Wednesday 31 March 2010

My own personal Christmas

I've been shopping. And borrowing things from the bike shop. I think this is all justified, as I really really need (want) these things and I haven't bought a car for ages. So, firstly the borrows.

Two saddles to try out - a Fizik Arione CX, and a Fizik Aliante Gamma. Both test saddles (hence the delightful green) and both brand new at the bike shop - they unpacked them out of the crate in front of me so I know that I'm not sitting on something that been under more sweaty arses than a Libyan bus seat. I've already given them a go, and the Arione has been ruled out already. I just need to try a Prologo Scratch before deciding on what's going to be supporting me for 64 hours in eight days.

Next, the shopping. A big box.

A big box containing lots of stuff.

This is all for the winter/cheap/spare road bike - which may well be the spare bike for LEJOG. SRAM Rival groupset with carbon cranks. Oh, and some extra cables and puncture patches. The groupset was from Merlin, and the cables and patches from Wiggle. Of course, getting a package from Wiggle means only one thing.

Free Haribo (now eaten). Getting stuff free makes it like Christmas.

Saturday 27 March 2010

Bad days in the saddle

We all have them. Those days when the legs won't go round, or they run out after half the ride, or when something else just isn't right. Today Jon and I went out for a ride with Jon's friend G - the plan was for Jon and I to pre-ride the 100 mile Cotswold Spring Classic route, and for G to do the 100km - so we'd do an extra bit (well, 38 miles) at the end after dropping G back.

Well, today G had a bad day. Jon and I are slightly quicker but we were happy to ride slowly, but G just wasn't on it - dodgy stomach, nothing in the legs. We shepherded him back on a slightly shorter route taking things very easy. Then Jon and I went back out again and did another 45 miles - much faster, harder and with a couple of tricky climbs.

When you have a bad day there is the mental aspect to deal with - you don't want to hold others up, yet you don't want to be left behind. As you see others dance up the climbs when you are breathing through your eyeballs there is a slight feeling of wanting something bad to happen to them to get some respite. Nothing too bad - a snapped chain, bike/badger interface, thunderbolt.

When you are with someone having a bad day, you kind of feel for them. Kind of. You also wish they were just a bit faster, or put a bit more effort in, or had eaten better the day before. Niceness will always win out though, because you know that it's a fine line between feeling great on a bike and dying in a ditch.

Today wasn't my bad day, but it could have been.

Friday 26 March 2010

Essential Supplies

Just stocking up for the last few weeks of training, and LEJOG itself. Minty.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Pimp my Oakleys

A black and white bike? Then you need black and white Oakleys! New arm bits on the Flak Jackets.

Thursday 18 March 2010

Spain Survived

Whenever I mountain bike, I expect to crash. And whenever I crash, I expect to break. Given that I've only really broken properly once, and that I've done maybe 500+ mountain bike rides it's fairly unlikely. Still, that's my mind at work, always weighing up the risks.

Whenever I road bike, I never expect to crash. I can happily descend at 50mph, sweep through fast corners without thinking of braking, and generally act as if I'm invincible and will destroy any car that comes into contact with me. This is because I've never come off a road bike. If I ever do, I expect it to hurt.

In Spain, mountain biking, I only crashed once. That was a triumph of hope over skill, as I hit a 12" step up at speed and my front wheel washed out. The best thing about the crash was the way my bike landed on its side, with the rear wheel still spinning madly, whirring away. The second best thing was that all the cuts, grazes and bruises were superficial.

Spain had indifferent weather, landslides, missing bridges, awesome singletrack and views to die for. It also had plenty of beer, tasty local cuisine (including goat and wild boar) and a very annoying bike with a leaky rear shock.

That was the mountain biking - for a while anyway. It's the road bike(s) for the next two months, as Land's End - John O'Groats is getting scarily close.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Can you tell from my hand luggage...

...that I'm going cycling?

Note to self

When traveling to Gatwick for a 5am check-in, and using the short term parking, half three is the time to leave Newbury. Not three. Still, no queues to drop bags at this time.

Spain here I come. Bring on the rain, after the winter we've had I'm used to riding in it.

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