Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Get on your bike MK 12/9/10

This year Carol, a friend of mine will again be organising a charity cycle ride in aid of Cancer Research UK.
It will be the 5th time she has done this and this year promises to be better the the last one.

There will be 2 routes on the day (7 + 15 miles) starting from The Hilton hotel at Kents Hill heading along the Ouzel valley towards Willen and the canal.
The 2 routes will go different ways here, the 7 mile route will turn left along the canal and back to the start. The 15 mile route will turn right and head along the Millennium route around MK and rejoin the other route at Woughton on the Green.
Both rides are very child friendly using the paths in the parks and the redways around MK.

If you want a great family fun day out, check out the website and come along.
Entry can be done online from the website or forms can be got from various outlets.

Hope to see you there.

Monday, 28 June 2010

A non cycling weekend

Well that was the plan anyway. After cycling over 1100km the last 2 weekends this weekend was going to be a non cycling one. I was looking after the kids Saturday and overnight and the 2 eldest came round on Sunday.
While reading the forums on Saturday I started to think about an overnight ride on Sunday starting about 20.00. It wouldn't be so hot and at this time of year it wouldn't be cold either.
Sunday morning I decided to do a route I'd done before via Peterborough and Royston, it was an easy to navigate route as I'd done the first leg to Peterborough a few times. The second leg was even easier as all I had to do was follow Ermine street in a straight line through Huntington to Royston.

I set off just after 20.00 it was still quite hot but the breeze while cycling does tend to cool you a bit, which is ok until you stop. Keep moving was the plan and I didn't stop until I got to Peterborough at 89km. The route was rolling hills all the way starting as soon as you head towards Cranfield then crossing the Ouse valley towards Sharnbrook. It rises again to Catworth and eventually drops down to Peterborough. Despite the hills I got to Peterborough at 23.30 with an average of 28.1kph. The Tesco garage was shut and so was the McD, luckily there's another 24hr garage at Yaxley on the way out where I could fill my bottles up. It was still warm and I'd got through 2 already.

Section 2 was easy, all I had to do was head south in an almost straight line (roman roads tend to be like that) down Ermine street. Again this was rolling all the way to Royston continuously up and down getting steeper as you get nearer to the town.
Another quick stop was had eating the sandwich I'd taken with me as nowhere was likely to be open, and I was away again. The avg speed had dropped slightly on that section to 27.9kph and I didn't think I'd keep it that high as the last bit was hilly.

Setting off again at about 01.40 I decided to take the A505 all the way to Baldock as it was virtually empty apart from the odd lorry. Most sane people were in bed!
I stopped in the garage and got a couple of cans of redbull just to keep the energy up and it was away again through Stotfold and Shefford on a route I've done many times before, and it was autopilot all the way.
As it was early and the roads were still empty I stayed on the A507 past Clophill instead of using the lanes I usually take. Good job too as while riding along I noticed a car in the ditch with it's lights still on.
Fearing the worst I knocked on the window, the woman inside was ok and not hurt but didn't know what to do. I called the police for her and after making sure she was still ok I carried on (The police said this was fine).
Staying on the A507 all the way to Ridgmont for a change I eventually came to the last hill of the ride after Woburn. It climbs gently up and once at the top it's a fast drop down to Fenny Stratford and back home.

I got back at just after 04.00 and on checking my GPS I'd kept the avg speed up and finished with my fastest every 200 ride.
210km, 7.30 moving with a avg of 28kph, my legs were a bit shaky but I felt fine.
The preparation for the 1200 in July seems to be going well. I think I'm fit enough, I'll just have to manage the sleep time and see how it goes.


Altitude graph (click to enlarge)

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

East Anglian diy 600.

After posting on yacf to see if anyone fancied a ride across the fenlands of East Anglia I got some replies and a group of 5 meet at Steves house for the 6.00 start.
Planning a ride for the middle of June I'd hoped it would be reasonable weather and we'd have a good ride round. I was wrong!!

The forecast was for 25-30kph N/W winds, not too bad for a normal ride but in the fens there is nothing to stop it and it's like cycling into a wall.
The first section was ok on the rolling hills of Northants and Bedfordshire getting us to St Neots (75km) for 09.00 a quick stop and it was northwards into the headwind.
It was hard work for me even on the recumbent, it must have been a lot harder for the other 4 on upright bikes. With the wind came showers and we got wet just as we were heading for the next stop near Downham Market.
A friend off the internet had kindly given up here morning to make soup, cakes, coffee and loads of other goodies for us. The soup tasted amazing as we sat behind their car hiding from the rain.
Thanks again Helen

Off again into a direct headwind this time heading the 50km to Spalding, nothing much was to be seen here apart from the odd house dotting the flat fields of the fens. We got to Spalding planning a stop for more coffee in the McD's but got there to find it shut for refurbishment and only the drive trough open (not to cyclists). More garage snacks eaten but there was a cafe not far away planned for the food stop.
On the way there I was at the front through Holbeach when I stopped as the others had disappeared from my mirrors, Steve come flying up and said Lyndsay had been left hooked by some one turning into a shop. It was a tense few moments when I arrived to see her lying down with a blanket to keep warm. She was laughing though so it wasn't too serious.

The police and ambulance came and after 45 minutes of taking statements and making sure she was ok we were off again in search of food.

Still with a tailwind and after sustenance we were off heading for Kings Lynn and Hunstanton, we got there a little later than planned at 20.45 but we were still in time.
The rain started again and as we got to Cromer we stopped in a bus shelter for cover and it was touch and go wether the roof would stay on :-D
We didn't have much time to spare so after a slight detour around the town we were off again heading for another friends near Swaffham.
Adam and Lyndsay were ahead and got to Chris' house about an hr ahead of us. We did stop for Jules to fix a puncture and we got a control receipt first so not havng to go backwards in the morning. We got there at 05.00

Cakes were eaten before getting 3hrs much needed sleep, I was starting to hallucinate on the roads just before we stopped, always fun!
A great 3 course breakfast was eaten (thanks Chris and family) and we were away later than planned at 09.30 it was a much needed stop though.

With a tailwind for the first km of the day we made fast time to another friends for lunch at 12.40, All audax rides should be this civilised :-D
Good food and chat at Annies house for another hr, the rice pudding was so nice I had to have seconds :-D
Annie then joined us for part of the ride to Bildeston and then turned for home again.
We headed over the rolling countryside of Suffolk and north Essex for Saffron walden stopping for a short sleep on a green at Stoke by Clare.
A Tesco garage provided the next control of sandwiches and pies, again.
Then it was through Great Chishill and Royston, these hills were hard work coming near the end of the ride but the down section were brilliant.
I suggested we took the A505 all the way into Baldock so as to miss the lanes and maybe gain a bit of time, we did and it wasn't as bad as it could have been.
A few more lanes were used to bypass the busy A507 before getting back to finish around about 22.30.
The ride was a lot harder than I thought it would be, mainly due to the wind and rain. Even as a ride through the flat fen lands my GPS logged 4510m of climbing.

Congrats to Lyndsay and Jules who through completing this ride managed to get their first SR completed. At times I thought Jules may have stopped and found a station, but he persevered and finished within the time limit.
Another weekend off for me next week, then my local short ride the week after. I hope to get at least another longish one in before I leave for the 1200km ride in the Netherlands next month.

Snowdon and Coasts 400km 12/6/10

I wasn't sure about doing this ride as I'd heard about Johns rides having a tendency to be hilly. I've done rides in Wales before (BCM600) but so knew I could climb the long drags but wasn't sure about the hills on this one.

The weekend started with a train to Shrewsbury on the Friday afternoon and I found myself sitting in the sun for a few hrs at the village hall surfing the net on my phone.
I got chatting with 3 riders from Yorkshire who turned up and they kindly offered me a lift to the chip shop they were going to for pre ride fuelling.
It was then back to the hall for some sleep before the alarm awoke me at 5.00.

It was a glorious day and the forecast was good, sun and a bit of a N/Westerly wind to slow us down at the start.
This didn't seem to slow the first bunch down though and I managed to stay with them for the first 45km until the climbs at the edges of Snowdonia. I just had to get in a low gear and winch my 16st uphill slowly and try to smile for John with the camera at the top as I went past.
First stop was at Bala 80km in 3.15hrs a couple of Danish pastries + a coffee and I was away again.

The ride climbed again after up and over the bleak open landscapes towards Betws-Y-Coed the day was starting to warm up now and I was starting to feel the heat.
More stops for drink and photo opportunities before the climb past Snowdon and the fast descent down to the next stop at Llanberis

A slight detour took me around the next small hill :-) and back onto the route a couple of km farther along. It then uses roads that I've ridden a couple of times before, but it was nice to ride along there in daylight and not nearer midnight which was usual on the BCM.
This section went well apart from a broken chain (again!!) which was a quick fix, and the ride along the coast past Harlech castle and Barmouth was great in the sunshine with a slight tailwind helping me along.
I sailed straight through Barmouth and across the railway bridge to Dolgellau, where I was surprised not to see any other bikes. I stopped to check the brevet card only to find I'd passed the control (Barmouth)already! I wasn't going to go back so I decided to head for Aberystwyth and ask there what the control was. The plan was to try and get there before Sunset.
There was still a few hills to climb and the last one just before the town was a killer.
I rolled into the control still in daylight at 21.45 (280km in14.45hrs)
The control was in the boathouse of the local club and an excellent spread of food was put on, I did manage not to stop there and start on the cider at the bar and was away again after about an hour for the last major climb of the ride.

The A44 was to take us out of town and at 23.00 on a Sat evening it was more or less empty. It was a good road to use for a night section as it was almost 75km all the way to Newtown without any turn offs.
Another garage control (pies/sandwiches and redbull) had us fed and away again for the last part as the sun was rising through the lanes back to Shrewsbury.
Starting to get tired now I found myself almost falling asleep on the bike, I stopped to get my phone out for some music and tucked in under my shirt.
Playing Metallica full blast as I cruised through the villages and town centre at 05.00 got me a few funny looks, but riding a recumbent I get that anyway :-D
I finally rolled in the finish at 06.00 ready for breakfast and some sleep.
I managed to get about 3hrs before I had to get up for the train home.
The following week was a lazy one off the bike, I took the kids away to Jaywick for 4 days and drunk far too much cider.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

312km ride to Yorkshire 29/5/10

As I had no ride planned this weekend I decided to go and visit family up in Wetherby.
I was shifted to work nights so eventually got home at 07.00 , had a couple of ciders and went to bed. I didn't have the kids this weekend as they were at a party.
I thought about leaving earlier in the afternoon but it would have meant getting up there at some daft time in the morning. So after faffing about all day fettling the bike, eating and watching the weather I finally got off my backside and left at 19.00 and headed northwards.
My planned route was to take me through Wellingborough - Spalding - Lincoln - Thorne and onto Wetherby.

I had a tailwind all the way to Spalding and as it was flat my speed was up which meant I got there in about 5hrs. I just missed the doors shutting at the 24hr McD's but as I was on my bike they wouldn't serve me through the window.
Insurance reasons apparently!!
I was prepared and had food in my bag just in case I couldn't find anywhere to eat, so there wasn't a problem, apart from I'll not be using them again.

The wind had dropped now so it was a calm ride over the flat lands of the Lincolnshire fens, this wasn't to last long though as it turned and started to blow towards me instead.
By the time I was at Sleaford it was full in my face and the rain had started, it only lasted a couple of hrs but was hard enough to soak me through. The wind was to stay with me for the last 90 miles though.

I was starting to get a bit drowsy as I was going through Lincoln so stopped for drink and some more food, this kept me going for a while but by the time I got to Thorne I was starting to feel very tired and was looking for bus shelters and benches to have a break on.
I found one just before the M18 the other side of Thorne and had about 20mins rest there.
This seemed to help a bit and I was away again heading for Selby and Tadcaster. I still had the headwind and it did slow me down (even on the recumbent). It was noticeable though how mountain bikes were going even slower than me as I managed to pass them along the way.

It had been flat all the way from Lincoln to Ulleskelf but then it started to get a bit undulating, not much in terms of Derbyshire or Wales but noticeable after 100km of flat.
The last bit through Tadcaster towards Wetherby was hard work but I got there at 11.00 for a total of 15.40hrs with 3.5hrs off the bike.
25.3kph avg is not bad for a 300km ride but it did seem slow at the time.

This next weekend I haven't got any audax rides planned as it's the 1st sunday of the month and I'm out on my local ride. It's also my birthday so I plan to have a couple of ciders instead. I'll see some of you on Sunday for a beer :-D