The Pulhams

Still in Norfolk, this morning I rode East and then turned into a southerly headwind which was a fairly consistent 25km/h. This was not fun, but at least the sun was out. The problem is that in this area the landscape doesn’t offer much protection from the elements because there’s no trees or hedges that might break the wind.


Shortly after taking this photo I was picked up by one of the VC Norwich Sunday Club Run groups for a nice tow into Starston. Once I reached the Waverley valley I peeled off the bunch and things picked up because the wind was now at my shoulder. I had a good tempo as I skirted near the Suffolk border and on through the Pulhams. As I turned North it became a wind-assisted big ring power ride most of the way home.

Titanium Crown Jewel

Longest ride so far since getting back on it. Just under 30 miles and I am not totally destroyed so maybe the slow ramping up of distance is the way forwards. The bike is ace 🙂

Lotus Loop

I was born and for a significant portion of my life have lived within a short distance of the headquarters of Lotus Cars. The irony is that I have rarely been there and prior today the only ride was at night on a mountain bike. So today’s ride was about setting the record straight. Back in Norfolk for a long weekend with the Ti Crown Jewel, I headed out rode a big loop around the factory (saw a couple of V6 Exiges and Elises), before getting the ride evidence photo by heading down Potash Lane.

Lotus Cars Head Quarters, Norfolk

The weather was typical of February, just without the snow. Temperatures hovering about 2 degrees, grey and overcast, wet (but not raining) with a northerly wind to remind you that route planning is important to avoid those long exposed roads that the Norfolk landscape offers. I was testing out some new kit, including these Castelli Toe Warmers, which were fine for about an hour and then once waterlogged were pointless. Proper windproof and waterproof overshoes are still needed, but colour co-ordination with socks was appreciated.

Castelli Toe Warmers

The other product getting a first ride were Assos TK.607 S5 Bib Knickers. I’d decided that after 3 pairs of Endura Thermolite equivalents that I’d go back to Assos, in part because I’d not been overly impressed by the last pair from the British firm: the graphics peeled off the legs after the 3rd wash; fabric lost elasticity; and the leg grippers weren’t wonderful and consequently the fabric has an annoying habit of riding up and bunching behind the knees. I’ve put up with them because for the money when mountain biking you are not going to cry if you bin it and put some extra ventilation in them.

I also have a pair of Rapha ones which came through IF when the two firms were working closely on the Cross Bike project. For pretty much the same money, the Assos ones do seem a more technical garment and do offer a better fit for me. The downside – they’re not as warm as either the Endura or Rapha equivalents, but in all other aspects have impressed so far.

A downside to back road riding this time of year, particularly in my part of rural East Anglia, is that the winter has littered the tarmac with assorted detritus and perhaps inevitably I picked up my first puncture on the Independent Fabrication road bike. I managed to get within half a mile of home before having to concede defeat and stop to pump some more air into the front wheel, which was just enough to get home.

Throwback Thursday

Chipps Chippendale the editor at Singletrack dropped me an email recently to say that my old Trans Cambrian feature made it to Throwback Thursday on their site. I hope you enjoy seeing it again.

Following the ride that Paul, Tyrrell and I undertook, Chipps did a feature on the same route a couple of years later. It’s a British classic.

Seeing Red

Day off yesterday, so headed out on the road bike. I was immediately reminded that the pawls on the Mavic Helium freehub are bolloxed and I need to order some new ones from the hub doctor. Nonetheless in general motoring around it was fine. I am also having to come to terms with the fact that I cannot just big ring it everywhere and I will occasionally need to use the front mech.

The results of doing so were interesting – the acceleration once you put the hammer down on the Ti Crown Jewel is insane. I think the super stiff cranks and BB setup just equate to immediate power transfer and coupled with the right gearing the bike accelerates like stink. When you’re slightly lifting the front wheel when gunning it then you know something is going on. Those SRAM Red levers shift so sweetly down the block too.

The ride itself was rather intense. The conditions when I left seemed to be cool and overcast and within 15 minutes became sunny and then incredibly humid. This on the whole was okay as long as you kept moving, but once you stopped then it was a hot and sweaty affair. Worst was being stuck in insane amounts of traffic for a mid-week ride outside of rush hour and then getting stopped at every single set of red lights. I kid you not it was like I was a bloody red light magnet yesterday.

Red lights

At the top of the climb out of Woodley into Hyde I felt like my brain was boiling. At least getting on the down hills provided some relief. Short on water I headed home sooner than planned, but I am at least getting some mojo back. A combination of more biking, a bit of running at a kettlebells class once a week is seeing an improvement in my general fitness and clearly I’ve lost some weight as shorts that wouldn’t fit before do now. Still someway to go to get back into a decent level of form, but those Peak District hills are calling.