Tag Archives: Sep100

What Mountain Biking Is About

The Tale Of A Weekend Ride Resurrected

This weekend was my routine opportunity to build up a decent run to add onto the #Sep100 spreadsheet – and of course to enjoy the great outdoors.  Unfortunately circumstances conspired to make it impossible for me to get out on Saturday.

I won’t bore with you the details, but suffice to say that the following factors were involved: A fish; Some fungus; Rain; Work. Not necessarily in that order, or to scale.  I achieved a (not very impressive) total of marginally over 2 miles in a trip to the garden centre and back for essential supplies.

Hardly a long Saturday ride.

So, On Sunday…

… I was a bit antsy. We had plans for a houseful for late lunch so I thought I’d be stuck in all day.  My blessed Other Half perceived my angst, so she sent me off to play out on my bike.  I didn’t need to be asked twice. “Why don’t you have a couple of hours out on your bike while I sort this stuff out?” – “Ok, bye!” *whooosh*

I opted to try a new loop, climbing past Tandle Hills Country Park along Thornham Old Road (Thornham Lane) after a climb across to Royton.  I was really pleased with how the old legs held out, without needing a rest at all on the way up.  From the top of Thornham Lane it’s a great, grin-inducing descent to Slattocks.

From Slattocks, it’s less than mile alonf the towpath (avoiding the parallel main road) to Thornham New Road which leads back towards Royton.  I’d not ridden this lane before, and now I know why it’s not too busy:


Soggy Socks

Don’t Drive Up Thornham New Road!


At this point, I’d already ridden through three or four similar puddles but this was the deepest.  There was no option but to swallow hard, loosen up and keep pedalling. Thankfully there were no surprises lurking in the murk, so I got to the dry track unscathed and relatively dry.  My feet did get submerged as I pedalled but noting more unpleasant than that.

My Advice?

Don’t try riding the length of Thornam New Road unless it hasn’t rained for a week or more!

Having said that, I had a lovely 15 mile ride out, got lovely and muddy and cleared the cobwebs nicely.  Arriving home, refreshed and smiling, I hosed the bike (and my soggy shoes) down, went upstairs for a shower and prepared myself for my afternoon’s role as the gracious host.

You can see the route here, if you fancy a nosey.

Happy Days 🙂

Wet and Wild Wales Weekend, Bouncing Boats In Bala

The weekend before last, we had FUN !

I turned 40 round about this time last year, give or take a week.  I know, you can’t believe it right? I don’t look a day over 50.  Aaaanyway, my Other Half invested in a Red Letter Day for me, white water rafting.  With this, I was very very happy 🙂

Last weekend was the day I chose to enjoy my experience.  The two of us packed up a bag each, a bike each and left our troubles at home on Saturday morning.  We drove to Bala, to find our B&B, Cwmtylo, about 3 miles outside Bala and within striking distance of the rafting centre.  Cwmtylo is a 400 year-old farmhouse and family home to Dylan and Craig.  I’ll be honest, it’s not the easiest place in the world to find, even by Welsh standards.  But it’s worth the drive and it’s only 10 minutes from the main A-road that passes Bala Lake – unless you take a wrong turn, in which case you’re way into murderer country (in your mind).  Cwmtylo is still a working farm.  In fact, Dylan only made the place into a B&B in response to the local tourist board’s appeal in 2009 for more B&B beds.

The Water Cycle

After leaving our bags at the B&B and enjoying Dylan’s cuppa with a nice cherry bakewell, we drove down to Bala Leisure Centre and parked the car for a few hours.  Unhooking the bikes, we got ourselves wrapped up against the Welsh wetness, which was drizzling slowly from the grey skies.  But, as Clive says, there’s no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothes.  We had the right clothes.

Eleven or so miles and some fantastic views later, we’d circumnavigated Bala Lake and we’d loved the undulations along the eastern bank.  From that side, away from the A-road which skirts the west side of the lake, the views of Snowdonia are simply stunning.  If you ever find yourself in Wales with an hour or two to kill, I recommend you try it.  It’s not a hard ride by any means, and if your legs aren’t up to a few little hills, they’re easily short enough to trudge up and roll down!

Dr Dre’s Place

Nobody was looking, so we got changed in the Leisure Centre car park.  A quick scoot into town and we found Plas-Y-Dre restaurant, which translates as Dr Dre’s Place. Coool!  We had a steak each and I treated myself to a cake of cheese for dessert, along with a nice pint of Brains.

Dr Dre didn’t put in an appearance, but I bet you never see Ramsay when you go to his restaurants either.

White Water Rafting

We slept like logs.  We got up when the alarm went off.  Dylan made us breakfast.  It was delicious. 🙂

Half an hour later, I was signing in at Canolfan Tryweryn, the UK’s first rafting centre.  The other red-letter-dayers and I stood out like buddhist monks at a beard & ponytail contest.  We congregated together for safety and to avoid being drawn into white water conversations we couldn’t hope to add value to.

Once the embarrassment of being the funny-looking normos out of our comfort zones wore off, the secondary embarrassment of borrowed wetsuits was foisted upon us.  But, then the fun started 🙂 !

To put it briefly, for your experience you get 4 runs down the white water in the space of 2 hours, interspersed with mini-bus trips back to the head of the run which is just down from a massive sluice gate from the local reservior.  The instructors are massively helpful – and I’m sure the ladies would find them massively handsome too.  You know, fit.

If you ever get the chance to do the rafting thing, just do it.  Don’t think about it.  The cycling was brilliant, too.  Happy days.

Tell ’em Phill sent you! 🙂

#August150 Round Up. Great Cycling You Lot.

August 150 Is Done!

I’m amazed how quickly August passed by.  The holidays certainly helped: there’s something about being at home or away with the kids that makes time fly.  It’s been a fun month though.  Anyway, you’re not reading for that, you want the round-up, right?

Well, here we go:

  • 41 – the number of people on the sheet
  • 35 – the number who posted some mileage – very impressive!
  • 23 – the number who rode more than 150 miles! Wow 🙂

Special mentions go to the following people:

  • John Berry, for being first to complete AND for topping 1,000 miles in the month.  That’s an average of over 33 miles every day.  Is this a man or a machine?  Follow his blog, why don’t you?
  • Louise K, for being the first girly to hit the 150, and for doing it on an adventure riding the Liverpool-Leeds canal.  That’s exactly the type of thing I was thinking way back in the June100 days: enjoying the bike and increasing the miles 🙂 Read about her adventures more on her blog, too.
  • The Le Tower To Tower riders (Emma, Dave, Anthony and Chrisplus a couple of other guys who aren’t in the challenge) who finished the month hitting around 100 miles each day – along with smashing the September target too – on their ride between the Blackpool and Eiffel towers.  Awesome work, you lot.

Have a look at the full spreadsheet here.  With an average of over 213 miles per person, I’m chuffed to be associated with this stuff.

It’s September, And That Means The Sep100 !

I asked for some quick feedback on twitter, and enough people responded positively.  So, I set up the Sep100 spreadsheet to keep the challenge rolling 🙂

What’s Changed?

Thanks to input from Lisa, Austin and others, I’ve added a column for stationary miles.  Now as far as I can see, the definition “stationary” kinda means they’re not miles, but I’ll leave that argument for another day.  So if you’re turbo training or the weather turns nasty, you can still clock up some activity.

Lisa also suggested a TT league, but due to time and technical issues I’ve simply added “best 5 mile” and “best 10 mile” columns.  Just time your best 5 and 10 mile splits, record them somewhere and stick them into the sheet.  It’s just another excuse to compete (and no doubt something Lisa plans to win)!

If you want to join the club, just hit the sheet and email me at the address shown there.  Simple!

Enjoy your September Cycling, everyone 🙂

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