Sunday, 17 July 2016

I just love to ride!

It's been another great week on my bike. I'm loving it, loving it, loving it! So here's a roundup of my solo rides, a fabulous group ride, Sam's progress and a quick comment on the tour!

My first ride of the week was my standard 17 miler. On it I encountered two red kites in a roadside tree. They scarpered in that lovely lumbering way before I could get a picture. I never get a good pic of the kites with my phone. The one below is about the best I've got. It reminded me of a comment by a colleague last weekend. We were taking about kites nicking food off a barbie (yes braii, alright Bairdy!) My colleague inquired: "do they eat meat then?" To which her husband replied: "No not all, you get a lot of vegetarian birds of prey!"

Another stunning Summer morning saw a variation on a theme through picturesque Draughton. It's a village without a pub which can't be good but they do have a 'pop-up' pub from time to time.

On Thursday I couldn't decide where to ride and the queen of cakes decided on Braybrooke. This was a good plan because it took me up the hill at Griffin Road and the hill into Harrington. My legs weren't too lively so I was quite pleased that I was having Friday and Saturday as rest days. That was until Saturday, when I saw Steve leading the fast group on my way to work a days overtime. "More money for Australia," was the mantra that barely took those blues away.

That brings me to today's ride. I was so excited about getting out on a club ride that I didn't sleep too well. I was awake from 3-5am, then at 7 when I needed to get up it became a bit of an effort. First order of the day was to make that magnificent blue product that boosts energy and prevents cramp.

I got to the shop to discover the largest group we've had for a while on a Sunday. It was a lovely day and I'm not at all surprised that so many were in attendance. The first thing we did was set off back to Rothwell! I could've had a few more minutes doing all those things I like to do in the morning. I'm a nightmare to be honest, I'm often the last there and it's not through laziness, it's the opposite. As usual I was emptying the dishwasher, feeding the dogs, putting washing on, hanging washing out, making the queen of cakes her essential morning coffee etc. The say men can't multi-task, well on Thursday I made shepherds pie and mowed the lawn at the same time. I'd probably have more energy for cycling if I calmed down a bit!

The pace was quick. Well it was for me! I think the others were just cruising but I was flat out trying to keep up! We ruined Justin soon into the ride because he's a bit under the weather. I also got a compliment (I think,) from Nat who said I was getting in shape again and with legs like mine I should wear a mini skirt! At the first picture we were all stopped to let a triathlon get through. We got bored waiting though and ended up in among the triathletes. I'm guessing they're not allowed to draft so I wonder what the rules are when you get dragged along by us Lycra Loonies!

We went well into Leicestershire ending up at Lutterworth so I was pleased to be wearing my Northampton Saints jersey. Lutterworth is an interesting place as Sir Frank Whittle, the man credited with the invention of the jet engine, was born there. We also discovered the pub of the year! Leaving Lutterworth we were on possibly the world's busiest country road. That's because loads of people were heading to Stanford Hall for a motorcycle show. With some dread I had an idea where Steve's magical mystery tour was taking us. I was right we went up the monster drag from Stanford to Cold Ashby. This village is the highest in Northamptonshire and boasts a very hilly golf course. One of the holes is called cardiac hill and if you don't make the green you tend to find the ball rolls back past you down the hill. No this isn't suddenly a golf blog, I'm pointing out that this is a big hill! So being a downhill specialist they all had to wait for me again.

There was tonnes of Lycra out and about, we saw several groups and individual riders. When we were on the flatter bits I was able to stay with the group and the highlight of the day for me was racing back into Loddington. I arrived back at the shop absolutely shattered and my legs feel pretty sore now. I checked my ride on Strava and was amazed to see 38 achievements and a 17.4mph average. That's the fastest I have ever ridden over such a distance and I'm very happy with that. a couple of years ago that would have also made me one of the fastest in the club but not now. We've all made such amazing progress that my average is well...a bit average!

We were entertained well and I owe Neil for a coffee. Chris in the shop adjusted my saddle height for me. It needs to be tightened to 7Nm and ridiculously my torque wrench cannot fit in the gap between my saddle and the adjuster bolt. Chris can do this on feel which is good because an over-tightened Carbon frame and seat stem can lead to an expensive break! I need to buy a tool that fits so I can get this right but I don't want to do that until I know I can get the exact right thing. Neil believes I could bodge/hack a device by using an S-bend allen key attached to my torque wrench. I'm not so sure but will probably give it a go!

Feeling well and truly pooped I abandoned my plan to complete this month's Gran Fondo (80miles/130km,) and set off home. I got as far as Sainsburys (two minutes from the shop) when I heard a clanking noise and then a hiss! The pictures below tell the tale. That screw had buried itself in my back tyre and the clanking was it bashing my rear forks as the wheel went round!

I could possibly have changed the tube and made it home but the tyre was ruined whether that worked or not. So I went back to the shop where Chris fitted me a new tyre. Those were the factory fitted Giant tyres which aren't supposed to be that durable, however after 3187km that's my first puncture on this bike (if you don't count the time I punctured on the turbo!) Once again I have received a very good service from C&D Cycles, so many thanks to Chris. 

A quick catch up from last week. I am now second in my workplace challenge which was my aim so I'm very pleased. I need to keep this up though as the challenge finishes on the 5th of August for the start of the Rio Olympics. SuperSam continues with his hill repeats on the loan road/cyclocross bike. I'm not sure cycling in onesies will catch on though!

As I sit here, shattered but content I should tell you that Gareth my neighbour is cleaning his full suspension MTB after a splendid day in the Yorkshire Dales. His bike is absolutely beautiful and I'm really pleased for him. He did say that all the road cyclists in the Dales are a pain though! I have teased the Queen of Cakes that my N+1 is a full suspension off road bike. She knows I'm joking's those American Classics 420 Aero wheels I NEED!

Finally let's talk Tour! Well having predicted a boring procession to Paris for Chris Froome it couldn't be more different. Froome is still well set for the win (I've not watched today, I'll have the highlights on whilst I do the Sunday ironing!) However no one could have predicted the breakaway with Sagan, the motorcycle running man incident or actually Cav continuing to dominate over Kittel! The Tour is not boring - Il est magnifique!!!

Happy Pedaling

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