Wednesday, 28 August 2013

.......through the alleys of a quiet city street........

I'm a bit of an economic migrant, I left the struggling North many years ago and ended up in Somerset and basically never went home. It's strange when you visit your old home town, many things have changed but it still feels the same and I felt at home, must of been hearing the accent again. As well as seeing family we took in some sights and the girls insisted on some retail therapy.

The village where my Dad now lives on the East Coast was close to where JRR Tolkein was once stationed during the First World War and a walk with his wife nearby is said to have been an inspiration for some of his characters.

We looked at some modern art, apparently photography wasn't allowed oops........and I sampled some a local beverage purely for research purposes.


We visited The Deep an Aquarium at the head of the river Hull, it was absolutely packed which made it hard to see things at times but I got some pics.

We played ping pong in William Wilberforce's garden and visited the Streetlife museum next door, I got voted out of visiting Wilberforce's house but I used to go there all the time when I was a kid. At least I got to see some bikes in the Streetlife museum and a toad. We also visited the Artic Corsair exhibition, all about the history of the fishing industry, the people and the places all created by volunteers. My dad was born and raised in what was basically back to back slums, we really don't realise how lucky we are. One of the volunteers told us about the life on the streets and there was some great old photos of my Dad's old street about the time he lived there.


All in all we had a great time, its been a while and with the kids being older they took more in, youngest really enjoyed the choice of shops!

Today though I rode the bike, I didn't feel like it but knew I had to, I did a usual loop but chucked in the climb over Dunkery as you do. The legs hurt but to be honest it was nice to be out there, of course the hill where I felt I was fat and and slow I did a PB, go figure? It went something like this........

Sunday, 18 August 2013

...this is where I heal my hurt...........

Just wanted to go for a quick spin today, not ridden the mountain bike since the Explorer, Gilby was sparkling clean and ready to roll so I headed out into the backyard. It was was one of my most enjoyable rides in ages, can't explain why, trees, trails and secret singletrack not much more to say........

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Jurassic Classic 2013....(I do like to be beside the seaside)

A Sunday off and a chance to go and ride somewhere new, a trip to Exmouth to do the Jurassic Classic charity ride, it's a Prostate cancer ride so all money raised goes to a worthwhile cause. I say charity ride but your sent a number with a timing chip and there's three choices of route and the shiny bikes being assembled in the car park(rugby pitch) all say sportive. The wife and youngest child came along for the day out and shopping, the wife being most amused by the man stood in front of the car applying his chamois cream a bit too enthusiastically! Claud the Butler was there who apparently serves a damn fine cup of coffee but I didn't partake, don't get the whole coffee or wine thing, all tastes the same to me, perhaps my taste buds are too uneducated ;)

The organisers were keen to get all the 100 miler riders away first so I hovered until the 100k riders were called and made my way to the start pen so I could get away in the first wave. After the usual briefing we set off along to the quiet seafront, the cloud was starting to lift and it was looking like it was going to be a beautiful day. When I did the Exmoor Beast last year I remember staring at a big plastic poppy on a bike for several damp miles on the moors. I was now staring at a plastic poppy again so I asked the rider if he'd done the beast and he had, small world. Quite steady for the first few miles, I commented to another rider how nice it was who replied we hadn't done the big hills yet and told me about what was in store but it wasn't as bad as he made out. A short sharp climb to above Sidmouth and then a very quick descent down to the seafront which was also quiet early on a Sunday so no Grockel dodging was needed. Once out of Sidmouth it was the big climb of the day up Sidbury Hill, quite a gentle climb really about two miles or so then some nice flat for a couple of miles before descending into Honiton. An awkward turn on the high street, hill, cleats, traffic lights so I got off and nipped along the path, I could just see a clipless pedal incident in my head.

First feed stop at Gittisham of the village hall variety, proper toilets, tea and coffee and a wide choice of sweet and savoury snacks, High5 gels and drink, I stuck with the usual banana and malt loaf but couldn't resist a chocolate brioche. A little climb away from the village then it was undulating leafy lanes for the next twenty odd miles. If it wasn't for the excellent signs around the course I would have thought I was alone as I felt alone for a good few miles. A bit of nice new road for a bit and a ride past the airport, I tried hanging on to some quicker groups but to no avail. As I approached the second feed stop the legs started going a bit, think I'd been trying to push too big a gear at times and the deceiving incline to the stop in Aylesbeare caught me out a bit, serves me right, cadence, cadence, cadence! Even more choice at the second stop, this was also the stop for the riders doing the 50km so lots of people about. Flapjack, I had to have some and a Almond finger and the cake looked nice but I refrained and just had a gel.

Twelve or so miles to go and the home stretch, one last little climb, well the organisers did say it was all downhill to the finish so you have to start on the top of something. Great views to the coast from the top of wherever I was and a quick descent back to Exmouth. My only criticism of the whole event comes at this point. Half way down this quick descent now with riders of all abilities you had to go across a busy road going across traffic, a marshal would of been good at this point. Still a nice descent  but back into the traffic in Exmouth before finishing back at the rugby club. A medal, bottle of water and sachet of something and a pasty but it was the last thing I fancied at that moment though plenty of other riders were tucking in.

A good ride really, not as hilly as it was made out to be, Cheddar Sportive and a 100 miles next, that may hurt :/

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

Official time.. 4:27

Friday, 9 August 2013

....the road.....

Distance            4.1 miles
Avg Grade        5.5%
Elev Difference 1200ft
Elev Gain          1202ft
Best Time.........with friends...

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Exmoor Explorer 2013......(out on the wiley windy moors)

Rain, rain why today of all days, it was lashing down when I got up which put me in a particularly stupid and grumpy mood. It was Exmoor Explorer day, my first ever organised cycling event many years ago, this is about my seventh now I think. This year it was based in Minehead which was handy for me as it meant I was only a five minute spin from the start at the rugby club. It's a new route every year and for the last couple of years the organisers haven't posted a gps map online but made everyone wait to the day to view the route.

It was raining heavier though as I looked out of the window, No1 was going to do it then he wasn't then he saw the rain so he didn't. I seriously felt like bailing but what else was I going to do so I got the bike out of the shed and donned my boil in the bag waterproof and headed off. I bumped into a couple of fellow cycle club members on the way also doing the ride, one was wearing sunglasses, he was being very optimistic! Registration took all of a minute and I went and looked at the map. All my rides up to Dunkery  this year have served me well as the route was heading up and over that way. Perhaps I subconsciously guessed the route or someone has actually read my blog and borrowed the route, wishful thinking eh ;) Four hundred or so of us lined up ready for the mass start I even bumped into a Bob a twitter buddy, hard to miss on his classic bike.

Slow going for the first mile or so, the first climb was quite early into the ride and resulted into a crowded walk in the country for a bit. I tried riding but found my way blocked by a couple of chaps having a chat walking along who didn't seem to understand my request to please let me pass, must of been my rough northern accent? Once on the ridge line I got some space but had to stop to remove the jacket, I think I was starting to get overcooked. The first downhill of the day is normally quite a rocky route in the dry but with so many riders heading down it the front runners acted like sweepers clearing a line down. Then it was up, a bit of road for a bit then green lanes and fields to the lower slopes of Dunkery. Jacket back on, the rain was just hanging there, I was already soaked I just needed a bit of insulation.

Onwards and upwards through the rain, for some strange  reason I found it very therapeutic slowly spinning up in my own little world, perhaps the wind and rain soothed my inner demons? Short bit of road, jelly babies at the checkpoint then the climb up to the beacon, wind and rain in your face and it stung. The ride down was like navigating a river, pick a line and hope there wasn't a great big hole hiding beneath the water, I was soaked to the skin, nearly at the tea stop. I've never tasted such a welcome cup of tea and the flapjack was as gorgeous as ever(because oats are important). I didn't hang around for long as I started to feel the chill and wanted to crack on and warm up again. A boggy traverse of the moor and some more ups and downs, it's hard riding the boggy bits, energy sapping and you never know when your front wheel might disappear into a deep bit and throw you over the bars, luckily not this year but it's happened before. The trails up and down around Cloutsham were great and I've never ridden them before, the mud and water just made them more interesting. I tried taking some more pics at this point but the water had got to my camera.

Another checkpoint then the descent down Dunster path, rocky, muddy a bit like most of the ride, but I've ridden down here many times and always enjoy it. A bit on the road and the then what I thought would be the last climb of the day, I really should pay more attention when reading maps. It's about a mile slog up a fireroad, they even chucked in the steeper end bit but I was determined not to walk, like I did with all the ups today, I think I actually like going up hills, does that make me odd? On my stamping ground now and a descent down a track cut through the trees and then a descent down to Alcombe Combe and what I thought would be a steady spin back to the finish. Wrong, another hill, a quick spin up though and a nice descent back to the road and down to the finish. Four hours thirty, not the quickest, not the slowest but so glad I rode, I really enjoyed the route. Big thanks to all the organiser's and helpers who all do this voluntary, great event again.

Here;s the Strava bit......

Friday, 2 August 2013

....what a shame we all became so fragile broken things......

One of those rides, the wind seems to be in your face all the time, every gradient makes your legs burn and every old ache and pain makes an appearance throughout the ride. Your head is full of thoughts of others and you start that old habit of looking at your speed, slow, why am I so slow? Then there's another riding towards you, alone, a hand is raised and likewise returned, nothing said, we ride on.