Monday, 15 September 2014

Half Commutes & short leisure rides

Last week was epic. It already feels a distant memory.

This week has been made of half commutes and short rides for the South Pennine Walk & Ride Festival.

 What are half commutes? Well every day this week Stephen has been out of the office in the morning, but in the office for afternoons. Simply I cycled in to work in the morning and chucked my bike in Stephen's car for the return. Yes I felt a massive cycling cheat, but when your commute is 15 miles each way it really saves some time at the end of the day & means you get your tea time at a sensible hour.

The weekend consisted of four short festival rides.

Another sunset ride saw the sun appear just in time for the ride. It was only four miles, but it's an enjoyable little route up to The Halo at Haslingden.


Saturday's family ride was beautifully sunny and yesterday was the two loops around Tockholes (which counts as two rides... I suppose the ride home actually makes it three for the day).

I'm planning my next ride for tomorrow, but am unable to get it under 50 miles. I'm trying to take things a bit easier since last week I was plagued by incredible sleepiness. The main issue with pregnancy cycling & my dream rides is keeping them realistic and trying to not take too much out of my body. I'm fighting off ideas for bike-packing trips before the end of summer, but it is tough, there's just so many lovely places to visit around here and I dont think riding through any frost this winter would be terribly sensible.
 My cycling daydreams will have to be confined to bicycle accessorising ie recovering my saddles to make them asthetically awesome for each bike and sewing up some nice saddle bags. 

Monday, 8 September 2014

200 miles in one week, second trimester

Long before I discovered I was pregnant, or even got in that state, I put my name down to lead around 9 rides for the South Pennine Walk & Ride Festival. Over the last few months I'd been wondering whether I'd be able to carry out the rides, now the festival is here, I have my answer! From the post-title, I'm sure you can guess it's a 'yes'.

The week began with an easyish RSF club ride that was due to have just one significant climb over Weets Hill and the rest around Nappa Flats returning by canal.  I was on my newly aquired second hand mtb - suspension for off-roading when pregnant is pretty sensible to avoid pain in appendages that don't usually bounce on my athletic frame.

The day was stunning, although the ride was marred by events out of our control that meant we were out for 11 hours solid and had to do some route backtracking and replotting. Thankfully it was dry and a lovely day to be out. The report from the day is on the clubs website.

Despite a whole day out, on Monday I'd decided that since I couldn't make Wednesday's club ride of the Trough, I'd do my own. Stephen had a meeting in Lancaster in the morning, so he gave me a lift up the M6 and my plan was to ride home through The Trough (a first time for me), over Waddington Fell & the Nic O Pendle.

Along the route I met up with four other guys from the club who shared the bulk of the ride with me and Ian rode the whole way to visit the Carradice Factory. He'd pedalled up from Southport to meet me at the start.

I was on my new vintage French steed testing it's hill climbing skills. I'd picked it up the other week and only done a couple of commutes. Ian and Steve were also on old vintage steel cycles.
It's an interesting little bike - google Claude Pottie` and you'll see that not much info exists.  The triple and lighter weight makes it much better on the hills than my 60s mixte and my only issues on the day were the fact I'd not done many hilly miles in one go recently for months. I pedalled up all the hills, and only needed to stop on the Nic for a few mouth fulls of malt-loaf, although the climb out of Sabden felt tougher than usual.

Still, I was very pleased that at 15 & 1/2 weeks pregnant, I'd done the 36 miles and over 5000ft of climbing that Memory Map tells me the route is. And had a lovely day in fantastic company.

Tuesday, Weds and Thursday were rides to my mum's and work, so no pictures of anything of much interest there.
On Friday we had a meeting in Chorley and it was Stephen who had brought up the option of cycling there. Not me! So a 15 mile ride to the office followed by a 22 mile blast from Rossendale to Chorley along some lovely lanes, but against the clock, so no dawdling and sadly no pictures. The sun was shining, but the headwind kept us cool. We met up with Geoff from the club and his good lady for a pub tea and our plans to ride all the way back were thwarted when Stephen had one too many pints to brave a journey that long. Instead we cycled to the train at Bamber Bridge, had a heart attack at the one way fare back home (£19.40!!!) and then enjoyed the uphill back to the house over the hill.

Saturday morning arrived with some leg ache, but the Walk & Ride Festival was here. The rain was torrential as we donned our wet weather gear and hats to meet Brian for the family ride from the park. Luckily the rain turned into a drizzle for the rest of the day.
Sandwiched between the family ride and the evening ride, I had a 2nd birthday party to pop into, so there was much rushing around, pressie buying and lugging up to and from Loveclough.

I had hoped nobody would turn up for the sunset ride and I did have two cancellations from people that had 'chickened out' - possibly due to the weather or perhaps night riding for newcomers to cycling is a bit daunting. But we were greeted by the warm smiles of Ian as we rounded the corner.

As we set off the clouds were still dominating the sky. We enjoyed exploring the tracks above Clowbridge Reservoir and at this time of night we had the place almost to ourselves.
By the time we were reaching the Singing Ringing Tree, the clouds were dissipating and a warm golden hue was forming across the hills.

As we turned to leave The SRTree, a blast of sunshine emerged from the cloud over Hameldon and we were gifted with a pretty amazing sunset.

From here it was mostly downhill and as we neared the reservoir, the skies lit up bright deep pink, illuminating the dark waters.

I was very glad to have enjoyed this little 5 mile loop and had a beaming smile all the way home.

So second trimester cycling is going really well. Better than the first, although that was hot weather, body overheating and then adding to that any cycling made it far too hot to be comfortable.

I have some handlebar adjusting to do soon - I think the forward leaning position on the mtb combined with pedalling motion pushing against my tummy really helped create some discomfort.
But I've had plenty of energy to keep going and the 'blooming glow' everyone keeps saying I have is far more to do with getting the sunshine on my skin than anything else I think.

I'm surprised that I'm managing to continue to keep up the miles without any problems and without really piling away any more food than I'd usually be eating.

Now all I need is a big Bump On Board sticker / flag to attach to my bike!