September 2016

So September was another month where I missed out on four Strava challenges, although I did manage to complete four. I missed a cycling challenge, which might have been the first cycling challenge that I have failed to complete since I joined Strava over four years ago. I left myself too much to do towards the end of the month, although losing 90km from a partially corrupted Garmin file didn’t help.

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You can see where the epic ride ended. Also, the small group of rides near Wigan is due to my new job (post to follow soon).

I have got around a bit more as my explorer score has reached 5777 tiles and my total number of segments is now over 10000. My overall Eddington scores haven’t changed, but my yearly ones have increased to 52miles, 66km and 940m of climbing. I also managed to run parkrun Lancaster twice, finishing 5th in one of them, life in the old dog yet.

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My best bike…. ever

It’s my Principia Rex, the bike I’m riding at the Hull Triathlon in 2015, which forms the banner for my blog. I bought the frame back in 2000 when I was working in a specialist triathlon shop near the south coast, long since closed. They were the UK distributor for Principias, and as I was staff I was allowed a good discount. I built the bike myself with 9 speed dura-ace groupset and a pair of Mavic Ksyrium wheels. The bike handles like a dream, although it is very responsive with a short wheel base, and very stiff. Every watt of power is transferred to the back wheel.

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I rode a couple of cycling races in 2000, realsing that I wasn’t a cyclist, so switched back to triathlons. The above photo is from the Windsor Tri in 2003. I competed in the World Triathlon Championships for my age group later that year, in New Zealand.

You very rarely see Principias now-a-days, but back in the late 90’s and early 00’s they were at every triathlon. They were also ridden by the short lived Linda Mcartney cycling team, and it was rumored that Sean Kelly was riding one painted to look like a Vitus.

When I moved to Lancaster, the Principia came with me, where I finished a few more triathlons, duathlons and sportives. Due to the out of date groupset on the bike, which could only be replaced via ebay, the bike only gets used when the weather is nice, but it has done approximately 17,000 miles. Over the winter I decided to get the frame resprayed, to make it stand out a bit more.

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Pink, my bike is now bright pink, with pink bar tape and pink bottle cages, along with some distinctive decals.

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Combine the bike with pink Sarko7 socks and a black top which shows off my beard, I do not go unnoticed.

Partially corrupted Garmin file

That phrase must be the worst thing to see when you’re uploading a ride or run to Strava. I had planned an epic ride to celebrate completing 250 Strava challenges, maybe even 250km. In the end I “only” managed 232km with almost 2000m of climbing, on one of the hottest days of the year. I also wanted to go places that I had never been before, not easy with my cycling.

I decided to head to Southport, although this meant that I had to cycle through Preston during the morning commute, not fun. Once I reached Bretherton though the roads became far more pleasant, with plenty of other cyclists, and a very good cycle path most of the way into Southport.

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From Southport I headed inland to Burscough, crossing the Leeds to Liverpool canal a couple of times, and then joining the IMUK route for a few miles. At the village of Grimshaw Green I hit my first big climb, where I had to use every gear (compact with a 27 at the back). I then crossed Rivington Reservoir and climbed the whole of Sheep House Lane, where I was passed effortlessly by another cyclist, although he did compliment me on my beard. I’m not looking forward to this at next years IMUK.

At Belmont I seriously considered bailing out and taking the direct route home. Well, not too seriously. Next was the villages of Egerton and Bromley Cross, which was where my Garmin failed.

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From that point I headed towards Darwen, skirted in between Blackburn and Accrington before heading to Whalley where I would be back on familiar roads once again. A quick stop at Longridge for more water and then back to Lancaster.

I was shattered when I made it home, but pleased with my “epic” ride, so you can imagine how gutted I was when only 144km of the total ride were recorded. I was following a bread crumb trail that I had plotted myself and my Garmin froze. I restarted it and continued, although in hindsight I should have saved the ride to that point and then started it again. Nothing to be done, after checking online there is no way of restoring the file, although I’ve had my Garmin for over four years this is only the third time that I have lost a ride. I’ll just have to do the ride again, because as we all know, if it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen.

August 2016

August has been a funny month, with a heel injury I haven’t been able to run much and therefore missed out on four Strava challenges (half marathon, distance and two climbing ones). I did manage five challenges to take my total up to 247, which has to be near to a Strava record.

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Once again the graphic is from Veloviewer, which shows my epic canalathon from Wolverhampton to Manchester, along with my foray up Tan Hill in very windy conditions.

My monthly cycling total was 1253km with 13306m of climbing. I also ventured to new places increasing my explorer score up to 5703 tiles and total segments up to 9800. My Eddington scores haven’t gone up much, 100 miles, 139km and 1680m. My Eddington scores for 2016 are now up to 50 miles, 65km and 920m. Hopefully September will be injury free.

The Beards of Bowland rescue a kitten

It was time for another Beards of Bowland group ride, with myself (Daddy beard), the Prof (Mummy beard) and guest Andy (Baby beard). We decided on a route north to Staverley, back through Kendal, Sedberg and back to Lancaster. We set off in the rain, but just after Arnside the sun came out and our rain jackets were put away. All going to plan until we were on a small back road after Levens when the Prof spotted a kitten at the side of the road, who had obviously been abandoned. I struggle to get my head around the kind of people who would do this. Prof grabbed the poor bedraggled and very frightened kitten, Andy went off to see if there were any houses near, while I helped by taking photos.

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A couple of hundred meters down the road was a farmhouse, but there was no answer at the door. At the back there were a few other cats, so the ginger kitten was released. Just then a woman came out of the house who promised to look after the poor thing, and with that we headed off to continue our ride.

It’s never a dull ride with the Beards of Bowland.

https://www.strava.com/activities/695615625