Monday, January 24, 2011

Bringing home the Bacon

Puncture at 4 miles - £4.99
Puncture at 29 miles - £4.99
Two inner tubes given to stranded cyclists - £9.88
Ridicule faced at being last up The Devils Chimney - £12 round of drinks
Full English Breakfast by a roaring fire - Priceless
There are some things that money cant buy
But for everything else there are pounds shillings and pence.

Although the weather is still too cold for most people not to be able to turn off their TVs and venture out, the weather has been good for cycling.
Dry with light winds.
So as long as you are wrapped up well there are some miles to be had and I have been trying to get them in.
This Saturday saw the Anglo Mules have their first training ride of the year and it was democratically decided that we should have a challenging climbing route to sort out the Christmas puddings from the salad bowls.
My singular vote was as useful as voting Liberal democrat
I certainly came in the Christmas pudding category having to bully my burden up every incline.
This endeavour caused much merriment with my fellow salad bowls who seemingly had the ability to pedal, laugh and make up fattest jokes - all at the same time.
I was just shattered.
Whether it was the pull of gravity or the fact that I had already cycled the previous 5 days I don't know, but my legs and lungs were fighting to have their say on proceedings.

I had the presence of mind to not raise the issue of my previous weeks toils.
To do so would have been futile and only encourage more ridicule.

At one point it was humorously pointed out that it was in fact a 'good thing' that I had not brought along my Heart Rate Monitor.
The general consensus was that the readings alone could have caused my old ticker to stop.

To make matters worse I got two punctures.
Last year I had none.
In the summer you can almost get away without having tyre leavers. In the winter you need a full wheel brace !!!! applied with glove less hands.
By the time you have finished your hands make perfect beer coolers.

The second puncture came after we had assisted some cyclist up in the wolds who had multiple punctures and had run out of inner tubes. He and his partner were given two of ours.

The net result of this was that my second puncture (Thankfully a slow one) could not be remedied directly.
It meant that every half a mile I had to stop and pump my tyre up.
I had to chuckle to myself as I thought of Johan Bruyneel jumping out of his Radio Shack car and inflating the teams tyres as they rode in the Tour de France.

Despite the Ridicule, the sweat the exhaustion, and despite the mechanical it all seemed incidental when we had our post ride breakfast with some important hydration.
The fact that I had broken through 400 miles for the month of January in our coldest winter also warmed my spirits.

Beer and Toast................................................Why not I ask you ?????

I did not count these calories so don't snitch on me !!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Me and Cav

If I said that me and Mark Cavendish have so much in common people might laugh but the fact is it is true.
We both ride Scott bikes
We could never be called tall
We a currently both described as 'a bit heavy' by some commentators
We have both had a recent crash
We both can travel really fast on a bike. Him - on the flat, me - down hill with a gale behind me.

But it does not stop there,.....No !!!!!! We have both spent some of today weaving our bikes through traffic as we try to get to our destination.

Brendon Gallagher from the Daily Telegraph reports on his twitter page

The incident occurred after police opened up road to the public once the main peloton had passed.

"I did the whole last lap on open road, you had to stand on all sides of the thing and stop for traffic," said Cavendish.

Stage three included a rolling 12 mile circuit the riders had to negotiate three times and Cavendish, patched up after his crash on stage two, trailed in 12 minutes behind winner Rabobank's Michael Matthews. Simon Gerrans of Team Sky finished fourth.

Race director Mike Turtur said an emergency meeting would take place to find out why Cavendish and other riders had to negotiate through traffic to finish the stage.

"We've had a policy in place whereby the green light vehicle is the last vehicle on the road behind the last rider, for 13 years," said Turtur.

"For whatever reason, our understanding is that green light vehicle was called forward of the Cavendish group with about 10 kilometres to go and we don't know the reason why.

"Until we know how and why, I can't make any further comment - but it's not the policy we've had in place for 13 years, it's never happened before. It's not good, but sometimes these things happen. We'll be meeting as soon as possible with police."

Before the start of stage three, Cavendish had dismissed any thoughts that he might retire from the Tour Down Under.

"It is my job, I have got to do it, whether I had a crash or not, " he said.

"That's what separates bike riding from other sports. It is your job to get up and carry on with the race, and find out what's wrong later."

Poor old Cav.....I'm sure both our seasons will get better with some more miles on our legs.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Knowing when to sloe down

On Friday night I had the most intriguing dream .
It was one of those that was so lucid that you really believe it is true.
I was on a train that had just pulled away from a station and realised that I had left my cycle on the platform.
The train was crowded with people standing and I frantically battled towards the conductor to plead for him to reverse the train.
Rather than laugh he replied 'Ok Sir I will see what we can do'
Rather disgruntled all of the other passengers gave a huge grown and stared at me.

Thankfully it was at that point that I woke - up never knowing whether I was to be thrown out of the window or reunited with my bike.

Not wanting to leave anything to chance I got up and ran downstairs to be comforted by my ever faithful 'Ralph' (Ralph the Ridgeback Tourer). He had subtly propped himself up against the radiator, not missing a trick for some additional warmth I noted.

I also noticed outside that the road was dry and the that the temperature was above zero.....just !!!!!!!
This meant that there was no real excuse to not go out riding, not even using the 30 mph winds outside which were trying to break an entry into my house.
So we set off - Me, Simon and Bobby on the first 'Anglo Mule' training ride of the year.
We decided on a circular Route to ensure that the wind would be able to have a good go at 'all sides' of our over-stretched torsos.
As Simon had already completed 13 miles Cycling from Driffield to Beverley, we decided to include Driffield on the way home via some compulsory climbing around Lonsborough and Water.
For 'anybody' standing roadside, even the blessed a village idiot, it would be easy to reckon who had enjoyed Christmas the most.
Not for the fact the he spent most of the day lagging behind.
But due to the Rotund form, blowing red cheeks and red coat - yours truly was surely an honoury member of the St Nicholas appreciation Society.

As we approached Driffield the Heaven opened and Bobby and I were persuaded to take some shelter and have a warming cup of Coffee.
We had already completed 36 miles so I felt we were deserving of such an excursion.
As we sat in Simon's conservatory the rain mocked us, playing solemn tunes upon the glass panes above, in readiness for our departure.
Sensing the mood change Simon asked Bobby and I if we wanted to try some of his Sloe Gin that he made for Christmas.
Now Booby is a Scotsman and as such he believes that to refuse a drink from your fellow man is worse than sleeping with his wife.
I of course agreed and within a few short moments the red silky liquid was more than a match for the transparent stuff outside.
As I took the final mouth full of my second glass I politely enquired as to whether Simon knew the local train times.
It was as subtle a question as I could muster but nevertheless Simon saw right through it, as he topped up my glass.
There is something quite odd about drinking alcohol after prolonged vigorous exercise.
Its like being in a video on the 'stages of inebriation' with the button pressed on fast forward.
One second I was taking my first sip and before the minute hand had travelled a mere 180 degrees I was giggling like a teenage boy in church.
Bobby and I both agreed that the train idea was actually quite a good one and we toasted the concept with another glass and discussed the general merits of locomotives with our respective tongues firmly planted in cheeks..
After wobbling our way down to the station we attracted much mirth from the fellow travellers.
Two over 50s gents, seemingly respectable yet giggling with rudden faces and smelling like moonshine..................very curious and before Noon no less.

We had to wait for ten minutes for the train to come and when it arrived I stumbled towards the door, like a Hobo joining the soup kitchen line.
Bobby my dear friend then reminded me that I had set off that morning with Ralph and that it would be a shame to leave him in the station.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cyclist falls from the skies

At the start of the week I was very alarmed to hear about thousands of birds falling out of the sky in Arkansas and other similar events happening all around the world.
My blog site also took a dip as the word 'birds' surged to the most searched item in search engines.
Religious bloggers soon loaded their own sites with Bible verse, Hosea 4:1-3: "The land dries up, and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the fish in the sea are swept away."
My main anxiety was not from being hit on the head by a 'Pythonesque' blackbird, but from the omens that such an event may portend.
It even made me look at my Christmas presents in a completely new light.
I got a T shirt that depicted a man falling from his cycle
I also got a funky new cycle helmet .....Were these signs too?
In a state of near paranoia I visited York just after Christmas I noticed a bike that appeared to have been thrown in the river.
The culprit probably was unaware that the river Ouse was frozen and the cycle lay bruised and broken suspended on the surface, there for all to see and to haunt him.
Was this a sign for me too ? Did it for tell an impending cycling disaster?
I certainly was not going to take any chances !!!!!
On New Years Day I cycled ......... very tentatively
On the 2nd day of the month....... just tentatively
On the 3rd day my caution was fading
My the end of the week I scoffed with cynicism of 'The signs' that I had previously encountered and cycled with gay abandon.
My exuberance masked my senses and I failed to register the odd slipping sensation coming from the chain.
Today I set off as usual at 6am in darkness with an icy road -3 degrees c.
After about 5 miles and whilst travelling about 20 mph the three images ambushed me.
My chain snagged in the derailleur, which sheered off and tangled within my back wheel.
I had two options:-
Crash right and be hit by a car
Crash left and cross my fingers
I opted for the second one and was dispatched from my bike just like in the picture.
At that point my helmet came into play as my main impact was on my head an shoulders.
Then thirdly as i looked around I saw my bike suspended on a film of hard frost.
Spooky !!!!!!!
Anyway I had to take a day off work and take bike to bike hospital.
New rear wheel and new rear derailleur system which hurt me far more than my head.
So the moral of the story is if blackbirds fall in Arkansas make sure your helmet is on tight