Thursday, 28 July 2011

Man Down

A guy at work, who I knew rode a bit, came off his bike and broke his arm, in three places - ouch. Was in HDU for a while, pretty bad then. When I found out the details tho it was even worse. Riding down an off road cycle path, dog walker on one side of the track dog on other, just as our man is passing the walker called the dog over, dog runs infront of our man, he hits it and soon after hits the deck. This is something Si says he's seen a lot and he's had a good few near misses where, if the walker had just kept quiet, the dog would have stayed where it was no drama. Anyway our mans lying on the deck in a serious amount of pain having difficulty sitting up never mind standing, what does dickhead walker do? Yep walks off. Aren't some people complete arseholes? Guy had to ring his daughter to come get him and drive him to hospital, ends up in HDU, few days in hospital, out now but still not at work and won't be riding for a good while :-(

Monday, 25 July 2011

Bit of a Beasting

It had to happen, been watching TdF all week so sunday I dusted off my road bike. Mrs said I had 5hours, was pretty sure I wouldn't need that long. So setoff to find as many hills as possible, started in harwood with a grinder, a couple round tottington then over to ramsbottom. Went over passed peel tower and going into a dip saw a rider speeding towards me, noticed it was samuri "awright Jon" now we were both going pretty quick, I think we both turned to see if the other was stopping for a chat, neither of us looked like stopping so we both carried on :-) Mind you what can you chat about on a road ride? MTB you can bang on for hours, which trails in good nick, crashes or close calls, riding fast or slow, is bike handling well, are the new tyres any good etc. Road ride:
Do your legs hurt yet?
yep, yours?
Yep...nice weather eh?
Ahem. On to the climb up grane rd, a biggy tho not quite as big as I'd expected (ridden down it a few times, thought it would be mahoosive climb), nasty little headwind. Onto broadhead drop to hoddlesdon, along to edgeworth, nice empty road flat out drops and climbs, up to the top of broadhead again, darwen, BJ alley, belmont. Legs were feeling pretty wrecked by now, checked my watch only just over 2 hours in! The climb up rivi rd properly hurt my legs but the car free flat out descent was great, just got slowed by traffic on sheep house. Up Chorley old rd to georges lane onto matchmoor, last and biggest climb of the day, the switchback onto mm nearly broke me. Scout rd then belmont rd to home absolutley shattered. The most hurt I've dished out to myself on a bike in <4hours, arms and shoulders frigged aswell as legs. 58miles 6500ft, tired today.

Friday, 22 July 2011

How Disappointing

Been doing plenty of offroad commutes and all was well in the world, (yesterdays puncture not withstanding - torn sidewall) I switch to road today - partly due to rain but mainly due to getting up 30mins late - and it goes downhill. Overtake a line of waiting traffic, as I get near the front it starts moving, I find a space and move back in and over to the now useable cycle lane. A few cars later mondeo man cuts across the cycle lane slightly and starts pointing at the side of his head. Hmm, I shrug the universal "Eh?" he keeps pointing to side of his head, more like a gun pointed at his head rather than "you are tapped/mental" sign. No idea what that was about. A few minutes later at the bottom of a dip a rider absolutley flies passed me, the speed, the shaved legs and minimalist lycra shouts roadie but he's on a mtb, proper knobly tyres, off road shoes, tube taped to seatpost, maybe an xc racer then. Anyway I'm up on the pedals and catch him on the climb, keep up with him for a while on the flat almost spinning out the whole way. Guy is properly quick, I don't draft him cos some of his line choices are a bit iffy, my lack of gears mean I aint gonna stick with him on the upcoming downhill so after 10mins of suffering i ease off and save some energy for the dual carriageway. I'm well out of practice on my commuter racing.
Totally hogging the lane and caning it on the DC is still working for me so far, no dodgy passes and the few people who did get stuck behind me for a few seconds didn't start honking and screaming, nice one! I hit the lights on broad street with speed just as they were changing, big head start on the traffic so I move across to the 3rd lane for my intended destination, couple of seconds later a motor bike passes me the rider sticks his hand out left signal, right signal, left signal, right. Same guy did the same thing at the same place a few weeks ago, he obviously doesn't like my lack of signalling, hey ho. At the next set of lights he's waiting so I coast to a stop next to him, he thinks I'm going to run the red and starts to shout "red light" I calmly say "yeah I know, look mate I'm never going to signal on that stretch, I'm too busy pedalling and concentrating on not getting run over by arsehole drivers" I'm not trying for an argument, I'm calm and speak quietly, just letting him know why I don't signal there but he goes off on one saying he's done his cycle proficiency, I should signal etc etc. It's a dodgy bit of road, drivers treat it as a drag strip, there's loads of lane changing, my signals would mostly be ignored, no way I'm taking my hands off the bars and brakes there. He moans a bit more, I can't understand due to his full face helmet. Lights change we set off, further down I'm leant against a bus at a red light, I hear him behind me moaning some more, no idea what he said. Lights are about to change I edge ahead of the bus (which was half over the stop line) and biker screams about red light...which has just changed, I head off. Don't think me and him are going to get on, bet I see him again soon too.
Sun is shining now, should have dragged my arse out of bed earlier and come in offroad.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

One of them really nice ones

Sun shining through the trees and reflecting off the river, fast dry trails, sinuous singletrack, fresh legs, plenty of speed, leaves and twigs whipping the ends of my bars, brmc salvation on the ipod. One of those commute moments that makes me really happy to be a cyclist. Just think, some people have no idea about these little pleasures, sat in their tin boxes or packed sardine like onto the train, the usual morning monotony.

**** me, I'm a lucky sod.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

All pink and lovely

So it rained at weekend, I'm not a fan of mud during the spring/summer but on my commutes (same trail 4 times in 2 days) I've been watching the trail slowly dry out, puddles recede and buffness return, it's kinda cool, I like it. Still prefer sun and dust tho. Went out riding last night, while trying to decide on a route Si suggested great hill, I was worried it would be boggy but we went with it. It was a bit boggy, at one point my left foot just sank into the turf, upto my bloody knee, pulled it out sharpish, fortunatley shoe still attached. Other than that not too bad, just a bit soft for pedalling. A cracking run down to the steps, no one else about so brakes off, full speed ahead. Si managed to ding his front rim (crest) so badly the tubeless wouldn't reseal, that's got me worried, I'm just about to build up a crest on a rear wheel for my ETSX, to replace the 6month old multiple-y dinged xt wheel. Maybe crest are a bit fragile for me....hmm. Dropping in to white coppice a couple of gullys with mud in but other wise it's riding very well. Good shout Si. Johnnie split there, me and Si rode back round anglezarke, sun was setting looking very red, reflected in the water, gorgeous, wish I'd had a camera. Left Si at the barn I rode back up to georges lane and blitzed home on road, downhill all the way weeeee.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Clapham again

Another iffy looking forecast so I took Burk round Tony's clapham loop. It was nice and sunny on the way up, I actually broke out the suncream. I pulled my mmmbop out of the car and realised I'd been messing with the cranks recently but hadn't tightened them up properly, eek no 8mm allen key, Burk who has the same cranks didn't either. Bugger. I knocked on Tonys pad but no answer (i was going to say hi anyway, would be rude not to when riding his trails:-) ), fortunatley across the road some guys were fitting solar panels and they had one. Life saver. Out uphill under the bridges didn't seem so bad this time, along to woodend, at meldings barn we ran into trouble, seriously overgrown trail, full of nettles, brambles and other various flora. Nightmare, kept going for most of it getting stung every 30 seconds or so but got so bad we were wobbling along there was a good chance one of us would come a cropper and end up falling into nettles. We chucked the bikes over a wall and rode through the field, legs were still stinging saturday afternoon! We looped round to feizor and climbed over to Wharfe. I warned Burk about the slab after the ford but it looked nowt special and as it was dry we both rode it no drama. Slog upto Long Scar and along the top, sulber nick was just as difficult as last time but the drop back to Wharfe was well worth it, fun and games all the way back to thwaite lane, fast grassy twisty start, some rocky bits thrown in and all that wall lined narrow track winding it's way down the hill. On the way back to clapham it started raining but not too bad and cleared again. The bakery at higher benton supplied post ride replenishment, ham mini quiche and pork pie was all they had left but mmm, wow they have some tasty pigs round there! Another decent day despite the forecast, mind you we got stuck in a proper torrential downpour in blackrod, flooded roads, zero visibility and hale. Felt sorry for the 2 roadies we passed, unlucky.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


1. A person who is enthusiastically interested in and very knowledgeable about a particular subject
verb buffed, past participle; buffed, past tense; buffing, present participle; buffs, 3rd person singular present
1. Polish (something)
2. Give (leather) a velvety finish by removing the surface of the grain
1. Being in good physical shape with fine muscle tone
2. Loweys secret singletrack
Tuesday nightride was shifted to monday this week due to weather forecast and it was lovely. I was runnnig late, Charlie was playing in the garden, I went to say bye and he ran towards me falling flat on his face. Whilst I maybe should have patted him on the back said "pain is just weakness leaving the body son, bye" and left, I didn't think it would go down well with anybody so stayed for a while. Up winter hill quicktime, managed to get from 2 lads to rivi school in a not too shabby 10mins, everything riding really well. Met up at rivi only to find Johnnie and Si both with the same riding top on as me, go team Aldi! How embarrassing. Straight up the hill, new rule, no stopping to chat in woods, got eaten alive last week at the gate near the top barn. Upto the pike, few people about, over to hole in the wall and up to the mast. From there we dropped down the singletrack passed the shooting hut, only ridden up this before, quite nice at the moment, don't fancy it in winter tho.

Over to the singletrack, awesome, really good, long twisty turny ribbon of trail. Some corners you couldn't see due to long grass just guess the line stay loose and hope. We got down to the second stile, I think we all rode everything upto that point. Next was the steep end section and that last corner, I rode upto it but didn't fancy my chances. There is a line above the corner coming in from the other side, I pushed up that and had a go, another refusal but managed it 2nd time, cool. Si had a crack whilst Johnnie commented "it's just a bit steep with some lumps" Si binned it but soft landing in the ferns. Johnnie had a go, just aiming to get further than Si, he fell of at the same spot, whoops. I pointed out if he'd gone OTB he'd have beaten Si but he wasn't having it. Quarries next which everyone rode first time despite Johnnie noticing how big the drop to the right was (someone was stood there first time he rode it) Back up horrocks fold and Smithills dean, here I split as it was getting late but which way?...ooh go on then I'll do Loweys ST again :-)

Light was fading but hit it just as fast, was feeling tired and had a near miss or two, coming up to the last corner I was in two minds but just went with it....and cleaned it! I was well impressed, never thought I'd ride it, I was well made up. Had to tell someone and I knew even if my Mrs was up when I got home (unlikely) she'd say "oh" which is exactly what she did on tuesday morning, so I text Johnnie, his reply was, predictably, "video or it didn't happen" grrr. So down through the quarry and long road downhill home racing the dark, big grin plastered across my face. Will have to try it again soon.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Yes it was a bit

I'd booked Friday off for a ride but I had no one to ride with so I planned a biggy, with no one to complain about the climbs being too steep or the descents too scary or the route was too long or that their legs were hurting* I had a blank canvas. High street would be involved, I parked in Kentmere climbed out of the valley, up dubbs and garburn road. It was a lovely morning and the trail was a lot better than last time I went up there this time I managed to ride the first few corners then I started being sensible, lots of miles and climbing to go so chill out and don't attack silly climbs. Up to garburn pass then climb to the yoke, on a seriously steep bit I pedalled hard and thought "dig deep dave" then I remembered the route and amended it to "don't dig deep, dig shallow...with one of those plastic spades" Dropping from Yoke I went over an innocuous rock not very hard and got a flat. Grrr, ust tyre was at 45psi (!) full of sealant but wouldn't seal. Pushed up Ill Bell to give it some time but nope still wouldn't seal. Bunged in a downhill tube in and pumped it up to 60ish. Gave a rough sluggish ride (>400g tube) but no more problems. Ill Bell descent was mental didn't ride much of the top at all. Froswick was better, then I got to the thornthwaite crag beacon, cool never been here before. On to riggindale straits and onto the ullswater classic loop, one of my favourite rides. Along the undulating trail to Loadpot and the loooong gentle descent to the cockpit, lovely. The route to howtown has changed over the years, now has loads of G-out gulleys/rollers, hit them at top speed and it's awesome, which with no walkers around is what I did. At howtown the nice lady at the pub refilled my camlebak and I set off to do the ullswater trail, at 12:30 oh dear. It was packed with walkers but I'm happy to say they were all nice people moved out of the way as I rode, when I was pushing they chatted, just a lovely vibe going on. Minted. The trail was as good as usual, I got a clean run at all the down and along bits and I pushed up all the hard climbs. I was feeling the strain at patterdale, at this point my original plan was to turn round, do the ullswater trail in reverse, go up boredale hause and drop back into patterdale before heading back to high street, but after mapping it at 46miles/10500ft climbing total I'd decided I probably wouldn't bother with that bit, I was right. A quick change (how nice is a fresh riding top after 5 hours of hot weather riding?) and on to the soul destroying slog that is the climb upto the Knott. Purgatory, absolute bloody nightmare, 2miles 1800ft I walked about 90% of it, carrying my bike up the grass staircase I was having serious doubts about finishing, legs were dead I was almost out of water and I had a long way to go. Flapjacks, powergel, serious talking to, keep going. Finally hit high street and it got easier, did a lot of riding up to thornthwaite and I felt lots better, I skipped Froswick peak taking the route around it, slogged up to Ill Bell, another carry, and finally made it to Yoke, from here it was pretty much all downhill to the car, over 3 miles of it. Pitched staircase to start, flat out hardpack, some rocky/grassland singletrack, then onto the rockfest of garburn pass. My arms and legs were wrecked by the time I got to the car. Battered, righteous complete muscle fatigue, home for a long soak and a lot of sleep. Hardest ride of the year, I didn't have a camera but if you squint and add a dash of imagination this photoshopped mspainted pic from last winters ride should give you some idea ;-)

Apologies to deejay for murdering his very nice picture

*only joking guys, you know I like social rides really)