Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Vroom Wednesday...maximum wattage and some rule breakers

Tonight was a proper vroom Wednesday. I'm pooped. That's the fastest I've ever ridden and I'm really really pleased with an average of 17.5mph. I've not checked other peoples Strava yet but I'm guessing as I was near the back a lot most people whooped that. Not just the average though I got 27 PR's, that's massive.

 At times the train worked and we stayed together at others some of us got lost out of the back. This was a good route for vroom and if your wondering why it's not circular for me it's because I rode to work today which was another bonus. The weather was perfect. A warm pleasant evening with only light winds.

This route is actually a good route for any type of road ride. You don't need to go out and thrash this go out and look at the scenery, smell the flowers and take it all in.

So that's the formalities out of the way let us attend this evenings main business. What follows is a kangaroo court of cycling.

Ok so if you're not familiar with the Rules this is hopefully going to be a masterclass. By providing such information I myself conform to rule#2 lead by example: it is forbidden for someone familiar with the rules to knowingly allow another person to breach them. So onto this evenings heinous crimes. Rule #3 also states: guide the uninitiated, no matter how good you think the reason it is never ok to knowingly breach the rules.

Exhibit A: big Steve Major, the Prince of Profanity.
In breach of rule #17: Team kit is for members of the team

Exhibit B: rule #27 socks and shorts should be like goldilocks - not too long and not too short
Jonesy, too short, Andy (mention 1) way too long, Major spot on, Stuey Nichols a bit too long plus as a Tigers fan you instantly break all the rules it's in your DNA

C&DCYCLES selfie

This doesn't break the rules but probably should as we got carried away with current trends and did a selfie. Even worse I quite like this picture!

Hightower's perspective 

Another rule should be that Nathan is too tall to ride a bike, it can't be safe to see the world like this. No wonder he broke a spoke on his long suffering bike.

Recovery drink 1

The final rule that should be a rule is that just because a bloke tells you something who is also a cyclist it does not mean you have to listen. We're suckers for this. At a sportive a bloke told me that a pint of milk after a ride is a significant aid to recovery so without any research of my own I now down a pint of milk after every ride. This is either brilliant advice or a load of old tosh.

Recovery drink 2 (flake optional) 

Rule #47 drink Trippels don't ride triples:
"Cycling and beer are so intertwined we may never understand the full relationship. Beer is a recovery drink, an elixir for post-ride trash talking and a just plain excellent thing to pour down the neck. We train to drink so don’t fool around. Drink quality beer from real breweries. If it is brewed with rice instead of malted barley or requires a lime, you are off the path. Know your bittering units like you know your gear length. Life is short, don’t waste it on piss beer."

So you see that lovely pint of home brewed Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone is a real rule conformer. I'm lucky that my two main hobbies are brewing and cycling. I can't think of a better combination.

Happy Peddaling

Monday, 28 April 2014

Rule#58 Observed, New Product Tested

So tonight's blog is once again not a route but a clean up job. I popped into to C&DCYCLES to see Andy who last night bemoaned his lack of mentions in yesterday's blog. So I asked Andy, you know the manager at C&DCYCLES about cleaning products and then listened to Andrew Ferguson's advice and bought some Muc Off chain cleaner. 

Ooh ooh whats in the bag?

Good old GT85 and an aerosol of muc off chain cleaner

Then Andy asked me if I'd ridden yesterday. This draws me to one ponderance. You know Andy the man at C&DCYCLES who we trust when we once again need help with our bikes? Well, he apparently read my blog yesterday and he did mention there was a complete lack of Andy. Now my blog yesterday was about the ride I did yesterday so you'd think, Andy, who definitely read my blog would know that! My conclusion is that Andy from C&DCYCLES does not read my blog at all he merely scans it for his own name. Well Andy you're going to be busy with all the Andy spotting tonight.

So to tonight's quest. Having been distinctly underwhelmed by the pure pump spray degreaser I was looking forward to testing the less environmentally friendly, but apparently not tested on bunnies, Muc Off chain cleaner. For one thing it's definitely more expensive.

Dirty bits


So the before is above and the below is after. I have to say Andy's advice to lay the bike on it's side, spray on the product and walk away, then wash off with hot water, was spot on. That's right Andy from C&DCYCLES gave me some great advice. He also advised me to give the chain a good rub with a towel which I already knew and then Andy, you know Andy, said make sure you lube properly afterwards. He said that it's a common error to clean well and then under lube. It's GT85 on bits like the jockey wheels and then good quality oil on the chain and cogs. I listened Andy. I just hope that Pure oil is a better product than the degreaser.

I'd say that works


Yep that's more like it

Wow! I hope the pictures show just how well the Muc Off works. Seems they're not just the big brand in bike cleaning, they make stuff that works. The first thing was the aerosol was loads better to use than the pump spray. With very little effort the grime just fell off. Sorry penguins I'm sold on this stuff! So cheers again Andy, great advice as usual.

Finally I can't believe I didn't know about this but I found a link to the radio 5live cycling programme, bespoke. A really good listen and they touch on a subject close to our heart. How to go faster. It's good to hear from some big names in the sport but also nice to hear the presenter going through tests that put him through hell. We all like to know that others suffer too don't we! Link below.

Happy Peddaling

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Legs feeling good again...

Cycling is a fickle mistress. There are days where you feel good but ride poorly and days when you don't feel up for it and then have a spectacular ride. Today I went out feeling strong and stayed that way. For me that's the nicest feeling of them all.

Before I talk more about today I need to go back to yesterday. I completely forgot to mention three things. The first was that after a couple of weeks in shorts I went back to full length bib tights and overshoes. That's our weather for you! The second is that it was Neil Hickford's birthday. Neil needs to slow down. He's 5 years my senior and his recent ride averages have put me to shame. Well Neil when I'm 65 and your 70, just you watch out! Lastly Steve Major who was once again doing a great a job of leading the ride, broke a spoke. We tried taping it up and fiddling with a spoke key to get the wheel rideable but Steve could only limp to his Dads house to get a lift home. Not sure how I forgot that lot. The truth is I gave so many thoughts of what to put in the blog and half of them are still banging around in the gap between my ears.

Feeling good I set out today to ride as fast as I could. Years of plodding around at 14mph did me no favours in the speed department. So my average of 16.5mph might be unimpressive for some but for me it's a step in the right direction. I also got a PR on Rushton Hill, a segment I regularly ride and have not been able to improve since May and now I'm 30th out of 367 riders and 3rd out of all the people I follow. I'm chuffed to bits. The weird one is I really really went for it on Desborough Road Drop. I was convinced I'd never been quicker and finally that KOM would be mine. Strava says no! 2 seconds slower than my previous best I'm still 2nd though.

It's not all about speed though. I did some familiar stuff for me going through our beautiful countryside and pretty villages. No time for photos so I've borrowed some from the internet.

Happy Peddaling




When we win the Lottery...Old

The Hare at Loddington, nice pub, good food!

Dancing Uphill

I've just finished reading this magnificent book. It's about the first British rider in the Tour de France. The man was a phenomenon. Whilst many of us struggle to creep over a 16mph on our carbon frames with 20 gears with all the other technical advances of our age, Charles on a steel bike in toe clips with sturmey archer 3 speed hub gears (remember those?) regularly hit 20mph plus on rides of 100 miles. The war wrecked his professional cycling career. He was finally allowed to race again when amateur rules were relaxed in the 1960's. He then set about kicking everyone's butts again. A great read recommended to me by fellow C&DCYCLES rider Iain Tingle.

My Granddad was also into cycle racing pre war. I've tried using the internet to discover if he ever raced with Charles Holland. I haven't got anything yet but I'll see if Dad has anything. I need to know!

Front cover

Back cover

They really raced on these gears!

The book is full of stuff like this

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Saturday shop ride, same places different route...

The outlook for today's shop ride was quite gloomy and damp. This put some people off and a smaller than recent weeks group gathered at the shop. If you missed out due to the weather, well hard luck on getting it wrong, it turned into a lovely day for a bike ride. But then every day is a good day for a bike ride as a bad day cycling always beats a good day at work...unless of course you ride for a living and then frankly you are the luckiest person in lucky land.

With a smaller attendance it was decided to do just one group. On that I'd like to apologise to Rich who joined us for the first time today. We didn't do a good enough job of looking after you, we got way too splintered for a Saturday ride. 

The route was familiar but also unusual as we went in the opposite direction to our usual rides. Well done to Steve for thinking this up. However the road from Thrapston to a Denford is still a bumpy nightmare no matter which side you're on. To add insult to injury Martin achieved the feat of getting puddle water to spray off his rear wheel over my glasses and into my eye. He couldn't do that again if he tried! Other notable ride events were discussions about next weeks sportive, this blog, tyres and my ongoing what to do about my chain rings. The update is I'm still going for a 39/52.

I couldn't go back to the shop today and I missed the tea, cake and banter. C&DCYCLES is a great club to belong to. The path of true love does not however always run smooth and we have some issues to iron out. Anyone whose studied group dynamics knows there are always ups and downs with human interactions. A bit like the driver versus cyclist debate there are two sides to every story and with a bit of tolerance we can get back to being an awesome brotherandsisterhood of the bike.

Happy Peddaling 

Rich and Iain coming up the hill

Same bit, a little closer

Why did I bother cleaning're right I gave him a once over today too!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

No ride so I thought Clive needed some TLC

After last night's apparent nihilistic delusion (cheers Phil,) and my self perceived poor performance I decided the sensible option was rest not ride. That in turn meant there was no excuse not to give Clive a thorough clean and lube.

This is going to be quite a confessional and right off the bat I'm truly sorry. OK another area of knowledge I've acquired since riding became an obsession rather than a pastime is the need to clean your bike properly. Poor Bob used to get a monthly blast and wipe down with WD40 and that's about it. Since then I've learned that WD40, despite over 1000 uses, is an inferior product and not the choice of professionals. My water displacer of choice is now GT85. However blasting your bike even with GT85 is not good enough because despite the claims on the tin it isn't apparently an adequate lubricant. I've also learned that chains need degreasing before you oil them. Apparently that thick black tarry stuff I used to get on my fingers is not good for your drivetrain. So here's the first apology I don't do it often enough. I'm riding almost everyday and if the choice is ride or clean then I'm riding!

Clive the filthy beast!

Oh my days look at the state of the cogs and chain

So that was the state of things. Having mocked others for the use of products like Muc-off I finally gave in and decided to give some products a go. Here comes the 2nd apology. I breached rule #58 and bought some degreaser along with some oil in the same brand and GT85 in a 3 for 2 deal at Halfords. All I can say is I didn't mean to, I was just in there anyway and was dazzled by the deal.

For the frame, fork and wheels I just use some fairly liquid and warm water with a soft brush. I give the whole bike a good scrub down and then hose off the soap. Then I spray all over with GT85 and dry it off. I don't know if that's right or not, it just works for me. The chain, cogs, chain rings and derailleurs then get special attention. 

PURE degreaser

So is this stuff any good? Well for starters the spray trigger is completely pants. Every pump you have to pull the trigger back out and you get the citrusy detergent all over your hands. I can't say it's a radical improvement on fairy liquid. To get the chain this clean I spent a long time vigorously rubbing it with rag. It's all gone now so I'm going to try a different brand for comparison next time and yes C&DCYCLES I'll be a good boy and buy from you. 

That's looking better

I do however like the oil. It's easy to use, comes out at the right speed to oil the chain without getting it everywhere and the cap goes back on without getting oil down the side of the bottle. Yep that's my kind of product.

It's penguin friendly too

Now the next time I ride I'll be convinced everything feels better. I'll probably clean it every ride for the next few but it's only a matter of time before I relapse into old habits. Then again there's only one way to get the bike dirty...RIDE!

Happy Scrubbing

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Guest Blog: Glen Nevis

On seeing Andy Brown's Glen Nevis ride on Strava I felt there was an opportunity not to be missed. I asked Andy to guest blog his two wheeled jaunt and I have to say his contribution is absolutely fantastic. I really appreciate this Andy. I'm sure that others will feel the same.

There’s a fine line on family holidays as to how much time you can devote to your own interests, and how much you need to spend with the rest of your family. After careful consideration of the fact that I have spent good money on the “Squires and Spires” 79 mile sportive in early May, I decided last Thursday that I would edge closer to that line. I persuaded my wife Sara that she would like to take the car, with broken suspension (apparently due to the weight of 5 bikes and a roof box!), to the garage to be fixedMeanwhile, I whipped out the lycra and made a dash for Glen Nevis on the bike.

Ben Nevis from the road

We were staying near Fort William, about 460 miles north of Kettering. There are a number of busy and narrow A roads on the doorstep, so the quieter road up Glen Nevis was a good alternative for me. It is described as the most beautiful of the Highland glens, sitting as it does under the highest mountains in the British Isles. I estimated the return route was just under 30 miles, and I had exactly 1 hour and 50 minutes to get there and back again, before going out for a family meal. It is a bit of a climb as well – good training all in all. So the pressure was on!

Library picture of the Glen Nevis Road (Andy wasn't expecting this request!)

As far as scenery is concerned, the Highlands is the most jaw-dropping place I have ever ridden in. It is dramatic and expansive, with vast stretches of untamed land. The first section of the ride is a quiet lane, about five miles long, with (fairly) gentle rolling hills. It runs parallel to a short stretch of the Caledonian canalwhich connects the west coast of Scotland to the east, via a number of lochs. But the most obvious aspect is the north side of Ben Nevis and three other ‘Munros’ – that is, Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet, of which there are 282, named after Sir Hugh Munro who documented them all in the late 1800’s. The Munros are all still snow covered on the upper reaches at this time of year, and although reportedly in cloud for an average of 300 days a year – we were able to see the tops every day.

Library picture if Andy had walked on from the car park

The lane joins the main A road into Fort William, but shortly before the town centre I rounded the western flank of the Ben, and headed up onto the Glen Nevis road. This is flanked on one side by the Ben Nevis range, and on the other by more Munros, the Mamores. The road to the car park is 6.5 miles long and gains 400 feet, so not a huge gradient, but there are some steep bits – indeed, I was forced into the ‘granny ring’ at the end. But it is well worth it. The walk at the end of the road is truly spectacular (if ever you get the chance, you must), but I had hit the halfway mark for my time – so the homeward journey beckoned immediately.

As close as C&D Cycles got to the top of a Munro

There being little in the way of quiet circular routes, the return was by the same way, and I arrived back just in time. Stravashowed that I had achieved a 17 mph average, and was second (ok, out of 23) on the Glen Nevis uphill segment. Well chuffed, although the tail wind up the Glen may have helped a little …

This is Rich again: Thanks Andy, great piece of blogging mate. For everyone else. If you fancy a go just message me and we"ll sort something out!

Happy Peddaling

Vroom Wednesday Ohana

For those of you not familiar with the great cinematographic work that is Lilo &Stich: Ohana means family and that means no one gets forgotten or left behind. Tonight I wasn't at my best. Twice in the first few miles people had to wait for me. I don't know why. Perhaps I'm riding too much, I might need more rest. Perhaps it's because everyone had a five mile warm up before I joined the ride. I don't know. All I know is right from the off I was even slower than usual. After the second wait for me I offered the group the chance to leave me behind. I felt I was spoiling vroom. It's supposed to be for quicker riders and I was holding people back. Well the lads were having none of it and when I repeated my offer they really told me:"what part of no don't you understand?" Thanks all, I won't forget. I will also rule #5 it and be faster in the future. Thanks also to Chris for looking after me at the start of the ride.

No pics of the route tonight due to it being vroom. I did however take a cheeky snap of the cobbles on Rothwell Market Square. I didn't even want to ride over these slippery looking beasts to get to the road. I have no idea how they do it on Paris-Roubaix. Talking of pro rides there are signs up warning of delays as the Women's Tour passes through Northants. It's quite an honour for our splendid roads.

The route itself is the clubs classic Pitsford Loop but we added a bit at the end. I'm surprised to see PRs after the way I was feeling and actually anything over 15mph average is good for me so perhaps it was better than I thought. 

Weather was an issue. It wasn't extreme, just persistent drizzle. The wind was relatively light though, so that was ok. It was a bit irksome after looking out of the window at a sunny day only for it to change as soon as we got outside.

On our return to Kettering there was a bit of miscommunication as I went right to head back to Rothwell and the others went left. Steve and Martin caught me back up between a Weekly and the A43. I told them I was ok and they reminded me again: "no one gets left behind!" 

Happy Peddaling

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Quick spin in the drizzle

Typical gateway on my routine ride

Nothing remotely spectacular on interesting about tonight's quick 18 miler. This is one of my regular routes and it has all the bits I like. Bit of up, bit of down, lots of countryside. I must have blogged this exact route before so I'm struggling for things to say other than I like it and that's why it repeats more often than a sprout on Christmas Day.

I just needed some miles tonight. That Strava Spring Classics Challenge is going to be like Waterloo, an incredibly close run thing. Also after collecting PRs frequently on recent rides I'm completely unsurprised to have one of those 'no achievement' rides.

On a more positive note the annoying clicky rubbing noise has gone from my front wheel. Darren cool beans Dunkley said last week that he'd had a similar issue with no obvious cause. His was solved by Andy at C&DCYCLES theory that water gets in via the spoke nipples. The advice was to spray each nipple with water displacer. So a quick squirt of WD40 GT85 (the professionals choice apparently,) on each spoke at the rim (I'd stopped saying nipple due to the innuendo, I think I just made that worse.) Anyway the noise has I indeed gone. So thanks Darren and Andy, you boys know your rims, nipples and lubricants.

Here's the route:

Happy Peddaling

Monday, 21 April 2014

Riding off the Easter Eggs

The weather forecast before the start of the weekend was that Easter Monday could be a washout. Well thank goodness that was wrong. It was pleasant out this afternoon and I nearly stopped to take the base layer off. That sharp lined cycling tan isn't going to do itself is it? Judging by the odd brown lines on my wrists and my brown knees today was a missed opportunity. My average was down under 14mph which is disappointing but then I look at the long list of PRs and I'm astounded that I got a PR on the Brixworth Beast for the second time in 4 days. I'll take that.

The first thing to report is that it wasn't just eggs I got for Easter. Mrs Lindsley is buying me a cracking set of cycling related T-shirts and this joins my Wiggo and Manx Missile (Cavendish,) as a firm favourite.

Talking of favourites, today's route has one of my favourite downhills which I don't use as much as I did a few years ago. This is the hill out of Haselbech heading towards the ridiculously posh Cottersbrooke. A word of warning, the surface isn't that great at the foot of the hill and as it leads onto a gated road, the gate, like it was today can be shut.

As you can see there are sheep on the other side of the gate and they're not impressed by Lycra clad cyclists. Take it easy and make sure you shut the gate. It's worth it. This is beautiful countryside and very quiet. You are just as likely here to see a tractor or a quad as a car.

After Cottersbrooke the road leading to Brixworth could easily be mistaken for a tree lined Avenue in France. Once you get off this road you head up the Brixworth Beast currently showing as a Women's Tour climb. I might not be so impressed once I see how fast the pro ladies zoom up the climb they will no doubt view as a mere bump. For this MAMIL it's tough enough!

Favourite is an overused word on my blog. This bit is true though. The road from Brixworth to Holcot, crossing over the Pitsford Reservoir causeway really is one of my favourites. It has everything. A fast flat bit, a great view of the ressie, a descent and a short sharp climb into Holcot. I love it.

Ok so if I'd carried on snapping the highlights this blog would be awesome. I forgot to take any more pics though because I was enjoying the ride. Sorry about that. Other highlights on my way round are Sywell Airport as it's always fascinating watching the light aircraft and the ride between Broughton and Loddington through Great Cransley. 3 sharp climbs in a row test the legs and I confess I dropped to granny for the last. Had I carried on home to Rothwell from Loddington it would be four of these lactic lung busters. I wanted a few more miles so gave myself a break from the lumpy bits. Three out of four ain't bad. 

Another good ride and it tipped me over 50% for the Strava Spring Classics challenge so that's good. 

Happy Peddaling

Saturday, 19 April 2014

It's Saturday so what else? It's the C&DCycles shop ride!

Always the best ride of the week it's another Saturday shop ride. The slow(er) ride was led today by Jamie 'effortless' Stockham. Jamie's riding style is to glide and he makes it all look very easy. He's the perfect leader because whilst he looks like he's doing very little he's going very fast!

Here's some great ride footage from Richard Wood's go pro. That's definitely a bit of kit I'd like to get hold of. However this video has far too much footage of some fat lad on his Forme Longcliffe 2.0. I'm going to have to work on that riding style, it's shocking!

For some reason the youtube clip doesn't show on some devices. If you have a blank box above please click this link YouTube video by Richard Wood

Some of the brothers from C&DCYCLES are now clearly blog mention chasing. It's like Strava segment chasing but worse as they try to get as many mentions as possible. With that in mind Andy your striptease to divert my request for a bigger ring really was unnecessary. I was going to mention again about your fantastic advice and service and repeat that we should all follow rule 58 and support our local bike shop. I'm still a bit disturbed though that it's base layer then bib shorts for you. It's not in the rules but if we could add to them it's definitely bib shorts first, for the full mankini effect and then all other layers to follow.

Big Steve is also guilty of blog mention chasing. His was more valid though. The Prince of Profanity is quite miffed that he only scored 65/70 for 'how sweary are you?' It was most amusing to hear his critique of the list in the Facebook Survey and unfortunately none of it is repeatable here. Needless to say both of us share a new favourite insult in 'douchecanoe.' As in David Moyes was a real douchecanoe for leaving Everton. Never mind the new man is indeed the canines crown jewells so alls well that ends well.

Enough of that nonsense. The ride today was a good one for a shop ride and especially welcome after the gradient bashing we gave ourselves yesterday. It was another fast ride for a Saturday with my average coming in at just under 16mph. 

If you read my blog of the shop ride from a while back where I mention that the sign points the wrong way for the historic church in Aldwincle (this is not another of Steve's words but in fact the name of a village,) then the last laugh is on me because there is indeed another church around the corner with a big English Heritage plaque on it. 

We split into two groups which were supposed to meet and then complete the route together but it sort of went wrong when we erm...went wrong and then we went wrong again so the fast lot caught us twice and then gave up the plan and we ended up back at the shop before them despite their average of nearly 18mph (when I grow up I want to be that quick.) Poor Frank on only his second ride in a few weeks looked ruined by the quick lads. Not half as bad as I'd have looked trying to keep up with that group Frank!

Back at the shop we arrived before 11am for the first time for weeks which meant that another of my wife's awesome creations had yet to arrive. However, when the long suffering Mrs Lindsley did appear with my personal favourite in her repertoire, apple cake, it was demolished in seconds. Big Steve was so excited he started quoting the Fast Show and some other things that sadly I also can't mention. If I say the cake was lovely and moist you can join the dots for yourself. Thanks again Lee, I really don't deserve you.

The tray of apple cake was full moments before

No ride home for me today because Niamh was competing in the Kettering Harriers Athletic Club Open meeting. That was well worth the trip because it was great to see so many athletes and our superstar had a massive personal best in the 800m knocking 12 seconds off of her previous PB.

All in all a great day.
Happy Peddaling

Friday, 18 April 2014

Richies Good Friday not a Sportive Brampton Valley Criss Cross

I planned this route then as an afterthought wondered if any of my biking brothers wanted to join me. Well I could not have been more delighted with the response. 6 of us (Matthew, Neil, Jamie, Iain, Darren and I,) set out from Rothwell and we picked up Phil in Old. Neil could only get a quick spin in and left us in Holcot meaning 6 of us did the majority of the route.

The crazy plan for the day was to sort of follow the Brampton Valley Way without actually using the Brampton Valley Way. From mine we went to Orton, then Loddington, then Old via Mill Lane (a really pleasant quite road,) from there up to Scaldwell, touching the outskirts of Brixworth, over the causeway to Holcot and then round to Moulton, finally through Boughton and down to Boughton crossing. That's the start of the Brampton Valley Way. For those who don't know the Brampton Valley Way it's a bike track from Northampton to Market Harborough using the old train line.I will definitely post a blog about using the Brampton Valley Way at some point this year, as it's another fantastic local resource but it's not suitable for road bikes.

So why did I want to do this? Well as the name suggests there's a valley involved and if you cross the track you'll very soon be going up hill as it's in the bottom of the valley. In short I wanted a route that was as testing as it gets round here. I hope the brothers in Lycra who joined me will agree it was a good workout.

No worries dude

So we headed up to Chapel Brampton and then back across the track at The Brampton Halt and up to Pitsford. The only disappointing thing about this route for me is we couldn't avoid using an A road at times. The majority of this was on the A508 Harborough Road. I think it should be obvious why this road runs parallel to the Brampton Valley Way. 

Cracking view, it all looked like this

Onto Brixworth again before taking on the mighty Spratton Hill. From Spratton we went to Creaton and then back to Brixworth up the segment known as the Brixworth Beast. A bit more A508 took us through to Lamport and then through the ridiculously pretty Draughton (I wouldn't live there though-no pub!) . 

Ooh a picture of me! Cheers Iain

From Draughton we again took on some lumps to get to Maidwell and then a slab more A508 before we could turn off and go past the Buddhist Centre at Kelmarsh (Boomshanka.) From Kelmarsh we crossed the Brampton Valley Way again but only knew this by the ventilation chimneys as it was in the Kelmarsh tunnel when we crossed it. Into Harrington and down Church lane took us up another significant lump before heading to Great Oxendon.

And another one

Quick stop at Draughton

My legs definitely already knew we'd had a good ride. It was a strong group of riders and I was struggling to keep up at times. As we headed to East Farndon I saw the strangest sight. A man on a bike was carrying a dog on his back in a kind of basket thing.  See the picture. It's bizarre what you see at times.

I really hope this dog has his own Strava account

 From Farndon we headed into Harborough which was busy so not the best bit of the ride. We crossed the start of the Brampton Valley Way in Harborough and then followed the road through to Braybrooke crossing the River Jordan (let my people go!) We didn't head up Griffin Road this time but to the next hill leading to Desborough Road. It's another significant rise and once again I was arse end Charlie to the stronger riders. Finally through Desborough we took the Rothwell Road for the last climb of the day and back to my house.

The most magnificent Mrs Lindsley's Beetroot and Orange Cake

At my house we were treated to Mrs Lindsley's marvelous hospitality with tea, coffee and beetroot cake! Beetroot you say? Yes Beetroot and orange with a cream cheese topping. OMG what a treat from the Queen of Cakes. Beetroot as we all know has anti cramp properties for cyclists so that's another benefit too.

What a ride! Nearly 100km and very definitely comparable to a Sportive route.

I'd like to say thankyou to everyone who joined me for this ride. I guess we've started another tradition of the 'Good Friday Ride.' A very enjoyable spin with good people.

Happy Peddaling