II really didn’t feel like riding at all last night. I had to give myself a proper kick in the pants to even get changed, let alone go for a road ride in the dark and the cold. Eventually, the bike came out on top and off I went, again over towards Rochdale and a cunning plan to ride up Edenfield Road, over the tops past Owd Betts, down into Edenfield then through Ramsbottom, Hawkshaw, Bradshaw, Harwood, Ainsworth then home. About 38 miles in total.Early on, I was really struggling with the road fumes. Living in Prestwich, I think I’m used to the smell and taste of a bit of pollution and it doesn’t bother me, but this time I could REALLY taste it. On the road to Rochdale it was getting so bad that I was starting to feel sick, every breath leaving a rotten taste in my throat (akin to the taste I used to get after gulping a load of 2-stroke from an outboard engine when I was into waterskiing) and a disgusting diesel stench in my nostrils. It must have been the atmospheric conditions on that particular night – I felt like I was riding through a huge cloud of harmful gas and that this ride was causing me more harm than good.

Once I starting climbing from Rochdale up to the moors, the air was much fresher, thankfully. I’d been attacking this ride from the moment I set off and despite my earlier efforts I was still attacking climbs like a nutter, trying to clean this hill in a fairly big gear. On the descent, it was nowhere near as windy as it has been, the visibility was better and it was a lot dryer. Lovely. What had started off as a struggle with my lack of motivation had turned into a brilliant and memorable ride….

I got home well after 11pm, pleasingly only 2 hours after I’d set off. Road riding rocks (apart from sucking in fumes).

time running out

2 weeks to go until the Gran Canaria enduro and I was desperate to get a couple of big rides in. I’m riding, running and turbo’ing a lot both in the week and at weekends, but rarely am I riding for longer than 3 hours in one go. As it turned out, I didn’t get chance to do “big” rides and had to settle for a couple of medium rides instead. I decided to do a 30 mile out-and-back on Saturday night following two horrible turbo sessions (one on Friday evening, one Saturday morning).

The route was a familiar one, basically riding northeast towards Rochdale, up through the council estate and then climb up RMR, once at the quarry just past the summit, turn around and ride back.I rode up faster than I have done for a bit, no doubt partly due to the light weight bike I was riding and the nippy Small Block 8 tyres (which are good on tarmac as well as dirt). Coming back down the moor convinced me that the fork is now working as it should too, following several days of on-and-off fettling and playing with air pressures. On the way up, I stopped to survey the damage to some poor sod’s BMW….


On Sunday I got the road bike out and managed another 30-ish miler with as many hills as I could include in the route. It’s still freezing cold at night, there was a fair amount of ice about once it had gone dark and I had one or two “moments”. I need to stop crashing and falling off on road rides. One of these days I’m going to get hurt.

Radcliffe trail race

I was still feeling a bit poorly on Sunday morning and was in two minds whether to do this race. It’s the longest distance I’ve ever ran in the past and I could imagine spending the entire race coughing or gobbing phlegm. I was feeling better than I did 2 days ago though, so “sod it” I thought and got changed into shorts and running vest.

I felt ok though after a couple of miles and settled into a good rhythm. About 6 miles in, I started to get “the pain” and a few people went past me. I was getting frustrated by this and probably slowed down even more as a result. It was a long way to go and I was feeling weak. I got back to a decent pace and maintained my position more or less for the rest of the race and did my best to ignore the pain. At this point I’d decided that wearing fell shoes on a freezing cold day where the ground was rock-solid was a mistake. Everyone else was wearing comfy trail shoes.

One of the best things about this race for me was the route. Most of it was along familiar trails I ride all the time, but there was one section that was completely new to me and on a bike will be a barrel of fun. I’ll be riding it this week and getting some photos…

I finished within my 1:30 target with a time of 1:29 and a bit – 75th place out of 200-ish.

Peel Tower

Me, Deb, the kids and the dog all went up Holcombe Hill on Saturday. Beautiful weather, great views and a very, very slow walk back down. Two year olds don’t move too quickly.



I’d been feeling ill last week since taking part in a rowing race on Concept 2 rowing machines. We got absolutely hammered, so I’m not going into any more detail other than to say it’s obvious that cycling does very little to improve my prowess as an oarsman!

I was feeling so ill on Friday that I rang in sick – that must only be the second time I’ve ever done that. Anyhow, later that evening I started to feel at bit better and decided to finish building the Global Titanium Softail. Once the gears were shifting correctly and I’d bled the brakes, the hardest part should have been done…the USE fork however has been a bit of a bugger to get right. I’ve finally got the correct amount of air pressure in it but there seems to be so much rebound damping that it extends very slowly. USE themselves are sending me some bits and pieces to help me strip it down, clean it and replace the wiper seals so hopefully that’ll sort it.


Despite the niggly fork, the bike rides absolutely beautifully. In fact, this is the nicest riding bike I’ve ever owned. It’s so smooth, comfortable and quiet and bloody fast too. I’ll be riding it a lot over the next couple of weeks just to make sure it’s all set up right and isn’t’ going to give me pain over a long distance. The whole bike weighs in at 24 pounds.