Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Cheshire Cat

So, the wait is over...... the alarm clock fails!.......... up in a panic, just glad that all was prepared the night before and it was quite literally up, wheetabix and out! On the road towards Crewe at 6.40am a little latter than had planned, but not that late I was stressing. Clear roads, yeap even the M6, but unfortunately the sky wasn't looking the same, the forcasts during the week had not been good. Off at junc. 16 and heading for Crewe every car seamed to be carrying a bike, although why would anyone else would be up this early................... the clocks had gone forward so losing an hour.
Entering Crewe, the pre-event nerves rose and instead of heading straight for the start and the "large" car park, I joined the others trying to find off road parking. Minutes to the start of signing on I decided my original plan was best and headed to the Start..... and an half empty car park..... even better the £2.50 charge was lifted! Locking up I headed for signing on and joined the lengthy queue, which in fairness didn't take long to get through. Timing "chip" and number in hand off back to the car and time to change and prepare the bike.
Looking towards the start a few eager souls were already queuing, "leave it a bit" I thought, messing a bit longer, number straight, Chip in right position..... "lets check the queue" looking over the carpark it was now massive and 1/2 way around the car park. 40mins later we were off.
In groups of 40 or so we started, these groups soon losing a few and catching a few, finding your "pace" was easy, and "we" where speeding along nicely at 22mph, could I keep this up?. A few junctions, hills, catching and dropping riders saw us leveling out at around 18mph until Mow Cop came into view. The Castle ruins at the summit where visable for miles and the thought that we had to climb from the level we were currently at did make me doubt if I could climb "the hill". The final bend before the road went "UP" opened up and the view of riders slogging, pushing and falling was a bit how you imagined maybe the D-Day landings or the Somme to be! It was a killer of a hill, but the feeling on reaching the summit was well worth the pain, the smile on the 40mph downhill after broken only by the munching on my ZipVit ZV8 Bar!

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

Commuting 22nd March

So its Monday, now less than one week to the Cheshire Cat, although a good ride just short of 50 miles yesterday, it has confirmed to me that the 70 mile option is the one, espeacally as I may not be able to get and sign on Saturday afternoon, and therefore I would guess, leaving the early start times all gone. Yesterdays ride took in Burton, Ashby and Tamworth and although starting in the fog the sun was well and truly up and out by the time I roll home.

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

Commuting 15th March 2010

After a "poor" week last week due my neck pain (as opposed to me being the pain in the neck!) a good start to the week. A steady 40 miles, taking in Burton, over the weekend set me up nicely for the week ahead.

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

Commuting 1st March 2010

Well, a four day week as Monday was the last day of our mini break in the Lakes. Although only a four days, I managed 3 days of cycling and good days they where, if a little cold. (!) There was little wind and it was dry.... what more could I ask. The better sight though was the fact the ride in was requiring little if any lights, whilst only the last 1/4 of the homeward journey required any illumination, am guessing that by the end of next week the lights will be in summer hibernation!

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

Howgill Fells Feb 2010

A weekend walking, where could be a better place than where the "Dales" meet the "Lakes"? Sedburgh, Public Schools, Book Town of England, placed below the Howgill Fells, a stepping stone between the two. Fridays drive up the M6 was in rain, rain and more rain, hoping that the whole of the weekend was not be the same. Quick stop for milk, biscuits etc... and then a drive to Kendal. Not seeing anywhere that took our fancy for a meal, (it was a bit early) we deciced to take the drive to Hawes.