Saturday, 16 July 2011

Eventful Stage Racing.

It's always quieter on a Saturday prevening, so I was looking forward to a nice quiet ride, but todays commute was a little more eventful than usual.

As always the wind was brutal.  On the by-pass into Penzance, where I usually average well over 20mph, the headwind left me practically coming to a standstill - I even checked my tyres for punctures as the bike felt so reluctant to move forward.  Ah well, at least I could look forward to a helpful tailwind for the uphill ride home. ;-)

Then it appeared to be time for a repeat of last weeks team time trial as Mikey and John came round the corner - just as the heavens opened. The boys whizzed by and I had to quickly jump into action and get on their wheel (the rain was too heavy to stop) but within minutes my shoelace was caught up in my chainring.... Eek! Luckily, disaster was averted! Unfortunately, I then stupidly went straight into the path of a turning car. Arghhh! Thankfully, the driver had seen me and another disaster was avoided.

Soon after, John decided to turn off - he said he wanted to go up the main road to avoid getting too wet - I think he was just too scared to ride with me after I'd been such an idiot! The next bit was easier as the rain had stopped and the wind was now behind us, keeping our pace effortlessly high, but as it was now just me and Mikey there was no pressure to ride too fast - I know I shouldn't feel pressurised but when it is non-maliciously commented that "It's nice riding so slowly" when I'm killing myself to ride flat out, its a little disheartening.

Just as we set off up the climb through Marazion, I heard Mikey talking to someone. Who the heck? The pressure was now back on! I pushed on up the hill as fast as I could.  Breathing hard, all I could hear was the pair of them chatting easily behind me. I didn't recognise the voice so I just kept pushing myself up the hill - faster than usual - as I didn't want to look like a complete no-hoper in front of another cyclist. We even overtook a man on a bike halfway up. Thankfully by the time we had done the steepest bit and before I was too broken, the lads were alongside me and I was being introduced to bike shop customer; a 21year old whipper snapper, on a a carbon Spesh - he obviously meant business! I was glad I had done myself proud on that last bit.  Mikey then took the lead and somehow, I managed to hold their wheels (probably thanks to the nice wind). It was then the turn of the young buck - in his youthful excitement he accelerated a tad too fast and dropped us (I was still pushing myself hard and honestly hadn't slowed in the slightest). He must have realised his error when he turned back and saw us about 75metres behind, he turned round and cycled back to rejoin us before saying he was going off to do some hill reps and accelerating off again. oOo, the impetuous youth of today! ;-)

We were now very close to home and despite the pressure being off to ride fast I decided to keep pushing myself and fought my way up the hill into our village. I arrived home with a big smile on my face - despite a further near-miss, when Mikey decided to stop suddenly in front of me, to give way to a non-existent car at a roundabout, leaving me careering around him to avoid slamming into him at full-pelt.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A team time trial.

A.K.A - A very fast commute.

As usual my Monday ride was to meet Michael from work. I was running late so we decided to meet in Long Rock. I did a loop around the village to warm up my legs and then set off down the by-pass. I usually enjoy going at speed on this road - as it's obviously a fast road, but it also has the advantage of being a slight downwards slope. Yesterday however, as I was running later than usual, I pedalled even harder and pushed myself well over 20mph along it. The wind was against me (of course) but it didn't deter me. I was late and on a mission!

When I got to Long Rock I was surprised to find I was there before Mikey - not that I minded waiting, as it gave me chance to catch my breath. Oops... no such luck, here he was, along with his colleague and co-VeloCake-founder, John.

John's a powerhouse of a rider; he's fast with a big diesel engine. He commutes 30miles every day and spends his days off doing ridiculously long rides - 600k audaxs for fun!

No pressure then. ;-) Thankfully the wind was now with me so I could at least pretend I wasn't useless. I led them out of Long Rock at about 17mph. Now it was Michael's turn on the front.... up the hill through Marazion. This hill used to kill me - it starts slow but then rears up in a wall of a climb before going into a long steady climb with no respite - I used to have to stop at least once, but recently it hasn't caused me any problems. Trouble is, Mikey was still doing a fast pace up the steepest bit (much faster than my usual) and before I got halfway up I was broke. I couldn't stop though, not with John on my tail, but I was now struggling and slowing significantly.

John then took the lead when suddenly my elastic snapped.... I was left floundering as a huge gap in between me and them appeared.  Ouch! I hadn't felt this much pain in my legs for a long time. My chest was burning. I felt sick! Mikey dropped back and gave me a few cheeky pushes to keep me going up the hill as I gave it my all to try and catch John back up. With John practically coming to a standstill we finally caught him as we entered our village. I'm not sure how the heck I mustered up any energy to do the final climb back up to our house... the only thing that kept going through my head was "What would [my hero] Bertie do?" I tell ya, that little Spaniard (no matter what your opinion is of him) has done great wonders for my cycling as I embrace my inner Contador as I try to dance on my pedals and climb climb climb!

I got home shattered but ecstatic - I guess it was the adrenaline - I haven't pushed myself that hard for a long time. My usual overall average speed is somewhere between 11-12mph for that ride, but amazingly it was 13.5mph on my return home.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

June round up - a bad month

June was a bit of a rubbish month. I was feeling pretty stale.  I was just riding to reach my weekly mileage but not really enjoying the rides. The weather was pretty inspirational - far too much wind.  The disappearance of cyclogs also left me un-motivated - it went down at the end of May and I hadn't been keeping my paper chart up to date so I lost all my May stats.  As well as the lack of mojo, life also seemed to get in the way of cycling; meaning I took a week off the bike.

After the week off, I got back on track, but soon started feeling stale again. Without cyclogs to log my progress and check my average speed or set myself targets to meet - witting myself against unsuspecting other users. ;-)  etc I was still unmotivated.

Anyway by the end of the month, I had managed to complete 173.7 miles. I guess really it was an OK month as, with the exception of my week off, I always achieved 50+ miles but when I compare the stats to June 2010, I was well off par. Grrr... what can I do to get my motivation back? A new bike? Or a move to somewhere inland with less wind? Or shall I just get over it and go ride more? Hehehe as much as I'd like to go with option one, I guess I will settle for Option 3.

BTW All miles were done on Paddy the road bike - there were no off-road miles, no cyclocross miles. The longest ride was 31.3miles, the shortest was 6.