Last Thursday was the first bike ride for 10 days, with 5 o’clock chimes ringing in my ears I was pedalling off down the road en-route for the local heath. It was glorious sunshine, warm but not hot with a nice cooling (stiff) breeze. For the first time in several weeks I was on the Cannondale with its newly acquired Frankenstein crank. Why is it called Frankenstein I hear you ask? simple, the bearings, crank and pedal arms are Shimano XT, the granny ring is new Shimano XT, the middle ring is 9mth old Shimano SLX and the outer ring is 18mth old Turvativ and I can honestly say that it has not changed so sweetly since I have had the bike.
I rode through the golf club car park and stopped at the top of the trail, removed my cycle helmet, switched the Veho on and then hit the trail, I then spent a couple of hours riding around the heath dodging the fire engines. Apparently the local chavs had tried to set the heath on fire (which they do with regular occurrence), I could smell it but never actually saw the fire (or smoke). I actually managed to cycle through the clay pit (a small section of muddy\clay area along side a pond) where the Fire Brigade Landrover was being winched out after getting stuck much to the amusement of the Firemen.
Here a video of the early part of the ride, I have more including the above Clay bit section still to edit.
Saturday was another great days and another great ride again on the Cannondale, more XC this time as I crossed the local heath, crossed the main road into Delph woods and then on to the Castleman trail to Upton House and back. Not sure of the exact distances as I was using my phone GPS and it said that the signal had been interrupted several times but it recorded a total of 20.3miles. Along with the 12 or so miles on Thursday my butt was letting me know that it did not like the unsprung rear end of the Cannondale.
Sunday sort of fell apart. I had intended to get up early go for a ride and then get back in time to watch the start of the Formula 1, well as I never got out of bed early enough, so I decided to watch the F1 and then go riding when it finished. As I am watching the F1 wife decides that she needs to go to Poole so I postpone the ride to take the wife to Poole. Unfortunately we only got about 50yds down the road before I found the car had a flat tyre. Now have you ever tried find an open tyre centre on a Sunday?? Thankfully the third tyre depot we tried was open, unfortunately it also seemed to be the most popular tyre centre in the area, we left 2.5hrs later. After returning from Poole it was case of eating lunch, it was now a bit warm for a ride so I opted for a late afternoon ride. From a heat point of view the timing was perfect, it was lovely and cool, but from a fly catching point of view it was a nightmare. every time I opened my mouth to gasp for air I was swallowing midges & flies. While my butt was ok with the ride (I took the Whyte, my legs felt quite heavy by the end of the ride.
Tonight was weigh-in night and tonight was a loss night, now just have to stick to the straight and narrow till next Monday.
The plan when I went to bed last night was to get up this morning at 6am get my kit ready to go for a ride, eat breakfast and watch the F1 Grand Prix then go riding. Well the alarm went off and I struggled to get out of bed, when I got down stairs I turned the TV on ready only to find the race had started and they were on lap 9. Then I just confused myself as I checked the time on the PC’s, TV and other assorted timepieces around the house. In the end I gave up and decided to watch the grand prix, have breakfast and then go for a ride.
When I got up I had put my cycling shorts and short sleeved based layer on, with the Grand Prix over and breakfast consumed I went and got the bike out the shed, boy was it cold, so cold in fact that I changed into my cycling trousers, and long sleeved base layer. Now more suitably attired I went and got the bike out the shed only to find it had a flat front tyre, I only swapped the tyres over yesterday afternoon!!
I eventually left the house at 9:30am, it did not take long for me to realise that my legs felt like lead, I was planning to do a long ride to make up for the no ride yesterday. I headed out through Throop, Hurn and out toward Moors Valley. I found the bike park at Moor Valley (well Watchmoor Wood) which is about the furthest point east you can get at Moors Valley. I did not try the park out but here is a short video made by some local lads of some of the attractions. I continued on tried another new bit I found where I nearly had an argument with a very large tree at speed, then onto the through the woods trail before heading back towards home. By the time I got home I had spend 4 hours riding and had 31.3 miles under the saddle.
An update regarding chain reaction and the card fraud. I had an e-mail from them on Thursday saying (and I quote) “our infrastructure was the target of a sophisticated attack which resulted in the theft of card details relating to a number of our customers”. They go on to say that the they have sealed the method of access used. They offered a £30 voucher to spend on my next order as an apology. I duly spent mine on Friday re-ordering the chain ring that I had cancelled as I had no credit card when it came into stock and a few other small bits, I made my payment via paypal. I ordered them at 10:08, they were dispatched at 13:10 and waiting for me when I returned home yesterday afternoon. Something tells me they are not very busy at the moment.
For the first time in many weeks I have ridden both Saturday and Sunday, for the last few week it has only been one or the other.
I was up early and again the weather forecaster were right, no rain, cloudy and bit cool. I opted for a short sleeve t-shirt and my jumper this morning along with the padded shorts. IT was certainly cooler on the arms and legs as I went down the road this morning but I soon warmed up. Like last week I had been concerned that the river would be up but there no sign of it flooding, there was more chance of drowning in mud than water. There was mud every where along the river and through Hurn Forest although the worst was saved till last. Did exactly the same run as last week and this time the GPS recorded the route without a problem, it was the Muvi video camera that did not work, might have helped if I had charged it up!!
When I got to the “Through the Forest Trail” I pushed it to see how fast I could do it (I thought at the time I was videoing it as well). I did the 4.5 miles in 28 minutes which is about 9.6mph and I slowed down quite a bit from the last mile, I am no fast riders that is for sure.
I was trying to keep up a good pace, I wanted to complete the ride in under 4 hours. I did not feel to hot like yesterdays ride, in fact in the shaded area I felt a bit cold. When I got to Ferndown heath I came across the worst mud of the entire ride, giant lakes of mud and water across the paths, I just dropped it into granny ring and plodded through the mud, quite impressed really as I cleared it all.
I got back home and checked the the GPS to see the stats, I did the ride in 3hrs, 49 min, I was disappointed to note that the route was not 32.5 which I calculated last week but 31.2. Of the three times I have ridden this route now, today I felt the best during and after the ride, which is even better when you considered I had the short ride yesterday.
Tomorrow is weight in night, I think I have had a good week, I will let the scales be the judge of that though………….
When I do a new ride or add a new section to an existing ride I normally take the gps with me, this morning was no different even though I was doing the same route as the other week I was adding a bit to the ride to push me over the 30 mile mark. So with the gps on my handle bars and set-up (I thought) I was off. Once home I plugged the gps into the computer and uploaded the route or at least I thought I had, but when I opened the route in memory map it was showing me the same route as last week, I was not impressed, it seems that it never recorded today’s ride. The problem with the gps was the only bad point of the entire ride.
I was awake early this morning and eventually prised myself from the clutches of the duvet at 6:45, had some breakfast and got the bike out ready, made some drinks and by 7:45 I was off. I opted to go with just a long sleeve base layer and my cycling jumper, I am glad I did as the sun came out and in the sun it was very warm. To counter the muscle problems I have had I came up with a plan, I had my camelbak with water and a litre of energy drink in a bottle. I split my ride into three sections (8, 15 and 24 miles). At each point I intended to drink around 350ml of energy drink and at the 15 mile mark I would consume the jam sandwich I had made as well. I would drink the water as I went around the loop. After about two miles I felt a pulled muscle pain behind my left knee, I have had this pain on the last couple of rides and thought that maybe with two weeks off with no riding it would be better. No chance, at this point I decide to keep going and if it got worse well I would then head for home.
Before I left I was concerned that may be with the all the rain we have had the river would have flooded but to my surprise the water level was well down. If the river was showing no sign of the rain we have had, the path was. The nature reserve section was very slippy on the surface as was the Sopley common section over by the end of Hurn Airport runway, a similar slippy story in Hurn forest as I headed toward Avon Heath Country Park.
When I got to the Country Park I stopped for some running repairs, the rear brake was rubbing, so I re-centered the calliper and set off again. I kept pushing on trying to make sure I kept a balance between speed and not pushing myself to hard. My knee was still hurting but no more than it was when I started. I soon joined the Castleman Trail heading toward Watchmoor Woods. Just before the end of the Castleman Trail I took the short steep climb up to Watchmoor Woods and then turned away and headed towards Moors Valley. At the 15 mile mark I stopped for my jam sarnie and drink.
After a refuel I headed down the fireroad and then into the trees for a little downhill path through the trees rather than follow the fireroad to the start of the “Through the Forest” cycle trail. At just over 4.5 miles there is nothing technical about it (it is a blue route), but it is proper single track with either large boulders or trees right on the trail edge, throw in a couple gaps of about handle bar width, 90 degree corners and it becomes a great ride at speed. Once I reached the end of the trail I headed back toward the Castleman Trail and West Moors.
West Moors is the end of the Castleman Trail (you do cross it again a bit later) and time for the last of the energy drink, by now the pain from my knee is spreading to my left calf muscle but there is little I can do as I am already heading for home. Through West Moors and on toward Ferndown where I find more mud, in fact lots of mud on the common at Ferndown. I plug my way through the mud avoiding the horse riders until I reach the A348, that is the end of the off road sections and it is now a 3 mile road ride to home.
I completed the ride in about 4 hours and after a bit jiggery pokery with Memory Map I have worked it out that today’s ride was about 32.5 miles so apart from the gps problem and a minor knee problem it was a good ride. My thighs were not twinging, my right calf was ok so I may have got on top of the energy and drinking problem on my rides. Just hope there is no bad side affects when I stand on the scales on Monday.
The weather forecast is for rain tomorrow so it likely that I won’t be riding tomorrow. It will give me time to sort out Cannondale ready for riding and it will give me a bit more time to sort my knee out.