Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Water Rail Way

For those of you who like a more sedate ride, up close and personal with nature amidst  beautiful surroundings then you can have a great local ride and raise money at the same time.

For the second year running Linkeage with the support and assistance of Sustrans are holding a cycle fundraising event with two distances along the water railway from Lincoln.

















The event is being held  on Sunday the 31st of August 2014 with a 16 mile and 32 mile option.
The route on a newly resurfaced cycle track is total car free and wide and straight enough for even the most timid riders.
You can either go to Barney and back 16 miles or complete the longer 32 mile route to Kirkstead Bridge near Woodall Spa

Either way its all in a good cause as you raise money for people with learning disabilities in Lincolnshire.
Linkage are desperate to buy a new Minibus to provide and you can help.
This will provide many opportunities for those less fortunate, the like of which we often take for granted.

Having done the ride last year I initially questioned what I might get out of it apart from supporting this super local charity.
I was pleasantly surprised.
With so much wildlife and other quirky sights anything other than a gentle pace would ruin the Vista
Behind each turn there was another unexpected treat, where art and nature mimic each other.
Entry: Registration is £10 per rider.  Important Notice:  Get sponsored to ride and if you raise more than £50 you can claim back your registration fee! 
Register now by contacting the Fundraising Team on 01522 503190  All entrants will receive a registration pack with full details of the event and a cool T-shirt.
Registration commences from 9am with the bike ride starting at 10am from the Beech House Car Park, Waterside South, Lincoln. The Mayor of Lincoln will lead off the bike ride this year.
If you want to register a team for the bike ride please contact Julie Stubbs on the above number for more information.

If you want to know more about Linkage please see the link below
http://www.linkage.org.uk/

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Professional attitude




With the build up to the Tour de France in Full swing 'The country' by which I mean Yorkshire appears to be in a cycle frenzy.
Cycle shops are being swamped with wannabe Chris Froomes, roads are littered in Lycra and domestic retailers are joining in the Velomania.

The world of cycling can now be found on beers, wine, clothing and even soft furnishings.

Yellow generally classified as a 'No no' in the fashion world has seemingly scaled the Ventoux in the world of Haute Couture, and received new respect.
Looking for a cycling related garment or gift has never been so easy, where you can purchase anything from a toilet brush holder to a sofa.


Two decades ago things were different most people had never heard of the Tour de France and most top cyclists in England had to mix training and events with holding down a job.
The Milk race was our top event at a time when milk was still delivered to your doorstep.

Year on year the sport and teams have become more professional with Sky recently leading the way using their highly successful  'Percentage theory' applied to all aspects of event preparation.

The now Famous Sky Bus

Dave Brailsford the director, is a man driven by performance always wanting and demanding the best of the  best.

Best bikes, clothing, nutrition,  training,  accommodation etc etc working on the belief that if each area can be improved by 1% then the cumulative gain would be significant.
As well as proving tangible improvement there was also a psychological benefit.

As a rider you would feel naturally feel better prepared than your opponent.
As an opponent you would feel at a disadvantage before the event starts.

The Anglo American Mules cycling club could never dream of competing with the wealth of 20th Century Fox the parent company of Sky but recognise that you don't need to be a professional to have professional attitudes.

For the American contingent any mornings ride under the blistering heat of south Texas concludes with an oasis in Zube car park.
The American Mule Wagon provides shelter, cold drinks and even a shower for its discerning riders whilst other local clubs look on with a mixture of  envy and astonishment.








  • No wanting to be left behind the Anglo Mules have their own Mule wagon to service its riders.
    This raised a number of eyebrows at last weeks WFK Sportive in Hornsea where the question on every ones lips was 'Who are those Mules?'

    If we were fitter and younger we could have mistaken for one of the professional Tour Teams
    however we are not but will always strive to have a professional approach




    Williams Farm Kitchen Sportive Roster (Hornsea)



Monday, June 16, 2014

Cycling in Gran Canaria

When it comes to holiday time its a tricky time for cyclists.
Our cycle widows insist that they have some quality time without the inclusion of bidons, gels and lollypop pedals.
Having scarified at least one of the 'S' days each week for the whole calendar year they may have a point.
We however think its a time to further our boundaries increase our challenges and seek roads bathed in sunshine.

What is required is great skill and bravery, the type one might require catching up the peleton on a high alpine.
Risks have to be taken and the cost is sometime debilitating
As I pull back the curtains I could see the Mountain range on the horizon
Negotiations with Joanne had gone quite well and I was pleased with my position.
She had got a 5* hotel with latin waiters, fit pool attendants and an unlimited tab plus the promise of a new handbag.
I got two full days in the mountains.
Result!


The quality did not stop at the hotel steps as I was able to hire any of a full range of high end Carbon Bikes from Free Motion a local cycle shop within a few minutes walk of the hotel.
They also offered a number of tours for those who liked the company, competition or could not read maps.

I elected for a Cannondale Synapse with a 32 serving dish on the rear having been warned about some of the climbs.
As a bit of a lardy, climbing has always been tough for me so you would imagine that I would seek cycling trips to Holland or Texas but I actually love climbing. It just does not share the same love with me.

I have had relationships with Mow Cop, The Cat and the Fiddle, and Winatts Pass and am a quarter of the way through ticking off the UKs toughest climbs.   
Later in the year I seek to conquer Mount Evans in Colorado before completing the Tour de Moon in National Monument.
Up until this moment in time I had only climbed one 'proper' Mountain that of Mount Tamalpais in California which included some Category 3 segments 

I purchased a map from the cycle shop and asked for guidance on a route that would take me up to the top of the Island.
The attendant who looked like a cyclist and climber to boot, was not subtle when he focussed on my protruding girth and suggested that I try the coast road from Maspalomas to Faro de Morgan which he said was a bit lumpy.
On seeing me frown, he added that if I felt fine I could head North towards Risco Grande at over 3,000 feet. I could then turn back to Maspalomas.

It all sounded good to me, so I set off.
The coast road was lumpy but cooled by the onshore breeze.
With my I pod playing and the sun on my back I was in cycle heaven.
By the time I got to Faro de Mogan and headed inland it was close to mid day and the wind ceased, replaced by precipitation from my forehead.
My Garmin said 30 degrees which increased to 38 as I climbed.
I decided to count the number of switchbacks to hold my concentration but I soon ran out of fingers and toes.



It was never too steep but and endless grind of beauty, terror and panting.
with very few barriers I soon worked out that any mistake would mean instant death on falling sometimes 1,000's of feet below.
I did not think I suffered from Vertigo but found myself riding in the middle of the road and was anxious every time I got my Camera out.





On reaching the top of the Mountain in one piece and receiving some ernest applause from some german tourists who had travelled up my car I felt quite proud of myself.
Realising I only had the descent to complete I finished off my water second bottle.
In this part of the Island there are no shops, houses, very few cars but a real sense of isolation.
This became particularly marked when the route I wanted to take apparently was no longer available for cyclists. What!
I suddenly felt sick and very thirsty.
On reviewing my map I could either retrace my steps about 40 miles or head further into the mountains and take a route back via San Bartolome another 27 miles
I chose the later..........



It was the wrong choice..........No water and lots more climbing.
I eventually got back in one piece, hot and bothered and in need of beer.
My mood was lifted with this reinactment of 'Ice Cold in Alex' especially when I saw the result of my Garmin download.
There were a few Cat 4 climbs, a few 3's too but to see a smattering of 2,1 and the big daddy Catogory HC all the pain subsided.

On recounting my trip in the bike store the guys held their bellies and laughed loudly.
Before I raised my fists they explained that the sign that I had seen had only signified the end of the cycle route and not the end of the road.
They also said Chapeaux........acknowledging that I had dragged my lardy arse over two more mountain passes





A few days later I took a shorter trip up to Soria.
Despite the million and one switchbacks and 9km of climbing it was a comparative breeze.
Going up and back down even I could understand.

All I all Gran Canaria was a massive hit for me and I will return

I know I need to loose a lot more weight to tackle the rockies but with HC under my belt and hours of continuous climbing I think I am on the right route.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cobbled Climbs


The Santini Lincoln Classic Sportive
The pace gets faster as we descend into the belly of this ancient city and crowds increase in anticipation of the final crescendo.

I hear a group of scouts cheering gleefully and informing us of the impending terror ahead!

400 meters of cobbled climb, at a gradient enough to lift your front wheel.

The climb greets you like a kick in the teeth and after yards you can taste the blood in your throat.
A cloudburst changes the surface into shimmering sliders and your wheels struggle for traction.
The crowd cheers and the announcers calls out my name and the name of the Mules 

Rule 5 is applied today
We all smile :)

 

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Stable door is Open

If you are afflicted with a compulsive cycling disorder there are only ever two sorts of days
Days when you Cycle and days when you wish you were cycling.
The later are usually ones that a shared with other significant dates such as weddings, births and funerals.
Work does not count as you can usually sneak a few wheel revolutions in prior to or after this important role that pays for your compulsion.
For those who do not regard rule Number 5 (Harden the F*** up) as obligatory there is a third type of Day.
Days you should be cycling - and could, if you were not made 'candy floss'.

As a new follower to Rule 5, I acknowledge that I previously had 'candy floss' days when instead of cycling I would write about it in my blog.
So now my excuse for the lack of Blogposts is Rule Number 5
Thank you Velominati

With a kind winter us Anglo Mules have managed to rack up some impressive mileage achieving a level of fitness that one might expect to achieve in June or July.

In April we took part in the North Lincs Sportive which unsurprisingly was another windy one.

Every year at this particular weekend the elements never disappoint in their consistency of blowing over 30mph.
If I were a kite surfer, newly erected  wind turbine or a piece of discarded litter such consistency may please me, But as a cyclist I knew it would be a day of tired turbulence which would end up with some obligatory tramadol to cure a stiff neck.
It was also a reminder that its not quite time to take off those toe warmers


 North Lincs Sportive (Brigg) 100km (64miles) and 130km (100 Miles)
 
Centered around the North Lincolnshire Wolds this Sportive holds a similar terrain as that found on our own East Yorkshire Wolds.
Most did the 100km ride.......peer pressure pushed me to take on the 100 miles.
Tramadol was used!


Matt and Paul on hearing the shipping forecast.........................

Andy looking for somewhere to hide


 April ended with the Heart of the Wolds which again saw some Mule representation with both the longer and Medium Ride. Full livery was displayed which was both eye catching and formed a topic of conversation amongst other riders.
Mule enthusiasts had apparently graffitied the road with words of equine encouragement.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Your Bike Shed - York



As I have got older and contemplated things like mortality and a more sedentary life my bucket list of adventures and experiences has multiplied. The collection has expanded at such an alarming rate that I would surely have to live until  at least 103 years before I have time to complete them all. 

As many of them include two wheeled feats of endurance I have now decided to have two bucket lists. One for 'Cycling', and one for 'The Rest of life' - The second one seems a bit lightweight.
Two of my cycling goals occur this year with a trip to the Rockies and to Climb the mighty Mount Evans at 14,000+ feet it is one of the highest tarmac roads in the World. 
This is quickly followed by Tour de Moon a sportive in West Colorado through the National Monument Park.

Not all of the list involves actual cycling as it also includes watching great cycling events  like the Tour de Yorkshire sorry.........France. Paris Roubaix and other Spring Classics.

On a less Grand scale further down the list was to visit all of the Rapha Coffee shops which are now appearing on every continent. 
So far I have had the good fortune to visit the one in London and one in San Fransisco.
Being a modern Rapalite, I love all things Rapha and their Coffee shops are no exception.
They are just classy with a small 'c', simple, understated yet oozing identity and creating a sense of belonging. 
Having Cycle centric Coffee Shops is not a new Idea but rarely seen on these shores.

I was therefore intrigued to hear of a new Cycle Cafe in York called 'Your bike shed' which is just through the old city walls on Micklegate. I did not want to like it and knew that obvious comparisons with Rapha would be made.

With the Mules in tow we made our pilgrimage on Good Friday in search of that perfect roast coffee bean.

I like surprises ....especially when they are good ones and as soon as I entered 'Your bike shed' I was smiling.

This was not like Rapha.......It was much better.
Although the venue had never been on my bucket list, it should now be compulsory for those like me who keep such records.
It would have been if I had known about it!

We were warmly met by Adele Proctor who runs the establishment with her business partner Martin Harman. Adele feeds and waters you, whilst Martin takes care of your bike, if it needs some attention.
 This is no ordinary Cycle Cafe..........you can have your precious conveyance, fixed, serviced washed or just generally pampered whilst you enjoy the surroundings.

Unlike the Rapha Cafes the room for cycle storage is not an after thought.
This has been well thought out.
I hate leaving my bike out of sight and ideally I would prefer to have my lunch served on my saddle if I could.
Well here I practically could.
With both conventional and vertical storage there was ample room both inside and out for a full Club run if required.


The Coffee was superb and even got a big thumbs up from Manuel our Coffee Mule who is a connoisseur on such subjects. Whilst my expertise is in cake tasting.
'Your bike hut' offers far more with a menu that would keep any gruppetto happy. 
Bottled beer and wine are also available........Oh joy!

This was a lively place with a great mix of cycling and non cycling visitors who all smiled through the intoxication of the atmosphere.

Such was the ambiance I suggested to my fellow Mules that I might like to visit when I was in York without my cycle. The feeling was Mutual. 

It was certainly refreshing to see Cycling Events chalked on a board next to a large mounted Television.
For me televised cycling is a bit like watching a cricket Test Match. 
Highly Technical like physical chess, it often last for hours.
You can dip in and out of it without missing too much with equal amounts of lulls and high drama.
Basically you don't have to be glued to the screen.

Far better than witnessing  the customary exploits of overpaid, snood wearing footballers 
whose idea of endurance is playing two games of football in a week.  

Old cycling Photos, Bikes, Cycling Magazines, Cake, Coffee, Booze and Cycling on the Box and great company.
Maybe my list was too late and I had already home to Heaven.