Saturday, 31 March 2012

Cycling Schedule April/May 2012

Have entered the following events in the next few months:
In addition, the Chester Road Club chain gangs start every Tuesday evening (from 7 pm) from mid-April (two laps of Saighton circuit - approx 7 miles per lap).

Had a lot on in the last week or so, so have only managed my short training loop to Hope and back via Rossett etc. Details below from Strava:

Saturday, 24 March 2012

World's End 24th March

Did part of the 2011 Etape Cymru route. Road out from Chester, out into North Wales and over the Steps, through Minera, over to Rhosllanerchrugog, through Acre Fair, and then over the Garth (which is quite a steep long climb which was the first real hill on last year's Etape Cymru. Once over that, the ride on Panorama Walk is really good - particularly as it was a warm sunny day - and there was very little traffic about. After Panorama Walk there is a drop down into the Eglwyseg valley and up over World's End. I tend to get off at the Ford and carry my bike over, as I once fell off there and was off the bike for 4 or 5 weeks with a bad hip/leg.

Good fast ride all the way back into Chester after that :)

Details of route below from Garmin Connect:

And also from Strava - which told me I'd done a personal best up the Steps.

Not a great average speed (15.3 mph) but there was quite a lot of climbing.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Oswestry Hilly 17 Time Trial 17th March 2012

Entered the Oswestry 17 Time Trial a few weeks ago. Tried to cycle around the course last week but my chain snapped (!) after 5 miles. Weather was not great, it started pouring with rain at the start, but brightened up later on. There was a great big hill after 0.5 mile or so (Blodwel Bank), and it was mainly uphill for the first 6 miles.

Route below is from Garmin Connect:

Also uploaded this to Strava - see below:

Strava reported this as only 900 feet of climbing, whilst Garmin Connect with elevation correction on reported it as 1400 feet (which I think is more accurate).

Finished with a time of 1.01.13 (to be confirmed) which works out an average of 16.5 mph. I was hoping to do under an hour but lost a bit of time as I had trouble with my gears on one of the climbs. It also didn't help that it was the first time I'd ridden around the course.

The second half of the course was quite enjoyable (max speed was almost 40 mph at one point) apart from a few dodgy S-bends.

There were also coffee and cakes at the end in Llanblodwel Village Hall which was good.

Full results available here:

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Horseshoe Pass

Felt pretty good on Sunday 11th March (after a disastrous Saturday - see below), so set off just before 9 am to go out to North Wales, over the Steps, to Minera, and round to Rhosllanerchrugog down into Llangollen, over the Horseshoe Pass, and then back to Chester. Pretty pleased with an average of 15.9 mph (according to my Garmin 800) for this ride. Strava reported it as 15.8 mph :(.

I'm trying to get some "hard" miles in as I have entered the Oswestry Hilly 17 next Saturday (17th March). So I drove down to Oswestry Saturday morning to ride around the course (D18/2). You can see the course map here.
The whole exercise was a bit of a disaster, since I had a puncture right at the start (although this had the side benefit that I now know my small portable pump works OK), and then after 7 miles of the course my chain snapped ! Couldn't sort it out with the small Parks tool I had so had to freewheel back to the car. Have now put a stronger chain on. I can confirm that the first 7 miles of the course are VERY HILLY. Will be happy to do less than 1.05 next week.

Friday, 9 March 2012

New wheels on spare bike

I got some Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels for my spare bike. They are very good.

Did a short ride out to Frodsham and back and the wheels certainly seem fast - quite a good average speed considering some of the hills on the route.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Mad March Hare Sportive Sunday 4th March 2012

I entered the Mad March Hare Sportive some time ago - I think it was described as a gentle, mid-distance, introduction to the Sportive season.
It is easy to get to, just south of Birmingham, easy to park, and only £12. The route was also very good, and would be quite enjoyable in good weather.
Unfortunately the weather was awful, and I hadn't realised that for the first 50 miles or so (which I did in just over 3 hours) we had the wind behind us and hadn't done most of the climbs.
It was very cold, very wet, windy, and it even snowed as we climbed the most difficult hill (out of Willersley).
To make matters worse, close to the finish me and a few others went off-course and did an extra 7 miles (the official distance is around 75 miles and I ended up doing 82 miles).
The bacon buttie and hot coffee at the end was good.

Details of the ride from Strava are below:

If you are going to enter a sportive like the Mad March Hare, then don't prepare like I did. Rather stupidly, I went out with someone from Chester Road Club on Saturday 3rd March (the day before the Sportive) and did a fairly rapid 52 miles around the Cheshire lanes. I did eat and drink a lot Saturday afternoon and evening, but I think I would have rode more strongly if I hadn't done the Saturday ride. Details of Saturday's ride below: