Friday 29 August 2014

Badger cooling and the Stroud 5 Valleys

Started the week by going for a blast around the AM SR 1 route. Had been ages since I last cycled this route and it re-reminded me what a great loop it was. Kay-O, my single-speed road bike was my weapon of choice. I had almost forgotten how awesome she was too - even better now she is equipped with a dynamo hub and front light.

My next adventure was a blast around the Stroud 5 Valleys 50k audax. I have cycled this many times - it's a great, relatively short ride, that awards a single AAA (hilly) point. (In fact, it now awards 1.25 AAA points). I only need to cycle this route 1 more time next month to complete my AAARTY award.
Another reason I like to cycle this audax is because I recently made friends with a set of badgers. They kindly asked me to do some promotional work for them least time we met. I obliged and added stuff to both my blog and FaceBook. The poor badgers keep facing a cull. I met with a whole bunch of them again on this ride and was hoping one would cycle a short stretch with me.
 All these friendly badgers. Do you think I could find just one that might like a cycle? Well, guess what ...
Sure enough, I found one willing badger. Granted, he didn't cycle long or far but he cycled none the less. He left me at the next control and went in search of mashed potato. I really do hope I meet the entire badger family on my next cycle out here. If like me, you wish to become a badger supporter, please check out the flyer below.
During the course of the week, I managed 1 work-and-back commute. Used my single-speed road bike again, as my Genesis single-speed cyclo-cross bike is still awaiting repairs. I wish I could get solid rubber tyres for my commute bike.

I was hoping to take my own badger cub (Lunar) out for her first cycle this week. A bike seat was acquired and fitted but I couldn't find a helmet small enough for her. I've ordered a Specialized small fry helmet and will just have to wait until she grows into it.

Saturday 23 August 2014

Brevet 5000 at last

The picture above featured in one of my work-related magazines. No matter where I look, I seem to get subliminal messages instructing me to cycle. Or, perhaps it's a taunt...

All was not well for me on the cycling front this past week. Jenny my Genesis commute bike punctured for the 4th time (1st time since fitting new tyres). Like every other puncture, this was a rear tyre menace. Such a hassle fixing a rear tyre puncture on a single-speed bike (and remains not fixed at present time). To top that, the front wheel has suffered a loose (not quite broken) spoke which made the wheel look seriously buckled. My work-and-back commute using Jenny wasn't the best. Evans Cycles are gonna charge £14 to fix this wheel and it won't be fixed before 31 August. Wished I'd gone to Specsavers somewhere else.

My second work-and-back commute was trouble free. I used Kay-O, my single-speed road bike. She was a light and fast ride but not designed to go cross-country. For this reason I kept her away from the tow-paths and used the busy roads instead (which are less busy currently because of the summer holidays). Is starting to get cold on my commutes, I think I will soon swap my cap for my buff!
This week, I also received my Brevet 5000 medal. This medal was awarded because I managed to complete a randonnee of 1200k (PBP), an SR series, 1000k event (used LEL which was 1400k), a 24 hour Team Arrow event and other events totalling 5000k, all BR(M) and ridden within a 4 year period. I am listed as rider no. 129 on the hall of fame (where currently only 130 riders are listed).

'All creatures contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways'.

Monday 18 August 2014

Over the Moon

Soon my cycling adventures will have to seriously start to wind down. We are coming to the end of this years cycling season and next year I will, God willing, have another mouth to feed. Necessity dictates that I slow down.

With my cycling challenges being somewhat dampened, I'm sure I'll have other challenges to face. Crying babies, sleepless nights, and the likes all come to mind. Stuff that I'm sure no-one will really care to read about. With that in mind, I thought I'd create a sister daughter site and record challenges that my little one faces as she toddles through life. The blog site is entitled 'Over the Moon' and can be found by following this link: Over the Moon

Below is a sample (3rd post) from the 'Over the Moon' blog.

Daddy saw the National Trust (NT) website had a 'thing' on it called '50 things to do before you're 11 & 3/4'. Before I could say 'over the moon', he had signed me up for it. What was I in for?!
Wild blackberries growing at the top of Doo Little drive
The first challenge I completed was challenge #21 'pick blackberries growing in the wild'. Daddy walked me to the top of our drive, armed me with a little pot and instructed me to pick.
Before long, I had filled my little pot with lots of fat delicious blackberries. I wasn't allowed to eat any until the pot was full. Once the pot was full, daddy made me wash them too.
Mmmm, they really were delicious. I think I am going to enjoy my challenges that lay ahead!

Thursday 14 August 2014

Windsor-Chester-Windsor 600

Last weekend saw me complete my third Super Randonneur (SR) series! In the audax world of cycling, an SR series is considered the 'gold standard'. It consists of the BR(M) series - 200k, 300k 400k and 600k events, all completed in the same Randonneur year. I completed my SR series by riding a 600k event, namely the Windsor-Chester-Windsor 600.
GPX track log of WCW 600
  • I cycled this event with Chris Hodge, who just happened to live in Windsor.
  • This was Chris's furthest bike ride to date.
  • Chris and I are both Super Randonneurs!
  • Chris lives near Maidenhead. We passed Maidenhead Aquatics on route. Maidenhead Aquatics was nowhere near Maidenhead.
  • I am from Studley village. We passed Studley Wood golf course on route. Studley Wood golf course is nowhere near Studley.
  • Dr Phillip Whiteman manned a control in Belbroughton. He remembered me from the Snowdrop audax.
  • I felt quite rough for the first 100k. It was like I was on a drug and alcohol detox.
  • We cycled through torrential rain. The rain started at about the 200-300k mark. The 300 - 500k mark was sincerely vile weather-wise!
  • We saw no badgers despite passing a sign-post indicating 'badger'.
  • We were not the last to finish.
  • Some folk did not start and some folk did not finish.
  • Event was well organised.
  • We sleep for about 2 hours max in one of the controls.
  • Chris was snacked up and made sure we both ate every 25k! 
  • We finished the event with just under an hour to spare.
  • I punctured once.
  • My tyre deflated after being filled with gas.
  • I don't think any women cycled this event.
  • I doubt I will cycle this 600k event again.
  • We did not push our bikes up any hills.
  • I took Chris out of his comfort zone and insisted we sleep (power nap) inside the entrance of a church. We both slept. The prayer cushions made ideal pillows. On awakening, I noticed we were sharing this entrance with a nest of birds. I thought the birds were house martins, Chris reckoned swallows.
  • My poor bike's bottom bracket was as dry as a bone and my saddle had no flex. Chris's bike was all good except for a dry chain (he used dry lube instead of wet).
  • We were treated with some fast descents, long roads and a tail wind during the last 100k.
  • My knee hurt some, on 2 occasions during this adventure. Neurofen eased pains.
  • Post event and my thighs hurt some.
  • My Mavic shorts fared as well as my Assoss.
  • Mud-guards would have been a good idea!
  • Cycling caps are the way forward.
  • We missed being 'pulled along' by Ron on this event.
  • This was not an overly hilly event, though some hills got me out of puff! We cycled over 4,300 metres of climb.
    Hilliness profile for the WCW 600

    Completed the week by cycling another work and back commute.  Have now cycled 6,139k thus far this year. I guess it's time to start winding down... Or planning my next big adventure... Ha!

Friday 1 August 2014

Badgers and the Stroud 5 Valleys 50 audax

This week saw me complete a couple of work-and-back commutes and another Stroud 5 Valleys 50 audax. Have blogged about this audax a number of times, so will keep this entry short. It was a hilly event as demonstrated by the picture below.
Hilliness profile of the Stroud 5 Valleys 50
Weather-wise and the event wasn't too bad. Bright sun throughout all but the last 10 minutes. The very last couple of k and the heavens opened big time. Bike-wise, the event wasn't great. Scotty creaked like crazy and sounds like she's on her way out. I really can't afford to service this bike just yet. Compared to other times I've rode this event, there wasn't an awful lot of change. I'm sure the parked bike at Painswick had been replaced for a new model though.
New bike? If Scotty keep creaking', perhaps I should cycle this?!
Just like the last time I rode this event, I saw lots of badgers. Badger, badger, badger.... Mushroom!
Audaxing really is a great way of seeing wildlife! I hope to visit more of this badger set on future rides. I'll be sure to keep you posted!

Happy New Year 2022

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