Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Broken Spoke Sportive 2012

I think I will rename this sportive as the Broken Palefish!!
Today was one of the hardest rides I have done. 86 miles with 6096ft of climbing in temperatures up to 31c.
Those of you familiar with the blog will know how much I dislike hills! But yet again I sign up to these rides expecting it to be easier than the last one. It is true that once completed and after a good nights sleep, the pain seems to recede and the euphoria of completing a challenging ride takes over.
There was a good turn out of the lads today. As this was such a tough ride I think there needs to be a roll call!!
Badders, Ken, Tim, Simon, Paul B, Paul H, Pete and Paul I! (too many Paul's!)

I drove to the School in Chester, and picked up Ken on the way, he had ridden through the tunnel. We registered, picked up our complimentary gells and food, and got the bikes ready.

The car park soon filled up and at 9 o' clock we were assembled for a pre ride briefing.

There were 230 riders taking part today. Not bad considering the route and the predicted heat!

We set off and headed out to Rossett. The pace was quite good as we spun in the sun! The first 30 miles were at an average pace of 18mph.

 After a stop at St Martins it wasn't long until we reached the first of today's challenges, Pontfadog! This is a 2 mile climb at an average of 8.7%. I had to walk for about half a mile, in the middle as I literally ran out of puff! once the hill was crested we were treated to a rather spectacular view across the hills.

The descent was not much fun either! There were some scary drops with 90degree turns at the bottom. Whilst we waited at the end of the descent to regroup the heat coming off the rims of my wheels was quite something!!

When we were all back together we faced the next challenge. The Horseshoe Pass! this is a 3.9 mile 1000ft climb. It was so hot by this time, I needed to stop and rest under a tree 3/4 of the way up! I felt like I was going to pass out!! It is time to invest in some Summer riding gear. Up to now I have been able to get by with what I have, but today showed me once again how important the right gear is. 

 After a cool down I continued to the top, looking over at the road we had just climbed!

At the top is the Famous Ponderosa Cafe and lots and lots of motorbikes. 

And some mad cyclists who decided to ride up hills on a sunny day!!

On top of the Horseshoe Pass

  The next bit was my favourite of the day! The descent to Ruthin. If Strava is to be believed I hit 47mph! It was a great respite to the previous hour and a half climbing!!
When we reached Ruthin we were treated to beans on toast, which we all enjoyed.

All Fed and watered

What we were not expecting, even though we all checked the route before leaving, was the final sting in the tail of the ride, The old Bwlch! This is a 2.5 mile climb raising 900ft to the car park on Moel Famau!! The views were spectacular, and my cleat's got more worn out as I had to walk a little way again!!

Resting at the top of the Old Bwlch

The last 25 miles were not pleasant. Another steep climb and lots of sun meant a slow tired pace, even the downhill sections were slower! But working together we made it back to the School, Eventually!!

Badders could smell the pasta!

Tired Bikes
I'm sure that even though we all said "never again" I expect to see everyone again next year!

The next challenge is the Patisserie Cyclisme/ Polocini Jubilee Cake ride on the 5th of June.

Today's Ride Details

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sun, Sea, Sand and Onix!

It is amazing how the sun encourages people to get out on their bikes. Tonight's ride promised to be interesting as Tim was going to be riding his Onix for the first time, and to add to the fun we were joined by a couple of new faces, and some familiar ones we hadn't seen for a while. I think tonight was the best turnout we have had for an evening ride so far, with 11 of us meeting at the 12th Man.

We rode out towards the Irby Mill to meet up with Noel, who is riding the Pennine Way with Paul over the weekend. Watch this space for a special guest blog from Paul on his return.
As we passed the Pub we spotted Ian and his son, so we decided to ride with them for a while. Luke was keen to show any challengers his wheel, which he did a couple of times!

After we left Ian and Luke, the two new riders chose to peel off as well. We rode on to Lower Heswall and then round and back up Thurstaston Road where I decided to have a David Bailey moment and take some over the shoulder photos of the lads climbing the hill!

At the top of the Hill we waited to regroup and have another opportunity to ogle at the Onix!

After a blast from Heswall to Caldy we climbed up Dave B's favourite hill, Kings Drive. Whilst at the top waiting to regroup I decided to ride down first and then capture the lads descending the only Hairpin on Wirral!!

I don't think David Bailey or Steven Spielberg have anything to worry about!!
After Climbing up Village Road and a great descent into West Kirby, setting off the 30mph speed sign, we stopped on the prom for me to get a few more snaps of the Onix.

Skinny Profile

Happy Tim!
The rest of the ride was at a good pace, with no more photo interruptions, along to Moreton and back through Upton to the 12th Man. Tim couldn't stop smiling and commented on how quick and responsive the Onix is, and how easy it is to put the power down and accelerate. I think I may spend a lot of time looking at his rear wheel in future rides!!

We hope to be riding every Tuesday and Thursday evening, leaving the 12th Man at 7.45. Everyone is welcome, the more the merrier!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

A Non Carbon day!

I am feeling better this week, and have managed to get out on the Tuesday and Thursday evening rides with the Lads, and Lass. We haven't been pushing the distance but the pace is coming back. Hopefully normal service will soon be resumed, and will need to be as next Sunday I am attempting the Broken Spoke sportive, online registration is closed but they will accept registrations at the start on the day, if you fancy 85 miles and 1300m of climbing including the Horseshoe Pass.
When Zel told me this weeks ride from Vita Cycles was going out to Helsby and beyond, I decided that I wasn't ready for that yet, so I planned to ride out to Eureka. I sent Ade, one of the original Wirral Mamils,  a message to see if he would like to join me. Tim said he would join me as he hasn't done much in the last month and Paul signed up too. As the weather forecast for today wasn't great I decided to take the Giant out. I rode up to Paul's then on to meet Ade and finally Tim. Everyone had made the same bike choice, and for the first time in ages I wasn't surrounded by Carbon!

Low Carbon ride!
We rode out to Eureka via the lanes, through Parkgate, Neston, Burton and Puddington, and being spurred on by light drizzle we were there quite quickly. I had made the wrong clothing decision today! As I thought it would rain I wore my Santini Winter Jersey with my rain cape. It wasn't that cold though and I did overheat a little!!
We managed to beat the rush at Eureka and were sat drinking Coffee and eating cake, their rocky road is a particular favourite of mine and was calling to me to eat a slice today, when the Mersey Tri lads arrived and the Cafe filled up.

Busy day at Eureka

Once the caffeine and sugar had been taken on board we headed back. We were joined by Steve, a rider from West Kirby who was out for a ride on his own. It turns out he knows Ian and Carla and may join us in the future. Cycling is definitely a social sport. We meandered through the lanes again, this time via the missing link, Willaston, Thornton Hough, Barnston, Upton, Moreton, then round the coast to West Kirby, where Steve turned off, and then over Caldy and a final Climb up Thurstaston Hill back to Pensby.
After we had left Ade we rode back to Paul's where we indulged in another coffee and some excellent Bara Brith.
When I got home and put my bike away I was shocked to see how dirty it was! I hate to think how much worse it would have been if I hadn't had mudguards on!!!

Dirty Bike!
 I am hoping that this week I will get some longer hillier rides in on Tuesday and Thursday before the Sportive on Sunday. If anyone would like to join us we meet at the 12th man on Greasby Road at 7.45. Tim and Jon are picking up their new bikes this week so if you want to drool over some new Carbon you need to be there!

Todays ride details

Saturday, 12 May 2012

A rest is as good as a change!

Firstly, sorry for not writing anything for a couple of weeks. I have had things to do in the real world, like applying for my own job! (thankfully I am good enough to continue to do it), and spend some time with the family, as I realised that I have ridden my bike every Saturday, except three, for the last year! So as I was feeling a little off colour I missed the club ride and went to Anglesey with the family for a great weekend (including a little fall off the wagon with a couple of Peroni) which I really enjoyed. My niggling lack of energy has developed into a full blown head cold, so I didn't go out on Tuesday with the lads. Instead of my usual 100miles per week I have managed 78miles in two weeks.
Other news in my cycling world from the last couple of weeks. I was dealt a reality check last weekend. Tim, who I rode the Rapha ride with, had a massive off when he was riding in the Lakes. His front tube failed at 25mph and he hit the tarmac pretty hard. It was lucky he had a helmet and gloves on, as I'm not sure the outcome would have been as favourable if he hadn't. He suffered severe cuts and road rash to the right side of his face, and has also been suffering from the cycling equivalent of whip lash. Paul and I went to see him on Monday and it certainly brings everything into perspective. I am happy to say he is well on the mend, and hopefully he will be back on the bike next week.
Which bike Tim will ride is yet to be seen. My constant talk about Onix bikes has finally worn him down. On his way to Scotland yesterday, he stopped off at the new Onix Showrooms in Blackburn, and instantly fell for the Rob Hayles Pro. I don't normally like to say "I told you so" but I did tell him they were great bikes, and he now agrees!! What makes this all the more interesting is that Tim is the second person from our group to visit Onix this week! Jon went up earlier in the week for a fitting and is eagerly awaiting delivery of his Azzuro, which was recently reviewed on the Channel 5 Gadget show and received 5 stars.

I'm sure when the lads get their bikes I will regret recommending Onix as I see their rear wheels disappearing  off into the distance!!

Today's ride was down to me to organise as Zel is racing tomorrow. As I am still full of the green stuff, I decided to offer a Cafe and back ride to Eureka. I am not the only person who is under the weather, so the reaction to a cafe ride was good. The shop soon filled up with riders, including the Vita Race team, which was nice as I haven't seen the lads for a while. We all decided to ride out to Eureka together and then anyone who wasn't in the Lemsip club could carry on.
There were 16 of us who left the shop. The weather looked good and the wind was at our backs. It didn't take long for things to literately take a turn for the worse! We always try to keep off the main roads and in the country lanes, which is great until you get near a farm! As we headed towards Thornton Hough we encountered a trail of slurry across the road on the junction of a right hand turn, with the added obstacle of a large Massey Ferguson! We all picked our lines, and the oncoming traffic was kind enough to let us turn, unfortunately for one of the group it didn't go to plan. Dave's front wheel picked up a little too much Muck and that was enough to make the front of the bike slide and he was down, heavily on the road. Luckily he was ok to carry on and his bike wasn't damaged, but we did make him ride a little behind us as the smell was a little overpowering!!!
We got to the Cafe without further incident and the race team then headed off to do some faster miles.

Dave smelling a little better and recovering with a well earned Coffee 
The group refuelling at Eureka Cafe 
It was nice to see a flyer for the upcoming Jubilee ride that is being organised by Patisserie Cyclisme and Polocini it promises to be a great ride, 60 miles from Nantwich to Eureka and back, with the promise of some great cake and coffee along the way!! There are a few of us doing it so why not sign up and join in the fun?

There are also a group of us doing the Broken Spoke on the 27th May. The route is quite challenging, if like me, you don't like hills, but it should be a great day. There is still time to sign up....what are you waiting for?

The ride back from Eureka was into the wind, as usual, but we meandered our way through the lanes, making sure we hit all the climbs Zel takes us on, and I was surprised to see when I got home, that I had got a Personal Record on one of my Nemesis climbs! Maybe being ill helps climbing performance? Or maybe it is the Beetroot juice working. I have been drinking it daily, even though I haven't been on the bike, and it really seems to be making a difference to my climbing. My legs can climb for longer without getting the "burn" and my recovery from sustained exertion is getting quicker. Even though it does taste nasty, it is working. I would recommend giving it a try.

When we got back to the shop we all signed up for the 2013 edition of Vita Cycles "Ten Minutes of hell"
Next years event promises to be just as good as this years, with a larger field that will be split into age groups. Time to start training I think with some Sunday tunnel time!!

Finally good luck to Zel in his race tomorrow, also good luck to Dave B and Dave C in their 10k run tomorrow and Jon at the Triathlon he is competing in.

Today's ride details