Sunday, 29 January 2012

Wind, rain, sleet and mud makes a good week.

Yep that was a good weeks cycling.
The Harp Hilly kicked it off by dishing out a tough windy episode in it's long history. Later that week I was out using up my last two remaining days off. My first day off was a very wet and windy solo affair, well solo until I caught up with Team Corley out on a steady endurance ride. I rode steady with them for a good while, then set off on my own route. I had been cursing the waterproof I'd been forced to don earlier in the ride, but over the Beacon I could see very dark clouds looming and I was heading right for them. And right on cue as I topped the Beacon for the decent and dash home the heavens opened, only it poured sleet not rain. Gingerly descending into Ivinghoe on settling sleet and wet chalk I came across the local hunt. Regardless of your views on hunting, the sight was spectacular and the weather just had me thinking 'what more could you want from a British winter ride'. So with sleet piling up on my jacket and soaked to the skin I took a shortcut through a green lane to get home.....all very 'Paris - Roubaix'
My second day off was a mountainbike epic taking in Epping forest. It had been fourteen months since I'd ridden an mtb, and this one had been cobbled together the night before. My riding partners for the day were my old long time traing partner Nick and ex pro Alan Perkins. To be frank the ride was great, but I didn't know where I was any of the time! We rode a great mixture of parkland, forest, riverside path and Boris Johnsons special edition Olympic year grit which gave me three punctures......I paid my tax for that as well! The turning point for the day was a riverside café and sausage/French bread with daddies all round. For a steady ride it still made me sleep sat up when I got home.
And today? A club run gone pear shaped, but rescued with some fine new roads.
Although a good turn out rolled out of Energie in town, some called it in on top of Ivinghoe Beacon due to very bad visability. I did say the weather would be okay over the Downs, and I was right by the way. After riding it for nearly forty years you get to know these things. Over the Beacon we opened some new lanes, but a combination of stopping and starting and the odd puncture meant we had to cut it short. I told Craig to press on as he needed to get home. That left me and Vince to play the route by ear. We decided to climb to Ashridge the long way and grab a coffee at the top. Coffee done and now freezing cold we set off only for me to puncture. I sent Vince off as we were on the home stretch and I leisurely sorted the puncture. The ride after was bizarre, beautifully calm no wind at all making the last ten miles a treat.
At home I took a look at the two bikes I'd ridden all week covered in filth, grinned and closed the garage door.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Object of desire

Sometimes you just need that little extra incentive to work just that bit harder. And fingers crossed the bonus will be worth it. Well this is what I want, but can't justify. If I could sell my soul to the devil for this beauty I would.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Harp Hilly Hundred, a quarter pounder with cheese and a vanilla shake.

Stuart, the other Stuart, Tom and myself rode the Harp Hilly Hundred today. The first reliability trial of the 2012 'Chiltern Classics' series.
Harp RC from North London have run this event since year dot when the event was a more manly 100 miles, not the sneaky foreign kilometre.
We left Nash Mills together promptly at 9.0am, but mere minutes later Stuart..the first Stuart had a puncture. We didn't say anything to Tom and the other Stuart, so they could just get on with the ride. Twelve minutes later we were on our way again.
I should say at this point that the wind was bloody dreadful, so banter was at a minimum. I could just say we rode the 64 miles without saying much and end this here, but I'll pad it out a tad.
We rode along for a bit, nowt special. Then we hit the first hill of the day, an easy accent of Ivinghoe Beacon. Chatting set to 1 on the dial we rode past everyone we could see on this first hill....yay!
Hill number two was Bison Hill, again this was done with ease. We chose not to stop here like many others and kept the legs turning.
Bison Hill lead us onto the Dunstable Downs. It was a different story up here, very very windy, too windy to take a hand off the bars to grab a bidon. Unfortunately the very strong winds stayed with us in the form of a headwind all the way from Dunstable to Aston Clinton. And the reward waiting for us at Aston Clinton was a windy accent of Aston Hill! Still job done and we were rolling through the lanes on the way home. Time to grab a gel, my only gel. On the first safe straight I came to I bit into the gels packet and the bloody thing exploded all over me and the bike, so no food for me then. I just hoped the two slices of toast I had that morning would see me through.
The next hill was a different accent of the Beacon. By this point I was a little empty and slowing Stuart, so I urged him to go on...which he did, the git.
I actually felt better after the Beacon and started to take other riders, including a very irate bloke on a De Rosa King.
The final hill was one I didn't know and it felt the steepest, but I knew it was the last one of the day so I just got to work. Over the top it was a dash for home.
Feeling a little hungry I started to plan my post race meal, and about two miles from the finish I decided on a McDonalds quarter pounder with cheese and a vanilla chips, don't want to get fat/ter.
So a final roll in, park up the bike, say hello to Stuart, clock in and grab a cuppa.
I did it in about 4 hours 6 minutes with puncture time taken out, which is 5 minutes faster than last years ride in more favourable conditions. I think Stuart got home in about 3 hours 50 minutes, which is pretty darn good. And I think both our times are a tribute to the club.
I didn't have the McDonalds BTW

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Shit the bed

Tims wheels! this is as big for the club as Craigs point last year.

Okay I promise to keep this up to date?

So lets have a looky, last post September...oh dear.
What's happened since?
First off the cross season got underway. Nine rounds in the Central CX League. Round 1 had been cancelled due to the loss of venue. So racing started on our home patch in Milton Keynes, rather typically for a 'winter' sport we were racing in temperatures of 30 degrees! I even came home with tan lines....which I still have.
Fraser joined me at Hitchin and for the rest of the season, so we were a team. Then for the penultimate round Rob joined us, giving us a three man squad in the flo green. And so the basis of 2012s cross team had been formed.
November was the month we held our first club reliability trial. The turnout was nearly 100 riders, who rolled out of Liscombe Park for either the 100 or 55km options. The route that took in some of our best and toughest lanes proved very popular, and for 2012 will remain unchanged.
It wasn't all racing and jolly's. Membership grew and the Sunday runs divided up into two. Jason started to take out the more social ride, or the 'cake run'. Which is really the one even the hardest of winter hardmen really want to do. And the brothers Nelson took care of the ever enthusiastic 'training' rides.
December. Was the month to kick back and chill. It was also when we held our first 'club dinner' with obligatory awards ceremony. For the records the awards went to, Adam (Clubman) Vince (most improved fast group) Iain (most improved sports group) Craig (Club Roadman) Rob (club tester) and myself carl (club cyclocross)
After the puddings had settled it was time to get a wiggle on. Saturday became training day and Sunday club day.
January has seen the club focus on preparation for the coming 2012 season. With plans to race 'the Green' in virtually every discipline in cycling, from Audax to road to mountainbike.
Next on the horizon is the Chiltern Classics which start the day after writing this!

Keep posted.