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.