Monday, 28 June 2010

North Cheshire Clarion club run 27 June 2010

The best week-end of the year by far weather wise with temperatures into the mid 20’s and with this in mind I decided to ride out to the start point in Stretton from Runcorn. It’s only 7 miles so at a nice steady pace I manage it in less than 30 minutes. At 8:30am the sun was out and warm already, lovely stuff and with not an arm warmer or gillet in sight, just the bare minimum without riding naked was the dress code of the day.

Off we set in a clockwise loop to take in Appleton, High Legh, Warburton, Altrincham, Mobberly, a café stop at Tatton park and then on through Great Budworth, Comerbach and finally Dutton then home to Stretton. Today we had 14 out for the Sunday ride which include 4 first time visitors. This club is really growing considering it only started last October, I think we now have 51 or 52 members. The only trouble with that increase is that those who are rubbish at remembering names like moi have a really hard time, a problem yes but it’s a nice welcome problem. I think we should all start wearing name badges ’Hi I’m Mark No1’ ‘Hi I’m Andrew from Weaverham’ ‘Hi I’m Martin and I will beat you in the sprint’ etc…

The pace was good, not too fast or slow, the conversation was fluid, the weather was ace, no-one had their tyres let down unexpectedly and no-one fell over. Phil J was out on his new Dolan and what a fantastic bike it is, a full carbon jobbie with SRAM Red throughout, a real beauty. You can see more details on his blog here

The café stop at Tatton park was a bit of an experience, an experience not to be repeated that is. The café and it’s outdoor seating cannot be faulted particularly in this glorious hot sun however guess how much 1 slice of carrot cake and a small bottle of fairtrade orange juice cost me? £3.50? £4.50? Nah this little 2 piece bundle of food came to a staggering £6.32p, now that is outrageous, I could have bought the whole cake for that amount. Next time I’m going to bring a peanut butter butty and fill up my water from the men’s bog….

The sprint
Yes there was a few sprints today, the first one was for a 30 sign. I was about 4 back when I saw the sign and mentioned a sprint. Young Martin was way way back and must have seen the sign also as when I glanced back I could see him coiled ready for it watching me like a cat does when it‘s playing with it‘s mouse. So I shoot off out on the front and from my peripheral vision I detect him catching me so I give it a real welly only to be passed by him within a couple of yards of the 30 sign, I came in 2nd closely followed by Martins mate, grr lol that was fun but that sprint goes to Martin…

The next one I participated in was to another 30 sign but this time I had it all worked out. My plan which did work btw is that I should engage young sprint master Martin in conversation with a few guys riding in front and me alongside him on the outside effectively blocking him in, dirty I know but it did work and it went like this; I spot a 30 sign a few hundred yards ahead so without warning I’m off bombing it leaving Martin trailing however his young pal who’s name I still don’t know is giving me some competition, he’s pedalling like crazy down in the drops and I just about manage to take the win with maybe half a wheel. A great plan but nearly scuppered by young guy No2, I will have to more sneaky next time…

Next week it’s a long and normal run, 70 miles with the Eureka café as the midway point and also for the time constrained there is also a shorter 45 mile run with both groups riding together for the first 20 odd miles. If you are interested just pop along to the start point in Stretton by the Cat & Lion pub for 9am. See the clubs website for more info.

My Stats
55 miles, 3 hrs 10 min, Av Speed 17.3mph, 1992 ft climbing (Bikehike)

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Halfords Tour Series comes to Chester - Part II

More shots from Mondays race...

Is this huge ginger bread man really pre-race food? may have to try this sometime

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Halfords Tour Series comes to Chester

Jack Bauer came to Chester yesterday, no not that Jack Bauer - it was the other action man that rides a bike very very fast and with not a weapon in sight; he must get comments like that all the time...

I took nearly 200 photo's, here are just a few of them...


Malcolm Elliot and ?

Rapha-Condor-Sharps Kristian House

Ed Clancy

Ed Clancy and Scott Thwaites

Chris Newton & Rob Hayles

Sprint near the end of the race

Jack Bauer takes the win

Jack Bauer & Rob Hayles celebrate

More info here - thanks Sarah for the link.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

North Cheshire Clarian club run 20 June 2010

A cool start gave way to another gloriously warm sunny day - that makes two really sunny warm club rides this year, aren't we doing well! For the start I had my gillet and arm warmers on and took a little bit of gentle ribbing for it but I didn’t care as I was suitably warm; everyone else was wearing full summer gear right from the start, hardy people these NCC'ers. Only seven of us out today, probably depleted with it being Fathers day but no matter we still had a good time and with there only being seven of us it doesn't take much remembering
to name us all, Anthony, Sarah, John, Andrew from Weaverham, young Martin, Martins pal and Myself.

Off we set from Stretton in an anti-clockwise loop that took us over a few hills. We’ve not had a hilly ride for some time and speaking for myself (this is my blog after all) I wasn’t quite sure how nice the hills would be to me as I am seriously lacking from on-the-bike time. Since the Cheshire cat in March I have had nothing to train for and these last few weeks I have been able to get out only on the week-ends and if I have been lucky one ride during the week. So off we set heading through Frodsham and if you have been reading my blog you will know that I usually get a stitch coming out of Frodsham on one of the semi hilly exist however today I managed to avoid it but it was only delayed until we hit Alvanley hill.

Did I mention that I had my new helmet camera today? No? well I did but (yes there was plenty of butts and legs) this little device has no means of playback or viewfinder to check the results of your filming, you have to wait until you plug it into your PC once back home soo today my camera’s aim was out by just a little bit resulting in an hours worth of butts and legs :/

After Alvanley we had a run through the two small hills of Delamere and onwards through Kelsall bypassing ’The Yeld’ as it had road closed signs on approach. The next hill and also the biggest hill of the day is Chapel Lane in Willington. Naturally the two young guys shot off up the hill followed not far behind by John. For a retiree this bloke has some serious strength in him, I on the other hand plodded up the hill puffing and panting all the way up. This hill starts with a gentle straight rise then you hit a right hand bend to see the road rise alarmingly up, it’s at this point seeing this that I’m sure I heard one of the young guys utter an unprintable expletive! So it’s up this hill 100 yards or so to a left hand bend to see the road still rising as it disappears around a further left hand bend so more hard grinding up to this bend only to see yet another left hand bend ahead! As you grunt past the last bend marked with an armaco barrier you are hoping that it’s all over but it’s not quite finished, the road is still rising but not as steeply and all that’s left now is to ride around the sweeping right hand bend where the youngsters and John were awaiting at the very top. If only they were aware that the café was just 50 yards further on they would not have stopped and waited however I and the rest behind me knew so carried on to get first in the queue for food lol,,,

That was mostly it for the hills, just one more after the café stop just past Acton Bridge and then a few miles and an hour later we were home. So summing up, today started cool(ish) and warmed up to a really nice summers day, tans all around. The climbing was hard at times but thankfully there were not many hills. No incidents on the road, a nice cake at Summertrees café, one flat tyre and home by 12:45 to spend the rest of the day in the sun…

Great day today.

My stats
40 miles, 2hrs 36min, Av Speed 15.4 mph, 2258 ft climbing

Sunday, 13 June 2010

North Cheshire Clarian club run 13 June 2010

Mrs Mark reminded me later on today that braggarts will not inherit the earth - that's not how it actually goes however I hear what she is saying but I'm going to ignore her just this once by pointing out that today I managed to win not 1 not 2 not even 3 but 4 yes 4 sprints. Granted there was only me trying for the first three of them but the fourth, well I won that one fair n square - I will talk about that later...

A cool start from Stretton with a great turnout of 16. Today the weather was a will it won't it rain, do I don't I bring my rain jacket. Decided to take my chances with no rain jacket and off we set in a counter clockwise direction. A nice steady pace to start with but because I'm my mothers son and mummy being a Maltese person who thrives in the warmth but literally freezes in the cold, the coolness of the day had me shivering for miles upon miles before the first sprint of the day warmed me up greatly and made me a happy person.

Onwards we rode sometimes fast sometimes slowly on the flat roads of our route with nothing much of interest to write about except at one point our NCC pelaton was overtaken by this big bald guy that stood out greatly as every bit of flesh we could see was tattooed, his legs, his arms, his ears, his nose, his face and his bald head. We let him go seeing as he looks the type of guy you just don't want to mess with if you want to keep all your bones intact. We let him go for perhaps 500 yards until Phil J pushed one of my buttons by shouting "GO HUNT HIM DOWN" or something like that and off I go along with young Martin and old(ish) Gaz. Down in the drops I went giving a fair bit of welly but he was riding at a fair old lick himself and it must have taken 5 minutes at least to catch up to him but now caught what do I do now? I glance behind to notice that the other two had backed off slightly so I rode up alongside and had a good old chat with him before he turned off for home in Hale Nr Altrincham, jolly nice guy he was...

The next stop was the lavender farm tea rooms Nr Dunham. Tea, cake n scones and off we rode for the final leg of the trip. Again nothing much to say except I kept on the lookout for 30 signs and won a couple of sprints but in fairness to everyone else I think there was only me that really put a spurt on so hardly good victories! However the last 30 sign of the day had 3 of us sprinting for it. Matt was on the front with me close behind and young whipersnapper Martin behind/alongside me. I spot the 30 sign approx 500 yards away so mentioned something about a sprint when Matt took off and it definitely was sprint well and truly on and this time I had real competition. So off goes Matt and he's a bike n half in front, I give it loads and slowly catch him and come alongside, Matt gives another burst so I give it a kick which gained me a few inches, I kick again and again and again until I've passed Matt, I look to my right to see Martin's too close for comfort so kick again and manage to just keep him at bay before crossing the imaginary finish line at the 30 sign. I think Martin was just being polite, I reckon if he wanted to being a youngster an all he could easily have took me if he so wished...

Today I got the best out of my Scott Addict, the stiffness that this bike is well known for was very evident every time I 'kicked', every kick I gave it was rewarded with an immediate response that allowed me to win that last sprint. Today 'Scotty' did me proud ;-)

My Stats
42.82 miles, 2 hrs 35 min, Av Speed 16.6mph, 1545 ft climbing (Bikehike)

Random photo taken last week. Zach my 10 yr old faithful Dobermann

Zach is our 4th Dobermann.

Prince 1983 - 1993
Lori 1984 - 1997
Shawn 1993 - 2000
Zach 2000 - hopefully forever

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Week End ride Sat 5th June 2010

This weekend myself and Phil M went solo sans the NCC due to the fact that Saturday was the only day available for a ride over the weekend. The route we chose was on the back roads of Crowton with a quick cafe stop at Delamere then onwards to the west of Mouldsworth before heading back through Frodsham. The plus points from today was the many car free lanes and the great weather. It was so nice we didn't ride fast at all we merely ambled along enjoying the scenery as we rode, greatly recomended.

Todays route

I've been past this interesting gravestone from the graveyard at St Johns the Evangelist Church, Ashton many times and have always meant to stop to investigate due to its macabre engraving.

I thought that the scalllywag skull on the stone may have meant the person had died of something interesting or sinister but alas there's nothing on the stone to indicate that. Interesting headstone nonetheless...

Moving on now to the west of Mouldsworth we found a nice climbing switchback west of Mouldsworth on Cob hall lane.

No what you are seeing is what the road was really like and not down to any wide angle lens effects. Due to the tight hairpin the downlane had a nice wide sweep to it. It really was a nice route and we will be repeating it soon...

My Stats
40 miles, 2hrs 29 min, Av speed 14.6 mph, 1864 ft climbing (Bikehike)