The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Coast to Coast

I'm feeling a little tired today!

I cycled the C2C yesterday with a couple of mates -

We set off from St Bees, a small seaside village just 6 miles SW of Whitehaven in Cumbria on the West coast & cycled the 140miles across to Seaham a seaside town in County Durham 5 miles south of Sunderland on the East coast.

We'd planned the trip a couple of months ago & where lucky enough to have great weather with a light W/SW wind behind us all the way.

John Richardson, myself in the middle & Phil Whitehurst on the right at the start of the C2C

Myself, Graham Theobald & Phil at the start of the C2C in St Bees

We got away a little late & it wasn't until 8.45am that we left St Bees behind us & headed into the Northern Lakes towards, Ennerdale Bridge, Loweswater, Lorton & over Whinlatter to Keswick.

We kept moving on through to Penrith, Langwathby, Melmerby & then up the steep climb to the top of Hartside where we had our first break & time for some proper food. Unfortunately Phil left us here & headed back down the hill to Penrith. He was fighting a cold & did well to get that far. 

Time was passing fast so we picked up the pace down towards Alston & Garrigill, then up one of the many 1in20 climbs up to Nentheads and East to Stanhope.

The road was surprisingly steep in places & never flat or downhill for very long before it climbed up again. Even from Lanchester further East the road still had some steep descents & steeper climbs with the coast never in sight until the final mile down into Seaham.

The sun had long gone & any light was fading fast as we cycled the last mile or two down to the seafront at Seaham. We were glad to have lights but even happier to see the North Sea!

Myself & John at the finish of the C2C in Seaham

Graham, myself & John at the finish of the C2C

We arrived at 6pm after leaving St Bees 9 1/4 hours earlier - we stopped at the top of Hartside for 30 minutes & god knows how many times for Graham to relieve himself!! 

We had a great day out, if not a little tired today & already planning the next cycle!

Happy cycling!


Friday, 21 October 2011

Supercross video

Came across this Wiggle promotional video, showing last weekend's Rapha Supercross Event at Brockhole in Windermere. It gives you a good feel for the event & what cyclocross is all about.
Very different from the 3 Peaks which is one off, but more typical of other cyclocross events around the country.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Climbing, biking & I need a 2nd bike

Well it’s been super busy over the past couple of weeks since the 3 Peaks Race.
A work trip down to North Wales with plenty of cycling & climbing here in the Lakes. I don’t think I’ve missed a day when I haven’t been out on the bike, running or out in the Lakes climbing which has been great.
Out climbing in Langdale & Borrowdale last week & was surprised how grimey the crags were this early in the year. We’ve had constant wet weather, the ground at the moment is just sodden & the crags haven’t had much of a chance to dry out with streaks of wet all over them. Great news if it goes cold, but not too inspiring at the moment.
Off road at the moment is just wet & really muddy, I’ve been doing more washing this past couple of weeks than I have done all year! Although I have been getting out a lot training, as I had another Cyclocross event at the weekend, I’m cycling the Coast to Coast next week & then climbing in Kalymnos the week after!
A cycling mud fest sums up the going on the ground at the weekend, but the Cyclocross event itself was fantastic, well run & again a great location on the shores of Lake Windermere.
The start of the Rapha Cyclocross Race at Brockhole, Windermere. 2011

The sun shone on the event as it did last year, but as you may remember from last year we had minus temperatures & 6 inches of snow on the ground!

Last year's Cyclocross race at Brockhole, Windermere

Not so on Saturday, warm & sunny, perfect weather for biking but instead of deep snow to contend with we had treacle like mud!.
This year the event took on another level, as Rapha sponsored the event bringing with it more focus & attracting Elite semi-professional sponsored rides for a head to head on the same course later that same afternoon.
Nick Craig the winner of the 2011 '3 Peaks Race' designed & set the course which was tight, technical & very demanding in the mud.
It was a great, very exciting event with around 150 riders scrambling for the first tight narrow bend with a clashing of handle bars, off’s, elbows & crashes. The mud got worse & the off’s more frequent with the ground getting more and more cut up. At places in the course it was only one rider wide but you still somehow managed to push your way through. The wet tree roots & tree stumps were some of the worst offenders for instantly putting you off course either into another rider or just face down in the mud!

Me working hard, carrying up a steep muddy bank from the shores of Lake Windermere

But what I hadn’t thought through was the problems the mud would give you apart from the obvious. My wheels were constantly clogging up to the point where the wheels wouldn’t turn around. Even getting off & pushing was no use as the wheels just wouldn’t turn. I had to keep stopping or just had to carry the bike while I pulled great clumps of a mud bound together with thick grass, out from in-between my tyres & forks to release the wheels again. The problem got worse as the course became more & more cut up with 150 riders thrashing round it. I had to stop more & more frequently and even then the resistance when I was pedalling was never less than hard work.
The noise from the tyres rubbing on the thick mud in-between the forks became more & more annoying especially when you were overtaken by another rider on a totally clean bike! It only then occurred to me that over half the field were getting clean bikes every lap of the course. Their mates or partners would have a second bike ready for them, the rider would swap bikes & then they'd clean down the muddy bike for another pit stop on the next lap!
I'd missed a trick & felt on the back foot because of it. Not that it mattered (much) we had a fantastic day & some great weather but Sal, I need 2 bikes!  
Barnoldswichk Cyclocross this weekend & the C2C next week, fingers crossed for some more of those sunny days.