Friday, 15 March 2013

The memory remains....

Wow, that ride home was awesome. Ok so it was dark and it was pissing down but it was awesome.

Simply put, my ride was awesome because I caught and rode with a cyclists that has consistently kicked my ass for the last 2 years.

Back in October 2011, I wrote on this blog (really, you've been chatting shit for that long?!) about a cyclist that rode a bike similar to mine but rode like the freaking wind, I mean this guy was so consistently fast it was scary.

I got to a point recently where I could catch him on a climb (he's beatable on an ascent) but he'd beast me on the flat and I do mean beast me. This bothered me. I haven't really been trying to get faster but you don't want to stand still right? I just started to ride a different route, longer with more climbs.

I only generally ride the shorter route every now and again, usually when the weather is shit as its more protected from the elements or when I simply can't be arsed with the additional mileage.

Tonight was time to hit the short route. With pissing rain and a strong wind, a ride across the open expanse of Windsor Great Park really didn't appeal.

Then I noticed him as I was sat at a junction just over the Thames in Staines.

'Screw it, I'm not chasing him' was my initial thought. I could see him in the distance but wasn't chasing him down. It's Friday after all, after a week of riding my legs are toast.

He wasn't getting away but I wasn't gaining, I was happy with that. Then came Egham hill. Steep enough but short enough to not really matter, before I knew it I was riding on his wheel. Been here before though, I need to keep with him on the flats.....

And I did and he wasn't getting away and I was clearly stronger on the climbs. He knew this too.

We got to the lights at Wentworth golf course and we were level, I rode past him with an approving nod and a "hello mate".

Now I was leading, shit. I gotta step it up. I lead for about 5 miles, he didn't come past me. Finally, I was fast enough to stay with him. Now don't get me wrong, this wasn't easy, in fact, it's the fastest ride home I've done for, well on this route, ever!

I rode at the front on the hardest section of the ride, numerous small climbs on narrow roads with tree's acting as a canopy, proper dark too, cars far too close for comfort but I didn't care, I was leading.

We rode up the last notable climb into Ascot and at the top he passed me and gained 10 bike lengths instantly. I was ruined.

We stayed as this distanced through Ascot high street, I was too busy getting my breath back to care about the gap.

We reached the roundabout by Heatherwood Hospital level again, I was back in the room and no longer panting. I got up to stamp on the pedals and my left leg started cramping. Jesus, I haven't had cramp in my legs from riding for years.

And then my right leg, haha this was comical. I managed to spin off the cramp enough to pick up speed and hold his wheel on the short decent back to Bracknell.

My fastest ride and cramp in both legs but what a commute. Finally I managed to keep pace. It's only taken 2 poxy years!

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Friday, 1 March 2013

Hacked off

Summer bike or Winter hack?

My precious Cannondale. The one I needed the wife's permission for. The one that only see's the sun, never ventures out in the rain or muck.

The one I'd only ever upgrade if parts wear or break, no cheap fix here.My pride and get the picture.

I keep it under lock and key and to be honest, rarely ride it. I've upgraded the wheels and added a white saddle (bad idea) put it back in the shed, awaiting summer.

Now it's my bloody winter hack, I hate using it but my wife tells me "it's only a bike". I hate seeing it like this and today's weather is the worse type for keeping a bike clean, wet and filthy.

The annoying thing is that I have the perfect winter bike, with mudguards and lights and I don't care about it as long as it works but it doesn't, it's buggered. Has been for about a month. Cash flow or the obvious lack of has kept it broken in the shed and kept me on the summer bike.

Finally I've bought all the parts I need and the winter bike is booked in with my LBS for 9:30am to get sorted. I can't wait to clean the summer bike and put it back safe and warm.And mudguards, god damn I've missed mudguards.

Trying to commute in England in February without mudguards is insane, ok it's not gonna kill you but bugger me will you get wet.

But it's soiled now, the summer ride will never be the same again now I know the bike has seen some abuse.

Every nut is rusty and caked in crap..... Ah well, it's only a bike....

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