Monday, 31 August 2009

August review

Is it that time again? Well ok then -

Distance covered: 214.08 miles
Days ridden: 7
Middleton CC: yup to Rivington on 30/8
Joby's loop: sure did on 31/8
Chorlton Wanderers: nope as I was doing summat else but can't remember what!
Hill climb/reps: nope, but have done a hell of a lot of climbing regardless!

August was a funny month for me as I began voluntary work therefore reducing my hours on the bike, yet I maintained a good monthly mileage I think. The amount of climbing has leapt up the scale; nearly on par with that of January but in much less miles.
Although I'm still crap on the climbs I'm getting up them, albeit it extremely slowly, so something is still going right somewhere.

September has another event to ride and a club run, so that'll automatically bring the miles to 100, maybe 130 before I've even started on anything else.


It's been a busy old week for me what with working and then trying to fit in some riding and walking. But I managed it and here it is in glorious technicolour for you: (apologies for the long post too):

Wednesday 26th
I decided to go for a walk over at Dovestone reservoir and head off by bus to get to Chew Valley Rd before starting the walk at the end of a new housing estate and going along a dirt track until I reached Bank Lane. Walking along Chew Rd i made the decision to head up the valley to Chew and maybe over to Laddow Rocks, so I set off along the dirt track that takes you pretty much vertically up the side of Indian's Head until you reach the old tram line path which I continued on until I got to the bridge which then takes you over Chew Brook to Chew Rd itself.
After getting onto the main works access road I plodded on up the hill until i reached a little inlet and pond pretty much 95% up the steep valley. At this point the clouds rolled in and threatened rain, so rather than getting soaked with no shelter, I headed back down to the 3 reservoirs in the base of the valley.

Once back at the sailing club I made the decision to walk around all 3 reservoirs. Off I set round the Isle of Skye end of Dovestone, past Yeoman Hey dam wall and along it's side with an access brook on my left, fir trees on either side of me and onto Greenfield dam wall, across it and thus began the fun.

The opposite side of Yeoman Hey isn't a solid path, it's a narrow dirt path that first climbs then falls again, is very squelchy and unstable underfoot and has some big steps down to do from boulders. Bear in mind I'm scared of heights and this had a sheer drop to my right just yards from the path and you can see why I was holding onto the grass each time the path dropped a little. Not that grass can help me if I did fall!
After a while I was back onto terra firma and the gravel path on the far side of Dovestone again, passing Ashway Gap and coming into the car park.

After a brew and a rest I plodded on along Bradley Lane past the back-to-back cottages (very sweet) and began the descent back to the bus stop.

Stats - view route
Cool, windy, cloudy.
Miles: 9.8
Climbed: 968 ft

Sunday 30th
The Middleton CC club ride ride involved me riding over to Heaton Park to meet up with the other riders: Joe, Steve C and Mike. After leaving the flat late I sprinted my way over the 6 miles to the park and found I was early by about 10 minutes! All too soon the others arrived and we set off to meet John W at the Sheepfoot/Bury Rd junction and again were early. Once John arrived we set off (myself with expectations of hilliness that I'd not be able to ride).

We set off and had the fun of going through Agecroft and the valley it sits in (steep sided at that!) before heading over to the A6 for the straight run pretty much to the destination. The route out was pretty boring really as the A6 is a busy(ish) but pretty non-descript road with roundabouts to keep you awake and not much else going for it until you get to the Bolton end of it. Myself and Mike were busy gabbing away a lot of the time anyway and quite often left the others behind, so kept stopping to let them catch up.
Once on Chorley Rd and heading towards Blackrod the roads got a little bit crap. Very rumbly and huge vibrations were making my pelvis (injured bit) and hands (eczema ravaged and nerve damaged)hurt. At this point I asked Joe what he'd done with all the hills as I felt like I'd not even gone uphill at any point of the ride bar Agecroft. He forewarned me that they'd be coming up soon. As I'd ridden near Adlington with Amy and Vikki I'd sussed out that it's be hilly there, but I thought it'd be more hilly on the way there.

Turning up Railway Rd in Adlington and I was soon rewarded with climbs up Babylon Lane and Horrobin Lane to the Great Barn where we all got tortured by wasps!

The return leg was good through the forest and out onto Chorley New Rd for a stint to the Reebok Stadium. At this point I left everybody behind without even realising or trying (maybe my riding has gotten better?) but they caught up at the junction for De Havilland Way and it's joyous roundabouts to get us back onto the A6 again where Joe and John were forever telling us we'd be back at Pendlebury Hospital and our turning. Myself and Mike were convinced we'd missed the turning but were proven wrong as it loomed ahead of us.
Joe had terrible timing along this road as he waited until Mike had passed and I was passing our next turning; so u-turns were in order.

Coming back through Agecroft and we all realised that we had the worst bit to come as the climb back out to Scholes Lane was long and steep (much longer and steeper than the other end). To make matters worse my chain slipped twice while climbing this hill and I very nearly came off at a mini-roundabout plonked halfway up it, but I got to the top and continued on our merry way.

Nearing Heaton Park I mentioned to Mike that my bike sounded a bit like a steam train, to which he agreed, and we both thought it was my rear brake catching the tyre each revolution. When I got to the Park and Joe, John, Steve and Mike had all gone their routes home, i looked closer at Everest and found (to my horror) that my rear wheel had slipped a little and was actually rubbing on the frame. To think I'd ridden all that way and climbed the hills with my wheel like that; I certainly didn't feel like it was causing any problems and it didn't feel that the climbing was harder than I'd normally find it.

After correcting and tightening things up I plodded off to a welcome pint of milk and huge tea at moms before putting more miles in by heading out through Daisy Nook and Ashton, Audenshaw and Openshaw before collapsing on the sofa at home.

Stats - view route
Warm heading out and cold heading home!
Miles: 62.59
Average speed: 12.8
Climbed: 1161ft

Monday 31st
I'd planned to ride with Joby and do one of his routes that he tweaked after I sent him a copy of one of mine. After chatting with Mike yesterday he asked if he could come along too.
So, after meeting him at Ryecroft Hall (after we'd gone to differing places to meet! Whoops!) we set off to meet Joby at the Morrisons in Hyde/Mottram. We thought we'd be 30 minutes so Joby had a pootle around while we rode there. As it was we got there early and had to wait for Joby (sorry for messing you about).

When he arrived, quick introductions were made and we set off with the fun of Mottram Rd ahead of us. I'd forewarned Joby that both Mike and I had ridden many miles the day before with over 1000ft of climbing so we were pretty shattered already; I also forewarned Joby that I'm absolutely crap on hills so to expect to drop me and have to wait at the top of them for me. My predictions were correct as they left me behind and seemed to shoot off up the hill, but were happily (?) waiting for me at the roundabout. Once round there and we shot off down the hill to Mottram Moor and hurtled past cars at warp speed, sadly not breaking the 35mph zone on our pcs.

Once onto the A57 and around a mini-roundabout we had to turn right at the next mini one and I was forewarned that the hills would be coming thick and fast. Primrose Lane is a bit of a climb in itself with 1 mile of 4% but nothing would prepare any of us (except Joby cos he'd ridden all of it before) for the hell that was to be Chunal!
An average of 10% for 2 miles is not an easy thing to deal with, least of all for crappy non-hill climbing me. It's suffice to say that I suffered. I suffered big time. It'd be tough riding it on fresh legs, never mind knackered ones with a pinging pelvis. We all decreed that we'd be walking some of it.

I rode 98% of the bugger and walked the most evil bit. Whether they did or not, i dunno. Maybe they were saying that to ease my mind? Either way, I did my best and tamed the beast. But only with several rest (or is that dying) stops along the way.

After all that up must come a down and boy did it. An amazing descent into Hayfield more than made up for the pain of getting to the top of Chunal. Once at Hayfield we pootled along the slightly lumpy Hayfield Rd into New Mills, where we made the decision to make it a little easier on the legs and head along the A6 through Disley and into Hazel Grove.

At this point myself and Joby decided we'd try to out sprint each other coming along here and were frequently triggering the 'slow down, 30' signs and passing each other at warp speed: Joby maxed out at 37mph and I at 38.4mph. Boy, we were flying!

Up the lumpy Torkington and Otterspool Rds (I'm usually coming the other way down them) and soon we saying our goodbyes as Joby headed off to meet Gaz for a ride and Mike and I set off home.

At Bredbury we turned off along Ashton Rd (again I usually come the other way along it) and flew down the descent before facing the climb back out again into Denton. Shooting through Crown Point we turned off to head back to the Fairfield/Droylsden border where every little hump in the road made us feel we were climbing Mt Everest. Dunno about Mike, but my legs were so devoid of energy that they felt like they were falling off, so I didn't really want to go up Ashton Hill Rd - it's only a little humped bridge but it can feel like hell when you're whacked!
We got up and over that ok and pootled on through Droylsden centre and along until we reached the Haddon hall on Lewis Rd where we said our goodbyes: Mike had the fun of climbing up Berry Brow to get home and I set off again to my parents before heading home to my place.

Once home I looked at the speedo to check my maximum speed coming from Bredbury and down the descent by Castle Hill Rd: I'd managed to hit 48.2mph! Jeeeeeeez!!!!!!!

It was an awesome ride, with leg-busting climbs and great company. Thanks again guys for waiting for me at the top of every climb!

Stats - view route
Warm and humid but with a bastard of a headwind all the way round.
Miles: 36.99
Average speed: 12.5
Climbed: 1273ft

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Nine at 9

After a mega busy day in work I decided that I'd have a night-time ride for a change. I waited until 9pm as I wanted to just chill out a little beforehand and to allow my tea to go down.

At 9pm I kitted up with the long-sleeved Middleton jersey going on and got Everest ready with her lights (knog frogs and cateye (both of which were on front and rear)) and set off down through Openshaw to Delamere Park and up towards the Lumb Lane one-way system, past the Snipe and into Ashton. A little climb towards Bardsley and I was then heading down the twisty descent of Newmarket and Stannybrook Rds through Daisy Nook and the kick upwards at the Stannybrook turning got me out of the saddle for a sprint up the little hill, then through Littlemoss and into Droylsden centre, turning right at the football club to overtake a line of coaches before the hump of a bridge and the fiveways roundabout where I just flew across thanks to no traffic at all.

Then it was a case of riding the wrong way up a one-way system near my place (all above board as, thanks to roadworks, the one-way system has now changed direction for a while!). Humping Everest up the stairs to my flat and flop out on the sofa to chomp more food!

Stats -
Cool and cloudy.
Miles: 8.39
Average speed: 16.8mph
Climbed: 102ft

A bike has gone

Well, despite being given a bike back in June that I have ridden a few times, the rides haven't really been worth a write-up. Now I am back to being a 2-bike household as I have sold the Concept.
Main problem was with it being a women's framed bike, therefore it was too cramped on it. Given my height (6'1") a woman's bike is always going to have issues for me in terms of reach. For mountain bikes, the frame height is going to be fine for me (as it was despite only being a 17" frame), but I was too cramped and folded up.

I sold it to a chap who was buying his niece a mountain bike for the first time, therefore my bike and price were perfect for him. He collected the same day it sold and we're all happy.

I have been looking for a replacement mtb for some time now, but they're all way out of my price range given that I'm not in paid work, so I've come to the conclusion that I'll buy some wheels and cyclocross type tyres instead and just whack them on Everest whenever I want to go off road. Everest is a tough steel beast and has handled all the hard stuff better than me, so she'll cope no problem.

Now to find those wheels......

Sunday, 23 August 2009


...the next Middleton CC club ride is taking place on Sunday 30th August. The start time is 9:30 outside Heaton Park on Middleton Rd (at the bus stop opposite Victoria Ave).
The destination is currently Rivington although this may change if numbers are down (like if it's just me and Paul).
It's approx 40ish miles from Heaton Park-Rivington and back again and there'll be a fair amount of climbing too, obviously.

All are welcome to come and ride with us. If you are coming, please email me (details are on my profile page) so we know to wait for people if they're running a little late.


After my enforced break from riding due to having to order in tyres and needing to find the money for them first, they finally arrived on Saturday morning. Hurrah! I was beginning to think that I'd have to miss the MCC Club Ride to Rivington on August 30th, but it's looking like I can ride it after all.

So this morning I set off for a ride to test out the new tyres - and to see how she'd cope after being pimped over the past month. One thing I didn't count on today though was the awful wind that evilly became a headwind no matter where I went. So much for seeing if the rolling resistance of the Luganos would be worse or better than the gp 4 seasons, with the wind I was struggling just to stay upright on the climbs.

So, here goes: after heading to Daisy Nook, dropping down Stannybrook I began the climb up Crime Lane (evil hill) to Bardsley and got onto Park Bridge Rd for a nice meander before the cobbled road took me to another short, sharp kick in the ass with the climb past the visitor centre and Dingle Terrace to continue climbing up Mill Brow until I reached Abbey Hills Rd and had a descent to the five-way junction on the Mossley/Ashton border where I began climbing up past Hartshead Pike and dropped down from Upper to Lower Mossley before climbing back up to Mossley Cross via the steepest little bastard of a hill (210ft of climbing in 0.48 mile averaging 14%), then descending back past the Pike to Gorsey Lane where I chose to ride down it for a change and headed to Daisy Nook for breakfast.

While at Daisy Nook visitor centre I had the funniest experience I've had for a while. Due to my height and short hair most people assume I'm a bloke when riding (despite the snug fitting kit), so when I rode to a table and saw a couple of mtbers already there I though nothing of it. Ditto neither did they. However when they realised I'm female, oh they changed their tune! All of a sudden they were showing off, flirting, mucking about near me. Every time I stood up they began whistling and suddenly turning it into a tune when I caught their eyes. Hilarious to watch them. They became like a pack of dogs!

Anyway, I digress. Back to the ride. After climbing back out of the valley, I descended down the fast, steep and narrow Medlock Rd before hitting my hill rep hill (where I couldn't be arsed doing any reps) although I did overtake a couple of cyclists - which is a miracle for me on that hill! And I dropped them too: click of the gears as I passed and bye-bye cyclists. I think it was just a fluke that I managed it that time as I'm usually rather pants at hills. of any variety.

Then it was home, pint of milk down the throat and off to moms.

Stats - view route
Lovely and warm but, oh so windy!
Miles: 20.68
Average speed: 15.4mph
Climbed: 732ft

Spot the difference

Can you spot the difference with Everest in the before and after pics?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Help needed!

I've been hunting high and low for a place where I can obtain a co2 canister holder that attaches to the bottle cage bosses, such as the one below:

I've had a few orders cancelled on me as the shop has them online but after placing the order they suddenly can't get them anymore.

I'm happy to buy from the US or Oz, provided they can post to the UK (I had one order with velogear in oz that got cancelled after 3wks cos they took that long to read that I live in the UK and they don't mail over here!)!

If anyone knows of anywhere that does actually stock them and will mail over here, please, please let me know asap. Thanks.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Easy ride

As I'd been mega busy over the weekend and working at the Red Cross Shop yesterday, I just had an easy spin out today on a route I do a lot, but chose to ride it twice for a bit more fun.

The first lap round was good, real easy without a hitch. The second lap seemed fraught with danger, despite having ridden only minutes before: rear wheel slipped out from under me when descending, whacked my sore knee real hard and finally an f**kwit of a driver cut me up badly on a fast section. As is always the way with me, whenever there's trouble brewing there just happens to be a jam butty up my arse. This was true to form today and as I began to give the numpty a mouthful, out they leapt and gave him a good lecture, fingers wagging and much talking over the radio.
neither they nor myself could figure out how the hell he couldn't see me, as he was trying to claim. I ride a blue bike, was dressed in bright blue Quickstep gear and have a team issue Lampre helmet which is bright pink at the front, blue along the sides and white at the rear. Precisely which bit of me couldn't he see??????
Anyway, after 15 minutes I was told I could leave the scene and set off home only to find, while at a set of lights a few miles up the road, a jam butty pull up and who should be in the back?! I stifled a chuckle and thought 'Ha!'.

All was good the rest of the way home. One contraflow has gone (hurrah), another was clearer; but the roadworks are moving closer to home, now being at a road a couple of blocks away from me and there they will stay for a minimum of 15 weeks before moving onto my junction for god knows how long.
I really can't see the tramway opening in 2012 as they state it will. There's so much work to be done: all consumer goods/pipelines need to be moved well away from where the lines will be put, the lines themselves need to be laid and stops need to be built. All that's been done so far is some pipes have been moved in 2 places!

Nearing home as I pulled into my crappy unadopted road-thing who should I see but someone I haven't seen for years, and he looked mighty fine! There was me all hot and sweaty. Not the best way to meet guys really; I don't look too bad in the bike gear, but to come face to face with him while looking like that?? I scarpered into my place as quick as I could!

Stats -
Warm with a cool breeze, damp and drizzly
Miles: 18.08
Average speed: 14.9mph
Climbed: 486ft

Monday, 10 August 2009

My Friends Wedding

Sunday was spent over in Bolton at the wedding of my very good friend Adam to his partner of many years Phil.

The wedding was held at the Holiday Inn on Bridge St in their Cloisters venue hall - a stunning chapel with gorgeous wooden arched ceilings, stone pillars and stained glass windows. A perfect wedding venue.
I arrived at the hotel at 3pm looking a little lost as I didn't recognise anyone already there, so just hung back by the reception until another guest arrived looking lost and alone. So we leeched up to each other for the night. It turned out that we were to be on the same table anyway, so we got an advance on getting to know each other.

After a while we spotted a couple of empty chairs in reception, sat down and instantly recognised Gorfy from meeting him a few times in previous years; we introduced ourselves to Amy who looked fab in a gorgeous corset and skirt combo with a very cute top hat fascinator in her hair. Another guest, Catharine, who was also on our table came along looking like she belonged in an Austin film as her overall look was stunning and elegantly classic.

After a while Adam came into the reception greeting all his guests and looking very dapper and gorgeous in his morning suit with a cream waistcoat embroidered with golf thread and a gold cravat. Phil wore the same outfit too.

The ceremony itself was beautiful and brought a tear to many an eye in the room. The room was adorned with stunning flowers and glorious feather table decorations with candelabras dotted about the place. Tables had tea lights stood on mirrors and were named after various musicals - Cabaret, Cats, We Will Rock name but a few.

After Adam's father, Adam and Phil gave speeches, and the wedding buffet devoured, the evening was turned into a masquerade ball with (those who remembered) wearing masks to match their outfit and a glamorous drag queen DJ/entertainer.
Sadly, I had to leave early to ensure I caught the last train (from Bolton) & bus (from Manchester) home, but it was most definitely a night I won't forget. After all it's not every day that amazing friends get married in an elaborate, stunning ceremony/venue that is them down to a 'T'!

Middleton CC Track Session 2

On Saturday 8th August, Middleton CC held their 2nd track championship session of the year with only 5 members riding and 6 guest riders.
The night turned out to be a great one with the prize for most competitive members going to Pantani Pete and Simon B as they tried to outdo each other on all the events.
Events took a familiar route as we began with the flying 200m sprint, followed by the 1k TT and then t he 2k pursuit. With no women riding - Janet was ill and unable to, I'm still not riding competitively as I want to ensure my pelvis is fully healed first, and Ali was presumably riding elsewhere with Amy, it was purely a testosterone filled environment.

There was a good selection of non-riding members and partners watching: Lyndsey and her mum, Mrs Robinson, Hilda, Jack and Tristan (Cliff's Grandson and the club's youngest member), so support and morale was high. Alan V took part in the warm-up and helped to push off during the 1K and the pursuit. Whilst the majority of riders rode the Velodrome's hire bikes (black & white Dolans) others rode their own - Alan V rode his vibrant yellow Dolan, Cliff his minimalist skinny-tubed white machine, Chris a glossy black beauty and Paul rode my lovely sleek Pista (she's not been ridden since January and wanted an outing; plus Paul wanted to try out my gearing).

Results (bold type denotes club riders) -

200m flying sprint:
Chris Barton 14.19 seconds
Simon Brierley 14.65
Paul O'Neill 15.40
Pete Robinson 15.56
T Welshaw 15.72
Cliff Rowe 15.87
P Barlow 16.10
Frank Boucher 16.25
M Kay 16.30
Steve Crossley 17.60
Stu 17.80

1K TT:
Chris Barton 1;28.10
Pete Robinson 1:30.50
Simon Brierley 1:31.03
T Welshaw 1:31.75
Paul O'Neill 1:34.90
M Kay 1:35.80
Cliff Rowe 1:36.60
P Barlow 1:37.19
Steve Crossley 1:38.65
Stu 1:40.50
Frank Boucher 1:41.81

2k individual pursuit:
Simon Brierley 3:00.96
Pete Robinson 3:04.44
Cliff Rowe 3:15.03
Paul O'Neill 3:16.10
M Kay 3:25.45
Frank Boucher 3:27.79
Stu 3:34.05
P Barlow 3:36.68
Chris Barton 3:41.00
T Welshaw 3:43.53
Steve Crossley DNS

All in all it was a great evening of racing with some excellent results. With only 3 members having ridden in the first session in March, there were only a few previous times to beat:

Paul beat all of his previous times for the year over all events; Pete also beat his previous times in the events and Steve had mixed fortunes beating his previous 1k time, but was faster in the March session for the sprint. Paul currently has the larger margin for beating previous times.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Something went wrong somewhere...

It was supposed to be a nice, easy, flat ride and ended up a hard, hilly and fast ride. Instead of heading south-west I headed south-east and ended up climbing Joby's Devils Hill and Chunal Hill - both buggers - this is before (and after) riding up Mottram Rd, Mottram Moor and Roe Cross to name but a few! So much for an easy ride a few days before a good friend's wedding!
I set off towards the Denton/Audenshaw border and climbed up Shepley Rd, turning left at the mini-roundabout to take me back down a little of the hill, so I could then climb up Kings Rd and back round to Shepley Rd again for the ascent up the other end of it (I must be mad). Following a left turn at the lights I headed into Denton centre where a left turn took me to Devil's Hill - a favourite of mine, Joby and Gaz; a 6% climb with traffic lights right at the top which invariably are on red when you get there.
I left all the heavy traffic behind and snuck off onto Mottram Rd for the long climb to the huge Broadbottom roundabout and continued climbing past it for a little while before descending to Mottram-in-Longdendale. Once through the lights a super swift descent took me flying past cars, lorries, buses....all going slower than my 49mph (49mph!!!!!!!!). I have to admit although I was loving it, I was a little scared too!

After descending to a right hand turn and still descending afterwards I turned off at a roundabout to head through Hadfield and then Padfield and it's vicious ascent to the Woodhead Rd just south of the Devil's Elbow. Once back at the centre of Glossop, after another awesome descent, I set off towards the Snake (with absolutely no intention to ride it, just so I could go to Hurst Reservoir for a nice little breather).

Along the Derbyshire Level (whose name belies it's hilly terrain) and I came out at Joby's favourite place: Chunal. I came out right at a nice 12% section so had another great descent to contend with before stopping at the Glossop Cafe for refreshments and odd looks from the pub next door.

After leaving the cafe I set off back home, but first had to contend with Woolley Lane, Mottram Moor and Roe Cross to climb back up, and boy are they evil when all piled together one after the other (6-10%, 8% and 8-14% climbs respectively) with absolutely no respite. The good thing about all that climbing is the excellent descent into Stalyvegas (Stalybridge to give it it's proper name). Well, it usually is a great descent. Only the surface layer has been scraped off leaving a rutted cruddy compound stuff to drive/ride on, the manholes are all raised up (and there's a lot of them on this road). Oh, and there's a traffic-lighted single laned section halfway down that wrecks your hands giving you cramp cos you need to have your brakes on all the while!! Bloody roadworks!

On a brighter note, the roadworks I've ridden through a couple of times at the Staly/Wakefield junction have gone and the lights are up and running properly now, so no more playing chicken. This allowed me to get out of Staly a lot easier than the past few times and soon I was on Stamford St heading towards Park Parade and the first of the two huge roundabouts I needed to play with - the first was an easy one as I could stay in the outside lane to go straight across, the second wasn't quite so easy as I needed to get in the middle lane to get straight across. Easier said than done when there's lots of traffic hurtling along here; but I managed to get there OK, and I managed to follow an HGV out and across so I didn't even need to pause for breath.

The first roundabout was the start of the fast-paced section for me as it's a place I use a lot for sprint training; being a dual carriageway (cycles are allowed) it's perfect for speed. I maintained a good pace through the next set of lights too as I wove my way into the middle lane again as the road split to head in two directions. I wanted to stay on the main Ashton-Manchester Rd and swooped my way around the first tight right hand bend with a car wing mirror getting a little too close for comfort to my ass, before swooping left and upping the pace to the next set of lights. For some odd reason all the lights were with me this time, so I manged to keep the speed up to the Lumb lane one-way system where, yet again, I had to smoosh my way into the middle lane and straight through these lights; again a swift right hand bend followed by a left hand bend and MASH down on the pedals before getting stuck in the tailbacks at the contraflow. Damn those roadworks. I'd set a good pace of 26mph before having to slow down to a crawl. Usually I won't undertake vehicles at all, however there was a metre between the traffic and the parked cars with no side roads, so I snuck along until I could go no further and a lovely chap let me in front of his car and held the rest of the traffic back a little for me so they weren't up my ass through the mangle mess that is the Manchester Rd/Market St junction.

Back into the aero position and I was flying along as far as Buxton Lane when the lights turned red and I stopped for a welcome breather before turning off just before the next set of lights.

That turned out to be quite a tough ride - the combination of the heat and the climbs wasn't good. Every rider I saw out today was suffering with it. For once I wasn't passed by a cyclist on Mottram Moor - so disheartening when that happens as it is a very hard climb for me to do. Still, I've managed it the last 2 times I've headed out that way.

Stats - view route
Gorgeously hot and sunny with a little breeze
Miles: 31.97
Average speed: 12.4mph (this is getting a little familiar!)
Climbed: 1398ft

One very knackered cyclist collapsed on the sofa when she got home!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Hours and hours....

of no riding this week. I have landed myself a voluntary job in my local Red Cross shop; just to boost my references as last boss hated me and has given a particularly vicious one, and also to get me back in the working frame of mind as it's been such a long time since I last worked. So for a lot of last week and this week there'll only be a day or 2 free to ride, but I don't mind too much :oD

This week I may be able to ride tomorrow - if I do it'll be an easy ride seeing as the last few have been particularly hilly ones; any upcoming rides will most likely be into Cheshire for flatter efforts, before the club ride on 30th August which, apparently has been changed from Sowerby to Rivington! So nice long uphill drag up the A6, me thinks.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Solo Standedge

While Gaz took part in the Manchester arm of the Skyride and as the weather promised to be nice on Sunday I decided to have a re-run of the club ride, but all by myself this time. It turned out to be an interesting day!

After dressing in the finest Quickstep livery (bar my Lampre helmet) I had to become a hybrid of teams as the weather when I left home wasn't too warm, so my Discovery Channel windshell went on, but was swiftly removed again after 15 minutes as I'd warmed up quickly and was beginning to overheat and get all clammy. Yuck!

I set off towards Droylsden and promptly got stuck in the tailbacks that'd already built up in the contraflow a mile up the road and sat there for 10 minutes or so before the green light let me turn off towards Littlemoss and the small climb out of Daisy Nook to follow the same route I took last Sunday complete with all its climbs.

Once I got to Uppermill I remembered that the Saddleworth Festival was on so was prepared to have to go elsewhere for lunch on my return leg through the village. Once on the Wool Rd I prepared myself to make Tom Boonen and the rest of the Quickstep team proud as I launched myself up the Col du Standedge. Well, I say launch, but what I really mean is a 7mph crawl. Hmm, I'm not even sure I'm proud of that speed, but I did manage to maintain the speed I had last week up here, so it wasn't too bad.

Once I got about halfway up I spied a pair of cyclists further up the climb. This pair seemed to be getting closer and closer to me. Were they slowing down, I wonder? As I passed them (not sure how that happened!) I looked down at the speedo and I'd somehow picked the pace up - not much but obviously enough for me to overtake. Sadly my glory was short lived as a group of cyclist sped past me up the hill and round the corner out of sight. Damn those superfit people!!

At the junction in Bleak Hey Nook I stopped to watch a helicopter take off, fly around and land again, and repeat this quite a few times. Not long after another cyclist passed me and stopped for a breather round the corner facing the direction I was headed in. He looked whacked!

I mounted Everest and set off in preparation for the rapid swooping descent into Delph. Somewhere along here I lost the other cyclist (at least, he started out following me). I enjoyed the descent so much that I must have looked like the Cheshire cat to anyone who saw me fly down the road.

After a brief section on the flat the road began to kick up again. After a mile of climbing a lovely (not) 10% portion of the road, and not remembering this part of the ride at all, I though it wise to stop at a bus shelter and look at the map on it. Mmmmm, I was enjoying the descent so much that I'd completely missed my turning and was halfway to Scouthead and I didn't particularly want to be heading in that direction. I rode on until the next available turn that'd take me to Diggle and that was when I hit the wall.......Wall Hill Rd that is! I'm so glad that I was descending this road and not trying to get up it as it is evil - signs on it suggest 11% gradient. In places it's 13 or more. Anyway, it's a nightmare junction to get around as it's a very tight left hand turn with the road dropping sharply from the main road. But it made for a good descent despite ending up with 2 hounds barking at my ankles!

Back in Uppermill I stopped at Saints cafe for a bite to eat and had a wander around the festival grounds (in the park behind the cafe), made a few friends and then unlocked Everest from her railing and set off home.

Down through Chew Valley and through Mossley, past where I punctured last week (roadworks have gone now and the road was cleaned) and onto the horrid roadwork section in Stalybridge where the lights are out - it's a large, very busy junction on a hill and with the traffic lights out it proves an interesting junction to turn right at. Thankfully the contraflow further up the road actually stops the traffic moving at anything more than a snails pace; so, provided there're no cars turning right onto my road, it was easy to get out by trailing a car going my way!

Then it was a case of sneaking back up the 20% hill (behind a van that was struggling big time) before getting back onto easier territory towards Mossley's 5 way junction.

Once over there I set off back up a hill I'd already climbed once this ride towards Park Bridge and had the joy of a messed up road - it's steep, twisty, often slick with leaf-litter, single file in most parts, and Tameside Council have decided that it needs to have chicanes, speed humps AND rumble strips too!

After all that fun I stopped off at Daisy Nook for a bacon butty before setting off back up another once-ridden climb to Bardsley before swooping round the one-way systems and getting onto the fast-paced dual carriageway that leads towards home.

A stop at my mom's for her roast pork tea and a welcome rest and soon I was back home with the comforts of a hot bath, a comfy sofa and the Top Gear boys.

Stats - view route
Rather warm, sporadically cloudy and breezy.
Miles: 35.38
Average speed: 12.4mph (smidge quicker than last time)
Climbed: 1207ft