Sunday, 12 December 2010

cycling winter blues

The weather has gone fucking cold, but I prepared myself early for this. I built a cx bike to not only use off road but to also use as a safer way to ride out when there's a bit of frost, or muck, or even snow on the roads. Then Paul lent me winter tyres, the ones with lil spikes, to use on the mtb, allowing me to safely get about and keep fit without using the turbo. But the one thing that I forgot to prepare for was the lack of self motivation I tend to suffer from.

Someone should have warned me that lack of motivation leads to ass growth, ever disappearing fitness and more lack of motivation.

In two weeks I have barely been out, and haven't once yet set up the turbo. And now I feel like crap. So disappointed in myself and pissed off that Ive spent all this money to ensure I keep my fitness and here I am, sat on my sofa, writing a blog after a weekend full of takeaways and Xmas party dinners. I feel like one of those people with all the kit and no fucking clue.

I could blame so many things. Being unemployed is becoming a bit of a let down. I set foot in the Job centre for the first time last week and felt and was treated like scum of the earth. My hands have been so fucking sore lately that its finally starting to keep me up at night again. Im tired of riding on my own. I suck. But I know the main reason is because I have just gotten lazy.

So how do you motivate yourself? Its -5 outside, there's snow, and turbo numbs my already failing brain. Whats the trick?

I didn't want this winter to be like last years. I spent the majority of my time fighting off illnesses and when It came to spring I was so unfit it took all bloody summer to get to a point where I was sort of becoming confident.

I cant ride in groups because everybody is way stronger then me. I wanted to use this winter to train hard so I wasn't dropped all the time. So I wasn't ashamed of my riding ability. So what can I do?

Where do you start? When Its so easy to make excuses, how do you change your train of thought?

I am suffering from some serious cycling winter blues.

Monday, 6 December 2010

MTB and CX winter style

Winter is here. The frost on the windscreens was the first clue. Lucky I ride a bike so I don't have to scrape the cold stuff off to see out. But the first part of winter wasn't to bad, mostly cold, rainy and well muddy.

So the second time I went off on the cx bike I tried riding in mud. I SUCK! Well my tyres weren't the best, and I'm still not great at handling a bike in the mud, my back end was sliding around like a fat lady covered in oil on a slip n slide. I need to learn to trust myself, but I always panic, scream, and put a foot down. And by the way, putting your foot down in mud is a stupid idea!! And the sound it makes when you pull your foot out of the mud, well if you've had crazy wet sex you know exactly what I mean :-/

The cx bike also needs new tyres, riding through grassy fields and sheep shit and I collected all of it on my front tyre and had to scrape the shit off with a stick. Oh and as I'm sure I wrote in a previous blog, I couldn't fucking stop! So muddy feet, sheep shit, grass, cold air and I was still happier then a kid in a candy shop.

So the first major snow fall and learning to ride a mtb in snow was the next step. Hmmm not to clever in mud, will snow be any different? Yep you don't get as dirty when you fall on your ass! And wow do you fall on your ass!!! But hey at least its a soft landing.

I didn't think snow would be that hard going, but it was. Another back end wobbly. How the hell do you control your back end?? They should make Imodium for bikes :) or maybe I should stop being such a loser? I did have good riding partners though.

So yesterday after some studded tyres were fitted on the mtb I chose to ride to Brockhole to watch a cx race. Riding on hard crusty snow, sucks! All over the place, getting stuck in icy rutts, vibrating over icy footprints, then sliding around in the slushy parts, and it wouldn't seem to me it would be a soft landing. Good thing I stayed upright!!

Oh and winter riding. How many fucking layers? I now say, enough so you can still kinda pedal! I was cold, cold, cold. Next time Im wearing more layers! I don't care if I look like a blimp! As long as I can pedal!

So riding in the winter, FUN!!! Sometimes scary! Always cold. But hey if your pedalling then who the fuck cares.

Monday, 15 November 2010

a year in review (what I have learned)

So a season of rides after work is over, as darkness approaches I think back to the beginning of the year, and to all the things I've learned about learning to ride.

1. You fall off

Thats right, Even if you keep pedalling eventually you will hit pavement, or rock, or mud, or gravel, or tree root, or grass. At times it will hurt like a son of a bitch and the language that spews from your mouth will be worse then the kids on my estate. Other times you will just feel like an idiot when for the 5th time in a row you have fallen over sideways because you just cant figure out the mud thing. But the most dangerous part of falling is the way it can kill your confidence, so dont let it, swear loudly and carry on riding.

2. Its still expensive

Oh my god!!! Seriously! It should be illegal how much this costs! The words How Much?! seems to be heard loudly when my credit card bill arrives. But I just cant help it. They can be so irresistible all shiny and new, staring at me on the Internet web pages, begging to be used. *sigh* And then you say "well why dont you stop spending?" or "stop looking on the Internet then" Well you try it! I challenge you... do not buy any cycle related anything for at least 2 weeks... can you do it?

3.You need more then you think you do

And cue the credit cards and internet. Ok so some people think they can get away with one of everything. Really?? One?? Oh wait that must mean you only have one bike, and you only ride once per week then? I thought I would never need things like chamois cream, until that is, I wore a very questionable pair of padded shorts that ended up with rubbing worse then that of a clueless teenage boy looking for the clitoris :-/ And do I really need 4 pairs of gloves? Yep, actually i could use 5, cue credit cards and internet. And again, how many pairs of cycling shoes/boots do you need. Well I have 4 bikes so 4 pairs?? Oh and see thats the other thing about needing more then you think you do. One bike is never enough but even with 4 bikes Im already thinking I need one more.

4.You may alienate friends and loved ones

I really enjoy my time on the bike, and since cycling is a newer thing to me, my previous friends dont quite get the attraction, or maybe its that the majority of them are just lazy. I dont generally drink that much especially if im on the bike the next day, and Ive quit smoking, apparently losing my appeal to my mates in the mean time. But cycling has also brought me new and fabulous people into my life, 80% ive yet to meet in person but hey, at least then they cant stop liking me because Im not ordering several bottles of Peroni at the bar (can someone please explain the Peroni thing to me, there are several much better tasting things out there)

5.Tantrums are a fact of life

Kick, scream, swear, cry, moan, sniffle, gripe, laugh historically, wave fists in air, give folk the finger, all part of daily life of a cyclists. I have gotten quite good at tantrums. Screaming I AM SHIT loud enough for the NW to hear has become my trademark. I cry oh my do I cry. Somedays I even consider selling the bloody things and taking up knitting, then again Im sure I would be shit at that too. Im not sure whats more frustrating and what causes more tantrums, road or mtb??? Im sure maybe cx will prove to push me over the edge and I will end up crying like a little baby cuz I JUST CANT FUCKING STOP!!!

6. People who drive cars are idiots

FFS!!! I cannot ride on the pavement, Road Tax dosn't exist, you can see me, yes you bitch this is a cycle lane, I am allowed in pedestrian only area's of Kendal, I dont need to get off the road, I am not a bitch (ok I am but they dont know that) and I am on a real bike. I am tired of cars parking in the cycle lane, there are only 2 in the whole of Kendal so im sure the lard asses can park somewhere else. And why the need to pass so close, or so fast???? Bloody retards in a vehicle encased in protection bullying a lil lady on a bike, your so fucking tough arent you!? Well stop your white van and I will kick you in the bollocks, now you aint so tough!

7. You can do more then you think you can

Ok so Im not ever going to win the TDF or for that matter the local Tour de Staveley, but I can get up a hill. I may not be fast but im slow and im not in a hurry so I guess it dosent really matter. I still panic a bit when I see a big hill ahead, or a steep decent. Im not to good at rock drops or keeping upright in mud, but I still push on and I still try, and occasionally I surprise myself (and others im sure)

8. Somedays you need to put down the bike

There are somedays when your legs ache or other body parts, or when your motivation has disappeared along with one of your favorite socks, the weather is insane, or your having a 'special' day. Its ok to put the bike down, curl up under the duvet and relax. Some people may tell you things like "getting out will do you good" or "stop being such a wimp" generally these are men, I say, again, kick then in the bollocks and they wont be out on the bike either.

9. Woman specific ranges are still pink

How many times do I need to tell you that I really dont like pink. But what actually is starting to annoy me more is the woman who wear a size 8-10 asking me "why do you find it so hard to find womans cycle clothing?" well you skinny bitch, grow some tits and an ass and then try again! There is stuff that fits me, but I have to purchase an XL, how is that supposed to make me feel good about myself??? And If I have to wear an XL being a size 14 what do woman who have bigger hips or chest have to wear?? So skinny girls, please dont brag about your huge array of choices to me, I may sit on you!

10. Cycling is the most brilliant hobby

Ok so I may moan a bit, but a the end of the day, what other sport can make you set goals, get fit, socialize, climb mountains, soar over hills, wade through water, and fill your days and nights with so much enjoyment you never want to go inside. If it wasnt for cycling I wouldnt have much to do with my time, (I may have more money) and I would have never met the most amazing group of people I have ever known. Thanks to cycling I have figured out a bit more about who I am and what I love most.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

I built a bike (sort of)

Well its been a few months since that cx Dolan Frame arrived. A typical Dolan Frame, black with white transfers. Oh but being a girl I had another colour in mind. Green with white forks!!!(no bloody pink!)

I sent it for a paint and whilst waiting for it to be returned I took redundancy and shopped online for parts.

The original plan was to buy used on eBay. Ooops :-/ well the wheels were used.

But the credit card was happy and soon it was time to put it together. So I learned how to build a bike in stages.

Stage 1: Have someone with you that knows what they are doing.
Seriously there are bits on a bike that look they belong in a car! And the parts have to point various ways and fit in various holes?????

Stage 2: Your going to eventually get your hands dirty and greasy.
I don't mind getting my hands dirty but I would prefer not to, and isn't greasing holes something that normally a man is better at???

Stage 3: Have someone who has the right tools
I really didn't want to have to buy torque wrench thingies, chain putter onners, wire cutters??

Stage 4: Patience, patience, patience
How many fucking Allen keys does it bloody take to put a bike together!!! You need plenty of patience just to find a key that fits the part! And then you have to tighten one side then the other then return to other side WTF??

Stage 5: Realize that your not done spending money yet
Something is bound to fail when building a bike and you are destined to have to purchase another part, or return something that isn't working. Keep your credit card handy and beg your local bike shop or Internet sight for discounts

Stage 6: Be very nice to the person helping you
Buy cake and make sure the kettle is always boiling. Don't piss off the help by whinging or refusing to grease bits!

Stage 7: Try not to squeal so much when its almost ready!
When can I ride??? Is it ready yet???? EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE its so pretty!!!!!

Stage 8: Enjoy it!
I had so much fun building it! Now I get to ride it!!!

So for my first outing on the cx Hutty and I went for a blast around Keilder. Not a technical course at all but a beautiful 25 miles around the lake on a sunny cold winter day. And I got my first puncture too! The bikes not completely finished yet, a few tweaks required. But all in all its mine and my first build!

So this winter I will get muddy, learning to ride cx style!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

learning to ride part 3

This has been a week of learning.

On Monday I learned that even on the nicest day, if you've had 2 days of mountain biking and have a bit of a sore knee, a day off is required.

On Tuesday I learned to dress waterproof style. I stayed very dry in my layers of waterproof kit, I probably looked like a right idiot but hey, I ride so fast no one even notices me anyways :)

Then on Wednesday I failed at not overdressing and had to sweat my way around the Staveley loop. But how on earth do you get it right anyways? I either wear way to much and sweat until my ass itches or I wear to little and shiver until my neck seizes in tension.

Then on Thursday I rode up Kirkstone for a second time. This time it rained, or poured actually and a trip down 'The Struggle' proved a bit to painful for my hands. The one great thing I have learned is using the F word to my advantage when trying to complete a steep climb. You can exhale the word FUCK so graciously and it just rolls out of your lungs therefore never wasting any of that crucial breath. I managed Kirkstone without my Guru as well, but I did have some pretty fabulous company. I have learned though that I am never going to be a pro racer, or even any sort of racer. I will keep my ability to a few sportifs and rides with friends and realize that swiftness is probably not my thing. So I will get up the climbs you may just have to wait at the top for me.

On Friday, with tender legs, I decided to mount the mountain bike and visit the other side of Kentmere. So the Guru (Paul) warned me a bit. Letting me know its a bit more technical then the other side and there are a few rivets, but its pretty grassy with a bit of mud in sections. Looking back on this advice I should have really pressed further for more info, but hey, If I had then this wouldn't have been as interesting as a read.

Well the other side of Kentmere is interesting. How the fuck do you ride in rivets and mud anyways!!! It wasn't mountain biking it was mud wrestling!! I did almost kick some serious ass on a rocky climb, only putting my foot down at the last pedal when I had a serious slip of the back wheel. It was entertaining (for Paul at least). The best thing is the grass, its so soft, so 5 falls on my ass meant it didn't really hurt anything but my confidence. And I'm not really quite sure how I fell. Just couldn't get going, to easy of a gear, a bit of a skid, and a fall over. Each time getting more and more frustrated. This is why swearing is a vocabulary required when learning how to ride mountain bike style. I think I may have scared a few sheep. I walked allot. Thank god for the best mtb boots I have ever purchased. My feet stayed dry even after wading through puddles and wrestling in the mud.

But I made it, and what did I learn from Fridays lesson? I think I will leave that ride alone until the mud dries, the creeks ease and I learn how to handle the bike in rivets. And to stay in on Saturday and rest your sore ass and legs of lead.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

October belongs to learning and girls

Well October has been quite a month. I went to London for the first time but managed to spend most of my time at the cycle show. It was a bit of an eye opener, a bit of a let down, but with a little positive spin on things. I saw alot of bikes and alot of kit for a lot of men, not so much on the female side though. Even some of the woman I met wernt so forth coming with information. Maybe woman dont want anymore competition in a male dominated work place? Ahh well theres always room for one more.

I then took a trip to Paris, where there is romance everywhere. I spent plenty of time watching the world go by and plenty of brave people on bikes fight with the traffic. The one thing I noticed was the amount of woman who ride, actually more then the men. Most with single speed or 3 speed bikes that look like they could fall apart with each pedal stroke. But they ride. And the most annoying part, they look fucking fabulous whilst doing it.

Im still learning to ride. Returned to Newcastleton for a lesson in NOT putting your foot down and choosing lines that are actually achievable of riding. Had a spotter though as Paul stood by the rocks waiting to catch me if I were to fall, lol mountain biking is a hard sport to learn!!!!

Had my first group ride this month as well. 9 tweeters headed out into the cold for some gossiping and of course cake, nom nom nom. Fuck me though, one thing I learned is I still tire easily as I was left for dust by the end :( did kinda make me want to chuck the bike in the river. And the worst bit was at the end everyone fed themselves on bacon butties at Wilfs. I Hate bacon butties. They are shit. Oh but besides getting my fat ass royally kicked on the ride I did enjoy myself. And the mozzarella and tomato sandwich I bought at artisan whilst watching the peasants eat there gross sarnies was beautiful.

The one noticeable thing on the tweet up ride was the amount of mountain bikers in the Wheelbase parking lot. They were mostly woman! Well actually Paul noticed first as his eyeballs were constantly popping out of his head. Im actually glad it wasnt something else that was popping out as that would have been most interesting in lycra shorts :-/But there were woman everywhere and on half decent bikes too.

And then today I visited Whinlatter and to be honest the woman out numbered the boys :) It was brilliant to see. Especially as it was a lovely cold day, which kinda goes against what that boy from Endura was waffling on about at the cycle show. Woman are kicking ass on the trails and the road!

So next month will bring learning to ride cyclocross style, but for now Im continuing my cycling education. Pushing myself just a little and making room for more and more woman to join in. Soon we will overtake the boys and demand better bikes with better spec and better fucking kit! With no pink! Thats right boys move over, girls with attitude have discovered cycling!

Friday, 8 October 2010

cycle show day 1

Have you ever gotten so excited about something that you could almost pee in your pants?

How many times have you been disappointed with the result?

It was my first cycle show today. Actually it was my first of any show today.

I pictured freebies, interesting conversations, loads and loads of cycling kit and new styles and inventions. I thought I would be able to make contacts and maybe find out about a career in cycling. I thought I would have peed my pants at least once.

Well *sigh* not what I had expected.

The first meeting I had thought I had arranged was a no show, not even a call or text to say they wernt going to be able to see me. My second meeting at least had the decency to call me and arrange for tomorrow morning.

So safe to say my knickers were in a bit of a knot, and wearing skinny jeans I was finding it a bit difficult to untie them.

But hey, Im in a huge room full of bikes and kit. I guess I can sort this out myself.

My first lovely meeting was with Danny and it was lovely to chat. A young man working for Singer Cycles with a passion for bikes and huge hopes of making it pro someday. The Singer stand was very popular with vintage style bikes, restored and resold to loving owners who were stood around reminiscing on their bikes of the past. It was a pleasure to see and listen to the men and woman discussing their first bikes and what has happened to them over the years.

I also met a team from Shutt Velo Rapide. Beautifully styled jerseys created with attention to detail and passion. Real people, not a sales guy hired to talk shit and sell you something that has no use in your life. They listened to my thoughts and they paid attention to me, they seemed rather interested in what I had to say.

And then there was the lad from Endura. Seriously a huge ass! I asked a simple question and gave a simple opinion. Why are there no waterproof tights or shorts in the woman's range? Look at the size of the options available for woman, in all honesty its rather pants.

Ok so the word pants probably wasn't that professional but seriously, 1 rack of shit woman's range with every item having some form of pink on it or bright yellow jackets. But it was his reply that left me speechless. Apparently there is no market for woman cycling kit because not enough woman are interested in cycling. If Endura were to increase their woman's range they could go under by the winter. He also said that they have found that woman stop cycling when it gets cold and dark and the weather gets worse??? I didn't quite know what to say, to I just said thanks for all your help and walked away.

Normally I would have told him where he could shove his womans range but I had to consider that I was in a professional environment and I needed to contain myself. What it does also mean is that I can compose a loving and tender letter to Endura describing my disappointment in their sales staff and their lack of respect for woman in cycling. I will also probably never buy Endura kit again. Tosser!

So although I felt rather let down by certain people today, but I felt rather uplifted by those who I could have real conversations with.

Although I dont feel any closer to a career in cycling I feel that a few more ideas have been created in my head that I may be able to work with.

Oh and to those who disappointed me, I am blowing raspberries your way!!!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

learning to ride mtb style

Its been a few months since my visit to Keilder where I had a wee crash. Funny when you have a good fall how much your confidence can be knocked. All my hard work shoved aside by a stupid mistake on a steep downhill section.

So I begin again, learning how to ride a bike mtb style.

A visit to Ae on my birthday didnt help my confidence. An impossible red meant walking my bike and using an escape route back to the parking lot. But an introduction to Kentmere was enough to remind me how much fun a mtb ride can be.

So Saturdays trip took me to Newcastleton with Paul. Although some folk would say the trail lacked thrills I figuer it was just what the doctor ordered. A trail with flow, fucking finally!!! No steep bloody drops and large boulders placed in the centre of the trail to irratate even the most accomplished rider, and cleverly placed chicken runs for those like me who are learning to ride a bike.

Ok so I will admit its not really a red, but then again some reds really should be blacks so, fuck it, incorrect trail grading is a 7 stanes style. Plus i liked it. Couldnt really care less about what anyone else thinks of it, I would prefer less asses on the trail anyways.

Newcastleton was friendly, fun, and a pleasant ride. Its helped me bed into the bike rather nicely and its promised me that it will be just as nice to me when I return.

So for all of you thrill seekers and downhillers, stay away from Newcastleton, all you will do is whinge that it isnt "fun enough" or maybe that "theres not enough downhill sections" and I hate to hear people whinge ;) And to be completely honest I really dont want to share my new friendly trail with you.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

A new Life

I remember my first trip up Kirkstone in a car, I was almost car sick. I have been up Kirkstone many times in the car in my 11 years in England and everytime I saw a cyclist on the road I thought they were nuts. Who in their right mind would want to put themselves through such torture?

Last year I bought my first road bike and still thought the cyclists were a bit nuts. But something changes when you begin to love the bike. Something inside you begins to build and you become, well a bit nuts.

I havnt set myself any goals for years. I have a bit of a defeatist personality and always cut myself down or convince myself that Im not good enough to complete any targets or dreams. I always set myself for failure so it dosent hurt so much when it happens.

So setting myself a target like riding up Kirkstone before the end of this year was like setting myself up for a punch in the face. But I made the commitment anyways.

My first ride was to the Queens Head at Troutbeck, it was my longest climb yet. The second ride to prepare was to the top of the hill past the Queens Head, with a 16% gradient I was in for a bit of a push. I made it on my first go! I was halfway there.

I have had a few issues this year with injury and alot of trouble with my demoralizing and mentally exhausting job. Plenty of excuses to keep me off the bike. I havent yet let any of them win, I always want to ride. The spring I was first diagnosed with acute tendinitis in my left arm, then I was placed in plaster, then it was discovered that I suffered from a rare condition in my hands thats a bit to complicated to explain. The just of it is that I now take many painkillers to keep me ahead of the pain. Twice I have fallen off the bike, once in a sling with a bad elbow scar and second with a concussion and a huge lump on my arm.

But the love for riding always wins, and with the help of my riding partner Hutty and the belief from my husband I continued to reach for my goal, the one that I aspired to complete.

So for some of you I know its not a big deal, its not a long ride, 16 miles from Kendal to the Kirkstone Inn, climbing alot of the way, but not excessively steep. But it was my nemeses, My fear of failure,it was my challenge. I wanted to get to the Inn without having to walk my bike.

So on Saturday, September 4th I made it to the Inn, without walking my bike. with Hutty to guide me to the top I reached my goal, and I am so proud.

Cycling has become a part of me, and something that some of my friends have a hard time accepting. But it has taught me more about myself then those old friends could ever do. Because of the bike I have learned to set myself challenges. It has also taught me that Im not as useless as I thought. It has brought me back to life.

So whilst there are some who will think my ride up Kirkstone isnt such a big deal, to me, it was the start of something brilliant.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

rambling on about tossers

Let me start by saying that when you are learning to ride bikes the last thing you need is some ass to put you off for life.

There always has to be one who believes he is the ultimate rider, the one who everyone should look to as a god. The truth about these tossers is they are generally lazy, weekend riders, with all the expensive kit and not a fucking clue how the rest of the world rides.

I hate those pricks.

Its hard enough having to contend with drivers on the road, and pedestrians hurling abuse, now I have to put up with egotistical cyclists? Seriously???

It took me a long time to find something I loved, cycling has become my escape, my fitness and my passion. It is something that I take great pride in. I ride both road and mountain, and I am currently building a cyclocross bike. I am not fussy what bike im riding as long as I get to ride.

What I dont understand is those who are so unwelcoming to new people in the sport. Are they wanting to keep riding to themselves? In my experience the more people who are involved in a sport the more funding is produced which could be used for better roads or trail centres. More people riding more people to try and change things, especially things like being unalbe to ride on footpaths, or to ticket drivers who always use the cycle lane. If we all worked together think of what could be done.

So Ive decided, all egotistical cyclists who think they are better then everyone else should be banished to the desert. There they can try to ride their bikes in sand storms and contend with camels and appalling heat followed by freezing nights.

However, all the fabulous people that I have met through cycling, may your roads always be paved and your trails always be fast.

Monday, 30 August 2010

learning to ride part 2

Today is my birthday. I am getting old. 33 to be exact. Which means I am to old to be mislead. I dont want to be lied to and I defiantly dont require any bubble wrap. I am learning to ride a bike and I am not a child! (occasional tantrums excluded)

I have been learning to ride a mtb today. I realize that it takes patience, determination, fitness and skill to do this.

I am determined! After a few spins of the blue at Whinlatter and the green at Mabie I took one of Great Rocks mtb skills courses at Gisburn. I then had a lovely crash on the red at Keilder and still I get on the bike, attacking the reds (with a bit of caution)

I have a bit of skill. Great Rock has helped me with that

I have much better fitness levels then at the beginning of the year

But for fucks sake I am old! Patience is not something I have allot of time for! So what I want is fucking trails that I can ride! Ones that dont have me cursing and crying and left feeling like Im never gonna get there!

So I do my research. Look for trail centres that offer a little of everything, Some Blue and some red.

This time Hutty and I chose Ae. Hutty being the experienced and fittest rider I know (not really my equal level for riding but fun to hang out with) the reason for choosing Ae was that it had a blue and a red. A red that stated on the website was (quote) "The trail is also suitable for less experienced riders if ridden with more caution and less speed – all the jumps and drop-offs can be rolled except for one, which can be ridden around. Be aware though that some of the big berms are intimidating to the inexperienced and the trail surface is very rough in places."

My fucking ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The trail was not fucking ridable! It was one of those trails that laughs at those who are less experienced, as if its saying, "come innocent one and follow me, I promise it wont hurt a bit" It hurt my pride! (probably would hurt more if I would have tried to ride it)

Ok so the first section of uphill wasn't so bad (for an uphill) I made it without dying, although I did feel a wee sick at one point but im thinking that was probably because I just ate. I had a few pedal slips and one or two foot downs but other then that, it was ok.

The beginning section of the first decent was quite decent, smooth surface, a few bumps, could have been a bit faster but it was nice and fun and I was really enjoying myself. Then they changed the fucking surface. WHY!!!!???? why do they have to mess with things that are pleasurable, do they really think people need huge fucking rocks? Who the fuck designs these bloody things anyways? Oh yes Its fucking great having to get off and walk my bike! If I wanted to walk I would have worn walking boots and left the bike at home.!

So 40% of the trail finally complete and after feeling rather guilty for making Hutty wait for me I packed it in. Took the escape route and made Hutty finish the red. On the way back to the car I joined the blue.

Ok so now Im gonna have a bit of a rant about Blue trails. Winlatter and Kirroughtree got them right. A brilliant bit of riding for those who aren't quite ready for fuck off giant rocks but need somewhere to develop the confidence and skill to ride reds easier and without as much fear.

But for fucks sake! Blue should not mean climb up and up and up a fire road for 6km then ride down a bit of singletrack easy enough for my 6 year old niece to ride. The worst about the Blue at Ae was the decent was on a bit of fire road knee deep in loose gravel. So not only did you sink and wobble and spin out you had to go so slow down the bloody hill so you didn't get sucked in to the sea of little rocks! How fun is that???

So why bother with a blue? All that this feels like is that some bastard who has been riding for years has decided that he (I am assuming he under the basis that a she would never be this retarded) dosnt really want new people to learn how to ride a bike. And dosnt want to share the reds with anybody that cant already ride at his skill level.

I want to learn how to ride a bike. It shouldnt be this hard. So what I need is some co-operation please. All you egotistical males who are designing trails keep this in mind.

I WANT TO RIDE MY BIKE NOT FUCKING WALK IT! I am not yet that confident to fly down a red and in order to develop the skills and confidence I need blues that are one step down from a red. Not equal to a green. It would also be nice if you kept some flow to your trails. Have a whole section of smooth fast turns and burms and bumps and fast ups and downs. Dont have half of the section like that then suddenly change direction. Leave that for another section. And have chicken runs around big drops and boulders on reds, therefore if one is not sure of how to take that boulder without going over their handlebars, they can keep riding their bike.

The whole reason for these trails is to get people out on their bikes, not to scare them into the garage.

So, I am learning how to ride a bike. Its more difficult then I thought.

Friday, 13 August 2010

learning to ride

Ok so Im gonna complain a bit. IAM SUFFERING!!! Covered in scrapes, bruises and bumps, feeling sick, headache and feeling a bit retarded :-/

I am learning how to ride a bike and its fucking hard!

Ok so I actually learned how to ride a bike a long time ago. I dont quite remember the specifics but im sure it involved training wheels and possibly a few falls, but its something you seem to always remember how to do.

But now Im learning how to ride grown up bikes, both road and mountain bikes with carbon, and spd's and shiny shimano parts. And for fucks sake! Why didnt someone say that you dont just get on a bike and pedal.

Apparently there are ways to ride up and down hills, and when to use your front and rear brakes, when to shift up and down, when to sit, when to stand, probably when to fart. (i would imagine this would be when your going up a stinker of a climb and you need to dispose of excess weight whilst giving you a little acceleration)

Im not trying to complain, I love riding a bike, but it hurts learning!

So as I learn I will write about my efforts, tell you my stories of crashes and successes.

I went out on the mtb with Hutty on Sunday, to Keilder. The trail, Lonesome Pine.They said the route was an introductory red those who were ready to go from Blue to Red. It wasnt my first red, only doing South Side Whinlatter and Mabie the previous weekend. But I still felt I needed something a bit tame.

Introductory my fucking ASS!!!! Intro to pain and suffering more like it. The review should have read. For those who want a red that involves climbing, climbing and more climbing, followed by a steep fucking start with a trail bedded with sand that is eroding away leaving loose rocks and boulders, then this trail is for you!

I think it should be an intro to how to fall off your bike! And people said that ride was boring! Only boring because after you fall off and you feel a bit woozy you have to walk down the fucking trail.

I did an impressive fall though! Ended up on my back, head facing down the trail and legs in the air. Like a turtle really. Not quite sure what Hutty thought when he found me?? After assessing my surroundings and injuries, there wasnt much else to do but laugh! Oh I am a retard!

And I did get back on the bike after a bit of a walk through the rough bits. Maybe I got on the bike so quickly so I wouldnt kill all my confidence but I think It was only because I wanted to get back to the parking lot and tend to my wounds.

But the show must go on. My bruises are slowly disappearing, my neck is almost able to move again, and Im really starting to miss my bikes.

Next weekend its learning how to ride parts 2 and 3 as I venture to Glentrool and Kirroughtree, Im sure another blog post will arrive after that, hopefully a success story and not one about injuries. So keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Who needs sex when you ride a bike

I had a thought the other day....

How similar cycling is to having sex (or not having it).

Im going to write this in a clean matter so only those with a mind like mine will be able to pick out exactly what it is im trying to get across.

For example:

Riding- the most obvious of positions if you are talking about being on a bike. Positioning yourself correctly on the saddle can be quite a pleasurable experience. However, if the seat is the wrong height or to far forward or back, it can give you all sorts of irritations.

Standing- standing on a bike or of course in the bedroom (kitchen?) can give you enough strength to power through a long climb. Its a good resting position from riding as it allows you to stretch out your legs before reaching the climax of the hill (or of course....)

Getting into a tuck position- ok now were talking! Getting in the tuck position gives you speed and control! It can make you feel free as a bird as you feel the wind wizz through your hair ( :-/) and remind you of the hard work you have done to reach the top of your first climb of the day.

The long ride- generally reserved for weekends when you have a bit more time. The long ride is usually in stages. It has plenty of riding, standing and hopefully tucking. You can stop for cake (or a much needed energy drink) and start again as if youve never been off. There are plenty of hills but sometimes the longer the ride the harder it can be to get to the top. By the end you may find that sometimes you may have to get off and give the bike a little push. It will defiantly require a shower after and usually a long quite lie down (unless of course your 20, but then again they normally dont last through a long ride)

The short ride- the before or after work ride. Short rides are generally the most popular between cyclists that have busy jobs or children. Sometimes a quick spin can be liberating! It can still keep you fit enough to enjoy the longer rides on the weekend and keep you in touch with your bike. These are the rides where your able to fix any mechanicals you may be experiencing and allow yourself to discover a quick route to reaching those sought after endorphins we require to keep a smile on our faces.

The commuter- This is what all cyclists aspire to be. Not only do you get to ride everyday to and from work, you also get to have longer rides on the way home. Commuters also generally go for long rides on the weekends. They are super fit, have great stamina and can go for hours without requiring a break. They plan their holidays around riding and take very good care of their bikes.

It happens to everyone- Have you ever got so excited about getting out on your bike? You have spent all day thinking about it. Cooped up in the office your mind is on little else. You are not a commuter so you take that souless train ride home and get in the house salivating at your beautiful bike sat in the corner. She (he) has never looked so inviting. You very quickly get yourself into (out of) your gear, prepare that important drink, swallow a gel and grab your bike. You swing open that door ready to mount your saddle and...... FOR FUCKS SAKE! ITS PISSING DOWN! You are so deflated and rejected. Why!!!! All you could think about all day was how brilliant this was going to be! And now its fucking raining! It could have happened on the way home on the train, that wouldn't have mattered, as long as the sun came out by the time you got home. There are some who wouldn't give up, they would ride in the rain. But thats not enjoyable for anyone. Its soggy and wet, usually cold and all your gonna do is limp around feeling sorry for yourself. You throw in the towel, make yourself a cup of tea and sink into the sofa. Tomorrow, you will try again.

The weekend warrior-generally more common with mountain bikers, the weekend warrior is one of those who saves themselves for their days off. They will then go crazy, they ride hard and ride all weekend. Although not the fittest of cyclists (usually have a beer gut) they always get a ride in. Generally there is allot of up and down with the weekend warrior as they always want to get their fix before Sunday night. They are fast and furious and take no prisoners. Single woman generally like these weekend warriors as they are generally guaranteed a good ride.

The lone rider- We have all been there, a time in our cycling lives when we have no friends. This doesn't mean you cant enjoy cycling, sometimes it can be more fulfilling then riding with someone. You can go for as long or as short of a ride as you like. You get to pick your route with no one to argue with. Positioning though is equally as important for the lone rider as you do not want to get hurt (there is no one there to help you if you get stuck) Lone riders are very good at polishing their bike and always have toys to ensure that if they break down it can be easily fixed.

The sprinter- the most selfish of the riders the sprinter always wants to get to the line as quickly as possible and needs to be 1st!

The domistique- my personal favorite. The domistique will wok very hard to ensure you have a great ride and they get pleasure out of ensuring that their team mate gets everything they require. If their teammate doesn't win, they feel as if they haven't done their job.

The tandem- The good thing about tandems is that both parties have to do equal parts work to get the movements right. Although it looks easy to do its generally not. It takes a special kind of rider to pull this off without an argument. The best thing about the tandem is that because there is double the power the hills you tend to climb can be twice as long,and reaching the top can be a equally shared experience.

The Bi-Cyclist- rides both a road bike and a mountain bike and enjoys them equally. They will generally slide towards one bike more then the other for ease but they always cant wait to get on the other bike. They have allot of fun, are fit, and their calenders are usually full of all types of rides they enjoy with their friends.

Group rides- more then one can be fun! A whole group.... well thats an experience to behold!

I could go on and on. But writing has made my feel rather tired, almost like Ive been riding my bike all day! So whilst you have a read, Im gonna have a nap. Short rides for me tomorrow and Friday, because I have some long ones planned for the weekend.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

a new love

I love cycling. Its not just a hobby anymore its more like my vice. I traded smoking for cycling, better for my health but not for my wallet. It wasn't good enough that I had a Giant Avail, I needed something better, lighter, hopefully faster so I bought a Specialized Roubaix, YAHHHH! I'm getting up hills I only dreamed about last year and loving every minute of it.

There is a few things about cycling that I have learned that are a bit useful to know.

1. Its a bit competitive. For fucks sake its not a race! Ok so you can get to the top of the hill faster or you can ride further. Your not Alberto Contador and my ride out after work is not the TDF!

2. It can be a bit unsociable. As long as you are on a bike I have time to see you but to all my non cycling friends I apologize. I get out on the bike after work, get home around 730-800, I shower, eat and sit for an hour before I go to bed.

3. OMG it is so expensive! My credit card company loved the day I got on a bike and still love it! One pair of padded shorts is not enough, actually to be honest neither is two. Then you need the jerseys, oh the beautiful jerseys. Waterproofs that are small enough to fit in your jersey pockets, gilets, socks, gloves, helmets, carbon fibre soled shoes, hats, oakleys,jackets, tights, energy drinks, energy gels, energy bars, bottles, magazines, books, overshoes, dvds, turbo trainers, computers, heart rate monitors, lights, locks, oh and might I add one bike is not enough either! And mtb kit isn't really transferable so if you ride both, well your broke!

4. Woman specific ranges suck. I do not like pink! I do not enjoy the fact that the buyers and designers assume that because I am a woman I will be impressed with the pink, flowery shit they try to sell me. I also don't like the fact that men try to sell me it! Like they have any idea how the female body works! Why do you think they invented vibrators for fucks sake! And when I go into a bike shop or on the Internet I hate the fact that the woman's range is tiny. I get to choose from 5 jerseys then when you check out the men's section there are hundreds of different choices. Im pretty certain woman cycle so get your your fucking fingers out and give us a selection. It is not the dark ages, a lot of time woman earn more then men and believe me they are much better shoppers, so if you want to make money start making non pink woman specific stuff!

5. Its fucking frustrating! So frustrating in fact I cry, often. There are rides that beat me, that strip me down and leave me feeling like I will never get there. There are days when I feel like the breaks are on and your riding into the wind head first, like your pulling a piano!Then there are days when you feel like a fucking super hero, flying through the air with the greatest of ease! Pedals move so quickly and you never want to get off. No two rides are alike and believe me there are days when you want to throw your bike in river and watch it wash away all your frustrations.

But cycling is by far the best sport you can be a part of. Most of the people you meet are amazing and no other sport carries such a passion and excitement. You will find yourself dedicated to hitting the road or trail and you will get such satisfaction from getting up that hill, or winning that race. It makes you a better person and it allows you freedom to see the world with a whole new perspective. Once you get on the bike its impossible to put it down again. I have never been so proud of myself before, so in love with a sport that I want everyday to involve cycling in some form. I am now a dedicated cyclist and cant wait to see what tomorrows ride will bring. So get on the bike and enjoy! I promiss you wont regret it.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

sore bottom and pride

There comes a time in every cyclists life when they experience a good crash. I have fallen over sideways many times but never flew off the bike before.

Stationary falls are my specialty, forget I'm clipped in and over I go. I have had plenty of purple bruises to show for it but my ego was always hurt the most. But this time was special, I actually flew off the bike. Like a bird diving for a fish in the sea I dove for the pavement. Thank goodness it was not head first (wouldn't want to damage my interesting face) but instead I managed to land on my elbow and my left hip. It hurt!

Sprawled across the pavement I closed my eyes, I needed to assess my pain and well take a breath.

The worst part was yet to come. As I was cruising down the road I passed a woman and her child, they would have been the first to see me fly. When i was lying on the pavement bike lying somewhere next to me I was waiting. Waiting for the lady to say, "are you ok?" but no voice appeared, had I gone deaf, or was she mute? Nope, when my eyes were shut her and her evil child walked over the bike and possibly me and kept going. Stupid Bitch would have been the words I used if I wasn't feeling so retarded. When I was sitting myself up and shaking out the cobwebs a man in a jeep was laughing and decided to increase his speed going through the puddle to attempt and soak me as he drove past.

It was another cyclist who came over to ensure I was ok, and offered a hand of scraping me off the pavement.

So is this what human kind has developed into? Is it only cyclists who are pleasant? How does that lady who passed me think that its ok to teach her child to ignore the injured? What the fuck is going on in this world? Or is it just the British?

Being Canadian I was raised with manners! Manners that I still remember to this day. I say please when asking for something and thank you when its received. I reply with you re welcome when someone thanks me, and I always fucking stop and ensure someone is ok if they fall over! How would that lady feel if her little girl had been hit by a car and I just stepped over the brat and kept going? Or how would the man driving a jeep feel if he got into an accident and I decided not to call him an ambulance? How the fuck would you feel if it were you?

You may laugh or worst you may think, well its happened to me before. So if its happened to you then that means there are more ignorant people in this little world. Is it incest that is making these people fucking stupid? Maybe British law should be changed so you cant marry your cousins!

Its not fucking hard to ask if someone is ok if they fall over, even if they are not on a bike. It only takes a second. Or is your time so fucking important that you feel you cant spare a few minutes?

So now I have a choice.

I can either change my attitude and be as rude as everyone else, or I can continue being the Canadian I was raised to be and say thank you, when someone spares a second out of their busy day to stop and say "are you ok?"

Sunday, 11 July 2010

without technology

I recently went on holiday to California (i will post a blog about this later) and brought my laptop, and my mobile phone. I always thought that I was the kind of person who could live without the latest technology, that a day without my mobile, or twitter, wouldn't phase me. Then disaster struck. No signal! No wifi! OMG no fucking signal!!!! For hours, actually for more then 24 hours! I have never in my life checked my phone so many times and every time I turned it on my heart sunk, I got cranky, I started to sweat and I was on edge. For fuck sake! I lived in the bloody wilderness for years and didn't even own a laptop until 4 years ago. I am strong, and I can survive Lake District winters without shooting myself, and yet I panic when I don't have a mobile phone signal????? Ok so your laughing... thinking, god this woman is a loser. You roll your eyes and think, I could do it, it wouldn't phase me, I don't need to be connected to the outside world. HA HA then I challenge you. Give me your mobile and your computer, your tv (did I mention I had no tv either) and then survive for 24 hours without them. In the time you are without it keep track of all the brilliant things you could tweet about, or when you need to search for something because your lost or bored. How will you spend your time?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Today was a pretty shit day. I work for a corporate bank (not a rope long enough) who have decided that awarding stars for doing a good job was a good idea.

So you can nominate anyone for a star award for basically anything. So and So stayed back 10 min after work to wait for the manager whilst he talked on the phone, will get you a stars nomination. What the fuck??? You don't get praise for cleaning up everyones shit. Or doing everyone elses job but hey if you serve 10 customers in an 8 hour shift you may get a star in the mail.

So you may ask why I'm so pissed off about this? Doesn't everyone deserve a star? No they fucking dont! A fucking shitty star shaped cut out of a piece of coloured fucking paper! All that it does is make the people that dont get one feel like absolute incompetent fools and the one who is nominated turns into a fucking king or queen of the castle!

What ever happened to a thank you? Are managers that fucking lazy that they cant be assed to give you a pat on the back for a job well done. And why is it that the people who least deserve it get nominated? What the fuck is up with this bloody world?

I do a good job. Actually I basically do everyones job. I never get a thank you and definitely not a fucking star! I feel like Earl the Office Manager :-/ (those of you who watch friends may remember Earl)

The worst part is, I get really upset at myself for caring, then I work myself in to a depressive state and feel sorry for my ass. I even had a bit of a cry. (other factors were also involved in the tears) All because nobody nominated me for a star award :/ But then again, I could carry an elderly lady 5 miles in a blizzard so she could withdrawal £5 from her account, earn millions of pounds for the company, sell 1000 mortgages in a week and someone else would get nominated for turning up for work on time 4 out of 5 days.

But hey, thats life isnt it or should I say thats work.

My day did get much better. Took the Roubaix out for a spin. Had a lovely cuppa tea and a piece of cake with my best friend and came home to curl up in my favorite dressing gown. Now thats life :)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The first of many

What do you write about in your first blog? Something to get people interested? Or maybe just what you are thinking at this moment in time. Maybe a little about me? Well that could either get me loads of interest or none at all.

Im pretty fabulous! Actually more like an olive, some love me others definatly do not. I cant spell worth shit and Im to lazy to use spell check. I love cycling, everything about cycling really, except for people who pretent their a cyclist and they get on a bike twice a year. And I love twitter, mainly to discuss how much I love cycling.

Im a bit unfit at the moment. Its frustrating to say the least. Everyone around me seems to be months ahead in their fitness and I am being left behind. I take around 20 painkillers a day and am undergoing treatment for an injury.

Rants and things that are pants.

Where do I start? Maybe with just one rant because if I get started I will have nothing left to write about.

It really bothers me when people whithold information to make themselves look better! Or those who embelish the truth. Just be your fucking self! If your scared its cuz people wont like you then just remember this. People wont like you when they find out you have been lying the whole time. They will fiquer out that you are not who you say you are. Unless of course they are just as stupid as you.

So many people care to much about what others will think. Grow the fuck up! You will become a better person when you stop trying so hard to impress others.

I feel much better for getting that off my chest :)