Thursday, 30 June 2011

Over ambitious

Does 46miles with 10500ft of climbing sound too much? Hmm I can feel a loooong road bailout option coming up.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Sun's shining get riding

Gorgeous morning ride into work monday, trails a bit wet but drying nicely, sting-o-rama tho, all the trailsides are overgrown, have to push brake levers out so they don't get pulled by passing vegetation. Couple of dog related emergency stops too, if your dog "goes" for riders/people keep it on a lead please, good job I slow down and cover the brakes round pooches. Met my mrs and kids in the park on the way home and we watched charlie going up and down the big slide....repeatedly :-) He does like slides. Yesterday's commute was just as nice, ride home went a bit wonky tho. A few weeks ago on the narrow section near clifton works, metal fence left side, wooden post/metal tube cross bars on the right, I managed to clip my handlebar on wooden post, front wheel swung right and hit the next post stopping me dead back end lifted and saddle hit the fence and the bike jammed in place. I was a bit shook up but ok, my 1998ish flite saddle was ripped, grrrrr. Anyway last night I managed to clip my bars again, same spot but this time I managed to straighten up but my body went left and my shoulder hit the metal fence, a few times actually, at about 12mph. Bit of a cheese grater effect, ouch. Got me thinking tho, rufty tufty mtbers always seem to have arms and legs covered in grazes, bruises, lumps gouged out of their shins etc, I don't, guess I just don't push myself hard enough, not sure if thats good or bad as I am a big girls blouse quite averse to pain.

Tuesday night ride, I was short on time so went down hole in the wall instead of 2lads, normally boring or proper sketchy on mud and wet grass but now, bone dry it's very fast and quite fun! Down wildes and met up with Johnnie and Si only a little late. Up to the pike and over to winter hill where we met GavinB, by the looks of it one of the aformentioned rufty tufty scuffed mountain bikers (I assume, dunno, maybe he wrestles lions for a living) waiting for a slow group of bikers (his words) on their way down to vacate the trail and give him a clean run. We chatted for a few mins then Gavin set off I gave him a bit of a start then chased, so I'm competitive, so sue me. He is quick! Him on HT me on FS and I assume I have the home advantage but that didn't amount for much. I was flying, pushing a bit harder than usual, at that speed it was tricky to tell if I was catching up, if I was I wasn't closing the gap very quickly. Anyway about halfway he pulled up, I'm sorry to say I shot straight passed, Si and Johnnie both checked he was ok (double puncture) Flying down more punture-ees said Hi as I passed, hit the bottom and the rest of the group, turns out it was lowey and friends, think it was wors who'd flatted, so we had a chat. Down Belmont road to the quarry, where we all managed the drop off chute, back up to scout rd and up winter hill, it was getting late and I was now heading away from home but it was too nice to stop. So back down hole in the wall, halfway down wildes where I eventually split, up old rake and down georges. Noticed I'd got a flat, fairly slow one tho so stop top it up then ride very fast. Managed on just 2 stops, tyre is only 2 rides old, dissappointing.
Gavin has done a vid, an edit, 1st half of it is the run where I was chasing, second half is from his earlier first run.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Skipton, the return.

Burk was up for a ride so booked friday off, weather was looking mixed, turned out to be warmish but proper cloudy. After we did this ride last year Si said he fancied a go at it, I recommended waiting till after a dry spell and I was right. We parked up and set off, steep climb to start naturally. Up onto Sharp Haw on Flasby fell, the descent to Flasby is a cracker but today it was proper muddy so slower than last time and I quickly regretted having neither rear crud guard nor waterproof shorts. Road to Hetton then the long climb up rylstone fell. Once again I fluffed the steps near the top (no one else to blame this time), went back for another go, got passed the steps but was offline and soon had to stop, grrr. The route across the tops was fun apart from the multitude of puddle and the approach to embsay was a slog instead of a gentle singletrack freewheel. The crag was awesome as usual, dry and now free of ferns so it seemed easier as you could spot your line easier. I refused a steep chute switchback as I got blown off line on the entry, Burk followed suit but the rest was sketchily doable, brilliant.

No pub stop at Embsay village this time, along to Halton east and up moor lane where it went a bit wonky. Burks legs imploded (same spot as last time) I realised my PDA only had 1:50k map for the 2nd half of the route but wouldn't display the route ontop of it and we were quickly running out of time as Burk had to pick up his nipper from nursery. So scrap the 2nd half of the ride again, back to car via embsay again. Back to the crag and I managed to ride the chute, a right then left hander, the line through the 1st corner sends you straight at a big rock, I managed to get on top of it, lift the back end round a bit (thank the big S for SPDs) and down the second bit. Burk managed the first bit but couldn't get the back end round and had to dab but a good effort. A few not very short cuts got us to the car. Not a bad ride but will have to return again (after a dry spell) to do the full route.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Plenty to say

Took charlie out for a spin in leverhulme park on saturday, first time off road since his first ever ride. He doesn't like the fast bumpy bits (downhill with a kicker at the bottom) but he likes getting sideways round gravelly corners :-) Brand new hope hoops don't like getting sideways on gravelly corners, managed to put a bit of a wobble on them. Not sure how much is the rim and how much is the not so good halo ust tyre. We went down to the river and he walked straight into it and had a splash around, then we went for a run around on the footy field, nice.
A rather nice commute on monday, the baby bunnies and geese were out, the trails were dry, the sun was shining, few people about on the way home so got a lot of use out of my bell (which I've just noticed has n+1 written on the side :-) ) everyone friendly having a nice day, top stuff. Bagged myself a pair of oakley MX goggles on the way home too, might be useful for wet downhill days. Tuesday was a bit grim so back on the road. Now stabiliser has almost scared me off riding dual carriageways I think his report on how normal inoffensive drivers gang up with their collective stupidity to kill cyclists is bang on. I've had a couple of 4x4 drivers swerve round me at the last minute and the person behind (too close behind) come passed incredibly close. I've been dodging the 50mph DC on my commute but the alternatives aren't great. A slow cycle route which has 1 chicane and 6 slalom gates within a quarter mile. A road route, extra 1.5miles, a section of narrow 30 limit rd which often has speeders rat running, a roundabout where I turn right and often get drivers (also turning right) going round it the wrong way to over take me followed by a fast downhill heavy with traffic and lots of side roads for people to pull out on me. After trying various routes I'm back to the DC but totally hogging the left lane to prevent the above. But instead of just primary I'm between dead centre of lane and the right of centre, 2 mornings of that haven't been too bad, no attempted kills, no beeps either (yet) tho I have noted a few drivers muttering to themselves whilst passing me. See how it goes.
No-one else could make tuesday night ride and my mrs looked tired so I stayed home, went out for a ride last night instead. Got a bloody flat again down wildeswood (ust tyre+stans), pumped it back up and it stayed put for rest of ride (and overnight) dunno whats going on there, burping, badly applied rim strip (that'll be me then) or just crap tyre. 2lads, wildes, pike, san marino, quarry, home through eagly and hall ith wood. Very tired at the end, fish, chips, cake, strawberrys and a bucket of tea to replenish energy.
Might have bagged myself a bargain, dt240 wheel, mint condition rim, totally shagged bearings, much cheapness. Will have to see how much it costs to get it up and running before I decide if it was bargain or bust, I did a full bearing change on my very similar 440 for £25ish so fingers crossed.

Friday, 17 June 2011


So another friday, another grim forecast, another road commute cop out, another lovely day. Grrr! Weather forecasters haven't got a bloody clue have they? I'd actually booked today off, planned a ride with Burk who rang in sick last night with a note from his mum. "Please excuse mark from games this week as he has diori diareer diareaor he's got a dicky tummy." Weather forecast as mentioned was grim turning grimmer becoming biblical in places. The Mrs already had plans, charlie was at nursery so I cancelled my day off and am now sat at work blinded by the sunlight reflecting off the building opposite. (I am aware as soon as I hit Post and gear up for the ride home it will piss down)
Went out for a quick ride last night instead, the Mmmbop is finally built up again after stripping it for the blinglespeed and the hope hoop I bought 5months ago was finally used in anger. As soon as I got off road I broke a spoke (which tart thought red alloy nipples were a good idea?) Wheel stayed true tho. Up the valley, hall i'th wood and eagley were wet with some lethal cobbles and mossy tarmac, looks like I'm still dodging the rain. Bike felt ok, had a few things to tweak seems sorted now. Tried some new trails with mixed results. A good climb up to horrocks fold, rubbish descent down the other side, some flights of steps to jump, some boggy bits. Got home and chilled out for a bit including extolling the virtues of stans + sealent on a public forum so obviously when I went to put bike away I had a flat. Grrr. I pumped it back up, give it a shake and it was still fine this morning, maybe I got a puncture near home and it didn't get chance to seal. Now booked more days off work, hope these work out better for riding.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

uppy downy stuff

Just me and Si out on tuesday and I had borrowed junkyards old gravity dropper to give it a go. Easy enough to fit, cable routing might be a pain it's a bit in the way at the moment. Rode up to meet Si and I noticed some play straight away, bit of rotational sideways waggle but some fore/aft too. The key and guide can be replaced on GDs so rotational should be fixable dunno about fore/aft. Up barrow bridge and winter hill and on to 2 lads, dropper is only a 3" version so for proper downhills I need to lower seatpost anyway, down 2 lads we went, not bad, drier than I expected, good run and down the top half of wildeswood too. Back up old rake and hole in the wall. San marino was faaaaaast, along belmont rd up scout rd and down through the quarries, Si had a bit of trouble but not too much. Up horrocks fold to scout rd car park and drop into smithills, up smithills dean rd back to scout rd again! Round to walker fold and we dropped down into barrow bridge ending with the 63 steps, well sketchy, varying length steep steps, guard rail on both sides so pretty narrow and tricky to get into a rythmn. I got down slowly but not exactly comfortable. Si went down a few steps then suffered a bit of a refusal so I pushed back up and we went looking at an alternate route...which turned out to be a completely unrideable staircase. Back to 63steps then, I started even slower this time but the front wheel would flip flop left and right alternatly as you corrected, over corrected, corrected again until I got 3/4s of the way and let go of the brakes. Easiest way might be to let go the brakes at the top and rip all the way down but lots of bottle and/or a DH bike needed.
Then we split and I headed home fast, which is where I started to appreciate the GD. Pedal pedal pedal, seat down bunny hop big kerb, seat up, pedal pedal, down, flick bike left/right round tight chicane, up, pedal, down, steep roll in, up pedal. I normally do my route home without messing with the seat, no problem but I could get round/over/down the obstacles quicker without having the seat in the way, no slow down at all to nail the bunnyhops, hardly any braking needed for the corners or roll in, just hammer it all the way. Would be great for the 1 or 2 races events I do each year and for fast solo rides. I knew a compulsive saddle dropper like me would want one as soon as I tried it. I still think they are heavy, expensive and (possibly) shonky but...maybe I'll get one, we'll see.

Monday, 13 June 2011

I am the rain (dodge) king

Last week it pissed it down all week, but I somehow managed to get a full week (well 4 days) commuting and a nightride with out getting wet. Monday I managed to miss the showers, tuesday too, got home it was looking a bit grim so I grabbed the SS and went out. Just as I was getting to burnt edge there were a few drops of rain but I turned round and bolton was engulfed in a wall of rain, a pretty double rainbow too. Could clearly see the main one curving from markland hill to horrocks fold and a fainter one above it, nice and a lucky escape for me. While descending I passed some riders going up hole in the wall, down to the barn and another big group of riders just setting off from there, amongst other, plenty of riders about. Met Johnnie and we decided for a change to go round Lead mines clough. Across belmont old rd and met the guys from hole in the wall on the descent from rivington rd. Chatted to them for a while then we dropped into Lead mines and caught up with the big group from the barn, luckily they were at the gate halfway up the climb back out so I cleaned the whole climb for the first time (ever I think but def 1st time SS). A mooch round the res then off home via the pike. Thursday was more of the same everywhere I went the road was wet and full of puddles but no rain. Friday was forecast thunder and rain so I ditched the idea of riding in xc and took the road bike again but of course it was fine and sunny all day (well until 5 anyway). Grrrr. Took the long route home and pushed a bit harder than usual, after which I spent all weekend coughing, always seem to have something wrong with me lately, not properly ill just niggly stuff, can't remember the last time I felt 100%. Dunno whats up, it's certainly not overtraining.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

It's not always about the ride you know.......well not all the time.

or Two Blogs Collide, if you prefer.
Wednesday the weather forecast was looking up so I text the usual suspects about riding on friday. No response from lowey, the rest negative, Johnnie had DIY to do sommat about connecting his water supply but I soon set him straight nice weather, not been out in ages, we were riding. Thursday we set plans, 7am start, a couple of lakes routes planned. Then Lowey text, him and his chums were already in the lakes and were riding walna scar on friday, did we want to join them? Hmm crack of dawn hikeabike slog with techfest downs or join the slackers club, late start, a relaxed pace, probably beer fuelled ride with pub and swim stop...? I'll take option B please.
We got stuck in traffic so the start at torver was even later, me, johnnie, lowey, toss, weest, and chris. The lads were feeling a little hungover and the steeeeep tarmac start did not help. It was already hot and not a breath of wind about, lovely if a little uncomfortable for riding in. We dropped down to water yeat bridge all happy, getting into riding mode. Up Long Mire where Chris spotted some newts (I've not seen any in person before) and over on to park head road. The drop to seathwaite is a classic, rocky but a fast and a lot of fun. Lowey went ahead to take pics, I charged down after loving it. I stopped at the first gate, Johnnie and chris soon caught up. Looking back I could see the other 3 a bit away then disaster I saw someone go over the bars and their bike land ontop of them. It was lowey and he stayed down a long time. Weest and Toss were there with him but it was a tense few minutes for us at the gate until we saw him get up and carry on. Only a bit cut and bruised (lucky considering the terrain) but his back brake was wrecked. Ouch. The next section has been sanitised, ie they've dumped a load of clay like soil ontop of the rocks and turned it into a quagmire :-( A slightly subdued pub stop, the heat and stark reminder of the consequences of mistakes meant there was only me boozing (and only a half at that) Next we went up the valley to a gorgeous spot on Tarn Beck, a little pool with small water fall either end. It felt icey cold at first but got used to it and standing under the waterfall was fantastic, the most powerful jacuzzi ever, magic! Toss was getting a little over excited, he seemed to be enjoying it a little too much :-)
Eventually carried on to walna scar. Stop for a rock climb at the bottom then the long long slog to the top. Took us well over an hour to get to the top, heads were dunked in Long Hall Gill at several points in a failed effort to keep cool. A long rest at the quarries til loins were sufficiently girded for the final section. I set off riding very dubious of managing much but I kept on keeping on, up the steep bit round the switch back until about 10meters from the top where a teeny tiny stone knocked me off line I went off trail left, swung back on tghen straight off the right where I collapsed and didn't move for quite a long while. Bugger!
Regroup at the top where a couple of us discovered just how dehydrated we had become.
We set off down, I'd pushed too hard on the way up I was feeling a bit rubbery and it took me a while to get into it, Lowey was having a bit of a 'mare, unsurprisingly considering the lack of rear brake, everyone else was whooping with delight. We eyed up the drop off halfway down, with a new big run off ditch hazard, only Chris had the bottle to jump it. Seeing him bin it (yes in the ditch) the rest of us rolled it. Down spoon hall, wet rock sketch, and onto the campsite, the guys stripped my bike for spares while lowey drove me to get my car.
A pretty short 6hour ride with an average speed to make our trip to Boot last year look quick (despite which I was still knackered by the end) but nonetheless a brilliant day out. Definitley the best option, cheers for the invite lads.