Thursday, 26 September 2013 after day, alone on the hill.....

What a difference a day makes, yesterday could of been any day in June, warm, sunny, gentle breeze, short sleeves and shorts weather. First time back on the road bike since the Cheddar ride and I was a bit unsure of where to head for. I had been feeling a bit night shift punch drunk, a not very nice feeling with no fun involved to get to the sense of being slightly out of touch with reality, reality ain't what its cracked up to be though ;) I was contemplating going up the stupid side of Dunkery which apparently ranks in the top ten of really daft climbs to do but I wasn't feeling it as I rode out of town, to the toll road, far nicer. The toll road was as quiet and as pretty as ever and I started feeling better as I span up. My best time up still alludes me but I managed to post my best time from home to the top possibly down to the nice new stretches of tarmac on the way to Porlock. As it was such a stunning day I headed off to Devon and down to Lynmouth then back over the moors in the sunshine. The legs were aching for some reason, I don't know if my compression shorts make my legs feel worse or the fact that I had done about ten miles of going up but I kept going. I probably went a bit further than I intended to but it seemed a shame to waste such a nice day.

Today was something of a contrast, grey, wet and misty, my kind of weather, I love riding the trails in the murk and mist, atmosphere. Its all pretty much up out of the front door but the legs felt good, not a soul to be seen just me and the bike on the hill. Just did some local trails, ups and downs but I bloody loved every minute, I really enjoy riding the mtb always makes me smile :)

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Cheddar Cyclosportive 2013

6.00am and I'm wearing lycra which can only mean one thing, a sportive, the Cheddar Cyclosportive in fact. I'd packed the bike and most of the bike stuff in the car yesterday which meant I only had to grab my bag with food, change of clothes and my long sleeved jersey in, which I didn't ! Of course I only realised this when I got to a chilly Cheddar rugby ground after I'd registered, oh well. I had a Gilet and my last resort boil in the bag waterproof jacket, it was chilly so opted for the jacket. I rolled down to the start and met up with the assembled members of the Axbridge Cycle Group who had said they'd help me get around the one hundred mile course. Waiting to start I warmed up so swapped the jacket for the Gilet but had bare arms, well I am a northerner, so I just had to pretend I was trying to be a tough guy whilst everybody else probably thought, look at that numpty!

To borrow a footballing analogy the sportive is a ride of two halves or possibly two thirds and a third, you get the idea, the first sixty five miles is pretty flat with the odd lump with all the big climbs in the last forty if you opt to do the full route. The first thirty to the feed stop whizzed by, lots of fast moving groups, I hope I did my bit, I'm not really used to all the pedalling though. The sportive is a relatively small event but the feed stops must be some of the best, village hall affairs for the first two with proper facilities and lots of choice to eat, flapjack was consumed. The twenty miles to the next stop could of been even faster, you could probably smell the testosterone, or was it cow poo? After negotiating some little ups we stopped at Banwell and its pretend castle to decide if we were going to continue with the long route. I was in two minds and feeling the pace a bit but I said I'd do it. The wind and the rain had arrived by now and I was feeling a bit rough, the route split at Cheddar and we ploughed on, onwards and upwards! Then there was four, Guy, Steve, Martyn and myself.

First big climb of the day, up through the Gorge and it felt like hard work and the rain got heavier as we neared the top, I got towed up and was very thankful for it, it was very wet now. We made our way to Priddy and the last feed stop which was a tent, in a field but it was shelter. Bailing was considered but dismissed, thirty miles to go, crack on. It was a very wet descent down to Wells before heading up the next big hill, Old Bristol road apparently, it was very long but my kind of hill, pick a gear and spin. Steve unfortunately had a puncture about half way up, Guy stayed with him and myself and Martyn went on, they'd catch up, Guy's a forty something on a Trek, they're all the rage at the moment ;) The following bit was what you'd class as undulating and the others caught up with us at Blagdon before heading onto the last climb of the day at Burrington Combe. Another long slow drag, well for me anyway, but it was only about ten miles to go now which lifted my spirits if not my legs. It started raining heavily again after a brief respite after Wells and Guy and Martyn cracked on, it's no fun hanging around in the rain. Steve stayed with me and we made our way across the top of a misty murky Mendips, every mile a little closer to the finish, some welcome downhills even if they were a bit rough in places. Down Shipham Hill and the straight back to the rugby club, not many cars in the car park, one hundred miles done.

Big thanks to Steve, Martyn, Guy and Jennifer for sticking with me today, really appreciated.

Here's the Strava bit.....

Monday, 9 September 2013

...the way I tend to be.........

I don't really train for things or prepare, I just tend to ride a bike and hope it all turns out okay. I'm a quiet unassuming kind of bloke, people tend to think I don't give a toss but I do, I just don't scream from the rooftops. Deep inside though I worry about people and things I don't need to but that's me, I doubt I'll ever change. Intervals are what you used to get at the pictures (or the theatre if your posh) tapering is something you did in woodwork at school and 'Wattbike' is a decision making process on what you fancy riding on a particular day.

Two years ago the furthest I'd ever ridden on any bike was about twenty five miles then the company I work for started doing the cycle to work scheme so I got myself a road bike. It took some getting used to and I soon found out the gearing was totally unsuitable for the terrain and a fat, unfit mamil. A cassette change sorted that and I slowly, very slowly built up the miles. I saw the Cheddar Sportive advertised and after reading reviews and sending an e-mail to some odd blogging type for their opinion I entered. After a lonely sixty miles and five and a half hours of rain and killer headwinds I finished, that might have put some people off but I really enjoyed it. I've not looked back really, I've made friends with some really nice folk and I finally have a bike with gears that will apparently get me up the side of a house and I even have those shoes that make you walk like a duck. So two years after my first big ride I'm attempting my first proper ton, one hundred miles again at Cheddar. I'm doing it with a group of friends this time, I've been promised that somebody will hold my hand but if they can't make it I fully understand and I've been told not to worry and to wheelsuck and we'll all stick together, because that's what groups do :)

Went for a spin today, made it up as I went along, a bit wet, a bit windy, a bit sunny, a bit great...........