Saturday, 26 October 2013

Back with a vengeance/ bang/ whimper (delete as appropriate)

 After returning from an ultimately unsuccessful trip to Scotland I was determined to keep banging out the miles in training. I had a vague notion to do a couple of long weekends in the North of England and after writing my last blog post I decided not to sit around feeling sorry for myself but to try and get back on top of the situation. The thing is my body really wasn’t too keen on that idea. My legs were feeling increasingly stiff and tired after training rides and whilst the motivation has been there the body has been distinctly lacking. I think after such a busy and at times stressful year something in the back of my mind decided it was time to go into shut down mode and have a break. I must admit I’ve been going flat out with studying and writing job applications since being made redundant and it feels like my body has decided a change of pace is needed.

To further complicate things I’ve been feeling a under the weather which has knocked my form back even further. It all started with a tooth breaking and needing to be removed. Having a tooth pulled is unpleasant enough (trust me, having a burly Australian elbow deep in your mouth apparently removing a tooth with the same sort of force I normally reserve for removing car wheel nuts is not something I would recommend) but what followed afterwards really knocked me back. Once the anaesthetic wore off I was in agony for a couple of days. I was sort of expecting that but what I wasn’t expecting was that three nights of badly disturbed sleep because of the pain would combine with the fatigue I was already suffering from and leave me open to a viral infection. I guess it left my body’s defences run too low to fight off infection and the virus found itself pushing at a open door. This wasn’t a normal ‘feel bad for two days and then get back into the swing of things’ virus but a ‘niggle away in the background and sap your strength for more than a week’ sort of virus. Riding with any kind of purpose was out of the question.

Feeling unwell has meant I've had to train on relatively flat routes. Using the worlds heaviest bike (AKA the Thorn Sherpa) has compensated for the lack of steep stuff.

After about a week of feeling under the weather I managed to get out for a few training rides thinking that I was over the worst of it but the going was tough with my legs reluctant to turn the pedals; even a short ride left me feeling totally wiped out and the hills were pure, slow speed, agony. Cue a further week off the bike and, despite having lost of whatever meagre form I had, I‘m now feeling back to full health and back to riding with some form of purpose.

Time to stop moping about…

Its just as well I’m finally back on the bike because at the start of November I’m going to be getting back into the 100 climbs frame of mind. I’m attending an exhibition in the Midlands and I intend to use the opportunity of being just over an hour away to finally ride up Jiggers Bank in Ironbridge the correct way. It has always bugged me that a road closure last year forced me to ride an alternative, albeit steeper, route. I intend to put that situation right. If my legs are turning the pedals more smoothly I may even do it on my fixie but I’ll wait and see nearer the time if that is a sensible idea. In fact I know now it isn’t a sensible idea but something just makes me want to try it on at least one of the climbs. And yes, I will be checking the Highways Agency website before attempting it this time. Not making that mistake again.

This book, like me, is looking and feeling a bit battered but I'm not finished with it yet

Before the year is out I also want to ride the Cat and Fiddle and Shibden Wall. For some reason I have the urge to tick those two climbs off the list before the end of the year and so, weather and potential work commitments permitting, I’ve roughly planned out the mother of all overnight hill bagging raids. It is a stupid idea for many reasons, not least because of the mileage involved for just two climbs and I suspect a steep cobbled climb in winter conditions will be difficult to drive up, let alone ride up. In fact the Cat and Fiddle in bad weather won’t be much fun either. The thing is they could be the last two climbs I have the time and energy to complete in 2013 and as I was hoping to have finished all of the remaining climbs by the end of November I feel I need to see the year out with a last big stupid road trip style hurrah before restarting again in January. My plans for the Autumn have gone completely off the rails and I stand no chance of completing the 100 climbs within the timescale I was originally aiming for but that doesn’t mean I can’t be stubborn and keep chipping away a the climbs that remain. I may even break my rule of not riding through December. Watch this space…

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