Weekending 28 Mar 2010

Monday: Work
Tuesday: Work
Wednesday:Work
Thursday: Work
Friday: Took a trip out to Chester to look at bikes, wheels. Found out you can’t get a spare set of cadence magnets from Garmin.  Will have to try a Cateye one for the crank.
Saturday:  Watched the track cycling on Eurosport when I should have been out riding. Sorted out Facebook profile, I’ve added a new game only profile to stop everybody getting bombarded with Mafia Wars, FarmVille and Cafe World messages. The Toy is going to get it’s first airing on the Spring 50 Tourist Trial.  The turbo tyre was taken off and the Conti put back on. A quick spin up the close had me thinking this is good and how am I going to better this.
Fridays trip to the Bike Factory  had me looking at a £2700 bike with a 105 groupset on it. The more I looked the more it became apparent  that manufacturers are slipping cheaper components into what should be topend bikes.
I should have stuck in some more miles on the Toy as the shifting was suspect on the ride Sunday.
Plotted the Course in BikeHike which is handy as it has an OS map window as well as the Google map plotting window.
Sunday: Ride day. It’s a busy Sunday in the North West with the clocks going forward and a lot of events running. The Egg Run, Liverpool half marathon, Cheshire Cat sportive and the Spring 50 Tourist Trial from Higher Kinnerton.
There is a record entry of around 150 riders going off  in 10 minute intervals. I’m in the last group group 15 and it’s going to be hard to make up ground today.

Team Wallace and Grommit

Team Wallace and Grommit are in front of us and it’s going to hard to make up ground on these lads. Made our way to the start with The Northend and we were sent on our way. Well I would have if I had turned the Course on the 705 on, so I had a bit of ground to make up on what is possibly the worst part of the ride, the hill heading out of Kinnerton.

I’d caught up by the rail bridge and went off the front just after the dip and S bend.  Heartrate on this part of the Course went up to 184 BPM which is as good as 100%.It was then a case of putting it in the big ring and pressing on. Got caught by the lights at Straight mile so what turned out to be Allans group had a minute on me again on a fast part of the course.

Fast is 42 mph, a bit beforehand I’d been chasing down what turned out to be a chap on  a mountain bike.  At Gresford I catch sight of Allans group and finally close in on them on the climb before Borras Road. There are good views overlooking the Cheshire Plane here with Beeston Castle in the distance. 

Allan group didn’t give up and I ended up being lead out man for them on the straight stretch to Holt. The lights caught us on the bridge and we stayed together for a few miles. One of the guys was a strong rider who could power away from a junction eventually splitting the group around Tilston.

Eventually I came across the first control and there was a comment about my Etape number, which isn’t coming off by the way. The CTC do the Semaine Federal  and Margaret leaves her number on so has had similar comments. Allans group arrive as I leave and as there are 4 of them it’ll be a few minutes before they will get through the control. I’m starting to pass the odd group or two now, coming across Keith Boarmans NorthEnd group.

On the section into Overton there are already riders returning to Kinnerton.  In years past I’ve been one of the first through the doors at the stop. This year I’m greeted by a big queue for soup so decide to give it a miss.
I sit down with Trek Chris who is riding with Team Wallace and Grommit and finding the pace not what he’s used to after a winter layoff like most of us.
You need to get spanked once in a while to up the ante.

Leaving the hall it was a question of chasing down a group in the distance and latching on to one of the Chester groups.  It all went well until the first climb after a quick run into Bangor on Dee. Shifting problems meant the chain was jumping sprockets and they were gone in a flash.

I then hooked up with Allan Negus and the chap he was riding with. His Etrex Legend trying to route him off course and then reclculating for him.
The chap he was riding with then suffered front mech problems and in te end he had to turn back for him. So I’m back on my lonesome.

The run from Holt was a bit rough with a sidewind and a surface that I hate, tarred and chipped about 3 or 4 times that gives a harsh ride even on carbon. I pass another two guys at Rosset and the come up on a group on the final section around the Green.

Here Team Wallace and Grommit come by me, well at least Chris and Allan did the rest having been shelled off the back.  I tucked in as they made their was through about 8 to 10 riders.  Chris is setting a fast pace and I eventually had to drop off as I started to cramp up in one leg.

Not much else to say, I had to go 10 metres past the finish gate to get the Garmin Course to complete with it’s little melody which isn’t too bad seeing it was quickly planned the night before.

The stats. 49.71 miles, 3 hours 3 minutes, 16.3 mph average. Max speed 43.6 mph 1786 ft of climbing but who know these days with a faulty Edge 705.
Chatted to Team Wallace and Grommit at the finish with comments bouncing around about team discipline. Headed back to the Eureka at a slower pace and had a chat with the Northend group I’d left at the start.
  68 miles and it felt like it. Knew about it next day.

The shifting problems were a loose rear wheel and what looks like another worn wheel bearing.

See Stans comment about his Horseshoe Grimpeur, 2600 metres (not feet) of climbing.

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Weekending 21 Mar 2010

Monday:  Cleaned the car and then got it dirty again with a trip around Wales with lunch at Betws-y-Coed.  I’d filled up with 99 octane unleaded at £1.25 a litre
A nice chap in a Porshe flashed me about the mobile speed camera on Gods road the A4212 from Trawsfynydd to Bala. Washed car again.
Tuesday: Washed car again as it was streaked. Came to the conclusion that wash and wax in the same bottle are two incompatible products. Shopping trip to Chester, came back empty handed. Ended up polishing the car to remove the streaking. Found the Edge 305 which is going to get an outing tomorrow. Needed a charge but it does remind me how good a 705 is despite wanting to throw it as far as I can on a few occasions.
Wednesday: Ride day, coupled with the fact that Chester City Council are meeting with various people at the Eureka. It’s a turn up and pick a ride day for me but first I’ve got to sort out some Garmin altitude inconsistencies.  It starts at the end of the close,Edge 305 160 ft altitude, Edge 705 200 ft altitude.
Dave Newby passed me on the way out to the Eureka showing better form having lost a stone in the last 2 months.
The Garmin altitude saga continued with the 305 and 705 showing a difference of 1ft at the cafe, 129 and 130 ft.  I don’t know what’s going on with the 705 as it spikes up 300 ft during the ride but settles out at 22ft when riding along the River Dee which brings me around to the ride.
The cafe was packed with plenty of riders milling around outside come ride time.  I’d missed the CTC A group going to Tattenhall so set out on my own trying to catch Dave Newby heading towards Woodbank but it was not to be.

I’d put on the Garmin HRM strap but as it’s been sat in a drawer for a nearly a year it wasn’t working so a diversion to Maplin for a battery was put in place. The empty Borders store looks like it is going to be hard to fill with that section of the car park empty.
Then it was back on the ride heading out past Stanlow and turning off through Thornton le Moors. Climbing up Dunham Hill revealed that the closed Dunham Arms is reopening at the endof the month. Took a picture of it which I’ll post in due time.
I’d been on a wet ride here a couple of years ago and the food wasn’t bad.

Next stop was the Crazy Chamellion at  Manley Mere but it looked closed so I headed back out through Moulsworth and Ashton  passing Elvis,s and heading through Tarvin. Glad to get off the A54.
Passed to 50p shop which looked quite busy and headed towards Huxley the idea was to avoid the turn off for the Ice Cream Farm and head off to the bottom of Beeston Castle.

Pub stop was the Sportsman Arms in Tattenhall arriving in time to enter with Maurice who is still going but not as strong as he was at 77.  He likes his audio old style, speakers the size of a piece of furniture, been there seen it done it.  Quality seems to have suffered as the formats have changed over the years. Headed back via Chester and the Bike Factory where Dave asks if I’m interested in a Project One Trek. For the best part of £6K I’d want some flash wheels on it.
The Shack kit is due in next week if your into replica kit. The Astana kit now has Specialised logo’s on it as Contador is still with them but on Specialised bikes.
Dave did ask me if I was thinking of jumping ship.

Back via the bandstand on the Dee with a short trip onto the Wall as they are relaying the cobblestones.  Did a circuit of the racecourse and took to the Dee cycle path getting to the Eureka just after 4. Been riding around all day with the tune from last weeks Mastercrafts in my head but can’t seem to find out what it was. Home via the link, 66 miles.

Thursday: Rest day.  Sorted a few things out but basically had it down as a recovery day with another ride planned for Friday. Had a trip out to Cholmondley with the idea of riding out there and following NCR 45. The roads are bad by Cholmondley Castle gates but at least it is quiet.
Well that was the plan but a late call from my mum meant a trip to the DVLA  in Chester for Friday to tax the car not having had a logbook from Swansea.

Weekending 14 Mar 2010

Monday: Work
Tuesday: Work. Been their 11 years today.
Wednesday: Ride day, rode out to the Eureka just as the CTC were off out on a ride. Couldn’t risk starving myself again with a 2 hour wait. Spoke to Barry and Keith in the Eureka, Barry had been on a hilly ride on Sunday that included Worlds End and the Old Shoe with someone managing to snap a chain.  Keith and Barry mentioning they have stopped buying the Comic, Keith because he wants to see racers on the front cover and not staffers, Barry because it’s full of Sportive rides. Readership is stuck at about 29,000 up 2,000 in 2 years. 6900 follow them on Twitter which is free. Meanwhile 2,454,903 are following Lance Armstrong on Twitter so he must be doing something right.
The ride ended up being 32 miles with 2 stops a bike shops to check a few things out.
More Garmin altitude problems and not just me Lionel’s 705 is showing -345ft at the cafe. Yes you did read it right minus 345 ft below sea level.

Watched Paris Nice on Eurosport.

Thursday: Really busy at West Kirby, having trouble getting a parking space for the morning Spinning class. Half an hour in the gym then home to clean the bike.  Fitted Fibrax brake pads to the Iceni as the braking isn’t too hot. What has struck me is the steep rise in Shimmano components. Brake shoes were £7,then £8 now £10. Ultegra cassette was £35 now £65. Ultegra chain now £40. The Iceni chain goes in the ultrasonic bath for a clean and gets its last lube before I go over to wax .  The Mini had mudflaps on the front put on too. Should have had a ride today as the weather was good.  
Watched Paris Nice on Eurosport with Contador dropping everybody on the final climb.
Friday: 27 mile ride.
Margarets spinning class at West Kirby where the bikes have been oversold.
More later.

Weekending 07 Mar 2010

Monday: Work, last day only three off as I’m in Friday.
Tuesday: Morning spin class at West Kirby. Turned up for the first class and got a bike.  The bikes wern’t in the squash court so there was a bit of a delay.  It turns out I’m the only bloke in a class of twenty odd women. Barbara runs two classes on a Tuesday and both are popular, the creche helps. Not staying for the second class so have a session in the gym.  Saw Margaret in the gym more of which in a minute.

Aldi on the way home had me picking up some bits to clean the Mini with, along witha 49p mango. I still feel I’m getting ripped off by Tesco’s soft fruit prices although at least the is a sell by date on the packet.
Spent a couple of hours cleaning the Mini including the inside with a Dyson portable cleaner that has a battery life of about 10 minutes.

Evening spin class at The  Oval, only eight of us in the class when one of the women piped up about there being  a lot of men in the class for once.  One each quips Margaret. The chap next to me has his Assos kit on so is quite handy. Don’t stay for the second class as tomorrow is ride day.

Wednesday: The plan was to ride out to the Eureka and do a loop into Wales if there were no rides going that way. I’d grabed a wheel from the Hinderton Arms to Hadlow Road, felt guilty so did a turn on the front. Got into the Eureka before the rush and had a breakfast. Saw Nole from the Wednesday Section who said they were going to Kinnerton for what turned out to be the Presidents Memorial ride. Destination was The Swan which we’ve been to before.

Assembling outside the Eureka I see Mike who now has a nice new Hewitt which gets a once over later in the ride. We haven’t seen each other for a while and I was on Mikes first CTC ride a few years ago. He turned up on a £5 bike that from memory his brother had given him.  I don’t remember what broke on the first ride but I think the tubes were perished from it standing so long. By his own words someone took pity on him and gave him a £5.50 bike.

It’s a steady pace down to Woodbank where we have our first incident of the morning with a girl in a Mini trying to overtake all of us who are strung out, it is narrow after all. Get’s an uncharacteristic CTC finger after tooting the horn.
We cross the Dee at the rail bridge taking the cycle route through Queensferry and up Welllington Street, the top of which is a church which if you didn’t see the path at the last minute you’d be riding into.

The ride then turns into Shotton Lane which is about 8/9 % and starts to sort everybody out. He we have the village idiot (P559PUY) trying to force his clapped out uninsured Ford past us all. You wouldn’t drive on this lane if you were legit.

I’m the new guy on this ride for at least 3 of the ride. It doesn’t matter what group your in your going to get tested at some stage. Allan, Dave and another Mike are all new to me and I to them.  I’d arrived at the Hollywell Road first and waited for the group to regroup. Allan said he was going to have to watch out for me as I gather he’s not used to this.
Hewitt Mike introduced me at this stage.

Next stop was Connahs Quay Road where it crosses the A55, here I had a look at Mikes Hewitt which has an amazing detail on the headstock. I really liked the brazed on cable guides that keep the cables from rubbing the headset. I’ve got bits of plastic stuck on mine and it’s still worn the paint.

Northop lights were next with a loop around New Brighton and Buckley, not a route I’d have considered but it worked out OK.

An extra loop was put in as we were a tad early, as it turned out we could have done another 20 miles and still been early. 

more to follow including a 2 hour wait for a bagette. Route back was my interpretation as I had missed the guys going back. As it turned out I took a road that was closed and diverted but still made it through.

I’ll fill in the gaps but it was a 52 mile ride at the end of the day, pity about the wait but the Eureka was still open and the  Garmin seemed to log it all.

Thursday: Spinning class at West Kirby. Got to tick this one down as hard.
Friday: Had planned a class at West Kirby and had left early. It wasn’t to be as I was nursing a groin injury, first time for me.
Saturday: Work
Sunday: Work