Monday, 29 December 2008

Cold's Suck

3 weeks ago I woke up thinking I was on fire.

I thought I had meningitis.

My skeleton was on fire.

What I actually had was flu, but it was officially the worst feeling in the world I've ever experienced bar none.

A weekend in bed followed by a slow recovery until I had to go back to work on the following Friday.

Walking to the shops left me sweaty and wheezy.

The works xmas do and the STW xmas do were ruined for both me and Janet.

I made an impulse purchase of a Kona Dew, it was a bargain, Leon fitted some mudguards and it rides exceptionally well for a £200 bike !

I've coughed so long and so hard that I've pulled muscles in my chest.

I've woke up speechless the last few days, its been a few hours before any noise has come from my mouth.

I have ridden to work a few times now but each time has left me sweaty and wheezy.

I will wait till the new year and then will finally give in and visit the doctor ( I hate doctors).

I desperatley want to ride my bike in the hills whilst this cold snap is still around.

This coming Sunday will see me riding a bike, before and after the todmorden cross race that Chips is organisng.

That is all.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

time for an update I guess


well, to be honest not much to say, as usual

hardly ridden a bike due to a losing combination of work, weather and just bone idleness

been to Germany with work which as you can imagine was a non stop festival of laughter

Was aiming to get out riding this weekend just gone but freezing fog and freezing roads stalled me completely and the ice has hung around so far all week so its been the car to work as I really cant face the thought of sliding down the road on my arse again.

Xmas is coming and I'm already at the limit of my tolerance for xmas carols and other assorted xmas shit, but on the bright side, friends will be arriving in the north soon for a few weeks of riding and carousing, its time to get my game on if I'm to stay the distance

So, with that in mind this coming Sunday should see me sweating and grunting my way around a loop of the usual, hopefully not holding up the crowd too much, and then the commuting starts again, mudguards are fitted, long legs are retrieved from the back of the cupboard and next year is yet another kick start to fitness (hopefully this year it will happen, yes I'm sick and tired of all my false starts)

Monday, 10 November 2008

Northumberfest 7 (or is it 8 ?)




A few more hours spent riding to and from work in the bright cold finished October a treat....

but then the grey returned with a vengence....

After last weeks cold and the returning greyness so came the stress, I'm becoming more and more convinced that the weather is a good indication of whats in store for me during the day, grey equals stress, wet equals mither, sunshine equals the odd happy day, wind means lots of phone calls !!

last week was mostly grey and wet

So a difficult working week and that totally unispiring weather meant that the first weekend of November was sacrificed to photography, and the working week rides were just commutes, a couple of longish rides in to get some exercise but really just going through the motions....


Then came this last weekend, an early start down the A1 and I was stood outside the car on a country road in Northumbria revelling in the last few rays of sunlight on my face and then before I knew it I was eating fish and chips, drinking excellent beer and catching up with some friends I hadn't seen since this time last year. I think that it must be about No 7 in the Northumberfest history, some of the same faces, some new ones, but all linked together by a love of bikes and mountains.

Since the first ever Northumberfest at Andy and T's house back in 2002 things have quietened down a lot, the banter is still there, the drinking is probably the same but the party has calmed down a little since those heady days and the riding has certainly slowed a lot (well for some of us anyway).

This time we once again followed the by now familiar trails around Rothbury, climbing and descending through some of the loveliest countryside around, guided as ever by TIm and hosted by Tim and B at their lovely home, the Saturday was fine but the trails were very soggy, a couple of hours was enough for me, we finished on a high with some excellent singletrack through the trees and home for a shower and more beer.

By the late afternoon some of the more refined gentlemen decided to take a walk around the town (it was either that or a nap) and to say we looked odd is an understatement, all armed with cameras of varying sorts, all snapping away at the recently flooded river !

and we even bumped into a father and son who were also out snapping...

Saturday night was even more subdued, Tim made a fantastic chilli, more beer and red wine was consumed and a relatively early night was had by all ( however, it was still 1.30am, this is Northumberfest after all).

Sunday dawned early and everyone was eating breakfast by 9, some hardy souls were out riding soon after, some others went a little later but I was happy to play the card and head home early, as I may have already said at some point riding in the rain does nothing for me anymore.

But it really didn't matter anymore, during the many conversations over the weekend I came to the realisation that I am no longer a rufty tufty mountainbiker anymore, in fact I don't even qualify as a weekend worrier these days but to be frank I don't care, it will come back I'm sure but for now I'm happy that I'm fit enough to do the odd ride (at my own pace) and the new year will see me riding more than ever.

This morning was a late start and a late finish so I'm sat here with 40 minutes of riding on the cross bike spread over two commutes, happy to reflect on another great weekend :-)

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Jake the Snake let me down


well not really, yesterday's commute was wet for a change, the river had been over the top during the night but subsided 10 feet or so by the time I got there, it was slushy muddy miserable ride..

But then coming home in the evening was excellent fun splashing through the huge puddles by the light of light and motion, an hour or so later and I'm home, getting undressed in the kitchen

Early night ( no alcohol) and a sound sleep made a pleasant change, up at 6 and out by ten past, 3 miles down the same wet and muddy tracks but this time quite icey (well frosty really) and I turn to climb only to feel that split second "give" just before the chain snapped, fortunately I managed to not go over the bars.

As I was in total darkness I could'nt see clearly enough to repair the damn thing so decided to walk home in the sleet, trying to hold a light in your teeth and operate achain breaker is not an easy thing to do !, and just to really piss me off I got oil all over the new Pearl Izumi winter gloves with the pittard leather palms and then the same oil all over the freshly wrapped yellow bar tape.

I have to report that the event 3/4's worked really well and the new Berghuas jacket kept me nice and warm, got home, fixed chain and went back out again, did the same route as I had planned and got to work 15 minutes late, so quite pleased with myself, thats 3 hours riding in two days now.

And, on a further positive note I really enjoyed the cold this morning, once again its proper weather not grey drizzle, if only every day had real weather I could cope with that much better :-)

Sunday, 26 October 2008

9 days without a ride



Thats possibly the longest time ever between rides barring holidays and work trips for 20 years, and I haven't missed it one bit, instead I have been pretending to be a photographer for the last week, been all along the north west coast photographing birds, the weather has been mixed, either raining or about to rain, some sunshine, lots of wind, never boring.

I reckon I've shot around about a thousand different images and may even have some worth showing when the time is right, in total now I have around 500 gigabytes of images to wade through this coming winter, thats the sum of all my trips to photograph birds over the last two years, I think about 80 different species which is not too bad considering I wasn't looking for rarities and concentrating on every day birds.

and now the week off work is over and its back to reality....

The commute to work is the main plan in getting some riding in now that the darkness is upon us, the cross bike has been fettled with new brake pads and some 35mm tyres, the chain has been lubed and new bar tape fitted (yellow for a change) and some new waterproofs have been purchased ( Endura Event 3/4's and a Berghaus jacket reduced at Chain Reaction) so I'm ready to go, only slight issue on the horizon is that the local trails are under water after this weekends rain, hopefully that will subside by the morning as the weather is predicted to get cold but finally stop raining.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

wet behind the ears ?, well just about everywhere actually


tonights ride home was bloody awful...

back track to last week, didn't do much other than ride to and from work for the best part of the week until Friday, Friday came and more of the same stress and mither at work and I finally gave in to the chest pains and headache and walked out at lunchtime, I figured that my head was in such a spin that I was beyond being affective and it was time to call it a day, the fact that the sun was shining and the trails were dry just added to the momentum.

2 and a half hours later and I was back in the land of the living, destressed and sweaty, and importantly a sense of reality had returned.

Weekend didn't see a bike being even looked at, dropped No1 child off at her university on Saturday and then had an early night ready for an early start to get out photographing early, plan was to got to Tatton Park for the rut but the weather put paid to that, dull grey wet.

Quick change of plan saw an early start at Marshside, lots of birds around but limited photographic opportunities so I headed up the M6 to Leighton Moss where the sun had come out, a new to me bird (Bearded Tit) and the pleasure of watching and photographing a heron catch and finally eat an enormous eel finished off the day.

Monday saw an early start as I knew I'd have a long weekly report to put together at work, proved to be a good move as the trail was still in good condition so I went the middle way and the report still got done on time :-)

Home to pick up the car and 360 and away to Delamere for a night ride with the Delamere Regulars, idea was to shoot the ride for an article in Singletrack magazine, it actually worked out quite well, 4000 asa 1/15th at f1.4, no need for lights, the Nikon D300 is pretty bloody amazing, there's no way on earth that I could have done this shoot without extensive use of flash which of course would have completely ruined the atmosphere.

Anyway, the ride was ace as always with Dave Dodd leading, the evening was warm and balmy and for the most part the trails were dry and tacky, 2 hours of glorious singletrack, anyone who says Delamere is boring and flat is frankly talking out of their arse !

Today I again got up early but this time it was to allow me to clean my bike at work, those dry trails seemed to have thrown a lot of mud onto my bike, all done and dusted and then tonight home in the pissing rain again .
Chocolate Lime is now put away and the VooDoo Earzulie has been retrieved from the cellar, skinny mud tyres and crud catchers have been fitted, this will be the commuter bike of choice for the coming winter along with some Endura Event 3/4 baggies, a new white Campag rain jacket (yes white Jo, its slimming ) and some Pearl Izumi waterproof gloves...

I'm good to go now, bring on the worst of it ;-)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

lazeee ness prevails


I guess I should do an update of whats been happening of late in my bike world

lets think now...

er...

ummmm...

nope...

nothing much at all really, the shutdown at work is now finished and we are into the seemingly never ending start up phase, I've been riding to work on and off, and again been coming in the car due to the neverfuckingendingrain :-(

Oh yeah, went to watch and photograph my friends at the 3 Peaks cross race, that was a great day out, I even had the odd twinge of jealousy as the weather was perfecto for the race and everyone was enjoying themselves.

Ride wise ?, er I think I've maybe done a couple of river runs at the weekends, had a weekend away in Wales with my work mates where I did absolutely sod all but eat drink and be merry (well not really merry, I dont do merry), went fishing one day which was fun but didnt really light ny fire, did a bit of walking and carrying a large camera around in the vain hope of seeing some wildlife.

This week I got the OnOne roadrat out and had a couple of quick spins into and away from work, then got the Chocolate Lime out and headed down the river in the fog and then the sunlight, was hoping to do the same tonight but the sun has gone out and the greyness has returned with a vengence so it looks like a short spin home followed by some food and wine (still not doing too bad on the drinking front, not perfect but not bad) and then an early rise to come along the river to work in the fog no doubt (note to self, wear some arm warmers tomorrow)

More updates after the weekend I guess, hopefully a report from the Welsh hills :-)

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

phhhheeewwwhhhheee

Thats supposed to sound like a tired and fed up sigh :-(

3 weeks into the shutdown and I'm pretty pooped to be honest, I've had one day off in the last 23 and each of those 23 have been at least 12 hours long, another few days and its done for another 3 years and I'll be glad to see the back of it (insert self interest part here) I'm dissapointed that despite being the manager of my plants I'm still as involved as ever in these damn shutdowns, the old plant mangers seemed to be able to be completely aloof from all of the hubbubb of the day to day stuff, how times have changed !

Anyway, on a positive note I have actually ridden my bike 4 times so far this week, last week was a right off, Monday morning saw an early start along the river, dry and dusty trails, only 25 minutes but better than nothing, the return in the evening saw the same route in reverse.

Today I got up at 6 and headed in the middle way in the dark, I cant remember the last time I rode in the dark, sometime last winter I guess ?, anyway, 90 mins later I'm at the office and drinking strong coffee, another long and tiring day and I head home the middle way in the evening sun.

Reading both Shaggy and the Dr's blogs has reminded me that I NEED to do some bivvying next month before the wetness and coldness comes, there's a special place about 15 miles away thats on my hit list, it is VERY cheeky indeed being a NT property and also has the extra frisson of being the place of numerous stories of witch craft and hauntings, it'll be fun.

I also need some new bivvy stuff, my old Goretex bag is buggered and I cant find my light weight down sleeping bag, so some new purchases are imminent.

Photo's and full reports to follow soon :-)

Thursday, 18 September 2008

I'm growing my hair

thats about the most interesting thing of late.....

I rode my single speed Spot 69er bicycle last Sunday, I rode my bicycle with my good friends Dave, Sharon and Simon around some of my favorite bicycling trails, it was rather good fun and I felt as though my bicycling legs had the remnants of some strength in them somewhere.

This week though I'm ashamed to say that I have driven my car to work every day so far for the lamest of reasons, the reason being that I am currently on day 18 of on average 12 hour days and I'm quite tired having only had two days off last weekend, I have also been drinking quite a lot this week which isn't really helping much.

But tomorrow that changes, the single speed Spot 69er bicycle has been recovered from the cellar, lights have been fitted and tomorrow I'll be getting up at 6 to head to work the long way in the dark.

Next week I'll be attempting to ride every day, at either end of the day for more than the shortest distance.

The difference ??

The weather, today the sun came out and for the first time in a long while I felt some warmth on my face and the weight of the oppressive grey sky lift from my shoulders, I wanted to ride my bike :-)

Monday, 15 September 2008

its my birthday (in the style of Altered Images)

Birthday Boy
Posted by: Matthew
Date: September 15, 2008 12:05PM

I don't see it anywhere, so, Happy Birthday, SteveM.

Re: Birthday Boy
Posted by: Robin Fisk
Date: September 15, 2008 12:07PM

<<<<< Over there ;-)


Re: Birthday Boy
Posted by: Nicky
Date: September 15, 2008 12:10PM

well happy ones from here..


Re: Birthday Boy
Posted by: Matthew
Date: September 15, 2008 12:49PM

over where?


Re: Birthday Boy
Posted by: Andy Armstrong
Date: September 15, 2008 12:59PM

Happy birthday Steve :)


Re: Birthday Boy
Posted by: Raoul
Date: September 15, 2008 01:09PM

Yay MHR Papa M ;0)


Re: Birthday Boy
Posted by: ChrisHeath
Date: September 15, 2008 01:10PM

Happy birthday again Papa M.

Y'know Matt? << Over there.


Re: Birthday Boy
Posted by: Matthew
Date: September 15, 2008 01:20PM

oohhhh...*that* place, I don't go to that neighbourhood no more.


Re: Birthday Boy
Posted by: Steve
Date: September 15, 2008 07:32PM

thanks Matt :-)


Re: Birthday Boy
Posted by: Steve
Date: September 15, 2008 07:37PM

do you know, I was pondering things today as I'm prone to do...

one of my favourite moments of my life so far

sat in a field at 5am wondering where I was in amongst all the fog and tents when I heard a whoosh woosh wooos sound and out of the mist came Andy on a bike complete with two bottles of beer, we sat and watched the sun come up and cemented our life long friendship :-)

Monday, 8 September 2008

30 in 30, day 3

15 mins to work on the road bike this morning then a long day at work meant I almost bottled it but I didn't in the end and actually enjoyed doing some hill reps that made me dizzy :-)

An hour and 15 minutes, 21 miles, job done :-)

Sunday, 7 September 2008

30 in 30, day 2


Goes without saying that I didnt make either of the rides I could have today...


Left work at 11 during (guess what ?) yet another rainstorm, but forteified by the word of Jo(B) I none the less headed out down the river, intrigued to see both how far I could get and how much damage to the trails the flooding has caused.Almost certainly the highest I have ever seen it, my usual trail was still at least 3 feet under and even riding the high trail meant I had to stop just after Didsbury as the trail there was under a foot of water, I could have carried on as I was already as wet as I was gonna get but my sensible side got the better of me and I turned for home.

And it looked a lot lower than last night, judging by the tide marks in the grassy banks it was at least another 8 feet :-/


Just about got to the burger van when the rain turned from drizzle to torrential so decided to stop and have a cheeseburger and a brew, even though the cheeseburger is made from animal byproducts I have to say that at that moment standing in the rain nothing in the world could have tasted better and after 20 muddy miles I felt as though I had earned it.


That done I then headed back to work to show my face and makes sure all was well and also finally and once and for all stop the seatpost of the new Spot from slipping, a quick jet wash, some lapping paste and I was away again, this time spinning down the road heading home.

28 miles, 3 hours, lots of photo stops, 17 stone 5 lbs

Saturday, 6 September 2008

30 in 30, day 1



Start again

Getting home late on Wednesday to find Manchester suffering some bizarre tropical rainstorm meant that the first attempt at 30 in 30 was over, I just couldn't face going out in the wet despite Jenns best attempts to send me "that look" over the internet !

Thursday saw the car being fired up for the first time in almost two weeks to get me to work, one thing I'd completely forgotten about was the fact that myself and 6 others were celebrating 30 years of work on Sept 4th.

Could say lots about the last 30 years but the most shocking thing is how quickly it has passed, and there must be some of the old school managers from the Shell days who would be rolling in their graves if they knew that we are now in charge !

Anyhow, there was no bike ridden that day but lots of beer and fine times.

Friday dawned early and I was pleasantly surprised to feel hangover free, must have been the cup of tea before bed that did the trick, middleish ride to work that morning but had to be curtailed due to the continuing tropical storm which continued right on through the day which meant that I fired up the car (which had been left overnight at work) and another failed day.

So, come today and a new determination to start again, only one bottle of beer with tea last night meant that I had a good nights sleep and an early start to drop off Hana at work and then onto work myself to show my face to the shutdown boys.

Then at 11 I got on the bike during a lull in the rain and actually pedaled a bike for one hour and fifteen minutes, 21.5 miles and really quite pleasant :-)

The initial plan for tomorrow was to do the Manchester 100 but I really need to see my friends as I feel as though I have been ignoring them just of late (I haven't really but thats how it feels) so I'll be driving over to Oxenhope with Mr 360 for a loop of the usual with some Bingley thrown in for good measure.

I'm pretty sure it'll be raining and wet but if it goes to plan it'll mean 2 out of 30 done.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

30 in 30 begins

Monday Sept 1st

17 stone 8lbs

Up at 7 (late) so straight to work on the Spot (20 mins)
bowl of Oats
Cheese sandwhich
Leave work at 5 and spin, and spin, and spin for the next two hours, decide that 32x18 is not the best choice for a road ride (it was pissing down and the trails were wrecked) but I just settled in to a 90rpm steady flow, got to thinking about how many hours Jenn must have been in the saddle to have ridden 120 miles a day, just as I was pondering that Leon appeared fully Trekked out and we got to talking about some girl that Simon knew who has just ridden from Canada to Mexico !.

home, bathed and then out for a meal with Janet, this time last week I was sat in a swanky restaraunt in San Francisco

Olives, Pizza, tomato and basil salad, half bottle of Rioja Blanca (there goes the wagon, leaving town without me)

Tuesday 2nd Sept

Up at 545am, out for and hour, 17 mles, now ready for a bath before work and flying to Germany, tomorrow home at 8 and then out for another hour, no one said it was goingto be easy :-)

Sunday, 31 August 2008

somethings gotta change



Photo blatently stolen from Simon :-)


fed up with being overweight and unfit now, done that, got the T shirt...

so, another 30 in 30 is about to start tomorrow, get up early and get an hour in then hopefully a night ride at Delamere tomorrow, should be fun,
Next two days will be a bit more difficult, especially as I'm in Germany Tues and Weds, cunning plan is to get up early at 6 and get my hour in for Tuesday and then do a night ride on Wednesday after arriving home at 8.



This weekends plan has gone okay so far, Saturday saw a road ride to Tims place, I cheated a little and went the short way, 58 miles at 17.7mph average emptied my legs pretty much.

Sat night saw me and the boy wandering around the Rapha organised Salford Nocturne and very good it was too, lots of fun amateur races, roller racing and a very impressive pro race in the dark, must have quite scary racing those narrow roads at 35mph in the twilight !.

Today my legs were still shafted so the planned ride to Delamere with 360 was aborted and we did a pleasant 35 miles through the lanes ending up at the Bike Shak for a brew with Simon and Leon.

Final part of the weekend jigsaw is 2 bottles of fine ale chilling in the fridge to be followed by a 2004 Chateu Neuf de Pape, my last drink for a month, yes folks, as well as doing 30 rides in 30 days I'm also on the wagon for a month as well !!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

SSWC08 report


After 14 hours on 2 planes I eventually hit the ground on Thursday evening at SFO to be met by me hombres Christina, Sara and Simon.

Straight into the van and away to Santa Cruz, the tag team heckling begins !

Meet up with Mike and Kelly, catch up, eat and drink and even get to pay the bill eventually, more chat and wine, tired now, its been 28 hours of awakeness before turning into bed staying overnight at Kelly’s house.

Friday, bike fettling (09 69ers courtesy of the nice people at Trek) and out onto the trails straight from the door, a bit of climbing before the swoopy good stuff, 2 and half hours later and we’re sat in a Taqueira eating Burritos and drinking beer.

Leave Santa Cruz and drive down the Pacific Ocean highway passing all the surf spots and craning my neck to see the pelicans, through San Fran passing other folks obviously going our way “You suck” coming from their van gives it away as well as the Blue Collar singlespeeds hanging off the back.

Get blown across the Golden Gate bridge and all the way to Napa where most of the usual suspects are already hanging and drinking beer, get room sorted and ride into town. Napa is a very different place, seemed to be quite straight laced, lots of Chinos and button down collars, lots of cops, lots of funny looks, drink beer and wine, eat a nice meal in an Italian, drink more beer looking for some life….

Back at the hotel, there’s a group gathered together chatting and drinking, the wine is flowing nicely now..... 3am….

Saturday, hangover, splitting headache, 4 litres of water before anything came out the other end :-0

Ride to the race course, sit and drink more water, then beer, meet other people, decide to have a barbecue back at the hotel, lend camera to small Bacon boy who takes lots of photo’s and earns himself ten bucks.

Hotel again, swimming in the pool, food, beer, wine, bullshit, dancing, carrying on, laughing, getting hosed by Phil (the maniacal laugh should have given the game away), no durby…..

Apparently Durango have the event next year..

Sunday, up early to get to the race on time, there’s a few spare places going and lots of folk looking for an entry, don’t even consider it for a minute, just happy to be there.

Take photo’s, laugh a lot, heckle (much to Lilias surprise “he’s not going to get off and fight me is he ?”) hang out, relax, beer, wine etc etc etc …


Sunday night ride into town, meet up with Troy and Dane, learn two new jokes (Juno and Dr Dre), eat fantastic cheeseburger, head back to hotel, some debauchery, skinny dipping, quiet chat, things starting to slow down now, tiredness catching up………

Monday, drive out to the best diner in the world ever, get intimidated when choosing a sandwhich, then riding on the road to the first vineyard….

And finish at the forth vineyard, not a huge ride in miles but huge in fun, another sandwhich conundrum and then packing the van for San Fran, via the Golden gate which is showing itself off so well that two dodgy looking cops are photographing each other against the backdrop ???

Through the streets of San Fran to Chris’s restaurant where we eat the most amazing food I’ve ever had, then to a motel for the night before flying back to the UK.

All in all a fun packed flying visit that was well worth the effort to get there, next year I’ll be fitter and ready to race, honest 

Saturday, 16 August 2008

One Dark Lord

Who decided he didnt want me to ride !



So, the holiday in Greece is now a dusty memory, if only we had dusty trails, SITS was worse than usual, not just rain but trails made of plastocene, I really feel for the organisers of these events, they go to enormous efforts to put on a great event, new trails every time, but no matter how hard they work the weather gods dont even bother to get out of bed.I started the 1st lap with Jac, it was okay but before I was even half way round the bike was inoperable and had trebled in weight, by then I had decided that I wasnt going to bother, horrible flashbacks to Mountain Mayhem of 2 years ago where I pushed my mud laden bike for nearly 70 miles and paid a heavy price for 2 months afterwards, there's no way on gods earth that I'm going to put myself through that again in the name of fun, so that 1 lap was me done.Shower and a beer and I switched into support mode for jac, sharing the duties with Chris, Shaggy and Mel, sharing lots of laughs and banter with all the crew on our side of the fence.Jac did a sterling ride to grab herself 3rd solo place, the Delamere crew also did them selves proud with Dave, Ian and Sue all finisjhing their first solo attempt, chapeau to them all, and all who continued on, even the guy who set out with just a bike frame over his shoulder...The quietness in the wee hours gave me some time to think and I made a decision to try and get to the forthcoming single speed world championships, I've been dilly dallying all year about whether or not to go, I doubt I'll be racing but hopefully Punkass can get me a loaner bike for a few days and I'll be doing lots of riding on dusty trails.After getting home it'll be head down for a few weeks on the road bike leading upto the Manchester 100, I'm not a big fan of these organised charity rides but this one will serve a purpose and give me something to aim for, a sub 8 hour time I hope and (yes yet another) kick start to getting some fitness (yes i know, more comebacks than Frank Sinatra) leading upto what I really hope will be a mild autumn when I have places to ride and people to see.Next year I will attempt another 24 hour solo but hopefully it will be warm, dusty and rideable, maybe Finale with some of the cheeky crew :-)

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Latest news


well, there isnt any... concerning bikes anyway !

Greece was nice, very hot, very dusty, met some great people, drank and ate some great wine and food, saw some fabulous places, didnt ride any bikes, did some running and lots of swimming, did lots of walking and exploring, found some amazing looking trails that are just begging to be ridden down

took lots of snaps, took lots of arty farty stuff, found a nice nature reserve that hardly had any nature in it but early in the morning and late in the evening had the most amazing light which got me out to it for at least an hour every day

Family all spent lots of time together and for the most part got along just fine, its possibly the last time we'll all be together for a holiday while the kids are still kids (well teenage kids anyway) and we had great fun

One very sad incident involving a quad bike and a 20 foot drop put a dampner on things for a few days (not involving us) and then home, tired and raring to ride

Home to find that Anne our dear friend had passed away while we were away so some sadness this weekend, but looking forward as always to a few late evening rides this week to try and get some circles into my legs in time for next weekends attempt at SITS.

SITS, probably the last time I ride a 24 hour race solo, although I have said that before on more than one occasion, anyhow, its a chance to catch up with everyone, test my fading mettle once again and cheer on the real athletes :-)

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Taking a newbie out

had the pleasure of taking a newish rider out for a quick short spin this evening, only maybe 6 miles to the pub but I'm sure Yvonne enjoyed it, hopefully she'll get out a bit more over the summer, a pint at the pub finished the ride for her then I span back home along the river for a while...

Hopefully the weather will hold for tomorrow and I'll get out of work early enough for a spin, and possibly even an early one on Friday morning before jetting off to Greece for two weeks in the sun where I hope to do a bit of running in the sand with the aim of getting some strength into my legs in time for sleepless in the saddle in mid August where I've hopefully got a solo place !!

this is stuupid, I'm no where near fit enough to ride for 24 hours but inspired by Jens amazing effort at the grand divide race which you can read about here

If Jen can ride 2500 miles in 22 days then surely I can do a couple of hundred in a day, I'll be having a "what would Jen do ? " sticker on my top tube for inspiration :-)

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Just an hour was all it took

to get THAT feeling back

down the river run late afternoon, yet another new bike, this time a replacement for my broken Spot 29er, this time a modified 26er..

first try with the pace rc29 carbon forks, looked okay, rode diabolicaly

then tried the rigid spot forks, clearance is tight with a big 29er tyre in but it rides like a dream, yaya, my new bike for Delamere

photo's soon

oh and Jenn has finished some race or other over in the states

Monday, 30 June 2008

south downs

video

no words required

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

sometimes things don't work out


things that are totally beyond your control


our dear friend is back in hospital, hopefully starting the long process of recovery, even though Jan knew what to expect she was still shocked at the physical state that the cancer has left our friend in.

the planned ride this evening kind of melted away into insignificance, and given that I'll be riding all weekend for a long time I'm not really bothered (although it would have been fun to heckle my mates), maybe next time

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

well the weekend


came and went without a pedal being turned, Sat saw an early start out to he coast to photograph the great crested grebes with their youngsters, I'm pleased that I got the shot I've been after for a while now. I also had the sublime experience of being less than 6 feet away from a Kingfisher :-)

Sunday saw a visit to Liverpool to see a Gustav Klimt exhibition, didn't float my boat but the birthday girl enjoyed it..

on a seperate note the Albert Dock area was "just another" shopping centre, I don't know why I'm surprised at this really ?

Monday saw a quick spin down the river on the way to work, then the short way home and tonight I managed 2 whole hours of turning the pedals over, once again its nice to be riding in the warmth of the sun :-)

anyway enough about me, now here's a turn up for the books, previously I held quite strong views on drug taking in our sport, I always had the opinion of intolerance, 1 fuck up and you're out, no question regardless of your excuses...

but having just read David Millars interview in Rouleur I have changed my mind, there's a million and one reasons why he took the sauce and he's now quite ashamed of that, but far more positively is his respect for the culture in which he has immersed himself and that he wants to help it get better, in my eyes this is very commendable, more people like him are needed, and importantly he's put his money where hs mouth is as part owner of the team he's racing for.

on the other hand I've also just read the VeloNews interview with Fillip Meairhaeghe, thats not quite so cut and dried, there doesn't appear to any remorse shown there ?, of course that impression could have been exactly what the editor of the mag wanted ?

Friday, 20 June 2008

more riding, less drinking



more of this next week please,

Thursday night was a wash out due to issues at work, by the time it was resolved I was tired and fed up and it started to rain, another ride lost to lazynessssss

Today looks brighter all round, no problems on the horizon, blues skies up there, road bike just waiting patiently in the office

Must get over to the valley next week for an evening ride, it seems like an age since I was last there (actually only 3 weeks) but in the meantime I've missed a fair few rides including Alecs last ride before he moves on down south, and today I got a text message from Piers asking if I was going to be a Mountain Mayhem, cant remember the last time I saw him, but I can remember vividly the stair snake episode from the 1st ever Northumberfest :-)

Friends hey, who needs em :-)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Last night




suffered from sore tired legs, no idea why ?, its happening a lot just lately, plus I've had sore and aching shoulders and back which I put down to either sitting in front of a computer screen all day or sitting in an economy seat on an plane all the time...

need more massages :-)

anyway, just did an hour and a half, just spinning my legs out enjoying the warmth, then home

woke up today to pissing down rain and my resolve to ride was instantly washed away, the older I get the less inclined to ride in the rain I get, I know that once I'm out in it I usually enjoy it but getting my fat lazy arse out is the hardest hurdle

anyway, tomorrow looks more promising so we'll see how that goes.

Some plans are starting to take shape now -

next weekend will be down south, ride Friday afternoon, Friday night heckling at a local crit, Saturday seems like a good day to celebrate a small childs birthday with the godfather and a bad uncle, then Sunday should hopefully see a gaggle of old friends out and about riding and drinking tea and eating cake.

Unfortunately there will be one dear friend missing, she's doing some tin pot race in America called the GDR or somat ?

I dunno what she's thinking about, but one things for sure we are all thinking and hoping and sending good vibes across that there ocean :-)



After all that there's a small break in the calendar until some american bird turns up again, then there'll be more driving round, snoring loudly, picking up, dropping off, riding bikes and tea drinking

then looking even further ahead there's a weekend of bivvying somewhere rather cheeky coming up around the August bank holiday

and then again even further, there's a possibilty of a trip out to the alps to catch up with Rob, Lucy and Phil

we'll see how all that goes ;-)

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

30 miles along the river


is what I rode yesterday, in sunshine as well, it were ace, trails dusty, people on trails were smiley, even the horse riders

if only there were some hills nearby

Trek 69er was very good again, the more I ride it the more I like it, the Maverick Duc's seemed to have lost some air pressure ?, topped up just fine however

tonight will be much the same although looking out of my office window right now suggests that rain is not far away so we'll see how that goes.

Tomorrow is predicted for heavy rain so the Kona will be recovered from the cellar (the same cellar where the photographs in this http://www.theridejournal.com/ magazine were produced)

Monday, 16 June 2008

2 week summary

Coed Y Brenin with work mates, which was a lot of fun, the new IF rode exactly as I thought it would, cleaned all the climbs in the middle ring, descended faster than I have for years, rode some new trails, enjoyed the new facilities.

Didnt manage to get to Penmachno on the Friday afternoon as planned due to traffic jams but did ride down the Mawdach trail and along the coast for a few hours, getting over to the cabin for abnout 530, just in time for beers and food.

Saturday saw us riding from the cabin down to the trails, did the beast and some extras, enjoyed the sunshine and the best ever bacon butty, then headed back to more beers and food.

Sunday saw some tired legs in the crew, so we did the MBR trail and followed on with a leg stretcher down the Mawdach Trail again and then home.

This last week has seen no cycling activity at all, and to be honest I didnt mind, it was the 18th birthday weekend of number 1 child so a relaxing weekend (mostly).

This weeks plan has already gone to shit as I found out today that I'm on call all week, so its down the river for me I fear, then at weekend I'll get out on the Kona road bike on Saturday and then a river run on Sunday.

Its a shame really as everyone will be punishing themselves at Mountain Mayhem this coming weekend, its the first one for 8 years that I'll have missed, but also the first weekend of Janets birthday that I'll be around for !

I love my wife :-)

Saturday, 31 May 2008

The Alps


didnt happen.

Instead I had a week with the lad, walking photographing and drinking beer,

back track to last week, after getting the 69er I rode it all week, just down the river before and after work, its still a grand bike.

Bank Holiday weekend came and I rode on the Sunday and the Monday, Sunday was again down the river and back  trying to unwind from the stress of the event that made the alps not happen and get over the dissapointment of not going.

Monday was an early start to Delamere, exploring the new sections of singletrack, getting lost and finding stuff I never rode there before, I also formulated a plan to spend the week with Jack on Anglesey.

Tuesday drove to Gigrin Farm to photograph Red Kites, must have been at least 50 of them, shot loads

Wednesday, Conway RSPB site, up the Great Orme, over to south stack, walking photographing.

Thursday, photographing Arctic Terns at Cemlyn, staring at the sea.

Friday, Conway RSPB site, Sideways cycles to pick up the new IF, home.

Saturday (today) ace ride out in the peak district with Crazy Legs, 360 and Lovely lip man, it was ace, 23 miles, 4000 feet climbing, 4 hours ride time, lots of chat, laughs, leisurely lunch at the new Edale cafe (which is ace)

Sunday, 18 May 2008

new bikes rock

After a week away without a ride I was desperate !

Coupled with some bad news (although in the scheme of things its a minor dissapointment really) I felt the need to ride and lo a new bike appeared.

Thanks to the guys at the bike shak I walked away on Saturday morning with a Trek 69er, now I've been secretly coveting these bikes from afar, the first one I saw belonged to Matt and I liked everything about it, what really impressed me though was the fact that Matt loved it despite it being a freak shitter !

then just the other week I saw quite a number of them that were both stock and highly modified, everyone I spoke to loved their particular version of this bike...

therefore there was a certain inevitability about this being my next bike !

Anyway, mine is slightly modified but only the bars, saddle and seatpost (only really for a longer and less shit version) have been changed and it got ridden today.

The plan was to ride to Delamere, ride around Delamere and then ride home, however the water board had other plans, a major burst leaving most of south Manchester waterless meant a delay in getting out and I ended up going down the river to Reddish Vale and then exploring my way back home via various trails, canal tow paths and main roads, probably about 45 miles in all.

First impressions are that it rides really well, just like a bike to quote Rich, the big wheel upfront does its stuff, the back wheel follows through (I foresee a large number of pinch flats as the back wheel does tend to slam in), the bike is very easy to loft at the front, and it creaks !!

even so I like it a lot, the concept seems to work.

so, tomorrows plan is to get up early and go the long way to work and try and work out whats creaking.

Monday, 12 May 2008

U.C.T.

Unnecessary Chamois Time....

copyright Fez Ferrentino

I know better, its been discussed by most of us at some time but yesterday I fell foul of the UCT, I got home and had to hang around for a wee while for various reasons, I knew it was happening, I could feel the burn at the bottom of my cheeks, just at that point where the crease is !!

and then once out of the bath for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to apply some minty arse lard (I was obviously more dehydrated than I thought), thats not a good idea in any shape or form !!

so an unsettled night followed when I needed a good night sleep and woke this morning feeling pretty sore and stupid, its eased a little over the day, enough to allow for the long way home down the river, just under two hours in the sunlight.

Sore again now but at least I didnt put any more minty arse lard on !!

Tomorrow will be my last ride until Saturday, 3 hours down the river, then off to Germania again for another 4 days of alcohol fuelled fun and frolicks (not really)

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Some days are better than others




Today is one of those days




78 miles with only 10 on tarmac, all the way to the Woodhead pass straight from the front door, lots of sunshine and warmth, trails dry and dusty, little wind, all in all a great day until I arrived home to be greeted by some terrible news, a dear friend has been diagnosed with cancer (what a fucking awful word is that) kind of takes the sail out of your wind does that.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Glad I was arsed

60 miles in warm sunlight tonight, wind in our faces both ways ??

but it were reet good

pint at the end

bath 

bed

zzz...

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

could be arsed

although the early morning came and went, I did get out this evening, okay it was down the river which is nothing special at all, but the trails were dusty, there was a hell of a lot of folk out either running or biking due to the fabulous sun.

It has to be said that days like today take years off, I love that warmth perculating through your body, tonights ride was fast, only an hour and three quarters but enough to get a good sweat on.

I managed to remember to drink all of my 3 litre bladder during the ride, its something I'm always forgetting until its too late but am currently concentrating on eating and drinking healthily and that means about 3 litres of water during the day at work, and then more when riding.

Tonight I'm treating myself to a couple of glasses of red whilst reading the latest cycle sport international and the 20th anniversary issue of MBUK, 20 years !!.

Its 21 year for my mountainbike career, I look back fondly on the Claude Butler that Janet bought from her catologue for me (hey does anyone ever buy anything from catalogues anymore ?) and am happy to know that its still going strong being ridden around Tatton Park.

One day I'll get around to making a list of all the mountainbikes I've owned :-)

Tomorrow promises more of the same weather and the plan is to do a road ride to Delamere, thats just over easy 60 miles, then on Friday rest, Saturday do catch up and Sunday will be the tour of Anglsey with Ali and hopefully 360 (who will be ripping our legs off having just come back from cycle touring rural Spain)

  

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

couldn't be arsed

went to work on the road bike this morning full of intention, but over the day my legs stiffened up and the numerous bites around my ankles were irritating me, so come the time to ride home and I headed straight home the short way.

Thats a real shame given that the weather is lovely, but I'm sat here now and grateful, I was obviously tired from the weekend and the few hours have given me some time to think and catch up with my thoughts from the weekend.

Thought Number 1 - Singlespeed events are always good, no matter what happens its always good, its a bloody stupid thing to do is ride a bike with one gear, but its always good fun -  how come ?

Thought Number 2 - Bike people are for the most part good people, there was a little bitching going on (and I'll say now that I have been one of the bitchers) at the weekend, but really, what the fuck is that all about ?, people are just people, not everyone is super cool or hip or trendy, time to get over it....

Thought Number 3 - I have the best friends in the world, this weekend proved that.. for the majority it was the first time we'd seen each other since last year, some had been out for longer than that, anyway it was just as though we'd all been together the day before, sure we all caught up with each others news and the usual gossip, but then come the ride and everyone slotted in, all happy to be together and riding

Thought Number 4 - the difference gap, our gang !

there are folk at the very extreme ends of the age spectrum, from the 11 year old son to the 60 year old father, there are guys and girls who are semi pro, there are guys and girls who are middle of the road, there a few who are well known in the mountain bike community (for one reason or another) and then there's the rest of us, we all rode our bikes together and all enjoyed each others company, some fast, some slow, no matter, we all finished together and had had a good time. 

Is there anything else out there where such a diverse group of people can be friends and  enjoy an afternoon together in such a way ?

Anyway, thats enough pondering for one day, tomorrows plan is to get up early, take the big blue gayer and hit the river trail, hopefully this sun will have dried everything out to create beautiful buff trails !!

Monday, 5 May 2008

SSUK08, a changing of the guard


So, it was ace as always, it goes without saying that we laughed hard, rode hard (ish) and drank hard...

from our end of the field it seemed a quiet night but there was lots of younger folks enjoying the goings on in the marquee, there was some muttering about a lack of disgraceful behaviour, but we were at the far end of the field and made our own noise to compensate, I'm sure that each niche has its own experience and tales to tell, it was a different vibe, thats not to say it was better or worse, just different.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun, Friday night saw some freestyle "wrapping" around some old pop tunes, it was impressive given the state of drunkeness, how Biff managed to string together a whole songs worth of smut around Sheena Eastons 9 to 5, Biff and Jon did an equally rude version of Easy on a Sunday morning ;-)

Saturday dawned and the weather looked good so we set off for some of the well known Drumlanrig singletrack, its fair to say that we were not dissapointed, buff, twisty, sweetly bermed, woodsy, tight, steep, rootsy, dry and dusty, it just kept coming, 4 hours of riding, bantering, enjoying, later and we got back to the castle in time for tea and cakes in the evening sun.

My legs were wasted but happy, I had an inkling that there was some fitness returning and hey believe it or not some descending skills were found hidden deep down inside, I can do roots, I like roots, its what I learnt early on :-)

Saturday night was more of the same, some grumbling about the lack of rowdiness, but then it dawned, that was just us really, and now we are to old for all that stuff despite a few peeps thinking the opposite ;-)

although I have to say that there was a lame ass attempt to heckle me with a hecklerphone, heres a lesson, if you are going to do it then do it properly and dont stop just because someone tells you to fuck off, thats the cue for a full on hecklation, dont give up so easily next time or I'll have to confiscate your hecklerphone ;-)

Sunday and the rain appeared, heavy claggy wet rain, just in time for the race, the usual start line banter was followed by the usual mixing of the bikes, the OnOne Inbred pile was ruined by the fact that they now come in colour, but the Trek 69er pile was funny, and almost everyone saw the funny side.

the race happened, Phil and Anya  won, Niall won the under 12 cat and schooled Dave Gordon and I both uphill and downhill.

The food was fine and well worth the wait, the prizegiving was funny, and then we left, there was to be a party that night complete with band, look to others for that report...

The guys who stepped up to organise did a sterling job, you can be very proud of your event.


We drove home on the howling wind and rain, got home, had a bath and went to bed smiling :-)

Thursday, 1 May 2008

SSUK08

Its this weekend, its in Scotland, the sun is finally out, does it get any better ?

a quick two hours tonight, another gentle spin along the lanes, casually thinking about nothing much at all, got passed by two young fellas all dressed in SIS team kit, they were moving fast, two upping, obviously training.

It occurred to me for about two nano seconds to try and catch them and hold the line, but I couldn't be arsed and frankly who am I kidding ? but then in the distance I saw another roady starting the climb out of Rostherne, I had him by the time I was 3/4's up the hill, tried hard to catch him, hard enough that by the time I caught I was pooped, but stubborn stupid pride kicked in and I got another 50 yards on him by the top.

At the traffic lights he pulled up in front of me, looked around with utter contempt at my attire (3/4 baggies, plain white T shirt and Dirt Rag rasta socks) and turned his head without a word, ignorant fecker, which was a shame as he was on a nice looking Bianchi.

So, I waited for the lights to change and let him go, had already decided that he was going to get passed again, just needed to know which way he was going, and he was going my way, so I let him lead through the lights and just stayed 10 yards back for a few miles, close enough that I could see him sneaking the odd look, close enough to see he was sneaking up the gears, the next hill reared up and once again I passed him, this time though there were no lights to stop us and I never saw him again.

That hurt !

then again on the way home, some miserable twat all dolled up in Specialised gear on the other side, I let on and saw him check out the bike and me, put his head down with no acknowledgement, although a few yards later on he looked around to see me giving him the finger :-(

Mountain biking is much nicer

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

summer nights are on their way

well, despite the forcast last night was pleasant enough until ten minutes from home, once again an easy spin through the lanes into the wind, 40 miles in 2 and a half hours, 3/4 baggies and black socks for those who may be interested (green socks and 3/4 tights today).

Monday was a spin out on the Aizan, those Crossmax wheels really are something else, they felt fast yet also springy ?, the Aizan was quite a stiff bike but now feels like it has suspension ?, maybe its the Michelin tyres which are new to me but I doubt that, anyway the 34x18 gear will stay on for Scotland next weekend.

Today's ride looks like a repeat of yesterday, although looking out the window at the black skies isnt very inspiring :-/

Update - left work early as it was killing me, 2 hours through the lanes ending up at the Shak for wheel tune up, a new cap and some nice new track mitts to replace the minging pair I've hd for a few years now, then as the sun was shining out again for another hour and a half, legs nice and tingly now :-)

Sunday, 27 April 2008

wet wet wet

3 minutes was all it took to get soaked through this morning

3 minutes was all it took to decide I wasnt riding today

3 minutes was all it took to find out that Mavic Crossmax wheels are bloody fast, even with tubes installed

thats all

plan No 2 stalled

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Rest is good for you part 2

and so is eating green food

three days in Germania meant no exercise and mostly sitting around, apart from a couple of hours walking around Cologne each night I did nothing, I did eat properly, but also drank quite a lot of alcohol...

anyhow, got out for 2 hours this morning and legs felt fine, new Ultegra chainset feels stiff and strong, unlike the FSA Gossamer that it replaced, and I'm happy to report that baggy 3/4's work really well on a road bike :-)

Tomorrow, well, the weather looks to be shite but I have fitted the Crossmax 29er wheels to the Aizan and all seems fine, I reckon that bike weighs around about 21lb now, only real further weight saving to be had now would be to replace the cranks for something lighter but I'm not really inclined to do that to save a quarter/half pound. 
So, the ride to Delamere is on, although I must remember to call into the Shak for some tyre levers as getting the Michelins onto those tubeless rims was a bitch of a job and I had to resort to the levers, I feel like a failure for doing that but twenty frustrating minutes of sweat and toil lead to that defeat :-0

On another point, I picked up a cycle computer today, almost bought it but just managed to put it back, I know that whenever I have a computer on the bike I end up counting miles, setting targets and generally concerning myself more with statistics than fun...

so it went back on the shelf, and now I can continue to enjoy my rides :-)




Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Rest is good for you ?

Must remember that..

Last nights ride was fast as fook, 40 miles in just over two hours, even with the wind against me it felt good, legs strong, powering up the climbs out of the saddle in the big (ish I know Jo) ring, got home all hot and bothered but pleased with myself, quick bath and change and settled down for the night, no alcohol, just food and water and an early bedtime, and no pounding heart, which was good.

but today my legs are tired and aching ?

once again I'm just not recovering from the effort, so tonights proposed ride out is cancelled, I'll just head home the short way I guess, despite the sun being out and wanting to make the most of it I know in my head that I should rest

not happy today.

Work in Germany for the rest of the week means no riding until the weekend, hopefully home in time for Saturday, road ride local then plan No2 should spring into action !

Update - well that plan didnt work, headed out the door and the sun came out, an omen I reckoned, so an easy two hours spinning a low gear, nothing to report other than it felt good, 3 days to recover now :-)

Monday, 21 April 2008

Planning some plans

First plan is to take the Mavic Crossmax 29ers to the Aizan some time this week, and probably tubless to boot, that should knock a pound of an already light bike.

Second plan is to actually ride that single speed bike next weekend, the original plan had been to ride road bikes down douth but with one thing and another that aint gonna happen now, so I aim to ride my single speed bike all the way to Delamere, ride around Delamere and then ride home, this will take a good days effort I expect, so thats for Sunday, with a bit of luck maybe Tim will be able to get out and ride as well !

Third plan (and this is dependant upon a number of things which are out of my control) is to take daughter number two riding on Saturday, she's recently expressed an interest in riding again (and trying to get a job in a bike shop for some bizarre reason) so I want to encourage her along a little, and if you are reading this Jennifer, then yes you can have some new riding clothes and I'm sure you'll look good on Jacks bike ;-)

Fourth plan is to ride said singlespeed bike every day next week down the river, its been a few weeks since I was last down there and hopefully the trails are drying out now, that should see a hundred odd off road miles into my legs.

Fifth plan is to leave work early on Friday with Bill and head on up to Dramlunrig for the SSUK08 race, get the tent up in daylight and start race preparations, beer, food and white russians all the way.



Now, its fair to say that even with the best intentions my hit rate on actually completing my plans has been low these last few years, 4 or 5 years ago life was much simpler, less work responsibility made for a far easier life, but as is the way, things change and sometimes not all is for the best, bike riding time has been compromised, squeezed into commuting or missed completely.

But, thats not to say that things cant change for the better, and nows the time to start :-)

we'll see how this plan works out eh ;-)

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Chilled weekend, but still that bloody wind

well, for once the plan went to plan

we arrived at Stoke Breune to find a slight break in the weather which meant that Harm and I could pull the road bikes out and get out to explore the quiet lanes around the Milton Keynes area, nothing spectacular but easy spinning and chatting, catching up with each others news :-)

A pleasant evening eating and drinking and a good nights sleep followed by a day in Oxford, first time there for Jan and I, it was nice enough but we both preferred Cambridge I think !

Home in time for tea and looking forward to two long rides on Monday and Tuesday night before three days in Germany working :-/

Anyhow, pleased to report that finally some semblance of fitness is appearing in my legs, its taken almost two months this time around, each lay off seems to take longer to shake off with the passing years, I guess the secret is to not let it happen to start with, easier said than done of course !

anyway, all in all I'm happy :-)

Thursday, 17 April 2008

The wind did blow again and again and again

Got up early and went the long way to work, only 12 miles in 45 minutes but again that damn wind was already blowing cold air around, the overshoes worked a treat though :-)

Left work at 3 as the sun was shining and headed over to the Shak to order a few bits and bobs (Ultegra chainset and brakes, the stock stuff is a little flexy when putting the power down) and then out into the Cheshire lanes.

Three hours later and I'm done, steady pace, probably around 65% effort, just spinning an easy gear into the wind which was in my face regardless of the direction I was heading in ? but hey the sun was shining, it was warmish (so warm that the overshoes had to come off)

Just had a stir fry for tea, lots of water and later will treat myself to a bottle of red wine whilst reading Cycling Weekly looking for more pictures of Jo...

and yes, my conversion back to being a roady is complete, hell I've even been looking at the dates for the old club tens :-0

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Wind wind blow away

Cold cold morning, tried out my new over shoes, they work great and only a tenner from Decathalon.

Didnt get to Delamere this evening but did manage  a sharpish 40 miles with Roy despite the wind. We both were putting some effort in on the hills and it has to be said that the ten years he has on me is starting to show, plus he has been training for "Le Marmot" and has turned a lot more miles over that I (and he'll being needingevery pedal stroke !).
We were pretty even on most hills although I have to say that I was using my roady experience to let him drag me along, just starting to half wheel him on the crest :-)

And then it happened, long uphill drag into the wind through Tatton Park trying to maintain 20mph and I had the most explosive lactic acid attack ever, proper instant emptying of legs followed by searing pain :-/... I guess I was just enjoying myself too much ?, still my recovery was reasonable so must be starting to work :-)

and I reckon my sore knee problem "might" be due to the cleat position on my shoe, will investigate tomorrow 

and we met Leon doing some secret training, riding back and to work for him is a round trip of 70 odd miles, sneaky bastard :-)

Tomorrows weather looks poor but I'll try and get to Delamere anyway, we'll see how it goes

17 stone 1 lb naked and hydrated


Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Tired sore knee today

my left knee was sore all day, maybe it got cold last night ?, anyhow, decided to rest it and just spin there and back to work....

feels okay now after a bottle of a Haymaker

Looking forward to another 60 tomorrow, the weather forecast looks good for another fabulous evening ride, hopefully same again on Thursday

Friday will be a there and back event as we have an invite to the opening of Lindow Pete at Manchester Museum, then Saturday off to Milton Keynes.

Monday 14th April

2 breakfast bars
pasta and tuna salad
pasta and sauce
3 pitta bread, humous, salsa
lots of water
small coffee
40 miles in the rain
couldnt sleep all night
hound pounding again

17 stone 6lbs naked

Monday, 14 April 2008

run fat boy run




so, Thursday night didnt happen due to rain, but Friday night saw 40 relaxed miles, Saturday saw 2 and ahalf hours of rain, snow, sleet, hailstones, sunshine, wind, wet feet, muddy bums, beer and general all round goodness.

Oxenhope is a good place if you like riding bikes.

Sunday saw an early start to find text messages crying off, looking outside gave the reason, more rain of biblical proportions saw no riding on Sunday.

Sunday day saw the photo's from the previous day, my god there's two not at all flattering pictures of me, now I know I'm the heaviest I've ever been but bugger me !
can you tell the before and after shots ?
hopefully by the time the sun comes out I'll be more the former than the latter

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Rain rain go away

All set for another spin out to Delamere tonight and guess what ?, it hammered down just about 4 o'clock, and guess what ?, I'd forgotten to take a gore tex jacket, and guess what ?, my inspiration to ride plumetted ;-(

so I hung around hoping it would brighten up but by 530 it had only got worse so I buggered off home the short way

ah well, a rest is a good as a change I guess ?

anyhow, tonight I've made arrangements to get out tomorrow night instead, 360 should be home from France, Roy should be able to dump his child somewhere and Kevin cant possibly have another parents evening can he ?

Weekend looming and plans afoot, Simon's birthday ride in the valley on saturday with Dave, Shaz and Chipps, maybe some if the others if there isnt a testosterone fueled step fest happening ?, then hopefully and finally an old school road century on Sunday (note to self, try to pick up a computer for the bike on Saturday)

Looking further ahead to next weekend, a roady ride around Milton Keynes with Harm then an easy Sunday and then further ahead again 2 days of road stuff around the south downs with some bloke who draws sheep and the foxy diabetic girl who always kicks my ass...

what with all those plans and lots of midweek rides as well then maybe, just maybe I can finish the singlespeed UK national champs race with some kind of pride (and no this time I dont mean by being the pillock who vomits on the start line !)

you have to have a plan don't you ?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Kinnel that bike is fast

40 miles in just over 2 hours last night, I had to stop due to being knackered but the bike wanted more

Some things I learnt from last nights sweat festival....

I know that I need a slightly shorter stem and to drop the stem by about half an inch..

I know that road shoes are soooo much much efficient than MTB SPD's...

I know that the flat top part of drops makes life so much more comfortable and that cheap shit Shimano gear works a treat (actually I already knew that)

I like that bike, maybe even more than the DeRosa !!

Monday, 7 April 2008

Rideless weekend

Dint ave no plans for Saturday (apart from recovering after a drinking session at Matts)but Sunday was going to be a 100er, however as it turned out it was a 0er, ice on the roads meant that there was no chance on earth of me getting on a road bike, I still get flashbacks from a near death incident a few years ago :-(

and there was snow on the ground, so I made an executive decision to go photographing birds instead, ace day all in all, Dippers, Bullfinch, Treecreeper all photographed, and 3 Kingfishers spotted, I know where to go now for future refference ;-)

Bike wise, well the Kona should be here tonight and if it is then a night ride beckons, I think I might finally be tempted to try out the Specialised road shoes and Look pedals I bought 2 years ago (they should be suitabley retro by now !)

As far being rideless, well after the 30 in 30 it was nice to not be tired out all the time

Friday, 4 April 2008

The road to Delamere


60 miles at a decent lick, felt strong on the hills, tired by the end, 3 hours 20 minutes ride time, 2 bloody punctures though, heart pounding all night as expected

But, riding in the evening in the fading sunlight is fanfuckingtastic, must get some better brakes !

2 days off now before going for a century on Sunday

Update - didnt bother with new brakes just went straight for a new bike, based on the simple premise that the Kona Jake the Snake is a cross bike and deserves to see some mud and dust so should get knobblies refitted, the De Rosa is an Italian and can only come out when its above 25c (so yes thats twice a year) and the Kona Zing looks freaking loveley to my eyes and its relatively cheap :-)

Thursday, 3 April 2008

That bloody wind

Tuesday night, raining and windy but hey ho, left work, turned left and stopped, the wind was so strong that my desire to ride for another hour evaporated instantly...

Turned right around and got blown home, that was it finished

Wednesday straight to work and back, today striaght to work but road ride to Delamere planned for tonight, this coming weekend I'll be staying local as I'm on call for work

but plans are afoot to ride long road rides at least twice per week from now on seeing as the lighter nights are here now, I need to at least be able to keep Sara in sight on those long Alpine climbs ;-)

Monday, 31 March 2008

30 in 30 , day 31

damn this thing, I knew this would happen

short way to work, long way home, 1 hour 30 on the road bike in the evening sunshine, it rocked a phat one !

talking of fat, I am now officially the fatest I have ever been, 17 stone 6lbs according to the scales last night, I'm not surprised really, over a year of eating and drinking has taken its toll

time for a change methinks

Sunday, 30 March 2008

30 in 30, day 30

it is done, this thing of ours, I've enjoyed it and actually found it easier than I expected from a physical point of view, the logistics were difficult, often meaning getting up very early, I can well understand how life could get in the way, and in my case a death almost stalled me :-/

Todays final ride in the sun was a pleasure, 1 hour 45 on the road bike, that stupid persistent insistant wind was still around, turning into my face regardless of which direction I was heading but still it was a pleasure.

I must be fitter now, I weigh pretty much the same, the beer belly has at least stopped growing if not shrunk, I feel stronger, I can push harder on the hills so its all good

One thing that this has exposed is all my old nagging injuries, my weak right ankle has given way occasionally, my left achilles tendon aches most days, my neck is sore, my right wrist aches, on the plus side my knees and hips are fine, no aching back (which is always a sign of getting fitter) my addiction to alcohol continues (although next week I'm on call so a week of tea and coffee beckons)



now then, who's up for 2 hours a day ?

:-)

business as normal tomorrow, road bike the long way to work, and now the nights are lighter the long way home, 30 in 30 has just been the start....

congrats to everyone who finished, commiseration's to those who didnt

Saturday, 29 March 2008

30 in 30 , day 29

road ride on a mountainbike

1 hour forty minutes

legs fine, mentally ok, 1 day to go.....

last day looks to be the worst yet weather wise, I guess it'll be another road ride, only this time it'll be on a road bike

Friday, 28 March 2008

30 in 30, day 28

got up late again despite last nights promises !

anyway, out at 7 and decided to embrace the mud (even took the crud guards off) and get down and dirty, the trails were even wetter than last night and after 3 minutes I was completly covered and wet through, nice enjoyable ride, the power of positivity rules

anyway, 1 hour and 5 later and I'm in work, got the bike jetted down, the muddy clothes in the wash, now showered, shaved and all coffeed up :-)

only downside is that I've just eaten a breakfast bar that tasted a bit funny, turns out to be two years out of date !!, we'll see how that goes later :-/

Thursday, 27 March 2008

30 in 30 , day 27

up too late again (0645) to get an hour in before work so it was an evening ride today, despite the fact the sun was shining there was no passion, no juice, no zip to this ride at all, just getting the hour done and home

I need a change of scenery, I need woodsy singletrack, I need to head over to Delamere on Saturday

1 hour and five, done

feeling tired, legs heavy, mentally soft

tomorrow I,m up t 6 and out to work the long way, time to toughen the fuck up, anyone fancy making some stem stickers ?

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

30 in 30, day 26

Late up again this morning, and it was wet and windy..

tonight decided to go home along the canal, not a good idea, the towpath is horrible, wet, muddy, porridge, however despite the fact that my back barke imploded it was done, and hour and 5 minutes, another day done

curry and beer beckons tonight :-)

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

30 in 30 , day 25

Woke up too late to get an hour in this morning so just headed straight to work...

Then this evening set off just as the snow and sleet started again, this is getting pretty old right now !

however I stuck it out and did the obligatory hour and ten thereby keeping the flame alive, sad to see a comrade fall over the weekend, just a few of us left now, I can well understand how the motivation evaporates as I had my crisis early on..

its a challenge and thats for sure

Monday, 24 March 2008

30 in 30, day 24

day 24

1 hour down the river was an absolute chore, very very tired legs from yesterday, only highlight was whilst taking a bath and noticing my cyclists tan lines around my ankles has come back !

Back to reality tomorrow, early morning ride to work in a predicted minus 5 snow storm ;-0

Sunday, 23 March 2008

30 in 30, day 23

day 23

road ride on mountainbike, 29x2.25 tyres into a persistant headwind made for a very tough 2 hours, on more than one occasion I had to remind myself to toughen the fuck up, finished the ride completely shelled out :-(

sorry Simon, I know this is late but there's no way I'll be riding around Rivington Pike tomorrow

Saturday, 22 March 2008

30 in 30, day 21 and day 22

Good Friday was a good friday, stayed in bed until 12 listening to the radio (still awake at 6 as per) then out for a spin in the wind, the trails were amazingly dry considering the storm that had raged through the night, off down the river and along, wind assisted.

Got to Northenden and decided to head off into the city centre, BUT I hadnt factored in the bank holiday, it wasnt so much that the roads were busy, just full of idiots (as per) so soon enough switched back to dirt and struggled into the wind and home, 1 hour 45 minutes :-)

oh and by the way, I took the time to examine the hanging bridge yesterday, there's at least a dozen rope remains under there, maybe its a hot spot amongst the hanging fraternity ??

Today is looking good also, despite works best efforts to draw me in I'm soon off again for an afternoon of river run dodging the dogs and runners...

more later

Similar again, 2 whole hours this time, wind, rain, sun, snow, hail all at the same time, trails pretty dry, lots of runners and dog walkers around

Long tailed tit flock

1 Gooseander

lots of Canadian Geeses

lots of magpies

tomorrow promises more of the same

8 days to go then rest :-)

Thursday, 20 March 2008

30 in 30, day 19 and 20

March 19th, up at 5, down the river to the spot, felt a bit creepy but hey ho, strangely enough they'd left about 3 feet of the rope up ?, legs heavy, just turning circles really

1 hour 10

March 20th, an hour and 10 after work tonight, legs heavy, heart heavy, no real passion for this tonight, just going through the motions really, went past the spot again, the remains of the rope had gone, was expecting to see some notes/flowers etc but nothing, the only thing of note was some graffiti (not new) that said "Gillian Clarke shits in a colostomy bag " which made me laugh for some strange reason :-/


Perfectly rational now, looking forward to the Easter break :-)

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

30 in 30, day 18

things just got bad :-(

up and out at 630, along the river to the bridge and there's some poor soul hanging off the structure....

police arive just as I do, nothing I can do

caught sight of the bike that he'd ridden to the bridge, that resonated with me

ride off into the woods, vomit twice, ride to work, slowly

not a good start to the day, feel pretty shite right now

only slight positive is that the ride was an hour and 15

bit of a reality check there :-/

Monday, 17 March 2008

30 in 30 , day 17

Tired stiff legs today after yesterdays climb meant the short way to work this morning, over the day legs got better so the long way home beckoned, an hour and ten means that day 17 is completed.

This 30 in 30 thing appears to be working but one thing concerns me, my rides have all been short, nowt more than 2 hours for the last two weeks. Easter weekend is coming and I should be able to get out for two full days and I fancy another loop of Penmachno so I can see out to the Snowdonian range and then another day in the peaks.

Its probably over 2 years since I last rode there, in fact come to think about it, it was with Dan for a route guide for Singletrack magazine, that was a fun two days, first day was wet and windy, second day sunny and warm, typical British weather, it will probably be the same this weekend :-)

Sunday, 16 March 2008

30 in 30, day 16

Late night, not too hung over, rain, sleet and snow all at the same time.

Andy on a bike !

Almost 2 hours including a 40 minute grind into the wind up a beetch of a hill, had to peddle down the other side to get back to Andy's house

Legs fine, mentally okay, things going well, over half way now and feeling the benefit.

Warton Crag on the way back home

2 Peregrine

1 Little owl

1 Chuff !

Saturday, 15 March 2008

30 in 30, day 15

2 hours urban, 1 hour to the Shak to pick up some essentials, Cliff Bars, chain lube etc

legs heavy, breathing hard riding isnt much fun today

but I am getting stronger

tomorrows ride with Andy and Gabrielle promises to be fun if the rain holds off

Friday, 14 March 2008

30 in 30, day 14

0600 out, back 0715, suns just come out, rains gone away

legs heavy but working, head not quite in the game

usual birds out

looking forward to the weekend now :-/

Thursday, 13 March 2008

30 in 30, day 13, a day of decisions !

Yesterday left me drained, completely shelled out, and by this morning I felt worse, I just hadnt recovered

So, alarm goes off at 0545 and I dither, and dither and contemplate cheating, think about giving up, think about anything other than riding a bike....

Eventually get up at 630 and out, legs heavy, breathing hard with the slightest incline and then turn into the wind, nothing like yesterday but just draggy and insistant, this is not fun

I'm facing a 12/14 hour day today and it would have been so easy to quit, but then when I think about it I can quit drinking for a month, surely I can do something everyday for a month ? especially something that I consider defines who I am and what I do ?

Pull into work at 0750, it is done

Yes I can do it I know after this mornings mental tussle that 30 in 30 will now be done :-)

Must drink more water and less coffee though :-0

2 Herons

5 tuftied ducks

dozens of Magpies

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

30 in 30, day 12

couldnt sleep, a few work things on my mind so up at 530 and out at quarter to...

into the most brutal wind and rain ever !, for the first 15 mins it was on my back, then I turned and stopped, 1 hour and 20 minutes later and I'm at work, normally an hour and ten at a leisurely pace, 1 hour 35 today and properly tired out, wringing wet with rain and sweat, legs still tingling with the effort

tonights night road ride is off if this weather persists, far too dangerous on the roads with dopey car drivers

1 Cormorant

lots of Canadian Gooses honking in the trees

lots of other birds singing very loud, they were probably scared

lost count of the number of downed trees

lost count of the number of household bins strewn around the streets

lost count of the number of times almost blown off the bike


oh, and have found the weak link with 29er wheels, they dont half get caught by the wind when you least expect them to !

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

30 in 30, day 11

dentists at 9 this morning meant a lie in till 8, then off down the river, in the sun !!, still windy and trails very wet and muddy, 1 hour 40 minutes and done, lots of fun, great to feel the sun on my face, legs felt strong today, might be starting to get somewhere, lakes at the weekend, then on to see Andy and T and hopefully get his sorry arse out on a bike for an hour or so :-)

2 Cormorants

Lots of Canadian gooses

short way home tonight if the predicted storms come in

update, the storm came and I got blown all the way home ;-) and had the exquisite pleasure of riding on the outside of 3 miles of standing traffic, it would appear that some weather has completely fooked up the traffic system around greater manchester

tomorrow's plan is to do an early morning river run assuming the storm has blown itself out and then do a night road ride, just read Jo's article in Cycling plus about the Rapha night ride and its inspired me and coincidently I ordered some stuff from Rapha today, a pair of riding knicks, a long sleeve jersey and renewed my sub to Rouleur

must put some air in Jakes tyres

Riding bikes is really rather good fun

Monday, 10 March 2008

30 in 30, day 10

well, that was fun, 45 minutes grovelling into a howling wind, mud and water grinding through the bike, hailstones hurting my face, and seat post slipping down, bah !

and then I turned around, wooo hoooo, that was fast, faster than I could spin my stupid single gear, faster than the mud being kicked off my tyres

early morning rides rock

1 hour 15 minutes

2 Herons

2 Gosseanders

1 Kingfisher

lots of Mallards and Teal

need to sort out my drivetrain today, and also take a look at the rear hub, the Woodman (Brant designed) single speed hub that has been on duty for about 7 years now is finally making some deathnell type noises :-(

Update tonight, poured some oil into the hub and hey presto its fine again !, however the rain and wind came even harder and I couldnt summon up the courage to ride home the long way, went the shortest way possible and still got absolutely soaked wet through Bah !!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

30 in 30, day 8 and 9

Saturday, 1 hour 20, down the river, legs fine, mental okay, arse fine..., saw a pair of Gosseanders and 3 Kingfishers, enjoyed the spinning when the wind was with me !

Sunday, 1 hour 40 minutes, decided to ride into the city centre and explore, couldnt be arsed getting wet and muddy so just stayed on tarmac, 34x16 on the Aizan was hard work into the wind, but it was fun riding the city streets, seeing the debris from last night spill out with their heads in their hands was funny, one guy could hardly walk !, amazing amount of vomit on the streets also !!

Legs are now used to this every day thing, tomorrow I'll step it up to at least 2 hours per day

Tomorrow is promising to be a day of weather, high winds and lots of rain predicted...

Rah !!

Friday, 7 March 2008

30 in 30, day 7

another early morning, set off in rain, finished in sunshine, legs fine, arse still sore, mentally fine, am enjoying this now and glad that I set off at an easy pace, next week might up it to 2 hours per day :-)

Weekend looming now, plan is for another early one tomorrow, probably on the road, maybe a couple of hours, get back around 930 and still have the rest of the day for photography (will probably take Jack to Martin Mere)

Sunday's plan is to head over to the valley and ride with Matt and Tanya, hopefully Dave and Sharon, maybe even get Chips out...

You coming over Barnes ??

Thursday, 6 March 2008

30 in 30, day 6

Early morning hour and ten, legs heavy, sit bones sore, still smiling though..

that slight head wind made the 34x16 gear on the Aizan seem very hard today, still my work is done for today, need to plan the weekend now :-)

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

30 in 30, day 5

Set off at 0645 this morning, lovely sunrise, puncture stop caused the sky to explode with hail and ice, mentally fine, legs heavy, left hand frozen solid, all good, 1 hour and 10 minutes

bring it on.....

:-)

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

30 in 30, day 4

well, this mornings ride didnt happen, icy roads put paid to that, just the short way along the road into work, being extra careful :-/

I have bad memories of a near death experience some years ago....

and to be honest my legs were sore from last nights cold ride.

As the day went on with clear blue skies I wasnt too concerned (for once the weather report was right), it stayed good for the rest of the day

So, onto tonight and a lovely evening, an hours road ride around the Cheshire lanes meant my work for the day was done and I'm still on target, just spinning an easy gear along watching the sun set was very pleasant :-)

Tomorrow morning looks to be cold and icy, so I have recovered the Aizan from the cellar and put the Jake away for now, an hour along the river should be available and am also hoping for a few hours in the evening, this bike riding lark is good clean fun :-))

Monday, 3 March 2008

30 in 30 , day 3

so, I'm sat here looking out of my office window and its sleeting and snowing, I rode to work today but its only 20 minutes, I have to go back the long way and do an hour, will I do it ?, cant even reward myself with beer or wine tonight !

watch this space....

So, the sleet got worse just as I set off but some positive mental outlook thoughts a la Bruce Lee got me through, 1 hour ten minutes on the Jake, bloody fast with 100psi in them there tyres, absolutely soaked to the skin, and proper chaffage around the inner thigh :-0

but it was done, and just for completion, 1 beer and curry as a reward, and a good sign that my legs feel fine

:-)

Tomorrows plan is to get up early and get the hour over and done with, and then I can enjoy the ride home, early days I'll give you, but I have a good feeling about this, no foreign travel planned for March so fingers crossed :-)

Sunday, 2 March 2008

30 in 30 day 2

2 and a half hours road ride, in the sun but incredible wind, with two mates who are preparing for a "sportive" that will include amongst others the Galibier and Alp d Huez !!

Road riding with little traffic around is good

Saturday, 1 March 2008

30 in 30, day 1, here we go...

2 and a half hours around ByC, legs okay as long as I rode at my own pace, pushing uphill soon burned them out, lots of fun and smiles for Jonny Cakes birthday ride

Friday, 29 February 2008

No riding so far this week...

or in fact last weekend either, weekend spent on call and photographing birds, this week working in Italy drinking coffee and Chianti, but thats all about to change as the 30 in 30 kicks in for March, the idea is that you ride for at least 1 solid hour per day for 30 days, easy peasy ya ?

now, riding for an hour every day in your life isnt difficult but given the logistics of finding an hour out of 24 every day it may prove to be difficult given that most people have work/family/otherstuff to do.

And I'll aim to post a daily resume here assuming I can get a connection.

Tomorrow kicks in with a trip to Betysw Y Coed to celebrate the sex midgets 24th birthday, he was a spotty 16 year old youth when we first met, hard to believe that was 8 years ago, happy birthday Jon :-)

Sunday "should" see me down the river, been aiming to explore a bit further afar for a while now and Chris has found some new cheek to play on.

Oh yeas, before I forget, I had a health MOT last week and was genuinly shocked to find my weight had ballooned up to 108kgs !!, thats 12 kgs heavier than when I last looked at the scales and 20kgs over my ideal weight, the 30 in 30 has another agenda for me, get 20kgs lighter before Verbier !

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