Monday, 26 October 2009

Sheep's Arse!

Sunday was the day of Middleton CC's October club ride.

I wasn't looking forward to this ride too much due to the amount of climbing I thought would be involved. I set off towards the meeting point at Heaton Park and met up with my bro Paul along the way. We travelled through Philip's Park and onto Alan Turing Way and Queen's Rd before heading through Cheetham Hill to the meet point at the bus stop by Victoria Ave.

Crimmy and Mike were already at the meet point with Pantani Pete arriving not long after myself and Paul did. While waiting for John W to arrive the rest of the boys looked at the map to decipher the route while Mike and I discussed the Manchester 100 that we'd ridden (not seen or spoken to him since then) in September.

After John W arrived we set off up towards Bowlee and its steep climb towards Birch where we turned off to take in a section of the MCC Jean Keith Award route before heading left round the roundabout at junction 2 of the M66 and then right to take us to the A56 Walmersley Rd - a nice drag of a climb.

Several times the ride leader Joe was at the rear of the group and didn't shout out directions. The two impromptu leaders then took it upon themselves to squabble about the directions to take. Usually we'd end up at lights while they squabbled and more than once we were then told to turn right (while in the left hand lane of a 2 or 3 laned road). Weaving in and out of traffic isn't my ideal ride to do. All this messing about ended up leaving me less than amused and in some considerable pain due to the impromptu leaders choosing hillier roads - my pelvis was throbbing a fair bit, knee was beginning to hurt and my shoulder was killing me. At one point I couldn't really hold on with my left arm.

The climb was rewarded right at the top with amazing views then the best descent yet: a 12% drop into Ramsbottom across the level crossing and left to a mobile catering unit.

After noshing on bananas Crimmy and Pantani took in the Rake, a notoriously steep, evil git of a climb approximately 20% gradient. They came back full of enthusiasm for it, saying it wasn't that bad. Erm...that'd be hell for me!

We split into 2 groups for the route back - Mike, Crimmy and Pantani heading back a hillier way and myself, Paul, John and Joe heading back a slightly flatter route.
I had bike problems immediately after leaving the car park with my chain dropping off the front chainrings. I put it back on and thought nothing of it. However I had to put up with problems all the way back home as the chain kept jumping and skipping gears regardless of whether I was on the inner or outer chainring at the front. Mmmm. Not good as I either had to really twiddle my way up hills or grind my way up them. It refused point blank to get into the gear I needed or stay there when it did go in. At times I was having to slam the brakes on or ended up jerking the bike around as Joe kept weaving about in front of me (not intentional I don't think). Around this time I discovered that Joe hadn't been wearing his hearing aid either, so no doubt couldn't hear me behind him. Rather dangerous though as it also meant he couldn't hear the traffic either.

The route back through Greenmount, Bury and Whitefield wasn't easy with the gears arsing about, but I made it back to near Heaton Park where Joe and John W headed off in their respective directions to get home. Myself and Paul carried on to get back home the way we came out to the Park.

On Bury Old Rd at a huge junction with traffic lights I sat behind a black Merc with a First bus behind me. As the lights turned green for us we all set off. As soon as I'd clipped in the Merc slammed his brakes on, forcing myself and the bus into emergency stops on rain slick tarmac (so close to being squished with the bus up my arse). Black Merc let a car cut in front of him to turn left then proceeded to turn left himself without indication. I have to admit to a huge amount of road rage at that point. That incident on top of everything else that'd happened just meant that sadly I didn't enjoy the ride much.

When I got home I took Everest straight round to my LBS where Neil took the rear derailleur apart, put it back together again and she's now all fine. Thanks Neil!

Stats -
Miles: 33.29
Average speed: 12.9mph
Max speed: 27mph
Climbed: 1428ft


  1. The rake is lovely! I have yet to get the singlespeed mtb up there though! One attempt in perfect conditions failed! Missed the hill climb on it this year due to work, but I hope to get out to watch it next year, may even enter as should finish top 10 - ok only 2 females entered this year!

    You did a fair bit of roads I regularly commute on! Even going past my bike shop - although they are not open on sundays! Never gone down the way you dropped into Rammy always up that road on the way to the moors! Suspect its more fun on the way home!

    I heard of the above happening on mountain bike rides but always thought roadies rode in such a lovely formation it was fine ;-) Hence why I am so rubbish on road rides with my inability to hold a wheel! I have been told I need to practice and not looked scared like I was on the track!

  2. Oh no Lost. You were doing so well with your hill climbing too. I could have sworn you were even doing hill reps.

    Lets hope you can find a solution, as being in pain must be spoiling your riding enjoyment.

  3. @ Trio: I doubt I'd ever get up the Rake - bit too far for me to ride and then try to get up it! Time will tell I guess.

    @Red: I was doing hill reps until my rides became hillier and then I just concentrated on those, which still helped me.
    The pain does muck things up a fair bit. I'm seeing my physio again on Friday so will tell Sarah my gripes. She's been helping me out a lot since July on the shoulder, so maybe she can suggest summat for the pelvis too.

    @ Joby: bar the balls up, it was actually an enjoyable ride!