Sunday, January 23, 2011

The simplest things

Winter riding. Every year pretty much everyone I know knows that you should be riding slowly. Truth is, those same people -along with myself- never relax enough to actually do it properly.
This year though, I've forced myself to slow down. Along with the obvious benefits of base fitness I can build on all year there have been some completely unforeseen outcomes.
The lack of obsession with getting it done has meant I've been able to do more exploring in the last month than I've done in the last five years. Dots have been joined and new loops present themselves with incredible regularity.
As the heart rate is kept low on the hills, you can raise your head from the stem and enjoy the views. Even the small, split second rolling vistas unfolding and disappearing before your eyes bring new appreciation of all too familiar lanes.
Do these rides in company and these are the truly social rides. Even the aforementioned climbs are taken at a pace steady enough not to break the conversational flow. Worlds are put to rights, holidays, racing and big summer rides discussed, planned and dreamt of; minds cleated; friendships consolidated and spirits raised higher than the single figure temperatures have any right to allow.
Why has it taken me too many years to discover this? It just goes to prove there is always so much to learn. Even in the least obviously inspirational season.
I just wish we could do it without needing to wash the bike every time!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New year, new deal

Lots of things change. Life is just like that.
Along with the usual no fags, riding more, not giving up riding with vigour once the racing heads south after Easter there is a hugely positive change in my life this year.
I've been into it for a while, even Geekily obsessing over details I had no right to understand.
I may not be properly fluent as yet but it's a proper honest start.
Yup, I have finally begin to drink coffee.

Maybe in a years time I can be welcoming on the Olympic year with a maccoato.

Ciao bella.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Making the effort

A quick spin from the office resulted in a ride that was one of the most fun, and inspirational in a long time.
Sometimes, despite the forecast, precipitation and naysayers, just getting out there is the best thing you can do.
Try it some time, you may surprise yourself.

Mickey gets aero

Mickey gets cold

Appologies for the gore

Sadly, the big season opener ended up a bit of a damp squib thanks to some bizarre climatic conditions.
Despite waiting till ten to leave, hoping the sloppy ice and frosty roads would be neutered the Coastal Clog was just not meant to be.
Eight miles in between Newdigate and Rusper, Smythe decided being upright was over rated. After a few shimmies his prefered location appeared to be on the floor perpendicular to my front wheel. In slow motion, I realised I needed to take DA down with me. One for all and all that!
Everyone loves surface water resting on ice, how else can you ruin 650 quids worth of tights in four seconds.
Ho hum, at least it wasn't raining......

The train window

Sitting here, watching the slowly waking Sunday world of suburban Surrey come to life, it's as if the awakening matches my own re emergence - just in time to get excited about the classics.
Each year, post April, the interest wains. I love many other races, the 2010 giro was epic, almost daily but I don't think I'm alone in holding the northern classics very close to my heart.
My train arrives in eight minutes, from where ill meet a sorry bunch of riders, most of whom will not have ridden enough to make the subsequent 100 miles fly by. For that I am grateful, but today will be the kickstart we all need and many plans for the months ahead will be firmed up in the next five hours.
And right on cue, the sun peaks above the horizon.
Consider the hat doffed.