Monday, 25 April 2011

Minor Setback...

Regret to report that out on a training ride on Saturday I have had my first experience of what it is like to be on the receiving end of a speeding car...  I wrote a detailed account of it on my blog on -safe to say I'm very happy to have survived and still be relatively intact, though I may have a fractured pelvis and am pretty bruised and battered.

My spangly new carbon Wilier Mortirolo (literally days old!) I have yet to see since the accident, but I'm hoping that like me it will come away from it without any permanent damage.  I had misgivings about riding on the bank holiday weekend for exactly this reason-too many impatient people clogging the roads-but was too excited at the prospect of riding my bike in the sun to let it dampen my enthusiasm... Lesson learned.

And I thought my next post would be to sing its praises... I keep coming back to how lucky I am though-at one instant I was really worried I'd badly damaged my spine at I couldn't get up off the road and was loaded into the ambulance on a spinal board.

Goes to show what happens when some genius decides it's a good idea to take a roundabout at +30mph and then cut up a cyclist rather than use his brakes.  And this is on a week where 'Dangerous Cycling' bills are being touted in Commons and the AA is giving out cheap helmets as a PR stunt.  It's pretty clear from where I am standing where the real issue is, but lets not let it get in the way of a populist news story, eh?

I really could have been killed-and for the sake of what?  Stupid arrogance and recklessness.  The driver's first reaction was to blame me, even when I was immobile and on the road, and I am lucky that the car following saw exactly what happened to put him straight.  He was charged with Dangerous Driving on the scene and I intend to see that he is prosecuted for the offence too, instead of given a slap on the wrist like most drivers are, but already I have fears that the incident is being downplayed by the officer on the scene as he changes the language used to describe it from 'the driver hit you' to 'the driver clipped your front wheel'.

Bare jokes as they say round these parts.

I was supposed to be riding the East London Pheonix Easter Classic today, but am instead shuffling around like an old man and doped up to the gills to drown out the pain in my back, neck and arms, and a question mark now lies over whether I can participate in the Etape Caledonia on the 15th, and how  much this will impact my being able to work (I'm freelance so this is a big deal-even missing a week is setting me back hugely and I can't afford to take time off as I won't be paid for it) and training.  Can't help but be really pissed off but I'm trying not to think about it for the moment and remind myself how lucky I am, as there's nothing else I can do.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Heaven of the North

What a day!

Beautiful sunshine and some great riding taking in quiet country roads and some tricky sectors that Rapha-ever the opportunists to invigle themselves into Euro cycling lore-calling them 'gravĂ© ' but what this really translated to was offroad style tracks and muddy lanes, not that I'm complaining as it was bloody good fun all the same, even if my wheels did make some strange protesting sounds at various points.  

Can't fault the organisation of it at all, as everything went very smoothly, and the post ride beer and frites were much appreciated also.  It may have been branded a 'social event' rather than a race but there were some speedy punters out there too and some ridiculous carbon machinery for a course that would really have befitted a MTB as opposed to zipp carbon rims, but mamils be mamils and between the near-universal uniform of Rapha  and the expensive kit on display I was a bit conflicted at my feelings about it... though tbh if I had the cash I'd be tempted to buy some myself...

My legs felt much better for the most part-I'm finding them much more willing and able to respond to my desires, finding myself going off the front a few times to bridge between groups quite easily at the start, and still churning away with energy at the end, so got to take heart from that.  

Need to get back to the climbing though... too many flat rides of late!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Hell of the North, Easter Classic, Etape Caledonia, Syke Mor, Dragon Ride, then Etape du Tour...

The calendar is certainly filling up with way-points on my route to the Alpe...

Sunday's Roubaix-style Hell of the North should be fun and with the last couple of weekends rides I'm starting to feel like my legs are more co-operative at 100k plus distances, and definitely recovering quicker too.  Mentally I've not been in the best place for training in the last few weeks to be honest, so in a way I've done well to do anything at all as it's been tough to motivate myself.  I've a new job which is really physical with lots of heavy lifting and carting crates about, running up ladders... you name it.  Core strength shouldn't be a problem now but my oh my does it make mid-week training far harder to do, and combined with mental strains and stresses, it's just about all I can manage to harry myself out for a ride or two at the weekend.  Anyway... it's going in the right direction I think and the weather is making it more appealing to get out there even if the roads round London remain as congested, potholed and forboding as ever.

Weight-loss has been continuing despite eating like a gannet -I've found my appetite has soared relative to the increase in riding, and it's nice that I've not really had to limit myself or be too disciplined but ever the perfectionist, I can't help but wonder how better a position I would be in if I had!  Still, 63kg remains a realistic, if ambitious target from my current 69kg, and if I get a bit closer I can perhaps begin to justify a new, lighter bike....  wouldn't that be a nice change from the 80's steel I'm riding now, hmmm.....

Also, I've opened up a JustGiving page for the Etape Caledonia, which I am riding in support of Macmillan Cancer Care, so if you can spare anything at all to sponsor me it will be going to a very worthy cause in helping to fight and illness which unfortunately a great many people are too familiar with.  The page can be found here if you can spare the time and a little money, it would be much appreciated and it will be going direct to the charity, not to mention spurring my legs round it's hilly 150km route.