Cakes and 'Cross: Matt Brammeier writes for RCUK - Road Cycling UK

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Cakes and 'Cross: Matt Brammeier writes for RCUK

So I sat in the car for eight hours driving back to England, running away from the snow back home. What did I get? Snow! Luckily it only lasted one day so I didn’t miss too much!

I actually had a good week back in the UK, I spent a few days between my girlfriend Nikki’s place and my old home, Merseyside. So I spent my days either in the Derbyshire moors or over Rivington Pike up north. Both spots are pretty awesome spots for bike riding, my training involved a a lot of seated power efforts on climbs so the terrain was perfect for this.

Up north I was out training with the usual suspects, Mark Mcnally, Jonny Macavoy and Ian Bibby. So I was in good company and got a good five to six hours in each day. Rivington was one of my favourite rides as a kid so it was pretty refreshing to get back on the same roads I’d ridden so much a few years back. I didn’t keep any type of training diaries back when I started out cycling but I wish I did. I think I did some pretty crazy hours in the saddle back then. I remember on a couple of occasions leaving the house in the dark while everybody else in the house was still in bed and not getting back until dark and falling asleep in full kit soaking wet in my bed!

My favourite ride would start at a famous cycling cafe called the Two Mills, heading in to north Wales taking in some quite a few well known climbs. We would head over “The Steps”, “World’s End”, “Panorama” , “Church Hill”, “Llandegla Moors” , “The Bwlch” and back to the Mills to eat copious amounts of cake and coke! Happy times!

So after a couple of good days on the bike I was greeted by a blanket of snow outside and with not a turbo trainer in sight (thank god) I headed into Liverpool, met up with a few old friends and, of course, did a bit of shopping and drank some coffee.

This break probably was a blessing in disguise as I was feeling pretty nailed after a couple of hard days being half-wheeled by the local scallies. I started my next training block in Derbyshire feeling quite fresh and ready to get stuck into some more bike riding. The weather was pretty good, a little rain and a bit cold, but nothing to stop a good day’s bike ride.

My “guide” up this way was another good mate, Jon Mozley. He lives just down the road from Nikki so is a perfect training buddy when I’m back there! He knows a fair few roads and lanes too, which is a godsend as I know none! I had to talk him out of riding down the glorious A6 a few times as I have a bit of a phobia about training alongside HGVs and trucks!

On our first long ride we stopped in Bakewell for….. yes you guessed it, a Bakewell tart! We found a nice little cafe called “The Bakewell Pudding Factory” so naturally we abused the fact that we were burning a few calories and pigged out some cakes! Moz was actually looking at his Garmin and working out how many cakes he could eat to break even. I wasn’t…. Honest!

Apart from riding up hills at 50rpm all day and abusing our bodies as usual I was back to watch Nikki race. She was riding in the National Cyclo Cross Champs in her home town of Derby. That stripy jersey was the only thing she wanted after finishing on the podium several times, and also wanting to upstage me and my jersey. She had a hard task in hand. Beating the six-time champ wasn’t going to be easy. She started well and fought well for a good chunk of the race, but it wasn’t to be, she ended up a creditable 2nd, which I thought was pretty good.

So after a good few days away, its time to get home and check the cat is still alive and get the bags packed, ready for Majorca on Sunday!



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