Cycling - 2

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November 30, 2019, 23:08:30 pm #3690 Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 23:10:40 pm by Slim
I wanted to do about 40 miles today, though as I observed in my previous post, I wasn't sure the weather would permit it.

Cold and foggy when I withdrew the Boardman from the garage at about 0930, but I hoped the fog would lift. I headed out East again, following the Belvoir Castle / Lincolnshire route. Pretty much my default route for a longer trip these days. It has the advantage of being pleasant and decently surfaced, and I've memorised the route. It has a cracking pub stop 18 miles from home, as well.

This time I went out through Coleorton rather than through Coalville.

After about 10 miles, with a film of frosty mist forming on my glasses, gloves and clothing, I decided I'd turn back for home after about 15, to clock up 30 miles. But by the time I'd reached the 15 mile point the sun came out, and the temperature climbed a degree or two. The fog was still persisting but I hoped the sun would burn it off. It did seem to thin out slightly and a few miles later I did emerge into bright sunshine. I decided to press on and do at least 50 miles. A few miles later I'd decided to keep going until Eastwell, and rack up another Fondo.

Unfortunately a few miles from Eastwell I ran into more fog. I could actually see it in the distance a few miles ahead, smothering the landscape like a ground level cloud, which I suppose is exactly what it was. I kept on anyway and turned back in the middle of the village.

Must admit I didn't feel particularly safe cycling in those conditions and I didn't think my rear light was making a lot of difference. I was disconcerted to see a cyclist emerge from the fog about 35 feet in front of me, coming the other way. I'd had no idea he was there at all until then. Didn't really fancy materialising in similar circumstances in front of an overtaking car.

Sadly, the patches of bright sunshine and clear conditions that I was looking forward to reacquainting myself with on the way back had somehow vanished, but it wasn't consistent thick fog all the way. Conditions varied from pea-souper to vaguely misty. At times it was literally like riding into and out of a cloud.

Stopped to take the following pic a few miles after turning back and as I did so, an old bird on a bike pedalled past with the words "it's right thick up 'ere, in't it?" I do use the term "old bird" with a degree of humility as she could well have been my own age. She wasn't wrong. As I set off I thought of overtaking her and riding a few metres in front, so that she'd absorb the impact from a vehicle coming up behind us. But she was going a bit too slow for that.

I stopped at my favourite pit stop 18 miles from home, the Greyhound pub at Burton on the Wolds, and ate inside this time. As I ordered my customary ciabatta at the bar, I found that my powers of speech had been degraded. My voice didn't seem to be obeying my brain and my speech came out slurred and slow, as if I had a mild case of cerebral palsy. I was more than slightly concerned by this but I seemed to be able at least to think straight.

I was fine a few minutes later when I exchanged a few friendly words with one of the bar staff. When I got home I mentioned this to 'er indoors and she laughed, saying that she'd had the same experience a few times when her face had been exposed to low temperatures for a prolonged period. I'd never experienced it before myself. Or heard of it.

Another thing I'd never heard of - a "fog bow", near Six Hills. A sort of thick rainbow, but fuzzy white, and appearing much closer - the end of it appeared to be in the field I was cycling past. Wikipedia confirmed for me that these are a thing:

It occurred to me as I entered the Greyhound that I'd done 46 miles without a snack of any kind; not even a bite out of an oat bar. Not sure I've ever done that. I'd only had a couple of slices of toast and coffee for breakfast, as well. Didn't even feel particularly hungry. Odd.

The temperature seemed to drop a bit after I left there and I was a bit uncomfortable from that point, but still in good spirits. Quite happy to have got in another Fondo. Probably haven't had a triple-Fondo November before. I was actually pleased when the daylight dimmed a bit from 3:30pm or so, because that made my rear light a bit more conspicuous and I felt safer.

Because my glasses got covered in moisture from the fog fairly quickly I had to ride most of the way without them on but apart from not being able to see my watch, that was OK. I could make out the distance on the bike computer.

Home a few minutes after sunset.

The roads were a bit wet here and there but no road-wide puddles or running water, apart from the section near Cotes that always seems to be like that. I assaulted the bike with GT85 again on my return. Bit annoying as I only lubed it yesterday.

Was quite pleased with how well my knees did; they're still slightly ruined but they coped fine with 64.65 miles. My sense is that they'd do 85 or 90 at the moment without too much bother, but I can't imagine I'll be testing that theory in the next month or two.

That's it for November then, 416 miles. 3901 this year. I thought that might be my only 400+ mile November, but apparently I did 524 in Nov 2017.


Quote from: Nïckslïkk2112 on November 30, 2019, 22:33:12 pmStill, 26 miles takes me to 6,232 for the year, beating last year with a month to spare! Not that I get in many miles at this time of year. A scant 293 for November and not even enough to hit the Strava monthly climbing challenge, but I am 115,000 ft ahead of last year :)
Strava tells me you've done 525938 ft of climbing this year which is not far short of your 100 mile target. 99.609 miles.

Just looked up what .4 miles is in feet ..

.. which is not much more than you did on your 26 mile run yesterday, a modest distance by your standards. Looks like you'll hit the 100 mile finishing tape on your next ride.


Quote from: Slim on December 01, 2019, 10:52:42 amStrava tells me you've done 525938 ft of climbing this year which is not far short of your 100 mile target. 99.609 miles.
For some reason Strava is showing a greater distance and elevation gain than my spreadsheet. Yet when I look at each month on Strava it agrees to my monthly spreadsheet totals. Why the discrepancy I knoweth not. So I am going on my spreadsheet.
Legend in my own Mind


Well, the weather was better than yesterday, sunshine not fog. Still a bit nippy though, but thankfully the roads, even on the tops were ice free.
Was a bit late getting out, as I'd forgotten to swap over my cadence sensor to the Winter bike and the fastening strap has lost it's elasticity after being on the Summer bike so I had to stretch a strap a size smaller on to secure it. I know it's not really necessary, but I like to know how quickly my little legs are spinning and it does tell me if I'm slacking a bit.
Must be feeling a bit better too as I managed to get up Loads Road - 1.75 miles @ 7% - without suffering too much. In fact, I wasn't too far off my last few times on the Summer bike. Didn't have to resort to the 32T rear cog either.

Even though it was a late start I got 32.5 miles in as the clear skies let me stay out a good half an hour after sunset, normally I allow 15/20 minutes.
Legend in my own Mind


I relubed the Boardman, then after leaving work early, took it on one of the many possible variations of the route I call the Twycrosser. Continued on to Sheepy Magna and Ratcliffe. Came back along Gibbet Lane.

My knees, the right one especially, haven't completely recovered from doing 64 on Saturday, but I thought 25 or 30 wouldn't hurt. And they didn't. Much. I won't be doing a long one for a while anyway.

Dark not long after 4pm, but I had a powerful torch affixed to my handlebars. So atmospheric in the open in the moonlight.

A few oncoming cars dazzled me with full beam. Once or twice I retaliated by swivelling the torch up a bit, and that did have the desired effect of getting them to dip their lights. I decided that I'd look on Amazon this evening for the most brutal, focused beam, retina-melting head torch I can find. I don't care if it costs £200, I just want to be able to blind inconsiderate oncoming drivers with a casual, carefully aimed tilt of my head. Maybe a laser pointer strapped to a helmet is the answer.

Saw a young deer running along the side of the road, just in the trees next to the road while it was still light, a mile or so north of Twycross. I thought it was a dog at first but it was propelling itself forward with big springy leaps and bounds.

The roads were a bit wet. A bit misty later on. It was a bit cold. I did 26.34. So that's December off to a decent start.

Only 173 to go for my 2019 target of 4100, but I want to do 300 this month.


Took a long lunch break and did a Twycross. 25.05 miles; that's 51 this month.

I wouldn't say it was mild exactly, but it was on the mild side of cold. It was certainly sunny. The roads were mostly wet though; I assume from thawed frost as I don't think it's rained this last day or two. Quite an enjoyable run out.

As you can see from my shadow, I take a 64 inch inside leg. So hard finding jeans to fit.

Back well before sunset. No interesting wildlife of note save a crow (or some sort of corvid anyway) pulling long stringy bits out of a roadkill pheasant. Yuck.


I did think I'd recovered from the cold of the last couple of weeks, but it was more of a struggle than ever today. Maybe I had no expectations of riding well the last couple of weekends so I relaxed more. Today's wind didn't help though.

Going up Loads Road today I was two and a half minutes slower than last Sunday for my second worst time ever. It was a slog. I was sixth fastest up it out of six today. Oh, the shame. But being as I'm a flat track bully, I set the best time of the day on another segment out of 60! Beating pro-cyclist Lizzy Banks who won a stage of this year's women's Giro. Made me feel a bit better. She had been up Rowsley Bar though. I got off and walked on that - going downhill...
Legend in my own Mind


December 08, 2019, 18:41:27 pm #3697 Last Edit: December 08, 2019, 18:48:36 pm by Slim
Although it had rained overnight, the roads weren't really that wet today. And it wasn't too cold. It was most definitely windy, though.

Since I'm on call again today I didn't want to venture too far from base. But I wanted to do 47.46 miles, because that would take me to 4,000 miles in 2019. I set off on the Boardman at 10:55, with the vague idea of going south for 10 miles or so, then turning to go up to Melbourne or Ticknall, then back home southward.

That's not actually what I did, though. I took an indirect route to Bosworth, then from there to Shenton and Sutton Cheney, where I decided to go along Fenn Lanes all the way down and across to Fenny Drayton. From there I went north to Sibson, then Sheepy Magna and back up through Twycross - a sort of reverse Twycross, with an eastward bulge.

I'd picked up a few spots of rain but mostly, the sun was shining. And the wind only really bothered me when going west.

Took the following pic along Ambion Lane between Bosworth and Cheney. I don't believe I've ever been along there before. Certainly I have no memory of passing the Battle of Bosworth visitor's centre, as I did today. And yet it seems the obvious route from Shenton to Bosworth, and I'm sure I've been through Shenton to Bosworth before. Odd. Must have a look through my old tracks.

I went all the way up to Packington, thinking of making my way up to Melbourne from there. I thought I might even end up doing a Fondo. So I turned to pedal up through Coleorton, toward Melbourne. At that point the rain started to come down. It hadn't been forecast for the afternoon. It didn't last long to be fair but conditions had gone a bit gloomy by this time. And since it was cold and due to get dark before long, and since I was on call anyway, I decided to call it a day and came home again, through Newbold and back down through Coleorton.

I used my Garmin Instinct to track the ride in 'Ultratrac' mode. This is a power-saving mode that records your position at a much lower frequency. I believe it interpolates points using the inbuilt compass. This sort of works - it does record a very rough version of the track, as you can see from this Strava screenshot:

.. but predictably, it does rob you of distance. I knew it was doing this when I reached my '2 miles from home' landmark in Ibstock, and the watch claimed 1.8.

Initially after I uploaded the track, Strava alleged that I'd done 36.93. The Strava distance correction facility modified that to 41.35. In fact though the route planner tells me that I did 42.61 at a minimum, so that's the figure that's gone in the spreadsheet.

Ultratrac mode is not that useful to me, really. I might use it in an emergency or maybe to record a long car journey, just to work out the route I'd taken after the fact. But for a really long bike ride, if I ever do one again, I'd use my Foretrex which can be replenished with energy in the form of AAA batteries without interrupting a track.

Still a few miles short of 4000 then. 94 this month, 3995 this year. Would be nice to think there'll be a dry, mild day for the December Fondo, but I won't be too bothered if I don't do that.

Amusingly, Strava claims that my average speed for this ride was 18.8mph, and my maximum 43.8mph. I assume the Ultratrac recording method has messed with it somewhat.

I may go out again tomorrow on a long lunch break, the forecast says sunshine and 8 degrees C in the afternoon.


Hoorah! Achieved my target of 100 miles of elevation gain today! No pain, no gain, there's been plenty of pain and what exactly have I gained?
Hard going again today, rather a strong wind, but that which doesn't kill us only makes us stronger. Allegedly.
Legend in my own Mind


December 09, 2019, 19:02:49 pm #3699 Last Edit: December 09, 2019, 19:36:41 pm by Slim
My knees hadn't had their customary day off, but the sun was shining and the weather is a bit forbidding for the rest of the week, so I took a long lunch break and did a Twycrosser. Set off at 15:10 so about half the ride was performed in darkness, but I enjoy an occasional run out in the dark, especially with a bit of moonlight. Took a decent head torch. I still haven't bought an oncoming-motorist-retribution model yet.

A very typical Twycross really - down to Sheepy, across to Bosworth and up through Carlton and Barton. I'd actually only intended to do 15 or 20 but I did 23.62. And that takes me through the 4,000 mile barrier, to 4019 miles.

Because it was a relatively short ride, I lazily didn't bother with my overshoes and was punished for it; my feet felt like blocks of ice over the last 7 or 8 miles. Thawing out nicely now.

As I returned to the garage, I noticed that another mouse had met its end in there, presumably overnight. Looked mercifully quick. 21-0.


Quote from: Slim on December 09, 2019, 19:02:49 pmAs I returned to the garage, I noticed that another mouse had met its end in there, presumably overnight. Looked mercifully quick. 21-0.

21-0?? Obviously too merciful and too quick. Unless you're eating them, you need a greater deterrent!!


Fair one. I suppose I should try to find out where they get in and block it up if possible. Might be that they're getting in between the roof and the wall though, I'm guessing there's a gap there.


Don't know why, but the sky seemed that much bluer today, so did my bike. So did my skin by the time I hot home. It was a bit fresh today, both the temperature and the wind.

Did the same ride as last week, but more slowly, it's the wind. I managed to get up Loads Road more quickly today though, but still well off the summer pace. But hey, Winter miles mean Summer Smiles :) Half way up though, I remembered that I don't have to put myself up hill climbing now I've achieved my elevation gain target, but I may as well carry on to the year end.
Legend in my own Mind


Looked dry enough out this morning. Togged myself up in my cold weather cycling gear, prepared a pod with an oat bar and pork pie, water bottle, DAB radio - then I looked out of the window again and it was raining.

Decided against it and put my shorts and t shirt back on. An hour later though it had stopped and the weather forecast told me I had a decent chance of acceptable weather over a few hours, so I put my cycling togs back on and withdrew the Boardman again. The roads were a bit wet and it was cold. It was fairly windy. But the sun was shining and the rain clouds had given way to blue skies.

Wasn't sure where I wanted to go so I defaulted to a Twycross. Thought I'd do about 40 miles or so. Too cold for anything much longer, although I had good lights on me in case I did stay out longer than I'd intended.

Took a right turn not long after Snarestone, to do the longer Orton extension - however I took a wrong turn at Norton. Arrived at the A444 expecting to be at a crossroads, but found myself at a T junction. So I followed the A444 down to Twycross. Hadn't been on that stretch of the A444 before I don't think, but it was fine. Not too busy.

Did the shorter Orton detour to Sheepy from Twycross.

From there I went to Ratcliffe hoping to do Atterton Lane via Mythe Lane, but as I half expected, Mythe Lane was flooded. I tracked back and carried on the old-fashioned way through Ratcliffe Culey then down to Fenn Lanes where I picked up a nice tailwind. Would have taken a pic of the flood but realised that my phone had a flat battery when I tried to power it up.

Pretty much the standard way home from there, up through Bosworth, Barton, Odstone, Heather.

I checked my watch near Bosworth to find that I'd done about 33 miles and would likely be home on less than 40 miles, which was a bit disappointing. But then I remembered that I hadn't switched "Ultratrac" mode off since last time I used it, so had probably done a couple more than that.

My left cleat failed to engage properly with the pedal over the whole ride, annoyingly. It was comfortable enough but it wouldn't stay locked in. Will replace it tomorrow; it's worn down.

The watch claimed 37.33 miles as I arrived home. Strava's distance correction modified that to 40.69, but it was actually 41.59.

Listened to footy on 5 Live for most of the ride. Can't see anyone catching Liverpool now.

So: 159 in December, happy enough with that for half-way through the month. There's still lots of rain in the forecast for the next week or two though.

I wonder if I should buy a second winter bike. The Boardman is running fine at the moment but it's something of a Winter Bike Single Point of Failure, not counting the hybrid which is a bit of a last resort. It's also done more than twice as many miles as any of my other bikes this year.


Didn't want to waste a day with no rain. And with the thought expressed in the last paragraph of my previous post foremost in my mind, I decided I'd take the Planet X out today, and stop babying it so much. However as I approached the garage it became evident that the roads were actually pretty wet. So I took the hybrid instead.

Wasn't sure how many I wanted to do - 30 or 40. The wind was coming from the south rather than the west today, so I headed out east. The usual route out through Six Hills and toward Belvoir Castle and Lincs, but I didn't intend to go nearly that far.

I stopped for a wee along Stanford Lane, after about 14.5 miles - then decided I'd turn for home. I reckoned that if I took the longer route home through Long Whatton and Diseworth, I'd end up on a bit more than 30 miles. I did that. It was 31.41, as it turned out.

The hybrid was fine; I still haven't fixed the gears nearly two years after I changed out the cable but it's very usable. I did run out of steam on the way back and had to stop for a rest and a half oat bar. I'm sure the bike's weight contributed to that.

Sunny on the way out, went a bit gloomy later and started to rain a bit. Back well before dark this time.

191 this month, 4092 this year which is only a few miles off my most recently defined target, 4100 miles. But I hope to do at least another 110 or so before 2020 kicks in.

Saw a couple of young deer crossing the road ahead of me near Zouch. I thought they were dogs at first but I had a clear view of them in the woods to my right as I passed; definitely deer. Quite small, one with stubby antlers, the other without. Also not far from Zouch I noticed a bit of a flood due to a blocked drain. I stopped and prodded down the grate with a stick I found lying nearby, but it didn't help the situation much. I pushed the stick in quite deep but it was just pushing into mud.

Over a year ago I asked my physio what she thought my chances were of doing 100+ mile rides again. She said that if I could do 40+ miles on consecutive days without hurting myself, that would be a positive sign. I haven't actually done that but I have no doubt that I could have done another 10. So I'm encouraged.