Cycling - 2

Started by Dixkot, May 12, 2013, 00:27:41 am

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Had an opportunity to leave work early, so I did. Substantial rain and drizzle overnight and this morning but by 3:30pm or so when I set off, the roads were mostly dry. I took the Boardman nonetheless.

I planned to do a Twycross of roughly 30 miles distance. But I decided to take the longer detour through Norton and Orton that (strictly speaking) avoids Twycross. I was a bit confused near Orton as it seemed from memory to be a fairly straightforward route to Sheepy, yet on following the road signs I seemed to be taking more turns than I expected. Turns out I did this:

.. instead of this:

Anyway I pressed on through Sheepy, Sibson and along Fenn Lanes where I took the left to Shenton that goes along a very quiet lane with a pleasant bench, although I only got off the bike there long enough for a wee. i continued on to Bosworth and up toward home along Barton Road as usual.

After Carlton though I decided I couldn't face coming home along Heather Lane yet again, so I decided to take a right toward Ibstock and come home that way instead.

There are a number of right turns on the road north of Bosworth that take you to the A447, then up to Ibstock. I don't use any of them often so I can never remember which is which.  Inevitably I took the one I hadn't intended, but I wasn't too bothered. Made a nice change and there was plenty of daylight left. Not only that, but the Sun came out and the temperature increased slightly. It had been a bit cold up to that point and I'd regretted not putting on tights.

Took a pic after the sun came out. The spire on the skyline just above the handlebars is at Ibstock.

I smiled wistfully when I passed a little delapitated bench near Nailstone, where I remember taking refuge from the Sun toward the end of my first 100 miler in 2016. Don't think I'd been that way since then. I'd love to think I can do another one by next summer. Slightly troubled though to pass a rabbit on a grass verge that stayed put when I cycled past rather than scurrying off. I suppose the poor thing might have been ill or injured.

Home through Ellistown and Bosworth, and I ended up doing a few more miles than I'd intended, 36.60.

I must do the longer detour that bypasses Twycross more often. North of Orton looking west you can see for miles, right across Warwickshire and into Staffordshire.

More on Wednesday, hopefully.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


September 18, 2019, 21:06:33 pm #3616 Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 21:08:29 pm by Slim
I left work scandalously early. But then again I started unusually early, and I did put in half an hour after I got back - so you could argue that today's run out on the Planet X took place on an elongated late lunch break.

I actually felt really low on energy and mojo. I haven't got over that virus yet and I had half a mind to have an afternoon nap instead of a bike ride. But I thought I'd see how I got on, and if I ended up just doing 10 or 11 miles, so be it. I'd really have liked to have done 33, to take the monthly total so far through the 250 mile mark. But I didn't.

Decided to do a Twycross for cosy familiarity, although I only settled on that a few hundred metres after I'd set off. Went north along Ashby Rd and through Packington initially rather than through Heather and Swepstone, for a change. But I turned off to Sibson from Sheepy rather than pressing on to Ratcliffe.

I went an unusual way between Upton and Shenton. With the benefit of hindsight (and a map) a bit pointless, as it just runs south of Shenton Lane which would have been a better choice. But I was sort of busking it at that point. And I would have sworn that I'd never been that way before, except that Strava subsequently awarded me my third fastest time for a segment along there.

Stopped north of Bosworth to take a pic of the alpaca that lives along there. I did my best to beckon it over for a selfie but it was utterly indifferent.

Took the correct right turn this time north of Bosworth to avoid Heather Lane.

Listened to another chapter of the Beatles biography by Mark Lewisohn, covering the end of their time in Hamburg and return to Liverpool. Then 5 Live and an interview with someone from Labour who confirmed that if elected, they'd try to get a deal from the EU to leave, then campaign to remain. So it would literally be in their best interest to get the worst possible deal, which of course they would. I must stop listening to the news, it makes steam come out of my ears sometimes these days and it's not conducive to relaxing cycling.

Good weather, a bit cloudy but sunny later on, warm enough and a gentle breeze.

28.05 miles, 245 this month.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


Had the day off work today and managed to get out for a late afternoon 25 miles. Gorgeous weather. Would have liked to get 30 in but started to get backache around 21 miles, despite the application of Deep Heat before setting off. Nevertheless, an enjoyable way to burn a few hundred calories.


I'd hoped to do a 70 mile ride this weekend. The weather looked prohibitive on Sunday but beautiful on Saturday. So with this in mind I attempted to arrange some out of hours work for Saturday morning, at 0930. Unfortunately the customer insisted that it take place on Saturday afternoon instead.

I could have got up early and got a 70 miler in before the specified time to be fair, but I decided to leave work early and do a long ride after work instead. So I prepped the X with the necessary lights and set off at 3:30pm. I took a light fleece and a pair of cycling tights in a small backpack with the intention of putting them on after sunset, when I expected conditions to cool down somewhat.

Decided to do Welford and back, thereby conquering another of the neighbouring counties. This would be a ride of about 64 miles in distance, not 70 - but enough for an after-work outing. Welford is a small town just over the Northamptonshire border and I've been down there on a bike a few times, but not via the newish route that goes down through Stoney Stanton. I had the route uploaded to the eTrex.

Sunny and pleasant weather as I set off. I faced a headwind from the south on the way down, as the many wind turbines I encountered reminded me - but I assured myself that this would be to my advantage on the way back, propelling myself northward in the dark.

After Stoney this route was completely new to me except for the last mile to Welford and I must admit, I didn't enjoy the stretch through Broughton Astley - which felt more like an A road than a B road. Quite urban and quite busy at that time of the evening. I'm sure I'll do a variation of this route again but I'll rethink that part.

I stopped at a quaint and elegant village store at Gilmorton, with a table and chair outside - an absolutely perfect cycling rest stop. The young lady behind the counter was new and had to phone a friend to work out how to make an Americano. I also purchased an egg mayonnaise sandwich and a Fry's Peppermint Cream. I stashed the chocolate in my backpack for later.

Duly rested and refreshed I pressed on and I arrived at Welford 8 miles later, just before sunset. I didn't hang around there long; in fact I didn't actually go into the village. I propped up the bike against the 'Northamptonshire' sign, took a quick pic and was on my way back a minute later, making the most of the remaining light. My hope was to cover another 10 miles or so before it was properly dark. The remaining 20 or so miles didn't seem too much of a distance to cover in the darkness.

Really atmospheric out there in the open after sunset. This was my favourite part of the ride. I snapped the following pic somewhere near Kilworth.

It occurred to me around this time that although I'd propped the bike up against the Northamptonshire sign, I hadn't actually pedalled beyond it and I may not even have crossed the county border! But I checked the map and the track carefully on my return, and yep - when I took that pic I had crossed the river Avon and was definitely not in Leicestershire any more.

Cycling in the dark a long way from home can take you out of your comfort zone but the friendly glow of the eTrex map on the handlebars to assure me I was still on the planned route and a bright front light made all the difference. I'm not sure how long a rechargeable battery lasts in the front light so even though I'd brought a spare, I used it on medium luminosity most of the time, saving the full on mode for the darkest little country lanes. Going through towns with street lamps, I turned it off and relied on a little flashy LED blinker.

I'd thought of listening to some more of the Beatles biography and had brought my MP3 player but decided that 5 Live would be better company, so I used my DAB instead. Quite pleased to get more than 5 hours out of a single charge.

Although I'd brought additional clothing I didn't bother with it, so I could actually have left my backpack at home. What I should really have done is to put it on just after Welford. By the time I'd started to feel cold, about 10 miles from home, I decided I'd rather not take my jersey off and put a fleece on under it. But I wasn't too uncomfortable. I suppose the backpack helped keep my back warm.

Stopped somewhere near Stoney for a wee and ate half the Peppermint Cream. I don't normally allow myself such indulgences these days, so that was quite a rare pleasure.

I pushed a bit harder than I otherwise would to get home in the dark, but my knees did OK. At least as well as I expected. Quite encouraging, really. Certainly no problems with respect to general fitness and I seem to be over that virus now.

I saw a really big bird of prey on a grass verge near Dunton Bassett, not sure what it was but not a buzzard. Quite evenly dark in colour. Looked like it was standing over a bird it had caught but I couldn't see clearly. Saw a hedgehog crossing the road at Earl Shilton, and a vole doing the same near Newbold Verdon. Apart from that, no wildlife sightings of note other than dead badgers.

That really was a lot of fun, something a bit different.

64.13 miles, and that takes me to 310 this month, 2940 this year.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


After really enjoying last Saturday's ride, today, not so much. OK not very much at all. Similar length ride, similar amount of climbing, but meh. Could have been because I rode out with the wind and came back with it. More like I should have taken notice of the fact that I kept waking in the night sweating with cramps in my legs and feet and a bunged up nose.

But hey, sometimes a ride helps you shake these things off. Not today. Probably. At the end of the first climb up Horsleygate I could tell I was out of sorts and when I put my foot down waiting to get out at the junction at the top, I could barely keep myself upright. But, because this was then followed by a flatter and downhill bit with a tailwind I thought things were on the up. But, when things were on the up I came crashing down and was grinding up things I normally barely notice.

Going up Mam Nick from Edale was torturous today. I didn't find it nice the only other time I;ve done it, but today I could barely catch my breath, so I took the chance to take a photo - the scenery was gorgeous today (it always is) - but it was sunny and the air was clear.

Because by this time I was well away from home, I decided to push on and come back over the Snake Pass. I found that a grind the only other time I've done it, today it was a grind into the wind. Of course the higher you go, the stronger the wind gets. I was struggling with cramping hamstrings by the top too, but you do get a 15 mile descent after that. I could have done without the car that just stopped in the middle of Bamford to let out its passengers, who exited from the driver's side rear door >:(

That just left one final climb up from Hathersage, where I surprisingly set my third quickest time ever, I had though shot past a couple of chancers on e-bikes. They got me back though. Cheating Buggers >:(

The it's downhill all the way home - almost - but my gears then decided to start playing up, skipping merrily about of their own volition. Arse. That's summat to sort tomorrow now.
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection


Rain :(

Can't get the rear derailleur working across all gears :(:( Tried the Winter bike, that was the same, sorted that in two minutes. Still raining :(
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection


Rain all day yesterday. But the roads were dry by early afternoon today, with more rain due over late in the afternoon. So I thought I'd take a longish lunch break and do a short Twycrosser, of 18-20 miles or so. And if I had done that, I wouldn't have got caught in the rain. Instead I elongated it to 21.85 miles by going all the way down to Sheepy, and got rained on over the last two miles. Only lightly. Enough to be annoying but at least my decision to take the Boardman was vindicated.

Still - quite an enjoyable run out overall. Haven't done a lunch break ride for a long time; used to do them all the time a few years ago but I'm all about longer rides than that now. Came back along Gibbet Lane and I haven't done that for a few weeks.

Bit windy, mostly sunny until the last few miles. Glad to have got that one in because the weather looks dire for the rest of the month. And I've surpassed my September target (320 miles) now. 331 done this month.

I don't like to listen to 5 Live in the afternoons when Nihal Arthanayake's on - his show is a sort of awful parody of left-leaning, liberal drivel and he's possibly the worst radio presenter I've heard in my life. So I tuned the DAB to 6 Music. Even on there, it wasn't long before Shaun Keaveny's guest came out with snarky remarks about Conservative voters. But the BBC will get theirs, one day. The writing's on the wall already.

Speaking of the weather I must say I've been impressed by the Met Office recently. This weekend's warm and sunny weather on Saturday followed by a rainy Sunday was forecast at least a week before it happened.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


Zwift-World Cahmps Course in Harrogate.

Think I need to do it for real, looks a really interesting, rolling course
The new songs are an abomination


Quote from: Slim on November 07, 2018, 19:13:33 pmOn Monday night, I performed a bidon weight audit.

Results are as follows.

From left to right:

Elite Speeddrink 500ml : 90g
SMASH 700ml : 99g
Zefal 'Magnum' 1000ml : 99g
SIS 700ml : 92g
HIGH 5 700ml : 83g
Tesco pink 500ml : 59g

So the ubiquitous HIGH 5 bidon, quite often seen adorning bikes around these parts has an excellent volume : unfilled weight ratio. It's also highly translucent so you can see the fluid level at a glance.

The 'Speeddrink' is a well-made item of decent quality and a stylish design, but relatively heavy for its capacity. Nonetheless it's an ethical choice as the plastic it's made of is based on corn oil, and allegedly it will bio-degrade eventually.

A personal favourite of mine is the SMASH bidon. I bought it on impulse at Tesco for £3. While it doesn't colour-coordinate well with any of my bikes, it does have a very easy nozzle action, despite being decently watertight.

The pink one isn't really a cycling bidon, but it does work. I think that was an impulse buy as well.

My personal choice for a long ride though is to use Lucozade Sport in its original bottle - I find that it can be held securely in most bottle cages, it's easy to use while riding, it can be refilled if necessary and the bottle itself is probably less than 55g in weight.

I had a really natty green bidon that was a pretty close colour match with the Planet X - no idea what's happened to it. I must have left it on a bench somewhere.

While browsing a cycle shop near Spitalfields yesterday I bought an Elite FLY550 'ultra light sport bottle' in a shade of green that looks a decent match for the X. It's just weighed in at 54.5 grams, the lightest one I've owned so far. Very flimsy plastic though, but I think it's as robust as it needs to be. Wish I'd got a black one for the Cannondale.

I've lost a couple of the bottles from the first pic. The yellow one was run over by a car and I don't know where the dark blue one is.

I've noticed that the Speeddrink bottle gives off a faint smell after it's had liquid in it for a while - if you take the lid off and sniff it, there's a hint of petrol fumes.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


Shortly after typing that last post I thought to myself - maybe you can get them on Amazon? And you can. A bit cheaper as well. Bought a black & white one for the Cannondale and it's just arrived.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


The weather forecast encouraged me to believe I could go for a long lunch break ride without getting rained on. I decided on a Twycrosser, predictably.

Quite sunny and almost warm when I set off, but ten minutes later I was pedalling through moderate rain. Only for ten minutes, though, and not too heavy. The roads became markedly wetter as I approached Twycross, suggesting that the rain had been a lot heavier there. But after I took the road to Sheepy, the surface was completely dry. The rain must have just edged Twycross.

I did get showered on a couple of times after that but the last few miles were warm, sunny, and without rain albeit the roads were a bit damp.

I'd meant to do about 22 but ended up doing 27.15, returning to my desk half an hour later than I'd intended. But I got away with it.

I tried the new bottle I bought in London, even though the colour clashes shockingly with the red frame of the Boardman. Apart from being very light it's also highly ergonomic - it slips in and out of the bottle cage very easily, by virtue no doubt of being a thinner and more malleable plastic - and the nozzle is very easy to operate. My only slight misgiving is that it might not be too secure in the cage.

Anyway. That's 359 done this month.

I'd been hoping to do a 70+ miler on Saturday but the forecast is now for rain from mid-afternoon continuing right into Sunday. So it'll be a shorter ride than that to finish off the September campaign, unless they change their minds again.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


September 28, 2019, 20:36:55 pm #3626 Last Edit: September 28, 2019, 20:44:26 pm by Slim
The weather forecast for today has been very changeable over the last couple of days. Yesterday morning it looked like I could get 50+ miles in before the arrival of rain in the evening. Early this morning it looked like rain all day. It did rain this morning quite a bit but by 3pm, the forecast was telling me I had a few hours to get a ride in without rain.

Since the roads were wet, I decided to take the hybrid. Once I got to the garage though I realised that I hadn't brought non-cleaty shoes with me - I often forget that the hybrid has civvie pedals now. I certainly wasn't going to do a Twycross in the Crocs that I use as temporary footwear between the house and the garage, where I keep my cycling shoes - so I decided to take the Boardman instead.

Twenty minutes after I set off, and against the best advice of the Met Office, the rain came down by the bucketload. It only lasted about 10 minutes, but left me thoroughly soaked.

Curiously, a few minutes after the rain stopped, I turned south onto Ashby Rd at Snarestone and the road went from soaking wet to bone dry in the space of a few feet. A heavy blob of rain must have passed over, just clipping Snarestone. It must have been possible to have stood on Ashby Road, remaining perfectly dry while watching the rain coming down a few yards away. Fascinating.

Just checked the rainfall radar for the time the rain came down and yep, it looks like that's exactly what happened.

The roads were quite dry for the next 15 miles until the southern approach to Heather, which is roughly level with Snarestone. So the rain blob would have been travelling pretty much exactly eastwards, which makes sense of course. I was quite pleased to have taken the Boardman in the end.

I gave a celebratory fist pump as I chested the imaginary 3,000 mile finishing tape between Sheepy and Sibson. Since the roads were dry enough at that point and my clothes had dried off a bit I decided to extend the ride a bit by taking Barton Lane across to Barton in the Beans rather than coming straight up through Shackerstone. I love Barton Lane. So quiet and secluded, yet decently surfaced and some nice scenery as well.

Not an entirely enjoyable ride; my feet were a bit damp for the remainder of the ride after the downpour. My gloves were cold and damp as well, but I stuffed them into a bottle cage for part of the ride and made do with bare hands.

Pleased to have got a Saturday Twycross in, especially with footy on 5 Live, albeit Alan Pardew isn't my favourite match summariser. A bit of a Saturday tradition.

The bike computer on the Boardman has developed a bad habit recently - it takes a few hundred yards before it notices that the front wheel is spinning when setting off, or after stopping for a while. I've had that one for over ten years actually so not a bad innings, but maybe a new magnet will fix it. I do have a spare somewhere, I'll have a good look for it tomorrow.

23.72 miles done today and that's 3,013 this year, 382 this month. Looking at the weather forecast, the September campaign may well be over.

I'm currently aiming for 3,750 this year and my monthly targets are based on that. Certainly it looks almost easy now, but could I possibly reach 4,000? Depends on the weather, I think. I do have some holiday still to take and of course there are some public holidays near the end of December, so perhaps it's doable.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


Despite the somewhat inclement weather forecast, I took the good bike out today. The winter bike and hybrid both need servicing and the good bike now has a fully working rear derailleur. It went in to Bicycle Repair Man and he found the shifter cable was fraying in the shifter. Now I'll change externally routed 105 cables but not internally routed Ultegra ones, it had done 4,500 miles so it was due for a change. He also flagged up a loose headset - doesn't feel so to me - and the rear cassette is showing signs of wear, but it has done 8,000 miles.

I was quite lucky with the weather in that I never got fully rained on for long and when it did rain it was reasonably warm rain. I could also spot the showers and navigate accordingly. The worst bit was dropping back to Holymoorside on the A619 which had been thoroughly doused by a shower whilst I'd been down to Beeley and back. I could see it moving away when I got back to Beeley Moor and congratulated myself on missing it. The wet roads though were no fun when a lorry passed me it speed, which was enveloped in  a dense cloud of filthy water droplets. I'm still getting grit off my skin now.

Today's 65 miles takes me to me to 473 miles for September and 5,598 for the year. I've already done 63,500ft of climbing more than the whole of last year and now need 12 miles to reacj my target of 100 miles of elevation gain for the year.
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection


I've done 23 miles of elevation gain this year, according to Strava. Thought it would be less than that!

So this year you've done an average of 83 ft of elevation per mile, whereas I've done roughly 40 per mile.

Put a new magnet on the front wheel of the Boardman, spun it and the computer started up. Will see how it does on its next run out.
Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.


Quote from: Slim on September 29, 2019, 21:14:12 pmSo this year you've done an average of 83 ft of elevation per mile, whereas I've done roughly 40 per mile.

Last year I averaged 65, no wonder my legs ache this year...

I managed to get out for 20 miles today, something which didn't look on for most of the day, but being as they held the World Championships in awful weather I thought I should show willing. There was an awful of standing - and running - water about today. At one point the fire brigade were pumping the road clear. Still, I am now the outright - instead of joint - KOM on a segment, albeit a slightly downhill one. Hoorah for following winds!
Legend in my own Mind<br /><br />

Not enough war
Not enough famine
Not enough suffering
Not enough natural selection