Friday, 28 May 2010

Looking up

Lets draw a line under the last few weeks doom and gloom, this week has been rather good, tuesday we took charlie for a visit at the nursery then had a drive, was heading for blackpool via the scenic route, got lost lots but found a nice pub in Treales and had some posh nosh. Went to lytham next, parked up near the windmill and had a bit of a walk where we found Lytham just has mud flats no beach so on to sand dunes at St Annes. We introduced Charlie to sand which he loved, sea was about 5miles out so didn't bother paddling. Headed for home stopping in at fredericks for ice cream nyom nyom. Saw a road group doing lands end to John o Groates (also refuelling on frederick's finest) had a chat with them, also noticed their support van was loaded with cake :-)

Out for a chinese on weds ate way too much. Charlies first day at nursery thursday, he was fine, he enjoyed it and got on with everyone. Then I nipped out for a quick ride. More riding planned for weekend including hopefully a Father and son ride with Johnnie and his boys too.

Snatched opportunities

The burn of atrophied quads resisting being put back to use, the breakfast cereal snap crackle and pop wheeze of inefficient under-used lungs struggling (and failing) to cope. I'm only ten minutes in to my first ride since forever, and I'm suffering, maybe I should have picked an easier climb but I'm short on time, daylight and the weather's calling last orders too. I check my pace again and continue, tarmac section is out of the way I'm onto dirt, still dusty despite the recent rain excellent. Up passed the farm and on to steeper stuff, a pause to check out the line for the return downhill is fooling no-one, I'm resting, I can't handle the incline. Back on the bike, back to the world of hurt. The terrain passes in slow motion, my heads knows what I am (normally) capable of and wants to push me on, faster, more speed=more trails but I'm redlining already. Another 20minutes and I'm at the top and headed down the other side, a bit reticent at first but the speed soon picks up as I let go the brakes and relax. Ah, something still works, my body remembers how to do this, nice one. While time has quickly drained the fitness from my legs it has only blunted the edge of my skill. Flowing with the trail, a drop of the shoulders, a flick of the hips, subtle (and not so subtle) shifting of weight, a nod at some upward riders as I launch off a drop and all too soon I'm at the bottom a big grin plastered all over my face. It doesn't get much better that this.
A quick 180, saddle back up to suffering height and I'm heading skyward again, a longer more sustained climb this but my body is already adapting, less complaints from my chest and jelly legs are firming up. I want to chase down the climbers I passed but no chance, slow and steady is the name of the game today and eventually I clean it. More downs, drifty loose trails with rock steps, rocky forest trails, wide open dirt roads and twisty not-quite-singletrack to finish. The burdgeoning dark clouds that have been piling up agains the hill finally start to shed their load as I start up the car to drive home. A perfect 90minutes of riding squeezed in between life work and weather.

Or if you dont like all that flowery nonsense:-
I finally got out riding again, up wildeswood, down san marino back up SM, kennel run, upto pike and down the rocky steps and finished down Jons* 200. Freaking awesome it was too.

*it might be Jons but I've got it on long term loan :-)

Monday, 24 May 2010

moan, moan, whinge, whinge, whine, rant

Pardon me while I wallow in my own self pity, but that was a write off, proper waste of a weekend, and I don't mean "boohoo I didn't get to ride my bike" either. I spent 90% of my time friday evening to monday morning curled up on the couch or bed feeling like death. The other 10% was spent shuttling back and forth to the bathroom, actually it could have been an 80/20 split. Nice. Just to add insult to injury, a load of my mates were out on saturday celebrating the arrival of Ferny's baby daughter. Another mate was having a bbq. A load of my riding buddies were out in the dales on sunday (which I'm sure lowey will be doing a write up of). Oh and lets not forget best weather of the year. Mrs didn't escape either, not only did she have to put up with me being a grumpy bastard but she had a rare night out planned with her mates but just as they were getting a taxi into town she started hurling so ended up back home suffering with me.

One single nice moment of the weekend, Charlie crawled for the first time yesterday and we were both there to see it. Awwwww.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Woke up with a blocked nose and sore throat, with that and last nights shenanigans I am not a happy bunny.

Oh yeah last night,
(warning long bike geek diatribe follows)
cant remember if I've mentioned "project no flats" before, I've switched to a dual ply tyre on the back of my pinch flat prone heckler, only a bit heavier than the big tyre/DH tube combo I was running before and hopefully bulletproof. Started with a standard tyre run ghetto tubeless, PITA to inflate, had to use works compressor. Did the rocky peak ride in april flat free (awesome) but tyre has since deflated, tyre came away from the rim, the latex dried and its uninflatable again. Damn and blast. Ordered a UST minion and a proper dt rim strip, tried fitting that last night, UST tyre will NOT go on, could try with a huge metal tyre lever but will prob damage the rimstrip in doing so. Got a proper UST wheel that I could use so I fit the tyre on there, had loads of trouble getting it pumped up but then it was leaking from the valve, shimano valves not compatible with mavic rims. Grrr. Swap valve, re-inflate (eventually) and it's pissing air from the tyre bead/rim interface. Will try again tonight with washing up liquid. Will also try the standard minion with the rimstrip soon. Sore hands this morning from wrestling with tyres and hooning up and down on the track pump like a maniac for half the night, hope the day doesn't get any worse. Was thinking this morning tho, assuming I do get a useable setup out of this, if I ever did manage to get a flat I'd be buggered fixing it out on a ride. Also I've probably already spent the equivalent time of about 20 puncture stops (and the cost of 10 DH tubes) trying to get it sorted.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Singletrack attack

Peak district on Saturday, Si had the manchester 10k to do and Johnnie couldn't make it so just me and Burk this time. Wanted to try something different and it had to be sub 20miles as this was only Burks 2nd ride of the year. I cobbled together a route only a the last bit of which we'd done once before. Set off from above hayfield up onto chunal moor and down wormstones descent, excellent start to the day, proper techy singletrack quite like this bit on Darwen hill but 10 times longer. Then after a gate it smoothed out and twisted and turned down to the bottom. Lovely. Back up the road then over to lantern pike via some more singletrack. Lantern to the sett valley is a loooong loose downhill, maximum speed, brilliant. Along the valley to hayfield then up to caldwell clough, some nice just about doable (but not this time) singletrack climbs and a down before the nasty rocky climb up the clough. Horrible, but this led us to even more excellent singletrack over to kinder res finishing with a warp speed wide grassy section. I only just cleaned the steep cobbled climb from the res, the new high front end on the etsx is not suited to steep ups, unless I want to get a little too intimate with the saddle I have to stand up for all of the really steep stuff (normal climbs are fine tho) mountain bike forks need a lock/wind-down not lockout. Then to finish middle moor, brilliant singletrack downhill. Really good ride, nice weather, silly amount of singletrack, all polished off before lunch, will be doing it again, will try to extend it and bypass the road sections tho.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Scary moment

Finally fitted the floats to the etsx, front end felt a bit high on the front street but yesterday I rode it to work to bed everything in and it felt fine. Nice and plush, caned it on the singletrack and loved the ride in. On the way home I hopped a raised kerb and dropped a foot or so to the road and heard a crunch, looked back and looks like I'd landed on a can but 5mis later dropping off a 2ft ledge I heard it again but more of a cracking sound. Eeek. Everything looked OK but there is a slight chip in the carbon swingarm. Rode slowly bouncing up and down on it with all my weight and sure enough heard the terminal sounding crack a few more times. First thought was "oh dear, frames dead" I'm ashamed to say my second thought was "ooooh what can I get to replace it" Anyway on further inspection I found the shock bolt was a little loose, tightened it up and didn't hear a peep for rest of ride, will keep an eye on it.

I rode the loop at drinkwater park on the way home, original loop is finished but they are still putting in some rocky diversions and not sure how much more stuff they'll be adding. Short but sweet, blue grade mainly with one swoopy red bit, good for introducing kids/newbies to riding but for regulars not worth travelling to but well worth a diversion if you're riding nearby.

Oh yeah and blood sugar levels plummeted as I got near home, some proper dizzyness going on, straight to the shop for cake - seriously peeved to not find any, why can't you get a decent slab of fruit cake at chain shops anymore (I tried spar and tesco express) had to make do with 4 bakewell tarts to cure the shakes.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Well that didn't go to plan

Me and Si showed a Ryan from work round Lee Quarry, he's got a kona stab downhill monster bike that weight about the same as Si and My bikes put together, he hardly ever rides it but was still bigging himself up beforehand so needed putting in his place :-) He huffed and puffed up the climbs pushes but he tore down everything quite easily, including the black run into the quarry (and the skinny off the end) ballsy little beggar. We went to the pump track and I decided to find out if you could manage a pump track on a downhill bike, the answer is "yes" sort of, managed 2 laps ok but only just. Pushed to the top of the steep hill I did last time trying to psyche out our downhiller a bit. After we'd helped drag his bike to the top he didn't fancy it (hehe) but then said he do a steeper nastier run nearby(doh!), looked dodgy to me, off camber ruts at the bottom but he stepped up and did it no probs his beast bike soaking everything up(argh!). That left me and Si in trouble, new boy besting us, we'd get a load of stick in the brew room at work next day, but no way was I doing that run on a hardtail. We went back to the original and Si played a blinder, he went down no probs looking very controlled, he'd looked at it from the top for a while so I had my doubts he'd do it, good going. I was feeling really tense, the macho bullshit pressure getting to me (I don't cope well with pressure) but I followed Si, felt easier than last time. With our reputations salvaged (we'll call that one a draw) we went back to the top for the full red route downhill. I was on form by then, properly lifting the bike and pushing it into the corners. I ripped the section after the cattle grid (and ran back to do it again) and I loved the bottom section which I normally have trouble properly flowing on, hoping this is a permanent thing not a fluke.
The sunset views over the moors on the drive home were ace, a damn good evenings riding.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Woohoo back on 2 wheels

Nice gentle ride into work yesterday, great to be back on a bike. Saw a guy on a fake-enger bike, quite tasteful actually, black, white and chrome, going up to a red light he did that kick skid thing fixie riders do so I was more than a little surprised as I caught up to see he had brakes and a freewheel! Bizarre. Just doing it for effect.

Going lee quarry again tonight with Si and another lad from work, he's a downhiller and he says he is going to show us how it's done. He owns a proper downhill bike but apparently he once fell off on a canal towpath, should be fun. I'll be joining him pushing up the hills, that'll force me to take it easy.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Some reading for your pleasure

Very good (depressing) article with some awful examples of our legal system.
Cycling against the car culture
A must read for cyclists and everyone else for that matter, all of us are affected by cars whether we drive, ride or neither, you don't have to be a road user to get mangled by a car.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Change the record

Still ill, still not riding. Not too bad just feeling off with bouts of headache and sore throat. Been to docs this morning he reckons my chest is ok and I must have picked up a virus or something while recovering, blood test on friday to confirm no other problems. Asked him how long to leave it before riding again he said another week then take it easy. Weekend has been fun doing family stuff and diy but starting to get proper wound up and my heads been up my arse, making silly mistakes and getting loads of stuff wrong. Need to get out riding for the sake of my sanity, dread to think how much fitness I'm losing aswell.

Edit. Did consider going on holiday next week to help recovery (and not misss out on another week of riding later in the year) but Mrs informed me 4 days notice is not enough, she needs to shop for new clothes bikinis etc and summer outfits for Charlie apparently. Ah well...