The Best Laid Plans…

The Team headed to the Isle of Wight this weekend on a plan to cycle around the island in a day, at just over 60 miles this seemed more than achievable and we were all looking forward to the fun day out cycling in the sunshine…..

Meeting Megan on the island on Saturday morning, Ryan and myself were half an hour late arriving due to a delayed ferry – there’s not a lot you can do when you reply on public transport!  Setting off on the ride at 11.30am shouldn’t have been too much of a problem, we were still determined to make it most of, if not all, the way around.

Disaster #1 is otherwise known as Jen’s navigation skills.  The Isle of Wight has a ’round the island’ route which is handily marked out with road signs.  I say ‘handily’, but actually I lie.  There are two routes, one clockwise and one anticlockwise, that both have very similar signs to direct you.

Which way?

Which way?

As you can see from this picture, the signs are not at all confusing (“was it white on a blue background or blue on a white background we’re supposed to be following?”). Not so easy to navigate when you’re in an unfamiliar place and you’re swimming around the cycle route (more on that later).

The navigation woes started as soon as we set off and I immediately headed in the wrong direction   Ryan realised this but wanted me to learn to be more confident in my navigating…by not telling me I was navigating for the first 20 minutes.  Team Pedal then meandered around the Isle of Wight for a good 30 minutes, getting lost and heading around the same roundabouts several times before finding our way….mostly.

Disaster #2 was the snapping of Ryan’s chain.  Just after I’d got us lost for the fourth time we set off to cycle over a particularly busy roundabout only to have Ryan’s chain snap just as he was moving out into traffic.  I found it a lot scarier then he did, and we grabbed the bike and broken bits and huddled down in an underpass to fix it.  Whilst Ryan nipped off to a nearby shop to use their facilities Megan and I started on the chain fixing – a real team effort!

Disaster #3 has to be the weather.  After seeing the weekend weather forecast we were under no illusions that the day would be a wet cycle.  For Megan this was the first time she had cycled in the rain.  I’m used to cycling in the rain now, doing it quite frequently on my commute to work.  However, I don’t think any of us were strong enough to cycle past the warm dry cake selling cafe after cycling for 16 miles in torrential rain.

IMG_20130413_134456

Home comforts at 16 miles

We have to thank The Dairy Deli for welcoming three very drenched cyclists and comforting us with tea, coffee, hot chocolate and home made cakes.  It was a very welcome break from the downpour and we were all a little reluctant to get back on the bikes.

At this point we had spent a lot of the day lost in navigation hell, fixing broken chains, and being drenched by cars deliberately driving through deep puddles to soak us…we faced the reality that we would not have the time to make it around the whole island.  Instead, we decided to start heading back to base and cut it short to 30 miles, with an option of an extended loop should we be up for it once we’d continued a bit further.

Back out in the rain we jumped on the bikes…and Megan instantly fell off again.  I was concerned briefly that she may have hurt herself until I realised she was lying on the floor laughing.

Back on the road we made it up to 27 miles before I pulled over to the side of the road to make sure we were definitely heading in the right direction again.  Ryan spotted a bus shelter where we could huddle away from the rain to check the map and I attempted to push my bike over the centimetre high kerb to go towards the shelter.  I say attempted, because I promptly fell sideways landed heavily on my knee. (Disaster number…what are we up to now?)

Hobblingly along I decided I didn’t really want to do that extra loop and was quite happy with 30 miles thank you very much.

Setting off again Ryan and Megan soon sailed in to the distance as I made another emergency stop to deal with my chain jammed for the third time that day (Disaster number 4824732462).  I caught them up for the last few miles and we returned to base looking rather like we’d spent the day underwater cycling, which is frankly what it felt like.

20130413_152726

The Wet Look

 

Overall it was a weekend of mixed fortunes.  We all got some good experience in cycling in torrential rain.  Megan got some great experience in on road cycling in the rain.  Megan and I got some great experience in falling off (again).  Most importantly we got to do a lot of route planning, eating good food, spending time with wonderful family and planning ways to make cycling to Switzerland more enjoyable for everyone….

Belleville_Rendez-Vous-bicycle

Team Pedal and Support

 

Bikes, brakes and bruises

I’m currently en route to the Isle of Wight for our mid-month Team Pedal training weekend. When we first discussed this weekend a few months ago I excitedly envisioned cycling the route around the island in lovely, glorious sunshine and experiencing for the first time cycling in some form of warmth. This time 2 years ago I was sat on the island reading a book and getting sunburnt ! Today, however, the weather doesn’t look too promising .

20130412-105122 AM.jpg<a

So , update from last weekend. We cycled from Bethesda in North Wales following a route around the Snowdonia region. Climbing a total of 6,283ft, some of the climbs were just mean.

This route in particular was a big learning curve for me, realising that adrenaline alone won't get me up the alpine passes. I need to place more focus on building my overall leg strength , and how to set a good pace that will allow me to reach the top of those climbs.
Whilst climbing, I found that when my breathing became staggered and harder to control I would get up out of my seat and push that little bit harder , on reflection I need to learn how to control my breathing and pace myself more effectively in order to maintain my energy and increase my stamina.

I've had a set back in my training this week due to a slight injury to my left leg. After last weekend I was excited for the weeks training ahead of me , a high-intensity spin class on Wednesday, a 74 mile ride to Nottingham on Thursday and then the weekend training on the Isle of Wight.
Wednesday went to plan, during the spin class , The PT had us cycling one footed on full resistance. Powering a bike theoretically up hill by one leg is hard graft , and doing 4 reps on each other for 4 minute durations really built up a sweat. After some up-hill, high resistance sprints and some crouching reps ( using your core to balance as you cycle very slowly out of your seat without straightening your legs and having your hands off of the bars) I'd felt like I'd really worked hard and targeted my weakness which is uphill strength and stamina .

That evening I aimed to try out my new Mavic MTB shoes and Shimano clip-less pedals. Now …. I was thrilled to find that I could actually use them without getting stroppy and giving up. In fact I actually liked them!
My major downfall though.. That caused my to lose balance and fall off my bike with my feet still clipped in, at the side of a main road .. And receiving a lot of concerned stares from passing drivers ? Pure cockiness.
After a mere ten / fifteen minutes using these pedals I felt really confident on them and appreciated that they would be better on longer rides than my average running trainers and normal pedals.
Cycling back up the road afterwards with dad using his hand-cycle, he said 'its uphill so ill be quite slow, go around the block or meet me at home' to which I replied 'nah it'll be great leg training to go slowly on a high gear uphill'
Turns out I can't go slow, without pedaling. It results in lost balance and a very very black and blue bruise on the left knee and thigh! So I bailed on the Notts route because I wasn't sure how badly injured my knee was 😦 which I was really disappointed about . However , I've merely postponed it , I will be doing it at the next opportunity !!

The swelling has reduced a fair amount and I'm just left with bruises now so hopefully my leg will be totally fine for tomorrow's ride around the island !
And hopefully I will get on beautifully with my new pedals ! Fingers crossed.

Bike-mas

Got home today to find that cyclist santa had delivered my Chain Reaction order, so my new road shoes, clippy pedals , over shoes and inner tubes are here ! Yay!

20130409-065036 PM.jpg

20130409-065023 PM.jpg

Now to fit the new pedals to my bike and attempt to get used to them.!
Hopefully I can get the hang of them in time for my ride to Nottingham on Thursday. Fingers crossed I don’t face plant some gravel and cry!

Semi blue skies!

Semi blue skies!

The weird March-time snow has nearly all gone , pavements are clear and there is even a small amount of blue sky peeping through! So today Ryan’s on his way over to Leeds from Wales for an impromptu bike ride.
Which is great news because my training has taken a bit of a side seat over the past couple of weeks due to the snow and having to work early and sacrificing some of my morning gym training sessions.
So it’s time to get back in the saddle (wheyy) …and refocus on the goal..which is only 3 short months away!!
Easter chocolate and excuses no more…it’s all go from here!!
I suppose there was always going to be a lull in my focus at some point, I’m just thankful it was now, when I still have 3 months to recover lost time.

Today : we haven’t specified, but I imagine a 60 (ish) ride around Leeds.

This weekend: Bangor Team Pedal training weekend with Ryan and Jen.

Next Weekend: Isle of Wight Team Pedal training weekend!! (Hopefully in glorious broad sunshine too !! Fingers crossed!)

Motivation, check. New cycle computer, check. slice of sunshine, check. Ryan…. 15 minutes yet.