Thursday, 28 February 2013 your your head....

Apparently keeping low doesn't make no sense and after some late night alcohol induced bravado I thought I'd tackle some particularly not very nice climbs today to see how I got on. Up grades someone wrote t'other day and I read that the gearing on my bike will allow me to ride up the side of a house, well that house would have to have a very shallow sloped wall for me to get up. First climb, a steep drag through Dunster woods from Nutcombe Bottom (no gags please), I think I got further than I did last time out this way but had to stop half way to get my breathing under control then slowly plod on. After that it was a muddy lumpy spin to Luxbrough and then a blast along the valley to Roadwater to attempt my second climb beyond my ability. As I stopped for a quick breather a woman who lived nearby asked if I was going to ride up the lane, yes I replied, it's hard enough walking up it she said, don't worry I said , I'll be walking by half way ;)

Don't go round the bend......
Well, I didn't walk but had to stop for a breather again, steep and me don't get on, I baled too quickly but got further again and set a marker for next time. I then decided to head a home along some roads I've not ridden before to make a change and a spin along the seafront on the flat for the novelty factor.

My times were slower than when I went this way with the club but I definitely got further up the hills and didn't walk ? Perhaps I walk quicker than I ride ? Who said it was a good idea to ride up grades anyway.....

Monday, 18 February 2013

.....just try your best, try everything you can.......

Common sense should dictate that I should stay in today, I have a touch of man flu and have not slept well and my lungs didn't feel on top form. This may sound odd but as an asthmatic I've sort of trained myself to breathe through my nose and keep my gob shut, your nose acts as an air warmer for your lungs. Being bunged up doesn't let me do this of course and being a man the effect is ten times worse ;) 

It was sunny, it was dry a little breezy but nothing too bad, you have to ride when the opportunity allows and I'm sure it would make me feel better. For the first time this year I actually wore sunglasses as I headed off into the morning sunshine, I was a bit hot, must of been my man flu fever but once into the shade of the trees on the roads either side of Dunster the heat seemed to have regulated itself. I was heading up to Wheddon Cross, a nice steady climb but the air was a bit cold on the lungs. The legs seemed to be working though as I slowly made progress but I was puffing a bit when I reached the bus shelter. Wheddon Cross was busy with visitors heading off to see the snowdrops in the valley, I headed to Dunkery Hill.

As ever, the views where beautiful and it was peaceful as I made my way up and over the hill. I could really feel the cold wind when I stopped to take some pics once on top so didn't hang around. 

The descent off the hill is quite steep in places and the first time I'd done it on the new bike. I think I need to adjust the reach to my brake levers as it was a bit of a stretch which led to some cautious descending. A quick spin around the pretty villages to add some miles and then onto home, into the headwind, the legs feeling it a bit now, ah well.

I did feel better when I got back and the lungs feel a bit clearer. I know I said I wouldn't get too wrapped up in stats but my time for getting up to Wheddon Cross wasn't too bad which also made me feel better.

Here's the Strava bit.....

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

....'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.....

I don't know about anyone else but being British and all you have to moan about the weather and queueing. I ventured out with eldest on the mountain bikes on Sunday, we didn't go far and although it was good fun slipping and sliding down tracks with sheer drops to one side it was too wet. The water is just sitting on the trails now and it's like riding along rivers which means mud glorious mud and made us not very popular with 'er indoors when we got back.

Today though a gap, a breather a lull before the next front or depression sets in, chilly, with light winds blowing from somewhere and it was dry! Layers applied including my new DHB softshell which is very warm but a bit short, I was the man in black, not Johnny Cash, I don't think his outfits had reflective trim and it wasn't lycra.

Does black make me look less chunky ?
I didn't want to venture out into the wilds of Exmoor too far, if it's chilly down at sea level it will no doubt be a degree or so chillier up on top of the moors. I hadn't attempted a ride up Porlock Toll road for a while and now I've got a new bike with different gearing today seemed a good day to give it a go. As usual the Toll road was its peaceful self, the odd car and just the sound of me huffing and puffing my way up, pick a gear and spin. It felt like hard work which it always is for me but again I felt good even the cold air didn't seem to be effecting my lungs that much.

A quick breather at the top and I turned around and headed back down, rather chilly but I broke up the descent to take some pics. The recent weather has had quite an effect with lots of trees down and damaged opening up the canopy in places.

I took the scenic route home to make sure I complied with the two hour rule and to take in some smaller hills, just for the fun of it ;) On checking my stats when I got back it appears I did my quickest time up the toll road which I'm quite pleased with, is it about the bike ?

Here's the Strava bit.....

Sunday, 3 February 2013

.....what's that coming over the hill......

Not done many miles on the road bike lately, I wouldn't say I'm a fair weather cyclist but snow, impassable roads followed by floods does put you off a bit. I went out on the mtb the other day which turned out to be very wet and found trails blocked by trees.

At least I still got views like this though.

Today I was sort of invited to go for a ride with the Axbridge cycling group which meant a trip out to the Mendips. The group is made up of people I've got know through the blog, amongst others and I was slightly worried, new bike, new pedals, old me, and they are all far more accomplished cyclists than I. After meeting up with the Mayor(Jennifer) and the Rouleur(Guy) we made out way to the square and met up with Martyn who I met at the Cheddar sportive and two of his friends and  Dave and Mr Steep(Steve). Steve's shifter appeared to have broken on his way to meet up so he quickly left us to go home and sort things out and meet up with us later. Upon the bell ringing of the church we set off, heading for Cheddar Gorge which is apparently iconic, and the goats are sheep ? The signs did say road closed but that seemed to be being ignored by everyone, cyclists and motorists. As usual I had the feeling of going backwards as everyone else seemed to disappear into the distance. After a steep left hander things levelled off and Guy kindly towed me up to meet up with the others.

We continued along the top of the Mendips, slightly wet and the cloud seemed to be rolling in. We stopped at a junction to wait for Steve and right on cue through the mist he came over the hill. We were heading for Mells, which I thought was the proprietor of a cyclist friendly teashop and not a pretty Bath Stone village which it turned out to be. Martyn's friends left us at this point and the rest of us stopped at the Post office, shop, cafe for coffee and cake. After that it was back up to the Mendips which was even murkier than it was before we stopped for coffee. I was reliably informed you can see Exmoor on a good day, today wasn't a good day for views. After traversing some wet and muddy lanes which reminded me of West Somerset we got a bit strung out in the elements on the main road. Kindly everyone waited for me or towed me along as any incline had its usual affect on me. Guy and Steve went off in their own direction whilst I followed the rest back to Axbridge, at least we had a bit of downhill to finish.

It was a bit grey and miserable but had a thoroughly good ride with great company, fifty miles which is a bit longer than I usually do. I did feel good on the bike but a bit tired towards the end which was probably my own fault for not eating and relying on caffeine to get me round.

Here's the Strava bit.......