Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Nothing new

Started watching the olympic road race, breakaway group blah blah 4hours until the finish, set the recorder and went out. Got back later and to watch it fast forward through all the chasing, hmm not caught up yet, keep going, nope still not together, fast forward to shots of pall mall, erm why are there only 2 guys? WTF, where is the rest of the peleton? How depressing, specially after the big build up. Media hype but didn't happen on the day, sound familiar?

Ride planned for sunday morning but it was hammering it down so scrapped that, brightened up in the afternoon tho when I was busy, been here before.

Monday I did get out for a ride with Burk, rain through the night and showers predicted so where to go? Low cloud so passes are out, wet so grassy stuff out, hmm how about grisedale (again), the kind of familiarity I can deal with. Nothing much to report, lots of puddles so got quite wet but ground was good going, not much rain, even some sun, good riding, no crashes, lovely. No problems til the last descent, I got to the bottom waited.... and waited no sign of burk so rode 2/3rds of the way back up to find him fixing a puncture, ah well more downhill for me. Just over 3 hours is pretty quick for us.

Can we have some more summer now please?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

testosterone fuelled idiocy

Harry the spider decided to do a TDF tribute ride, feeling all patriotic about wiggins' win I thought why not. Johnnie drove to mine and we headed out, took the scenic route (radcliffe) but still got there early. Bit of a wait before we got going btu eventually we set off where it became abundantly clear mountain bikers suck at road riding and can't manage a peleton to save their life (or indeed 40% of their energy) as much the fault of the faster riders inability to keep a steady pace as the slower riders inability (or apathy) to keep up but in fits and starts we reached ainsworth and then a wonderful thing happened, the big rings came out egos inflated and several riders charged the downhill and sprinted up the other side to walshaw, woohoo, check it out, we're racing. Excellent fun. Regroup for the "Col Du Gran Batard" turns out it's a hill I've done a couple times on extended commutes upto affetside. Started climbing with Johnnie and molgrips (who had ridden over from preston!) but when HtS came passed I tagged onto him, chatted a bit then after the chicane either he faded slightly or I just felt strong but I started to head away from him, then I got the bit between my teeth and turned on the power and kept on til I was giving it everything, felt good, apart from the racing road rides are basically just trashing yourself so that's what I did.

Regroup at the top and flew down the roman road, through hawkshaw and headed down to tottington some more hill sprints happened :-)  and then we ended up at the bottom of the col again, HtS jokingly suggested doing it again, I took him far too seriously and suggested me, Johnnie and molgrips went back up taking a shorter and more interesting route back to my house, bizarrely they agreed. Set off back up a more steady pace this time, staying together, headed down totty rd to harwood, quick climb to stitch mi lane, drop through breightmet then another sprint up thicketford brow. and a coast home, well until we got to the lights at the bottom of my street where johnnie said he was getting ready to make his move :-) We waited for the lights to change and sprinted, down the hill right fork and a final charge upto my house, johnnie couldn't get into big ring so was out of the running, molgrips was catching me up but couldn't make it in time and I crossed the line ahead. Quick brew at mine before Johnnie ferried molgrips prestonwards.  Absolute corker of a night, perfect weather just the right temp not a breath of wind, light traffic and a selection of like minded people up for playing silly buggers on them racing bikes.

Welcome back burk

Busy weekend of boozing meant no riding but did see some good TDF action, how good was Cav's win on friday? Peleton chasing right until the end and then Cav shot passed roche and sanchez :-) Anyway monday was booked for Burks first ride of the year, (mixture of bad weather and him working all hours) drove to the peaks again parked at the bottom of rushup and started along the road then went down cold side then back up to hollins cross. I was riding the etsx and figured 1 the front tyre was shot and 2 the spindly rear airotor was not upto the job, definitely less power than usual. Up to mam nick and passed oxlow house over to do dirtlow rake again (sketchy but not bad), and pindale again (nightmare). I was on the hemlock last week, did it fast and comfortably, this time on the etsx was scary, slow, getting bounced everywhere, not good at all. Dunno if it was less travel or geometry to blame. We headed over to brough and climbed brough lane to do bradwell edge. Started well but as we got into the trees it just turned to slop, deep thick mud, horrible, note for future, check condition with locals before doing this again. As we got to the steeper bit near the end it dried up and was OK, so not terrible but a bit of a let down. Back through the cement works over to castleton and up the broken road, Buirk was rapidly tiring so no messing on the drops, back up to mam nick and rushup edge climb. Climb was OK but at a gate stop I noticed my rear suspension was in the 4" travel mode, no idea when that had happened but that might explain my downhill woes, less suspension and steeper head angles so I was right on both counts, soon fixed that. We finally got to the descent (why do the walkers get a nice stone bedded route across the top but bikers get a boggy mess?) Got to the first gate where I admonished burk for (accidentally) straying onto the chicken run. He claimed it was quicker anyway, I raised my eyebrows, "faster is it?" game on! I took the sunken road he took the chicken line, I hammered the pedals bouncing over rocks trying to keep the power on (bike handling much better now), I could see burk to the side overtaking then dropping back due to obstructions on his narrow path. Getting close to the bottom it looked like burk was going to win it but right at the bottom there were cows on his line and I sneaked passed. Got to the bottom both of us blowing and laughing like loons, brilliant fun.

The ride that nearly wasn't

Getting a bit behind on my ride diary, waaaay back on the 16th weather was looking iffy, bbc and metcheck reckoned keswick would be fine till about 12, hmm, wasn't feeling great weather was putting me off lack of mojo etc etc. In the end I decided to set off hella early (5:30am) and try to get borrowdale bash done before the rain set in. Was miserable in bolton, not looking good, set off upto keswick and the rain cleared just as I hit cumbria, nice. Found my usual spot blocked by scouts who had appropriated the entire car park for the day, unsure if they can do that but CBA getting aggro so parked at ashness bridge instead. On the bike for 8am, up to the lookout, along watendlath beck and up the unrideable climb. Descent down Birketts leap was lovely as ever and while I wasn't nailing everything 100% perfect I got down it pretty well. Now decision time risk a big old add on or stick to the plan, sod it big hills here we come. Took the BW to stonethwaite then up the farmtrack up langstrath valley. Me and burk did the BW up Stake pass a while back and it was 'orrible, I had high hopes for this side of the beck. Started well not 100% rideable but better than the east side. Then I got to marsh at the bottom of stake and the track ended never to be seen again til I got to angle tarn. The push up angle tarn gill was tough going but eventually made it, only the stair case to go

Made my way up that and then "oh yeah just the other staircase to go"

Finally made it to the top, views were gorgeous, took a few pics, was going to post them but screw that, if you want to see them get your arse up to esk hause, you won't be dissapointed. Someone had beaten me to it, there was a tent up on the top, sounded like they were just getting up (at 11!) Had taken 2 hours to get up, seem to remember the stake route was over 3, not bad. Set in for the descent, it's a biggy. Some nice fast bits, some nadgery rocky sections, a short carry at the ford after sprinkle tarn then battered my way down to stockley bridge, suspension working overtime, rear shock sounded like a turkey gobbling up the hits and both shock and forks were pretty warm to the touch by the bottom. Brilliant managed to clear the slab near the bottom too good stuff 30minute descent all in. Rolled into seatoller hungry and thirsty I had only packed food and water for a short run. Pub supplied the good, massive flapjack, luxurious hot chocolate and a refilled camelbak - brilliant. Tired legs hit the climb out, didn't clean the rocky road but managed the super steep grassy bit to the top with much grunting and gurning. Trail along the top was nice and eventually lined up for the rocktastic drop into grange. I've had issues with this before and continued to do so. Made it about halfway down before the repeated pings from the front tyre bottoming out turned into hisses of escaping air. Whoops. Perforated the spare tube trying to lever the tyre back on, kids if a tyre won't go on by hand your not doing it right, change technique don't reach for the levers!. So I bunged in the DH spare I normally keep for tubeless malfunctions. Set off and was going well, was approaching a gate, old lady spotted me and held gate open for me, I yelled my thanks as I launched off a rocky step onto some rocks, an almighty pop! and bang bang bang of bare rim on rocks, oops.
That looks terminal, lesson number 2, use rim strips with flows if you use normal tyres. Old lady closed the gate walked passed me and said "that's because you were going too quick" thanks. Repaired a spare and got going again but I wasn't risking it and headed back to the car and that steep climb to ashness bridge, lovely way to end a ride!

Nice day out, the sunny weather had held on beyond the forecast, was trying to rain as I packed up at 1, just a bit of a rubbish end and it looks like my flows will never inflate tubeless again due to rock damage, oh dear. Looks like I'll be rebuilding it again - well I do need the practice.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

More Pootling

Another peaks pootle, johnnie bailed at last minute so drove up on my tod, despite the preceding weather it was looking like a nice day. Rushup is closed for the foreseeable so I had to make a quick detour parked at winnats head and did cold side/harden clough to get me warmed up, met the group at edale and wow, 37! Oh dear, I was worried about a faffathon but turned out to be ok actually. Lots of familiar faces Pook and NBT were organising, Neil (h4muf), hora, Cotic sola rider from the HTN night ride last month and Sheldon (niche knight and singlespeed event organiser extraordinaire) on a northern visit. Some not so familiar, including crazy legs on a crossbike. Hard start up chapel gate soon separated the field, managed the first half then struggled a bit before manning up and riding the rest. Riding down the roman road I was going well til my new gear cable slipped dropping me into a low gear and had to freewheel to the bottom. Sorted it at the regroup then along a car free rushup edge to do dirtlowe rake, just as I set off Sheldon passed me so I put my foot down and tried to keep up., this guy is quick, I ran out of gears but couldn't have managed much faster anyway and I was only just keeping up, me on a 6" full susser him on a hardtail and he still had a couple of bike lengths on me by the bottom. We were about quits on pindale, impressive, wouldn't fancy doing that on a hardtail.
We dropped into Hope the climbed up to hope cross, did Jaggers Clough ok, no walkers or horsists for once, tho Pooks mate managed to overshoot the corner and bin it into the ravine, not injuries fortunately. Steep climb out then tear down the double track. A few punctures meant a delay at the bottom so I nipped back up to check all was OK (and do the second half again) Nice gentle roll back into Edale and a chat at the carpark where Hells got out some fantastic chocolate brownies, being tired may have put an edge on my hunger but these were top notch, awesome baking skillz. I just had to negotiate the climb back up out of the valley, ouch. Hit it pretty quick as the weather was starting to turn rain spots appearing on the road, knackered by the time I got to the car, a good day out with a sociable bunch, was a bit sun burnt too - who'd have thunk it in July?

Friday, 13 July 2012

TDF wannabe

SO the tours on and after watching the arse end of last year I've started watching a bit earlier this year. Good stuff, watched the sky team destroy the peleton on the last hill on Saturday, so much damage in 6km. I just need to learn to keep my mouth shut and not text other people the results incase they aren't watching live. Sorry Johnnie.

Any from out of nowhere the sun put in an appearance yesterday so I dragged the road bike out of the attic, blew off the cobwebs and took the long route into work and a loooong route home. Round the edge of heaton park, through simister, oops bit of dirt road, passed by Si's place, onto ashworth valley, my own col du galibier. OK CdG is 1200 meters and ashy valley is only 600 feet but gotta work with what you've got. Hard going anyway but fun in a masochistic way. Onto the top road and a long drop into edenfield, nice. Climbing up through haslingden I missed my turn off and ended up heading into blackburn, no worries weathers nice I can nip back up grane rd and do broadhead. Things were going well til I reached blackburn where someone over took me right before a roundabout then cut me up pulling in right upto the kerb to turn left, then got all arsey when I swearily suggested they move out of my way.
Grane road was something else tho, evening commuters from blackburn to haslingden, what a bunch of arseholes. All uphill, my legs were shot, singletrack road, 50mph speed limit not good. Secondary position leaving room for people to pass meant no-one touched they brakes or indeed steering wheel and sped passed me at 50 with about 12" to spare, primary position meant they had to move over and brake slightly but still doing a fair whack squeezing between me and oncoming traffic, scary. Moving way over to the right led to people slowing right down but passing with in a couple of inches of my elbow. I was getting proper irate and doing a lot of swearing and arm waving. Then going down broadhead an oncoming motorbiker decided to overtake a car just as it was passing me, squeezing between the 2 of us doing an unholy rate of knots, yeah cheers my 2 wheeled brethren. Sooo many dicks.

Not long after I got onto broadhead I noticed a roadie behind me, I was determined to keep away from him till I hit the bottom but no chance, I was jiggered and he caught me before higher head. I tagged on, was going to compare notes with him on grane rd traffic but tbh I was having trouble holding his wheel. Followed him til he split then limped home. Had to stop for a minute to stretch and give me knees a break. Guy approached me saying he was a PTI and asking if I was having trouble with my calves (that I was stretching) I said "no my knees", he said "ah well not much you can do about that" not sure if he was going offer me a roadside massage if it was a muscular problem!!!

Not a bad ride, not going near grane rd again tho.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The eternal creak of borked cranks*

Despite the weather forecast the grey laden clouds and my own personal meteorological cynicism we did not get soaked last night, wahey. Rode the singlespeed, 3 reasons, one the aforementioned weather, two to see if the cranks would bed in and stop creaking and three if they didn't Johnnie would be urging me to take the spare cranks he had for sale, gratis, just to stop the racket :-) Climb up the golf course was hard work, first time singlespeeding on proper hills for a while and my legs were still hurting from running at weekend but the weather was nice and warm just a bit misty and the odd drop of rain. Mist got quite damp on top of winter hill, down hole in the wall, down AICR (saw a deer) and met johnnie at the bottom. Back up and to the pike and chatted to some other riders about... yep you guessed it, the weather. Quite a few riders about actually. The ride off the pike reminded me I was out of practice descending with saddle up, over the first drop handlebars turned slightly, front wheel dug in, front tyre folded over, cacked myself, I immediately slowed right down, johnnie caught up and went to pass me but due to the camber of the gully pushing us into the middle we nearly hit each other, a right old mess. Slogged up hole in the wall, just about cleaning the gulley, down 2 lads and the new wildes trail, (saddle down bit better but still pretty shoddy) then back up the tarmac. Johnnie then headed for ICR I went up hole in the wall again (stalled in the gulley), upto the mast but considering my performance so far decided against san marino, did the shooting hut descent (badly) and then tucked in for a long road descent home. Not bad considering, as johnnie said it would make a great nightride in October, still a long way from the balmy summer nightrides we should be doing in July.

*atleast I hope it's the cranks, if not its my frame :-(