Sunday, 29 March 2015

Pitsford kids ride

Still one my favourite places for a kids ride, today Sam and I joined his friend Alex for a birthday bike ride. Lee,as the queen of cakes was tending the cake!

This may have been a little jaunt compared to yesterday but that brutal wind was in abundance plus a bit of rain and a smattering of hail! This made conditions for the boys and girls very testing. I was proud of Super Sam in that wind especially as he was quoting rule #9 "if you are riding in bad weather you are badass. Period!

Group shot, I'm role modelling rule #80 Always be casually indiferent

Badass boys

Lets Off Road

Even time for a quick geocache

I'm so proud

Pitsford is ideal for a kids ride. There's a good cafe at the start and finish. Parking is £3 for the day. There's a bike and running shop to cater for last minute lycra clad necessities. The play area is one of the best I've seen. There are picnic/barbecue facilities. There's also things of interest for people without bikes. The last thing is that if you're into geocaching there's about 30 dotted around the ressie.

Happy Pedaling

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Very windy test run

OK so the plan today was to test out some of the Dawn to Dusk route and get some big miles in my legs. It's just 12 weeks until the big day so it's time to live like a monk and train like a ninja. My plan is to get at least 200 miles a week in during April and May. Most weeks I'll do some 20-30's in the week and some 60-100's at the weekend. Today I just wanted to see if I had 100 in my legs and the answer is: probably but in this wind it's not worth over doing it!

I set out knowing I had a tail wind with the plan of taking it easy and conserving energy as much as possible whilst maintaining a steady pace. After the first hour I was at a healthy 16mph average without trying at all. That should have told me everything. As I turned away from a NE route the wind hit. At first it was crosswinds and then later in the ride it was headwinds. The cross winds were horrible because I had to fight to stay on course. The headwinds were brutal because they were turning flats into hill climbs. Still a bit of Flanders style hill training could only do me good. By the time I got to Rockingham I was in bits and actually considered going up Rocky Hill to get out of the wind. As it was I went up Rocky's lesser known twin to Cottingham I had the triple pain of a steep hill, a headwind and bonfire smoke blowing into my face. At that point I made up my mind that there was no point doing rubbish miles on a training ride. I was risking over training and we all know that defeats the point. I expect if I'd made it round to Welford though I'd have just sailed home the last few miles. I do feel confident that on a better day I already have 100 in my legs so I have my start point. Fit, fit, fit, try not to have a fit!

The route is looking good so well done Justin. I think I had just started the 'hard bit.' If I'd have continued I'd have fought the wind to Ashley Hill and then a few good lumps in quick succession. I don't want a garmin and therefore was following Strava routes on my phone. It's not the best and after Clopton I got into unknown territory and therefore made a few errors. Luckily I've learnt from those and if challenged could repeat them exactly. Finishing where I did means I can quickly get back to the route for the next test. That's my plan: know the route!

Here's some pics of the route

Car window selfie




World's shortest bike lane

lovely bit of road



Oops I'm in Cambridgeshire

Luddington in the Brook


King's Cliffe Airfield

Wind Demo...guess which way I was heading!


Llamas or Alpacas or whatnot

Not sure

Welland Owd


The virb died just like my legs at that point. The hill up to Gretton seemed to go on for ages. Talking of the virb I think I need to fiddle with the gps tracking because it drains the battery and I don't need it given my phone and cateye also record the ride. I want to get loads of pics and footage on D2D so something needs to change. In a day of firsts for 2015 I was happy to be back in shorts and fingerless mitts. We might be struggling with March winds but spring has definitely sprung. Longs, overshoes and gloves can now go in the spare kit drawer. On that, I now need two big drawers for my cycling kit. Is that too much or do I need more? Answers in a tweet with #MAMILfashionicons.

Well tomorrow I'm helping on a kids ride so it will be a very different blog.

Happy Pedaling

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A weekly Summary - 3 rides thanks to Virgin WiFi issues

So let's look at last Sunday and a fantastic ride on my 29er. Here's the route, then a video and some pictures. When this track is dry like it was that day it's simple the best bit of unplanned offroad round here. In short a smashing ride. On the way i found a geocache I expected to and one that was a complete surprise which I may have passed at least 20 times without seeing it!

What's that in the tree half way up the last hill of Brigstock Bumps?

Ooh it's on a tapemeasure

My word a geocache

I never get tired of the Llamas at Rushton

The next ride to talk about was yesterday's club ride with C&DCycles CC. This is still the most important ride of the week because it's where we recruit new members. Clubs are funny things; people come and go, little cliques start, some people are encouraged, others are discouraged and not much of it makes a lot of sense. Many people I thought would always be in the club now don't ride with us and new people have come along that I feel the same way about.

Not wanting to mash my legs off I went with the banter bunch this week. It's a very mixed group and patience is required at times. We were led by Andy with Nat tail gunning the route was created by Jonesy and he was also in a good group. We had a detour at Clipston which you will see on the video and we had a near miss in Rothwell which sadly you won't. It really does disappoint me at times that the next 30 seconds in a car drivers life appears to be more important to them than the whole rest of mine. I do hope the impatient driver who started overtaking us and then tried to turn left through the middle of the group learns not to be a twit in future. As a result Heather and I collided and luckily neither of us fell off.

As far as fitness, training and preparation for the epic 200 miles Dawn til Dusk ride go, Sunday was a something I really needed. Great group riding, good banter, lovely route and good leadership by Steve. The highlight of the ride was introducing everyone to Tabassco Jelly Beans. Some people liked them others struggled!

Nat tries Tabassco Jelly Beans - she struggled!

Glynn has some interesting on ride nutrition ideas...jelly!

Nat has another bean, still can't cope...Steve has had 8

Spring has sprung!

There's a few things common to us lycra loonies: we all want to be faster, ride further and climb better and then we also want more bikes! This caught my eye back at the shop. I need to work out how I can get it!!!

Right there's lots to do and it's nearly ironing time so that's all folks.

Happy Pedaling

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Saturday 14th March C&DCycles CC club ride

Just a quick blog today to say we rode it was great and thanks to Steve for leading and Ken for tail gunning. 

When I arrived at the shop today the group wasn't quite big enough for splitting. As it was very mixed ability we ended up having a social ride,  which was nice. Much banter was had along the way most of which was clean until the the Princess of filth joined us at Woodford.  I had to forego tea and cakes due to the Saints having a 12:30 kick off so Andy ushered me into the shop to show me the new layout. Very impressive! 

Our wifi is down so I didn't bother with my virb this week. Our group picture is kindly provided by Heather W. I'm not sure what the Strava link does but I'll update as soon as Virgin have sorted us out. 

The route we took was the Oundle reverse.  Having been posted by Andy on the week it was hilarious to discover that despite telling us all to make sure we know the route...He didn't know his own route!  Then again as he was stuck in the shop I guess we'll let him off! It is a nice route though. Typical Northants rolling hills. Great villages such as Aldwinkle and Grafton Underwood, posh old Oundle and of course the leg busting Brigstock bumps! 

Ok that's as much as I can bear using my phone and 3G. The auto correct is driving me mad! Better blogs are available!

Check out my 43.4 mi Ride on Strava:
The handsome specimens

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Offroad Sunday 9th March 2015

Just a quick blog to tell you what I got up to today. I set off on my trusty 29er (with tubeless tyres which kindly didn't puncture,) with the intention of checking out the Geddington to Brigstock trail. On the way I noticed that puddles were still apparent and therefore my chosen route would still be boggy. So it was:

  • A spin round prologis park,
  • Dodge the dog walker on two laps of Weekley Woods 
  • Glendon to Rushton alongside the railway track
  • Roads to Pipewell, 
  • Off road back to the Desborough road and the Green Lane down to the bottom of the QOM hill to Harrington
  • Roads back home.

It was a really nice ride. The wind was still testing and the fact that I dropped a bloke on a road bike going into Harrington probably suggests that trails were the best place to hide from that wind. For me my favourite thing on either a road bike or off road is downhill. It was pretty good for that for the routes I rode today so that's what I put together on the video.

That's all folks
happy pedaling

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Saturday Stress Buster

It was a late decision for me to ride with the club this morning. I've not felt great at all this week, it could be a virus, it could just be stress or I might just be ready for some time off. Who knows but having woke at 3:30 I thought I probably needed something to get things out of my system. So I set off to C&DCycles determined to ride with the fast group (I know I probably should have thought that through...) At the shop I quickly grabbed a CO2 bulb as my last one was used up. Possibly one of my few good ideas today! Steve was leading the fast group and elected me tailgunner so I gained the dubious honour of the sartorially challenged grey reflective gillet. 

Leaving Kettering


Grafton Underwood

Well it was a good plan to put me at the back because I really struggled to keep up. I was fine on the flat but as soon as there was a bit of a hill I was dropped. I also really struggle in strong wind and today's was nothing short of oppressive. It seems to affect me more than others and I think it's in my head a bit going back to the Silverstone circuit breaker when I tried to ride after a week off with flu!


Then in Desborough, would you believe it I got yet another puncture. My club nickname really should be colander! In a fit of sulk I told everyone to leave me and I was going home. Thankfully I had a second thought and realised the banter bunch would probably turn up before I got my wheel back on. Well that's what happened and I got to complete the ride at a pace that suited me more.

Back with the banter bunch


Mercedes Avenue - Where Lewis Hamilton's engine is built

The new Mr Grey

Shadow shot

Stuck in traffic at the railway bridge Northampton Road, Kettering

Actually it sort of worked out nicely because I got to ride with both groups today and that meant I caught up with good friends as well as had a good workout. I needed both those things. So thanks to everyone for a great ride. Also Andy (mention) got to listen to my bike making odd noises.

Back at the shop we had some very welcome tea and cake. Also Andy (mention) had a tinker with my ticky clicky bike and discovered a loose pedal. No such noises on my very slow dawdle home. Andy also gave my bike a clean with a new product they are stocking. I'm still unconvinced of the need for a product that cleans without the need for water but my bike smelled great! You won't believe it but it was banana and chocolate flavour! Apparently it's no good just having a clean bike, a great smelling bike goes even faster than a shiny one. Also we're all aware that us lycra loonies are incredibly attractive but now we have even more pulling power with our sweet smelling steeds. OK some of that was made up but no doubt about it, the loving rub down Andy (mention) gave my bike was a little bit fruity!

OK so common sense needs to prevail tomorrow. I'm absolutely knackered after today's ride so going on the Sunday ride at Steve's 'steady pace,' is not a wise move. So I'm going rest well tonight and go for a bit of solo off road action tomorrow. Hopefully the tubeless tyres on my 29er won't let me down!

Happy Pedaling

ps the moral of today's tale is:"if in doubt...ride!"