The Bearded Tile Hound

The Prof set up a group on Strava called The Beards of Bowland. I’ve blogged about them a few times (here, here and here). Recently The Prof has become a bit obsessed with tile hunting and expanding his maximum cluster and re-named the Beards of Bowland as The Tilehunters. As I’m an admin in the group I promptly re-named it as The Bearded Tilehounds.

I don’t have the time or the opportunity to expand my cluster as often as The Prof, but over the last couple of months I have added almost 1,000 tiles to my max cluster. The image below is from the middle of May this year.

cluster old

In the last couple of months I’ve had an overnight trip to Liverpool, a weekend away with my beautiful wife in the south lakes, three days cycling to and from York, and yesterday an off-road foray around Shap. This has resulted in my cluster now being 2,444 tiles and I’m up to 28th on the Veloviewer leaderboard (still some way to go to make the top 20). My revised max cluster can be seen below.

cluster new

My cluster now stretches from Penrith in the north down to Liverpool at it’s southern most point, and from Grizebeck in the west all the way to Hull and Scunthorpe in the east, via Skipton, Wetherby and York.

I lived in Hull for over a year a couple of years ago, so I’m pleased to have linked my cluster across the country. Of course I was living in Hull before the great Squarepocalypse (read about it here), so there are plenty of missing tiles.

What’s next for my max cluster? Tomorrow I’m supporting friends from COLT at IMUK, and I plan on a short ride around Bolton, an hour at the most, and probably only adding a dozen tiles. After that I should be able to link up Penrith to Carlisle, and across from Penrith to Appleby and Kirkby Stephen. It’s not always as easy to add tiles up in the north of England as there are fells and moorland with no easy access, but I will keep on plugging away.

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Veloviewer Leaderboard

My regular readers will know that I’m a fan of Veloviewer and all of it’s extra stats. Read about all of my Veloviewer posts here. A few years ago Veloviewer introduced leaderboards, but only the top 20, and I was amazed to find that for overall Eddington score (miles) I was in 19th place. Recently Veloviewer has introduced placing for everyone, although only the top 20 make it to the list. I’m now down to 87th for my Eddington score.

My good friend The Prof has made it up to 18th for the maximum cluster score, while I’m still languishing in 50th place, but I have made the top ten on one list.

Swimming distance so far in 2018.

swimThat’s me in 8th place, having swam 32km so far this year. I’ve entered a 10km swim later in the year, and in June I’m doing Isoman which is a triathlon with a 7 mile swim (read about my races for this year here). I have therefore increased my swimming, helped with the terrible weather, and this morning I managed my second 5km swim of the year. I couldn’t stop eating all morning.

Let’s be fair though, this leaderboard isn’t too impressive after just one month, and I have no doubt whatsoever that I will soon drop down the list, but it’s nice while it lasts.

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.

skipton1

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.

Skipton2

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.

Skipton3

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.

skipton5

skipton4

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.

Untitled

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.

festive 500 2017

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.

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.

Segments x 100

One thing I like about Veloviewer is the segment analysis page, which also lets me know that I’ve done over 12,000 different segments. I can also sort them by how many times I’ve done them. I have now done 99 segments 100 times or more.

After ten months of commuting to and from Wigan, there are now five segments in the area that I’ve done 100 times. I’ve attempted the ‘Ince Park’ segment 104 times, although it isn’t too exiting.

wigan

Due to traffic and being on my commuting bike I’m nowhere near the top of the leader board, but that OK.

The segment that I’ve done the most times is still ‘Dallas Road Pothole Dash’, with 529 times, although the last time I did it was May last year, so it might not stay at the top too much longer.

The segment that I’ve done that has been done by the most people is ‘Embankment Bridge to Waterloo Bridge’ with over 25,000 different athletes having done it. I remember a few years ago being exited when a segment had been done by over 1,000 different people. If it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen 🙂