Friday, 1 July 2016

Let's have a great big catch up!

I haven't written a blog since the Women's tour finished so I thought it was high time that all things in my cycling world were recorded for posterity. First and foremost, I've been out and about on my bike and it's been great. Even better SuperSam is really enjoying his cycling too and has joined KCC Cyclones. More on that later!

Some people will be wondering where my ride names have come recently and others will just 'get it!' For those in the dark, I'm a massive Game of Thrones fan and the ride names are either quotes from the show or names of episodes. If it's not your bag then sorry for that. It is mine though and I love it. Worse still season 6 has just finished so the long wait starts all over again.

Other people will be wondering why everything I post is now in km not miles. I've always been a breaker of Velominati rule #24 so it has nothing to do with the following.

  1. Rule #24//
    Speeds and distances shall be referred to and measured in kilometers.
    This includes while discussing cycling in the workplace with your non-cycling coworkers, serving to further mystify our sport in the web of their Neanderthalic cognitive capabilities. As the confused expression spreads across their unibrowed faces, casually mention your shaved legs. All of cycling’s monuments are measured in the metric system and as such the English system is forbidden.
The real reason is that I'm taking part in an at work challenge: "The Race to Rio." This is a national competition where you record your exercise and it gives you km to virtually travel around the globe hoping to end up in Rio by August. So I've set Strava to km for uploading purposes! Currently I'm in third place for my trust on around 1300km, another keen cyclist sits above me on around 1500km but I know he's away in July so I'm ready to pounce! At the top of our Trust leaderboard and at least 1000km in front is a young lady who we just won't catch. This challenge allows you to accumulate your km in any which way. Her's are from her fitbit data. She's a nursery nurse covering at least 10km a day working and then she does 12 high intensity fitness classes a week. I was hoping she was cheating or just really bad at data entry but no such luck! I console myself with the thought that working out in sweaty rooms is pants compared cycling around our beautiful countryside. To try and close the gap I've installed a pedometer app on my phone. The Queen of Cakes is highly amused at me pacing around the house trying to get to 10000 steps a day but she's also helping by having a little dance with me to make my step quest more fun! Marvelous lady my wife!!!

The weather has been a bit typical for an English summer. Whilst the Mail and the Express have lied to us once again about a 'Barbecue Summer,' there's been a lot of the wet stuff falling from the sky. Bizarrely though not in the mornings! My work can be flexible at times and with these light mornings I can get out really early so I'm able to do rides of up to 30 miles before work. This little jaunt around the Naesby battlefield is always a very nice ride.

Fairfax's View

Another longer ride before work and yet more spectacular Northamptonshire scenery. Lots of hills again and some good fast bits too. Being out and about really does put a smile on my face and this is without doubt the best time of day to ride.

Red Phone and post box in sleepy Scaldwell

Just the normal amount of time before work for this one and as the day after the night before it was lovely to see the sun come up just as it does every day. This is a variation on my standard 17 miler. I miss out on the glorious Desborough Road Drop but in consolation I get to ride up the Church Lane hill into Harrington.

The sun has got his hat on...

This is probably my most ridden route for a morning ride. It's good to have a regular route because you can see progress. Look at the sunshine again! Its a bit weird though because the roads are still a little damp. This has led to my bike getting progressively grubbier over the week. Grubbier is a highly accurate description because the Propel is a real slug catcher. Those aero brakes may perform well in a wind tunnel and look as sexy as a brake can look. However the cable closely crossing the tyres just means anything thrown up by the tyre gets trapped there. As I said mostly slugs!

Daily landscape vista

Living where I do means the options in any direction are endless. This morning ride was a variation on a theme including two of the roads I'd put in my top ten places to ride in Northamptonshire. Maidwell to Lamport via Draughton is spectacular slog across the Brampton Valley Way. It's descent, climb, descent, climb, descent, climb, descent climb! I often take a picture on this bit because the view is just lovely. Later in the route is Mill Lane out of Old. Far more gentle, just a lovely quiet road.
Clouds are awesome

I finished my workday morning rides with another spin around the regular route. Yet another stunning morning and lovely to be out. I was feeling good going up Rushton Hill and felt I was pretty quick...then a bloke on a mountain bike came past me like I was standing still. I suspect EPO and hidden motors...still wouldn't have helped me!

Sun and the wind turbines at Rushton

Nice chair for Nat to ring her taxi from

So let's talk SuperSam. He's decided not to go to Scouts anymore. In many respects this is a shame. However he's been disappointed ever since the Kettering Cycling Club Cyclones were changed from Tuesday to Monday almost exactly on the day he moved from Tuesday Cubs to Monday Scouts. I took him along to the Go-Ride event at Rockingham and he was made welcome straight away. Most of the kids have been going for over a year and have drop handlebar bikes. Sam who occasionally goes for a ride was just left in their dust. He wasn't put off though. The next week we had a skills session at Desborough leisure centre around some of the terrain used for the cyclocross they held here. Again Sam wasn't able to keep up with the other kids but he did give it a really good go. Not put off in the slightest Sam has devised his own training plan in a determined effort to improve. His plan involves hill repeats in our street. He started with 5 and is increasing by 1 every day. Those legs will be super strong in no time. I've been really impressed so far with the Cyclones. They are coached well, everyone is friendly and its great seeing so many kids get into our wonderful sport.

Riding everyday is just a recipe for burnout so I decided to have a rest day today. Any normal person would stay in bed a bit longer. Oh no not me. I got up and cleaned the bike! To do this I made use of the amazing bundle of Muc-Off products that came with the British Cycling special offer. It must have been at least 50% off. Normally I wouldn't make this kind of purchase as I do believe in supporting my LBS and also I'm usually a bit sceptical that all these specialist products are really necessary. However the Muc-Off smells great and does work well so maybe it is worth it.

So tomorrow is another day and more cycling is planned. I'd love to go on the C&D Cycles CC Saturday ride. I've been on so few this year it's ridiculous. However family comes first and I'll be taking Sam to sailing and doing laps of Pitsford reservoir. I'm hoping there will be some Sunday action to make up for this.

Talking of the club...there are some epic adventures taking place right now. Andy P is in Holland and Kev is doing the polar opposite in the Alps. Lots of other big rides going too. Guest blogs ahoy!

In wider news Guy Martin is at it again! This time he's completed a mammoth Mountain bike event called The Tour Divide. Check this out:

Finally enough of this soccer and tennis nonsense. It's time for the Tour de France! Can Froome do it again? Will the mountainous route favour Contador? What about Quintana or Nibali? Will there be a surprise contender? For those of us who like the quick lads the sprints will always be where it's at. Can Cav add to his Tour tally or will Kittel and Greipel take the lot. And of course lets not forget Sagan!

Happy Pedaling

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