Thursday, April 22, 2010


Woke up yesterday and stomach felt normal at last, hurrah! An evening night ride was planned to kick off from Rivington, five of us riding which is the most of an evening for a while. Set off at a fair lick in usual Jez style, though with lots of pauses to wait the latecomer - usual Mr S style! Dry, dusty trails and we're altogether for the dive into Healey Nab.

It's the first time most of us have been there in what seems like forever, climbing up to the new trails we were a bit gutted to find they'd mashed the orginal track and replaced it with a motorway, a badly constructed one at that...think Tony is going to having some words...

Onto the trails, I'd forgotten how tight the berms were on the top part, ended up on the black for a bit somehow as its a bit confusing in there then down to the new stuff at the bottom which is all really nice, the berms aren't anywhere near as tight. Up the new singletrack climb then up another one that is only partially constructed, though we only did that because it was so dry.

Over towards Great Hill, past White Coppice and on the new bridleway until Wheelton Plantation. Jez goes straight up the main footpath the rest of us decide to try a piece of singletrack that I've run part of and I'm pretty sure follows the fenceline up and around to where the main track comes out. It does. It's very steep to start and very rooty and bits of it aren't really rideable as an up but it was an interesting new track and probably much better the other way with gravity assistance I would imagine though those roots in the wet would be entertaining.

Up to Great Hill on the big track, getting quite dark as we're on the summit, lights on for heading down. I tell everyone how dry the moorland crossing to White Coppice is but that there are possibly still a few front wheel traps. Obviously visibility very reduced with lights so can't see too far ahead on the line I've chosen and come to a bit of a dip that looks a little soft. I'd ridden through a smaller one just minutes earlier and it was fine so rather than go round I went in, expecting to roll out the other side.

Front wheel drops in and sinks, then sinks more, then sinks even more. My weight wasn't very far back at all as totally not expecting it and everything slowed down as the bike started tipping over....I thought I could save it so started pushing back on the pedals but it was to late for that and tipped over. I stuck my hands out but they went into the dip and I broke the fall with my face, what seemed like my two front teeth in fact, striking the edge of the dip. Ouch, bloody ouch! Watch those front wheel traps!

Got up and spat a gobful of peat out, thankfully both front teeth still there and somehow not wobbly. My mouth is completely numb though at least there seems to be no blood and no other damage to me or bike. So get riding again before I have time to think about it and no further mishap.

Well no more until about 5 minutes later when I get to the last rutty, loose and rocky drop into White Coppice where I part company from bike again. No idea what happened but one second I was riding well and confidently, the next the bars were wrenched round and the front wheel flopped to the left, perpendicular to track, which never tends to end well. Luckily I wasn't actually going too fast but crashed off to the side with a "bloody hell not again" and a few other choice words!

After disentangling myself again I noticed a whopping boulder lying on the track, I'm sure it wasn't there before I crashed so maybe I clipped it at the side of the track..who knows. Back on once again and catch up with the lads and we start heading back to the cars.

Onto the cheeky track around Anglezarke and I suddenly feel like my arms have turned to two bits of string, no strength to lift the front wheel. My legs start following suit soon after, it took a while for me to catch on what was happening but a quick time check showed it was 9:45 pm and I hadn't eaten anything since 4pm (a long time for me). I was starving and heading towards the dreaded bonk. The last mile or so was like wading through treacle. It's been quite a while since I've headed that way as I've been making a real effort to avoid it, though had been wondering if taking bottles of energy drink and slices of malt loaf out on my long road rides was overkill, err no, not for me it's not.

We didn't leave Riv until after 10, picked up some food on the way home. Eating so late meant it took me a while to get into a decent sleep so shattered this morning and resting HR was something ludicrous like 65 (normally around the 48 mark) so I had a complete rest day today.

I woke up with what felt like a massive fat top lip but thankfully it didn'tt look anywhere near as bad as it felt. The inside of my lip is very bruised and has a cut from where I bit it, I have a few small scratches under my nose and I had a few bruises on my legs but other than that I thought I had gotten off really lightly. However, as the day wore on my jaw got increasingly stiff and the side of my face a little tender. It feels like I've been smacked in the face, which I suppose I have. I also now have very sore ribs on the right hand side and probably a good few more bruises but really, I have gotten off lightly.

Monday, April 19, 2010


This weekend was almost a complete write off for me. Gran plans for a hard road ride over Waddington Fell and Nick 'O Pendle, perhaps with a circuit of Pendle Hill thrown in if legs up for it. Plotting the route out on Friday evening and I suddenly had no enthusiasm for it whatsoever, tucked up in bed by 9:20 pm barely able to keep my eyes open and woke up with a very dodgy tummy on Saturday, just great.

Managed to eat and move around until Saturday afternoon when I was sofa bound for most of the afternoon, couldn't face food and any movement just made me feel queasy. Lots of (boringly mild) curry and I felt human again that evening.

I felt up for a bit of ride on the MTB on Sunday, had to take it very easy on hills as stomach not happy if pushing hard and heart rate would just rocket to silly levels, however dry conditions and a full suspension bike made pedalling most things fairly easy. I had another hour or two of sofadom afterwards but was able to get out and spend some time cleaning bikes later. My On One was so filthy it took most of the afternoon, that'll learn me not to take the DirtWorker. My plans of getting several bikes done failed, only got the On One and my road bike done.

Monday I felt a bit better, headed out for a run from White Coppice after work, running up the hills seemed fine and only had one slight queasy moment, oddly on a flat piece of track, the rest of the time things were ok. Amongst all the unusual dusty dryness I managed to stomp into a patch of ankle deep bog, strangely reassuring!

Tuesday, still felt a little out of sorts in the morning but decided to have an easy spin into work on the road bike. I didn't pay much attention to the forecast and was happily tootling along through a sheltered Preston when I turned off to the docks and straight into a raging headwind, think I went from 18 mph to about 8 in less than a metre. It was a long, long slog against it all the way to work, so glad I was on the road bike to at least get down on the drops a bit. Not really what I wanted that morning.

The ride home was obviously faster but the wind was more of a crosswind in parts and I got blown sideways into the main dual carriageway at one point, luckily no cars coming. Even with faffing through Lytham and Warton, almost wearing a bus and having to stop, being scared more than once battling to control the bike and often not pedalling too hard I was averaging 18.7 when I got to the roadworks at Strand Rd which I thought was quite impressive, wish I could do that normally. By the time I'd crawled through them I was at a more normal 17 and tootled home from there quite happily.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Almost wished I hadn't bothered.....almost.

Home after work, cycling gear on, waiting for Jez to get back to go out riding. Dragged the Titus out as it hasn't been out this year and it's an expensive bike just to be sitting in the garage. Pumps tyres up, air in shock, change Garmin mount...hear the racket of Jez's motorbike engine...Jez arrives with a big CBA to riding. I go anyway, thinking I'll get a good spin in before it gets dark, being on my own will mean minimum faff (yeah right!).

Drive off, a bit of thought about where to go, as I'm on my own decide to ride Great Hill but where from? Abbey Village is the closest and most sensible time wise so get there unpack bike, get rest of kit on, lube the chain. Whilst back pedalling the chain to lube it it falls off the cassette and jams between cassette and spokes, grrr. Had to undo powerlink to fish it out, get it out and make note to do some serious bike cleaning (of all bikes) as chain is black and so now were my gloves.

Put it all back together and linked it up but failed to notice between threading it through derailleur and joining the powerlink it had fallen into the spokes again, grrrrrrrrrrrr! Undo it all again, rethread, join it back up, gloves even blacker, put car key in jacket pocket, jacket pocket now covered in black, oily fingerprints. So much for a quick and faffless start!

Set off riding, a few pedal revs later the grinding noise tells me I've done my usual crap job of threading the chain through the rear derailleur, seriously, seriously tempted to chuck everything back in car and go home but the prospect of dry, moorland trails is too much.

Pull over at Sawmill, undo it all again, thread chain through properly this time and manage not to lose powerlink in the long grass, off again with no grinding and working gears. Quick map check to locate the first piece of cheek I was intending to ride and head off to it, getting used to a squidgy bike again which was creaking annoyingly from the swingarm. It felt a lot heavier than the On One, particularly lifting it over gates.

Off up a section of relatively well packed double track onto the moor, will be a bit of a grassy slog in the wet but only one section looked like it would get boggy, mainly due to tractor tyres. Get up onto the moor and pick up one of my favourite pieces of running singletrack. In the spirit of minimising faff I stopped to take some pictures, it was lovely:

On again towards Great Hill and I'm finding the rear suspension (and the front to an extent) a bit of a liability to be honest, was like riding a pogo stick. I remember that last time I rode it I found the same and it needs some settings tweaked, more rebound damping I think, the rebound adjuster on the shock is turned wholly to one side (technical description) so I turned turned it completely the other way to see what happened.

Onwards onto the big track to the summit of Great Hill, more photo faff and the creaking seems to have stopped from the swingarm. Cracking view of the sun dropping, more picture faff and general staring:

Up to the summit of Great Hill, stare a bit at the sun dropping then head down again. Just as I was setting off I heard the low battery beep from my mobile, oh great. So now if something does go wrong with bike or me the mobile is about to die. That did make me pause a bit, original plan was to head to White Coppice but maybe it would be more sensible to take the big track back.

I got to the decision point and headed to White Coppice, it looked more fun. I do ride more cautiously on my own (especially with a dying mobile) and fluffed a few things across the rutty moor that the application of a little more speed would have probably fixed but it was fun and mainly dry. The rear suspension seemed a bit better so will need to twiddle the forks a bit soon.

The sunset was gorgeous and one of the reasons I headed up here, I know from past activities that the view is pretty good from Great Hill and I did watch for a bit, however I had lights/layers and food with me this time, the working and charged mobile phone thing obviously needs some remedial work though:

The bit I was worried about was the rutty drop to White Coppice but I had a whale of a time on that and was briefly tempted to ride/actually push (let's be honest) back up and do it again. Sense prevailed and I pegged it along the new bridleway for a bit then back up through the woods to pick up the moorland singletrack. I got down, just, without putting my lights on but fired them up for the last short bit of road back to the car.

Quick drive home for Chinese after a mainly satisfying ride and a cat runs across the road in front of me, I stop in time, just.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Road Riding

Lots of it (for me anyway) is what I have been up to, 190 miles on the Ribble so far this month and have enjoyed pretty much every minute. Only 18 miles on the MTB so far but the road riding won't do my MTB fitness any harm. Have now taken in the local road hotspots of the Trough of Bowland from Dunsop Bridge (twice) and Waddington Fell from the easy side.

I've also had company for the last two road rides, I was surprised Jez, Ed and Rick wanted to come out again with me after killing them over the Trough and Waddington Fell. With four pairs of muddy mtb shoes, a peaked helmet and one large camelbak between us we look like what we were - a bunch of MTBers on a road ride - rather than a peloton.

Jez's riding was going to go one of two ways after the Cheshire Cat, either do even less and don't ride the EC or do more and thrash me round the EC to prove a point. It has gone the latter way (wasn't too surprised). His fitness and strength is coming back very quickly in that annoying way it does for him and already I can see road rides together won't really be feasible soon. On the plus side he can tow me round the EC and we may get a decent time.

Running is now down to two a week but Monday's easy beach run was great, I felt more comfortable and relaxed on that run than I did for most of my marathon training when I was running a lot and it was a similar speed for a lot less effort - go figure. They do say cycling fitness does translate to running well so come autumn I may not be back to square one running wise. I'm looking forward to a summer of evening runs on the moors.

I've got another 60/70 mile road ride planned this weekend though not sure where, did think of the steep side of Waddington Fell then over to Nick 'o Pendle or maybe over the Trough again and up to Quernmore. However, the EC is not actually as brutal a ride climbing wise as that so not sure whether to cut the climbing and go flatter for some of it...the MTBer in me says no!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Run!

Finally, today I got out for a run, it seems forever since I last put any running shoes on. Monday was a rest day after the Cheshire Cat. Tuesday was originally planned at 3 mile easy run but the weather was grim and I thought an extra lazy day wouldn't be that much of a bad thing. Wednesday I just plain forgot I was supposed to be running and didn't go out!

So today after work I headed out. Legs had lost most of their cycling leadedness but there are things that need to be stretched (hip flexors and mid back, no surprise really). However, it quickly became apparent that while an easy spin on the bike is a good recovery session for running I'm not sure, for me at least, its going to work the other way. Which is a bit of a blow, the impact is noticeable.

Anyway, it was just under 6 miles, some tarmac, some woods and hills and after the first 2 miles was really enjoyable. I think the best bet is to head off road for my runs as much as possible. My gait has changed back to being quad heavy again though....


Well March was an interesting month. The start was spent in the Cairngorms learning all about winter walking and enjoying the best snow for years and also, unusually for Scotland excellent weather. A fantastic holiday.

Mileage wise things have been good in one respect and a bit dismal in another. The good aspect is I managed 310 cycling miles, the first time I've broken the 300 mark since 2006 apparently. Almost 200 miles of those were on the road bike, all "rides". I also did my first roadie sportive, the Cheshire Cat which was suprisingly good fun. I'm seriously in love with my road bike at the minute, very odd.

Only one cycling commute in to work jfor the whole month, ust after coming back from Scotland but I got the train home (and didn't have to pay). The rest of the miles are split between MTB (30 - rubbish) and fubbing about shopping.

The dismal aspect is running, in March I managed 21 miles! Partly being away for a week, then having the tightest lower legs imaginable for a week after, then a bit of running, then taking it easy for the Cheshire Cat.....Must do better!

I've kind of decided to do two runs a week for a while until after the Etape Caledonia and some fun trail/fell running is what I have in mind. I just need to keep it ticking over until the autumn where I'll most likely pick the running mileage up again.