The Scribbler

19 April 2012

Further adventures in cycling

Filed under: bike,run,swim,training,triathlon — The Scribbler @ 18:24
Tags: , , , , ,

So last week, I had a ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ moment, realising that I have my first tri of the season coming up fast. I also got my PLAN, thanks to Ian at Inspire Fitness. And you know me and my plans – I do love them – and this one’s particularly exciting, with lots of variety and some new sessions for me to try.

I haven’t  felt that I’ve been running very much as I’ve dealt with my plantar fasciitis trouble, but I’ve realised that getting back to running has pretty much dominated my head space when it comes to training.

Cycling’s probably still my weakest discipline as I’m very much a fair weather biker and only really get the chance to get out on a weekend. I’ve also done quite a lot of riding on my trusty mountain bike and not so much on my lovely shiny roadie. So last weekend was another chance to get out and give it a try.

I readjusted the cleats in my shoes and loosened the tension on my pedals and went out to test clipping in and clipping out near my house. This time I was so much better at getting my feet unclipped and coming to a controlled stop. So after a few laps, I decided to head out for a planned 30k.

It was bright and sunny, with a stiff wind when I set out, so I’d layered up and was enjoying my ride. I’ve got some pace targets for cycling now, but decided today was just about getting my confidence with the pedals and doing the distance. I motored along some nice cycle paths round by the river and marina, unclipping every time I approached a situation where I might have to slow down or stop.

As I took to some more exposed paths, I felt a spot of rain. And as I looked ahead the sky was grey and lowering. There were still blue patches, so I figured it was just a shower and pushed on. But the rain turned to hail and the wind picked up. Then as the icy drops stopped stinging my cheeks, I saw they’d turned to snow.

At this point I began to think maybe it wasn’t sensible to keep going, given it was my first time clipped in for a while and I was on a road bike with skinny tyres. I pulled over to the side of the road, to consider my options, slowing down and unclipping with my right foot. Why my right, I don’t know – I’m trying to get in the habit of unclipping the left. I had one foot free, and then I don’t know if my wheel slipped or I was just plain old clumsy old me, but I managed to lose control and fall over onto my left side with my left foot still clipped in and the bike on top of me.

It wasn’t a bad fall, just a bit of a bump on the knee. But it did leave me with a bit of a problem trying to get back up again. I started to take my shoe off to release my left foot, but somehow managed to unclip myself in the process. But not before a guy down the street had shouted down to check I was okay.

By now the snow had turned to rain, but it was still icy cold and I’d already decided to play it safe and turn back. As it was that took me into the wind and my hands were freezing as I cycled, taking it steady, not wanting to risk another fall or slip.

Eventually the shower passed over and the sun came out again, and I warmed up. I briefly thought about continuing my cycle to make up the planned distance out at the coast, but a turn into a sharp head wind soon reminded me of how damp I was from the snow shower, so I took the short cut home and called it a day.

Back inside, I was surprised to see I’d managed to skin my knee and had a nice looking bruise coming up. I treated myself to a medicinal dose of jaffa cakes and logged on to catch up with my friends out racing.

It’s very infectious when you hear about buddies running marathons and half marathons or just events that mean something to them. Events they train for, plan for, get nervous about. I guess it’s because I know what that feels like.

It felt like quite a big weekend, with Penny at Brighton marathon, Katy at Lochaber and Scotty at the Edinburgh half. And I know there’ll be quite a few more I’ll be virtually cheering on at London next Sunday. But it was great to hear that everyone seems to have had enjoyable races.

And so I’m rattling on with another week of training. A busy week for me, with work projects, running a couple of writing workshops and our first choir performance on Friday.

But I’m confident that I can do what I need to do, enjoy my training and get myself set for Ashington triathlon on 7 May and then look forward to a couple more triathlons and some speedy runs this summer.


1 Comment »

  1. There’s a bit of a learning curve to clipless pedals, but it shouldn’t be too hard. Most people fall at least once, due to not clipping out in time, though, so don’t feel bad. (On the other hand, I don’t think the UCI require them? You could probably do the tri on platform pedals if you were more comfortable that way.)

    You should aim for the miles before the speed, meaning the best way to start training, on the bike, is just to go for longer rides. Specifically, you should add about 10 % each week to the distance you did last week – any more than that and you might not recover as quickly to build strength. Once you can comfortably ride the distance in the bike leg of the race (30 km?), keep doing that, and the speed part, being able to ride quickly, will come on its own.

    Good luck! 😀


    Comment by Forrest — 19 April 2012 @ 22:12 | Reply

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