Monday, 28 March 2011

Time to up the mileage...

As spring gets underway we know that we need to increase our training, in particular we need longer rides, more mileage!!

So, Saturday started off a little disappointingly - after the beautiful weather of last week it seemed we took a step backwards. We had to revert to long bib tights and thermal vests - yes, it was that cold!

We met at our usual spot and cycled out to Congerstone and from there up the hill to Barton and then Nailstone. We then headed out to Thornton reservoir, taking in a couple of steepish hills on the way before passing through Bagworth. We paused there to have a look at the statue of 'The Miner' - Gary, being a mining engineer, had worked at Bagworth Pit many years ago and told me about how bad the fog used to be around the pit in winter - so bad infact that on one occasion whilst trying to get to work he had missed the entrance to the mine and ended up in the pub car park instead!
Gary with the Bagworth Miner

We had a quick burst of speed back into Nailstone and then the slog from Carlton up to Market Bosworth. From there we went quickly into open countryside through Cadeby, on to Sutton Cheney then the fast road to Upton where we paused for a drink at 'the bench'. After that it was a pleasant ride on a particularly smooth road to Shenton and then through Far Coton and on to Congerstone. We took a detour there and went via Bilstone up to Little Twycross and then another sprint to Snarestone and back to the starting point at Newton Burgoland. We split up there and both rode home - total for the day for me was 58 miles - and I was tired by the time I got back!!

Sunday was a slack day - friends over for Sunday lunch so I limited my ride to a very short 5 miles - really just to say I'd been out! But Monday warmed up nicely after a frosty start so I managed 30 miles this morning. I've done 640 miles so far for March - 3 days to go and I'd like to make it 700 - we'll see.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The ultimate challenge...

It's great here at the moment - it's summer-like - okay, not boiling hot but certainly warm enough for me have dug out my shorts and sandals!. And riding in these conditions is just so much more rewarding. I went out yesterday and rode 37 miles and today I'm hoping for at least 20.

Talking to Gary at Bell-Ringing last Monday we were mulling over what happens after we've done this mad ride. What will drive us to continue training and maintain the hard-earned fitness? We decided we'd have a go at The Dunwich Dynamo - a fittingly mad ride from central London to Dunwich in Suffolk - 200km, oh and it's done overnight! - there's some great clips on YouTube - people do it on Penny Farthings! - sounds like a hoot!

Then I saw an article in a newspaper. Apparently Vin Cox who holds the world record for cycling around the world (163 days) has set up a mass-start 'Round the World Race'. It sets off from London in February next year. Participants can choose their own route but must fund it themselves and comply with the stipulations of Guinness World Records for circumnavigating the globe. You must cover 18,000 miles, travel in one direction without significant deviation and take in two land based antipodal points. To judge from the interest to date he seems to have hit on a good idea - 20 riders have so far expressed an interest!

Are we tempted to sign up?? - it does have an awesome quality!!

Here're a couple of links

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

50 days on the trot!....

Well, that's it - today I reached a personal goal of riding every day for the past 50.

And what a glorious day it was - almost summer-like with warm sunshine and relative calm. I rode 32 miles this lunchtime/early afternoon - in a short sleeved shirt and shorts!

The weather has a massive effect on how I feel on the bike. Today i rode with a smile, the sunshine and dry, clear roads making the whole thing a total pleasure. As I set off I felt I was bathing in fresh air; soon the anxieties of work dissolved and the day to day debris of life is forgotten - I drift into..... well nothing really, nothing at all, the rhythm of riding seems to create a void, random thoughts sometimes pop into the void but after a couple of hours I'm mentally far, far away - I think its just enjoyment and happiness... and gratitude that I'm fortunate enough to be so flexible in my daytime hours to be able to make the most of days like today.

I'm glad I made the '50 Days' - now I'll have to think of a new challenge - probably 600 miles for March?? that seems achievable. But if its a nice day tomorrow I'll have to make it 51.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Spring is Almost Here and Udderly kicks Assos

Looking at the logs of my training rides, I seem to be getting in a few more mid week miles, more to the point with the evenings getting lighter the rides are taking place on my local patch i.e. no street lights. A few times this week I have been able to get out, do a few miles and get back without the need for lights.

This weekend the weather has been a lot warmer. At least on Saturday it was. A chance to get a few more miles in on the Roubaix and a chance to cut down on the extra layers of clothing. Even venturing out in my shorts !!!! It's a lot easier riding with less gear on and my average speeds have been creeping up a bit now I am getting used to the bike.

Today however although it seemed quite warm in the shelter of the back garden, out on the road the wind was up, which made the ride a little less enjoyable, but good training nevertheless.

Paul mentioned the sponsorship from the Udderly Smooth Chamois Cream people. I have been a big fan of Assos Chamois Creme. I read all the reviews some months ago and bought what was rated as the best..........and the most expensive ! I have been using this for a few months and found it quite good. This weekend I reluctantly gave the Udderly Smooth Cream a go and found it to be excellent.......... In fact certainly better than the Assos Creme. No chaffing or irritation after a few longish rides.

I'll update the review of the product in a few more weeks.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Route update!...

Our 10 day route plan is now posted and can be viewed on the appropriate page links at the top - there is the opportunity to view them as a 3D fly-through - but you'll need the Google Earth plug-in and you'll probably have to register at the Map my Ride site (it's free!) - it's a bit of a rigmarole but its worth it!

A speedy debut for the new bikes...

Saturday 12th March - From a morning sky of pale blue the sun shines with a new warmth, and already the cloud is lifting. It is without doubt a beautiful day. But there is surely something more causing this uplifting of the spirit and this wakening sense of joyful anticipation. And then I realise. Somewhere overhead a skylark, the first I've heard this year, is singing. A fully voiced-out pouring of trills and chirrups, a ceaseless stream of music falling note after note from the sky and carrying the promise of the spring almost upon us and of the summer to come.

Today is the day to roll out the new machines; the first time we've taken them out on a 'proper' ride. On the way to meet up I realise that i've overdone it with my choice of clothing - I'm too hot!! - too late to do anything about it now.
We head out to Market Bosworth, tackling the, for us, unchartered hill up from the yachting lake to the town centre - we've only ever cycled down this and it always appears steep, but we ascend it with no problems, the efficiency of the carbon fibre bikes becoming apparent. From there we travel out to Cadeby and then Sutton Cheney, now we are flying! - We overtake another cyclist who seems stationary - we are moving at about 26 mph now, the wheels humming along the tarmac and the road quickly disappearing in our wake. We ease up the pace as we pass through Upton, home to Sparkenhoe Cheese (Try their Red Leicester & Battlefield Blue). We stop for a minute - I adjust my cleats slightly, I've noticed a slight pain in my left knee, the shoes for my new bike are different to my old ones and use 'Look' pedals and cleat system - soon we are underway again, through Shenton and Far Coton, Congerstone, Shackerstone, Snarestone and we're done! - It all happened so fast!

We both commented on how much quicker we ride on the new bikes, they are worth at least an extra 2 or 3 mph, maybe more. The best thing though was riding along with a constant smile!!

Mileage for the trip was 42.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Udderley great!....

A great big thank you going out to the guys at Udderley Cream - they have given us a supply of their chamois cream to help us on our way.

For those who haven't a clue what I'm talking about, let me explain.

Cyclists can suffer from extreme chaffing down in the nether regions. Prolonged riding over long distances obviously creates friction which can lead to blisters, boils and much pain!

Udderley Cream is a product that helps to minimise and prevent problems - its available on-line from Wiggle - and its considerably cheaper than Assos!!

Check out the web site at

Thursday, 10 March 2011

38 days and counting!....

I've been riding, every day for the past 38 days now - it's become an obsession - maybe it's not good for me? - I went out this morning and my legs felt sluggish - all the books say you need rest days so maybe I've overcooked it a little - I'm still going to try to get out everyday (at least for as long as I feel I can) but maybe take it a little easier on some of the rides!

Meantime here's a couple of snaps from my evening ride last night.


Between Congerstone & Carlton

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

What we do when we're not cycling.....

Every Monday Gary and I can be found here...


Netherseal St Peter's Church - struggling with Bob Doubles!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Pastry hands.....

It is often said that people with cold hands make the best pastry. I could make great pastry after going out on my bike lately - the effect of moving through the air with the added wind chill leaves my hands freezing cold, despite reasonable gloves.

On Saturday Gary and I rode to Aston-on-Trent. Outside of cycling another interest we have is bell-ringing. We've been doing that for almost 4 years, the last three of which seem to have been taken up entirely with mastering the hidden secrets of 'Bob-Doubles' - I don't expect there's many cyclist/bellringers out there - but if there is they'll know what I mean! - Anyway, we met at The Odd House, Newton Burgoland, and went via Ashby and Ticknall to the Swarkestone Bridge (It was here that Bonnie Prince Charlie halted his march during the Jacobite rebellion), then it was a fairly easy ride to the Church at Aston on Trent where members of our bell ringing band were practising for a forthcoming striking competition. We paid them a surprise visit, attempting to get warm in the church whilst listening to their call-changes piece. Soon we were heading back, this time taking part of the 'Cloud Trail' to Breedon and then back on the road to Lount and on to Ashby, finally retracing our route to The Odd House. It was a good effort and took in a fair amount of climbing. The cold was the only problem although by the time of our return things had warmed up slightly.

Total mileage for the trip was 55.5.

On a personal note I have been out every day for the past 34 days - I wonder how much longer I'll manage to keep that record going? - it's been a frosty start here again today, but the sun is out as I write and I'm hoping to get out at lunchtime for an hour, then again tonight - I'm riding to bellringing practise!

Sunday, 6 March 2011


Well done Gary!!!!

Thanks to lots of hard work in front of the computer Gary has sorted out a way of showing our route on this blog. So far we are only able to post the first day - but hopefully the rest will follow over the coming week or two.

You will see a new page added to the navigation at the top of the blog - the routes will be in there.

More of the Route

I have spent many hours planning the route, I hoped to be able to export the route from my old Memory Map software onto the blog, but have not been able to find a way, so as you can see the route is now on the blog using Mapmyride. It takes a bit of time but the end result is reasonably good.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Route

I've spent many hours over the last month planning the route. I have looked at other blogs for inspiration but decided that the best way was to plan the route using as many B roads as possible, and by looking at the shortest distance.

I have used memory map software to help me, this can then be transferred to my old Etrex Summit GPS. The great advantage of this program is being able to look at the elevation profile, this enables me to plan suitable detours to avoid the biggest hills.

Last year Paul and I did trips to Skegness and Southwold using this planning process. It worked well and allowed us to pass through some beautiful small villages that we would never see, if travelling by car.

The GPS which is normally used when hill walking has not got any maps preloaded due to its age gave us good directions and enabled us to cycle without referring to maps too often.

Day From To Miles Km Ascent Descent
(m) (m)
1 Land's End Bude 92 147 2372 2402
2 Bude Weston Super Mare 108 172 2387 2406
3 Weston Super Mare Bromyard 93 149 992 1002
4 Bromyard Winsford 91 146 1209 1135
5 Winsford Millness 91 146 993 949
6 Millness Moffat 99 159 747 638
7 Moffat Inverbeg 91 146 896 1005
8 Inverbeg Fort William 74 118 2008 2047
9 Fort William Evanton 81 129 2151 2124
10 Evanton John O'Groats 108 172 1657 1684
Total 928 1484 15412 15392
AVERAGE 93 148 1541 1539

A grand total of 1 487Km or in old money 928 miles, plus a total of 15 412m of climbing !!!!

I don't think it is possible for me to get the memory map route onto the blog site, if anyone knows how to do this please let me know. I think I may have to use a site such as Mapmyride to do this.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

March 1st - 96 days to go....

Actually 96 days sounds a long time to me - 13 weeks!! - that sounds closer.

We're well over £2k now for sponsorship so thanks again to all of you who have taken the time to make a pledge.

The weather seems to have taken a step back - its cold and dark here, miserable - I don't want to go out...... I managed to ride every day in February - totalled 508 miles so maybe I'll have today off... mmm we'll see!

Check out our sponsors on the link at the top.