Weebles Wobble – but they don’t fall down (off thier bike)

I don’t think I have ever ridden in wind that strong, not just gusty, but so strong that I had to lean into the wind as it blew across me and strong enough to leave me almost at a standstill going downhill into it. The strength of the wind did mean I wasn’t going to break many records today, but this was more about getting some miles in and not the time it took.

I may have wobbled a few times, but I didn’t fall down.

This was another ride of firsts and records for me. This is the furthest I have ever ridden, even though I took the same route as usual, I rode up to the windmills rather than driving up as I have the past few times. I also managed to ride faster than I have ever been before – just over 37mph, which I think is probably near to my highest possible speed on the bike that I currently ride, after all it is a mountain bike and not a road bike.

Even though it was windy and I had a few near misses in the gusts, I still managed to get a couple of personal best times on Strava, including one that has been eluding me for some time, a short sprint up a fairly steep hill. I guess I just hit the hill at the right speed in the right gear because I took nearly 10 seconds off my best time, which stood at just under 1 minute and is now down to 46 seconds.

Unlike a couple of weeks ago when I was nearly sick, I enjoyed this ride and really do think at some point I will be able to crack the 20 mile barrier – the next big milestone in my fledgling cycling career.

Ride Details

Distance: 14.7 miles

Time Taken: 1:31:36

Elevation Gain: 900ft

The photos for today look across the valley from the windmills at my back towards Emley Moor Mast and across towards Wakefield. Both are taken from the furthest point away from home.

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Looking towards home and Emley Moor Mast

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Looking towards Wakefield and beyond

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Last of the Summer (Whine)

For those people who know a little about the area and those who perhaps have an unhealthy knowledge of TV transmitter locations in the UK, you may have guessed I live close to Holmfirth in West Yorkshire.

Some may also know that this is where the simply awful TV program Last of the Summer Wine is filmed, in and around where I ride, hence the reference in the title.

So is this it? The last of the Summer? It is the middle of October and we are still getting daytime temperatures in the mid to high teens, just right for a ride around the countryside for what will be one of the last times this year. According to a work colleague we are going to have snow like we’ve never seen it before in November, so if that happens around here it really will be the last time this year!

With this in mind I wanted to go as far as I could, mindful that last week I was nearly sick, and that I only really had an hour of riding time before I had to be home for a hair cut!

For this ride I decided to drive up towards the windmills, not too close, just so I didn’t have to ride up the hill, wear myself out and not enjoy the ride. The route then took me towards and around the windmill route, one that I have done so many times now.

As I came to the end of the 10km windmill route I felt really good and wanted to do it again, but had to remember the time and the fact I had to be back home soon. I decided to take another route which would add a couple of miles to my distance and let me try to beat a section time on Strava. When I had finished and got back to the car I had only done just over 9 miles, not enough I thought so back towards the windmills I went so I could take a few pictures of the view (the sheep picture below), then doubled back to the car to go home.

Once I got home I felt fine, I could have gone again and could have done the windmills twice, something that I want to attempt at some point in the near future (weather permitting).

One thing I have noticed is the time that I go out has a massive impact on how well I do and how good I feel. Early mornings are not good, especially if I haven’t long eaten. The best time seems to be mid afternoon, after lunch when I have the most energy. Although it isn’t always possible to ride at this time, I am going to make sure that I try to go further and harder when I get the opportunity to ride in the afternoon.

Ride Details

Distance: 11.2 miles

Time Taken: 1:01:33

Elevation Gain: 583ft

This week I thought as I bang on about the windmills so much I would take some pictures of them. Also as a departure from the normal views I have take a picture of some of the animals I share the countryside with. Today it’s sheep!

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Looking at the windmills, I will be riding up the road I am looking down at the end of the loop – basically this is the start of the windmills 10km for me.

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Riding past the small windmills

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Looping round the windmills as the furthest point from home.

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This is the view across the valley, taking in some sheep.

Wet ‘n’ Wild

Today’s ride contained a couple of firsts for me. This is the first time I have been out when it has been really wet and windy, thanks mostly to our glorious summer this year I have managed to ride in relative calm, without getting wet.

The second is that I had to stop because I thought I was going to be sick. Not a nice one, but it’s the first time I’ve really pushed myself past my comfort zone and felt really bad for doing it. This came about because I put too much into a climb I have never attempted before and regretted it when I got to the top! Today is also the first day I have worn my newly purchased luminous yellow waterproof jacket, which was a god send with the weather.

I usually know where I am going to ride before I set off, at least the general direction I am heading in and how I might get myself back home without just turning round and going back the way I came. I also like to do a bit of a circuit so there are only a couple of routes in and out of where I live. In essence you either go up first or down first, I prefer to go up first so when you are a bit tired at the end it’s all down hill to home!

Today was a little different, with the weather not looking great I didn’t want to go too high up, the windmills would have just been a bit too wild for me today so I decided to just ride from home and see where the mood took me. At one point it was just going to be a lap of the village but I talked myself round and headed up towards “up top”, then changed direction to head down towards a nice off road track which is great but very narrow so if you meet anything coming the other way it can get a bit hairy, especially if it’s a horse!

I felt good as I approached the track which basically heads home, so I decided to carry on down the hill past the track and see where it took me. I then swung right along a road I’ve never been down, not even in the car, which led to a very steep but quite short up hill climb. And that’s what took it out of me, thinking it was easier than it was and putting far too much effort into getting to the top as fast as I could. It just took all of my energy and I was spent.

All I wanted to do was get home so I turned round, lungs burning feeling quite dizzy and a little sick. It helped that the first bit was a steep downhill section, then I had to ride back up the hill I had just ridden down to get back to the track. That’s where I had to get off the bike, take my helmet off and pray that I wasn’t going to be sick at the side of the road. It was close but I managed to keep everything down!

The rest of the ride was just a case of get home, no need for heroics or speed to beat PB’s on Strava for the track section, just get home in one piece to get dry and warm.

This wasn’t a long ride, it wasn’t really that tough, but with the weather and me wearing myself out somewhere I had never been before I made it more difficult than it should have been. In fact it took me as long to do this 6.7 mile ride as it did to do the 8.4 miles around the windmills last week.

Ride Details

Distance: 6.7 miles

Time Taken: 46:28

Elevation Gain: 441ft

Today’s photo’s show just how grim it was out there today, the weather actually turned worse once I got home so you could no longer see Emley Moor Mast at all.

Looking down towards home

Looking down towards home

Emley Moor Mast in the clouds

Emley Moor Mast in the clouds

Take a Deep Breath

Today was the first time I have ridden my bike in nearly a month, due mainly to the small operation I had last month and latterly because I have been full of cold.

There is nothing worse than having a chest and nose full of snot when exercising, it kind of leaves you gasping for breath.

But with the sun shining and the temperature quite mild for the time of year I decided it was time to have a crack at the windmills with a slightly extended first (and last) phase. To get there I drove with the bike in the boot, to just past “Up Top” as I wanted to save my legs for the first sprint that I wanted to get a PB on Strava for.

A little side note on Strava – I uploaded my ride this afternoon and it logged with Strava twice. When I got home I deleted the one that had no detail. Big mistake. Both rides were deleted at the same time so now I have lost all of the data. Rather annoying when you have 5 PB’s and 3 second bests on a ride that was only 8.4 miles. Needless to say I won’t bother doing any housekeeping in Strava again!

So I don’t have the full data from today’s ride, what I can remember is this

Ride Details

Distance: 8.4 miles

Time Taken: 46 minutes (ish)

Elevation Gain: 450ft (ish)

This was quite a good ride out, although I struggled to breath most of the way round, I still rode over 8 miles in the time it used to take me to ride 6. Also having a break of nearly a month hasn’t really slowed me down, yes I felt a bit heavy legged and didn’t go for it as much as usual on the downhill stretches, but It was a good workout and marks my return to the saddle.

I still haven’t managed to go out for a run either, I’m sure that will come!

I really want to keep going on the bike for as long as possible until the bad weather hits, it was difficult enough today with the small amount of breeze that was blowing, let alone when it starts raining at the same time. I guess that will be when I start running.

Today’s photo is looking across the quarry which marks the starting point of the ride. I am heading away from this area, up towards the windmills – which I will take a snap of at some point when I ride up there again.

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