Monday, 30 June 2008

June Riding

Proper rides: 117 miles (52 miles and 65 miles)

Total: 300.5 miles (13,360 feet climbed)

Best month ever, and my first to total more than 300!

Total so far for 2008: 1151 miles
* average of 6.3 miles per day - on course for 2315 miles for the year
* 37% more than this time last year

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


I'm attending a talk at Darlington library tomorrow night by Alastair Humphreys - adventurer, author, speaker. Alastair has done lots of cool stuff, like riding round the world by bike and completing the Marathon Des Sables and is soon to attempt to make the first unsupported journey to the South Pole and back (with Ben Saunders). His talks have recieved some excellent feedback and I'm really looking forward to going.

Via Alastair's blog, I rediscovered Dean Karnazes. He runs very long distances and completes challenges like running 50 marothons in fifty states in fiftey days, then running home. Dean's blog and this interview are full of fantastic snippets of wisdom and inspriation.

People like Alastair, Ben and Dean make me want to move my bike riding up a notch. I'm even contemplating running!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Riding update

Last Sunday, while at Hamsterley, I passed 1000 miles for the year. I didn't manage that until the middle of August last year, so I'm about 2 months ahead of the 2007 me.

June is shaping up to be a pretty good month for riding, which is good because Hit The North is in only about 5 weeks! June is already my best month so far, and we're quite not half-way through it yet. It's also shaping up to be the first month ever where I ride more than 300 miles in the month.

I'm on track to average more than 10km per day over the year, which is about 40% more than last year. (I'm averaging 26km a day for this month, which is 16.5 miles.)

I ordered an 18t sprocket for the Inbred last night. I've pretty much decided to ride that at Hit The North. The Solitude would have been perfect, but it's over-geared and would be more expensive to reduce the gearing. Plus, I'm less worried about breaking the Inbred if I do something stupid like ride into a tree while exhausted!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Darlington - Hamsterley Group Ride - Darlington

Rode up to Hamsterley to take part in the group ride come photo shoot with the Trailblazers. It was very sunny and I am now very red and painful.

For those that know the forest: we rode a couple of laps of the Skills Loop, Brainfreeze (new red section), Grove Link, Black Hill climb, bridleway descent. The group then split and Rifty, Jez and I rode up another climb (whose name escapes me, but which is horrible) and then down to Blackling Hole and along the road back to the car park.

I drank 4.5 litres of juice over the day, but was still dehydrated. I didn't eat enough (coco pops for breakfast, a couple of buns when I arrived at the forest, three bananas on the ride and a Magnum before setting off home), so started to fade on the ride home.

I was worried about using the Solitude on a group ride off-road. Riding down the BOAT into the forest made me even more worried and I was pinging off everything and my armes were knackered. However, I dropped the saddle half an inch and let some air out of the tyres before the off-road rides and it was like riding a different bike. I was no slower than I normally am on the downhills and climbed everything I normally do on the Inbred, despite the gearing being higher (34:18 on the 700c Solitude is about the same as 32:15 on the 26" Inbred). My main problem was with a bit of toe overlap, which could be solved with flat pedals instead of the clips and straps. I also have trouble setting up the brakes properly, which is, I think, down to the narrow Mavic MA3 rims.

Distance: 65 miles (24, 17, 24)
Climbing: 4852 feet (1485ft, 2188ft, 1179ft)
Surface: On-road, off-road, on-road
Time: 8 hours (inc. some (lots?) hanging around)
Weather: Very hot and sunny, no wind
Bike: Solitude Singlespeed (34:18, with 2.2″ tyres)

Update: Photos of me!
* Descending the bridleway from Black Hill 1
* Descending the bridleway from Black Hill 2
* Climbing the same bridleway to Black Hill 1
* Climbing the same bridleway to Black Hill 2

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

New route to Hamsterley

The last few times I've ridden to Hamsterley along the A68 have been a bit scary, especially when windy. So here's a map of my new route to Hamsterley, which uses quieter roads. (Mainly so that I can find the map again.)

I'll probably try it out on Sunday, to get to the Trailblazers' group ride.

Update: I've now mapped it on Bikely, so height data will soon be available. Bikely: Darlington to Hamsterley Forest

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

More riding

I did 13 miles getting to/from work today, getting soaked on each of the four rides.

Tonight's Council Cycle Forum meeting was a tour of the bike routes in the town, instead of just talking about them. Eight of us braved the rain, and got very lucky staying dry on the ten mile tour of the town. I also rode to/from the start, which is about another 3 miles.

Total of 26 miles over the day. With yesterday's 19.5 and Sunday's 52, that's a pretty good start to June.

Some time on the ride this evening, I passed last year's total for the end of July, so I'm almost two months ahead of last year's riding. I should pass the 1000 mile mark for the year on Sunday.


This is the 300th mactually post.

That is all.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Commuting advice

If you're riding to work for the first time after a weeks holiday, and you've used your commuting bag and/or bike for other things over your holiday, make sure you remember to repack your bike lock. If you don't, you'll have to ride home again to collect it.

If you also have an evening meeting at the Arts Centre next door to your work, you'll end up doing triple your normal mileage.

(19.5 miles total - enough to finally bring my daily average for the year back up to 6 miles.)

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Darlington Round 50

I've never felt like getting into the shower made me drier. It rained just a little on today's ride.

Took part in the Council-organised Round 50. This is first in a series of four rides, culminating in the Hell O' the North.

Felt ok going round, though the big tyres are very draggy obviously, despite the rain.

I think my Brooks saddle might have given up after getting so wet, so the 'wings' stuck out a bit far, leading to some unfortunate chaffing. I might need to get the drill and a shoe lace out and tie the saddle to tighten things up a bit.

Distance: 52 miles (84 km)
Climbing: 1280 feet
Surface: On-road
Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
Weather: Very, very, very, very wet
Bike: Solitude Singlespeed (34:18, with 2.2″ tyres)