Friday, 21 March 2014

Getting better with the weather

After Feb's rather disappointingly low mileage, I decided that March had better be "back to normal", so I've forced myself out after work whenever possible.  I've been doing a bit of travelling, so that accounts for one and sometimes two evenings off, but I've also been trying to up the mileage of evening rides a bit.  Often this will be just extending the ride by two or three miles to make it a 25 instead of my "standard" 20 - riding over to Ilkley is good for this, as the main road towards Burley has a number of turning points and gives a fairly painless extra 5 miles or so.

I've been out with the Ilkley chaingang for the last couple of Saturdays - Skipton tried to organise something similar but as usual with SCC a good idea quickly died a death due to lack of interest.  Ilkley's chaingang has around 20-30 people, and rides along the valley to Otley as one group, then splits in two.  On both occasions I've got myself on the fast group (this involves hitting c35mph on the flat!) and have hung on for a few miles before dropping back.

Even with the "ride of shame" back to the second group you still get a seriously quick (average 20mph+) 30 mile ride, and home before 11am.

Sundays have been given over to longer rides with the club, and last weekend we rode the route of Skipton CC's sportive, Le Petit Depart.  80 miles long, it takes in the TdF route for its first half, then cuts back from Hawes to Ribblehead, Settle and back to Skipton via Airton.

We used a "two stop strategy" as after the battle from Hawes to Ribblehead we were in need of a brew - this inspired us to ride the very steep climb over to Airton and even rode my least favourite road in the Dales between Winterburn and Hetton to finish.

Last week was a far better 200m+ week, although this week will be less due to a beery Paddy's Day night in Derry with the resulting "delicacy" of constitution the day after.

Video of Le Petit Depart here.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Still at it, but low mileage month

February ended up as the lowest mileage month for yonks - well, since May last year - a mere 265 miles.  However given that it's been wet, windy, and worky, as well as having a week off for skiing I guess it's not too bad.

The chain gangs were going great guns, but with so many things to do with Skipton CC they started, then fizzled out.  I've decided I'm going to give Ilkley CC, where I'm still a member, a go.

Skiing was a bit of a mixed bag - I liked Vallandry, where we were based, but it is chock-full of the sort of ghastly middle-management, pushy dickheads you dread when skiing.  Said people's kids were as bad, leading to M & L ditching ski-school after one day.  The downside was almost no off-piste action for me, the upside was I really enjoyed skiing with them - so ski-school has now been dumped permanently and they'll have a couple of hours of private lessons instead.

Once back from skiing I had another week of a couple of rides then a couple of days off - motivation seems quite low at the moment, although every time I go out I enjoy it.

This weekend saw me out with Tim Edward, which is always an effort, but despite nearly three weeks with very little bike-time, I almost managed to keep up with him over Langbar, Askwith Moor and back up Kex Gill.

Then Sunday was the Eden Valley sportive, a pretty mild affair but one which young Gareth (half-man, half-labrador) boinged his way round and encouraged me to go rather faster than I (and certainly Herb) would have liked.  Herb had one of his mega-bonks and ended up riding the last 15 miles or so on his own.  G and I finished with an average speed of over 17mph, which is respectable for 60 miles.

Little vid of the day here:

This week started positive, with those nice chaps at Stages sending me yet another replacement crank - this will be the fourth Ultegra crank they've sent me - hopefully this one will work.  Their service is amazing, but their product seems to still suffer from teething problems.

I've managed to start the month better than Feb, with a ride every day, and have gone through 1,000 miles for the year so far - which means I've ridden more miles in the first two months (and a day) than I did in either 2007 or 2008 (both pretty fat years, to be fair).  The next target is to get past 2010's total by the end of March, which will require a 600+ mile month - with 135 on the clock in the first 4 days we should be ok!