I looked up at a large inanimate object and swore at it. It wasn’t even a mild swear word. The object was a hill and I was sick of the sight of them. “I f’ing hate f’ing hills” I growled hoping that this was not the moment another cyclist decided to overtake me. I was in Wales and had plotted a couple of routes without paying any attention to the gridlines. In hindsight I am glad but at the time I was deeply unimpressed. And despite barely seeing another cyclist on my rides there must be some lurking in them there hills because I hardly bagged any QOM’s (Queen Of the Mountains) on Strava – not too much of a surprise as I believe a snail called Stan overtook me at one point!
Did you spot my confession there (no not about Stan!)? I have given in to Strava, the marmite of the cycling world! I have actually been a secret member for some time now and never recorded rides but the more I rode with others and heard their conversations and comparisons the more I was drawn towards it. And I’m sorry haters but I love it! I am fascinated by the detail you can get and the fact that you can take a nosey at other people too. I was slightly less fascinated by one of the ladies I was cycling with last week announcing she wanted to add another ten miles onto our ride because of a Strava challenge. You know who you are! At the time I refused but I did like the fact that it was inspiring people to pedal more.
I was told by my sister – who has declared war after receiving a message to tell her I had stolen one of her QOM’s by one second – that Lance Armstrong caused something of a stir himself on Strava. And upon doing a quick Google search I found all sorts of interesting articles. That man certainly knows how to cause a stir. People called for him to be banned after he took over 150 KOM’s (King Of the Mountains) in his local area. Luckily Michael Horvath, chief executive of Strava, refused to ban him. What is the point? There must be all sort of cheats and tweaks happening all over Strava, it’s not a championship and can’t really be taken too seriously. I personally like to ride a series of fleet footed racehorses around my courses in order to beat others records – not too seriously see!
I did think I was training hard in Wales until I went to watch the Llandudno Sea Triathlon on Sunday morning. I am so impressed by triathletes, to be able to get fit and skilled in three sports at once is a great achievement. And the girl who had tried so hard that she crossed the line throwing up made me realise that I have never pushed myself to my absolute limit in that way.
I was pushed back into a tough place this weekend though. It would have been Bob’s 60th birthday on June 29th and there is no escaping the emotion that comes with that sort of event. He had hoped to do the Coast 2 Coast in a Day challenge before he turned 60 but when I took it on on his behalf I knew I needed longer than that to prepare. So I apologise to him for not doing it before his 60th and I apologise even more for not keeping my friend around to do it himself. I know I’m not supposed to think I could have done more but, as I have mentioned before, suicide leaves swathes of guilt behind it. I generally find a balance, a way to accept the guilt and keep moving but this weekend it ran at me again. It swelled and broke over me and I had to be soothed and smoothed back to positivity by my Mum.
I am through the weekend. Head back above the waves. I raised a glass to Bob and was so grateful to all the other people who I know did the same. We are all confused by the lack of his laughter and bonhomie at this time. All we can do is try to carry on the laughs and fun on his behalf.
It is now six weeks to go until the big day and my Strava profile will be expanding greatly in those weeks. Three great looking rides have appeared on my calendar; The Trent Valley Sportive on Sunday 13th July (100 miles from Bleasby) http://www.saysportsmedia.co.uk/cycling-events/trent-valley-sportive-2014-day-2, The Leicestershire SuperTour on July 20th http://www.itpevents.co.uk/event/the-hope-against-cancer-leicestershire-supertour and a pedal out to Skegness on July 23rd. These three seem to fall perfectly in the build up to the big day. I am sure I will feel super confident if I can smash all of them!
P.S. Luckily as Stan the Snail is a boy he didn’t manage to steal my QOM!
Be More Relentless
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