Tag Archives: club_ride

Downfall In Denton…

Team MK C Group Ride To Carlon, 81km

Team MK C Group Ride To Carlon, 81km

The weather forecast for yesterday was dull with very little sunshine and maybe a little rain late in the afternoon.  That is just how it appeared when I dressed and set off for yesterdays ride with Team MK.  Shorts and a tee shirt under a sleeveless shirt were the order of the day as it was quite warm even at 8:30.  I decided against the rain jacket even as a means to just keep warm as it was unnecessary.

I was about halfway to Stony Stratford when I felt the first tiny drops of rain.  It can’t be be much I said to myself as its not forecast and anyway I am wearing so little it won’t take long to dry out.  It was still raining when I reached Stony Stratford and was still doing so by the time we set off for Carlton, the days assigned coffee and cake stop.

There were twelve of us to start the ride but we picked up somebody else en route making it up to thirteen.  I remember making some flippant remark at the time about that being an unlucky number.  However we were an orderly group and going at a good steady speed.  We had come down into Denton village, near to Castle Ashby when IT happened, en route to Grendon and then on to Wollaston and Carlton.

I was riding in the middle of the group, along the village high street thinking about the climb ahead, back out of the village.  I remember spotting a manhole cover in the middle of the road and pointing it out to the riders behind and moving over to avoid it.  The next thing I knew I was losing control of the bike for no apparent reason and I knew I was coming off.  There was nothing I could do about it, I just instinctively did what I could to protect myself as I went down and hoped for the best as the person behind me clattered into me as well.  There was nothing they could do about it  either.  I gingerly got up as soon as someone realeasd me from the jumble of bikes and checked myself over for damage.  I could feel pain in my left shoulder, upper left thigh and left arm.  I was fairly sure, despite the sharp pain that I hadn’t broken my collar bone as I could move my arm OK.  I didn’t look at my thigh but my shorts were not torn so I expected some kind of friction burn there, I would check that out later in the privacy of my home !! I could see a big graze on my arm that was sore but not too much blood.  When we checked the scene of the accident we could see oily ‘rainbow’ patterns pattern on the wet road and there was also an adverse camber on that bit of road so I think it was just an unlucky combination of events.

After a few more minutes of recovery and analysis and some bike checks I decided I was fit enough to carry on with the ride.  As it happened I was only about six miles from my home at the time despite having ridden about thirty miles since I left home, so I could easily have given up on the day I guess.  The rain stopped for a while soon after we restarted and then it was intermittent for the rest of the ride.  When we reached Carlton I could have just carried on and not stopped for refreshments as its quite near to my home.  I did stop though because the journey back to Olney was into a headwind and I thought I would take advantage of a little shelter, riding in the group.

On later inspection I was right about the friction burn, about three inches diameter of exposed flesh on my left thigh.  Sleeping last night was a bit tricky with my painful shoulder as well, I had to lay in just the right position and a few times I woke up with a start when I happened to move the wrong way in my sleep.  The pain is right around the shoulder joint so if its not feeling any better in a  couple of days I will probably go and get an x-ray.

I am hoping I am going to be OK for the planned 200km Audax ride next Sunday as I was feeling in pretty good shape to tackle that before my fall.  I will hopefully try a bike ride tomorrow and see what hurts and hopefully by the end of the week there will be a big improvement.

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Team MK C Group to Marston Moretaine.

Hi, I am back and blogging again now, I was also back out on a Team MK club ride this morning, six weeks after my last one before my Spanish sojourn.  The ride to the Forest Centre cafe at Marston Moretaine became a 90km ride for me including my ride to Stony Stratford to the start of the ride.  Its quite a hilly route anyway but it contains two of my least favourite climbs.  The ride up from the Two Locks pub at Stoke Hammond and just seems to go up and up in three stages until you get to Little Brickhill.  Then to round things off on the way back there is the long drag up Marston Hill into Cranfield right after restart after the coffee break.  They both have varying gradients all the way up and I can never seem get a good rhythm going.

Team MK C Group ride to Marston Moretaine

Team MK C Group ride to Marston Moretaine.

I was a bit apprehensive about my condition before the ride, I did a 50km ride on Wednesday and that was my first ride for just over two weeks, the previous one was in Spanish sun.  The notorious Tramuntana wind in Spain put paid to anymore rides out there in the last week or so.  The wind comes down from the mountains and it was around 50mph with frequent gusts up into 80’s!!

Anyway, I survived pretty well today, better than my expectations, especially on those hated climbs.  Talking of which I spent the afternoon in front of the TV watching the pro’s riding up the last mountain stage of the three week Giro d’Italia.  They were fierce.  Todays stage was over five hours and 199km the last 40km of which was more or less “UP” to over 2000 metres of altitude.   Mind you the riders were mostly 40 – 50 years younger than me so I guess everything is relative!  So after the professional final stage tomorrow I get my afternoons back.  I don’t have to cram everything in to the morning to free up the afternoon.  The sofa could probably do with a break as well.

I am hoping to get some photos of the recent trip up on my photography blog just as soon as I have finished editing them and selecting the best for your delight and delectation.

Weather, The Will And The Wherewithal…

Hello.. remember me ?  I am the person that used to write regular blog posts on here.

Those posts have been somewhat missing for the last few weeks and I got out of the habit.  The rides I was doing a month ago were not much to much write about.  I was feeling quite depressed about my stats.  Since my mid winter lay off I couldn’t seem to get back up to a decent average speed.  I wasn’t even feeling fit enough to go on the club rides.  I vowed I would get up to at least a consistent 24kph/15mph average speed before I ventured out with them again as 15/16mph is the recommended average speed for the Team MK C Group.  Albeit that I would probably ride faster with a  group than solo, targets are targets.

The weather around here was a major contributor to my lack of miles.  Very strong winds with even stronger gusts of up to 50kph  and the cold weather didn’t fill me with much enthusiasm to get out.  Because I am pretty much free to go out any day I like I think I was getting too picky about the conditions, always thinking tomorrow would be a better day than the present one and it wasn’t.  Those better days didn’t come along and one blank day led to more and more.  If I had only had weekends available I probably would have made more of an effort.  As I mentioned in a previous post I did however manage to ride the Kennet Valley 100km Audax earlier in the month at a fairly sedate pace, but thats all thats required of them.

Eventually I got my average speed up for a couple rides on my winter bikes.  Normally my rule is not to get the ‘best’ bikes out until the clocks change but at the start of last week I ventured out on the Colnago.  I had been doing some work on it and it needed a test ride.  When I bought it I originally re-equipped it with a Shimano 105 groupset but In my accumulated ‘spare’ parts I recently found I had a Shimano Ultegra front and rear deraillieur mech doing nothing.  I managed to find some Ultegra shifters online and kitted the Colnago out with all the Ultegra parts to match the Felt bike set up.  All the 105 equipment that came off the Colnago then went onto my Specialized winter bike to match the Ribble bike set up.  Much re-cabling and handlebar taping followed as a result.

That accounted for two or three days of my non biking time.  So I now have two ‘winter/audax’ bikes for different occasions and two lightweight ‘best’ bikes.  The Felt carbon fibre bike being slightly lighter than the aluminium Colnago but the Colnago feels just as good and lively when I am riding it.  The Felt hasn’t been out yet this year. I have a few jobs to do on that before it ventures out.

The ensuing necessary test ride on the Colnago before its official scheduled first outing really lifted my spirits and the average speed.  So now I am back up and riding a bit more regularly again.  The strong winds persist and its always a factor when choosing my route but at least its getting a bit warmer and the days are getting longer.  Now we have changed the clocks it makes afternoon rides an option again.  Thats always providing there is no bike racing on TV though.

There has been a steady dribble of televised bike races since February actually, starting with the “Tour Down Under’ then moving to the middle east for some pretty boring racing in the deserts.  Now the european season is well underway and just moved in the northern France/Belgium/Holland area for the Spring Classics.  They are always exciting races to watch with the weather, cobbles, short sharp climbs and enthusiastic crowds and the odd crash or two making for some exciting racing.  There is no complaining about the weather and strong winds from these guys they just get out there and race through it all for 200km or more.  Hard men all of them, competing two or three times a week some of them for five or six hours at a time.  If they crash they just get back on their bikes and carry on.  I won’t mention the highly paid footballers that are always moaning they need a rest if they play two ninety minute games a week or a month out of action if they scratch their leg. Oh dear, I seem to have mentioned them!!!

So, the improving weather, my improving fitness and the inspirational bike racers are rebuilding my enthusiasm again and hopefully I will have more to write about in the future.  Well, I know I will and maybe some nice spring cycling pictures as well.

Not So Bad…

I have actually completed two rides since my last post, thats two rides in four days, a bit of a record by recent standards.  I do feel the fitness coming back slowly, but I am nowhere near where I was just over a month ago, way back in December 2014!  I have done five rides so far this year, but generally too far apart to gain and retain any real benefit from them.  Hopefully things are about to change

On Saturday I opted not to get up early ride over to Stony Stratford for the Team Milton Keynes C1 group ride to Winslow.  There had been some discussion on the Forum on the clubs website for the 24hours previous about whether the ride would go to Stowe or Winslow.  The chosen venue by Friday night was Winslow.  Not feeling quite ready for a full blown club ride I decided to make my own way to Winslow direct from home and meet the group at the cafe.I stayed in bed a bit longer while the roads warmed up and then made my own way over to Winslow, arriving there at about 11:30am so that I would be there when they rolled up.

When I entered Jenny Wrens cafe in Winslow I found the ‘B’ group sitting there.  I joined them for a chat, coffee and a toasted tea cake while I waited for C1 group.  By 12:15 it was obvious they were not coming so I made my own way back.  I had been hoping to able to benefit from the shelter of a group ride for the return to Stony Stratford at least as it had been hard work on the outward leg against the wind.  However It was not to be but I did have the benefit of a tailwind to push me home.  A very welcome push it was too.

It had been long solo ride of about fifty miles but I managed OK and definitely felt better and more encouraged than I had felt on my recent rides.

On Saturday evening I checked the clubs forum page and saw that they had actually had a discussion before the ride and opted to go to Salcey Forest as the roads were suspected of being icy out the other side of Stony Stratford.  I have to say I didn’t notice any ice on my ride but the road was wet and riding into the low sun and the wind was not a pleasant experience.  On my way back though I did notice a car on its side in a ditch as I approached Stony Stratford so maybe it was icy earlier.

Today I did another fifty mile loop from home with Towcester Racecourse being the furthest point.  I had chosen the route to benefit from a tailwind on the return half.  I even managed to get a couple of photographs on the way round.

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This one is of the Grand Union Canal at Stoke Bruerne.  It is home to a nice cafe, where I didn’t stop and a canal museum.  It is also  at the southern end of the Blisworth Tunnel where in the days of horse drawn barges the bargees had to lay on on their backs on the roof of the barges and ‘walk’ along roof of the tunnel to propel the barges with their feet the nearly 3 miles of the tunnel.  The horses meanwhile were walked over the hills to Blisworth to meet up at the other end.

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This picture is also of the Grand Union Canal but a few miles further south at Old Wolverton, just north of Milton Keynes.  The only claim to fame I can think of here is that when I first moved to North Buckinghamshire in 1966 I lived about 400 yards from this bridge.  It was in a brand new house that we bought for the princely sum of £3250!! It was before the electrification of the London-Midland main railway line from Euston and also before the announcement of the birth of Milton Keynes.  Due to these announcements we managed to sell the house about five years later for around £10,500 when we moved to Olney, and here I have stayed in a variety of houses ever since.

I ended the ride feeling not so bad as the previous rides so thats a good sign I guess.  I think there will be a few more ‘not feeling so bad’ rides before I progress to the ‘I am feeling better’ rides.

One Step Beyond…

One Step Beyond is a record by one of my favourite bands from way back, Madness, when you and I were much younger, well I was anyway.  Both the title and name of the band seem very appropriate when describing todays ride.  The blog title came to me as I was approaching home. leg weary and tired.  It got me home anyway.  Click and listen while you read.. 🙂

I went for my first ride of 2015 this morning, five days after the previous ride on the last day of 2014.  That was a ride of 40km and today I stepped it up to 80km.  A step too far I think.  I was just about shattered by the time I got home.

I rode a loop to Kimbolton and back and it was on the return loop that I hit the headwind.  Before I left this morning I checked the weather forecast for temperature and wind strength but not the direction.  The temperature was forecast to rocket up to 7C by late morning.  I think the most I saw was 6C but thats warmer than of late.  That combined with my failing strength really told on me.  The wind hit me after Kimbolton and I realised why it had seemed so easy on the outward loop.  It wasn’t only the wind that hit me though.  I took a good swig of cold water, half a bottle, in Kimbolton and after about a mile I was getting really bad pains in my stomach like cramps.  Note to self, next time make use of that Thermos Flask I found that fits my bottle cage.

If I had thought to bring some money with me I would have stopped at the village store in Riseley and bought some nourishment.  I didn’t take any with me because on a ride of that length under normal circumstances I wouldn’t bother with food.  Anyway, I made it safely back and my thighs really ached and I can’t remember that happening for years.

My reason for picking that distance was to check out my ability before deciding on whether or not, to go on the club ride on Saturday.  The answer at the moment is a resounding NO.  However there is the possibility of at least one more ride this week and I will make a decision later.

I really want to go on this ride if possible as it is to the ‘Bike Bus’.  I have never been there before but it always has good reviews from other club members who have.  I suppose if I am not fit enough for the whole ride I can do my usual trick of intercepting the ride on its way there, as its on ‘my’ side of Milton Keynes.  The other option is to guess what time they will be there and just ride there myself.  Its only open at weekends so opportunities are limited.

I came home to a lunch of Nutella on toast and a sizeable chunk of Christmas Cake.  I am now in recovery mode with my legs up on the sofa typing this on my laptop.  I am going for another cup of tea just as soon as I have finished this.  Finished this for the second time I might add!  I am using the new WordPress posting page. The previous version used to auto save your work every minute or so but apparently this one doesn’t so I lost it all when I went to find the link for the Bike Bus and had to start over.. Grrrrrr.  I hope this as good as the first version!!!

As I type this, the cup of tea I was going to make later, when I finished this has just miraculously appeared by my side along with two chocolate digestive biscuits.  Us pensioners have it hard !!!

Last Weeks Rides Update…

It turned out to be quite a prolific ride week for me, unusually so by recent standards.  With the previously reported ride on Tuesday I notched up just over 300km last week

Thursday: 80km bike ride

I went for a ride on Thursday last week as it was forecast to be a nice day.  Up until then it hadn’t been good weather at all.  The day started off very misty though as I headed off east towards KImbolton on a northerly loop and swung round at Great Staughton on a southerly loop back. The ride was about 80km. It’s a fairly undulating route with no major climbing involved so I managed to up my recent average ride speeds to a couple of kph higher.

I took this picture just as I started to head back towards home at Gt Staughton, as you can see the mist is still hanging around, the picture isn’t out of focus and I did try some editing to make it look a little less misty than it actually was.

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By the time I got home the sun had burned the mist off but it was still pretty cold.

Saturday: Team MK ride to  Winslow 110km

The Team MK ride last Saturday was scheduled to be to Upper Stowe near Daventry but there was no leader allocated for the ride and Clive volunteered to to do the lead but opted to go to Winslow instead.  Slightly preferable given my condition because the Upper Stowe route is quite a hilly one with some nasty little climbs in it.  However it was no easy ride because quite a high pace was set.

We stopped at Jenny Wrens cafe in Winslow as Clive had the foresight to book one of the rooms for us there.  So finding a seat would be no problem and they were ready for us.  Sometimes I don’t bother to stop there on this route because of the hassle but I actually needed the break this week so I was ready for the refuelling stop to get me home.

The ride back soon split the group up but I wasn’t dragged into any fast stuff as I had done 20km more then them at that stage because of my ride to the start, I was also facing another 20km to get back home from Stony Stratford.  I just kept at my own steady and comfortable pace, picking up some stragglers from the front group on the way that had overstretched themselves.  Once I reached Stony my average speed was showing almost 26kph but by the time I got home it had dropped to 25.4 😦

Its my turn to lead the group ride this week and we are going to Carlton.  I might need to abbreviate the route a bit as there is a round of the Cyclo Cross World Cup taking place at Milton Keynes Bowl in the afternoon. I will check before the start if anybody is going and what time they need to be back.  Personally I will find the race on the computer somewhere and watch in comfort indoors.

Bikes, Bashes, Babies And Bike Rides..

After a blog less two weeks you might think it wouldn’t be hard to find something to write about. I would agree with you probably until you add in the fact that I haven’t been out on the bike for exactly one week.

So what now follows is probably going to sound like a string of excuses, not only sound like, it is probably what it will be if I can remember enough excuses to string together.  The heading might give you some clues, So here we go…

The day after my last blog post I went down to the local park at Emberton and found a triathlon underway.  Actually it was pretty much over as the last bit of the run stage was being completed.  I don’t think I would have fancied the swim stage in open water in Emberton Park at this time of year.  It seemed a pretty well attended event though.

Since I regained possession of the Specialized bike it has resulted in a long list of bike reconfigurations as I make adjustments to ‘the stable’ to accommodate pretty much every type of riding I am ever liable to do.  So now I have 2 good road bikes, the Felt and Colnago which are hanging up in the garage,securely locked and awaiting servicing  over the winter.  Despite the fact that I have all winter now to do it, it never actually seems to happen as I envisage it.  Historically it has always ended up as a quick job just before we do the spring clock change and they are due to come out again.

I have two winter bikes, a lightweight one, the Specialized and the more long distance and slightly heavier equipped Ribble.  I have a hybrid bike, the Claud Butler all ready for gentle and sedate rides in the spring and summer when on holidays along the cycle paths of the UK and Europe.  There is the Kona Kula mountain bike which stays pretty much as it is but I did have to steal the handlebars from that to put on the Claud Butler and hence but some other handlebars on that.

I have my old original mountain bike, the Kone Lava Dome which is currently is equipped as a hybrid bike with 700c wheels on it and awaiting conversion to a single speed around town bike.  Also the faithful old folding shopper bike which is useful for quick trips around town to shops and visiting family which has had a ‘once over’ and is a good standby.

Now this might make it sound like I am a very wealthy person to have all these bikes but to tell the truth I never bought an actual complete bike until last year when I bought the Ribble.  Even that underwent changes within two weeks of purchase.  All my other bikes, since my very first one almost sixty years ago have been bought as parts.  That is, buying just a frame and the parts being recycled from other bikes as one after another they are upgraded equipment wise and creating a good stock of parts.  So its all done bit by bit and usually the only things I have to buy are such things as brake and gear cables and chains.  It mostly all starts top down as I get newer parts fro the better bikes and parts get moved down.

So a phase of bike works has occupied a lot of my time recently also the arrival of two more grandchildren within the last few weeks, the latest arrival being Jasper on Tuesday.  Prior to that there was the arrival of Thea and that has entailed a couple of trips down to Devon in the last few weeks.

At the beginning of this week we also had the arrival of ‘Gonzalo’ but ‘he’ is a hurricane that we got the tail end of last week as he swept across the country from the Atlantic.  That kind of stopped all thoughts of cycling for a few days with 40mph winds and rain.

I have managed a couple of rides in the last two weeks, a midweek ride around my longer Ouse Valley route and the Team Milton Keynes club ride last Saturday.  That didn’t go too well for me though.

I started off from home just as it started to rain and I hesitated a bit as I decided should I or shouldn’t I go?  I decided I would go but depending the weather I might cut it short.  There were enough of us there to do the ride so we set off but within a mile I was laying in a crumpled heap on the road.  We had just turned off into a little lane when a car came in the opposite direction.  I was looking beyond the person in front of me to get early warning of any impending avoiding actions that might be needed as we negotiated the passing of the oncoming car.  None seemed to be required as there was plenty of room despite the narrowness of the lane as everybody was filing through easily enough but all of a sudden the person in front of me decided to spontaneously apply his brakes and wobbled at the same time quite unnecessarily.  Due to the wet roads I realised quite quickly I was going to be coming off and my only decision was which side to fall.  Definitely not on the side of the approaching car I though so as best as I could affect things in the situation I headed for the side of the road and the hedge.  I received a few scrapes, twisted handlebars and a rip in my nice winter jacket. Not a happy boy then..

The ride continued and I could see by the conditions, the speed and the standard of riding of some that it wasn’t going to be an enjoyable ride.  The fact that it was raining and most didn’t have mudguards had me muttering quietly to myself as well so I carried out my original plan of dropping out at Whittlebury and I did a loop back home solo.

That was my last ride until today when I went on the club ride to Carlton.  However due to my lack of miles during the week I opted not to ride to Stony Stratford for the start but to intercept them on a  stretch of road close to home that I knew they would be using.  This worked well and we had a very pleasant ride together, I thought so anyway.  A good route and a nice steady and orderly ride and good company.  Ride details are here should you wish to take a look.

I think things are going to be a little more settled this week so hopes are high for a couple of weekday bike rides but time will tell, and so will I next time I come back here.  Also we change our clocks back one hour tonight so its going to be dark one hour earlier from now on, my least favourite time of the year