Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I decided to run in the end.

There was some patches of blue sky so I thought sod it, got my kit on and off I went. I could see black clouds looming but the wind had dropped a little. I wanted to keep my heart rate below 160 to make sure I didn't over do it. I succeeded pretty well actually, at the end of the run my average hr was 157. I have no idea on distance or pace as I don't have the Garmin but it ws quite nice to just amble along.

I even jogged up onto the railway embankments and I normally sprint up those. There weren't many people out and about and the Ribble was pretty high although not moving rapidly. Maybe the tide was coming in, the water sometimes looks like its flowing upstream when that happens.

On the last section of the tramway when heading home I was doing "oblivious runner with an Ipod on" running in the middle of the track. I realised and moved over to the left properly anda minute or two later a cyclist came past. He really needs to invest in a new pair of shorts, I got to see more of his backside than I really thought was decent. Bleurgh.

I think the route I took is around 5.5 miles as I've run it several times before. I managed not to get rained on at all which was nice. Assuming the weather isn't totally hideous then I will be night riding tomorrow then resting Thursday and Friday.

Do I Run Or Not ???

I had planned to do 5/6 miles tonight, preferably hilly offroad. The offroad is definitely out and the way the rain is lashing against my office window the road run is out too. I quite enjoy running in the rain and I also enjoy the stupidity of running in 30mph winds but I hate them as a combination.

My plan was to rest Thursday and Friday before running on Saturday but I am now thinking of canning tonights run and going out for a run with the club on Thursday with the slow group. I will enjoy that a lot more even if it is raining and blowing a hoolie....

I am so glad I cycled to work yesterday!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cycle Commute

Decided to cycle to work today rather than Tuesday, primarily because I have a dentist appointment on Tuesday morning but also because the weather is due to deteriorate. I had thought I wouldn't be able to cycle in as I will be taking it easy at the end of the week, but then I remembered the panniers and carrying the laptop is now easy.

It is definitely cold of a morning but it was dry when I set off and pretty still. That changed as I cycled out the other side of Warton, its quite an exposed section and the wind had gotten up properly. I was down to 10mph at some points due to the wind in my face and I was hoping it wouldn't turn round and would blow me home.

It took me 1:11 to cycle in what is now over 18 miles due to changing my route slightly, but again I'd enjoyed it and not killed myself. I parked up in the "bike cupboard" and headed to the shower. I'd remembered my towel this time and the hot shower was very welcome.

The wind got stronger as the day wore on but didn't change direction. I had originally planned on leaving the laptop at work as I was no longer on call but I had some work to do in the evening so it came home again, this meant the pannier was fully loaded.

It threatened rain but thankfully it didn't materialise, it was hard work for the first short section along Blackpool road but then I turned off and the wind was behind me and I started motoring along with no effort. I flew along the section between Lytham and Warton, feeling sorry for the riders going the other way - I did have to ride against it in the morning but it wasn't as strong.

On the Freck bypass I thought I had a puncture, the back of the bike started to feel quite squishy and squirrely. I stopped but the tyre was fine, it kept happening but I finally realised it was the wind catching the pannier. I hit an effortless 25mph along the Marsh Road for a while!

I had to fight the wind a little when heading south through Preston but it wasn't too bad. I really enjoyed the commute again on the tank.

I'm still in love with my panniers, I still think they are one of my best bike purchases. I'm researching forks for the Spesh at the minute.

Garmin unit still MIA...........

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Felt very tired today, very weary indeed. I know some of it is down to a late night last night, I didn't get to bed until 1am this morning due to attending a leaving do for someone who is departing the country next week. I was driving and not drinking but I still had a late one and I need my sleep at the best of times.

I was also a grumpy sod all day which means my blood sugar is low and I need food. I need to be careful with this as I can underfuel myself and run myself down. It tends to be cumulative over the course of a week olr soand I think Thursday's run really took it out of me.

I decided not to do my planned hilly off road run and have an extra rest day, well apart from some shopping on the bike. I did about 13.5 miles in total at an ambling pace. I did a quick trip to the supermarket first and it was obvious I was tired, I perked up on the bike though. I had a massive craving for biscuits on the way round the store and left with my shopping and a triple pack of jaffa cakes (well they were on offer).

I had about 5 when I got home then cycled out to the farm shop for the fruit and veg. It was a lovely day for bimbling along and I noticed a lane called Hugh Lane. I had cycled on a Hugh Lane about a mile back and I thought there was a good chance this was part of the same road, though it would be split by the bypass. I decided to have a look on the way home.

After riding the road bike on Thursday with the lovely carbon forks the Spesh felt very harsh, I hit a small pothole and I thought the jarring was going to break my neck. I need to look at getting some carbon forks or some maxlight ones or something on it as the £10 Ebay specials I have on at the minute are so harsh.

I got my veg shopping and bought some more biscuits, I'd forgotten I had already had jaffa cakes. It was an indication that I was low on energy reserves I don't usually crave that much sweet stuff. I trundled back and took the other part of Hugh Lane and sure enough it ended at the bypass and annoyingly they had a stile rather than a gate.

I took the panniers off and lifted the bike over as I couldn't be bothered going back, lifted panniers over and put them back on and rolled across the road then repeated the shenanigans for the stile on the other side. THe second stile was more awkward than the first as it had steps I then continued on my way....I haven't mastered the art of packing the panniers well yet, as can be seen below.

I still haven't found the Garmin unit yet, I remember taking it off the road bike then its all a blank after that, though on the plus side it I hadn't left it in my jacket an put it through the washing machine. It's probably ran away to join my remote car key as I still haven't found that yet either!

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Shoes

They are so red, it's untrue. They also look like go faster shoes. Still not sure I would want to do more than a short run in them but they should be ok for running round a muddy field:

I do need to get them muddy quick!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Running and Riding

I decided to ride to the running club tonight o the road bike. I was thinking of taking the Spesh and pannier as I was looking at buying some shoes but in the end decided to go on the roadie and stuff everything in the small rucksack.

I had to detour twice, once to pick up the Garmin as my Polar transmitter battery is dead, again. The second time to get some cash (though that one was planned). I rode nice and steady. The worst hill is pretty much at the start and I was going up it nicely until a lorry tried to squeeze past me at a traffic island, then stopped suddenly as he obviously hadn't spotted the mini roundabout ahead. Getting going again was a bit of an effort but I reminded myself to keep it slow.

It was about 7.7 miles there even with the detours so it is a bit less than I thought. I had a good break before running as I tried on some shoes and bought some very, very red Walsh's for cross country races. I did notice that there didn't seem to be as many of the slower runners here tonight as there usually are but I set off in the usual group. My legs felt ok running and I was doing fine.

Somehow we ended up tagging onto the back of the middle group and started running with them. I was expecting a nice steady four miler and instead I was running faster than I normally do whilst they looked for hills to do hard efforts on! I think we did about four of them and I was absolutely ragged by the end. We were running for about 55 minutes and I think we did just over 6 miles though it felt like more. As I was the slowest there I didn't get my usual rest when waiting for people as they were waiting for me. I did really enjoy it and it'll do wonders for my running,it just wasn't what I was expecting!

I then had to cycle home, people did offer me a lift but I declined (cos I'm stupid like that). I got all my gubbins together, lights on and set off, ouch! Lets just say it wasn't my fastest ride ever but my legs felt much better at the end of the ride than they did at the end of the run. I noticed this too when I cycled to the 4 miler over the summer and it is one of my main reasons for doing it. Normally we head back as fast as you like to the clubhouse at the end of the run, have a bit of a cursory stretch (less when it gets really cold) then jump in the car. If I'd done that after the run I'd just had my legs would be stiff as a board in the morning.

I'm not sure how often I'm going to do it as it was hard but I think I'll get used to it. I also need to look at fuelling (again) as I had a hard run plus about 15 miles of hilly cycling and I was so, so , so hungry when I got home.

I also appear to have lost the Garmin unit?!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Night Ride - New Light

What a fantastic evening for a ride, trails were pretty dry really and my new Light and Motion HID is superb. I knew my old HID wasn't working properly! I'd forgotten how much my ability level regresses on the first couple of night rides until I get used to not being able to look so far ahead on the trail. There were 6 of us in total, which is such a contrast to last winter when it mainly ended up just being Stu and I who got out regularly in the evening.

We didn't do the full route in the end due to two major chain mechanicals. I came off the the nice little rutty track to find Stu with his bike upside down and a snapped chain. Jez stayed to help Stu whilst Drew and I set off to meet up with Pam and Ed who CBA'd riding that section and had gone over the top and to let them know about the delay. A couple of metres later and Drew's chain was on the ground too. That's never happened before.

I rode up to the other two and we sat and chatted until the other three joined us, byt this time I was quite cold from doing nothing. We took the shorter route back down to the cars as it was getting on a bit too. Well actually Stu rode along to do the other descent which in the end I wished I'd done too as its one of my favourites and it would've taken the ride over 10 miles. I feel short changed these days on less than that. It'll be done plenty of times over the winter though.

The descent was ace, the new light allowing me to go faster. The section through the woods is at its best at night.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Commute to Work - Forgetting Things

Commuted again on the Spesh, this time I had to take the laptop both ways. It was a gorgeous morning but pretty brrrr! I was freezing in the tramway section. I took it really steady as no point hurrying with the pannier loaded, I forgot occasionally and tried to dart out of a couple of junctions - no darting more like lumbering!

The combination of temperature and sensible pace meant I didn't arrive at work in my usual sweaty mess, which is just as well as it turns out I forgot to pack my towel or hair turban thing!! What an idiot, I packed it all the night before as well. I do that to make sure I don't forget things as I've forgotten knickers in the past. I realised just as I was about to step into the shower.

I had a quick wash in the sink and as I had washed my hair last night after running I decided I would get away with it, which I did. Then to cap it all I had packed a pair of Jez's black socks rather than my own. They were miles too big for me, my trousers hid most of it but I there was evidence of the Nora Batty effect. All other clothes present and correct thank god.

I haven't forgotten anything for absolutely ages, obviously getting complacent.

Ride home was just as steady though I had to fight a headwind coming into Preston, on the roadbike I would get into the drops just have at it but on the Spesh that isn't an option so I just dropped the gears and kept the effort the same and again arrived home pretty relaxed. I could get to like this taking it steady lark!

Laptop appears to have survived, so far.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Off Road Run

Headed out from Ryal Fold after work, it was cloudy and a little chilly - lovely and sunny in St Annes when I left work which is just typical. I set off up the hill and remembered that the loop I was planning was the same one where my psoas started giving me trouble. After I climb for a bit I then descend again, the first section is off road and the second is tarmac and on the tarmac I started having problems last time. It happened again!

I am possibly running too fast, or maybe its because I headed straight up hill out the car without an easy warmup, or maybe its to do with tarmac? It wasn't in danger of cramping on the offroad descent. I slowed down enough to calm it down a bit and it only merely grumbled for the rest of the run.

Trail conditions were even drier than Saturday though there was one section of very deep minging looking bog that I couldn't be bothered running though and used the fence to avoid. The trails we MTB on will be fast for Wednesday's night ride.

Just under 6 miles, starting to feel stronger again - barring psoas. I have thought back to last time I had this problem and I remember spending a lot of time doing side planks, time to start again, deep joy!

My Mizuno Harrier shoes are getting on for 400 miles in them so I am looking out for something else, I normally retire road shoes around the 400 - 500 mark but I think they've still got loads left in them. I think I will get another pair of the Harriers for drier runs but they really struggle on the gloopy moorland sections, last winter I avoided certain areas as I knew I would be skating rather than running, I want to be able to keep running them. I think Walsh shoes will be ok for cross country but too minimalist for me for the normal runs I do. Will have a look at Inov-8's range to see if I fancy trying any of them.

Running is supposed to be a cheap sport! In comparison to cyclig I suppose it is!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Enforced Rest Day

Bloody work!!!!!!!! Its always a risk going biking or offroad runs or even runs longer than 30 minutes when I'm on call but I was going to take the risk, its been really quiet on the on-call front for ages....I got paged at 6:22 am!

Dragged my confuddled head out of bed, Jez made me a coffee which helped me wake up and I got cracking on the problem. Things were sorted but I had to monitor something whilst it ran. It would normally take around 8 hours to run through but is usually fine, I check on it regularly just in case it falls over and has to be restarted. I decided to nip out to the farmer's market as I wasn't going to be heading out on my bike for a bit.

Couldn't see anywhere I'd be happy leaving a bike and there were a few daft drivers coming into the car park, I'm also not sure I'd want to cycle home with a whole shoulder of lamb and two large raw chickens when it was that warm. I go to that market very rarely anyway, I usually go to Penwortham and Pam picks me up on her way through. My panniers generally aren't big enough for my normal market haul, though I would be happy cycling to that one.

I got home and the damn job had fallen over and I had to restart it from the beginning, so at least an hour behind and I was now too worried to leave it for anymore than half an hour in case it failed again.

It didn't finish until 7:15 pm, by which time it was getting dark. I did get lots of jobs done around the house which needed doing: Christmas Cake made, chickens jointed and stock made from the carcasses, started tidying up the garden ready for winter.... So a productive day but not what I wanted.

Will run offroad after work tomorrow it won't be long before its too dark for me to do it anymore this year, sigh.

Just realised it might disrupt my plan of riding all of my three working bikes (the On One is due to be fixed up tomorrow and ridden Wednesday) this week. I may need to have the pannier for riding to the club on Thursday as not sure I can fit two pairs of shoes (if I buy some Walsh's) in my small rucksack, may try though stuffing two pairs in at some point to see what happens as the road bike will be quicker.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Off Road Run - At Last

Got out for a run offroad this afternoon and it was really hot! My poor body didn't know what was happening to it: running, hills and heat. I knew with it being such a nice day that the Ryal Fold car park would be full so I parked in the car park just off the Belmont road, opposite Great Hill.

I ran from there, over the top of the moor to the tower, then back down and then back to the car. It was a new loop but I left myself a couple of climbs at the end which wasn't the most cunning plan. I didn't take my Camelbak to stop me from being tempted to stay out too long but I regretted not having any water with me, I felt like mugging one of the many walkers around today for their water bottle. I had 500ml of water in the car and drank the lot when I got back to it. I'm glad I had my cap with me, stop my head totally boiling.

Trail conditions were good, some soft going in places but lots of firm and dry stuff too. I also saw three other runners around the top of the moor, really unusual felt like telling them to get lost, its MY moor!

I did just under 6 miles at less that 10 minute mile, which is quite quick going for me on hilly offroad. My legs felt quite heavy at the start but when I got home I realised I'd already done over 20 miles of cycling errands so they weren't really as fresh as I thought they were. The tightness is easing so hopefully time to build the distance back up to the 10 - 12 mile mark.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cycle Commute

Forecast has been promising for Friday all week so I had planned to ride in. It was a nice autumnal morning so it was a nice ride in. I am on the Spesh today as I am on call at the weekend and need to bring my laptop home with me, it really hurts trying to carry the damn thing on my back so I had a pannier on the Spesh.

The last time I rode the Spesh to commute I hated it but I didn't mind it at all this morning, maybe because I've been spending quite a bit of time on it in the last couple of weeks, I just focussed on keeping moving rather than breaking any records. It took me about 1:04 which is only a little longer than it would've taken on the road bike.

I put the SPD cleats onto my old shoes last night and remembered about the tension screw on the SPD pedal this morning and backed it off a few turns. I really do prefer my egg beaters, none of this faffing with tension crap. I think the cleats are in the wrong position, need moving a bit further back. I hope I get away with riding the SPDs as I find them very restrictive in a way that Eggs aren't, my knees might take umbridge and I do not under any circumstances want a recurrance of my knee problem.

Ride home was surprisingly ok, even with the addition of extra laptop weight. It was nice just getting my bike out of the cupboard downstairs and heading straight out. I did notice that the left side of the bike was more heavily loaded but it wasn't affecting the handling, or the speed that much either. My commute is generally flat but any incline was noticeable, there was a definite drag effect with the extra weight.

It took 1:09 to get home, I'm about the same on my road bike to be honest on the way home. I also have a different riding style on the Spesh, the roadie just encourages you to go for it and push hard whereas on the Spesh its just a case of keep moving. Its like being in a supertanker rather than a speedboat. Hopefully the laptop will survive and I am considering riding both ways with it on Tuesday, weather depending (though just realised I'm on call until Sunday morning so if I want to commute next week I'll have to cycle both ways with it!).

I feel less knackered trundling on a heavy bike than I normally do on the roadbike, the line between comfortable and flogging myself to death is quite fine I think.

After the ride home I know the cleats definitely need to be moved further back and the saddle raising possibly.

Thursday 19th Sept: Club Run

Yay, got out to run with the club again. It wasn't a long run but it was nice to be moving faster again, I don't think I've lost that much fitness either (for short runs anyway) though having well rested legs will certainly have helped. Things were a little tight but not sore so hopefully I'll be able to get back out running offroad at the weekend, hoping for 6 miles from Tockholes up to Darwen Tower and back.

It was dark by the time we'd finished which was a real shame, autumn's really here. I checked where I could leave my bike and they seemed to say the men's changing room entrance would be best, it gets locked when we are out running.

I have also decided to do some cross country races this autumn/winter, I haven't done CC since school! I was informed that the ladies races are only about 5K and nice and muddy. They are on Saturdays which hopefully means I'll be able to get a long bike ride or run in on the Sunday too. It also means an excuse to buy some new shoes, a pair of Walsh fell shoes has been recommended and the "Walsh Man" is coming to the club next Thursday so I can maybe get a hold of some then. Must remember to get there for 18:45, take some cash and probably the Spesh for the pannier to bring shoes back.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rest Day (ish)

Had a half hour session with Alan last night where he attacked my psoas, it was feeling better by the end but it feels quite tender today due to the trigger point work. Depending on what gets done I often have to take it quite easy the day after a massage session to let the muscles return to normal so that's what I'm doing today. It also helps I don't really have a working MTB at the minute and no-one else is available to ride tonight so the temptation has been removed.

My plan is to ride to Leyland Library at a leisurely pace to pick up the book I requested, bimble back and so some core work (shudder, I hate doing core work) as I really do need to do some then 20 minutes or so of yoga stretches.

I did my morning stretch routine today and need to get back into that habit as it used to keep lots of lower limb problems away when running a lot.

I had a quick look around the centre of Buckshaw Village last night when attending my massage session but I couldn't see anywhere I'd be happy to leave my bike for an hour or so, no bike parking at all outside the few shops which is surprising considering all the paths are cycle paths. I should be taking it easy after a massage anyway so I will continue using my car for it for now.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Quick Ride Round Grizedale NFT

We decided to take Jez's mate round the NFT in Grizedale today, he's not done that much MTBing so its a good trail to keep an eye on someone and at 12 miles or so about the right length for a beginner's concentration level. It was wet when we got there but quite still and a little chilly. We were gutted to find that the cafe was closed as they are renovating that whole visitor centre area - another trip to Wilf's would be called for.

Jez rode in front, his mate in the middle and I rode at the back as sweeper. My favourite part of this whole trail is the initial climb (and I very rarely say that about a climb) and as I was taking it easy I enjoyed it even more though riding that slowly is not without its difficulties at times. The wooden boards were very wet and slippy but we all cleared them easily (apart from one minor off much later).

As it became apparent that Jez's mate was coping just fine with things I started hanging back, then riding at my normal pace until I caught up then hanging back again. This was also quite good fun as the nature of this trail means that it is normally a flat out blast. There is only one real climb so I'm always on the redline round here keeping speed up and start making mistakes due to oxygen deprivation and trying to stay away from the person behind me. This time I got to rest frequently so I had an ace time, really throwing the bike around in the singletrack.

The On One was chainsucking quite a bit as the middle ring is goosed and it was starting to get annoying by the end. I also pinch flatted at the start of the very last section when I lofted my wheel off the little bridge. I did think it sounded like a heavy landing but got away with it until I stopped when I caught up to the lads. When I started rolling again the tyre was obviously flat as a pancake so I had to run the last section. It was a bit tricky trying to run on a rocky uneven track in bike shoes, I couldn't quite fit me and the bike on the trail at the same time either and I almost turned my ankle once.

I just pushed my bike back to the car whilst the boys rode ahead and started packing up. We visited Wilf's on the way home where I stuffed my face, I was starving and the post ride pint went straight to my head even though I asked for the beer with the lowest alcohol content. Jez quickly changed my inner tube when packing the bikes away when we got home as I had to dash off to my appointment with Alan.

The On One is now out of action too until I get the drive train sorted, I would ride it in blissful ignorance but now that I know its in dire need of maintenance I won't as now I know about it it will fall apart. I am on call this weekend so I can't venture too far into the wilds anyway so I will look at getting a road ride in nearer to home. Hopefully Jez can get this sorted on Sunday as he's away on Saturday, it will need to be prioritised over the Titus as I need a working MTB!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Have been thinking about all the bike kit I've bought over the last month, it was my own fault for thinking I hadn't spent much on them recently.

So far:

  • A new HID light for night riding - not essential but I don't trust my old one, cut out on me one too many times. £250 ish
  • New rear light for night riding - old one of them also flaky £10 (what do I do to lights?)
  • A set of Ortlieb panniers - should last years though £90 ish
  • Flippy pedals for the Spesh - £35
  • Set of bearings for the Titus swingarm and for the bottom bracket - £65 (gah!)
  • Jockey wheels for both Titus and On One rear mechs - £30 (splutter!)
  • New cables for both MTBs £40 ish (cough!)
  • New middle ring, chain and cassette for the On One - about £60 ish when I order them (eek!)
  • New chain for the Titus £15 ish when I order it (possibly new cassette too, doubt I'll get away with it)

Getting on for £600!!!!!!!!!!!! I need a new front commuter light too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday 14th September: Brick Session

No I'm not training for a tri or duathlon (well thinking about a duathlon) but I read something in this months Runners World about doing a brick session to get the endurance benefits of a long run without the impact of it, so I thought I would try one: Ride for an hour or so at a decent clip then run for 20 minutes.

I had bimbled over to watch the ToB whizz through already today which was a surprising 6 miles round trip (can't believe how much all this utility cycling is adding up already) but I wanted to do a bit more riding. I wanted to find a 1 to 1 1/2 hour quick whizz of a road ride from my house that didn't involve going through Preston onto the Fylde (about 25 mins to just get there) or out to the hills at Riv (again a good while just to get there).

I had a look at the map and decided I wanted to investigate a cycle path that heads over towards Penwortham then pick up the A59. I would head along the A59 for a bit until turning off towards Bretherton. I didn't want to head out as far as Croston so would turn back towards Dunkirk lane and the farm shop just after leaving the A59 then home.

Headed off along the tramway which was full of wobbly people on bikes. I especially worry about passing little kids on bikes as they are so unpredictable. I took it pretty easy and pickedup the cycle track off Leyland Road which was sign posted for Hutton. I have passed this for years but never checked it out. It was another shared path arrangement so not one for zooming along and will be slippy in some parts when the leaves start to come down but it was well surfaced and popped me out on Cop Lane on the Penwortham Side of the faffy traffic lights which was a bonus.

I headed into Penwortham then picked up the A59 and the cycle track. I don't know this road well so decided to stay on the track which was initially wide and very smooth. There weren't too many road junctions to slow down for as losing your right of way is one of the biggest drawbacks with these types of paths. It lost major marks when it ran out on the side I was on and I had to cross the road. I carried on at a decent pace for a while only slowing down to cross junctions.

I had a total 'mare getting around one of the roundabouts as I again had to change sides due to the cycle lane becoming "on road" and I would have been cycling against the traffic, not smart. I cruised along for a bit then turned off for Bretherton, so far so good.

I cruised along enjoying myself, the road surface was good and there weren't too many cars, I noted a road not long after leaving the A59 but it wasn't signposted for Leyland (and I thought it would be), so I carried on through Bretherton and out the other side. Eventually it dawned on me that I didn't actually know where I was, or where I was heading to and there was a complete lack of road signs. I came round a bend and could see civilization, when I past the town sign it said "Croston" - oh dear.

There was at least a signpost for Leyland so I headed back that way and eventually found myself very close to Dunkirk lane anyway and I got my bearings...and was passed by the muppet.

A bloke passed me in typical "must get past the girl even though the lights are about to change to red" fashion. He had a very, very shiny new bike and it became quite obvious to me he hadn't been riding long. We were approaching a large crossroads and the lights changed to red. We were riding in a lane at the side of the road which ended at the junction due to the pedestrian crossing jutting into the road, we would have to take the traffic lane to go through. I noticed this, he didn't and proceeded to filter up the left hand side of a large lorry which was first in the queue - which was another dumbass thing to do.

As he couldn't quite get to the front he put himself where the driver couldn't see him but even better he nearly spudded himself. The lights have just changed to red at a major crossroads, they are not going to change back to green in the next three seconds and if you want to remain clipped in bike you better be a track standing maestro, needless to say he wasn't. He pedalled until he realised he couldn't go any further, wobbled, couldn't get his feet out and had to rest his elbow on one of the wheel arches of the lorry while he argued with his pedal. If the lights had gone green and the lorry moved, he would have fallen straight under it.

I couldn't believe it and the passenger in the car next to me saw my disbelief too. I pedalled on a litle then noticed another cycle track I wanted to check out. From the start I knew I wouldn't be taking it on the Spesh. They had a chicane thing to stop you flying out onto the road that would be really difficult to get round on a bike but they had helpfully put a gap that a bike with panniers wouldn't get through. There was also a very narrow bridge that was ok on road handlebars but would be interesting on anything wider. I will stock to the main road around here I think but at least I know now.

A bimble through town and home and I got ready to run. I decided to change my shorts as well rather than run with a nappy on and off I went. I was giggling to myself for the first half mile because it felt so funny, my legs wanted to pedal not run, I felt so uncoordinated. My psoas felt the best its done for ages due to being very warmed up I think, it just felt like a tight muscle which was a good sign. I was also running too fast and had to slow myself down a lot, again I could get straight into the run as I was already warmed up.

I was feeling a little underfuelled though and had heavy legs for the last jog home. I think I will do it again as it was quite amusing, possibly this weekend as I am on call and can't go far from home.

I checked the map and the road I noted after coming off the A59 was the one I was supposed to take, but I will do some more experimenting on the roads in that area (with a map!).

So I cycled 21.6 miles and ran 2:25, in total it was over 1 hour and 40 minutes of quite intense exercise without too much pounding.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday 13th Sep: Short Road Run

I had a short tester run, an out and back of three miles total. Out and back bores me but it is the easiest way to make sure I don't over do it, I just ran for 1.5 miles and turned round. My hip felt better today, it just felt tight across the front as after a major prodding session in the morning I decided it really was the psoas which is annoyed.

I reall enjoyed it and only my psoas was still tight at the end none of the other muscles cramped up in sympathy this time so I still had a normal gait when I finished as well.

Still feeling a little short changed by not being able to run longer but I will be cycling over to a friends BBQ tonight (only flat 8 miles round trip) but as I am the one with the rack and panniers I get to haul the beer and food so extra resistance!

I have an appointment with Alan on Tuesday so I will ask him to look at my psoas and work on it, I have a feeling its trying to do the work of another muscle when it really shouldn't be...and my quads are still tight but I've done about 20 mins of stretching and will continue to get the stretching in that I have neglected.

Panniers are here

I picked them up and fitted them yesterday. They were a doddle to fit and are very easy to take on and off. I rode out to the farm shop which is 5.5 miles away and picked up all fruit and veg for the week as well as a dozen eggs. I managed to get all the eggs back unscathed! The panniers were pretty full but I could've gotten a good bit more in and the handling of the bike wasn't too bad. The bike felt different and a little more ponderous but not too bad. I also picked up the odds and sods I needed from the Supermarket later on, so around 14 miles of errand running on the bike today.
Spesh with flippy pedals:

Spesh with fetching red and black Ortlied panniers:

Thursday 11th Sept: Glentress Red

We had a quick blast round the GT Red on the way home on Thursday to break the journey up. We worked out we hadn't ridden here since September 2006 and wondered what they had changed.

My legs were still quite shot from Monday's walk, my quads were utterly destroyed by it. Setting off up the new climb they had put in my legs felt like they'd been injected with lactic acid from the start, ow, ow, ow. This new climb was more enjoyable than the old and they'd put some obstacles in so it was now a typical 7 stanes "technical" climb: tarmac smooth with the odd obstacle then.

I rode all the switch backs very well on the up (and down) and really enjoyed the climb even though I couldn't push as hard as I really wanted. We flew down Spooky Wood then continued on down. Some of the older sections of this trail have really bedded down/eroded which has made them a lot less predictable, I liked that. We took the the Pie Run section and managed to get caught out by a back wheel spin on a root, as did Jez and a million other people judging by how clean and polished the root was.

Then it seemed quickly over as we were on the Falla Brae section, which has always been one of my favourites, a nice a fast drop to the car park and a huge slice of carrot cake.

A quick blast but GT is definitely a place I prefer coming to with a group of friends, its a bit samey otherwise, unless your into launching yourself off things which I am not. I actually think I prefer C-y-B as there is more technical interest without big jumps and woodwork constructions. GT "flows" better apparently but then I often find flow a euphemism for "boring".

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Using all my bikes

I have four bikes: 2 mountain bikes, a road bike and what I now term my utility bike. I used to try to use three different bikes in a week. It used to be three rather than four because the utility bike was an alternative commuter to the road bike.

I am now going to try to use all four bikes in a week, or should that really be trying to use all of my working bikes in a week. The Titus is currently out of action and I haven't managed to prod my mechanic into fixing it.......well we have been away.

So what constitutes a week (well its obviously 7 days!). I have been starting my training week on a Saturday currently as that's usually the day of my longest run so for now its Saturday to Saturday.

So far this week I have used the Spesh for shopping and the On One for a quick whizz round the Glentress Red. That just leaves the Ribble.....road ride tomorrow ?

Monday 8th Sept: Ben Vane Walk

We fancied doing a walk in Scotland and I decided on Ben Vane in the Arrochar Alps, a Munro but only just. We had already walked Ben Lomond, The Cobbler and Ben Narnain in the same area and enjoyed them.

We set off around 9.30 from my folks house to miss the rush hour through Glasgow but still had to contend with some numpty driving down the side of Loch Lomond. It was very grey when we parked up at Inveruglas. I had decided to wear my big boots as they would keep more bog out. We had a long walk in on some access track for the hydro power station before we got to the hill.

My boots felt like they weighed a ton as did my bag as I had a full set of waterproofs in them as well as the usual stuff. It was easy walking for a while and we gained some height on this road. My hip was niggling a little bit but after a while I forgot about it.

Looking at the map of the area the contrast between it and a map of the Lake District was quite stark. There were lots of close together contours on this map and very little else by way of track markings. A map of the Lakes would be a spider web of footpaths and bridleways (though not enough of the latter) and it would be easy to see where to head. We could see tracks leading off in various directions but they were not necessarily marked on the map. You can pretty much walk or ride where you like in Scotland just don't expect anyone to tell you where the paths are.

There was a path marked up the hill and we eventually found it, though I think it has now been abandoned as a main ascent choice. We headed upwards through some long marsh grass, following some occasionally flattened grass patches and old rotting planks which had served as bridges over the stream in the past. We headed for a plateau and as we crossed it we suddenly found ourselves on a well tramped path, well relatively and bloody hell it was steep!
Everytime I walk in Scotland I seem to forget how hard it is, I always blank out the fact that the ascents I've done so far have been without fail unrelenting and steep and absolutely leg destroying on the descent. We looked up at the track then started heading up, into the rain. The cloud was now firmly ensconsed higher up and we realised our chances of a view were nil. It was too warm to consider putitng waterproofs on so we just got wet and kept climbing..and climbing.

We met some people coming down who told us there was some interesting scrambling moves at the top, they weren't kidding! I had noticed on the map there were at least two false summits and we topped out on one without too much difficulty, you could see then next lump hiding in the mist so we carried on and things got a little more interesting.

A few, very technical moves on wet rock made me wonder about coming back down...my stiff boots were protecting my feet well from the rock but I found the complete lack of feel and stiffness a little annoying. We topped out on the second "lump" and wondered if we were at the top, I didn't think so but the cloud was so thick at this point we couldn't see anything. We carried on and another large lump loomed out of the cloud. Upwards again to even more tricky wet scrambling.

We finally topped out onto the summit plateau and saw...absolutely nothing, I could just about make out Jez and the cairn at the other side:

After all that walking a typical Scottish view, ah well. We decided to head down and descend all the tricky scrambling before having some food. I found the descent surprisingly easy and it didn't take us long to get back on to the "path". We had some food and soup and continued down the descent. We dropped out of the cloud and had a nice view across Loch Lomond and could also see Loch Arkle and Loch Katrine behind. The tops were still covered in cloud and remained that way even when we were down.

We reached the plateau again and decided to look around for a more defined path and we found it, it dropped down to the road we walked up but closer to the car. Its the kind of path you would have to know was there as it wasn't that obvious across the top of the plateau and when we'd reached the road it was quite hard to spot even though we had just descended it.

A nice easy walk back to the car and a stop in the poshed up Inverbeg Inn for a post walk pint and chips to let the traffic die down a bit through Glasgow.

Flippy Pedals

Fitted the flippy pedals (one side flat, one side SPD) to the Spesh on Sunday and gave them a try out. We were due to be heading up to Scotland late afternoon and we needed some bits and bobs from the supermarket and a map of the northern end of the Loch Lomond area as we were planning a walk over there, our Trossachs map didn't extend far enough. My plan was to head to supermarket first then into town for just after 11 am.

I don't have the panniers yet (the postie had taken them back to the delivery office and I won't be able to get them until Friday) so just stuffed the huge u-lock and cable lock into a rucksack and set off in my normal boots. I also had a fetching flouro yellow strap thing on my right ankle to keep trousers out of chain. I got to Sainsburys (less than a mile and a half), cycled straight up to the racks, dug the lock out and realised I didn't have a key for it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cycled home, picked up the key and decided as it was nearing 11 to head into town instead now. Zoomed into town, only forgetting a couple of times I wasn't clipped in and pulled foot off pedal (always tried to unclip when I had to put a foot down though). Its just over two miles on the tramway, easy cycling (bit of a bugger of a hill into Preston from the river), no traffic lights or queues, then parked the bike for free right in the middle of Fishergate. Locked it up with both u and cable lock (through the quick release wheels) and wandered off to Waterstones to buy map.

Bought the relevent map and walked back to bike, which was still there. Unlocked it all again and set off home. I can't believe how almost completely painless it was. I say almost painless because carrying heavy locks in a rucksack is really annoying and uncomfortable, the u-lock was really digging into my spine. Apart from that it was so easy and enjoyable.

I came up behind Yvonne running on the tramway on the way back and stopped for a chat. She is struggling with injury at the moment too so we both had a moan about running injuries. She also told me she had a very nasty fall off her bike (her bag caught in the spokes so instantaneous off). We chatted for a while then parted company, I cycled home and dumped the map and the cable lock as I didn't think I would need it at Sainsburys and headed back to Sainsburys.

By this time things were getting a little busy at Mr S's, there was queueing to get in the car park but I just serenely rolled in, locked bike up, toddled round the store to get what I needed then serenely glided out of the car park without having to wait.

I ended up doing around 12 miles without even trying. I will hopefully be able to pick up the panniers soon.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

DerwentWater Trail Race - Cancelled

Woke up to a miserable wet and windy day but thought sod it, I'm going to run it, take my time and try to enjoy it. I double checked the website before we set off at about 8:15 and it was still going ahead then. One windswept and rain soaked drive to Keswick later we arrive at the event parking to find out it has been cancelled, crap!

We decided to have an hour or two in Keswick before heading off. I heard on the radio that the main marquee had ben damaged overnight so they had to abandon on safety grounds. There were lots of forlorn looking runners wandering round Keswick.

We all managed to pick up a few things, lots of sales on in Keswick - got some nice stretchy black trousers which should be ok for pootling round on the Spesh. After a bit of spending Jez suggested we head down to Staveley via the A road and get some food at Wilf's. The drive down had some very wet roads and the water rushing off the mountains was something to see, gushing torrents everywhere. Rydal water was very, very high and when we got to Wilf's the River Kent was alarmingly close to the top of the walls. It was rushing over the weir behind Wilf's then being churned into a brown froth.

Had a quick look round some of the new shops in the Mill Yard then a sodden drive home. Am currently trying to assuage my disappointment by baking a Lemon Drizzle Cake! I've got pizza dough whirring apund in the breadmaker and a nice glass or two of red (or chilled white, hmm) is on the menu too.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Online Shopping

I'm continuing to lay the groundwork for doing more of my errands by bike and had my first shopping delivery last night. I chose Sainsburys as I prefer it to Tescos anyway and they have one hour delivery slots. I've toyed with the idea before but never got round to it as Sainsburys is quite literally only a mile away from my house, so I still wasn't convinced I would be happy with it and keep thinking I am a lazy moo.

I chose 9pm - 10pm and at 9:05 pm the driver arrived with my shopping. After a complete faff with me not being able to find my front door key, d'oh I took delivery of my shopping with a nice glass of red in my hand. I'm convinced!

It was all there apart from the fizzy water and the pitta bread and as I'd asked for no substitutions this time they just weren't included. I will revisist the substitution thing as they allow you to specifiy no subs for each individual item and fizzy water is fizzy water. Its not like fruit or veg or meat etc which I'd be more picky about.

A lot of things were delivered in carrier bags, more than I would ever use (or used to use as I have reuseable bags these days) as they organise things by dry, dairy etc which is nice. The driver said they will take the bags back next time for recycling, in fact they will take back any carrier bags not just their own which is better than nothing I suppose. Hopefully they will introduce a "no bags" option like Tesco do....actually will check the website to make sure they don't already do it and I have missed it.

It will take a few goes before I get organised around this but I'm aiming for a bulky delivery once a month for things like washing powder, loo rolls etc. I'll have to play it by ear a while on other odds and sods though nipping to Sainsburys by bike at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon to pick up the odd thing will not be anywhere near as traumatic as trying to get a car in there.

Thursday 4th September: Short Road Run

Ummed and aahed a little over this but as I didn't get out on the bike yesterday as I couldn't be bothered with the wind or getting soaked on the trails I wanted to do something. I decided against going to the club as 1) My hip is still not right and 2) I only wanted to do three miles max at my own pace. I thought I would check out a quiet road that links Farington to the edge of Lostock Hall, its part of the cycle network apparently and I wanted to know if it would be owrth using when shopping on the bike. I know that it ends up on Croston Road and has bollards at the other end so cars can't whizz through it.

Got kit on and set off, after about five minutes it was clear my hip really wasn't happy but I kept going as sometimes it loosens off a bit once I warm up properly. I eventually got across the dual carriageway section which is quite frankly a royal PITA, its so fast and busy that its really difficult to cross. I'm never convinced by the tendency to put foot/cyclepaths around the perimeter of roundabouts as you have to cross over the fast flowing entry/exit points. As its a dual carriageway on and off this side of the roundabout it was difficult to get both clear, queueing drivers were lovely and quite happy to wait to let me cross but there was still traffic screaming up the other lane.

Heading into Leyland I set off down a track with a public footpath sign on it and ended up practically running into someone's front garden, oops. I backtracked a bit and jogged further up the road remembering that on the map it was a reasonably sized road, not a track. I got almost to the stables and noticed a junction. I crossed over and there was a blue cycle route sign, hurrah. I set off down the road which had loads of big houses on it, really big houses and big posh cars.

At one time it had been a fairly well used road as it was wide, had a proper footpath beside it and there were cat eyes still embedded in it. The white lines had been removed but they had obviously been there. A pretty good cycling option then though it doesn't entirely eliminate the faff of getting to Leyland though the centre of Lostock Hall may be slightly easier to negotiate, it will be pitch black at night. I passed the Leyland Trucks works then arrived at the underpass with the bollards, ran through then turned right to head home. I was still aware of my hip but it had calmed down a little or the endorphins had started to kick in as I was finally starting to enjoy myself. I speeded up for a while (someone up ahead) and ran through the precinct bit in the centre of town. I realised I was starving as the smells from the curry home and pizza place were lovely. I felt quite empty legged on the last bit to the Texaco garage then jogged the last quarter mile home.

So just over three miles and hip not brilliant. Think I may have to dose myself up with Ibuprofen for Saturday's trail race and get round as best I can. Speaking of which, wet weather measures have been implemented for it as the fields around Keswick are sodden, not surprising I suppose. I think I will do the Challenge again as I am not fit and the race goes through the Glenderattera Bogs. I'm not bothered about running through bogs, I do it all the time, however I don't run through boggy sections where the best part of a 1000 people have tramped through it before me!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday 2nd September: Commute to Work

Got my backside out of bed and rode to work. The forecast was for a nice morning but heavy showers in the afternoon and evening so I thought there was a chance of missing the showers (I usually don't but I so wanted to ride). It was a gorgeous morning but most definitely autumnal in feel, bah! I put some 3/4 lengths on over my shorts as I could always not wear them for the ride home in the unlikely event it was too warm.

I set off and it was a gorgeous sunny morning, a little cool but not too bad, until the first section of the tramway. The first section I hit on my ride in (or last on my ride home) is an old cutting and it just collects cold air, it has a very noticeable temperature differential to the rest of the ride which is magnified the colder it gets.I was wishing I had some ear coverings for a while but it improved when I got to the second tramway section which isn't a cutting but more like a small embankment with tree cover on each side. The sunlight was breaking through the gaps in the trees and creating gorgeous golden dappling effects on the tarmac. I slowed down a bit to enjoy it and tried to ignore the thought process in my brain of: golden light means the sun is not high in the sky therefore autumn is here!

Emerging onto the bridge over the Ribble and the river actually looked lovely - amazing what some flattering golden light can do. The tree cover on the Preston side of the riverbank is quite dense still so I stopped enjoying the scenery and started pedalling faster again, its not particularly scenic from now until St Annes unfortunately. On my old commute to Blackpool the last 5 miles or so were past fields which doesn't sound very inspiring but there used to be some fantastic mist/cloud inversion type effects on them in the winter. I just really have main road now.

It seemed to be bike central today, I saw loads of "proper" and fast cyclists out and about, I don't usually notice so many. It maybe the fact I set off a little earlier than usual or it may just be fuel prices. I was also caught up by Ed which is again very unusual, I think I've only met Ed once before even though he commutes out to Warton at least three times a week and pretty much always on a Tuesday, I put that down to setting off earlier. It was nice to have some company and we chatted for a bit on the cycle path until we had to move into single file ready for the road section. I initially tried to keep up with him but then remembered I still have 6 miles to go after he was at work and I had to cycle home again. If I haven't commuted for a while I often push too hard on the ride in and feel tired on the way home.

My backside felt like I was sitting on brick, I have a relatively new saddle on the roadie and it obviously needs a bit more breaking in!

I cruised at a nice speed to work, I still did it in just under an hour though which is a little too fast. I parked my bike at the sheds near C block and was a little disconcerted that all the bikes there had locks on......As I was heading into R block I saw someone else who rides in a lot actually take his bike into the building. I asked him about it later and there is a large empty cupboard on the ground floor that takes a few bikes. I had a look and think I might park my bike there next time.

Had a bit of a walk to get a shower as they are working on the C block shower. They have "improved" the J block ladies shower as it was a new cubicle with a bit more space, brilliant I thought. However, the door opens away from the wall so you have to open it wide to get in which allows water out, the door doesn't actually seal properly so more water out. They have also fitted the new shower tray on top of the old one without adjusting the height of the shower so there was barely enough room for me to stand under it and wash my hair and I'm only 5ft 4. Who knows what the C block one is going to look like once their finished with it. They are also supposed to be putting a shower in R block, no sign of it yet but I bet it ends up in one of the men's loos.

Ride home was not too bad, it had been raining on and off during the afternoon but was actually stopped by the time I set off though there did appear to be a bit of a headwind. The roads were wet and there was a short shower as I passed through Lytham but that was it, I managed to get home unscathed. I saw Ed again, coming out of the BAe main gate as I was stopped at the lights. Preston was really quiet so it was a quick one home.

So: 35 mile round trip and really enjoyable.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sunday 31st August: Cycle Shopping on the Spesh

Ever since I've been to Amsterdam I have been mulling over how to use my bike more for commuting/shopping/general fubbing around and using my car less. I have a bike which is ideal for the purpose - my old Specialized Rockhopper. I bought it about 7 years ago and it was my first proper mountain bike and not cheap (around 800 pounds) but it was a 17" frame which is quite simply too big for me to comfortably handle offroad but was actually ok on the road. I now normally ride frames around the 14/15" mark offroad. I started cycling to work on it in the summer and just changed the tyres over and I put up with it as I knew no better and wasn't really doing anything particularly technical until meeting Jez who told me straight away the frame was too big. In the end I bought a 14" Rock Lobster frame from Merlin and moved most of the components from the Rockhopper onto it. The frame and forks languished in the garage all winter until I realised that doing a road commute on a small MTB was actually not that comfy and I couldn't be bothered changing the tyres over all the time as I was riding offroad about twice a week and trying to commute three times.

Jez managed to scrabble together enough parts together to build the frame back up into a commuter. It had a pair of his old Mavic disk wheels (disk only frame) which had white rims and actually looked pretty good on the frame as its white and red, we got a cheap pair of rigid forks and a pair of 170mm cranks from fleabay and we had old shifters/mech/cassette on it, I think I only had to buy a saddle for it in the end. I used this to commute to work for a couple of years and it was ideal for the purpose as I put a rack on it and used to carry my stuff in a rack pack. I only stopped using it as my commute changed from 8 hilly miles with the option of easy offroad through Cuerden Park to 18 flattish road miles to Blackpool and I bought a road bike instead and carried a small rucksack. I did persevere with the Spesh over the first winter but it just felt too heavy and the MTB ratio gears were annoying on the flat after getting used to a roadie.

Around November last year I put a new rear mech, cables, middle chainring and road 11-23 block on it which helped but I still preferred the roadie and its been hung up in the garage for months. I put 4 seasons tyres on the roadie as well just to make it handle better in the wet!

After our Sunday ride we decided we needed some lettuce so I thought, I'll cycle and pick it up and give my legs a spin out after this mornings ride. I knew by the time I'd sorted the Spesh I woldn't have time to get to Sainsburys so thought I'd go to Tesco which is about three miles away. So I wrestled it down from the wall (and hung the road bike up as I can lift that up and down easily), pumped the tyres up, lubed the chain then looked for my Kryptonite lock. I couldn't find it and in the end I had to use the mahoosive Abus one which took up loads of space in the rack pack and I decided to take a rucksack as well. I think I finally set off around 3:45 into some nice drizzle but quiet roads. I got to Tesco and discovered they don't seem to have any proper bike parking (or maybe its round the back of the store or somewhere equally unhandy) so locked it in the Trolley area along with a few other bikes then clattered my way round the store in my cycling shoes and looking like a dork no doubt in my helmet, the shoes were MTB ones thankfully else I'd be like Bambi on ice on that floor. I picked up lettuce, stamps (and posted my Nana's Get Well Soon card), then picked up a few blocks of President butter as it was on offer then headed out. Bike was still there thankfully and then cycled home on quiet roads again- easy peasy! It was a 6 mile round trip and took less than half an hour total cycling time, at that quiet time it would be quicker in a car but not by much.

I have plans to cycle to the Library, the farm shop, butcher and into the centre of Preston as it is definitely easier and quicker than taking the car nad I can park the bike for free (if I can get over the anxiety of having some scroat nick it, the Specialized branding and the disk brakes make it attractive). I need to find some quieter routes around Leyland if I'm cycling on a Saturday afternoon as the roads can be silly and I need to get organised enough to get most of my bulky shopping either once a month or delivered.

I have also invested in a pair of flippy pedals, one side SPD, the other flat as I would like to have the capacity to hop on with normal shoes. The only snagette is that I ride egg beaters rather than SPDs but I have a pair of Pearl Izumi shoes that I no longer use as I put my toe through the mesh on the front and if I can get the old eggbeater cleats off I will put SPD cleats on those as well as toe covers! There doesn't seem to be an equivalent pedal in the eggbeater style.

I have also ordered a pair of panniers for trips to the butchers and farm shop....I plumped for the Ortlieb back roller classic, they're completely waterproof and I figure I'll be able to sell them on if I don't use them enough. I've ordered the red ones, to match the bike (tart!). They should hopefully arrive in the next few days.

I need to find the Krytonite lock as its a more user friendly size than the extra long Abus one for ferrying around then I should hopefully be all set for errand running on the Spesh.

Sunday 31st August: Offroad Ride

Got out for a decent ride on Sunday. I wanted to do a ride of over 20 miles to start building endurance again. I have been coping well on shorter rides mainly because I have been well rested I think but my endurance is currently non-existent as even my long runs are rarely over two hours in length. Ed is in the same boat due to the arrival of little Molly and Jez has been away lots so we picked a ride around the Hebden Bridge area which we know and is testing but without being knackering. We decided to head out of Hurstwood rather than Worsthorne for a bit of variety. The plan was to head up to the Long Causeway, along the road for a bit then offroad down towards Tod via the golf course, along the canal to Hebden Bridge, cafe stop, warm the legs up with the road climb out of town, brutalise them with the climb from Hardcastle Crags whilst trying not to bring up lunch, cruise along the tops for a while before almost finishing ourselves off with the evil climb up from Widdop res, finishing with a lovely downhill back to the car.

It was pretty misty again, though not pea-soup foggy as it was on our Wednesday evening ride over Winter Hill. The moisture in the air helped cool things down as there was no wind at all. I really enjoyed the ride and still seemed to have some technical competence. We stopped in Hebden for a bite to eat but we were stopped for a little longer than ideal and I got quite cold. It took a while for my legs to get back into it again and they weren't really happy until up onto the moors but then I was bracing myself for the Widdop climb! I cleaned the climb but my lack of fitness was showing, not so much in overall speed but more in the amount of use I had to make of the flatter sections to bring my heart rate down, when I'm fitter it falls faster. I cleaned the last technical section but not without having a good argument with my bike about where it wanted to go and where I wanted it to go - I won this time.

Normally the climb up from Widdop is sweetened by the fact it is pretty much all downhill back to the car and I suppose it is but not with a major bloody headwind and eyes full of crap chucked up from the wheel, my own fault for not bringing my glasses and we all suffered the same. It was a nice cruise off the Gorple road back to the cars. As we started to pack up the rain properly started, timing!

So, will hopefully ride Wednesday (will need to dig lights out) but off next week so who knows what will happen as Jez wants to get some walking in and I want to go camping somewhere so hopefully weather will be kind.

I forgot to reset the Garmin at the start of the ride so it added it all on to Wednesday's ride but I think we covered about 23/24 miles.


Well, what can I say, what the hell happened to August and my activity level!!!!!! I've been quite a lazy moo to be honest and I quite enjoyed it! It was always going to be disrupted as we had a lot on in August with various weddings, birthday parties and associated hangovers to contend with but I'm up for doing something now! My bike mojo seems to have come back, I'm in love with my bikes again - all four of them. I even rode my Specialized tank "utility bike" on Sunday and I even enjoyed that, in the drizzle. It was my first shopping trip on it, more on that

My running mojo is still MIA but I think that's not helped by my grumpy psoas muscle. I did a three offroad runs over the month and I had the same problem I had when I started offroad running. I think it is the contrast between cycling (and sitting on my arse!) and running dowhill/faster. The cycling position shortens it and downhill running in particular really stretches it out. The first dodgy run was on the 18th of August and it showed up within the first half mile of course I continued to do another 6 or so very hilly miles and its been grumpy ever since. I tried again on the 22nd and it took a while longer to complain but I think that was because the first four miles are basically uphill. By the time I had finished the boggy descent off Great Hill it was very unhappy and I had to effectively jog back to the car as it was very, very tight. I was actually worried that something was about to tear but in hindsight doing a 7 mile offroad run with a dodgy hip was not one of my most sensible decisions.

I decided to take it easy until the Derwentwater Trail Race as I know I can get round that in the time limit.