Saturday, 26 December 2009

Ice skating anyone?

This ice rink is right outside my door! Although I live on a main rd my front door opens onto a side road with 2 businesses at the bottom end and businesses either side of my place. Given that the businesses are automotive operating 24hr pick-up trucks you'd think it'd get gritted. Nope. During the snow it's fine. During the snow in February it was also fine and didn't ice up much. Now? It's solid ice. Undulating ice, so not even easy to slide across. If you do get to slide, it's straight into the busy main rd and not across as it's on a slope too! I just about managed to slip-slide my way to the road holding onto the wall before walking the rest of the way to my moms on the road. Sod the cars, it was still safer to walk the road than the pavements given the fragility of my knee and pelvis right now. Oh, and the snow penguin? His flipper has fallen off and he's on a diet now!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, waddaya know?! It's Christmas again!
Have a great time over the holidays, get out biking and no doubt I'll be joining y'all for a ride soon.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Building work

This is my contribution to the snowman world. Meet Pecky the penguin. He has a beak and flippers, though his right flipper keeps falling off. After playing with toys at work (you gotta make sure they work, haven't you) I came home and built Pecky.

I saw some very cute snowmen on my travels to and from work today, but the following 2 are probably the cutest ones I've seen to date.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Track racing

Middleton CC's final track championship session got underway this afternoon with some of us arriving late (myself and Paul) due to the unnatural snow levels in Manchester. Paul had to try to get through a few valleys to get his bike from storage, then come over to get me. Anyway, we arrived, warmed up and got underway. I was the only female riding, which didn't really make much difference with me not being a member anymore, so I was riding as a guest. I set off 3rd in the sprint and did worse than anticipated with a time of 17.9 seconds: 2 seconds off my PB. I did, however, reach and maintain 28.6mph for the sprint which is one good thing. All was going well on the 'getting up to speed' laps and I set off as anticipated, if a little slow. Halfway round and my knee screamed at me, literally bringing a tear to my eye. Despite the pain I continued as I wanted to get a time to build on.
So, stats -
200 metre sprint
17.9 seconds
28.6mph average

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Friday, 18 December 2009

Wintry welcome

I'm gutted - we didn't get anymore snow last night. I was, however, greeted with the snow still being on the floor from the afternoon snow. My walk to work this morning was a gorgeous, if freezing, one with the odd flurry, a brisk bone-chilling wind and the creamy yellow snow clouds whizzing across the sky on a mission to find a bit of land it missed before.

Thursday, 17 December 2009


After all the weather reports saying that we would get snow, we wouldn't get snow. It finally arrived with a flourish this afternoon. Sadly, being on the lower slopes of the pennines means it's not a thick thick blanket, but it's enough for the snowball fight I've had with my mother. It's settled everywhere and doesn't look like it's going anywhere soon. Hope it snows some more tonight and I wake up to a nice thick blanket of the lovely white stuff!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The weekend

The weekend has been at interesting one, and a relatively good one too.

Saturday began with me not having to work for once (worked 3 saturdays in the past month), so it began very lazily with umpteen teacakes eaten for breakfast with a huge mug of coffee before heading over to the parent's place where more coffee and the newspapers waited for me to devour.

The afternoon was spent with Mom and Bro shipping (window shopping in my case, as I'm so skint) and having a hoot with them both. Popped into the shop I work in, and we all had a go on the tombola - myself and mom not winning everything, bro winning 3 times. he was very nice and gave me one of the prizes which I'm happy about as it's a lovely fragrance, and one which I'd never normally think about. But there you go!

The evening was spent over at the Manchester Velodrome watching Revolution 26 - a night of cycling including elite and future stars riders all competing in their own sectors for placings in the series.
Unlike in November's event where the future stars had several crashes, it was the turn of the elite riders with 2 crashes in the same race. Both riders got up and carried on racing later in the night once their bikes had been fixed.
Bradley Wiggins put on a storm of cycling and former skier Alain Baxter put in an appearance for his first cycle race of his career and gave an amazing performance as he stomped through the sprint with a sub 12 second ride in the flying 200m sprint. Excellent!

Today was meant to have involved some cycling. All was fine until I woke up with bad knee pain (again). I was talking with Mom yesterday anyway about strapping it up or putting a knee brace on it at some point. I did a google search this morning on the subject and matched my symptoms with those of PCL sprain - pain on hyper-extension of the knee and most certainly made worse by straightening it out - all the pain is in the right area and fits in so well with what I read. However, I cannot physically do anything in terms of strapping/bracing etc until I have seen the physio which will be after xmas now. So in the meantime it's back with the anti-inflammatories when really needed and trying to take it easy when I can

I will not, however, let the pain stop me from riding in MCC track champs on 20th December.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Club run

Sunday was Middleton CC club run day - with me as a guest rider seeing as I haven't renewed my membership with them. It proved to be a day like no other.

I'd arranged to meet the guys at Droylsden Academy as it's close to my place and on the pre-planned route to Uppermill, so at a few minutes to 9:40 I hoicked Everest downstairs and out into the crisp chilled (make that frozen) air, locked up and shoved my hands into my cheats winter gloves - 'normal' non-cycle full finger gloves with mitts over the top (I find these better than winter cycle gloves), pulled my buff up (yep, it was cold enough for my buff) and set off to find the one-way streets have changed direction, back to how they used to be, so I found myself heading the wrong way along a short section (on the pavement too, how naughty am I?!) rather than trying to fight my way through the stupid contraflow and literally riding in circles to get to where I needed to be.

After a very chilly 5 minutes wait I saw 2 flouro people pootling in my direction - Paul and Joe were the only other club members brave enough to ride on the day that winter hit.

We set off through roadworks and round a fiveway roundabout to head to Moorside St and through to Daisy Nook where the rain began to fall from the carpet of cloud that had formed. After stopping to put on rain jackets and my phone into Paul's camelback, we pootled on through Daisy Nook and up to the climb on Vicarage Rd. After staying behind the others on the route so far and seeing them crawl up Newmarket Rd I decided that Vicarage Rd would be a much faster affair for myself; I sat behind them to the base of the climb and it's first bend biding my time. The second bend came up and I chose my moment and launched an attack that they failed to respond to. I did my usual mountain-goat impression I do on some ridiculously short steep climbs and hauled ass to the top in double quick time while they crawled up in a gentlemanly fashion. Still, it gave me time to schlurp some of my energy-powered vimto - neutral High-5 tabs in vimto - while waiting for them.

Along to Mossley Rd, between Stamford Park and it's boating lake and to the Stamford/Ridge Hill lights where a left turn took us to Wakefield Rd where the spitting rain turned into rain, then into sleety rainy crap. Climbing round past the top of Cockerhill Rd and the shit got heavier still. And colder. Much colder.

By the time we got to Heyrod and under the railway line the shit couldn't make it's mind up if it was gonna be rain, sleet or snow and the roads were collecting standing water. A fellow cyclist passed us at this point as he headed Ashton direction and seemed surprised to see us in the weather - and we, him. Soon another cyclist was passing us looking rather soggy and grumbling about the weather.

Cycling a section of road where the railway is on one side and the River Tame is on the other, it was hard to work out which was louder - the trains passing or the gushing of the very swollen river as it crashed over a weir and carried on smashing it's way through the valley. That wasn't the only river though as the standing water on the roads was getting deeper (around 1cm deep so far) and had begun to flow quite happily along the road. By this point we were all getting very wet with the rain seeping through clothes (4 layers in my case) as the rain got heavier and the spray got worse.

We were originally going to head to Uppermill, but seeing as we were nearing Mossley we decided to see if any cafes were open (they weren't). We stopped at Mossley Station to discuss what to do. Seeing as there was water pouring down Stamford Rd instead of going into the drains, and I was beginning to get very cold due to now being rather wet we chose to head back home.

Turning round in a pond and getting back onto Manchester Rd was easier than anticipated and we set off home the same way we headed out. By now we all had ponds in our shoes despite wearing neoprene overshoes (the rest of us was soggy anyway so why not pool in the shoes) meaning every pedal stroke squeezed out socks to some extent and every pull on the brakes produced visible water run-off from the squeezing out of gloves.

Reaching Ridge Hill Rd lights where we turn right to climb up to Mossley Rd and I was forced into taking evasive action - we were at the front of the lane and the lights turned to the green filter for my lane to turn right; as I was making my turn a car from the opposite side of the lights decided that as soon as his lights changed to green he was gonna mow down anything in its way. My evasive action meant I had to tighten my turn and resulted in going the wrong side of an island, luckily there weren't any cars there or I'd have ended up laying on their bonnets or perfecting my superman impressions.

Back home I couldn't make my mind up which was wetter - myself or the lake that was forming outside my front door! Once indoors I dropped my clothes where I stood and made for a hot bath before heading to my parent's place.

Many fellow polar bears and penguins met along the way.
Temp - 3c with real feel of 0c
Miles: 17.13
Average speed: 11mph (slow, but with slicks in the rain/sleet/snow it can't be helped)
Climbed: 520ft

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

November review

It has been a 'half' kinda month with my mileage and elevation somewhat halving what it was last month:

Distance covered: 105.98 miles
Elevation gained: 4552ft
Days ridden: 7
Night rides: 1
Middleton CC: yep - to Mossley
Cycling events: 0
Other events: 1 - coppicing.

As with October, I'm still not doing any hill reps. My monthly elevation total was averaging out quite nicely but has now halved (so have the miles ridden), so I guess it still is kinda average. As predicted, the inclement weather has now hit and I did have a lot less riding time due to either training staff or purely because the weather is crap.

I also had enforced leave off the bike due to knee problems. Hopefully I can get back on the bike for more rides this month.