Friday, 29 May 2009

Did it!

Proper, normal mountain bike ride completed. Found some quite technical stuff on Bucklebury Common where 4x4s had torn it all up and the council had put down a load of logs to stop them. Fun. In the sun.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Back on the dirt

Seems like summer is trying to continue for more than a week - it's not rained for two whole days and the forecast for the next three is sun, sun, sun. In honour of that I might get back off-road tomorrow after work, maybe back with the MTB club.

So... which bike. As ever, the law of too many bicycles means that the more bikes one owns, the fewer actually work. The full-sus is missing a shock (warranty return - really must chase that up), the hardtail has a very dodgy bolt holding on a crank arm, and the singlespeed has brakes in need of a bleed. It comes down to either:
  • The risk of a crank bolt snapping and leaving me defenceless in the middle of nowhere, with semi-strangers
  • The risk of my brakes exploding and showering me with corrosive super-heated fluid. And then leaving me defenceless in the middle of nowhere, with semi-strangers, being slowly disolved by DOT5.1

Hardtail it is then.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Start of the tan

It's there if I look really, really carefully. A slight line, a division between under-the-jersey and under-the-sun. Cycling jerseys are great for tan lines as they grip the upper arm. There's none of this namby-pamby gradual fade, just palid cave dweller to Californian beach lobster.

The ride was one of the better ones - 102 miles or so, 6 hours ride time, 2190m of climbing. Jon dropped me on one (or three) of the climbs but my daredevil descending reeled him back. It just happened to coincide with him slowing down.

I'm not really sure what to do now, long ride wise. Next Saturday I've only got time for four hours or so, so maybe a whole bunch of big long hill repeats? Then two more weeks and it's the Dragon Ride itself. I've done very well on the eating and drinking this weekend so I should have plenty to burn.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Could it be sunshine?

There is a vague chance that the ride tomorrow might kick off my roadie tan, as there might be enough sun to allow me to ride with short sleeves. The silly tan lines are of course the main benefit of riding a road bike, closely followed by getting to see dead animals.

Tomorrow is also the 100 miles of nowhere (, something I really wanted to do but wanted others to join in as well. So, I'm not "competing", but I'll be doing a 100 miles of somewhere instead. I might sends pics.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Sometimes the fox, sometimes the roadkill

It was back to the Cotswolds yesterday, this time with Darren instead of Phill, a reversed route and much worse weather.

Firstly the weather. When you're riding on the road in driving rain, rain that is coming down at 45 degrees due to the wind, rain that stings your face and prevents you from looking where you are going - is it normal to think "I'm loving this!"? I can't explain, but the sections of the ride that had the terrible weather were the ones that I enjoyed the most. It's either that I enjoy the suffering, or enjoy the suffering of others around me.

Secondly, I'd not ridden for a couple of days and I spent those day mostly eating. I therefore started the ride feeling much stronger than last week. Darren however, had been feeling rubbish all week and started the ride semi-broken. I'm not sure if the fact that Darren was a bit off form meant that I felt much better but it's a whole lot easier watching Jon leap up the climbs like a ProTour salmon when there is someone suffering more than you behind.

Thirdly, is my climbing actually improving? I thought this on one of the many routes out of Stroud, a road I'd previously hated. Again, Jon was ahead, Darren behind, but I was thinking "I'm not dying here, I'm not dying here...."

Fourthly, very few dead badgers on the route this week. We did see a fox eating a roadkill deer, which was a first for me. I've seen foxes before and seen dead deer before, but never one being the lunch of the other.

This led me to conclude that last week I was the roadkill, this week the fox.

OK, not the fox. More the crow that was waiting for the fox to finish before moving in. I know my place.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


I was broken by Jon on Saturday - we did a 133km route in the Cotswolds that included lots of climbs - every time we went round a corner Jon seemed to remember another one. The brokeness was entirely my fault though, as it came down to me running out of energy.

It was all a bit odd - I could ride at a certain power, but anything more and my legs just didn't want to respond. Nothing there. Nada. Niet. Non. It was like my rev limiter had been turned down from 164 to 140. What was probably happening was that I'd burnt my stored glycogen, was processing just about enough for me to burn fat, and hence I could only ride at a pace which didn't need more than my fat burning power. Or something.

Anyway, I think I'd become a bit dismissive of 6 hour road rides, and I'd had a hard week of intervals without really eating enough. The Friday I'd been up early for some hard 2 min on, 2 min off intervals, then I'd done a couple of hours in the evening. I also didn't eat until 10.30 at night, so I wouldn't have been able to process and store the food in time for the morning.

Moral of this story. Eat and drink more, don't underestimate 6 hour road rides.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

New bike

There was no other title I could use for this post really - I have a new bike. A new road bike. A new 16.4lb carbon road bike. A new 16.4lb Orbea Orca. I feel like I've just become a father!

Actually, no, not true. I haven't once had to get up in the night to feed/change/comfort my bundle of joy. I may have sneakly snuck out of the bedroom to look at the bundle of joy, but that was entirely a voluntary matter. Thinking a little, compared to a baby it's:

  • Cheaper (certainly long term although the initial investment was fairly scary)

  • Quiter (whirr of the chain versus screams, crying)

  • Cleaner (it's not going to be going out in the winter!)

  • Less smelly (it's not going to be ridden through any pig farms)

  • Prettier (well, in my opinion, and in the opinion of anyone who's seen it)

  • Easier to care for (bit of lube, lives in the study)

So, the first of the baby pictures...