We’ve been excited by the prospect of the Tour de France passing through Yorkshire for quite some time. Having the world’s largest single sporting race so close to home is a once in a lifetime opportunity to join in with the spectacle… More “Le Tour de France”
Richard had deadlines to meet this weekend, so I’ve been out and about enjoying the chilly weather!
On Saturday I cycled with the Tamworth Road and Mountain Cycle Club from Fazeley. Incredibly, within 15 minutes of cycling, we rode along some roads that were completely new to me. Thankfully it was a steady ride and so I kept up with the peloton. About two-thirds of the way, we stopped at a cafe in Roliston and then headed home. We cycled 35 miles in total and I learnt a few things about cycling along the way; so a great morning out. Much better than the afternoon, which was spent cleaning carpets!
To make up for my domesticated Saturday afternoon, on Sunday I met Katy and Amy in Edale for a run on Kinder. After some discussion, we decided to park at Barber Booth to avoid the car parking charge in Edale and from there we decided on a route which went onto the Kinder Plateau from Barber Booth, along Kinder edge to the east and then across Kinder Plateau on the famous footpath, which isn’t really a footpath, but just a general direction to follow. This footpath ‘leads’ to Kinder Downfall, from where our planned was to run down to Swine’s Rocks, over Brown Knoll, up to Rushup Edge, along to Hollins Cross and back down to Barber Booth.
The weather was fantastic; blue skies and cold, and the hoar frost was spectacular! We had to stop a number of times to take pictures! A good 3hr30 run was had and once we’d returned to the cars, we headed off to the Woodbine Cafe to warm up.
We went to see friends in Newport, Shropshire yesterday. Richard deviated the journey to pick up his new car in Stoke, so I took the opportunity to cycle to Shropshire. The 43 mile journey wasn’t quite as quick as I’d hoped, partly because I went the wrong way, but mostly because there was a head wind the entire way!
Penkridge (picture below) marks the point at which I can start to convince myself that I’m nearly there 🙂
We stayed over in Newport and spent time chatted lots, eating Carol’s nice food, watching a sparrowhawk and drinking slightly too much. In the morning, after renting out my Richard to solve Carol’s Richard’s arduino problems, we headed off. Thankfully my bike fitted in the new car, so I didn’t have to cycle home 🙂
Cycling to Eastwood from home to see my Grandad seemed like a perfectly sensible thing to do, which it was on the way there. The 38 mile journey flew by in about 2 hours 20 minutes. The way home was a bit more tiring… I even had to stop half way for cola and chocolate and I almost pushed my bike the last 500 m because I wasn’t confident that I could get off it again without falling off…
Hence why I look pretty tired in this picture that Sarah took when I arrived home.
Apart from orienteering (at Shining Cliff for Richard), cycling (35 miles for me) and walking around a wood in preparation for organising an orienteering event, we’ve been playing with our new toy!
I don’t need to say anymore… watch the video!
Our normal range of activities are still somewhat hampered by Richard’s shoulder and my sprained ankle, so we took the opportunity to spend some time with friends in Shropshire. This gave me the opportunity to cycle back and gave Richard the option of going for a short run on Cannock Chase on his drive home.
I previously cycled from Shropshire to Tamworth in January 2010 (also when injured), so I considered this route as being similar to that one. However, I neglected to consider that our friends live 13 miles to the north west of Newport …on the far side of Market Drayton. Anyway, armed with two ripped-out pages from the road atlas I set off into the easterly wind, which was to provide me with a head wind most of the way home.
It soon became clear that not all of the roads in this part of Shropshire were on my map. It also became clear that signposts are not something that Shropshire takes very seriously. At some point, quite early on, I restorted to using my compass, but it became apparent to me that I probably shouldn’t use a compass when sitting on my bike…. I realised this a little too late. To get myself back on track, I decided to take the Shropshire Union Canal; at least there wouldn’t be any unsignposted junctions. Indeed there weren’t any junctions, but it was incredibly bumpy and so I decided to get back on a road regardless of where I was. It soon became clear that my diversion had not gained much distance in the right direction. Anyway, I continued and slowly began to make progress. Once I had passed Penkridge, the scenery started to pass by much more quickly and soon I was cycling over Cannock Chase and then down through Lichfield and on to Tamworth.
It was quite a long cycle … 60 miles in total. Most of it was quite nice with interesting things to see, in particular: a ploughing match; a field of piglets; a reliant robin gathering and a rather nice canal marina.
After a winter of virus’, fatigue and more recently, (re-)torn muscles, finally we had a weekend of decent exercise. I wasn’t entirely sure whether my body would cope with re-running the route of the Three Trigs race around Cannock Chase, but there’s only one way to find out. It’s only 15 miles and we have been keeping fit recently… but just not by running. In fact I have become quite partial to cycling up our local slag heap and swimming miles in the pool!
The weather on Saturday was fabulous and, for Cannock Chase, the scenery was pretty nice.
I was slightly apprehensive about the distance; I wasn’t sure if I would get absolutely knackered or whether my calf would start to complain, but thankfully, neither of these things happened. On the other hand we were pretty knackered on our return, but that’s to be expected!
On Sunday I was keen to get some more training in, but given that my legs were aching from Cannock, I decided that a bike ride was a better option. Richard perceives bike riding as a means to get somewhere and not a way to enjoy a Sunday, so I had to bribe him with a pub stop halfway for lunch. In the end we chose a route that took us into Tamworth on the canal and then down to Kingsbury (to the pub), through the water park and then back across the undulating villages of Hurley and Baxterly. We cycled about 21 miles in total and even Richard enjoyed it in the end!
Following Richard’s run last weekend he contracted a cold … and hence as he was out of action; I took the opportunity to get back on the bike. I managed to combine a visit to see my Grandad and a bike ride, by organising for my sister to give me a lift home…. this enabled me to choose a linear route, which as I described last week, is hugely preferable to cycling around in circles. Unfortunately the route from Tamworth to Nottingham is devoid of picturesque sights and hence no pictures were taken. Nevertheless the following interesting points were noted:
- There is an “airport trail” around East Midlands airport – presumably for plane spotters.
- Breedon on the Hill is very nice and has a small, interesting circular prison.
- If you wish to open an account at Nationwide you have to queue up twice.
- It is not at all obvious from a page of the road atlas whether one should turn left or right on the canal at Long Eaton to get to Ilkeston.
- The canal towpath from Long Eaton to Ilkeston is really bumpy and is a little off-putting when motorcycles ride past.
- It is really quite hard to eat a flaky sausage roll and cycle at the same time.
It was a nice ~40 miles, but the lift back with Sarah was appreciated. The cake of the evening is pictured. Whilst it was meant to be a roulade (swiss roll-like), this required hours in the fridge, which obviously wasn’t going to work and hence it ended up as a stack. It was delicious and even better on Sunday night!
The physio, who is fairly happy with my calf icing/heating/stretching/strengthening efforts, said that I should start walking up some gently inclined slopes, therefore on Sunday, Richard and I went to Derbyshire and walked from Thorpe to Stanshope and back, with a pub stop in the middle. The weather was lovely and the light dusting of snow made everywhere look very pretty.
I now have the cold 🙁