Tag Archives: Focus

The #June100 Cycling Challenge – Join Us

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together…

… as Hannibal (not Lecter, the one off’ve The A Team) said.  In my last blog post, I asked for ideas to motivate myself to get more cycling done.  Jon suggested that the two of us commit to riding 100 miles in June, since so far this year I’ve only done 117.

One day later, it’s amassed a bit of interest.  So much so that we’ve spawned a hashtag on Twitter, #June100, because the list of names didn’t leave any room to say anything.  June100 participant so far include:

The concept was to make sure I was ready for the Manchester to Blackpoolride on 4th July this year, but we’re spread acrossthe UK, so we won’t all be doing that ride.  The challenge is just a good way to cajole the lazy ones among us into achieving the mileage, and for those who’ll smash the target, it’ll be a good way to (metaphorically) beat their chests!

So far, the rules are thus:

  • 1st to 30th June 2010
  • Leisure miles only, no commute miles counted
  • All miles must be auditable, so GPS log, Garmin records, date-stamped photos of  bike computers or similar must be kept

A common area to log the miles will be provided. We’re working out the best – or most fun – way to do this at the moment.  Suggestions so far range from a simple spreadsheet on Google Docs to a bespoke website.

Update! – The spreadsheet is now LIVE at http://bit.ly/9S9NOu.  Input into the orange boxes and please don’t kill it.  I’ll try to back it up but just – please – dont kill it.

Are with us?  Let me know if you’re signing up.  Put your twitter address in the comment if you’re happy to share it, or just start to follow the #June100hashtag to keep in touch.  Of course you don’t have to use twitter to join in, we’ll keep it as simple as possible to participate.

p.s. This is why I cycle. Self-indulgent photo post but it’s my blog so I’m the boss.

Hollingworth Lake at Dusk

My Favourite Place As Night Falls

Finally! 100 Miles

… And I Don’t Mean In One Day, Either.

At the beginning of the year, I set myself some targets.  You might know that on Sunday the first major one passed un-achieved.  I sat on my sofa yesterday morning feeling guilty as I ate a sausage butty and watched 36,000 runners completing the Great Manchester 10k Run.

My official time was 49 minutes 44 seconds, thanks to Fall Down Andy, my good friend and football buddy.  His £20 donation is on my JustGiving widget on the right hand of this page, so at least one of my targets has moved in the right direction this week!   Just Give it a click if you can help Springhill Hospice, too.

But back to the point… Back in January I didn’t set myself a “miles cycled” target.  Then (and indeed now), I didn’t know how much chance I’d get to get the bike out of the shed and ride.  Truth is, in the absence of a target I’ve been pretty lax, I think.

To stave off the guilt, I did open the shed yesterday.  My OH and I had a leisurely schlep to Hollingworth Lake before I went to pick up Number One Son who was staying with us in advance of his trip to Stamford Bridge today.  Yes Les, Stamford Bridge.  I advised him to take his camera as it might be the only trip there he ever makes, unless Man U secure the Premiership before the Chelsea away match some season soon! 😉

Our little Lake cycle took me past 100 miles cycled for the year.  This is a good thing 🙂  But in truth I’m still disappointed at my progress so far 🙁   I think I should be getting 500 miles in this year easily, so I need to pick up the pace and open that shed a lot more often.

Interestingly, I gave the Focus Fat Boy a good clean when we got home.  It’s amazing how much crap you can carry along in your chain if you over-lube it.  In most situations it’s impossible to have too much lubrication, but in terms of chains, the grit I was carrying around must have been slowing me down!  So in future, I must remember to give it a wipe after I’ve lubed it.

Anyway, here’s some evidence that I did actually go out, but looking at my famous pot belly I think a bit more time on the bike and a bit less sat outside cafes is in order!

The ride map can also be found in my MapMyRide pages.  Go on, have a shufty!  Tell ’em Phill sent you.

Any ideas how I can motivate myself to get a bit more cycling done?

Pfffffft! Blame The Almighty.

Ever Had One Of Those Days?

On Sunday I awoke from a short night’s sleep nursing a headache that I’d paid for.  I’m not one to complain about hangovers so I won’t: I’ve got better things to moan about today.

We went to Mass on Sunday morning.  It was parade day so off we went, and I even got mentioned (briefly) in the sermon.  It’s not a good thing.  The Vicar mentioned me because he needed an example of somebody he didn’t know in the Church!  At this point I should point out that I’m not actually C of E: I should really be in the Church on the other side of the road.  Anyway, my point is that a little Sunday Worship should really stand you in good stead for a good day, shouldn’t it?

Lost Tools

When we were at Gisburn the other weekend, I noticed that my tool pouch wasn’t on my bike.  I’d assumed that it was either in the shed or the car, but yesterday I checked and no; it was missing.  This is an important detail.  I made a mental note to buy a new one this week, before my son and I headed out for a quick ride before tea.

Lost Time

We’d got about 3 miles.  We were talking about how good the new surface on the canal towpath was.  It’s a combination of bitumen and pea gravel.  Some of the pea gravel has been split by the whacker (Technical Term: A “whacker” is a pneumatic device for squashing aggregate surfacing into place), leaving a number of fine rock shards.  You know what happens next don’t you?

Yep.  That unmistakable sound. “pffffffftt!“, followed by “Dad, you’ve got a flat.”  Bugger.

Lost Temper

Well, not quite.  At that moment, the rain subsided (did I mention that it had started raining as we’d set out? No? Well, it flippin’ had), the sun shone through and we were treated to a gorgeous rainbow as I grumpily dismounted and knelt down to extract the stone shard from my Racing Ralph.  This rainbow stopped me losing my rag, in addition to the puncture repair kit I’d already lost.

We resolved to walk it up to Hollingworth Lake for a cuppa, make a phone call and await our fair rescuers.  So that’s what we did.  I have to be brutally honest and say that it was nice to get out, clear the cobwebs and have an experience with my son.

I didn’t even mention the random guy with the “Always Rejoicing” badge who emerged from the pub at Hollingworth Lake to hug me, tell that he loved me and comment on my pot belly, did I?  Well, I’m not going to mention him, other than to say I wasn’t rejoicing with him, as I pushed my bike towards my tea and rescue stop.  The random, drunken, joyful idiot.

Anyone know which multi-tool and puncture kit I should buy?  It must have tools for a day’s trail riding and be small enough to strap to my headset.  Suggestions welcome. 🙂

Friday Ride Damned By Diabetes

The Best Laid Plans…

Yesterday someone told me off a bit for not using my bike more.  It got me thinking about how I could use my bike more.  “How can I use my bike more?“, I thought.  On four days a week, I wear a suit for work.  I’m also fortunate enough to have funding towards my car from my wonderful employers, so if I was to ride to work questions would rightly be asked.  However there’s nothing to stop me going out for a quick ride in my lunch break on Fridays, the one day each week when we dress down.

So, I resolved that today would be the first day of the rest of my life.  I’d put the bike in my car this morning, along with a change of clothes.  At lunchtime I would simply get changed into my bike gear, get on my trusty Fat Boy, head away from work for 15 minutes, then head back, get changed back into my casual work gear and get back to my desk.

But of course it never happened.  Kids’ homework, getting ready, sorting out breakfast and other things conspired to make it impossible to get the bike plus change of clothes packed in time.  So here I am at my desk.

Ruddy Diabetes

On top of that, my blood sugars dropped to coincide with lunchtime today.  This hypo meant that I’ve been sat through my lunch break, staring through pinholes in a cold sweat and avoiding talking gibberish to anyone whilst my unusual lunch (below) took effect and put me right again.

My Hypo Lunch

Tip To Cure Hypo: Eat Everything Here, Right Now. I Said Now.

So maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t get the bike in the car.  I would have checked my sugars before setting off, but if I hadn’t been careful, the hypo whilst I was out riding would have been bad news.  Maybe the Gods of Cycling were smiling down on me, really.

Every cloud, and all that.

So…. Next Week…

… I plan to put my bike and change of clothes into the car on Thursday night.

On Friday, I’ll ride out for 15 minutes, turn around and head back to work.  Then each week I’ll see how much further I can get.  It’s only once a week so I’ve got no excuse.  Maybe with enough time, I’ll work out a loop I can TT each week, but for the time being a simple there-and-back ride with no route will meet my needs.

And now I’ve published it here, you might ask me how far I got.  No pressure then.

Gisburn Forest – Playing Out

Sunday’s Road Trip

A few weeks ago there had been good intentions expressed by around 8 riders from work.  When the end of last week came, it was clear that 4 hardcore, reliable chaps would be making the trip.  On Saturday, following a disappointing performance by his football team, one of those chaps drowned his sorrows and his chances of riding on Sunday along with them.  So…. I picked up Chris on Sunday morning and we met Russ an hour later at the car park where the Gisburn Forest rides start!

We three musketeers set off and by 2/3 of the way up the first climb it was clear that I was the unfit one.  Chugging a fruit bar immediately we’d set off to make sure I didn’t go hypo (curse you, Diabetes) didn’t help, as my stomach closed around it and threatened to have me hurling whilst I waited for my heart rate to return to normal within a mile or so of setting off!  However, things got better and over the next 3-and-a-bit hours I had a bloody great time.  Russ bailed halfway round because he needed to travel to London that night, so Chris and I completed the Red Route loop with just each other for company.

Best & Worst Bits

There are some long, hard climbs in the forest.  It’s not nice that the route begins with a long, hard (for me) climb and I can remember wondering if I was going to enjoy the day.  However, those climbs give way to brilliant lengths of singletrack!  Over Winter 2009/10 there’s been a fair amount of trail-building and it shows: the Red Route deviations from the main loops are fantastic fun.  My Focus Fat Boy hardtail and Chris’ ancient fixed rig coped with the terrain, but a short travel full-bouncer might have made things a little easier.  In fact, some of the funniest moments were simply listening to the sounds Chris involuntarily made on some of the less-expected drop-offs!

I fell twice.  Both times, it was because I was going too slowly, not too quick.  Lesson learned.  I bailed on two drop-offs, with a squeal of brakes and an unrepeatable exclamation along the lines of “I’m not going off that ****ing thing!”.  However, the whole day was brilliant and we swept along the vast majority of the route with silly grins on our faces, no doubt catching flies in our teeth – in fact, I’m sure Chris had one stuck in his throat when we finished.  The cuppa from the butty van in the car park sorted that out though!

If you get a chance to spend a day there, do it! Tell ’em Phill sent you 🙂

A map on MapMyRide is here, too:

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