Thankfully I was mistaken when I thought I was meeting Phil at Rooley Moor at 5am, the meeting time was actually 6 so I was afforded an almost-human setting off time of 5am rather than an inhuman 4am. Phil was late anyway. We started the climb of Rooley Moor (and thus began another circuit of the Mary Townley Loop) at about 6.20 after exchanging hello’s and Phil had ooohed and ahhhed at the Ragley for a few minutes…it was cold but so far the weather was looking ok. The only concern we had was that the big tailwind we were enjoying would eventually be a crippling headwind. That was hours away though. Crack on.
I had forgotten my glasses and neglected to fit a Crud Catcher. This meant that every wet trail was resulting in grit in my eyes and fast descents were being made especially interesting by the fact that I sometimes couldn’t see too well. No idea why I forgot my gigs. I just did. Like most things that appear to be potential disasters though, they seldom are.
Inevitably the rain arrived and in the space of around 10 blustery, eye-squintingly gritty minutes we were both immediatly soaked. Jumping off our bikes to feverishly pull from rucksacks and then don goretex jackets seemed necessary but also somewhat futile – once you’re soaked to the skin you can’t get any wetter after all…
As predicted the last 10 miles or so of the route were ridden into the wind. Not too much to worry about normally but the conditions had somehow made this ride seem much harder than usual so it really wasn’t welcome at all. Still, we got our heads down and dug deep and finally reached Rooley Moor once again. We said our goodbyes and ‘well dones’ and I set off down the road, 12 miles through Rochdale and Bury past numerous chippies and bakeries that tortured me with the lovely aroma of stodge all the way home.
This week’s ‘battering myself’ week is going well so far. I even managed a run AND an interval session on the turbo last night, another 5am ride this morning, an hour or so in the gym yesterday and the MTL Doorstep Challenge ride at (bloody) 4am tomorrow is still on. The weekend is looking quite busy too…I’m expecting at some point to be riding a personal favourite; down the PBW towards Buxton on the ‘cross bike.
Still feeling good but very, very hungry. I’m pleased that my motivation and ability to train hard appear to have returned with a vengeance though.
I’ve also realised that the next few weekends are a bit mental. Next weekend we’re celebrating Deb’s birthday (yes, it’s a milestone!). The weekend after it’s the Manx End to End. The weekend after it’s Another Twinklydave and Terrahawk Daft Ride ™ – this one will blow yer socks off. The weekend after that it’s the 3 Peaks Cyclocross. The weekend after that it’s Dusk ‘til Dawn (12 hours of riding in the dark in Thetford, me and Simon racing as a pair)…then the weekend after that the cyclocross season appears to start in earnest.
Up at 5am this morning, out on the ‘cross bike by ten past, rode up to Affetside, Edgworth, Crowthorn School and climbed up on the track past the Maggot Farm to the Holcombe firing range. In contrast to Saturday’s ride I felt great, in fact I’m in the mood for giving myself a right good kicking this week. The best thing about early morning rides (apart from the superiority complex one can enjoy for the rest of the day) is that you set off with lights then ride home in daylight, instead of the other way around. I’m also planning to tear around the MTL on Friday so hopefully the new bearings for the BB in the Ragley will arrive on time and hopefully the ‘tropical storm’ forecast for this week will all be over by then too.
(Crap picture not doing dawn on the moors much justice)
A tropical storm in Lancashire eh. Fancy.
…that was my weekend, that was. I’ve been riding a bit since SITS, but Saturday morning was my first proper ‘try to go fast to go faster’ training ride since the race and my god it was tough. I took the cyclocross bike out (now I’ve put it back together again) since I need to get as ready as possible for the 3 Peaks in a few weeks. The Manx End to End is before that but that’s secondary to the 3 Peaks in fairness. A training/look at the views/show off the shiny bike-type of event in fact.
Anyhow, I headed north up the usual set of climbs, felt slow, got to Holcombe Hill and shouldered the bike up the steep path to the tower. Took a wrong turn and went up the REALLY steep bit and almost got stuck, finally got going again and ran to the tower after some hardcore ‘hauling on the heather’ and then rode home. The first hard ride after a short break is always hard but things always get back to normal quickly…hopefully this time will be no exception. I’m positive though that taking things easier after a hard 24 hour race is the right thing to do 😉
Then in the afternoon I ran in the Darwen gala fell race. 3.7 miles, 900-odd feet of climbing and really warm conditions. There were about 3 times as many people in this race compared to the last time I did it in 2006, I came 52nd this time instead of 31st but I managed to take almost 4 minutes off my 2006 time. I’m still rubbish at descending. Simon appears to be back on top form again and once again kicked my ass.
Bloody 52nd. pah.
Today I dragged my dad and Michael all the way to Allonby, north of Maryport (almost Scotland) to look at a touring caravan that someone we know is selling. It needs a bit of a scrub and clean, some new soft furnishings, a portrait of Sid James, some minor tidying up jobs and will probably need some fettling with a hammer and a grease gun to get it roadworthy before the trip to Manchester, but we’re having it. It’s going to be ace and sooooo much better than that bloody tent for 24 hour races and generally just allowing us to bugger off for the weekend whenever we feel like it. It’s first big outing might be Dusk til Dawn and it should come in very handy at the Strathpuffer because it’s got a good heater. We are all excited.
I had another birthday yesterday. I think I’m well and truly at the age now where each one of these seems like a slap in the face rather than something to look forward to… as I hurtle towards middle age I suppose…
Still, loads of great presents makes those feelings soon evaporate! Yay bring on the gifts!
I got a gorgeous Rapha Team Issue cap – I tried to model it whilst aiming a camera at my head so you can see just how lovely it is. Expensive for a hat yes, but seems beautifully made and a big improvement over my old cap that is a bit of a biohazard these days, regardless of how many times it gets washed. I also got some Endura gloves, a Homer Simpson mug, a merino jumper (NOT a cardy), some CRC vouchers that I’ve spent already, some wine and a bottle of 10 year old Macallan. Yum!
Deb took me out to a nice restaurant where we have a romantic meal for FIVE and I drank a little bit too much. It doesn’t take much to get me drunk these days 😉
What a lucky lad I am.