Monday, 31 October 2011

October round up - An epic fail

This month has been really poor mileage-wise.  My knee hasn't been behaving. After taking an initial 7 days off the bike at the start of the month; when my knees were at the worst, I started becoming really fed up.  The lack of exercise was leaving me very frustrated and tetchy. I needed to ride!

The first ride after that week off was interesting. I hadn't planned on riding that day as my knees still weren't 100% but at 16.30hrs I knew that the way my mood was going I would be ready to kill someone if I didn't ride soon!

I knew that I probably shouldn't be pushing my luck and riding too far, so a quick pootle on my shopper was the ideal option - just to test my knees. I've not ridden the shopper for a while now but it was nice. It was a great ride. An easy 5 miles without any pain or discomfort. Simple and easy! It took a while to get used to the flat pedals but I think the freedom of movement in my feet and ankles was probably the best option. On my return my knees felt ok, but the day after they felt stiff so a few more days off the bike. :-( Maybe I had pushed myself back into it too soon.

A few more days off the bike resulted in more frayed nerves - I really hadn't realised how much I use the bike now to release any frustrations, particularly work stresses. Another pootle on the shopper. Sore knees again... back off the bike... it was just a vicious cycle.

Unsurprisingly October has been a really bad month, mileage-wise! Less than 100!!

(The majority of the miles have been done in this past week; a new blog post to follow.)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Housewife's knee

For a few years now, I've had weak knees.  There's always a niggling pain and a horrid graunchy noise when I'm climbing stairs. I blame it on my job! I spend most of my working hours kneeling on the floor. It's the quickest and easiest position for taking blood off a patient sitting in their armchair.

Anyway last Friday, after a busy week at work, I rode to pick Mikey up and we did a quick spin into Mousehole (I was down on my weekly mileage so we had decided to add little extra miles in). Halfway home and both my knees were suddenly in excruciating pain. Until then, I had never had any knee pain at all on the bike. I could barely keep pedalling; it was like someone had just driven a truck into them. The uphill through Marazion nearly killed me!  The pain was unbearable - tears rolled down my cheeks and I felt sick.  With a lot of assistance (pushing) from Mikey we somehow made it home. OUCH! I practically fell through the door and onto the sofa where I stayed all night.

Saturday morning, I could barely move. Sunday came and went. They were too sore to take advantage of one of the few Sundays without a cross race. Grrrr! As well as the unbearable pain I was also like a bear with a thorn in its paw, as I was so frustrated to know that I would fail my weekly target.

I wasn't sure I would be able to work on Monday, but thankfully I was scheduled for a study/office day so no patient contact. Yay at least my knees wouldn't get a battering. Tuesday I had patients to see, but not too many and those that I did, I ensured I found something suitable to sit on, rather than the floor.  Wednesday was the same but I was starting to climb the walls, I wanted to ride my bike! As the pain had started to ease I thought I'd test it with a ten minute tester on the turbo. There was very little pain on the pedal stroke but afterwards it was excruciating again. Grrrr... I would have to stay off the bike longer.

So now it has been over a week and I haven't ridden more than those few miles I did on the Turbo. I am way off target and extremely frustrated. All I want to do is ride my bike!

I guess I wont be doing tomorrows CX race at Bodmin.....

Sunday, 9 October 2011

CX - A missed opportunity but a great day.

Last year one of my goals was to enter a cyclocross race, however, back then I realised I probably wasn't fit enough to attempt it, and when the race that I was going to do, in Truro, was cancelled I didn't feel so guilty about not doing one. Anyway, I promised myself that this year would be the one, so I was really glad to see that a new Truro course had been added to the fixtures list. This would be my race! I was encouraged by the fact that the majority of the usual suspects were all Devon and Somerset based so it was likely that the field would be quite small - some people just dont seem as dedicated to drive the 100's of miles!

I've never done any type of race before, unless you count school sports day... so I was a little apprehensive as I am far from competitive - Stubborn yes! Competitive no! 

I did a little preperation for my debut. I made a few attempts at learning to do a moving mount and dismout so as not to embarrass myself at the Hup Hup boards, but sadly I never mastered them! Then last month, Mikey took me to a school playing field and we practised riding on grass and doing tight grassy corners. I don't think I've ever ridden on grass before - even on the MTB - but amzingly, I managed it OK, but my goodness it took it out of my legs! I wasn't sure I could do a full hour over grass; it felt like riding through treacle... I was going to be slow! Hmmm... then I started worrying about getting in the way of the fast lads... everyone told me it would be OK but I still had a few doubts. Ah well whats the worst that could happen? ;)

Despite all this (unsuccessful) preperation, my first CycloCross appearance at the Truro event last week, never materialised.  Oops... but there was a good reason for it... honest!

When asked by the organiser for volunteers for the race, I jumped at the opportunity -The way I saw it; we needed to make the Truro event as successful as we could in order to make it a regular on the fixtures board as it was lovely just having a 35 min drive to the event rather than a 2-3 hour drive! 

So that is what I did. I marshalled! My job was to keep people from walking on the track at a certain point (the closet point to the car park) and to redirect everyone to the appropriate places. It was a busy morning. There were a number of football events, one on the field, one on the astroturf, there was a kids party next to the astroturf and lots of people that wanted to know how to get to the start finish as I was blocking what looked like the most direct route. 
Mikey doing a stirling job as a marshall during the kids races.

I took my role very seriously. The luminous yellow tabbard held special powers, giving me confidence and an authoritive nature I didnt know I had.... Eek... I was now on a power trip, but as the geek I am I knew that with great power came great responisibility and I didnt want to see anyone get hurt.  Sadly though, I also appeared to make a name for myself, Hitler? Who me? I was just doing my job! Not sure, I will marshall again, unless I get a quieter spot out on the track, with just the competitiors to cheer on and direct, rather than angry soccer Mums!

Despite the humongous responisibity I had a wonderful time. It was great watching (and marshalling) the kids races with Mikey and then during the senior event, I had a bit of company with Johns "missus" joining me and Nick the postie taking over Mikey's marshalling duties. It was great having Nick there as as it gave me someone heckle with. Again it was one of the best events I have been to in the South West.

Anyway, as for my cyclocross debut there is one chance left for this season... next week at Bodmin.

... I wonder what excuse I will have next week. ;-)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

September Round-Up and a pretty BIG milestone

So, September has been and gone and as regular readers will know, my mojo has also been coming and going; leaving one of my weekly totals way off target. However despite that, I somehow managed to ride 197.4 miles! (Yes I know I should have got it up to 200... but I had much bigger fish to fry and this slipped my mind.)

Last Sunday when tallying up my totals, I realised that with a concerted effort I could get my overall (yearly) total to 2000 by the end of September. It would mean doing 45 miles in 5 days... but that was do-able! ... OK, it would be a little harder as I had just ridden everyday for the last 4 days to meet last weeks target and could really do with a day off - as my legs were feeling the strain, but I could do it. Couldn't I?

On Monday I managed to muster up 10 miles. But it was hard work - I was running late to get to our meeting point so raced into Penzance. As I was late I had little time to regain my composure before we were off. Mikey was with Turbo John, who although he slows his pace down considerably for me, he still takes me that little bit faster than I can comfortably go.  In fact it was insanely fast (for me), I think the average that day was 13.5.

My legs were burning by Tuesdays ride which I hoped would be a little slower, but yet again, stupid me got my timings all wrong - This time, I'd decided to do a 2 mile loop before heading into Penzance to get a little extra mileage in, but annoyingly I'd underestimated how long that loop would take and then I had to push really hard to get to our meeting point in time.

By Wednesday I was a little bit broken and despite it being Mikeys day off I just couldn't bear to get back on the bike! Stuff the 2000 milestone, my thighs and knees just couldn't take any more! Despite the still fatigued legs, I was back on the bike on Thursday, another ride done and much closer to the target. By Friday I only had 9.5 miles to meet the target! I could do this. Yeah!

At 5.25 on Friday evening I was rudely awoken by the telephone! It was a witheld/international call so I ignored it... hang on.... NO! Why was I asleep on the sofa when I should have been on the bike! There was no way I could make it to the meeting point in time. A quick text to Mikey and then I was back in the world of nod. My body wanted a break!

The lack of a commute meant I still needed to do some miles. I couldn't face setting up the trainer, or doing any more mundane laps of the village, so the idea of a MTB night ride - that I have been putting off for months - was the only option if I wanted to meet my goal.

With a fun-filled night ride done... (I wish I hadn't been a wimp and put it off for so long) I met my goal and hit the 2000 milestone! I am ever so happy - it feels like such an achievement particularly as last year it was the end of November when I hit the 2000 mile mark!