Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Friday, 23 April 2010
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
Its a multi discipline event, covering around 40 miles on the bike, with a stop to climb Snowdon via the Rhyd Ddu path and a second for a little paddle around Llyn Gwynant. The event on 12th June, is based in Llanberis and having helped on the event in the past, is one I know a little about ............ and I still said "yes".
The event is raising funds for REGAIN, a Charity supporting Tetraplegics, mainly those injured in sporting accidents. Our team will be headed by Steve Osbourne himself a Tetraplegic, and whilst Steve can spur us around the cycle and canoe leg, we will need his grit to help him to get up, and down, Snowdon, pushing & pulling Steve and his wheelchair!
More event details -http://www.actionforcharity.co.uk/eventdetailsnew.asp/urlsearch/Snowdonia-Charity-Challenge
To sponsor us -
More REGAIN information -
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
The Cheshire View on Mow Cop - its steep!
The first fed stop was most welcome as I was quite literally bursting for a "comfort" stop, this done I was away, more in the country now and some great flowing up and down, another climb and I caught a group who where working well, for some 5 or 6 miles we pedalled at close to 30mph! Turns at the front, resting at the back, had the second fed stop not got in the way I think we may have carried on till the end at this pace.
A quick stop at the second fed station as I was having trouble with jumping gears, luckily nothing more than a slipped cable which once tighten was fine. Leaving the groups behind I was riding alone for a while but still managing a steady 20mph, well I though I was on my own, turning right at a junction I could see I was "pulling" around 12 riders with me..... I thought I had been struggling a bit but clearly not as much as these....... Crewe was in sight and the devil in me pushed on leaving my "friends" and catching another group until just before the finished when they left my as they sprinted for their personal glory........ but I had climbed Mow Cop and felt good, as a training run for the Dragon Ride I think it went well...... 193rd out of 736 who did the 67 mile option.
Monday, 22 March 2010
Mondays ride in was a little windy with gusts from all directions, "going home could be fun", but am hopeful that the lights can now be cleaned and put away until next season or maybe the odd night ride over the "Chase". As I thought Mondays ride back was fully into the wind and so a slow one.......... late for tea! Tuesday and the frost back, still at least on the bike you dont need to scrape the windows!, half way in and sunglass out, a nice morning ride despite the cold, the evening ride home was wind aided so a pleasure. A steady 30mph along the "bypass" had a lorry "stuck" behind me, but was a great pull along as we hit the 40 zone and he went passed, my legs giving up the chase after holding 35mph for a short distance!
Thursday was damp, but the sun promised to get through the clouds. There are more riders on my route now, all in the opposite direction, I can count 6 regulars and a few who make the occaisonal journey. Riding home looked like it was going to wet, but once on the road the a good tailwind more than made up for the dampness!, and home in no time.
Sunday see`s the Cheshire Cat, an early start due the clocks going forward, good excuse for a lazy day tomorrow..... I wish, but will make some "MG" time as have entered the owners Club Kimber run on 20th June, some 80 miles through Derbyshire starting from Chatsworth House, so have some TLC to provide!
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Monday dawned clear and so chilly, but a good tailwind made for a enjoyable ride, the return though was into a headwind, enough to slow me up. Tuesday and pushing the Dawes out of the garage noticed a flat rear, but lifting the Boardman down was soon away, a thought to the return leg though when I might be wishing for some lights! Less than two weeks until the Cheshire Cat, at this point, the devil on my left shoulder is suggesting I take the 67 mile option, the angel on the right says stick to the 100, me, am split down the middle. If I take the "its training for the Dragon Ride" option, then the 100 miles it is, if I think "you dont want to be last" the 67 miles comes out the winner...... think I will consider at the weekend, anyway time for "ZV8" bar and banana "chaser" for ride home fuelling.
Another windy ride home, but Spring must be upon us..... the local "outdoors" store has its tent display "up" and a mouth full of flys is a sure sign the season is turning!
Friday, 5 March 2010
Cheshire Cat, just 3 weeks to go, so am hoping for a good weekend ride and another good week commuting next week, have been looking at am aiming at a modest -6 hours. The "Cat" is after all my first step towards my main Target of the Dragon Ride in June!
Monday, 1 March 2010
Monday, 22 February 2010
Quick rethink and the trusted Mercian Canyon was in the car ready for Chase/Snow fun, and what a good few hours we had, a highlight riding down a sledge filled slope! A coffee with Gary at Mammoth, we resisted cake though, warmed us a little. A good mornings riding after all, if not the miles I wanted for Cheshire Cat training.
Monday, 15 February 2010
Off to an ok start, dry, little chilly but little wind so happy................................. until that is I am less than 1/2 a mile from work. I always take my time once on the Industrail Estate and today it proved wise, pedalling along, car pulled over to the left, which then pulls in front of me!, right across to right hand side of the road, brakes full on I was slidding right into him side on, I spotted a worker from the Auctions, waving both arms I guess trying to warn the driver! As we came to a stop I was non too pleased ready for giving him all, but his window came down, his colour gone and obviously shocked and very, very sorry, so a quick "ok and next time use your mirrors" and I was away. Had I been going any quicker than I was there was no way I could have avoided him and I would ended up on the deck, god knows which side of the car! Ride home was less eventful, but wet, so a good drying session upon return home.
Tuesday, cold but dry, a great sunset to ride home into was all I can really say. Home and quick change whilst wolfing a piece of "home baked" Chocolate cake - Nice - then off to "Spin Class", no Motorhead or "Freebird" so was "steady"!
And that was that, Wednesday was a planned car day, but the forecast for Thursday was "heavy" snow, all day the sun was out and I regretted the car choice, but at 4ish the snow began, right choice after all then. Friday was wet & icey so opted for the car again. We have a good ride planned for Sunday, weather permitting, so will hopefully make up some "lost" miles from this week.
Friday, 12 February 2010
Seven weeks until the Cheshire Cat so I need some "big" miles and hills soon, but they will have to wait. Monday morning bright and early and a good ride in, hands a little chilly but soon forgotten.
Homeward bound, still light!, not for long, but enough time for me to spot a follow cyclist ahead, catch and drop him with a cheery "hello", but my smile didn't last long as I was then caught and dropped with a cheery "hello" by another rider, I hung on to his wheel for a while but the elastic snapped and he was gone.
Tuesday night is Spin Night, a full class tonight, bit different to last week when just three of us, finished with Motorhead "Ace of Spades". Wednesday bike to work again. Trip in ok, but return was the worst for a long while. Leaving once again in the light, a steady pedal, but around half way home the roads become white, the afternoons snow still laying. I steadied up somewhat, the roads worsening to "black ice", with cars still whizzing past!, a small hill under normal conditions now a challenge to stay upright, still it took my mind from my frozen fingers.
My hour and a bit journey into 1 hour 40mins, still it was a challenge and will make the next ride seam easier!
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
We don't know if in the mind, most agreed that today was the hardest, hills, wind and also the fact that the all inclusive hotel was getting ever closer. Aching legs, sore bums all were seemingly twice as bad today. At one point I may have well as been going backwards dropped from the front group and then caught and dropped by the second, but I wast the only one as lone cyclists littered the road.
A long downhill, forced to pedal though as the wind was fully in the face was followed by a real slog up, but then the road swung and a downhill that could be coasted, I skipped a photo opportunity and went for it up the next hill, short but sharp leading to another descent, the road dropped and the rose, and as it rose I could make out people some walking some riding, the hill was the end the final push of the week, and as we made it to the end the cheers went up, getting more the louder as more of us made it in.
And that was it, a night & morning tourist like by the pool, then 7 hours + return to Cairo. It was, all agreed a great week with some great people, some keen to register for the next event, some happy to have done this, Facebook addresses taken, photo sharing website promised, reunion planned ......... but most of all in the head memories of a truly wonderful adventure, thank you all.
Monday, 1 February 2010
Thursday, 1.30am and just 4 hours sleep, we must be mad. Cake & tea then a short coach ride to the base of Mt. Sinai, dark, chilly and feeling very wary. Passes purchased, through the security check and its off. The first thing that strikes you is the dust, it could almost be snowing the dust is that thick, picked out by the snaking line of "head torches" lighting the way up the mountain. The second, .....so this is where all the camels are, loads of them all doing their best, well the guides, to get you to hop on the back......... for a small fee! We stuck to two legs and with a steady pace passed many groups resting up. We had a tight schedule today as after the climb just 115kms to cycle, so it was steady, steady keep going. The last section was steps and a queue, no chance of passing and here the camels gave way to human guides eager to grab your hand and give you a helping pull up, temptation again resisted. We reach the summit and grab a place to watch the sunrise amongst the many dozens, even hundreds we had joined.
Sun Up, away we went, the time schedule ticking away, a different, much less crowded route down, with a brief stop where I was able to duck away from the path and build a Cairn in memory of Steve, I don't know how long it will last but it was tooked away so am hopeful it will be around for a while.
Today was going to be tough, a hill within the first few kms, then a head wind all day. The group was split into 2, a 75km group and a 115km group meeting at lunch with a (approx) 25km ride to the fun part of the day - 15km down hill straight into the nights hotel. The first 25km had the hill to start and then up and down against the head wind, sapping stuff. First water stop made and then, well a massive downhill section, smooth tarmac, flowing bends on a good "racing" bike I dread to think how fast you would have been going, for us it was belly on saddle and away!
The trend followed for a while, up, then a fast descent. A comfort stop, and I lost touch with the leaders, no resting up here!, as I began to position myself for a fast downhill in a bid to gain ground, the road turned and the full force of the wind hit me, anchor like! It was a long lonely ride, looking behind no one in sight and the front riders dots ahead. Water stop, last before lunch and the regroup, however, one of the guides let slip that the 75km group were not that far ahead. We cycled a long flat strecth, the ground falling away to our left and so able to watch the road disappear ahead of us as it curved round. Maybe a mile, two maybe through the heat shimmer a slow moving vehicle could be made out, the 75km group. The pedals now a blur as we tried to get across the gap, which we did, in what seamed no time at all, the target pulling us along as we got ever closer.
Lunch once again a good meal, served in the shade of a cliff, with comfy cushions to boot, heaven after so long in the saddle. The early raising mountain climbers where beginning to feel it, it had already been a long day and after this rest we had three big hills to get over. From here to the top of the "hill" was a slog, hills, wind and riders falling off the back of groups to catch up again as someone else hit a low and dropped back. There had been concern that we wouldn't make it the the top of the "hill" before nightfall, but we did, all of us. The dangers of the hill explained - "it is fast, be careful", wine gums shared off we went 15kms of flying, again little other traffic and smooth surface saw us flying along, trying to get a pedal in when we could. A great finish to the days ride, the day though was far from over!
We had ourselves a Beach Hut Hotel, the Beach Bar open, ready and waiting, in no time our aching bodies in the sea, a short swim washed down by a beer, well one or two, but we had earned it today! It has to be said that dinner was a bit of a blur, the dancing with the local guides after even more so, but it was great fun. 22 hours, one mountain, 115 cycled km, a swim and a few beers not a bad day in any ones books!
Wednesday was to be named, Recovery Day, just 77kms after the 125 of the previous day. This sounded good, and after a small lay in, not as long as planned though as "we" forgot to tell the guides we were not getting up till 6.30am!, we where ready and willing to go. On route we had a quick Monastery stop, so for the first few kms, I had a steady pedal watching the world go by. This meant watching the occasional camel wondering around. Approaching 20km and we arrived at our first stop.
Water and Monastery Visit, so on with long trousers and the girls covering shoulders, a quiet oasis in the desert, and the most "green" we had since home made for a welcome rest, oh and the first toilets for 48 hours +! Back in the saddle and time for a blast at the front heading off in the lead group, the hills started shortly after leaving, nothing too hard but upwards. For a while we had what passed for scenery, villages and the odd oasis to take our minds off the road, and the wind. Pedalling hard we made good ground, "Mike the Machine" soon passed us taking his place, as usual, at the front.
A long flat pedal ahead, and shimmering head the Yellow shirted guides, just in time as my Camelback had run dry! A "Lean too" next to a small holding was the only shelter from the midday sun, today was the hottest so far, really hot. Even though we had not travelled that far we had quite wait for the last of the group to get to us, the heat and the gradient taking its toll.
With no toilet, but litres of water to get rid of, a wander away from the group and a case of doing what you have to do, three of us ended up in the same area, all looking around as you do, when we realised that mounds all around, where, well, we were in a grave yard of sorts, already red faced from the heat, we retreated quickly.
Off again, riding to lunch, some camel watching along the way, and then a small town, with lots of children, we waved as you do, and then lots of stones!, being thrown at us!, we pedalled harder to be greeted be a gang of older children forming a human chain across the road. We slowed, a little unsure what to d0, our Police "Levy" guards nowhere to be seen, guides likewise, we went for it pedalling hard and shouting, the "chain" broke and we pedalled harder, easing up we smiled and guessed we had maybe over reacted to kids being kids. Lunch around the corner and again another feast, most welcome in a day that was anything other than a recovery day!
A long hard 25km saw us at the "border" to the Mt Sinai region, from here only a couple of kms to the hotel and chance for a dip in its pool! Now a dip in a pool after 3 days riding the heat and dust of the desert after camping for two nights, is well, a deserved treat. A pool as cold I don't think you would find anywhere, it was freezing, really freezing and other guests (and staff) where amazed to see us in it, well done to those who just jumped in it took me about 10mins of standing knee deep to pluck up the courage to actually swim.
Early too bed for most of us, as the "big" day tomorrow.
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
The "BIG" day, 125km to our second camping night. A big group start after some warm up "star" jumping and a hearty breakfast, now leaving the coast and heading inland, and a welcome to the hills of the Sinai! The first 25km covered without much issue and soon our friends in the yellow shirts showing us to our first water and comfort stop of the day. Traffic was not too bad and most gave us a wide passing, although we could never quite guess if the "horns n waves" were ones of encouragement or "get out of the way"! The last riders on the road came into the first stop approx 20mins after the first, and with no shelter from the sun 40mins plus standing in the full glow of the sun required a second helping of sun screen.
The next 25kms was a bit more fun. Leaving with the "lead" group of 7 or so the pace picked up a little, and in no time we couldn't see the "pack". Looking back again we could see that Theo, the Tour Leader, was trying to get over to us, heads down and we soon had a "Tour de France" chain gang going all taking our turn on the front. We couldn't shake him, but he wasn't gaining, until a small incline slowed us but not him, the following descent saw a grinning rider join us, sweating a little! As we entered the outskirts of a small town, our Police & Tour Guides pulled us over, our speed had pushed a gap between us and the main pack to one that they were not happy with, so we had to wait whilst they pulled back some time. the next water stop came and went.
Cycling was on long flat roads, no wind to speak of and seemingly never ending. It had been hoped that the 75km stop was for lunch, but a change of plan meant this was pushed to the 100km mark, energy bars and water stop bananas providing enough fuel to keep us moving.
The forth part of the day proved to be hard going, the long roads seaming to grow as they stretched out in front of us, a "comfort" stop saw me lose the front group, and hard as I tried I couldn't`t get back to them, I slowed and let a second group catch me up so I had company. Their pace was a little slow though and I sadly pushed on, alone. A long left turn saw the road start to climb, not a big hill but a drag, and in the full heat this prove a real test. Through the heat shimmer a could make out a figure by the road, as I got closer I could see it was one of the group taking a comfort stop, and before long I was on his back wheel. "PJ" his bruises from yesterday, now a lovely purple in colour. Turns out PJ was a bit of Geologist and his description of the various rock formation distracted us both from the task in hand, getting up the hill. About half way up we come upon some roadworks, no traffic lights or cones here, just battle your way through, the bemused faces of the workers as we pedalled past a joy to behold. I think PJ was struggling a little, he latter admitted he was and kindly thank me for getting him up the hill!, as the pace dropped, we both had mentally calculated that the 25km should be up, but with the heat and effort we could have been wrong. The hill eventually flatten out and, as all up hills do, started to go down, although the wind meet us and so it was anything but a coast down.
The lunch stop was heaven, the guides had taken over a "cafe" so we had shelter, toilets (proper ones!) and food, Spaghetti, chips, fish, salad, bread... with plenty for seconds! 25kms to camp, turning left the slight side wind we had been experiencing, now was a full blown head wind, so although the road was relatively flat the going was tough.
In what seamed no time six of us had ridden through the bunch and had a good distance between us and them, pedaling hard for the glory of being first to camp. The heat was beating down and the guides had agreed to put in a "quick stop" for water at around 15km. Shortly before this 3 of us required a comfort stop, we were emptying a Camelback in around an hour, what goes in must come out! The chase was on, 3 v 3, in our sights the 3 front riders, we could see them stop for the water, and were off again, should we stop, we slowed and the guides poured water over us! cheers! The pursuit began again, so close, and yet so far, the two groups pedaling for all we were worth. In the distance the road drifted to the right and as it did we could make out figures by the road side, "is this the yellow shirted guides?", if so we had little chance of catching the lead three.
As we saw, little more than 1/2 a mile ahead, the three bikes turn left away from the road, the chase was up, we slowed, catching our breath.
A great days riding, a camp fire and sleeping under the stars, a great day.
Monday, 25 January 2010
As you may be aware, Helms sadly passed away recently, but what great fun his cartoons where, sadly missed.
Friday, 22 January 2010
Monday 18th, first cycle commute of the year (and only second ride of any sort!) and was glad to be back in the saddle a little chilly but pleasant, remembered to take charger so as not to be riding home without lights! Tuesday followed, but a little different as had to take Midget for MOT, so new Boardman was dismantled and carefully stashed in the Midget, so as to ride the 12 miles or so from the garage to work. (Oh, joy it past the MOT) Still getting the Boardman set up, seat position wise and need a good distance ride to really settle down the set up, but appears as good as the reviews.
Weds & Thurs where car days, Friday up and cycle gear on, stepped outside to let out the Chickens, pouring down with rain. This was forecast, but over my Wheetabix, decided that the car would be a better option today and so drove to work with a guilt trip as the weather improved and was dry by the time I reached work!
Monday, 18 January 2010
Day one was a short sprint of 50km, a water stop at "approx" 25km, then to our overnight in a Bedouin tent on the shores of the Red Sea. The group soon spread out, amazingly so. Some keen to get the pedals racing, others happy to ease their way into the riding. Chatting away I found myself at the back, the tailwind making for an easy pedal and whilst the roads where busy they where flat and pothole free, but this didn't stop one of our number hitting the dirt a few kms in resulting in a fine array of bruises! As we rejoined the coast I picked up the pace and spent the remaining kms to the water stop catching and riding with the various groups spread along the road.
After the water stop, the pace picked up a little, with the stronger cyclists showing themselves, another crash keeping Doc. Brian busy, whilst two flats for Mike kept the mechanic in work.
Trying to catch the front group after a comfort stop, I found myself riding alone, enough curve in the road to not be able to see the group in front or behind. In time I began to wonder if I had missed the turn to the camp, but a sight we soon all longed to see soon came into view, the yellow tshirt of one of the "guides". A short ride "off road" found me with the first arrivals at the beach camp.
With little tide in the Red Sea the camp was right on the shore, and no time mattress where "bagged" cycle gear off and swim wear on! The smell of Sulphur filled the air, we where right by natural "springs" and several off us soon coated ourselves in the black smelly, but very warm - mud!
The sun was setting rapidly and dropping with it the temperature, so after getting dried off the queue for dinner formed, those new to head torches blinding all around, but with a failing generator they were positivity a necessity.
By 8.00 most of us were tooked up in our sleeping bags, most pulled out of the tent and under the stars, ready for the 125km day tomorrow.
Friday, 15 January 2010
So in my last entry regarding the epic ride that was the Sinai Cycle, we were in Cairo. Sunday was a long day, first a quick visit to the Pyramids. Quite a shock to find them so close to the city and, I know this shouldn't be a shock, but how busy they where. The greatest difficulty after getting past the numerous "street vendors" was trying to a get a picture without masses of people / buses!
Cairo, what a mess!, I hadn't expected quite the sight and extent of the rubbish, every street a wash with it. We left the city behind and started the 6 hour coach trip to Sunday nights hotel, not a lot to see, so sleep became the order of the day, a brief "comfort" stop before venturing under the Suez Canal, the dividing line between Africa & Asia, and a chance to grab some rather nice ice cream.
We finally left the main road behind and began eagerly looking for our Hotel, like a group of package tour Holiday makers. Here we are, quite nice, very quiet and I think open just for us. A little stroll before the sunset found us on a beach, sun loungers, beach bar (closed) and, of coarse, the sea, within minutes a couple of us had changed and where enjoying an evening swim, just the ticket after such a long coach ride. Those not for the water, soon found a bar with TV, showing football, Manchester Utd playing! After a shower, dinning room found and a very nice buffet dinner. We then retired for the main event briefing, and the realisation of what we where to undertake came over us all, still that was soon forgotten and the bar revisited! This was our first chance to have opportunity to have a good chat, and after a few (small) beers the talk gave way to much laughter as stories of past trips & training tales gave us a smile to go to bed on.
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
13th January and still not a ride to speak of and, with more snow forecast, cannot see one in the next day or two. Looks like a good group ride on the 24th, the Mercia CC Reliability Trail, see - http://www.merciacyclingclub.org/ - a nice "metric 100", whislt Dan Fleemans more local "Tour of the Nock" is on the same day as a family event I cant really avoid, not that I would want too avoid it!, so at least one good ride to look forward too, but hardly the training I wanted to be putting in.
I can, I guess take comfort from the fact it is the worst cold spell for 29 years!
The picture?, a hot and sweaty day in the Sinai.
Monday, 11 January 2010
The weekend did see some mountain bike fun, not as much as I would have liked but something is better than nothing. (did manage to do some garage sorting though.. oh and took the Midget for a spin!)
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
I still need to bring you an update of the Sinai trip.............. I promise too add loads of photos!
2010 off to a good start 6 days and not even sat on a bike, do "spin" machines count?, having entered both the Cheshire Cat 28th March and the (epic that is) the Dragon Ride 6th June, I need to get back into the saddle pretty quickly. At the moment I guess I could blame the weather............. but that would be a feeble excuse. (but the only one I have)
Joking aside, I did manage a good "end of year" ride, collecting the car left on Christmas Day from family in Northampton, recording enough miles (66+) for a "Metric 100" in around 4 hours, the A5 is not the most scenic road in the land and luckily was quiet!