Saturday, 26 March 2011

Is Spring Sprung?

The last week has been lovely and warm, no doubt appreciated by all the new lambs in the fields around us, though this weekend is somewhat cooler. It's also been very dry with several weather stations looking like they are going to have a record dry March.

Last weekend I headed up Wharfedale for a longer bike ride, unfortunately there seemed to be a band of heavy drizzle (certainly no where near rain) in the Cracoe - Grassington area. With a light tail wind I made good progress and got to Kilnsey Crag in under an hour which I hadn't managed before (just one climber looking at the crag and no-one climbing) and it wasn't long until I was at my turning point of Kettlewell. Then it was home along the back lanes on the east of the valley trying to keep out of the wind and avoid the potholes. There were a few other cyclists out along with the usual inconsiderate drivers but it certainly had a pre-season feel to things. The hills to get home felt hard with heavy legs.

Sunday saw us at Crummackdale and in the wind which meant that things were a bit cooler than forecast. The crag lived up to its reputation of excellent routes on the main slab with routes of varying quality and looseness to either side. We all backed off one or more routes, as much to do with this being our first trip out on gear for some time, though one HVS felt anything but - with blind moves and only two pieces of gear (both behind hollow flakes) it didn't feel anything like its advertised grade. In fact Simon top-roped it after I'd led the route to the side and struggled even then! I'm glad we both backed off it.

With the fine weather mid-week I biked in to work on three days with two of those days just needing normal shorts and shirt. This was the first time I've biked to work since before the frosts and snow of last November.

Another long bike ride today - over to Colne, then through Barnoldswick and Gisburn to Bolton by Bowland. This didn't take too long, it was only when I headed towards Hellifield that the wind began to play its part with me struggling to even cycle downhill!! It consequently took nearly an hour to get to Gargrave, then there was just the simple matter of going over the hill to get home. With the steepest gradients of the ride and the wind in my face I wasn't overly happy. I eventually got home in just under three hours, at least I didn't end up horizontal after skidding on diesel like the last time I went round this circuit.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Bring me Sunshine!

A quiet couple of weeks though I have managed to get some rock routes in, the first of the year for me. However the main activity has been (road) biking as I've finally got round to doing the training for the sportive I've already done!

After a nastily cold Saturday with overcast skies and a thin northerly wind when I went out on the bike, the Sunday was bright and sunny so we headed to Gigg South where it was just about t-shirt weather! Got a few routes done including some I'd not done before, one of which was unfortunately a retro-bolted E1. The hardest thing I tried was Titter Ye Not (F6c) which was OK apart from the next to last move which I couldn't work out or rather hang on the hold - still there's plenty of time.

This last weekend while Cath was mountain biking around Calderdale I got a lift over then biked back home from Hebden Bridge via the Cols du Cock Hill and Herders. The former is very alpine like in that it's a single long, c. 10K, and steady pull from the centre of Hebden Bridge to the old radio mast at Cock Hill. The climb from Stanbury over to The Herders is a different matter with a series of short(ish) steep climbs interspersed with level sections and with the last climb being the longest and steepest, definitely a lung buster! Only another two climbs after that to get home and my legs felt it on the final climb up to the house.

With the nights pulling out quite a lot now (and the clocks going forward in ten days time) things should be good for evening action. There's a lot of options at this time of year as a lot of the Scottish winter classics are still in good condition as well as more local rock climbing being in nick.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Baptism of Fire

It's been a while since my last posting over two weeks ago but then I've not been doing much other than the occasional jog on the paths around home. I've also felt like a cold has been about to start for a while but in true form it never does.

I had intended to get a reasonable bike ride done in preparation for the postponed Christmas Cracker Sportive but on the Sunday I was going to get out I got the bike out of the door and everything felt cold and damp and I wasn't feeling 100% so just went "sod it!" and pulled the bike back inside! Consequently the actual event last Sunday was fine up to about 40 miles when I began to get cramp so the section through Grizedale and Hawkshead wasn't very pleasant.

The rest of the ride was OK if a little like an obstacle course due to the amount of pot holes in the road at some point. I ended up with a time of 4:47 but that was with around 35 - 45 minutes of stops for various reasons (I don't know exactly how much since I hadn't a watch with me and I'd left my cyclo-computer at home).

On a different note - I saw the first curlews of the year this morning along with a couple of lapwings. Looks like spring is on its way, our daffs think so anyway.

It's all been quite dry this week so hopefully it will last over the weekend and I can get some climbing done.