Sunday, 30 November 2008

Boo hoo

My poor mom had to be told today that her sister had died suddenly on Saturday afternoon.

It seems her husband had gone out for the morning and he received a call from the warden (they live in warden controlled housing) saying that when the warden got to her house Lynda had already passed away.
Poor William had gone into shock and was blathering away to himself while the warden was keeping a very close eye on him.

Lynda and William used to live in the Falkland Islands (William is a Falklander by birth, I think) but they came back to live over here after William's heart bypass, mainly because of the hospitals over here, but also because it costs a fortune to get from the Islands to England - has to be done by RAF usually.
Sadly, William will need to be looked after quite carefully for some time as it's obviously a massive shock to just lose someone like that.

Naturally, we advised the nurses at the hospital about the news we were going to tell mom, just so they could keep an eye on her.

Thursday, 27 November 2008


I have to apologise for the lack of posts in the past few days - it's been a very hectic and worrying time for me and my family.

My mom has had an infection in her leg for a few weeks that seemed to be getting better with the antibiotics that her doc had given her. Monday lunchtime, I got a text from my mom asking me to get to hers asap as her leg had given way after a massive shooting pain through it and she had no feeling in the leg now. So, off I ran despite having massive pain in my chest/ribs from my previous accident. Got there to find that she was in a lot of pain, feeling rather poorly and sorry for herself. I really didn't like the look of her and decided that she needed emergency treatment.

Blues and Two's were in order of the day as she was rushed into hospital. Paramedics were not happy at all with my poor mom, as her heart rate on their machines was just literally all over the place - one minute it was at 60 bpm, the next 199bpm, then down to 120.
The docs at the Manchester Royal Infirmary took one look at her leg and said that her GP had it all totally wrong and he practically ran from the room and got straight on the phone - at which point I chose to listen in to the conversation, while my dad sat with mom. The dreaded words were then spoken - femoral embolism. I know enough medical terminology to know that it means she had a clot in the artery in her thigh; and I also know enough to know that it can be fatal.
Then a surgeon came down to have a look and listen to the pulse (or lack of by this time) in her foot; then I was taken out of the room to be told what was wrong; she needed immediate surgery and was to be transferred to Wythenshawe hospital to the best surgeons for this type of op. Given the problems with her heart rate too, it was the best thing as Wythenshawe is the heart centre of the Northwest, so that could be dealt with at the same time.

More blues and two's got us across Manchester where mom was hurtled into resus, so that her heart rate could be monitored closely.
My medical knowledge told me that the surgery she'd need had to be done under local anaesthetic, so I prepared her to be told that by the surgeon who agreed with me. He was mightily concerned about her heart too s she'd never had any problems with it before; he thought that the clot may have formed in her heart and travelled down and this may cause the problems, but he couldn't be sure. Either way, she ended up with tubes coming out of both arms, being pumped full of drugs and being hurtled towards theatre.

Thankfully, she did great through the op (she said it really hurt, poor thing) and was transferred onto Vascular HDU, where she still is today. She's looking much better though and the swelling in her leg has gone down a lot. Docs are really pleased with her and have said that they're sure there're no other clots anywhere else in her body.
She's got to see the heart docs to find out what caused (if anything) the heart problems and how it can be treated. As she's not been in hospital since she had me in 1979, nobody knows if she's been like this since then or if it's a sudden thing.

We're not entirely sure when she'll be allowed home either, but it's proving interesting for me looking after my dad and brothers and stopping them from running themselves ragged.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Man's best friend?

'A hunter from Brad Urach in Germany was shot dead by his own dog after he left it with a loaded gun. The fifty-one year old man was found sprawled next to his car in the Black Forest. A gun barrel was pointing out the window and his bereaved dog was howling inside the car. The animal is presumed to have pressed the trigger with it's paw and police have ruled out foul play.

Since it happened in a hunting preserve, the dog may elect to have the trophy head mounted on a wall in its doghouse.'

Taken from The Darwin Awards book - True stories of how dumb humans have met their maker and removed themselves from the gene pool.

Poorly bike :o(

Well, the Everest has now gone to the bike hospital (Gerry Shields) for some much needed love and attention - he's been very kind and has said he'll do his best to get it done this week for me.

As my ribs are practically screaming at me every time I move recently though, I think it's fair to say the challenge is over for now.

I have planned to start it up again in January - what a way to start the year with a challenge!!

Between now and then, I'll be giving my poor body it's much needed rest and recuperation and trying to get some sleep (not doing well at the moment as I'm lucky if I catch 5hrs each night).

My new helmet has arrived and looks lovely - a Specialized S-works 2D Team Edition Helmet - a bargain at just 69 quid! All I need now is for Everest to make it home again safely and looking brand spanking new. She has made a few more admirers too - a few guys in Gerry Shields's shop were very appreciative of her looks and that she's an authentic Eddie McGrath hand built bike. She's had other admirers, usually on the sportives that I've ridden with Amy, but to know there are locals too, I'm sure she'll be happy about that!

Thursday, 20 November 2008


Well, I've still not heard anything from the GP place where I had my interview, so I'm going to assume I didn't get it and just carry on looking around for other positions.

Cleaned the Everest last night as best I can and found that bits of her are broken :o( The front derailleur just blatantly refuses to move, my gears are slipping anyway, and the rear brake is totally pants - I can have it so the brake blocks are stupidly close to the wheel meaning just a fingertip nudge and they'll be on, but I still have to practically pull the lever through the bars before it does anything. When it does, it then sticks in place!

I braved riding this morning to give it a test ride to see what else is up with her and made sure my route was to the local bike shop (Gerry Shields) to book her in for a full service anyway.

My route took me through Medlock Vale and along Briscoe Lane in to Newton Heath before swooping round to Oldham Rd and the shop. I specifically took some difficult roads to put her to task and get a feel for what else is up - thankfully I haven't found anything else wrong with her, but Chris is going to give her the love and attention she needs......asap, when I can find the cash for it.

It does mean that the Asics 300 mile challenge is over, I'm afraid. If I could have carried on and taken part in the MCC club ride at the end of the month to Todmorden it would've meant I'd get to 79% completed - could've easily made up those extra miles between now and the end of the month. But my bike needs the attention now.

Boring bit -
Temperature: 10 degrees
Max speed: 27mph
Average speed: 12mph
Miles: 7.31
Climbed: 203ft

Challenge 65% complete with 107.71 miles left to go - but it is now over for me :o( I have ridden 192.33 miles of it. I will definitely take part in this challenge again another month.....keep watching!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

This should be interesting

The following is an excerpt from Cycling Weekly -

'Triple Olympic gold-medallist Chris Hoy will take to his bike in a showdown with the newly crowned Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton at the Race of Champions event on December 14.

Whilst Hoy will be riding his bike, Hamilton will be on board a Mercedes Benz road car. The head to head battle will be the highlight of the pre-show entertainment at the event in Wembley.

Racing on a tight and twisty circuit, the two rivals may well be closer-matched than expected: what Hamilton may gain on the straights, Hoy can make up in the bends. "This is going to be something very special," said Hamilton. "I've done F1 demonstration runs away from race tracks before, but Wembley Stadium's completely different, the atmosphere is going to be crazy. It's going to be a great way to end a fantastic year, and I'm really looking forward to putting on a show." "I'm a big motor racing fan anyway," said Hoy. "I've seen the Race of Champions on TV so to be there in the flesh is going to be great and to be actually able to compete in it is fantastic. I can kick out about two and half break horse power so that's not quite going to match his car but I think they'll make the race as close as possible and I'll be giving it absolutely everything; I'm really looking forward to it." '

Once the duo have finished racing, they will head to Liverpool for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year presentation.

For more details of the event click here

Waiting is hard to do

I've been looking for a better job since January and have found the whole process rather boring, tedious and most of all annoying - people just don't have the decency to get back in touch with you anymore, even to just say you don't have the right thing we're looking for. It makes the whole thing harder as you never get to find out why you haven't been invited to interview etc.

So far, I've had one interview - with GMP and that one was a whole 6 month long process with 2 interviews, medicals, capability tests........
Unfortunately I didn't get that job as I'd taken too much time off sick in the last 2 years, so had to go back to hunting again.

Then, yesterday afternoon at 12:30 I received a phone call from a place I'd sent my CV to inviting me for an interview the very same day, 3 hrs later on. Obviously I accepted the request and hurried home to dig out some professional looking garb rather than the scally-esque stuff I was wearing.

I got to the place (GP surgery in Whalley range) with seconds to spare -taxi driver got lost - and found myself up in the manager's office being interviewed be her and one of the centre's GPs. Everything went well and now begins the waiting process to see if I get the job. If I do it'd be great, as it means only working 3 days a week, but I must be good and wait........ho hum!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Revolution 21

The Revolution series began in earnest on Saturday night, and it made for an excellent night. Seating tickets had sold out way before the event and there were only a few standing tickets left, so capacity crowds were on the boards.

On top of the track events, there was the thrill of Rollapaluza track centre which was a popular place all night. Unfortunately I haven't got the results from that event, but I have for the track events.

Elite events
Motor-paced scratch race - Geraint Thomas
Women's 10k points - Alex Greenfield
Scratch - Brad McGee
Women's scratch - Becky James
Sprint - Matt Crampton
Madison 1k TT - Ed Clancy and Steven Burke
International revolution keirin - Matt Crampton
Points - Chris Newton

Special event just for this night - Flying 750m team sprint - Endurance riders v sprinters
Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas & Steven Burke beat Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny and Matt Crampton

Future Stars events
Girl's points - Ruby Miller
Boy's 6 lap dash - Sam Harrison
Girl's scratch - Harriet Owen
Boy's points - Sam Harrison
Boy's scratch - Kian Emadi

Sam Harrison leads the Future Stars so far in season.

Brad McGee has used this Revolution night to showcase his talents before retiring from racing and concentrating on coaching. After a video clip of his previous races on the big screen, Brad was given several victory laps with a guard of honour compiling all the night's riders on the track with their bikes on their rear wheels forming an archway for him to ride through.

Saturday, 15 November 2008


After yesterday's crash I went to the MRI to get checked out as I was in agony - not entirely sure how I managed to ride home after it!

Explained to docs how I'd come off landing on my right shoulder and elbow, cutting my knee and really hurting my left wrist, before sliding some distance on my head and ear and that my helmet is broken. Docs decided to ignore the pain (excruciating) in my ribs and that of my left wrist. They also ignored the fact that my helmet was broken and head could be hurt; they just ordered xrays of my shoulder and elbow.
Results came back and doc was rather abrupt - came into the waiting room to tell me nothing was broken, shoved painkillers I can't have into my hand (asthma means I can't have certain painkillers) and buggered off, leaving me stood there amazed at his audacity to ignore what I'm telling him!

As you can imagine I came home very disgruntled!!

After a very sleepless and excruciatingly painful night, I went to Tameside Hospital for a 2nd opinion. Boy, am I glad I did!!

The doc I saw here was one who worked in the Fracture clinic too, so he knew what he was doing when he checked me out. The results of his examination and xrays came back as 3 cracked ribs - explains the agony - a cracked bone in my left wrist and torn ligaments in the right shoulder. Mega ouchy!!!
I've seen this doc before and he knows how much I hate having arms in casts, so he's advised I wear a strong support bandage, like a sports-type strapping on the wrist, which I'm happy to do. He also doesn't want me to have it in a cast due to having both arms injured...I'd be a little bit stuck given that I live alone!

I will have some war wounds to show off too as the cut on my knee is more of a gouge and is about the size of a 2p and the same sort of depth. And I'll have some pretty impressive bruising too - though most of it'll be hidden.

One thing is for sure, I certainly won't be falling off like that again!

Rainy ride

I met up with Amy for a ride out to Lavender Barn tea rooms - an enjoyable route that we did last week. We set off through quiet roads until we came to the junction of Barrington Rd and Manchester Rd in Altrincham where a queue of traffic and a few buses got the better of us - Amy stopped suddenly (too suddenly for me to be able to stop), I shouted for her to try and move to no avail; as I squished past her she fell onto a Clio - rather her fall onto that than me go under the oncoming bus! Sorry Amy!

As we pulled into the farmyard for the cafe it was evident that we wouldn't have the place to ourselves as we did last time, as there was a tandem in the barn and a little kids bike leaning against the wall. Once inside, we found ourselves with several other people who'd braved the rain.

Hot chocolate and teacake later, we stopped for a chat with two chaps who'd also braved the rain on their bikes before we took a little detour along a section of the Transpennine Trail - lovely and muddy.

We got onto the Floop by Sainsbury's in Fallowfield before I took a rather interesting tumble while riding at 18mph, ending up in a heap on the floor cussing the weather and coming off!

Somehow, my chain ended up getting off the chainrings and through the little gap between the rear derraileur and the rings...something that amazed both myself and Amy! Thanks to Amy for putting my bike back together for me.

It was a case of crawling back to where we split to head to our homes as every jolt was like sending shockwaves through my body, but we got there in the end; Amy was even offering to kick me in my good leg to take my mind off the pain everywhere else!

Boring bit -
Temperature: 13 degrees
Max speed: 24mph
Average speed: 14.2mph before crash, 11.5mph after
Miles: 35.61.
Challenge 61.29% complete with 116.12 miles left to go

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

I'm a Gecko!

Back from my hospital appointment feeling a little confused. I've seen 3 different specialists today who have all agreed what the problem is but aren't able to tell me how, why or when....

...After all the tests and checks, they've agreed that I've developed non-binocular sight - basically my eyes have stopped working together and now work independently. Think of it as looking through the lens section of binoculars or microscopes: there's 2 lenses, one for each eye, and both eyes should be able to see through the lenses at the same time; mine now don't meaning that when I look at something, I'm looking at it through one eye only rather than both. Both eyes are facing the same direction, but they won't both see what I'm facing. So that's the 'what' dealt with.

The 'how', 'why' and 'when' is more problematic as there was no head trauma to cause it, no genetic defects and certainly no tumours or illness. They're also very unsure if this will get better, worse or stay the same.

My vision hasn't actually changed in over 10 years - I've been told that my sight is excellent considering I had a squint as a kid (the squint has been ruled out as the cause) - but the hospital are allowing me to change my glasses as this won't make a difference.

The interesting thing is that I saw an optician in September who failed to notice my eyes work separately, yet my humble GP was the one who initially pointed this out to me. How strange that the taxes we payed for this guy to train in the field failed to notice something he's meant to spot!

The funniest thing of this all is that the only time this condition isn't a problem is when I'm on the bike!

Oh, and despite my eyes working independently like a gecko, I don't have the distinct pleasure of being able to swivel them around!!


Some of you may be aware of the problems I've been having over the past 3 months with my right eye - constantly sore, unable to focus properly, letting too much light in and generally moving into position a little after the left eye - and this has been extremely frustrating for me as I love to read and have been having massive problems doing so during this time.
Well, I have an appointment at the eye hospital later this morning, so hopefully I'll get down to the bottom of what is causing the problems and find a way of sorting it out.

As the appointment will take several hours I decided that rather than not riding at all, I'd get out stupidly early and went for a ride this morning.

My route took me over to Heaton Park along the notoriously busy Alan Turing Way, Cheetham Hill Rd and Bury Old Rd to the St Margaret's Lodge entrance where the fun began. Onto the Bridle Rd that skirts the Park and is bordered by the ever increasingly busy M60 and down a fun, muddy hill before coming out by the huge motorway roundabout, where even the hardy cyclists get a little scared as they try to navigate this (before they remember that there is an underpass through the junction)!
Now it was onto Heywood Old Rd to start the long straight route up into Bowlee and pass near the renewed Birch Services. At this point my route joined that of the Middleton CC Jean Keith Award route and, having passed under the motorway bridge, turns left onto Hareshill Rd, left at the -junction in front of the Business Park and follows Pilsworth Rd round to where Pilsworth Rd turns left.

Onto a little lane that's rough and lumpy before becoming cobbles after Pilsworth Cottages and crossing over the motorway on Castle Rd brought me back round to Heaton Park where I started the return leg of the ride. I rode round to Victoria Avenue (always a nightmare around this area, never mind at this time of day!), purely because it'd mean I could get some speed up and get home quicker!
Blackley passed by in a blur of lights, building shaped blobs and car shaped blobs as I wove my way through the building traffic (it never seems to recede on here) to enter Moston and Newton Heath, where I had fun flying down Droylsden Rd and the Graver Lane conservation area and Berry Brow, where my chain decided to have as much fun as me, and flew off the bike! Luckily I wasn't too far from home if I needed to walk, but the chain went back on like a dream (it has been known to be very stroppy on occasions) and off I went to climb back up Edge Lane and home to a nice steaming bowl of Ready Brek - I know, I'm a big kid at heart!

See the route I took here

Boring bits -

Temperature: 4.5 degrees
Max speed: 33mph
Average speed: 15.7mph
Miles: 29.13
Challenge 49.3% complete with 151.87 miles left to go

Monday, 10 November 2008

Annoying builders. Grrr!

Thanks to the annoying builders at the business premises next door to me, I got rudely woken at 8am when they started to use a pneumatic drill on god knows what!
So I thought that, seeing as I'm awake I may as well get out and ride. After crawling out of my nice warn bed and throwing on bike stuff, I set off on a ride towards Park Bridge - it's a loop that I really like and isn't too harsh for an early ride.

I set out along my usual route through Daisy Nook and Littlemoss, choosing to go up the hillier route of St Alban's Rd once over into Ashton before the nice little downhill section along Lees Rd into Lees itself. I usually go through Park Bridge along Alt Hill Rd through the pretty little village of Alt Hill, but today I thought I'd head along Mill Brow and right through the heart of Park Bridge itself, feeling the chill in the air as I flew down the hills.

Thankfully, the route I took also meant that I got to avoid the farms on Alt Hill Rd that where I've often encountered problems, so no tractors in the road for me this time round. Yay!
Once back in Bardsley, I decided to cross over Ashton Rd and head along Knott Lanes and Crime Lane to pass by Crime Lake before heading down through the conservation area of Waterhouses past beautiful farms such as the Grade 2 listed Diamond Hall Farm (15th Century), and very sweet cottages.
This brought me down past Millstream Animal Shelter and onto Berry Brow where a loop of the Medlock Vale was in order before heading back home, tired, muddy and cold, but happy that I've boosted my miles for the Challenge.

Boring bit -

Temperature: 7 degrees
Max speed: 25mph
Average speed: 15mph
Miles: 14.97
Challenge 39.86% complete with 180.12 miles left to go

Hill Climb Results

I have it on good authority from the racing committee that there were no engines involved other than those hidden away in Bill Sutcliffe!

Only 3 riders braved the weather - gales, heavy rain - and brought their machines to the edge of nowhere to take part in the Middleton CC Hill Climb on Blackstone Edge.

The results are -

Bill Sutcliffe - 11:01
Cliff Rowe - 13:13
Mike Smith - 17:26

Bill hasn't ridden this event since 2005, but has won it every time between 2002 & 2005. The past 2 winners have been Tony Martin 2006 & Janet Crossley 2007.
He's an excellent all-rounder with past wins including 25 mile Champion, Cheshire Champion, Middleton CC Club Champion, Handicap Champion & Vets Champion.

Congratulations Bill!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

MCC Hill Climb

Well, today is the Middleton CC Hill Climb up on Blackstone Edge above Littleborough. Unfortunately myself and Paul won't be there as we'll be doing what we do every year on this particular Sunday - laying flowers on the family graves, given that it's Remembrance Sunday. The Hill Climb usually doesn't fall on this day, but this year it has.

The ride starts at the Moorcock Inn on Halifax Rd and climbs 1.49 miles to the White House up by Mytholmroyd Reservoir on top of the stunning yet bleak moors. Usually this event is won by Bill Sutcliffe who is a bit of a speed and climbing demon, although last year it was won by Janet Crossley closely followed by her husband Steve. This year we're not entirely sure who'll be riding the event although Amy and Ali are hoping to get out there - if they do, then it'll be a closely fought contest between the two of them as they're both good on the hills (they both leave me behind, although that's not too hard at the moment!).

So, for all those taking part in this year's battle - good luck, may the best person win and enjoy the excellent food in the toasty warm pub when you get to the top!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

300 mile challenge leaderboard

I've just had a look on maymyride at the Asics 300 mile challenge leader board to see how the other cyclists are doing and so far I'm leading the UK and Europe sections of it - the only countries that are ahead of me are the US, Japan and Australia; the other UK entrants are below 30% complete.

Of course you have the crazy US people who are 297% complete. I don't really comprehend why they take part in a challenge like this one when they so obviously cycle more than 300 miles in a regular week or fortnight.
For us mere mortals 300 miles is usually something that can be achieved in the summer months, but not the gloomy winter months. In my case, the closest I've got to this distance in one month is around 270 miles, and this was during the summer.

But hey ho, I'm leading the rest of the world anyway. Woohoo!!

Friday, 7 November 2008

I must be crazy!

After yesterdays ride and still feeling good, I decided that I'd head out for a ride this morning to try and get my mileage up and over 100 miles for the week.

So I got up nice and early and set off about 9am heading towards Park Bridge where I wanted to do a few easy loops round there before heading back home to chill out properly.
I took my usual route up through Daisy Nook/Littlemoss via Newmarket Rd and out onto Lees Rd to the Twirl Hill junction.

At this point my legs felt really strong and good, so I made the decision to continue along this road and turn off onto Lees New Rd and head to the Pike - having never been this route up before, I was a little apprehensive.

I started out very cautiously as I'm pants at hills and I knew there was a lot of climbing for me to do, but I think I was being a little too cautious as I was spinning along a little too easily; change of gear or two later and I was at a point where I had to push a little without it being too hard or easy. Perfect.

Pretty soon the road started to kick up some more and I was changing back through my gears and starting to feel the effects of the climb. Up and up and up past some very pretty stone cottages and converted barns, round a corner with an evil kick in it, then over a brow for a wow moment - to see Manchester sprawled out in front of me with the hazy sun filtering through clouds was excellent. The weather was a little changeable while up there as it was also quite mean and moody looking at times too!
After drinking in the views I had the joy of a tiny little drop in the road before the surface went from lovely smooth tarmac to a very rutted, crumbly, water-filled pot-holed bundle of fun to get across, then onto a rather murky and squelchy track to get up to the Pike itself. Hurrah!There are a few tracks to get back down onto one of the main roads but I chose to head down Broadcarr Lane before joining Mossley Rd, hurtling the whole way down this with a grin like a Cheshire cat on my face as cars were giving me the widest berth ever, drivers wondering who the lunatic was!
Once in Ashton it was simply a case of getting onto the A635 & A662 and head back home.

Boring bit -
Temperature: 7 degrees
Max speed: 29mph
Average speed: 13.2mph
Climbed: 633ft
Miles: 15.96
Challenge 34.73% complete with 195.81 miles left to go

Thursday, 6 November 2008

300 mile challenge, 30% completed.

I had a bit of company on my 3rd ride of the challenge, with Amy tagging along so that she can also do more of her 30 in 30 challenge she's set herself and also as the last ride we did together was to Southport to watch the Tour of Britain, so it was about time we rode again. Amy rode over from Bolton to meet me at the Velodrome so she already had done her daily challenge by the time we set off for mine!

As my knee & shoulder were hurting after Tuesday's ride and given that it's base training season we decided to have a nice easy route and go to Dunham, and have lunch in the Lavender Barn tea rooms as Amy has never been there before.

I opted for the route we normally do (it only ever alters if I'm alone or with Paul) through Northenden and Didsbury, alongside Wythenshawe Park and onto Shaftesbury Avenue where there's still roadworks on the bridge over Brook Avenue - I'm sure those roadworks have been going on for a year or so!

I decided that we'd go and say hello to Paul at Maxatec as Amy hasn't seen him for a while, then it was back on the road through the lovely country lanes over the transpennine trail and under the Bridgewater Canal. I did warn Amy that we'd be hurtling past the gates to Dunham where we'd normally stop to eat, just in case she got concerned that she'd be missing out on chocolate cake in there; it didn't take long to get to Lavender Barn, so not too much to worry about.

After some very yummy food, and Amy's compulsory chocolate cake, I decided that I'd take her along some different lanes than she's been on before - she definitely liked them! I also took her on a different route off Washway Rd than she'd been on before, along Marsland Rd through Sale Moor until we got back to Palatine Rd by Wythenshawe Park and on into Fallowfield.

As Amy has never been on the Fallowfield Loop and I know she loves nice, quiet lanes, we made the choice to get on there and head towards Abbey Hey. As we cycled along I pointed out the main roads etc so that she knew where she was still. No furry Exocet missiles today, thankfully, although I do frequently have the odd race with a little Tufty running alongside on the grass!

All too soon we were on Abbey Hey Lane and close to the point where we'd be going our separate ways. I took her past the building site that was my old school - now long gone, with Lovell houses being built on the land, then we split at Edge Lane/Manchester Rd junction with Amy going north-west while I went east.

The info on the graph is the elevation of the route that Amy and I rode together, ditto the map.
It's definitely a ride we'll be doing again, hopefully sometime soon Amy!

Boring bits -
Temperature: 10 degrees
Average speed: 14.1mph
Max speed: 24.2mph
Miles: 36.00
Miles to go til I complete the challenge - 212.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Gloomy, gloomy weather.

Despite still being shattered and my legs hurting from yesterday's long, long walk, I decided to go on a ride to boost my mileage for my goal.

I decided that I would head out to Hollingworth Lake and if my legs feel good, then maybe up Blackstone Edge. So I set off in good weather feeling ok, and chose a route that meant more consistent climbing on long hills - granted they're not steep hills, but it all helps my rather rubbish hill climbing!
Once on Broadway the wind decided to get vicious and be the most annoying headwind I've encountered recently, meaning my poor legs had to work at least twice as hard to propel me forwards. After what seemed like forever (it probably was, actually) I managed to get myself to the huge motorway roundabout near the Elk Mill retail park, where a well deserved energy gel was quickly snaffled before braving the headwind again. Back onto Broadway heading up into Shaw and Crompton to the lovely little roundabout that always becomes a nightmare to get around, but it seemed fine today.

At this point I decided against Blackstone Edge as the weather was getting worse and visibility on the hills was poor, so just the lake today.

Now I was on a narrower road which became a little more lumpy and slightly more twisty as it continued to climb up to Newhey where I turned off onto little side streets that became steeper - I only go this way as I really hate trying to get up what feels like an impossibly steep Kiln Lane. These little streets bring me out at the top of the lane, where I met some very friendly horses before dropping down a little onto Wild House Lane which twists and turns it's way to the lake.

I had the pleasure of narrowly avoided a furry little Exocet missile as I ploughed my way along here - a little bunny decided to just bounce his way across the road without looking! I mean, don't the little bunnies get told to use the green cross code like we do?!

By this time I really needed some food, so I headed for the visitor centre where a lovely hot chocolate and teacake were devoured with relish before braving the worsening weather to head home. I returned the same way (purely to get out of the damp, cold low lying mist I was in) until I got back to Broadway where I decided to get some sprint training in and (I'm not too sure how I managed it, but I did) I hit 36mph as I hurtled my way back to Oldham Rd, where I opted for a nice little detour just to get some more miles in.

I chose to head back uphill Northeast towards Oldham before turning off and went through Failsworth onto Coal Pit Lane and on into Ashton by Hollins. Another chance to hurtle along down Ashton Rd before turning off into little side streets again for some more uphill sprint sections before heading back towards the dual carriageway of Robert Sheldon Way, where I ignored the cycle lane on the pavement and had another sprint moment (not quite sure how I still managed to keep going) to take me onto Ashton Rd/Manchester Road, or whatever it's called at this section by the Snipe retail park.

Now it was just a case of following this towards home, all the time somehow managing to stay ahead of the same huge HGV that kept looming about.

I arrived home very exhausted, extremely mud splattered - even the helmet was splattered - but glad I got out for a ride. Not too sure how my legs'll cope when I get back on my bike again later this week, but I guess I'll see when I do!

Boring bits -
Temperature: 9 degrees
Visibility on Broadway and higher: probably 20ft or so
Max speed: 36mph
Average speed: 11.2mph
Miles: 37.94.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Zoo days

No riding for me today as I went to Chester Zoo with Paul.
The day was great - weather was pretty good and we spent 5 hours wandering around having massive fun. We even got to see the little lion cub that we were told we probably wouldn't see as mom was very protective and was keeping him indoors most of the time.

We managed to get round most of the zoo seeing all the condors, meerkats, okapi, elephants, rhinos, tigers, lions, owls, red pandas..........practically everything!

Arrived home rather shattered, but very happy!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

300 mile challenge

Well, I began my 300 mile month challenge, albeit a day late as I had the first ride of the month this morning before heading to the velodromw to watch the pros in action.

I had the joys of a headwind everywhere I went, with no let up at all, so I found it a little hard, but the aim of the game is to just get out and ride the 300 miles.

See the route I took here

Boring bit -
Temperature: 8 degrees
Max speed: 31.3mph
Average speed: 13.1mph
Miles: 12.32

UCI World Cup Classics 2/3

Wow, the past 2 nights racing has been even better than Friday night's session. The GB squads have now won 15 out of 18 Golds and many more silver and bronze medals. Well done GB!!

Results -
Team pursuit - GOLD Ed Clancy, Rob Hayles, Geraint Thomas & Steven Burke 2:58.761
Team sprint - GOLD Jamie Staff, Jason Kenny & Ross Edgar 44.306
Points race - GOLD Chris Newton 58pts
Madison - 6th Brad Wiggins, Geraint Thomas
500TT - GOLD Victoria Pendleton 19.597
Womens team sprint - GOLD Jessica Varnish & Anna Blyth 34.352
Womens keirin - GOLD Victoria Pendleton, 5th Anna Blyth
Womens scratch race - GOLD Elizabeth Armitstead, BRONZE Alexandra Greenfield
Mens international keirin - GOLD Matt Crampton, SILVER Ross Edgar

It has been an excellent weekend of racing with some spectacular crashes including Jason Kenny's gold-winning slide across the finish line in the sprint with Shane Perkins & another crash in the Madison, but that's the life of a cyclist!

In terms of more autographs for me, I managed to obtain Ed Clancy and Geraint Thomas's, although there isn't a picture of me with them as I let Paul stay to take pictures of the racing rather than tag along with me to the area where the guys were.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

UCI World Cup Classics

Wow, what a night of track racing! The home crowd were great and the Brits dominated the first evening. To top the night off Jamie Staff, Chris Newton and Chris Hoy were signing autographs for those lucky few who managed to get to the front of the queue in the allotted 30 minutes they gave to their fans - I was lucky enough to meet all of them and get autographs, hugs and photos with them. I was lucky enough to have Chris Hoy sign 'Heroes, Villains & Velodromes' with the inscription - To Anna, Best Wishes Chris Hoy.
Sad as it may seem, but meeting the guys kinda made my night!

The results of the GB squad(s) (Great Britain, 100% Me and Sky+ HD) -
1 Kilo TT - GOLD David Daniell 1:01.996
Individual Pursuit - GOLD Ed Clancy 4:20.041
Men's Scratch - 7th place Bradley Wiggins
Men's Keirin - SILVER Jason Kenny, 7th place Matt Crampton
Women's Sprint - GOLD Vicky Pendleton 11.697, 4th place Anna Blyth
Women's Pursuit - GOLD Wendy Houvenaghel 3:50.591, BRONZE Jo Rowsell
Women's Points - GOLD Elizabeth Armistead 39pts, SILVER Lucy Martin 25pts, BRONZE Katie Colclough 25pts
There's to be another 2 great nights of racing, but unfortunately I'm only going to be at Sunday's as today's tickets sold out within minutes of going on sale! There'll be more results coming up on here as I get them. Results are also showing on the Tissot Timing page here