Sunday, 30 October 2011

First ride of Winter!

It sounded like a good Idea last night, to go for an early spin with Ken. When my alarm went off at 5.45 this morning it didn't seem so good and ended up not being as ready as I had hoped when Ken sent me a text to say he was leaving his house!!!! Even though the clocks had gone back, it was still dark when I left the house at 7, and needed to put the lights on! I met Ken in Birkenhead, and we headed out for a loop of the lanes back to Chez White for a brew. It was nice and quiet with only squirrels to dodge, there were hundreds of them today, shooting out from the hedgerows and darting across in front of us. One nearly became a spoke ornament for Ken!!

To mark the First ride of winter we were looking for a suitable photo location for the Kuota's and decided this was probably the only place on Wirral that was grand enough for such good looking bikes!!! (although the photo isn't that good, sorry)
To coin a phrase " Who lives in a house with gates like these!!"
I was on a 2 hour pass, seeing as I'd been out for quite a while yesterday, so as the clock ticked down, we had to raise the pace to fit in a blast down Telegraph Road from Thurstaston. My Confidence in the Vittoria's is growing. Even with very damp greasy roads, I hit 36.7 mph. 
At the bottom of the hill we had four minutes to get back to Greasby!! A quick sprint (I wish) up Montgomery hill and along Frankby road was a good way finish a great early morning ride, and I was only a couple of minutes late, phew!!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

When the coach is away.......

Today's Vita team ride was always going to be different to the normal routine. Dave the coach had an appointment at Goodison to watch his team get beat, so it was up to me to lead the ride. I only found out last night so I decided to stick to a route I know well. Dave and a couple of the others went out at 8.30 for an hour and then came back to the shop to join the main ride. I was originally going to join them, but didn't make it as the boys needed feeding before I could leave!! There were 10 of us to start with, including two new faces, Paul and Scott. Dave dropped of first, to get off to the match. As we headed out towards the Chester High Road from Willaston, Jeff needed a pit stop, so we carried on at a reduced pace to let him get back on. Unfortunately when we hit the high Road, thinking he was on, we raised the pace again, but unfortunately he wasn't with us, and it wasn't until we reached the turn off to the Chester Cycle path, we realised he was not there. Sorry mate, rookie ride leader error!!! Anthony was the last to peel of leaving the magnificent 7!!
We carried on, into the wind, into Chester, playing with the traffic through the centre of town, and out to the Dee path. We got a good pace going along the riverside path, through and off for the entire length. As we climbed back up to the High Road, it was suggested we pay a visit to a local cycling land mark for a brew. Sorry coach, we didn't stay long!!

Refreshed, and a little guilty, we headed back through the lanes to the shop.
The Vittoria Paves behaved very well, they rolled very much like slicks, but seemed to bite well on the slippery bits. They look like a good investment.
The weather is a bit odd at the moment, Shorts yesterday, and thermals today!!! The squiggle at the beginning of the ride is me heading out in shorts and coming home to change into my longs!!
So my first time leading the ride didn't go too badly, only one rider dropped, and one rule broken, but I'm not sure Dave will agree!!

Today's ride details:

Friday, 28 October 2011

Off to see the Vittoria Fairy!!

Just a quick spin today, up to the shop to pick up the long awaited Vittoria Open Pave Tyres that the Fairy had finally delivered. I wish  Claire had gone to the allotment yesterday and I had today to go out for a longer ride, instead of the wet one I had yesterday!! It was only a couple of degrees warmer today, but it makes all the difference, shorts and short sleeve's for maybe the last time this year.
I decided to take the long way round to the shop, and face my two least favourite hills, not that any are my favourites really!
Whilst at Vita Paul H came in saying he had just passed Chris Boardman who then went passed the shop. I was encouraged by Barry, Phil and Paul to go and chase him to see if I could overtake him! I decided to let him off today, and let him enjoy the nice weather, maybe next time!!!!
I saw Shaun from the MAMIL's on the way home. I have missed our Wednesday hills sessions, roll on spring!!!
So the Paves are on, the bike has been cleaned and looks great, ready for tomorrows Team ride.

Today's ride details:

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Post Service Shakedown!

Back from our adventure at Legoland, I picked up my bike from Vita Cycles this morning. I had a pass this afternoon for a couple of hours, so decided to go out for a ride to see how the bike feels post service.
I cant believe how good it now rides. Gear changes are smooth again and braking is responsive and progressive. It almost feels like a new bike!! Best of all the service was FREE! I consider that good service after 4 months and 1678 miles!! ( and before you ask I don't get paid by Vita to write this blog, other bike shops are available!!!)

All I need now is for the Vittoria Fairy to come up with the goods!!! Apparently he has been on half term too this week!! Hopefully tomorrow.

Todays ride details:

Saturday, 22 October 2011

What a difference a day makes!

Having set my mind to taking out a second group, (even if it was just me!) on the Vita Team ride today, I headed up to the shop meeting Paul on the way. He wanted to join me on my breakaway ride, and we discussed a possible route, and how we would peel off the back of the main ride after about 15mins.
We got to the Shop and as people arrived I explained mine and Paul's plan, and extended an invitation to anyone to join. Dave (the coach) arrived and told us the planned route, out round the coast and back, which was perfect for me and Paul to tag on to to start with. There were 10 of us in total, and we headed out into the chilly morning. As we rode along Mill Hill Road Dave told us all to go into the Little ring and spin for a while. This suited me as it kept the pace down but kept the legs moving and the heart pumping, all good for burning the fat!!
The only Puncture today was for Paul, so that is now 3 rides without one for me, phew!!
We kept on spinning out to New Brighton, where we had a quick stop for those who were feeling the cold!!!

As you can see the weather was great today, even the breeze was manageable, apart from when I was on the front of the group!!
We headed back towards West Kirby, still spinning in the small ring, until we reached Meols Drive. We upped the pace and headed to the Marine lake, where we lined out and put in some big effort, I was nicely tucked in second wheel, and as we reached the last 20m pulled out from Sean's tow, and darted past to win the race he didn't realise he was in!! It is the only time I will ever get past him I'm sure!!
Dave's plan was to then head out to Hoylake and Thornton to finish the loop, and this was where I decided to head back to the shop, as Claire was meeting me at 12 because the Bike is staying at Vita for a bit of a Spa break!!
Paul and I split with the rest at the bottom of Montgomery Hill and headed back to the shop as the rest headed up Telegraph Road.
When I got back to the Shop, There was the rest of the group, already munching grapes and bananas, they had decided to call it a day at the top of the climb and head back. I wish I had stayed with them now, Telegradaph is a much nicer climb than Montgomery!!

Thanks to Dave's idea of spinning today, I was able to keep up even with my chest being a bit tight. A good lesson for me when I'm going out over the winter.

So the Bike is now on Holiday, awaiting a long overdue service and some winter tyres. Should feel like a new bike when I get it back on Thursday.

We are off for a few days now, and no opportunity to ride, or update the blog, so enjoy the peace!!

Today's Ride Details:

Friday, 21 October 2011

Confidence is returning!

It's amazing how quickly confidence can be lost, and how long it takes to return! After last weeks events with hills and tubes, I've been a little cautious on descents, not wanting to push it, waiting for the now familiar "pop and hiss"! But tonight I decided to give it a go, and went for it down Telegraph road from Thurstaston, hitting 39.3mph top speed. Not bad into a head wind! I still think I need some new tyres, so whilst the bike is in Vita Cycles for its service next week, I'm hoping the Vittoria Open Pave Evo fairy will wave her  magic tyre leavers!!(sorry Barry)
I'm going for a quick spin in the morning, probably not with the team, as my chest is still not 100% and I don't want to hold them back, but if anyone wants to join me for a B team ride of about an hour and a half at a less rapid pace, I'll be at the shop at 9.30.

Tonight's ride details:

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A windy test for the new Campagnolo gear!

I was determined to get out tonight. Even though there was quite a gusty wind, and frequent heavy showers, not only did I need to stretch my legs, but I also needed to try out my new Campagnolo Gloves and Bib tights. The new winter gear was a great bargain from the Vita cycles eBay page, check it out here for a bargain of your own:-
I'm glad to say, both performed excellently.
Another couple of positives from tonight's ride was not having to change an inner tube at the road side!! and I worked out where a clicking noise that had developed after fixing the first puncture on Saturday was coming from. Luckily, it was not a twisted chain link, but the cadence sensor that was hitting the pedal arm with each rotation.
I have had the bike for nearly 4 months and I have ridden over 1600 miles, so it needs to go back to the shop for its first service. Should be like a new bike when I get it back. I'm planning to have it done when we are off with the kids next week.

Tonight's ride details:-

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Bike Pure Ambassador

No cycling since Saturday, for no other reason than no time!! I need to get out before Saturdays team ride or I'm sure I'll suffer!!!
So sat at home couch surfing, I have decided to follow up an idea I had a few weeks ago.
As an asthmatic, and looking at possibly racing next year, I  checked out my medication on  and unfortunately can not use this as an excuse not to race next year!!!

 I was talking, (if that's the right term for tweet discussions) to a guy in the US who is just starting out on achieving a pro racing career, and we discussed the doping issue. He is an ambassador for and this got me thinking about our team and racing in the future.
So, I contacted bike-pure, and am now proud to say that I am an ambassador for them.
The whole bike-pure organisation is run by volunteers and the aim is to encourage honesty and integrity within our sport.

Look out for Team Vita members wearing the blue wrist band, or the bike-pure spacer on their bikes.

What made my decision to get involved with bike-pure easier was that our Vita cycles sportive endorser, Steve Cummings is a bike-pure pro role model. 

Please check out their website via the links in this post, or the logo at the side.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

They say bad things come in 3's-----So do punctures!!!

What promised to be a great day turned out to be another frustrating one!!
I spent the evening yesterday fitting new tubes, swapping tyres, as the puncture on Thursday led to a hole in the side of the tyre. I also fitted the new Kool Stop pads I got from Vita yesterday, all looking good, and ready for the team ride!!!
The weather was great, a little cold, but promising to warm up. There was a good turn out of the lads, 12, with Nick joining us for the first time.
The early pace was good, and the plan was to ride for about 3 hours. Everything was going well, until we hit one of my favourite down hill sections. About two thirds down it going about 33mph I heard that now familiar pop and hiss!! This time it was the back wheel. I had managed to pick up what looked like a drill bit!! A quicker change than the other night, and we are off again. But it didn't last long. The cold weather had had its usual effect on my chest, and the realisation of not being able to keep up the pace with the lads sunk in. Nick rode back to me and said he needed to head back to the shop, so we left the lads and headed back to Irby. We held a steady pace along the Chester High Road and I was looking forward to a nice Coffee when we got back, and then I realised the back was loosing pressure again!! We stopped and I put some more air in, which promptly decided to leave again!!! Nick lent me a tube and once the Third puncture in two rides was fixed we headed back to the shop.

I think I need to replace my heart rate monitor too. I'm sure it's not recording properly, 200bpm before I get on the bike!! And ignore the elevation chart, I'm sure Greasby isn't -200m below sea level!! Maybe time for a new Garmin!!
I hope that is the end of my run of bad luck!!

Today's ride details:

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A catalogue of Errors!!

I set out tonight, heading up to the shop where the Thursday team Vita ride leaves at 6.30. I was secretly hoping that I would get there and the group would have left, and I could claim the moral high ground that I had turned up but no one was there. Error 1. The lads were there getting ready to go. To make matters worse it was all the Whippets together!! The one group you wouldn't want to be with when they say "lets head out to Heswall and do some loops of the hills!" I managed to keep up for a couple of laps, but lost the group as it got dark, so decided to head home via West Kirby. Everything was going well, A good speed down Thurstaston Hill and I even felt good going up Column Road. Error 2. came as I reached 28mph going down Grange Road. The front tube decided to blow, and it was as I tried to brake I realised my rear pads were not being very effective. Must remember the basics, check the pads before you leave!!!! Error 3. Don't wait to learn how difficult it is to remove racing tyres from new wheels until you are at the side of the road, in the dark! I now have cuts and bruises from flying tyre leavers to prove it. It took half an hour to change the tube, which I discovered had a dodgy valve, Error 4. Check your spare tube regularly!!
Lessons learnt, I look forward to Saturdays Team ride!!

Tonight's ride details:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Dear Santa

Dear Santa.
I've decided to write my letter to you early this year.
Tonight's quick spin round the washing machine, sorry, round North Wirral, has reminded me that I need to have loads of riding kit, as most of it will be in the washing basket or on the radiator drying! The list has to start with a Sportful Survival jacket, then a couple of pairs of  Castelli Sorpasso Bibtights, Sealskinz gloves and socks, a couple of long sleeve jerseys, and some Vittoria Pave tyres! If possible, is there any way I could get these before Christmas please Santa, as the house is already steaming up from damp clothes on the radiator!! Thanks.

Tonight's ride details:

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Liverpool Marathon from a different perspective.

I completed my first Marathon today. Or I should say I marshaled my first Marathon!! I have the greatest respect for these runners. Both the elite runners we were with, and the rest of the field who do it for fun!
The day started with a spin to the park via the Shop, to meet up with a few of the lads. We got to Birkenhead park and met up with the rest of team vita! We were briefed by the organisers, telling us to fill the gaps between any splits and keep the road clear for the runners. We made our way to our start position, and waited, for about an hour and a quarter, as the police wouldn't let the race start until the course was clear and closed to traffic. I felt sorry for the runners who had warmed up, got to the start and then had to wait to get going.
When we did eventually get going it was very bizarre riding closed roads, lined with cheering crowds, but only at 11mph average. We all spread out along the runners doing our job, and taking the occasional opportunity to get a faster speed in crossing a gap, or by dropping right back then when there was room spinning up the side of the runners, just to keep warm!! The Half way point was at the bottom of the Birkenhead tunnel. And as we exited onto the Strand, there were huge crowds, samba drummers and a real carnival atmosphere. I must say that the support along most of the route was great, it must have really helped the runners. We all got spread out again heading out to Sefton Park, but once we were there, a few of us regrouped and rode the last couple of miles together back to the finish. I did feel a little shallow as we neared the finish, lined with masses of supporters all cheering the runners and there we were rolling along on our bikes! It didn't stop Me and Ben having a sprint to the line, which he won!!
Once most of the Vita lads got to the finish, we headed  off back to the tunnel, where people were still coming through!!!!! It must have been a long painful day for some of those runners, but they all looked determined. I hope they all get back safe and they should all feel very proud of their achievement. I don't think I will ever be running a marathon though, I'll stick to my bike I think.

Today's ride details:

Friday, 7 October 2011

Another Milestone reached.

Tonight was my first ride in 5 days, all due to a new pair of shoes! I can't believe how bad the blister was that I developed on the first day of wearing the new shoes to work on Monday. I could post a picture but I wont as my daughter has told me it is disgusting and I shouldn't share it with anyone!! So because of this I have been off the bike for the longest time since I started this blog. Anyway, the heel has healed and I managed to get a quick spin in the wind tonight.
The Milestone reached today was the first set by the guys at Vita Cycles.
Back in January, whilst still in my Cycling drought, I signed up to the new shops website, and in doing so was entered into their monthly competition. I couldn't believe it when Barry emailed me to tell me I had won a Campagnolo Ultralight Heritage Windshield.

 I went into the shop a couple of weeks later, and picked up my prize. The only problem was that Italian made cycle wear, even an XXL was not a great fit!!! So The guys at the shop said use it as a target to motivate me back on to the bike. I can proudly say, I wore it tonight, and it fitted a lot better, still a little tight in places, but I could breathe and move in it!!! I now need another target, maybe some Cippollini bib shorts?

Sunday is a busy day for cycling in this area. There is the Etap Cymru, Wales first closed road sportive, good luck to Andy from Team Vita who has entered. There is the Liverpool Marathon, which Team Vita are Cycle Marshaling. 12 of us are riding at the front of the runners to make sure the route is followed. It should be a challenge to ride 26 miles at runners pace, but also a great opportunity to promote the Team.
Also on Sunday is a ride that friends on twitter have organised. The Leaf spin is an end of season get together with a route out into North Wales. Details here:

I will be missing the team ride tomorrow, although I will still be getting a work out, taking my Son, and some of his friends to the cinema and then back to ours for his Birthday Party!!!!

Tonight's ride details:

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Cycle Show 2011

Pictures but no words today, Enjoy a few of my favourites from the show.
MmmmmmmcLaren S Works

Kristian House's TOB Bike

Possibly My Favourite of the day

Until I saw this.
Especially when the Graphic on the Cosmic SLR's only shows up with a flash!!

Fabian Cancellara Custom paint job on a Madone 6.9

My Twitter name is on here somewhere!!!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Team Vita Ride, not a great day in the office for me today!

Today's team ride started at 8.30, as its Derby day and the Coach has a season ticket for Everton!! Unfortunately, I stopped my Garmin when I stopped pick up Paul on the way to the shop, and didn't realise until about 5 miles later, see the straight line on the Data map.
11 of us headed out and the pace was quick. the first 15 miles were at 17.6mph!
Surprisingly, Dave suggested we stop for a team photo!! What a motley crew!!
Team Vita
After a fast line out along the front at Hoylake, we headed on towards West Kirby, the group holding a good pace. Sam was concerned with a loud rattle so we stopped, Me Sam and Dan, to sort it. Loctite on the Bottle cage screws is essential!!! The problem now was how to bridge the gap with the group. We rode together, helping each other into the headwind, all the way along the front at West Kirby, up over Caldy and then on to Thurstaston hill, We spotted the group nearing the top, so I suggested Dan and Sam, who are much better climbers than me chase them down, and I'll plod up!! we did regroup on the road into Heswall, but I was done in. All the effort to rejoin the group has used all the energy I had. I managed to get back in the group, and used the rest of the team to drag me along whilst I tried to recover. I even managed to ride from the back to the front of the group going down Denhall lane behind Ness Gardens! But it wasnt long till I was on the back again! The rest of the ride was spent Yo Yoing from the front to the back of the group. It was a real challenge to keep going, but being stubborn does have its advantages sometimes!
After a couple of bottles of water at the shop, and time to recover, I had a great ride home with Paul, Iain, Andy and Paul, and added another 8 miles to the ride to make up the 50!
The weather was great, 26 degrees on an October morning!! 

Tomorrow is the Cycle show. I think I'll leave the credit card at home and just take loads of photo's!!