The Scribbler

9 April 2012

The problem with cycling is…

Filed under: bike,training,triathlon — The Scribbler @ 19:24
Tags: , , , ,

There’s a lot of faffing around before you start.

The forecast wasn’t very favourable for a bike ride today. But when the all day showers failed to show, I thought I’d take my chances and get out to loosen off my legs after yesterday’s race. Cue, checking the tyres and trying to get a little more air in. As I clipped on the hand pump, I noticed the valve was at a bit of an angle and as I took it off, yup, I managed to snap the end off.

Luckily my local Edinburgh Bicycles is open, even on a Bank Holiday, so a quick trip in the car, a new inner tube and a track pump purchase and 45 minutes later, and I was ready to try again.

I’ve just bought some new pedals which allow me to ride either clipped in or just with regular trainers. I wasn’t going to risk clipping in before the Olympic Park Run, but now really is the time for me to try and get to grips with this again. So I wheeled my bike to the quiet back lane behind the house and had a practice.

I managed the right foot okay, although it was very stiff, but the left one was very difficult to both clip in and out. So, after a bit of wobbling, huffing and puffing, I really wasn’t feeling very confident and I decided I probably needed to adjust the tension and positioning.

But what I really wanted to do was get out for a ride to clear the cobwebs. So I changed into my trainers and hit the coast, working my way back along part of the C2C route then taking an exploratory path around a local park that I didn’t even know existed. I love finding new places on my bike and we really do have some great local paths and routes.

I hadn’t planned to be out for long and soon found myself heading back along the river towards the ferry landing and Fish Quay. There was quite a bit of slow moving traffic as there was some kind of craft fair going on, and I caught up with a group of around 5 cyclists whose panniers and mud smirched jackets told me they’d come from a long ride.

I assured them the traffic would thin out as we passed and found out they had indeed just about completed the whole of the C2C route. They were a bit surprised when they saw the red way marker sign by the mouth of the river and it said 1 mile to go. So I lead them along the route of yesterday’s run and up the steep bank to the final signpost marking the end of their trip.

It’s a route I’d like to do myself one day, preferably with a group of friends over a few days. Today, I was happy to welcome them to Tynemouth and take their photos at the finish marker. I think only the promise of fish and chips and meeting the man with the van got them up the last climb by the Priory though!

It also reminded me how much more fun it is to cycle with a group, even if just for a little way. I had been getting a bit bored out on my own with no plan for a destination or any real focus for my ride. Still, it blew away the cobwebs and loosened out my legs a little.

There was an entry form in yesterday’s goodie bag for another 10k race at the end of May and in my usual way, I was thinking of adding it to my race list in a bid to chase for glory. Then fretting because it’s quite close to another run I’d also thought of entering. As I was checking my calendar, it struck me that in looking at future runs, I was in danger of losing site of my real goals this year.

It’s only 4 weeks until my first sprint tri of the year, and only 7 to my A race, Open Water event. I haven’t ridden my bike clipped in, I haven’t tried open water swimming, I don’t even have a wetsuit yet!

Understandably I’ve had my focus on getting my foot better, but that’s really distracted me from my tri focus. I’m happier when I have an event to target and train for, and I’m eager to enjoy the thrill of racing again, so I think it’s time to get tri fit. And that probably means not worrying about the running too much.

Annoyingly my foot’s been more niggly after 6 miles at 10 min miling than it was after 5 at 9min miling, but it’s the last little tight patch in my heel that’s the issue and that’s better than the whole base of my foot, which is where I started. Another trip to the physio for some torture and hopefully a gradual build of speed work into my shorter runs should see me right. I only have to stumble through 5k for my tris.

Last year I managed a bit of both, running and tri-ing in the same time frame. But this isn’t last year and I’m not knocking out 10k training runs every weekend. So I’m coming round to the idea that I may be better off ditching the 10ks and fixing my thoughts on my three triathlons instead.

I’ll still run Blaydon, and with 8 weeks to sharpen up for that and maybe lose the few extra pounds I’ve been carrying since the start of the year, I might just get lucky there and have a good run. But more importantly I need more bike time, more swim time, and to dive into the unknown of the open water swim.

It’s going to be an exciting few weeks. I can’t wait to get started.

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