Monday, 5 June 2017

This week's cycling's got the lot!

Wow wow wow have I had some fun on my bike in the last seven days! I've been in an MTB race, been on a club ride, been out with SuperSam and done a few training rides too not to mention a cheeky roller session with Sam tonight. It's been all go!

This lovely little loop is one of my favourites for an hour spin in the morning. It's got some quick bits a few little climbs and a bit of downhill too. I'm not sure why but I keep having Strava fails on my phone. Luckily I've learnt the hard way and I always have at least one device as back up. This time my cateye bike computer came to the rescue!

On Thursday morning I was really short on time and needed something worth doing in just 45 minutes. There's a nasty short sharp ramp going out of town known as Bunker Hill and with a loop back round from Rushton it's repeated every four miles. That certainly gave my legs a workout!

On Friday I made it to my second Friday Night Summer Series Mountain Bike race. This time the venue was Hicks Lodge near Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire. The course itself mostly utilised a blue route called the Shell Brook Trail. More info on this Forestry Commission Site can be found HERE

Wahey look at me go! I put a lot of effort in for this shot taken by Mick Brown so I'm really pleased it worked out. If you check out the other photo's on the FNSS Facebook Page you'll see some far more impressive air being caught! But hey have you ever seen a blue whale fly?

As for the race, it was a shame I didn't get there earlier because I didn't get time for a warm up lap. A bit of course knowledge would have helped. I'm disappointed that I made such a cautious start because, after a sharp climb, there was plenty of time to get my breath back. However my goal for the night was just to improve on my last go. I achieved that so I'm happy. I still lost a lap to the main field though so that's my next aim...complete as many laps as the best riders in my age group. All that takes away from the main feeling from this event. I had a lot of fun! I'm really looking forward to next time but will miss out on this week due to Sam riding in the Silverstone 9up team time trial. That's a pity because it's on Harrington airfield just a few miles from my house!

On Saturday morning my legs felt fresh (more evidence I could've pushed harder at FNSS,) so I joined my mates at C&D Cycles CC for our club ride. There were two rides on offer this week. A Gran Fondo ride,which I didn't do and a banter ride on our familiar Oundle loop.

Due to surface dressing, surely the bane of all cyclists we left Kettering via the backstreets and headed to Geddington. As is typical when we head that way, the pace was respectable! 

In posh old Oundle we paused for breath and for team photos. I'm not sure what the residents think when us Lycra Louts gather on this spot, luckily they've never complained! As ever Mark likes to be the centre of attention and go himself to the front in the picture!

Shop manager, Andy, has been riding with the club a lot more recently and we're glad to have his expertise out on the ride. However those socks are a violation. Our diverse bunch included the 14 year old son of Mike. As well as learning lots of new words from Steve he also showed good strength. So I decided to go on a recruiting drive for KCC Cyclones. Hopefully he'll join us on Thursday at the Rockingham Go Ride.

Back at the shop we had some good cake courtesy of Steve's good lady and from Heather. I washed mine down with this incredibly refreshing iced coffee. Very tasty indeed! It was also made clear in the shop that a lack of cakes this year from my Queen of Cakes has not gone unnoticed. Andy has raised the Lack of Cake Complaint Level from 'miffed,' to 'disappointed.' I can tell you all now that Lee is planning to make both Guinness Cake and cupcakes for the shop this week.  

I rode home in Steve's good company feeling really good after a great ride in even better company. When I got home the day got better still. Sam has been telling his mate Joe about Wakerley woods and when offered, they jumped at the chance to check out the trails. 

It took some jenga skills to get three bikes on the rack but once secured we headed out. Sam and Joe had a great time and I enjoyed seeing them really enjoy themselves.

Wakerley is ideal for kids like them because it's just challenging enough to keep them interested without getting too extreme. They described the trails as 'sick.' It was wonderful to watch their confidence grow around berms and over the jumps.

We did three laps of the Scartree Trail with the boys getting more adventurous each time. The powerslide competition was something to behold. They can't wait to go again and to be fair I can't wait to take them. 

On Sunday morning I felt a bit heavy legged and it took me a long time, a ponderous dog walk and several cups of tea before I decided that enough was enough it was time for Rockingham Hill!

It was a lovely day so I decided it was time for some camera action to capture beautiful Northants. This one is heading into Rushton past that famous Hall with it's ties to the Gunpowder Plot.

This one is on the way through Pipewell (pronounced Pip-well.) 

The first bit of huff and puff took me up the hill to Bringhurst. Someone has marked out the KOM segment on the road. Clearly this is popular with local cyclists and just round the corner from Neville Holt.

The route took me around Eyebrook Reservoir which was just glorious. At the end of this road though is a nasty hill at Stoke Dry. I'm not sure how this village was named but it does just sound like bad advice! It's a hill that feels never ending and was just a granny gear grind for my descending favouring legs!

The other side of the hill is Lyddington. Another beautiful village stuffed full of history. The pub pictured above is well worth a visit.

I've taken loads of pics of this feature. I've blogged before about why it's there and more explanation can be found here - The Bishop's Eye 

Finally I got to the main point of this ride which is that hard climb up Rockingham Hill. This will feature this week as a QOM stage in the Women's Tour. I have to work on Wednesday so I will miss watching those impressive professionals make light work of arguably Northamptonshire's toughest climb. This hill gets into my head and makes me want to give up! If you're trying it my best advice is to keep looking forward. A glance to the side makes it look even worse than it is. I also kind of love it too. One of my favourite training rides!

Finally I've put a cheeky little video together inspired by another video posted on our club page. I often boast about being the fastest downhill rider in the club. I don't actually think I am, all I know is my additional bulk really helps with gravity assisted momentum!

Happy Pedaling