Weekending 04 May 08

Monday: Can’t believe it’s nearly May. Back into the routine. Morning spinning class at West Kirby where I had a really good go.

Max was 181 which I haven’t seen for a while while the average was 159. Gym after the class to do some weights and 0.5 km run but started getting bored.
Evening spinning class but my max felt like the average in the morning.

Tuesday: Booked in for the morning spinning class and in the evening it is Northend club 7 mile TT. Got Barry 27 seconds behind me for the last one and Chicago 16 seconds in front of me.
Spinning class, steadyish. Back down to 84 Kg so it is working.
Changed to the carbon wheels for the time trial and checked the pressures in the tubs. Showers just before the off and the wind is not in anybodies favour.
Speaking to Alan at the start he reckoned I’d be on tri bars next. Andy reckons they make a big difference too.
First time in club kit too. The big ring problem reared it’s head on the line as when I backpedalled it shifted to the middle ring and I had to ease off to get it to shift. No excuses I was 30 seconds down on my first time. Dave Large was my minute man and it took a good 7 miles to catch him. I drew along side him in the final 200 metres or so but didn’t have it in me to cleanly pass him. I get pipped for the line but made a few mistakes on the ride. Not getting on the drops was one of them and daring to touch the brakes was another. Barry beats me by 20 seconds so has had a storming ride.
I’ve moved up to third in the club handicap competition but don’t ask me how it is worked out as I haven’t a clue. All I’m interested in is setting a good time.
Rugby club for a pint and a chat after the event then ride home. Max heart rate was 186 bpm so I was having a real good go.
Another one next Tuesday. Chicago has a pint ordering tale in the Thatch (Raby)that takes some beating. Rode back with Chicago ant parted at Thorton Hough.

Wednesday: Ride day. Rode out to the Eureka for breakfast. Three rides for the Northenders and I ended up going out with 7 others and ending up at the cafe/delicatessen at Holt. The route out was via the Dee cyclepath, Saltney footbridge, Higher Kinnerton. Cafe is well worth a stop if there aren’t too many of you.
Nice easy ride back to the Eureka with the wind behind us. The wind direction reversed during the course of the day and I was back into it on leaving the cafe for home.
At the Eureka I spoke to Keith Boardman ” Thats what I need ” pointing to an Orbea Orca time trial bike. Then he tells me about the Chris Boardman bike that’s in Pro Cycling this month. £2,800 with Zipp wheels. The frame alone is listed at £2,499.
If logic went out the window I’d have one, but as I’ve only two times on record I’m still playing at it. The other week I lost a minute to a guy with a £175 frame  so it is not about the bike.
Spinning class at West Kirby preceded with a short session in the gym.
Spinning class was half full due to lots cancelling. I couldn’t get a place at 3 o’clock.
Must have been the football. Margaret took the class and it was good, intervals and pyramiding on some of the routines followed by a good stretching routine to music.
15 minutes in the gym beforehand spent hopping on machines that wern’t being used as chairs. Shower, home. Tried to keep abreast of the football during the evening as I work with a mob that can talk for days about a match.
A good day.
Thursday: Work. Called in at Aldi to get some bibshorts. Picked up a pair of glasses with 3 lenses and case for £2.99. Trackmitts too. I’m a medium size now but the bibshorts are not for me as the elastic on the leg is too loose. Pity about the sizing as they have everything else going for them.  Voted, blogged and sat down to read the comic.
Friday:Work. Took the Aldi Bibshorts back for a refund, went to Tesco’s for ProCycling mag to no avail and that was the day done. Just got my start position for Tuesdays time trial, 3rd.
Saturday: Work. Sort out the shifting on the Trek on the turbo trainer from scratch this time. Discovered there has been an update to TrainingCentre so spent the evening installing that instead. Not without problems but sorted in the end.
Plotted the 7 Mile TT as a course in TrainingCentre and added CoursePoints at junctions and straights. There is not the same 100 point limit on CoursePoints and with a decent map in TrainingCentre you should be able to plot a Course and have the CoursePoints announce the turns.
Sunday: Work. Came home to sort the Toy out for Tuesday. A tweek here and there turned out to be a two hour to and fro between the granny and big ring. Sorted a few other niggles at the same time. The magnet clipping the cadence sensor was one of them. The rear mech fore aft ajustment was another, it may not be 100% but it’s a vast improvement.  I now know why I started off in the middle ring on Tuesday. Back pedalling half a turn in 52×25 throws you into 39×25 as the chain threads itself off the big ring. Hopefully sorted.
Not a bad week, should do more in the gym next week as the four days in work really mess things up.

Early Season 75 Mile Tourist Trial

Started off a bit of a mixed day, the rain meant a change of bike and shoes at the last minute. I wasn’t going to make a half eight start but as it turned out Ray had a 9 o’clock start planned.  I’m 3 Kg up on what I was last year and that didn’t help.
Having all that data is a double edged sword when it’s not in your favour.
No parking in the field this year due to the rain.


Don’t know who are in the first picture but the second is Carol Boardman leading the Northend out and I can make out Peter in the third who they managed to loose at some stage. Our group took shelter in a bus stop while Ray was sorting his Garmin out. Ray throttled me (in jest)in the Memorial Centre for making comments about his routes. Well I’m riding Rays Route on the 705 so we don’t come to blows on the ride.
There is a section around the tin church where we differed.

Well we have to wait long before we had our  first and only stop on the ride. Ray picked up a puncture on Lower Mountain Road.


First two pictures are of Roy and Joan who from what I can gather picked up a puncture  before the first control. It’s a steady pace and and as we started late we don’t see any riders for what seems a long time. I forgot to mention the chap with a crushed wheel we passed going back just before Ray had his puncture. It looked bad.

Things are fairly steady and we get to the point where Ray’s route has us turning off route to regain it further on. Whereas the sheet has us going down to Bronwlfa Ray has us climbing. It gets really steep grannyring stuff and I say ” Bloody hell Ray, where have you got us going” only for Martin to chirp back “That’s what I was thinking”. 744 to 980 ft the elevation change. Steep descent and we are back on track.

Only to be faced with another steep climb  well what goes up comes down and the first stop comes up in Church Street Penycae. The church that gives the street it’s name looks nice.

The sun comes out and it is a lot brighter with the roads starting to dry out. Checked into the control and as we are at the back of the ride there are no queues.
more later.


First picture is of the Iceni on the wall, what I didn’t realise was the village post office was here. Next shot is Ray and Joan who has passed us earlier and don’t look too pleased. We’ve been in the control 30 minutes so they have lost a bunch of time.

The next section of the ride is really nice. No waterproofs and  it all hangs together until just after Ruabon. Never been through Ruabon strange as it may seem and we wait for Chris. Ray is naughty and jumps a car giving way to oncoming traffic on a narrow bridge. 

Going out of Ruabon we see another group of riders coming back down the dual carriage way having missed the turn. It’s a fairly fast pace to the roundabout at Sontley where Ray tucks in the Aldi Jacket that was falling out of the back pocket. Once regrouped I lead off looking back after a while to see I was off the front. Easing up a  group of the Sunlight with JJ on the front pass with Chris and Martin on the back so I grab a wheel.

Further on I looked back and Chris and Martin were gone. Then there is a climb at speed that I should be doing more of. It splits the group up a bit and you get to see who is strong. Next thing I’m off the front as they regroup. The next section was really good and I clawed back a lot of time riding the muddy lanes at a fast pace. The 705 and Ray,s Route came into it’s own here as there was no need to stop at the junctions to look at the route sheet. I passed a few on the lanes including a group where one says make way for Lance.

I passed a couple riding at a decent pace only to be re passed when I stopped to put on the Aldi Hiviz Jacket when the rain came again. The next control came up and it was full with the Northend and Liverpool Mercury making up most of them.
Scones and cake were excellent and came from Costco.

I had planned to ride back with the Northend but Carol said we are only going slow why not grab a wheel on the back of Liverpool Mercury they are a fast bunch, “Give them hell” were her parting words. Out of the Control they had formed two groups and were not organised so I rode up to the front group who slowed up so I went through. With 25 miles to go they are bound to catch up.

Up ahead was another rider pressing on who I now know as Dennis. I caught and passed Dennis but then made a wrong turn just before the war memorial so had to retrace slightly. I must had slowed as Dennis joins me and asks if I’m on the ride. He’s got the same idea as me, just waiting for the inevitable and the Liverpool Mercury to pass us.

Surprisingly it doesn’t happen and we turn up at the finish to find only two bikes there. I get a finish time of 15:39 and seven minutes later Liverpool Mercury arrive.

Next in is JJ and the Sunlight. Some 40 minutes later Ray Janet Chris and Martin arrive.
Carol and the Northend turn up later having missed a turn and headed to Malpas.
Saw jon at the finish he was first back. Last year he rode out to the event and back home which was 140 miles. I’ve just had a look at last years ride and everybody was in shorts. Glad I braved the weather, made the right choice switching to the Iceni at the last moment. Chester and NorthWales CTC took the team trophy for the most riders on what would have been a long day for some.

There was some discussion at the end about the Dave Lloyd Mega challenge this being roughly half that distance and with only two climbs of note. It would be a long long hard day and I’m probably not up to it. But you never know.

Weekending 27 Apr 08

Monday: Mot’d the Scenic but delayed due to telephone system being out of action.
Had planned to ride the Brimstage TT as a course but managed to loose it in the TrainingCentre. No backup either and GarminConnect is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Tried to set a time before off out spinning but traffic is too much at this time of day. First time out in the shorts this year.
Spinning at West Kirby. Not a bad class with new music promised for tommorow.
Start to redo Sundays ride.
Tuesday: Picked up the bushes for the Polo and watched Brian struggle for 5 hours fitting them. He has it down as a job you only do once. 
Spinning at Europa Pools. Twas a hot class and although I wasn’t going for it I was sweating buckets. Half empty as everybody is watching the match.
Re doing Sundays ride in Marengo with Anquet as the OS map. 75 MILES IN 63 POINTS UP TO NOW. There a couple of places where I could use the extra waypoints as course markers now I have the complete basic route.
There is some nice property on this ride I had to google Vicarage road as it didn’t feature in Google maps but did in 192.com.
Just about got a route sorted. Will publish it once it is sorted.
Wednesday:  Work. I’ll publish the route once I can remember my Marengo login. Will take the Trek out for a spin as the front mech needs sorting. Adjusted the front mech so at least it will go onto the big ring. Then did the race of truth or at least up to the Seven Stars pity I didn’t have the Edge on. Aim to do it again before Tuesday.
Work. Weather looks a bit mixed for Sunday.
Saturday:  Work. Up early, sorted out a few things  and came across a few problems in Mapsource and TrainingCentre. After work sorted out the Toy for the ride. Tipped the house upside down looking for the multitool on to find it in the saddlebag on the Colnago. Pumped the tyres up and then struggled to get the Cateye light bracket off the bars. Toying with the idea of running the 305 and 705 in tandem. One running a Route and one running a Course. Running Rays Route tommorow.
Sunday: Early Season Tourist Trial from Pennyfford.


May have another play with the route as I’ve spare waypoints to play with.


Weekending 20Apr08

Monday: Missed morning spinning class so it was time to sort the bikes out. The Colnago Carbitubo is going to get an airing seeing as the weather is nice.
Fitted a Garmin mount to it so I’m off out.
Did 40 miles around Wirral. Logged on 705
Spinning class and gym at West Kirby then home and watched The Science of Lance Armstrong.
\ Wirral LoopCafe stop at Ness Gardens and another at West Kirby. Morrisons for an afternoon tea at £2.09, great value.  Got asked again if I was on the Egg run. Egg run is for bikers not cyclists. I’ve done the Egg run and it’s about a donation now as there aren’t enough kids there to eat all that chocolate.
Colnago was great, very relaxed riding position as it is a frame size too large for me.
The bars are higher than the seat  so it is  a significant change in position.
A Trek Madone it’s not but it’s nice to ride, it’s not stiff at the bottom bracket in fact I would call it flexy. It’s a retro carbon fibre bike and was great for this type of ride. No pressure, ride into the wind as it is going to be behind you on the final leg.
Tuesday: Work. But 7 mile Brimstage TT.  20 turned up and it’s literally right on the doorstep. ChicagoDave turned up on yet another different bike, Barry turned up on his new Trek Madone. When I say new it still had the cellophane on the bars as he only picked it up at 5 o’clock. Andy turned up because he read the blog.
I was starting 17 th and managed to pin number 18s number on upside down reading a large entry 81. He repaid me by taking a minute out me passing me by the first roundabout. He was on an Iceni the same as my winterbike but with tribars on it, so it’s not about the bike.
I ended up 10 seconds slower than Saturday’s trial run probably due to the lack of a tailwind.
7mileTT15Apr.JPG\The chart says I was 4 mph faster up to the Clegg but way slower along the Chester High Road. The Chester High Road is big ring territory and I’ve yet to perfect my technique at these. Most of it is remarkably consistent between the two runs but it’s so easy to loose time on time trialing. The climb by the Seven Stars is my bugbear, I’m down to about 15 mph. Thats the thing with operating at the limit, you’ve nothing more to give. At least I’ve got my first official time which is something. Pint in the Rugby club then home with Barry. 18 minutes and 51 seconds.
Wednesday:Work. Started to plan Early Season 75 on Mapsource and the routing part is great until you get to ” Proceed uphill again to junction by seat.” Time to get Tracklogs and Anquet out and Marengo too. MapSource just doesn’t have enough detail in it. 
Tursday:Work. It’s light until about 8:30 now so I may go out on the bike. Gym instead. Twas not to be, a spike on the grid took out just about all the services at work. Had to stay with Mike and Dave to sort it.
Friday:Work. Early dart for a spinning class at West Kirby. Barbara had dipped out so Margaret was taking the class. Now Margaret’s classes are very different to the other classes. Some of the routines are interval based which is different than the hill/sprint/hill routine of normal classes. That’s a crude analogy,but this class was more resistance based. The numbers say I didn’t work as hard but that is subjective. Margaret’s stretching routine should be a guideline to all instructors. They  are brilliant, not rushed and for a decent length. I noticed an immediate difference. The leg on the handlebar stretch was bloody hard using Margaret’s method. Times for these stretches  are double or triple what I normally do.
I really like rides with a cafe stop and always will. Can’t see the point of into riding into Wildest Wales and not stopping at a Cafe or shop. No wonder so many of these businesses fold passing trade just rides by.
Things change by the hour. No ride today.Not a bad  day,trouble comes  in three,s  and I’m only up to two.
Sunday: Jack day. Spinning class at West Kirby as I haven’t been able to get a ride in.
Have a knocking noise on the Polo when going over bumps after a few google searches and watching a video on a bush removal tool the bushes on the suspension arm are shot.

Weekending 13 Apr 08

Monday: Work. Edit blog, update 705  entries and 20 pressups before I called it a day. Pretty poor day by my reckoning.
Tuesday: Much like Monday. Starting to think about doing the Brimstage 7 Mile TT after work as the nights are light enough,just. First Northend one is next Tuesday.
Wednednesday: Work. Off out to see Jan Akkerman at Pacific Road.R&R day. A good night out.
Thursday: Work followed by the NorthEnd monthly meeting. Signed up for the Time Trial series so it looks like I am commited to do it. I’m last away at the moment and don’t yet have a handicap. Bought the TT handbook to see what’s what.
Friday: Minimum is a spinning class, maybe a ride. Need to get another time for the 7mile TT too. Plenty on. As it turned out I didn’t get out for a ride, spent the morning taking 6mm off 2 fire doors (boy are they heavy) cleaned the Toy. Sorted out the carbon wheels for the Time Trial on Tuesday. Put  City Navigator V6 on the 705. Gym at West Kirby, weights and a 2km row in 8:20. Spinning class that I managed to get on.
Right from the start this was going to be a tough class.

The first 10 minutes were the row in the gym. Now I spent a solid 30 minutes in Zone 4 and a good nine minutes in Zone 5. Thought we had done the final sprint when I took it up to 181 bpm only for Barbara to put Crank That by SoulJa boy on. Had another go but I’d put everything in the other sprint. Felt good after it.
Still haven’t read Cycling Weekly yet.
Saturday: No planned or club rides in the morning. Brimstage 7 miler come what may.
Fitted the Carbon Wheels  to the Toy and removed the saddlebag for this one. I was mucking around with Mapsourse and had to revert to Marrengo to move the Finnish 40ft.

I’m going to have to pull my finger out on Tuesday to better this time. 18 minutes 42 seconds for my second attempt. About 1 minute 15 seconds up on last week. No doubt helped by the tailwind on the Chester High Road. Average 22.9 mph. With the average heartrate at 165 BPM this tells me I’m just about flat out. More later.
Sunday: Chester Zoo with Jack. A great day. Saw Rays CTC ride going down Backford Hill towards Church Lane.

Got back in time to watch Boonen win Paris-Roubaix and went to West Kirby for a Spinning class. Had a good go getting the Heartate up to 175 BPM.
Not a bad week would have liked some more riding but you can’t have it all ways.
Feel in good shape, regular spinning classes keep me in the picture.

705 is not as straight forward as I reckoned. It’s eating into time that I don’t have at the moment. Again if you want maps factor it in to the overall cost. If you don’t need a map buy an Edge 305. 

Post on Garmin Mapsource pending once I’ve sorted out the Edge 705.

Final post is about Carbon fibre wheels. These are tubs so if you get a puncture  you are in deep shit. Only used these once before in the TLI Roadrace series. These are not expensive wheels by any standard but even the likes of I could feel the difference. 
They spin up better than anything  else I ride on.
Just pratting around they felt good. 7-9 Bar are the tyre pressures. Whatever the time is on Tuesday it’ll still stand.

Hawkstone 200 Audax.

What a day this turned out to be.
It didn’t start out too well as I had an email from Ray about not starting if there was snow on the ground. An inch and a bit later had me heading out to the start. M56 was closed around Daresbury luckily the Garmin Nuvi 250W had the rerouting in hand.
It took a bit of forcing mind you as it wanted to send me back to where I came off.

With this delay time was tight but it did get me there in the nick of time. Phil was there and that was about it. Others were setting off but not on the route but down the A50.
Now with no routesheet or map Phil and I opt to follow the Garmins but take it steady on the lanes. We haven’t much other choice.

64 had entered but only 32 rode. That would explain why we saw very few riders on the ride, 10 to 12 tops. Seamons I think had a chain gang down the A50 as when we reached one of the controls we were told a group had come through nearly an hour before us.

Following the proper route from the start the roads were clear with no ice to speak of. Jodrell Bank came into view so I stopped to take a picture. One of the few on the ride. Very few of us rode the full route.

Jodrell Bank in the snowDSCF3960.jpgDSCF3962.jpg Moi

I really like the Jodrell Bank picture  as we were riding for a fair few hours  through similar scenery. The snow didn’t dissapear until later. The next two pictures are of Phil closing on one of the few groups we saw on the road. In the morning everwhere looked like a Christmas card and it was really pleasant riding.

Once your seperated music starts coming into the equation, I had spinning class music bouncing around my head. Soulja Boy CrankThat, google it. I had thought ” This is a nice easy ride” only to find we had only done 20 miles. Only 105 to go.

Next stop is the “Red Rooster Cafe” another control point. Well worth a visit in IronBridge. Not a big place but well worth it if you can get a place. I had egg and baccon baguette. This was the halfway point and I needed filling up.


A minute after taking the picture of the IronBridge there was a snow flurry a minute later sunshine. The next section takes up back around Upton Magna and it’s the first time Phil has seen the power station on the outskirts of IronBridge. It just looks so out of place.

There is another control point at Wroxeter  which required a trip to the visitor centre. This was livened up by sheep escaping onto the road by the farmer who hadn’t shut the gate.

I’ve got this saying “All roads lead to Wem” because for some reason they do. Every roadsign you seem to come across always seemed to have the same distance on it. The road to Wem is fairly open and the wind is starting to pick up.

Phil stopped at a cash machine here and then it was what seemed one of those straight roman roads to Prees Heath and the control at the Raven Cafe. A place that even welcomes bikers never mind cyclists. We were too late as it was closed so it was off to the garage to get a receipt instead.

After the stop it was a case of finding the non existant footbridge, Phil and I headed off to the roundabout looking for it even though the Garmins were pointing the other way. Then we saw a group of three riders going down a lane we hadn’t seen across the dual carriageway. It was a case of lifting the bike over the Armco to get to the other side.

Conditions slowly got a steadily worse but we had got on the back of the group of three. Then things took a turn for the worse, snow flurries.The overtrousers went on for the rest of the ride. It was really grim at times but it is not as if if you can call it quits when things get a bit tough. Then it let off a bit.

Crossing BoothLane at Middlewich Phil couldn’t get across the road and we split with the other group is sight of the finish. Not the end of the world but we came to a T junction at Jones’s Lane and Brereton Lane where so bright spark had reversed the Holmes Chapel sign. On the map it looks an insignificant juntion and with no waypoint on it and a 50/50 decision the tampered signswayed it. Right instead of left. It proved to be a bad move. Heading over the M6 instead of under it we had a couple of mile detour. Then had to endure a trip down an A road in driving rain with lorries going past at 60 mph.

Got to the finish about 15 minutes later than planned. There was some really good soup waiting for us at the finish, and a coal fire. Could have stayed there all night. 125 miles in 10 1/4 hours. Glad to have done it, it was 50/50 at the start but turned out OK. I mention to people that I went out for a ride at the weekend and the usual reply is how far did you go?. 125 miles, most don’t want to drive that far never mind spend over 10 hours in the saddle.


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