longer and steeper than I remembered, not great for trio on a SS but after that is was downhill(ish) all the way home. Even went down "the chicken run" which was the last mile or so of my old school xc run (which I loathed) blast from the past that was. Home and scoff my face then I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Decent weather, good route with all the main downhills covered, no mechanicals, punctures or offs, just how nightrides should be.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Disc brake tinkerers

Had to fettle the back brake on my kinesis last night, one piston was a bit sluggish. Extending the piston and a wipe/lube with mineral oil sorted it out. A bit late now but I found a rather good howto with pics. It's for Hope brakes but should be useful for other brakes too, most calipers are similar design nowadays I think.
Those pics show you just how bloody huge those M6s are, proper DH stoppers. Gonna have to do some more tinkering soon, got some old brake hoses that need changing but hope have changed the hose sizing 6mm->5mm i think, £20 for the new connectors! Per brake! Ouch.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Part timer

Nipped out at lunch time yesterday for a bit of a ride, not planning a biggy but wanted to get some miles in while weather was OK. No biggy was right only just into the 20s. Started out with the usual nightride combination, variation 2 (barrow bridge, winterhill, kennel, wildeswood) then up bastid climb, ICR was fun, AICR got a few scalps and upto the pike. Chilly up top, sheltered next to the ramblers at the pike and ate the last of Charlies christening cake (mmm) and down off the stones, the rutted section was the dryest I've seen, in fact most of rivi was in pretty good nick, shame winter hill is such a mess. Still wet snow on some trails making sections unrideable and the rest a muddy mess. Wouldn't have ridden up "hole in the wall" even for a heap of money. Went up the access road instead, I had planned to do belmont but went down Holdens instead and nipped across town to see my mum as it was her birthday.

Not a big ride by any means but legs are drained today, full on recovery mode riding to work. I think it's my post ride ritual that is the problem. I refuel rehydrate and rest only I don't do it properly. Refuel within 45 mins but it's usually something fatty, brie omlette in this case, I normally rehydrate with a beer (oh dear) and then rest in a red hot bath which both dehydrates me and seems to suck any energy reserves I have left leaving me completely wasted. Anyway rest today then hopefully nightride tomorrow.

Oh and 2 rides since recabling my kinesis and already the shifting is buggered, back to full length outers I think (or splash the cash on some goretex)

Charlie's Big Adventure

Charlie went to his Granny's on saturday night, first night away from home since hospital and first night ever away from his mum, bit worried cause he won't take bottles but granny was not phased "if he's hungry he'll take it". We had a nice night, takeaway, couple of beers, chilled out and the mrs finally got a full nights sleep. Was great just being us two again. Picked Charlie up in the morning, he hadn't had a bottle but had eaten baby rice mixed with milk and the whole being away from home/us hadn't bothered him at all. He did seem very happy to see us tho. Already got him booked in with his other grandma in a couple of weeks :-)