Apr 11
Categories: cycle Tags:

Cornwall Tor 2011

Yesterday I did the short (77 km) route of the Cornwall Tor. It was unseasonably warm and excessively hilly so I suppose I’m glad I didn’t do one of the longer routes, particularly this early in the season.

The winter training must have done some good because I finished 8th. Out of the 205 finishers, only 8 of us managed a silver qualifying time, and no one got a gold time! It was a tough route. Kevin left me behind at the first big climb and finished 3rd. This despite my attempts to sabotage his bike by throwing it on the tarmac and the start. I should have given the mech a kick too, but apparently it gave him jip all the way round any way.

Pos Bib Competitor Team Finish To Feed1 To Finish
1 4352 Matthew Mcarthur Plymouth 02:36:19 01:22:02 01:14:17
2 4954 Hugh Perry “Millbrook, Nr; Torpoint” 02:46:48 01:23:31 01:23:17
3 4524 Kevin Weymouth Motorola 02:48:22 01:27:00 01:21:22
4 4711 Simon Grose Tri logic 02:50:08 01:29:01 01:21:07
5 5245 Dave Shinner 02:51:33 01:31:48 01:19:45
6 4666 Simon Rooke yogi cycling 02:54:08 01:30:38 01:23:30
7 5117 Nicholas French St Austell Triathletes 02:56:22 01:29:55 01:26:27
8 5242 Steve James Motorola 02:59:51 01:32:34 01:27:17

That's me, streaking past at 5km/h on the outside

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Jun 27
Categories: cycle Tags:

It was cycling enthusiasm that propelled me (or rather slowly shuffled me) into the Blogosphere, and it’s for that reason again that I’ve finally resuscitate my blog after ISP hosting problems left it in the doldrums.

That's the bridge where I banged me `ed last year, just next to that guy's hemet is the very spot.

Now I can enthuse¬† once again about doing the 100km Dartmoor Classic Cyclosportive, 2010. The weather today was much warmer than last year and the winds were light. As long as it’s not gusty, I’m content. There was more traffic getting in my way this year, but fewer sheep. I managed a time of 4:07 which is an acceptable improvement over last year’s 4:18. Another gold medal. Yay. I’m glad I didn’t register for the 100miles: too hot today.

My thanks to the enthusiastic spectators who clapped and cheered (or was it jeered) as we struggled up the Dartmoor hills in the heat. The onlookers were dotted along the whole route, but Princetown deserves special mention for turning out a surprisingly big crowd. I’m not used to be cheered at as I go past (jeering yes, of course).

This year the team at the office collected sponsorship to donate to ?Ronald Macdonald House, Bristol. Special mention to Andy for organising this and chivvying us all along. It’s not too late to contribute at http://www.justgiving.com/Motorola-Dartmoor-Classic-2010-RMHC.

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Jun 28
Categories: cycle Tags: ,

Just got back from the Dartmoor Classic 100km cyclosportive event. I got a time of 4:17 which is good enough for a gold medal, so that’s alright then. Looks like all that commuting over the hills definitely paid off. Feel a bit tired now, but getting up at 6am can’t help.

The event is now one of the largest of its kind in the UK. It’s very well organised and staffed. I had feared a long wait for registration but they were entirely on top of things.There were marshals at almost every junction round the route, controlling the traffic with enormous red flags and pointing us cyclists in the right direction. Well done to all of them.

The weather was just about ideal: overcast and cool with a refreshing shower near the end. I gather that last year it was a stifling 30 degrees!

1 Comment
May 06
Categories: cycle, funny, stupid Tags: , ,

It was dry when I set off on my commute #4 from Ashburton to Hexworthy. By the time I had accelerated down the slope (behind those trees) to the tight bend at the East end of Venford Reservoir, it was drizzling and the road was greasy. By the time I’d careened round the bend onto the bridge across the reservoir, there was a car in just the right place for the wrong outcome. There was no road left to maneuver in, no time to do it and no grip to do it with. I had no choice but to leap from my bike and stop the car using just my forehead before it had a chance to run over my precious bike. Actually to save any damage to my helmet, it was more of a face-but than a head-but. It stopped the car, but I lost points for style.

I think that was when I said: “Ow!” and other simple terms of exclamation. I promptly re-assumed an upright posture and proceeded to a) apologise for hitting her car with my face and b) insist that I was perfectly capable of going on my merry way despite the new hole in my forehead, the blood dripping from my eyebrow and the jaunty angle at which my right shifter now hung from the drops which no longer pointed quite the same way as the forks.

Fortunately the motorist whose evening I was doing a good job of ruining was far too together to listen to my blathering. So while I inspected the front of her car and ran through my denial checklist again, she bundled the bike and then me into said car and off we went to find a professional who knows what to do about an unexpected hole in the head.

Cutting a long A&E story short, I ended up with two layers of deep sutures followed by seven ‘ordinary’ stitches ontop. Oh and a bit of glue aswell. That’ll teach me to slow down on the bends, hopefully.

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Apr 06
Categories: cycle Tags: , ,

A colleage has just introduced me to this terrific site: bikeroutetoaster.com. It’s a free application using Google maps with which you can very quickly draw up a cycle route. The auto-routing is geared toward finding a good route, based on maximising speed or minimising distance and optionally avoiding main roads. The summary view shows a nice elevation chart along with total distance, total climb etc and an estimated trip time. If you have a Garmin gadget then you can download the route data for it. Finally the cue sheet page gives you turn-by-turn instructions.

This is just what I’ve been after. Now I might be able to estimate how many miles I’ve ridden since New Bike.

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Aug 10
Categories: cycle, funny Tags:

Caution: Waves

Yesterday, having resigned myself to the fact that the front shifter on my shiny new bike is not nearly as shiny as the rest of it, I decided to go for a quick burn round any way. It was raining really hard which for me has some sort of perverse appeal — but only when it’s not cold — so these cloudburst style afternoons we’ve been having recently (all summer?) are just the ticket.

Without the use of the top chain ring, I reasoned a proper hilly route was in order so I decided to set off on the climb up to Harford. There’s the odd, brief decent on the way up and I realised it was just as well I couldn’t get into top gear, on account of already not being able to see very well in the pouring rain. Any faster and I really wouldn’t be able to see what I was crashing into.

So I’m having a nice time playing with the higher ratios, feeling the benefit of the lighter frame, liking the responsiveness of the 105 derailleur (the back one of course), noticing that the brakes cope better that I expected in the wet conditions, enjoying the view, all lovely. No, not the view actually. Three hundred yards of visibility isn’t a view.

Having reached the ‘summit’ I carried on in the direction of Cornwood below, brakes at the ready. This is when things got interesting. You see, all the fields above the lane are already saturated with days of rain and now they’ve just had who knows how many thousand gallons of extra rain tipped on them. The only place left for all this water to go was down the little lane that I’m pootling along. At first it was amusing, weaving between the little rivulets. But as I descended, more and more rainwater flooded the lane.

My little burn round the lanes became interesting. The gullies at the sides are bursting, the rivulets are ganging together in a concerted effort to form a stream, it’s still pouring and there’s no way left for me to go but down. I can’t actually see the tarmac any more, since there’s about an inch of rainwater flowing down it. There is a surreal effect as the whole lane ripples and ebbs, as if the tarmac has suddenly melted and is flowing away. If I stare down at the front wheel, it’s kind of dizzying. Don’t do that then.

This was becoming the kind of interesting that you don’t need. It’s getting steeper and it’s getting deeper, and my hands ache from the braking. I pass a sign: “Road works starting here for three weeks due to flood damage”. No kidding. Now I’m worried about disappearing into a hidden crevasse. My new bike might be hurt! It’s here that I encounter my first bit of traffic climbing up the hill. It’s a digger on caterpillar tracks. I feel somewhat outclassed in the using-the-appropriate-vehicle-for-the-conditions category. My mountain bike with its tractor tyres would be oh so much more appropriate right now but I’d left it at work, and besides, it’s not shiny new.

There are small waves in this river I’m cycling down now. I can see pebbles washing along in the water. Judging by how much of the front rim I cant see, I make it just over three inches deep now. This isn’t the kind of surfing I’m accustomed to.

Ah, I reach the bottom of the hill and the humpback bridge, under which a raging torrent runs, bolstered by the lane I’ve come down. Back on dry land at last, phew. Well, not actually dry of course, but it’s not moving past me any more. This counts as dry by recent experience. There’s a car here with a couple in it, looking thoughtfully up the hill, and with amusement at the plonker coming down it. I stop to give them the benefit of my recent experience. He winds down the window and I notice him glance down to where the water is gushing over my shoe and around my ankle. He doesn’t comment. I adopt the manic smile of the soggy and relieved, and advise him that the way is passable. He’s got four wheels after all.

I look back as I cycle on to Cornwood. They’re still peering up the hill. They didn’t believe me. Fair enough, I wouldn’t if I was me. I got a laugh from the sign by the road in Cornwood. I looked back to read: “Caution. Uneven Surface”. Funny.

Aug 09
Categories: cycle Tags:

So the new bike experience has propelled me into the blogosphere, in which I will enthuse accordingly. Since this blog comes about somewhat after the fact of choosing, purchasing and receiving said bike, a little history first…

BNB (Before New Bike)

When I was at school I cycled a lot, especially in the summer holidays. At uni I cycled lots too. It was then that I built a road bike from a new cro-moly frame; Shimano 105 chain-set; decent Mavic rims; and from parts cannibalised from the bike’s predecessor. I was actually fit then. I could do crazy things like cycle from Bangor to the base of Snowdon, jog to the top, eat a banana, jog back down again and cycle back to Bangor all in good time for lunch. Then I got work, got car, got fat, etc. Got a mountain bike (Haro Escape A1) and played with that on and off for years.

For the past couple of seasons, I’ve got back into riding the old road bike — yes the same old bike. But I really wanted to replace it with a shiny new one that would weigh considerably less and go as fast as possible. With the birthday coming up, I awarded myself a New Bike present. (It’s socks and jumpers for years, then I splash out). It wouldn’t be hard to end up with something lighter than the old steel frame by choosing an alloy model; I decided that a carbon frame was a technology too far for me (late adopter remember) never mind the impressive cost. So I searched for a road racer with an alloy frame, carbon forks and as good a group-set as I could justify.

Giant SCR 1 2008.5

I chose the Giant SCR 1 2008.5. During my Googlings, I found the blog eep! where a similar story of bike joy has recently played out. There’s a mini review of the SCR 1 there. Truth be told, I was suffering from bike and blog envy, so here I am correcting the balance.

ANB (After New Bike)

Ash Cycles has a particularly good offer for the SCR 1 so I ordered quick before they ran out. It turned up promptly and I promptly fitted the wheels, adjusted the seat and set off for a quick blast. Then the front gear shifter promptly broke. My nice new bike experience went crash.
After discussing it with Ash today, we concluded that ‘broke’ was about as good a diagnosis as we could manage. He’s ordering a replacement lever for me so I hope that by, say, Thursday I’ll be sorted. Apologies to the wife for sulking miserably yesterday.