Thursday, 31 January 2013

Bit of an update

It dawned on me the other day that it has been a month since my last blog post. This wasn’t intentional but I’ve been busy trying to sort things out for the year ahead. Rather than the piecemeal approach to taking on the climbs that I took last year I need to be more organised and tackle climbs on a regional basis in 2013. This is why I now have a huge map of the UK covered in marker pen and sticky labels to look at and a wall planner. Never before in my life have I felt so anal about something that I’ve needed a wall planner but apparently that point has now been reached. Mind you the planner is still in its packaging so maybe I’m a bit more laid back about this whole thing than I initially thought.

My planning for 2013 has started, honest

So far I have sorted out when I will be riding the remaining Kent and Surrey rides. They should hopefully be dealt with on a flying visit to the South East in late February. I say hopefully as the weather can still be a bit variable in February so I need to take the fact we are still in the depths of winter; Box Hill in the snow could be awkward. Mind you I do have some studded tyres in the garage…

In April I’m planning to spend a week taking on the remaining climbs in the Midlands, including the fearsome road up to Riber Castle, and a couple of the Yorkshire climbs. May will see me hopefully finishing off Wales and so on as I make steady progress up the country. The plans past May are still a bit unresolved at the moment but are rapidly taking shape.

On the training front January got off to a good start. Despite the appalling weather I’ve been getting up the local hills faster than ever before and feeling smooth on the bike. The only problem is that riding up lots of hills has left me good at winching myself up short sharp gradients but hopeless on longer rides. I’m going to need to build some longer easier rides into my training schedule or I’m going to be found wanting on the longer climbs. Keeping a decent smooth cadence on flatter rides just seems to confuse my legs at the moment which is rather disconcerting.

The only other problem has been that every single road I ride along seems to be rim deep in mud, bits of undergrowth and gravel. The winter weather hasn’t been kind to the roads of North Devon and despite wearing recently fitted mudguards my trusty old Surly Cross Check looks like it has just been fished from the bottom of a river. My Uncle John has only been out for one ride so far this year and it took me a while to get used to it; it feels a much stiffer and flighty bike than the Cross Check.

Hopefully getting my fixed gear bike finally sorted will help me sort out my pedalling issues. The On One Macinato is pretty much finished. Sorting out the chain line was a bit time consuming but the bike is pretty much there. I’ve struggled to get the brakes set up how I like them and that is the only thing holding me back at the moment. Hopefully an upgrade to better quality cables this weekend will let me take it on it’s first proper ride. So far I’ve only been up and down the street outside my house on it to check nothing will fall off. With spongy unresponsive brakes it has been a bit of a daunting bike to ride. My initial impressions of the bike are that it is sharp handling, responsive and potentially quite fast (with the right gearing) and I’m really looking forward to finally taking it on some decent rides. I just need to remember not to stop pedalling when braking or cornering as having to dig a pedal out of your calf muscle every so often quickly gets annoying.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more to report back on with regard to the new bike soon. To be honest until I start getting stuck back into the climbs I feel like I’m just treading water.

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