Monday, August 15, 2011

The Cycling Gods Hate Me!

Been quiet lately, suffering from a few niggles and an accompanying case of the blahs. Not helped by the weather seemingly bypassing the rest of August and heading straight for October last week. Have a bit of a stiff left shoulder and my old feeble left knee/tight left hip problem is trying to make a reappearance (the latter is actually causing the former).

So not much swimming at all and to be honest St Annes pool is so incredibly busy at the moment that its pretty unsatisfactory anyway (unless you want to do very slow breast stroke). The downside of its location at the seaside and an large elderly population I suppose. Actually thinking of trying out Leyland pool for a bit until the kids go back to school and hoping lunchtime swims become feasible again.

I did sod all this weekend in spite of grand riding plans and eventually had to force myself out the door on Sunday evening for a bit of a run. A promise to myself to do only 3 miles turned into 7 pretty enjoyable miles (apart from the first 2 that is). its probably what I needed as this morning, despite massing black clouds of doom I got up to cycle to work with Jez.

One mile into the commute and I nearly fall off my bike just after pulling away from a junction, my foot had slipped off the left pedal. Try in vain to get it to clip in and pull over thinking my cleat must have fallen off. As soon as I put my foot on the floor I knew that wasn't the case. A quick look at the pedal (Crank Bros Candy) and the spring has jammed open, great. Leave Jez to get on with his commute and I ride back home to get the fast road bike.

Get it down, get air in tyres and change shoes to roadie clogs then head off again. I don't know why I let it enter my head but I hoped I wouldn't get a puncture going through the messy road works on Strand Road as I had fast rather than durable tyres on. Banished the thought. The rain starts in earnest, I was hoping it wouldn't be too long a shower as I have no guards on the fast bike.

Got through the road works ok...just heading to the cinema on the docks and rear tyre start squirming, bloody puncture! Pull over at a handy bus shelter so at least I'm out the rain. Change tube ok after a serious check of the tyre, could feel the air whistling out of the punctured tube but struggled to locate the hole, manage to actually get the tyres on and off the rims with just my thumbs.

Pump a little bit of air in the tube with my mini pump to check all is seated ok before unleashing the CO2, all well. Unscrew the mini pump and the entire valve core comes with it. FFS!!!!! Never had that happen before, now seriously, seriously peed off. Now no spare tube at all.

Get the other one in, go straight for the CO2 and I did think about just going for it but I the way things had gone today I'd just end up puncturing again half way which is 9 miles from home and 9 miles from work and a good few miles either way from civilisation.

I then ride in a fairly angry manner towards home. Thinking that I could just jog if I get another puncture as its only about 4 miles max...then remember I've got roadie clogs on now so start riding a lot more sedately scanning the ground constantly for pointy things. At least the sun had come out.

Get home, try to touch as little as possible in case it breaks, drive very carefully to work. Unfair!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Big Sky Riding

Saturday just past and I was back in the Dales, only about two months after EDD but a completely different weather experience. This is what I love about Dales mountain biking:

Big Sky Riding

Bone dry trails and fantastic views. In fact, I think that was probably the first time I had actually ridden some of those trails in the dry, for some reason we seem always to tackle these grassy, limestone infested trails in the winter wet, complete slogfest then.

I managed to clean the evil climb out of Littondale up to the road skirting PenYGhent for the first time ever, pretty pleased with that, normally I just either don;t have the legs or spin out on some greasy bit of limestone. The lovely cheese and pickle sandwiches I'd just troughed at the pub were the deciding factor I'm sure.

The visibility was just awesome, this was the kind of view I knew I was missing in all the clag of the EDD:

Pen-Y-Ghent..actually visible for a change

A great ride and just occasionally on the descents I thought my descending mojo was really coming back, ear to ear grins at the bottom of every single one...hopefully I'll get it fully back before our trip to Switzerland in September.