Monday, 5 December 2011

We Didn't Quite Fall into the Incident Pit

When I offered to lead one of the rides this weekend the weather was warm and sunny.  I thought it might be a bit colder in December so I decided on a short ride from Hope in the Dark Peak. Nothing too heroic, cafe at Ladybower half way round to get warm and have something to look forward to.

I didn't realise at the time how bad the weather could/would be.

The Thursday before I'd recce'd the route in the dark (with an owl) and it was hard work, especially with a dicky tummy :-/

I must admit I didn't spend long weather checking on Saturday night.  I think I'd been lulled into a warm secure summery blanket that I'd not mentally shaken off.  Basic weather said cloudy and a bit chilly - shorts should be fine - I'll take a waterproof just in case.

16 riders met at Hope on Sunday.  Drizzle.  1 new rider (Shaun) - only had the bike a month, trainers, football shorts and fingerless gloves - concerned I am.

Hope Cross - all OK. Rain.

Down the Beast (cleaned it again :)) - nobody died - Shaun and others walked a lot. More Rain.

Up Hagg Farm - everyone still OK. Cold rain.

Down Lockerbrook - sleet - cold - Shaun's still smiling!

Cafe for coffee and pasties - sodden hands. Dyson Handriers don't dry gloves - more sleet. Shaun's rear brake lever is broke, threaded adjuster.  Shaun pulls out a pair of waterproof trousers. I think they saved his life. Some riders (not Shaun) decide to ride back along the road - madness! 

I drag Shaun up the Landrover track - half the group decide to cut back via the Beast (incl. Shaun - still in good spirits!).  Rowlee Farm for the hardcore into cutting sleet as the weather really deteriorates. Cold wet hands now being frozen by icy northerly and sleet.

Four more riders do a sneaky footpath cutback bail to The Beast ascent. Only 2 of us left to do the Roman Road up and over. Continuous sleet leads to a frozen river down the track, but it's still rideable - we were right.  Hands frozen solid and unresponsive for the descent. Back onto the road and we're jubilant we have survived.  We're tough.  We fought the mountain and weather and won!

But, one false move, puncture or twisted ankle and we would have been right down at the bottom - Mountain Rescue time.

Juddering in the car, struggling to get out of the wet clothes I didn't feel tough.

Thankfully everyone made it back.  They came through looking cold wet and bedraggled in dribs and drabs - including Shaun.

I'm sure he'll be back...

Friday, 25 November 2011

More Garmin Edge 200 Musings

First proper ride with the lovely free test bike GPS.  A few thoughts while I remember:

The mount is brilliant! Sturdy, no vibration or rattles - just works ACE!

Buttons still easy to press with thick gloves on.

The course follow function works very well.  The route zooms in and out as you speed up.  The route resolution is so good you can see which side of the road you were on in either direction. The unit does a bleep for off course and another different bleep when you get back on it. The GPS accuracy is shown as a ring arround your position arrow.  It would be no trouble to follow an unknown route - as long as the route was accurate enough.  It indicates how long you have left based on your current average speed, and a bar across the top indicates what percentage of the route you've completed so far.

Head to head with Martin's Edge 500 the screen seems the same size and resolution.  However the Edge 200 doesn't accept Heart Rate, Cadance or Power readings that the Edge 500 will accept. For the £30 extra...?

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Garmin Edge 200 - New Toy!

I am in the fortunate position of receiving a new toy to test!

The new toy is a Garmin Edge 200 GPS bike computer.  Pete from has some contacts at Garmin and he asked them if I could have one to test.  So they sent one to him!

 I got my sticky mits on it Tuesday night and last night I downloaded a track from justgoride straight onto it.  I've loaded up the ride for tonight, even though I know the route I want to try it on know ground before I have to use it for navigation

The unit is about the size of a large bike computer, and feels nice and sturdy. Buttons on the sides are easy to press even with big winter gloves on.  The bike mount with rubbery bands is excellent.

It does have a few annoying beeps but these can be turned off.

I'll be doing a proper review once I've done a load of rides - otherwise I'll do a few more random updates here

Friday, 11 November 2011

New iPhone and Bike Riding

Really pleased with my new phone.

My old one was great, but this one is even better.

I prefer to ride with friends but sometimes a solo ride is a fast, fun necessity.  On the way to a meet point I usually ride on my own and listen to podcasts on the phone.

When I'm riding along I can now listen to texts and reply on the bike.  Useful if someone has a puncture on the way to the meet and its raining.  Thanks Siri

The battery life on the new one is also far better than the old one.  I can GPS log a 3hr ride using endomondo and still have 60% battery.  The old one would be at 20% after doing the same stuff.

The new camera is superfast and sharp.  It will be great for taking riding pics (when it stops raining)

Love it!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Indian Summer

Today's ride for Day 27 of #30daysofbiking was to the dentist.

Thing is, my dentist is an old friend with a practice 20 miles away in Derby.  Usually I'd allow at least an hour to get there in the morning peak in the car but the 30 days challenge made me think I should give it a go on the bike.  The traffic is usually foul getting in to Derby!

The new bike is lovely.  I think she's quite pretty, in vivid blue as Peugeot would say and made in 1985 'ish.  This would be a good test.

I allowed an hour and a half to get there and pushed pretty hard at the start to make sure I would be on time.  I arrived, after an impromptued tour on Derby City centre, with 7 mins to spare.  Enough time for a coffee with my mate in the dentist's common room before getting down to the scaling and polishing.

The ride back was in the barmy indian summer sun.

Next appointment will be en velo, je pense...

Thursday, 22 September 2011


I saw a badger! First one ever, except road kill of course.

Dogwalker and fountain Dale ride tonight. Alone with radio 4 stock of podcasts for company. Fast and dry.

Still mourning the passing of Princess the commuter bike

Friday, 16 September 2011

#30daysofbiking Half Way

Spotted this idea on Twitter and thought it sounded like a good challenge.  To do a bike ride every day of September. 

It's my annual Lakes trip at the start of October so riding through September should put a good layer of fitness in for some big lakes rides while I'm away.

Rides have varied from fast night rides with racers, commuting for work, and little tootles to the park and toddler group with the kids.  So far it's all been good and the weather has been kind.

Seen a cracking tractor!

Also built up the Inbred for Lakes holidays in a 69er form.

Rides like a burly bike but a little creaky with a bit of a crack (scratch Kate?) in the seattube - It'll be fine...

Not as fast or fun as the Fixed Scandal though!

Totals this month so far - 231 miles (154 miles on the mtb)

Hoping for 500 miles by the end of the month

Friday, 2 September 2011

69er - Best of both worlds?

I'm always open to trying new stuff on the bike, as long as it works.

I tried Big Al's GF Rig 29er years ago and enjoyed it but couldn't stomach the extra weight when I decided on the Scandal Fixie, so that was a 26er lightweight - 17lbs.

2 years of enjoying the Scandal I thought it was time for a change and a chance tweet secured a front 29er wheel to test from Rich

I run a 420mm pace RC31 rigid carbon fork and the wheel fits in fine

Stem swapped and dropped from my usual high mast position to super low race position to counteract the bigger wheel and it's good to go.

Did 33 miles on it last night and the hand position feels just right.  So far the pros and cons are:


More stable especially downhill
More momentum - just keeps rolling
More front end grip
Makes you feel like a 24hr racer


Extra weight - 500gms extra
Slightly slower steering on very low speed stuff
Looks a bit funny

I'll keep riding it as it is then maybe think about lightening the wheel up a bit if I still like it

Friday, 5 August 2011

Michelin C4 Protek Inner Tube Review


I spotted these tubes when they were first announced last year and I was intrigued.

Sounds like a good idea and the numbers quoted sound good - supposedly they also weight 260gms

Ordered some from CRC and the y arrived at the end of May.

My able assistant helped me with the unboxing

Not 260gms at all then!

344gms is silly heavy for me.  My usual tubes are 120gms so these are putting over 200gms onto the bike - as rotational mass too which is the worst place :-(.  These things had better work!

The tubey shaped bits go on the inside of the tread for the magic puncture resealing.  The idea is that the tube is in compression when inflated instead of tension so if it gets a thorn puncture in naturally seals rather than opening up.

The tube's also got glycol slime stuff in it to also heal sealing punctures and a removable valve core so you can refill it with slime.

So the question is - do they work?


3 months of hard riding including Mountain Mayhem and all the training rides up til then and I've not had one puncture!  Not one!  Not even a slow flat, or a sneaky garage flat! Zero!

Well worth the money, and, on balance, the extra weight for non-stop riding.


Sunshine After a Rainy Day

Nearly didn't ride.

Glad I did :)

Monday, 18 July 2011

Planes, Trains and Racing Cars

One of my New Year's resolutions was to take more time off for riding during the week.  Young family means family stuff at the weekends so no time for riding (usually).  Today was a day for riding not working.

So what route to choose?  Maximum riding means from the door and a couple of weeks ago I'd ridden with some people from JustGoRide around Ticknall (about 25 miles from home).  During that route we came across a lovely looking bivvy spot with rocks and caves and everything.  So I did some route planning which was 'improved' by Pete to get me there for a possible future bivvy night.

Route in the good old GPS and off I go - into the rain :(

I had the iPhone on with endomondo running which worked really well.  It's an App that tracks your progress and gives you updates on your speed and distance.  But the really great thing is that it shows your position on a web based map and your invited Friends can shout messages at you and they come through the headphones!  Also good to know that people are keeping an eye on you if you're out on your own.

Rain stopped after about 30 mins and so did my existing trail knowledge.  Working off the GPS I managed to get the wrong side of the canal and nearly had to swim.  I backed up and 5 mins later 'Bridge Closed' - can't mean me... Ah! no bridge at all.  Back track then over barbed wire fence onto road - YAY!  Another level crossing closure and I was finally in Castle Donnington.

Leicetershire are rubbish at footpath maintenance.  Loads of overgrown footpaths and lack of signs.  I could hear engines in the distance though.  That meant Donnington Park Racetrack.  It must have been a trackday as there was a good mix of cars on there, few porsches, few MX5's.  Found my way round the track and across a few wheat fields onto much needed tarmac again.

Melbourne looks like a fancy town with lots of shops painted in National Trust colours - Taupe, moss green etc - no decent coffee shop tho - rubbish.  A business opportunity there for someone.  I carried on to Ticknall hoping for caffeine.  The village shop did 'cappuccino' (frothy instant) and a 1 lb slice of toffee flapjack (1000 calories at least).

Only a couple more miles to the bivvy spot.  Beautiful quiet spot with caves and ready made campfire places but could be an early dog walker route.

Packed lunch finished, time to head back via the East Midlands Airport flight path.  I checked out the lovely looking (on the map) track round the airport - no good - lots of Private signs :(

Back on familiar ground I made up for the earlier delays with the help of a tailwind

56 miles in 5 and a half hrs - good day off!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Rainbow Bivvy

When will it stop raining?  When will the weather look like the forecast god-damn-it!

I haven't slept  in the woods this year and I'm missing it bad.  This date was fixed ages ago and the weather's been awesome for most if the run up to this Friday.  Excited preparation and non-riding on thursday night.  Trying to remember where everything went and how it hangs on the bike.  Tested the good old meths stove in the back garden - all good - bring on Friday.

Rain during the day on Friday - no problem, that means less for later when I'm in a bag in the woods.

Home time and the lightening starts - arse!

Eating and watching out of the window as wave after wave of stairrods rain / hail arrives from the west.  Texts and phone calls to friends.  A number of wimp outs followed.  I decide to give it another 15 mins as I'm sure it's clear after this downpour.

Right - that's it, I'm going!

Leaving the house towards a rainbow to the east.  We're heading north.

Meet point and 2 others are there.  Simon and Rob.  Poor show!

Simon's loaded up for a night in the woods.  Rob is just coming for a ride, no bivvy stuff - he'll regret this later.

Up the old railway line with loaded bikes and slippery tyres on wet roots.

It keeps getting warmer and brighter.  No rain.  Lovely views over rolling fields full of wheat and barley.

We leave Rob cursing his lack of bag at Burntstump and head towards the smell of chips and kebab meat - Blidworth bound.

Chips eaten al fresco, Tesco stop for pastry, pub for 3 pints of awesome beer and a meat raffle.  Into the dark woods for kip.

Comfy woodland bivvy spot, whisky, ear plugs and a good night's sleep.

First thing bivvy mornings are the best.  Waking up with lungs full of fresh air, the still of the wood and the sunlight streaming across the tree trunks.  Get the coffee on and warm the pastries.

Back home in time for coffee and cake - everybody's happy

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Nats Longnor Ride

Today was my day to lead a ride for club.  Longnor just inside Staffs was my choice of start.

A beautiful day for a ride.  The group was 21 strong. Fay was the new rider - trainers, flat pedals - bit worried.

The ride's only 15 miles and its a nice social ride, some nice double tracks and road sections for a chinwag.

Scorching weather and some ultra rocky descents made for a great day out.

Adamski - the website guru

We even saw a troll

Everyone survived - even Fay who said she enjoyed it.  She's hoping to come out with the club again on my next ride on the 7th August at Ashover - we'll see if she turns up...

Friday, 24 June 2011

Sometimes Things Just Work Out

A night shift, an early morning and a recce.

Work stuff happened to require a night shift on Thursday night which meant no night ride but with the 'sleep day' I could pop out for a ride.

As I'm leading a ride on Sunday 10th July I thought a recce was in order of my planned ride around Longnor.

An early check on the night shift work proved all was fine.  With the bike in the car ready it was straight to Longnor via Starbucks.  10:30 ride start, round in 2hrs, but will be 3hrs plus with a big group.

This ride must be the most varied mtb ride eva!  Road climbs, grass, mud, swooping descents and extremely technical rock descents.  Most enjoyable.

Chip shop was open in Longnor when I got back to the car,so munched chips on the way home, followed by home made lemon drizzle cake.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Original Source Mountain Mayhem 2011 - Team Half Fixed

This year Original Source Mountain Mayhem was brought to you by an awesome but hard course; A pain in the arse shower that went from cold dribble to cold spray to warm spray then off; repeat 'til cold and pissed off; and 5 collarbones, 1 leg and a KO!

We all arrived to camp on Friday afternoon.  Free on site camping means that there's loads of people at Mountain Mayhem.  LOADS!!!! We got a really good spot just across from the infamous Kenda Klimb and set up camp.

The course was available to test ride between 4 and 6 pm on friday but it was raining on and off and it didn't seem worth getting wet and muddy so we put the pasta on and had a beer.

The rear mud tyre was fitted first thing on Saturday morning, after lots of overnight rain.  Ratio changed to 32:15 fixed and out for a 10 min test run.  I didn't want to overdo it because of the dodgy leg.  All seemed fine and Simon had convinced me to start fixed and see how it went - this would end up being the right decision.

Race order agreed - Simon, Racey, Alex, Me

Strategy agreed - 2 sets of 1 lap each, 1 set of 2 laps each, 1 set of 1 lap to finish

Rider briefing at 11am and we explained the setup to our race virgin - Racey.  He was excited.

Simon had agreed to do the run - Le Mans start  (Al had a newly fixed knee and I did it last time!).

I was designated helper and bike indicator.  The run was 2.5km and Simon did it in 12mins (very good!) but he thinks that ruined his legs for nearly the whole race!

Back to the camp for me and a bacon sarnie to settle the pre-race nerves.  Followed by a lovely lemon drizzle cake made by the missus.

First lap nerves on in the handover area waiting for Al to come in.  In he comes and we're off!  Try to keep it steady, don't get too excited or go off too fast, remember this is an endurance race.  The leg injury grumbled to start with, a bit tight on lap 1.  The course was really hard!  Loads of climbing and some slippy sloppy downs.  Glad I put the mud tyre on. Over the bridge round and back in a good time - 1hr 5mins.

Back to camp for a pot noodle and more cake.  Cramming in the carbs to keep the fuel topped up.

Raring to go and onto lap 2.  Another steady consistent lap into the sunset 08:20-09:25.  The views were beautiful from the top of the course but when I pointed them out to other riders I just got a grunt!  Lap 2 the leg was achey and grumbling and I had some paracetamol overnight because it was acheing.  Pain in the arse shower before bed with a 4:40am alarm call.

Two ibuprofen and two paracetamol were downed with a coffee on the handover before the sunrise lap, just in case.  More grumbling from the leg on lap 3 but then it just seemed to ease on the double sunrise lap from 5:20am.  I was really looking forward to something to eat from half way through Lap 4, so I treated myself to a Latte and a HUGE danish pastry in the arena.  It was lovely!

On the way back from another fun lap and the danger of this business hits home.  It was horrible to hear over the tannoy "Please can Clare Miggins please go to the timing tent.  Her husband has had an accident on the course and we need to find her as soon as possible".  Some riders were hospitalised even before the start when riders were doing practice laps due to the slippery course.  All that training and organising and you don't even make it to the start.  I didn't mention any of this to the missus when I checked in.  We heard of 5 broken collarbones, 1 broken leg and a KO throughout the race.

More cake, bacon and tea before my final lap.  Timings meant I would be doing the final glory lap into the arena.  The weather had been dry and windy on saturday morning and the course was rapidly drying out.  I flew round the last lap!  Nailed all the climbs.  Loving the ups and keeping the downs smooth as possible.  And keep looking forward to the next up!  I had a chat with the 2nd place Solo women - Lisa - who did some riding with us earlier this year and with Nick who was doing his first solo 24hr.  I was also accused on not eating enough pies!

I got round the last lap in 1:01:03 - the fastest lap of the team all race!

Results of the event are here

We were awesome!

We missed out on a podium 3rd place in the singlespeed teams by just 5 minutes - maybe next year!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Weeks 10 and 11 - Mountain Mayhem's a coming...

Week 10 of The MM Training Plan said "ride lots and lots uphill and stuff"

I went on holiday instead, it was lovely.

I did lots of stretches and physio exercises while I was away but no riding.

Week 11 is my last week of proper training riding but the leg was still feeling a bit achy, so I took it steady.

Monday night I popped out on the road bike in the sun for an hour to check the leg; not bad.  Tuesday night for a Dogwalker night ride with Simon and Lady Alex.  The leg feels strong but a little achy again at times - bit depressing.

Thursday had been badly planned and required an evening peak site visit so no time for a night ride.  Rode a hilly commute there and back twice which went *OK*.  Still worried about the leg.

Friday - leg feels fine today - bizarre!

Hill reps and 20mins race pace done - feeling good and buoyant about the race.

Next week is a rest and preparation week - what ratio to choose?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

It was all going so well...

Had a great ride on Sunday with . Simon was leading and I managed to get a last minute pass out to ride all day. 30 miles from Rowsley in the White Peak. Up hill and down Dale. 25 riders started out and with such a large group it was fairly steady progress, but it was nice to chat to everyone at the top of the climbs. Lots of ladies out on Sunday too. Probably about 7 out of 25, always nice to see.

I was feeling good all ride and persuaded 6 others to do an extra climb to finish over Carlton Lees

Stiff legs on Sunday night but otherwise all was well.

Monday I had booked the day off to do a big ride. So I was up and out with the family and onto the trails. A ride along the river is always lovely first thing in the morning and with miles of trails ahead of me for the day I was in good spirits.

I was pushing to keep the heart rate up and standing up on all the hills. I got to the point where I was as far from home as I was going to get, then it happened.

Oh, what was that? A knee twinge? No, can't be.

There it was again...

Yes, definitely something going on. What happens if I do this? That? Hmmmm not good.

OK I'll just do this next bit of singletrack then I'll head back. Maybe just another little bit, right definitely going back now cos it's getting a bits stingy down there. Finally limped home into a heavy headwind at half one. Iced the calf / knee and cursed.

More icing and worrying in the evening. Wait and see what its like tomorrow...

It's stiff and sore first thing. Get to work, ring physio. Physio booked for 2pm. Carly, not seen her before.

Carly is my new favourite physio.

She diagnosed a calf strain of the big (can't remember the name) muscle. Then she started on it with her mega thumbs. Excruciating pain for what seemed for ever. I knew it must be good for me so I grinned and bared it then she stuck some needles in it then microwaved it for good measure. A good going over. I do like a hands on physio. if you're in Nottingham. Recommended.

Stretches and ice discussed. Next appointment booked for Friday, no cycling til then but maybe Friday afternoon if I've been good...

Friday, 20 May 2011

Funky Michelin Protek C4 Magic Inner tubes - Unboxing

I spotted these when they were first announced a couple of months ago and I was intrigued.

Sounds like a good idea and the numbers quoted sound good - supposedly they also weight 260gms

Ordered some from CRC and they arrived the other day.

My able assistant helped me with the unboxing

Not 260gms at all then!

344gms is silly heavy for me.  My usual tubes are 120gms so these are putting over 200gms onto the bike - as rotational mass too which is the worst place :-(.  These things had better work - but the extra weight will be good training weight for Mountain Mayhem?

The tubey shaped bits go on the inside of the tread for the magic puncture resealing.  The idea is that the tube is in compression when inflated instead of tension so if it gets a thorn puncture in naturally seals rather than opening up.

The tube's also got glycol slime stuff in it to also heal sealing punctures and a removable valve core so you can refill it with slime.

This is the side of the semi inflated tube.  The ridgy bit is the top.

So it went in the tyre OK but I could feel the extra weight.

First test is Sunday in the white peak for 25 miles.