I’m sure I’m not the only one to have heard those words from a loved one or close family member. In my case its my wife. She dispares at the way I look everytime I leave the house to go cycling. Cycling shorts or in fact any form of lycra is not over flattering when you weigh more than 14 stone and are 5′ 8″ tall. All my life I have looked like a man with a pillow or two shoved up his shirt. Its a family thing we all look like that. I’ve cycled most of my life, commuting every day for the last 28 years, and currently ride about 300 miles a month. I take care of what I eat, as I have diabetes. Do I loose weight ” do I bollocks”.
On the funny side I once rode with a group of friend to a local country park, where we met our families for a nice day out. The park had a swimming pool, which we planned to use. Unexpectedly my son who was a teenager at the time came along. He had no swimming shorts and wanted to go in as it was a very hot day. Jill my wife decided he could wear my shorts and I could go in in my cycling shorts. After a while in the pool I decided to get out. Unknown to me the chamois liner in my shorts had expanded in the water and now resembled a large barrage balloon around the crotch area. As I walked round the pool the water in my shorts leaked out like an incontinant horse. Jill heard a lady next to her say to her friend “look at this mans shorts, would you let your husband out like that” when she looked up and realised the lady was referring to me, she hoped with all her might that no one would realise I was with her. My kids still laugh about it to this day.
I haven,t blogged for some time now, I wasn,t sure if anyone read them, then I remembered a number of people telling me to blog for yourself first and others like them thats a bonus. So here goes again. On the 18th June I rode the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride its 72 miles and finishes in the the Country Park at Filey. Jill and her sister Barbara (who was visiting from the USA) came out to meet me at the end. When Jill dropped me off at Wetherby for the start, it looked like I was going to get wet, but thankfully the rain stopped son and it was an improving day. The roads had plenty of standing water on them, but it didn,t rain again. Jill asked what time I expected to be finished, and would want collecting. I had worked on it taking about five and a half hours to ride plus half an our for lunch and drink stops. Right on time six hours after my 8 am start I rolled into Filey, they were lucky to get a photo of me at the finish as they had only just got there themselves. Although I have done this ride a little faster some years back, I can,t remember enjoying it more. As part of my training for Septembers London to Paris, I had decided to ride the next day on my usual Sunday ride with Steve. I needed to know how I would feel riding the next day after a long ride. I have done it before on the Coast to Coast, but its a few year ago! It was great, after a few miles to stretch the legs, and get rid of a bit of stiffness in the muscles, I was riding well and actually got out of the saddle for the up hill bits. I am happy now that I can make Paris and get there in a reasonable state. I always thought I could but I just needed to prove it to myself.
Fundraising for the ride is going well, and I passed £1200 against my £1500 target this weeled with a coffee morning at church. I also have a further £175 pledged, so I am confident of reaching my goal. The hotel for the night before is booked, and I need to work on the train down now, I will see if I can get any cheap tickets. We,ve managed York to London for £10 single befor.
I don,t have any more organised rides planned before September, but will keep up the riding until then to keep fit.
On of the young guys from our office rode Lejog at Easter with a friend. It took them 10 days which is prity impressive in my book. He told me how they were feeling very pleased with themselves. They bumped into a couple of brothers who had finished the same day as them, in the pub that evening. It turned out they had taken 8 days , on a slightly shorter route, but still impressive. At this point they said that’s only halfway for them. They were about to set off the next day and run back to the start in 23 days. Now that’s a challenge!
As for me I will be riding until Sunday 29th May and then I will have a week off the bike for my sons wedding up in Alnwick. Making a little holiday out of it. I could take the bike and get a few rides in, but to be fare to Jill, I am going to take a break so we can spend some time together. It wont do me any harm to recharge the batteries, and then press on for the Great Yorkshie Bike Ride a couple of weeks after.
This weekend we are looking at secondhand cars with my daughter Amy. Her 10 year old Ford KA finally bit the dust. It failed the MOT big style, with a repair bill more than it was worth. We have a fancy for a Vauxhall Corsa, so we will see.
Woke up at 3am on Sunday, for one of my all too frequant a trips to the loo these days. Whilst there I became aware of a strange noise outside. On returning to bed I stuck my head out the window to investigate. It was pissing down. Oh joy of joys I thought, all those weeks of nice weather and come my first bike event of the year and it rains. When I got up at 7am it wasnt as bad, still raining but I could put up with it. Got my gear together and loaded the bike onto the car. I left for Selby about 8.15am under leaden skys and a strong northerly wind. Checked in at registration and make several trips to the loo before the 10.00am start. This was the usual scramble with people riding all over the road, up and down pavements zig zagging their way to the front. This year the toll bridge at Selby is closed for repair, but we were allowed to walk across in single file. This was slow as the traffic lights are still in operation on the other side. Once crossed we were truely on our way. The wind was strong and in your face for the first few miles, which was an omen for the return journey as it was 11 miles in this direction. Worry about that later! After a while we turned rights and had the wind more on our backs for a while. At this point I was coasting along at 18 miles an hour.When suddenly this guy who had hooked on to my back wheel some time back comes along side and asks me if I have a speedo and how fast are we going. As we chat he tells me he is getting a pull off me as when we get to the windy section he will be down to 8mph. He is riding a mountain bike in sandals. We stay together for the next 5 miles or so and have a nice chat as we go along. By the time we reach Cawood bridge he,s dropped back along way, and is no longer in sight. He was a nice guy, I hope he got round ok. I spend the next 10 miles on my own, until I make the turn up a narrow lane at Naburn, when a guy comes along side and says hellow. We ride together until we reach Whelbrake were he decides to stop for a drink and a bannana. Whilst we were together we chatted about what we were doing the ride for, and I mention I’m in training for London to Paris. He say “never whats the chance of that so am I”. Its a small world. I sad goodbye and wished him well, but I was at a point where I didn’t want to stop as I was close to 30 miles and equal to my longest ride yet. I pushed on into the teeth of a very strong wind, I was down to 13 / 14 mph. I went through 30 miles in 2hrs 3 minutes so was reasonably pleased. I spent the next few miles trying to catch a guy in front of me but never seemed to be able to close the gap. Suddenly as I rounded a bend I was right behind him, as I passed, I said hellow and ask how was. He just sighed. Just after the forty mile mark I heard a voice from behind say hellow. It was my London to Paris mate. He said he didn’t think he was going to catch me. He said the guy I had passed last was now really struggling, and said he wished he had done some training. Apparently he is planning doing the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride in 6 weeks. We stayed together until the finish and said our goodbyes. It was only when I got back to the car I thought I should have got some contact details. I didn’t even know his name. I checked the distance and time when I got to the car. It was 41 miles, my longest ride by 11 miles this year, and 2hrs 54minute. In spite of the slow start, walking over the bridge and the wind, only 4 minutes slower than when I did this ride 10 years ago when training for the Coast to Coast ride. I was please, I wont make the Olympic team but for me that was good.
This morning I feel reasonably fresh, and rode to work as usual. Bike needs a good clean, and my bum is a little tender. The seat on that new Scott is hard!
After riding my way back to fitness over the last few months, its time to find out just how fit I am. On Sunday I will be riding the Selby bike ride. Its only forty something miles, but I’m keen to see how I handle it. I’m not looking for anything flash, I’ll be happy to get round in 2 hours 40 minutes, and not feel like I am about to die. Its a nice flat course, but I suspect the wind and rain forcast for the weekend may have a say. We had a lovely week awy in the Lakes with the family over Easter. Got a few rides in with my son Ben. He’s always had a natural talent for going up hill, which we seemed to do too frequently for my liking. Everytime it went up he just got out of the saddle and was gone. Me I just did a lot of changing down through the gears. I’m please to say it may have been slow but I rode up all the hills.
As I said yesterday I took the long way home last night. It was 30 miles door to door and was a very enjoyable ride. I was really pleased with how good I felt riding, it was such a nice evening. The countryside is looking lovely and the views from Whemby towards the Howardian hills is so beautifull. If I was ever able to build my own house thats the view I would want, its my favourite. On the climb up towards Sherriff Hutton a fox strolled out from the trees to cross the road. I don’t know who was more supprised him or me. It seemed an age before he spotted me and turned back from where he came, but in that time I got a good look at him. He was in fine shape and looked to be doing well after such a hard winter, but he needs to watch out for that road or the next time I see him he’ll look like a carpet. Nice to see though. I,m going to the Lakes on Friday for a week and taking the bike with me. Arranged to borrow a bike carrier from my daughter Lucy’s father in law.(don’t know what relationship he is to me!) I haven’t got sorted out with bike transportation since I changed the car. I don’t often carry it, I ride it. Looking forward to riding in a different area.
My commute home tonight will be approximatly 30 miles with a few big hills thrown in just for the fun of it. Now that may not seem odd to you but as I only live 3.5 miles from the office that,s a significant detour. Jill is out with some of her work friends this evening, so I am taking the opportunity to get a longish ride in tonight, to see how the training is going. I used to be able to do this route in about 2 hours. However its been a couple of years since I was last round this way. I’m quite looking forward to it. Its a nice rural route and as I’m not under any pressure to be back for a given time I can just enjoy it. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.