Cycling - 2

Started by Dixkot, May 11, 2013, 23:27:41 pm

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The roads in NE Derbyshire were nice and dry this afternoon - apart from one, where I couldn't tell if it was wet or black ice at first, but it dried up as the afternoon wore on.
I didn't bother heading for the Peak District today as I could see the tops were still well covered in snow, so there could well have been black ice or even a bit of drifted snow on the roads I use. Like a couple of weeks ago I stuck close to home riding the same roads four times over and in the process getting in more climbing per mile than if I'd headed for the bigger hills. It's hard to escape a bit of Hillage in these parts, although I'll not play any today. Probably.
Didn't see another cyclist out today - apart from a pavement cycling mountain bike moron - but I did see a flock of hundreds of Wood Pigeons fly over. From the sounds of it someone was out shooting them.
Legend in my own Mind


To say today was warmer than yesterday - slightly - it felt substantially more bitter, it didn't help when it started raining either. Still it was another 38 miles done and I actually saw another cyclist today, he looked even older than me. Which was nice.
Legend in my own Mind


Thought the roads would be wet this morning after yesterday's precipitation but they look fairly dry. The forecast is for high winds pointing east over the next couple of hours, which made me think of taking advantage and heading over to Melton Mowbray. But I'd still have a headwind, albeit less powerful, on the way back.

Wow - weird - in the very second that I typed that a caller to Danny Baker on 5 Live mentioned Melton Mowbray. Spooky. Perhaps it's a sign.

Probably better sticking to 23 miles or so for the time being. It's not a particularly low elevation route anyway. But I do feel the need to do something a bit different.


Glad I waited until this afternoon to go out, to let the worst of the wind blow over. Not that I ever go out on a Saturday morning anyway, that's lie in time. It was still windy though, it seemed to pick up too even though it was forecasted to moderate through the afternoon.
So, today I managed my longest ride of the year - 43.1 miles; my climbiest ride of the year - 4,140 ft and my slowest ride of the year - 14mph, wind and going uphill do that to you. Oh, first ride of over three hours too, sunset not until after 5pm now, which is nice.
Legend in my own Mind


February 09, 2019, 23:44:00 pm #3364 Last Edit: February 09, 2019, 23:46:30 pm by Slim
I left the garage atop the Boardman at about 11:35. I'd decided to head out east with the tailwind behind me and see how I got on. I thought I might just go as far as Wymeswold then come back, which would have got about 35 miles under my belt. But equally, I thought I might well turn back after 12 or so, to be on the safe side.

Wrapped up fairly warm, though it wasn't that cold. I trialled a new tubular headscarf that came as a freebie with the balaclava - and that turned out to be really effective at keeping the wind off my ears. There are several ways to wear it but I opted to stick my head through it and arrange it so just my face was sticking out of it, like a hijab. Wore a dutt on top. Probably more useful than the balaclava, actually.

I took a low-elevation route to the main route out east, Ashby Road, joining it at Belton. Pushed along quite happily over the river and into Nottinghamshire in pleasant sunshine, with the wind at my back. Got to Wymeswold after about 18 miles, but decided to keep going for a bit. Took a detour along a quiet lane called East Road, looking for an inconspicuous spot for a wee. After consulting Google Maps I decided to keep going in that direction, then take a right along Hades Lane before joining Paddy's Lane, where I would turn right and come back home.

Unfortunately, although the wind was supposed to dissipate roughly at this time it actually grew substantially stronger, as evidenced by a number of wind turbines in the vicinity, spinning quite powerfully and facing the direction I would have to pedal to return home. I was being buffeted by the wind quite powerfully from my right, so much so that at one point I was actually pushed onto the bumpy grass to the side of the road. I had to pedal quite forcefully to stay upright and rejoin the road, which was a real bummer because I hurt my right knee doing this and it wasn't quite the same again for the rest of the ride. Up until that point I'd been keeping it in a reasonable state of equilibrium by taking it easy.

Anyway - I came to the junction where I was due to turn right and homeward, but I simply wasn't going to push into 40mph winds with a dodgy knee. So I turned left instead, heading still further from home but with the wind at my back. In the back of my mind I thought I might even go as far as Melton Mowbray, spend an hour or two there in Costa Coffee then head home into less hostile conditions once the wind had died down. I pushed on another 1.5 miles until I came to a steep descent approaching Asfordby Valley, which I'd forgotten about. Definitely wouldn't have been a good idea to come back that way so I came to an abrupt halt and consulted Google Maps. As it turned out I'd just passed a left turn to a village callled Grimston, with a pub called the Black Horse. So I headed that way instead.

That turned out to be a good idea because the Black Horse had a very nice sandwich menu and friendly staff. I left the bike leaning against a wooden bench outside, strolled in and ordered a bacon & brie sandwich and an orange juice. I didn't have my bike lock with me so I ate outside, at the bench. The sandwich came with perfectly made crispy fries, coleslaw and a small jar of ketchup. Perfect. Quite a fortuitous find because it's only half a mile from Six Hills Lane, the main road over to Belvoir Castle which I've done a few times - a road which is conspicuously lacking in garages, caffs, pubs, small shops and other places to fuel up. Ideal really as it's just about the half-way point as well.

So, suitably replenished and with the power of the wind having diminished a tad I set off again in the direction of Six Hills Lane and came home the usual way. My right knee had started to hurt a bit by this time but I took it easy, making the occasional stop to do quad and hamstring exercises. My left knee started to hurt as well over the last fifteen miles or so, which reminded me not to be complacent about it - I've focused mainly on the right leg for my physio exercises but I need to work them both.

Gloomier conditions set in just as I was leaving Nottinghamshire about ten miles from home and the temperature dropped a bit. I picked up a bit of rain near Zouch, but only for ten minutes or so. Things brightened up a bit again 20 minutes later.

Got home on 49.63 miles, but felt as if I'd done a long one - partly I guess because I hadn't done a ride of that distance for many months, partly because I'd made a bit of a day out of it with a lunch stop, but also because I mainly used roads which I associate with longer trips. Very nice to be riding over that way again.

Didn't see much interesting wildlife, just a buzzard, a fox that had recently been twatted by a motor vehicle, a quadruped that was so badly decomposed that it was impossible to tell what species it was, and some cute little hedge birds with brown / white foilage.

So - despite the wind and my concern about my knees, that was actually a pretty cracking ride out. A bit of an adventure being largely unplanned, and with some new roads and a new pub. And - I think I've got away with it. My knees don't feel too bad. Assuming they do recover as I expect in a couple of days then I think it's probably safe to try a Fondo in two or three weeks, if I can devise a suitably low elevation route (probably out west, north of Lichfield). I seem to be able to pootle along flat roads without putting any trauma on my knees if I take it easy.

Actually - here's a thought. Maybe I could drive a bike to start / finish point somewhere east of Stamford, and do a flat 100 miler from there? It's not cheating, is it? It's not like people who live in Norfolk get disqualified from Fondos. I'll think about that.

Anyway so that's 71 this month, 85 miles to go to reach the Feb target of 156.


Oh yes! Almost forgot. A discarded underwear sighting a few miles from Rempstone. Black, with pink and purple hearts. Unusual as the roadkill panty season proper doesn't start until late April in the East Midlands.


Managed back to back 40 milers this weekend. I cut down on the climbing today as the legs felt dead today. The wind felt stronger today too, but that might just have been that I rode into it more today. More cyclists were out on the road today too, why weren't they out yesterday?
Not too much wildlife - apart from the ubiquitous Wood Pigeons - but I saw a Kestrel and lots of Robins. There was a freshly dead Badger outside Westhouses too.
Legend in my own Mind


Took a late, long lunch break and did a Twycross on the Boardman. Right knee was still feeling a bit aggravated from doing (very nearly) 50 miles on Saturday. I took it easy but still got pain in both knees after 8 miles or so. Nothing debilitating and I was able to complete 23.56 miles without suffering too much, but perhaps I gave myself a bit of a setback on Saturday. It does feel as though there's a trend toward them getting better eventually. I was having to hop upstairs in July, and although I feel a bit of a pain in the right knee still I can at least ascend them normally now.

I'll see how they feel at the weekend anyway, with another three or four days off.

Anyway quite a pleasant run out, disregarding concerns about my anatomy. Not too blowy, not overly cold. Bright to start off then a bit overcast and gloomy. Then dark-ish, but I had lights. Was back while there was still enough light to see the road without a powerful beam at the front (just had a cheapo LED blinker with me).

So that's 95 this month, leaving me with 61 to do in the rest of Feb. 273 done this year.

Going to stick to 20 or so for a week or two I think. I hadn't actually intended to do as many as 23 today. Just mentally miscalculated. I suppose I should keep a handy list of familiar routes and their distances.


Went out on the Boardman this afternoon. Lovely day - mild, bright and sunny. I'd intended a low elevation route to the Gibbet Post and back which would have been about 15-16 miles. I'd picked it out by perusing my activity record on Strava, sorting them by distance and looking for the low elevation ones in the 15-16 mile range.

However being my usual absent-minded self I realised by the time I got to Snarestone that I'd basically ignored my plan, and was doing a Twycross on auto-pilot. As I neared Twycross though I turned left along Bilstone Road to Bilstone and Congerstone, to keep it short. Home on 16.73 miles.

Both knees experienced a bit of discomfort. Possibly I did give myself a setback at the weekend by doing nigh-on 50 miles. It's a long journey. What the destination is I don't know, but anyway I will be good and increase my distances in 2 mile per week increments as instructed by Physio 2. I'll start from 16 miles, unless my knees improve markedly in which case I'll consider my setback to be temporary and bump up the distances a bit more.

Lovely view of the daytime 2/3 full Moon in a clear blue sky throughout. One or two buzzards around, flying high against the blue backdrop.

The battery on my old Forerunner 10 died with about two miles to go. I suppose I'll give up on it. Once again I synthesised the track by looking on Strava for the last time I'd done the same ride, exporting the GPX, editing it to remove 8 metres or so where I overshot a turn (because I didn't do that this time) and to change the timestamps. I used a graphical tool called gpsprune. Nice & easy. Uploaded the modified version to Strava, job done.

Maybe another Twycrosser on Sunday.

290 this year now, all of them on the red Boardman.


February 16, 2019, 20:41:49 pm #3369 Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 21:27:47 pm by Nïckslïkk2112
It was certainly a lot warmer today! No need for base layers and could have got away with a shirt sleeved top. Mind last night's 14.5% Argie Malbec and this morning's dicky tummy might have made me a bit warmer than usual. Actually consumed all my water on the ride today and the addition of an electrolyte tablet was probably a good thing.
I wasn't too sure if I'd make it up today's first big hill - Loads Road - but I got there, I'd have liked to be quicker, but just making it to the top felt good today.
The next hill of the day - Baslow Hill - isn't too bad, but it was my second slowest time ever. Luckily all the other cyclists - and there were plenty out today- were going downhill, so I didn't have to suffer any overtakes by pensioners. Up on the tops past Shillito Woods there were a few twitchers out and about armed with cameras with huge camouflaged lenses, what was on show I don't know. All I saw was a dead blackbird in the road and a flock of indeterminate Finchy things.
I decided to make my first ascent of the year up Hell Bank today - not as bad as it sounds - I'd noticed whilst watching Saturday Kitchen, that 10 riders had posted ascents of it on Strava already. None of whom had set a particularly good time. Well, I beat them all :) But I think the big boys came out to play later as I ended up 14/37 for the day. I can't believe though how people could do it more slowly than me! I certainly struggle with how people can do it much faster than me! Guess some people are young and fit...

I'm over 550 miles for the year now and have gone over 8 miles of climbing. Can't see me getting in another 92...

I'd also tried out some new chain lube today- a ceramic wet lube - in the hope it would make me go faster. They see me coming... But not very quickly... Actually the drivetrain felt smoother on the flat, uphill's just a slogathon anyway and why pedal downhill?
Legend in my own Mind


Strava's a bit slow this afternoon.

Anyway I had a run out to Belton and back, eschewing the "figure of eight" route of old in favour of a more circular route through Coalville and Thringstone, intended to moderate the elevation a bit.

Quite pleasant, almost spring-like. But I had to contend with a bastard of a headwind coming back south, along Top Brand. Right knee hurt all the way round - possibly as much a consequence of the slant board exercises I was doing last night, as recent cycling shennanigans - but I don't think I've done it any harm and it didn't get any worse. More typical joint pain than the stabby, raw pain I get sometimes.

I trialled a new GPS phone app called "GPS logger" - quite a straightforward app that simply records your track to a GPX file on the phone, but the interesting thing is that you can set the logging interval - so you could set it to record only every 30 seconds, or even once a minute, or longer. Might be handy for long distances if you need to save phone power. Perhaps useful for keeping track of where you went on a long car journey.

I had it set to record the position every 6 seconds. As you can see from the following two samples the GPS Logger track is cruder than the Strava app track which I recorded at the same time, but still does a pretty good job of tracking the route.

Anyway - 15.29, which takes me to 305 this year. Another 29 to do this month to reach the 156 target. But probably no more cycling until Friday at the earliest due to other commitments.


Aye, Strava is a bit slow today and Garmin Connect is down completely. A bit like me, slow today and a bit down.
Although I was quicker than the last time I did this route. I just felt slower, probably from all the climbing the legs did yesterday. Marsh Lane Drag seems to get draggier every time I do it, which is a drag, but with it being a Cat 4 climb on Strava it is more of a proper climb than a drag.
Legend in my own Mind


Got out today but for some reason the Garmin file was corrupted so I lost the ride. Anyway 25 miles, quite a few Buzzards, a dead fox, and I'm fairly certain the sound of skylarks.
Everybody's got to evalate from the norm.


Being as I'm having a few days off to spend some time with Mrs S at Half Term, I snuck out for a ride today. Well, not really snuck as she was up at her mother's all afternoon anyway, in fact I could still be out now and she'd never know...
I actually did a bit more than I thought I would, didn't think I'd go over 40 miles, but I did, so there you go. I tackled a couple of climbs I'd not done so far this year - Harewood Road and Froggatt - not very inspiring up Harewood, not too bad up Froggatt, but looking at the times of other people up Froggatt it wasn't a very inspiring time. I guess a lot of the local serious cyclists are making the most of Half Term. That's my excuse anyway.
Saw a couple of Buzzard flapping lazily in the wind up on the tops and I got close to a couple of the Finchy things I see flying around, but they looked to be females so not overly diagnostic. Ho-hum.
Legend in my own Mind


Made a start on the tan-lines on my arms today! That is if the sun has the strength to do that at this  time of the year. It was certainly warm enough for a short sleeved top. Not sure as if bib-shorts would have been a good idea though. I was the only one dressed for the weather today, everybody else seemed to be in full Winter gear still. Wimps.
After my first ascent of Froggatt this year, today I made my first descent of the year. Much nicer than going up. Certainly better than going up the Nether Padley climb afterwards. Even with a favourable wind it was a slog, mainly because the lie of the land shelters you from it. Maybe I'd have been better off stopping for a bit at the ice-cream van near the top.
Still, it got February's climbing challenge done on Strava, so I think I might just rest up tomorrow - and do all the jobs Mrs S wants me to do - as there's still the weekend to come.
Legend in my own Mind