Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Ooh ooh ooh me first!

Fresh tracks nearly all the way to work, seems like no-one could be bothered this morning, only one short section of offraod had footprints on it, most didn't even have animal tracks altho I did chase a rabbit for a while. Trouble is this snow is neither one nor t'other.
Not deep enough...
...for comedy handling.
...for nice soft landings.
...to turn the rest of the transport network to chaos instantly upgrading any cyclist commuter to godlike status.
but plenty deep enough...
...to make any blacktop very nervous for 2 wheelers
...to turn the whole place into and ice rink if the temp drops again
...to make it bloody hard work to ride in. Took well over 90 mins to get into work this morning, pitiful. Admittedly I'm tired after the weekends exertions but still, maybe 2.35 sticky downhill tyres aren't the best for snow. It needs to thaw out properly (yuck, nasty slush) or get some more proper snow on top otherwise we'll have a thick layer of ice for the next week or so, which if it then snows on top of will make it treacherous. Tonights ride isn't looking good, tired legs already, can't see me riding there, doing a ride then riding back and riding in tomorrow for my free ride2work breakfast. Hmm.

Update: Gaaaah, those big jessies at work have cancelled ride2work tomorrow, grr and indeed harumph!

De Ja Bleurgh

 Another weekend of perfect riding weather forecast, another pass out, another sorted ride planned with some mates, another bout of stomach upset, another failed weekend split between bedroom and bathroom. Grrr.
Those of a sensitive disposition look away now.
Seriously I don't want anyone complaining this post is gross, I gave you fair warning.
To be honest the ride had already fallen through, neither Johnnie or Simon could make it but Johnnie reckoned he'd be up for a local so spitlers edge was looking promising but I awoke 2am Sunday with a well dodgy stomach, Mrs had been throwing up during the week so I instantly knew what was gonna happen. We'd had Fajitas for tea and I really didn't wanna see those again, as it turns out it wasn't so bad so whilst still bent over the toilet bowl waiting for the next heave I started compiling a top 3 worst boaks ever. (told you this wouldn't be tasteful)
At 3 we have barely chewed Gammon. I was 13 on hols with my parents me and my sisters had spent most of the afternoon rolling down a massive sand dune making ourselves dizzy. Felt queasy for the rest of the day. Had Gammon for tea which as per usual for me back then I wolfed down. We then went watching indiana jones last crusade at the cinema, just as they got to the Venice boat scene my stomach had enough I walked briskly to the bogs had trouble finding them didn't quite make it. I spewed in the cubicle but didn't quite hit the toilet, whoops. Feeling like death I went back but a few mins later had to go for another go, sprinted this time made it to the cubicle just in time only to find it locked, went for the next one but the delay meant I liberally sprayed the floor of this one. I can only apologize to the cleaners at Newquay cinema.

At 2 Tapas. Work do, La Tasca's, nice, spicy spanish food, absolutely zero stodgy filler to soak up the copious post prandial alcohol (Chinese or Indian you get rice, with tapas you get nada) Spicy tomato puke, bleurgh. Horrible.

And at number 1 we have, well wait and see. Mine and a mates birthday, ooh 9 or ten years ago, we went for a curry, had a right laugh in the curry house - but that's another story. As was pro forma with my mates at the time some found eating food a necessary evil and were in a rush to get to the boozing while the rest of us finished. The other birthday boy and a few others went over to the vodka bar. I followed a little later, no sign of BB but there were my mates offering me a shot, ok cheers and I necked it, chilli vodka, you gits! They told me the other lad had already had one and had run to the bogs to throw up, I kept mine down ok but it didn't half burn (on top of a hot curry too) The night continued, ended up at someones house supping vodka til, well dunno, whatever time sunrise in march is. Now I've generally got a pretty strong stomach and very very rarely throw up on a night out but if I've really over done it, my stomach tries to sort it out, tries for a good few hours too then decides it's had enough around lunch time the next day and gives up. Anyway me and my gf went home and had a bit of a snooze, got up later felt crap for a while then tried our usual hangover pick me up, tuna mayo sarnies and tomato soup, she felt better i didn't. Sure enough a bit later I barfed, chilli vodka and tomato soup burned it's way back up my throat and out my mouth and more disturbingly my nose. Ow ow bloody ow. Worst ever. Since then I never neck a shot without tasting it first and I stick to fryups the morning after.

Feel free to share yours :-)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Pushing the envelope/Breaking the crust

Ride home was fun, the ground had softened in some places but had a few dodgy moments where I'd push into a turn and the ground held fast, seconds later another turn and the mud crust would give way and it'd go all squirrelly. Got some proper drifts going on, no stacks tho so it's all good.
Some inconsiderate twunts near home, I got home just before my mrs, I waited outside for her to help get Charlie out, she was opposite our house indicating to pull into a parking spot on our side of the road, she had to wait for a queue of traffic to clear. Lights at the corner went to red so we waited for someone to let her in - you know just pause for a few seconds before joining the long queue ahead. Nope no one stopped, just before she got completely blocked in for another cycle of the lights I had to step infront of some womens big 4x4, cow, admittedly plenty of people had already not let her in but she'd have blocked my mrs in. Where the lights are is a box junction but quite a few times recently I've seen people queueing across the junction and when the lights change no-one has been able to get across (except me on my bike of course :-) There's just no need for crap like that.

Thursday, 25 November 2010


Couldn't be arsed nightriding this week, it's getting just cold enough for offroad commuting now, 98% of the trail was frozen this morning, just a couple of puddles hadn't, lovely. Got in work quite clean, numb feet tho even with merino socks and neoprene overshoes, rubbish circulation I guess. Looking a bit milder at the moment, hope the mud hasn't defrosted. Looking forward to some snow (untill it ices over and later melts, I'll be bitching about it then) Hopefully get a proper ride in this weekend.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Not very Zen

I was not transcending the mortal plane this morning, I did not reach nirvana during my singlespeed commute, the purity of monocogging completely failed to enrapture my beating heart. As I grovelled through a solid headwind with toasted legs, head bowed against the rain I was thinking gears would have made a bloody brilliant addition to the ride.
Nightride with Johnnie and Si last night, fairly short, pike, wildes, bastard climb, ICR, home. Si easing his way back into downhills, Johnnie recovering. Nasty wind at the pike but not bad elsewhere. I went back up AICR on my way home and it had got a lot worse, had to stop for an energy bar and legs felt proper drained this morning. Early this year I was knocking out commutes and nightrides no problem but at the moment it's killing me, guess I just need to push on through it. Just off for a caffeine boost to (hopefully) help propel my legs homeward. This morning it took me a pitiful 70minutes to do 14miles of (admittedly redlight heavy) road riding.

Monday, 15 November 2010

What tyres for...

...rock, gravel, grass, mud, bogs and snow(!)? Big group ride in the lakes yesterday, still having riding mojo problems and after purchasing a new graphics card on saturday I had COD black ops and assassins creed vying for my attention. Salvation/motivation was provided by Lowey who kindly offered to chauffer, we met up at staveley, 18 of us set off. Very very wet, started of with a lung buster tarmac climb then some well surfaced lanes with big puddles, twisting our way over to dubbs lane, I was warmed up and finally glad to be there. Dubbs was loose and gravelly, not ace but do-able. Garburn was not doable at all, Gavgas our leader blitzed passed us on the bottom section, (I didn't see but I presume he didn't clear it all) and Jacqui was on usual top form outclimbing the rest of us. At the top of garburn Gav threw us a curve ball and headed over to high street instead of down garburn. The snow started to appear on the ground as we traversed the hill on off-camber grassy singletrack. My tyres didn't like this, lots of front and rear wheel slippage. Coming down from Ill Bell was steep and sketchy, with my confidence in my tyres shot I minced sections of this. The snow was deeper now 2" up to 8" or so in drifts. We ended up pushing across to mardale ill bell, a proper trudge through the snow, serious wind chill and grumbles from a couple of riders suggesting this wasn't a great idea, specially once the cloud cover came in. Anyway we made it and started the descent, some fast snow covered track followed by steep pitch stairs mostly free of snow but no way was I attempting them. Started getting my shit together on the natural stuff just in time to hit nan bield. Didn't clean it, had to redo 2 sections but managed to ride it all. Good stuff. Graham had a "face brake" moment, ended up with a massive graze down his nose and there were a few other offs but no serious damage. My waterproof boots were compromised on the very wet trail on the valley floor but we didn't have far to go, road straight back to Staveley, a bridleway detour was started but abandoned when we realised we would run out of daylight. Big ringed it back to the cars, my feet squelching with every pedal stroke. On the way home lowey was lamenting how tired he was, I felt OK but later lying on the couch at 8pm I was nodding off, a very early night and my legs are fried this morning. A hard ride day out for a paltry 25miles 4000ft climbing.
Gavgas has done a vid, lowey and Deejay have some pics.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Showers with intermittent riding

Not been proper nightriding for a few weeks but Johnnie was reportedly ove rhis flu and Si was back from his big crash. Speaking of which this is a pic of the drop he jumped/fell off, pretty big huh? Either this guy is a hobbit or the drop was over 5'. Anyway I wasn't in the mood for technical just wanted to get a few miles in, the guys were in agreement. Barrow bridge climb was hard work, think I've lost a load of fitness, wildeswood has changed, the bit through the trees has been seriously cut up with loads of water channels through the earth and the 3" layer of leaves, there's loads of little islands of leaves and you've no idea if they are just leaves or concealing big rocks so have to pick your way between them. Met Si and we waited for Johnnie, a cyclist appeared just down the road, we weren't sure if it was him, cyclist then stopped turned his bike over, removed a wheel and started fettling "yep that's him" We steadily climbed up to Georges lane, Johnnie nearly hurled so retired early obviously not quite over his flu. Me and Si continued, georges lane, winter hill rd, Holdens farm scout rd, smithills then back up Barrow bridge walker fold down hole in't wall and wildeswood. Nice, easy (well non-technical, winter hill rd and barrow bridge was bloody hard) mud free route, weather was cold and windy but rain held off and it was not too bad a night all in all, lot better than I expected after the last couple of weeks. As we got to the rivi school access road I tried to cross the chasm of a ditch to reach the tarmac. I lazily just tried to compress the forks and wheely over from the rebound but the leaves disguised the extent of the ditch and front wheel just went down, front wheel hit the tarmac and I went OTB, stupid bugger. I spun home on the road properly tired, hope we get a few more rides like that.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

taking it easy

More of the same weather wise, I'd been wanting to get some hill climbs in, punish my legs a bit but again wussed out of a proper nightride, instead took the long route home. Rain was a bit lighter so my sub gold standard clothing was coping, went to smithills dean rd, not done the full climb before, 1mile dead straight, 120m of climbing, ooh that was hard without gears. Going along the tops my joystick was proving to be rubbish, rain blowing in my face, oncoming cars dazzling me, I couldn't see diddly, bit nervy. Was planning on going up edge lane too but after SD rd my legs refused, down to chorley new road into horwich and up chorley old, nice steady climb. Round the ring rd to stretch it out and home, legs feeling well worn.
This morning my legs are tired but my shoulder is frigged, been sore for a while now doc said muscle damage NSAIDs and take it easy, thrutching a singlespeed up steep hills it turns out isn't taking it easy, quite sore and stiff too. Damn.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Last year Johnnie got himself some endura stealth longs, the ultimate in pant technology, waterproof softshell stuff that is a proper fit and cut for riding in. Match them up with some waterproof boots and jacket and you've got the perfect winter attire. But they cost an absolute mint and are overkill for 90% of even winter riding and I can put up with damp legs and wet feet can't I? Of course it's the other 10% that gets you reaching for you wallet, last night was like that. Chucking it down all afternoon and night, by the time I got home from work my shoes were full of water and my "waterproof" gloves were waterlogged. I was warm enough and could probably have managed another hour but then I'd have had enough. "No such thing as bad weather just bad clothing"....balls to that! just not enough funds for the very best clothing. I was out in the rain even longer than usual, because visibility was so bad I had to keep the speed down so no numpty ran into/pulled out on me. As it was some guy nearly got me, queue of oncoming traffic waiting to turn right, a 4x4 turned right in the (just about big enough) gap in front of me but nobhead tried tailgating him (due to the big 4x4 nob had no view of the road but went for it anyway), if I hadn't been smack bang in the middle of the road he wouldn't have seen me until it was too late, as it was I got a ermergency stop slide and a hand wave of apology - is that it? A wave? For nearly killing me? Thanks. Nobody was up for nightriding anyway so I didn't have to come up with excuses, see if I make it out tonight.