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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Slow down............your killing me

This week Joanne and I had a 'big tiff', and as its cycling related its permitted for blog exposure.
Two weeks ago I started up a cycling club at work for Thursday evening rides.
I wanted to try and promote cycling by getting people out of their cars and onto bikes.
My idea was to wean them in slowly through gentle, weekly, social rides - no more than 20/30 miles, with the odd visit to a country pub thrown in.
Despite the wide range of bike/ body types and fitness levels, I wanted us to pace ourselves at the pace of the slowest cyclist.
I guess that's fine in principal, but if your the slowest cyclist It cant be much fun, especially when you think your slowing everybody down.
On our first week we had lots of promises, but only the already committed hardcore cyclists turned up.
Joanne had decided to come too expecting a nice evening ride, rather than to watch 'road racers' in front of her, champing at the bit. She was naturally apprehensive about joining us again.
This week I was assured by many other riders that they too would come, making it a greater cross section.
Despite reassuring Joanne of this she was having none of it, and harsh words were spoken.
So she went her way and I went mine ......on our bikes that is.
The social ride was far better attended with numerous people fighting for the slowest pace position.
Half way through the ride we saw a cyclist dressed in pink ahead of us, who then made a right turn, away from our desired route.
The consensus of opinion was that it was Joanne, so I went racing ahead trying to make my peace.
As I got closer and seemingly in ear shot, the road started climbing and the distance between us steadied.
'Joanne' I shouted 'wait up'
There was no response, so knowing that Joanne probably had her I-pod on I pushed harder, shouting all the while.
'Look I am sorry......I do understand, but we are a lot slower this week'
Still no response, by this time I was getting a little bothered.
Not because I was being ignored, but due to the sudden injection of speed that I was now having to contend with.
Rather than the gap narrowing it started to widen!!!!
With my heart rate already up to 160, I had got it in my head that Joanne had been deceitful and leading a double life.
She was a secret speedster, a true 'Ms Velo' probably competing with Victoria Pendleton during the week, when I thought she had a steady office job.
Frustration turned to anger which increased my adrenalin output.
As I stepped out of the saddle, my heart rate rocketed to 185 - way into the red zone.
'For F*** sake slow down.......your killing me' I shouted in vain as this pink apparition was climbing away like the late Marco Pantani.
There were of course numerous other words that I used, but half are too obscene to feature hear and the others my spell checker does not seem to recognise.
Regardless there was still no response.
By the time I had pulled up alongside, my mouth was frothing, my face was as red as an over ripe tomato and I was sweating like pig in a sauna with an advanced state of malaria.
It was precisely at that moment that I realise it was not Joanne.
The timing was perfect, because It was also exactly the same time, that this lone female cyclist saw a mad, demented, stranger with a frothing mouth, riding alongside her.
As I braked hard, my pitiful 'sorry' seemed totally inadequate.
I could just have wrecked an aspiring cycling career.....the poor girl may be traumatised forever.
When I got home Joanne had done nearly 60 miles at a pace far greater than our group and promised to come next week.
When I recounted my story, she reminded me that 'judgement', like cycling is sometimes better served if it is considered at a slower pace.
This weeks training has been fantastic, I completed 284 miles in total, making 3,297 miles for the year. It included a 76 mile jaunt to York and back on Sunday (pictures below)

Months ago I set myself a personal goal. To ride a virtual route from Beverley to Houston (4772 miles) before the start of the Hotter than hell at the end of August. At that time I thought it a tall order and maybe just out of my reach. I still think that, but I know what I am like. Once I get a whiff of the finish, ill be cycling through the night.
Certainly with this increased intensity, I could just do it.
This week my virtual tour has had the benefit of a tail wind, I have flown through Massachusetts, New York State and am now in Pennsylvania.
Our 'Travelwithmymule' concept is still progressing slowly and we have finally ordered some shirts which I think are great. We are always looking for new riders, check out the website.


  1. Awesome mileage. If you look closely at your photo of Addy, you can see smoke coming from her tires!

  2. Loved the story.
    At least you caught up.

  3. hmmm, I wonder if you lone lady would like to join your group, LOL.

    Lovely photo's, great story but I am sad to hear you by passed us on your journey and have headed into the eastern seaboard, but you're getting there none the less.

    Love the jersey, are there any slow Canadian's allowed?

  4. Lily,
    Thanks for your kind comments Travels with my mule is free for anyone to join providing they do charity rides if folks want shirts we will order a new batch.

  5. Awesome story man.
    Congrats on your progress with cycling. I love it so much but I would need a better road bike to be able to bike as much as you do.

  6. Great story! I love stories where female riders take centre stage and give male riders are hard time .. LOL

    Good on you for getting the group ride happening. I've tried a similar thing at work but nobody wants to ride with me after the Sales guy challenged me to a race last year and got beaten. :-)


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