Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Last night

Last night was the realisation of a dream held, ooo, about a week. Jon and I had vaguely discussed trying to do a road century (as all the roadies call 100 mile rides) a month through the winter. This was shortly after we'd completed the Wessex 100, in early September, when the days were long and the sun shone.

Come late October, when the days were much less long (but the sun still shone), we hadn't taken the idea much further. Cue a comparison of diaries and a realisation that the only was we could fit one in would be to do it one evening after work. So, we set the date and prayed for dry weather.

Dry weather came - no excuses.

All Tuesday there was a sense of anticipation - an "are we really going to do this" thought hung in the air. And again, nothing got in the way.

Gulp.

17:23 we set off. It was dark.

Imagine a pool of light on a country road, extending 15 metres ahead, with a softer glow outside of that. Imagine a sky mottled with cloud, a gibbous moon (not quite sure what that is, to be honest). You can't see your bike computer, you have little perception of time, speed or distance. Sometimes, the pool of light has another bike in it, with a flashing red light.

Imagine this for three hours. Please continue reading when you have done this.

OK, three hours later. You are a bit tired, a bit cold, and a bit full of sugar. You stop, piss, pick up more sugar.

Start imagining for three hours again, but three minutes in, imagine just missing a badger that dashes across the road.

Back again?

That is the best description of a six hour 100 mile night time road ride that I can come up with.

It's sensory deprivation: you exist in a bubble of light moving at 17 mph. You eat, drink, dodge badgers. Time passes, but you are not really aware of it. Then you stop.

Then you drink milkshake, then you eat hotdogs, then you drink beer.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Why do I fear things that are generally good?

Organised a work Friday ride this week, for the first time in a few weeks. I only had a couple of people come along - one regular and one newbie. For some reason I spent most of the day slightly worried about it, concerned that I wouldn't enjoy it.

Anyway - you can guess the rest. We had a great ride, newbie enjoyed himself, very good pint of West Berks Brewery Good Old Boy, crisps, nuts and a spin back home.

It always seems to turn out like this. MUST REMEMBER FOR NEXT TIME!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Frickin' Cold

That's what it was this morning, for the first long commute of the new training plan. 2.7C is not a temperature I really needed to inspire me out at 6:30am. Going in I wore (in order of putting on):
  • Udderly Smooth chamois cream
  • Shorts
  • Woolie Boolie socks
  • Overtights (is that the proper name?)
  • Garmin HRM strap
  • Merino base layer
  • Gore Phantom soft shell (one of the best bike things I own)
  • MP3 player (does this count?)
  • Shoes
  • Overshoes
  • Strange hat thing that goes under the helmet and keeps your ears warm
  • Hemlet
  • Clear glasses
  • Merino glove liners
  • Windproof outer gloves
Getting dressed took a while. Then I had to remember the Exposure Joystick front light, rear light, Garmin Edge, water bottle, keys, Torq bar and rucksack (containing work clothes, recovery drink powder, bagel, muffin, apple, spare Torq bar, Torq gel, phone, wallet, ID card, pump, inner tube, multi tool, watch).

Why can't I live somewhere hot, and have a job where I can work in sweaty bike clothes?

Friday, 9 October 2009

Inspire me

Cos I need it.

Since coming back from holiday I've had a cold, not eaten much, dragged myself down the gym a couple of times, sat on the turbo once (for a double-Buffy season 3 finale) and not been out on a bike ride at all.

After work today should have been an easy one - but my brain was making excuses - it was slightly chilly, slightly rainy, I might not be 100% recovered from the cold, I've got something to watch I recorded... all fairly pathetic excuses. My brain doesn't seem to have that "get out and ride" switch turned to the on position.

Inspire me.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The final verdict

We've been back from the cruise a couple of days, so some final thoughts.

  • There are still people out there who yearn for 1970s style comedians, preferably with sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and jokes that are at least 15 years old
  • I'm glad I don't mix with the general public too often
  • The reason why people are huge is that they eat four fry-ups for breakfast
  • Cruises for people who don't do cruises are still full of old people

Having said that - we had a great time and we all could have done at least another week. It had a balance between doing stuff and not doing stuff, loads of options for things to do and was a very effective way of visiting lots of places to decide whether to visit for longer. I could certainly go back to Rome (for the third time), Florence and Barcelona. And Marakesh (in preference to Tunis).

"Time for cocktails!"