Chaos!

I took part in the Manchester to Blackpool charity ride yesterday. There were a few guys from work doing it too, but we all had different start times (mine was the latest one at 9am). After the ride through town to the start at Old Trafford, I set off in a massive (and chaotic) group of cyclists though Trafford Park towards Eccles. Dozens of broken bikes littered the pavement in the first couple of miles, no doubt due to many of the bikes being dragged out of the shed/garage/compost heap that morning. I spotted a young lad in Horwich CC colours fly past in the middle of the road so I decided to follow him at probably 3 times the speed of everyone else.

I’m surprised that this ride is still allowed to take place. Thousands of cyclists take to the busy roads, causing huge congestion and no doubt a great deal of animosity as large groups ride 5 or 6 abreast in 12 mph rolling roadblocks whilst faster riders overtake the cars who are caught up in the chaos.

I was one of the people risking my ass by overtaking traffic, sometimes on the wrong side of the road, just so that I could make reasonable progress to the next gap before hitting the back of the next massive group. And so it went on. I was still swapping turns on the front with the guy from Horwich – sometimes another couple of riders would join us then eventually drop off the back. Things calmed down for a few minutes after riding past the accident scene – what looked like 2 cyclists and a car had collided; by the time I went past there were paramedics, police, the lot. The guy lying on the road looked poorly.

I went past Budge and Sally eventually then went past Tim with only a couple of miles to go, crossing the finish line in 3.28 after 63 miles of shaking my head incredulously at various near-misses and displays of craziness that wouldn’t be out of place on the streets of Delhi. Not a bad time considering the congestion though.

The plan was to then say hello to Deb and the kids, get something to eat then ride home. But the weather was nice, we were all in Blackpool, the bike was safely stashed in the boot of the car so I thought ‘sod that’ and we had some fun in the Pleasure Beach, arcades and prom instead.

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what it’s all about

We all went out on our bikes on Saturday, just a few miles up to Philips Park for a picnic. Well, we all went out on bikes apart from Rachael and Eleanor, who were sat in the trailer instead. I discovered that the trailer only fits the 456, it wouldn’t attach to the Scandal without rubbing the brake rotor but I assume this is more to do with XTR hubs than On One frames. One thing’s for sure, the contents of the trailer weigh a LOT more than 6 months ago!

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someone give me a slap

I’m not sure if it’s a Mayhem hangover or something else, but I’ve fallen out with riding bikes offroad recently. Whenever I went out I was getting annoyed about stupid things – too muddy, too many flies, too many people on ‘my’ trails, tyres too draggy….so I’d been running a fair bit, 8k offroad running and all the pain that involves. Knowing deep down that this is all wrong, wrong, wrong (but good prep for the 3 Peaks all the same), I got the road bike out and went for a 3 hour ride on it the other day. Ace. I loved it. I rode miles and miles way, then rode back again, climbed loads of hills, hit 40 on the way back down a couple of them, got my HR really high and got a nice and fast average speed.

So I did it again this morning – I only had 2 hours so I sped up to Rivington via the Breightmet badlands, past the bottom barn, up to Belmont Rd, Egerton then back home via Affetside. Averaged about 18mph which is bloody quick for me (considering the hills) and found myself chasing down a few other roadies for a laugh.

I’m enjoying this lark so much at the moment I’m even looking forward to the Manchester to Blackpool charity ride tomorrow (I’m doing it with a group from work) – I’m expecting to be riding alone though as I’m aiming for 3 and a half hours. Then I’ll ride back, perhaps.

Next week I’ll get the 29er out again and hopefully have some fun. I’ll be ready for a change soon anyway…

reminders of a mis-spent youth

We went to Urbis today to see the “Videogame Nation” exhibition, basically a history of British gaming with loads of old and new consoles and stuff to play on. I’ve very little interest in this sort of thing these days but Michael loves it and I certainly spent an unhealthy amount of time in my early teens sitting on my arse waggling a joystick.

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Even though I thought Jet Set Willy, Jetpack, Outrun, etc, were all ace years ago, they’re pretty crap nowadays (Sensible Soccer is still great though) – the award for the Most Pathetic Gaming Experience has to go to Daley Thompson’s Decathlon though. What a load of shite. Since when does anyone take a run up in the shot put? If you remember, you had to smack 2 buttons or waggle your stick from side to side really quickly to get the guy to run as well, which inevitably led to your joystick or keyboard breaking.

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The weirdest things about the whole exhibition though were the obvious omissions. Not one Playstation 2. No Atari consoles. No Commodore 64’s or Amigas. Very strange (or lazy). It’s ok though, there’s loads of modern and very impressive technology there for visitors to waste hours on plus you can go and look at the other exhibitions on the other floors, such as the New York art and ‘Underground Manchester’ stuff.

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No riding today. Woke up this morning coughing up phlegm and had a sore throat. Great. Summer and I’m still getting infected with bugs. Hopefully it’ll be gone by the morning when I’m going for my second 10k run this week…

On Rooley Moor Baht ‘At

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According to the thermometer in the car on the way home from work, it was 31 degrees yesterday. I drove down the M66 through a scary-looking thunderstorm whilst tentatively pootling along the flooded carriageway at 30mph. Not looking good for a big training ride tonight, I thought. Maybe I should go for a run and avoid getting soaked/struck by lightning.

It soon cleared up though, leaving behind blue skies and rapidly increasing temperatures again. By the time I left the house at 7:30pm it was still hot and very sticky and within a mile or so I was pouring with sweat, every climb inducing a gallon of fluid to pour from my head onto my top tube.

Once I arrived at Rooley Moor Road and started the ascent up the cobbled bridleway, I immediately removed my helmet and strapped it to my rucksack. I can’t remember the last time I rode without my lid on but last night was exceptional circumstances. It felt quite liberating, a bit like riding for the first time without a hydration pack. Anyhow, once at the top I put the soaking smelly helmet back on and rode down the trail into Stacksteads, along the road then did a lap of Lee Quarry. It had gone 9 by this point so I had the place to myself I think. The dry conditions made the gravelly surface VERY sketchy – it’s going to be fun (in a comedy grazed-elbow sense) for those racing there this weekend!

Rode back through Ramsbottom, got home at 11:30. Main HID light packed in at 10:15. Good job I carry a spare LED 🙂