22 November 2009

Like losing a loved one!

Went out with Rae today & did the Evans Cycle ride out of Biggin Hill. It was truely a miserable day with strong wind, rain wet leaves on the roads....in fact I should have stayed in bed!

The ride was punishingly hard over the North Downs & many a time we cycled up rivers that were cascading down the road. I managed to break my satnav & as it came off the bike I braked to stop & managed to trap it under the rear wheel between the road as I skidded to a stop on it. Needless to say it is now buggered!!

One knackered satnav

The incredible thing is that it still works & needs a new case & screen, which I will arrange over the next few days.

I managed to come off today as well, fortunately at very slow speeds on wet leaves, nothing broken on me or the bike. The only good news to come out of today is that my waterproof overshoes are excellent & they certainly had a good testing today!!

17 November 2009

Exmoor is a Bas%$rd!

Dear all

Chris & I drove to Neals in the early hours of Sunday morning & this trip alone should have acted as a warning for me not to go!! The weather when I left home was horrendous; I like to feel that I am a confident driver (The Commissioner has sent me on several driving courses!), I've never seen surface water like it. I aquaplaned about a dozen times & the car behind me 'dosey-doe' on the road, did a 360 spin & ended up on the hard shoulder. Things were that bad I slowed down to 70mph!!

We got to Neal & I had told him that I wanted to practice hills. He didn't disappoint me. We left his & strayed out onto the outskirts of Exmoor, where we climbed for ever & never seemed to stop! We finally levelled out & it was an excellent ride. Day 2 was a completely different kettle of fish!

Day 1!

We drove to Dunster & left the car. The first 17 miles were uphill & took about 2 & a half hours to climb. The wind & rain was in our faces & it was relentless. It was energy sapping & demoralising. When we finally reached the top of Exmoor the strong wind & rain got stronger & it was truly miserable. The decent off the moor, was eventful. Chris had his first puncture, which we mended OK. We then arrived at the part the locals call Little Switzerland.......... It was awful. The road reached 29% in places, which was too steep for me. Chris managed (just) to do it & chapeau to him!! The descent was a scary affair. Descending some 1500ft at speed over a road surface covered in wet leaves. It was like cycling over wet paper -mache. I locked both wheels up a number of times & my brake blocks are now shot. How can you cycle a circular route & always seem to be into a head wind & going uphill??

Day 2

To put into some perspective how hard these 2 days were, when we go out cycling over almost any terrain, we average between 13 & 15 mph. Day 1 was 9.4 mph & day 2 was 7.3!!

Day 3 was a different ride, we left the road bikes at Neals & went out on our mountain bikes. Neal was setting the pace at the front when his chain snapped as he was standing out of the saddle. It's wrong to laugh at another's misfortune, but he landed rather abruptly on his love spuds & let out a high pitched scream that only dogs could hear. We managed to mend his chain (not his wedding vegetables) We limped him back home & had a stab at the local hill leading to the Monument. The daily download doesn't do it justice, it was 31% at the top. I stopped because my glasses were just covered in sweat to take them off & couldn't get going again up the hill, I had to cycle across the road to get some momentum going before I could turn to do the hill!! I was glad to finish it at the top

Day 3 (Mountain bikes & a sedate pace as our legs were shot!)

The climb to the Monument, the other didn't do the steepness justice!!

13 November 2009

Winter Training

Dear all

The top riders are now resting after a long season & will start their pre-season training in the hills of the Canary Islands. Having a few more days off before I start my new job, on Sunday I am doing the same & driving down to Devon to spend 3 days with Neal & Chris cycling the hills of Dartmoor, Exmoor & the Blackdown Hills.

The weather forecast for the Canaries is 25 degrees & sunny. We have 11 degrees, torrential rain & strong winds.

Madness must be setting in!!

I'll post pictures etc Wednesday next week when I get back

2 November 2009

The end of the 'season'

It's almost time to hang the road bike up in the garage & start to get down the gym for longer & more often. I am planning to spend 3 days with Neal in Somerset in a few weeks time to do some hill work & then on the 22nd I am doing a sportive from Biggin Hill.

I am then looking forward to the Hell of Ashdown on 31st January. Not sure if looking forward to it, is the right phrase. It's only 65 miles, but you climb over 2000 meters & it's steep. In fact it's so step when Le Tour de France went through Ashdown they modified the route to take out some of the step hills that I will be going over!!

All I will say is the diet is now well & truly on!!

Oh dear!