Spring forward occurs next week, the changing of the clocks ensures the evenings get progressively lighter, which is always a good sign for us cyclists. Fingers crossed this fickle weather starts to settle so we don’t have to continually prepare for the whims of wind, rain, cloud and the occasional sun, I fear its not there yet but wishful thinking gives some reassurance its on its way.
In terms of my cycling, well its been a month of stop/start with no semblance of consistency. My Dad sadly passed away after a drawn out affair in hospital. On those occasions cycling takes a back seat and family matters take over, its taken a while to get back to some normality. A little bit of decorating helped take my mind off things and at the same time refrained me from getting somewhat f-cked up!
During the month lady luck has played havoc too, its been a succession of twists and turns whether it be family, work or cycling related. As a result to much time has been spent reshaping things back in the right direction. Hopefully some good fortune is just around the corner…
Spanner in the works with a knee niggle
Onto cycling matters then, I tend to keep my eye on what’s going on around me when off the bike which heaps on pressure to get going. Something I’ve learned over this period is not to get to hung up over it. Playing catch-up quickly just doesn’t work. I rode 100 miles then hobbled home a good 50 miles with a knee injury. Lesson learned, focus on yourself not what others are doing. When you’ve been off the bike for a period those regular muscles start to shut down and need gentle persuasion and activation to get them running again. You have to build up. Its a well know fact that a sharp spike in training after a lay off just leads to problems. I was stupid but the pressures to get going were there. I’ve missed three scheduled 200kms Audax’s and a recent 300km since my last post. So things have really tailed off. The 300km I was keen to do, but considering all, a knee niggle, work pressures, unprepared and not really being in the right frame of mind was simply a foolhardy venture. I’m pleased to say common sense got the better of me the night before and so I backed off, its now back to basics, taking care of the knee and building up again which is where I am now. Two or three weeks and I should be back to where I want to be. I had planned some back to back riding over the Easter break but now I’ve resigned myself to staying local which sadly is probably for the best.
Garmin woes resolved
In the mean time my Garmin 800 failed on me. Somehow it ended up in diagnostic mode which I couldn’t get out of no matter what I tried. I had no option but to send it back and its been replaced with a reconditioned model costing me £75. I’ve spent a little time setting it up and as it stands it seems to be better than the previous one, no complaints there really although messing with these sort of things can be a little inconvenient and frustrating.
In the drivers seat
In my last post I mentioned I was testing a new saddle, the Cobb Randee. All through Jan/Feb I’ve been riding a test saddle and found it to be most comfortable, for me anyway. I’ve ridden over 100 miles on it quite a few times without any soreness and that’s also without chamois cream. I decided to order it, it cost me £146 so not cheap but I feel its money well spent. I mounted it on the bike a couple of weeks ago. I’ve only been out on it three times so far, the first was when I twinge my knee and the last two rides were only local and pretty insignificant. I feel I’ve still got some tweaking to do to set it just right then I’ll need to get in some consistent riding to break it in for it to be as comfortable as the test saddle. As it is I’m pleased with the outlook in terms of the saddle as I’ve never really had one that’s been favourable. I’ll give some feedback on it in due course.
Changing the rubber
Over the winter I’ve been riding on Continental Gator Hardshell tyres in 25mm. They’ve been fine, no punctures that I can recollect at all. Its always been in the back of my mind though to give tubeless tyres a try. My wheels accommodate tubeless and I’ve been waiting until Spring to give them a go. The new Schwalbe S-One tyres caught my eye a month or so ago. The tyres are fatter but light, are said to be durable, make for a comfortable ride due to the lower pressures you can run them at and I’m reliably informed roll quick. With Spring here I ordered a set through Spokes of Bagshot , I then whipped off the mudguards and Ollie the mechanic at the shop set me up with them. A word of warning these tyres are not far off £60 each. The tyres only come in 30mm so you need a frame which can accommodate them and my Bowman Pilgrim does. There’s another one for feedback once I get back into some consistent riding. I’ve been out on the road twice on them and first impressions are that they feel good, very good!
I’m a winner
One bit of good news, at the recent club dinner I was awarded the annual Meritorious Performance Cup for my efforts in last years Transcontinental Race. As you all know I didn’t finish the race, but it is worth recognising and remembering that there is merit and some consolation in giving whatever you choose to fight your best shot, no matter the circumstances. At the time it might not seem like it but it does count for something and its nice to have been recognised for it. As I wasn’t there I’d like to thank everybody who nominated me, its very much appreciated. As with all things like this competition is fierce and I know there were a number of others worthy of picking up this little trophy. Well its mine to hold onto this year and will take its pride of place with a few other bits I have and it’ll serve to remind me that what we choose to do isn’t all for nothing.
As we roll into April its time to get onto that bike now and start making some headway.
Ride safe folks.