Weekending 09 Dec 07

Monday: Not the best of days when I found out Jack had died on Sunday. I’d booked into West Kirby and Europa Pools and ended up doing both classes. The run between the two sites is just about possible. Logged both classes on the Forerunner 50 which doesn’t want to upload for some reason.
Did a bit more to the Colnago Carbitubo, at this rate it will be on the road before you know it. It won’t be kitted out in the latest bling but it will be a bike that I’m happy to ride.
It’s a bike I’ve built up with bits I’ve acquired over the last two years. Two years ago a double was struggle and there are times now when it would be too, especially in Wales.

Barbara,s and Louises classes Monday.JPG Finally got the data out of the Forerunner 50. I’d put a lot more into the first class and it shows on the second class. If I’m going to muck around like this the water is going to have to be replaced by an energy drink. The comments on the graph are put on with Paint, they are not part of the new version of TrainingCentre.
Tuesday: Downloaded new firmware updates for the Edge and also a Training Centre update. Got to take some of Saturdays clothes back to Marks and Spencer. The shirt is way too baggy and the trousers need an inch on the leg. This brings me on to the subject of clothing sizing. There has been a fair bit about in on TV and in the press recently mainly about some of the womens chains downsizing their ranges. Well it’s  true in mens ranges too. Marks and Spencer are generous with their sizing in the mens ranges, this was why I always had to go back to them for clothes. When I was struggling to get 46/48 inch waist trousers the reality was I was approaching 50 inches but wouldn’t face the fact.
When your at that size they start building in things like elasticated waistbands. You start looking for these because when you sit down there is nowhere for your gut to go. £35- £40 for a pair of trousers seems like a bargain when they are the only thing on the highstreet that fit you. 
Changed the trousers got a refund on the shirt and spent the afternoon looking for a shirt that matched the trousers and fitted. Ended up spending £39 on a Jeff Banks shirt at Browns which is the most I have ever spent on a shirt but it is the business.

Booked in to Louise,s first class as fifth reserve and went the gym for 20 minutes before the class. Managed to get on the class with one bike free. Had a good class and had considered doing the second class. Well I got as far as the first hill climb and thought I’m leaving myself really short on time, energy and goodwill considering what is coming up. Given that I had  already done two classes on Monday and the second wasn’t as good as the first I didn’t see much point.

This is near the anniversary of my crash and I lived to tell the tale. My head hit the deck at  16 mph  according to the GPS. I wandered around the road and then tried to get back on my  bike. Jack had no protection and 24 hours ,  later had his life support turned off. It’s a lot like smoking, a smoker doesn’t give two hoots, as the pressure of compulsion gains ground the feeling of resistance to authority increases.
The fact that they have been swinging the lead for all their lives has no part in it.
The only solace I can take from any of this is that I am in a position  to to take a hold of my life and what seems to be the majority of the population can’t.

We all ride with riders weekin  weekout that don’t wear a helmet for one reason or the other. I wear mine religiously  purely for the fact  that I will have no control when my head  hits the ground. My accident deformed one side of a Bell helmet to such an extent that I will NEVER ride a bike without one again.

There are enough rules unwritten or not that mean a helmet should be compulsory on club runs. In the short time that I have been riding with the Northend it is obvious that riding in a group has dangers of it’s  own. Motorists are incensed by us riding in pairs for whatever reason. Until the law is changed that means a motorist goes to jail for killing a cyclist through death by dangerous driving, I’ve no real need to be that guy on the righthand side on  the back. I’d rather be off the back than some motorists pathetic excuse.

Hence my use of flashing rear lights in broad daylight. Countless the times I have been told I’ve left them on now. But with rechargeable batteries there is no cost. Mel got mown down in broad daylight on a dual carriageway by a driver that got fined a weeks wages these days and got a six month ban. The prat should have been off the road for a year at least with an unreported medical condition.

Wednesday: Ride day, there are going to be a lot of gloomy faces at the Eureka tomorrow but come what may Jack was never one of them. Jack led these rides on a Wednesday so is going to be sorely missed.
Got to the Eureka early as I ride out on empty for the breakfast, it turned out to be a good turnout and not a bad day. Clive updated us of events on the day for those that that wanted to know.
As for the ride they actually used the cycle paths as far as Cheshire Oaks which must be a first. The odd thing was cars stopped to let us cross the road. This never happened on a CTC ride, it must be the majority riding in  club colours intimidating motorists. The pace was relaxed and we suffered one puncture before the destination, the world famous Ice cream farm.

The first picture didn’t really turn out as all I shot was a picture of my shoulder, this would have been a good on bike shot if I hadn’t been in the way.

Here the group split as as we moved off slowly two were left still pumping up the tyre. They were nowhere in sight when we made the turn and we did stop. Lionell went back but there was no one to be seen. Nearing the Ice Cream Farm we split again as  the Boardman ladies took the direct route at Huxley along with Sally and co and as I was at the back I duly followed. Then the wind turned nasty for a stretch before the Farm. Rain held of just, but looked like it would be bad if it if it had caught us.

There was a lighting problem at the Ice cream farm cafe and the lights went out twice while we were there. The chef doing the Christmas dinners is one of the Birkenhead club oldtimers that was recently on TV. From what was said I think he was a chef in the Merchant Navy. The Northend Christmas Dinner there on the 19th looks in good hands from what I saw.

I had a baguette again and when you look at what you get it is remarkable for what you get, most places charge double what the Ice cream farm charges. I should have took a picture of Lionel,s baguette as it did look the part. The cheese would have sent me overboard on my fat content but  I wouldn’t  hold it against anyone for having an off day.
The fact is you could eat almost anything on these these rides and still be up on the day.

Lionel had the difference between Routes and Courses explained to him but I suspect it hasn’t quite sunk in as you have to own one of the these devices to appreciate how fickle they are. Mapping gets brought into the equation too.
Link to Google map of ride. opens in a new window.

Did a spinning class at Europa Pools too. Logged it on the Forerunner 50 and by the look of things it was a fairly level class.

Sheila,s Wednesday class.JPG

This class was fairly unusual in that the work rate throughout the class was remarkably level. Play around with these graphs to your hearts content. I’d just done a 58 mile ride before this if your interested. Such is the world these days I got asked if I was retired again today, no but it does feel like it at times.  A good day considering Jacks death was hanging over it.
Spoke to Lionel at length about  Routes, Tracks and Courses and the difference between them all. Needless to say  a site like this wouldn’t exist if it was that simple. The above thumbnail shows the level of detail available in the TrainingCentre if you use a Garmin map compared to the Garmin base map. I’m updating the Edge 305 page as a result.
Shower, home. Another good day and it’s only Wednesday.

Thursday: Booked in for Louise,s first class. I could get used to being off. Got asked if I had lost anymore  weight by one of the girls yesterday. I’ve been at this weight for nearly 10 months now, + 2 kg. It’s been in a band between 82 and 84 Kg all that time. As I jump on the scales daily it never gets out of hand. I’ve been called obsessive over this but it is a small price to pay at the end of the day.
If you’d never met me and I’d said I was in training for whatever, things might be different, as it is most wouldn’t realise I was 21 stone at one time.
Spent a lot of the day updating the website  as all the Garmin map products that I have bought off Ebay are now working.

Thursdays first class.JPGThursdays second class.JPG 
Posted the two thumbnails up as I missed 15 minutes off Loise’s first class as I was late. I opted to stay for the second but I hadn’t booked it as I was fifth on the waiting list. As it was there were only 3 of us in the class at one stage but a couple more turned up at the death. The class was only half full but that doesn’t stop it being a good class. This is the second time I’ve written this article and the traffic wardens get a reprieve in this version. Had the bottle filled with an energy drink for the first time.
Shower, home.
Friday: Just about to go out to the Eureka for breakfast. Wirral loop after that and then over to Liverpool with the lads from work. No spinning class tonight.
What a ride, the weather was atrocious. When you have bad luck you get it in spades.My luck ran out at the boating lake at New Brighton. I’d been blown along at 30mph at Hoylake and then picked up a puncture. It couldn’t have happened at a worse place it was blowing a gale and the only shelter was the sea wall. After a load of faffing around including a new tube not holding any air it was just about done. Then I got pelted with hail, it was time to put on the Discovery Channel Windshell as it wasn’t looking too good. A camper van stopped to see if I was alright. Throws the wheel on the bike jump on it still getting battered by hail only to find the back tyre flat as well.
Nowt for it but to find some shelter, pushed the bike as far as the Amusement Arcade at New Brighton and took shelter in a doorway while repeating the process. A woman walking into the gale fell over right in front of me. Blown most of the way home but riding uphill into the wind was a struggle.
Went out with the lads from work around a couple of pubs in Liverpool.
Saturday: Paul sorted out the wireless router and the new laptop when he came over with Jack, the grandson so no ride today. Weather is terrible so I wouldn’t be missing much.
Sunday: Ride come what may. After Friday nothing comes as a surprise any more. I’m going to be updating the Bikes page with some pictures as a fair few get the impression you have to spend a lot of money to get started.
Don’t get me wrong I like bling bikes and kit but it doesn’t make me go any quicker. At this time of year you really do need a winter trainer with mudguards. I rode down the Wirral way for the first time in a long while on Friday and you do need mudguards for the wet bits that are still left.
It’s all about getting out come what may, with a decent of waterproofs you can tackle anything that is thrown at you.
Sealskinz socks are what you need at this time off the year if it isn’t cold enough for overshoes.
I’d thought about buying another pair of shoes as the MTB shoes that I have are a bit bulky. I started looking for a pair with a sewn in tongue to no avail only to find the ones I have a sewn in tongue. They were £40 a couple of years ago when I first started. Coupled with a pair of bibtights with a double water resistant layer on the front means your not going to get a soaking. Damp maybe but some of that will be sweat according to how hard your working.
More when I’ve been out there and done a bit.

Turned out to be a good day. The bad weather didn’t affect us and it proved to be a fruitful day. We had the first puncture out by Deeside Industrial park  and the second was once we had dropped down the other side of the Halkyns.  It was a question of what to wear when I set out as it is easy to be over or under dressed at this time of year. Aldi BlackAdder kit again for me.

Link to Map of Ride

Two climbs on the way out had me near my max. We had another angry pensioner in the passenger seat shaking his fist at us while the driver was doing his best to see Peter also off the road. I’ve developed this feeling that there is a section of soceiety that sees One Foot in the Grave as a lifestyle rather than a comedy TV programme. We were doing about 20 mph having just got over the top of Halkyn Mountain. There was no call for it at the end of the day especially from someone of his age.
First stop was a tea and cakestop at Afon wen craft centr. We were all around one table as the rest of the place was reserved for Christmas lunches.
Next section of the ride had us ending up in Cilcain for a pubstop. We just about fitted in the place and Peters gloves didn’t end up on the fire either. Witches whatever it was went down well.
Once out the pub it was a quick descent to London Bridge and then a granny ring climb out of it. We went down some rough roads today and it was not a ride for your best bike. We even came back via the track to Shotwick which is always muddy at best. Another stop at the  Yacht for 5 of us and then off home in the fading light.

The lights got put to good use and I passed a group of Merseyside CTCers by the Missing Link. Used the full 15watts on Brimstage Road which is what I would consider one of the most dangerous section of road that I ride on.

Been a good week, got three rides in went the gym and got my ration on spinning classes in.

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