Sunday, 27 May 2012

Broken Spoke Sportive 2012

I'm not good at cycling when it's hot. Also although I can get up most climbs, I'm not fast up hill. I've also discovered that I much prefer courses where the hard bits are at the beginning and it's easier at the end. So all in all I was going to find the Broken Spoke Sportive difficult - and I did.

It didn't help that we did 21 miles in the first hour (at least it was fairly cool then) - and I thought to myself then that I would pay for that later.

The Broken Spoke Sportive started and finished at the Catholic High School in Chester - so there was the novelty that I could actually cycle to the start (only 2 miles from where I live). There was a quick check in, and some freebie gels and energy bars. There were two rides: the long route (85 miles) and a shorter route (55 miles). I chose the long route. The ride out to Bangor-on-Dee and St Martins was flat and quick. There was a well stocked food stop at St Martins (after about 28 miles).

Once we turned right at Pontfadog, the climbing began. I'd never been up this climb before, and got most of the way up it until it became too steep and I had to walk for 100 yards or so. However there was a great technical descent on the way down to Llangollen. I somehow managed to get lost and myself and another rider had to ride into Llangollen, over the bridge, and do the Horseshoe Pass right from the bottom. There always seems to a wind against you when you climb up the Horseshoe and today was no exception (!). Once over the top it was a fast descent into Ruthin, where there was another well stocked food stop - including baked beans on toast, coffee, buns, bananas and soft drinks.

Once out of Ruthin, we went over another hill I have never previously been up - and I never want to see it again. It's called Old Bwlch and it was another one I had to get off and walk. Although I managed to get back on again near the top so I was photographed cycling over the highest point.

Once after that there was a rolling route back to Chester, with one or two unexpected climbs along the way.

Positives: Very challenging route, great motorcycle marshalling, the best stocked food stops I've seen on a sportive, and good value for money (approx £20). Also the event raised money for the school which must be good. And last but not least, there was a friendly group of cyclists on the ride who mainly knew how to ride in a group.

Negatives (for me): Pretty awful time - and too hot - would prefer this on a day which was about 10 degrees cooler. At least I've now got well tanned arms and legs

Route below:

Earlier in the week, on Thursday 24th May to be precise, I did the Chester Road Club 10 mile TT on the Saighton course (D2/7). I tried using tri-bars this time - although I'm still not keen on using them. Got a time of 28:06 which was an improvement on the previous week (28:20). Will try to get down to sub 28 minutes next week. Good entry of 44 riders. Results are here

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Preparing for Broken Spoke Sportive

Have the Broken Spoke Sportive next week. Starts and finishes in Chester, so will have the novelty of being able to cycle to the start (probably only 2 miles from where I live). Have been mixing it up a bit this week with a Chester Road Club Chain Gang on Tuesday 15th May, followed by a club 10 mile time trial on the Saighton course, on Thursday 17th May (organised by the Birkenhead Victoria Cycling Club), then a quick ride out to Hope/Llay and back (18 miles) on Saturday 19th May, followed by the same route on Sunday with an added loop out to Frodsham and back (around 40 miles).

The Thursday night time trial went OK for my first time - did 28:20 on my road bike (no tri-bars). Will be doing this again next week so have a target to beat. Route below:

Full results can be seen here

Quite pleased with the Sunday ride - route shown below. Considering the route including come back through the centre of Chester, an average of 17.6 mph was OK particularly as the route wasn't flat.

Will be doing a Chester Road Club 10 mile time trial on Thursday 24th May, then have the Broken Spoke Sportive on Sunday 27th May - this is an 85 mile route out into North Wales (over the Horseshoe Pass and down into Ruthin and then back to Chester - should be good fun !)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Windy Days

Did a couple of ride this weekend (12/13th May). On Saturday I went out with a couple of others for a ride out towards Nantwich and back through Delamere (stopping at the Station Cafe) and then back through Frodsham to home. The outbound ride was great, but when we turned towards Delamere we realised why - because we had a strong wind against us all the way back. Still, a reasonable average speed for such a ride (17.2 mph average for 52 mile ride). Route below:

I also went out Sunday, just for a short ride (18 miles or so) on my usual route out to Hope/Llay and back through Rossett/Doddleston etc). Had a strong wind against me as I was cycling out to Hope, but had a great ride back into Chester. Reached a max speed of over 43 mph on the steep downhill just before the A483. Must have recovered from Saturday as my average speed was 17.6 mph.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Circle of Hope 2012 Ride

The Circle of Hope charity ride in aid of Clatterbridge Hospital took place on Sunday 6th May. Around 200-300 cyclists took part, some doing a 15 mile ride, some doing a 50 mile ride and some of us (who are clearly mad) decided to do the 100 mile route. Start and finish was in Hope (North Wales) and the route headed out to Corwen, back towards Llangollen, over World's End, and then went out to Malpas, Beeston Castle etc before heading back to Hope via Aldford, Farndon, Gresford etc.

Map of the route from Strava is shown below:

 As you can see, it was slightly less than 100 miles, and was quite hilly particularly in the first 40 miles or so. Going out towards Cheshire, the roads were fairly flat so we could pick up some speed. Reasonably happy with a time less than 6 hours, and an average speed of 16.2 mph.

Some others from where I work also did the 50 mile ride, and all finished fine (although they had a few mechanical issues along the way).

Will post some photos when I get them.

Also managed to raise £168 for Clatterbridge Hospital.