Monday, 31 January 2011

Knitting not Twitting (or Blogging)

Look who's knitting...
Originally uploaded by VeloCakeKatie
So much for my new years resolution to blog more. I appear to have failed miserably as for most of January I have pretty much stayed away from the PC.

However, you'll be glad to hear that I haven't been sitting around doing nothing, in fact it's quite the opposite. As well as spending lots of time on my bicycle, I have also been teaching myself to Knit!

Since Father Christmas left me some knitting needles and a "How to Knit" book I have spent many an hour attempting to knit, instead of wasting time on the Internet.

I have now finally honed my new knitting skills, so stay posted for my first real knitting project (so far I've just been knitting "practice" squares).

Tomorrow I'm going to ride to the wool shop and buy some red, white and black wool and make a spiffy VeloCake themed scarf.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

A good start

Just a quickie to say that I've raised my goal and I now hope that I can do 200miles a month. This goal isn't set in concrete yet though, as I have to remind myself that it is double my previous target so it may not  be very realistic.  So, this month I'm going to give it a try and if I can do it in this cold and wet month then theoretically I should be able to do it in any month. Watch this space!

Interestingly, it would appear that I have made a good start though, as today; half way through January, I reached the half way point - 100miles. Which I guess is pretty amazing really, as this time last year I had barely managed 50. Yay! :-)

Not really done any noteworthy rides since the festive period. One 20miler with Mikey - can't actually remember where we got to but I remember that by 16miles in I thought my legs were going to fall off.  Then there was a very dodgy night ride through dense fog.  I was terror-stricken for every second of it! My front light (which so so far has been wonderful) was unable to penetrate through the fog, so my visibility was nil - I probably hit every pot hole and skidded over every grid. The only positive I can take from it, was that it was an experience! There's also been two rides with my Mum. Since October I have refused to take her riding due her mystery illness (frequent fainting). I was petrified that if she collapsed on her bike there could be no end of problems.  However, she finally convinced me she felt ok so we've done a few slow local laps around the village. I was very nervous but thankfully she was ok.

Anyhow, stay posted for news on whether I achieve the next 100miles.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Eat my dust!

After feeling a little bit deflated following our recent rides with "real" cyclists. (Don't get me wrong, I loved riding with our cycling friends but it made me realise just how much I still need to improve!) I regained some confidence yesterday when a couple of athletic looking lads on MTBs turned out onto the road in front of us.

They weren't riding particularly fast until they realised that we were sat right behind them. We were on a tight and windy road and they were cycling two a-breast so we had no choice but to sit behind them, biding our time to try and pass safely.

They tried to burn us off but much to their dismay we easily sat on their tails. They kept starting to sprint off but couldn't sustain the speed.  "Fast-slow-fast-fast-slow!" They were trying their hardest but even at our pootling pace they couldn't loose us.

By this point I was a tad bored. I just wanted to ride and not play their silly games but I knew if I attempted to pass them they would sprint again to try and block me and it wouldn't be safe on this road to stay too far on the right for a prolonged amount of time.

"Fast-slow-fast-fast-slow"... I couldn't help but giggle at their efforts, they were getting nowhere fast but they really didn't want us to pass.  As we went round a corner into a long straight bit of road, which also happened to be a slight climb, I realised that it may be our only chance to safely pass them.

So easing my speed back up (only to a little more than usual) I comfortably rode past them with a cherry "Hello Boys!"   I smiled inwardly as I saw the shock in their faces. They hadn't realised that I was a girl. At this point, after their initial shock, they tried to accelerate after me but they couldn't match my sustained effort up the hill and by the time we crested the summit they were mere specks in the distance.

Ironically, when Mikey passed them (just behind me) he realised that he had sold them their bikes so he asked them how the bikes were before cruising back up to me.  When we got to the top Mikey was laughing.  He said how impressed he was that I'd effortlessly glided past the lads, dropping them like a bag of spuds.

Unsurprising, we didn't see the lads again. My confidence was restored - I may not be up to"real" cyclist standards just yet, but I am an OK cyclist.

Monday, 3 January 2011

New Years Cycle-Shenanigans

For the first time since moving to Cornwall we actually had the chance to spend NYE with friends (instead of just the two of us) as we were visited by Simon and Nicky. It was good fun and obviously as they are both cyclists it involved some bike rides too.

The first ride was just a short pootle (approx 5miles) to the pub at tea-time on New Years Eve. I was reluctant to ride there as it would mess up my perfectly rounded off 2010 total and my legs were tired after pushing myself to meet said "perfect total", but I was outnumbered! It was a really cold evening and the wind was bitter but it was fun. Suprisingly, after taking the long way to the local pub we found it was shut. Hmm... Plan B! The next pub we tried was down a big hill, thankfully it was open so we stopped for a couple of drinks before heading up the hill and home for a celebratory meal and more drinks.

New Years Eve
Photo by simondbarnes

After a very late night we all woke up tired on New Years Day so we had a lazy morning before heading out on our bikes. The original plan had been to ride down to the beach, but when we checked the tide times we realised the tide would be in at our local beach so it would be a wasted effort as the beach is down a long draggy hill. So we opted to head into Marazion and take the coast path to Penzance - just so Simon and Nicky could get to feel like they were at the sea-side.  ;-)

Annoyingly, the coast path was busy. Grrrr... I don't know if it was because everyone walking down it was hungover but the majority were all very ignorant, making little - or no - effort to let us past or to keep their dogs under control. It was hideous! At one point I had to make an emergency stop as two dogs ran straight towards me. One actually bounded straight into my front wheel - if I hadn't been stationary there was no way I would have remained upright as it hit my wheel so hard my handlebars turned sharply. Unhurt and without even slowing down, the dog then continued straight into Simon's (who was still pedalling) path. Again, it hit his front wheel. God knows how he stayed on his bike. I was angered - the dogs owners didn't even manage to utter an apology,  they just looked at us as if we were inconveniencing them.

New Years Day
photo by simondbarnes

By the time we arrived in Penzance I had an awful headache - which before you ask, wasn't caused by alcohol (I don't drink) - but probably due to a lack of sleep and the frayed nerves of riding along a coast path full of imbeciles. Thankfully we managed to find a shop that was open and after a couple of paracetamol my headache started easing. That is until we got back on the coast path on our return journey.

We stopped off at the beach cafe on our way home for a cuppa and some chips, which was nice and then continued on our merry adventure.  We got back home with around 12.5miles under our belts. (Apart from Nicky who carried on for a couple of more miles.) I know its not the greatest mileage and I would have liked to have done some more, but I was pretty happy with it, after all, my legs were pretty empty anyway due to the hard effort to reach my total before NYE.

I have to say that despite my headache and "cycle-path rage" it was great riding with company, especially with such experienced cyclists. It has often worried me that stronger riders would get frustrated at riding at my slower pace, but it wasn't the case, everyone seemed content with my speed and most were happy with the short mileage. ;-)

On January the 2nd there was even more cycling. Thankfully it didn't involve any pedalling for me, I was just spectating.  It was the series finale of the South West Cyclo Cross league. Read my race report at

"Team VeloCake"
Post Race