Wednesday, 26 October 2011

What a Beautiful Day

October, your having a laugh, well today anyway. Well the plan was for me and No1 son to go for a spin into hills of Somerset on this glorious day but sadly he decided to rearrange his brace with a combination of too many chewy sweets and his toothbrush, so it was a trip to the orthodontist with his mum for him which left little old me hitting the hills.

I set off about 11, stayed up too late watching nonsense on the TV and its half term so why not enjoy a lay in. I did the the usual long cut around the back of Ellicombe and down the old Minehead road to avoid the traffic and headed for Dunster. I took my usual route around Dunster avoiding the tourists and the traffic lights and hit the road to Wheddon Cross.

Its a nice long steady climb up to Wheddon Cross, nice and sheltered in the trees, its the first time I've ventured out on the Trek on this route, the Trek has got a triple compared to the compact on my old bike, but it didn't feel any different as I huffed and puffed up the hill. To be honest I felt crap, its been a couple of weeks since my last road ride that and I think I went out too quick after brekkie. I saw my old workmate Gaz  busy at work in Alcombe, he asked if cycling was my new fitness fad but told him it was my mid life crisis, he said he was going to get a Porsche for his, he could have a point ;)

After a quick breather at Wheddon Cross I headed towards Dunkery Beacon which loomed in the distance. The wind seemed to pick up but being this high up its probably like this all the time. Riding up over Dunkery in this direction is another nice steady climb. After Dunkery gate the hill sheltered me as I headed up the hill, the sun on my back and I think I had a tail wind as I seemed to be going along at quite a nice pace. For some reason there were loads of big hairy caterpillars crossing the road today, there's a gag there somewhere, I'll have to contact Autumnwatch to get the answer. The views were superb today, views in all directions as far as the eye could see, this is why I ride. I could really feel the chill going down to Webbers Post, I took it steady down through the trees as I headed down to Chapel Cross.

Views towards the Quantocks

Looking back down to Wheddon Cross

Thats Wales over there !

A quick blast through Luccombe and then the main road back home, up the Tivington hilly bit and down Bratton straight. The first ten miles where rough but once I warmed up and the views from Dunkery lifted my mood. Its days like today that make me realise how lucky I am.

Distance - 19.03 miles
Time - 1.51
Avg Speed - 10.3
Elevation Gain - 2013ft

Compared to the last time I did this route I did it 15 seconds slower, consistent, slow but consistent.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Windy Days and Wally's

Thought I'd dust off the Mongoose mountain bike and go for a quick blast with my mate Bonus. Not ridden offroad for months so got it out of the shed yesterday to give it the once over. Back in the summer I made the decision the go tubeless and faffed around with the white gunky stuff and finally got the tyres to seal. Anyway, yesterday the pressure was a bit low so I thought I'd pop a bit of air in, took the dust caps off and 'BOLLOCKS' the valves came out of the valve stems and whoosh all the air pissed out of both, yes I managed to do it twice, dickhead or what ! I pumped them up again and all seemed fine, then this morning the buggers were flat again. I didn't have time to chuck tubes in so I jumped on the wife's Marin (which was my old bike) I made my way to the house of Bonus.

Funny how when you really get into cycling you have to get the uniform, baggy shorts and peaked helmet for mtb and ill fitting Lycra for the road bike. I fall into this trap, stupid really, you should wear what you want but peer pressure, fitting in, not looking a prick(too late for me) all have a influence, but I haven't shaved my legs...yet!

Bonus and I decided to have a blast up North Hill, a nice gentle ride about two miles uphill and then we'd see what it was like up top, it was windy down the bottom so it could be really windy up top and make a decision which way to go. It was nice off roading again even on a bike I hadn't ridden for two years. I think the road riding has made a difference and we hit the hill at a good pace for a couple of old boys. After a quick scoot up the hill we stopped at the top of the Burgundy Chapel path and had a breather and talked about life, work, money and stuff, like you do on mtb rides. We thought about going up to Selworthy Beacon but decided to go a short way on the coastal path then turn off and make our way towards the old tank tracks and hit the downhill back to Minehead.

It was then we heard the hounds and looked back and saw them streaking across a far field followed by wallys on horses chasing something innocent towards Selworthy Beacon, so glad we decided to take the route we did. Not something I agree with and it seems a bit unfair when you've got people on quad bikes joining the chase, surely that's cheating.

Bonus and I cracked on and hit the track back to Minehead, passing the Exmoor ponies. I didn't want to do anything too technical as the Marin didn't have the brakes or suspension of the Mongoose so I rattled down the hill finishing at the bottom with numb hands but with a big smile. Stopped at the house of Bonus for a cuppa and made my way home, quite pleased with keeping my mtb hand in and the pace of our ride and avoiding the wallys in the wind.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Mid Life Crisis

You know how it is, you reach that age, see that birthday photo and you suddenly realise you are a fat bastard. I exercise( a bit),not had a drink for months and don't eat that much to be honest but guess what, I'm still what you'd call chunky. In an attempt to shift the lard I signed up to my cycle to work scheme back in May and got myself a road bike. I've always ridden mountain bikes but its more of a social sport. You ride up to the top of a hill, have a breather, take the piss, chew the fat then blast down the next hill. You do about 10 miles and then I'm knackered. Road riding is different it makes me want to try and push that bit harder, give myself more of a workout. I've already put in a few 30 mile loops around the hills of Exmoor. Where I live there's no flat, its up and down so I've got all the ingredients to assist me in shifting the fat. I found out the other day that I'm a MAMIL, that's middle aged man in lycra, apparantley its all the rage. I love my bib shorts they work like those spanx that women buy to tuck the wobbly bits in.

I did my first sportive back in September, the Cheddar Cyclosportive. 64 miles in 5 hours 21 minutes, not bad for first time I thought. I don't know my average speed etc because I forgot to charge up my garmin, just finished two night shifts and got up after 2 hours sleep to watch the Tour of Britain so my thought processes where a bit addled. Anyway great event, friendly organisers, loads of nice things at the feed stations but shame about the bloody weather. I rode on my own for 64 wet, windy miles and had dark thoughts at about the 50 mile mark but then the sun came out and lifted my mood.

I've invested in a Trek 1.2 and given my CTW bike to No1 son, I need a ride buddy, it gets a bit boring on your own I need someone to help with that push. he loves riding, and leaves me on the uphills(skinny little shit)

I'm blogging to help me record my thoughts, stats ups and downs on my mid life crisis to lose some weight, its cheaper than a sports car!

Weight 85kg