Sunday, 6 June 2021

April to May (Something in the way)

Whoa, haven't blogged in a while but taken part in much adventure. Was getting a bit frustrated with this blog platform to be honest and toyed with the idea of creating a new blog. However, for now at least, have decided to stay put. This blog platform is free and despite the others have many improved features, they all charge fees for blog hosting etc and despite talking about monthly fee's what folk to pay up annually. Pah!

Naff pic, great badge
Ron the Phantom

Our trusty steeds

Ok, so what have I been up to since my last post? Well, the first kinda cool thing I did was to cycle to Dynamic Cycles and collect my 'A Day in Hell' pin badge. I collected one for Ron too. Hmm, this means I'll have to cycle this event with Ron one time. Ha!

Next awesome adventure was a 200k audax event. I've since lost most of the info about this ride but let me tell you what I can remember. It was an event titled 'Goats Head Soup' and was about 160k long. I cycled this event with Ron, Jamie and Kay who was cycling her brand new bike. We passed through 2 tunnels including the longest tunnel in England at just over a mile long. Amongst the wonders of the day was a stone circle in or near Compton Martin. We cycled a long stretch without food. It was a lot of fun. This was the first Oliver Ile's audax that any of us had cycled.
The 1st May was the night of the Big Brummie Campout. My girls both wanted to camp initially so we all snuggled into my little 2 man tent in the garden. All was well for about an hour and then the girls decided to abandon camp and go back indoors. I went back indoors too, but only to get Ernie. Ernie and I had a boys night out. At least a few quids were raised to help the homeless.
Lovely views on Gospel Pass Skivers
Fed this horse a locket as had no polo's
Rainbow Dash's last trip
The Gospel Pass Skivers was a further 200k audax that was completed in April. This was an interesting ride and was Rainbow Dash's (my Specialized Roubaix Comp) last trip. Relatively unusual for an audax to start on a Friday morning. This was not the first time I had cycled over the Gospel Pass, however, cycled a different route round. Cycles a stretch with this fella called Frasier who was an interesting guy - though he dropped me when the serious climbs kicked in. Small stretcg cycled with Phil Whiteman (organiser) and about 25% cycled solo style. A nice, relatively tough route (about 3,000m climbing) with Ankerdine Hill (freshly gravel surfaced) proving to be the final sting in the tail.
Rainbow Dash had seen a number of adventures, however, decided to retire her. I was not happy with the 'suspension' for the front bars and felt it knocked the geometry out and essentially made the bike less comfortable. My previous Roubaix (which I still use) feels way more comfy. Anyways, I had ordered a MTB via the cycle to work scheme but delivery wasn't expected to next year. So, I cancelled the order and replaced with a nice shiny new titanium frame. Yup, I've gotten my hands on a Kinesis GTD ('Go The Distance') V2 frameset. Rainbow Dash's guts (groupset) was used to build up my Kinesis. Welcome GerTruDe, am sure you're gonna be an awesome ride!
Before the month of May was out, I was able to combine 2 great adventures into 1. Rob, Ron and I went for a wild camp and I used this as part of my Gravel Union Doorstep Challenge. The wild camp was fun, despite it raining from start to pretty much finish.
The Gravel Union Doorstep Challenge was a lot of fun. It was a good excuse to pedal a few local miles really and take a few random photo's. I doubt my entries will win a prize.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Hare and Tortoise Run /A Day in Hell

The Hare, one day, laughing at the Tortoise for his slowness and general unwieldiness, was challenged by the latter to run a race. The Hare, looking on the whole affair as a great joke, consented, and the Fox was selected to act as umpire, and hold the stakes. The rivals started, and the Hare, of course, soon left the Tortoise far behind...
5th April 2021 saw me complete a 'Tortoise and Hare'  Easter run. This was a 10k affair and a 'virtual' race. In view of the virtual nature of this event, I didn't race it at all and neither won nor lost. I'm pleased to inform I completed my run and await a lovely 'Tortoise and Hare' T-shirt to be posted out to me for completing same. I'm not sure if I'll get a medal.
10th April 2021 was the day that I cycled my first ever Rapha event. The event was entitled 'A Day in Hell'. With such a monstrous title, figured I'd cycle this one with a bunch of buddies.
The basic plan was that we would all meet at the start and cycle as a small group. This was the first time in ages that Covid restrictions 'allowed' a group of 6 cyclists to pedal together. I cycled to the start and was the first in our group to get there. Toll was a no-show - I think he thought Louy B might have been joining us - ha! It's about time Toll did join an event and proved cycling doesn't make him sick! (Sick last 2 outings not that I'm counting). Phantom Ron had to cancel too - he was celebrating his mother's 80th!
Jamie, K and Chris all rocked up, pretty much together. So nice to see these guys, we hadn't seen each other for donkeys. Jamie had a new van to show off and Chris a new job to talk about plus the fact he's got 2 little ones on the way. All lovely stuff, nothing hellish at all.
The 'twins'
Then the ride started. It was chilly. Then hail was thrown down from the sky. Followed by snow. Ha! The weather was all over the place, however, it was a lovely day really and no 'real bad' weather. No menace climbs, muddy off-road or navigation issues. The day was a nice pleasant jolly and this event felt like a mini audax.
We went into, out of and back into Meriden. Meriden was marked by the rather wonderful folly pictured above with Chris. The plaque reads 'In remembrance of those cyclists who gave their lives in World War II 1939 - 1945'. Chris's grandfather was a keen cyclist and thankfully didn't lose his life during World War 11. Sadly, his bicycles didn't fare so well - they were tucked away in a spare room of his family home which took a direct hit in the Blitz. 
It was nice having Chris on the ride, especially as he kindly got me a rather fancy Rapha 'A Day in Hell', cycling cap. 3 of us were donned in these rather special caps as can be seen in the picture above. Chris also gets hungry and likes to eat on cycle adventures and that's great too as I'm constantly in search of food. Was ace that Jamie and K were cycling with us - they kindly shared their lunch - tasty cheese and chorizo baguettes. I hade a great day - my mates all rock!

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Mad month of March

March is my birthday month. Much madness happens in March. Maybe that explains why I'm so mad. This mad month of March was also the month that I was gifted with my medal and running shirt for completing my 2nd 'Retro Run' for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. This was specifically the '00's Retro Run' where I ran a whopping 10k.

Anyways, among the mad adventures I had in March were numerous Zwift cycles, a couple of work commutes, a tandem jolly, the 'Faux Drop', the 'Mad March Hare', a Newsletter dash, the 'Mad Summer Hare' and a few runs and walks with family members and Ernie dawg. Hard to believe Covid and the lockdown still exist with all this fun.

A bridge without a troll on my commute

Felt kinda weird commuting to work just because I hadn't done so for so long. I took quite leisurely routes to work and cycled some new ground (sometimes ending at a dead end). Small sections of my route were off road too. Was nice to 'read' once more again too - I was listening to audio books whilst I cycled.

Was super nice to cycle with Roger on a tandem jolly. The Phantom joined us too and was great cycling as a trio. I'm guessing this wasn't against the current Covid rules - as only 2 bikes were out together?! 

The Alpkit bag did not like being mounted on the seat tube

The Phantom and I decided we would cycle a rendition of the classic 'Snow Drop' audax route, that Jamie dubbed the 'Faux Drop'. The Snow Drop is a lovely audax that I like to cycle each year - it wasn't running this year due to Covid. Cycling our own version of the event allowed us to start from home which was great and cycle 'Pig Hill' earlier into the ride. Our first stop was the awesome Whitlenge Tea Rooms but damn blast - all closed due to Covid.

The Phantom

One of the wonders of this Faux Drop was that we saw a herd of deer all lying down. I wondered if they were sleeping? I've never seen such a sight before and am sure I read somewhere that deer only sleep for 7 minutes a day?! Sounding so mad, I decided to Google it, and this is what I read: Deers never sleep. They have evolved a simple coping mechanism which means that they can stay awake 24 hours a day if needs be. However in times of high stress and long periods of alertness they occasionally sleep. This sleep pattern is so fast and efficient that 1 minute of deer sleep is the equivalent to 2 human sleep hours.

Upton provided a nice place to stop. We fuelled here on tasty pastries and sat on a bench enjoying the sun shine. Last time we cycled here we were cycling on major flooded roads. Crazy.
Following the awesome Faux Drop, I cycled another lovely route next day. This was the Mad March Hare, or at least my rendition of it. I didn't really know what to expect, not having cycled this one before. I had Garmin issues this day and hence my route didn't match the official - maybe have to cycle this another time. For whatever reason, once about 3/4 way around the course, my Garmin was just re-routing me and sending me home.
As predicted, much madness happened on this route. First off, there was the navigation issues. Then, I was looking for somewhere nice to purchase food stuffs in Welford, but only found a general stores. I purchases a lousy sandwich and crisps and sat down munching same wishing I had found a pasty shop or similar. Whilst munching, I spotted a couple of folk opposite drinking tea and eating pastries. D'oh, I had missed the butchers that sold said pastries. The most madness had to be the fact that I had put on my bib shorts inside out! How ridiculous. I wasn't expecting this route to go up Saintbury Hill, but it did, and so I decided to stop at St Nicholas Church and make sure my shorts were no longer outside in! 
A pretty roof in Welford
My return route took me back through Welford. This was ace because I was able to at last buy a cup of tea and a tasty pasty from the butcher's shop. All is well that ends well and this ride ended just swell.
One of my cycling jollies saw me post our newsletters for my ecclesia. I felt like a proper messenger, what with my fixie bike and messenger bag. Ha!
Amongst the many walks I undertook with Ernie was one that went to a secret wild camp spot from yester-year. This camp spot was now more of a quagmire. Ernie loved it!
Too add a wee bit more madness to the month, I also cycled the Mad Summer Hare (in this Spring season). This was a really hilly affair and Snows Hill, Saintbury Hill and Dovers Hill were all climbed plus another whose name I didn't catch. I had never cycled this event before but may well cycle again. My first stop came at around the 70k mark. I could smell a wonderful smell - the smell of cooked pasties and it belonged to Fladbury Pies and Sausages. I was most disappointed when I entered the shop - only a small selection of pies were on sale and all cold in a refrigerated counter. The steak and red wine pie would have gone down much better if hot.
My next stop was at the base of Dovers Hill. There is something nice about stopping at Church locations. Especially when they provide seating!

Heading for home, I stopped at a local store to top up on Vimto. Whilst in the store, I heard a voice calling my name. It was Lee - a fellow audaxer that I cycled the Giants Tooth 500 with. A small world indeed. The last thing that made me a little mad was that I stopped at the lovely butchers shop in Welford, just like I did on the Mad March Hare - only this time it was closed. Oh well, a great route none the less.
Ambitious or mad?!
This mad month also saw Jamie and I sign up for the Rapha Ambitious 220 event. Essentially, we are ambitiously cycling (at least) 220 miles over the weekend of 26-27 June 2021. We decided to enter this event as our plans to complete the TransAlba race have been shelved for a second year running (due to the Covid menace) and we wanted to do 'something else' relatively awesome. As part of the package we are hoping to raise £220 for the Ambitious about Autism, Autism West Midlands and Dogs for Autism charities. Please help us to reach this target by clicking this link here - imagine how awesome it would be if we reached our target. That really would be the dogs bark.

Ended the month with a cycle. In actual fact, a doubly whammy. Yup, cycled a short distance fixed and indoors. Farewell oh mad month of April!

April to May (Something in the way)

Whoa, haven't blogged in a while but taken part in much adventure. Was getting a bit frustrated with this blog platform to be honest and...