I rode bikes.
Quite a lot.
(Thanks to everyone that helped/put up with me. It’s been awesome.)
I rode bikes.
Quite a lot.
(Thanks to everyone that helped/put up with me. It’s been awesome.)
Not exactly an award winning, tabloid style, uber-quality headline there, but it is. Damn cold.
Cold to the point where muscles don’t work as well, lungs freezeburn when you try to push it and the iced ground jackhammers at your arms as you try to fight the bike over it. Cold, but not quite cold enough to not ride.
Well, maybe if the Strathpuffer wasn’t looming scarily on the horizon it would be cold enough to hide inside, clutching a mug of hot chocolate while stood in front of a roaring fire wearing a big wooly jumper. But the Strathpuffer is looming and I’ve done bugger all training for it, so Operation Just Ignore It (as much as possible) is still ongoing.
Last week I was complaining about how the trails had turned to stodge, making everything slow and knackering drivechains. This week the temperatures have plummeted even further than before – when I set off on Sunday morning it was minus nine – and the trails are buried under a good foot or two of snow. Presumably this has happened to show me the error of my whining ways, so I apologise to everyone, it’s obviously my fault.
Anyway, although rides have been called a bit short due to the utter mentalness of the cold (I mean, the drinking tube on my camelback froze solid on Sunday within two hours, despite being tucked INSIDE my jacket, reducing the ride to a Tour de Petrol Stations to kep buying bottles of water to drink.) they’re still going on, snow or no snow. I should be able to get a few decent length, all day rides in next week and the week after to help get me back into the 24hr race frame of mind, I’m pretty sure I’ve enough fitness to ‘just keep going’ as long as I can keep myself fuelled now – 9hr rides in the past few weeks have been done without too much suffering and the 6hr rides in mental cold temperatures haven’t caused any real discomfort (save tingly fingers of course), so I’m heading slowly but surely in the right direction!
I look forward to seeing what craziness the weather has in store for the next few weeks riding too!
big chunk of training missed over the past couple of weeks. A big, important chunk of training, thanks to having a mentally sore throat.
I’d planned to have a couple of days off and go up to Edinburgh for Angela’s birthday, then get some big long rides in when I came back. Instead I had a few days up in Edinburgh, marvelling at the snow
then got ill. I tried ignoring it for one ride, but after 3 hours of barely being able to breathe or drink anything without nearly crying I gave it up and set about hiding indoors waiting for the infection to go away (and got grumpy).
What I hoped would take a day or two to subside lasted for another week, seemingly moving round my throat, mouth and then my eyes (!). In a way I felt quite lucky that it was happening while much of the countryside was under several foot of snow and all the roads were scarily iced up – the Christmas Cracker Sportive up in the Lakes was postponed due to the roads pretty much vanishing n the wintery weather – but it was a fortnight between my last decent training ride and being able to get back out with a vengence, which sucks massively.
Thankfully I felt OK enough to get a few decent hours in while waiting for the car to have it’s annual service on Friday. The guys at the garage are now well used to me being the only customer on earth asking if they could take longer to do the service, rather than rush it through straight away, and barely even raise an eyebrow at me when I squeltch back through the door many hours after leaving, covered in road grime and slush, wearing lycra and muddying up their freshly mopped customer reception.
There was little shock in their voices when they asked where I’d been, to which I replied that I’d followed lots of quiet back roads to the prom at Southport, found it was raining so followed lots more little roads round to Blackpool, where it was too windy, so had reversed the route and gone back to Southport only to get there as it went dark and the temperature plummeted, so had headed back to the garage to make full use of the complimentary filter coffee…though I’m pretty sure the cost of the service went up when they noticed I’d drunk pretty much all the coffee they’d brewed.
Rather than ride a bike on Saturday, I went to the velodrome in Manchester to watch other people ride very fast, thanks to winning a couple of tickets through a competition on Twitter. It was ace fun, made even better by being sat near a couple of families who had children racing in the ‘DHL Future Stars’ events; watching them get worked up and cheering on the riders gave a nice extra element to the evening and a bit of an insight into how much work goes on behind the scenes (I rarely get to see it as I’m usually the petulant rider demanding ridiculous things of whoever’s helping me at the races).
On Sunday I headed out and did a lap of the MTL, which wasn’t as frozen as the last time I’d ridden it, but was still ticked off in a decent time thanks to riding the TD-1, which seems to travel everywhere at least one gear higher than any other bike I’ve had. The drivechain was on it’s last legs though, after a year of racing and Daft Riding it was beginning to struggle with the sloppy, gritty stodge and demanding gear shifts I was throwing it’s way.
Suffice to say, lots of money I don’t really have was thrown it’s way via the internet that evening – I decided in a moment of rashness to save a tiny bit of weight by buying a road cassette for it, rather than the usual XT one – my logic being that I never seem to use the granny ring (32 x 32 being silly spinny enough for most things), but carry it round everywhere, so might as well put it to use and get some nice close-ratio shifting going on at the back at the same time. We shall see if it works when I get round to fitting it all
Monday’s ride (yes, I had a 4 day weekend, which rocked) was just Sunday’s ride again, to see how different/tired I felt, or at least that was the plan. After slogging round a now-back-to-it’s-thawed-out-stodgy-best 15 miles of slow, wheel sucking grimness I changed my plans a bit and road some trails I’d not been along for ages, found some snow, fell off on it, wore the drivechain and brake pads down to near shambolic levels and ground my way home with a rather tired sounding bike but still some spring in my legs, which was a nice surprise.
I’ve got a few more decent length rides coming up in the next few weeks (Xmas holidays = bike rides, right?!), not really enough to get me as fit as I’d hoped to be for the Strathpuffer, but enough to give me a bit of fitness back and hopefully cancel out all the monster calorie Xmas food I will no doubt be wolfing down over the festive period…all provided I don’t get ill again!
There’s too many types of bike…and too many different terrains to ride them on to possibly have enough fun pedalling round, in my opinion.
But you should try.
Last week only had 3 rides in it, the first being a 6 hour road ride around the deserted roads of Bowland. Just me, a ribbon of tarmac, views for miles and some big lumps of earth to grovel over.
I found myself not in the mood for a flat-out-hammer style ride, so allowed myself the occasional lingering glance across at the scenery and even stopped a couple of times (briefly) to take piccies.
Friday equalled ‘day off work’. Sadly (!) the promised snow failed to appear, but the temperature drop definitely arrived. It was minus five when I rode away from the house on the old Scandal. It was a good test of my ‘proper’ winter clothing and the first time I’d ever needed to wear a base layer under the Gore softshell jersey. That was it though, a thin baselayer and the windstopper, fleecy thing and I was toasty all day. Too toasty, in fact, when the temperature climbed over freezing point.
The other plus that came with the chill was how frozen the ground was – the MTL was as fast as it is in summer when parched dry, the only thing slowing me down was the fear of hitting random patches of sheet ice while descending and crashing (something I saved for the final descent down into Waterfoot, litrally while thinking “I can’t believe I’ve not crashed on any ice” to myself…). Cragg Quarry was as buff as a buff thing and a couple of flat-out laps seemed in order before discovering that my main rear light hadn’t survived the day, leaving me riding home along unlit roads with just the feeble flashing of an “emergency” single LED to highlight me to passing motorists :-/
Ace ride. Loved every minute of it.
Sunday was originally going to be a trip up to Scotland with Wayne to throw big, squidgy bikes down the DH track at Ae Forest. A quick glance at the 7 Stanes website the day before scuppered those plans as it was closed for a rally, so some last minute replanning saw us head over to Llandegla to check out all the new stuff they’ve built there.
It was ace. The black runs weren’t ‘black’ in difficulty. At all. They were, however, utterly brilliant fun; fast, flowy, jumpy, bermy fun. A dusting of snow couldn’t detract from just how enjoyable the trails were and as for the new freeride line at the end… Yes! Awesome fun! Possibly not the best idea we’ve ever had, to just ride it blind (I landed in the middle of the ‘tabletop’ jump, only to find the middle of it was just a pile of logs, which tested the suspension ‘quite’ well) but we got down it in one piece, giggled and then ran straight back up for another go.
After which we retired to the cafe for massive cakes and hot brews to defrost. A top day out.
The snow’s arrived now, so Sunday’s ride over in the Lake District might be cancelled (not by me or Jase, it’s an organised thing, open to the public, so they know when to take ther hint and not ride, we don’t!), but I’ll still be out there, doing something on some sort of bike, because bikes are ace!
POWERED BY CAKE SINCE 1979
© Twinkly Dave Mostly in 2009
Spolling Mistooks are on Porpoise.