Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Very Interesting Visitor

Well, today looked as though it was going to be another fairly normal day, with no plans to do anything except get my hair cut - badly needed it, as it was getting long enough for pigtails!

Normal day that is, until I got to my parents and saw this fellow in the garden -
My parents are very lucky in that their garden backs onto a park which leads onto the Medlock Valley & they often have the pleasure of the wildlife popping into the garden to say hello, usually it's all the usual garden/park birds like the blue tits, coal tits, blackbirds, chaffinches, starlings, robins, long tailed tits (extremely cute, very tiny birds), and we've often had a woodpecker family visit - they all absolutely love the bird feeders we have out for them.
About a year ago, we had what looked like a very scruffy large starling perch on top of one of the feed stations. After a search through all the bird books and the RSPB website, we identified him as a Sparrowhawk.
Today, he came back looking stunning and very proud as he tried (unsuccessfully) to perch and stay balanced on the washing line! Both myself and Mom were stunned that he'd come back, then a little worried about the little birds still in the garden, as a Sparrowhawks favourite food is the little feathered friends we've come to love. We were lucky though, as after a wobble or two, the Sparrowhawk flew off into the valley to have a chomp on some voles instead! Phew!!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Alas, poor summer has gone

Can a club ride categorically be called a club ride if only 2 people ride it? It turned out to be a family affair as only myself and Paul could make it. As it was just the two of us we decided to have a later start time - so even more extra sleep was in order!

I set off to meet Paul at 11:15 and we set out towards Dunham Massey; all wrapped up warm against the inclement weather. The weather soon showed its nasty side as we were battling our way along Pottery Lane in an icy 17mph headwind, which later had a touch of sleet and rain in it as we cycled through Didsbury.
Crossing over the Mersey at Northenden, we saw first hand exactly what the weather can do as the river was massively swollen with all its flood basins in operation, bridges closed off, cycleways and footpaths under water, eddies (whirlpools) and bricks and masonry floating rather quickly along the immensely fast-flowing current - and the levels had actually dropped by the time we saw it!

As the weather was not at its best, we decided to go the direct route up Dunham Road to the Park Road junction - having to bypass a very large flooded section of the road by Suffolk Road; up along Smithy Drive to the main entrance to the park and blam, straight into a tailback caused by so many people wanting to get into the park. We squished in alongside the waiting cars and found our way to the barn for lunch, only to find the queues were pretty close to trailing down the stairs. So, we decided to head back out for a wander round to the deer park.

We found this fellow lay in the trees with no other deer about until we noticed the signs that said the deer were all in a temporary enclosure due to it being the rutting season. All but this fellow; and stags are highly dangerous during this time.....!

For lunch we decided to try a pub in the nearby Dunham Town, but changed our minds when we saw that the Lavender Barn Tea Rooms (Dog Farm, School Lane. Open 10-4) were open and stopped for a welcome sandwich and brew. The tea rooms are in a very pretty converted barn on a small holding growing lavender.

After lunch it was time to head home, but as we got to Black Moss Rd we found the road had flooded the whole way across and for some distance down it, right by a bend. As we didn't really want to double back on ourselves for some distance, we decided to ride through the water. I went through first, water coming up almost to my ankles as my feet were at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Paul had it easier as his bottom bracket is higher on his mtb than on my roadie, as his feet didn't get quite as wet as mine! After that it was a case of heading along Dairyhouse Lane (with more flood water to get through), onto Sinderland Rd, Manchester Rd, Marsland Rd, then once back near Wythenshawe Park following the outward route back home.

See the route here

It was an excellent ride and one I will definitely do again, both winter and summer all year round.

Boring bit:
Temperature - 12 degrees
Max speed - 21.6mph
Average speed - 12.5mph
Miles - 32.41

Thursday, 23 October 2008


Phew, my internet connection has been returned after it'd been lost for several days due to an 'illegal' line set up by the telephone provider - it seems that our internal lines, which ran along the floor under carpets & under door frames, was highly wrong and shouldn't have been laid that way years ago. So nice Mr BT man had to come and fit brand new lines in the correct places where they couldn't get damaged easily.

I haven't really been up to much in my time away from here as the weather hasn't really been too great. Mapmyride have a 'my goals' section that I've been looking at and have decided to have a go at. Now, cycling 300 miles in one month may either seem hard to some, or relatively easy (Amy could possibly manage that in one week) but to me it is going to be a little challenge as I've not been doing too many miles recently - usually 20 miles or less on each ride, except for the CW ride!

So, my challenge has been set. I'll be doing it in November, so have 30 days in which to ride. Rather than riding 10 miles every day, I'll be riding a minimum of half the number of days and maintaining my usual distance of 20 miles, but will do many more so long as I'm feeling good. I'll have an MCC club ride at the end of the month to help, and may ride Chorlton Wanderers' next ride - both of those combined will cover approximately 60-70 miles in total together.

I'll be putting updates on here once I get started and also on mapmyride.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Chorlton Wanderers Birthday Ride!

The morning of the Chorlton Wanderers ride dawned dull, grey and windy with no sign of the rain that was forecast.
I set off to meet Paul and found him in a flap as he’d only just woke up when i arrived at his, with only 10 minutes to spare before we had to leave to get to Chorlton Water park and meet the rest of the group.
When we got there we were greeted by a photographer from the South Manchester Reporter who was there to mark the occasion. Once everyone arrived we were all lining up for a group photograph the
n we were off round the edge of the lake and through Kenworthy Woods before dipping below the M60, then up and over Princess Parkway on a bridge that often worries cyclists - high up and narrow - but we all crossed safely.
then it was on through Gatley where we were treated to the sight of a huge jumbo passing overhead as it come in to land - pilots fighting to keep the wings level as it was buffeted sideways by the winds. We passed Norcliffe Hall, joined the Orbital cycleway and played ‘dodge the water filled potholes’ on the rough track before dipping down to the A538 roundabout just where the road dips under the runway. Now we were set to be out in the sticks as we made our way to Knolls Green.

Huge meals and drinks-a-plenty were enjoyed by all as we sat in the warmth of an open fire heated pub - The Bird in the Hand. Plenty of chat, then it was time to head home before it got dark - I was nominated to lead if it did get dark as I seemed to be the only one with some form of light on the front of my bike...not that my tiny Knog Frog would be much use in the inky blackness of a country night!

The group split after a while with Rob (Bike Docs) leading the main group back to Chorlton Water Park and Paul and I heading through Ashley, Hale and passing Wythenshawe Hall before joining the rather lumpy, bumpy Wilmslow Rd and the great dual carriageway-esque Pottery Rd back to our homes.

See the route here

Final thoughts - lovely leisurely ride with an excellent bunch of people and the best food I’ve had in years!!

Boring bit:
Temperature - 13 degrees
Max speed - 26.3 mph
Average speed - 11.7 mph
Miles - 39.53

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Rain, rain go away......

...and preferably don't come back for a while!

Ah, the season of raining water and leaves is well and truly upon us, making cycle rides much more fun and for Amy it makes her cyclo-cross miles more muddy and interesting!

I've been really good and not done any riding for a few days so that my knee should be ok for a lovely Cheshire ride tomorrow with the MCC club ride the week after. At this point in time, neither myself or my brother know where we'll be heading tomorrow, but it should be a fun day out with nobody pushing the pace hard; we've just got to hope for decent(ish) weather.

Now, if only I could remember how that sun dance went........

Thursday, 16 October 2008

National Chocolate Week

It's National Chocolate Week - my friend trio will be very happy about this as she loves chocolate, but now she has a very viable excuse to eat tonnes of it! So enjoy trio!

There's no riding for me today as I managed to hurt my knee on yesterdays ride and as I'm riding on Sunday with the Chorlton Wanderers (nee Dawdling Doctors (Bike Doctor)) I thought it'd be best if I have an easy few days until then. It's CWs 25th anniversary (or so I've been told) and this will be their anniversary ride, so congratulations CW!!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Politics.....baaaaaa humbug!

What with all the political rallies going on in the US and our lot backstabbing each other, this really sums up my thoughts about politics!

Enough of that bleating.......back to today. The aim was to get out to do the ride that I didn't get to do on Monday - Hartshead Pike, but again when I got over there it didn't look great weatherwise up there, so tried to do the alternative route; that didn't quite go to plan either.
The first lane the route goes down has a farm on it - well, the farm is kinda ether side of the road - and when I got near it I found a tractor blocking the road; obviously the farmer was transferring stuff from one side to the other and had just parked there while doing something. Rather than waiting for him to move, I backtracked and decided I'd do some sprint training on the dual carriageway (it is allowed) between Ashton town centre and the Snipe retail park. So off I went hurtling along happy as larry. Got up some good speed too - even braved the horrid huge roundabouts along there, which I'm happy about given that I was millimetres from being hit at a dinky roundabout days before the track championship, and that'd shook me up a little.

It wasn't a big ride, but I got out there and did what I had to do and feel better for it.

View Interactive Map on

Boring bit:
Temperature - 13 degrees
Max speed - 28mph
Average speed - 13mph
Mileage - 12.01 miles

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Track championship results

I ride for Middleton Cycling Club and have been taking part in the club track championships at the Manchester Velodrome.

Our last session of 2008 took place on October 28th and the official results are in - I came third!!

The times that got me the third place are -
0.16.64 - 200 metre sprint
1.39.47 - 1k time trial
3.25.01 - 2k pursuit

The 2k is always the event that gets me worried - mainly due to the way MCC run it. Rather than all the women racing against another woman (ditto for the men) we pit one rider against another with a similar time from the 1k TT; so I have always ended up riding this event against men.
This time around I was pitted against one of the faster men in the club, so really though that he'd lap me. Never mind that he didn't lap me - I knocked a massive 25 seconds off my previous time for the event!!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Are we having a late Indian summer?!

The weather was gorgeous this morning - just perfect for a ride, so I headed out with all intentions of going to Hartshead Pike, but it all went a little bit wrong!

I set off through Daisy nook towards Ashton with the sun beating (well, trying to) down, but by the time I got to the road to take me to the Pike I couldn't see the top of it due to low lying mist, so a change of direction was the order of the day.

I turned off towards Park Bridge - excellent decision: narrow, twisty roads with some steep descents. Perfect. That is until I came nose to radiator grille with a truck trundling up the hill I was hurtling down! As this road has few passing places and is only just wide enough for the truck, I had to turn around and haul ass back to the top and eagerly wait to go again. This time success. It proved so much fun I just had to do it again.

By the time I got round to the turning again, the Pike & the hill it stands on were completely veiled by the mist. Back on the descent, I managed to hit a pocket of mist, although I'm convinced it was a very lost cloud, as I hit it dry and was totally wet when I came out the other side!

On the way home I managed to tuck in behind a British Cycling car and kept pace with it, so I got in a good mile or so of sprinting. Kept getting funny looks too; though I think that it's down to my Middleton CC strip as it has been mistaken for the British team strip before - well, it is red, white and blue with union jacks on it!!

The boring bit:
Temperature - 15 degrees
Max Speed - 27mph
Average Speed - 14.7mph