Sunday, 26 April 2009

Upcoming 600km ride

Over the weekend of the 16/17th of May I'm off to South Wales for the first 600km ride of this year, The Bryan Chapman Memorial
I've done this ride before so know what it entails and it will mean I know when the hills will appear!! Don't know if this is a good thing or not.
Wish me luck!!
Last year I put a ride report onto the Bacchetta forum which I've pasted below if anyone fancies a read.

A ride of 620km from the coast at Chepstow in South Wales to the Coast in North Wales and back, with about 28000’ of climbing thrown in for good measure.

After arriving at Chepstow the night before and getting about 5 hrs sleep in the car with the bike, I woke up at 04.30 and as my alarm was due to go off at 05.00 I decided to get up.
Breakfast consisted of a cold can of rice pudding some cereal and a bit of toast, I wasn’t too worried as I’d eaten a pasty, 2 scotch eggs, chicken and mushroom slice and a packet of jaffa cakes while sat in the car the previous night.

90 riders started off up the road at 06.00 all on upright bikes, 1 tandem and only me on a ‘bent.
The first stage was rolling countryside with a few minor hills and the first control/cafe came at 80km. 1/2hr later I was off again on the longer stage of about 120km soon slowing down as the ride started going into the bigger hills around Rhayader (where I got cheered and got a round of applause from a group of about 30 OAPs), and down to the coast near Aberystwyth and along to another café for lunch.

The next stage was again up, through Machynlleth and more mountains to the Youth Hostel at Dolgellau (220km) which the organiser had hired for the whole weekend, more food was consumed and it was away again for the next stage to Menia Bridge and the half way point.
The hill at penrhyndeudraeth was a shock as it seemed to go skyward at one serious angle (I may have seen a sign saying 40%). Then it was onto the long steady climb up Pen-Y-Pass and around Mt Snowden for the drop down the other side at eye watering speeds to arrive at Menia at 21.00 for my quickest 300 to date 15hrs.
It was then a ride back around the flatter side of Snowden and up past the Llyn Trawsfynydd power station (lit up like a Christmas tree and could be seen for miles) and back to the hostel at 02.30 (380km) for more food and 3 hours sleep.

With a pre-arranged wake-up call at 06.00 I was up and feeling quite good, more food was eaten (cereal and cooked breakfast) and I was off again for the 240km ride back to Chepstow.
The first 20km out and up the first climb was hard with a head wind and the top didn’t come soon enough, which meant I had a nice stroll to the top, about the 3rd time I’d walked some parts.
The stop at Aberhafesp was again welcome with more food and coffee.

Then came the longest climb of the ride not too steep but went on for miles, the descent was a bit technical with a few hairpin bends so I was caught and overtaken by a friend who knew the route, not for long though as the road opened up to sweeping bends and I was away at silly speeds again passing a mountain biker at about mach3 (He’d overtaken us on the climb).
Another stop at Tref-Y-Clawdd for a drink and a pie and into rolling countryside to the next control at Weobley, where more food and drink was consumed!!

Another rolling stage with just enough speed down one side to get up the other before the next drop. I’d been warned about the last biggish climb up through the village of Llancloudy and didn’t get far up it before walking again.
The last stage from Monmouth to Chepstow was along the Wye valley through overhanging trees past Tintern Abbey with a slow low gear slog in towards the race course, I could see a group ahead on the climb but could not quite reach them until the downhill.
There was a shout of put the kettle on as I went past with the smell of the finish in my nostrils, to arrive at 20.45.

640kms total, 38.45hrs out, 31.30hrs cycling, and 2.5 hrs to spare.

Longest ride this year, as I’ve only had the bike 3 weeks and have only done one other 200km on it.

Things that need sorting out are get the euromesh seat sorted out (waiting for one to come over here to the shop), I can then get bottles fitted properly and do not have to keep stopping for a drink.
Get proper lights fitted for the night section as a Cateye cube is not good for speed at night. I’ve got an IQ fly but need to get the dynamo fitted.

I like this bike very much and it is a lot quicker than the trike I did an SR on last year.
Now off to plan the next ride.

P.S. don't ask me to try to pronounce the place names as I haven't a clue


Thursday, 23 April 2009

Low mileage week again.

Another week of only cycling to work and a weekend coming up with no cycling whatsoever.
Will be out drinking too much this weekend as I have 2 parties to go to! Next audax will be a 200km one sometime over the bank holiday weekend, probably on Monday as on the Sunday I'll be leading the FSoTM ride around the Millennium Cycle Route.

If you are bored here's some more video clips to watch and make you get out of your seat and start cycling.

A recumbent dropping down the road on the Alpe D'Huez

Surreal clip from Monkey Dust

And I want one of these! shame I wouldn't fit in it

Sunday, 19 April 2009

210km DIY Audax

I didn't fancy driving to an event this weekend so I submitted a route for a DIY ride.

Alarm set for 6 and after too much drink last night (must stop that before a ride!) and not enough sleep I was out of the door for 7.30.
Was a bit chilly to start with as I cycled to the garage for a receipt and along the A5 towards Stony Stratford to get one from there also.

Left turn then for Buckingham along the A422 which being just after 8 on a Sunday morning, was very quiet. Drop down and climb back out of Buckingham towards Gawcott and the back lanes through Bicester towards Witney for a sandwich and a drink. With the tailwind all the way from Stony I managed to get there (80km) in just over 3hrs.
On through Bampton and another stop at Didcot (120km) to get more drink. It was then turn left into a headwind.

Stopped at a cafe on the Thames at Benson for beans on toast, then to skirt the Ridgeway all the way to the next control at Dunstable.
Being near to the hills the road although following the base was still up and down, getting more so as I left Wendover on the way to Tring and past the Beacon at Ivinghoe.
Last nights drink, headwind and hills were starting to slow me down a lot now and I was glad to reach Dunstable.
Knowing that the headwind would be changing to a sidewind and that there were only a few hills on the A5 lifted the moral no end.

Traffic was a bit busier now but all of them gave me a wide berth, must be the funny bike!
Got back to the garage at 19.50 and home minutes later.

12.20hrs out
8.53hrs cycling, too long faffing about off of the bike.
Average speed of 23.9kph
Max speed of 59.4kph down from Little Brickhill, Couldn't spin my legs any faster.
Lost 1/2 a stone in weight! due to dehydration, did drink 6+ ltrs though.

Write 100 times "Must not drink the night before a bike ride!"

This brings the total for this bike to 9450km in nearly a year, I was hoping to get over 10000 but a few rides not started and not finished put payed to that.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Bike shops around MK

If anyone is looking for bikes or parts in Milton Keynes, here is a list of the local bike shops.

Phil Corley cycles, based on Stacey Bushes they have a wide range of bikes from utility bikes, to top end MTB and road racers.

Chaineys cycles have one shop in Loughton and one in Leighton Buzzard. Another shop selling a wide range of bikes.

P+D cycles in Fenny Stratford, wide range of childrens and electric bikes.

Roy Pinks in Newport Pagnell, bikes and kites.

Evans, Halfords,Tesco, Adsa etc' are all good for cheap parts. But if I was going to buy a new bike I'd stick to the local bike shops myself.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Do I, Don't I?

That was the question as I was leaving Wetherby at 10 this morning.
While cycling along the York road after getting a receipt from the garage to prove the start time, I wasn't sure if I fancied another ride through the night after a weekend of cider at my brothers.
I made up my mind as I cycled into York and instead of turning right for the racecourse I turned left for the station.

Got a ticket and was on the first train south 5 minutes later.
I decided to go as far as Peterborough and cycle the rest of the way from there.
On leaving the station I managed to find my way out of the town, down the A15 and along the old A1 which runs alongside the motorway. To then Turn right onto the B road that takes you all the way into Bedford.
Gorgeous day and in just a t/shirt for the first half of the ride but as I was just about to climb the hill/bridge over the A14 my rear gear cable snapped at the changer!!

Bugger, what to do now, get phone out and see how far from Bedford I was and thought about ringing my mate from there to pick me up.
Try to fix it first, pull spare cable through changer and tie a knot in it?
It worked!! lost a couple of gears but no problem.

Onwards and southwards, passing through Harold and a stop at Olney for a cold pie, some sort of pastry with currants and custard and a Lucozade sport. Proper cyclist food :-D
Left there feeling a bit better and followed a racer up Emberton hill, he kept getting out of the saddle and looking back. Bugger that I'm not racing after a weekend of nearly 500km and too much cider.
Went past him on the downhill through the next village though, never to be seen again. :-D

Through Newport Pagnell and dodging the pedestrians around Willen lake (must be the weather!) past one couple and powered away, SNAP!! 12' of newly oiled chain trailing behind me.
Arse!! get the chain tool and split link out of the bag, fix chain which is miraculously not oily, it's all on my hands now.

Rest of the ride through MK went without a problem and was home for 19.00 with a total of 120kms and 5hrs cycling.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

400km ride to Wetherby

Good Friday saw me getting up at 05.00 and on my way at 06.30.
Stopping at the garage for a receipt to prove what time I started the ride.
Glorious morning over the Greensand ridge through Woburn with deer scattering again (this time not due to squeaky brakes) for a quiet ride over towards Royston.
Arriving at the Tesco garage at 09.30. Sandwich, water and a receipt got and way again towards Cambridge with a slight tailwind up the A10.
Most cars passing with plenty of room, one decided to blast his horn and give the finger as he went past, I just waved and carried on. 200yds further on the barriers for the railway crossing were just dropping.
As I went past slowly he seemed to slide down his seat and I waved and smiled again.

Stopped off at D-Tek near Ely for a water refill and to chat to a couple of new recumbent owners who were just buying new bikes, all about the benefits.

Onwards and northwards through Ely and onto Wisbech were as I was leaving it started to rain.
The rain carried on all the way to Lincoln were I stopped for a McD's!! Only ever eat these when I'm cycling.

Lights on now as it was just starting to get dark, through the long straight roads of the fens and the hills starting to get a bit larger as I got nearer to Lincoln.
Another round of sandwiches, coffee, cakes and supplies for the night ride towards the Humber Bridge.

This section was hard as I was starting to get tired, the trouble with that was being damp when I stopped to try to sleep I got cold, and as I started again and warmed up I started to fall asleep again. This was how the night section was all night, weaving about in the road as I got more tired.
After the Beverley stop and a can of redbull and a coffee not having any effect I saw another bench where I laid down for about an hour.

At this point I was cold, damp and nearly out of time for the ride. I had seen there was a station nearby and I decided to ride to there to look at train times.
There was one along in 10 minutes, result.
I would never have cycled the section from Howden to York and onto Wetherby in the hour I had left for the time limit for a 400km (28hrs) so I got on it.
The last 20km from York to Wetherby was hard work and I arrived there just after 11.
I still managed to ride 403km without the last section.

The autoroute file I sent off for validation showed exactly 400km so with diversions I was a bit over distance.
In total I was on the road for 29hrs. Maybe if it had not rained and I was not carrying a bag of clothes I may have got there in time, who knows.

Knees ache a bit now, the other question is do I ride back home or not?

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Ready for the weekend

I'm sat here, finished work for the weekend and sorting the route out for the weekends rides.
Some time today I'll have to get outside and get the bike ready for the early start in the morning.

Tomorrow (Good Friday) I'll be getting up at a 5am to ride from Fenny Stratford to my brothers in Wetherby.
In a straight line it would be about 250km (150 miles) but I've decided to take a longer route and extend it to 400km (250 miles).
The route goes from home out towards Royston, through Cambridge, Wisbech, Boston, Lincoln, over the Humber bridge to Beverley and then Howden, York and finally Wetherby.
I hope to do it in about 24hrs but I've got to finish it in under 28hrs to get the ride validated to go towards my points total with the club audax uk.
Monday will be a ride back home again but a shorter route will be ridden. Only 300km (180 miles) home via York, Gainsborough, Lincoln, Bourne and Huntingdon.

You can follow my progress via twitter or Facebook if I'm not too tired to operate my phone.

The new hub dynamo front wheel* will come into it's own on these rides as at least 10hrs on the way up will be in darkness and probably just under that will be one the way back.
I can fully recommend one to anyone who cycles a lot in the dark, they will save a lot on recharging and batteries.

Wish me luck with the weather and I'll put up a ride report when I'm done.

* Built by the excellent staff at Phil Corleys

Sunday, 5 April 2009

FSoTM ride April

10 other cyclists decided to join me on my First Sunday of The Month rides today, the weather was excellent cycling weather and it was a good ride out and around the villages south of Milton Keynes.
There were a couple of short drags uphill onto the ridge that crosses the route which also meant a couple of downhills as well.
My gps batteries ran out today so there is no track to copy onto here but I've put it onto Bikely instead.
There were a couple of riders who had not been on the rides before, I don't think we scared them and hope to see them again on another ride in the future.

If anyone wants to join us on the next ride just turn up. We are a friendly bunch, you won't get left behind and we usually stop for a drink about the halfway point.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

A couple of videos in case you are bored.

The 1st and 2nd are of Sam Whittingham getting 82.3mph pedalling his streamliner at Battle Mountain last year and getting the record for the fastest human powered vehicle.
The 3rd one is of Rob English crashing at about 70mph!!

Bike more - Drive less