Sunday, 26 April 2015

Great week on the bike

Four rides this week. Two early morning solo rides and two group rides with the brothers and sister of C&DCycles CC. My positivity remains and my legs are now feeling justifiably sore. Definitely good training with just 8 weeks to go until the monster 200 mile ride.

This is just one of my standard routes for a morning ride. Its a good burst if I only have an hour.

Whilst similar in places this ride takes me to some of the most beautiful places. The highlights for me are the road from Maidwell to Lamport via Draughton and Mill Lane out of Old. The icing on the cake is that fast road into Loddington where I am to stay over 20mph.

On Saturday I led the banter bunch for another of Andy Brown's excellent undulating routes. It took me to places I've never ridden before so despite my good memory and sense of direction I was glad of Jonesy uploading to his Garmin. Tail gunning was the man who dreams of pink tights, Mark, who I'm also sure was glad to have his road bike back this week. The best uphill was definitely Ashley to Stoke Albany. For me the highlight of the ride was the opportunity to descend East Farndon Hill for a change.

Group shot at the top of a lumpy bit (Church Lane out of Harrington)

Feeling ruined in Stoke Albany

Things didn't start well as we were all nearly wiped out leaving Kettering. A driver in the left hand lane, which is to turn left only whizzed up the inside of our group and undertook us over the hash marked area. It was incredibly dangerous. I've reported the driver of R897 CVV to the police so let's see what happens eh! The other sickening sight was me having to strip off my base layer for the second week running. Those leaders gillets are too hot and a base layer was the right choice yesterday but not with the gillet on. So sorry everyone, I hope you're not all too traumatized.

One of them is, the other two are my friends...

On Sunday it was just the four of us for one of Steve's Sunday smashathon's. He promised me 50 miles so 54 wasn't too far out. The other two in our foursome was Frank and my former friend Neil, I love riding with Neil. I really did think he was a top bloke but when I went to tag him in a facebook picture I discovered he had unfriended me on facebook! Me? I'm amazing on facebook. How can anyone live without Sunday Night Ironing? Apparently it's because he didn't like my prolific posting around the time of the Saints magnificent victory. He also unfriended people who post about donkey sanctuaries, anyone who wants sponsoring for a good cause, anyone who is having a nice time and anyone who rides their pride and joy with the off chance of a light shower. In short he's a fiend and will not be getting anymore jelly beans.

ps Neil

My legs really felt yesterday's ride so keeping up with these elite athletes (and Neil who probably takes EPO,) would be very difficult. It proved that way but I didn't make them wait too much and I'm pleased overall with the ride. Back at the shop I asked Andy to have a fiddle. I then quickly explained I meant with my bike due to the excited glint in his eye. As per usual he got stuck in and as I suspected I've worn through my 3rd FSA bottom bracket. As Justin says: "FSA bottom brackets are made of cheese." Well I've had it with these more expensive yet less durable components and will be swapping to a shimano system next week.

Our friendly mechanic we couldn't live without

That's it for now. I'm looking forward to a lot more miles next week.

Happy pedaling

Oooh how did that get there?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

What a difference a week makes...

Last week I was all doom and gloom. I wondered where my cycling was going and how on earth I'd be ready for our 200 mile challenge in June. I was hating every pedal turn and the harder I tried the worse I seemed to get. Then I watched this...

This is stuff I've always known. I even use this phrase every day at work:

"It doesn't matter how it is, it only matters how you feel about it."

How very very clever of me. It took watching this for me to realise it was about time I stopped saying clever things and started to feel them! Since then my whole outlook has changed, the smile is back on my face and I've fallen back in love with cycling.

So here's this weeks cycling.

On Thursday I managed to drag myself out of bed to enjoy an early morning ride. I doubt drag will be a future description because I rediscovered the sheer bliss of those early morning quiet roads. There is no better time of day to ride and unlike my recent rides I felt really strong. These will be a regular feature from now on.

On Saturday we were treated to a cracking route by Andy Brown. The scenery was stunning, the uphills were testing, some good descents for us downhill specialists and some lovely rolling county lanes. Having looked at the route I voluntered for the beginner group, which was nothing of the sort. The only thing that might slow us down was that Mark had to use his MTB because the road bike was getting some TLC from Andy in the shop. However Mark pretty much kept up until the last few miles so there was no need to worry. Unfortunately we lost Michael in Naesby. He checked the route with me and then headed off ahead of the group to stop for an al fresco piddle. Well we never passed him and despite waiting for ten minutes in Cottersbrokke he never caught us up. I'm looking forward to discovering where he ended up.

With such a positive Saturday ride, I could not wait to get out again this morning. Ably led by an 'on his best behaviour,' Steve a select group of us gathered at the shop, including:

Nat 'not in pink tights-Queen of all the Mountains,'
Chris 'Got a hot date,'
Rob 'who also wonders where Michael went,'
Neil 'Oooh look at my new bike,'
Ollie 'who is unconvinced about getting a carbon upgrade.'

Neil's shiny Giant Propel

We all chuckled at the bird poo additions and the fact he needs blue drinks to match

The ride was in the most part very good indeed. Great company, exceptional banter and top notch group riding. My attitude switch was tested by this group of strong riders and it stood that test. When I got behind I just smiled and tried harder and on some hills I actually started laughing. In Gretton we passed a feed station for the Action Medical Research sportive. They wanted us to stop but we were kind enough not to help ourselves to some free gels, then as we went past they started yelling for us to go right an got in quite a state when we just kept going! Into the last 5th of the ride Chris and I got held up at a roundabout and then couldn't quite close the gap to the others, they waitied for us, we went the wrong ay and then we were in front of them! So I got back the shop first a bit confused. Apparently we jsut needed to go round one more corner!

Mozart looks on in Gretton

On route we discussed how us 40 somethings (Not Nat she's not old like us,) benefit from cycling. Apparently it makes us younger. When I pointed out my Helmet makes me look younger it was taken the wrong way by the smutty buffoons. I just meant you couldn't see my rapidly balding head under my Kask lid.

OK so the main points are. Watch that video it will change your life. I have my mojo back and I can't wait for my next ride!

Happy Pedalling

ps I still want this bike

Saturday, 11 April 2015

My Easter week of cycling

Blogging hasn't been a priority of late. So rather than blogging every ride I've decided to blog once a week..and what a week this was!

On Good Friday I had planned to test more of the Dawn to Dusk route with a 70 miler. However time was limited by me being the only "responsible" adult at home so I set off to do one of my favourite routes. I'm not sure when I did this last but I  remember doing it on New Year's Day 2014 with Darren, a man I thought was a cycling buddy for life but alas it didn't work out that way. This route has everything that's good about cycling in Northants, with rolling hills, quiet roads and pretty villages. If I could only do one route for the rest of my life it's this one.

On Saturday I went out. I know I did. I got home just in time to discover Joe didn't have a driving lesson after all! I have no record of where I went or what I did. All I know is I successfully got home for 10:30. Hmmm...epic tracking fail followed by MAMIL memory loss!

Sunday! I know what I did Sunday! I set out to ride as fast as I could for a couple of hours and it wasn't bad at all. A lovely spin in fact and the start of the lovely weather we've enjoyed for most of the week.

Tuesday was interesting indeed! I set off without a plan. Somehow that non plan got me to Pitsford Sailing Club in time to see Sam start his training course. Then I set off in search of hills! Spratton, Holdenby, Ravensthorpe, Coton, Naseby, East Farndon, Griffin Road Braybrooke and Harrington. All beastly lumps for round here and great fun in that sado masochistic way us cyclists enjoy!

On Thursday I decided to take the 29r out for a spin, no plans again just up to weekly woods and see where it took me. Well I ended up coming back to Rushton and then doing a bit of geocaching. If you don't know what that is I must warn you look away now! Once the geocaching bug hits you won't be able to stop!

Here's a cache on the hill to Orton

View from the cache

There's a brilliant cache here

This is a geo coin...they move from cache to cache

Off the beaten track for this cache

You have to climb the tree to get the tree frog cache!

Left by a fellow C&D cyclist

Some of them are tiny!

On Friday I decided on the 29r again and more geocaching than riding using local caches and then the Brampton Valley Way to Market Harborough which is stuffed with caches! Four hours to do twentyish miles  with scrambles up slopes and tree climbing and bramble bashing to find the little containers of treasure!

Finally Saturday and I went out for a Saturday club ride. It went a bit wrong as Phil, Steve and I got dropped by the bunch and then they disappeared. I thought they'd follow rule #1 and wait for us on Middleton Hill but no...then surely the beast that is Rocky. Again no sign of them. Steve was peeling off at Gretton for a few more miles so Phil and I plodded back to Pipewell. We were very disappointed that we'd been abandoned and many rude words were said. Then Glynn appeared behind us. Then the rest of the club...they'd gone the wrong way! Ha serves them right for not stopping sooner because I knew the route. All was however forgiven.

There's a bigger problem though. I'm slower than ever. I can't work it out. I think I might be stressing about Dawn to Dusk but suddenly I'm back to 13mph averages. I've never been the quickest but that's really poor even for me. I need to look at the training plan and figure out what I can do to sort this out. I do this for enjoyment, being a hindrance to others is not my idea of fun!

Happier pedaling required!