Thursday, 28 October 2010

What's happening out there?

After the cold, icy conditions of the start of the week this morning had me wondering what's happening out there?

Monday morning was zero degrees, yesterday and this morning was back into double can that be. Seems like a change in the wind direction is the cause, with it blowing warm air in from the SW rather than the cold Arctic air from the our friends in the North.

This means that the commute into work is now into the wind, so I am looking forward to some assistance on the way home. It's still quite dull and I doubt if it has warmed up much from the morning so I won't need to shed any layers for the return trip, and with the intention to do a couple of shortish race intensity intervals will mean I'll be plenty warm enough anyway.

I'm still trying to keep focus for this weekends 'cross race which will be the last before a two week break, and hoping I can hold form to get another top 10 placing. So far the racing has gone really well, improving each race and picking up 2 top 10 placing in my Vet40-49 age category.

Fingers crossed then ;D

Monday, 25 October 2010

Dark, cold, icy

This morning was well dark, with requirement of the Hope One to be on beam 2 for the early portion of my commute - it really does light up unlit roads enough to ride at 18mph even at half power!

Even though it was dark and temperatures were only just above freezing I still chose the long route into work. Some 25 miles down dark and frosty country roads. Many would wonder why but when the shortest commute is about 12 miles and 40mins then that extra doesn't really take that much more out of you. Also, at the moment I've been racing every Sunday so I need to keep my endurance up and the only way is to put in some longer rides so my 3 morning commutes a week need to be a good length. This means that whilst many are not looking forward to the clocks going back at the weekend, my view is that at least my long morning commutes will be a bit brighter even tho the return rides will be in the dark.

The frost and ice became worse as I got closer to work for some reason. Plenty of crackling ice beneath the rubber and a couple of times the back wheel moved more than expected meant that the last couple of miles were taken with a lot more care than usual. My track record last winter of 3 falls means I'm sure to hit the deck again shortly!

Friday, 8 October 2010

More than a change in the weather?

This weekend I'm hoping for more than just a change in the weather. I'm hoping to get rid of the gremlins that have bugged my last two 'cross races and finally have a race free of mechanical problems.

I'm not sure if it will work out but I am hoping that tomorrow I can run the chain on the 46 ring and set the front mech to act just as a chain keeper similar to the Paul Components below:

This will allow me to make sure there are no problems with the front mech and hopefully the 46 ring isn't too big - I should be ok unless there are drastic changes to the course from last year where I ran a single speed 38-18 only running thru some of the stickier sections.

With the first round of the National Trophy series starting the same day, I'm hoping that most of the fast guys won't be there :D

On the commuting front, the dark mornings have been rolling in and this week has been quite cool and foggy. This afternoon is expected to be warm, I guess I'll be getting damp again this week but this week it will be due to working up a sweat and not because I'm doing my intervals in pouring rain!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Results and a photo from Sunday

The results for the latest round of the WMCCL were issued yesterday. I managed 23rd overall in the J/V/W race, and was 13th in the V40-49 category, which was ok considering the mechanical problems I had for at least half of the race. I'm hopeful that this weekend the bike will be trouble free.

There is also a nice photo on the British cycling website here which is a much better resolution that the copy below:

Monday, 4 October 2010

Mud, sweat and knackered gears ...

Yesterday saw the WMCCL round 2 move over to Firary Grange Liesure Centre at Lichfield.

After Friday's torrential rain to soften the ground we had more of the same on Sunday on the way to the venue, as well as before,during and after the race. With the hedgerow being cut earlier in the week the organisers re-jigged the usual course to keep the riders away from the worst of the tyre piercing thorns. This also severed up the opportunity to add the sand pit into the mix. It was truely a great course and I would have really enjoyed myself had I not had more front mech problems. This time dropping the chain on to an inner ring that I didn't intend to use. I realise now I should have stopped and put it back on the big ring as for the next 3 laps I had problems trying to run the chain across to the small cogs with the chain locking up frequently and so after a reasonable start the mech problem and the build up off mud, RedGra, sand and grass put paid to any hope of improving on last weeks result - tho the official results are still to be published as the organiser is having problems with soggy lap sheets!

So no results or photos at the moment but it was a real full on cross race, favouring those with multiple bikes and pit crews and was really well organised.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Next year already

I am always planning something. Whether it's my training and racing schedule for the coming season, months, weeks and days or looking further ahead to next year and family holidays or weekend works rides.

My training and racing plans are pretty much done and laid out for the next 4 months, with goals and objectives defined, training periods building to specific races, and sessions set out progressively to take me through the season.

So now my thoughts wander to next year. Holidays are already booked or penciled for Easter and the Summer.

I have some personal cycling goals/challenges that have been on my "to-do" list for a long time. These included; The Raid Pyrenean, Hell of the North Cotswolds, The Pennine Bridleway (in particular the Mary Townley Loop as I used to walk parts of it when I was a boy), The Trans Cambrian Way, The Fred Whitton, Alpe d'Huez Triathlon, go and sample the experience of a World Cup CX race. There are are others that I have done and know I could do some what better, like The Helvellyn Triathlon, The 3 Peaks Cyclocross and The Tour of the Corn Fields.

So what can I choose to knock off the list next year? HoNC is possible as I should be available that weekend. The Raid and The Alpe are out due to other holiday commitments. The Mary Townley Loop or the Trans-Cambrian Way could be built into a works cycling weekend in July if I can get enough interest and enough time off family duties. Probably top on the agenda at the moment is the 3 Peaks Cyclocross but it will mean a lot of planning and dedication as I will only be retuning from touring Europe with the family 3 weeks before the race and I would need to make sure that it doesn't clash with one of my wife's races again.

But at the moment I need to focus on the CX season ahead. I will now be racing every weekend in October and then if I put myself into a National Trophy race in November that'll be 3 weekends out of 4 - or put another way, one weekend off for bonfire night between now and December! So this afternoon is lactate tolerance reps, in the rain by the looks of things - so bring it on!