Sunday, 31 July 2011

Running! Hurrah!

Well I took the fact that bits of scabby skin had started to fall off my toe as a good sign, so on Thursday I took it out for a little run.  Just four miles along the canal from work, with the HR nice and low but the legs feeling they were being worked pretty hard.

The next day I had intended to get out at lunch, but made my excuses but just as I was about to get in the car and go home for a beer after "one of those days" I saw my bag and gave myself a bit of a talking to and did another four miler.  And my legs again found it hard work.  More needed, I think.

No biking this week, until Lily requested my company on a trip up to the ice-cream place at Halton East, so I pooled up there with her and glowed with pride as she dug in and rode up the hill without getting off for the first time.  Nice one, Lils.

Then today I had volunteered to lead the "B1" ride at Ilkley CC, so I was committed to turning up.  Herb persuaded me to ride from home, and Vic tagged along for the ride too.  A gentle 9 1/2 mile warm up to the old bridge, then we were off with a group of eight, all of whom looked distinctly lithe and fit, and as there was no "A" ride today I was worried that perhaps I'd be lading from the back.

And so it proved - I'd selected a very lumpy route, going up from Askwith, over to West End, then up to Greenhow before dropping into Pateley and climbing up again to Dacre, Menwith Hill and final over Norwood back to Otley.

I was near or at the back on every climb, a stark reminder of just how much I've let myself go this year.  When we get back from hols it's diet, running and exercise needed.

By the time Herb and I got back to Embsay we had 60 miles on the clock, a shedload of ascent and tired legs.  On putting it into Rubitrack, this is my second highest bike mileage month ever with 370, so another couple of those should see my belly reducing and my legs getting stronger.

More running this week, methinks, and another weekend of bike miles before Tuscany and a full size chain set awaits...

PS Oh, and Bob - if you want a gnarly local climb get your arse up Ellers Rd out of Sutton - gnarliest of the gnarly.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Still no running...

Another week of no running last week - had the stitches out of my poorly foot, which improved things somewhat, but then me and Herb's rainy lumpfest last Sunday left me with soggy bits of dead skin everywhere and a still-sore toe.

So - bike it was again.  This week's fun was an after-work ride with Adam, Sue and Rich - on his new Cube carbon steed.  Down the old roads to Crosshills, up the Lothersdale road (where Adam tried to give us a bit of pain and failed), then down to Cononley, up over to Silsden and a climb up Holden Lane, where Sue gave us lots of pain without really trying.

Then Saturday we were off to York for Angry's 40th celebrations, so I decided to cycle.  I chose quiet, but mainly flat roads, and had a lovely pootle through Ilkley, Otley, Wetherby and all sorts of little villages.  50 miles done with very little effort in well under 3 hours, so respectable pace and a good work out before drinking beer and winning (well, Karen winning) some money.

The foot does seem to be about fixed now, so i think some running will have to be done - probably a month off now, so it'll be like starting from scratch again.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

lumps 'n' bumps

After failing to get my second bike to work in on Friday, the stage was set for a decent Saturday ride. Despite horrid forecast Herb and I decided that something must be done, so we set off in dismal looking, but dry, conditions over Halton Heights.

We'd decided to do a longer version of last Sunday's ride, so it was up to App'trick then the climb up to the Greenhow road. It seems ages since we've been out in the proper wet, and my new brake shoes on the back were less than confidence inspiring, so I descended gingerly into Pateley, but not so gingerly I could actually turn off at the right place.

The climb up towards Dacre is new to us, but the number of chevrons on the road suggested it was going to be hard work. In the end it was steep bits interspersed with easier sections, but by this time we were pretty cold and wet so it became pretty tough as we climbed past Darley towards Menwith Hill.

We crossed the A59, and then turned left, away from home, which felt illogical with the weather so crap. We skirted Harrogate, then dropped down past Almscliff and turned for home at last. The return journey was easier than the first half, but a climb over Langbar the "easy" way kept us interested.

A last pull up through Halton East saw us home wet, cold and a bit knackered, with 55 hilly miles on the clock and 4 hours of non-stop cycling under our belts. Sure it'll do us good later in the summer, but it certainly felt like hard work at times.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Shorter but lumpier

Look at the lumps on that...
Bonus bike ride with l'Herb today - K is in London seeing The Take Thats, so I am on child duty for the weekend.  M, with her astounding social life, disappeared to Harrogate yesterday with one of her mates then stayed over for a sleepover, so it was just me and the Lilster.  We watched Gulliver's Travels (quite funny) and drank pop, and in the middle of it a delightful offer from Mrs l'Herb to have both our kids this morning.  A quick text to Maisie and we were sorted.

Herb arrived about 10, and he'd had an idea about doing something vaguely Pateley.  I wasn't sure if we'd manage that in the alloted two hours, but we headed over Halton Heights and Barden toward App'trick.  We turned right instead of our usual left and rode up the lane towards the Pateley Bridge road - which I've been driving along quite a lot recently as the A59's been shut for repairs.  I was expecting quite a tussle, but it was pretty reasonable, albeit very pretty.

Herb above Appletreewick
We were debating whether it was feasible to get to Pateley, but even though we hit the main road with only about ten miles on the clock, we'd taken about 50 mins to get there.  We decided to turn right at Greenhow, then see where our noses took us.

The road to Greenhow had a couple of cheeky little climbs on it, and we were glad to turn right towards Blubberhouses.  We decided that we didn't have time to get all thew way over to Askwith, although that'd be a good longer ride for sometime, so we tirned right again towards West End.

This had a tough little ascent on it too, and this took us to the right turn that avoids the gnarly bit of the Kex Gill road.

The climb going towards West End
Just before you hit the A59 there's a nice stretch of paved bridleway that desposits you at the top of the descent - but unfortunately the contractors have used the last 400m of it as a dumping ground for waste tarmac:
Waste tarmac - can they do that?
We debated flogging through the long grass to the side, but in the end turned round and rode an extra half mile of horrid A59.  I'm no expert on rights of way, but I'd have thought dumping hundreds of tons of crap on a bridleway has to be against the rules.  I feel a letter coming on...

Anyway, a whizz down the A59, a quick brew in Bolton Abbey and we were soon home, having burned significantly more than our two hour passout but having put nearly 30 miles and 1,000 metres of climbing into our legs.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

A week of bugger all - then a bit of a bike ride

After a grand day out with Ilkley CC last week proved to be the laziest in living memory - did no exercise whatsoever, ate the odd pie and drank fairly extensively (although my attendance at my first mortgage industry awards do in a few years was booze free).

The Friday saw me drinking a pint of lager beer at about 9:45 in that most salubrious of establishments, Weatherspoons on Park Row.  The reason being we were off to see the one dayer between England and Sri Lanka.  There'd been much discussion about legwear, but in the end I went with a short and a flip-flop.  Had I gone with a longer trouser and a fuller footwear, who knows what the day would have brought, but as it happened I had a bizarre flip-flop related accident at about 1 1/12 pints in and found myself being stitched up, anaesthetic free by a doctor somewhere under the East Stand.  Ouch.

I should stress that this was not a pissed-up, stagger into something injury (the stitches would have hurt less if it had been) - so I was fully able to ask the doctor the burning question:

"Will I be able to ride my bike on Monday?"

"I wouldn't advise it" he said "how far?"

"Erm...130 miles..."


What does he know?  He might know about stitches and stuff, but he doesn't understand just how stiff a bike shoe is, right?

Anyway - several beers later I got home and tried my shoe on - my eyes lit up, Cindarella-like, as I realised that it fitted!  Now all I had to do was cope with the pain.

I managed a short ride round the block on Sunday, then on Monday was up at 5 to drive to Crossflatts for our "Bike to Work" charity ride.  Me, Rob, Herb and Rhys Silverwood (surely not a real name) were joined by our domestiques Rick and Jim, plus the support team of Rachel and Jo, and set off up through Micklethwaite.  Something of a leg-stretcher for 6am, but we were soon through Otley and heading for Ripon.

Near Knayton, north of Thirsk
Herb's Edge 705 took us down a weird off road stretch, but this proved to be a short-cut and deposited us just up from Maccy D's, our proscribed meeting point in Ripon.  A sausage Mc Muffin, a check of the map, then it was off north again.  I can relate to the readership that there are no hills between Ripon and Doxford, so we made brilliant time to Brompton near Nortallerton, where we met the girls and ate some sausage rolls.  We said tata to Jim and Rick here, then the team was down to four.  We again made good time to Sedgefield, via a private road threatening dire consequences if we were caught (we weren't).  At Sedgefield the sun came out and the temperature rocketed to a level at which Rob felt able to remove his vest.

The bridge over the Wear

The last section to Doxford was a bit of a navigational nightmare, as my Edge 800 hadn't got the route on, but we eventually made it with the easiest 90 miles on the clock I can remember.  A quick whizz round with our buckets and we were off again, now relying on destinations keyed into my Edge 800.  We were headed for Jarrow, which meant crossing the Wear, then more urban riding to try and find the bike tunnel under the Tyne.  The satellites didn't let us down, and we were soon under the river and on the final stretch to Gosforth.

The Tyne bike tunnel
 We finished about 10 hours after setting off, but with a riding time of under 8 hours and an average speed of not far short of 17mph - not bad for a bloke with one foot!  We raised about £3300 for charity, and had a cracking day out in the process.  I was very pleased that it really didn't feel too tough at all, and my toe wasn't too much trouble.

Now, however, I need to get it healed and get some bloody running done!