Sunshine!!!!!!

We’ve had a bit of sun this weekend. About bleeding time too. There’s even some DUST starting to appear on once-muddy trails and the temperature is almost reaching 20 degrees!

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Road ride yesterday. Almost killed on a number of occasions in Jon Wyatt-style murder attempts. One woman has her car on 2 wheels turning left at high speed in front of me. Another bloke screws the tits of his girly Mercedes on the outside of a roundabout, turning right, when I’m also turning right. Idiot pedestrians in the City Centre on the way home looking me straight in the eye then walking into the road in front of me.

Lovely off-road 40 miler this morning though. Oooh, it were blimmin’ great. Still a lot of mushy bits about, but sunshine, man. Loads of.

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On the way back, a bridleway that pretty much takes me back to the house has been obliterated. 2 JCB’s and one of those massive dumper trucks with tyres the size of a house were moving back and forth and generally being quite scary. So I turned around and had to make a 6 mile detour. Grrr.

Big week this week. My final training week before the Cristalp, ending in the Selkirk MTB marathon on Sunday. I’m in the 100K (although it’s more like 88) and I’m looking forward to this. Last time I did it I went over the bars and landed on my face on Cadon Bank. It’s a humdinger of a route. I’m probably not going to arrive till quite late on Saturday night with one thing and another so I’ll probably be sleeping in the car…I’ve not done that for a few years. I’ll probably be doing it on the singlespeed too. Why? Why not? Whatever happens on Sunday, I’ll be putting in some serious effort this week then I’m all “baked potatoes and early nights” for a couple of weeks.

10p for the first one to spot the tower!

Another lovely Wednesday evening last night. Plenty of sunshine and a bit breezy. I went for a ride on the cyclocross bike because I was running a bit late but still wanted to put in a respectable amount of miles as I’ve had a pretty disrupted week this week. I’ve not had chance to ride as much in the mornings although I’ve done a fair bit of running. I went up through Ainsworth, Bradshaw, Belmont, Egerton ending up at Rivington. Bounced along the bridleway and dropped down into Horwich then back home.

On the road from Belmont to Rivington Barn I was caught by and started chatting to a roadie who recounted the episode recently involving his now-smashed carbon “other” bike and some Easyjet baggage handlers. That’s not what I wanted to hear considering we’re flying to Geneva with Easyjet, so I promptly dropped him. Serves him right for telling me my bike was “interesting but looks heavy”. Does this look heavy to you?

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Admittedly it’s probably a lot heavier than the sleek-looking sliver of aluminium and carbon that he was riding.

From the top of the hill at Rivvy, I could see the sun setting over Blackpool tower, which was nice. I had a natter to Stuart the Olympic runner up there too, although he wasn’t running this time. His girlfriend was as excited as I was about the view of the Tower!

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wonky shoulder

I’ve got a pointy bit on my right shoulder that’s been there for a long time now. I crashed a car way back in 1993 and I spectacularly rolled it down a hill. The seatbelt, whilst it probably saved me from something, snapped my clavicle and it healed a bit weird with one of the pieces of broken bone sticking straight up. Up until now the only problems I’ve had with it has been in the winter when the cold and damp air makes it ache a bit and it probably ruined my modelling career – I’ve recently discovered however that shouldering a ‘cross bike places the top tube right on that pointy bit of bone and it’s bloody agonising after about 3 seconds. A bit like someone squeezing your elbow betwixt finger and thumb. So…I need to get into the habit of shouldering the bike on my left, which places the chainrings a bit awkwardly next to my ribcage…

Make mine a double

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Simon and I attempted to ride the Mary Townley Loop twice yesterday, and we almost did it. We set off really early again, and the first loop was going quite well, despite the rain and mud. Then my front brake went bonkers and needed some intricate fettling to get it going again. The pads had worn to the metal and one of the pistons had come out so far that it ended up at a jaunty angle and wouldn’t retract. It’s not like me to let a brake pad wear out completely like that, so lessons learned. I replaced the pads, wiggled the piston back into place, smacked it with a rock and off we went.

Another problem I was having was a constant need to wee. For some reason the High 5 energy drink I’ve been using passes through me in much the same way as lager does. At one point I was stopping every 10 minutes for a piss. Weird. Perhaps in the race I’ll just wee in my shorts 😉

Once we got back to the cars for a pit/butty stop, we ummed and ahhed and decided the plan would be to do another loop there and then but include a fast road section instead of the most northerly section of the trail. We wouldn’t lose too much mileage like that but we would be faster and thus wouldn’t arrive back to the start in the dark. Our first loop just wasn’t a quick loop in any sense, and we’d lost loads of time due to mechanicals, etc.

So…that’s what we did. More hard riding through countless muddy trails, climbs followed by more climbs and then some more climbing…then a relatively easy section on the road. We rejoined the trail near Summit (yep, that massive trudge up the big hill) then towards Rochdale.

In total, 80 miles and 3500 metres of climbing. I reckon we sacrificed only 15 miles and about 600 metres of climb due to our time-saver diversion so a good plan really.

I’m starting to feel properly ready for the Cristalp now. Yesterday’s ride was tough, but not as tough as I was expecting it to be. I still ate my tea in about 15 seconds though!

We’re in (another one)!

My entry into the 3 Peaks Cyclocross has been accepted. So has Simon’s. As I’m a first-timer, I had to include my race history from the last couple of years. So I did. There’s quite a lot of it, in fact. There’s even a triathlon relay win.

Anyway, I’m already including “running up a muddy hill with a ‘cross bike on my shoulder” sessions in my schedule so I reckon I’ll be right on the day.