Friday, 29 June 2012

Onix Twitter ride 2012

I can't believe it has been 7 months since the last ride that Craig organised. It certainly has been a busy time for him, launching the new Rob Hayles range and getting national prime time TV coverage!.
This Onix Twitter ride promises to be as challenging as the previous one I took part in. 60 miles and 4000ft of climbing. Craig certainly knows how to spoil us!!!
There will be 4 of the Palefish CC crew there to enjoy the Lancashire scenery.

For details of the ride please check out the Onix Blog here

Hopefully the weather will hold. We have been lucky this week on our evening rides. It has almost felt like summer.

Short sleeves and no knee warmers on the Tuesday night spin!

Thursdays Wilier Gran Fondo!
Also this week I had a meeting with Laura from Lime Twentysix, who designed the Palefish Logo to discuss the final type settings for the Jersey design! It is very exciting, but also a bit scary to comprehend that in such a short space of time things have moved so fast. She also brought in a prototype of a laser cut perspex Palefish logo. 

So, with all the decisions made, the logo's have been sent to Ken at Bio-racer who are going to be producing the jersey for us. I cant wait to see the first drafts.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Circumnavigating the Wirral!

The Second Club ride couldn't have been more different to the Dads day ride. The plan was to do an easy paced full loop of the Wirral, taking in all the boundaries, including the North, East and West Coasts! All this and no more than 15 miles from home at any one point.
Using the Facebook Group and Twitter to arrange the attendance I was happy to see 7 others waiting at the 12th Man on a damp Sunday morning at 07.00.
We headed off to Birkenhead to meet Ken, and I was even more surprised to see two other riders waiting with him. 11 out at 7.30 was not a bad turn out for our second Palefish CC club ride. What was nice was seeing some new faces, in the group. We have ridden with Nick, Pete, Steve Alan and Nick with Vita, but it was really good to see them out with Palefish CC, Cheers for joining us today guys.

We looped round from the town centre out to the Seacombe ferry terminal and then along the Coast Path to New Brighton, where we started to notice an unwelcome guest to the ride, the WIND!!!
As we turned onto the North coast path we realised that today's ride wasn't going to be the easy spin we had been expecting. When I got home I checked out the wind speeds, and apparently, at times we were riding headlong into 35kph wind, coupled with Pete's (now knows as sandy) short cut through the Sand drifts it is no surprise that our average speed for this section of the ride was quite pedestrian.

Once back on the Main roads we upped the pace towards West Kirby and over Caldy to the only real climb of the day up to Heswall. At the top of the climb, Paul and Nick peeled off to attend to family duties, and the remaining 9 of us followed the well ridden path to Eureka via Lower Heswall, Parkgate, Neston, Puddington and Burton.
At the cafe I realised that the Camera Ade had lent me to record the ride hadn't worked! Whilst drinking my coffee I worked it out so the second half of the ride was captured, and I have attempted to create something worth watching!!! (ignore the date, I'm going to sort that next!!)

We saw a couple of the Vita Race team lads today, Ian popped into the cafe on his was out on, what to most is an epic 110 miles, but to Ian is a normal Sunday ride, and we saw Alex on the Chester High Road.

The next stage of the route was to cross back over the the East coast. We  rode through Capenhurst, Great Sutton and Little sutton, then headed towards Eastham. The only major incident of the day took place as a stick at the side of the road decided to jump out and throw itself into Alan's pedals. A bit of a scare, but luckily no fall or damage. 

On the way back towards Birkenhead Alan and Nick left us, and once we had dropped Ken off at the station, we headed straight back to Greasby over Bidston Hill.

Brownie pionts all round as we managed to get back before Lunch and the sun came out to welcome us back too!!

Other Club news this week.

On Wednesday, Tim and Paul N headed over the water to take part in a Rapha ride. To celebrate the longest day of the year, the Rapha H-van was refuelling riders on the Summer Solstice ride. The ride departed from Bold Street Coffee in Liverpool, before heading out to its northernmost point, Parbold Hill, where the H-van supplied the coffee and cakes required to get the riders back home.

A little something to help the tired legs?
It certainly helped Paul.

Thanks Tim for the Pics.

We will be out on Tuesday and Thursday night this week, 7.30 at the 12th Man in Greasby, and then we are off to Blackburn for an Onix Twitter ride next Sunday. If it is anything like the last one it will be great. Why not join us?

Don't forget to check out our Facebook Group page (just click on the link) and join it to be included in invites for future rides.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Out to Delamere on a Damp Dads Day!

At 5.30 this morning I wasn't so sure that it had been such a good plan to do the first big Palefish CC ride today! The clouds were looking ominous, the roads were wet from the previous nights rain, and the temperature wasn't too high. It felt more like the January rides we did to train for the tunnel time trial. I decided to go for arm and knee warmers, and because my overshoes are holed from my off last week, and my new ones haven't arrived yet, I wore my Rapha oversocks to not only keep my feet a bit warmer but also to protect my Sunday best Giro's!!
Me, Paul, Iain, Dave B and Dave L headed off towards Birkenhead at 6.30 to meet Ken and Tim . The Roads were nice and quiet, and it wasn't raining, yet!!

Dave B peeled off in Birkenhead to loop back to Arrowe Park and work, poor lad, and we headed off on our Dads day treat. We took the usual route across the Wirral and into Wales and along the Dee Path to Chester. The Rain really started to come down along the River and those that hadn't already donned their rain capes did now, which was timely as the clouds seemed to burst right overhead. The route into Chester wasn't as straightforward as planned. Because of Chester Rocks, the path round the Racecourse was closed and we had to detour a little to get back to the planned route. The rain was still falling heavily which didn't make for easy going along the river side roads, which are mainly cobbled! A couple of the lads nearly came off on the shiny stones, but luckily we all managed to stay upright. We were now 30 miles into the ride, and very wet and cold. As stated in the last post about the new club, we are not precious riders, and are not afraid to change plans along the way. As we sheltered under some trees whilst a couple of the lads took a comfort break, I suggested that we could change the destination, and loop round Chester and back to Eureka for a brew before doing some loops round the lanes. After a quick debate we decided that although we were wet and cold, we couldn't really get any wetter or colder, and we should carry on to our original destination. 
The next 25 miles to Delamere were not the most pleasant. The rain kept falling and the temperature didn't raise much above 10 degrees. 
Eventually we arrived at the Station Cafe and the rain finally stopped! Luckily the Cafe was warm and the Coffee and beans on toast helped to warm us from the inside out!

To treat ourselves, and to add a few more minutes to the stop most of us decided to have a slice of the legendary Bakewell tart the cafe has on offer. It could probably be the best Bakewell I have ever tasted, and is Ken's favourite!!

We all took advantage of the hand drier in the toilet to dry bits of kit, but the best quote of the day came from Dave L, who after doing a 95mile ride yesterday with Zel was understandably a little off pace today, and very cold. I don't think this is the forum for sharing the quote, but if you see any of us we will happily fill you in with the details.

Back on the road it didn't take long to warm up after a quick blast along the road known locally as the roller-coaster. I forgot to mention that the Rain had now stopped and the sun was trying to break through the cloud which was a welcome sight.
As we got to the top of the climb up Simmonds hill, we stopped to regroup, and take in the stunning views across to Wales.

We headed back through the country lanes to Helsby, making the most of the descent into the village.

It didn't take long to get through Elton and on to the Oil sites road through the Stanlow refinery. It is interesting how we can pass through so many types of environment on one ride, Country lanes, City Centre, and Industrial!

When we reached Eastham Tim dropped off to go home. I didn't mention it earlier but Tim had done 72 miles yesterday into Wales to do repeats of the Horseshoe Pass, in training for his stage of the Tour next month!! The 5 of us rode on back to Birkenhead. We stopped at Hamilton Square for Ken to get a train back to Liverpool, and then decided to add a few more miles by riding round to West Kirby. Iain dropped off at Moreton, and then finally Dave L with another 80 miles to add to his 95 from yesterday peeled off leaving Me and Paul to ride back to Greasby.
As we rode along, we chatted about how the first Palefish CC ride had gone, and how we had stayed true to our plan of riding as a group, helping each other along, and encouraging each other even in the pouring rain. We had a laugh, we ate cake and drank Coffee, and pushed ourselves a little bit too at times.
All in all a good start to the club, and now I've finished writing this I had better start planning the next ride!

Today's ride details

Friday, 15 June 2012

Palefish Cycle Club is born

Just over 14 months ago I started riding with the Wirral Mamils, who were meeting at Vita cycles in Irby. It was the first time I had ridden with a club or in a group.
4 months ago I competed in my first Time Trial, and I didn't do too bad.
In 8 days time I will have had my new bike for a year and ridden over 4600 miles (it must be time for a new bike soon?)
In the last year I have lost over 2 stone, and I gave up alcohol for 100 days! I do need to get back on the weight loss though as I have plateaued.

What  am trying to show is that my cycling adventure has had some significant milestones in the last year, and my journey is about meet another one.

In recent weeks you may have noticed that I have not been riding with the Team and Club at Vita. I decided I needed to take a step back and put the brakes on the speed at which my cycling journey was moving at.
I had a great time riding, and leading the Club rides on a Saturday morning, and have made many new friends along the way.

Since January, I have been out most Tuesday and Thursday nights with Paul Tim and Dave. As the nights have got lighter and the weather a little better (at least we are not in minus degree temperatures) the number of riders has increased. This week on Tuesday night there were 10 of us spinning through the lanes in the sun.

It has been during these rides, in the last couple of weeks, that the plan to develop our own club has grown. We have discussed why we ride our bikes, what we want to get out of being in a club, and what we can put into a club. 
The overriding motivation for us to ride is for fun and camaraderie, rather than competition and speed. We have all made huge improvements in our own fitness and capabilities on a bike, and we don't want to stop improving. What we do want to do is ride more Sportives and other organised rides, and then share our experiences here! We also want to welcome new riders, who may be nervous of joining a mainstream club, and getting them to a level where they are comfortable riding in a group, and have a good level of bike skills and then feel able to either ride Sportives with us, or go on and join a club with a race team. 

Another important thing that we all want is a way to keep the cost of our hobby at a reasonable level. To achieve this, I have been having discussions with some of our local bike shops, and I am happy to say that as a member of Palefish CC you will be able to benefit from discounts and support at Cheshire Oaks Cycles, The Bike shop at Moreton and Formby cycles

When I launched the Palefish Logo earlier in the year, I was asked frequently if there would be any jerseys with the logo on. Well, I am happy to say that I have had conversations with a Jersey producer, who is happy to work with me in designing a club jersey, and the guys who have been riding with me have all said they would like to ride in Palefish CC jerseys. 
Watch this blog for details on how the process is progressing.

If you are interested in joining us on an evening ride on a Tuesday or Thursday, we normally meet at the Twelfth Man on Greasby Road at 7.30. We are also hoping to do some longer rides at the weekend, on either day, whichever suits the majority. This week we are riding on Sunday and heading out to Delamere for a Dads day treat!

To communicate all our activities I have set up a Facebook Group  and a Facebook Page where I will post ride details and can send invites to rides to group members.
I have also created a group page on Wheelsuckers, a social network site for Road Cyclists. All you have to do is sign up to the site and then you can join the page. I will also post Ride details here and send invites too.
Finally there is Twitter. All details about the evening rides will have the hash tag #730atthe12th in the message. If you search for the tag you should find the details!

So, Palefish CC is born. The club is an inclusive club with the emphasis on riding our bikes for pleasure,and fun, and then as the Wirral Mamil lads say, when we get back talk about it as if we have just completed a stage of the Tour De France! We are not planning on taking over the world (yet) and there are some really great clubs available on Wirral already, but it is always good to have a choice.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Nature trail ride to Eureka Cafe.

Sometimes, unplanned rides work out to be the best. Yesterday, while Tim was helping me move Mrs Palefish's equivalent of a wiggle order, 8 tonnes of top soil, we chatted about a quick early morning spin the following morning.

Later yesterday, Ken called to see if I was "Playing out tomorrow" and I told him of the idea Tim and I had to go out early and get back to keep the boss's happy. It didn't take long to arrange the meeting time and place for this mornings ride.

As Ken lives on the other side of the water, we met in Birkenhead, just outside the tunnel. This way, we all get the same mileage in the ride. When I opened the curtains this morning I was happy to see a bright sky, but the forecast threatened rain later, and the temp at 7 o'clock  didn't feel too warm so I decided to wear my winter jacket, with a base layer only underneath. 
As I met up with the lads, a little later than planned as I had dithered with my fashion selection, I started to regret my winter clothing choice! With the pace reasonably high and the sun rising, I started to glow considerably. 

The beauty of meeting up early is that the roads are very quiet, Especially when we decide to follow the country lanes. As I said at the start we didn't plan this rides route, the only thing we had in mind was a coffee at Eureka. We meandered through the lanes, turning away from our destination at times, just because we could! As the title says, today's ride was a bit of a nature trail. First of, as we rounded the corner at Raby Mere, Ken was almost taken out by an errant Duck! We then had to encounter a range of Wirral Wildlife including squirrels, rabbits and various birds, including a particularly kamikaze Bull Finch that wanted to play chicken with my spokes! To add to the nature trail we rode round Capenhurst to ride past the farm with the Emu's and Alpacas!

We arrived safely at Eureka, only to find the gates still locked. We could have taken the opportunity to add a few miles to the ride but decided instead to sit and chat!

Not often that there are only 3 bikes at Eureka (but it was 8.30am)
It was a lot different to the last time we were here, on Tuesday, with 200 others as part of the Jubilee ride! Whilst we were enjoying a brew, and no cake I would like to add, I took the opportunity to check out Kens new North Wave Extreme Tech shoes. I think the colour is a personal taste, which I like, but the shoe is very light and comes with lots of adjustment.

After our stop we headed back through the lanes to Palefish Cafe. Along the way we found a new recruit for the team, our new leadout train........

After another brew, and still no cake, and a quick change into a SS Jersey, we headed back to Birkenhead where Ken got the Train back to Liverpool, Tim headed home and I looped back to Palefish Towers.

As I said earlier, we didn't plan where we were going today, we just rode our bikes in the sun and had a laugh. To me, it doesn't get much better than that, especially when you clock up 50 miles at a good average speed. Roll on the next unplanned magical mystery tour of Wirral!!

Today's ride details

Thursday, 7 June 2012

My first taste of Tarmac!

I haven't been posting about my midweek rides recently, as to be honest, although we do have a good laugh, it would get quite repetitive for you the readers!
Today I tweeted about the possibility of a wet and windy spin tonight, and understandably, I didn't have a rush of messages agreeing to join me! To be fair, a few of the lads are on Half Term breaks with their families or up to their ears in DIY!!!

I got home from work and seeing as there were no takers for the evening ride, and Mrs Palefish and the mini me's are away, I tweeted that I was going out anyway but earlier than the original plan. Shaun (Wirral Mamils) agreed to join me for a spin in the rain, as we always say, no bad weather just bad clothes!
There are major roadworks in the area so we decided to head out into the quieter lanes, which was great. We had a good social ride, chatting as we rode in the rain, about summer riding in Europe and the Tour starting in a few weeks.

The miles seemed to fly by and we were soon at the point where we split up. I headed back home and on the way decided that I would head out to The Bike Shop Moreton  where I had planned to start the evening ride to avoid the roadworks, to see if anyone turned up? This was a bad decision! I turned off of Mill lane and attempted to turn into Well lane when my first ever moving crash occurred. Like most roadies new to cleats I have toppled over at traffic lights, or even in the drive at home, but thankfully, I have not fallen whilst moving until today!
I would like to be able to say I was travelling at 25mph approaching the final corner of a race (thanks Shaun for the suggestion of an ending for the story) but I was only doing about 10mph and as I tried to turn into the junction, I lost traction on the back wheel and the rest is history. Thankfully the road was greasy and wet, which whilst causing the unfortunate incident and prolonged my time on the ground as I slid past the junction into the path of an oncoming car, it stopped me sticking to the tarmac and suffering from too much road rash!! I did consider taking photo's and posting them here, but that I think is a step too far even for a dedicated blogger!!!
More importantly, the bike is fine. Luckily I had taken the Giant (winter bike with mudguards and winter tyres) as I was  aware that it would be a bit slippy with all the rain we have had today.
As far as my first taste of tarmac goes, I think riding a motorbike for many years and learning how to fall off of one has helped, and I seem to have got away with minor cuts and bruises and the obligatory Road Rash on my hip, and I don't even have an excuse to buy new kit as It wasn't too badly damaged.
I didn't carry on to Moreton as planned, and apologise if anyone did turn up and I wasn't there!

I'm sure it won't be the last time I have close contact with the road, and I probably wont blog about it if I do, but I thought that I had to share the experience with you as my journey along the long, and as I found out today, Hard road of cycling continues.

Tonight's Ride details

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Let Them Eat Cake Jubilee ride

Today I was proud to support my Friend Lou in riding the first Patisserie Cyclisme and Polocini Sportive, The "Let Them Eat Cake" Jubilee Ride.

The idea was to celebrate the Jubilee by riding a mile for each year of The Queen's reign, and also celebrate cake at the World Famous Eureka Cafe.

Myself and three Palefish Pals, Tim Jon and Dave ( it was also Dave and Jon's first Sportive) made our way to Nantwich for the Start at the Football Club. It seemed a bit wrong to be heading away from our half way destination ( Eureka is 10 miles from my house!)

Dave R, Jon, Dave C, Me, Tim

It never fails to surprise me how friendly cycling is. Dave R in the pic above parked next to us, and as you can see is another proud PC jersey owner. We got chatting and spent most of the ride out to Eureka as a group. Even more surprising was that Dave had to be back quickly as he was heading off to relatives in Ringwood, Hampshire, about 10 miles from where my Dad lives!! Small world. I even found out that Jon used to live in Salisbury! 

There looked to be a great turnout for Lou's first Sportive. The car park was full and the Q to sign in was long, but moved quickly. There to welcome us with a big smile were Lou and her Husband, who gave us our personalised numbers and a ticket for cake and Coffee at Eureka. The ticket was treated as if it was made of gold until it was well stashed with my cash in my pocket!!

After a Coffee we got the bikes and ourselves ready for the Grand Depart. It was quite a scene as we all waited for the off.

Once we were off it wasn't long until we were in the leafy winding Cheshire lanes. The only mishaps I had today were both in the first 5 miles! First of all, as I reached into my pocket to get my camera out to take the following pictures, I managed to loose one of my NEW cleat covers that I have only worn once, today in the car park before we left! At least they were not too expensive, and it wasn't my phone or money that jumped out of my pocket!!

Patisserie Cyclisme Sportive as far as the eye can see!
 Just after I had taken these Photo's, one handed on bumpy roads my second mishap occurred. It was a bit of a sill one that nearly had me off the bike and end my ride. To relive the pockets on my jersey, I have fitted my saddle bag back on the bike, and because there was Rain forecast for today I decided to use my Lezyne  Caddy Sac for my Phone and Camera. This meant I needed somewhere else to store my second spare tube, which I cunningly wedged between the saddle and the saddle bag! Big mistake. The tube fell from its non secure position into the rear cassette, almost locking the rear wheel!!! I was lucky, and paid the price by getting oily fingers early on in the ride!!!

Dave on his new Cervelo S5 and Jon on his new Onix

The route took us up to Delamere and then across to Chester via Mickle Trafford and round the back of Chester Zoo.
There was a wide range of bikes and riders today, but my winner of best team of the day went to the Forbes family, including the dog!!!

It was strange riding round the lanes we ride all the time, but with a different group of people. And even stranger turning into Eureka with a large group. 
We made good time on the first half of the ride with an Average of 18.5mph for the first 35 miles.

There to welcome us to Eureka there was a huge table filled with fantastic cake loveliness! 

The team, under the controlling eye of Anne, managed to serve a lot of thirsty and hungry riders, and a special mention must be made for the regulars of the cafe who took the extra long Q for coffee in good spirits.

While we were there I managed to have a Chat with Ken from Bioracer, who I have contacted about the possibility of a future project for Palefish, More to be revealed soon!!!

Mr and Mrs McCake (James and Lou) and Ken

 Q out of the door at Eureka

Never seen Bikes out on the Railings before!!
 After a chat with Sean and Ade (Wirral Mamils) and Phil from Cheshire Oaks Cycles, we headed off on our return journey. It was as we turned back towards Backford that we realised that we were in for a different ride back to Nantwich! We were hit by a 13mph headwind. Not the worst I have ridden in to but as sapping as climbing a hill constantly! I started to struggle with a bit of cramp in my thigh too. As I rode with Tim we were discussing why for two weeks in a row I had developed cramp after about 40 miles. The only thing we could think of is that over the winter we have been riding fast but short 25 mile rides, or hill sessions, but we haven't been out regularly for steady long rides. That has to change!! Time to plan some long Sunday rides for the lads!!

As we approached Beeston I began to become concerned that Alan, (Mr Polocini) had saved a sting in the tail for us in what up to now had been a fantastic, manageable route, by taking us up the hill and round the Castle. But luckily, as we arrived at the junction the yellow direction arrow was pointing right and not left, up the hill. Thanks Alan!!

Beeston Castle
 The run in to Nantwich from here was rolling lanes and now the cramp had passed it was at a more comfortable pace. There was a real jubilee feel as we passed through Villages that were covered in fluttering bunting and flags with parties set up in gardens and pub car parks.

When we got back to the Football Club in Nantwich we were treated to a great fill of Spanish Pork and rice, Coffee and Cake. There were some prizes up for grabs in a raffle and Jon won a bottle of English Whiskey

As I mentioned it was Jon and Dave's first Sportive, and It was also Jon's first big ride on his new Onix Azzuro. You can tell from the smile on his face it all went well!!!

 All that remains it to say a huge well done to Louise on what was a fantastic day, she should be proud that over 200 people came out to ride the Jubilee ride, and to Alan for a fantastic route, well signed on nice lanes.
The blog today was brought to you whilst sipping coffee from my new mug!!

Today's Ride