Monthly Archives: May 2012

Only 65km

I know that I am riding a fair bit, when I do 65km / 40 mile ride and think “I only did 65km”. Tonight I was out with the club again. There was a hilly 30 miles on the cards. Really though it was a hill, a bloody big one, but just one real climb. I dug deep and pushed quite hard on it, not everything, but about 80%. It was a warm day, but there was a light shower on the climb (max gradient 10% going from 85m to 280m altitude). The ride itself was a bit messy. A few people who hadn’t much experience riding in a group it seemed, or perhaps that it was that there were too many people not knowing each other, and thus not trusting each other. There was someone who insisted a couple of times while riding mid group that he needed to stretch his back, and therefore ride no-handed. It scared the life out of me. Therefore I either rode right at the front, or right at the back of the group. At the back, I would leave enough braking room. It was all a bit nervous. Perhaps there is someone else writing a blog somewhere moaning about the full of himself industry twat, either at the front showboating, or sat at the back burnt out! Oh well, I was trying to stay safe. there was a crash at the beginning of the ride, and I have no idea what happened. It was in front of me, and I was nowhere near it. Hmmm. A strange ride.

Statistics. 65.2km, Ave 27.0, total Ascent 528m. 2h24:54 ridden.

Amateur Hour

I recently gave someone some advice about being new to clipless pedals.  You know, the type of thing, saying to take your time with them, and to clip out early.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I finally put the Klein together and went for a ride along the canal tow path to see what needs doing to it (more air in the front forks, and perhaps the bars rotated slightly).  The idea was to go for a light ride, having already run 6km yesterday (in 30 mins, which I am quite pleased with) so just a couple of miles.

The first slight incline, and I find myself unable to clip out in time, and over I go.  I blame riding the road bike too much recently and the relative lack of float that those pedals have compared to SPDs.  I fell into a low level wall, which I then fell over, squashing my ankle against the wall, then forcing a lot of my weight on it.  It was damn painful.

Oh well – hopefully that is my ‘unable to clip out moment’ done for another year.  You’d think after 17 years of clipless I would be okay with it, but I think everyone has their moments!

Cwmcarn Hill Repeats

It was just such a lovely day. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and I had just watched one of my good friends experience something very special with his Torchbearer run. I was in a good mood.

Dave was off out with Shred magazine and a bunch of his local mountain bike club boys for a bit of a ride. I had brought along a bike, but am a bit of a roady at the moment. This is partly to do with location (mountain biking is great, if you can easily wash your bike when you get home), and partly to do with not having a mountain bike with me for a lot of the start of the year up here.

Jo, Dave’s girlfriend (I hate that term when people have been together a long time. And partner also sounds a little strange) is training for an MTB ironman, and needed to run for a couple of hours. In the boot of my car, I had brought the Canyon road bike with me (an MTB won’t fit, but the road bike will) so together we hatch a plan to ride to Cwmcarn, where Jo would then run laps of the off road course for a couple of hours, and I would ride laps of the road course.


Cwmcarn is one of the trial centres in Wales. It is one of only two which I have been to. I have ridden it with Matt Page in the past, when I was far less fit. Riding this time was different, because the laps were on the road, but it was almost a closed road, so a bit of brainless hill repeat climbing was called for. It was interrupted every now and then by an ‘uplift’ for the downhillers going by.


Temperature wise, I think that it was the hottest day of the year so far. It was seriously hot. I rode for about 2.5 hours and took on 3 litres of liquid.

I was lapping at about 20min laps on the road loop. It was really enjoyable. I got to the pub to meet Dave and his friends with a large grin and tan lines.

This was the view at the top.



I was a lot slower than a couple of days previously, but that is to be expected.  The heat, the fact that I was riding alone, and the hill repeats were part of it.  I think I was lucky to hit the 23.3 Average that I did, over the 65.5km I rode.  That 65.5km did include 1000m of climbing though.  The York ride is going to seem VERY flat I think.

London Olympics 2012 Torchbearer

There are some things in life which don’t happen everyday. In 2012 the Olympic Games is coming to London. It is called the London Olympics, but the truth is that it is Britain hosting, with football matches taking place in Scotland, Sailing in Dorset and other events elsewhere (cycling in Surrey).

As part of the build up, there is an Olympic Torch relay around the country. People from all walks of life could be nominated to take part in this. The nomination went to a committee who then picked the eight thousand people to take place in the relay over three weeks, details are here.

I have some amazing friends. I know some fantastic athletes. I know some of the strongest people on the planet (YH I am talking about you). I know world champions, and world record holders. A lot of this is through my job, some however aren’t.

I have known Dave Buchanen since 2004 or 2005. At the time I was very prevellent on an Internet Forum WeightWeenies and although riding a lot, I was suffering knee trouble. A complete stranger to me at the time, Dave, a BioMechanics specialist, invited me to his home and spent a day with me, taking my history, making notes and giving me advice. He gave me some insoles, and they helped. The knee improved and I was happier and able to ride again. Life though, had other plans, and I was offered a job at the company which is now my main client. I moved to Germany, rode there, talked to other specialists, had modifications made on my bike, and riding was a lot easier.

For me knee, a lot of the problem I feel has been solved by a combination of Dave’s efforts, other biomechanics experts, cross training, and improved Cleat Placement. I don’t usually push our own product, but if you are suffering any type of knee complaint, please use an Ergon TP1 Cleat Tool and check your cleat position. I consider myself an expert cyclist, but mine was significantly out, but you would have never known it just looking at it with you the cleat on the shoe. I have photos on my computer of Tyler Phinney using one which he purchased, and am informed that there are other pro cyclists in that and other teams using this product. We aren’t sponsoring them.

Work saw me attending mountain bike races, and both Dave and his partner Jo Evans were riding 24 hr races at the time (and doing very well). I introduced him to Ergon products, and he used them on his bikes.

Dave is tenacious and darn stubborn. He is a cancer survivor, and has been told that things he is suggesting are impossible. This drives him to do more and more seemingly insane things. This leads to a lot of money being raised for charity, many many hours in the saddle, and a Guinness World Record. This is why I nominated Dave. He is an inspirational person. He is a generous person. And his Hobbit’s Tale route is the now confirmed longest non-stop mountain bike ride. It covered some 22,300m of elevation over 721km. Dave’s website, with details of this, and the Welsh Coast to Coast, plus other challenges is here:

Dave’s leg of the relay was on Saturday May 26th in Pontypridd, Wales. This is not an insignificant distance from where I live in Manchester, so I go up at 6am and drove there.


The people who had turned out to see the Olympic flame were plentiful. It surprised me. I was there, sure, after a 3- 4 hour drive, but then I had a reason to be there. It was my friend. Lot of friends of the other torch bearers were also on the route, but many people were there just to see the flame. It was exciting. It was a one off, and I am so glad they selected Dave for this.

Click here to see Dave Run


It was touching to see him, and what it meant to him. I had a great day with him, some of his mountain biking mates, with Jo, and in the mountains in Wales. I will write about that tomorrow though. This was his day.




I have a friend, who is quite a bit older than myself.  About six years ago, we were in contact quite a lot.  He was a good hobby rider, and had the best bikes and all of the best equipment.  I remember one day talking to him about riding, and about sore muscles.  He just looked at me and said ‘go for a massage’. 

At the time, I remember thinking what a luxury that sounds like.  How nice it would be to do that – to just say, you know what, I am going to do this for myself.

I have never been a big fan of massage.  Relaxing massage to me to pointless.  It is like being stroked to death.  I am not a cat.  Sports massage, well, I have had it a couple of times, and enjoyed the feeling that actually something was being done to my muscles.  Something good.

So today, I went for a massage on my legs. the physio working on my “like old rope” knotted muscles.  It was painful but good.  A luxury I think I will occasionally afford myself.  I mean, all of this is about looking after my knee, and that has to help right?

How self-indulgent!?

Happy Days

It was one of the hottest days of the year today. The sun was shining and it actually felt like summer. On Monday, when riding with Manchester Wheelers there was a suggestion that I should join the Thursday night ride from near Ashley. There is a group who gets together for a ride, which the suggestion was would be about my speed. From home, the start is about 10 miles away (16km), so I set off at a warm up pace, using the small chainring for the first 12km or so. I got there with 10 minutes to spare, make some introductions, and then try to ride in a way that wouldn’t disgrace myself!

Well, I was told that the ride would ‘wind up’ a bit as it went on. This was true. We set off relatively quickly, and just got faster. I managed to do my bit at the front in the first part of the ride, but moving forward later I found myself thinking ‘this is a bad idea’. So I sat at the back for a bit. Then, well then the chain gang started. (a chain gang is two lines of riders. The outside line moves faster than the inside line. When you get to the front the rider on the outside moves across to the inside and eases off slightly, as the next rider moves up and then across. After about 20 seconds, you are then at the back, so you move to the outside line and dig deep again to move to the front. The effect is that you all ride very quickly!)

I rode for about 5 pulls at the front, but then noticed that not all of the riders were taking part, so thought to myself, sod it…. At the back of my mind was the fact that I still needed to ride the ten miles home.

By the end of the ride, we had an average speed of 33.8km/h, and then I had to ride home.

Right now, I am sitting on the sofa, with 91km in my legs, on a school night, with an average speed of 32km/h.

Happy days.

Puncture pause.



This is (now) what I am training for!

So I did it.  I signed up, and am now going to ride the York 100.  The 100 mile version of the event – not the 100km version.

Here is the route:

Details are here:

It is a long time since I did a 100 mile ride (actually, a long long time) so I don’t know what sort of time I am expecting.  The plan is to start slow and build from there – little ring for perhaps 20 or so miles before moving up to the big ring.

If anyone cares to join me, I’d love to see you there.  Also, if you feel like sponsoring me, please use this link.