Tuesday, 22 February 2011

When did it become so complicated

Or maybe I should be asking, Why did it get so complicated?

I started out with a Giant Avail, just to see how I liked riding, turns out its pretty brilliant, so I treated myself to my shiny carbon Roubaix with aspirations of fabulous summer rides with friends, good cake stops and maybe even a few beers.

Its not quite like that is it.

I am lucky to live in such a beautiful area of England, just at the edge of the Lakes and beautiful scenery only 10 min by bike away. But living in the Lake District also has its challenges. Its not the easiest place when new to riding. Getting up the hills is just as much a mental strength then a physical one and Im not to good at either, to be honest.

And then theres the fabulous summer rides. Do I have to remind you of where I live again? Rain, rain, rain, rain,rain, rain,, oh and guess what? Yep, you've guessed it, rain. We still go out, in between showers and hope we stay dry, but its not the picture I had originally painted.

And then there's the question of fitness. I really thought I would be riding for a few months and feel the benefit, not feel like I was going backwards. One step forward, 100 steps back. But no one else I ride with has this issue, hence I get even more frustrated with myself, especially when I really want to catch up and be able to ride beside them, not behind.

So Im really trying to prepare myself for this summer, trying to get some good rides in, and throwing in a few climbs so I can ride with my friends this summer and enjoy myself. I even considered entering a few sportives just to test my fitness and give me a challenge, as well as something to work towards. (After today's, twitter conversation, I may now actually be put off taking part in any sportives)

But Im beginning to wonder when it stopped being about riding, when I started getting to the point where Im brought to tears because I couldn't get up a climb, or my average speed isnt as fast as I wanted it too. Maybe it was at the same time that a sportive became a race, and doing 25 miles wasn't really a ride. When did it become so complicated???

Friday, 18 February 2011

My type of rider

As discussed in earlier blogs, I am learning how to ride a bike, and the more time I spend in the saddle the more I learn, sometimes the more I question as well.

But I am definatly learning the type of riders there are and where I fit into the mix.

So first, I guess I should explain what I mean by "types" of riders.

Today I will concentrate on the Roadies, Mountain Bikers will come at a later date.

So we have firstly:

The Racer- oh you know the ones, slimmer, faster, meaner then any of the roadies. The ones who speed past you when your just riding to the supermarket. They wear team kit all of the bloody time, except when its dirty, then its Assos and Gore all the way. They ride for miles, work part time, drink espresso, carb load, hang out with other racers and have skinny girlfriends with big breasts.

The Mile Junky- 20 miles is a ride around the block to these lot. They must ride everyday, and if they dont finish off the week with a long, long ride its because they have the shits. They ride no matter what the weather and their partners would forget they're around except for the pile of washing in the basket. They also carb load, but dont shy away from cake if there is a cafe placed about 50 miles in. They ride alone a lot, mainly because the rest cant fucking keep up! They usually belong to a club and are almost always in the front of the pack.

The Trainer- train, train, train, train. Increase stamina, increase miles, increase heart rate, decrease heart rate, lose weight, gain weight, diet, drink special drinks, eat special food, spend loads of money on gadgets, document every fucking little thing, including the size, shape and smell of their bowel movements and the colour of their wee.They know everything you need to know to make your bike lighter, faster, more comfortable and more expensive. They are all about the bike. Im not quite sure what they are training for though??? But they are fit and if the weather is really bad, you will find them on the turbo/rollers or in the gym.

The All Talk- knows everything, knows everyone, talks shit, rarely ever gets on the bike. They always have an excuse, to busy, injured, bike being fixed, hungover, sick, working, or even watching on tv. They have an opinion about every rider, bike, or piece of kit. They walk into their local bike shop, shouting out the names of all the staff, and rarely buy anything because, well, they dont need anything if there not riding. They tell stories about a ride they did in 1995 or about when they met Lance Armstrong. Oh I think they need help.

The Leisure Rider- The ones who NEVER wear a helmet. I cant work them out. They obviously enjoy cycling and are the reason why trouser clips are still on the market. They ride lovely shopping or leisure bikes but dont feel the need for cycling kit at all. But why?? I kinda like them because they seem so happy just to plod along, enjoy the view and the sunshine and they dont need to spend money to get on a bike.

The Pick n Mix- The ones who are happy just to be on a bike, long rides, short rides, cake rides, shopping rides. They ride nice bikes, they spoil themselves with one or two great pieces of kit, then shop discount for everything else. They may partake in sportives and club rides but aren't going to set any record times. They are the ones who watch races and cheer with the biggest smiles on their faces, mainly because they are thinking, thank fuck it isnt me, but they secretly daydream that their stood at the top of the TDF podium (or at least that their shagging the winner)

I think I aspire to be a Pick n Mix but sometimes I stress out a bit to be one. I constantly want to be better then I am, and put myself down for not being faster and fitter. But Im learning and now that I know what type of rider I want to be, maybe it will be easier for me to get there.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Shap. Angels, Crashes and new friends

Well Funky February is in full swing, although not as funky as I first thought. I decided that maybe this year, I would try to tame the funk.

It started just as normal, with tears and tantrums. Feeling so sorry for myself and wondering why life was treating me this way. Crying for hours (one whole day in fact) for no apparent reason. Yep, I was feeling the fuckin funk.

But then... after friends (twitter peeps) lent their ears and emails, February was beginning to shrink in size.

Then there were the girls.

I love the people that I have met over the year, and I love my best friend (you know who you are) but there is something great about having girl friends. And girls who cycle just kick fucking ass! Any girl who cycles knows the woes of having to pee mid ride, what its like when you are suffering from that time of the month, and the embarrassment of pulling your stuff out of your jersey pocket, only to have a tampon land on the table. They are great at helping you kick the shit out of your funk and they love cake, just as much as me.

So it only seemed appropriate that as I love my girls, and cake, and chocolate, that when I was asked to have a ride up Shap with a lovely lady, I shuttered, made myself sick with worry, but after the promise of visiting the chocolate factory at Orton, I gave in. I did make it up Shap (fuck you funk) and indeed made it to the chocolate factory.Unfortunately our ride was cut short when one of the riders came off her bike, with an almighty bounce! (actually lots of bounces) Fortunately she is ok, I imagine just sore and in need of a new crash hat. But hey, it means that we will do that ride again, and it also means another stop at the chocolate factory too.

And then there is Angels, Fight Club and Breakaway. Sufferfest workouts for the turbo to help you royally kick the February Funks little ass! Some cyclists poo poo turbo, stating stupid things like "weather makes a cyclist" Well, I dont like the cold, or frozen rain, and cold fuckin wind, so turbo at least keeps my legs spinning. And if you have done a Sufferfest workout you do more then bloody spin, you sweat, swear and even sometimes, throw up a little in your mouth.

So Funky February! You may have just met your match! A few friends and a few rides and February will be long and truly over!

So off the sofa I get! See you all out on the roads.