Sunday, 29 July 2012

What a difference a week makes.

The euphoria of Bradley Wiggins win at the Tour De France was great last week. Even my colleagues at work seemed interested, for once,to listen to me talk about cycling!! And as the week progressed the anticipation of the Olympics and in particular the Road Race built. It can't all be happy endings for British cycling though, and as Cav said in the post race interview, it seemed that every one else was happy to loose just to stop Team GB winning! Today's women's Road Race had a better result, and a completely different feel. Well done to Lizzie Armitstead on her Silver Medal.

It has also been a week of mixed fortunes for me and my cycling this week. Tuesday night's Palefish CC ride treated us to a nice warm summers evening, and a chance meeting with Raina from The Greedy Pig in Kelsall.

I had been introduced to Raina via Wheelsuckers, a social network for road cyclists, and spoken to her on Twitter, promising to take the lads out to the Greedy Pig on a Saturday ride to check out her cakes! It was a lucky coincidence that we decided to ride out towards Park Gate, and as we turned down Boathouse lane we met up with Raina and Sarah, who were out to ride with the CTC but missed the start. They were a little lost and as we rode past Paul N suggested that they join us and we would get them back to their car. When he told Raina that we were the Palefish CC she couldn't believe it. I was even just as surprised as I rode back to say hello and discovered who the new riders were. Once again the wonderful world of social media has brought me closer to Cake!!

Thursdays ride for me was a non starter, but the lads still went out and put in some good miles round the hill in west Kirby.

With no ride for me on Thursday I was looking forward to a nice daytime warm spin today. As I got up at 6am this morning I was greeted with the sound of rain hitting the window, or should I say hammering on the window. Luckily (kind of) the rear wheel of my Kebel is in The Bike Shop Moreton waiting for a new Spoke set, so the winter bike was waiting for me. Things didn't get much better from here on either. As I rolled round to Dave's I realised I didn't have my Glasses or Inhaler, so I went back to get them but couldn't get in the house as the key was in the lock!! I have never done a ride without either my sunglasses or inhaler. Luckily Dave is also Asthmatic, so I had access to an inhaler if I needed one.
When we arrived at the 12th Man, Graham was there and he needed to fettle with his head set as it was a bit loose. This should have rung alarm bells, and did a bit later on in the ride. The rain had stopped and there was a patch of blue in the sky, so the 8 of us who had braved the early hour and the rain set off. It didn't take long for the rain to start again, and as it did, Graham gave a shout that his headset was loose again. We sheltered under a tree as the rain got heavier, and Graham and I disassembled the front end of his bike. We managed to get it back together, with all the bits in the right place, and the forks were nice and snug in the frame, Phew!! The rain didn't stop so we decided to get going and head on towards Eureka for a well deserved brew. 
The rest of the ride was quite uneventful, and when we got to the Cafe, Phil B was waiting for us. After a warm Coffee and a chat, mostly about the tactics of Team GB at eh Olympics, we started to head back. To my dismay the same thing that side lined me from Thursdays ride came back to haunt me. If you suffer from Migraines you will understand that cycling whilst one is starting is not the best. I loose my peripheral vision and had to ask the lads not to ride too close to the side of me as I couldn't see them. We all got back safely though, and I spent the rest of the day in a darkened room, trying to watch the Women's Road Race.
I wonder what the next weeks riding will bring?

Another milestone in the short life of Palefish Cycle Club happened this week. Thanks to great work by Ken at Bio Racer we now have the final design for the Club jersey. I hope you agree that they look great, and it shouldn't be too long before you see them out on the road.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Where were you the Day Wiggo Won the TDF?

Today didn't start off too well! To start with I slept through my alarm and then had to rush to get out to meet the lads for the Sunday spin I had planned out to Delamere. From the start of the ride something didn't sound right with the bike. We headed over to Birkenhead to meet Ken, and just as we approached the Tunnel Dave L Punctured. Phill stayed with Dave and I rode on with Dave B, and Graham to let Ken and Tim know what was happening. It wasn't too long before we restarted and my concerns over the noises emanating from my bike began to raise. We rode as far as Eastham before I decided that I needed to bail from the ride, as the last thing I wanted was to be too far from home if anything happened.
The Lads headed off and I turned back towards home, accompanied by a worrying progressively louder noise. Of course, as I turned into my road, the noise stopped! The rear wheel is booked in to be checked over by Steve at the Bike Shop in Moreton tomorrow.
The lads didn't fair much better by all accounts. As I was the only one with the route on my Garmin, they inevitably went to places they didn't plan too ( got lost) and Graham suffered from a broken Cleat and had to pedal with only one foot clipped in all the way! Graham also suffered from a severe case of " Helmet Burn" something we have not been used to this summer!!

To complete the days misfortune, while I was out getting a few more miles in this evening to make up for the shorter than planned ride this morning, I saw the Wirral Mamils, Shaun and Ade. I stopped to chat and whilst we were talking, Iain rode past and decided to stop too, but he forgot to tell the person he was riding with, who proceed to use Iain's bike as a brake! Luckily they both managed to stay upright and didn't damage their bikes too much! We didn't laugh too much, well actually we laughed a lot! Once our composure was recovered I continued on a windy loop on the winter bike, without mudguards!!

Anyway, today was a very special day for anyone who follows British bike racing. I felt very proud as Bradley Wiggins stepped up to the top step of the podium to receive his yellow jersey. It has been a fantastic Tour De France this year, with Wiggo riding in yellow since stage 7, and even though he looked strong, and Team Sky were dominating the Peloton I just didn't want to get my hopes up.
I have been to some great sporting events in the past, but today was something special. The first ever British rider to Win, and also Mark Cavendish winning the final stage on the Champs-Elysees, for the fourth year in a row, and also rack up his 23rd Tour stage win. To remember the day, I have attached some Pictures from the official Team Sky website.

 We had our first club social on Friday, as well as having a great time and fantastic food, thanks Laz, we also decided on the Jersey design. Hopefully it wont be long until we are all kitted out and looking like the photo above!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

A tribute ride to Tim's Toumalet challenge.

Today, Palefish CC rider Tim is in France to ride the "Act 2" of the Etap.

As you can see from the graphic, it is a challenge, taking in one of the most famous climbs of the Tour De France, the Col du Tourmalet.

To get ready for this ride Tim has regularly been riding out into Wales to get some climbing miles in his legs, so for today's Palefish CC ride I thought it would be good to pay tribute to Tim's challenge by doing some Welsh Hill miles ourselves.

If you are a regular reader of the Blog, you will understand how much I wasn't looking forward to this ride. Even though I have lost a lot of weight, and had plenty of practice on the hills, I still hate them!!! But if one or your mates is going for it in such a big way, you just have to go for it!

The plan was to start early, 7.00 at the Glegg arms in Heswall, so that we could get along the Chester High Road before it got too busy. There were 8 of us that met up, which is a great number to manage on a ride like this, and we are all of similar ability.
We rode down the High Road in pairs, working together to keep the legs fresh, past Eureka Cafe and down to the Dee Path. The Weather looked like it was going to be on our side today, and as we reached the Bridge over the Dee I took of my Gilet as I was warm enough, and over heating doesn't help with climbing!!

Once we had passed Bretton the climbing began. We headed up to Hope then the first of the big climbs today, The Steps!
I have been up this road before, and I really didn't like it. It is one of the worst kinds of climb as just as you think it is flattening out, it rears up in front of you again! In total the climb is 3.6 miles, and it has an average of 3% (nothing compared to Tim's ride today! His first climb is 10 miles long and an average of 7%!!)
Happily all the winter riding, and weight loss seems to have worked. Although I am still at the wrong end of the rankings on Strava I did improve my time by 4 minutes and nearly 2mph ave.

The road to the Horseshoe pass continues to Climb past the Llandegla Mountain Bike Centre, with a little downhill rest before the Climb starts in earnest. Coming from the Ruthin side the climb is shorter than from Llangollen, only 1.5 miles and an at average of 5.2%.

At the top we had planned to go down the other side and back up ( 3.5 miles down and then back at 4.9% ave) We had a vote and decided that we would leave the climbing to Tim and stop for a coffee and some beans on toast!! However, Dave and Jon did go down for a couple of miles and then back up again.

It is the first time I have stopped and had a coffee at the Ponderosa Cafe, usually we get here a bit later and the place is packed with other two wheeled machines, but today, as we there here earlier, it was quite.

Paul and Mark post Beans. Paul is brandishing his new Palefish CC Membership Card!!

Jon brought along some Haribo Gold Medals for us, to celebrate the first Palefish CC hilly club run!! There was a lot of talk about coming back and the different routes we could take. I think the Ponderosa may become a regular stop for the Palefish CC.

Not the usual two wheel variety seen at the Ponderosa!

Before we left the lads got together for a team Photo. These will look better in a few months time when we all have our club Jerseys. I received the draft designs this week from Ken at Bio Racer, and the lads have been voting on their favourites. We should have a decision by the end of the week and then the order will be placed!!

The advantage of a circular route is that if you have climbed all the way to the half way point, you are treated to a good downhill run, apart from the uphill bits, on the way home.

The Winding road to the Ponderosa can be seen in the distance.
 We came back via a more direct route through Pennyffordd and Hawarden then back up to the Chester High road.

Surprisingly, today's ride was uneventful, except for Jon's scary speed wobble coming back down from the Ponderosa Cafe. I'm not complaining, as it meant we could spin along without having to stop for mechanicals or punctures, but it certainly doesn't make the blog as interesting!!

Congratulations have to go out to Mark. Today he did his furthest ride, with the most climbing he has ever done! Well done mate, although I still want to know what you have done with the old Mark?

Today was also the first time I have worn my new Met Sine Thesis, which I purchased this week from The Bike Shop in Moreton, using my Palefish CC discount!!

Although it is slightly heavier than the Giro Aeon I had, I didn't notice as the ICElite composition and the Gel02 pads made it very comfortable. Check out this link for a full review
I also like the design, and matt paint with green detail, as it should fit with the new Jersey theme!

Paul L, Dave L, Pete, Jon, Mark, Dave C and Paul R
This graphic shows our Climbing for today, not quite as impressive at Tim's will be!

Today's ride details

If you would like to join us on future rides, please check out our Facebook group page

Monday, 9 July 2012

Liverpool Chester Liverpool (on the MTB)

I have completed the Liverpool Chester Liverpool challenge 90 mile bike ride for the last couple years, but as Mrs Palefish likes to point out, I have done it on my easy bike, and not entered into the spirit of the event and ridden a Mountain bike, like her and 70% of the other riders who take part every year. 
So, not liking to turn down a challenge, I agreed to ride this years 50 mile route on my Mountain Bike (a lot heavier, bouncier, and older than my road bike!)
Paul agreed to keep me company, and join me with Mrs Palefish, her friend Michelle and my old school friend Jason.
I have had my MTB for quite a while, and since taking up Road riding,I must admit that I have neglected it. So as a treat I took it to the Bike Shop in Moreton for a service and check over. They did a great job, as usual, and the bike rode as good as new.

We met at Palefish towers at 7 on Sunday morning, nothing unusual for me and Paul, but a bit of a shock for the others! I loaded the car with all the bikes and we headed off to Liverpool.

As we arrived at the start area at the mouth of the Birkenhead Tunnel the scale of this years event became apparent. There were over 3000 entries for the 19th edition of the ride. As we had already registered all we had to do was wait for the start, which took quite a while!

Ready to go.
The Queue!
Nearly there?

The first challenge of the ride is the Tunnel. As you may know I have had previous experience this year riding in the Tunnel when I took part in the Ten Minutes of hell Time trial. This was quite different, but still good fun. In fact, with the gearing on the MTB and the relaxed pace, the climb out of the tunnel didn't seem too bad!
Once out of the tunnel the route took us out through Rock Ferry and up to the Leaver Causeway and then on to the Familiar lanes we use for our club rides. 

Paul and Mrs Palefish
It didn't take long for Paul and I to settled into a nice pace and start to loose the others, which isn't a surprise as we do ride about 100 miles per week, and between Claire, Michelle and Jason I don't think they have ridden 100 meters between them since last years event! 

Paul and I got to the half way point in Chester and decided to stop for a brew and wait for the others. 
After a cup of tea and something to eat there was no sign of the others so we decided to set off again.

Paul with the MTB's
We met up with Claire and Michelle, who had decided not to come into the feed station, but to carry on and eat on the go, on the road into Great Sutton. We rode with them for a while and then headed off to find Jason. The going was a little tougher as there was a little headwind, made all the more noticeable as there is no chance of adopting an aero position on the bikes we were on! To be honest, the weather was fantastic. The forecast had not looked good, with rain threatened for the early stages, but it held off and the sun even came out to keep us company!
We met up with Jason near the Wirral Rugby Club, and he was still going well. We were now 12 miles from the end, and we decided to up the pace a bit. Once we were over the hill and on the way back into Birkenhead we upped the pace a little more and along Price St we were riding at a pace we would have been proud of on our road bikes!
For the final Tunnel run we decided to see how fast we could do it in! My half way point in the Ten Minutes of Hell Time trial was 6minutes so I thought maybe 8 or 9 minutes would be ok. I started a new lap on the Garmin at the point we started on the TT and went for it. There was a little more traffic than in Feb, but we speed into the darkness hoping not to get caught up by anyone. It didn't take long to get to the bottom, and then the mile climb out began. After 40 miles the legs were a little heavier than on the way out, but I pushed as big a gear as I could to keep the speed up and emerged into the light and checked my Garmin and was happy to see the elapsed time of 7.3 minutes. Not too bad on a heavy full suspension MTB after a 49 mile warm up!! Maybe if I do a TT again I should do it on this bike?

Once we had crossed the line and devoured our complementary drinks and Haribo we waited for the others.
First out was Jason..

Closely followed by Claire and Michelle...

As we waited for Michelle's Sister to finish I spotted Tim and a couple of the other Palefish CC lads finishing their 90 mile Challenge ride


Tim, Paul, Pete and Dave (PalefishCC)
Paul Jason Claire and Michelle Finished, Literally!

 I have to admit, Claire Michelle and Jason did really well seeing as they had not prepared in the best way. And now I have completed the ride on the MTB and met Mrs Palefish's challenge, they have decided to get road bikes and see if they can ride as quick as me and Paul! 

Liverpool Chester Liverpool Ride details

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Onix Twitter ride Video

I finally understand the camera and managed to get over one and a half hours of video which I have edited to highlight all the different areas we rode through on the ride, except Blackburn town centre as the battery had died!!
I still have to change the date, but it's not that easy so just ignore it!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Rain and Rails on the Onix Twitter ride

As I loaded the bike into the back of the car at 6.30 this morning, in the rain, I did consider putting the bike away, and going back to bed! It took a lot of resolve to carry on loading the car, and set off to pick up Tim. The conversation in the car on the journey to Blackburn through the driving rain was mostly based around "what are we doing?"

We arrived at Onix HQ and the car park was empty, Except for the Onix Team car and two others, it was only 8.20 though!! We were happily surprised to see Phil B from the Club talking to Craig, and also Dermot, another Onix rider in the office and the coffee started to flow and the car park filled up including Dave L from the club too.

Joining the mortals today were the young guns of the Mountivation Cycling Development Academy that Onix sponsor. They are a great bunch of lads who are being put through their paces to get them ready for senior racing. It's not often that you would see 16 year old lads out at 9 o'clock on a Sunday morning in the rain by choice! 
We sheltered in the office for a little longer than planned, hoping that the rain may pass. It didn't and finally, an hour after the planned start time, we rolled gingerly out of the car park. 

Craig had warned us that it wouldn't be long before we met with our first climb. And he wasn't lying! The first 2.5 miles were all up hill! To be fair though, the hills around Blackburn aren't as hard as the short sharp Welsh ones we are used to and I felt quite good. The rolling terrain continued for the next 20 miles, with some tough climbs and some great, if a little tentative, descents. We split from the Mountivation Lads at the 15 mile mark, as they were determined to add a few more hills into their ride! 

The ride into Preston was mostly down hill, a nice respite to the climbing, but to be honest, we put some good efforts in on the flats too.
As we approached Preston I realised we were on the same route that Ken and I had followed on the Manchester to Blackpool night ride last year. 
We stopped at a set of traffic lights and the lads at the front who knew the route warned us of some Tram lines crossing the road ahead, I remembered these from the night ride. As we approached them everyone took a similar line, as the Tram lines dissect the road at a dangerous angle that can eat bike wheels. 
What happened next happened so fast I didn't realise it was happening until my head hit the tarmac and I saw my bike sliding off down the road! To add insult to injury, to avoid me, Tim had taken a different line that was not conducive with upright riding either and he joined me on the Tarmac! We both got up, which is a bonus, and very quickly went to our bikes to check them over before checking ourselves out. I managed to bend the rear Mech hanger and we both picked up some scratches on the bar tape, brake levers and Pedals. 
I landed on the same side as my recent fall, opening up the old wounds, and adding some heavy bruising to my shoulder, and Tim suffered a badly bruised and swollen hand and cuts!
Apparently the bike didn't go into the Tram track gully, but slipped on the rail, low siding me with no chance of recovery. I was glad I was wearing my helmet. I hit the road with so much force that I now need a new Lid, as my "new and only had for a few months" Giro, now has a nice crack across the side of it! 

Once we had sorted ourselves out we carried on through Preston and on to the Coffee stop at Gusta Gusto

Tim still smiling even after an off!
 The Cafe was great and reminded me of Eureka, ( although not as good if you read this Anne!) The staff were very friendly and helpful, especially when Tim asked for some Ice to reduce the swelling on his hand.

After the stop we started our return journey. Both Tim and I had started to feel the effect of the fall, and knees and shoulders and hands were aching and getting stiff. It wasn't a flat route either, and as we hit the hills, I discovered that the damage to the rear mech was worse than I originally thought. As I changed gear into the bigger cogs on the cassette, the Mech started to rub on the spokes on the back wheel. This was an issue as we hit some 10% climbs. Once again I had to walk up a hill, which I was disappointed with as today I could have ridden them if the bike was working! 
A quick fettle from Mike the Onix mechanic worked wonders and for me the rest of the ride was uneventful. 
Which is more than can be said for one of the riders, who after descending a very steep straight long road into Blackburn with only a front brake to control his speed, suffered a massive blow out that ripped the side of his tyre. Luckily we were at the bottom of the hill and just rolling off from a set of traffic lights. A minute earlier and he would have been doing 30mph down hill!! 
Once recovery had been sorted, we set off for the last couple of miles to Onix HQ when another of the lads suffered a rear puncture! 
We eventually rolled back into the car park, glad to be in one piece, and as always after an eventful ride, buzzing and looking forward to the next one. 

It was great to see Craig again and talk about how the company is doing, and also see Mike (Mechanic) and Chris (Photographer) 

I wonder what the next Onix twitter ride will have in store for us? We have had hills, wind, rain, falls, blow outs......... Whatever it is and wherever it is you can be sure that you will feel part of the Onix family and very welcome.

Here is the link to the PHOTO's from Chris, from Crank Photo  

Today's Ride details