Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Reduction In Commuting Speed...D'oh

Not that I've done any this week but I managed to commute in again twice since my rear tyre debacle (reminds me..new tyre to wrestle on). I have been noticeably slower and slower riding, so much so that I thought I might as well get the Spesh out as the road bike is not conferring any speed advantage at all. Is the reduction probably because:

a) Simply not as much riding of late
b) Denser cold air to push through and more layers to weigh me down.
c) Making a hash of fitting the Crud road guards such that they have minimal clearance and clog at the merest hint of mushy leaves and road muck then act as a brake.....*

One hour of pain in the freezing cold garage, it was utterly baltic and I felt the cold. I am not one of life's warm people it would seem, if it stays like this it will be long fingered gloves, full thermal tights and top and a buff for the next session. Brrrrr.

*(....I swapped the wheel out to put bike on turbo last night.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Half a commute

For the first time in what seems like ages (because it is) I got up and cycled to work. It was a little chilly and there were a few patches of ice/frost on the tramway but nothing to scare even the big jessie I am around ice.

My legs were battered from the turbo the night before so it was a nice steady spin. Just passing the Texaco garage at Lea Gate (which isn' even half way there) when I heard a little ping. A memory is triggered and I think that the last time I heard a noise like that I got a puncture and sure enough the back wheel started squidging. Grrrr.

Couldn't find anything in the tube and being right next to a quite fast and very busy road meant no chance of hearing anything. Checked the tyre loads of times but couldn't find anything which I hate, past experience tells me there is usually something lurking somewhere.

All back on with a new tube, get the CO2 out as my fingers are freezing and time is getting on as I set off a bit late anyway. I hadn't put the valve ring on and the valve just pushed back in as I tried to cryongenically freeze my already numb fingers instead of pushing air into the tyre, lovely. Noticed about half way through the canister..I thought..sorted it and got what I thought was a reasonable amount of air in. Put it all back and just about to set off, check tyre and its soft.

A bit of a dilemma...pump it up and hope it holds, replace with my other tube and hope it doesn't puncture, if it does I don't have many options apart from to call Jez who is already at work. I have sticky patch things as a last resort but if I can't locate the actual puncture site then they are useless.

Decide to take it all off again, pump loads of air into the tube whilst thoroughly checking the tyre, rim etc at least six times and still nothing. Tube still seems relatively inflated so take a chance and stick it back in and pump it up with the mini pump rather than waste another canister.

Pump it up so it reasonably passes the finger squeeze test (which is way out usually on road tyres) and it holds once I'm ready to ride. It actually got me all the way to work (about 9 more miles) amazingly without being topped up but it was a little soft.

I left home at 7:30 am and arrived at my desk at 9:27 and I still had to get showered and changed.

I dithered a bit about whether to ride home or not, tyre was most definitely softening but I topped it up during the day and it passed the finger squeeze test but it did soften again. I just didn't want to get caught out on the pitch black section of my commute so took Jez up on the offer of a lift. He reckoned the tyre was reasonably firm.

Got home and got the track pump on it....45 psi, a pinch flat just waiting to happen, that would've been an interesting ride home. Pumped it up to 100psi and have left it to see if it goes down. Will have to have a thorough check of the tyre and possibly replace as there were a couple of deep cuts in it.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Seem to be getting owned by everything at the minute...mountain bike trails, road riding and my sinuses being the main ones. At least the latter explains the motivation dip recently as I fight off about of sinusitis, deep joy.

Got owned by the Whinlatter red route on the last weekend of October, off camber slippy rocks I can do, roots not so much. I realise now during the duathlon I must have ran over most of the technical stuff due to the traffic on the route. Had a couple of quality spud moments and once getting stuck behind my saddle on a techy, slippy rocky chute whilst avoiding someone else and ending up on a stupid line.

I have swapped my road bike and Titus saddles round as I just couldn't get comfy on it on the roadie, its fine on the Titus as I'm more upright. Its narrower, which is great for getting off the back but its one of the modern Flite designs with the handy hook for racking your bike in transition....or getting hooked on your shorts and digging in (nice bruise) and preventing you getting up again when making a dogs dinner of a trail obstacle. How I managed not to clatter into that rapidly approaching tree whilst sitting on my crud catcher so much I could hear it rubbing on the back wheel and having absolutely no control over the bike I'll never know but I'm pleased I didn't.

My technical riding needs some serious work and it's all basics like not looking far enough ahead. We did the blue which was fun but I died a death after that and jsut wanted to lie at the side of the trail and shake, though realised I'd had quite silly amounts of coffee which is never a good idea for me. I'm very susceptible to caffeine (which is why I like it) but it does tend to cause me to go off at warp speed then have a blood sugar crash if I have too much. A bit like blowing up a balloon and letting it go...that's me on 4 large mugs of good coffee.

A night on the beer in Ambleside meant I was a touch fragile and wobbly when we set off on the Grizedale red (no way I or anyone else for that matter was up for doing any of the natural stuff). Having done the trail a few times I knew the most dangerous thing on it was likely to be me in my slightly befuddled state and it somehow wasn't me that got owned by the boards.

I've never had much of a problem on the Grizedale boards, I've never had anyone stop in front of me on them either. They were like ice and seemed to be causing carnage and stoppages. Once stopped it was almost impossible to get going again it was so slippy, I tried to jog off the end of one and could barely stand up on it, was safer riding. When I was unimpeded I was actually riding them fine.

There were a few offs in our group with no damage until:


How many MTBers does it take...

Watched a lad come round that section of board when we were faffing with the disk and he landed on his chest on the boards, ouch. Some of the gouge marks on the sides are impressive. They couldn't straighten the disk out so he had to ride the last section without a front brake.

We were round quite quickly then into the cafe, I've not been there since it was rebuilt and the food was superb.

Motivation has not been up to much since then, a few turbo sessions but had a low grade headache for a while, took me a while to realise it was sinusitis as it normally comes on after a cold.

Headed out on a road ride with Jez on Sunday just past which was a bit of a disaster for me, totally owned. It was only 45 miles with about 1700ft of climbing, pretty much all in the first 10 miles and my legs were not having any of it. No power, eventually realised saddle was probably too low, saddle swap with Titus. I am totally and utterly "princess and the pea" with saddle stuff, I'm sure I've mentioned it before. I'd probably notice a mm adjustment and I knew the saddle change would open a can of worms...

After the climbing its quite flat and I just could not keep up with Jez and I was trying quite hard. There is nothing worse that flogging yourself to death to stay with someone when you know they aren't even bloody trying. He had it in the big ring the bugger - we have triples on our road bikes so he was right up at the top of the gear range and I just couldn't/can't muster that kind of power, certainly not for any length of time. Pest!

We had a brief stop whilst he chatted to his sad puppy rc model mates and I do some more saddle tinkering. A stop for some food then home. About two miles from home the inevitable happened, his legs started to go into meltdown and mine started to remember what to do. The answer to this of course is a long hilly ride to induce cramp in his quads then I can ride off leaving him upside down in a hedge...Waddington Fell and the Trough here we come...or offroad in West Yorkshire..hmm.

However on Tuesday I suddenly had motivation and energy in spades and have got a couple of runs in so fingers crossed. Hope this wind bogs off over the weekend but will be heading up for a run on Darwen moor tomorrow to see the damage to the tower and the state of the trails.