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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Snakes and Ladders

As the weather has gradually started to improve, I have now started getting some miles in after work. To be fair, living with an adolescent racing bike, I don't really have a lot of choice.

'Addy' (My new Scott addict) has taken to staying in the house. He positions himself in such a way, that he is facing me when I come in the front door. When I get in he looks at me expectantly. If I try to ignore him, he gives me such an unpleasant look. Subsequently I feel compelled to change into my cycle clothing.

Although I am warming to him, I cant help notice that this feeling is not mutual.

He wants to enter the Tour de France, where I want to reach my 50th Birthday without having a coronary. He acts like he got last pick in the NFL draft, and that I was a player he really didn't want.

One evening he took me down this track, where I came across an evening cycling event.

There were about 30 cyclists 'going for it'. Eyes balls bulging, hearts pounding and legs pumping like a 'nodding donkey' on speed.
Addy loved it, and when we got home he persuaded me to look at joining a local cycling club.
Yorkshire is blessed with a multitude of cycling clubs with three relatively close to me.

Beverley Velo in the town where I live, Bridlington Cycling Club over on the coast, and Hull Thursday Club In Hull.
In order to stop Addy winging all weekend, I decided that I would have a ride out with Beverley Velo Club on Sunday morning.

When the morning arrived I ambled down to the local sports centre which was the usual meeting point. Amongst the assembled riders there were a number of obvious things that instantly struck me..
1. I was the oldest person by about 15 years
2. I was the heaviest person by about 50lbs
3. I was the only one wearing shorts and a short/sleeved cycle jersey.
As we set off at a blistering pace, I mused over why the other cyclist were all covered up.
Surely it was not that cold ?
When we slowed down for some traffic, It gave me the opportunity to think properly.
The bulk of my bodies blood had been summoned by my legs. This had left all other areas to flounder, especially by brain. Finally some of it was now seeping back.
During this timely reprise, my fragmented neurological messages, had determined that my fellow riders were in fact 'Skeletons'.
I was riding with Captain Barbossa's crew who were dressed in Lycra.
I have actually seen more meat on a well chewed dog bone.
It was obvious now, they would need the additional clothing to keep their limbs together and because they had no natural bodily warmth.
I fancied if we all got stranded on the moor top, they would all vote to eat me first.
After previously feeling quite confident about my cycling ability, this was soon dashed as we started our first significant climb. The skeletons pace hardly changed, and why would it!!! Their bikes were heavier than they were.
For me it was a totally different story. Addy wanted to race on, whilst my body wanted to play with gravity, and return to the bottom of the hill.
My perception of being a competent hill climber was just that 'A perception'. Things in life are all relative, cycling is no exception. In this company I was a novice.
I was soon struggling at the back, a place that was alien to me, but one I would have to get used to.
It was like starting all over again.
Klaus a German rider, joined me taking pity on a new prospective member.
I was very grateful. It was a decision he might regret now.
As we got to the top of a climb the road swings sharply to the right. It also has a left hand turning at the same point.

Addy used to my normal route, followed the road around to the right.

Klaus assuming I knew the route we were on today, turned left.

The result was not pretty.

The good thing about being built like a barn door is that when you come into contact with things, you normally come off best. The same was true in this instance. Klaus unfortunately hit the tarmac, whilst I was as stable as dental implant.

After dusting himself down and assuring me that his bleeding leg was 'nothing', he rejoined the faster front group, leaving me to fend for myself.

I'm sure if I could understand German I could have translated his true feelings.After about 25 miles we stopped at a Cafe. I had things to do so pressed on completing 52 miles.

I did not enjoy today's ride. It was too hard.

My Average HR was 165. Too much as an average for me and way out of my comfort zone. Although I now know have a long way to go, it was a start and at least Addy was happy.......

Isn't that all that matters - to keep your bike happy

Weekly Training/Weight Data
This week my diet has really been taking affect with a further 6lbs lost. That's 14 lbs in two weeks. This works out to be a whole load more potatoes removed from my imaginary pannier. As yet I feel no different on the bike, probably due to my continuously low energy levels.
My legs have put in a formal request to be transferred.

I asked them who they had in mind, thinking that it might be some inspirational sports personality.
It wasn't. Their exchange request was for anyone who sits in front of the TV all day eating donuts.
I have cycled 152 miles this week making 2200 miles for the year.
In my virtual reality bike ride from Beverley to Houston this takes me over the gulf of St Lawrence and close to the New Brunswick Coast. New Brunswick has a rugged and dangerous coast line with a tidal rise and fall of up to 50 ft, the largest in the world. It is also the birthplace of Sir Max Aitken, a famous Fleet Street publishing Baron.


  1. Like your experience, I often find myself the oldest and the heaviest. What the heck, as long as I'm able to get out and bike, that's the main thing.

    Congratulations on your weight loss. That's fantastic!

  2. Don't become a slave to your bike. :-)

    Oh, we have guys in our club that are 15 years every body else's senior but do you know what? They kick ass!
    Good on you for riding with the "Black Pearl" crew but maybe try the other clubs as well. We have distinct differences between clubs in Brisbane, some focused on junior development, while others are very traditional clubs with lots of older riders :-) You might find a club that fits Addy and you.

  3. Older and heavier just mean we've traveled more roads and had more adventures!

    Have you already passed through Newfoundland???


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