another year

Today is my birthday. I was up early as usual and had a nice ride (well, I’m saying nice. Sprinting up hills repeatedly isn’t particularly nice but there you go. Most of it was pretty sedate) for a couple of hours. Back for some breakfast and presents!

I got a canvas of ME riding a bike from my mum and dad. There’s a wall in the house that’s starting to resemble a bit of a shrine to Jason to be honest. Perhaps I should bung a few pics of the kids on there too. I got some aftershave. I got a new pair of Gore riding mitts (the fingerless type – not winter mittens!). I got an Earthed 5 DVD (ace). A personal visit and a card from my brother which I wasn’t expecting. I got a brilliant Gore windproof cycling jacket that’s all anatomically shaped and very, very orange. I got some new boxer shorts. I got a bottle of single malt….I’ve done rather well, I think you’ll agree.

We’re off out now into Manchester for a veggie meal at a great place called Oklahoma.

YAY! week off!

It’s been a quiet week, relatively speaking. Early on I did nothing but clean mud off clothes and kit (washing riding clobber in a bucket prior to putting it in the washing machine), put camping gear away and sort bikes out. There’s still a fair bit to do, including strip down the Surly and flog it. It’ll be replaced with something nice, all in good time 😉 The Surly is an ok bike, but it’s not the nicest ride really. The angles just seem a bit weird, making it handle a bit funny at slower speeds. It’s great when flying downhill though. Maybe that’s the problem…it’s a bit of a boat. It’s heavy too.

I finally managed to get some riding and running done in the last couple of days, a nice ride last night on the CX bike and a run this morning followed by a trip to the pub tonight to talk about Hit the North 2….we’re still in “will we or won’t we?” mode but we should end up with some direction. Probably beer-assisted, but direction nonetheless.

I’ve got the next week off work, spending time with the kids, a trip to Cannock Chase planned and no doubt plenty of training for the 3 Peaks, which is now looming. What would make things easier would be an improvement in the weather!

I’m also considering entering the Strathpuffer 24. A 24 hour race, in January, north of Inverness. 17 hours of darkness, plenty of ice, plenty of hardship and suffering. Ace. We’d have to make a family break of it in the Highlands to justify the ridiculous amount of diesel that would be burned just getting there and back.

Sleepless in the Saddle 2008

The weather forecast was almost right. It didn’t rain on Saturday and dry on Sunday. It rained on Sunday too. Well, it rained when I was getting ready for a lap anyway. Under the horrendous circumstances, we did quite well. The results haven’t appeared yet but we think we were 15th in the mixed teams, and interestingly, 6th in the vets sub category. Not bad for a team with 3 riders in their 30’s.

I took the singlespeed as I knew it was going to be muddy. At times it was really really bad, easily as bad as it was in 2006 with the clay mixed with grass adding at least 20 pounds to the weight of the bike, overwhelming the tyres. I ran my second lap, getting round in about 1 hour 15 – not bad really. Whilst I was running with the bike I was passing loads of riders and shouting “on your left” in an ironic fashion. How we laughed. My third lap, again preceeded by a huge downpour, was the low point of a difficult weekend. I returned to the camp in a foul mood, claiming that I was going home (sorry guys). A few hours later I borrowed Budge’s geared and full suspension carbon Scott Spark and scorched around the course in about 51 minutes. I needed that – the only redeeming feature of the weekend that will mark the last time I race at Catton Park.

In some ways I can’t really complain. Hit the North was a mud fest so I know what it’s like when an event that you’ve worked hard to organise is spoiled by bad weather. I’m pretty sure that the mud around here isn’t as bad as that Catton Park stuff though. Or maybe it is. Maybe someone who did both can enlighten me.

Our team alone suffered 2 broken bikes (mech hangers) and probably at least a couple of broken washing machines.

Thursday’s ride

Shortish, 30 mile road ride, “moderate” pace (recovery pace, even) apart from the bit where I was drafting a car through Radcliffe. It was nice despite the rain. Sleepless in the Saddle this weekend so I suppose I should get used to being wet. The forecast is heavy rain Saturday, sunshine on Sunday. A race of two halves then…

wednesday’s ride

Michael and I went over to the “Adrenaline Gateway” trails at Lee Quarry last night. It’s great fun, quite reminiscent of the good bits of the Marin Trail in fact, but very, very short. Apparently the loop is about 5k in length. I reckon it’s even shorter than that. As a first step though, it’s pretty good. It’s a nice thing to have as a destination too – I can make it over there across the moors, do a loop, then ride back, giving me a 40-ish mile off road ride. We went there in the car last night though – 40 mile off road rides are not the thing for nurturing a 14 year old’s enthusiasm.

There’s one section on the “red” loop that’s a bit daunting – a rocky staircase with plenty of opportunities for going over the bars. On our first loop Mike didn’t fancy it so waked down. The second time around he still didn’t fancy it so I told him to drop his saddle a bit and then try it.

I held my breath for what seemed like an eternity whilst he picked his way down the rocks. I didn’t dare shout encouragement or helpful riding tips…no, all I could think about was the consequences of an over-the-bars incident right now and the resulting hospital trip. Oh, and the earful I’d get from my ex 😉

He made it. He even did it with some style. We both went home happy and celebrated with a chip butty and a natter in the car.