Luckily I really am starting to love road biking. And so, it seems, is everyone else. There do seem to be a huge amount of lycraed people whizzing along nowadays. I think it’s great, although I would like to see a higher number of women out there.
But I can see why some people might avoid it. If any of you have read my previous blog post you will know that I am a teensy bit afriad of mountain biking, I just cannot believe that my lovely mountain bike (it has pink peddles, pink!) can ride over all those rocks and roots. However I have had quite a few mountain bikers tell me lately that they would not go road biking because it is too dangerous. And I’m pretty sure they’re right. Sure, there are lots of injuries to mountain bikers but I am fairly sure that deaths are rare. If you are a road cyclist and want to scare/educate yourself further on statistics relating to accident and injury here is a good link to start with http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/adviceandinformation/cycling/facts-figures.aspx
My point really is that I am sick of almost having my elbow grazed by a motorist who doesn’t want to give me space on the roads. I know there are lots of us cyclists out there and I know that it’s irritating having to slow down and wait to pass. I know this because I’m a motorist too (yes, I DO pay road tax) and also get stuck behind these hideous people trying to save the NHS money by keeping fit! But the question that always goes through my head having had a close encounter of the wing mirror kind is; would you drive that close if I was your daughter? Or your mother, your Dad, your cousin, your best mate? Would you risk someone you love just for those few extra seconds? Maybe I need to get that printed on the back of my cycling top?
Now, I’m sure you’re all dying to know how my training is going. This week saw the start of my training plan and I have enjoyed it. I feel that with the structure and content of the rides I’m pushing myself harder. My average speed is starting to creep up too which is fantastic.
My third ride of the week, which was today, was my long ride. Last year Bob and I rode in the British Heart Foundation, Vale of Belvoir, 60 mile challenge. We really enjoyed it, the weather was kind, people were friendly and for the first time we completed a long ride with no stops (we ate and drank on the go). We were able to join a group of other cyclists and therefore we all took turns leading and drafting. If you are not a cyclist this basically means each rider spending time at the front of the group, therefore making it easier for the cyclist behind as they don’t have the wind resistance to contend with. This makes the world of difference to a group speed and to energy levels.
I knew that today would be harder if only because the weather forecast was dire! Heavy showers and winds of around 15mph did not sound like a thrilling prospect for a Sunday. However I dragged myself out of bed and cycled the 8.5 miles from home to the registration point. Then it got really hard. I walked into the little village hall to register and a flood of memories hit me. I could see me standing there the year before with Bob and I just couldn’t understand why he was not with me this year. It took all my strength not to break down and cry in line. But I didn’t; i registered, pinned my number to my top and was off. I won’t talk you through the whole ride but, suffice to say, it was a whole different experience. Due to the weather there were far fewer riders this year and so I never found a group to fall in with. This meant I pretty much rode solo the whole time, with just my little Garmin for company. I also stubbornly refused to stop and put my waterproof jacket on when it started to rain; we hadn’t stopped for anything last year so I wouldn’t this year. This was fine for the first few hours as the showers were heavy but brief and the wind dried me inbetween. The last hour however was stair rod rain most of the time. I was soon soaked to the bone and at the point where putting on a waterproof would have been about as useful as putting out a sandbag to stop the tide.
The last few miles ground on, as they always do and weren’t helped by the funny taste in my mouth from the road spray dripping into it. I couldn’t quite fathom what that taste was until someone mentioned at the finish that they had hated they end of the ride because of all the cow muck on the roads, yummy!!!
I did make it though, I finished and didn’t stop and I really would like to think that Bob was watching me somewhere with a big grin on his face. He told me once, not long before he died, that he thought I was getting tougher, I hope I proved him right.
With the cycle there and back I managed 78 miles today and I am pleased with that. It also brings my total training miles to 528.57 and I’m fairly pleased with that too.
I would like to mention that all the drivers who passed me in the Vale of Belvoir were very patient and polite today which was a bonus.
Now I am just excitedly waiting to see how my super tough sister got on in the Fred Whitton Ride today!
Please do let me know if you have enjoyed this post, I really love to hear from you.
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