Saturday, 30 April 2011

Becoming a roadie.

Eek! It wasn't that long since I used to laugh at the mere thought of me on a road bike.  Back then, (early 2010) the thought of riding a bike with drop bars and skinny tires seemed so alien to me.  I had ridden MTB's since my teenage years. 
Gary the snail (enjoying some mud)
However, for those that have been reading my blog from the start you will know that since my re-found love for cycling, I quickly outgrew my hybrid and needed a speedier and lighter bike than my MTB to keep me pedalling.  So along came "Super Ted" - a cylocross bike.  A bike that would be able to withstand rides down the rough coast path and bridleways as well as being good on the roads.  Amazingly, despite my anticipation about curly bars, etc, I took to him like a duck to water and soon saw all the advantages to a lighter nippier bike.  Awww Ted, he's such a dream to ride and just what I needed to help my cycling progress.
Than along came "Paddy".  It was intended that he would be my winter hack bike, something to protect my beloved Ted from the harsh winter along the coast path and something that could take mudguards to protect me from the mud.

However, with the arrival of summer, Paddy is evolving into a "proper" road bike.  The metamorphosis into "The Padster" began when I decided that he would be the bike of choice for our French adventure (Mikey is taking his Cervelo so I thought it would look less odd, than taking my CX bike). So as it's not long now, his mudguards are off and this weekend he will be having a change of tyres, into some slicker and skinnier ones.

It's not just the bike that is going through a transformation though, as I have also noticed a change in myself. Most significantly, the main change is that now when we go on an off-road ride on the MTB's I really struggle to find my Mojo and find myself looking forward to getting off the single track at the places where we have to cross roads to the next bridle path. Don't get me wrong I still love the thrills of riding the tech-"ier" stuff and enjoy the rides but not quite as much as I used to.

The other change is a little more subtle. Back in the day I cringed at the thought of wearing tight cycling clothing - opting for baggy tee's, but in the last few months I have been wearing cycling jerseys and in preparation for our first cycling holiday I have been getting myself set up with a few new bits and bobs - some white road gloves and a spangly white jersey. LOL. All I need now is a pair of white roadie shoes. .... Shh... don't laugh, I'm serious. 
.... In order to complete my transformation into a true "roadie" though, I still need to ditch the baggy shorts.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

A few longer rides.

Not really much to blog about, but thought I should write something to let you know that I am still alive and most definitely still riding. (After the poor start - mileage wise - to April due to D.I.Y commitments I have made up some of the missing miles.)

I have also enjoyed a number of long anticipated longer rides. Last Sunday we did a local 22 mile ride. Nothing particularly out of the ordinary happened; just the usual run-ins with ignorant car drivers. However, there was a very amusing moment when we passed a horse (and rider) on a descent and then on the long draggy hill back out, the horse started to canter and caught up with us, pushing me to climb at over 10mph, when I usually bearly manage to maintain 7mph near the top. Why didn't I let it pass? Pfft... I don't like being overtaken. ;-)

Today we also did a 20+ mile ride, this time going further afield and to see Fraddam to see some Alpacas and then adventuring onto some lovely smooth roads that I have never ridden on around Praze-an-Beeble (No, I'm not making up these place names). Despite a hellish wind and being desperate for a pee for over half of the journey, it was still pretty enjoyable and I am glad to say that, suprisingly, my legs haven't been struggling too much by these longer rides.

Pic from the Fraddam Alpacas site - as my phone camera's zoom isn't that good.
Other than that, things have been pretty much the same, there have been a few journeys into Penzance to meet Michael after work. (Although this won't continue for much longer though, as the onslaught from tourists is taking the enjoyment out of the coast path.)

The only change that I can think of in the last few weeks is that Paddy's mudguards finally came off at the beginning of this week! Sadly after one ride without them, they needed to be put back on for the next ride.  Since then, the recent lovely weather has tempted me to take them back off again, but I think I may just stick to my original plan and wait until the trip to France in May.

Anyway, I hope that everyone is having a lovely Easter weekend and making the most of the glorious weather.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A busy week.

Last week I had some "unused annual leave" to take off from work. I had BIG plans! Lots of riding, some gardening and a little decorating.

The first few days were spent in the garden. A little weeding turned into a gargantuan task of heavily pruning three monster fuschia bushes and then the complete removal of a tall cordyline-type thing, that was over 7feet high and very wide. I'm pretty chuffed with the result as the garden is looking much bigger and the removal of the large cordyline from in front of the patio doors gives the dining room much more light. The best thing is that we can now see all the garden birds from the dining room, not just the upstairs window.

Finches in our garden
The rest of the week was spent decorating. Since moving here 2 years ago we have done very little to the house. Only ever decorating the living room and the bedroom. So the plan was to finally decorate the dining room and possibly the spare bedroom. However, before I could start there were a few little "touches up" to do in the living room. Firstly, the skirting boards needed a coat of Gloss (thanks to the rubbish "One-Coat" gloss we had originally put on) and the windowsill needed some cosmetic work - some condensation had penetrated into the paint and it had peeled off.  Unfortunately, it took a little more than the couple of hours I'd predicted, as the whole windowsill needed stripping back and resealing.  Eeek! ... Also after moving the furniture away from in front of the window I found that the paint had also peeled where the damp had settled in.  So in a nutshell the little "cosmetic jobs" ended in days of re-decorating and the front room had a complete overhaul.  Whilst I was at it, I also decided that the stairs that come off the lounge also needed glossing - something which I should have really done last time, but couldn't be bothered as it was too much of a mammoth task as they needed stripping and re-doing; something which would have been simpler if the previous owners hadn't glossed over varnish and then emulsioned over gloss and then re-glossed.

Unfortunately all this meant that, despite the glorious sunshine, my best intentions of riding lots were scuppered - all the hard-labour left me too weary to do any big rides,  the dining room remains untouched and the garden looks like someone has driven through with a bulldozer (as I never really had time to do anything in the space where the Cordyline-thing once lived!)

Ah well, at least the front room is COMPLETELY finished and now it's back to work- which I'm glad about, I need to go back for a break. =D