Twinkly Dave – Mud splattered bicycle and pizza enthusiast Growing old disgracefully

May 31, 2009

The Heat (The (lack of) Energy)

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 9:32 pm

I hate the first ride after a bit of time off the bike. Hate it. It’s always a horrible shock to the system, a system that’s slipped, quite happily, into lounging around without getting worked over by big hills and being fed regularly and with large amounts. My legs always feel wibbly and weak, my lungs feel like someone’s scraping cheese graters over them at the slightest hint of a climb and as time marches on i seem to find extra rolls of belly pork battling against the fabric of my shorts (both bib and waisted). Suffice to say I do not make for a pretty picture on my first post-holiday ride nowadays.

It doesn’t help when that first ride has to be done in sweltering (yes, it is sweltering, even if it’s not actually as hot as lots of other places – it’s horribly humid and the air feels like treakle, ok?) temperatures under the unblinking gaze of a sun that seems to be making up for not bothering to turn up at all last year by nuking everything from orbit in one go. I did not enjoy it. Normally, despite the whole feeling rubbish thing, I’m glad I’m out riding, but Friday’s ride was just horrible. I grovelled up a few hills before having to stop and take a few seconds to wait for the blood to make it’s way slowly back up into my head (presumably it didn’t want to be there as it was a bit closer to the sun or something), swore at myself a bit, carried on for a few more miles and headed up over another hill (waddington fell this time), only to have to stop again 2/3rds of the way up and sit in the shade while all the blood in my body went on a trip to my feet. This pattern continued for another hour or so – ride, get dizzy and hot, stop, get annoyed, ride etc before I got thoroughly fed up of it and headed home.

After that hideous failure of a ride I was a bit apprehensive about how I’d feel today, so I knocked the Brownbacks XC race on the head and decided to have another go at the same route as Friday. Thankfully I felt much better and didn’t have to take any Senior Moments at the side of the road this time. The wind had definately picked up though, which was – possibly for the first time ever – almost welcome as it helped with cooling me off a bit. I came close to running out of drink after about 5hrs, despite having 3ltrs of energy drink in the camelback and a big 1ltr bottle of water on the bike, but found a petrol station in the nick of time and bought, then downed in one, a couple of bottles of milkshake while slumped against the ubiquitous fag-end encrusted bucket of sand by the door…much to the amusement of a family sat in a nice air conditioned car just in front of me!

May 28, 2009

the annoyance caused by the continuing progression of technology

Filed under: lunacy - mine,not bikes — dgpowell @ 8:31 pm

Just back from a nice break in Croatia and a tad peeved (if not surprised) at how redundant my once awesome old canon digital camera has become.
It’s being outperformed, image quality wise, by the cheapo new camera (also a canon), despite the original RRP of the old S1 being somewhere in the region of 6 – 7 times that of the new bargain-bucket A470.
A case in point: I took a “point-and-shoot” piccie with the A470…well, strictly speaking i took as much control as possible, which was to look after the ISO and white balance, but the camera doesn’t have any real manual control… and this is a crop of part of the shot:
crop pic from a470
(click for bigger)
I then took the same shot setting the old S1 up as similarly as I could (I couldn’t get it exact, as the S1 doesn’t have as high an f-stop – the max being 8 rather than the 11 on the a470 (though it was only at 9 for the pic), and it’s ISO settings arent the same – it was set at 50, rather than the A470s 80) and got this crop of the same section:
crop from powershot s1

The cheapo £49 camera seems far better! It’s also half the size, has higher ISO/aperture settings and doesn’t eat batteries quite as badly…and I’m not even going to mention the old camera’s3.2mp resolution vs the new one’s 7.1, partly because it’s not a huge issue seeing as I rarely print stuff out but also partly because it shows up just how old the old camera is!
Damn it.
If only it had some manual controls – then it would be ace, but half the fun of (annoying everyone around you while faffing with) photography is fettling settings to get a nice shot, so I can’t just retire the old S1…

Here’s a resized version of the original pic with the a470:

and the same with the S1:

Neither is, by any means, bad. But it’s still galling to know that people who buy cameras from argos on a whim can get better quality pics than me (feel free to insert comments about me being crap at pics/bad workmen and their tools etc)

I forsee money being spent at some point in the future on something with lots of controls, more uptodate quality pics, that’s pocketable and makes me feel like a proper photoist…even though I’m quite blatantly not 🙂

May 11, 2009

clic24 weatherwatch

Filed under: bikes,lunacy - mine,lunacy - other peoples,rubbish weather — dgpowell @ 1:47 pm

Doing it in a team this year. Ha. If the forecasts are anything to go by I’ve made the right decision!
Did it solo in the (very) wet in 2007 – the first year I did the most laps (you can’t really “win” clic). Much preferred it in the dry!

Good luck to Jason and Simon (and anyone else soloing for that matter), who may well get to experience that utter joy.



May 5, 2009


Filed under: bikes,lunacy - mine,lunacy - other peoples — dgpowell @ 4:43 pm

“You see Dave, the thing about the latches on all these gates” I thought to myself – without even realising I was talking to myself in the third person – “is that there’s no consistency to them”. I fumbled around with the rather poor quality metal hook jammed into a small hole in the wooden gatepost and hauled the gate open just in time to hear the familiar rumble of a bike skipping over rocks behind me.
I’d become strangely obsessed with the locks on the gates Jason and I had past through during the day, there had been a lot of them you see, lots of different types – some great ones that meant you could almost get through without unclipping feet from pedals and some that appeared to have been made out of whatever was knocking about in the landowners pocket last time he was there. I’d started to get a bit excited about getting to a gate with a “good” latch and a bit angry about finding a gate with a poor quality latch (and don’t even ask about my reaction when we discovered the “Padlock = FAIL” gate later in the ride…oh my word!).

I looked up from my lock based meditations to see Jase grinning a rock-jarred grin. “We’ve bloody earned this” he shouted as he swooped past with speed built up from a descent down South Head that had, up until that point, lasted a good few minutes. I didn’t have the heart to tell him about the short, steep, rocky climb I could see on the other side of the gate…we had earned the descent, the hard way. I’d enjoyed every second of not having to pedal to propel myself forward for a bit and the chance to swoop the bike from slightly bermed corner to slightly bermed corner over loose rocks and I didn’t see any reason to spoilt it for him.
I think he already knew he’d soon be grovelling up a climb anyway. The pattern of the day’s ride (up – down – up – down – up – down – wonder where the flat bit is – up – down – up – down – repeat) had been set over 11 hours ago on the Mary Towneley Loop and looking off into the distance ahead of us there was no sign of it changing. The horizon was still, as it had been all for much of the day, just the top of the next hill.


The snicking sound of a chain being pulled across a rear cassette in search of a smaller gear and a frustrated “Gawd, for fuc….” followed by some heavy breathing told me the climb had been started as I rehooked the gate closed behind me and prepared myself for more riding.
We were about 95 miles (the vast majority of which had been off road) into the ride at this point and were starting to run out of light to play about in after setting off at just before 7am from Summit, to ride round the Mary Towneley Loop and see how much of the Pennine Bridleway we could manage in a day.
Most people (and all the route guides we could find) had suggested that the MTL alone was best ridden over 2 days and the same advice had been given for the PBW as well, but we’d chosen to ignore this in favour of…well, we’d just chosen to ignore it to be honest. We had both ridden the MTL challenge (a timed lap of the Loop with the tag line “can you ride it all in a day?!”) before without too much trouble and had both ridden sections of the Pennine Bridleway on separate occasions so sticking everything together just seemed like a natural (if mildly daft) progression, especially when we discovered that Nick Craig had attempted the same ride before and managed it in just under 12 hours.


The MTL had been dispatched without too much trouble first (save the godawful hour I had to get up at, in order to be in the middle of nowhere with a bike at 6.30am) in about 6hours including faff stops. A short break to re oil chains and pour more water into bottles back at the cars was the only real pause in the day’s riding, itself lasting no more than 10 or so minutes, before we headed back out joking to each other about “not even being nearly halfway yet” and having just completed the “longest warm up in history”.
Thankfully the rain that had been hanging around as we started the ride had dispersed quite nicely throughout the morning and by the time we rounded our first reservoir on the PBW we were being gently warmed by the sun. The occasional shower had kept us guessing whether we would get a right soaking, as we followed the bridleway over hill and dale, but by the bottom of the decent from South Head we were skimming over dusty trails and remarking on the nice sunset visible over the top of the next hill.


It was a lovely sunset. Unfortunately the fact that the sun was going down meant our epic (we felt the ride had earned that title by now) had to finish soon. As I hopped the bike up a step in the climb and took a deep breath I started to wonder where we could end the ride and get picked up from. Further up the trail Jase was contemplating the same thing, though I doubt he was measuring it in gates like I was at that point. A glance at the route map at the next gate stop (another irritating metal-hook-on-chain type affair that increased faffing time, should you be interested in the type of lock it had) suggested that Wormhill would be a good village to stop following the bridleway at; it would allow the 100 mile marker to come and go with little chance of us being caught out halfway up a hill by the encroaching darkness and meant we could easily nip onto the main road into Buxton to rendezvous with our lift back the cars (kindly provided by Deb).


Tired arms and sore hands wrestled handlebars across more rough and rocky terrain as we made our way along the remaining few miles and although we were both happy to hit the relative smoothness of a minor road on the final run in to Wormhill I think we were both slightly disappointed that we couldn’t end the ride at the official end of the trail. The mild disappointment didn’t last too long however, in fact once in the van it seemed to be quashed quite easily by a big bag of The Best Chips In The World…right up until the point where Jase turned round and said “don’t you get the feeling that it would be a great ride if we started it at the other end?”

Geeky Stats:
Time taken: 13hrs including faff stops
Distance: 103.56 miles
Climbing: 5452 metres
Crashes: 1 (me, unsurprisingly)
Mechanicals: No biggies, though Jason’s rear brake pads are now being held in by a spoke…
Average riding speed: 9.8mph

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