Monday, 23 November 2009

c25k - week one run one v2

Second attempt at starting the C25K running programme. Made the mistake of taking the dog, so runs got slower and slower as I dragged the dog round; she can stay at home next time.

* walk 10 mins
* 8x run 1 min, walk 1.5 min

Too many layers and too warm.

Distance: 4.35 km
Time: 35 minutes
Surface: concrete/tarmac
Weather: Warm and dry
Trainers: Inov-8 Mudroc 290
Clothing: skanky Tracksters, long sleeve merino baselayer, merino jumper, waterproof jacket

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Fixing Darlington

First ride on a fixed in ages, so just a play around the town, with little bits of easy off-road. Beech Woods was good for getting used to fixed off-road, getting used to clipping pedals or skipping off unexpected rocks.

Anyone else eat waffles by a ferris wheel on a bike ride today?

Good fun, and even found a waffle stand in the town centre!

Distance: 23.5km (map)
Time: 2 hours
Surface: On- and off-road
Weather: Chilly and damp
Bike: Fixed Solitude monstercross (34:16, with 1.6" tyres)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Darlington - Hamsterley Group Ride - Darlington

Road out to Hamsterley again for another Trailblazers group ride.

Usual ride there and back.

The group ride was ace. Lots of new faces, including "Twitter friend" menage-a-moi, and probably the biggest group ride turnout of the year. In October!

The route was really good. Big climb up to Doctor's Gate; the descent off Doctor's Gate is now brilliantly rocky after all the summer rain. Then rode dangerous Descent followed by some nice twiddly stuff in the back end of the forest before heading for the 'new' Section 13.

Did a cheeky descent that runs parallel to the black after that. Just a narrow ribbon carved into the pine needles on a steep descent, with the odd bit of woodwork over a fallen tree or two. A really good little trail, that I think I might like even more than I like Golden Owl. I think my new garden will be getting some bits of woodwork at the bottom to practice on.

Moving house soon, so this could be the last big ride of the year. But maybe not.

Distance: 67miles (39km, 27km, 42km)
Time: 9 hours (2.25hrs, 3.5hrs, 2hrs (plus cafe and group ride faffage))
Surface: On-road, off-road, on-road
Weather: Warm
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2″ tyres)

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

*insert purple joke/phrase here*

Brant (Shedfire) mentioned a study that had shown drinking beetroot juice improved endurance in cyclists, so I drank Beet It beetroot juice before the Kielder 100 race. I survived - was it down to the beetroot juice?

Brant sent and email and made some phone calls...

" Shedfire are delighted to report that Ragley/Shedfire rider Mike McTimoney will be co-sponsored by Beet-It Beetroot Juice for the 2010 season" -

c25k - week one run one

I've been meaning to start running for a while and agreeing to enter an adventure race in March that will require me to run 10km, before riding a MTB for 25km and paddling a kayak 1.5km seemed like a good reason to get my act together and start.

I'm following the Couch to 5k (C25K) programme, which starts very easily and slowly builds up to 5km, or 30 minutes, of running over 8 weeks. I'm hardly in "couch" condition, but my legs are not used to impacts and it's going to take a while for them to catch up with my lungs, so this seemed like a nice, structured way to get them used to the idea of repeatedly hitting the ground hard.

Yesterday was week one, day one. A five minute brisk walk, followed by 20 minutes of running for 60 seconds and then walking for 90 seconds, followed by walking home. I walked down to the field by the river near our house, so that I could run on grass rather than tarmac, then set off. My watch beeped at me to tell me when to start and stop running and I used my phone to GPS record the route and speed. The run record is on my Sportstracker profile.

I made an effort to run properly (both feet in the air at once, none of this bouncing up and down jogging nonsense) during the running phases. Hopefully, I'll keep the speed as I increase the running time and decrease the walking time.

Felt fine the whole time. Legs started to feel a little tired in the last half of the last few run sections, but didn't get out of breath. This morning, I can tell that I ran yesterday, but my legs feel fine - a massive improvement on the last time I tried running 9 years ago. (9 years !)

Same again on Thursday and Saturday, then days with 20 minutes of running for 90 seconds and then walking for 60 seconds next week.

Distance: 3km
Time: 20 minutes
Surface: Grass
Weather: Warm and dry
Trainers: Inov-8 Mudroc 290
Clothing: board shorts and long sleeve merino baselayer

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Take off your clothes and come to the other side – Shedfire announce new development rider

After much discussion and cogitating, Shedfire have finalised discussions with our new rider who'll be working with us on product development on Shedfire products for the next year.

Mike McTimoney (miketually/mactually) has consistently impressed us with his attitude and dedication to the sport, and we’ll be working with him over the next year to develop cool products. We've just fired up the CAD machine to start work on Mike’s new bike – a rigid steel singlespeed 29er, which will feature our new “Fathead� tubeset.

Mike came to our attention after his DFL (Dead F*cking Last) finish at the Kielder 100 event, which, for us, sums up the grit and determination that mountainbiking is about.

Shedfire MD Brant Richards said "Mike's just an inspiration to lots of riders out there, and his inspiring ride at Kielder, when over 60% of the field quit, which just blew us away. We’re looking forward to working on lots of projects with him, though the new downhill bike we’re doing probably isn’t one of them."

I'm still in shock!

Kielder 100

Kielder 100 race at Kielder Forest.

Felt really good at the start, climbing well and yoyoing back and forward with martinh, catching him on the climbs but then losing him on the descents (he had bigger wheels, boingy forks and a slightly bigger gear). At the first food stop, we were averaging 9mph according to Martin's computer, which meant we were up on the 8mph needed to avoid the cut-offs.

Round about mile 30 I stopped being able to ride harder. As soon as I went anaerobic, there was no power and I was off and pushing on the steeper climbs. Strangely, as soon as the gradient dropped enough to ride again I was climbing faster than everyone else around me, but I just couldn't access any power. Very strange and not had that happen before. When this happened, I couldn't catch Martin and rode alone for a while, albeit with the same riders passing me and then being repassed.

Just after a water station (mile 42?), I was caught by Kate, who was also riding a singlespeed, and we rode together over the border into Scotland, past the piper on the border. Kate paid the piper for me, as I had no change. Thanks Kate!

Some time before the hot food station at Newcastleton, I bonked and could barely keep the pedals over. I really struggled with the easy blue grade singletrack and had to stop to eat a load of jelly sweets and Tunnocks before continuing on the last mile or so to the hot food station at 65 mile.

Vicky from Hamsterley Trailblazers was at the feed station, waiting for her son James, who'd given me a lift up and who I'd thought was ahead of me; unfortunately, he'd come off after 40 miles or so and bent his brake lever so had dropped out of the race. At the feed station, I had the most welcome lentil soup I've ever had and hung around inside the visitor centre that had been turned into a cafe for the race. if there had been chairs to sit in, I'm not convinced I'd have set off again. Chatting to Paul, it sounds like Martin had left there not long before I arrived.

About to leave the food stop at Newcastleton after 65 miles

I left at just after 3 o'clock, well ahead of the 4:30 time cut off, and set off into the really fun red grade singletrack at Newcastleton feeling much better.

Leaving the food stop at Newcastleton after 65 miles

That didn't last long.

The ride from there to the final food stop at 88 miles is a bit of a blur of pushing, riding, pushing, riding and being convinced that the mile markers must be wrong because there was no way 10 miles too that long!

I arrived at the 88 mile feed station just before 5 o'clock, and only then found out that there was a third time cut-off at 5:30. Close!

Leaving the last food stop at 5:15, I was reassured having been told that the last 12 miles were down hill or flat. they were not. The final 25 miles (the route was 103 miles, not 100) were a death march. Climbs that went on forever and ever and ever, and still not being able to put any power down on anything remotely steep and far more climbing than I thought possible.

Eventually, I reached the final downhill, with my brakes barely working and the light going. Several people passed me on the final few descents and I had to keep my speed down or I'd never stop. The final couple of singletrack descents were done with the motorbike tail-end-charlies riding behind us with their headlights on. Interesting.

I was offered a lift down to the finish line at the start of the very last singletrack, because it was pitch black under the trees, but I said I'd walk down if needed and rode down to the finish, where there was a warm welcome from the marshals. I was the last finisher in, in a little over 14 hours.

This is what I looked like after 100 miles

I headed back to the castle, following the woman who finished just ahead of me (we only got lost once). I'd missed the prize-giving, but found out there was a prize for being last and was handed a USE Exposure Joystick light!

At the prizegiving

The race was brilliantly organised, the marshals were all friendly and encouraging (not easy in a forest full of midges), the course was great (even, looking back, the bits I was cursing at the time).

A big thank you from me to the organisers, marshals, people I rode with and to James for the lift.

Easily the best and hardest thing I've done on a bike and I'll be back again next year!

(Thanks to Vicky and James for the photos.)

Distance: 103 miles
Time: 14 hours
Surface: Off-road
Weather: Warmish, no rain but very wet ground.
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2″ tyres)

Monday, 17 August 2009

A weekend at Dales Bike Centre

Had a weekend at Dales Bike Centre in Swaledale. A great place to stay, or stop off for a coffee, between Grinton and Reeth. Highly recommended.

Friday: rode up to Swaledale on the road, via Scotch Corner, Richmond and Marske.

Distance: 26 miles (map)
Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Surface: On-road
Weather: Warm with showers
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2″ tyres)

Saturday: off-road ride round Swaledale in strong winds and rain. Got blown to a standstill on the tops a few times, and got a little lost on the top of Gunnerside, which meant some creative carrying down the fairly steep valley side. Had planned on a slightly longer loop, and following it up with a road loop, but the slow going and carrying put paid to that.

Distance: 28 miles (map)
Time: 5 hours
Surface: Off-road
Weather: Wet and very windy, but fairly warm
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2″ tyres)

Sunday: rode home via Hurst and Newsham on mainly road with some off-road. This route will be my new way to/from Swaledale from now on. Really quick coming home (Newsham to Darlington town centre in exactly one hour!) GPS lost satellite after a few km, so no map or GPS data.

Distance: 28 miles
Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Surface: On-road (with one short off-road section)
Weather: Windy, but fairly warm
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2″ tyres)

Monday, 10 August 2009

Darlington - Hamsterley Group Ride - Darlington

Rode out to Hamsterley to "lead" this month's club ride.

Felt a bit grotty before setting off, but managed D'Ton centre to Woodland in 1:20, which is ten minutes faster than usual - probably helped by riding alongside and chatting to a roadie on the road into Ingleton. Use Section 13 and some fireroad to get to the Bedburn end of the forest rather than riding along the forest drive which was much more fun.

There was only six in the main group this month (lots of holidays). We used the Skills Loop climb and some fireroad and new-to-me linky bits to get to the DH car park, then rode the still brilliant Section 13, Special K and Brain Freeze combo, then climbed up to ride Golden Owl, which is still one of my favourite bits of the forest. I'd originally planned to then follow the black to the Grove and to finish with Section 13, Special K and Brain Freeze again, but it was getting on a bit and almost everyone was either bleeding or knackered, so we headed back to the visitor centre for tea and cake.

The ride back was uneventful. I'm always amazed at how quickly I get back to Ingleton, and then how long it takes to get back to Darlington from there. Low-geared SS MTBs are not really built for long, slightly descending road riding, so the last bit always feels like a bit of a chore.

Felt fine all day, and no aches or pains today, apart from the big scratch on my arm.

Distance: 60 miles (39km, 19km, 39km)
Time: 9 hours door-to-door but lots of waiting too (2+3+2 =7 hours riding)
Surface: On-road, off-road, on-road
Weather: Hot and sunny
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2″ tyres)

Sunday, 2 August 2009

monthly total roundup

January: 120 miles
February: 90 miles
March: 132 miles
April: 87 miles
May: 153 miles
June: 238 miles
July: 216 miles

Finally got around to adding up my ride totals for this year. Rubbish first few months because of illness and then Too Much Work, but perking up a bit. I caught my 2007 self at the end of June and am now hunting down last year me - 229 miles behind.

ride graph

Still rubbish and still not enough though.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Teesdale/Weardale loop

Inbred set up for long road ride

Took the Inbred on the road up Weardale and then over the top to Teesdale and home again. Pretty slow average speed, but it's hard to go much faster on 32:17 and plased that I kept the 20kmh speed on the flatter bits both there and back. Biggest ride of the year so far and felt much better than previous century (or close to) rides, with very few aches the following day too.

The road over from Westgate to Newbiggin is brilliant:

Road between Westgate and Newbiggin

Good practice for the Kielder 100 in September.

Distance: 92 miles (map)
Time: 9 hours
Surface: On-road
Weather: Mostly warm and dry
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2″ tyres)

Sunday, 12 July 2009

HTB/STW group ride at Hamsterley

'Led' the HTB group ride at Hamsterley, on which a few STW people also came along.

Felt really strange to ride at Hamsterley without riding up there (it's cheating really) and took a climb or two to get warmed up, not helped by running on just the dregs of my inhalor.

Distance: 16 miles (map)
Time: 4 hours
Surface: Off-road
Weather: Mainly dry and warm, but wet under tyre
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2″ tyres)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Darlington Cycle Routes Tour

Went on the Council tour of Darlington cycle routes.

Distance: 18 miles (map)
Time: 2.25 hours
Surface: On-road
Weather: Dry
Bike: Yuba Mundo

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Darlington - Hamsterley Black - Darlington

Rode up to Hamsterley and did the black route, with a few other bits too.

Met Matt and Gary at the bottom of Root 666, and rode with them to the Grover, taking in the line of a new trail that's going to be put in.

Then rode on my own up the the almost-finished Section 13, which runs from the 4X car park. What a great trail! Really swoopy, with rock drops every so often. There's a massive bowl which the trail runs round on a big berm, and a brilliant gully part toward the bottom.

The continuation of the black from there has also had a lot of work done, and is also brill.

Felt really good on the ride, which is good as I seem to be thinking of entering a 100 mile MTB race...

I used my new phone to track the route on GPS, but it crashed part way round. I'll upload the routes and try to figure out the actual distance soon.

Distance: 60 miles (ish)
Time: 7 hours
Surface: On and Off-road
Weather: Wet, but dry under tyre
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2″ tyres)

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Darlington XC ride 4

Second local evening xc ride with a bunch from the HTB forum.

Distance: 17 miles
Time: 90 minutes
Surface: On and Off-road
Weather: Wet, but dry under tyre
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2" tyres)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Darlington XC ride 3

Third local evening xc ride with a bunch from the HTB forum. The Yuba Mundo is surprisingly good off-road!

Distance: 17 miles
Time: 90 minutes
Surface: On and Off-road
Weather: Wet, but dry under tyre
Bike: Yuba Mundo

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Darlington XC ride 2

Second local evening xc ride with a bunch from the HTB forum.

Distance: 17 miles
Time: 90 minutes
Surface: On and Off-road
Weather: Wet, but dry under tyre
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2" tyres)

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Darlington XC ride 1

First local evening xc ride with a bunch from the HTB forum.

Distance: 16 miles
Time: 90 minutes
Surface: On and Off-road
Weather: Dry, but wet under tyre
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2" tyres)

Sunday, 7 June 2009

SSUK09 - Dalby

Tried riding to Dalby on a fully loaded cargo bike. Gave up. 30 miles all in.

Got a lift to Dalby the next day and did one lap of the course on the Sunday.

Distance: 40 miles over the weekend
Climbing: ? feet
Surface: On and Off-road
Weather: wet then dry
Bike: Yuba Mundo andInbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2" tyres) at Dalby

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Darlington - Hamsterley Black - Darlington

Rode up to Hamsterley, did a loop of the Black Route and then rode home again. Felt surprisingly good, considering I'd barely ridden for 8 months.

Distance: 57 miles
Climbing: ?
Surface: On- and off-road
Time: ? hours
Weather: warm and dry!
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2" tyres)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Hamsterley with bro

Hamsterley with my brother and his girlfriend. Couple of laps of the Skills Loop, Special K, Grove Link, climb to Black Hill, Dangerous Descent, climb to DH hut, end of Black loop.

Distance: ?
Climbing: ?
Surface: Off-road
Time: ? hours
Weather: warm and dry!
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (32:17, with 2.2" tyres)

Friday, 23 January 2009

Brief update

Not coughing any more but not riding bikes (apart from commuting) until February to make sure I've fully recovered.

Growing a beard.

Friday, 2 January 2009

2008 Riding Round-up

January got off to a good start, with 202 miles on the clock it was further than I'd ridden in all but one month of 2007, courtesy of a metric century ride and a slightly longer commuting route.

February saw another decent mileage for the month, with the longer commute continuing and an aborted attempt at the Hamsterley Hill Rush.

March was a commuting-only month.

InApril I rode a bit of a local Sustrans route, but being away for Easter knocked the distance down a bit.

In May I found some local bluebell-lined singletrack.

June saw me getting in a 50 mile road ride and a group ride at Hamsterley, plus some extra trips about town on the bike, netting me my first ever 300 mile month. By the end of June, I'd ridden about 37% further than the same time in 2007, but that was the high-point of the year, and it tailed off a bit from there.

July was by first proper MTB race at Hit the North, though I didn't do nearly as well as I'd have liked (I was crap, rather than just bad).

August: Darlington - Swaledale - Bowes - Barnard Castle - Darlington

In September I used car to get to the and from a ride for the only time in the year, riding High Street in the Lakes with HTB. I missed out on my 'usual' road century and the Great Milk Stout Ride this ear, because they were reorganised and so fell on the same day, which also clashed with a friends' kid's christening.

After riding in the Lakes, I seem to have given up riding bikes for anything other than getting about, which is a bit depressing. I also seem to have given up blogging for the last part of the year, so I don't even really now why. Illness over Christmas has also stopped me from hitting the 2000 mile mark for the year, getting a total of 1953.5 miles for the year, which is only 15% more than 2007 (5.3 miles per day average, compared to 4.6 for 2007).

Most depressingly, I only did eight proper rides in 2008! That's officially crap, especially when doing more proper rides was a target for the year after only doing 14 rides in each of the previous two years. 36 rides in three years!?!

Update after some more number-crunching: My eight proper rides totalled 376 miles, which is about half of what I did in both 2006 and 2007. That averages to 47 miles per ride, which is about the same as each of the last two years. I did just over 1500 miles for 'utility' purposes, which is 50% more than each of the last two years.