Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Helly Hansen, Hills and a broken Hub!!

There is no getting away from winter, so to keep the base miles racking up, I have decided to get out as much as possible. As I have said a few times before the right kit helps to achieve this. Tonight was promising to be a cold ride, and as I walked home from work the wind seemed to be picking up too, not as strong as recently, but it helped to bring the temperature down. To face the elements and give myself a chance of enjoying the ride, I decided to layer up. Tonight's kit consisted of a Craft base layer top, then a full Helly Hansen top and Bottoms layer, Campagnolo Heritage Bib Tights, Le Col winter Jacket, Campagnolo Ultra light Heritage Windshield, Castelli Thermo Skull Cap and Campagnolo Gloves. No one can say I don't use the cycling gear I buy, even if it is all in one go! It worked though, even when the Temperature dropped to just above freezing I was comfortable.
There were 5 of us braving the elements tonight, and we decided to head into West Kirby to do a couple of loops of the hill, then along to Hoylake and back to Greasby.
Every ride we have seems to end with a story! Tonight it was the turn of Paul, who by his own admission, is becoming a regular incident attractor!
We had finished a tough segment of the ride into the wind along the front between Hoylake and Meols, Jon and Owen had worked with me to take turns at the front, but Paul had dropped off a little, he was on his tourer tonight as his Kuota is in the shop for a service. When we got onto a side road Paul noticed a noise, and thought it was his mudguard. As the ride continued the noise got worse so we pulled over in Moreton to have a  look. On closer inspection it sounded like the front wheel hub had a bearing problem. We decided to ride back to Paul's with him, All for one etc etc!!
As we rode back Paul decided that it was time to retire the Tourer and invest in a newer model, so for posterity there had to be a photo for the blog.


I think my Garmin may have been playing up again tonight, It kept auto pausing whilst riding, and resulted in my average speed being less than Paul's and the distance travelled less, even though I did extra after we had left Paul to get home? I suppose Technology doesn't like the cold either!

We are meeting tomorrow night, a little later at 7.45. Don't forget, there is no bad weather just bad equipment.

Tonight's unreliable ride details: http://app.strava.com/rides/3774740



Sunday, 29 January 2012

Tunnel Test Take Two

Another Sunday, another early start! It was much colder this morning, even though we decided to leave at 7,  15mins later than last week. I was joined again by Ian, and this week Jon came along to check out what he had let himself in for. When I was talking to Phil in the shop yesterday he said places were now going fast. If you want more details on the event check out this link:  http://www.vitacycles.co.uk/pain_suffering_glory_a_new_year_challenge

So, we arrived at the tunnel, and I decided to put a bit more effort in this week, but not to go too fast, as I want to save that for the 19th. (great excuse eh?) It was decidedly warmer in the tunnel than it was outside, I hope it isn't too warm in Feb? We completed one run through and back, and decided that we wouldn't bother with a second and instead ride round to West Kirby. Today's attempt netted me a 30 second faster time than last week. It doesn't sound much but it all counts. I'm still not at the 10 minute target time of the event title, but I am getting closer. I am hoping that adrenaline will help fuel the muscles on the day.
As we headed out of Birkenhead the sun was rising and treated us to a great display. The iPhone doesn't do the image justice, and once again I wish I had a better camera with me.


The pace into West Kirby crept up, and we took it in turns to pull each other along, well, Ian pulled and I went in the front to give him a rest but not necessarily pull anyone! All good training for a TT though.

Ian Peeled of to do some hill loops and then ride off into Wales! whilst Jon and I did one climb out of West Kirby then I headed off home.

The exercise didn't finish there though. Two trips to the Allotment and one to the Tip cleared Mrs Palefish's Nan's garden of all the Bricks and Building rubble left over from the recent renovations.

Half the bricks!
The next job was a regular Sunday activity. An hour in the company of Purple Harrys Cleaning Products. It is unbelievable how dirty a bike can get in two rides! But it doesn't take long to get it clean again.



Hopefully I will get some good miles in the legs this week, (planned rides on Tuesday and Wednesday night 7.30 at the 12th Man in Greasby if anyone wants to join me), and also keep improving the power to weight ratio. If all goes well I may reduce the Tunnel time by another 15 seconds next week!

Check out my Diary page for this weeks stats on weight loss and miles ridden.

Today's ride details: http://app.strava.com/rides/3699202


Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Kebel is back on the road (Vita club ride)

It has been a long frustrating week. I cleaned the bike after last Sundays ride out to Eureka Cafe and prepared it for another weeks riding. Paul and I decided to do a speed session on Monday night, as he has now entered "Ten Minutes of Hell" too. I pushed the bike out of the shed, started to ride off and couldn't change gear. After a quick examination I discovered the gear cable swinging in the wind and the restraining bolt that holds the cable had sheared in half!! Somehow overnight it had decided enough was enough. I was a bit dejected as Paul set off on his own for a spin, and decided to fix the puncture on the Giant, so I could go out on Tuesday night. Once the puncture was fixed and the wheel back on the bike things went from bad to worse. It now appears that the rear wheel has not only got worn bearings, but the hub seems to have collapsed!  When I spin the wheel it only does about 2 rotations then reverses half a turn before it grinds to a halt! So because of my lack of attention to the winter bike I haven't ridden yet this winter I had a forced weeks rest from cycling!!!!

Mrs Palefish took the bike up to the lads at Vita Cycles for me on Tuesday, and after close inspection a new front Mech was ordered to be fitted ready for today's ride. Once again the lads delivered the goods and replaced the Mech free of charge!! Although I did have to sort of pay by being the focus of their "Great sense of humour!!!"

The following are a selection of tweets I received from my so called Club Mates on Thursday afternoon.

@Nipper100
@palefish just seen this whilst passing @VitaCycles great bargin as its hardly been used pic.twitter.com/VfEejChm


@Nipper100
@palefish think you could get more than £300 for it too though pic.twitter.com/Leo8ILOi




@WirralMamil_Ade
@palefish @Nipper100 @vitacycles - Sold!

@SRJSmith
@palefish @vitacycles - What groupset is on it? Is it full ultegra?

@SRJSmith
@palefish @vitacycles Was yours!! best £300 I ever spent.. Now to split it and sell it for parts.. ;)

@fairhursts100
@SRJSmith @palefish @vitacycles £300? you got ripped off

@Nipper100
@palefish @jamesmmackie83 @vitacycles make sure you try before you buy James oh and your tetanus is up to date as usually its filthy

@WirralMamil_Ade
@VitaCycles - Bit pricey at £50 mind! Thanks @palefish!

@VitaCycles
@WirralMamil_Ade @palefish enjoy it Ade. You look great on it. Try and put some miles on it, unlike the previous owner!!

@VitaCycles @palefish - Exactly. Needs to be used and get the cobwebs blown off if and those knobbly bits on the tyres need wearing down!



This is just a selection of the comments, and I haven't included mine as they are not suitable for this forum, (my kids read it sometimes!) Barry mentioned to me that he had received lots of messages from people wanting to buy the bike!! I'm not surprised as it is a beauty even if I do say so myself.

So, today was the day to get back in the saddle. I got a lift to the shop, for 9am as we had decided to leave early to get the miles in before lunchtime. There were 7 of us on the club ride, and could have been 8 if Dave had got the message, sorry Dave! We decided that as it was a bit frosty, and could be icy in the lanes so we would stick to the main roads until the sun came up a bit to warm the tarmac. Thankfully we didn't have any incidents and enjoyed a cold but dry, except for the missing link, ride out to the outskirts of Chester and then back along the Dee Path to Eureka, for a 20min only stop, and then back through the lanes, the hilly route, and a loop from Heswall to Caldy and back to Irby via Montgomery Hill. The pace was fast at times, and I even felt good on the hills, which was surprising as another cold has taken hold this week. I managed a PB on one of the Hills today which I was very happy with.

Back at the shop we met up with the Vita Team lads who had been out for a 50mile blast. They are doing loads of miles and looking really fast now.
This week there are a few lads going to Lanzarote for a weeks riding in the Sun. All I can say is I hope it rains, and no I'm not really jealous!!!!

I ordered my new shoes this week. I decided on Sidi Ergo 3's in the end. I can't wait to get them on and take advantage of the stiff carbon sole. Should be good for at least 30 seconds off the Ten Minutes of Hell time!!


I am planning to go out tomorrow morning and have another ride through the tunnel. I am meeting a couple of others at the 12th Man on Greasby Road at 7am (15 minute lay in!) If you want to join us you are more than welcome.

Today's ride details: http://app.strava.com/rides/3669912








Thursday, 26 January 2012

Club ride route 28/1/12

This weeks proposed Vita Cycles Club ride route. (If my bike hasn't been sold!!!)
I have kept it to just over 30 miles, but depending on weather and mechanicals, we can add an extra loop into Chester and back along the Dee Path, or round West Kirby at the end. There is also the opportunity of a brew stop at Eureka, Ness or the Cafe next to the shop!

This week we will be leaving the shop at 9.00.

As usual, don't forget to bring spare tubes, a pump, and as Phil found out last week, a couple of tyre patches are always usefull!! At the time of posting this the weather looks cold with the chance of a shower, so layer up and bring a waterproof, or get wet!!




Sunday, 22 January 2012

Tunnel Test ride and A long stay at Eureka

As promised yesterday, I was up and out at 6.45 this morning. Luckily I wasn't on my own. I met Dave, Carla and Ian at the 12th Man. Cycling seems to develop a motivation in people you don't see in other sports/ activities!

It didn't take long to get to the Tunnel as the wind helped us along. We didn't stop when we got to the entrance, we just headed into the Ten Minutes of Hell route!


We had decided not to push it as this was just a recce to check out the grades of the climbs either side. The descent into the tunnel is quite long from the Birkenhead side, which will be useful in the TT. I coasted quite a way into the tunnel, and then as it levels out at the bottom, picked a gear to spin up the other side. We went round the Roundabout in Liverpool, which won't be part of the course, so I can take a few seconds off my time today to compensate for the extra meters, and then headed back. The descent from Liverpool is shorter so I put a bit more effort in going down, and then pushed harder to get out the other side. I was quite happy with my time, which I am not going to post here as I don't want to scare everyone else who is thinking of entering, but it is safe to say I will have to work much harder on the day.
I drove through from Liverpool the other day, and decided to video the journey as a motivation tool!!



Once we had played in the Tunnel, Ken met us and we headed of to Eureka for breakfast.
It is always great to learn new routes, and today Ian treated us to a great one through Port Sunlight Village and out to Clatterbridge. It is definitely one to remember as it cuts out a lot of the major roads on the way from Birkenhead to central Wirral.
The pace was pretty good for early on a Sunday, and we arrived at Eureka at 8.30!! Anne was quite surprised to see us so early, but as always made us very welcome. The only problem was that I had arranged to meet Lou from Patisserie Cyclisme, a web site dedicated to Cafe reviews, and all things cake!

http://www.patisseriecyclisme.co.uk/
To pass the time I chose a full English breakfast from the menu, which was great, until Steve, from Team Vita, arrived! I did feel a bit guilty, for about 10 seconds!!

Whilst we were waiting, a steady stream of wind blown cyclists came into the cafe. I was surprised at how many I now know! We were joined by Steve for a while, then Paul from the club rides had a coffee with us. When he left, Carla and Dave headed back, it was now 9.15, and Ian had already gone off into Wales.
Next to join us was Frank, a fellow blogger and Vita fan, http://frank.kinlan.co.uk/
Frank left with a group from the CTC and he was replaced by Dave (Tinselspin) and Phil (Cheshire Oaks Cycles) Dan who has ridden with us before also made an appearance.

Lou eventually arrived at 11.30. A little later than expected, but she had a great excuse. She had been talking to the Voice of Eurosport, David Harmon, about a possible interview with a Cycling Legend. I won't steal her thunder and spill the beans, but I'll let her off.
Whilst me and Ken were waiting, Anne said she was going to give us some jobs to do, although we didn't break the longest stay record of 7 hours, we only managed 3 and a half!!

It was great to see Lou and chat about her website, and plans for the future. I'm sure 2012 is going to be a busy year for her, both with the business, her PHD and racing. Please check out her website and why not review your local cafe whilst your there!

Ken and I left at 12 and headed out into the wind. The Chester High road is not the place to be with a strong head wind, so we turned off and zig zagged back through the lanes. We picked up another lad on the way, and we worked together taking turns at the front.

It certainly was another extraordinary ride. http://app.strava.com/rides/3523857

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Puncture and a Pug Vita Club ride!

The aim today was to do a loop round the top of Wirral, then cross back to Ness Gardens for a brew. But, as always things didn't quite go to plan!

Leaving the house to head up to Paul's with Dave, it didn't take long to realise the wind was not going to be our friend today. It wasn't unexpected, but you know your in for a slog at times when it is gusting at 50+kph!!

It didn't take long for everyone to arrive at the shop, and once everyone was there, we discussed an earlier start time of 9am in future. Everyone was in agreement, as it means we can get a few extra miles in and still be back for our domestic duties!!!

I wore my new Giro Aeon today, well I think I wore it! It is so light and fits fantastically. It is well worth the money, and I'm sure it added at least 1mph to my acceleration!! Go and see the lads in the shop if you are considering getting a new helmet,they have a great range, and if they haven't got what you want in stock, they can normally get it in for the next day. I now have to decide on shoes. The ones I had decided on are no longer available!!! So its back to searching for "The ones"!!

There were 10 of us today, and we headed out towards West Kirby, battling with a strong side wind over Thurstaston and down towards Caldy. Once in Hoylake the wind was behind us and and helped us along to Wallasey. We rode along the front to New Brighton and this was where Phil had a puncture. We stopped in a shelter, as the wind was quite strong now, whipping up the sea/river which was breaking over the sea wall.



Thank goodness the Victorians liked shelters by the sea!
Once Phil had fixed his puncture we set off again, for 10 yards, and Bang, he punctured again. On closer inspection the side wall of his tyre had ripped. Luckily he had a tyre patch, so once he had fixed this and put in another tube, we set off again (another pair of Vittoria Paves will be on the Wirral Tarmac soon.)
We agreed that as the time was getting on, we would forfeit the cafe stop in Ness, and just go back to the shop, and go to the Cafe next to it!!!!

Whilst we were motoring along the prom towards the Seacombe ferry terminal, sheltered from the wind, we encountered the cyclists worst enemy! A dog on the loose who likes chasing tyres! Please don't think in am not an animal lover, but this could have been nasty. The front lads missed it, but it then ran into the pack and almost took Owen out, he was quick enough to get his foot out of the pedal and stop, just in time for the Pug to run between his leg and the frame. If you are along the Prom in the future please look out for this dog!

Wanted for Crimes towards cyclists!
The advantage of riding along the prom is that you get a great view of the world famous Liverpool waterfront skyline. I may take a better camera one day as the iPhone camera doesn't do it justice.


 Once back on the road we headed back towards Irby, into a headwind all the way. Certainly a character building ride!!!
A big thanks to the staff and customers of the Cafe next to Vita Cycles, who made space for 10 weary riders, and coped with our intrusion!!

I mentioned to the group that I was planning to ride through the tunnel on Sunday morning to remind myself what I have let myself in for, and there are now possibly 5 of us heading to Birkenhead. We are leaving the 12th Man in Greasby at 6.45am. Once we have ridden the tunnel, I am heading over to Eureka Cafe to meet some Twitter friends, The Queen of all things Cafe and Cake @patisseriecyc and one of the best sportive organisers @polocini, as always anyone is welcome to join and share turns at the front into the wind!!!

Today's ride details: http://app.strava.com/rides/3497823


Friday, 20 January 2012

Saturday 21/1 Route.

Here is the proposed route for tomorrow's ride (we may change along the way if necessary).
We will leave the shop at 9.30 and aim to have a brew stop at Ness Gardens tea shop, so don't forget your cash!!!
The weather looks Windy and Wet!


Please make sure you are well prepared, waterproof, inner tubes etc.


See you in the morning.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Oh dear, I've discovered Rapha!

Some new kit arrived today. Nothing unusual you would think, but I was very excited, and have been watching the tracking closely, willing the postman to get here quickly!
A black postage bag with the words Rapha and the obligatory flash of Pink raised the expectation of what I knew was inside even more. I had ordered the kit so I knew what was in there but it was just like Christmas as I carefully opened the package. Inside was another bag, this time like a musette ( a feed bag that Cyclists use on day races) without the strap, but emblazoned with the words, Rapha Performance Roadwear.
Now I don't want to disappoint you with the contents, but I am now the proud owner of a Rapha+Paul Smith Cap and a pair of oversocks.


I didn't get a chance to wear the oversocks tonight as it was a bit too wet, but the Cap is excellent. I have been wearing a Castelli Thermo Skull Cap through the winter so far, which has been excellent, and I wasn't sure how well the Rapha cap would work in comparison, but I need not have worried. It kept my head warm, and wicked the sweat well, even with the efforts we put in up the hills and along the Hoylake/Meols seafront.
I'm not going to say how good the cap is and how much I like the Rapha range to Claire, because I'm sure she will cut up the credit card and put a lock on the computer to help me resist!!!
The sale is still on so get on to http://www.rapha.cc/ for some bargains.

Tonight Was windy and the roads were quite wet from a day of showers, but Paul, Phil, Owen and me headed out from the 12th Man towards West Kirby into a nice gusty headwind! We decided to do a couple of loops over the hill and then take advantage of natures propulsion on the way back. We climbed up an over the hill 5 times and then did a bit of sprinting down the Prom. It is really helping  having the lads come out in the week, as we all motivate each other to get on the bike, even in rough weather.
We were chatting tonight about the Saturday ride, and decided that we should leave a bit earlier so that we can fit in a cafe stop and still be back by lunchtime. So this weeks club ride will leave the shop at 9.00. I will load up the ride route tomorrow.

Tonight's Ride Details: http://app.strava.com/rides/3465123

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A cold ride tonight.

Tonight's ride was a very sociable group ride. Paul, Dave and Phil joined me for a cold loop round to Heswall and then back through  West Kirby and Moreton. The average temp was just over 3 degrees, and the roads were quite damp, which led to some sketchy cornering and descending, especially over man hole covers!
Phil told us that when he peeled off from the Saturday club ride with Stan this weekend, they hit a patch of black ice and both came off. Fortunately neither was seriously injured, and luckily Stan didn't damage his recently operated on knee!!! So with this in mind we were mindful of the road conditions!

I was chatting to Paul about a book he has bought, "The Time Crunched Cyclist" by Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong's coach. Paul thinks it will be able to give me some good tips on getting ready for the Ten Minutes of Hell! At this point, 32 days from the event, I am going to take all the help there is, so Amazon is now one copy lighter! I will let you know how well it has worked.



More exciting news on the Kit front, I ordered my new Helmet and Shoes today. As usual I have changed my mind over and over, but finally decided to go for these from Vita Cycles.


Giro Aeon
DMT Prisma


Hopefully I won't have to wait too long to get my head and feet into them, it's all about marginal gains now!!

We are planning to go out again on Thursday night, same sort of distance, meeting at the 12th Man on Greasby road at 7.45ish everyone welcome.

Tonight's Ride details: http://app.strava.com/rides/3420563

Sunday, 15 January 2012

This weeks Diary entry!

Week Commencing 8/1/12

Weight Loss 0.5kg, Alcohol intake 0 units, Cake 1 doughnut, 1 packet of parsnip, beetroot and sweet potato crisps (they sound healthy!)

Cycling this week 8/1-14/1

Distance:91.79 mi
Time:5:57:37 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:916 m
Avg Speed:15.4 mph
Avg HR:149 bpm
Avg Bike Cadence:69 rpm
Calories:4,794 C


Total this year so far

Distance:203.55 mi
Time:13:07:52 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:2,277 m
Avg Speed:15.5 mph
Avg HR:156 bpm
Avg Bike Cadence:70 rpm
Calories:11,351 C


I'm on target to hit 100 miles per week, and still off the booze! Less weight loss this week but even 0.5kg a week means I will be at target weight by mid May, and 2.5kg lighter by the Time Trial, which should be good for a couple of seconds!!! 

I rode the TT circuit I set last week, and managed to Average 19mph this time. 0.3mph faster. A marginal  increase, but still an increase, and this week I did it in the middle of the day, so more traffic, and there was a strong headwind all the way back from Hoylake. It was also colder, last weeks average temp was 11 degrees  and this weeks was 6! 

I also went out for a spin with the kids. Joe has a new bike and wanted to give it a blast. It won't be long until they are out with the club! 





Saturday, 14 January 2012

Vita Cycle Club ride 14/1/12

Today was the first proper club and team ride out from the shop. It took all my will power to wheel the bike out of the shed though, as it was a little chilly!


Dave from round the corner arrived so I couldn't wimp out and spoil his first club ride with us, so we headed off to Paul's and up over the hill to Irby to the shop. I had to stop on the way and snap a photo as it was turning into one of those magical winters mornings.


When we got to the shop I realised how cold it was. when I put the Garmin on the bike as I left it was registering a toasty 15 degrees, but as we arrived at the shop, 15 mins and 3 miles later it was reading just above freezing!!


22 lads turned out in the near freezing conditions. We agreed to ride together as one group and when/if the team wanted to go further/ faster they would split from us. We headed out towards West Kirby via Caldy and a couple of climbs, then round the coast to Bidston hill, then through to the Lever Causeway and into the lanes.
Along the way a couple of the lads dropped off to get to the Match, or other domestic duties.
 When we reached Brimstage the Team split off (9 of them I think?) and 6 of us continued on the Club ride.
We decided not to go the Eureka today but keep going looping through Willaston, to Burton and into Neston, and not missing out the climbs that the Coach normally takes us on.  It doesn't mean we will not be riding hard just because we are not in the team!
We all got back to the shop together, and even though the pace was a little slower than previous Saturday rides, which wasn't that surprising seeing as some of the roads were still a bit icy, I still feel as if I have had a good workout and got some more winter miles in the bank!

Today's ride details:http://app.strava.com/rides/3328331

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Getting the Base miles in.

Another night ride tonight, and as long as the weather keeps up, I hope to be able to hit the 100 miles per week target I have set for the year. Paul and I were joined tonight by Dave, who is joining the Club, and lives 500yds from me. Great for me as I now have a new riding partner, but bad for Claire and the Boys as I have another excuse to get out on the bike!!

Twitter and my email have been buzzing with messages about the Team and club since the meeting on Monday. The Racers are planning their season, registering for their first races, planning training rides and getting their licenses sorted. Things are certainly moving with pace.

The plan for this weeks Club ride is to do a loop around the North of Wirral, then out through the lanes to Eureka, and after a Coffee back to the shop through Puddington and Neston. Be at the shop for 9.30 to join us.


Check out the route here: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/new

Tonight's ride details: http://app.strava.com/rides/3291946

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Team Vita the next stage

There was a meeting last night, to discuss the future of the club and next seasons racing team.
I was working late and didn't arrive until an hour after the start, so missed a lot of the discussions, but the decision was made to establish  who would be riding for the team in the 2012 season, and the recognition that the Saturday ride from the shop needs to be a club run, and not a team training session.
The aim of the club run is to not slow down from where we are now, or reduce the length of the rides or the effort we put in, but we will ride to support new riders, or riders who are having an off day, have the occasional Cafe stop, offer all members of the group the opportunity to lead a ride and share their favourite routes, and hopefully, grow the club and feed the racing team in the future. The Vita Cycle Club will also be entering Sportives and other organised group rides further afield.

A warm welcome awaits anyone who would like to join us on a Saturday Morning, leaving Vita Cycles in Irby at 9.30.

Who knows what the future holds for Team Vita

Or the Vita Cycle Club

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Not so secret diary of Palefish aged 43 and a month!

I have come to realise that putting things in the Blog make them harder to forget, or get out of! So I have decided to share my weekly record of cycling and weight loss achievements here to help keep me motivated.

Week commencing 1/1/12

Weight loss 1kg, Alcohol intake 0 units, Cake 3 slices (Claire's birthday!) Crisps 0.

Cycling this week: 1/1-7/1

Distance:111.77 mi
Time:7:10:15 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:1,360 m
Avg Speed:15.6 mph
Avg HR:161 bpm
Avg Bike Cadence:71 rpm
Calories:6,557 C


Week one of the new year done and I managed to stay on the waggon, despite there being some leftover Christmas cheer in the cupboards and fridge! only 51 weeks to go!

Tonight I decided to go out for a quick spin on the bike, and thought it would be a good idea to try a flat TT circuit. I headed out to West Kirby and back, missing the hills, trying to keep a steady cadence and speed. When I got back I loaded the ride onto Strava and set a segment for a 10 mile circuit. Today I managed an average of 18.7mph for the 10 miles, which I am happy with, but need to improve on If I stand any chance of being competitive at the Ten minutes of Hell tunnel challenge. I was also happy that my legs worked after yesterdays windy slog.

There is a meeting tomorrow night for the Club. It is being held at the Anchor in Irby at 8pm, and don't forget to enter the Ten minutes of hell before its too late. Places have been going fast since the entry fee was reduced to £25.

Tonight's ride details: http://app.strava.com/activities/3192298

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Wind, Hills and Woes Team Vita ride

After getting out a couple of times this week, and getting back to some sort of normal diet, I felt ready for the challenge of the Team Vita ride today. As usual I rode To Paul's and we then rode to the shop. I handed over my entrance fee and signed the registration form for the Ten Minutes of Hell. No turning back now!!!



 There was another great turnout today, 22 of us left the shop and headed out with Delamere Forest as the target for today. The group set a good pace, as the wind was mostly at our backs, and it didn't take long to get into a good rhythm. The advantage of a large group is there is somewhere to shelter if you start to tire and there were a couple of new lads who we helped along by riding them into the pack so they could have a rest.
We reached the edge of Elsmere Port, and my legs were feeling good, which was lucky, because as we hit the oil Site Road there was a break at the front of the group of 4 riders. I thought to myself what better test of my speed and stamina could there be, and seeing as I was at the rear of the pack the challenge was a little harder. I accelerated and hit over 30mph as I passed the group and started to pull the break in. I managed to get to the back of the break before they hit the Perimeter gates of the Shell site. I was absolutely made up. My average for the half mile was 30.9mph. Maybe, just maybe I wont be the Lanterne Rouge at the Ten Minutes of Hell!
But my euphoria was soon dashed as we were pulled over by the Shell Gestapo, sorry, security guard, who was unhappy with the way we rode our bikes with wanton abandon on HIS road! We made our excuses and exited stage right. Did I mention he was small?
We then headed out round Helsby, through to Manley and Delamere, and the going got decidedly "lumpy" to quote the coach! One of the climbs looked like a wall rising up in front of us. It was only a short climb, but must have been over 10% all the way! I felt good though. As always when I hit a hill it seems like I have hit reverse as every one streams past, but I didn't drop off the back too far today.
The problem with heading South East today, was that we would have to go back in a North West direction, into the wind, and this was when the Woes started. The group fractured a little as we climbed up and sped down the hills back towards Helsby. Unfortunately one of the group was falling too far back to be able to see the rest, so I slowed and waited for him. As we started to work back towards the group we were caught at a traffic light and that was the end of our team ride. It was tough trying to ride as a duo into the wind, and not knowing the area too well, I decided to head back the way we had come which meant running the gauntlet of the Shell Gestapo and worse still a headwind all the way. We eventually got to the Boat Museum at Elsmere Port, where I was treated to a great photo opportunity! Not every day you see a Naval boat on the Manchester Ship Canal!



I left Mark at Elsmere as he was heading along the coast path back to Wallasey, and since I have been home I have heard he decided to get a train back. Sensible move as the wind was getting stronger and he was a long way from home. Sometimes you have to accept when enough is enough.
So now I was on my own! At least there were only 15 miles to go, but they seemed like the longest hardest 15 miles I have ever done. But on reflection they were probably the best, as it is all good training for the TT!!

I got back to the shop, and a couple of the lads were there. Apparently the group fractured badly all the way back and the group didn't finish together. I think now is the time to split the group into an elite Team group and a club group. There is a meeting on Monday night where I think this will be decided. I will probably ride the club runs, but who knows what tomorrow will bring?

The Team had a great bit of exposure this week. One of the reps that visits the shops was out riding in his Team Vita Kit, and stopped at a cafe. And met a certain British cycling hero, Mr Bradley Wiggins.

Will Brad be wearing a Vita shirt one day?
Today's Ride details: http://app.strava.com/rides/3156153

Thursday, 5 January 2012

What have I done?

I am not the fastest person on a bike, and I'm no way ready for racing yet, but today I signed up for my first time trial! The lads at Vita have organised the TT that will take place in one of the Mersey Tunnels in February,


Due to additional generous sponsorship, entry into the Ten Minutes of Hell is now £25! Entry closes on 27th January, so be quick as spaces are filling fast and there is a 100 rider limit. For more details check out Vita's website: http://www.vitacycles.co.uk/pain_suffering_glory_a_new_year_challenge

The lads also announced today that the Current British National Time Trial Champion Alex Dowsett has signed up to ride the TT.

Alex Dowsett British Time Trial Championship 2011

 Now rather than putting me off it has motivated me to try harder, and although I will probably be at the other end of the time sheet to him, at least I will have been in the same race as him! Not bad for a first race!
So tonight I headed out into the wind to get some miles in, and some efforts into the wind. It wasn't as bad as it has been but the gusts were still strong. I took advantage of mother natures help along the Marine lake in West Kirby to record my fastest time along the 0.6 mile stretch. I need all the help I can get! But I was pleased with a 20mph ave into an energy sapping side wind along the Hoylake to Meols road, which is almost as long as the first leg of the Tunnel TT.

I got a package from Wiggle yesterday, with a new Craft base layer and a pair of Castelli overshoes in, but no Haribo!! I hope the recent sale of the company hasn't affected their usual great service and the omission of my Haribo was an oversight! Anyway, both products were great, the base layer keeping me warm, but wicking well and the overshoes, or Belgian Booties as Castelli call them were brilliant. It was nice not to have to wear the waterproof and warm but constricting  neoprene ones I usually wear. They are well worth a look and are currently in the sale!!


Tonight's Ride details: http://app.strava.com/rides/3107109

Monday, 2 January 2012

It's all about the bike

Day 2 of the new regime and it seems to be going ok! No drink, not so much junk eaten and being back at work tomorrow should help  reduce the chocolate intake, and give Claire and the boys a chance to finish it all off at home!!
I rode with Paul tonight, which was great as he got a Moon X-power 500 for Christmas, so when we hit the dark lanes it was like daylight! Having the right kit really helps. It has taken a long time to build up the equipment but it makes such a difference. The right clothes, so I can ride whatever the weather (to quote Shaun, "there is no bad weather just bad clothes"), Tyres that instill confidence what ever the road surface is like, and especially the bike, which with regular maintenance and cleaning, is running as well now as it did when I bought it 6 months ago. So far I have ridden for 152 hours and covered 2400 miles and climbed 28,114m. I wonder what the figures will look like at the end of this year?
Next planned purchases are Mavic Plasma SLR helmet and a pair of Mavic Pro Road Shoes. All donations very welcome!!!




Tonight's ride details: http://app.strava.com/rides/3046030

Sunday, 1 January 2012

First Spin of 2012

I didn't go far tonight, but I hoped a quick spin would help to start the New Year in the right way. As I mentioned in my last Blog, I am going to work hard on fitness and weight loss this year. I made a resolution to not Drink and so far so good! (although the champagne at midnight did last until about 1 o'clock. Does that count?)
I received a great text from the team coach last night too, which has helped to strengthen my resolve to keep motivated and train hard this year.
Last night I agreed to sign up for the Liverpool Chester charity ride (for the 4th year in a row) but this year I have promised my wife and friends that I will complete the 50 mile loop on my mountain bike, and not on my "Easy Bike" I cant wait!! I did promise to do the same thing last year but peer pressure from the team helped me to change my registration to the 100 mile challenge route! This year, I challenge the Team to join me on mountain bikes!!!

http://www.pennineevents.co.uk/EntryPages/LCL2012.aspx

Tonight's ride details:  http://app.strava.com/rides/3022736