happy birthday!

I took Michael up to Ramsbottom the other night for a night ride. I’d planned a easyish route over Holcombe Moor, down Robin Hood’s to Irwell Vale, Edenfield then along a trail I’ve not ridden for years. Dead rocky it is. “He’ll love this” I thought. It was much more severe than I remember, in fact the trail that was already pretty technical, bears all the scars of 2 years of pretty much constant rain. At the bottom we had to stop while Mike put his chain back on. The only problem was that his mech was hanging off…he’d smashed it on a rock. I set about removing it, shortening the chain and bodging a singlespeed setup. It’s about time he was riding a singlespeed anyway, now that he’s old enough to grow a scraggy beard 😉

Anyway, that was fine, if a little bit spinny until we got to Nutall Wood. For some reason (probably poor maintenance), three of the four chainring bolts decide to disintegrate so he’s now got chainrings that move in an elliptical orbit around the bottom bracket.

We walked the last mile (up the Rake) to the car.

Yesterday was Eleanor’s first birthday. I ate too much pizza, too much cake and drank too much red wine. Loads of our friends and family came round so it was a really good day.

The birthday girl enjoyed it too!

 I’ve “disposed” of 2 more bikes in the last week. Stripped but not-yet-sold is the Patriot. And sold but not-yet-stripped is the Prince Albert. I’m really sad to see them go but they’ve not been ridden often enough and the PA is pretty bloody heavy anyway. I’ve kept the forks, wheels and all other components…so there may be some options in the New Year. Given the sorry state of Mike’s DMR and the fact that he’s all of a sudden the same height as me, it’s probable that we’ll share a bike (ok, I’ll build something for him and nick it occasionally). At least then I might pay more attention to maintaining the thing.


where’s me jumper?

I’ve been digging out and dusting off the soft shell jacket, the windproof jacket, the fleece skull cap, the waterproof Goretex gloves and the overshoes. It’s cold now, not quite cold enough for the winter boots yet but it’s going to snow this week so perhaps I should empty the dead spiders out of those too. I actually got numb fingers and toes when I went for a ride yesterday. I’d almost forgot how painful that can be.

I managed to fit in a fair bit of riding last week and I’ve got a good plan this week too. Today’s ride started this afternoon after I’d been stuck in the house all day and the weather was looking pretty good, chilly and blue skies – perfect. No sooner had I clipped into the pedals though and the heavens opened and I was soaked by the time I’d got to the end of our road. Bah. I carried on as I really wanted to ride a “new” trail again that I’d found last week. Unusually for round here, it’s quite twisty, very rocky (well, not “rocky” as such, more like large chunks of an old stone building that got bombed by the Luftwaffe or something. Perhaps) and a stark contrast to the regular mud and trees stuff. It’s ace but for now it’s a secret.

do you like my new helmet?

It definitely felt wintery last night, which came as a shock after the mild temperatures recently. I’ve still been stuck in the “short rides” rut again last week – I’ve been doing 10 mile loops on the singlespeed whilst being rained on, mostly. I’m easing myself back into it I suppose. This week I’ll get out on the road bike and get the base miles in like I should be doing.

More Three Peaks Cyclocross media…

Simon’s 3 Peaks video is done. You can see it here. The movie features the cream of the UK cyclocross talent; Rob Jebb, Nick Craig…me 😉

There’s also a nice slideshow by Geoff Waugh here

We’ve finally donated the “profits” of Hit the North to charity. We’ve given £1000 to Mediquip4Kids and £420 each to a local preservation charity and a local bat protection group. We did the cardboard cheque/local paper/daft charity mascot thing the other day in the park. Unfortunately the journo didn’t show up but Warren was there to save the day with his camera…

I even got to play with the mascot’s head for a bit 😉

Salsa Juan Solo – it’s rather green

I finally got round to building the Salsa singlespeed using all the bits I took off the Surly before I flogged it. The new one was a tatty mess when I got it, so after some new paint it’s as good as new. Bloody chips easily though 😦 Grrrr.

It’s at least a couple of pounds lighter than the Surly and a whole load more fun to ride. Handling is on the quick side, as I found out when I crashed and landed in a bush.

We went to watch the cyclocross race in Blackley earlier. I should have entered really.

abnormal emotional shoe attachment

Debbie took part in the Manchester Treeathlon yesterday, a 5K run at Heaton Park. She did it in 25 minutes – her best performance in a race so far. Pretty impressive considering the relatively short amount of time she’s been running too. I’m so proud 😉

For taking part, she got a tshirt, some vouchers for bog roll(!), a water bottle, some free fruit and a sapling to plant. The first sapling that was handed over was a beech I think. An English oak subsequently fell into her pocket too. We’re going to plant them once they’ve grown a bit bigger in a secret place in the Clough. Ace.


Whilst in Heaton Park we bought ice creams from The Rudest Woman Who Works In An Ice Cream Van In The World ™. You know the sort – so unbelievably rude that it’s funny, a bit like Basil Fawlty except this miserable cow wasn’t stressed, she was just a miserable, rude, ignorant cow (not her above, although Rachael does look grumpy in that pic).

In spite of the excitement in the park, I managed to get a ride in. Again I didn’t have the motivation to do anything particularly big so did another little local loop. I’ve actually enjoyed the lower intensity of the last few days so I must have needed the rest. I need to stay focussed though and don’t let things slip too much, in fact I’ll start my winter training routine this week. Long live long rides eh? There’s a few local cyclocross races I want to do as well – there’s one this weekend just down the road in fact but I might just spectate that one (cue comments).

The sad news of the last couple of days was the final demise of my Sidi Dominators. They’ve been such a comfortable, hardy pair of shoes but there’s only so much Araldite a synthetic leather upper can take. The cleats were knackered and they’re seized in anyway, one of the ratchets is broken and the soles are doing that crocodile thing that just says “thrown me in the bin”. So I did. I’ll get some new shoes in the new year, for now I’ll have to make do with my Specialized Comps which (worryingly) don’t look like they’re going to last anywhere near as long as the Sidis.