Monday, 25 February 2008

Another Milestone

This week's weigh-in first..

Weight 102.6kg
Weight loss this week 0.9kg (the diet police have taken over at work, snacking is now a capital offence)

Miles last week 135
Longest ride 95 miles

Yesterday saw the first meeting of the "Gang of Four" who will be participating at the Etape. Previously, we have only ever ridden in two's and the very occasional three.

The Radway Audax ride from Cheadle was completed by most of us in about 6hrs 5 minutes + 45 minutes(ish) of stops, give or take 10 minutes for those faster than myself. 95 miles, but not much climbing. Basic speed seems to be coming along, now its time to add a few hills. Unfortunately, the weather and road conditions were none-too-kind, being a mixture of rain and animal excrement. Which of them was falling from the sky, and which was filling the numerous potholes, I know not. But I do know where most of it ended up. It ended up on my bike, which has just taken 2 hours to clean up to the extent it will be allowed back in the house and onto the turbo trainer. It's not often (thankfully) that you have to remove jockey wheels from the rear derailleur and clean them up before the chain will move properly.

The milestone? Since I started in July 2006 I have now completed over 6,000 miles of cycling. Not bad for a fat bloke.

On a technical note, Karen (see links) has asked if I have a gpx file of the Cat & Fiddle loop we did last weekend. If I were even slightly competent at doing these blog thingys it would be here

Enjoy. I think the Cat & Fiddle is probably the nicest climb I have yet done. Long, testing, but not enough to kill you. Remember not to brake too much down the hill from Axe Edge. 51mph first time down, 47 mph last time.....nice (if a little scary afterwards)

Over the Malverns next weekend for another 150km and at least 1500m of climbing (to be confirmed by Memory Map)

Monday, 18 February 2008

Kop that!

First the bad news

Weight 103.5kg
up 0.2kg this week.

Miles last week 34 miles
Longest day 34 miles

Now this week I understand the weight gain. A birthday coupled with a light week of training will do that to you.

That said there were some highs this week. The Cat & Fiddle loop of 3 hills was completed in 2 hours 21 minutes, a full 18 minutes inside Memory Map's estimated time. I guess that good 'A' class roads do make a difference after all, as does remembering to pump up your tyres to 100 psi before you start off.

The climb of Cat & Fiddle and Axe Edge took 5 minutes longer than lasts years Rourkie Cat & Fiddle Challenge, but didn't have a hot day or other riders to help things along. Equally, a 20 minute rest last year was only a 10 minute rest yesterday, so the elapsed time was 5 minutes better.

In addition, I deliberately didn't use the bottom 2 gears of my exceedingly wide range cassette, relying instead on the gearing that will be on the Madone when it arrives.

Unfortunately, I did need them all later when we progressed to Mow Cop (sorry, did I spell it wrong in the title? What could I have been thinking of?) It was at this point I proved 3 things:
1. You can ride down it
2.It's very worrying riding down it
3. I still need a 34/34 on my current bike to get back up it.

But I did get back up it. In one go. Without getting off (except putting a foot down to realign the chain on the bottom end, and I'm not counting that!)

Time in last year's Cheshire Cat Sportive: 31 minutes (23 of which was walking, or trying to)
Time yesterday: 14 minutes

Now, if I could ignore my stomach, I could actually do this thing.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Down, Up, Down.....

Weight this week 103.3kg
Up 1.2kg in the week

Miles last week 102
Longest Ride 58 miles (well, 54 + 2 miles each way to get there)

The weight is going to be a problem. There's no other way to look at it, you can't cheat gravity, and the heavier you are the more it pulls you back.

This was amply demonstrated to me in Sunday's Reliability Ride from Stratford-upon-Avon. At first, I though my eyesight was going, but it was subsequently proven that the huge pack of riders was, in truth, riding away from me up hill.

The rest of the day degenerated into snatched tows from the odd person who passed, and solitary dragging efforts to keep the speed up.

That said, 3:34 for the 54 miles was not too bad, and slightly in excess of 15mph. Probably good enough for this time of year.

This week will be lighter in effort, but heavier on stretches and core muscle exercises, since I'm told that I don't do enough of either. And the weekend, weather permitting, will see Gun Hill, Cat & Fiddle and Axe Edge in a loop from near Leek.

If we're not tired enough after that, it's only 12 miles to park at the top of Mow Cop, for a ride downhill, 180 degree turn at the bottom, and ride back up the 500+ feet of climb in a mile, culminating in a 1-in-4 beast at the top. I'm not even sure I can ride DOWN that!

20 weeks to go next Sunday.......

Sunday, 3 February 2008


This weeks weigh in:

Weight 102.1kg
Loss 1.3kg

Miles last week 108
Longest ride 67 miles

The shame of it. I have been overtaken.........
by a jogger!

In my defence, the hill was a 12% pitch, she (yes, it was a lady jogger) was going very well, and the 20+mph wind was in my face but, lets face it, it's not the best preparation ever for an Etape is it?

That said, the ride was good, despite the howling wind. Edge Hill was ridden without stopping (1.3km @ 10%, max 14%).

Ilmington Hill followed, and was similarly despatched. This was pleasing as it did for me last June about 2/3 of the way up. I had to stop, and on restarting popped a spoke which then spoiled most of the day. (1km @ 9%, max 14% with another 1km at 2%-7% afterwards)

Down the other side, and up the south of Fish Hill above Broadway (a long way at far too much, max 14%). Again no stopping, but not much speed either.

Finally! Tourmalet descending practice on Fish Hill proper.

Lines through corners were chosen, and kept. Weight was distributed, corners were made easily, brakes were left largely alone. 42mph (71kmh) ensued. Brilliant!!

Then, to cap it all, back to Stratford on Avon, with the wind finally behind. I've never done 27mph on the flat before (not sitting upright with my hands on the flats, holding a conversation, anyway)

All-in-all a pleasing training ride for this time of year, despite the high winds. 67 miles and a Tourmalet's-worth of climbing in 5 hours dead (average 13.4mph). All we have to do now is throw in another 36 miles, and sufficient climbing for the Hautacam, and the incidental bits in between.