Weekending 05 July 09

Monday: Ride day 82 miles up Moel Y Parc which I ‘d like to show you but it’s stuck in the 705. Version 2.80 software upgrade has been a complete waste of time. Scorcher of a day, no pictures.
Tuesday: Wasted 2 hours with 2.80. went for a Spinning class then wasted more time on 2.80 .
DELETED yesterdays ride AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH. Going back to 2.60.
Found I had no History Folder so the rides would not upload as they were in memory somewhere and not the folder. Contacted Garmin support after I’d made a new history folder and lo and behold it worked. Went for a drive to Eureka Sports to give it a try and it was fine. Unit is still 2.80 as I couldn’t get the 2.6 downgrade to work.
Time to head out for tonights 10.
What a day this turned out to be, finally got the 705 sorted which was just as well as it was eating me up with the Etape coming up. Mondays ride data that was lost had me doubting I would be up to the challenge. It would be borderline the way went on Monday where the idea was to see how I went up comparable gradients.
Bottom line is 6.6-6.9 mph up an 8% gradient, a good 2 hours on the Ventoux IF I make the cuttoff.
Northend 10 from Pulford, cutting straight to it 25minutes 5 seconds which is a PB by 1 second.
Can’t seem to crack that 25 minute gold standard but it does seem to confirm that I’ve platauxed.
What’s missing these days is the amount of riding I do.
What has set the alarm bells ringing is having to get off and walk last month on the Aquaduct Challenge. Ok it was 20% and was at 100 miles but I just wasn’t up to it.

So I’m no better or worse than I was last year.  Which is comforting in some way.
Wednesday:  Work, only four days then I’m off for the rest of the month. Some big rides to fit in.
Had a look at Motionbased reply and I could have saved my Monday ride by saving it as a Course. If only I hadn’t done a Hard Reset.
Booked a ticket for the last day of the UCI world track championship at Manchester.
Thursday: Work. Been reading up on the Etape tips, one of them is not to start at the back. Not knowing if I had an entry I did a search on the Etape site. Guess what number I am: 8480 out of 8500.
This set the alarm bells ringing, with me just in front of the broom wagon never mind making the fixed cuttoffs in checkpoints.
Going to have to get some similar length and gradient climbs no matter what. Monday was too steep in places so nothing over 10%.
Slipped 2 places down the TT Handicap league with the women giving me a good hiding.

Lot of conflict coming up Sunday, should I do Liverpool Chester Liverpool, an Etape training ride or play with the grandson and watch the Tour.
Fan that I bought Monday is way too loud, It’s like a turboprop on takeoff. Going back asap.
Friday: Work. Measured the bikebag up and it’s Ok. Downloaded the route off BikeHike.
Saturday: Work. Last day for the rest of the month. Would have liked to have seen the Prologue today  but bigger things are coming up. Planning an early start in the morning whether it is a park and ride or a straightride out into Wales again.
Offical entry for theEtape came through.
Sunday: Rode out to the Eureka via Parkgate after getting directed by one of the marshalls on the Liverpool Chester Liverpool ride. Turned off before the next marshall came up.
Only Peter there but we were soon joined by Vicky. Dave Large got caught up in the ride telling of how the marshalls were sending them through red lights.
Ended up going out with Tempo’s group to the fisheries. Got dropped on a few of the climbs around Cilcain but they were steep. Got caught in a shower and took a picture of the Northend hiding in a bus shelter.
This was the point where a few dropped off the ride. Namely Newby ,Vicky, Andy, Tim and AN Other.

Service at the fisheries was slow with such a large group coming enmase. A couple gave up after we had ordered. It is nice but having such a long break means  that other options on the ride back are a bit limited.

Managed to stay with the group on the way back (must have been the pancake). Set off the speed camera,s at (god knows where) with the group flashing through at 36 mph.  At least four flashes.

Eureka had all the usual groups finishing there, Leisure, CTC, Club and solo groups. Grabbed a wheel off Allans group after having a look at Steve Cummings bike on the rail.
63 miles.

Weekending 28 Jun 09

Monday: Spinning class then the gym. Had a good go. A good 500+ calories worth. 180 watts on the stationary bike in the gym gave me the idea of setting up the Tacx for the Ventoux ride on the new PC.
Now for where it went wrong. New computer upgrade did not go to plan. spent at least 4-5 hrs of riding time pratting about with keyboard. Upgrades galor and I’m still no nearer getting on the bike.
Tuesday: Work, home early, sorted the Tacx out in a few minutes. Northend 14 mile TT tonight. Weather doesn’t look too hot with heavy showers forecast. Tour Series is at Chester tonight so it’s a low turnout.
The heavens opened as I was taking to the line, Barry went off 10 seconds late. Sunglasses in this weather wasn’t a good idea. I couldn’t see anything.
The carbon fibre Nike shoes with vents in the bottom had water coming in the vents,  the bridge at Aldford which should be flat out had me wary of the grid on the apex of the bend.

Andy Walsh passed me at Farndon so he has put 2 minutes into me and effortlessly pulls away. To be club champ he has to win all the remaining events.
Fibrax 10 is running at the same time and John Lyth comes unstuck with them. He’s on a flyer beating me this week and has a good decade on me. 
38 Minutes 44 seconds so I’m 36 seconds slower this time. Surprised it wasn’t more.
Wednesday: Work. Still struggling with the 705 history upload. Saturdays ride and yesterdays time trial don’t want to upload.
Thursday: Work
Friday: Work. Northend Time Trial League results came through with me leading the handicap league.
Mainly down to doing all the events and doing events with  low turnout thus increasing my points. 
Saturday: Work. Problems with Scenic got me home early and I know all about window regulators now.

Weekending 21 June 09

Monday: Work.
Tuesday: Work, team building day at Daresbury. Team came 3rd in the afternoon game which was hard to master. No TT and I missed the TLI Oulton Park race.
Wednesday: Work. Tour Series on ITV4 when I got home.
Thursday: Work. Got knocked back on my redundancy application.
Friday: Work, overtime. Spinning class at West Kirby, shower, home to watch the end of the Tour Series. It’s at Chester next Tuesday. I’m doing the Northend 14 TT starting 13th again. Think this is my seventh of the series with the best six counting.
Saturday: Waited in for Parcelforce who didn’t turn up. Rode out to the Eureka which was empty as everybody had been and gone. Keith was closing up Eureka Sports for the Triathlon Exhibition.
Along the Dee to Chester, called in at the Bike Factory and had a look at the £10,000 Pinarello with electronic Dura-Ace groupset. The front works very well, which it should do for the price of it. Home via the missing link. 40 miles.
Sunday: Jack day. No ride, less than a month away from the big day, I need to get my act together.

Weekending 14 Jun 09

Monday: Work.
Tuesday: Work. Northend Club 10 from Pulford. 25 minutes 36 seconds for this one which was my first 10 of the year. The elusive sub 25 minute 10 still evades me. Still fairly happy, especially when you look at the age of other starters. No Janet this week but I’ve got Vicky hot on my tail, the gap is down to 6 seconds over 10 miles. Put it into perspective, she has no fancy wheels no aero helmet, no garmin on the bars. She just turns up and rides. Barry did 22min 58 seconds.
Talk was of the club weekend which was wet, hard, and a bit of a leg breaker.
Wednesday: Work. Last day and a bit of a conflict. No Lifestyle and weight management class.
Thursday: Spinning class then the gym. Watched the Dauphine Libere go up the Ventoux. Went and watched the Tour Series at Southport. Chester next week clashes with the Northend 10. Great racing.
Tour Series Southport

Halfords Bikehut Warming up


Friday: 28.28 miles  around the Wirral.
Saturday: Steve Cummings training ride, my first of the year. 63 miles.
Sunday: Jack day, a trip to Llangollen again. Email has been playing up so have noticed that I had a few comments in backlog. 84.5 Kg for the last two days so I’m slowly getting back to my fighting weight. All the less to lug up the Ventoux.

Aquaduct Challenge 2009

Previously ran as an Audax but now a challenge ride Stans Aquaduct Challenge ride ticks all the Hilly boxes.
I’d rode this event as an Audax last year along with 30 others last year. As a challenge ride it had 109 entries from far and wide, the only difference signs and timing to the second on a challenge, a brevet card on an Audax. More navigation skills are required on an audax but it’s exactly the same ride.

The car park at Trevor slowly filled up as the ride start approached, with it dawning on me that I didn’t know where the start was.

I took some other pictures with the Aquaduct in the background but the sunlight made the lane look gloomy.

 At 8 o’clock Stan sets us off have scanned the bar code on the riding number with his bar code scanner.


The start is just up the road from the River Dee under the shadow of the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct.


Phil from Chester Road Club stuck by me to the end.

The first test comes straight after starting, Methodist hill.  Marshalled across the A5 and you’d better be in a low gear  as it’s straight up. A husband and wife team had to walk near the top  as you can see in the picture.

This is the flat bit after the initial climb as it rounds a bend an heads up under the trees on an equally steep ascent. Once out of the trees there is another turn and an ascent but it is a bit more open.


Once your up on the ridge you  get the benefit of great views on both  valleies.
The chap above punctured near the descent to Vivod  but passed us as I stopped for Phil.




You’re now overlooking the Llangollen Valley at the end of the ride you should be ridding across the other side of it.




 The above is descending the Nant y Garth pass , the old one. Spectacular views if you have the time. Out of sequence with the later pictures. Road surface bad under the trees.



Phil picked up a puncture on the Vivod descent which is steep and rough in places. He was using lightweight tubes and it seemed to be a concussion puncture. A fair bit of the field passed us here but the sunlight through the trees was tricky  for a lot of the shots.


I don’t profess to be a photographer  but I like the above. Someone enjoying their ride.



We where probably about 100 metres from the A5.  Next up was the  Horseshoe Pass with the  Old Shoe if you wanted a bit of extra punishment. Got  passed by a fair few here so the form is not great.



This is the first control and feedstation. A bit further on from Ruthin and I was asked if this was the  Cloecaenog climb which was only paritially true as the first control was at Bontuchel.

On the climb from Cloecaenog and the service station the Liverpool Mercury passed us and gave us a wheel which proved to be shortlived.

A wheel of this size whould have been welcomed but as it termed out they where not doing the full ride and opted to turn off at the Llyn Brenig junction.
Don’t for one instance think things were easy in the Liverpool Century ride, come the hills they were suffering just as I and Phil where. If not worse. For whatevrer reason they took a different route to a cafe at the junction , even calling back a rider half way up the hill….?

Pity as they would have been a good group to latch on to.


This picture of Llyn Brenig has the windmills in the background, if you’ve rode up the clocaenog valley you’ll have seen them at close hand.  A bit further on was a North Wales Police officer with a speed camera waiting to catch speeding bikers on a twisty bit of Snowdonia.

Not too many pictures now until the end, after this shot I found that gear and rythem that I like and made up some ground on those ahead.  Climbed past the Sportmans and then it was a rollercoaster of a ride with a new Max of 42.1 mph.


There was a relentless climb from Yberts Isfan that was also compounded by a lot of holiday traffic including a fair few caravans on a road with passing places. They only seem to turn around and pass us again,  it must be those damn satnavs.

No sheep problems this year, only problem that this year the cafe was shut due to a water pump problem.

This was a bit of a blow but worse was to come, a bit further up the road Phil had another puncture, this time self inflicted as he had managed to kick the valve out of the tube. He had had a rear mech problem but was unlucky this time.

There was another stop on the run to Bala that was welcome, with most of the climbing done it was time to have a bit of fun on the descents and see if you could maintain the momentum up the other side.

The road out of Bala seemed longer than I remembered it but onve you’ve reached the turn off it’s fairly flat back to Corwen. The route takes the Old Coach road back to Llangollen which is by no means flat.  We had a run in with a black 4×4 driver on one of the descents with him passing comments to us.

I’d had my eye on the time and had thought about a 5 o’clock finish.
We also came across a guy on a cheap mountain bike holding a pedal wanting some advice.

Past the motor museum we saw the red route to the Panorama, glad I didn’t tackle it in light of what happened next. We crossed the canal to climb up to Panorama Walk. I’d stoped at the bottom of the 12% bit to let traffic past and then had a go at it. I had a good go and then blew up for the first time.
This was with the Ventoux to climb in the back of my mind.

I stopped had my last gel and started walking, this is a first. I walked up a stretch that was 19% and then got on the bike and rode up to the turn at Panorama walk. It was an expensive walk, £15 for a pair of Keo cleats and 20 odd minutes of precious time.


Two guys at the junction were also waiting for a walking rider and a bit further on Phil was waiting for me.The above picture was the view.




This was taken up by The Panorama near the end of the ride with only a short hill to go.

This is it the final climb of the day with Phil in the foreground and two riders just about to go over the top.
From then on it was a fast downhill ride to the finish, I found my second wind in knowing it was do-able in under 9 hours 30 minutes. Had a flyer across the bridge and up to the finish. 9hrs 24 minutes 59 seconds.

Mistakes, not enough water and too much electrolyte in the bottles. Not enough solids to eat during the ride. Took too many pictures, stopped for Phil twice, granted he stopped for me when I needed it.

Factor 50 and Sudocrem won out at the end of the day.

Nice tea and a piece of cake for £1 at the end of the ride.
Oh forgot to mention Dave Llyod of Mega Challenge and a lot more besides, got lost , had a mechanical or something else failed to finish.

Weekending 07 June 09

Monday: Work.  One mistake I made on yesterdays ride was to remove my sunglasses for the final climb around Panorama. I suffer from hayfever around this time of year and I’d been alright until the end.I was in a bad way by the time I got home, that along with a chest infection meant I’d really slowed up near the end. Other than that I felt fine Monday, no aches so to speak of  and only a bit of sunburn on parts that hadn’t had factor 50 on them.
Tuesday: Work, Need to get the bike out of the car as it is ride day tommorow.
Found the camera so will start on the Aquaduct ride write up.
Wednesday: Stan posted the finishing times for the Aquaduct Challenge. I spent a bit of time seeing where I lost time. Phils punctures took about 25 minutes maybe but it took over 20 minutes to get from the canal to Panorama Walk as I had to stop for a gel and walked up the two steepest bits. Wrecked a pair of cleats in the process.
Eureka and back for a sandwich, Dave was leaving as I arrived.  A chap that I met on the start line of the TLI Oulton Park roadraces came across and introduced himself, he was recovering from a broken back then and is now back on the bike after a broken femur,(ouch). 16 miles via the missing link.
Munchman flapjacks are back in stock at the Eureka so I got a couple for the rides. I could have done with these on Sunday rather than just the gels.
Thursday: Sort the house out day, missing out on great riding weather. Hot spinning class at West Kirby, shower and home. Much the same tommorow, got to be done. Saturday is ride day this block.
Friday: Another sort the house out day. No gym , no spin.
Saturday: Rode to an empty Eureka in the rain. What a weekend for a Northenend club weekend. Rode home in the rain. Pissed down all day, went to Chester and came home with nowt.16 miles at best. Will cycle another time. Blog and little else.
Sunday: Work.


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