Monday 30 May 2011

Tour of the Roaches

The day had finally arrived! All this cycling has been in preparation for The Tour of the Roaches sportive. Starting out on the Cheshire Plain and then heading up into the hills and around the Roaches (of course). I had chosen to do the "Giant Roach" which was a mighty 103 miles long - I haven't ridden 100 miles for over 15 years so I was a bit dubious of how it was going to go. Ruth more sensibly opted for the 75 mile route "Big Roach" but then she's never cycled 100 miles!
It was an early start to the day getting up at 6 to get started on the road about 8 for me and nearer 9 for Ruth. We registered and got our goody bags handed over along with the vouchers for a Chorley Cake at the beginning and a Pie voucher as a reward at the end.
As I set off  the heavy cloud turned to rain, I was not looking forward to 7 hours of getting wet (would be a bit like going to work!), luckily it soon stopped and left some strong wind instead.  I had expected to be riding in groups and get towed along but within the first 5 miles I found myself pedalling along on my own, it was to remain like this for the majority of the day, I only rode with another chap for a while and proceeded to go the wrong way!! Which addded a few miles onto the torturous 103. The course was supplied with a couple of feed stations and was well sign-posted ( well most of the time apart from where I went wrong - maybe that was my own fault for not looking enough?)  The hardest section of the ride happened to be around where I often ride which was of great benefit with tired legs as I knew what was ahead - Ruth took the excuse to get off at that point for a little walk - knowing it wasn't going to stop going up hill anytime soon!      
I arrived back to the start about 5 minutes after Ruth - which was good timing as she had the van keys. We collected out Tour of the Roaches mugs and scoffed as much pie, cake and recovery drink as possible whilst watching the end of the Giro d'Italia on the big screen in the Rugby Club - can't imagine what the locals were thinking surrounded by so much lycra!

Before we set off and with our history of rubbish backs, we decided to try out a "warm plaster" - which came from the Pound Shop.
As you can see I went for a lower back and shoulder combo and within 20 minutes of slapping them on and getting moving we both realised that they should be called "bloody boiling plasters". I expected it to last for maybe a couple of hours and then go cool, but not a chance 8 hours later after the ride and sitting around and driving home they were still really hot. Very impressive! I am sending Ruth off back to Poundland for some more ASAP!

So anyway - the official times for our rides were :
Andy 103 miles - 6hours 54mins
Ruth 75 miles - 6hours 13mins

Now these sort of rides are not supposed to be competitions - but obviously there is definitely some "friendly competition" involved, so looking at the end results it looked like I made it into the top 10 and Ruth came home second fastest girl - not bad for a couple of "bloody boiling plaster" wearing climbers. 

Thursday 26 May 2011

Ramshaw Raiding....

This week I'm working in the Peak with the University of Derby students, which means I've had the chance to get out on the crags after work. Tuesday I headed down to Cheedale and ticked off a few routes on The Embankment all very pleasant.
Last night however was a slightly different story........ James (who I've been working with) and I headed over to Ramshaw.
Now I have been to Ramshaw a couple of times in the last year and well, I've been eyeing up Ramshaw Crack. I think I must have some masochistic tendancies! So last night was the night to give it a go. The evening didn't get off to the best start when I managed overbalance off Traveller in Time - I blame the lack of a warm up and howling gale.

The main event of Ramshaw Crack was, well to be honest really quite painful! We did tape up, no way I could do it without - although not enough for round one, which meant a trip back to the van for another roll of tape and some reinforcement. I decided to try it ground-up - first go was pretty good, got to the chockstone (wobbly) and tried launching up the wide section, removed large quantities of skin and fell off. Several goes later and with more tape and even less skin, I eventually managed to reach the top of the crag - which means I don't have to do it again!!

I thought the jamming rash looked bad last night - really grim today!!

Monday 9 May 2011

Getting involved with Goliath!

 Today I headed out to meet Lee Roberts aka LeeDog, at Burbage with some shiny big camalots tucked in my rucksack and prepared to do battle with the Don Whillans classic Goliath.
I had once seconded Phil Dowthwaite up the route a couple of years ago so couldn't claim an on-sight, but was hoping to give it a good go.

Lee went up first and got the camalot 6 well placed before, after a good tussle, being ejected into space (see left!) So then it was my go, I pulled on and immediately it gets pretty physical, got to the big cam, clipped it and carried on through some strenuos laybacking until it's possible to once more get a leg back in the crack and a toe heel, fist jam combo which allows another big cam to go in above. This just left the finishing it off bit..........whereupon I struggled up, got a bit over excited, and tried to reach for the top too soon and slapped for a sloper instead of a jug and of course fell off.

Next go up was worse, fell off really early, and then almost immediately I got back on and managed to get it all right and latch the jug at the top - can't believe how a route so short can make you so tired!

Lee then got back on and decided to go for the more traditional approach and spent quite some time grovelling inside the crack before retreating minus quite a lot of skin from his elbow, ankle, forearm..........

Good expedition cut short by a huge amount of water, some of it in very hard hailstone formation,  hurling itself out of the sky and soaking us all to the skin.
Little bit of film below from the short lived second attempt, will put some more on of the successful version on a separate post.

Now in Wales for a few days so hopefully I'll be able to get some routes done over here if they aren't all being climbed by the BMC International Meet attendees!

Friday 6 May 2011

Flatness, Windmills and a lot of pedalling.....

 Okay, so we didn't actually see Windy Miller, but we 've definitely been in Windy Miller country for the last few days. Taking advantage of my parents apartment in Lowestoft (thanks Mum and Dad!) Ruth and I headed down for a few days to get some miles in the legs ready for getting involved with some longer rides over the next few weeks, including the Tour of the Roaches sportive.
We did see some great windmills, lots of pigs in fields, lots of beach and some incredibly flat countryside, disappontingly it was quite windy which made the 224 miles over 3 days quite hard work and my legs were quite tired.

Back home in the Peak now and ready to get back on the rock - a couple of hours down the Torrs today to get started......