Sunday, 26 June 2011

Phew what a scorcher etc etc.

Burnsall looking bonny
 Well the rain did its usual thing at Glasto (there was a suggestion that it's God's way of telling Bono who's the real Daddy - what a tosspot that bloke is), and yesterday I did the "jacket round the waist" thing mentioned in Terry's blog - just a sweaty 5 miles up to Halton East to give a poxy 16m for the week.

But apparently today and tomorrow is Summertime, so Herb and I set off for Ilkley this morning bright and early without arm, leg or neck warmers.  Langbar was, as usual, a bit of a struggle, but we arrived at the old bridge bang on 8:30 - and were immediately off again.  A very prompt start for once.

Passing Kilnsey going north

The "B" group seems to be the default for a lot of people, so a group of about 5 in the A group and a similar number in the C group left about 15 of us in the middle bunch.  Off up to Barden, then through Grassington and Kilnsey, with the crag looking seepage free and a few lads arriving to go and dog something to death (sorry - in modern parlance that's "working a route").
Herb in Littondale
 There was a puncture around this point, so we agreed to take it steady up to Arncliffe and regroup at some point, but in the end that was the last we saw of half the group.  To try and meet up again we u-turned at Arncliffe but no sign of them, so it was back on the back lanes via Conistone, Hebden and the Cav Pav.  Herb and I bid our chums a cheery farewell and flogged back up through Halton East to give us a comfortable 53 mile ride in about 3:30, so averaging just short of 15mph including Langbar first thing.

And Kilnsey coming back!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

More bikes and a bit of running

Grim weather on Sunday saw me waking up at 7am hoping against hope that Herb would text to say he didn't want to cycle.  No such luck, as the lanky biking machine wouldn't be put off by something as trivial as gale force wind and torrential rain.  So at 7:45 we were off, me with a slight hangover from a K induced night of beeriness, heading over to Ilkley via Langbar.

We got to the Old Bridge after a breathless ascent of Langbar, although I managed to avoid getting dropped by Herb - just.  We then set off with the B group back up the valley towards Barden, with an agreement we'd try and stick together and a planned average speed of about 15mph.  This time we had a more evenly matched group than last time we were out with Ilkley CC, and the pace stayed fairly high with just a few slowings down to allow people to get back on after being dropped.

We went up the main road to Kettlewell then came back on the back road, via Appletreewick and the Cav Pav.  At Bolton Abbey Herb and I bid the group farewell and headed home via Halton East, and ended the day with a comfortable 51 miles in the bag.

This week I'd failed to cycle in again, but have managed a couple of runs, one up in Newcastle.

I'm getting a bit pissed off with my inability to manage my time and motivation properly, so my planned 4 runs a week seems to be 2, and 2 bike rides has become 1.

More effort needed, fatty...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Hideous rainstorm hit the Aire Valley tonight just before 5pm.  Just after 5pm I went out for a run.

It was damp, drippy and squelchy, but I did a comfortable six miles at about 7:30 pace - not blistering but respectable.  I do need to start to increase my mileage though - whilst I considered doing more the CNBA fairy alighted on my shoulder and told me to get home and eat some mashed potatoes.

Worryingly Herb has gone cycling crazy - cycled in yesterday then tonight was off to do the lumpy ride through Haworth we did the other day.  Was tempted to keep up by cycling tomorrow but as I have to be in early for some supplier presentations I think I'll give it a miss.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Hills hills and more hills

After the effort of Sunday we had a post-work bike pootle organised with Rich and The Newmanator - plus a guest appearance from Angry.  Dave, who'd done his longest ever ride on Sunday, was considering coming out, especially when I said it would be a steady recovery.  In the end he didn't, and I'm quite glad he decided against it as I don't think he'd have been very happy with me.

Out along the old roads through Steeton was fine, with Rich doing well to hang on into the wind, then a turn through Sutton-in-Craven.  Going past the pub some lads shouted "Good luck lads - you'll need it on that 'ill!" - so maybe we should have known...

I knew the bottom was pretty steep, but my memory of what happens after that was fairly hazy - as it turns out it's probably one of the more sustained bits of steepness I can recall riding up!  The first third of a mile has an average gradient of 18% - there's then a slackening off (but by no means easy angled) before it kicks up again - a total of nearly a mile and a half of climbing with absolutely no let up.  And Angry absolutely spanked me - it was like I was pedalling through porridge.  I was imagining Rich swearing at me as he walked up, and The Newmanator was also off the bike for a fair bit (but to be fair that is a shopping bike...).

Then it was a scary descent down into Goose Eye before a surprisingly easy climb out into Oakworth, then another frightening drop down the appropriately named Tim Lane and another steep, gnarly climb up to Haworth.

I'd told the lads that it was flat after this, but local Rich said there weren't any flat ways out of Haworth, and as we turned right near the station I could hear his voice behind me saying "Shit, no! Not up there!"

But shit, yes, "up there" we went, to a give way line on a 20% hill then more climbing beyond the junction.  Finally we came out above Cullingworth and were rewarded with a descent back to Bingley for beer and a chat.

But what a ride - only 20 miles, but nearly half the ascent we did on Sunday in 75, and that was concentrated in the middle 7!  Brilliant, if testing 90 minute ride after work - definitely one to be repeated!

Look at the lumps on that...

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Roses Round

A rubbish week exercise-wise this week - too much work, too much travelling and the one night (Tuesday) I was going to get out I'd forgotten my shoes.  I did, however, play golf on Thursday and came second.  Clever old me (well, shitty everyone else, as I didn't exactly burn it up out there).

Anyway, today, Herb and I toed (or more accurately "wheeled") the line at the Roses Round sportive at Tosside.  We've done this before, including a prety speedy time (even though I say so myself) a couple of years ago.  However today we had a newbie roadie, Dave, with us, so it was going to be a case of nursing him round, at least for part of the way.

The route starts with a hooning downhill and some fast roads to Slaidburn, then a right turn sees the work start at about 5 miles in.  This is the start of the climb over towards Bentham, but there's a couple of hills beforehand before the real meaty bit starts.  We waited for Dave before the drop down to the main climb, and were rewarded with some great views in the sunshine.

Looking over towards Pen y Ghent before the Cross 'o Greet climb

Dave collected, we spun down to the start of the ascent, which is one of those that lets you see what's coming all the way from the bottom.  Dave was finding his own pace, but we were passed by a couple of guys in full Hope gear at the bottom and Herb's competitive instincts kicked in.  As it happens they weren't exactly flying, so we just enjoyed a bit of banter on the way up.  The wind seemed to be behind, so the climb was at its most benign, and we crested the top in about 12 minutes, a pretty respectable time.
On the descent from Cross o' Greet, Howgills (?) in the distance

We waited for Dave, who made pretty good time, then cracked on to the first feedstop at Settle.  When I've done this event before I was quite disappointed as whilst they filled your bottles, food was extra - so I was very impressed to see butties, cake, biscuits and malt loaf laid out for us to trough.

We agreed with Dave that we'd stick together to Grassington at about 50 miles, then Herb and I would press on.  K was at a rounders tournament and she would have, I assumed, two very bored girls with her waiting to be taken home to sit open mouthed in front of the telly (which seems more boring to me that running around with your mates, but hey ho).  Maisie is of course recovering from her first proper bike crash when she had a "racing incident" with her mate and had to pay a visit to A&E to have a cut sorted out - so she seems to feel that telly/Wii sitting is very much the order of the day.

Anyway - we regrouped at Stainforth for the second big climb, and Herb and I both found it relatively easy - Dave was starting to feel it a bit, so we agreed to try and stick together, especially down Littondale which threatened to be into the wind.

Dave at the top of the Pen y Ghent climb - the last photo opportunity before the rain!
 We managed to keep Dave with us down Littondale, which probably cost us a bit of time but will have made his life a lot easier, as the breeze was by now quite stiff, with the sky getting darker.  More tea and cake at Grassington (this was now becoming an excellent value event - Herb probably ate his entry fee in flapjack) when we bid Dave goodbye and headed off into the gloom and, by now, rain.  Herb engaged in his usual sartorial debate wondering whether it was pertex, gilet or nothing.  In the end he elected for arm warmers and gilet and we were off.

On my fast ride I did the last 25 miles or so in 1:35, so we were hoping we could get somewhere close to that.  The rain was hammering down now though, and we were getting cold and very wet.  After Airton we started counting down from 20 miles, and pretty soon we were through Hellifield and onto the climb over to Bolton-by-Bowland - and within 10m of the finish.

The last 5m is tough (particularly as we were now drenched), as it's 3 miles of gentle uphill followed by a couple of miles of much steeper ascent.  Herb had the bit between his teeth though and as we finally had some people to chase we really pressed on - big ring, heads down, HR bouncing up to levels I'd expect to see running.

We finished with a moving time of just over 5 hrs, half an hour or so slower than my "fast" ride in 2009, but I think we probably used up most of that in the bits where we were helping Dave, particularly down Littondale where you can normally really crack on. 

Both of us were pretty chuffed with how it'd gone, as we've agreed to ride from Bingley to Sunderland then up to Gosforth on a charity "bike to work" day, which will see us hanging onto Thackray for grim death for about 120 miles.

It'll be nice to do something altruistic for a change - over the last week I've been pretty humbled by this young lady's blog - she's 15, she's from Ulverston where K and I are from, and she's dying from cancer.  She's created a "bucket list" of things to do before she "kicks the bucket", and this week it "went viral" on Twitter.  Lots of people were asking her how they could contribute to help her do the things she wants to do - but she's asked that people sponsor her sister, Milly, who's doing the Race for Life - and today pledges went through £30,000!!  This is fantastic, and a far better use of blog time than the usual self-absorbed "look at me" shite you usually see posted (present blog very much included).  If any of the few people who do read this haven't come across Alice and Milly then have a look - and if any of you have but haven't contributed, then get your hands in your pockets!

Sunday, 5 June 2011


Suffering from a large dose of blog apathy recently, and a little bit of exercise apathy too.  I've been ticking over ok, running a bit (including a really good progressive 10 miler last week with miles from 7:40 to 6:20), and riding my bike more than of late.  It's a combination of not really having much to aim for (Great North Run, charity bike ride to work, but nothing to stir the soul) and also work getting...well...not busier just more complicated.  Potential restructures, salary reviews for people - all takes up energy and time, so I've had a bit of a tendency to just go schlonk when I get home.

Anyway - this isn't some sort of confessional where I'm going to promise to ride 100 miles and run 40 miles a week.  I'm just determined to give myself the opportunity to do something most days and then take it.

So this week will be running tomorrow and Tuesday, probably a day off Wednesday, then a game of golf (sorry - I know it doesn't count) and either a bike to work or a run home Friday.  Sunday's the Roses Round which is 70 miles or so, which will be a good indicator if Herb and I are ok for our ride to work (120 miles, I think) at the beginning of July.

Today was a nice 40 miler with Ilkley CC - out to Hampsthwaite via Almscliff, then back via Menwith Hill and Norwood Edge.  Herb and I (and a couple of others) are kind of stuck somewhere between the A and B groups - 40 miles at an average of just under 16mph is fine, but there's a lot of stopping and starting as there are a few folks who struggle, especially on the hills.  We've decided to give the B group another few weeks then looks at blowing out of our arses with the A team later in the summer.

The Ilkley CC team with Almscliff in the background

There were a couple of punctures today, which made it even slower, but whilst it's not frustrating as such, it's clear that if we're going to get fitter we need to be getting pushed a bit more than we are with this group.  Which is a bit like "the story of my life" training-wise at the moment - I'm not really pushing myself or being pushed - maybe I need an "objective"...