Thursday, 30 September 2010

September Stats

September hasn't been the best for mileage but I have to consider that this month has been much busier than others.  Firstly, there was the continuing car crisis, then plumbing problems, followed by decorating dilemmas and even a traumatic trip to hospital; after my Mum was rushed off in an ambulance. (Don't panic! She's home now.)

Consequently, my total monthly mileage has suffered and it is considerably worse than the last few monthly totals, but at 190.8miles I cant be too down-hearted as it is still well over double that of this time last year.

So, I won't despair too much as at least I am still getting out there and riding when time permits and most of my rides have been good, if not a little wet and windy.

Frustratingly, that pesky ocean wind has picked up, making even the easiest of rides feel like hard work.  On Tuesday, after cancelling Mondays ride due to torrential rain, I decided to venture into Penzance despite another downpour. It was shockingly hard work! The wind was hurtling straight off the ocean in what seemed like every direction - as well as struggling into a headwind I was also being tossed from side to side and it was tough trying to keep upright. It was a painful ride but no sooner as I had reached Penzance I was pedalling homewards - it was too wet to stop, plus I didn't have any lights and the miserable grey sky was getting darker. Despite the change in direction the wind continued to be fierce and there was no respite. How could I still not have a tailwind?

Like most of the recent rides, by the time I got home I was soaked, covered in mud (and sand) and exhausted. Plus Ted was feeling a little worse for wear with a new creak and a wonky wheel. Oh *sigh* if only I had a winter bike. Ted deserves better than this!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Darker side of CycloCross

Last night saw the first of of the South West's flood lit cyclocross races. I was excited about it. It sounded ace!  Elvis was gonna be there handing out goodies. There was even gonna be a live band. A super cross race!

It was quite exciting, as it was all in the same place as some MTB racing, there were food tents and loadsa sponsors stalls. The crowds were much bigger than usual - lotsa MTBers joining in the fun after their events earlier on in the day. 

After the long drive to Plymouth, I was ecstatic to find a row of immaculately  clean portaloo's. ooOoo This really was gonna be super!

Oops. Or not! We bumped into a friend of Michael's who I met in Newcastleton. Back then, on the number of occasions we saw her, despite me being stood/sat with Michael she didn't acknowledge me or my attempts to say hello. (Can you believe she even ignored me after she plonked herself down at our table one evening when we were eating a meal in a pub.) Back then, I thought it was rude but let it go.  But was far from amused when last night she hugged Mikey and despite me saying Hello, she didn't even look in my direction. Grrr...

Anyway, it was now time for Mikeys warm up lap. Wish I'd had a bike with me I coulda done with some warming up, the sun was starting to set and the air was bitterly cold. Brr... despite a merino base layer, micro fleece and windproof jacket I was cold. By the time Mikey had finished his practice/warm up laps I couldn't feel my toes or nose.

Come on race. I needed some excitement to take my mind off the cold. Lets get this thing started!

Unfortunately, by the time the race started the sun had gone in completely and it was impossible to see who was who in the large bunch of riders. All I could see was silhouettes behind dazzling bright white front lights. Trying to take photo's was tricky because the riders were so fast and the camera was taking too long trying to do light readings, etc, so by the time the shutter had clicked the rider had been and gone.

Race organisers had suggested spectators bring along cow bells, on the first lap as the bunch started I dingled the bell only to be glared at by some people stood near to me, who grumbled that it was upsetting their baby. Who brings a baby to a night race anyway?  I shuffled away. Ah well never mind, there was still "Hup Hup Hupping" and "Allez Allez Allezing" to be done. Or maybe not; every time I uttered any words of encouragement to the riders, nearby spectators would mutter to one another whilst giving me odd looks. I moved through the crowds. *Sigh* This was gonna be a long night. I was cold, lonely, unable to get any decent shots and unable to ring my bell. The only few seconds of excitement were when Mikey momentarily came into view.  Bless, he looked super pumped and like he was having a blast.  I tried to utter words of encouragement through chattering teeth and give him a beaming smile as he passed and thankfully he was oblivious to my suffering.

Such a shame I didn't enjoy the event, it had great potential. Maybe next time I will take more clothing and a friend for company.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Dreaming of a winter wonder-bike.

Once again, I've not posted much on here recently - again its because I've not got much of interest to say.  Like last month most of my rides have been fun but uneventful; mainly just a hard slog though gale force winds. Autumn is definitely here!

Last month I was under the impression that I was pretty much prepared for cycling through the cooler / wetter months.  However, after riding my hybrid for work, I came to a scary conclusion, that I need more than just waterproof shoes - I need a new bike!  I can hear the HUGE sigh coming from my Mum's house on the other side of the village as I type this, but I really need to invest in a winter bike.  I had intended to just dig out the hybrid for the winter months, but the work ride, highlighted just how much I have outgrown it. He has his obvious uses; such as mudguards and lights, but he is so heavy and the sit-up-and-beg position makes for a hard ride in windy conditions - as riding with a straight back isn't very streamlined.

More importantly, I don't wanna ruin Ted and give him a battering during the winter months. Aye, I know that he is a cyclo-cross bike and he loves to ride through mud, etc, but as he doesn't (and can't) have any (decent) mudguards and as I don't have an endless winter cycling wardrobe, I really need something to make the wet weather more tolerable.  I fear that if I have to keep struggling to ride my hybrid through the winter I will lose motivation and maybe stop riding; ruining all the progresson I have made. 

So now, I'm having to seriously think about getting a winter bike. Unfortunately, with the peanuts I earn I can't afford much, but as per usual my ridiculous bike standards come into play and I can't make myself consider getting a cheap and cheerful bike just to see me through the winter.  I've seen a Kona Jake that I really like, but even though its an old model, its still out of budget.  I've looked at alternative and cheaper options but then keep asking myself why not spend the extra money to get something I like. Argh! How can a simple girl, who has no interest in fashion or keeping up with trends have such a particular taste when it comes to bikes. Why cant I just go out and buy myself a cheap and cheerful bike? I guess, when I see something I like, I struggle get it out of my head.    Someone please talk some sense into me!!!

(BTW for those of you wondering, my road bike dream has been put aside - at least until winter has passed which gives me time to save.)