Monday, 18 February 2013

Don't look out the window, and don't look up

If you can wake up on a Sunday morning, eat your breakfast, get your kit on, fill your bottles and throw a leg over your bike without peering through the curtains or looking up at the skies. Then you are a rider who loves his work. You are a Sunday morning 'Flahute'
Winter and the God awful weather it brings is special to me.A grin develops when I hit the road and the spray and chill cuts though my clothing. It reminds me of how much I love to ride. This is as good as high summer, just different that's all. Everything I do in this weather will pay dividends. From controlling your bike on the ice, to battering your way through the hardest of headwinds. Even being weighed down with layers of clothing and pockets full of spare tubes, pump, levers and tools to put right the damage you WILL sustain will go on to help you later in the year.
Good job to!
Since the snow earlier this month things haven't got much better, but that hasn't stopped me getting out. And last week marked the first week of speed specific training that should deliver me ready to race in March.
Saturday before last I had a troubled 72 mile ride that started in heavy snow. The snow and cold were not an issue, good winter kit was keeping me ;thermal'. The trouble came as I went over the Crong. As I tried to shift down nothing happened, and there was no way I was attempting road side repairs in the heavy snow. So I committed myself to completing the ride with just two gears; 39/23 and 53/23, it wasn't fun and I was passed twice.
The next day the heavy snow was surpassed by heavy rainfall. Outside the clubhouse at 8.30 only Tim from G1/Team Solgar rolled in to keep up appearances. Though G2/G3 put up a good show, all beaming faces and colorful rain jackets. Today was never going to be a long one, in this forty was enough. We had a steady roll out to Flitwick with the intention of having a coffee, but we were soaked though by the time we arrived at the turnaround point, and the thought of freezing our nuts off in some café no longer appealed, so we headed back in quick time.
Midweek was a mixture of Carmicheals  'Time Crunched Cyclist' on the turbos and the hardest of the hard mountain bike night ride.
Roll on to Saturday just gone and it was all change. A small group rolled in for a 9am start. For a change it wasn't snowing, it wasn't raining and it wasn't windy. Winter gloves gone, no overshoes and a short sleeve jersey under the jacket. Fraser lead us out on an up and over ride. The day was one to enjoy after all the harsh winter weather, and the brief forty miles were done in a flash.
So to Sunday and the proposed 67 miler. There was  a good turn out, probably due to the sun, but it was still freezing and the winter kit was back on. At 8.35 we left the club hose and set off for the Beacon. It soon became evident that ice might be a problem, the puddles were still frozen and my rear wheel tried to overtake the front soon into the ride. Going up the Beacon was fine, going down the other side was a bit different with patches of snow and slush. Once through it became drier and we settled into a relaxed pace. Which was fine until we hit Studham; quite literally hit Studham. The whole road was sheet ice and four riders went down with the other four sliding out of control but upright to a stop. The road was impassable even on foot. So we turned around and headed for the safety of the busier roads? and villages. That took us out through Woburn safari park and back into Leighton. Even though the mojo had gone, a few were hurt and Jacks bike was a bit broken, but we managed to salvage a short but good ride out of it,. Nicely topped off by Wayne acting as engine for the last few miles.
Heaven knows what to expect this weekend?.

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