Strava Multiple Ride Mapper

One of the North Cheshire Clarion members brought the following site to our attention the other day.  It seems there are some clever people out there using API’s made available by Strava to produce some interesting applications.  There are a collection of them listed here.  Of particular interest to me is one by a chap named Jonathon O’ Keeffe which allows you to map a group of rides.  It’s called Strava Multiple Ride Mapper.  I used it to map all of the rides I’ve done so far this year, and I think it’s interesting to reflect on.

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

All rides so far in 2012

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

UK rides in 2012

Interesting stuff

Southport Cycling Club Bill Bradley Memorial Ride

When I returned from India on Wednesday I came down with some bug that, shall we politely say, required me to visit the toilet an above average number of times!  I went to the Velodrome on Thursday evening with North Cheshire Clarion and didn’t feel especially great, and I felt terrible on Friday at work.  On Saturday morning I did a 24 mile club run on my new singlespeed Langster Steel and I felt better.  During the afternoon and evening I deteriorated and so when I got up this morning I really should have made the sensible decision not to attend the Bill Bradley Memorial Ride, staged by the Southport Cycling Club.  However, as Liz my wife would say, I’m a typical male and a typical Hughes and therefore hauled myself out of bed, via the toilet, and into the car to set off for Preston Arena.

A brief queue to sign in (I’d pre-entered) and pick up a goody bag (containing bottled water, banana and a muesli bar) and I was good to go.  I left Preston Arena following another couple of riders.  We’d been given an audax-style route sheet so I was a bit nervous about the route as when we do audaxes we tend to rely on Andy from NCC for directions!  I was on my own today – nobody from the club seemed too interested in the event.  Hopefully I can change their minds for next year.  As for the route, I needn’t have worried as it was signed perfectly at every junction with large black-on-yellow arrows.

I caught up with a large peloton before long and it soon grew to between 30 and 40 riders, including some of Southport CC’s younger members.  Riding in such a large group gave an immediate benefit in terms of the tow I was receiving.  The hum of the tyres of such a large group is really impressive – almost vuvuzuela standard!  Early on we went past a farm entrance – the road was covered in a slippery liquid cow-dung.  Not nice in such close quarters (no mudguards) but behind I heard the sounds of a crash and it seems the wheels of one of the younger guys went from under him and down he went.  He was okay, although I guess he didn’t smell too good!  The guys at the front set a cracking pace, doing the first 20 miles in a little over an hour.  I was relatively comfortable at this point as the route started a gradual climb.  I dropped off the peloton at about 25 miles as I stopped to take off my jacket and arm warmers.  At 30 miles we hit the first of 3 big climbs.  This is Jubilee Tower in Quernmore, which is climb 76 in Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs book.  It’s rated 6/10 and is between 2 and 3 miles long, depending on where you start counting.  This was the point where I realised I had nothing in the tank.  I’m normally good at climbing, having put a serious amount of training in for my LEJOG, but the number of riders who just went past me like I was stood still was embarrassing.  I was blowing hard, sweating massively more than I usually do and my legs felt completely dead.  My heart-rate was in zone 5 for the majority of the climb, hitting 184bpm at one point.  I took some food at the top but I was really struggling at this point.  I was still sweating and my stomach was cramping – not a nice feeling at all.

A bit of respite on the downhill and a bit of flat through the beautiful Trough of Bowland, which brought back happy memories from my childhood – it was a favourite place for us to visit.  Then we climbed up the hill out of the trough which was the second big climb.  This one I found slightly easier but I was still struggling way more than usual.  This is the reverse of climb 75 in Simon Warren’s book and so we descended at a rapid pace.  It’s a twisting descent with a drop on one side and a ditch on the other, as I approached the bottom I could see several riders from Southport CC stopped and somebody on the road.  One of the lads had either overcooked it or had a mechanical (different stories later) and had come off.  He looked in some pain, possibly his ankle.  I stopped to see if they needed any help but they’d already sent two riders off to get a mobile signal and ring an ambulance.  I continued the descent in Dunsop Bridge and stopped for a break at Puddleducks cafe.  Still not feeling good I forced (seriously) myself to eat some coffee and walnut cake and have a cup of coffee.  As I left the cafe, some Southport CC lads came in and I asked about the young lad.  It seems he was air-ambulanced to hospital but was as well as could be expected.

Coming out of Dunsop Bridge and through Newton took us up the longest climb on the B6478.  Again I struggled up it but was rewarded with a long descent into Waddington where I hit 43mph.  At this point I joined one of my LEJOG training routes which took us up a relatively short but steep hill at Chaigley.  This hill has given me no problems in the past but again I was huffing and puffing up it, sweat streaming off me.  That took us to 56 miles and thankfully, the rest of the route was pretty much downhill, through Chipping and skirting Longridge, then through Inglewhite before turning back through Woodplumpton and back to the arena.

3386ft of climbing

At the finish there was tea, coffee, cakes, snacks and a certificate!  All this, the excellent organisation and routing, goodie bag and parking at the Preston Arena was included in the £7 entry fee which puts the majority of sportives to shame.  The route was fantastic – the countryside is really beautiful – and I just wish I was feeling better and could have enjoyed it more.  Many thanks to Ken Beck and Southport CC for an excellent event.  Finally, I heard the young lad may have broken his leg but was in good spirits.  I hope he makes a full recovery.  EDIT – update is that the lad had no bones broken.

Ride stats: 77.5 miles in 4hrs 52mins @ 15.9mph average.  3386ft of climbing and 4071kcals used

North Cheshire Clarion Sunday Club Run – 84 miles!

Today was my last long training ride after nearly 19 weeks of training.  The weather at home was rubbish – raining and a bit miserable.  By the time I got to the start point for the club run, however, it was merely overcast.  Six of us set off on the ride and the weather immediately brightened.  The route went South West into Wales and then turned back, and was meant to be between 70 and 75 miles.  A few slight diversions, and me and John hammering it past a turning (tip – don’t put people who don’t know the route on the front) meant we easily added 10 miles.

2192ft of climbing

The first coffee stop was a bit of a disaster – it was closed!

What do you mean CLOSED????

This was the first of the diversions to find somewhere else.  Unfortunaetly we found somewhere else closed and then a pub in a lovely location on the banks of the Dee, who made us coffee but we decided to pass on the £5 sandwiches.

Sunny day on the bank of the Dee

On the route back we called at the ice cream farm and I finally got my piece of fruitcake!  We were travelling fairly quickly, including a great sprint with Andy and Dave through Delamere which had my lungs bursting.  The rain held off until the very end when it started spitting but by then we were relatively close to the finish.  Overall a good 84 miles at a very brisk 16.3mph average.  3805kcals used.

My last long ride before day 1 of the lejog!

Last day of hill training for #Lejog

7-30am this morning and Pete, Andy and I were getting ready to set off on my Cornwall Simulator route.  The route goes north through Accrington into the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland, through Slaidburn, Longridge and Ribchester, then back via Blackburn and Bury.

The reason I call it a Cornwall simulator is that although it is 30 miles shy of our day 1 Lejog, it packs in a similar amount of climbing.  Here’s the two elevation profiles side-by-side for comparison

Slaidburn loop - 5098ft of climbing

Day 1 Cornwall - 5600ft of climbing

As you can see both routes are pretty much roller-coaster rides.  In fact, todays route is probably the harder of the two, with gradients that we will rarely, if at all, see on the Lejog.  Here’s the gradient profile side-by-side


Day 1 - Cornwall

Today’s ride had 7 climbs with a gradient > 10%, 3 of which were > 12.5% and 1 of which was > 15%.  Cornwall will see only 3 climbs > 10% with the worst being 12.5%.  Whilst that isn’t the whole story obviously, the point is that doing today’s ride is a good indicator of how it will feel on day 1.

Pete is recovering from a chest infection and so had peeled off prior to the big hills so it left Andy and I to tackle them.  It’s fair to say he was having a harder time and then we worked out that whilst I was running on a 50-34 compact with my new 12-27 cassette, he has a 53-39 with a 12-25.  What does that mean? Well, in simple terms and assuming we have the same crank lengths (we both run 700x23c wheels)

  • each turn of my crank would turn the rear wheel 34/27 times = 1.26
  • each turn of Andy’s crank would turn the rear wheel 39/25 times = 1.56
  • which means I had 19% lower gearing than Andy
  • he has to work much harder than I do going up very steep hills

We stopped at 2 cafe’s.  The Riverbank Tea Room in Slaidburn, where I had a very nice tea cake

And then in Ribchester at the Carmen Rose Tea Room, where I had coffee & walnut cake and Andy got stuck into chocolate fudge cake.

The day was pretty hot – ideal weather for cycling with minimal breeze.  On the downhill stretch to home Andy got a puncture in his rear tyre – a huge bent nail sticking out of it.  His own fault because at the start he was singing the praises of his Armadillo tyres which “had never had a puncture.”  To be fair the nail would have gone through a car tyre so I don’t think any bike tyre would have helped – but shows the importance of not tempting fate!

Overall we did 78 miles in 5hrs and 39 mins which is an average of 13.9mph.  Total calories used 4181.

Route Updated and Finalised (Hopefully!)

The accommodation is booked, the clock is ticking and the routes are planned!  The main principle we’ve tried to adopt is to avoid large A roads wherever possible.  Obviously in some cases it isn’t, but we’ve aimed for smaller roads where we can.  Here’s the route overview

Day 1, Saturday 19th June – Land’s End to Okehampton – 109 miles and 5700ft of climbing

Day 2, Sunday 20th June – Okehampton to Gloucester – 131 miles and 3200ft of climbing

Day 3, Monday 21st June – Gloucester to Middlewich – 120 miles and 3200ft of climbing

Day 4, Tuesday 22nd June – Middlewich to Kendal (via Vertex Gemini) – 100 miles and 1800ft of climbing

Day 5, Wednesday 23rd June -Kendal to Hawick – 97 miles and 3600ft of climbing

Day 6, Thursday 24th June – Hawick to Perth – 98 miles and 3200ft of climbing

Day 7, Friday 25th June – Perth to Beauly (Inverness) – 132 miles and 3300ft of climbing

Day 8, Saturday 26th June – Beauly to John o’ Groats – 124 miles and 4000ft of climbing

Total – 911 miles and 28,000ft of climbing

(Mount Everest is a shade over 29,000ft high!)

Click the route tab above for more details

Day 1 Detailed Route

Day 1 is from Land’s End to Whiddon Down, which appears to be at the top of a mountain!

Leave Land’s End via the A30 until we get past Penzance, then briefly the A394 before diving off down the country lanes until we hit the A39 near Truro.  Then through St Austell and we stop for lunch in Fowey before taking the ferry across the Estuary to Bodinnick. Up through Liskeard and then Tavistock before entering the Dartmoor National Park and climbing that mountain.

A real long day at 117 miles and a whopping 9000ft of climbing!

Day 1 - Land's End to Whiddon Down

Click the link here to go to the mapping website and directly to the route

GPSies - Lejog 2010 Day 1

Updated route/day profile

We’ve changed the profile of the distance per day which means a different route. Here’s the new one

Day 1 Lands End to Whiddon Down
Day 2 Whibdon Down to Eastington (Nr Stroud)
Day 3 Eastington to Middlewich
Day 4 Middlewich to Kendal – would also accommodate a stop at Vertex Gemini to collect more sponsorship money
Day 5 Kendal to Hawick
Day 6 Hawick to Perth
Day 7 Perth to Inverness
Day 8 Inverness to JOG

Jodrell Bank Cyclosportive 80 miles

As part of my training for the end-to-end I’ve entered a couple of cyclosportives as they offer an opportunity to ride some well-thought out routes with organised stops and a bit of challenge.  So today was my first attempt at a sportive.  Apparently it’s a good one to start with as it’s relatively flat (I’ll come onto that shortly) and only (!) 80 miles.  There’s the option to do shorter routes but frankly, I need as much distance as I can get in at the moment.

I’d managed to convince a friend from work, Nigel, to join me on this.  We’d ridden the Manchester 100 together last year and he generally rides faster than me so I have to work hard to stay with him.  This is great for training because when I’m on my own I find it too easy to drop the speed to take a breather so having someone else there means that rarely happens.  So it was with some trepidation that i arrived at Nigel’s house early this morning and we rode the 3.5 miles to the sportive HQ at Woodford community centre.  The place was full of cyclists as you can imagine – thankfully all shapes and sizes so I didn’t feel too intimidated.  There must easily have been a quarter of a million pounds worth of bikes on display!  A short queue saw me registered (rider number 271) and the electronic timing tag fastened to my wrist.  We also got a printed map and a goodie bag containing a water bottle and various energy bars/gels and powders.

Anyway, we got the electronic tags blipped at the start and set off.  I’d already downloaded the route to the Garmin but it was well marked with arrows at all the major junctions.  The route took us out of Woodford and heading initially west in a loop through Mobberley, Ashley, Bucklow Hill, High Legh before turning east at Antrobus.  A note here about the wind.  The wind was blowing from the west to the east (is that a westerly?) and therefore heading west was a struggle even on the flat.  It was hard work to keep 14mph up.  Coming back east was the complete opposite – between 20 and 24mph with relative ease.  The first timing checkpoint then saw us head southwest through Ollerton and Lower Peover to the next timing point at Goostrey,  The course then diverted into a mini-loop around Jodrell Bank.  The views of the satellite station were spectacular from all angles as we drew a big arc around it, and the weather was almost spring-like to the point that I put my sunglasses on!  We continued on through Siddington and Broken Cross and the few cheeky hills on this course appeared as we rose through Prestbury, Bollington and Pott Shrigley.  Once the hills were out of the way the rest was really a cruise back down to Woodford through Poynton and Hazel Grove.  All in all a very nice course – apart from the state of the roads.  The winter has not been kind to the tarmac – it has been absolutely destroyed in places and it’s pretty depressing when you hack up a hill and then can’t enjoy the descent you’ve earned because the roads make it too dangerous.  On that note there was a professional photographer perched on the side of a steep hill so I expect a photo soon of me with an agonised look on my face!

So the 80 miles took 4hrs and 50mins in the saddle (5hrs 20mins including stops) and we recorded an average speed of 16.3mph which I’m pretty pleased with over that distance.  Total climbing was only 1973ft and I used 4644kcalories.  It seemed that we overtook far more people than overtook us but at the end we were in 153rd place out of 273 entries.  I wasn’t last and that was all I was bothered about!

Next one is the Cheshire Cat in 2 weeks time.  I’m not looking forward to that because a) it’s 100 miles b) it’s got Mow Cop on it and that climb nearly did for me a few weeks back and c) I’m doing it on my own.  Apparently there are 2500 riders entered and frankly if I come in the first 2000 I’ll be happy.  Now for a few glasses of wine and a nice meal!

#lejog Lumps of ice for feet

What a beautiful morning.  Clear skies and sunshine (requiring sunglasses!).  And absolutely freezing.  Went out for a quick ride round Ramsbottom and within 10 minutes I couldn’t feel my toes.  Anyway I did 21 miles at an average of 14.6mph.  935ft of climbing and 1212kcal used.  Nice blast for a Sunday morning.

Preliminary Route!

The preliminary route is in!

Day 1 Lands End to Whiddon Down

Day 2 Whiddon Down to Eastington(Nr Stroud)

Day 3 Eastington to Middlewich

Day 4 Middlewich to Penrith

Day 5 Penrith to Falkirk

Day 6 Falkirk to Perth

Day 7 Perth to Inverness

Day 8 Inverness to John O’Groats

We’ll start to plan out each individual route and I’ll post them up when they’re available