Author Topic: Essex PBP Training  (Read 9121 times)

Bernster

  • ACME (Herts Branch)
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #25 on: January 24, 2015, 02:09:42 pm »
I think I would have been happier to ride at your pace Carlos, the guy I was riding with was on a bit of a mission by that stage, and it was all I could do to keep on his back wheel. I've got the required permission for the 31st, so I'll be there unless the weather looks awful - looking forward to riding with you again at a slightly more leisurely pace  :thumbsup:

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #26 on: January 24, 2015, 05:33:44 pm »
Meet at my house by 08:30 next Saturday [full address on AUKweb].

If you want breakfast I can provide that...before 08:00 would be about right. I can do bacon sarnies if you'd like, otherwise the usual toast n'cereal. Send in your requests.

So far we have: Tomsk, Tippers-Kiwi, Carlosfandango, Bernster, with Wingnut and Wilkyboy possible too....?

You can park a few bikes in our small front garden, right under the bay window, otherwise up the alleyway to the left [if you're facing our front door] for about 160 feet, first gate on the right at the end of the fence, then through the gate on the right with the 'Welcome' sign - that's where the bike shed is...

If anyone is running late and you don't catch up on the road, we'll be heading to the 'Chili and Chives' café in Lavenham for the first control. It's on the left heading up the hill past the Swan.

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #27 on: January 25, 2015, 09:33:02 am »
... and Wilkyboy possible too....?

Very probable, unless SWMBO comes up with something I hadn't mitigated against ...

Bacon sarnies, eh?  Now we're talking!  i am now aiming to be at yours before 8  ;D
RRTY #7 done.  Need something else to do ... ah, welcome #8 8)

Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2015, 10:33:47 am »
I wouldn't turn down a bacon Sarnie! I am planning to ride over and leaving Tiptree at 6:30 so timing should work out just about right.
Enjoying a quiet year

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2015, 02:27:01 pm »
The Horses for Courses 200 perm we rode yesterday turned into a slog-fest in the end for me.  It had strong similarities with my first ever 200, another of Tomsk's perms: strong winds, significant precipitation, and a feeling for half the ride that I'd be out of time (for the first time ever) ...

I started from Cambridge just after 5.30am for a 25km ride out to my start point on the route (it's a perm), leaving me with another 25km or so to meet up at Tom's.  The temperature was -2ºC and the lane outside our house had patches of frost, which were a bit skitty, but the road at the end of our lane was gritted and clear.

The ride from Linton down to Great Dunmow was on a mix of lanes and B roads, most of which should have been gritted.  However, the rivers of ground water washing across the road from field to field had removed the salt in places resulting in clear patches of scrunched up ice: there were no black ice surprises, just short sections of extreme crunchy wariness.

After a hard-earned bacon butty — thanks Tom! — we set off, five of us (not sure on all the yacf handles, apart from tippers_kiwi).  This is where my troubles started (I believe): I've been riding solo 200s (and a solo 600) for the past five months, which meant that I'd ridden to my own pace, which itself has been gradually slowing down: if I ride a stage above 20kph then I am happy with that.  I've always put this down to winter fitness and solo riding.  However, riding with Tomsk, who was on something like 64" fixed (judging by my comparative gearing), the pace was rarely  below 24kph, only helped by the fact we were still below zero, so mitigating the additional heat build-up for me.  I can usually maintain this sort of pace for 100km or so — when I first started this mallarkey in 2012 then 50km was my blow-up point.

The first section of the ride is a classic B-road Essex run to Suffolk — if you've ridden the Dunwich Dynamo then you've ridden most of this leg: Gt Dunmow, Gt Bardfield, Finchingfield, Sible Hedingham, Castle Hedingham, Sudbury, Lavenham.  No matter if you've ridden this route before, it's picture-postcard beautiful right the way through.  Topped off with a bowl of soup and a slice of caik at Chili & Chives café.

We were unsure whether we'd be able to ride the prescribed route from Lavenham to Snetterton Park (next door to Snetterton circuit), because this section involved quite a number of lanes that were off Suffolk and Norfolk's gritting maps.  We'd have to suck it and see … as it turned out, apart from a few field-run-off sections that were visibly crunched up, the roads were all clear.  This is a lovely, laney stage across old, abandoned airfields with wide-open vistas in all directions.  If the wind's up then it's going to catch you, because the final 25km are there-and-back, so you'll get it one way or the other.  For us we got the wind both ways as a nasty, bitterly cold crosswind.

This was the point I blew up: with just 10km to go to the control on a short, gentle incline, I had no power.  I bonked, hit the wall, whatever.  Four red lights disappeared over the brow of the hill, while I struggled up in bottom gear.  145km of riding and nothing left.  The group waited for me a few kms further on, for which I was grateful, but I waved them on, as we were so close to the control: I would only be a few minutes behind them.

After they had left me, it started to rain, and then started to snow, so I stopped to put on a waterproof.  This was going to be interesting if the snow stuck!  I slowly ground my way past the back end of Snetterton Circuit with the sound of highly tuned street cars (I think) buzzing around the track.  I caught up with the others for lunch and we had a decent stop — beef curry, yum  :)

While we were sat in the café, the snow turned into a bit of a blizzard, with huge, fluffy flakes falling and everyone crowded up against the window to watch.  This looked like it was going to be a tough stage because, apart from the initial 20km of cross wind, we'd be turning into the wind and whatever it was carrying into our faces.

We set off together, but I made it clear I would probably drop off the back and catch them at the next control, or not.  I stuck with them for 5km, before failing to develop enough power to stay attached.  It was going to be a long and lonely ride back into the wind and the snow.  I had 100km to get home, 75km to get to my virtual arrivée.  I sat on the bike calculating and re-calculating distances, average speeds, and cut-off times: I figured I would have to bounce the next control and maintain at least the minimum speed to just scrape in, which is much closer than I ever like to be.  I had had three long stops where normally I'd pretty much bounce through, so I had almost no time in hand.

The next section is a mostly laney run through the lanes south of Thetford and generally more closed-in by hedges than the previous stage, which provided at least some cover from the ferocious winds, which were 20-25mph slightly-off headwind.  And by now the roads were waterlogged with huge puddles extending from side-to-side of the lanes; fortunately the lanes in Norfolk have a significant camber, so the centreline wasn't too deep, but occasionally I'd have to play chicken with on-coming traffic (who were very conscientious).  Although I was wearing closed-top shoes, they aren't designed to be waterproof and my toes were damp, although not soaking, but cold, bitterly cold.  The temperature had barely broken into positive numbers and was now settling back below zero!

After an hour or so I came around the corner to the sight of four riders, one of whom had an upside-down bike and a wheel in hand: it turned out the puddles had hidden a pot-hole and tippers_kiwi had suffered a double-puncture.  In the cold and wet he had proceeded to fix both of them without removing his gloves!  I took a welcome break from the solo drudgery for a chat and when we set off again I quickly dropped off the back of the group: we were still 35km from the next control, that's how slowly I was moving by now!

The snow at times was blowing so hard into my face that I had to wear my yacf buff like a mask, as it stung so much.  Fortunately the snow was slush when on the ground and melting quickly, so this wasn't a safety issue.  My chain was toast, though: the wet and the scrog had got caught up in it and even though I re-oiled it halfway around it got washed off, resulting, inevitably, in immediate wear and stretch.  I had known the chain was near end-of-life, but it was now over-life and I lost the ability to change on the derailleur: I was stuck in high range, so hills were even harder.  I could've gotten off and forced it onto the bigger sprocket, but I had lost the ability for rational thought and was focused on getting to my virtual arrivée before running out of time.

I had forgotten how hilly the approach into Newmarket is: I've ridden this road once in the opposite direction and it felt fine, but of course it was all downhill then.  Now it was all uphill and into a strengthening headwind: I was in bottom gear and struggling to maintain 14.3kph.  I was losing time!

I caught up with the others as they were finishing their stop at the Newmarket control and by now it was pitch dark — it's winter.  I bounced through, just getting some happy food for the final run.  From here I had some 20-odd km and I had around two hours to do it in: I should be okay, so long as I could maintain an average above the minimum, and without visitations (but since I ride Marathons, these are somewhat rare: one in 10,000km).  A quick shufty at the map and Tomsk pointed out an alternative, slightly straighter and much safer route back to my personal arrivée along a good B road: where they turned left, I would head straight on.

I rode out with the others and we clipped along nicely for the first 5km or so, which nicely boosted my average for this stage.  As the road started to climb I ran out of low gears and dropped off the back, but to my surprise I still had one of the others behind me, barely catching me, so maybe my winter fitness isn't so bad … it didn't last long, though, and he passed me to latch back onto the group, no names, no pack drill and all that.

I spent the next hour counting down the kilometres: 15, 10 — I though I'd arrived, but I'd forgotten that I passed through Balsham before turning left towards Linton.  Bummer!  Fortunately the road to Linton felt flat-to-downhill and I maintained a steady speed to R@T and there it was, in all its glory: The Co-Operative (food).  I checked the time: about 13 hours, I had managed to salvage an hour in hand in the final 75km, in spite of complete lack of power, result!   :thumbsup:

At this point I was still 22km from home.  I texted Mrs W to tell her all was well and I was soooo tempted when she offered to pick me up.  But, no, in for a penny, in for a pound and all that!  She was like, "whatever".  I dragged my broken body back over the Gog Magogs towards Cambridge, having to pedal downhill, that's how strong the wind was!!  I span along at 18kph in bottom gear, the jump to the next gear up being too great in this blow.  I made it home in a disrespectable 75 minutes, averaging a disappointing 16.something kph!  But by now I was off the clock and it didn't matter, except to my own pride   :facepalm:

Horse for Courses 200 perm — and The Horsepower 200 calendar ride, Sat 7th March — is a good, quick ride … if you have the legs for it, of course.  The route is classic Essex for the first 50, wide-open Suffolk for the next 50, Norfolk hedges and lanes for the third 50, and finally a quick B-road run through Thaxted for the final leg to Great Dunmow and arrivée.  This is an ideal early season run or a first 200, as it's challenging enough, but the final leg is quick and so favours tiring legs.  The scenery is great in the wide-open-skies and rural-hedgy-lanes sense … and of course the classic, pretty, thatched-Essex sense.

Thanks Tom for another "fun" day out on the bike!  A little less weather next time, please  ;)

Postscript: the others took some photos, hopefully we'll see some here soon.  Me, not any for a change.
RRTY #7 done.  Need something else to do ... ah, welcome #8 8)

Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2015, 03:34:21 pm »
That all sounds horribly grim - well done to all of you!

I was planning to go for a spin yesterday afternoon but the snow put me off. The 2013 Easter Arrow has left me scarred when it comes to winter riding.

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2015, 06:46:59 pm »
...Rule #5.....

Actually, I quite enjoyed coping with it all yesterday. Good to have company all the way round, as well as being very relaxed about café time. My average speed was up a bit on the Willy Warmer, though it was a flatter route. I felt a whole lot stronger, with no wibbly  moments - got my hydration right and never felt low on energy. The wind was a bit grim when it was blowing snow or cold rain across, but the strong tailwind on the final 50km was great!

Next Saturday [7th] is still possible for a randonnee - maybe Dick Turpin, reversed? Otherwise, I could possibly take a day off in half-term [16-20th Feb].

Bernster

  • ACME (Herts Branch)
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2015, 07:29:19 pm »
Thoroughly enjoyed riding with you all, and a very enjoyable day out given the conditions - granted I'd rather it was a few degrees warmer, and snowing less (horizontal snow hitting you in the face isn't the best fun you can have on a bike), but completing this ride gives me confidence that I can deal with most weather conditions. Thanks for the write up WilkyBoy, and glad to hear that you made it round in time. You were right behind me on that hill, and I turned round a minute or so later, and you were out of sight - it takes some mental toughness to push on in those conditions on your own!

After a quick pint at the Arivee, I set off to ride back to Bishop's Stortford with a train in mind, but probably not enough time given the strengthening headwind. Rather than accept defeat, I used up all the energy I had left and made it with seconds to spare. It was all I could do to hold myself and my bike upright on the train and eat 3 bags of emergency Haribo!

Finally a big thanks to everyone for their company, and especially to Tomsk for the bacon sandwich and cuppa at the start, organising the ride and for the metronomic tempo that you set that made the last 50k a lot easier than it otherwise would have been... Looking forward to riding with you all again soon  :thumbsup:

Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #33 on: February 01, 2015, 09:23:31 pm »
It was indeed a good day out. Thanks to Tomsk for the hospitality in the morning.

I had a bit of a struggle between Snetterton and Newmarket on the long slightly uphill drags and made the mistake of overworking myself to keep up, I think that is part of the reason I hit that pothole as I was just a bit wrecked from working myself and not drinking. Once I settled myself into my own pace again it all came back together and I felt quite comfortable.

On the way out of Newmarket I got caught by the light (with Bernster), I was not going to blow myself up catching the group again as I remember the road out of Newmarket from the A&S last year being a little nasty. I spun my way up and as Wilky confirms I think he was a little surprised how far behind I was. I managed to get back with the others who I can only assume dropped their pace a little for me around the Linton area.

The last section back into Dunmow is that roller coaster from Thaxted and I again dropped off the back but was riding pretty comfortably. I ended up back at the Angel and Harp a couple of minutes behind the others. I felt pretty good but had called for a lift home as I was sick of riding until my hands and feet warmed up for the day. I had ridden the 34k over in the morning so felt that was good enough.

Going by my Garmin I finished in 11h 40m which is pretty much exactly the same as the time on the Willy Warmer a couple of weeks earlier. Although the Willy Warmer had more climbing I do thing the conditions were more testing yesterday.

Thanks to Bernster for the beer at the end, it felt well earned and hopefully I'll have a chance to pay it back soon!
Enjoying a quiet year

wilkyboy

  • "nick" by any other name
    • 16-inch wheels
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #34 on: February 01, 2015, 09:45:20 pm »
Actually, I quite enjoyed coping with it all yesterday ...

^^^ This — it was fun, in a masochistic way.  And it was good to check all the kit under extended bad conditions, see what works and what doesn't — as Bernster said, we now have a sense of confidence in the face of adverse weather.  It's nice to do it once in a while, and since last winter was soooo mild, it felt we almost deserved it as penance … :facepalm:

As for times: I started part-way between two controls, so ended up with an extra control (breakfast at Tom's), although I bounced Newmarket where you guys stopped.  I made it around in 12h50m with a very generous 3hrs stoppage, which was an enjoyable approach to the ride -- I don't think I've spent quite so long off the bike on a 200.

As for the next one: I will probably miss it, as I have a new DIY I need to ride … and then we're back for the same again in the guise of The Horsepower helpers' ride  :thumbsup:
RRTY #7 done.  Need something else to do ... ah, welcome #8 8)

Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2015, 09:56:15 pm »
I'll do my own write up on the blog a bit later but some photos for now....

On the road to Snetterton


The Russian T55 tank at the Snetterton Cafe. In my Swiss Army days I would have been expected to know this without heistation...I got it wrong havin gone for the T72!


It all looked a little more white when we came back out. The tank at least looked at home!






And this is what Wilkyboy refers to Above. It came side on with some velocity at times!


Being hefty doesn't help with Potholes....other than it didn't bounce me off. It was the few seconds after Impact I thought....wow that was lucky I didn't get a flat, then......BANG!

Enjoying a quiet year

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2015, 06:40:59 am »
That sounds like fun.........If you can do the DTDO on the 8th, I'd be up for that.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2015, 07:34:25 am »
Just FYI for anyone planning perms in Suffolk, they don't grit B roads now, nor bus routes. Just the A14/A11/A12. I've heard tell of gritting on the A134 & A143 but I'm not sure the A1101 gets it, nor the A1068.
There is description and map, here  but it doesn't reflect my experience of what actually happens.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Carlosfandango

  • Yours fragrantly.
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2015, 10:32:43 am »
Thank you all for a very civilised ride.

The very good company and Tomsk's expert pacing and route finding made it a very relaxed day. Tea and toast at the start courtesy of Tomsk, a lovely rhubarb frangipan tart at Lavenham and a veg curry at Snetterton kept me going. It was a good route for a winter Audax, even the minor blizzard between Snetty and Newmarket couldn't stop us, though I'd lost the feeling in my fingers by Newmarket. (Thank you Bernster for removing my helmet!).

I actually felt warm on the last leg to Dunmow.
That pint in the Angel was good though.

I've ordered a new bottom bracket and given my bike a severe talking too, I'm really not gonna spend any more money on it this year.

Bernster

  • ACME (Herts Branch)
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2015, 12:09:20 pm »
Great photos Tippers, I'm glad someone managed to capture the horizontal snow. Sorry to see that photo of your wheel though - is the rim rideable, or is it a rebuild job? You certainly hit that flooded pothole hard from the noise made, and I was thankful not to see you on the deck when I looked round.

Carlos, I'm liking the idea of giving your bike a severe talking to - I've got visions of you picking up a roadside tree branch, and threatening to give it a damn good thrashing John Cleese style!

Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2015, 12:33:18 pm »
Yeah, I think I caught that snow quite well considering. If you were to throw some crushed ice across your face with bare hands it would probably give about the right feeling as well  :)

The rim is going to be replaced. Although it looked OK(ish) once I straightened it out I notices that the lump actually shows on the rim beyond the brake track and I thought that might cause some issues to the actual structure. I dropped the guy who built them a mail and he agreed that they should be replaced. Even if they were OK the brakes still made a thudding sound over the area which is not nice and I would really hate for something to fully fail at the wrong time (going fast, in a group, miles from home on an audax). Spokes and Hub can all be reused so it is not crazy money just a little annoying. As you say, it could have been worse, it was a pretty heavy impact (it would be with my weight on the bike though  ;D)

Thanks to you all for stopping at that stage, I know the getting cold again was not the best thing but hopefully you all got some entertainment watching me changing tyres refusing to take my gloves off. I reckon I would have lost some skin on that Inflator if I had taken them off.
Enjoying a quiet year

Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2015, 01:09:34 pm »
Well done chaps!

I have been dead lazy so far this year, but your winter epic reminds me I have to get back out there... Hopefully will be able to make an Essex ride soon, the mid term day off sounds like an idea!

Tippers - what is it with you and rims?!

A

Carlosfandango

  • Yours fragrantly.
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2015, 01:43:20 pm »


Carlos, I'm liking the idea of giving your bike a severe talking to - I've got visions of you picking up a roadside tree branch, and threatening to give it a damn good thrashing John Cleese style!

I'm very tempted. It's what it deserves.



Tippers, your roadside puncture repairs were impressive, I couldn't have managed that wearing gloves. Pity about the rim though. What about a change to deep section bling like Tomsk? Would that be any stronger?

Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2015, 02:05:10 pm »
What about a change to deep section bling like Tomsk? Would that be any stronger?

Stiffer overall, but wouldn't make any difference to the sidewalls and tyre well, I wouldn't have thought.

Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #44 on: February 02, 2015, 02:13:57 pm »
What about a change to deep section bling like Tomsk? Would that be any stronger?

Stiffer overall, but wouldn't make any difference to the sidewalls and tyre well, I wouldn't have thought.

Probably more expensive to replace as well and considering.....

Tippers - what is it with you and rims?!

I think I will stick to the Open Pro's for now and leave the deeper section stuff to the more sleek amongst us!

I may however look into setting myself up for some wheel fettling at home....lord knows I have plenty of parts to practice on now.



Enjoying a quiet year

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #45 on: February 02, 2015, 07:23:16 pm »
That sounds like fun.........If you can do the DTDO on the 8th, I'd be up for that.

8th Feb might be possible, I'll have to do some negotiating....

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #46 on: February 02, 2015, 07:37:01 pm »


Heading back through the woods to the Suffolk border...



...and free roadside entertainment, courtesy of the P#n(t=re Fairy. Impressive job Tippers, with winter gloves on!

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #47 on: February 03, 2015, 08:51:14 pm »
Sunday 8th is ok  :thumbsup:

Anybody else up for this, or is it just me and Aunt Maud?

Start at 08:00 - I think the standard way round works better on a Sunday:

Brunch at Wally's around 11, quick pub stop in Walsham, Co-op in Debenham, McDonald's Sudbury...might still be daylight even?

Keeping an eye on the forecast...again  ::-)

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #48 on: February 04, 2015, 06:17:46 am »
Okey dokey, I'll let you look at the weather Tomsk as I'm off to Wochma via Tewkesbury on Saturday.

See you Sunday.

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: Essex PBP Training
« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2015, 07:46:29 am »
Well that was a pleasant day out, even though I was a bit worse for wear from the previous days outing.

We were blessed with sun, sun and more sun and even the motons of essexshire were behaving themselves. All in all a good day to be out and about.

Cheers Tomsk for towing me round, till next time.

Aunt Maud.

P.S. McDonalds is still pants though. ;)