Twycross

Downed tools at about 4:30 and retrieved the red Boardman from the garage. Thought I’d do a Twycrosser, since I didn’t do one at the weekend. Dry enough weather. From the forecast and the Met Office rainfall radar it looked like I might pick up a brief shower. Interestingly the roof of my car was wet indicating that a shower had occurred, but it must have been brief because you couldn’t tell from looking at the roads.

It was very flippin’ blowy though, not to mention a bit cold. After the first couple of minutes I decided to keep it short, just a statutory 15 miles to get me out of rowing machine duties – but as time wore on I got used to it and decided to perservere. I did do the intended 21+ miles. Picked up a bit of rain later on but very light.

Only had a little blinky flasher front light with me and I’d intended to be back while there was enough light, but unfortunately I had to take a phone call for ten minutes a mile or two north of Twycross, which upset my timing a bit. Ended up relying on passing and oncoming cars to illuminate the road in front of me over the last mile and a half.

Because I pushed a bit harder than usual after Twycross to get home before dark, my knees feel slightly knackered now. But I hope my strategy of working them regularly will help them to recover. Eventually.

My Soleus GPS claimed 22.23 miles when I stopped recording and Strava took it at its word, but I knew that about half a mile of that was LIES due its GPS doping habit so I dutifully pressed the “recalculate” button on Strava to get a more realistic 21.80. And that’s 44 this month, not too shabby.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2191356779

Diseworth

Did a modest 22 miles earlier on to kick off the March campaign, but didn’t do a Twycrosser this time. Thought I’d do something different, and I fashioned a route that would take me through Coalville, up through Whitwick and up to Belton, then across to Diseworth, just south of Donington then home via my old way back from the office. This would have given me 20.35 miles, so I was a little puzzled when I realised that I’d end up doing at least 22. As it turns out, I took a wrong turn at Diseworth that resulted in me taking a longer loop round at the top, though I didn’t realise it until later.

The red Boardman was once again my instrument of preference today. Mostly nice out there, fairly blowy but bright and dry. I mostly took at easy, though I put my boot down a bit in the middle 7 or 8 miles as I’m on call, and was taking a bit of a risk being more than a few miles from home. Could have done without the headwind over the later part of the ride.

The Boardman has started doing that annoying thing where the transmission is a bit juddery in the smallest 3 cogs at the back – I can’t remember how I fixed it last time; new cassette, new chain or both. But it’s not that bothersome at the moment, I don’t use those gears that often. I’ll have have to have a look back through this thread to find out what I did to fix it before.

Noticed a blue purse lying in the grass just off the road about a mile from home. Stopped to have a look – it was rather damp, but contained quite a few debit / credit / loyalty cards and a driving licence with a name and address, so I brought it back with me. No cash in it of course. Took it round to the specified address in the car shortly after I got home, and the lady to whom it belonged was very surprised to see it – said it had been taken from her bag in a supermarket before Christmas. She gave me a £5 reward – I honestly did my best to refuse it, but she was so insistent that it actually seemed rude to argue the point. So I accepted it gratefully and humbly, and shall stick it in the breast cancer charity fund.

22.24 miles. 385 this year.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2186010391

Targets

It’s March, and my spready has recalculated the monthly targets for me to hit 2112 miles this year based on the remaining 1749 miles; this month’s requirement is 168. The biggest target is June’s, at 210.

Since I did 185 in Feb and it’s a short month it would be rude not to jack up the yearly target a bit. I’ll say 2500 for now.

The weather forecast for the weekend has improved a bit. Cloudy and a bit blowy, but no rain.

Twycross

As planned, I downed tools early to go cycling in the beautiful quasi-summer weather we’ve been having. I wore a mere two layers on top, and shorts. Possibly the earliest date in the year that I’ve ever cycled with my legs out, but needless to say I was certainly adequately warm.  Perhaps not having shaved them helped.  And I wore a helmet, for what I think is the first time this year. Clearly a woolly hat is not appropriate in this weather. I wore a peaked sport cap on Sunday.

I took the X with me this time, bringing to an end a run of 448 consecutive miles on the red Boardman. The X certainly felt different – a fair bit lighter and more refined – and it made light work of the slightly-longer-than-Sunday Twycross that I embarked upon. I set off 20 minutes earlier than Sunday with the hope of being back in bright daylight, and I’m pleased to say that I achieved that. A slightly later sunset and a quicker bike also helped, of course.

Really nice to be out on the green one again for the first time in four months.

Did a Twycross version that I’ve probably done quite a few times; straight through Twycross to Sheepy then back along Gibbet Lane. Knees did OK, feeling a bit sore now but I think they’ll be back to what passes for normal these days by Thursday.

My new DAB radio performs beautifully – it sounds great and even hangs on to the 5 Live DAB signal in what I’d hitherto assumed to be a DAB black spot just south of Heather. It’s just a shame that it only does 5 hours on a single charge (according to the manual). The supplied earplugs are of decent quality but protrude a bit and pick up wind noise – I shall replace them with my favourite variant of Sennheisers.

Annoyingly the X’s bike computer ran out of juice (a CR2032 in this case) after about a mile and I was using my phone in my jacket to track the ride, so had no functioning odometer. But I didn’t really need one.

No wildlife of any note but a very pleasant 21.79 miles. A couple more than I want to be doing at this stage really but having a quicker / lighter bike is a mitigating factor.

185 this month.    https://www.strava.com/activities/2177227021

Just looking at the track on Strava, I’m struck by how accurate it is, following the road really smoothly and closely. I used the same phone to track a walk in the City last week and it was all over the place – jagged and wobbly. I think reflections from tall buildings must interfere quite a bit.

Bilstone / Carlton

Lovely day. Unfortunately I’d booked lunch for 2pm at a local hostelry. I was determined to do 20 miles or so, and decided to do them after lunch rather than before as it was a bit cool and misty in the morning. Perhaps more hazy than misty, but anyway – afternoon seemed a better bet with temperatures slated to climb quite a bit from 1pm or so.

I hoped to be out of there by 3:15pm or so but due to their pitifully slow service – I’ll be crucifying them on Tripadvisor later – I hadn’t mounted the Boardman until just after 4pm. Just enough time though for a decent run out without resorting to a powerful front light.

I’d planned a route which I thought would give me a bit more than 20 miles, but it didn’t, for some reason. Must have got it mixed up with another route.

I used my Soleus GPS watch to track the route. To my amazement it spontaneously started using BST time about half-way through the ride after I fiddled with the buttons. But it looks like an update to my Windows lappy has buggered up Java on it, and I haven’t been able to upload the track to Strava.

My right knee was feeling a bit sore before I set off so I thought I’d try my tendon strap again. It did hold up pretty well through the ride. My left knee has started giving a bit of discomfort after 10 miles or so, which it wasn’t before I did that stupid 50 miler two weeks ago.

Ah well.

Bit of an unusual route, this one. I stopped short of Twycross again to head left to Bilstone, but this time I went straight through and on to Carlton, then back up the usual way from there. I don’t think I’d done that stretch of road between Bilstone and Carlton before but it was lovely – very quiet and scenic, but well-surfaced. Not muddy. I’ll incorporate it into a longer Twycross route.

Home with the very last of the light.

Don’t know if I’ll be able to get the track off the watch. But 19.64, which takes me over target this month to 163 miles.

Looking at the weather, a run out on Tuesday looks on the cards. Sunset at 17:38. I’ll try to finish work early.

Cleaning and DAB

No cycling today, shame as the weather is glorious. But I did hose out the Boardman’s chain with GT85 and relubed it. I think it was the filthiest I’ve ever seen it. Managed to get most of the gunk off the jockey wheels – it was coming off in hard chunks.

Also gave the grimier parts of the nether regions (the bike’s, not mine) a wipe with a GT85-soaked rag. It deserves a proper clean, really. Maybe in the summer.

In other news – I’ve bought a new personal DAB, you can’t have too many. At 55g it’s the lightest one I own. Doesn’t have removable batteries so not that useful for a long ride. Also bought myself a new bike lock while wandering around Spitalfields on Wednesday. Not ultra secure as it uses a simple two-prong key to unlock. Not much more than a sort of steel-reinforced plastic tie. But again, very light at 27g including the key.

Little Twycross

Lovely sunny afternoon – mild, only slightly blowy and dry so with a decent quantity of post-4pm daylight on offer and the legs seeming to have recovered somewhat from their 50 mile indulgence a couple of weeks ago, I decided I’d go for a shortish spin. Not too far – about 15 miles, I thought – because I want them to recover properly tomorrow so I can go out again on Sunday.

Got to the garage and decided I’d take the Planet X, but realised that the X’s bike computer was in the house. If I’d had a GPS watch on I’d have been fine of course but I only had the phone with me. So I took the red Boardman again.

I did the short version of the Twycross that takes a left at Little Twycross to Bilstone. Took it easy, really enjoyed myself. Even the farmy smells seemed to have a certain charm in the almost-spring sunshine.

No wildlife of particular interest save some cute birds in the trees near Twycross. Some sort of tit with a grey / beige chest colour and black & white trim round the head. Coal tits, perhaps or at least that’s what https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/identify-a-bird/ suggests.

16.68, leaving me with just 13 to do to reach the modest Feb target (156).

Belton

Strava’s a bit slow this afternoon.

Anyway I had a run out to Belton and back, eschewing the “figure of eight” route of old in favour of a more circular route through Coalville and Thringstone, intended to moderate the elevation a bit.

Quite pleasant, almost spring-like. But I had to contend with a bastard of a headwind coming back south, along Top Brand. Right knee hurt all the way round – possibly as much a consequence of the slant board exercises I was doing last night, as recent cycling shennanigans – but I don’t think I’ve done it any harm and it didn’t get any worse. More typical joint pain than the stabby, raw pain I get sometimes.

I trialled a new GPS phone app called “GPS logger” – quite a straightforward app that simply records your track to a GPX file on the phone, but the interesting thing is that you can set the logging interval – so you could set it to record only every 30 seconds, or even once a minute, or longer. Might be handy for long distances if you need to save phone power. Perhaps useful for keeping track of where you went on a long car journey.

I had it set to record the position every 6 seconds. As you can see from the following two samples the GPS Logger track is cruder than the Strava app track which I recorded at the same time, but still does a pretty good job of tracking the route.

Anyway – 15.29, which takes me to 305 this year. Another 29 to do this month to reach the 156 target. But probably no more cycling until Friday at the earliest due to other commitments.

Twycross

Went out on the Boardman this afternoon. Lovely day – mild, bright and sunny. I’d intended a low elevation route to the Gibbet Post and back which would have been about 15-16 miles. I’d picked it out by perusing my activity record on Strava, sorting them by distance and looking for the low elevation ones in the 15-16 mile range.

However being my usual absent-minded self I realised by the time I got to Snarestone that I’d basically ignored my plan, and was doing a Twycross on auto-pilot. As I neared Twycross though I turned left along Bilstone Road to Bilstone and Congerstone, to keep it short. Home on 16.73 miles.

Both knees experienced a bit of discomfort. Possibly I did give myself a setback at the weekend by doing nigh-on 50 miles. It’s a long journey. What the destination is I don’t know, but anyway I will be good and increase my distances in 2 mile per week increments as instructed by Physio 2. I’ll start from 16 miles, unless my knees improve markedly in which case I’ll consider my setback to be temporary and bump up the distances a bit more.

Lovely view of the daytime 2/3 full Moon in a clear blue sky throughout. One or two buzzards around, flying high against the blue backdrop.

The battery on my old Forerunner 10 died with about two miles to go. I suppose I’ll give up on it. Once again I synthesised the track by looking on Strava for the last time I’d done the same ride, exporting the GPX, editing it to remove 8 metres or so where I overshot a turn (because I didn’t do that this time) and to change the timestamps. I used a graphical tool called gpsprune. Nice & easy. Uploaded the modified version to Strava, job done.

Maybe another Twycrosser on Sunday.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2150910811

290 this year now, all of them on the red Boardman.

Twycross

Took a late, long lunch break and did a Twycross on the Boardman. Right knee was still feeling a bit aggravated from doing (very nearly) 50 miles on Saturday. I took it easy but still got pain in both knees after 8 miles or so. Nothing debilitating and I was able to complete 23.56 miles without suffering too much, but perhaps I gave myself a bit of a setback on Saturday. It does feel as though there’s a trend toward them getting better eventually. I was having to hop upstairs in July, and although I feel a bit of a pain in the right knee still I can at least ascend them normally now.

I’ll see how they feel at the weekend anyway, with another three or four days off.

Anyway quite a pleasant run out, disregarding concerns about my anatomy. Not too blowy, not overly cold. Bright to start off then a bit overcast and gloomy. Then dark-ish, but I had lights. Was back while there was still enough light to see the road without a powerful beam at the front (just had a cheapo LED blinker with me).

So that’s 95 this month, leaving me with 61 to do in the rest of Feb. 273 done this year.

Going to stick to 20 or so for a week or two I think. I hadn’t actually intended to do as many as 23 today. Just mentally miscalculated. I suppose I should keep a handy list of familiar routes and their distances.