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Cycling 2023

Started by Slim, January 02, 2023, 09:13:23 PM

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It was dry today. Well there was no precipitation, but still plenty of evidence of it out on the roads. Lots of mud appeared down some of the lanes too, the newly ploughed field look nice though...

Today I actually decided to do my Garmin recommended bit of training and go for an hour and twenty seven minutes of base level riding. This entailed riding at between 107-155W. I succeeded, after the time was up I was averaging 153W. I still got told off because even though I was in the correct range with my average most of the time was spent either side of the target range. There were too many "hills" in the first bit of the ride so power levels shot up, only to plummet going down the other side. Even the flat 12 miles I found were hard to keep within limits when the road rose upwards and when I was accelerating away from the two roundabouts I kept riding between.

Didn't quite manage two hours or 30 miles out, but hopefully tomorrow looks like being a better day weatherwise so should manage it then. Unless I'm being put on parcel receiving duty again.


Hallelujah! Sunshine! Not too cold! Almost dry roads! Yes, it was time to ignore the Garmin's suggestion of a rest day and get out there!

Wish I'd paid notice to the Garmin, it felt bloody hard work out there today. Maybe it does know something. I was trying to take it easy and indeed was taking it easier than I normally would, but I feel trying to take it easier uphill just makes it feel harder, I need more momentum. Perhaps I should just have bitten the bullet and dropped down to the lowest gear. Not that that would have helped because on cleaning up the drive chain this afternoon I found it wasn't dropping down to the lowest cog anyway.

Did manage to overtake someone going uphill, but he was older and more decrepit than me. Then got well overtaken by someone else, he looked to be my age but fitter. Bastard.

Might get out again tomorrow afternoon if the forecast is right, LOL, then today's 34 miles should let me get over 100 for the week.


And get out I did, albeit not for long. Another rest day was recommended and maybe it would be a good idea, there's very little juice left in the legs when the road goes up. Maybe age is catching up with me, but one uphill segment saw me record my 296/303 best time and that was with a tailwind :(

A ride's a ride though and 18 miles was enough to burn off enough calories to eat six plain chocolate digestive biscuits and what more can you ask for?


Left work early. Wanted to do at least 45, having been robbed of a pretty good cycling day on Friday by illness. Fortunately I seem to have recovered now.

I did a Twycross Bypasser, with a long detour south-west down to Old Grendon and back. The roads were a bit damp but there was no rain apart from a bit of drizzle over the last half hour. Mild out there, which is always welcome in the dark.

Listened to Geddy Lee's My Effin' Life throughout. Some really eye-opening insights.

Back on 46.17 miles. 5766 this year, and if I can do another 545 before January, I'll have equalled my 2020 (all time) record, 6311. So I'll try and do another 130 this month if I can.


Well, I'd have to do 1,850 miles by the end of the year to surpass my best yearly total. I thought with full time retirement  I'd do it easily. What do I know.

Certainly with just 25 miles done this week I doubt I'll reach 5,500 for the year, we'll see. Yesterday was a bit dull and drizzly so I decided to hop on the Turbo. Of course the weather then turned instantly, but I did manage the 97 minutes of base level riding.

Today it kept looking as if it might rain at any minute, but I manned up and went out. Eventually. It kept on looking like rain, but it kept off. I failed on the Tempo riding exercise I attempted though. You need flat roads for that, there aren't many round here. Overall my wattage was on target, but only for 23% of the time.

I did keep riding up and down the same piece of flattish road and saw the same female jogger four times. First couple of times she smiled at me, next couple she gave me a funny look. As Mrs S said she might have thought I was stalking her and it was only a couple of miles from where Gracie Spinks was murdered.

I could kill the twat I came across down a single track lane on the way back. The car in front of me stopped and I could see why, someone on a mountain bike was coming up the other way. In his hand he had a blue stick, attached to the stick were five leads with dogs on the end. Big bloody dogs. Prick.


Another mild, dry afternoon. With the wind coming from the south-west, I decided to do some of the Lower Westbound route. Again, I wanted to do at least 45 miles. Usually I'd be happy with 35 or so on a dark evening after work, but I'm determined now to equal my 2020 distance tally so I need to put a bit of an effort in.

Went out through Packington on the way out. I'd forgotten to bring water with me so I stopped at the petrol station at Measham to get a bottle of Fanta. And just out of sheer indulgence, I brought a sandwich and a flapjack as well. Just as well I did, because on arriving home I noticed my cheese pasty and oat bar still on a kitchen surface! I'd forgotten to pack them.

I took the customary left turn at Kings Bromley, but rather than take the right turn after that, to Rugeley or Abbots, I decided to keep going straight on. Nothing particularly interesting, but it was a nice, well-surfaced flat road and not too busy. I turned homeward a couple of miles after that anyway.

Saw a large owl near Croxall and was buzzed by a bat near Alrewas.

I listened to 5 Live for a bit, then another three hours or so of My Effin' Life, which has proved to be a very absorbing listen.

I was bothered several times by drivers with full beam headlights. Fortunately I was sporting my most punishing, dual-lithium-rechargeable powered head torch and a quick blast of that to the offender's windscreen works wonders.

Back on 49.28. 5815 done this year now, which is more than my previous second-best year (2016).


Just another 25 miles today. Weather looked more promising though, broken cloud and a bit of sun, although there had been a rainbow to the North West for a good twenty minutes before I went out.

Certainly no gold at the end of the rainbow. Tried taking it steadily as a 30 minute recovery ride had been recommended. Suppose it was quite steady, but still more effort than I'd have liked. Probably because the wind was getting up somewhat, then it started raining, not much more than drizzle really but the wind made it feel like little bullets. Still, tomorrow and Saturday are supposed - supposed - to be sunny, cold, but sunny. I'll try taping over the air vents in my shoes.


Certainly got more chilly today, waited for it to "warm" up a bit. It did cloud over so I waited for it to break again. Didn't tape over the air vents in the shoes, but with overshoes my little toes stayed toasty enough. A couple of fingers got a bit chilly, but then I'm wearing the gloves I was wearing when I came off last December and they're a bit thin in parts...

Not overly on it today, but more on it than last Friday even though the wind was much stronger but not as in your face as last week. Fun once up on the tops when I had to put in as much effort to go downhill as I had uphill because of the headwind.

Ended up doing a bit over the 25 miles I'd set out to do as I put in an extra lap on the tops to avoid getting embedded in a group cycle ride. Nice to see the field of maize up on East Moor was finally being harvested, it's been lagging behind the lower fields all year. Not so nice to see the clods of earth coming from the tractor leaving the adjacent field though.


I booked today off work. A sunny, dry day was promised, albeit it was likely to be cold, with a stiff wind from the north. The plan was to set off at about 0930 and do 75 miles or so. A nice big bite out of the remaining distance requirement.

However at 0845 as I lay in bed pondering the day ahead, I received a phone call from work. Would I please take part in a Teams meeting with a customer? Now? Please?

So in the end I didn't pedal away from my garage door until 1055. I decided to make do with the fondo distance. I was tempted to try a route I worked out last night which would take me up north-east of Derby, but in the end I plumped for the easy familiarity of the time-honoured Upper Westbound route.

That all went very well. Very nice out there in the sunshine. I'd wrapped myself up a bit too warm but I stuffed a layer into my backpack. I turned back near Cubley to come back the same way.

I stopped at the petrol station at Hatton for a sausage roll and a Fry's Chocolate Cream. But just as I was about to rejoin the road, I went over the handlebars. I'm not completely sure what happened but I think the front wheel had got caught in a drain grille. The bike and I both smacked the road. I was OK - I banged my right knee but it's very superficial. I also hurt the wedding ring finger of my left hand somehow and it's a bit swollen, unfortunate from a guitar-playing perspective but I think it'll be OK in a few days.

I inspected the bike carefully. The rear mech was bent inward and fouling the spokes. Uh oh. But I bent the rear mech back outward, very gingerly. Clearly it was still out of alignment but it looked rideable. The right hand shifter / brake assembly was also banged out of alignment, but it was working OK. I got back on the bike and rode homeward. Fortunately the gears were still changing fine. But I made a mental note not to downshift too far at the back, in case I fouled the spokes with the rear mech.

All in all I wasn't too unhappy. I could easily realign the shifter and I probably just needed to give the rear hanger a careful bend, perhaps with the mech removed, to get it back to spec.

I made it up Rotter's Rise without shifting onto the bottom gear at the back. Alas - at Newbold, with about four miles to go, my concentration must have slipped. I operated the shifter incautiously and the rear pulleys went right into the spokes, bending the rear hanger quite emphatically and breaking the pulley assembly. All the tension went out of it and the bracket that the pulley wheels connect to was snapped.

I took a quick look by the roadside with the bike upside down but it was clear that I was walking the remaining four miles. I managed to pull the rear mech away from the back wheel again at least. But there was no way the pedals were going to make it spin round.

So I pushed it home from there, wheeling the bike in the road while I clogged along the pavement or the grass verge in cleats. To be fair I did mount the bike and freewheel down some of the descents.

I'm not sure what the extent of the damage is. I'm hopeful that a new alloy hanger can be attached to the frame. It's the Planet X, so it's carbon but as long as the frame itself is OK the hanger can be replaced, I think. And I'll need a new rear mech, assuming the frame isn't a write-off.

Ah well! At least I'm not short of bikes.

58.78 miles, then.


Sorry to hear that James. You can never have too many bikes. I hurt my left hand ring finger last year and it's not right now. Movement is slowing returning to normal, but can't get my wedding ring back over the bottom knuckle. Should have had it checked out, but both Mrs S (a qualified first aider) and my niece )fully qualified Doctor) said there's not a lot you can do with fingers.

Might be worth getting your finger checked out, but then again I wouldn't if the same thing happened again.


Pity about the fall but at least both the bike and more importantly you were both able to get back home. I imagine you were going quite slowly as you were just leaving the garage when it happened.


Had a closer look at the bike this morning and I've taken the rear mech and hanger (pictured below) off.

I was worried I'd deformed the frame or ruined some threads in it but the threads for the hanger are in the hanger itself, and the frame is unscathed. The spokes in the wheel that the mech collided with all seem fine, as well.

The hanger definitely needs replacing. Although it's not obvious from the pic, it's properly bent out of shape. Fortunately I've found one here

£13 including delivery. I don't know what a new mech will cost yet! But at least I'm not going to have to convert the X to a fixie.


And yet another 25 miler. Not as much as I'd like, but it's a ride and I was recommended a rest day, but with the sun shining and not wanting to leave it until it cools off in the afternoon I popped out before lunch, safe in the knowledge I could catch up on the Cyclocross later (How good is Fem van Empel?)

Tried to take it as steadily as I could yet still managed to get in a 500'+ climb in, albeit at an average of under 3% making sure to avoid patches of frozen slush where people had been driving through run off from the fields. I'd forgotten all about the frozen slush you can get at this time of year.

Even saw a few other cyclists on these roads less travelled. Most people seem to like heading out to the Peaks or Sherwood forest rather than the desolate wastelands between Chesterfield and Sheffield.


Very cold night led me to delay the spin this morning 'til 11. Still very cold even though the sun was shining brightly. Was a beautiful morning/early afternoon. 2 pairs of socks and overshoes ensured that my feet didn't become blocks of ice. The same couldn't be said of my hands. They suffered and towards the end even breaking was tough. Thankfully I didn't need to repair a puncture!

Came home on 40kms. The legs were able for more but the hands were adamant in their need to return home. Any recommendations for winter gloves?


Quote from: dom on November 25, 2023, 04:48:04 PMCame home on 40kms. The legs were able for more but the hands were adamant in their need to return home. Any recommendations for winter gloves?

I use these ones - they aren't "cycling gloves" per se, just regular thermal gloves. But no problem operating brakes, shifters, even bike light buttons (usually)  with them on.

Bought mine on a whim at a JD Sports in Chelmsford for about the same price.