Saturday, 26 December 2009

me in 25 years

actually thats my dad, every day finds me catching myself doing something or other that my dad does, the most frequent one is the way I clear my throat, every time I do it I think my dads in the room :-)

so, whats been happening, well work wise is pretty well documented, the plant is shut down now and the new year will bring the decomissioning period, that'll be a bout three months or so and then the majority of people will leave the company, myself a and a few others will remain until the end of July at the earliest, hopefully till the end of the year when I can get my year off.....

although that may well have to be put on hold for another year, one door closes and another opens, there are some interesting opportunities opening up that could provide more wages, if it does come off then I'll have another string to my bow which will help me find work longer term :-)

Hopefully NZ is still on.

Bike wise, well I've taken on a commission from STW for a series of articles, the 100 rides is one idea, riding has been short and sweet of late, yet another underlying cold thats refusing to surface, his is the third year on the trot that this has happened, a bad chest infection two years ago and then last year a debilitating bout of flu, what will this years treat be ? .

I hope its not too severe, I had a flu jab to try and avoid that and I have made some committments to do some long rides this coming year, a century a month (metric and imperial, but aiming for imperial) and two races to have a crack at, the national 24 hour solo champs in May and the Keilder 100 in Sept. Now I know as well as everyone else that I'll not be getting a top ten in either of these, in fact top 100 is out of the question, no what I want is to finish and do myself proud, thats all. I'll be happy to do that.

Training has yet to start, I've been doing a bit but thats more to just keep ticking over, this coming week was to be the start but the weather has been unkind and by actually not riding my bike I am doing some good, the sheet ice everywhere is just dangerous, sat watching the road today confirmed that I made the right decision not to ride, maybe tomorrow ?

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Moving out for a while

I'm here for a wee while

back by the end of Feb I hope

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Motivation injection

Thats what I could do with right now, any ideas ?

No real clarity just yet at work, its looking like end of June next year now at the earliest, which in many respects is good, another 8 pay checks is good

but it means a delay to my plans for freedom in the summer !

However there is a cunning plan to chase the sun all the way around the world forming in my head, starting at SSWC10 in New Zealand, I don't yet know if thats an absolute goer or not, in principle I can go, but I'd like my family to have the same experience as I and be there with me, thats not possible for a number of reasons.

Still, a month away is a realistic dream ..... and then back to reality looking for work in the new year, its unlikely to be the year out I had hoped for but it might be 6 months, which is still a great opportunity

so, some ideas

Lands End to John O Groats, taking 3 weeks or more. (big blue gayer, and bob)

Anglesey Coastal Path taking 12 days (walking)

New Zealand for a month. (Spot 69er)

West Highland Way (at last !, big blue gayer)

Lots of riding to visit friends (big blue gayer)

So, there's my motivation for next year, but how to get through this winter, the Kona has been mudguarded (crud race guards which are officially ace), I have purchased a tyre specifically for the turbo bike, I have made a promise to do a months abstinence before xmas, just need the fricking rain to stop and I'm good to go :-)

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

6 week catch up

Lets think, after the Mach weekend I hardly rode a bike, apart from there and backs to work...

.....with one glorious exception, a week down south with Jo and Dean, 2 fairly big rides around the south downs, an evening at a musical event, an afternoon of culture and the opportunity to sit and listen to music topped out the Brighton experience.

....transfer to North Dean and two further mini rides around some lovely wooded trails, including one to catch up with Sara and the other with Sam to compare notes on the Kite a day of walking and exploring, a visit to the cinema and a final evening meal ended the week on a high, not as much riding as I would have liked to do but that was due to my fatness and a stupid/funny slow speed crash, the other two however did do a fabulous end ride, battering each other over 60 tough miles.

Single Speed Cyclo Cross bikes are 100 percent perfect for autumn rides.

....getting home on the Saturday I discovered that my back had gone into spasm and I had difficulty getting out of the car, I must have done some unseen damage on my fall, this meant a chilled weekend and then 4 days off work, and no riding until yesterday, and even that hurt, todays commute was less painful and the dark nights have inspired me to get the Spot 69er out and suited up with lights, the long way home tomorrow night is beckoning :-)

Monday, 19 October 2009

where my photies of birds will be

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Today is the day that I'm 48 years old

and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up

so, its a month since I last felt egocentric enough to post my inane ramblings on the internet for all 12 of you to read, lets have a quick recap then

bikes , yep, I've ridden them a bit, highlights being Bill and I being the tail end charlie's for the first 40 miles of the Keilder 100, which was quite difficult, riding slowly at the back end of the race, coaching the slow coaches

and then the weekend just gone in Machynlyth with a number of my closest friends, not an exclusive bunch, but just some of the fine people I am lucky enough to know and love, others sent messages of love, others couldn't make the trip across the atlantic

none the less I felt their presence

and of course I could feel the love from my dear wife Janet all through the weekend

I came home happy and prepared for the tribulations to come

The last 18 months have seen a black cloud above my head, work has been difficult at best, and at times downright unbearable, to put this in context.....

I have worked there since leaving school at 16 years of age, I have worked in the same department all of those 31 years, starting quite literally at the bottom and working my way to my current position of the plant manager, there are still people there who trained and coached me as a youth, giving me the discipline needed to be able to hold my own in a mans world, essential skills in a manufacturing environment.

Those same people are also partly responsible for my view of the world, my politics and my hatred of organised religion, they are also responsible for my humility, my level of understanding of other people, my understanding of peoples need to have religion in their life, my understanding of other peoples point of view, my love of music and art, my taste for fine beers, and many other aspects of my character.

They will almost certainly never read this, but thank you to Chris Byrne, Bill Curry, Ivor Greenway, Bob Finlay, Bill Lowes, Dave Linacre, Tony Watkins, George Carnes, Steve Buckham, Bob Swan (RIP), Brian Butler, Bill Smith, Martin Lowe, Steve Moss, there are others....

So, where's all this leading then ?

Today my plant was given its final destination, we will cease production at the end of the year, the reasons for this are many and complicated, suffice to say that we cannot survive as a manufacturing plant in the UK anymore.

Its a sad day, the site has existed since 1949, we have produced low density polyethylene on the site since 1961, which coincidently is the year I was born, lots of folk have lived their lives out here, it truly is the end of an era.

But I'm not sad, its been a tough few years that frankly have taken their toll on both myself, my family and my friends, its a chance for a new start, hopefully I can get my financial affairs into order such that I can walk away from this ever decreasing industry, I have skills that are pertinent to my specific industry, there's no doubt that I could easily find work but it would mean working in far flung places around the world and frankly I've had enough of that.

The cloud has lifted a little, its not gone yet, the skies are still a little grey but the sun is poking through :-)

I'll be taking a year off from work (again this is assuming I can sort my finances out) to enjoy my family, my friends, do some bike travelling, learn to surf, climb some big hills, relax, get healthy.

All being well this blog will be a lot more positive from about April next year.....

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Bikes take you places

From here


To here

via here


Last week was a good week bike wise, total of 258 miles, mix of road and offroad, all in a vain attempt to get some help for my legs in time for this weekends big dog 6 hr race. Now I know enough about myself that just finishing the whole 6 hours will be a challenge, you cant train for a month and expect to be a winner, but thats all relative, my aim for the day was to actually start and finish a race, that'd be enough for this year and quite an achievement in itself, fingers crossed.

But, by far and away the best thing about the last few months of riding has been the chance to get to new places under my own steam, exploring new trails has been a reasonable replacement for riding familiar trails with friends, reasonable but not sustainable, riding on your own is fine sometimes but no susbstitute for the real thing, with real people, hence my desire to be in Brighton this weekend coming.


There is a possibility that I wont even get there at the start line, work has become a battle zone due to all sorts of reasons and possibly the worst thing that could happen has happened, the crisis is deepening even as I type, fingers double crossed for a break in the tension that will allow me to get down to Brighton and play out.

Rides this year - 116

Miles this year - 2081

Monday, 3 August 2009

An uphill battle

Seemed to have spent a lot of time struggling uphill of late, either on foot, by bike or with a glass in my hand.

Having struggled with the walking I have started dropping the glucosamine again and already I can feel the benefit, placebo or not it works for me.

After the Scotland weekend and a few decent wet rides I needed a rest, so just some there and backs to work and a much needed day off before a bigish ride to Delamere and back to meet some friends, whilst we were there we had a spin out amongst the trees.

It was officially double ace.

Then spent the afternoon at the exodus festival in the city centre, despite my cynicism it turned out to be a great afternoon, some fabulous music was played despite a small crowd, no alcohol and daylight, a mix of rap, congolese, senegalese, reggae and bangra beats all fused together.

Today was a pleasant hour in the sunlight along mostly dry trails.

Interesting things are happening around me these days, I've been given the luxury of a reason to be creative, I have the idea but not the skills, but by the end of Weds I will have an idea of the skills I need and hopefully 3 pieces of work worthy of going into the magazine. This is actually a trial run for the long term animal project, the same skills will be required.

And I have been offered a part in an exhibition about Lindow Pete, completely out of the blue, sometimes good things happen

edit - looks as though I'm too late to get involved with show, oh well, it was nice to be asked



Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Walking, Thinking, Planning


let me think

Fairford Airshow weekend - ace

Munro weekend, 22 miles on foot, at least half of it uphill, cyclists legs meant pain, solitude, peace ad quiet (no wind) midges, beer whisky, stretching, 3 fried breakfasts - ace

last two work weeks punctuated by several there and backs - ordinary

New/Old bike - ace

fast as a very fast thing if someone else was in charge

30 miles yesterday in the rain and mud - ace

20 miles today in the rain and mud - ace

legs feel strong - ace

weekend rides looming, local trails as I'm on call - ordinary

Delamere early Sinday with Tim - double ace

Keilder 100 FAIL already, common sense dictated that I'll be a tail end charlie marshall this year - gnar

Big Dog barking away in my head, should be doable, and bonus ride in the downs that are south - ace

some photography, some creativity - ace

more rain expected in August- shite

great stuff

Le Tour - fantastic, too much to say - ace

Some friends coming back into the radar - treble ace

some friends going off the radar - minus 7 aces

and as always plans, plan and more plans, looking at this coming winters cx races, looking at next years middle enduro races, we'll see, there's a lot of water to go under the bridge before firmness can be achieved

Monday, 13 July 2009

eyes bigger than my belly

hard to believe I know....

but the belly has to go

the drinking is under control now, I'll never be tea total but its a small step towards sobriety (not that I am ever out of control drunk), the diet is good (averaging around 2000 cals per day) an I'm starting to feel the benefits of a half stone of lard already gone (trousers are less tight)

I've set some targets

Brighton Big Dog solo in August, 6 hours of fabulous trails, aim is to finish

Keilder 100 in Sept, I "might" have bitten off more than I can chew with this one, at least for this year, but its good to have a target.

However the biggest target is to be fit enough to keep up with two friends on a Scottish road trip in October, now I'm realistic enough to now that I wont be kicking anyones arse up those Scottish hills but I don't want to be a burden...

So, after last weekends century I wanted a century in a day, had all the right intentions but a bit of an issue in the bottom department meant a delayed start and feeling pretty weak, no matter, I managed 66 miles in just under 4 hours which was pleasing.

Less pleasing was my no show on Sunday, tired from the previous day I slept right through, first decent nights sleep since the rib incident meant waking up at ten, I was supposed to be in the valley by then !, so an apologising text was sent and then a change of plan, a late afternoon departure and a quickish (for me) 40 miles was knocked off meaning another 106 miles in the bank.

Two century weekends, combined with a Penmachno trip in the week and some middleish commutes have added up to finally getting some decent miles in my legs, its not enough, I'm not kidding myself but its a start.

And, for the first time in over ten years I'll be using a geared bike, its the only sensible option, and Tim has a bargainous VooDoo Sobo semi soft tail at a price that can't be bettered, I'll swap the mjority of the gear over from the Stiffee, fit new running gear and the Magura forks from the Retrotec, it should build up fairly light and cot me no more than the money I've raised from the sale of a pair of forks and an old Nikon lens :-)


Sunday, 5 July 2009

Century Weekend

This weekend saw the first running of he Singletrack world classic weekend, for various reasons I couldn't make that event so decided to try for a century on my own, the weather looked promising so I picked the SS Felt from the quiver and set off on Saturday afternoon. The transpenine trail was the choice, flat and dusty, all going well until mile 30 when my right knee imploded which meant standing and bearing my weight difficult, so I turned back defeated, still the sun was shining, there wasn't too many nerks on the trail so I limped back home.

Three miles from home and the heavens opened, proper tropical rain drops the size of eggs meant I was completely soaked by the time I got home.

54 miles

Sunday and again the sun was shining so I set off again, down the TPT which was bone dry already, all going well, even bumped into an old friend, and then the rain came down again, and even heavier than yesterday, the trails had no more soakabilty so it was standing brown water for the next hour until I eventually gave up and once again turned for home.

No knee issues today and the trails started to dry out so I continued upto the pyramid at Stockport, threatening clouds meant a sharpish retreat to get home with 52 miles on the clock.

So it was a century weekend but done over two days,maybe next weekend....


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

97 rides, 1493 (approx) miles

last week was astonishing even by my standards, the weather was fine, a bit of rain but mostly dry and warm meant road rides into the wind, ending with a 35 miler at a fair old lick.

Friday was one to forget, a bizarre accident at Tims shop meant a punctured arse and a called off visit to Afan, luckily Andy was on his way to pick me up and so Afan was back on, and to be frank it was fookin ace, no need to say much other than that really.

This week has been steady, nursing my wounds, my back/ribs are still painful at night in bed and my leg is now getting sore, just there and backs despite my ambitions.

Tomorrow night may well be the highlight of 2009, kraftwerk at the velodrome :-)

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Cracking up ?

Funny old week

Tuesday and my ribs were easing so I rode (slowly) to work, so far so good, Wednesday did the same and they had eased enough that I could walk without the tenseness and no need for painkillers :-)

Thursday tried the Felt to work, seemed fine enough to allow for an off road excursion to meet Dave, only an hour but all good, Friday much the same, by now I was planning to do some local trails at the weekend.

Saturday morning, felt okay but a few twinges in my back during the night seemed to indicate not to ride, okay, it was a dull day and I had a n alternative plan to go and photograph great crested Grebes and their chicks, in hind sight may not have been the brightest idea to hump a big lump of glass around.

Saturday night and I hardly slept a wink, lots of pain in my back around the area of the crash, needing painkillers again, feeling grumpy and fed up, painkillers kicking in,

maybe my body is telling me something ?


Monday, 15 June 2009

still smiling not grimacing

Friday and a false start, picked up Big Red from Tim who had once again done a sterling job, then a random phone call meant heading back to Manchester to pick up Kevin, arrived at the cabin around 3, unloaded and then headed over to Dolgellau for a spin down the Mawdach trail as per the plan.

A lovely ride in the afternoon sun, just 20 miles, coffee and cake in Barmouth, pint of fine ale half way back then into town to get supplies, the rest of the crowd arrived during the evening, early bed ready for a big day.

Saturday arrived and the sun was already blazing down, quick spin along the road and we were at the CyB shop, Kevin hired a Heckler (his first time on a full suspension bike) I bought some new reactolite shades and we were gone, a bit of a miscalculation on my part saw a fall and sore ribs. The trails were in fab condition, dry and dusty, highlight being the warm pine smell that was erupting all around us, it was as though we were in the mediterenean rather than Wales, all good.

A full days riding topped off with a drag uphill along the road, rewarded with two cold beers a piece, dinner at the pub, a few more beers and bed.

Sunday, again the plan was to hit the trails early, sore ribs meant I sat this one out, choosing to just spin along the fire roads down to the river, the guys were back two hours later, all smiles, all happy, Kevin now riding his hardtail already planning to buy a Heckler.

Roy, Harm and Dave then headed home whilst Kevin and I eager to ride more decided to go along the Mawdach trail again as that was all my ribs would take, almost a perfect copy of Fridays ride was the best way to finish the weekend, the views of the estuary were stunning, the trail full of families both walking and on bikes, excellent.

Monday, pay day, could hardly get out of bed let alone get on a bike, Nurofen Extra did the trick and it appears to be easing all the time, road bike tomorrow, no alcohol this week, watch what I eat, too long too fat, thats changing from now.

AND, no pain in my right calf, hopefully 3 days reasonable riding has cleared out whatever was in there again ??

Thursday, 11 June 2009

I'm Mr Positive today am I

So, its now Thursday and another week has gone by with only there and backs to show for it, but it might have worked, no pain today, no stiffness, no soreness

and best of all the sun is shining again

A full weekend at Coed Y Brenin is looming, tomorrow I'll pick up Big Red from Tim, should all be fixed and good to go, then head off the Dolgellau for a spin down the Mawdach trail, despite the fact that it is as flat as a witches tit its one of my favourite rides, just ten miles each way along one of the most beautiful estuaries in Great Britain, and it ends up at Barmouth which still retains some of that old world charm of a seaside resort.

Now all that is usually just enough but this trail has extra, memories that is, some 8 years ago there was a Fat Tyre Family Festival organised by Pat Adams at Coed Y Brenin, it only lasted two years but it was a great event which cemented some life long friendships as all the crew had young kids at that time and we shared some great times riding in the forest and along that trail, the big boys had a great time in the woods, the girls took the kids around the tamer trails and then on the Sunday we all rode along the Mawdach trail, sunshine and lollipops :-)

The event is also the place where I first met my jock friends, again great people who I consider to be lifelong friends.

Anyhow, I'm digressing, the weekend will be spent with work friends, like minded work friends that is, they all love bike riding of all sorts, they all have a taste for fine beers and good wine and they all like spending time in the woods with their mates, its gonna be great.

Lots of saddle time ahead I hope.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

79, 80, 81, 82 and 83

79, 25 miles on the De Rosa in the sun

80, another 25 miles on the De Rosa in the sun

81, yet another 25 miles on the De Rosa in the sun

Thursday, woke up, right leg sore as ever :-(

Friday, drove to Bristol full of hope, Friday night fun, then rain, then more rain, in the tent with Raoul, couldn't sleep due to the noise of the rain, decision made at 4am not to ride, didn't ride, had a fun time anyway supporting folk.

Established that its not gout.

1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th for cheeky folk in various classes

Sunday, after even more rain decided not to ride in Leigh Woods as per last nights plan, no one else seemed to have he stomach for it either, drove home.

Monday, 82, straight to work and back, leg still sore

Today, Tuesday, 83, straight to work and back, leg not so sore today, another weekend away looming, it had better get better :-/


Sunday, 31 May 2009

73, 74, 75, 76, 77 and 78

73, 74, 75 were straight there and backs to work on the road bike, nothing to note other than the muscle was shy of doing its share.

76 started much the same but then the sun came out and I decided to hit the long way home, just 20 miles spinning along but obviously cleared some kind of blockage as on Saturday when I woke up I had no pain !

77, got the Spot out, I've been toying with reducing, or even removing all the weight from my back for some time now, a quick trip to the Shak and the bike is all bottle caged and seat packed up and gagging to go, the sun was shining very brightly and the trails promised doost.

For the interested, 2 tubes, one of each size, spare patches, small multitool, 2 x 750 ml bottles of white grape high juice, (non Juarez available) pump attached to bottle stops, mobile wrapped in £20 note inside Sidi sealable placcy bag in jersey pocket, house keys in shorts pocket, Nikon P5100 wrapped in sealable placcy bag in jersey pocket, 1 Peanut butter Cliff bar in jersey ppocket

Despite wanting more I kept it just to 20 miles, no point in undoing what little bit of good I'd done by resting. I did contemplate going out again later when it had cooled a little but there was some soreness there so bailed that.

Sunday and again the sun was out, same trails but this time further, 30 miles, slow and steady, I'm liking not having any weight on my back, and being forced to carry very few things in your back pockets is quite liberating.

78 rides, 1168 miles

perfect preparation for this coming weekends Bristol 12 :-)


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Nice things happen

A very nice thing happened last weekend

lots of folk were there to help celebrate

lots of other folk were there in spirit

its what link us all together as friends, good things that is

and I do mean all of us


Thursday, 21 May 2009

67 ........ 72

In the last month I have ridden a bike just 6 times

67, work and home

68, Sunday morning at Delamere with Tim

69, work and home

70, work and home the long way

71, work and home the long way

72, very early start at Delamere

100 miles approx, lots of fun, lots of rain, lots of beer and wine.

The woman who's had an operation is recovering well.

I've managed to tear a muscle in my calf, the physio is saying deep muscle trauma, my leg is saying ouch, ooyaa, bugger

Its looking like another week off the bike, its looking like Bristol will be yet another poor showing

but, compared to some I've come off lightly, first Grant with his collar bone, Jenn with her wrist, now Chris with her shoulder, the artist and his lungs, and then there's Matt with his ankle, its not been a good year for the cheeky people

However, there is a fun weekend looming, there is a road bike begging for a hiding (hopefully next week pending deep muscle trauma pissing off)

keep smiling

Monday, 13 April 2009

63, 64, 65 and 66

63, Thursday, straight to work, long way home, 25 miles for the day.

64, Friday, straight to work, straight home, 10 miles, nothing to note.

65, Saturday, 22 miles in the peaks with 24 other people, The Modfather had arranged a fantastic weekend at a bunkhouse in Bamford, lots of the usual suspects, some new faces, all good, the ride was lots of fun, lots of faffage, lots and lots of stops for chats and laughs, 6 hours out, just about 4 hours of riding very slowly, beer almost at the end, just before the DDDD descent at the back of Bamford, one from the old days there.

Best moment of the day ?, seeing Andy Armstrong on a bike and enjoying himself, the boy done good, everyone enjoyed that.

A late late night followed, not too much alcohol but lots of deep and meaningful chat, all the people involved go back some years and need to know that we all love each other. If you were there you were there because you are a valued friend.

Sunday morning followed and another ride gathered its momentum, even slower today, a bit less chat, hangovers kicking in, nothing epic by any means but finishing with cake and ice cream at the Woodbine was the perfect end.

10 miles.

142 for the week, 968 for the year.

It would appear that century fever is amongst us, all over the country friends are doing old school century's, I need to raise my game and get in amongst it...

It'll have to wait a while though, SWMBO is now out of hospital and recovering well, but gently does it, steady away to quote Sharon, even though I'm off work this week I'll only be doing the odd ride down the river :-)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Its been a funny old day...

A week off the bike seemed to have helped the ills disapear, a short break in Jersey certainly helped, it was, to coin the cliche, a bit like going back in time only with all the mod cons, lots of ferrari's driving along in 2nd gear, lots of polite and pleasant people, lots of lovely coastal walks and great food and wine.

The biggest impression was the wartime history, there's no getting away from it and being so close was quite moving.


Ride number 60, Monday, straight to work and then a long ride home, once again the cheap and cheer full Kona was the weapon of choice, chosen for its mudguards, not really needed as no rain was spilt, that bike is 100 times better than it has any right to be, sure its heavy but it just damn works.

25 miles

Ride 61, again straight to work on the Kona, middle way home, 20 miles for the day.

Ride 62, and yet again straight to work, this time on the Trek 69er, I really like this bike, it just feels and rides right and as Ben said it is one of those bikes that is blessed with rightness, hell even the ISIS bottom bracket is still running smoothly after a year ( I have to say that I have previous with ISIS, having blasted through these bottom brackets in as little as 15 miles) , the consensus of friends is that its a cheap and cheerful version, i:e cheap and heavy, therefore strong. And of course after posing this question to my cheeky friends I readily accepted that this forthcoming weekends shenanigans will be cursed :-).

The bell fnally rang at work and was out into the sunlight, heading west along the trans pennine trail until the first puncture, couldn't believe it, a stick had torn through the tyre, quick tube change and a make do tyre boot and away, turning soon enough and heading back with the sun on my back, got to the point of decision and felt that feeling of tyre squealing as you turn, another damn puncture, as I jumped of the bike I noticed something a bit odd in the gutter, a ginger ladies wig !!

No idea how that got there, presumably some kind of strange liason gone wrong ?, any how I put it on a post just in case the owner was looking for it.

The day was done now, 30 miles for the day, 75 for the week so far, 901 for the year.

More to come on Thursday and Friday and then a weekend in the peak districts beckons :-)


Monday, 23 March 2009

Sunshine, sunshine.....grey.....ill...shit

So, where were we ?

ah yes, 58 and 59

58 actually comprised of 3 rides in one day, middle way to work, short way home and then Benji's birthday night ride, probably 20 miles in total, the work rides were pleasant enough, but the highlight of the day was the short night ride, up Jack bridge and for the first time this year my legs felt as though there was a little bit of life in them, got to the top hardly breathing, and had held a conversation all the way up !, going down over the other side of the valley was lots of fun also, despite almost taking Charlotte (CLO Radsville as she likes to be known, and is deserving of the name) out by my poor riding, cleaned punch the wall, almost cleaned conkers deep (1 dab) but then stalled at the steps at the last bit, but no matter, I had a lot of fun, quick pint afterwards and Dave and I had to leave before the celebrations really got going.

59 (Friday) up early and out, longish way to work, legs a bit stiff from last night, but the sun was rising, ace ride, 12 miles off road all the way, then leaving work early, long way home, 2 hours soaking in the sunlight, mmmmm...

another 25 miles.

Total for the week is 142 miles, quite pleased with that, more importantly though is the amount of saddle time :-)

Weekend greyness returned, I'd kind of planned not to ride on Saturday anyway, had some Avocets to photograph, shame the light was awful, Sunday and more greyness and not feeling too brilliant so again set off after the Avocets, nowt much happening though.

Monday, woke up feeling not quite right, stayed in bed for most of the day, feels like the cold from last year is coming back, not really a big surprise, friends are reporting similar, my folks have got it bad (and after I visited on Saturday I'm not surprised) so we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Only two days left in which to ride this week as we are off to Jersey for a short break, rthe weather is looking terrible, almost certain to not ride again till next week :-(

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

54, 55, 56 and 57

54 - Monday morning, straight to work in the morning, Chateuneuf headache in tow, by the afternoon the sun was out, headed west along the trans penine trail, only as far as Thelwall, then back and east, 2 and a half hours, 35 miles for the day.

55 - Tuesday morning, up early and a medium way into work, early morning sun put a smile on my face, 12 miles.

56 - Tuesday evening, out of work early and again heading west, didn't get as far as Thelwall, turned and headed east, retraced my steps from this morning, one idiot in a car tried to kill me but as always he didn't want to stop for a discussion, cock, one and a half hours, 18 miles.

57 - Wednesday, up and straight to work, foggy and damp, but...., once again the sun came out and burnt the wet away, legs were a little heavy from the last three days.... but an email from a friend had inspired me to ride so again I set off west wards heading into the sun, an hour and a half was enough, the warmth on my face was soothing, and another alcohol free night tonight.

20 miles today, I might be getting near my first 100 mile week this week, aiming to get up early tomorrow, a switch to the Stiffee will slow things down but an hour and fifteen should be a reasonable time for the medium way to work and then all things being well I'll be in Calderdale tomorrow night for my first night ride of 2009 !!


Sunday, 15 March 2009

Ride No 53

Best laid plans.....

My left knee was aching all last weekend after the ice crash, so after the right knee taking over a month to get better I decided to take a week off, so i took a week off, and got back on the bike last Friday for a short spin into work, the knee ached all day which effectively wrote off this weekends plans.

However I had an itch to scratch so I got up early for a short spin on the road bike, an hour and fifteen, 22 miles and no aching, but lets be realistic, I'll try the Breed to work tomorrow morning and then see how it feels with some dirt on it.

Its a shame that I missed out on riding with friends this last weekend as I'm effectively out of circulation for the next two months due to a mixture of work and family commitments, in fact its unlikely that I wont ride a mountainbike again until early June when I'll be attempting a 12 hour endurance race at the Bristol Bike Fest (which unfortunately is the same weekend as SSUK09).

So, this years has seen 53 rides, 684 miles, about a thousand miles less than it should be and more annoying is that most of the rides have been solo instead of with friends, June should see that start to change.


Wednesday, 11 March 2009

31 in 31 FAIL

common sense got the better of me, my knee was still aching and there was ice on the road, I bailed out and decided a week off would be needed, today I woke up and my knee wasn't aching.

Tomorrow I will ride to work, and maybe try the long way home depending upon how it feels.

Of course all this is a total and utter irrelevance as 2 friends got carted last week...

Grant had a car turn across him, he now has 3 collar bones and a stuffed knee which is looking like 3 months off the bike, tomorrow he faces surgery to rebuild his bones...

Gary also had a car turn across him, he got off slightly better, bruised all over and a cut to his cheek just below his left eye from his Oakley's which required 5 stitches.

Both of em lit up like xmas trees, neither of em seen by the car driver ?

Both of em incredibly lucky to be able to tell the tale, no wonder I prefer to get muddy than have to deal with this stuff :-/

on a brighter note, the coming weekend should ( knee permitting) see some quality road miles in my legs, riding around Calderdale on a road bike has been likened to playing cricket at Wembley, I quite like that idea and am looking forward to another perspective on one of my favourite areas for riding.

And the hopefully another attempt at 30 in 30 in April.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

11 almost fail

morning, up late, headache due to red wine, ice on roads, not a happy bunny, 20 mins and safety

day, knee and ankle sore and stiff, doubt creeps in, lots of water, bail Stanny's birthday ride, feel like a heel, bored, still stiff, sensible thoughts, decide to bail 31 in 31, get out at 4

night, sunshine, slight tail wind, get to crux point, fuckit, o left and hit the trail, knee is loosening up, trails are tacky, sunshine providing some warmth on my face......

Arrive home one and a half hours later, victory snatched from the jaws of laziness, 31 in 31 lives another day.

Next week planning to step it up, need to get fit, need to get fit, need to stop drinking, need to get thin, there may be trouble ahead

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

9 and ten

9 = 20 minutes to work as I was late, then out into the wind and rain and sleet and hail, and fun fun fun, muddy wet trails, 1 and 1 half hour later and I'm home getting undressed in the kitchen......

25 miles

T10 = the long way in, had to pick up a parcel and then onto to the ice, only problem was that I didn't realise it was icy until too late, just riding along and smiling at the sunlight, urn left and whammoo, once again this winter I'm on my arse !

Totally didn't see that coming, must have been some bad karma catching up with me ?, anyway, damage to the bike amounts to a bent and scratched brake lever and torn bar tape, damage to me includes 50pence shaped hole in left knee, puncture would to left calf ?, sore left wrist and now sore down the left side all over.

Still, at least no one saw my ungracious fall, an hour later and I'm at work, shower, shave and coffee, sit down, start to get stiff, ache, wince, get through the day, keep moving, jet wash bike, lube chain, grind brake blocks flat on the linisher, pick random pieces of metal out of brake blocks, realign brake blocks, notice that rims (Mavic Open Pro's) are already wearing out after 200 miles, short way home....

During the day I had lots of random but totally lucid thoughts I wanted to share here, but they've all gone back inside and I'm buggered if I can remember any of them, perhaps the metal that was in the pads fell out of my ears ?

20 miles

oh yeah, Endura Event 3/4s and Endura Stealth softshell totally and utterly rock in the wet and mud.

Buy some


Monday, 2 March 2009

4,5,6,7 and 8

Thursday - one hour and 15 minutes in the morning, 30 mins in the evening equals 20 miles and then 265 miles in the car.

Friday - 6 hours on the hills and the dark and the pub, lost in a forest all alone, scared shitless on a busy road with no lights, Biff rescue, dropping through the woods in the dark is ace, 4 hours ride time, at least 25 miles, probably nearer 30.

Friday night - cocktails, great food, red wine, lots of laughing, sleep.

Saturday - sober up, drive, change, ride, sore legs, coastal path, hidden valley, sunshine and lollipops, h bars, tea cake, slow legs, sore knee, broken chain, last hill, sprint along the dock road, knee popping, rest, tea, curry beer, chat, laugh, sleep, 4 hours riding, 6 hours out in the sunshine - 30 miles

Sunday - grey, cold, sore knee, drive, afternoon sun, ride for one hour and 30, 20 miles.

Monday, up early, one hour and 15 in the morning, one hour and twenty five in the evening, knee is okay on flat trails - 30 miles.

easy peasy ?

nope, tomorrow is heavy rain, that will really test my fortitude.

BTW, single speed cross bikes rawk, I may have already said that :-)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

31 in 31 - pointless willy waving

So, once again it begins....

No idea why ?, it just seems like a good idea and it can only help so here we go

Monday, an hour and ten minutes in the morning on the Breed, job done, home was the middle way, 20 miles.

Tuesday was an early start, once again down the river, an hour and ten, home was straight back, 16 miles.

Loving the Breed.

Wednesday (today) was a late start as I had a dentist appointment at 1030 so up at 8 and out by ten past, down the river to the fields of cross feeling pretty groovy, the bike just wanted to go faster and faster, I was laughing to myself, letting the bike slide around, pushing the traction to the limit, did some climbs, out of the saddle and stomping hard NO KNEE PAIN !!!!!

An hour and 30 minutes later and I' done, but not yet finished.

Dentist, replacement filling and back out on the bike, legs now stiffening so just straight into work.

The bell rang and I was out again, across the moss to the shak, picked up some Cliff Shots and a couple of Cliff bars for the weekend, a quick catch up with the crew's news at the shak, a brew and I'm back out again on the moss, acoss the back to the river at a fair pace, hit the river trail and run out of energy.

Span my way home happy with a 30 mile 3 ride day :-)

The Felt Breed has inspired this return of the love, dunno why it should be any different from my beloved Jake but there you go, I can only see myself riding this bike for the rest of the 31 in 31 (at least during the week), this bike rawks !


Sunday, 22 February 2009

37, 38, 39 and 40

37,38,39 were boring there and backs, made ever so slightly more interesting by being along the river on the Stiffee which is the only burly bike with working brakes, I now have 4 pairs of Hopes that need servicing !

anyhow, no aches from the knee during any of these rides so I felt confident about todays escape to Penmachno


But before all that we had a few comedy moments, first of all driving into ByC for a bacon butty, we were both laughing at the memory of the potato gun incident from Robs leaving do, what must the residents have thought as hot potatoes rained down into the town that night ? and then just a funny for me watching Dave drop his coffee as he struggled to get out of the bakery door, I guess you had to be there on both occasions !

Anyway, the ride....

1st climb and I'm wincing, 1st descent and I cant stand without it buckling under me, bollocks bollocks bollocks.

Dave and Ali continued on to finish the red route whilst I dropped back down the hill, but instead of heading to the car I dropped into the granny ring and spun my way up hill to drop down the last singletrack descent, the knee was still aching and twingeing but was tolerable so I decided to head off again to see how it went. I headed back uphill at a snails pace but again it was manageable, decided to head further up and get to the second last descent, after an eternity in the granny ring I finally got there. The descent was interesting as there was a few guys in front of me who were even slower downhill than me and I kept catching them, but as tempting as it was to overtake I decided to stop and let them get well ahead so that I could descend at a more pedestrian pace.

I got back to the car having done just an hour so my start at 31 in 31 was completed, and despite the knee playing up I was still happy, happy just to be in the hills, happy to drive down the estuary road to ByC, happy to hear the buzzards calling and watching them circle (I've been going here to ride bikes for 20 years now and I always see and associate buzzards with this area).

abot an hour later Dave and Ali arrive back at the car, they are buzzing having raced around the trail, get changed, bikes loaded, cheery goodbyes, some vague plans for another attempt at Snowdon and we are driving.

This week will see just an hour eac morning hoping that the knee will get better in time for next weekend.

Running total, 40 rides and 480 miles.


Monday, 16 February 2009

Into the light

35 was a straight there and back affair, down the river in the mud, 10 miles.

36 (today) was again a straight there and back affair, down the river in the mud, 10 miles.


At last I managed a ride home tonight without the need for life saving blinkies, its such a boost, almost enough to make me forget my rubbish knee, the knee that I fell on nearly four weeks ago, the knee I knacked riding silly long miles up silly bloody hills, the knee that I landed on last week.

Needless to say I didn't get out on the bike over weekend, the rain made my decision easy, rest the knee.

Its starting to get on my nerves now, I'd been expecting to have got into the gym at work by now, rowing, running and that ski thingy, maybe next week ?.

Probably just do the commute this week, hopefully then able to get to Penmchno for a big sky experience on Sunday :-)

Thursday, 12 February 2009

31, 32, 33 and 34

Weds and I had to drop the car off at the garage for its MOT, this gave me the option of different route into work along the ice covered canal, 12 miles of sketchiness, the way home was porridgey, 11 miles.

23 miles total.

Today, Thursday saw one more of my nine lives used up, ironically I set of along the river thinking that would be safer, it was very icy so I left as soon as I could and got on the road, all was well until the final junction before work.

There had been an underground water leak that obviously had turned to ice and slush, I got round this very gingerly and was going along my merry way thinking I was safe, trouble was that the slush had been falling from the cars for another 100 yards or so and turned to proper black ice just before I needed to take a right hander. It was here that I slid out, slow motion almost laughing at my own stupidity until I realised there was a fully loaded 20 ton truck sliding on the same ice patch towards me.

When I opened my eyes after realising thta he hadn't hit me I got up and shaked meself down, looking at the drivers face I dont know who was the more relieved me or him, I guess I'd rather have been in his seat :-0.

Tonight I felt remarkably stiffless despite this mornings tumble, another frustrating day at work turned into another porridgey ride home, I needed to pedal for a bit to get some stress out of my system, an hour was done, turning home just as the sleet started, job done.

15 miles today.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

26, 27, 28, 29 and 30

Well, the rest of last week was simply there and back affairs as my knee was still sore, sore enough in fact that I rested it over the weekend and took the opportunity to get to the local nature reserve for some photography.

Monday came and went in a black ice wipe out, again less than 100 yards from home and I'm on my arse, so back to the car.

Today saw less ice so I chanced my arm and managed an hour dodging the ice puddles and obvious black ice, a couple of hairy moments but I arrived at work an hour and 12 miles later, tonight and the ice had melted so I pretty much did this mornings ride in reverse, took me about 10 minutes longer in the mud but it was still a pleasure.

25 miles for today.

running total for the year to date is 30 rides and 389 miles.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

24 and 25

Monday, the day after the weekend and I was officially broken, my right knee was sore and swollen from the near as damn it 100 miles at the weekend and I'd decided that it was going to be a car day...

Until I looked through the curtains..... SNOW !!!!!

quickly getting dressed into riding gear and my knee started to make some ooh ahh noises, but I could see that the snow hadn't been disturbed and my tracks would be the first of the day, and they were apart from some fox tracks, bliss !

30 mins later and I'm back in the world of misery

The ride home was a bitterly cold experience, sleet and rain, a complete change from the fluffy whiteness of the morning.

Today was predicted to be a black ice day, and given that my legs were as stiff as a board it became a car day, tomorrow will see the SS Felt cross bike out and being given a real off road test, there's a nice twisty climb to conquer and some overgrown singletrack to belt through.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23

Work has been truly terrible this week, the realisation of owing 32 billion dollars is starting to hit home badly and I've had to lay off two people already :-(

And because of that its been a depressing drinking week that seemed to never end...

Anyway, I did ride my bike to work for most of the week, in fact the only car trip was to take fresh shirts and stuff, but it wasn't the week I planned and hoped for.

32 slow miles.

However there was a plan for the weekend, it nearly didn't happen due to the above, my heart wasn't into anything but getting shit faced all weekend, but there was the involvement of 3 other people to consider, good friends who had agreed to spend the weekend with me on one of my hair brained schemes, and this was more than enough incentive.

An early start o Saturday morning and we were away, I'll say no more for the time being as the weekend is the first of a new series for Singletrack Magazine, and the full story will be in the next issue.

Suffice to say though that 3 weekends of riding after months of laziness was never going to be enough :-0

Quick top up for January

278 miles and 23 rides, not to bad a start considering the weather....

Monday, 26 January 2009

15, 16 and seveteeeen !

15 and 16 were just straight forward there and back affairs, work sucked.

However number 17 deserves a special mention, it was a social ride, Dave, Sharon, Kelvin, Ollie and Jennifer set off once again up Jack Bridge and this week it was a whole lot easier, no dizzyness, no rising puke this time, following much the same route as last week and all going well until I hit the ground hard.

Hard enough to break one of my teeth !

I've worked it out now, I was slowing down and looking for somewhere to stop to take photographs, about 3mph I reckon when my front wheel slipped off one of the pack horse stones into hub deep mud, the bike stopped but I didn't, landed on my back bursting my camelbac bladder (which I didn't notice until I got home) and catching the inside of my right leg on the brake lever as I flew over the top, left knee and both shins took a clattering.

Bars bent, back brake lever bent, front brake blown out.

And of course it goes without saying that there was an audience of ramblers who looked on open mouthed until I stood up and shaked myself down, this time I did feel sick.

The guys came past asking if I was okay, of course I said yes, but then once past I had to sit down and gather myself, my left knee was throbbing, I had two boiled eggs on my shins and both of these were bleeding, soon after some adrenalin kicked in and I got going. The rest of the ride was much fun but I could feel a stiffening going on as we made our way upto the top despite a feeble attempt on my part to play the card, and the effort was rewarded by the sun coming out just as we hit the tops.

Coffee and cake at the railway and we were done, another 15 miles in the bag but more importantly a few more circles along the road to fitness :-).

Sunday saw me out walking (or that should be limping) in the peak district for a change of pace, it was also a reccy through Macc Frest for next weekend's 1 Ton Weekend.

This morning I was far too stiff to ride, i fact it was difficult to walk, hopefully thats my annual crash out of the way for this year....ouch...

Legs don't look too hot today mind unless brown and purple are in fashion.

This week should see a few 20 milers before a big weekend of two 60 miles days.

Monday, 19 January 2009

11,12 , 13 and 14

No 11 was a straight there and back affair, 8 miles.

No 12 was a return to the Calder valley as per the picture above, Dave, Sharon, Matt, Dave and I headed out up the usual start of Jack Bridge, always a killer start no matter how fit (or not) you are, if you are fit you have no excuses and can go faster and it hurts like hell, if you aint fit you go slow and it hurts like hell.

There was a ride last year that started up here and its the nearest thing I've ever felt to having a heart attack, not today though due to the conscious decision to take a geared bike :-)

Anyway, the top was reached despite the suicide driver trying to get her Corsa down where her satnav was pointing ! then more up and on to angry farmers wife, the out and across to Whirlaw in the bogs where the above snap was taken in fantastic light, I regreted not having a bigger camera with me.

Down from Whirlaw to Singletrack Towers where poor old Sim was working, a buttie and a brew later and we were out along the canal heading upto London road, the tarmac climb seemed to go on forever, eventually topping out at the start of the porridge trail that is London road in the wet. Uptil now I had been riding within myself, slowly conserving what little strength I had but finally that dissappeared during a conversation with Matt, it was as though someone had turned off the gas in my legs, from there on it was a battle of mind over matter to drag my carcass over to Chips Bday present.

This fantastic challenging downhill trail was unrideable for me, I was tripoding more or less all the way down until the last section at the bridge, after that the slimey rocks gave way to slimey grass but the even fully loaded Kendas managed to find a small amount of grip through the trees so that ended the day on a high.

15 miles

A very civilised evening followed, good food and wine and then a very scarey film that Matt and I agreed to give up on as we were both scared shitless !!





No 13

To Oxenhope with Tanya in tow, Dave, Sharon, Barney, Piers and Andy all gagging for a ride in the sunlight, we didn't know about the wind until we hit tops. A fine dose of the Usual plus, shoeshine, Manywells, the windy road etc etc. Trails were wet and slippy but in good nick, Lame Lamb should be renamed as Tame Lamb, there isn't any challenge to it at all now, which is sad really as this was one of my many nemisis trails (more to come on the theme later).

Legs were tight and sore all the way round, the windy road was excruciatingly painfull, tap it out ?, more like grind it in !, then onto the moors where my meagre technical skills deserted me and I slithered about from rut to rut all the way down to the road and across the conduit hitting almost every hub deep puddle along the way. The legs did just about last until we got to Piers house (and perfect timing as the sleet started just then),for a quick bike hose then into the pub for a swift beer, all in all a great ride with great company and a top weekend, more to come no doubt.

15 miles

No 14, up early full of intentions but legs said NO WAY, so straight to work, and now its snowing so straight home, 8 miles.

2 days of rest coming up and then back to business :-)

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Junk Miles ?

Actually no, ride No 9 was the shortest way to work this morning, only 4 miles but into a nagging wind, not fun at all.

But tonight along the river, in the mud was great fun, (Ride No 10) 17 miles later and its done and I enjoyed it, and the real bonus was that I was lightless until 5 o'clock and only put me lights on after nearly riding into a horse, it reminded me of a snowy night ride a few years ago when the moon was so bright we could ride just by the light of the moon, a special evening.

I reckon that if I can keep tis up in January then I'll have a good base for Feb and should be able to start stretching the rides out a bit more, 30 or 40 miles days should happen in Feb and then March with even lighter nights should see some Delamere road rides in preparation for the West Highland Way.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Rides 7 and 8

Along the river this morning in the drizzle but by the light of a full moon - 11 miles.

Short way home tonight, in the drizzle - 6 miles

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Ride 5 and 6

No 5 was just 5 miles to work this morning.

No 6 was the long(ish) way home, 15 miles along unlit country lanes sure gets the heart pumping.

Thats all.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Rides 2,3 and 4

Saturday saw an early start in amongst the ice and frost, the trails were lovely, all hardpacked and firm, slowly melting under tyre, just an hour and a half was enough for the frost to get into my lungs and set off the cough again but it were more than enough.

Ride No 2 - 15 miles.

Flat firm trails deceive, I had a half assed idea that beneath all the blubber there was some lingering strength, how naive !

Sunday saw the return of the grey and the rain, up and out early and into a headwind that truly revealed that 3 months without exertion cannot under any circumstances be hidden, crawling breathless and sweating like a pig I managed a good 12 mph into that headwind. Out and around the back of the airport I also managed to find the only remaining sheet of ice left in the whole of Cheshire, I was half way along it before the realisation hit home.

And then it got even more worserer, a hill, not just any hill but a 1 in 4 MoFo that takes some doing at the best of times, and this is where 40 years of bike riding comes into play, settle down and spin, don't let the bile down and don't let the puke rise.

Another hour and a half and I'm done, this time though there's no illusion !

Ride No 3 - 18 miles.

Monday morning and my fat ass really didn't want to get out of bed, however the fun factory needed some attention so I dutifully rode to work, did some stuff and then rode home with sore heavy legs, tomorrow night I will attack that same climb once again, there's only one way to do this stuff, the hard way.

Ride No 4 - 9 miles.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Onwards and Upwards - Ride No 1

So, the holiday season is over, the ice has melted and the world hasn't actually stopped, life at work is difficult to say the least, we are almost 30 billion dollars in debt but some people still believe in us and have been kind enough to give us another 3 billion to get us over this difficult period - God bless America

Got to see my apprentice over the xmas period, albeit too briefly (and no sight of the lovely Laura ), he's come a long way and is now one of the best photogs on the mountainbike scene IMHO, however, HE needs to keep to his own unique eye :-)

So, all the negativity has been put away for the weekend, 2 days of bike rides ahead, how can it get any better ?, well to start with today I did the first ride of 2009, all was going well, trails are in reasonable condition, not many people about for me to scowl at and then I remembered that the spare tubes that I had in my bag were 700x23 and the tyres on my bike were 29 x2.1's !.

Within 2 minutes of this realisation I heard the pop !, front wheel flat at approximately 5 miles from home, not a cat in hells chance of that tube fitting so I set off jogging, to be honest I wasn't that bothered as I'd already ridden 10 or so miles and was happy, had that slight warm leg feeling that has been so missing for the last few months.

Got home about an hour later with a very sore heel, riding shoes aren't really designed for running and walking but otherwise fine, quick bike swap and I was out back on the trails and the 30 mins later in work, shave, shower and coffee and all was well.

Long difficult day and then short way home, got cut up at the lights and the driver wound down his window and apologised !, blimey charlie !

Ride No 1 - 15 miles on the bike, 5 miles walk... a good start

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