Friday, 29 January 2010

Good week

I'v done quite well with the training this week - weights session on Monday, 1:45 zone 2 Tuesday, 1:10 zone 3 Wednesday, Half Man Half Biscuit Thursday, and today I did a 30 minute core strength class, a 30 minute spin class, and 1:45 zone 2. Hopefully a few hours over the weekend too.

However, I've had fish and chips, several lumps of cake and free sandwiches left over from a meeting, a giant burger and bigger chips, a couple of beers and a big bag of yoghurt coated raisins.

I think that's probably a score-draw.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Getting all poetic

The climb. Slow, controlled, one eye on the road, the other on my heart rate. Music playing from my MP3 - I don't remember the track, that's not important. I'm on the way to Basingstoke to visit my Mum, where I'll drink tea and eat cake before turning round and riding home.

Grey clouds, trees lining the road. Up, flatten slightly, then more up. The Hampshire Downs, just South of Kingsclere, are ahead but at this present moment it's just tarmac and litter by the roadside.

I get close to the top, and see cars parked in the layby - dogs and dog walkers.

I crest the hill.

I accelerate...

The sun breaks through the clouds and I glance to my right to see four Red Kites, whirling on a thermal. I look ahead as my speed rises. The snow has gone now and the fields are trying to be green, trying to lure spring out of hiding. Rolling hills, patches of woodland, hedgerows and farms are washed with the tentative warmth of a January sun.

A new song comes on the MP3 - Rush Hour. 40, 50, 60 kph comes up on the GPS. This is the longest, the fastest, the best descent of the whole route, and I have a view to die for and a random song that I couldn't have bettered. I'm grinning like a fool as I carve through the corners, tucked down to minimise the wind and maximise the rush. Mentally I capture this moment, looking around, feeling thankful that bikes can throw up special moments like this.


Got a feckin' puncture on the way home though.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Sports "massage"

I've been having a bit of trouble with my calfs/calves recently. No, not the small cow kind. The lower leg kind. The past couple of times I've been for a run (and you may argue that's where I'm going wrong) they've gradually tightened up to the stop-or-this-is-really-gonna-hurt point. Using my extensive medical knowledge I self diagnosed "tight calfs/calves" and decided they needed some treatment.

I have a friend who's an osteopath. She's treated me a couple of times in the past, for such varied conditions as "feeling sick after eating", "funny weird knee pains" and "it hurts when I do this". So, she was the obvious choice (and it just happened to coincide with Pie needing real treatment for a proper injury).

After she'd manipulated Pie for a while and declared her broken beyond repair (at least until things calmed down) it was my turn. It started with The Thumper, which is a mains powered vibrator for Daleks. This causes light to moderate pain throughout the body, rattling the skeleton and tearing the hairs from any skin it comes into contact with. Daleks don't have hair. Oh, on me it causes extreme giggling mixed in with the pain.

Then came the warming rub. I liked this bit. It reminded me of Minty Arse Lard, which is always a good thing.


Then came The Thumbs. In the language of the average teenager, OMG, WTF! You need to MTFU! The Thumbs cause major to extensive pain localised to specific areas. I felt that my bones were being crushed, my muscles being torn from their mountings (medical term), my nerves rolled gently by a steamroller. I screamed, I moaned, I cried for mercy, but The Thumbs continued. I pleaded for respite but to no avail. I've never been waterboarded, but if the average CIA torturer wanted to get information from me he wouldn't need a bucket and a board (I'm assuming that both these things are needed for waterboarding. I could be wrong. It may be custard and a copy of Singletrack magazine). It was that painful.

Do you remember that song based on the article about advice for graduates? Sunscreen. There is one word in that song that would have prevented all this.


Believe the song.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

OK, I admit it, my previous snow rides were a bit wussy

Just because there is an inch of white on the ground it doesn't really make it a snow ride. It's not that different to riding on hard packed ground, or frozen mud. Just a little colder, a little prettier.

Yesterday was my first real snow ride. Yesterday we trudged. We pushed. We slipped, washed out, carved fresh lines through six inches of powder and re-broke the frozen crust where walkers had been previously. We stopped frequently to readjust layers, change tyre pressures, take photos. There was frustration, humour, determination, and above all, there was lots and lots of snow.

I learnt a few things
  • Fresh snow is easier to ride on than trampled snow.
  • Trees fall (or bend) down a lot in the snow, and block the trail.
  • No, you're never going to make it up that hill in these conditions on a singlespeed.
  • Road is more dangerous than off road. I fell twice on the way to the start of the ride.
  • Hot dogs taste great after three and a half hours of cold.
Thing is though, I'm kind of bored of the snow and ice now. Can I have some tarmac back so I can do some reasonable training on the road. Pretty please?

Sunday, 3 January 2010

2009 Review of the Year

Done totally without the safety net of reading my older posts, my highlights (I don't do lowlights) were:
  • Getting into the best shape ever, mainly due to all the rides round the Cotswolds with Jon. When it came to the event we were training for (The Dragon Ride), all the climbs seemed a bit... flat. Long, but flat.
  • Jem's cakes from all the trips to the Cotswolds. I can remember the flapjack, the tiffin cake and peanut butter cookies. All brilliant, and the thought of them kept me going more than once.
  • Buying the Orca. Even now, when I'm in the garage on the turbo trainer, I keep catching myself staring at it. It rides pretty well too.
  • The Dragon Ride itself. The second Bwlch climb, the sweeping descents, the line of 50 or so riders with Jon at the front (and me second) and then the final 5km. The pace started to creep up, with a last all out sprint to the line with two other riders before skidding to a halt. Cue huge silly grin.
  • Finishing my first 12 hour solo. Huge thanks to Darren who was there "to make sure you don't quit". Well, it worked. I think I was on the course for about eleven and a half hours.
  • The second half of the Wessex 100, when we upped the pace and lost all but 5 riders. Phill at the front for at least 50 of the 100 miles. The chat with the final 5 as we waited at the lights before the killer last mile, and knowing that Jon was going to leave everyone behind up the hill. I managed second. Sitting around afterwards with coffee and cake watching the rest of the field come in.
  • Almost forgot - the after work 100 miler, in the dark. That was very silly.
Lots more road than off-road there - probably because it was my first year doing road events. 2010 might be a bit more balanced - I've got some interesting off-road plans forming.