Sunday, 19 August 2012

Who's to say where the wind will take you

A short post today, despite some fairly hefty miles this week, I need to stock up on sleep before my Pyrenean trip which starts on Saturday. Don't ask how I managed to fit them in, including today's sportive, I never realised how much stuff you can cram into your life when you have to.

I would like to thank everyone who has sent me good wishes in respect of my Mum, or who has listened to me or given me kind words, more tolerance than usual, and helped to reinforce my fundamental belief that underneath the froth, we are all essentially good people. My Mum is still very poorly, but she told me today she is not going to die in the next three weeks so I should still go to France.

I am beginning to realise where the directness in my personality comes from, and in the last two weeks we have had some amazing conversations about all sorts. I'm not going to share them, but, and it's a big, big, but, take a lesson from me. Don't leave it till someone is dying to have the conversations you always wanted to, and spend the time with your loved ones now.

Also, while I'm in the pulpit, don't take the things you think are "serious" too seriously. The toilet seat up, or the top off the milk, or the missed item in the supermarket, are not as important as you will one day realise. And laughter, you can't actually have enough. That is a fact. And my Mum says so.

Right, to business

On Friday I commuted to work, and met Skip on the way home. It's been a tough week for her too, (see her blog via the link at the side). I didn't know Howie although I had met him a few times. So I was pleased to be able to get Skip on the bike and doing something she does really well, and I was doing pretty poorly, and that is ride up Burrington Coombe.

The Pork and Apricot filling for my jacket potato at work at lunchtime didn't look very nice, and tasted even worse than it looked. So I left it, and forgot to eat anything else. That's my excuse anyway, that and the last knockings of a cold and the after effects of being up early every day, blah blah blah.

Still, I can go downhill all right, and that's important in mountains too. And I managed to do 50 miles in total without having to build in extra loops or any other OCD like behaviour. It was fairly warm as well, despite the periodic downpours, which fortunately my new Di2 Ultegra coped with admirably.

Is it worth it? Good question and of course depends on your perception of value, but it certainly made shifting a lot easier on the go. I noticed this more today actually on the New Forest Rattler, the sportive I had entered 4 miles from my Parents' house. Shifting when you are moving at speed or climbing a hill is effortless with Di2, no more missed gears on turning a corner or having to stop and start and crunching your gears to get going again.

It also allows you to change gear more often. With a cable system I would often not bother to change down for a short sharp hill, I'd be out of the saddle and pushing a big gear. Now I can change gear back and forth without changing the cadence, which keeps momentum, your speed up and doesn't wreck your calf muscles. Or stretch your cables or put extra strain on the chain.

Enough of the techy stuff I'm even boring myself.

Starting at around 8AM, I cycled down to the start this morning and registered nice and early. It was pretty misty, but the sun was breaking through even before we set off, and by the time I crested the first hill it was bright, sunny and very, very warm. It was a fairly flat course really, and I completed it fairly quickly. Charlie played up, this is what he recorded, there is about 7 miles missing from the total trip of around 91 miles. I think my official time for the 80 miles of sportive will be just under the 5 hour mark, I know my average moving speed was 17.3 mph.

Almost all of that was solo too, except for the bits where I acquired more followers than I have on Twitter, usually when there was a draggy climb or a headwind. Happy to help.

What was it like? Absolutely beautiful and absolutely boiling. The temperature was over 30C by the finish, and humid too. It made me realise how little hot Summer riding I have done this year and how under-prepared I will be for that aspect of the mountains. (probably rain now!).

But the countryside was gorgeous, wide open views as well as nice foresty bits, quiet glades and plenty of wildlife. Ponies obviously, which make for an interesting call when a herd of 20 or so are blocking the road. But also foxes, buzzards, a stoat, ducks, etc. etc. And Sunday drivers too, but I'm not being cross with anyone anymore.

So I'm nearly ready to go. I'll have to do the mother of all Faffs on Thursday and Friday and then it's Gatwick, Biarritz and the mountains. As someone at work very wisely said "lucky sod".

A bientot.

Talk to each other

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