CTC Ride to Holt (Bellis,s Garden Centre)

The first ride of the year was an impromptu one, those that turn up decide where to go on the day. Normally this would probably be the Ice Cream farm but we understood it to be closed today so it turned out to be Bellis,s Garden Centre at Holt. This was a new venue for me  and I had no idea it was at Holt.

This was my first proper ride since the fall and a chance to see if I’m up to doing the Audax at the end of the month.  The ride out to the Eureka Cafe went OK, giving me a chance to see if the new cassette (12,28) on the back would make any difference. It might be another year but it was breakfast as usual. Margaret and Phil were there, it was Margarets first time out for about three months after she had broken her wrist. Janet was back from her cycling holiday in Costa Rica ( I think) and also had had a fall.

There were 8 on the ride John, Janet, Margaret, Graham, Brian, George, Annabel and moi.
It was nearly 7 as Margaret,s bike needed attention for a loose seatpost. I was just packing the multitool away in the saddle bag with the bike leaning against the bus shelter, turned around and they were gone. Still in sight, it was a quick bit of pedaling to catch up.

First Ride of the Year

It was down Woodbank a left turn and across the A5117 multi million pound Newt bypass.
Here I had to stop to tighten up a loose bottle cage so it was another catch up job. It started to rain too and some stopped to don rainwear. Margaret and Graham left to go into Chester as the rest of us headed to the Dee crossing at Saltney (footbridge). It was a drink stop on the other side.
Out of Saltney towards Bretton John went over a small puddle that concealed a pothole. If it happened to me the jolt would have set me back a bit.

Then it was on to Dodleston, Pulford right at the tee towards Rosset and then left on to the Rosset road towards Holt. Left at another tee and into the square at Holt.
Right here and Bellis,s is a couple of hundred yards down the road. I’ve never been here before but the first thing that struck me were the signs saying don’t park Bicycles virtually anywhere. Same goes for the shop. The bike gets parked up against a wall on the far side of the carpark. Obviously something has happened in the past. But they could do themselves some favours by putting up a bar similar to the Eureka.  You’d get six to eight bikes in the same space as one of the 4×4 that dotted the carpark.

STI levers aren’t cheap and I like to keep an eye on my bike, not have it shoved aginst a wall in the back of beyond. Any way the place isn’t bad Garden Centres are not  my particular cup of tea. The cafe is busy and we get the last table for six. Linda from the Sunlight joins us. She has had to stop for something to eat and the group had gone on without her. Janet mentioned about upgrading to a carbon framed bike, well Linda has a Trek Maddone WSD similar to mine, we both said how much we loved going out on them.

George was a bit more sceptical “Whats the difference, how can you tell”. Well there is a difference, I felt the same way about the Colnago Carbitubo and I didn’t know it was carbon fibre untill it broke.  Everything is a bit smoother and you can pick the thing up with one finger. The winter bike although good just isn’t the same. It may be the wheels as George suggested but the wheels on the Iceni came off the Colnago.
Chicken baguette with a pot of tea for me, I’d just cycled 18 miles for it. I’m increasingly aware of how large we have become as a nation, there were a fair number of big people in there, the furthest they walked must have been the fifty yards through the store. I was in the same position and realise just how little most are doing. I litterally did nothing. Anyway the bill was £6. No picture this week as the baguette at The Swan is going to take some beating.

Bellis,s Cycle Rack!.jpg

It was light rain when we set off again, I was riding around in circles in the carpark with the Garmin Edge 305 bleeping away at me. As I had pressed the start button to log the ride again it was counting my circumnavigation of the carpark as training laps. Four laps later we set off back into Holt. It looks like Paul Burrells Flower Shop has closed in Holt village square, pity really as it sort of put Holt on the map.
Now its a garden centre with no cycle parking.

Down the hill from Holt the lights are on red for the River Dee crossing. For those that don’t know it this is a picture postcard bridge that links Holt on one side of the river and Farndon on the other. There is only one lane and it’s controlled by traffic lights on either side. Feeling in good form I position myself in pole position at the lights aware of the car I heard coming up probably wants to beat us to the chicane.

I fly across the bridge at over 20mph the speed dropping as I hit the hill on the Farndon side its still 16-17mph as I tackle the climb to the junction. I stop for a blow as by this time the heartrate has hit 160 bpm and look back to see the car come slowly past some seconds later. The gradient is 6 to 8% so its about 1:12 in old money. As you can gather I’m having a great time.

We are following the road to Churton and then on to Aldford. After Bruera I see the climb to the tower at Saighton in the distance. Determined not to be beaten again by George I take off, well its flat on the run up and the Garmin says 22mph dropping as I hit the climb. This was a full on effort and the garmin has it logged as 177 BPM. Next one along is George which is good going as he is 72. Its pretty much straight on to Huntington past the Rake and Pikel. Avoiding the Jungle we stay on the B5130 with views over the River Dee to our left. Another sprint up the hill that has a park at the top of it. There were two grey squirrels here when I stopped for a few seconds.

It’s around the back of the Bike Factory, follow the canal for 200 metres across the bridge and work our way to the cycle path. This is by far the best route to get back to the Eureka. You only see traffic on the road you pick up on the outskirts of Blacon. Back up Woodbank to the Eureka for a picture of John and Annabel turning in.

John and Annabel Finish.jpgFinish2.jpgFinish3.jpg

Tea and flapjack in the Eureka, Linda made it back with the Sunlight, Graham and Margaret made it back. Met Roy and Joan and started talking about Audaxes, he put me onto the CTC events. I asked about Joans Giro helmet which they got from Deeside. I’ve just learnt that they have ceased trading which is a pity as I was only in there the other week. Looks like I will have to go further afield for that Colnago Extreme C that I dream about.

I followed Roy and Joan to Willaston, they ride at a respectable 16-17 mph or did do until Roy,s Cateye computer bounced down the road. This computer has nine lives as it fell off when Roy dragged me off Moel Famau when the Toy broke. Luckily there was no passing traffic when it was retrieved otherwise it would have ended up as roadkill 1 on the stats.

The front light gets switched on after Willaston and it’s the full 15 watts at Brimstage. Up RestHill on the lowered gearing the Garmin gets stopped at the top.
55 Miles, it’s been a good day out and a good start to 2007. Thanks everyone.

Link to Google Map of Ride opens in new window.

I don’t know why it has uploaded the section from RestHill to the Eureka as I have gone to some trouble to delete that data, along with software updates, hardware updates to boot.

Eureka-Bellis,s-Eureka 37.1 miles
2167 Calories burnt. Max heartrate 178 BPM. Average heartrate 130 BPM.
Average speed 12 mph. Max speed 25.2 mph.

Weekending 07 Jan 07

Not much to write about this week apart from  the session on the turbo.
I had another incident at home, still suffering with a badly bruised shoulder I had another go on the turbo.
I’m all clipped in and sitting upright while warming up. Whilst I was upright it was a chance to set the Heart Rate Monitor. Then it happened, one of those incidents that is only going to happen to you once. The bike slipped out of the turbo trainer. I was helpless as the bike toppled over with me still clipped in. Fortunatley I crashed down on my good shoulder. (there was nothing fortunate about it at the time).

The fall jarred my other shoulder and I had to sit down and recover for a few minutes. Once I had calmed down I had a good look at the turbo. there is a slot in the quick release mounting that accomodates the lever on the quick release skewers.
This was at the bottom and had allowed the wheel to slip down and forward dumping me on the floor.

Once I realised what the problem was the skewer and the mounting were adjusted so it won’t happen again. Had a small go, about 50 calories worth.

Sunday: Impromtu ride from the Eureka so the list says. My first real chance to get back on the bike now the arm is feeling a bit better. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Aldi Specials 11 Jan 07 Heartrate Monitor

Aldi are having another day of sports and fitness equipment special offers next Thursday. There is a variety of stuff on offer and I have recomended the Crane Sports Heartrate Monitor in the past. If the one on offer has a calorie counter it will be a real bargain. It’s £12.99 and available in a variety of colours. Even basic branded models from other manufacturers are twice this price.
Also on offer are Welby Bio-Impeadance Analysis Scales (body fat)  for £14.99. I’ve written about the Lidl ones along with a couple of months worth of results. I still log all the results every day, so if I ever get asked how much I weigh you’d get that mornings result.

Don’t make the mistake I did of buying 1 dumbell thinking you can always get another one later. You need a pair of them to do some of the weight routines. I think they pack the singulary because a cardboard box can’t withstand 20 Kg which would be the combined weight of two dumbells.

The training shoes look better this time.The pair I bought last time had a plastic vent that caused blisters when I was starting the walks around the block 10 months ago.
The plastic was harder than the rest of the shoe upper  and soon made it’s prescense felt. These look a bit plainer but more suitable. I haven’t got around to spending £50-70 on trainers yet. Maybe if I ever took up running I would look into it but not yet.

The Aldi website isn’t listing them just yet as they still clearing todays offers.


Update: 12 Jan 07 . Good news, the heartrate monitor has a calorie counter and a host of other features on it. The display has a lot more  information on it and in calorie counter mode looks to display BMR, Basal Metabolic Rate. The calories you burn when at rest. One of the readings is a % of max heartrate , next to this is average heartrate. This is going to be a really usefull feature in something like a spinning class. It also has a max/min heartrate memory. It is packed with features that I now find usefull. Ok it doesn’t data log like the Garmin Edge but that cost me nearly 20 times what this unit cost. It looks good too and comes with a handlebar mount.  The instruction booklet is just that rather than a folded leaflet and is a lot easier to follow. At £12.99 there is no excuse for not having one.

If your just starting out, perhaps trying to impliment a new years resolution it will be a lot easier if you can measure your performance.

New Years Day Ride.

01 Jan 2007

A week after the crash I just had to get back on the bike for a ride. A picture something like the one above is going to replace the clipart wheel on the homepage. All my rides start or end up finishing at this spot so it now plays an important part of my (new) life.

To recap, about two years ago I\’d taken up cycling to improve my health. I tackled this hill after a while on my mountain bike. I\’d been cycling on the flat for months before tackling this hill, I also happened to have my Aldi Heart Rate Monitor on. I was around the 20 stone mark. I\’d come around the bend at the bottom, engaged the lowest of the 21 gears I had and gave it a go. Now the hill steepens up where the gate to Storeton woods is. Some where around here I looked at the HRM it was flashing 166 BPM.

After the gate things were just as bad, this was my 100% effort . I ended up stopping at this sign and literally collapsed over the handlebars. It was minutes before I regained my breath and I was the colour of a beetroot. When your the weight I was you remain seated on a climb like this. There is good reason to remain seated mainly that getting out of the saddle is even harder work, your knees aren\’t up to it and 20 stone doesn\’t dance on the pedals.

Even if they did your not going to get anywhere fast. The gear I was pushing meant I was spinning the pedals like crazy but only inching up the hill. The only thing that kept me going is the unwritten rule that getting off and walking is failure and the hill has won.
Well the hill didnt win this time but for a long time I avoided the  fight with this hill because I didn’t want to loose.

It had a major influence on my cycling at that time, keep to the flat, go around a problem(hill) rather than up and over it.  It was all a question of weight, it takes a lot of effort to lift a surplus 7 stone or 100 lbs  up 150 ft. I had problems lifting it up a flight of stairs which is roughly 10 feet. No wonder I was in a heap at the top.

This hill holds no fear for me now, its something that I gauge others by. After I got “The Toy” back from Quinns I rode up and down Rest Hill 3 times in succession just to prove I had it beaten. Because of the weather I haven’t been out on “The Toy” for about a month. Today I went out on it and instantly realised how good it is and what I was missing for the sake of a set of mudguards.

It was a bit breezy today, otherwise you may have copped a look at me in my Discovery Channel kit. I\’m still wary of my  of my appearace  these days especially after Gibbo from work commented  about the spare tyre I was carrying on the  Eureka Ride.  An offhand comment but it hit home hard. I now realise what women go through to please their men.
Ride write up tommorrow. It was short but worth doing.

Weekending 31 Dec 06

Friday: Got on the turbo trainer for the first time since the crash. 560 cals watching Lance Armstrong win 7 Tour de France.

Sunday: New Years Eve. Hooked up the Iceni to the turbo trainer and did a stint on it with the Garmin Edge 305 on. Logged this to the Training Centre software you get with the Edge. 30 minutes at 118 BPM average with a max of 141BPM. Shoulder wasn’t too bad, watched more ofthe Lance Armstrond DVD. The Edge doesn’t count calories when static but the HRM logs the effort you are putting in. I’ve made a note of the gear I was using 52/17 with the turbo on max resistance.
Later in the early evening I decided to have another go, this time trying out one of the training modes built into the Edge 305. I found one to do in the Workouts, Advanced section as running Tempo(HR). Selecting this workout blind soon had thinking what have I het myself in for.

The workout I had selected uses your heartrate zones to put you through your paces.
It started off easy enough, telling me to slow down as I was in zone 2. Zone 2 is the pace of a typical CTC ride. Some rides are zone 1 which is real easy, everyone should be able to go at this pace. It bleeps and tells me 2 minutes in zone 2, this is more like it as I up the pace a bit. 2 minutes later it bleeps and says Zone 3, 2 minutes and speed up. Then I get confused the next stage is 2 minutes of rest, so I do and it tells me to work harder.

Two minutes later, bleep, Zone 4, 20 minutes. I do a double take, yep sure enough there is a 0 after the 2. Zone 4 for me is 143 BPM plus. This is hard work. I’ve broken into a sweat by now and am starting to drip over the bike. I’m reminded of the email Ray sent me about a ride he was on, “whats that bleeping telling you” ” its telling me I should ride with someone else” . 10 minutes in I’m worndering if I can keep this up, It’s a good job I am still watching Lance win a seventh Tour de France to put my effort into perspective.

The 20 minutes come to an end thank god and it starts to wind me down.  I basically have to stop pedaling to get back into Zone 1. Bleep again, Workout Over. A 30 minute workout that I thought was going to be just a bit of a fun warm up had me absolutley dripping with sweat. It was like doing a spinning class but doing the musical equivalent of the the side of the album rather than the single version. After this I am buzzing with endorphins and settle down to enjoy the New year.

This is what I should have read before I pressed start.

A tempo workout is a high-intensity workout designed to increase your lactate threshold. This is usually accomplished by training in heart rate zone 4 for a sustained time or distance.  The duration of this tempo workout is prescribed using time.  Generally, durations for tempo workouts should not exceed 20 minutes, and you can certainly use shorter durations to fit your ability and training goals.  Since tempo workouts are designed to teach your body to deal with relatively high-intensity work, the level of intensity during the workout must be closely monitored. You can monitor intensity using either heart rate or pace. This template uses heart rate. Since this workout is fairly stressful, it is very important to warm up and cool down sufficiently.

Template by: www.TrainingPeaks.com

Looks like I’m have to read up about lactate threshold because I’ve been reading this weeks comic article about Etapes and some of the climbs in them are 20 Km long and take 1 1/2 hours. You can guess where this train of thought is heading, I’m looking for new challenges for 2007. Suggestions welcome.