Tuesday, 28 February 2012

NFA - how dissappointing

Police gave me the name and company of the driver that clipped me in december. Sounds like they didn't even have a quiet word in his hear about mandatory cycle lanes and leaving the scene of an incident. Unimpressed. Now, what to do about getting someone to pay up for my jacket...

Spose it'll do

Did the peaks pootle at weekend, still wasn't feeling right so stayed near the back and suffered on the climbs. Late start due to people still turning up (and I mean actually driving into the car park) 20mins after the meet time. Some people from the HTN apres race get together were there, including hora who car park tested and critiqued lots of bikes then buggered off "to get bars on his phone" just as we were about to leave. No sign so we set off, word came to us later that he'd sacked off the ride. Hmm. The route was round derwent up and over cutgate and back. Headwind round derwent and up cranberry clough we were getting blown offline bit it settled on top. Cutgate was muddy but enjoyable, hard going tho, I was in such a bad state I was having trouble pedalling on the down (ish) hill! So slightly muddy fun and games, mickledon edge was horrific side wind came out of nowhere blowing you (fortunately) into the hill, was riding down leaning the bike way over to the left fighting against it, some tricky bits on that trail and a couple of times I just got blown over and had to stop and put my foot down. We did north america at the split, never done this before and I did not see it at it's best, very soft peat, kinda fun in a slidey way but will wait for summer to repeat. Time was marching on and I had to get back home so I split there and headed back battled up mickledon, whimpered my way over cutgate and screamed down to cranberry clough. Some nice techy corners down there, needed 2 runs at a couple of them but got em nailed. Slog back to car was hard work, very tired, arms felt like limp noodles, triceps not used to technical riding, legs not much better.
Bit of a mixed bag of a ride, battling the elements and my cold but hey I was out riding a quality trail where left to my own devices I probably wouldn't have. That's a win in my book.

Friday, 24 February 2012

not doing nuffin

been ill, not been out on bike, bored, should be going on the pootle tomorrow, if so might end up with a new purchase. We'll see.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


I took the kids to Whacky warehouse at the beehive at weekend, met up with some mates and their kids, was fun to catch up with everyone and see the kids get along together. Charlie lost his cup in the ball pool, they called me next day to say they'd found it, these things cost 99p but hey, any excuse to do a 10mile detour on the way home :-) It had been 6aside at football so my legs were still OK for some more punishment, I had intended to go down the middlebrook cycle route but it was full of ice/snow so I went down chorley new road. Not been along here for ages, big wide road, decent sized cycle lane, good surface, perfect for a bit of speed therapy. Was going pretty quick on the way there but on the way back I thrashed it, attacking the hills and spinning like a loon on the downs (on the pompino). Jumped the queue at the lights at gilnow road and raced down ahead of the cars, was a fair way ahead when I got to the lights at the bottom too. Legs were a bit wobbly when I got home, no murder attempts even felt compelled to wave thanks to some drivers giving me lots of room and letting me through, nice!

You've had your fun...

Now back to the grim reality of UK winter. Wednesday started well with a fast ride in to work on my road bike, instant power transfer and lots of speed is fun, should get out on it more often. Yet another trip to the dentist got some more ok road miles in but the nightride was, well, a bit pants. I got to barrow bridge and it was proper iced up, managed a bit of climbing but when it got properly steep I had to get off and walk. OK up the rake and along burnt edge, 2 lads was riding brilliantly, but those were the exceptions, georges lane was iced up in many places. Johnnie had difficulty getting up AICR, Wildeswood was probably bad (anything under tree cover seemed especially bad) and we didn't even consider San Marino after last week. Going up to the pike the wind kicked up, properly cold, I reckon it was down to minus double figures with wind chill! Down the steps was good, as I knew 2lads was ice free we went up hole in the wall and down 2 lads again. Johnnie was getting cold and his light was acting up so we split there, he headed for ICR I went down georges lane and took the tarmac home, both bad moves. ICR was sheet ice johnnie managed a 360 degree spin and landed on his elbow, had to crawl across the ice til he could pull himself up on the fence then remembered he had to go back for his bike. I'd been toasty warm bimbling around offroad but the 20-30mph half hour downhill ride home was a LOT colder, couldn't feel my fingers after 5 minutes, toes soon followed and my hands were like ice by the time I got home.
As I mentioned on an STW thread a while back snow in the UK is great for about 2 days and it looks lovely but after that it's rubbish.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


I'd booked a well deserved lie in for day after HtN but Charlie woke me at 8, tried getting back to sleep but I kept thinking "Woohoo gonna take the kids sledging for the first time today" and sleep just wasn't happening. Got up had breakfast and took Charlie out. I was going to drag him down to the little hill at the bottom of our street but he wouldn't get in the sledge, so we had to walk there slowly, mardybum. First run down with him he was a bit unsure but happy, we had to walk back up the hill as he still wouldn't sit in sledge on his own. Was taking ages to get up the hill, I had a think then came up with one of parentings best tools, deception! I sat on sledge put Charlie infront of me, I quietly slid off the back and pushed him down the hill, he shot a dirty look back at me when he realised he was flying solo but he was laughing by the bottom of the hill, another one of those and he was happy sitting in the sledge on his own so I could drag him back up then sledge down with him pretty quick. Plenty more runs til I got tired then took him back for his nap, dragging him up the snowy roads, brilliant.

After lunch we all went back, this time tried the two lads on their own, Charlie held on to Alex and off they went and keeled over at the bottom, whoops. Tried again with Alex laying down a bit, lower centre of gravity but same thing happened this time Alex decided he really didn't like getting his face rammed into the snow under the weight of his brother and had a whinge so scrapped that. Quite a few runs down, even squeezed on the sledge with my mrs and managed not to crash, hit a tree (but it was close) or break the sledge. Result, nice intro to winter "sports", hoping to take the family skiing in a few years so gotta get em used to it.

Was falling asleep on the couch at 4pm, properly tiring weekend but a right laugh, definitely one of the best.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Hit the North

Saturday rolled around, weather forecast said we should just get away with the race and for once they were right. Loaded up the car and drove up to Phillips park, signed on, met up with Si and Johnnie and we all stood waiting. We rode out to the start, there were 5 or 6 start points from "elite" to "going to die" I was going to put myself in the 2nd "fast" group but decided to downgrade to quite fast. Dunno why I bothered, the siren went for the start and we all set off at a pretty quick pace, several riders appeared to be going backwards we overtook them so fast. 1km of climbing separated us out before the singletrack, not enough tho plenty of stalling, including at a straight forward little bridge (!) over took a few mincers, over took some more on Tons downhill then freewheeled down the hill (I was on SS but no-one to be seen behind me anyway) then charged at the stepped climb, made it most of the way up the left hand side of the steps, that was the best I would manage all race. Through the field down the fast bit to the steep chute (the chin?) took a few more places there and onto the Drinkwater trails. Saw a guy loose it big time on the sheet ice, major congestion at the water splash and the super steep muddy carry, through the start and on to the field of despair which certainly lived up to it's name. Back on the singletrack with no-one ahead of me nice one, charged down, heavy braking for the left hander just as I exited I heard a guy approaching too fast and stack, ouch. After taking a few more places on Tons hill again I kind of found my niche, calmed down a bit and stopped redlining, space ahead and behind me just the odd bit of to and fro with some similar paced riders for the next couple of laps til we caught the stragglers (and then the fast boys lapping us) Caught up with Si and johnnie on my 4th lap just as the snow was starting, they reckoned it was nearly up, only 10mins or so until the cut off, I forged ahead after another lap, I made it too, there were already people waiting in the trees near the finish waiting for the cut off before crossing the line - part timers! ;-)
Did the singletrack and back to the start area, cut off still hadn't happened, I saw Johnnie and Si waiting with the others in the trees*, no amount of heckling would get them to do another lap so I carried on. Snow was starting to stick so reigned it in on the fast sections. Saw rusty spanner crash spectacularly at the water splash, proper soaked himself, was lucky I didn't join him as I had elected to take the rocky line, which now had a slick covering of snow, eek. Up the carry for the last time and rode into the finish happy that I didn't have to ride The Field again.
Pretty happy with my performance, rode all the downs (the chin nearly had me on the last couple of laps but I managed to save it) rode most of the ups, I didn't blow up and I didn't crash. Job done. Quite happy with 75th out of 278 aswell.

Was snowing hard by now, first time I've ever got changed in the snow, I don't recommend it, fresh dry boots filling up with snow while you are changing your socks is not fun. On my way down to the race HQ there were already vehicles stuck on the climb, oh dear. I stuffed my face at the catering tent (chana was awesome) and chatted to the others, RustySpanner had organised a few drinks but plans had changed so I got directions for the Church and rode (gently) over XC. Deep snow already, binners and his mate, WCA, DrP were already there, later Mr & Mrs TJ, pook, rusty, ninkynonk and finally Hora and his mate (a mexican mountain, cant remember the name) showed up. Had a good blether, talked a load of cobblers about bikes, events, popular internet forums etc On to the curry house which was pretty good then I split. The roads were well slushy, dropped down towards ringley quite slowly then decided to go offroad, bad move was like riding through treacle and my tired legs weren't appreciating it. Hardly needed my lights it was so bright with the urban glow reflecting of the cloud and snow. Dead peaceful. Finally made it home, absolutely knackered but rather a good day out. Top work by the organisers and marshals, good atmosphere from all the punters.

Few pics floating around the ether, some top quality mincing here

*apparently is was all chilled out chatting and killing time until the cut off horn sounded where upon there was a sprint finish!

Friday, 3 February 2012

My first taste of vegan sausage...

Bike to work day on Wednesday so after a nice easy cruise into work I wondered over to the canteen to snaffle myself a free brekkie, excellent. Sausages looked a bit incinerated but grabbed myself one anyway only realised when I bit into it that it was a bloody (haha) veggie one. Bleurgh, what a gyp, I wasn't the only one who fell for this either. I don't recommend them.
Anyway finally got out on another nightride, a limited one tho, Si resting a sore knee, Johnnie feeling very unfit, me out of shape and not wanting to beast myself just before HtN. I had to test out the SS, not ridden it in nearly 2 months! Climb up barrow bridge and old rake wasn't as bad as I expected, was feeling alright but could tell my legs didn't have much in them and the meter was running down quickly. Up to two lads the going was quick, coming down 2 lads was harsh, all churned up in last weeks rain and then frozen solid, very bumpy. Met Johnnie near the pike and up we went, brief pause at the top then down I figured we'd do san marino should be ace. We slogged our way up the full road route, was baltic, taking your gloves off to get something out of you pac was a bad move, you'd never get your hands warm again. Finally hit the top and rolled to the dirt road start of SM and that's where the ice started, a quick look and all of SM seemed to be covered in ice. Oh dear. Sat for a while eating jelly beans (which ripped my filling out - again! Aaaargh) Decided SM was a no go, headed back down the road, at the mast we split I dropped down to Loweys singletrack, again it was battering my arms and legs and near the bottom broke through the ice of a puddle. Climbed up to the res and as I started the steep down off the edge I realised my discs had iced over from that puddle eeek. Might have ridden it out if I'd tried bit I just attempted to turn back up the hill and stop but binned it. Rest of the ST was fun, almost as fast as summer. Didn't attempt the corner at the end tho. Home from there via smithills farm, nice little run out. My cold finally seems to be clearing up, fitness still lacking and SS might be optimistic for HtN, I've no doubt the racing red mist will descend and I'll be redlining from the start but with a bit of luck I won't actually die.