220 Triathlon were at HTN apparently

One of their writers did quite well (8th in the solo) and there’s a nice article about the race in this month’s mag. I only knew about it when a triathlete at work told me about it. It’s a typical triathlete’s perspective I suppose, loads of “keeping it under level 2” and that, but it’s good coverage and we’ll probably do them a banner or something at the next one.

Buy it. But don’t blame me if you max out your credit card on a 9K Serotta shortly afterwards.

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bleaurgh

I did this morning’s ride last night instead (Ainsworth, Bradshaw, Crowthorn, Maggot Farm, Holcombe Moor, home). The roads and bridleways were very dry considering the recent weather, but the run across Holcombe Moor to the flagpole and back down to the tower was a soaking wet boggy nightmare (especially in the dark).

I’m impressed by the Land Cruisers. I was expecting them to be heavy and draggy but they’re actually not draggy at all (they’re still reassuringly heavy though). In fact, the centre strip of continuous tread makes them quiet and very fast rolling, much nippier than the Maxxis Locusts I normally use. They’re pretty good at cornering at speed too. The new brake pads are after market jobs instead of genuine Avids. Bedding them in and getting them to bite is proving to be a slow process, in fact 30-odd miles last night including some big downhills to glaze them over still hasn’t got them working properly so I may end up getting some “real” ones and keeping these as spares. You know that they say, “Buy cheap, buy twice.” Bah.

I got home to find Deb hosing Rachael down in the shower. She’d puked everywhere. Great.

Sunday is the MTL Challenge. The only person doing it that I know is Shaun Wells, so it should be fun trying to hang onto the wheel of an elite rider for 47 miles…

 

shock and awe

I’m in the middle of a pretty intense week, training-wise. I’ve been riding lots, including a road ride the other night where I got a puncture right in the middle of The Worst Estate In Bolton ™, but the sky was clear, I could see the moon and it wasn’t raining for a change. So it was nice. I’ve been running a fair bit, including a lunchtime run yesterday with Adam (ex-pro footballer, marathon runner and all-round nice guy) where I attempted to hurdle a metal fence, got it wrong and smacked my kneecap on it. I had blood running down my leg by the time I got back to work and had to cadge a couple of Ibuprofens of one of the girls in the office. A good run though, plenty of ups and downs, mud and slipping about. We were bloody fast too – I don’t think either of us wanted to slow the other one down which is often the case when two blokes go running together…

We’re going to do it regularly through the winter. Ace.

I’ve got a few jobs to do on the CX bike to get it tickety-boo again. All at once, the tyres went bald (well the rear one did), the headset bearings died, the bar tape came off and the brake pads disintegrated. So I’ve had to spend a few quid on new bearings, pads and a pair of very tough-looking Schwalbe Land Cruisers (THE 3 Peaks CX tyre, apparently) but I’m hoping to have it all sorted ready for tomorrow morning’s ride/run over Holcombe Moor and the firing range.

Last night was a novelty – me and Deb went out for a meal with Andrew and Julie, minus the kids. We and they had babysitters, a table booked and clean, puke-free clothes on and it was great. We didn’t talk about Hit the North until we were almost ready to go home!

ride, ride and ride some more

Early start this morning to ride over to Rivington Barn to meet some lads from Horwich CC, including Russ, to do a cyclocross ride. Most people I guess are doing it as part of their 3 Peaks preparation, as I am. I got there late and everyone had gone so I rode up a likely-looking trail, up the rocky and knackered riverbed (is that the ICR?) and up to the end of the trail that leads to the PIke. There they are, coming down again. Russ is with them too so all is well. Most people are riding cross bikes but some are on MTB’s – there’s about 20 guys altogether. Some young, some not very young.

Off we went over some extremely boggy moorland, along some rocky trails (not much fun with a rigid fork and narrow cross tyres), along the road for a bit, down the trail that goes past the maggot farm, a run up a rocky track and across the moor to the cross and over to Peel Tower. A tough ride and a fairly brisk pace. One of the Horwich lot was asking me if I’d join the club and do some ‘cross racing with them this winter. I might have a do at that actually – plus it was nice to be invited. I think I’m going to go over to Leverhulme Park this week to do some CX training..you know, something with a bit of structure, purpose and perhaps most importantly, company. It’s handy really becasue I still can’t get my remounts right. I swear I’m going to smash my knackers and that’s really going to put me off….

After that I left them to make their way back over towards Rivvy and rode back towards home. My plan was to ditch this muddy bike and ride over to Macclesfield on the road bike. Not only was the cross bike filthy but the brake pads had by this time completly gone and I had no spares on me, so I couldn’t have done any more steep off-road stuff anyway given that I could only use the front brake and that wasn’t particularly effective. About 5 miles from home I get a puncture and ride onto a playing field to sort it. Bike upside down, wheel off and BLAM. An enormous, torrential, soaking downpour of epic proportions arrives and I’m getting soaked. The rain is so heavy that the bike gets knocked over and all of a sudden I become very hamfisted, I can’t get the patch to stick properly nor can I manage to get the gel wrapper I’m using as a tyre boot (puncture caused by some glass) to stay in place. What I am able to do really well though is swear like a trooper at the top of my voice.

Eventually I’m on my way again and the rain is still trying to batter me into submission. There’s a river running down the main road and this bloody rear tyre is still going flat. Not as quickly as it was before, but definately getting softer.

The road ride from the house to Macclesfield after a change of clothes and change of bike was fast, enjoyable and incident-free. I averaged about 18mph according to the ‘puter, which wasn’t bad considering the number of traffic lights/taxis/trams on the way. The country lanes in Cheshire were full of roadies too – I think there was a sportive on or something.

makes a change from dust and rocks

Gaz came over for a ride this morning. He’s in the UK for a week’s break from the hell that is sunny and hot Vancouver so took the opportunity to borrow one of my bikes and ride the buff trails of north Manchester. Oh hang on….that’s not right is it. It’s as muddy as I’ve ever seen it around here at the moment, no doubt the whole of the UK is like this. It’s been raining for as long as I can remember now and I seem to be wearing out brake pads at an alarming rate, in fact I’ve just been on Ebay buying some more…Avids for the cross bike this time. Perhaps I can get a bulk discount from someone. Anyway, it was fun and it’s good to catch up with mates you’ve not seen for ages. Mike came with us and characteristically crashed, this time binning it on some tarmac and taking the skin off his elbow.

There’s an article about Hit the North in this month’s 220 Triathlon mag apparently. Shame nobody seems to sell it.