Sunday, 26 August 2012

A windy loop with a stop at Eureka

The Tuesday and Thursday rides are still growing. This week we have had another 3 new members, and on Tuesday we had 15 out!! We also had to start using lights earlier this week. 8.30 lighting up time!!

After the last couple of weeks forays into pastures new, this weekend, as a lot of the lads wanted to get back early, we decided to do a local loop of the Wirral with a stop at Eureka Cafe.
As usual we arranged to meet at the 12th Man in Greasby then head off to Birkenhead to meet Ken, who rides over from Liverpool, and a couple of the others.
9 0f us left the 12th just after 7 and headed over to Birkenhead. The weather forecast wasn't great so I took my new Sportful Hot Pack, purchased for the Loch to Loch next weekend, as I think I may need it in Scotland!! Luckily I didn't need it as we managed to miss any rain all morning so I suppose it will get its first test in the Scottish hills! .

We met up with Ken at the Woodside ferry terminal, and after a 10 minute wait for Scott and Mark, we decided to head off towards the Seacombe ferry terminal, where Pete was waiting, and hopefully the others were too. Along the way we met up with Nick and Mike. We were very surprised to see Mark and Scott waiting at the entrance to the Main Birkenhead Ferry terminal! I suppose this is a lesson to me to actually name the Terminal we are meeting at!!! We did laugh though.
We picked up Pete at Seacombe and the group was complete. another great turn out. 

We rode along the path beside the river to New Brighton and as we turned round the end of the peninsular to head west we rode into a nasty energy sapping headwind. The first section of road split the group as we all struggled to ride into the gusty wind, we regrouped and set off again in pairs, taking turns at the front of the group which helped get us all to the end of the stretch of exposed road into Wallasey and then onto Leasowe road and a little shelter. We picked up a lone rider along here and he stayed with us to West Kirby. It turned out he knows Dave B and will probably come out with us in the future! 
We continued to work together all the way into West Kirby until we reached the Marine lake where the first sprint of the day took place! 

We then rode through Caldy, up over Thurstaston and through lower Heswall and down to Parkgate.
We were sheltered from the wind, now and the going was getting decidedly easier! 

Palefish CC as far as the eye can see!
We followed the usual route to Eureka via Neston, Burton and Puddington. We arrived at the wrong time today. All the local clubs were there or just arriving, and seats were at a premium, as was the cake!! Graham and I discussed the last piece of Chocolate cake left, and seeing as he is a growing lad I let him have it!

We didn't stay long today, and were soon back out, into the headwind along the Chester High Road! We turned off through Willaston, then through the lanes to the Lever Causeway. Along the way the numbers reduced as lads got off for their afternoon domestic duties!
We left Ken in Birkenhead, and the final 6 of us headed back to Greasby and the 12th Man.

As I am doing the Loch to Loch next week, (thanks to everyone who has sponsored so far, but there is still time if you haven't yet! I will be leaving the Club ride organisation to the lads, but there is the option of the Manchester 100 for them. And the following week I will be back in Scotland so no club ride for me again! That week though Eureka are doing their Anniversary ride. Check out their BLOG for details and an application form

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A busy weekend in the saddle

With only two weeks to go until my Asthma UK Loch to Loch ride, I realised that I have never ridden two long rides back to back! Mrs Palefish took the kids away for the weekend, so I had no excuse not to get out and get some miles in the legs.
We have also had some great rides in the week with great numbers, and some sun!

The Club is expanding, 4 new members this week, the word is definitely spreading about Palefish CC.
I also discovered that there is a link to this blog from Olympic gold medallist Edd Clancy's Web site! I wasn't expecting that.

To keep up with the exploring theme of last Sundays ride I planned a route that took us through the Tunnel, which we weren't sure if we would get away with as the FAQ's on Mersey Tunnel's web site say cyclists are not permitted after 7 on a Saturday, but in the Byelaw's there are no restrictions for Saturdays. Luckily as we rolled past the Booths and past one of the Tunnel Police, he just said we were cutting it fine and let us go through. Thank you Mr Tunnel Policeman. Once through the tunnel we headed along the River to Hale, then over the Runcorn Bridge. The Garmin did a good job and we only took two wrong turns! I should have taken the video camera really, I could have got some good footage as the 8 of us rode down past the Three Graces on the Waterfront, and then as we crossed the Bridge into Runcorn.

The Bridge

 As we approached Widnes a cyclist tagged on to the group, and it turned out he was a friend of Paul R's, which was fortuitous as he knew a quieter route to the bridge that avoided the Express way.

Once over the bridge we rode through Frodsham, then on to Delamere and Kelsall , for the first stop of the day.
We found the Greedy Pig, parked up and were spoilt for choice with Chocolate mud cake, flapjacks cup cakes and any kind of sandwich you could want! The coffee was great too, and even better was the free refill (only offered to patrons who arrive on two wheels apparently!)

Hungry Palefishers!

Taking advantage of the Warm weather

A great view from the Greedy Pig.
 when everyone was ready we headed off on the second half of the ride. After a small directional malfunction we were on course heading back to Chester via Waverton, then once through the City we got on the Dee Path and headed towards home.
As I mentioned earlier, we have had some new members join this week, and yesterday two of them joined us for what would be for Mal, his first long ride!! Before this he had only done 30 miles. He did fantastically well, and I was proud of the other lads who helped to get him round.
We started the club so that riders of all abilities could get an opportunity to push themselves, and ride with a group, without worrying of being left somewhere 30 miles from home! Yesterday we certainly lived up to our goal and got everyone round and back!

To help with the last 15 miles we stopped at Eureka for a top up of sugar and caffeine for some tired legs.

After the quick pit stop, we rode back through the Wirral and Mal and I ended the ride with a little effort from Irby to Hoylake, with the wind at our backs! A great way to finish a fantastic ride.

Sunday Morning seemed to come round quick, and I was a little reluctant to throw my leg over the bike again, but I had to do it as I was meeting Phil B at the Irby mill for a spin up to Llandegla. However, on the ride up to the Mill, my front wheel started to feel loose again. I forgot to mention earlier, the bearings need replacing, I rode the Giant on Thursday as they were so loose the wheel was moving alarmingly along the axle, but after a quick tinker by the lads at The Bike shop in Moreton, I was able to ride it this weekend. However, I wasn't prepared to risk riding into Wales and up some steep hills, and then descend with a wobbly wheel! So we decided to do a spin through the Cheshire lanes, never too far from home, just in case.
My legs didn't feel too bad, but I did realise I need to put more fuel in for day two. I felt quite empty, but I was determined not to fill up on gels and bars, but rather to focus on the target of Beans on Toast and a Steaming mug of Coffee I promised myself at Eureka!
We rode through the lanes via Lower Heswall, then on to Capenhurst, Little Stanney, Thornton-Le-Moors, Stamford Bridge, Christleton, Chester and back to Eureka, for my well earned plate of Beans on Toast!
The weather finally broke today, and we got a little wet as we rode up the Dee Path! typically, as we left Eureka and rode up the Chester High Road, the rain stopped and the temperature rose again! We rode back through Willaston and Thornton to Irby, where we went out own ways. I was happy to get back and not feel too bad especially after 137 miles in two days and 184 in a week!
I think I am ready for the Loch to Loch ride. The bike is going in for a full service this week, and a front wheel rebuild! All I need to do now is hit my sponsorship target. I am half way there, but if you are feeling flush and would like to help, please follow this LINK to my giving page. Thanks.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Palefish CC on tour with Costa Coffee

Today was the cubs first organised ride away from our usual haunts on the Wirral, Wales and Cheshire.
Club members Dave and Mark from the Optimum Group who have a number of Costa Coffee franchises across Merseyside invited us to their branch in Ormskirk. Ken who also lives on that side of the river has a great knowledge of the Lancashire lanes and was happy to lead us out today for our first foray onto new roads as a club.

L to R Dave B, Dave C, Paul, Dave L, Iain, Tim, Ken, my bike, Jon, Mark.

We started the ride at club supporter Formby Cycles at 9am and headed out into the Lancashire Lanes and a sapping head wind! The terrain is very different to Wirral with big open fields and no shelter from the weather! We rode over Clieves hill and on towards Halsall, Scarisbrick, Burscough, Parbold (thankfully round the hill and not over!)

Natural Break!!

We kept to the smaller lanes out towards Eccleston, Barber's Moor and towards Tarleton where we joined the main road into Southport. We took advantage of having shelter from the wind and a great surface and lined out like a pro outfit and hurtled along at a great pace.

We were soon on the Coast road heading into Southport and slowed to enjoy the scenery and the wildlife on the marshes, and to avoid the dog walkers and other cyclists enjoying the day.

When we got to the Pier we stopped for a quick photo and then headed into the Town Centre.

Southport Sea Front.
 After a quick dice with the Southport town centre traffic and pedestrians we headed up the Scarisbrick New road out of Town and then back into the lanes and off to Ormskirk.

We arrived at our brew stop 50 miles into the ride, so we were all ready for a Cake and Coffee!
The team were great and served us all quickly, which you would if the owners were there!!
Dave and Mark then surprised us by covering the tab for us, a very generous gesture.

Jon and Iain watching the bikes!

Just before the rain arrived enjoying Alfresco Coffee at Ormskirk Costa Coffee

As we were enjoying out Coffee and cake in the summer sunshine we discussed how lucky we had been with the weather during the ride, as the forecast was for rain during the morning. Right on cue the empty cups began to miraculously fill up! We all donned our rain capes, well those of us who took them, and saddled up for the last few miles back to Formby. The rain soon stopped and we retraced our wheel tracks through the lanes to Formby cycles.

It was the first time some of the lads had been into the shop, and they were very impressed. There is a huge range of bikes of all  styles and prices, literally something for everyone, and all the lads who work there are cyclists too, whether it be Road, BMX or Mountain Biking. It is well worth a visit. 

So the first Palefish Cycle Club road trip went well, it was great to ride in new surroundings, and the feedback from the lads was great. Thanks again to Ken for leading and to Dave and Mark for their hospitality. 

When we started the club we said that we would like to see more of what the North West has to offer, so watch this space, we may be coming to a coffee shop near you soon!!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Costa Coffee cruise

Sunday 12th will see Palefish CC heading over the Mersey to Formby for a spin around the leafy Sefton and West Lancs lanes, taking in a stop at Costa Coffee in Ormskirk, and a post ride brew at Costa Coffee in Formby.

Meet at Formby Cycles to leave at 9am, then we will be riding out towards Parbold and Tarleton then back through Ormskirk to Formby. 

We will ride as a group at a comfortable pace, regrouping at the top of climbs or if we get split at junctions.

As an extra incentive to get out on a Sunday morning, Costa have kindly offered a FREE coffee/Tea with every slice of cake or Muffin purchased! 

(This is a Free social ride and is not covered by insurance so you ride at your own risk.)

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Where has the last year gone?

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since I wrote these words.

"I'm not sure what will become of this blog, or what direction it will go in? I hope to capture all the exploits of the new Vita Cycles Team, the training, bikes, kit, Sportives and races, and also my personal challenge of loosing the extra pounds, and raising my overall fitness level.
So here goes, buckle up it could be a bumpy road."

136 posts, over 20,000 page views and a New cycling Club named after the Blog and here we are! 
I won't go on about the past though, time to talk about the present.

After last weeks disappointing lack of miles due to illness, I was looking forward to a better week back up to the target mileage of 100miles per week. Once again, things didn't go quite to plan!
My daughter came to stay this week, and as a homecoming gift she brought with her a very nasty cold bug! I woke up Tuesday morning with a sore throat and streaming nose, Thanks love!!! There was no way I could manage the ride that night so already my miles were in a negative position to the plan. 
By Thursday I felt well enough to get out, and enjoyed the ride with the crew, which ended up a good pace and we managed to get a few loops of the West Kirby Hill in too, but I don't want to hear any calls of "Man Flu" from the wings please, I'm not moaning, just saying!!! 

I picked up my wheel from The Bike Shop in Moreton on Friday. I was like a kid with a new toy as I rolled the bike out this morning. I haven't ridden the Kuota for two weeks, so I was looking forward to putting some miles into the new spokes! 
It wasn't a promising start though. Although quite warm, even at 7am, it was raining! I dithered about whether to put my rain coat on, and decided that it would probably be for the best as the aforementioned cold is still here and I would really quite like it to go away as soon a possible. 
Anyway, 6 of us headed out into the rain and off to meet the others joining us in Birkenhead. As we descended into the Town the sky cleared and the sun came out. At the meeting point there were 5 lads waiting, all in short sleeves with frowns on their faces as to why we were in rain capes and overshoes!!
I had decided to try a new route today, riding up from Birkenhead and zig zagging through the lanes that cross the M53, then out to Stanlow and round the back of Chester and up the Dee Path to Eureka Cafe. I managed to navigate, with the help of my Garmin 500, and we didn't get lost once!! 
We also had an incident free ride, the only mechanical's were Paul N's chain dropping a couple of times. 

A bit warmer and dryer than the last time we were in Chester!

After we had refuelled at Eureka, Alan, Mark and Scott headed back to the East side of the Wirral and the rest of us headed back via the lanes to Neston and Lower Heswall, where Richard, Paul, Steve and Carla left us and we then dropped down to Caldy and round to West Kirby, Hoylake and then through Pump Lane back to Greasby. And to welcome the remaining 4 of us back, just as we reached Greasby Road the heavens opened and within seconds were soaked to the skin! At least home and a warm shower were not far away!
I was pleased to get a longer ride in, although the last 15 miles were tough as my chest tightened and getting the air in became tough, which led to the first leg ache I have had since I started drinking Beetroot Juice!
I need to ramp up the training now as the Asthma UK Loch to Loch ride is only 3 weekends away! I am half way to my Sponsorship target, and if you would like to donate you can HERE or via the link at the top of the page. (thanks)

Next weekend the Club is travelling across the water for its Sunday ride! The plan is to do a loop around the lanes of Sefton and Lancashire, starting in Formby, with a stop at Costa Coffee in Ormskirk. ( I am reliably informed that there is a treat awaiting us at the brew stop) HERE are first draft details of the route, Ken is kindly going to ride it for us this week so there may be some tweaks to the final one.   

If you would like to join us, the details of timings and travel arrangements will be posted on the Club Facebook group page. We hope to see you there.

It has also been a Fantastic week at the Olympics for the Team GB cyclists. First Bradley Wiggins wins Gold in the TT, then the Track team have dominated and broken world records along the way. 
One of my son's even wants to change his middle name to Wiggins?!?!?
It is certainly a good time for Cycling in the UK and I have noticed more people out and about on their bikes, more potential Palefish Club members perhaps??