Monday, 25 August 2008

Dunkery Funkery

I have been a little tardy in updating the blog in the last week - not the usual combination of things i.e. being a bit slack and then getting sucked into something else, but instead there has been a bit of an IT issue back at the chateux.

According to Kelly's brother it is not Itunes that has killed our PC but a lack of RAM. School boy error on my part.

This however has been fixed today. A trip to PC world sorted the memory (after a quick google of the part required and a bit of YouTube time watching some other people adding RAM to their PCs). On the last point which is the saddest - me writing about adding RAM to my machine - or someone filming it and posting it on you tube. Hmm.

So I will post twice this week to catch up.

So then, Devon. Not the cycle fest I was needing and hoping for. The weather was rubbish. Mum and Dad's house was like being on a trawler in the North Sea. Horizontal rain all day and buckets of it. So I watched tonnes of cycling and Kelly and I went to Exeter for the afternoon. Oddly (and a high point of the excersion) was going into to the lobby of the bank to use the cash machine and finding the bank fully staffed and showing the Olympic 100m final on a large flat screen TV. Mr Bolt won - and I got out some beer tokens.

Banks showing sport on Saturday afternoons - I have seen the future.

We then went to Exmouth and watched the surfers in the huge swell - and then took in the kite surfers, which was the second high point of the day. Those guys were getting massive air in the strong winds. I was not sure how much was by design and how much was just because the wind was huge - but I'll give the guys the benefit of the doubt. Very crazy - not very cream tea.

Sunday - the rain was not so heavy so we got the WINTER kit on and made a call that due to heavy rain we were best off going steep to places where the gradient will have helped drainage - and not to risk a trip out on Dartmoor at all. So we hattched a plan to go from Exford up to Dunkery Beacon then onto to Dunster then back over Dunkery.

A couple of routes we had not been on before were selcted to test out, and to add on to bits we already knew - and away we went. The climb up to Dunkery was wet. The down option was on the Dunster path - fantastic and flowing - and a favourite descent. Then I got the direction right and the route wrong with a seriously steep hike a bike up onto the Macmillan way.

Once on the Mac, the coast was in view and the sky cleared a bit - and we steamed into Dunster along the ridge - exiting in the Dunster grave yard. We then found a 'half way' cream tea and a peice of cake.

After the intake of calorie dense sports nutrition, we then went back through the grave yard and did a hard climb out of Dunster and back onto the Mac. The pay off being a wicked plummet down the hike a bike. All very good fun - and a little sketchy.
Then the plan was to get back over Dunkery on the Mac (on a route we spied on the map and had never tried).
With exploration often comes drama. This route was just ridable - it was so steep and rocky it required real concentration and a few rests and some hike a bike to keep it moving. It was on this path that Kelly had a freak mechanical.
On a really steep section, she lost her balence and started to roll backwards. Grabbing hold of the front brake the hose pulled free under the pressure. This let air into the system and rendered the brake useless. I suspected it had something to do with the Brake service at the LBS - but it was not trail bodge situation. Kelly just had to go forth with only a rear brake.
We made it to the top of Dunkery just in time for the weather to close in again - and for it tip down on our final descent into Exford.
The bikes were so caked in sticky red mud at the end, that we had to clean them in a river before we placed them in the car. Not the summer ride I was after - but a great day in the saddle.
All in about 25 miles with some steep climbing - but very wintery feeling.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Grand Designs

I did an over night in Birmingham yesterday – and I managed a run along the Fazely Canal that snakes past the Holiday Inn. I will Gmap the route later –but I am guessing I ran three and half miles.

Ergo this weeks efforts are:

Saturday – Nothing
Sunday – 35 Miles
Monday – 15 Miles
Tuesday- 22 Miles
Wednesday – Nothing
Thursday – 3.5 Miles (run) and 2 miles walk.

The run was nice. The scenery was a mixture of run down industrial, scrubbed up industrial and the spanking new. The sun was out (after a heavy rain) and it felt quite good to be running through the city in relative peace and quite. There were a few other runners about - but it was not at all busy.

The mistake I did make is that obviously a canal is going somewhere (i.e. not in a loop) -and it took me a bit of time to think that through - i.e. I am running towards Wolverhampton and I need to turn around at some stage. Idiot.

After I had showered, I went out for a walk in Birmingham City centre. I love the architecture – not the rubbish concrete bits – but the bits that hint to the power Birmingham once had in the global economy, through the industrial revolution and beyond. Like my extended time in Liverpool last year there is a lot to look at if you look upwards and beyond new shop and office fronts. I find city centres fascinating. When the people go home after work you have them to yourself and can walk about and nose at things that take your interest. In Birmingham’s case the past worth and value is showcased in the grandeur and opulence of the period architecture. The foyer of the Provincial Bank building is like the high and ornate ceiling of a mosque or Byzantine church. Stunning.

The new Birmingham (that is replacing the concrete hell of the sixties and seventies) is quite spectacular – and all in all I think I walked a couple of miles before weakness took hold of me and I went for a curry.

Off to Devon this weekend – and if the weather is good, I can see a trip up to Dunkery Beacon from Exford on Exmoor, and then another ride from Clapper Bridge up and around a chunk of Dartmoor. Nice.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Cross Karma

First off do not enter the words ‘Max Mosely training regime’ into google. I also strongly advise against doing the same search using google image. Certainly do not do either at work.

The punishment, which I deserved, and to which I elude, is a beating on the bike to make up for the lack of miles achieved last week. The lesson has been administered through time and miles on the X-bike.

Having a Cyclo-Cross bike up your sleeve is a great trick. Obviously it is a bike – but it has an evil personality. Stiff aluminium, high bottom bracket, V-brakes and built like a road bike that has bulked up and wants a ruck. It is not forgiving in any way. I think X-bikes make great commuter bikes as they are bullet proof and you can whack them around town without fear of curbs, potholes or manhole covers.

I therefore added to Sunday’s ride (more of that below) with a fast 15 on Monday after work (up to and around Richmond Park) and nasty 22 on Tuesday (the same as Monday but with an extra lap).

On both days it was really windy and that made it hard work to tap out any real rhythm around the circuit. I felt suitably flogged after both rides and only working away from home and a late meeting over dinner have prevented me from putting in the same effort Wednesday and tonight (where I am in Birmingham and might go out for a run).

There are lots of roadies in Richmond park. They make you feel a bit inadequate as they really do put the gas on. Some club riders draft in chain gangs - and when one of these gangs comes past, you get sucked along for 20 meters and it all feels very easy until you are dropped and you steadily loose speed back to the slow grind you were tapping out on your own. Miserable.

Mind you – the looks you get from the roadies as you bimble about on the Cross are quite something. Either disproving – or there is a look that is cast your way that questions the logic of this rough looking ‘road bike’. I have been staring back with my own special look (I am pulling a face now which you can’t see), which radiates a sense of despair and sorrow for those that use lycra as a lifestyle statement and bold primal colours as a personality differentiator.

Sunday was interesting.

I got the commencal out of the shed and sticking out of the rear tyre sidewall like a shiny black blister was the inner tube. I must have gashed the tyre last week, and over the course of time the pressure in the tyre had forced through the sidewall. The same thing has happened to the Maxxis High Rollers that Hayden had on the Hoss, so great tyre, poor longevity.

So as the singlespeed was out of action I had to delay the start – and get a new tyre. The LBS came good – selling me for £20 a massive Nokian 2.3. Finnish madness in rubber. This new rubber is like a tractor tyre and is really heavy weight – so this problem should be a one off.

I fitted the tyre – promptly got a flat, and then noticed that the non drive side crank arm was loose. Hayden agreed to wait for me in Guildford whilst I went to the shed to fix everything.

This faff was clearly karma payback for last week’s slack efforts – and with luck the X-bike activity has appeased what ever is responsible for mechanical failure.

Miles this week –

Saturday – Nothing
Sunday – 35 Miles
Monday – 15 Miles
Tuesday- 22 Miles
Wednesday – Nothing

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

I need the Max Mosely training manual

Last week was a bit of a wash out.

You will notice there was no blog entry - and no mileage updates.

Quite simply I did five or so miles on the Saturday (3rd August) as I sorted out a few things and ran some errands and then did a reasonable 35 miles with Hayden and Kelly from Guildford to Leith Hill and back.

I felt on top form for the Guildford ride - and could have easily packed another 15 miles in if there was time.

Anyway, all in 40 miles and no weekday running. Poor. Very.

No real excuses, there was a bit of mid week rain - and I lost my way a bit after work (train delays / late running meetings / pub on Friday etc) - all conspiring to make me drink tea when I got home and to head straight for the couch.

On the plus side the fund raising is going well - and I must convert this good will and faith into effort.

I have been weak.

Punishment now beckons to compensate for this lapse in discipline and to help me get to the ton mileage from the end of next week. Ergo I will flog myself around Richmond park on the road bike.

In German.

Last week's efforts for the record:

Saturday - 5 Miles
Sunday - 35 Miles
Monday - Nada
Tuesday - More tea vicar?
Wednesday - I say jaffa cakes!
Thursday - Oh - Test match highlights.
Friday - Bond with Team GB via the medium of a Chinese take away. That's the olympic spirit.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Dread Zone

I went for a run last night. I still hate running. It was so humid (pre rain storm) it was like living back in Hong Kong - without the mosquitos.

I will change hate running to I dread running. You know it has to be done - but doing it takes all your effort and you never quite know how you are going to feel (although generally bad afterwards is my default).

Anyway, I did not run with the Guypod on last night - see previous post. I never used to run to music before I had an ipod. So I decided to go retro - and just run.

Actually I don't often run to music - I tend to listen to Pod Casts. Intresting things like digital planet / from our own correspondant. I like the idea that even though I hate running (which is aledgedly good for you) - I can improve my brain at the same time as my lung function.

But I do also listen to Russell Brand on occassion. This does not improve my brain - but is funny.

Having no sound last night did give me some extra brain space to think about this week's efforts:

Sat - 22 Miles (singlespeed)
Sun - 2 miles (run)
Monday - 11.5 Miles (singlespeed)
Tuesday - Drinking Tea and watching TV
Wednesday - 14 miles (Cycle home from work)
Thurdsday - 2 miles (run)
Today - It's my Mum's Birthday meal (anticipating eating well).

Total for the week:

47.5 miles cycling
4 miles running

Something similar next week looks possible (not to many meetings away from London) - and the ankle has held up with the increased effort this week. So the 100 mile weekly goal is looking good.

I shall be mailing H to see where he fancies a cycle this weekend - and I will make him pay for last Sunday's blow out with en-route cake (I am thinking National Trust home made cake on top of Box Hill).