I am really 'anti' social (not as in ASBO style) but try sooo hard to mingle and get to know other people. Thats where my wifey comes in handy because she is totally the opposite and will talk to anyone with a mouth. She tries to come with me everywhere to give me moral support but when I'm out on my bike I am all alone in the big wide world. I had heard some guys on the cycle chat forums were doing a ride round Hebden, around Colne and Keithley and back to Hebden. Similar to a ride Steve, Pete and I did as a perma audax not so long ago...very hilly just my style . I have no idea why I talked myself into going, I wouldn't know a soul but 100miles sounded good so I was determined to attend. I was getting mixed weather reports, snow was one and sunny spells another, but I thought I was fully kitted out for any eventuality.
The morning stated off a little damp with very light drizzle and flashes of blue sky so I figured the sunny spell forcast was the one to go with. However it was terribly windy. I allowed myself what I thought was ample time to get to Hebden Bridge which was 1.5hrs and have time spare for a quick cuppa. I didn't have a cycle computer as mine is totally screwed now and a little bird tells me someone is thinking of getting me one for Chrimbo so Vanquish is going to be without one for a month.
I usually hit Littleborough in 35 mins but thought the wind would only add another 5 mins or so onto my journey. I had set off at 8.10 and when I passed Hollingworth lake it was 9.07. Oh dear. They were meeting at 9.45 at a car park I don't know where it is. I was going to go through Todmorden but thought it might be quicker going up Blackstone Edge and as they were going to come the other way on their route anyway, if I was going to be late, I'd meet them. The rain was really pouring down now and rivers were forming down the side of the road and a few 10 metres across the road!!! It was these ones that caused the most pain as just as I was crossing the 'river' a car would come flying past, overtaking me and absolutely drenching my lower half. This happened at least twice. The wind, rain and cold was really getting to me as I crawled to Cragg Vale, and struggled down it. My gloves were soaked and the bitter cold was attacking the tips of my fingers and toes. Turn around!!!! I kept hearing but carried on hoping the weather would change. As I hit Mytholmroyd at 9.45 I kept looking out for a group of cyclist coming the other way but none materialised. The rain had virtually stopped too and my fingers were warming up. I had my balaclava on, although wet, was keeping my ears and neck warm but what a pillock I must have looked, I wasn't arsed. I must have followed signs for every car park in Hebden until I saw a parking attendant, ON A SUNDAY screwing about in the wet. I was going to ask him where Market place car park was until suddenly I saw 3 cyclists!!!! I asked if it was Colins ride and it was Wooohooo!! They said they were waiting for someone ( NOT ME) so after a very quick introduction 2 x Colin and an Alun we set off a little later than planned.
The other Colin had a little incident with his chain after the first bend then we climbed Cragg Vale with a tail wind and no rain. I was warming up nicely and wished it would stay dry or I would turn back. I stayed with Alun as he was getting a little left behind but I dont think my breathing down his neck made him feel any more comfortable. He had a nice Ribble Sportive bike with the same saddle bag I had bought. The red and black frame seemed to repel dirt whilst mine lapped it up in shovel loads. Organiser Colin had stopped to answer his phone so ALun caught up and I decided to sprint after Colin 2 to let him know what was happening and have a little chat. It started to throw it down again on the descent to Littleborough. Had to stop at some lights half way down where Colin1 had a little problem with his Bolle glasses as it looked like a protective plastic covering was scrunched up but wouldn't come off so he couldn't see. He ditched them in the end and took a little hilly detour to Walsden. I wasn't happy one little bit at this point as I could feel every part of me wet and cold and it looked like it was going to get worse so just before Walsden I told the gang I was going to head back. I apologised ( ihope) and thanked them for letting me ride with them and asked if they were going to carry on the full distance. They were unsure but would see how things panned out. I thought at this point if I carried on I couldn't really go back. I would have loved to carry on, under different circumstances, weather wise, but I was so dejected and demoralised I just couldn't do it. Another time and weather front.....definitely.
Homeward bound, the legs still fresh so a few sprints were in order to keep myself a little warm but nothing could heat up my soggy toes and fingers. I took off my gear at home and literally there wasn't a dry piece of me or clothing, even the waterproofs were wet. A hot shower saved the day. Today showed my inexperience and inability to prepare for the worst and am sure there are even more hellish adventures lurking round the bend. I was all prepped for a cold ride and thought I could cope with rain but my super thick woolly socks let me down, as did the overshoes and gloves. One ray of sunshine was the balaclava, not waterproof but remained cosy. I might need some thick waterproof gloves and light waterproof over trousers which will solve alot of the problems as they would go over the over shoes and keep my socks dry?
Not too disheartened, the excitement of using Jamis with new wheels combined with dry weather meant I had to go out to make up for Sunday. I phoned Pete but he was already out, he did offer to meet up but there was no point in him turning around so I just followed the route he took. Wind was the main offering from the gods, no surprises there, so a long hard slog was in order. I went up Ashworth rd, a nice steep climb with killer gradients which joins Edenfield rd. About half way up the road became totally flooded and was going to turn back but I decided to phone Pete as he came this way and wondered why the fecker never told me! He said it was only a couple of inches deep and to stop being a wuss....thanks. I went through it without incident. Ashworth road is quite well sheltered until the top and was climbing well but that all changed when I hit the road to Owd Betts and Rawtenstall. The odd shower came and passed, just a minor irritation but with the gusts of wind holding me back on the mad descents it wasn't too enjoyable at all. I tried to practise high cadence pedalling but wasn't sure how fast I was actually pedalling and felt my feet going too fast at times and was slowing me down. I NEED A COMPUTER WITH A CADENCE METER AHEMMMM ( and heart rate monitor with GPS and map storage) Absolutely love the drop into Whitworth as that is relatively sheltered too in places and before I knew it I had negotiated the rush hour traffic and got back home. I was surprised at the average of 16.7mph (37 miles) as the wind was really holding me back most if not all of the way. I can definately tell the difference with the new wheels on up hill sections but cant gauge their effect the flats or downs. I kept hearing a squeak which I though was coming from the rear wheel but turned out to be the bottom bracket...phew. The cold weather seems to be affecting my knee a little to as I can feel it aching annoyingly without actually causing me pain. Could be my saddle height which I am constantly adjusting. This time it is close to my straight leg limit but it helps my pull up stroke seem more effortless.
Had arranged with Pete to go out for a ride but was stuck in Hospital for ages with missus. How can a 10am appointment turn into a 11.15 one with all the consultants available. Also strange how the room was full at 9.30 but emptyish at 11.30. No one booked in after us? No way. I decided to ride to Petes for a brew and to drop off a wireless dongle. Good job I didn't go out for a long ride as the old legs were a little worn out. Jamis is feeling as good as ever and the saddle height raised again, feeling a little uncomfortable probably due to no padding but more productive for less effort.
Went swimming with tri club. 2 lanes again and lots of people turning up so sprints were the order of the day. One of the life guards commented how much stronger my stroke looks. I think he was right too. I dont think I have improved my swimming in 6 months until the last 2-3 weeks.
Club track championship at the Velodrome is nearly upon us ( 20th dec) so Pete and I have decided to do a little training by doing a taster session Thursday next week and hopefully another, the week after, depending on availability as these things fill up quick especially with the shite weather. Shouldn't have invited him along as he is my main challenger but I wouldn't feel any sense of acheivement if I didn't think we were on a level playing field.