This years cycling challenge...

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This years cycling challenge...

Postby Replicant » 22 Jan 2018, 14:24

Well I have been off the bike for 4 months being lazy. I went out at the weekend and did 18 very muddy and wet miles and realised I have lost a fair bit of fitness since September.

Anyway, I was thinking about what to do for this years challenge and have been thinking about doing the BHF South Downs Way Off Road Ride. This is approximately 4000m of climbing over 100 miles in one day and is a big step up on the 75 mile London to Brighton Off Road due to the climbing.

In addition to this I was also thinking of doing the 2019 Strathpuffer if you were interested Johnmcl7 or anyone else?
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This years cycling challenge...

Postby Johnmcl7 » 22 Jan 2018, 23:26

The advantage of the rigid fat bike is there's no excuses for stopping riding over winter, I had a superb ride up the Cairngorms just before Christmas and a four hour ride out in the snow under a bright moon before New Year. I had a pretty rough start to the year work wise though and annoyingly after getting the brakes bled, the rear one still isn't working properly after being at -9 so I'm wondering if I've wrecked a seal. Toying with just sticking a new brake on it and get it working, I've bought a new set for the hardtail to replace its crappy Sram brakes which I should probably get on with doing as it's near the end of January already. I'm really looking forward to getting back onto hardtail when it dries up a bit, the fat bike makes the crappy conditions a lot more enjoyable but I am missing the faster plus bike to throw around.

I have been thinking about events to do as well although I've mostly reached about as much as I want to do on a single day, now it's looking at multiple day events which I'm not so keen on as after a long ride I generally don't want to see the bike again any time soon never mind get back on it. I did Ten under the Ben a couple of years ago which aside from being a bit tough doing a downhill course on a fully rigid bike, it was quite fun as it's just ten hours long so you just ride for the day without worrying about the overnight part. They also do a mountain marathon which I quite want to try but sounds tough as it's Enduro timing so there's some technical downhill stuff but it's also cross country so while the fat bike is good for the latter (particularly given how wet the area often is) it would b poor for the former. There's a seven hour endurance event at the Edinburgh trail centre which I should really give a go as I've never ridden there and now I've done a solo endurance race (always wanted to get a team before I'd do it), I'd prefer it again as there's no pressure and you can go out when you want.

I also quite fancy doing Fort Willliam to Inverness particularly now with the channel 4 program on it but that's quite a tough run and I've been preferring focusing on endurance on the road bike and fun stuff on the mountain bike.

I can't see me doing the Puffer again, the first time I did it in the snow and ice it wasn't bad but the last time it was too warm and as it's not purpose built bike track, the mass of bikes tore up the track and turned it into a soft muddy mess which was really hard work to get the bike through even on its massive low pressure tyres. The mud there is quite gritty as well so in those conditions it just ruined the bike leaving it needing new pedals, mud guards, cassette, chain and bottom bracket despite being washed every lap. That and I crashed on the first lap landing hard on my shoulder and wrist which take a lot of abuse with the rigid anyway and that made it a lot worse. I was thinking this year was a lot better as it was all frozen but teams were having to deal with parts on the completely freezing solid and just in general being very cold. All that aside, it's just not that fun a track to ride as it's designed to be a physically punishing event that's widely accessible so there's no technical features or anything interesting to actually ride despite the fact there are some great trails in that forest. At least on the Fort William trails which I've done a few 24 hour events on, you look forward to the awesome downhill parts.

I really should do something though as that's two years since I last did the Puffer at which point it was the fourth endurance race I'd done and was also doing local CX races but since then I've not done a single official event on or off road.

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This years cycling challenge...

Postby Johnmcl7 » 11 Feb 2018, 23:45

Signed up for my race although hopefully more for fun rather than a challenge, a seven hour race near Edinburgh which I'm doing as a pair. I've never ridden properly on the trail centre so it seems like a great chance to do so and near the end of May which should improve the chances of better weather.

When discussing action cameras I was watching some footage from summer last year and really keen to get back on the summer bike now. I was thinking now we're in February we're making progress until this week was the coldest of the season and the snow is back today so maybe not.
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This years cycling challenge...

Postby Fodder » 05 May 2018, 21:30

If your looking for some organised events, I'm going to give this organisation a try on one or two this year... hopefully. They seem a bit better for the south Downs 100 as well, giving you two options of 100km or miles and support. http://www.cxsportive.com/cx-century-th ... downs-way/
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This years cycling challenge...

Postby Johnmcl7 » 10 May 2018, 01:02

First challenge done with the Etape Loch Ness finished last week:

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https://www.strava.com/activities/1538475779

Although it was only 66 miles I was concerned about the speed of this one as I haven't done many road bike rides this year and finding them harder going than I should plus due to misunderstanding how the start times were allocated I started right at the back just ahead of the sweep vehicle. Thankfully it all went fine, the weather was good and managed to do the ride without stopping plus no major bike mechanicals. Well apart from the bottom bracket which is making some horrible grinding/creaking noises under power now which is a bit of a concern particularly as I've another race with it on Saturday.

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This years cycling challenge...

Postby Replicant » 21 May 2018, 13:26

Fodder wrote:Source of the post If your looking for some organised events, I'm going to give this organisation a try on one or two this year... hopefully. They seem a bit better for the south Downs 100 as well, giving you two options of 100km or miles and support. http://www.cxsportive.com/cx-century-th ... downs-way/


That's an interesting site John. I will have to inspect it more closely.

I am entered into the Velo South 100 at the tail end of September which is why I bought the CX bike. Having been firmly in the MTB (almost anti-roadie) camp for 20 years I have to say that I am loving it. I amazed myself by getting two KOM's on Strava last week. What made this even more impressive is that the last 250 metres go down a country lane and as I went around a sharp 60ish degree bend I had to dodge two fire engines coming the other way with full on flashing lights. :shock:

I even did my first ride using SPD's at the weekend as well. They were a revelation. I think I am becoming a roadie (well 'adventure/gravel biker')!
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This years cycling challenge...

Postby Johnmcl7 » 29 May 2018, 23:10

That was Fodder's recommendation, I won't take credit for it :D I was a little puzzled as I couldn't remember recommending anything.

A KOM on the road is very impressive as I'm usually down in the thousands on the road bike, speaking of MTB and road I did my dual event which was 70km on the road followed by 30km off road switching bikes in between. As I headed off on the road bike I was fretting about my pace and trying to keep up with a fast group then thought I don't really care about the time and dropped off the back, stopped to strip off some layers and enjoyed the scenery. I then got onto the mountain bike which was very odd as even though I have the plushest road bike there is it's still a very harsh ride compared to the MTB, also I thought there was something wrong with the MTB brakes as they felt like they were sticking as they have such a different feel to the road hydraulics. The MTB section was fun and had some decent technical riding which is unusual for that sort of event and what I like about the mountain bike is that you just worry about getting across the terrain and not about how fast you're going whereas on the road bike that's all you really have to work with.

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To neatly finish off my three events I did a seven hour endurance race at the weekend as a pair which was great, it never felt like there was any pressure so I could just enjoy riding in a new area. Although the course was at a trail centre they''d kept the route separate and riding on more natural trails which suited my plus bike perfectly as there was a lot of roots and rocks to get over which the big tyres soaked up without issue. I was also pleased that to do the 'difficult' part with a couple of nasty drops although was frustrated with some of the faster riders not being very polite coming by, just as I was about to do one of the bigger drops I had someone get right up behind the bike rather than give me space (which is stupid anyway because he'd be coming with me if I crashed) and then stuffed up the second drop off when he tried to overtake on it although I managed to steer the bike to a stop. After that it thinned out a bit and was able to get through both drop offs cleanly and looking back at some of the photos from the event I'm pleased to get it done with no injuries.

The heat was a real killer though (I saw you were out the same day Chris) and even when I thought I was taking it easy on the hill climb my HR was over 180, I actually stopped to check the monitor hadn't crashed as it seemed to be reading too high but it was correct.

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I'm particularly pleased not to have my tongue out as I often do on these types of photos.

I think I'm done doing official road bike events as I prefer to choose to do them on my own time and pace, there's a big race out to the west coast called the Bealach Mhor which a few in my office have signed up for and I'm glad I haven't but might go try the route. For the MTB I haven't done the full red downhill at Fort William so it's perhaps time to try that and also not done an enduro race.

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This years cycling challenge...

Postby Replicant » 29 Jun 2018, 14:51

Sorry Fodder I missed that it was you.

Well I have been out on the road bike loads lately and have ridden about 700 miles on the CX since I bought it in May. I have even started commuting 2 days a week on it which is 45ish mile round trip. In fact I have not ridden the full suspension MTB since I have had it! My longest ride on it so far has been 52miles.

I also had my first 'clipless pedal incident' I couldn't get my foot unclipped quick enough (my fault) and ended up falling over sideways in front of two huge queues of stationary traffic. Much embarrassment as I lay on my back in the road laughing.
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This years cycling challenge...

Postby Replicant » 10 Jul 2018, 13:11

I cant believe that I have ridden 300 miles since I wrote that last post! Of course it helps that I now commute at least twice a week which is 45 miles there and back. I am looking forward to riding my first century ride in September.
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This years cycling challenge...

Postby Johnmcl7 » 24 Jul 2018, 00:27

I think you'll find a century on the road bike relatively easy given you've done much tougher endurance runs on the mountain bike. I find the mountain bike can be challenging for long cycles as it's hard work to keep it going (although I do run very low pressures) which makes it tougher as you get tired but the road bike just glides along with ease so when you're tired you can still keep a good pace. I find the main challenges with the road bike are being hunched over in the same position for a long period of time and just eating/drinking enough, it doesn't feel quite as hard going at times but it's a constant pace and find I can be burning through energy quicker than I realise.

I'm a little ashamed that after getting a very fancy endurance bike I've still not done any long cycles on it bar the 114 miles when I first bought it to break it in. I did try joining another cycle club that was meant to be focused more on just cycling rather than racing but the pace was frustrating with a lot of lengthy breaks and as always they set strict rules about the group cycle, tell me off because they believe I'm not following them correctly (even though I was using the cycle computer for timing) and then smash them themselves immediately after. I think I need to accept I'm not going to get on with other road cyclists as I'm the opposite way round, I struggle with the pace on the flats and find the hills comparatively easier. My workmate has just decided not to do the following race and others in the office are pushing me to take his place:

http://www.handsonevents.co.uk/bealach-mor/

I can't say I really fancy it though so trying to avoid it. I'm finding the weather a bit hard going for the road bike so been going out with the MTB more although annoyingly it's been away for repair a few times recently, I'm meant to be getting it back this week and properly fixed though.
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