Thursday, 22 August 2013

Tuesday night chain gang....My first one.

Jesus wept....I don't think I've ever worked so hard over such a short distance.

Imagine a Team Time Trail, only with three individuals, flat out, full on and fierce. It was only the 'short' loop.

Now only a few guys turned up, I'd hoped for more but the grey skies and pitter patter of rain had culled the herd. The now familiar face of Dale, whom I imagine I'll be seeing more of in the near future, an American amateur racer that lives near me and a girl called Anastasia.

Being such a small group I didn't have much expectation, Dale is quite a large, lanky rider and Anastasia was slight, I was kinda in the middle of the two with no clue of the route or how to ride in a chain gang but although almost strangers, we were all happy to spend the next couple of hours riding together.

Nice to be able to ride with such great people, neither of these 2 know me from Adam, It's the second time I'd ridden with Dale but I'd never met Anastasia. As we rode out of Windsor Great Park, I upped the pace in an attempt to prove my speed, clearly looking back this wasn't required, neither was it expected when riding in this manner, just to illustrate how clueless I was as to the planned ride.

Oddly but thankfully I got a timely puncture, both the guys pulled back and waited as I fixed the flat, this allowed Dale to explain how to ride in a chain gang and advised me sit at the back and watch how it was done until I was called on.

 We rode a loop just outside of Windsor, which is well known to my club, it's fast, a little lumpy and hard work at pace. Thankfully its all left turns so no dodgy manouvers required. Being only 3 of us, we each spent quite a lot of time at the front and I have to be honest, I was spent by the end of the ride. I'm not entirely sure how long the ride was but it felt like too long.

Anastasia must have been 15 but wow, she has some power in those legs. Not at all put off by the strange men in lycra, she more than held her own, in fact when we finished the ride and she turned off, both Dale and I turned to one another and said "thank god shes turned off", a great, larger than life character but we were both simply happy to get our legs back. Pride intact, just about.

Monday, 19 August 2013

That was awesome!

Truly, it was.

My first ride out with the Hounslow and District Wheelers.

Now I've been out with a couple of clubs before, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Purely on the look out for like minded people to cycle with. I ride daily on my own, so an empty Sunday morning cries out for a club ride.

My previous two experiences weren't great, never a great turn out and not much interest in the new boy. It kinda put me off club riding. Cliquey twats,  I'd rather ride alone.

Nowadays my needs are different, I still ride alone 85% of the time but I need to up my mileage for my London to Barca challenge, which is 10 months away, so one last attempt then. A mate at work tells me I should try the Hounslow and District Wheelers as they ride out from Staines bridge, an area I know well. More importantly, they ride on beautiful roads, in a very scenic area just a stones throw from the big smoke.

Why not, its taken me a while mind, a good 3 months to turn up. Wow, I'm so glad I did.

A rendezvous on the Staines bridges, I didn't expect much, I sat waiting, starring at ducks on the Thames, then I saw a rotund dude, dressed head to toe in Rapha kit on a Bianchi, 'right, he must be involved' I thought, so I went and had a word....

That was Tony, a lovely bloke, enjoys his weekend bike rides. I assumed a handful of people would turn up. 30 plus group! Damn! Now we didn't ride in a group this large, we split into fast and medium, as you do. The fast group was 11 strong, including me. I honestly just hoped I'd picked the right team.

I must say, to this point, the welcome had been great, no clique's and constant conversation. All just like minded guys and girls, turning up to ride their bikes and share an experience.

The 2 groups set of to Marlow, very different routes at very different paces. The fast group rode in pairs, where able, and it was great. I rode with another newbie called Tom, who is a scientist, he explained to me how vague HR monitoring was as a performance indicator, among other things, one of these types that doesn't keep quiet, which was perfect as we both knew no one.

Not that it mattered, we rode 2nd in line to the front pair, after 20 miles we got thrown on the front, funny how you ride on the front and control nothing. We rode too fast, too keen and started to split the group, instantly got shouted at and called back, so we reigned it in a little, rode about 18.5 mph. Funny what differences there are riding alone as opposed to in a group.

Always thinking about those behind, "hole", "car down","stopping" and "doooooggggg" are a few phrases I seem to remember.

Now I'm not sure if this was just a better club, with better riders or whether I just wanted to be there more but I loved every minute of this club ride. All the guys rode at a decent level and I felt good and strong, I lead for a good portion of the return leg too. Good to confirm I was strong enough to do so.

Happy days.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Time to write an update

Wow, so year on year I seem to have ridden less and less in the summer months, I mean I still ride but I do like to steal the wife's car if it's too hot. Not this Summer, during the impromptu 'heat wave' I haven't been able to get off my bike, in fact I'm extending my commute everywhere. So much so that I now find myself chasing a 1000 mile month.....

I'm at about 920 for the month so far. I say that as I've not added Fridays commute home and Sundays ride to my total, which was about 883. I think.

I'm simply loving being on the bike at the mo and I'm spending money on upgrades so I appreciate it more. A nice set of Oakley Radar's replaced the £15 Evans specials that kept slipping off my face. New bib shorts with London to Barcelona in mind and a Garmin 810 with HR/Cadence and full mapping.

With regards to the Garmin, it is a proper extravagance but I intended to upgrade from the 200 to enable me to record HR/Cadence and last week I got lost, so thought 'why not'. It is an awesome device.

Since I last blogged I've also ridden a couple of events, first the 'Farnham charity bike ride' and then the Wiggle 'Magnificat'.

The Farnham ride was a 50 miler ridden with a friend just getting in to cycling and the 'Magnificat' was an 80 miler ridden purely by chance.

I will add more on both events and my 1000 mile month of July very shortly.

Friday, 7 June 2013

My first commuting week on the SS

Well, it was intended to be a week...Sadly an infection and recovery of said infection kept it down to just the 2 days of commuting.

I got a bloody stitch! I don't think I've ever actually gotten a stitch from cycling before. I assume it's due to the increased cadence and my inability to breath properley when spinning at that pace.

I'm actually quite suprised how fast I've been on it so far, with the exception of long descents, my legs spin away from me at around 25mph. Other than that, it's been great.

I'm even setting PB's. This may actually be down to the fact that I haven't ridden the commute for just over a week and have a lot of energy to burn off or maybe the tail wind but we'll ignore that....

Check out the overview from my Strava segments on the route home, non to shabby.

You can see the Strava detail if you click on the route link on the left of this post.

I'm currently loving it, I can really feel the work in my quads as I climb, thankfully there is nothing too taxing climb wise in my neck of the woods.

Route (ish)

A London to Barca update, 364 days to go! 
his is the route (ish) :


This is literally a rough route guide, as clearly the stage 8 total of 374 miles is a little inaccurate, there will be 9 stages of our ride so potentially the same mileage split over 2 days.