2011 miles ticker

The Largely Irrelevant Weight-loss ticker

Saturday, 26 June 2010

As ready as I'm getting

Amazingly, I have managed to get everything I don't want in my pockets into the Carradice. Obviously, in the first stop in the middle of the night, it will all come spilling out, and the trick will be to get it all back in again.

Nevertheless, the bag still weighs just over a stone, even though I have chucked out just about all I dare. It will make the hills more testing, but the descents should get more interesting.

Time to chill out now, but so you know where I'm going, we've split the journey into distinct legs, each with a rest or checkpoint at the end, and an expected time of arrival.

1. Lands End 0km, 06:00 Monday
2. King Harry Ferry 60km, 09:45 Monday
3. Launceston 137km, 14:29 Monday
4. Exeter 205km, 18:47 Monday
5. Bridgewater 272km, 22:56 Monday
6. Keynsham 333km, 02:24 Tuesday
7. Severn Bridge Travelodge 361km, 04:10 Tuesday (hope they still let us in!)
8. Ross on Wye 408km, 10:28 Tuesday
9. Ludlow 469km, 14:30 Tuesday
10. Whitchurch 547km, 19:08 Tuesday
11. Haydock Travelodge 611km, 22:30 Tuesday
12. Garstang 667km, 07:44 Wednesday
13. Kendal 719km, 10:37 Wednesday
14. Carlisle 791km, 15:04 Wednesday
15. Eskdalemuir 844km, 18:41 Wednesday
16. Edinburgh Travelodge 933km, 23:52 Wednesday
17. Blairgowrie 1030km, 11:52 Thursday
18. Braemar 1084km, 15:43 Thursday
19. Grantown on Spey 1154km, 20:56 Thursday
20. Inverness Travelodge 1213km, 00:08 Friday
21. Dornoch 1281km, 10:22 Friday
22. Helmsdale 1329km, 13:09 Friday
23. John O'Groats 1415km, 18:23 Friday, and then.....
24. Thurso 1446km, damn quick before the footie starts!

Since no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, I'm sure it won't work out that way, but at least it seems that the wind may not be northerly next week, so we won't have to battle against that as well.

Good luck all you Etappers out there, see you on the other side.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Its all in the preparation

or at least, I wish it was.

The riding is all done prior to LeJoG, and the organising is well advanced, but I'm still far from ready.

Sundays Clockwise Cotswold Outing was a cracking last Audax to prepare, especially the practice for riding into a headwind over the last 25km. It also marked Mrs H's 5th 100km ride of the year, though worryingly we were both more tired than we felt we should have been afterwards.

I have twinging hamstrings and aching knees, but shall remain in denial and convince myself that these are pre-big-ride nerves showing up.

GPS is programmed, twitter feed is up (see right) and drop bags for JoG have been dispatched. Now all I have to do is:

1. Get my kit together
2. Realise it weighs far too much
3. Decide which half to throw out
4. Repeat 1-3
5. End up with the real essentials that can be carried in a Carradice under the saddle.
6. Get to Cornwall

Hopefully, the patience of my wife and father-in-law will not be tested by the drive back from Cornwall, which should coincide with the England-Germany game on Sunday. Here's hoping for a quiet motorway.

Schedule is being worked on now and will be posted shortly.

Why can't Monday be further away?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Tramway 100

Over the past 4 years, this has become one of my favourite rides. I only missed it last year because of doing a 600 that weekend, and recalling the weather, that may not have been the most sensible decision I have ever made.

Mrs H, who has discovered that "100k rides are addictive" was insistent on taking part, and who was I to argue? This would, though, be the most climbing she has ever done, though the time limit was 'relaxed' to only require an overall average of 12.5kmh.

Starting from the Tramway Museum in Crich we found ourselves thrown back about 50+ years, signing-in in the 30's tearoom in the museum itself. Weather was already promising good things, suntan lotion was liberally applied. Given that the organisers never promote the total amount of climbing (2000+ metres) this event is always well attended, so by 9 o'clock we were setting off in a group of 140-some riders. Most of these soon zipped off into the distance, leaving us in the peace and quiet of the Peak District, largely on our own. The first leg via Owler Bar to Hathersage is the least taxing of the ride and we arrived at the control only about 30 minutes down on the rampaging hordes. The view from the Gritstone Edge over Hathersage to Castleton is stunning. One day I may actually stop and get a picture. The drop into Hathersage is an absolute blast, and 40mph was once again threatened by both of us.

But what goes down, must also go up, and after the control there is a long drag up past the gliding club at Abney. I recall 3 years ago that my bolt was well-and-truly shot by this point. Mrs H has far more sense, and was pacing herself. No stopping was done, no feet put down. Through Tideswell and down and up Millersdale we saw only fleeting views of other riders as they passed, keeping to 'our own pace'. 40 was again threatened (and briefly exceeded) on the descent to Glutton Bridge from Brierlow Bar, prior to the climb up towards Longnor through a narrow traffic-lighted section. I suspected that walking might be done here. Once more, I was wrong.

A shortish stop at Hollinsclough refuelled us for the remainder of the ride, and we set off through Longnor for my perennial nemesis Crowdecote. Walking here was inevitable, after all I have attempted this hill 4 times and only succeeded twice. Wrong again. We ground up it, close together, at about 5kmh, but got all the way up non-stop.

The main road was an exercise in 'how close can you overtake the cyclist' but after the Winster turn we cranked up the gears down Via Gellia, covering the 10km in 15 minutes with Linda sucking my wheel all the way, grinning mightily. The usual sting in the tail through Holloway removed most grins (1 in 7 at the end of a 100km audax is a little cruel) but sheer bloody-mindedness meant no getting off now.

In the end, we finished in 6:54, two minutes inside the time that would have been the 15kmh cutoff. Result.

I'm mightily impressed with Mrs H. She rode the whole thing, no getting off at all. She gets her pacing absolutely right, rarely blowing up on the hills, and is an object lesson to me in terms of not going off too fast. We now have another Audax in 2 weeks.

At this rate, I'm going to be getting my legs ripped off by the end of 2012. Best get training and dieting then.

Oh, and its now less than 3 weeks to LeJoG. Coming, ready or not!