Macclesfield Bikeathon Review

Well here I am resting my sore legs after a good day in the saddle. Today was the third ride of the year, the Macclesfield Bikeathon. Last year I did the 30 mile option and really enjoyed it, with the extra pre-season training and two rides under my belt I opted for the 52 mile version this time round.

Brad and I rolled up for a 8am start. Almost immediately we were climbing hills, taking in Ridge Hill and Barlow Hill in Macclesfield before heading into deepest Winkle. It was a shock for me, I don't exactly love the hills and the 30 last year was all flat so I wasn't expecting so much climbing early on especially within 10 minutes of starting.

Naturally as before I struggled, although I've incorporated hills much more into my training I still got dropped as we climbed up on to the moors near to the Cat and Fiddle. Brad with his lean figure found the climbing easy and dropped me early on.

This ride was a good learning curve for me, I found that going up the first long steep hill of Ridge Hill I was trying to peddle at a high cadence and keep the pace up. Although the pace wasn't fast as on the flat, I just blew up and was really out of breath. After a short flat period I calmed down, however there was another steep climb, a hill which wound up the hillside on to the top of the moor. Put simply, halfway up I had to stop. I was incredibly out of breath, I nearly spewed up and was in a state. I just sat there and watched everyone slowly roll up the hill. What was I doing wrong?

After I had calmed down I set off again and had no problems going up the steep bit. I realised with the numerous climbs that came for the next hour that I had been going to fast and I had to simply take it slow, sit in the siddle and grind it out my pace. I relaxed my body and concentrated on my breathing and found I was doing fine.

I also found that despite the heavy climbing I still had a lot of energy in the legs for the decent. So instead of resting, I was pounding out the cadence. I was overtaken by a few people on the hills, but easily re-gained my position (and further) on the decent so it worked out nicely. If I can loose weight and improve on the climbs I'll be very happy.

So, the hills were a shock, certainly a lot harder than anything I've done before, however I found that I had a lot of energy for the flat. The next 20 miles was flat around Cheshire, taking in Jodrell Bank and Goostrey which I whizzed along.

The final 10 miles was painful, the earlier climbing, together with the relentless rain, tooks its toll on the legs. I found I lost my power on the flat, simply pushing the cadence through, keeping the legs spinning and not re-gaining position, just keeping it steady. The last 6 miles saw some naughty sharp hills, nothing significant but enough to piss you and you're tired legs off.

I returned to Macclesfield a tired rider. In 3 hours 55 minutes I had learnt so much, achieved so much. I was totally drained however loved every minute. I love Macclesfield Bikeathon, I would recommend it to anyone. It is superbly well organised, friendly stewards and everything runs like clockwork. Over the 52 miles there were 4 checkpoints, yes 4 checkpoints, with free refreshments which is incredible considering you can do some rides which are longer (or even shorter where you pay the same entry fee) and get less checkpoints! On top of that when you reach the finish there is entertainment, massages, free food and drink and you recieve a medal for your efforts. The best thing is everyone is friendly, there is a great mixture of riders too. I would definately recommend it, roll on 2010!!!

MP Expenses

So Hazel Blears has written a cheque for £13,000 to payback the capital gains tax that she didn't pay when she sold her 'second property'. This second property co-incidently she kept flipping from one property to another like a pancake!

Well sorry too late Hazel! It just shows the amount of money she has to simply write out a cheque for that sort of money anyway! If she has so much money then why fiddle with the system in the first place? How are we to trust such greedy MPs? It is completely unbelievable that not one MP seems to be taking any sort of responsibility. Each one simply blames the system and they were working within the rules.

Rules or no rules, the fact that MPs were happily swopping their second home allowance from house to house, making extensive home improvements with public money and then selling it on for a profit is totally disgusting. How they ever thought they were in the right in the first place is incredible and just shows worryingly the morons running the country at the moment.

Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats has come out and repaid the £110 he claimed for buying a trouser press! The guy claimed back on expenses, a trouser press!!! His excuse was spat out in a major humph earlier on today "well in my position, representing the party, we have to be smart and well dressed and people seem to have taken an offence to that so I have repaid the money". Well so doesn't everyone in a job Nick? I have to wear a suit to work along with thousands of other people each day. I don't see everyone going to their companies and claiming back trouser presses. I know what would be said to me if I handed in my expenses form with an iron on it with the excuse "I need to look smart".

Then health minister Phil Hope is said to be repaying £41,000 worth of expenses. I don't even earn that in a year! Yet the fact of the matter is that none of these MPs are admitting they are in the wrong, when quite obviously they know they are! Because if I felt I was in the right I would be putting up much more of a fight not to loose my £41,000!! These MPs would get far, far more respect admitting wrong doing than simply writing a cheque.

Yet while all this is going on Gordon Brown is no where to be seen, probably writing a press release on how upset he is to hear about Katie Price and Peter Andre splitting up, than to be concentrating on real issues. Mincing about "trying" to get a cross party system in place. Get some balls Gordon - take charge!

Because who was it, yet again, coming out with a vote of confidence, a statement of sincere apology, told us that we had been let down, that everyone in his party will pay back the money or be thrown out; yes David Cameron. David Cameron's display of anger over the problem and quick actions to nip it in the bud was great to see.

All this wouldn't have been possible of course without The Daily Telegraph, without the Telegraph we wouldn't have found any of this out. It is to their credit this has all come to light and has become great PR for them in the process. I would love to see the sales figures!