Cross is difficult, but not hard.

I rode The Jake with MapMyRide+! Distance: 43.42mi, time: 04:14:44, pace: 5:52min/mi, speed: 10.23mi/h.
finally decided to take my cyclocross bike up Cannock Chase. Winding my way through Chorley and the not to gentle Gentleshaw, then the getting lost started. Down fire tracks, bridleways and some roads. After losing the signs, I found a footpath with fat bike tracks fresh. In ‘cross style, I jumped off and ran the bike. It was the rounded pebble layered tracks that were the most daunting, especially where steep.
This bike has a lower gear than I’m used to, 36×30. All the weight was on the rea;, a few times, the front lifted even when leant over the bars. Out of the saddle, the rear tyre would spin. I need more skill.
Still, I got to the Visitor’s Centre without falling off. And coffee.
My next waypoint was the canal at Great Hay. The route to the canal was less than ideal, an A road. There must be a better path.
From there, the towpath wound it’s way home all level.
The final leg along the towpath was flat, dry and all about vibration. By now, I was hungry and keen to get a meal.

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Saturday Canal 16

I rode Cyclocross with MapMyRide+! Distance: 15.78mi, time: 01:25:52, pace: 5:27min/mi, speed: 11.02mi/h.
Another loop round the local canal circuit. Towpaths are even more dry and hard. I barely saw anybody. An early cafe stop for breakfast would have been perfect, no cafe opens at this hour.
Fradley Canal.

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Solstice Ride.

Strong wind, 14°C, sunny with some grey times.
I rode fixed with MapMyRide+! Distance: 48.18mi, time: 03:06:10, pace: 3:52min/mi, speed: 15.53mi/h.
Today, I struggled to even get fifty miles done. Felt empty by the finish. Some rides are like this.
And so it came to pass.
Continue reading

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Saturday vinyl.

14°C, rain clearing later.
This Mortal Coil: It Will End In Tears.


Saturday morning music time. Seems like the best time for vinyl for me.
The album sounds a bit dated to be honest, but it did lead me towards buying some of the finer examples in my collection: Lisa Gerrard and others.
Some listening sessions follow a path through the collection. While listening to an album, other records spring to mind and they land on the platter next. From a given starting record, there are paths through the collection that form naturally each day. From a starting album, the path is often very alike.

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18°C, breezy, grey and some light rain.
Rode The Jake to work for the return by canal.
This morning’s ride saw 4 drivers using mobiles and 2 more who jumped red lights. But the funny bit:
Small women have trouble getting a good driving position in their car. Often they can barely see over the steering wheel and their elbows almost touch the wheel. But today, another one had a position like that. This one though, her boobs almost touched the wheel. It is certain that each time she broke the car, they would contact the steering wheel more definitely.

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Feed some goats.

13°C, dull and some slight drizzle.
I rode Fixed with MapMyRide+! Distance: 55.7mi, time: 03:28:15, pace: 3:44min/mi, speed: 16.1mi/h.
A fairly ordinary ride on the Paddywagon. Start was late while I waited for some light rain to finish. The day steadily picked up and I met some amusing goats.


They were interested to see me, more so when I pulled a beech leaf nor them to eat. The others ran over when they saw that. Another reached up trying to get more from the tree. He tried so hard to reach, even stretching his tongue to hook the leaf. No good, it was just too high.

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Ilam for a spud.

I rode Racelite with MapMyRide+! Distance: 86.54mi, time: 05:58:43, pace: 4:09min/mi, speed: 14.48mi/h.
Big ride in cool but bright sun. North westerly was fresh which reduced my choices. It’s usually best to come home with a tail-wind. Therefore, The Peak District fitted perfectly. Riding up there, there is frequently shelter in the lee of hedges.
Anyway, my legs were fresh dough to add an d up loop before coming home.
A great day.

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Worcester north.

20°C, building breeze, full sun.
Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition. There were groups this year, and a chance to use the recent training. First day was an 8 mile walk. As always, the kids’ stamina was a serious limitation, though this year, the kids seemed younger. Their fitness remains almost as low as possible, their resilience was equally weak.
However, at least I enjoyed myself. The weather was perfect and early summer was in full glory. Fields were ablaze with buttercups and all the other summer meadow flowers.
Kids frequently asked how far is it now. My answer was always look at the map and you can tell me! One persisted, add said “why don’t you just tell us?”. Because I will not do your thinking for you.


I got home very tired. Although it was only one night, I had no control over sleeping times. I bedded down after 11pm, but got up at the normal time.
Over the years, I have tried to crystallise my thoughts about the relationship between tiredness and perception.

Hiking is a rich aesthetic experience, all the senses, are invoked. Internally, I can almost feel my mind draining of the detritus it collects while at work. There, I am surrounded by voices and commotion of dozens of children at once. I need time to clear all that bilge from my head. On the other hand, in pours the experience of being out there.
That experience is altered by the building physical exhaustion of walking. For most of the daylight hours, I walk and walk.
Consider the way you listen to music on those occasions when you are half asleep. Teetering on the edge of sleep or even dipping in and out, you can still follow the soundscape. A rare state of mind.
Camping near a babbling stream is soothing. As you fall asleep, there is a time when your mind switches off your ears. Sometimes it switches back several times, an effect that can catch your attention. Peaceful.

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14°C, light SW, bright sun.
Rode home on the Arrow, with MapMyRide+! Distance: 23.50mi, time: 02:07:35, pace: 5:26min/mi, speed: 11.05mi/h.
Burst a tyre: maybe I hit a piece of metal, the but is quite large.


No point trying to fix it and I was 3.5 miles from home. However, it was a very fine evening, so I walked. An old friend from my club days, left me to it after I said what I was going to do. Shame, we had lots to catch up on.
Significantly, four group of cyclists offered to help fix the obvious puncture. There is an honourable community out there.

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Tight nest.

16°C, very windy. Dry after morning rain.


Today, the foliage spiders are nesting in two tight bunches. In close-up there are fine threads of silk holding the soft feathery tips of the fennel they have as a nursery.
I am fascinated by this. It looks like a good survival method. Good thinking mum! I expect that small birds would be a threat to these little babies. But I can’t see how a bird could stand on such a soft plant to pick off this protein rich meal.
I hope they do well, the adults are certainly attractive looking creatures.

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