CTC Ride to Utkinton Garden Centre


We had a slightly delayed start while Alan rips a wheel out of a fixie while said rider goes back to the Eureka for a tube. Now I travel light but still manage to fit two tubes in the bag. The valve had ripped out so couldn’t be repaired. Chester were off to the Ice cream farm which is where I was planning to go tommorow. With me it’s all about  the ride. After a short delay we head out.

Fairly steady on the way out it was past Cheshire Oaks and Stanlow and the off the main roads and into the Cheshire countryside. At Mouldsworth  there was a slight delay while a new bike suffered a problem but it was good to have a blow. Anyway there is always a bit of a challenge in Allan,s rides. Just past Willington corner Allan calls out a left turn with a loud groan coming from the pack. Now I’ve been up this once before and it’s “testing” as we say.

The gradient steepens and I’m soon off the front in 40×23 but I sense company this time. I’ve still got a gear left and it’s just as well I didn’t use it. Gordon who flew past me on a climb 2 weeks ago was trying to to pull the same trick this week as well. This week it didn’t come off. We are off the front  by some way but I sence his prescence and dig a bit deeper. Gordon starts to come alongside but due to the increased effort doesn’t quite make it. There is only half a wheel in it but I maintain the lead for a good  100m, each of us putting a great deal of effort into it. It is the first time I have been tested like this on a climb so thanks Gordon I’d call it 1-1.

Now a year ago I was 6 stone heavier and the above would have been pure fantasy.
I’ve got to admit two old blokes racing each other up a hill in the middle of Cheshire with no prize at the top of it other than kudos does seem a bit riddiculous but that’s the way it is on these rides.  We ride together to the Garden Centre and the others catch us up. Somewhere in all this we had been through Kelsall.


Now last time I was here it was August 2006 on my first ride with the CTC and everybody got treated. The cafe looks quite smart now and it is reasonably priced. The baked potato with tuna was nearly half what I’ve been charged recently. Two of the Chester road club had made it there and there were other dinners. After a shakey start last year it looks like it’s doing ok. I’d go back again.

Now after we are fed and watered it’s time to set off back home but first there is an incident with a goat and a banana. I don’t make this up. There is a goat in the field of sheep and it’s geting fed a banana. It’s all happening on the left of the picture above.

Now on the route back at Willington corner we turn left an it’s all downhill as they say.Rather than waste a good hill I sprint off the front, I’m touching 30 mph for a good  stretch of this, 25 mph as the bottom end of the range. This gives me enough time to get composed for the picture below. Bob in the red saluting. Good numbers on this ride, there were 12 of us.


Now I’ve never taken the footpath through Chester Zoo so it was a bit of a surprise, there is a lot of mud an debris further down the track but its not from the zoo. It brings you out at the hump back bridge over the canal. It was back to Backford and across the road  where the Happy eater used to be. There is another opportunity to fly down the hill and get some momentum going up the other side. With a 1/3 to go it’s time to start paddling the lever to match roadspeed to my 80 rpm cadence.

The gated path along the railway line was a fairly slick operation with no holdups there was a short stop at the end and then it was back to the Eureka via Capenhurst. Here we had an incident with a blck Range Rover that got impatient and overtook us all as we were about to turn right into the lane to Ledsham. There we loud shouts from the back not to make the turn. Thanks lads. I had another incident with a silver 4×4 in Willaston where some bastard tried to wing me. There is 2/3 rds of the reg number in my head and you don’t want to get stuck at a junction with me cycling up behind you.

Back at the Eureka it gave me chance to have a chat to Roy and Joan about the ride on Sunday.

Weekending 01 Apr 07

Monday: Gym after work, weights. Rowing 2 km in 7:48.9 this was hard work anything under 8 minutes is good for me. Treadmill 1.5 miles at 10.1 mph, crosstrainer 10 minutes waiting for a treadmill to become free. Ab isolator 2 sets of 20 x 50kg.
Tuesday: Work.
Wednesday:  CTC ride to Utkington Garden Centre 46.3 miles. Ride write up in another post Maxheartrate 179bpm means I was pushed at one stage.
Booked a spinning class at the Oval. Haven’t done Barbera,s class for a while. If I didn’t work much of a sweat up on the ride I did here. Again I had problems with the HRM in certain positions. Anyway 660 calories burnt with a max heartrate of 180 bpm. Spoke to Barbera after the class about spinning and the weight loss.
This was a hard class if you wanted to push yourself, sprints straight into a climb plus longer than usual sets means the 660 calories is at least 100 too low.
Hope you managed to find the site Barbara.
Thursday: Ride around Wirral coast, weather held out, but the wind was a bit fierce around Seacombe and New Brighton.
Louise,s Spinning Class at the Oval. 750 calories burnt. Now it didn’t look like I was going to make the numbers but I buried myself in the final sprint and my maximum heartrate was 179 bpm. For some reason it was around 150-155 bpm for most of the class no matter what I did.
2 Sets of Weights and I felt really good after all that lot.
Friday: Sheila,s spinning class at Europa pools booked. 600 calories and five or six first timers. I don’t think a lot of them knew what they had let themselves in for but if they do a second class all is not lost. The first class I did had the steepest learning curve I think I’ve ever done. Spoke to one of the girls after the class about this blog. Louise has been spreading the word. Thanks Louise. Same time same place next Thursday, front row in my Discovery Channel kit.
As I  still felt full of beans it was 10 minutes on the crosstrainer as the treadmills were full and then a mile at 10.4 mph when one became empty.

Spinning Calories Burnt in a Google search has this site as 3 out of 40,300 which is good going for a bloke that was morbidly obese . The classes are the reason I’m now dancing on the pedals up the hills, not king of the mountains by any means but now better than a lot of others. 
: Ride day, CTC 50 mile Tourist Trial from Kinnerton, promises to be a grand day out Grommit. 51 and a bit miles in 3:04 hrs, 3:20 including the lunch stop. Ride write up and a few pictures in another post in my usual style.  

Weekending 25 Mar 07

Monday:  Work. Gave the exercise a miss after Sunday.
Tuesday: Tina,s spinning class at the Oval. Rowing beforehand 2km in 7:49 which is good for me. Some weights. The class was late as Tina had a series of problems that made her late. 700 calories and peaking out at 180 BPM. I’ve spoken to Tina about the weightloss and how spinning has helped. Tina,s class was my first and you always remember your first class.  Thank,s Tina you’ve been part of turning me around.
Wednesday: Rowing weights and a 4 1/2 mile run on the treadmill before my weighin.
Thursday: Louise,s spinning class at the Oval. Now Louise reads this blog and picked up on me yawning in last weeks class. No yawning this week. The class was about 720 calories but had the pulse up to 183 BPM. I put this down to six sets of eight to Sandstorm by Darude followed by four sets of the same. Followed by dips in sets of four of each. I can bury myself in this track and do. Hence the high pulse.
Again thanks Louise you’ve been another one that been part of turning me around.
More weights and 2 miles on the treadmill after had me burning 1,000 calories in total.
The 2 miles was at 10 mph, another stint before I left had me seeing how fast I could go, kept the finger on the speed button and it’s 15 mph. Thats faster than my average speed on a bike. Julie the running shoes are great. Running muscles are different to cycling muscles and now I’m feeling it, not bad but it’s still there.
Friday: Ride today as I missed out on Wednesday, rode to the Eureka for breakfast then down to the Dee via Denhall Lane stopped for a tea at Ness gardens and the on to Parkgate where I had to adjust the seat as it slipped on a bump.  Up to Heswall to see my mun then onto West Kirby where I met up with a chap fron New Brighton road club who was training for a race. Ice cream at West Kirby then on to the bike shop at Moreton. Finally got the sealskinz gloves I wanted. Saw Brian and came home via Arrow Park and Barnston dip, still managed 40 miles.
Sheila,s spinning class at Europa pools there are a lot booking and not turning up. This was an intense class. Six sets of eight second sprints followed by dips at the same pace is tough. The HRM said about 550 calories but again some positions give loss of contact and a low calorie count. Spoke to Sheila after the class about what I’m doing.
15 minutes on the crosstrainer before the class 129 calories.
Saturday: Work.
Sunday: Work. Two sets of 5 chinups.

Not a bad week, Wednesday was the end of my year on the Lifestyle and Weight Management Course and what a year its been. Thanks everyone for the advice and support.

Audax Poynton to Chirk 200 km

Where do you start to write up a day like this, it was extreme in virtually every sense. The ride was the longest I have done by 25%, the weather was unbelievable hail, snow, rain, thunder lightning more hail but bigger and to cap it all a wind that was 25 mph  with a max of 32.2 mph.

The ride took 11 hours and we were cycling for 9 hrs 22 minutes a lot of what happened probably won’t make it into the article but I’ll try my best. I haven’t seen the pictures on the phone yet they are not normally much cop but you never know.

First requirement is making the start, made it this time thanks to a chap jetwashing a McDonalds a couple of miles down the road. None of the signs I read said Poynton never mind Hazel Grove. I won\’t make the same mistake again, I ended up signing in a couple of minutes before Ray and Craig.

Four of us are riding together setting out just before eight o’clock. It seems straight forward to start with, the  weather  was fine and if you read the routesheet you’d think there was only one hill near Chirk. Well thats how I read it. I should have known better.
Bob passes us fairly early on and is soon off into the distance.

We are soon climbing and pass Redes Mere  the climbs aren’t steep or that long but they are mounting up. On one of them we get our first dose of hailstones, they sting the face   and I think that I’ve never been out in worse conditions. They crunch under the tyres but there is still enough grip to climb. Descending is a different matter and I\’m nervous about another fall. But it was all OK we all stayed upright but it was grim. Then the sun comes out!. We are atleast six strong by this time, there is a chap on a trike that seems to know his way around and a couple of others, safety in numbers in these conditions.

At Middlewhich (26miles out)Bob and crew come past us again, I think they had headed off to Holmes Chapel by mistake anyway it’s not the first time this has happened. The tortoise and the hare has struck again. I’m highly amused to say the least as they head off in to the distance doing a good 3mph more than us.

The first control point comes up with Ray shouting to a rider who was going the wrong way at a T junction

The first checkpoint.jpg

The card gets stamped and the drink ticket gets handed in, a cup of tea and a flapjack later we are back on the road. The camera/phone is proving to be a bit of a problem, the button to take the picture is too small and I’ve managed to delete some pictures rather than take more. This has happened a lot recently as removing gloves is awkward and cold fingers make it a bit hit and miss with the pictures.

The next section of the ride I’m not going to forget in a hurry for one thing we are going straight into a head wind of 25 mph. A group of 9 riders form and allthough nothing is said pairs form on the front to sheild the others. while at the back I start chatting to one of the other riders, it turns out he has done over 100 Audaxes while this is my 3rd. I tell him about the weightloss and the diet and he seemed pretty amazed as a lot of people are these days.

I’ve had a few turns on the front with others and solo but on one stretch I’m  on the front and we go over a hump back bridge well when you reached the top the force of the wind nearly stops you in your tracks. I’m thinking I can’t stop as I’ll cause a pile up. There is no cover now just open countryside and a 25mph headwind. I keep the pace up to around 12-13 mph which seemed reasonable to me, I was in fine form. I must have done a few miles at this pace untill we came to a crossroad. Ray comes to the front, slightly breathless, “Frank, you’ll have to slow down your dropping us”. With that it was someone elses turn on the front.

For those that don’t know getting dropped is where you can’t maintain the pace of the group. You drift slowly off the back and once off the back you loose the wind protection and any chance of making it back up to the group. The difference in speed might be less than 1mph but you won’t be able to do anything about it. It’s happened to me and that was why I was a solo rider for so long. Afraid that I couldn’t maintain the pace of the group and get “dropped”. Dropped doesn’t apply to hills, here it is everyman for himself. There is a danger of bunching and accidents if a group ride up a climb together. These days I like a bit of space and it usually means I am off the front.

Now past Overton there is a 10% descent which crosses a bridge over a stream called shell brook and up Shellbrook Hill on the other side. I take a climb like this in 40×25 as it’s about 10% and I can do these in the middle ring. The gradient is fairly constant  and provides no let up. Once at the top where it had flattened out I look back, there is no-one to be seen. Time to take a picture or two.

There was enough time to get the gloves off and the phone out its just a pity I unwittingly stopped in front of the car as I was looking for a bit of protection from traffic that may have come up behind me. Quality is iffy but there are so many buttons that you musn’t touch along with a touch sensitive screen that I’m thankfull I got anything.




Craig struggled on this one, as you can see from the sequence we are all well strung out.
The main group take some catching and Craig thanks me for pacing him back up to the bunch, no problem. There is another climb to Chirk that I wasn’t expecting and then it was time to have a break at the control point.


I was fairly obvious where the control point was all the bikes littering the place and fairly full inside. Luckily we were served before they starting telling customers about a half hour delay. As it was we were going to spend an hour and a half in control points and allthough it was relaxing we would pay for it later. It may be as simple as only sending one up for the food and drink. Getting served all takes time and times it by four in our case and it all adds up.

There was a nature call down the road and then convieniently back on the route. As we dropped down a hill past a farm following the natural run of the road there was a road past the side of one of the farm buildings. We should have took this road. It didn’t matter in the end as the Garmin in map mode put us back on course. I don’t know if the planned course was any steeper but the road we took had a spike in it at 20% and rear wheels were spinning on the loose surface/mud.

Once back on the common part of the route back we were greeted by another hailstorm and the hills behind us are now white but at least the wind is now on our backs. It’s wet going down the road where the pictures above were taken so there was no momentum for the 1:10 climb the other side. Here I pass a chap on a Thorn spinning away on a Rohlhoff hub. He doesn’t hang around once back on the flat and is in sight most of the way back to Poynton. Ray mistakes him for a girl as he has flowing locks. I’m unsure but it all gets sorted out at the next control point, the Lock Gate cafe at Beeston. The “girl” has a days growth on him.

Getting to the cafe we pass within 100 yards of Craigs home. Craing say it was going to get a bit lumpy. Well it did, one of the climbs although short hit 17% gradient on the Garmin and once past Beeston Castle there was a fast descent to the control point.
Tea and a slice of chocolate cake at this one. We were probably there about 30 minutes all told but it all added up as as we would see would mean a finish in the dark.

Once we managed to get across the road it was a hike up the hill and we were back on the route having seemed to have made good progress. My previous maximum of 100 miles came out and now I’m into new territory. I have chance to chat with the chap on the Thorn and it turns out he navigates with an Garmin Etrex Legend and gets 24 hours out of a set of batteries.  Later on I learn about another feature of the Edge from Ray, the backlight. Once you use it once, it comes on automatically once the waypoints come up. This proves to be an extemely usefull feature towads the end of the ride.

As we cross the Cheshire plain and its getting around dusk, diagonally on the left of us an ominous black cloud hangs over somewhere near Manchester airport. The next thing is there is a flash of lightning lighting up the cloud. Then there is another one and we are counting the seconds to the thunder clap which is muffled and far enough away at the moment. I’m thinking I’ll be OK on “The Toy”, not too much metal on my bike.

I don’t know if we rode into it or it blew our way or both but the next thing we know its dark and we are getting battered by large hailstones. These are the size of my little fingernail some of them and I would say 6-7 mm in diameter. I don’t think I’ve been out in anything as bad as this. The LED front light is on and proves pathetic even though the road is a white carpet of crunchy hailstones. Cars are trying to get past us too and the pace slows to match the conditions.

The hail stops but we have lost the light by now and headlamps are fitted by the others. We are nearing the end and starting to compare tripmeter accuracy. Now as we are nearing the finish either the others are getting their second wind or I am slowing. The others are slowly dropping me, only 25 to 50 yards but its still dropped. There have been two distinct styles of pedaling today, Ray,s Ullrich style which is slow cadence and a big ring and my Armstrong style which is a higher cadence but usually in the middle ring.

It’s a style I’ve picked up riding with the CTC and needs to be modified for events like this. The middle ring slows me down on the flat otherwise I’m off the front. On a long event it wastes energy, most of the return leg was 17mph plus and I was in the big ring the same as the others. I’d slipped into the middle ring and hadn’t got out of it probably out of habit. It’s OK when you are on your own, you just go slower, when your with a group you can find yourself drifting off the back. They slowed at one point and it was back together and it all came back again when we finally reached the traffic lights at the finish.

The final control was a Coop late shop opposite the start. Going in in pairs the valuble receipt was obtained. Soreen malt loaf on a buy one get one free offer hear. Just over elleven hours, what an unbeleivable day. You couldn’t write a script that described the weather and the emotions that went with it. It would have been a bit less if we had spent less time in the cafes but it may have detracted from the experience and boy was this event an experience.

The stop button on the Garmin got pressed in the carpark, 126.34 miles. It was more but I didnt start the Garmin untill we were on the road out of Poynton. The weather turned to snow and before you know it there is nearly an inch of snow on the cars as we load our bikes. There are still riders out there and they must really be suffering. I manage to get lost in Stockport on the drive home and take an extra half hour on the journey but at least the heater was on full blast.

Link to Google Map Poynton Chirk Poynton Audax

Thanks everyone, it turned out to be a memorable day.

Some ride Stats will appear here.

CTC Ride to Waterfalls Garden Centre (Merseyside Section)

Ride to WaterFalls Garden Centre by Wrexham. Ride write up, route and pictures to follow.
It was  a brilliant sunny day, it looked that good that I chanced it by going out in the new Discovery channel bibshorts that I bought on Ebay. An early start means I am at the Eureka for 9 am. The customary breakfast was polished off and then it was a wait for the others to turn up. Chester and Northwales were off to a pub at Great Barrow I didn’t know where Merseyside where off to.

Just as I’m about to leave with Chester Wednesday section Alan from Merseyside CTC turns up. They are off to Wales, so Wales it is and I’m back in the cafe for a 10:30 start. Now if Allans leading a ride I know there is going to be at least one ball breaker of a climb in the route. Today was no exception.
While I am sunning myself outside Steve Cummings turns up on what I assume is his training bike. It,s fitted with the SRM power meter chainset but what surprised me was the wheels he was using Bontrager Select by the look of it. A £90 set of wheels thats standard on a Trek 1000. I feel spoilt by going out on Bontrager Race Lites.


The A5117 roadworks  are starting to take their toll on rides out from the Eureka. Allan takes us along the A540 and through Upton to get us back on the old routes that we are used to. At the bridge over the Dee at Saltney we have a short stop for a mechanical repair. Once Allan gets his internet connection sorted you may even get to see a picture of me on the site. 

The route took us over the footbridge at Saltney and once across the lights it was a case of enduring the calls of “Tour de France” from the local residents at the one stop shop.



Somewhere outside Chester.



Some where around Borras on the way to the Waterfalls Garden Centre . We’ve had two small climbd to get to this point and the views over the Cheshire plain are good.

Once we reached Waterfalls garden centre I was a trip through the shop to reach the Cafe.. The  hot baguette was good and better value than some of the other places we have ridden out to lately.

I think Mike had the allday breakfast which was a monster of a thing, not something I would have these days.

On the way back we had a stop at the pond at Gresford to lookat the birdlife and there would have been more pictures if the memory card wasn’t full.

After this we had a drop down a long hill and then turned off for a climb up towards Llay.
Deceptive at the start  it steeps after a bend  and rears up to over 20%. I saw 20% It could have been  near 25% but I was too busy trying to push 30×25 getting up the damn thing. The garmin logged my heartrate at 173 BPM on this climb and it felt like it. Teenagers were walking a dog as I came panting past them. 30×25 on a tripple is granny ring stuff. We had a stop at the top to recover and chat about gear ratios.

Further on we go through an opening in a hedge and take a trip through a park ending up at Cefn-y-Bedd. Through Hope but not up it, along lower Mountain Road and across the footbridge over the A55. Dropping down from there it’s another short climb up towards Harwaden. It’s a 30 mph descent towards Queensferry over the blue bridge to Garden City through the industrial estate and before you know it your back at the Eureka.

And thats about it a good day out, brilliant weather had the shorts on for the first time this year. Met Roy and Joan back at the cafe and then it was back home and up RestHill again.

Link to Google Map of Ride

55 miles.

The Ninth and Final Followup Class

Next Wednesday is the ninth and final followup class for me.  It was a year ago when I started on the Lifestyle and Weight management course, what a year it’s been.
This time last year I was 122 Kg (268 lb) now I\’m around 85 Kg (187 lb) at the peak I was 132 Kg (291 lb)

This weekend I’m tackling my longest ride to date a 200Km Audax (120 odd miles).
I’m not super human but it would be nigh on impossible at my old weight.
I’ve seen a lot of people struggling with weightloss and I would think its all down to exercise or the lack of it.

As you can see from this site I log all the exercise I do. Now I\’m still on the (balanced) diet, I don\’t starve myself, haven\’t felt hungry I just follow the British Heart Foundation book. The only variable is the exerise, the more I\’ve done the more weight I\’ve lost, the more weight I\’ve lost the more exercise I can do. The opposite of the viscious circle.

Limits, most people don\’t know what theirs is, I know what mine is and try to test it once a week. It might be on a ride, on the rowing machine or in a spinning class you\’ll know when your up for it.

Contary to what we are all told I weigh myself every day. Same time same place, I\’ve now got figures going back to September. It helps me remain focused. 85.3 Kg this morning, fat and muscle percentage get measured too. There is no point going to a weighin not knowing what you weigh and coming out with a lame excuse if you\’ve put weight on. Don\’t forget one pound of fat equals 3500 calories. 

Monday: 84.6 Kg the morning after an epic ride. Mind you according to the Garmin I did burn 7584 calories on the ride. Unbeleivable numbers even if you do beleive the fact that they overestimate the number of calories burnt.

Wednesday:This is the start of another milestone in my life. It\’s the end of my Lifestyle and weight management course. I\’ve been on it just one year and what a year it has been. The highs haven\’t stopped coming the lows are a distant memory, it was a low that had me saying yes to getting on the course.

It starts off we with a trip to the dentist for a checkup. Now I was going to go out for a ride with the CTC and give some of them a thrashing up the hills but it was going to be tight for time and I need a breakfast in me before. Instead it was a trip to Tesco,s to exchange two shirts I had bought the week before, mediums for small, a year ago I was extra large, the year before extra extra large.

I also tried on some trousers, 34inch waist, they fitted!!!. they go in the trolley for £4 I can’t go wrong. When I was at my heaviest clothes were a huge problem, I’d be paying £35 for a pair of M&S trousers because they went up to a 48in waist and had elastic in them. The elastic is to stop them bursting when you lean forward as all that extra fat has to go somewhere. I’ve been there and I don’t want to go back. M&S sizes are generous at the top end of the sizes too. A bottle of champagne goes in the trolley too a cellibration is due.

A bit later its time for a haircut at Rachel John , they’ve noticed the difference in my size as a lot of people don’t recognise me these days. Not much to cut these days though.

As I didn’t make the start for a CTC ride it’s a session at the Oval, weights as usual, rowing 2km in just over 8 minutes and then I’m left wondering what to do next. Cross trainer is out I feel up for something. Treadmill it is. Now I’ve only done 2.5 miles before and that was the other week. So I set off at 9.1 mph which seems a steady pace with the idea of doing 2.5 miles again. Oh, I’ve got my headphones on watching a music channel, well time flies when your having fun and I’m slowly watching the mileometer tick round in hundreths of a mile.
Now the furthest Ive EVER done is 3.25miles at school on the cross-country run.
That comes and goes and I’m into unknown territory, but the thing is I feel good. The pulse is steady at about 150 bpm, the next milestone is 4 miles. Some where around 3 1/2 miles I up the pace to 11.1 mph this is new territory for me but as I know what my maximum effort is it doesn’t bother me.

Well at 4 miles I’ve got a daft grin on my face and call it a day after 4 1/2 miles. I could have push on to a new record of 5 miles if I hadn’t of upped the speed but I am more than satisfied with what I have done. I get off the machine and feel like I’m walking on air. More rowing and a bit more cycling and I’m done. 900 calories worth.

Now onto the class, eight of us turned up.  Gordon didn’t make it from my class so it was just me out of a class of 25 that completed the course. This is a dissapointment as I consider missing a class as missing a medical appointment which is in effect what it is. It’s an opportunity to get some one to one advice off Ron which I consider priceless.
Today it was who to see about running shoes, I followed his advice and went to see Julie at Runners Sports and came out with a pair after trying on about 5 pairs.
Chocolate was one of the themes tonight that and the obesity hospital that was on TV the night before. I watched it for 10 minutes but had to turn it off, I just don’t like watching this sort of thing anymore.

I clocked the other class going out as it was their final week, now there were about ten to a dozen  leaving and only one bloke from memory. Not good odds for them making it to the end of the year. It’s a pity really, I’ve got so much out of it.

Now to the weighin  83.4 kg  a year ago I was 122 kg so the final weight loss was 38.6 Kg or 85 lbs or  6 stone depending on how you like your units. Ron says it’s exceptional and announces it to the class as this is the end of the line for me. There are no more boxes on the sheet to fill in and I’m sorted. Thanks Ron, I’ve listened to everything you’ve told me over the last 12 months, haven’t cheated as I’m only cheating myself and am still on the BHF diet.

I took a before picture in to show the others what I looked like and some had difficulty making out which one was me. I now look nothing like the photograph. It may make it onto the site but it’s not mine to publish. I’ll mention Andy before I finish this post, comments keep me blogging and Andy is still the only one on the course that has had the guts to comment, thanks Andy, this blog was set up for the likes of us to keep in touch. So its been a partial success. I still want to help others achieve what I have, my life has literally been transformed in the space of one year.

Next weighin 2nd May This time as a guest. There,s another 25 that need telling that the course doesn’t end after 12 weeks and the long term gains contine by sticking to it. 


Weekending 18 Mar 07

Monday: Louise,s Spinning class at the Oval, nearly missed it but got there in time. Hills were the theme this week requested by the woman on the bike next to me.
Sandstorm for the final sprint with four sets of eight out of the saddle.
It was the best part of 800 calories burnt with 65 calories burnt just warming up before the class started.
Max Heartrate was 180 BPM, low 65, average 135
2 1/2 Mars bars burnt. ( for Louise,s benefit)

Weights in the gym after the class added another 200 calories to the total.

Tuesday: Tina,s spinning class at the Oval. Preceeded by weights and a bit of rowing.
Tina was early which meant I’d burnt the best part of 140 calories before the class started. Another two new starters needed inducting. We had another couple of minutes and it shows in the figures. 904 Calories burnt in little over an hour. Take off the 140 and your still looking at a respectable 760 calories.

Another set of weights after the class then still with my SPD mountain bike shoes on I go for a run on the treadmill. 1.5 miles at 8 mph heartrate was around the 140 BPM  mark. Another 200 calories burnt doing all this  and I still felt I could have done more.

Wednesday:Ride with the CTC which group I don’t know. I’m looking for a challenge with Sunday coming up

Thursday: Louise,s spinning class at the Oval. Only 600 calories in this one and for some reason I’m yawning  through parts of it. 2 Mars Bars worth Louise.Weights after the class. Rowing, 500 metres in 1:50. I changed shoes and then went on the treadmill.
2 miles this time which is a first. 1.5 miles were at 10mph after finding 9mph a tad slow.
Possibly more next time at this rate, now I’m thinking about running shoes.

Friday: Work

Saturday: Work. Sort everything out for the big day tommorow.

Sunday: Audax from Poynton to Chirk, 200 Km. My longest ride yet.  This is all leading up to my final followup class next Wednesday. A year since I started all this and the end of the line as far as the course goes.

CTC Wednesday Section ride to Christleton

Wednesdays first ride of the year that wasn’t a Make Your Own Way brought about 30 of us out for the ride.  It was a chance to see a few people I haven’t seen for a while, not being able to get out on wednesdays for a while. Seventeen of us set off from the Eureka heading out to Capenhurst as we all seem to do these Newt Bypass Construction days. The group heading out towards Little Stanney Lane which soon gets you away from the traffic.



Once you’ve done Picton Lane a few times you know where you are going to end up and are first stop was a couple of miles down the road at the Windsurfing Centre. It’s recently been refurbished and looks like it had had the interior designer treatment. Fancy wicker chairs and leather sofa,s abound along with a log (gas) fire feature that we sat around. There is a chandalier in there but there is enough natural light around that its probably never ever going to get turned on.



Ellevenses at the Winsurfing Centre



The lunch stop was at the Plough at Christleton. Not a bad place but there wasn’t much food on offer . Sandwiches, baked potatoes or chips. I’ve been better fed for less, it was more expensive than the Blue Moon Cafe. It doesn’t bother me but nearly all the others are on a budget. Service was good but I think the place seem geared up for the weekend and not an invasion of cyclists midweek. The run was not without the odd diversion, in fact there was one after the the Windsurfing Centre. There was bridgework and a road closure where I know not. I volunteered to see if it was passable and fortunatley it was with the group being beckoned on.

Further on the road was flooded for about 25 yards so in true Singing in the Rain style  I coasted through with both feet out of the clips. The problem with going through water is that you don’t know what lies beneath.



Lunch over it’s time to head back.


After the trip along the canal we assemble at Backford before we ride up the hill and drop down the road to Mollington where the pictures of the toughest climb of the day were taken. I ended up sprinting up the hill to get in position for the pictures. I’ve got to get enough time to take my cloves off, there has been more than one occasion where I have bressed the button and nothing has happend.







I thought we had a few stragglers with this shot  but it proved to be Meseyside CTC taking the same route back to the Eureka.
They manage to hitch a free ride throught the gates by the railway line. As I’m now at the back I end up riding with them back to the cafe.

On the larger group rides it is important to have someone  at the back who knows what they are doing. John has being doing this on all the rides he’s been on, the run leader is largely isolated from what is going on behind him. It’s relies on the person at the back shouting warnings of approaching cars  etc to the group. It is so easy to  get taken in with leading and not realise it is all happeingat the back.

Link to Google map of ride  Opens in new window

Weekending 11 Mar 07

Monday: Louise,s Spinning class 700 calories  Average 133 Hi 184 fat 92g. 2k on the rowing machine with a 500m 100% effort 8:34 What exercise and weight machines I could get on. Full class.
Tuesday: Tina,s spinning class at the Oval. had a few problems with the chest strap. I had tried it across my back to see if it improved the contact but it proved not to be the case. Part of the problem was not detecting it early enough. Tina,s classes are in the dark so I have to use the backlight to check how I’m doing. 500+ calories registered but I know it was more. Another full class.
Before the class to kill a bit of time I did another 2 kilometres on the rowing machine.
2 kilometres in 7:56 with a fast last 100 metres. The HRM said I had a maximum pulse of 192 BPM boy did it feel like it. This was my 100% effort  for the week, I hadn’t planned on it but you know when your up for it. I’d well cooled down by the time we were let into the spinning class.
Wednesday: Looks like a midweek ride with the CTC. Where I don’t know. Presidents Memorial Ride to Chrisleton. Ride report and a few pictures.
Thursday: Restday
Friday: Work, now for the first time in my life I took my kit into work for a session in the gym after work. Went to Europa pools at Birkenhead as they are open untill 10pm. Started out on the crosstrainer but after 100 calories I didn’t think I was getting much out of it so I switched to various weight machines a few of which were new to me. That was followed by 2 Km on the rowing machine, 7:57. Arm extension next and I’ve run out of things to do. Cycling is out, and so is leg work so there wasn’t much left.
Only thing left to do is the treadmill so I give it a go.
Now I haven’t done anything like this since I left school and the reason is I was crap at it but the place is near enough empty so what the hell.

Pressing quickstart I up the pace untill I’m jogging at about 6mph then start playing around with the programs and choose aerobic. Keying in the figures gives me a target heartrate of 138 BPM. This seemed to be a steady enough pace but my heartrate was too low so I upped the pace untill it was 7 mph and still it was under so then the inclination got upped. Once I’d reached the target the machine started to adjust the load to keep the heartrate at 138 BPM. The gradient was around 7% and I felt good at this pace. Anyway before I know it I’ve done a mile and a half  and I call it a day. As I don’t seem to have any problems with the knees these days I’ll think I’ll have another go at this. I’ll wear a HRM next time as the machine was continually asking me to stick my hand on the pads.
I surprised myself tonight, I didn’t think I would like it but it wasn’t too bad, next time 2 miles who knows where from there.
Sunday: Work

CTC Ride Eureka Cafe to Blue Moon Cafe and a Wirral loop.

This was supposed to be Barbara,s run to the Candle Factory but things change. I’d set out from Resthill trying to set a good time, I’ve programmed a course into the Garmin with turns etc to the Cafe. The Cafe had a food icon bleep at you when you reach it.
It started off OK with me doing fine, passing three guys on mountain bikes at Brimstage. From there it went downhill. There was a strong headwind for the best part of the route, it was that bad that where I was doing 27 mph last week , I was struggling to do 11 mph. Chris owned up to doing 10 mph in places.

If anyone cares to look at the map you can see I’ve done a bit more than ride to the Cafe and back. I’ll explain later a lot happened that may or may not make it into the post.
For the second week in a row the weather was bad when we set off, this week it was raining harder and longer. The route out to the Candle Factory had us going along the railway line through all the gates. Shortly after this Barbara asked about going to the Ice Cream Farm instead. This seemed like a wise move as we were already soaked. A little further on it was ammended to the Blue Moon Cafe. I’ve never been to the Blue Moon or the Candle Factory so it was all new to me. Now at Backford we dropped down onto the canal, I was first but took the wrong turn at the junction and went under the road. At least it was dry. A shout had me doing a U turn. I was heading off to Waverton instead of Chester.

As we head towards Chester along the towpath there are two swans in the canal and a canalboat chugging towards us. As we go past each other there is an owl and another bird of prey on a rail on the boat. I’d swear it’s the same chap we’d  seen at Delamere visitor centre last week. Looks like he leads a good lifestyle. We progress along the path until we reach the canal basin at Chester, here we have to dismount to cross the bridge. It’s not a bit like last summer when I took the picture of Charlie, Bob and Kev. Once out of the basin we head down the hill towards the race course. The weather is still bleak as we take the path around the perimitter. Past the Crown Court and across the road at Bridge street we see canoeists doing whatever they do at the weir. The thought crosses my mind which of the two groups is maddest, us for venturing out in the conditions or them.

Once we are past the footbridge over the Dee we are at The Blue Moon Cafe. Never been here before but I see it cropping up regulary in the runs lists. Now we are all dripping wet, which raises a laughwith one of the customers as we go in. After a bit of  musical chairs we are all seated in the warm room. We needed it.
It was a tuna and sweetcorn jacket potato for me with a pot of tea.

IMAGE_329.jpg I’ve uploaded a thumbnail of it to see how it comes out on the page.

It wasn’t bad came on an interesting themed plate, if your on a budget you’d have to watch yourself as it’s not the cheapest of cafes. I had to step ouside to wring my gloves out as the fabled waterproofing wasn’t much cop as water had seeped in at the cuff. The rain hasn’t let up but eased off a bit. It’s not a bad climb up to the centre of Chester past the bottom of the park with the minature railway. Along the canal and across the bridge to a mini roundabout. Bob has a run in with white van driver. We allways seem to have at least one when we get into built up areas.  It was out towards Upton and the Zoo. Down the hill at Backford and taking the same route to the Eureka as we did last week. Regrouping by The Wirral 100 pub it was back to Capenhurst where I felt like having a go up the rise to the railway station. That was about it, Chris and Janet peel off at Capenhurst for the missing link and I end up in the Eureka on my own. It’s still early so I ponderer about riding back home.

There are two young cycling families in the cafe with toddlers. Now I’m sat with my back to Chris Boardmans jerseys on my own. One of the kids is getting beans on toast for lunch but next minute the high chair is turned away from their table towards me. This boy with blonde curly hair is tucking into his beans on toast and not dropping any of it on his plastic bib. The kid is as happy as Larry. As I’m leaving Anne and Linda come across to the lad and he stops eating. It was a bit surreal.

The traffic light grand prix at Two Mills had me across the lights in no time still thinking about what to do with the rest of the day. As Craxton Wood came up the decision was made, Puddington, Burton Marsh, Parkgate and I’ll take another decision there.

Parkgate wirral 4 mar07 001.jpg

It’s left a Burton to the marsh and then climb up to the bus turn around at Ness Gardens. No stop this week, I’ve already eaten twice and had a few cups of tea. Down Church Lane brings you out onto the road to Parkgate avoiding Neston Cross. The rain has eased off and the cloves are starting to get a bit dryer. I took some pictures at Parkgate the place was deserted for a Sunday, turns out pretty much everywhere was.

From Pasrkgate it was up to the Chester High Road along it to Gayton and then up through Heswall. Just to check on the progress of the Marks and Spencer store they are building. Straight up Thurstaton Road and onto the cycle path by the side of it. It wasn’t too bad a bit gritty but the Trek rolled well on it and it might bee a faster surface than the road but doesn’t look it. The bottom of Thurstaton cutting still had me doing over 30 mphand the roundabout came up in no time. Through Caldy Village and Banks Road to the next stop at the beach at West Kirby.

WestKirby wirral4mar07 006.jpg

Everywhere is very quiet. I’ve already made my mind up to cycle around the coast. At Hoylake it’s down the front and and along to the sea defences.  The place is deserted, it’s time to come off the path at Leasowe lighthouse, the Toy doesn’t like the sand at Mockbeggar wharf. Going down Leasowe Road I decide to have a break and go into Lidyl where the Twenty Row Inn used to be.

This proved to be an event in itself. The Toy was chained to the trolley railing, and I clip clop inside with the Look Keo cleats making me sound like Fred Astaire which I’m not. A pack of eight muesli bars for 99p look okay so I’m off to the till with them. This is where I pick the wrong queue. If I was morbidly obese with a BMI of 41.9 the chap infront must be approaching 50. He has a trolley full of crap apart from a tray of diet cokes! pays 80p for 8 plastic bags and has a fat dog by the look of things. I’ve got a box of 99p muesli bars with a pound coin in my hand. Queue ettiquette isn’t part of this guys vocabulary. Now I watch him prat around trying to pack stuff into the 10p a bag bags. He has half his paracetamol and Ibruproffen taken off him because he had exceeded the suicide guidlines.They weren’t for him apparently.

As if things wern’t bad enough the prat proceeds to pay in cash. Shouldn’t be a problem you say. Problem it was, because he was paying about £6.71 in small change plus the notes he had on him. Has all the signs of a Taxi driver, manages to get into the biggest 4X4 from Toyota and I still beat him out of the carpark. Unless he sorts himself out I can’t see him lasting another 5 years. You are like your dog so I don’t hold much sway for that either. I wouldn’t presume to offer this chap advice but he does need to get a grip.

It’s then off down the road to Harrison drive and the coastal path. It’s a bit bleak but the rain has held off and everwhere is deserted again. New Brighton shows some signs of life but only the sort that doesn’t want to walk an extra yard if they don’t have too. The usual log jams with drivers wanting a parking space but the leaving driver having trouble getting out. The front at Seacombe was deserted so it was another stop for a picture at the town hall.

Seacombe wirral4mar07 012.jpg

At the replacement for Borough Road College I see the worlds smallest tramride getting put away with the driver having to lock the gates behind him. Dropping down the hill past the Tunnel entrance a green Ford Mondeo pass with a yob hanging out the rear window spitting at me. He gets the finger in return and his card has been marked for a future meeting. 

The gloves feel fine now although they are still wet. The construction of them seems to wick moisture away from the skin and once past the Porelle membrane it doesn’t get back in. It’s a pity the membrane doesn’t go all the way up the cuff so water couldn’t get in the first place. Back to the ride, which is nearing the end it was up Dacre Hill onto Broadway and along Mount Road with the Edge getting stopped where it started, Resthill.

Link to Google Map of Ride

62 miles, average speed 12.5 mph, 3700 calories, Average heartrate 122 BPM Max 163, 2240 ft of climbing. It turned out to be an interesting day.


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