Monday, December 29, 2014

#Festive500 abandoned.

I am writing this with two days left of the 2015 Rapha #festive500. For us though the challenge is over.

Before the challenge started we both had a cold. I'd hoped we'd shake it off, but if anything for both if us the cold was getting worse.

I was concerned that with weakened immune systems we might pick up something else, so made the decision that our time would be better spent regaining our good health than riding our bikes.

We're still coughing and spluttering, but I'm hopeful we'll be back on our bikes soon.

Best wishes for 2015 from us both.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Rapha #Festive500 Day 2.

Unlike previous years, we had a day off on Xmas day. This was partly because we had family stuff to do, but mainly because we both have an awful cold. If there was a seasonal competiton for coughing, sneezing and generally feeling weak, we would be up there.

Nevertheless, we nipped out today and did a few miles.

Tom spotted a road sign with his name on it.

We've done 24% now.

Tomorrow sun and energy please!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rapha #Festive500 Day (night) 1.

This is the third year Tom and I have decided to take up the challenge of riding 500 Kms between the 24th and the 31st of December.

We like hearing other peoples stories from the #festive500, and one in particular caught Tom's eye, and indeed took the top spot in last years Rapha competition.

The story of four riders who set out to do the 500 Kms all in one ride!

Tom says "Can we do that?" to which I replied "No!" The only reason I said no, was that he can't yet ride fast enough to do the 500 Kms without missing more than one nights sleep.

Undeterred, (as usual) Tom says, "Well, can we start at midnight and see how far we can ride?" To which I reply "Yes". I thought, that if we did a good few miles, then we could have a day off on Xmas Day, which would mean unlike last year we wouldn't be late for Xmas dinner.

I made a plan, similar to when I did a few hill reps this summer. We would park the car up which contained food, drink and warm clothes. Ride, refuel, repeat.

We parked at Parsley Hay, which is at the junction of the High Peak, and the Tissington trails. After a bit of faffing, we left around 12:20 am.

It was raining, windy, cold, and unsurprisingly dark.

We headed first down the High Peak trail. Tom was loving it.

 At the first incline, we turned round and reversed our route to the car. Car heater on, it was time for tea and some hot food.

 Refuelled, we headed out again. The rain had stopped now, and we were treated to a sky full of stars.

Time passed quickly, and the early signs of dawn came.

By the time we made it back to Parsley Hay the sun was nearly up.

Another few miles, and we were done, just as the sun was rising in the distance.

A bit thanks to our mate James who lent us his Exposure Lights for the night.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A #microadventure to a Secret Place.

Sleeping out with no tent, no bivvy bag on the winter solstice, that was the plan.

We had discovered a place, a place that hundreds of people will walk within a few metres of every week, yet few know of.

A #microadventure to a Secret Place.

We had packed our stuff much earlier in the day, as we had a dinner date that night at Grandma and Grandpa's. After our supper we walked home. It was windy though not too cold. I was hopeful we might get a good nights sleep.

Once home, we loaded up our bikes, said good night to the girls, and headed out again into the darkness. It was a bit too early for bed, so we stopped for a drink on our way.

After a couple of drinks, it was time to head up the hill and find our accomodation. Instead of our usual approach from above, I thought it might be easier with loaded bikes to head in from below.  I said earlier this was a secret place. It's location from below in the darkness for a little while, was proving to be just that.

Eventually we found the entrance, and it didn't take long to get our sleeping stuff out and get into our sleeping bags. We drank the flask of tea my wife had packed.

The roof over our heads.

Tea drunk, we bedded down for the night.

We were soon asleep, and it wasn't until around 7:30 that we woke.

Tom was up first, and made us some coffee.

Next it was time for breakfast. There are many things I would choose to have for breakfast, but Tom had decided we would have Spaghetti Bolognese!

Breakfast eaten, yes I'm now a convert to Spag Bol as a good start to the day, we packed our stuff and headed out in the first light of the day.

Tom loved our #microadventure, though he says I better bring some milk for his coffee next time.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Minipips gets a bit Faster

This year I've seen Tom's cycling move on to another level. He's probably ridden less miles than last year, but his bike handling, stamina, and road craft have moved on so much, that I no longer plan a ride having to make allowances for any inability. Though we rarely worry about going fast, he's getting faster too.

I could say it's because he's naturally gifted, but that wouldn't be true. He has got to where he is by putting in the miles (3000 in the last two years). He's been too hot, cold, wet, fallen off his bike and been bitten by a dog among other hardships. He loves riding his bike, but as every cyclist knows, it isn't always easy.

One particular ride this year, made me realise how much he has improved.

Our local running club organises a bike vs runner handicap race. Two years ago Tom rode this race, and in spite of setting off well before everyone, he came second from last.

Last year we gave it a miss, but this year we entered again.

Dave who organises it eyed Tom up and down, and decided that though he could set off  before the other cyclists, he would have to leave behind all but the elite runners.

The first section of the race was flat, and Tom reeled in many of the runners as he touched 20mph. What comes next though is a climb of 1 1/2 miles with 800 feet of climbing over loose, then rutted and sometimes boggy ground. He didn't get passed by all the runners, but there weren't many still behind. Still no sign of the other cyclists though.

From the high point there's a technical descent, which then becomes a fast gravel track. He was picking up the runners one by one.

From the road crossing there is a slight climb. I'd told him, if he made the top of it, before any other of the cyclists, he on his mountain bike would have the upper hand against those (training for the 3 Peaks) on their cyclocross bikes on the final descent.

He rode hard to the last col. We passed more runners, but no sign of any cyclists.

He flew down the loose rocky descent. He took a quicker line than me through one section whilst passing a runner I had to work hard to get back on his wheel. We passed lots of runners.

Now back on the outskirts of the village, the surface turned to tarmac, and it was just a matter of riding hard to the finish.

At the finish there were two runners, and Nick Craig the first cyclist who had taken a slightly different line to the finish. So, out of 24 entrants, Tom finished 4th.

Tom was told by the organiser that next time, he wouldn't get away with pretending he was a kid!

Anyhow, 2014 isn't quite done yet. For the third year we'll be doing the Rapha #festive500. Minipips has an ambitious plan for that.

Once that is done, we'll have some exciting news about rides and sponsors for 2015!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Can I ride at Strathpuffer?

"Daddy, why can't kids do 24 hour races?"

I was first asked that three years ago. My answer was something along the lines of "Organisers say you have to be over 18, I'm guessing because they can only get insurance for adults".

Tom had heard that a team of riders who were all under 15 have won a 24 hour race up in Scotland called the Strathpuffer. He says "I'd like to ride that next year" to which I reply "You can't, you're too young."

I rode Strathpuffer back in 2008. Wind, snow, ice, wet, and lots of dark. It is billed as the one of the 10 toughest mountain bike races in the world. It was certainly the toughest I'd ridden. After 12 hours I retired.

I did my best to explain the drawbacks of a race that takes place in the north of Scotland in winter hoping that Minipips would not bring up the subject again, or at least not for another few years.

June 2014 "I really want to ride at Strathpuffer, could you ask them if I can?"

I sent an email which didn't get a reply. A month or so later, he's been googling, and asks me if I will ring the number on their facebook page. He wasn't taking no for an answer.

I rang. There was a chance. We would have to phone back though.

A month later I phoned again. Another encouraging conversation. Please send an email with detail of what cycling he's done before.

I knock up my sons first CV and fire it off. I was now beginning to hope as much as Minipips that he'd get the go ahead to apply for a place.

A couple of weeks before the entries open I phone again. I have mispelled the email address. I quickly resend the email.

A final phonecall. Minipips can ride if we get a place, and I must ride with him at all times. Minipips is excited, I'm excited, but there is still the small matter of getting one of the 70 solo entries which sell out in a couple of minutes.

The entries open at 10:00. At 10:03 I receive a confirmation email. Minipips has a solo entry for Strathpuffer.

He's hoping it will snow.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oh go on then, #RaphaRising 2014 Day 8

Even though we'd done enough the day before, we couldn't resist another ride in the sun.

Tom took a picture of me.

Minipips making the climb out of the Roych look easy.

The final numbers

Check the tan lines.

A thoroughly enjoyable few days riding.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 7 - The End?

An earlier start meant we managed to ride through all of the hottest bits of the day.


I got a phonecall to collect my wife and daughter from the train station late afternoon, we headed home.

Had we done enough to finish the challenge? Oh, 2 metres short.

Minipips insisted we went out again.

Job done, we retired to the pub with the girls.

8857 metres, 370 Kilometres, in 3 minutes short of 27 hours.

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 6

Minipips was bored with the road.

Over Jacobs Ladder to Barber Booth on our mountain bikes.

From there, to some friends in Edale, via Mam Nick once again.

Near Edale some refresments at my mates, and then a challenge

Neil had set up a KOM from the main road up to his house, so Tom, then I had a go at it. We borrowed more suitable bikes. Tom made it into the top ten. :)

A bit more still to do, and two days to do it. 7443/8880 metres

A couple of Neil's pics of us going for the KOM ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 5

Another hot one.

A big sky day.

Some techy off road to the South Head Col.

Picked up an email whilst grabbing a drink that there was a prototype Genesis Longitude at 18 Bikes in Hope. So over there next via a couple of other hills. Nice bike.

From Hope, up Pindale road, and Minipips does his best grimpeur grimace.

1131 metres today, which takes us up to 72% of our needed total.

Current world ranking 2721/35655

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 4

We went for a longish ride today in order to get back on track with #rapharising challenge.

Blimey it was hot! There was lots of stopping for drinks enroute, and chips in Macc.

The old road from Whaley Bridge to Buxton, which is no longer suitable for cars. Ace!

There were bilberries galore in the Goyt Valley.

87.2km and 1,885

59% done now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 3

We missed a day yesterday, so there was a bit of pressure to get some riding in today.

After school, some food and drink was consumed. Once refreshed, we rode.

Local bridleways to get a bit of extra height, and to avoid the busy roads, before heading for the big climb of the day. Oh, and time for a sneaky KOM enroute.

Holme Moss is one of the bigger hills round here, and we are proud to say, has featured in the current Tour de France. Minipips has ridden up here before though not in such pleasant weather. The sun hid temporarily for the pic below though.

We were looking forward to the graffiti at the top of the hill, and it didn't disappoint.

Over to the county of my birth for  refreshments, then a ride back up Holme Moss from t'other side.

That'll do for a school day.

1159 metres on Strava.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 2

A very different day from Saturday. Sunshine. Summer had returned.

From our village we were soon heading up the first of the hills of the day, much cheerier. than yesterday.

Our first stop was at the "No Car Cafe" for brunch. From there we headed down Winnats Pass before climbing back up the road which Mam Tor shrugged of its shoulder.

We repeated that 3 times.

Minipips suggested on the third rep as we passed the just closed new cafe near Blue John Mine, that we might head over to Edale next.

Time for a cool drink, or two.

From there back up the last descent, Mam Nick from Edale.

There was a time, that I could take a photo, get back on my bike and easily catch my boy........

.....that is no longer the case.

Our ride's profile for the day.

Strava says we're 24% done now. Current Rank 5731/24345

School and a rare visit to the cinema after that, so probably a day off riding tomorrow.

#RaphaRising 2014 Day 1

We've had weeks of lovely weather here recently.

Of course as this latest challenge kicked of the weather went a bit bonkers. The preceding night was a melee of thunder and lightning, with the morning not bringing much better.

Our plans to do "lots" of hill, turned into doing a few hills.

Still, we've made a start. 614 metres :)

Oh and Minipips crashed his bike. He broke late and hit the tarmac.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Rapha #festive500 and Strava Run 20+13 Summary.

What a fantastic 10 days. We've had a few times where we've had to MTFU, but my memories are full of the laughs we've shared whilst running and cycling each day.

34 miles run and 505 kilometres cycled. Which took a grand total of 39 hours and 23 minutes.

Minipips completed the Rapha #festive500 last year, so we were fairly confident given that challenge alone and no snow, that we would stand a reasonable chance of completing it again in 2013.

Minipips thought it would be a good idea to also add the Strava run 20+13 mile challenge to our itinerary.

If you are a regular runner then 33 miles over 10  days is no big thing. However I hadn't run much this year, and Minipips other than the usual running about that 8 year old kids do, had done none.

The running challenge started two days before the cycling one, so the first two days we ran. When we got on to our bikes on day 3, we both had a good dose of DOMS to contend with. Just what you need when you've got 6 hours in the saddle to look forward to.

The last 8 days needed managing such that we could fit both cycling and running in. That would mean some long days on the bike, and also some long runs. Plus of course there's Xmas family visiting etc to slot in also.

We did learn on Boxing Day that 9 miles is about the furthest Minipips could easily run, so thereafter we had a couple of days where we cycled and ran, rather than doing one or the other which was the original plan.

Thanks to my wife and daughter for hoovering up the mud we brought home every day, and for making us goodies for our sustenance. We were both very grateful for my wife's genius idea that we should take a flask of tea each day.

We said last year we wouldn't be riding the #festive500 this year.

We're glad we changed our minds.

Well done if you completed either or both challenges.

Here are the blog entries in order.

Strava Challenge Run 20+13 Day 1.

Strava Challenge Run 20+13 Day 2.

Rapha #festive500 Part 1.

Rapha #festive500 Part 2.

Strava Challenge Run 20+13 Day 3.

Rapha #festive500 Part 3.

Strava Challenge Run 20+13 Day 4 + Rapha #festive500 Part 4.

Rapha #festive500 Part 5.

Rapha #festive500 Part 6.

Rapha #festive500 Part 7. Strava Challenge Run 20+13 Day 5

We hope you have a great 2014!