I started this blog in October 2012, 2 years and 3 months ago when I weighed 17 stone 7 lbs. I finish this year at 13 stone 8 lb. In fact I got down to 13 stone 6 briefly before Christmas but a few days of excessive eating and drinking with the family in Derbyshire piled it on again. I made some effort to mitigate the decline by skipping breakfasts and doing 1 hour walks instead and I assume this has helped a bit. Also in the few days after Christmas before I weighed myself again I played racketball 3 times and got back into my more moderated eating and drinking regime so I probably put on a bit more than the 2 lbs. Anyway, 13 stone 8 is a good place to start from to get down to the 13 stone I’m aiming for by the time the weather gets warmer next year. I’m confident that I can achieve this by mid March and probably earlier. I’m thinking about joining the Airedale Olympic Cycling Club and doing their Saturday social rides and then in due course attempting some 10 mile time trials. I also have plans to develop the Bradford U3A cycling group and doing more on my new mountain bike. I will have to revise my plans to do alpine passes when I’m 70 I think but some decent sportives and audaxes should be achievable.
I have posted this here retrospectively (May 28th 2015) as I forgot to do it at the time. This is copied from the post I did on Facebook at the time.
Went out with the Airedale Olympic Cycling Club on an 11 mile mountain bike ride today. There were 6 of us altogether with me bringing up the rear. I’d not met them before but they invited me to join them via Facebook. They were very friendly and made me very welcome. I was amused when I found the young woman that accompanied me most of the time was the club Welfare Officer! I thanked her for her pains by accidentally knocking her off when I hit a large boulder and stalled right in front of her. The pace was brisk at times, especially as it was quite windy. I was last through obstacles and crossing roads so spent a fair bit of time catching up but someone always hung back if necessary to make sure I could see where the route changed. I was familiar with most of it as I’ve been walking these tracks for several years now so there was never any fear of getting lost. I dealt with the slippery and muddy conditions OK and only opted out of one rather technical detour more through tiredness than being particularly concerned about the difficulty. Two of us stayed on the bottom track while the rest took to the hills in Jerrison Wood and we all met up again at Esholt. I got home feeling quite shattered but pleased I had managed OK. I’ve not done as much cycling this last year as I’d hoped (more walking and racketball) but I will start doing a it more now, probably mostly mountain biking through the winter but in the new year I may start going on the club’s social rides on Saturday mornings on the roads. These are between 30 and 40 miles so I’ll need to check on each route before I decide. Then later in the year I hope to go on the Leeds Cycling Campaign’s Sunday intermediate rides as these are about the same length I think. By picking appropriate rides from these two schedules I hope to able to do one decent ride every weekend.
I had my first ride on my mountain bike yesterday morning, about an hour and 20 minutes total on a route through Calverley Woods and then along the canal to Shipley and back on the road. The wooded section was the hardest with very muddy climbs and descents and leaves covering tree roots and rocks. After several days heavy rain the ground in the woods was soaked and very muddy in areas. One difficulty I found is that the thick carpet of dead leaves made the surface look the same pretty well everywhere and covered up the tree roots and rocks. This was probably not the ideal time or place for a novice to have a first ride! I was very pleased with how the tyres and low gears coped with this. It would have been impossible on my hybrid. I didn’t actually fall off but stalled a couple of times in deep mud partly through lack of speed and partly lack of technique and confidence. The section at the bottom of the valley near the river – narrow winding rocky paths through mainly holly bushes – was particular muddy and difficult. After that the tow path to Shipley was doddle and much more stable and comfortable than on the hybrid. The climb on the road up to Thackley was slower than on the hyrbrid, not surprisingly, but no problem given the gearing of the bike. The descent to Greengates was also slower but I still managed 20+ without too much effort. Not really what the bike is built for I guess. Both me and the bike were absolutely blathered in mud – all part of the fun I suppose. I should have given the bike a wash straight away but was too tired and wet so did it this morning. Easy enough with a hose, some bike cleaner and brushes. I left the forks on the intermediate ‘trail’ setting for the ride as I didn’t feel what I did really qualified for the ‘downhill’ setting but I will try all these in due course to see what difference they make. I have begun to look for other routes in my area and it seems I live in a bit of a hotspot for off-road riding. I found this link on the BikeRadar forum with some useful information [Getting off-road in Bradford area]. One of the links goes to a map of a route called the Bingley Bash. Coincidently I was talking to our window cleaner, Darren, who is a keen mountain biker earlier this afternoon and he mentioned most of the places discussed in the forum including the Bingley Bash. Buck Woods and Dawsons Wood are both about 5 minutes ride from home, as is Calverley Woods so it looks like I have plenty to go at. Here is a video showing a group riding some of the Bingley Bash. They seem to great fun falling off and laughing at each other’s misfortune!