Saturday, 9 March 2013

A ride of two halves.

Route                                                        Distance,  Time,  Week Total, Total
Caldy – Montgomery Hill – Mill Hill – Irby -  32          4hrs         56          170.3
Heswall – Neston – Caldy – West Kirby – Hoylake – Leasowe – Moreton – Greasby - Irby - West Kirby
Grey, overcast, slightly damp, 9’c.  Okay so after the sweaty effort of Tuesday I left the thermal and fleece layers off and was too cold which meant an 18 mile loop back home to retrieve an extra layer for my top half and an extra pair of socks for my poor toes plus a quick coffee to thaw out the inside bits too! 
The first loop covered a multitude of hills – from the lowest point of Heswall on the shore line to the highest point of Heswall next to a radio transmitter. The only point to this being to endure some hills.  Going up and down hills is an essential part of this training exercise but I can’t say I’m exactly enjoying it.  In one respect I’ll be glad when I’ve achieved the goal so I can go back to riding the off road muddy, bumpy stuff that is so much more enjoyable.
The second loop was about packing in a bit more distance rather than gratuitous hill climbing so a blast along the front to leasowe lighthouse then a ride back through various housing estates finishing with Montgomery Hill and straight up the main road from Caldy crossroads West Kirby.
Pleased that none of the hills provided too much of a challenge and no walking was called for.  Felt my legs for the first time after this ride and I don’t really know why.  Just hope as the weeks go on the training does become easier and less of a drag.  I think the weather is probably playing a part. I’m fed up of having cold toes. Is it too much to ask to be comfortably warm on a ride???  (I may regret this statement come August if the C2C ends up being tackled in a heatwave!!!!) 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A sweaty 200m vertical gain day!

Route                                                      Distance,  Time,  Week Total, Total
Home – Heswall – Neston – Home          24           2hrs 50       24        138.3
Clear blue sky, very little wind,  10’c.  Spring has sprung!
Storming start straight up the hill to Thurstaston along the main road – wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. Big surprise at the gradient on Heswall bends - you think you have climbed to the highest point when you reach Thurstaston but you haven’t! 
Interesting unadopted road route down to Lower Heswall.  Must try it going upwards!  Along to Neston and across the Chester High Road then down onto the Wirral way all the way back to Caldy.  A final climb up the millionaires road, Kings Drive, actually was OK!  Am quite pleased I was able to get to the top without stopping and it meant a glorious cruise back home.
So not a bad ride but really need to start picking up the pace and upping the mileage as well as trying to fit in longer rides on consecutive days.  Not much work left to do then!!!  Scary thought that the mileage grand total as it stands is only 10% of the recommended preparation mileage of 1400 miles.  Eeek!
Learnt some interesting stuff on this ride –
·        Its not a good idea to scream round a gravelly bend in top gear no matter how much fun you’re having zooming along – even nobbly off road tyres don’t grip well on loose gravel.
·        It is possible to have sweaty cold feet! Really must try and sort that out!
·         A thermal, a long sleeved bike top, a short sleeved bike top, a fleece and a rain jacket is waaaaaay too many layers when the temperature is 10’c and there is no wind!!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Half terms over - back to it!

Route                                                       Distance,  Time,  Week Total, Total
Home – Caldy – Hoylake – Leasowe         17           2hrs        17           114.3
Moreton – Saughall – Black Horse Hill
Grey sky to start, blue sky to finish, very little wind,  3’c. 
Having a week off training due to half term was a bit of a killer and having toothache on the first day the winks were back at school was even more frustrating.  Today was about fitting in a shorter ride with some hills and other varied terrain. 
The climb to Caldy is always ‘fun’ and meant 2.5 miles plus some vertical gain had been achieved before the bike was even pointed in the direction of Leasowe which was the ultimate plan for today! 
Following the Wirral Circular Loop signs once at Leasowe resulted in an ‘interesting’ (and I definitely use the word advisedly) pedal alongside the Bidston golf course.  The only place I’ve seen more rubbish is at the tip and it was the sort of deserted place where you ride along fully expecting to see a dead body at any moment!!!  Needless to say I shan’t be rushing back to repeat that particular experience.
The final push to home was along the lanes from Saughall Massie and straight up Black Horse Hill.  Happy to report no getting off of the bike was required however at one point it did cross my mind that it would be quicker to just walk up the hill pushing the bike!!!!      
And now because I'm sure my dear readers are most interested in whether I was too hot or too cold a temperature report - My body and fingers were too warm - a thermal plus 4 additional layers was too much as were full fingered gloves - but my toes were a little chilly!!

Friday, 15 February 2013

A great day!

Route                                                        Distance,  Time,  Week Total, Total
Home – Montgomery Hill – Irby – Heswall   31.4       4hrs       40.5           97.3
Landican – Port Sunlight – Bebington – Eastham – Hooton - Caldy
Blue sky, light winds, 8’c.  You could almost mistake today for a summers day and in fact I finished the ride with a sun tanned face!!  This was a FUN FUN FUN ride today and confirmed the fact that I much prefer off road riding, sploshing through muddy puddles and scrambling for grip on claggy tracks to road riding!! 
A lot of ground was covered and I have to say it’s a pleasure to ride during the week – the people you meet are so polite and friendly and will happily exchange a greeting with you!!  One gentleman even held a gate open which meant I didn’t even have to get off my bike at the bottom of a super cool whizzy section!!
Mention must be made of the little buttie shop in Eastham that made me a delicious cup of coffee at midday – much appreciated to warm the slightly frozen, muddy and wet bits of me!!
And now a confession – I had to walk up part of the Caldy Hill section about a mile from home – my little leggies had decided enough was enough!  But apart from that todays ride felt great!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Swimming again.

A wet, snowy and windy day with a busy Thursday and Friday to come so the opportunity was seized to go and thrash up and down the swimming pool again.

1 hour 3 minutes and 76 lengths of Mummy breaststroke later and my jelly legs and achy shoulders think I've done enough for one day.

Just time to make myself look presentable before attending the school Ash Wednesday service in church.  Don't think I'll be walking down there though given the monsoon conditions outside at the moment!! 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Painful Reality.

Route                                                       Distance,  Time,  Week Total, Total
Home – Wetstone Lane (hill) – Caldy        9.1          1hr          9.1             56.8
Crossroads (Hill) – Montgomery Hill, Frankby – Hillside – Gorse Lane – Grange Road – prom – Village Road (Hill)
Grey sky, light winds, 3’c.  The name of todays game was to pack a few hills in.  Shame it took me 3 miles to get going. I was expecting to feel despondent and defeatist at some point but I guess I didn’t expect it to happen so soon.  Plodding along thinking -  “what the hell am I doing thinking I can cycle 140 miles in 4 days??  Theres no way I’m ever going to be fit enough.”  So the question is how to get over this low patch? How do people find motivation and inspiration? And actually – is there any way I’m ever going to have done enough training to enable me to complete the challenge?  Answers on a postcard please!! 
Ok so there must be some positives from today’s effort? Well I managed to clock 32mph on the whizz down Grange Road so that’s good!  And I didn’t have to get off and push at all even though Montgomery Hill and Village Road are both quite brutal ups. And hallelujah ..... my body and fingers were warm enough due to an extra thermal layer and full finger gloves.  (We won't mention not being able to feel my feet when I got off my bike at home!  No. Lets finish on a high!)

Saturday, 9 February 2013

An adventure and an encounter!

Route                                                       Distance,  Time,  Week Total, Total
Home - Hoylake - Leasowe - New Brighton –23.6m   3hrs 40m   23.6     47.7
Woodside - Birkenhead - Upton - Greasby - Hillside
Essential to get out and get some miles in even though the weather wasn't great - cloudy and cold - about 4'c.  Once again I completely underestimated the temperature and was COLD!    From now on its full finger gloves, over booties and 5 layers
The big excitement came a mile from Woodside Ferry terminal with the discovery that my back tyre was suspiciously squishy.  The exciting part was finding that the pump wouldn't fit my tyre valve! Argh
Now if you're going to get stuck I recommend you get stuck just as an ex-boy scout happens to be passing with a full tool kit including wet wipes and who succumbs to your damsel in distress routine!!  Sorted. 
After a fast 5 min pedal to Woodside ferry terminal it was time for a nice hot coffee to allow some bits to thaw out.  The puncture delay meant the planned route had to be curtailed (had to get back to do some last minute birthday party preparations) so from there it was a grind up the hills to Upton followed by a nice whizz down a muddy footpath followed by a further grind up to Frankby and finally a grind up Hillside Road/Grammar School Lane - WITHOUT STOPPING!!!!  A nice gentle coast back home allowed cold, tired muscles to be stretched.  Shame about the puncture delay but I felt some respectable miles and hills achieved!