Saturday, 30 May 2009

Non-cycling weekend

No cycling again this weekend, as I've got the kids round both days, no problem though as I'm having another attempt at a 600km next weekend starting in Stockport.

Have been using the trike this week for work as I've now put the fairing back on it.
I need to change the gears on it now though as it seems to add so much to the top speed.
I can do most of the ride to work along the grid roads in the top 3 gears now and I'm finding that when I need to change gear again there's not another one to go up into.

Does anyone want to buy an old Renault Laguna (spares or repair) Lol.
The tax runs out on my car this weekend and as it needs a new exhaust and tyres I've decided to get rid of it instead of fixing it. I'll probably put in onto ebay if nobody local wants it.
£50 and it's yours to take and do as you please with.
I've gone without a car before so it's no hardship, if one is needed for a weekend they are so cheap to hire one it's daft to leave it outside and used once a week.

Also a reminder that the FSoTM ride for June is not next weekend it's on the 2nd Sunday (14th) as I'm away on the 1st weekend.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

DIY 300 25/5/09

After the disastrous start on the BCM 600 last weekend I decided to go out on a 300km ride around the fenlands of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.
I submitted a route for validation on Friday evening, a bit late but was pretty sure it would be ok as all the others I've put in have been.
I'd not heard from Andy (the DIY organiser) by Monday morning, it was the BH weekend though so I didn't really expect to.

I made sure I had enough sleep this time and was up at 5am and after eggs and beans is was at the garage at 6.15 to get a drink and receipt for the start.
The start of the ride took me on the familiar route up the A5, across to Woburn and along the A505 towards the first control at Biggleswade. The traffic was unnoticeable as it was still early arriving there at 7.50.
Receipt and drink purchased I was away again northwards on the B1040 through St Ives and on towards Wisbech. The wind seemed to pick up on this stage, it wasn't fast but being the fens there's nothing to stop it. I got there at 11.45 and sat outside a garage eating junk watching all the people doing the usual BH joy of visiting garden centers.

Retraced the route back a bit and after getting lost going through Outwell I found the right road and headed for Littleport, just above Ely.
I could see a huge plume of smoke coming from the direction I was heading in, and as I got closer to Littleport I found the road closed due to a transport company being alight.
Backtracked towards Welney and after a 20km detour I got to Ely, a bit south of the intended route but not too bad.
The sun had got up by now and it was getting to be a hot day, after digging about in my bag I found the suncream and put some on my head and with the buff on as well I was on my way again
After more dodgy map reading skills I eventually got to the transport cafe at Red Lodge just off of the A11 at 15.15 and 200km on the road. Egg chips and beans was consumed and after a short 45min's I was away again heading back westwards towards Huntingdon.

A reasonably eventful section with a few more cars about, people seemed to be getting more impatient towards the evening. Must be the weather and the end of the weekend blues.
More drink purchased and bonk rations for the last bit were got from the garage there and it was off again into the rolling hills around Gratham water.
The route from there towards Olney I've done a few times so it was easy navigation, the hills slowed me down a bit as with nearly 300km done my legs were beginning to feel tired.
As I passed through Harrold it was time to put the lights on and I got to Olney at 22.00 looking like a Christmas tree.

Quick receipt and away for the last section home. The pothole I hit every time through Sherington was still there, I forgot it was there again and was jolted out of my seat swearing.
Eventually I made my way through MK to the garage for the final receipt arriving at 23.00.

The total for the ride was 335km, slightly more than first put in for but still within the time limits for the ride (20hrs).
I got round in 16.45 with 2hrs off the bike, 26.2kph avg.
I'm reasonably happy with that as it's the fastest ride this season and after last weekends DNF I'm happy to be out again with no problems. Apart from slightly sunburned arms!

Now do I go out next weekend for a 200km or wait until the weekend after and another 600km one? Choices!!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

BCM 600

After a manic 2 weeks at work doing 12hr night shifts (6-6) and going to bed at 9am on Friday morning I was up again at 2pm to go back in to work for an afternoon shift.
I would have liked to have the day off but as another colleague was already off on that day, It wasn't allowed.
I eventually finished and got out of work at 23.00, and as I'd already put the bike and all I needed in the car I was ready to head for Wales.
Trouble was I'd forgot my pedals!! I'd been using them on my trike for the last week so I had to go home and get them.

I eventually got to Chepstow at 01.45 and managed to get about 3hrs sleep in the car before my alarm awoke me at 05.00 to wind and rain battering the windscreen! at least it was coming from the south and would help push me towards Anglesey.
That was the idea anyway.

There must have been about 80 riders at the start of the ride and we were all away heading northwards at 06.00.
A few fast downhills and some slow slogging up hills saw me near to the back of the field by about the 50km mark.
It was at this point I decided that the lack of sleep and the poorly adjusted seat was not going to get me along the rest of the 570kms left on the ride.
I turned round and headed back to the car.

All was not lost though, as I had to go and get my bag from Dolgellau I decided to help out at the control at the youth hostel.
It was good to see how the other side of events work as I'm usually riding them.
I was the kitchen help, waiter, onion chopper, microwave operator, and whatever else needed doing. Actually there was 10 of us there and the whole team did everything and anything that needed doing to help the riders get food and whatever sleep was needed.

A lull in between the last riders leaving and the first coming back on the top 100km loop of the ride, meant there was just enough time for a couple of pints at the local before going back ready for the fast ones that were expected to get back at 22.00.
I managed to get in bed at about 02.00 and was up again at 06.00 to help out with the last breakfasts for the few riders that were still coming in and wanting food and sleep.
After the clear-up and packing of cars I got away at about 9.30 for the 180mile drive home.
There were still riders battling the headwind up and over the first hill as I drove past. I hope they all got round in the time allowed.

As I write this at 19.30 there will still be some out on the road, trying their hardest to get back before the 23.16 cut-off to complete the ride and some of the later riders may be pushing it to get back on time.
Out of the 80 or so that started about 30 packed and went home at some point in the ride due to the bad weather.

What was learnt from the weekend?

1. You need to bank sleep time before attempting long rides. It's not possible to do it when you are tired.

2. Try and get your bike set properly before you start on long rides. It WILL make you ache and hurt if not set up correctly.

3. The unpaid organisers and helpers do a lot of work to make the events and controls run as smooth as possible for the riders going through them.

A BIG THANKS to them all for the rides I've done in the past and for the ones I'm still planning to do.


Monday, 4 May 2009

ALDI cycle stuff instore 7/5/09

If your after cheap cycle stuff get over to Aldi this Thursday (7th May)
ALDI website
They have some good buys but get there early as it tends to sell out quite quickly, mostly brought by the ebay brigade who buy the stuff to flog at a profit online.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

May FSoTM ride

After a warm week of riding in a t/shirt the weather changed a bit today with a brisk north-westerly blowing meaning a jacket was needed.
Though this never stopped the 42 riders coming out to join me for the start at Furzton lake.
This is the second largest turnout I've had on one of my rides in the 6 years I've been leading them. All down to The Parks Trust putting the ride in the local paper.

So after a slightly delayed start we were off along the Millennium Cycle Route around the MK bowl, along Peartree lane and through the estates towards Woughton on the Green.
It was a good turnout but meant that the group stretched out along the narrow paths and we had to stop at major junctions for the rear markers to catch up.

The path along the canal towards Willen lake is getting worse with tree routes starting to raise parts of the surface tarmac. It was like riding on a washboard at times, probably not a problem for the riders on MTB's with big tyres but on my recumbent with 100psi in them my eyes were starting to shake.

Decided to stop at the cafe at Willen today as there was some children along and it would break up the ride for them. On a Sunday morning this is the only place open to stop.

Back up to the canal and a quick stop to replace a pedal that had fallen off of one of the childrens bikes, a puncture for one of the riders from Newport was the only other mechanical I knew of on the ride.

Back going again and away from the canal up to Gt Linford to join the railway walk and another stop to regroup at Bradwell, then down and along the Loughton Valley to follow the stream back to Furzton lake and the finish.

I managed to get a few pictures along the way, They can be found here on my photobucket page.

The next one (a 30 mile ride to Salcey Forest cafe) is on the 2nd Sunday in June and not the first as I'm away on a long ride that weekend.
Hope to see some of you along and enjoying the ride with us again, that is the reason why I do it. To get more people out and about on bikes and showing them how easy it is to get about on them.