Such a lot has happened since I last diarised, Bradley ‘Wiggo’ Wiggins became the first Brit to win the Tour de France and also won the Olympic Time Trial. Not forgetting David ‘The Gong is in the Post’ Brailsford masterminding total domination in the ‘Pringle’ at the London Olympics, albeit ending quite sadly with ‘Queen’ Victoria Pendleton getting robbed by Anna ‘Typical Ozzy Cheat’ Meares.
I’d like to think in a very small way that I helped inspire those young Olympians, I can imagine Brailsford reading passages of ‘The Push Hog Diaries’ as inspiration to Sir Chris Hoy as he struggles to get out of his pre-race hot pants. I can imagine Jan van Eijden tucking in Jason Kenny & Laura Trott, with young Jason asking “Read us the one about the Fog again Jan… please?”.
However, back in the real world, it’s over two weeks since I rode the 60km Big G – Grimpeurs des Wolds and I’m happy to report that it hasn’t put me off cycling. In fact I’ve been out a quite few times since and managed to rack up some more miles, including having a crack at the 30km Mini G and a miserable ride in the pouring rain. I’ve also laid down some pretty creditable Strava times, knocking almost three minutes of my previous assent of Trundlegate.
In reflection it seems such a long time since I took delivery of my road bike, yet I’ve barely even begun to wear it in. Looking back I guess ‘The Push Hog Diaries’ have unintentionally turned into a beginners guide to road cycling…
The Tools of the Trade
Research is the key, I put a lot of effort into finding out about road bikes before I bought one, the bike I bought is ideal for me, but knowing what I know now, this was more luck than judgement. If I had the chance to start again I would most likely have bought from a bike shop where I could be helped to choose and be fitted to a bike rather than take a chance of getting it wrong.
My only issue with ‘beginners’ road bikes is that the majority are now compact group sets and personally I should have gone with a triple to help me up those tricky hills. I’ve now resolved this issue by changing my rear cassette from a 12-26 to an 11-28, but only time will tell if this proves successful.
Practice Makes Perfect
It’s quite clear to me that in the short space of time I’ve cycled I have improved, my pace has gone from struggling to average 12mph over a 20 mile ride to now averaging over 14mph on much tougher terrain.
Another aspect of my cycling which has improved is my approach to climbs. At the beginning I dreaded the thought, but now I seek out their challenge. Through this I’ve also learnt to understand what I can and can’t do on a bike and my gung-ho approach from earlier attempts to make assents has been replaced with a more measured approach to suit my fitness and ability.
My initial motivation was to be able to complete a 60km cyclosportive, it gave me a reason to get out in the early days, the kind of rides which without my aim might have put me off the sport. After all it took me three attempts to get up Trundlegate, a hill I now enjoy cycling up, but at some points I admit to wondering how much I would get for my bike on eBay!
Now the Big G has come and gone I need new motivation to keep going. At the moment the sun is shining and the days are long so it’s very easy to keep cycling, but I am conscious that as the nights draw in and the weather cools I may lose interest. Just now I enjoy riding with my GPS so that I can check my Strava data, fascinating and competitive too. Long term I want to complete the 100km Big G next year, hopefully by then I may have tamed Nunburnholme Hill…
Total Distance Covered: 364 miles
For notifications of new blogs and updates follow @sensisuperstar on Twitter.