the sun has got its hat on…

well, not quite. But it is getting noticibly warmer and lighter during my early morning rides these days. It’s still dark at 5am 😉 but it’s daylight when I get home, which is rather nice. Once again I was “buffeted” by the infernal wind this morning.

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ahhhhh

I rediscovered the joy of stretching last night. I spent an hour or so bending and flexing and feel loads better for it. I’ve been totally crap at stretching for far too long now (in that I haven’t been bothering) and I think it’s started to show…hopefully displaying my special moves in front of the telly every Monday night will sort out my tight bits 😉

February’s “century”

I had my route all planned out yesterday – Oldham, Holmfirth, Holme Moss, Winnat’s, down to Buxton….some navigational issues (including forgetting to bring a complete map) around Holmfirth had me riding a little too far over to the east. By the time I realised I’d gone wrong I was quite close to Sheffield. No problem, it’s all good training miles. I headed west and realised immediately that the northwesterly breeze had become a blasting, howling wind. I grovelled along the Woodhead Pass, had to pedal down hills as well as up to maintain any kind of forward movement. I carried on to Glossop, finally reaching some shelter from the wind and headed south towards Buxton. If I was going to ride a century today it was going to be tight – I estimated that I’d have a shortfall of 10 miles or so by the time I reached Debbie’s mum’s house so I added an extra bit and descended into the Goyt Valley. The climb out played havoc with my hamstrings so I’m going to have to stretch more –  I was still looking at a shortfall of a few miles.

I got to Prestbury at 92 miles. Sod it, I thought. That’ll do.

“That’ll do” because of the following:

  • My tea was ready. Roast beef and yorkshire pud.
  • The headwind was totally pissing me off and it was getting stronger.
  • I was out of food and water.
  • I had to properly stretch this hamstring sometime soon. I mean, properly stretch it, as in “sat on a carpeted floor with a cuppa whilst stretching”.
  • It’s a training ride – 8 miles won’t make any bleeding difference. I’m not going to fanny around riding around the village 4 times.
  • It’s as near as dammit to a century.
  • Did I mention my tea was ready?

I’m claiming that as a century. No arguments.

92 miles, 6.5 hours, 14.2 mph average grovelling speed,  2820 metres climb.

Kirroughtree

We’ve been away for a few days near Kirroughtree, a bit of walking, chilling and visiting castles and stuff. I had a few rides of the trails in the forest, apparently this is some of the best flowing singletrack in the country. I have to agree. It’s a belter. The black route was good, plenty of rock features and technical sections – the red route however is outstanding (even at night). If you’ve never ridden it, get thee to Scotland and do it.

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At times, especially riding the technical stuff, I felt a bit under-biked. The low weight and narrow flat bars on the Global didn’t inspire a great deal of confidence at times (although it was very, very fast at other times) but it’s the only geared mountain bike I’ve got at the moment. I heeded the advice of several people not to take the singlespeed – that turned out to be good advice. It’d be good to go and have another go (or three) on a burlier bike, a bit like the one Michael was riding, in fact.

 

We even had a “family” ride around the green route – Deb, Michael and me towing the girls in the trailer. It was nice and surprisingly muddy!

All white on the night

I decided last night that I’d spend a few hours on the Global to get a longish night ride in and also to check that nothing needs fettling before I take it to Scotland. It was bitterly cold but for some reason I didn’t think there would be any snow and ice on my chosen route – in actual fact the thought of ice never even crossed my mind.

I rode over towards Rochdale, through the scary estate at the bottom of the moor and up Rooley Moor Road. The plan was to link up with the Coal Road and then drop down off the hill towards Edenfield. Halfway to the summit of RMR it started to get icy, large sheets of white ice and snow packed hard by Landrovers. As I climbed, the snow was getting deeper and was getting just deep enough to fill the large gaps between the packhorse slabs, creating traps for the front wheel. Finding a line through the patches of ice to maintain some degree of traction was getting more difficult with every extra metre of altitude, until the point where the packhorse trail disappeared altogether.

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More and more frequently I had to dismount and push, sometimes the snow was up to my knees. I pressed on and I have to admit, I was starting to think that perhaps this wasn’t a great idea. I should have got the road bike out and stayed lower down. More ice. Deeper snow. This is getting worse. “People ride in worse conditions than this all the time” I was repeating this in my head as I almost fell off again. I got a nosebleed too, which was strange as I’d never had one before. I assumed it must have something to do with the cold and dry wind and pressed on as quickly as I could – sometimes running/walking, sometimes just trying to ride and stay on the bike.

That 6 mile section took well over an hour. It normally takes half that. I called Deb to let her know I was still alive and having fun, then started to descend the United Utilities road to Edenfield, once I was there I would just need to negotiate Gin Croft Lane, no doubt covered in ice, then back to the road. The UU road off the moor though was also thick with ice and snow (and sheep) – it’s steep too so it was a nervous few minutes as I descended pretty much dragging the rear brake all the way down like a complete novice.

I’m earning a good summer for us all. That’s what I’m doing.