Saturday, 20 July 2013

Testing The Changes!

Hello blog lovers,

Today the weather was a lot cooler than it has been for some time, so a good day to test out the changes that have been made to my bike.  Hopefully I will feel a lot more confident on it, I can apply the brakes when needed and hopefully help to sit in the right position for a darn good cycle ride today.

We left in the afternoon, I was wondering whether to take lights on or not, but I thought we would be back in plenty of time before they were needed.  (I should have realised that it was me that was riding, and not Chris Froome) It was going to be a very hilly ride as well, its one of the Old Boys, 'Get fitter' routes, and one that he does after he has left me on a Tuesday, around 6:30 ish, and then meets Pettswood in time to join me for a social drink with the PWR's around 9 ish in the evening.

I was still feeling a tad apprehensive about todays ride, yes I wanted to test the bike, and yes it needed to be a fairly challenging route, but I alo didn't want it do affect my hands too much if the bike and route was just too much for my already suffering hands.

I had a lot to concentrate on, my riding position, my cleats, hands to make sure I change positions, the roads and traffic of course, and  obviously to try and keep the speed going to make it as enjoyable for the Old Boy as I can..

The first test for me was going to be on Fox Hill! Going down hill has been a bit of a worry for me, with the whole applying of the brakes issue, I know I like to go fast, but I also like to know that I can slow down and stop when needed. I started down the hill, and kept the brakes going on and off, testing my hands, slowing the bike down and speeding up.  I didn't feel totally comfortable, but I was glad that I could slow the bike down when I wanted to.

That hill done and now its the up hill part.  The bit I need to relax on, not grip tight on the bars, relax in my saddle, keep a bend in my arms and try and get my whole core working together to make for a better, safer more efficient ride.  It's a lot to remember for this Old Girl. And not only that, but also the climb up Botley Hill to do!

I think I did pretty well. Put it this way, I didn't get off and walk!  It was  tough climb but the Old Boy told me there is yet another nasty little blighter yet to come.  It's a hill that I haven't managed to cycle up, a bit like Ditchling Beacon. A total challenge for me, one that I have failed on several occasions!  I gave it a damn good go though.  but I'm afraid it beat me. I was totally furious with myself, I felt like a complete fraud in my Lycra, cleated shoes and 'racing bi-atch bike'.  I am afraid the Old Boy got the full force of my total failure frustration!  Lucky he loves me!  It took about 2 or 3 stops to get up to the top, by this time, the Old Boy was in front of me.  I tried and tried to keep up, but I just plodded along about -2 miles an hour!  There is a pub at the top of this hill, and that is where the Old Boy was waiting for me!

He went in and the came out with....2 packets of crisps!  "What, no beer?" I said "They are having problems with the electrics" he said to me! "NOOOOOOOO!" I cried out.  I looked at my orange juice sitting in my bike rack, I was just too tired to move to get it out.  But just then the lovely young lady bought out our beer!

From there we went on to do a tad more hill climbing.  Until we got to the most scenic scene, over looking a body of water called Bough Beach, I took a picture of it, look.

 I didn't think I could do another hill, but I managed it. In fact from there on, there was not one hill that I didn't manage to get up in one on the way home!  We went through Goathurst Common to Besuls Green down into Riverhead, Dunton Green and Shoreham. Shoreham was where we stopped for another refreshmet.

I knew where I was from here, 9 and half miles or so from home IF we went up towards Halstead!  But I thought I need a ton more training and decided to go to Eynsford and up Foo Kin Hill!  I think I must have been delirious by this time!,  but really, there is only hills in the way of my home!  No matter which way I went.

It took me forever to do this route, a route that normally takes the Old Boy 2 and half, but with me on board it took nigh on six hours but we did have three stops for refreshment, and to pick up a dinner, as it was getting fairly late, and I for one didn't fancy cooking!

I did take a picture of the lavender fields up near Eysnford, the smell is just gorgeous as we cycled passed the fields.

oh and he is the geeky stats, from the Old Boys garmin, he was mostly behind me, even when we reached the giddying speed of 33 miles an hour, in a 30 mile hour zone!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Taming of the Spe-shrew-lised!

Hello blog lovers.

Only a short blog today, just to update about the bi-atch.  Last week I had a word with the nice young man at the bike shop where I bought my bike, and he suggested I bring my bike in so he can see me on it.

Well today was that day, as the shop is open later on Thursday so after work, a bit of rest up it was on to the shop.  The chap was there, and was quick to see me on my bike.  My bike was 'plumbed' into the turbo trainer, (a great gizmo actually, might have to ask Santa for one) as he watched as I peddled along I felt very conscious! .  The first thing he said, was that my saddle could be raised a tad! I thought maybe I had done that bit right at least, and then the stem was changed to a shorter one. 

I also told him about my brakes, and the fact that I do have a bit of trouble pulling them on!  He had a go on them and agreed with me that they were a bit hard to pull on.  It turned out that my brake cable had become rotten inside, a white powdery stuff was on them. So the cable was quickly changed and the brakes did feel a lot easier to pull on.  I am just hoping that I haven't done any permanent damage to my mitts and that every that my LBS (that's Local Bike Shop, by the way) young man has done will sort out all the issues I have with my hands.

Small changes, nothing to drastic so lets just see how it goes now.  "Ride it about a bit" said the nice young man.  So that is what I am going to do.  But today, we just went to treat ourselves to a shared kilo of mussels and frites.

So, lets hope that this is going to solve the issues of the pins and needles hands, and numbness!  (by the way, did you see what I did the the sub title there?)

My bike, before the slight changes, and new pedals


Monday, 15 July 2013

Who Goes Out In This Heat!?

Hello blog lovers.

Why do I do it? Why don't I just sit in doors, with the fan on eating ice cream an drinking beer!? Why?  I tell you why, cos I love exercise! Even going up Cudham North lane in the furnace type temperatures.  I need to get back my cycling legs, and I need to work on getting my Specialized bike set up properly for me.  Well, that particular thing is going to happen on Thursday, I had a word with the shop that I bought the bike from and they are going to 'look at me on the bike'  Put me on the turbo trainer and see what can be done! But in the mean time, my cycle legs need work on.

So today, as it I just so hot, we are going on a shorter ride, but one with a bit of hard work thrown in.  Cudham North Lane!  I can't remember the last time I got up this hill, or even thought about getting up this hill.  Normally we just fly past it heading for Halstead. But today, the most very hottest evening so far, I think, we decided to tackle it! 

But I also decided that on this particular evening I will stop for a pint as well! After all, I am cycling in a furnace!  I took my white Giant today, as I wanted to save my hands getting too numb and pins and needles.  But I think the damage has been done, as even on my giant today I felt some pins and needles in my hands!  The sooner I get my bikes sorted the better, I'm thinking!

The hill was soon there. No stopping for a rest, just straight up it.  There was mention of the pub on this road, the Blacksmiths Arms, but unfortunately that was all it was!!  Our route was going to go straight up to Grays Road, then down the hill through Biggin Hill and on for a stop at Keston, the Greyhound. But then he said something about going through to Knockholt, back down to the A21 and then going on to Orpington to attempt my nemesis, Knoll Rise! But I talked him out of that.  I like to have a route in my mind, and I am prepared for it, but chucking in last minute changes, while cycling up Cudham North Lane, well....that had no chance of even get thought about!

I did stop at the pub though, but not for a pint, just to take a drink from my bottle of orange squash that I bought along!  My mouth was just so dry!  It was a very warm evening.  In fact it was so warm, that the ice cubes had long since melted, and my squash was already warming up! But at least that was the only stop I took until we got to the Shampan. 

On the way to the Shampan the Old Boy asked me if I fancied a pint at the Queens Head, in Downe, instead of at Keston. Well, by this time, I was just about over the ordeal of Cudham, so I said "Yes, ok, so how do we get there?"  After I had said yes, I started to remember the 'how' and started to think that maybe it wasn't such a good idea.  Anyway, we got to the top, by the curry house, and there sat on the road side were a few cyclists.  We were going to take the road that went passed the restaurant instead of the one that goes to Biggin Hill.  We said good evening to these cyclists, well, cyclists are very nice people, and we started riding along the road.

There were a good few other cyclists heading towards the group of cyclist, I can only guess they were going to meeting their buddies by the Shampan.  Each one that we passed said good evening!  I told you they are a great bunch!  It was all down hill from there, but I knew there was a very cheeky hill coming up, the one that takes us to Jail Lane.  It's quite a steep hill but it doesn't go on for very long.  I kept in my mind the end of it, the  top of the hill, Jail Lane.  I stayed focused and the concentrated on getting to the top!  I did it, without getting off and walking!

There was another cyclist coming our way, but I just didn't have the breath to say hi to him!  Downe village was just at the end of this road!  We stopped off for a pint,  I went in to buy it and I came out to see another chap chatting to the Old Boy about his bike!  You wait till my pink bike gets sorted out, see everyone coo over her!!!

Anyway, geeky stats from the Old Boys Garmin.  I have decided that I am not going to take my Garmin anyone, because I keep forgetting to switch it on and off again.!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Out On The Special One!

Hello blog lovers.

A lovely day deserves a lovely evening ride.  It was only going to be around 20 miles today, and also we are going to be doing our old route of Halstead then Biggin Hill.  Well, I just had to get out on my Specialised, she has been sat the for ages now, quietly waiting for the time when I take her out.  This evening was that time.

I have been so excited about getting my bike, and then when I bought it, I had all the training for the marathon to do, so she got neglected a bit. But then when I eventually went for a couple of long rides all sorts of problems arose.  I am not sure what the problem is, and I am getting very anxious about it. 

I had some slight problem with my hand before I went on my last FNRttC, and I have come to realise that it was probably made worse.  The whole pins and needles things in the hand, and then on that particular ride, I had the total failure of my left hand to work the gears!  It just didn't have the strength there.

After todays little ride I find my hands again pins and needles.  I have changed the stem turned the other way, the handle bars bought up, the handle bars bought down. Not only that, but pulling on the brakes to stop at traffic lights, it seemed, took all my strength to do, something I really need to be as easy as making a fist!

Anyway, it was a good ride, I even had myself a race on! After being over taken by all the Lycra clad guys, shooshing pass me in what seemed a very leisurely fashion, as we were going up the hill towards Cudham south Lane, I saw a cyclist, not wearing Lycra, just in shorts and a polo shirt. but he was cycling well. I thought I would beat him to the top. But do you think I could.  I think he heard me as I changed gear and he pushed a little harder.

He beat me to the top! I was hoping he was going to turn right, and that would be the end of the race. But he turned left and then right! The exact way we were going!  I still have a race on. I tried and tried to catch him, I tired a little on the hills, but gained on him with downhill sections.  It was like this nearly all the way.

I pushed a little harder, and I really started to gain on him, I was just about half a bike away, and then I slowed down. I wasn't going to overtake him, I just wanted to catch up to him.  I knew for sure that I wouldn't be able to keep up in front of him, and there is nothing worse than being overtaken by the person you flew past!

But just as I was thinking "That's it, I done it, the Old Boy started pushing me up behind him. We were pretty close to him, so I couldn't actually say "I wasn't going to over take him" But that's exactly what I did, helped by the Old Boy of course.   

It did feel good, but I knew that any moment now he will fly past me, there is one last hill to get up, and I know I will be slow to climb that, my 'race' seemed quite fast on the up hill section, in spite of him being 73 (he wasn't, he was just joking when I went past him )  and fly pass me he did.  I thanked him for our race, I think he enjoyed it too.

So although I really enjoyed being out riding on my new bike, I think she still is punishing me! So any cyclists out there who have heard of this problem before or anyone suffered the same and has over come the problem, would just love to hear from you.

Anyway geeky stats this evening from the Old Boys Garmin, I forgot to start my as usual! But the Old Boy was behind for most of the way, with just a little blast up to the Shampan to beat the guy I was 'racing'.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Hot Hot Hot!

Hello blog lovers.

What a splendid day it was yesterday. Hot, hot, hot day. I do believe the summer is sticking around for a few days now.  Now me and the Old boy was supposed to have got up early to go for a bike ride, but sleep kept hold of us for a bit longer than we wanted.  Needless to say, we didn't get out in the morning, and then by the afternoon the sun was beating down and having us held prisoner in our home. 

We eventually got out in the late afternoon.  We decided to do just a little route, a very pleasurable, slow paced, enjoying the evening air type ride.  We went to Shoreham and then Farningham and eventually ending up at Chislehurst.  It was an uneventful ride today, and was just out enjoying the evening.  Now this is what cycling is all about.  Just out there doing it, stopping when you want, and pushing hard when you needed. And there were times I had to push hard! Those pesky hills still haven't be flattened out, despite me and everyone else riding up and down them all the time!

I went on my white giant , I am still having issues with my hands, and yesterday even my other hand was playing up, but I think that could have been when I fell of my bike on Thursday, in Hayes Common! (oh didn't I tell you about that!)

Well, Thursday I did some marshaling for the first Business 5k race in Normans Park, and I took my bike, because then I could ride to The George afterwards to meet the Old Boy for a swift one before going home for dinner.  But when I got there, the OB told me to go see who was sitting at the bar, and it happened to be an old pal of his and mine, who we have not seen for quite a while, so you can imagine what happened. Anyway on the way home, to stay safe we went across the common, with all those tire ruts and stuff....and plop! I  was off in the long grass, but it was a soft landing. But I think maybe I landed a bit heavily on my right hand, and so had a bit of pain there.

Anyway, back to Saturdays bike ride.  We took forever to do the short 20 + miles but it was a pleasant way to spend a very hot evening.!

Here is my geeky stats, you can see the start time, and the finish time! See what I mean about a pleasureable plod along!