Principia – Par Excellence

I’ve blogged about my Principia in the past, but I’ll say it again, simply the best bike I’ve ever ridden. Previous blog here My best bike…. ever

The pink respray just makes me stand out even more!

In the last couple of weeks my Principia has turned 18 years old, moved up to second place in my all time mileage for bikes, and has done 300 Strava rides, plus 150 rides before Strava (dark times).

Some stats: Total distance 17,860 miles.

Total climbing 275,000 m.

Total kudos 12,899.

Mileage is accurate as I’ve always kept records, but elevation required some ‘fudging’. I’ve calculated the amount climbed per km for the Strava rides, and then multiplied it by the non-Strava ride, with a factor of 0.85 as many of the pre Strava rides were done in Oxfordshire, which isn’t as lumpy as Lancashire.

Kudos is easier. I calculated the average kudos per ride, and then multiply it by by pre-Strava rides and add the two together.

Next milestones for my Principia; another 300 miles and he overtakes my old Cannondale to become my most ridden bike, and another 6,500 m of climbing and he will become the most uphill ridden bike I’ve had.

Also, here’s to the next 18 years.

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Friday was a bit hit and miss

I’d created a route, and was all set for a tile hunting foray from Penrith to Carlisle, but there was no space on any train going north for my bike, so I cycled home, dejected.

All was not lost as it gave me opportunity to do our weekly food shop and go to the tip, clearing a bit more rubbish from the garden. I did then manage a short ride in the afternoon, in the rain, but my heart wasn’t really into it.

The local athletics club were putting an a fast and flat 5k that evening, and I wasn’t sure if I should go or not. £5 entry fee, plus £2 extra as I’m not a member of English Athletics is a lot to pay for a 20 minute race, especially as there were no medals or anything as a momento. To put it into perspective, there was a charity race on the Thursday, same entry fee, but including finishers medals and a hot pot supper. Unfortunately I wasn’t home from work in time.

Back to the flat and fast 5k, and I gently ran the 2.5k to the race HQ, paid my money and waited for the start. The organisers decided to split the race into two, with sub 20 min finishers first, and then everyone else half an hour later. I thought that this was a terrible idea, but it actually worked really well, with loads of people cheering us ‘faster’ runners on, and then most of the faster runners stayed behind to cheer on the slower ones. All very good. I was in a quandary as to which race I should go in, but as I wanted sub 20 mins I went with the faster race.

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Boy were they fast! I was left for standing, but gradually pulled a few places back and manged to finish in 24th place with a time of 18:59. The winner went sub 15 minutes!

My fastest ever 5k as a Vet 40, shocking, even if Strava thought it was only 4.9k.

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No where near my all time pb for a 5k, currently at 16:05 which I did almost 20 years ago. Never say never, but I very much doubt that I will better that, especially as I turn 50 in 14 months. If I can keep my current speed until then, I’m hoping that I might be able to pick up a few Vet 50 trophies.

I’m not sure if I’ll do the race again, as they are putting it on each month. I think I’ll stick with parkruns, same distance but free, and I can run with Nelly (our silly old dog).

A Mini Adventure Around Skipton

Today was an unexpected day off, combined with a weather forecast suggesting it would be relatively warm and free from rain. To make the most of it I caught the first train of the day from Lancaster to Skipton. Northern Trains, so I wasn’t able to book my bike, but it wasn’t a problem. I also bought a return ticket as it only cost £1 more than a single.

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The idea of going to Skipton was so that I could grab a few more Veloviewer squares, with the long term plan of linking my cluster with the riding I did in Hull a couple of years ago. If all this means nothing to you, I have blogged about Veloviewer a few times (here).

With a carefully set out route I set off from Skipton station just after 8am, and headed to the hills. As I mentioned, the weather forecast suggested that it would be 5-7 degrees and dry. The actual forecast around Skipton was 2-3 degrees and plenty of rain, combined with a smattering of hail and sleet. My route was also phenomenally hilly, with snow and ice on the tops. Another reason for taking my Trek 920.

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At the bottom of the first big descent I crossed over the Leeds to Liverpool Canal, although I had to wait as a boat passed.

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A few more hills and a winding route to maximise square grabbing, before heading back into Skipton. I was pleased that I had bought a return ticket as my feet were cold and wet, as was much of the rest of me, despite putting on an extra layer. My revised plan was to follow my route to Gargrave and then return to Skipton to catch the 10.55 train. A couple of hilly dead-end dirt tracks meant that I had to revise my plan once again, to catch the return train from Gargrave. I had intended to cross over the busy A65 and ride along the canal towpath, but with less than ten minutes I had to get my head down and push it into Gargrave, making the train with less than one minute to spare.

The next train wasn’t for another three hours, and if I’d missed it I would have just cycled home. The route from Gargrave is a bit boring and I had done the same only ten days earlier, and with no easy squares I wasn’t too worried about my ride only being 30 miles, albeit it with over 1,000 m of climbing.

Back home and once uploaded to Strava I updated Veloviewer. The end result was 23 new squares and an extra 33 squares added to my cluster. I’m into the top 50, although I still have a long way to go to catch up with my old friend The Prof.

The before and after can be seen below.

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The next challenge will be to link the cluster to Keighley and over to Otley. There are still a whole load of squares required to link up with Hull, but I’m sure I’ll manage it this year.

 

Milestones – Part I

Since joining Strava back in May 2012, I have notched up over 100,000 km of cycling. Fairly impressive, or not, depending on your point of view. Not as impressive as some of the mile munchers on Strava, but I have a full time job, and I like spending time with my beautiful wife and loyal dog, instead of long rides all weekend every weekend, which is what I used to do a few years ago.

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The weather today was terrible, almost freezing and cold rain/sleet to contend with. As I only required 6 km to reach my milestone, my ride today was a paltry 6.3 km. Just enough.

Some stats for you. My first ride on Strava was on 27th May 2012 from the Universities Triathlon Championships in Nottingham. Strava upload is here. Pop over and be the first to give me kudos on my first Strava ride.

My 100,000 km has taken 2065 days, which works out at 48.4 km per day. I’ve ridden 2951 times, so each ride works out at 33.9 km. From Veloviewer I can see that I’ve climbed 914,500 m and received 52,895 kudos. My longest ride was 402.9 km and my hilliest was my Everesting attempt with 8879 m of climbing.

The Rapha Festive 500 – 2017 Edition

The Rapha sponsored Festive 500 has become a bit of a Strava tradition, with the aim being to cycle 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. It works out at 62.5km per day, or just under 40 miles. I’ve now completed six editions of this challenge, and you can read about the 2016 challenge here.

If you completed the challenge then Rapha send you a nice cloth badge, although I forgot to update my address last year, so I never received it, which was a shame. I mentioned last year that in 2012 only 4,000 people completed the challenge. This year I finished lower than 16,000th, and I did a bit extra so there could be another thousand or more behind me, which is an amazing achievement.

As expected the weather can play a big part in the challenge, and there were a couple of days when the temperature was below freezing with plenty of ice about. For that reason over half of this year’s challenge was completed on my Trek 920, the big tyre’d beast. Below is an image from Veloviewer showing where exactly I cycled for my 500+km.

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Last year I posted some stats on how much of the total festive 500 distances has been completed on each of my bikes, so here is an update to include 2017.

  • Trek Cobia 112.7km 3.7%
  • Cannondale 145.9km 4.8%
  • Forme 219.2km 7.2%
  • Trek 920 276.5km 9.1%
  • Colnago 1051.9km 34.6%
  • Scott 1230.2km 40.5%

Last year I mentioned that I would have expected to still have the Scott, and as a consequence it has completed the most miles for the combined festive 500 challenges.

Looking forward to next year.

200 Strava Swims

Yesterday evening I notched up my 200th Strava swim. I’ve been on Strava for five and a half years, but it wasn’t until February 2014 that I got myself a Garmin swim-watch. Before then I would only manually upload swims if they were ‘epic’. The first swim that I uploaded was in January 2013 and it was 6km. My longest swim was 11.4km and was part of a continuous triple ironman (you can read about it here). Below are a couple of photos of that swim.

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This year my target has been to swim 100miles, and with three weeks to go I only need a couple more swims, which will be the furthest I’ve ever swam in one year.

My 200 Strava swims total 478km, making each swim on average 2389m. I also manage to collect on average over 20 kudos per swim. My Eddington scores (explanation here and here) are only 4 miles and 6km, although for time it is 53 minutes. It will be a long while before the distance markers increase, but I only need to swim at least 53 minutes two more occasions for my score to reach 54 minutes.

I don’t yet have any big targets for 2018, although my wife seems to think that I should have a go at the Frog Graham! Windermere one way could well be another challenge, but we’ll see what develops.

Not much more to say really, except that I love swimming and even after all these years of triathlons and open water swims, I still get incredibly nervous at the start of every open water swim.

300 Rides

I’ve now done 300 rides on my trusty Scott Addict, bought second hand two and a half years ago. I’ve blogged about it (him) before (here), but I thought that I would blog again as I’ve reached a good milestone.

300 rides is about 2-3 rides every week, although he does get used more in the winter as my Principia, even after 17 years, is my summer bike (here). Back to my Scott, and my Eddington scores are 67 miles and 91 km. If you don’t know what Eddington scores are you can read about it here and here. My longest continuous ride was 323 km when I was training for a triple ironman (here), although I managed further during the triple with a few hours sleep.

The hilliest ride was when I had an unsuccessful Everesting attempt, where I made it 7200m of climbing. Monsoon conditions, numb hands and a puncture ended my attempt, although you can read about my other Everesting attempts here and here.

My total mileage in 13,500 miles, which works out at 45 miles per ride, which isn’t too bad, especially as my commuting bike works out at less than 8 miles per ride. Climbing works out at 695m per ride, which again isn’t too bad as I spent a year riding on the flat lands of Hull.

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Final pointless statistic is that I’ve received on average 56 kudos per ride, making my Scoot my most kudos’d bike.

So, here’s to the next 200 rides as I’ll blog about him once again when I reach 500.