It was cold. The alarm went off at 8am, and I rolled over and thought about how warm the bed was. Outside the temperature was minus 4 degrees. I reluctantly pulled myself out of bed and threw some porridge oats into a pan, added some milk and put the hob on at a low heat. I then started making a mental list, as I went into the study to one of the bike clothing drawers. Scrambling around I found a pair of tights, a thermal base layer and a winter jacket.
Kitting up takes ages in this sort of weather. That wasn’t the worst of it though. The worst thing was that I needed to put the bike on the back of the car to go and meet with Abi and Sarah riding for Charge.
Now I use a Saris Bones bike rack. The reason I mention the type is because it is awesome. It really is that good. It anything, the weakness of it is the same thing that makes it great. It is based around an aluminium tube, about 10cm in diameter. The legs and arms slot on to this. It has notches to allow different positions depending on your car. The thing with it though is that this tube construction makes it massively secure – doing away with hinges and pivots – but also makes it a little time consuming to fold up. On a cold day like this Sunday, it is also very cold. So cold in fact, that my hand initially stuck to it. It zapped all of my warmth right away. Assembling it was not fun.
After about 20mins the bike was on the back of the car, and I was happy with how secure it was. Back into the house for a cup of tea to return feeling to my hands! I stuck the TV on for 10 minutes with the still warm hot water bottle under my feet. Then I make a coffee to go.
I was heading to Sarah’s house. Sarah and Abi are friends who I know through Trevor Allen, who is sponsored by us. Both of them are good riders, with Sarah being a lot newer to the sport than Abi is. Abi has was bottle fed mountain bikes as a kid, and consquently her whole life – she is kind of crazy about it – driving up from Bristol for this ride – Bristol, where she had only been for one night having been in London the day before.
I don’t ride enough. This last weekend was glorious though. The road ride on the Saturday and this, on the Sunday.
We winced at each other in the cold, joking about whether we really wanted to do this. There was no way that we weren’t going to though. By this time we had all committed so much effort to it. Off we headed into Crowthorn Woods.
It was perfect for riding. The ground was frozen solid. The sun had peeked through the clowds and the light was perfect. Crowthorn is swooshy singletrack – and plenty of it. I am slowly beginning to know my way around and with Sarah’s parents living just around the corner the ironic thing was that we let Abi lead. That is the fun of this place, you can go in circles and not have the disappointment of feeling that you aren’t getting anywhere. Everything is so interwoven and intertwined. It was a couple of hours of bliss, and I long for the next time. Long for it.
So why don’t I ride today in the snow….? There is no snow where I am.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Abi Greenaway, Charge Bicycles, cold, Crowthorn, Cycling, Defrost, minus, MTB, riding, Sarah Turner, Saris Bones, Swinley, Trevor Allen, Winter
I just turned down pizza for lunch and ate my wholemeal smoked salmon, rocket, avocado and tomato sandwich instead. The smell of the Pizza in the staff room was good, but I am very proud of myself! Let’s see if I can keep these things (Pizza, crisps, chips and alcohol) as treats like I used to. It is difficult though.
There was no butter or mayo in the sandwich either. And I rode through the snow to work.
Simetimes it is just about riding a bike. My plan is to become fitter than I have been for the last couple of years, that is no secret, but what normally happens is that the path there, the planning to achieve your aims can get in the way of the name of the game itself.
In order to be faster on the bike, at it’s most basic level, I need to ride my bike more. For the moment, this is what I am concentrating on. That means, If I think I can squeeze a ride in, if I have an hour in which to do some pedaling, then just do it. Truth of the matter is that while structured training, training plans and hours spent riding a day would see a lot more progress, opportunist training will also have an effect.
I think what I am saying is that anything is better than nothing.
My plan this week is to use the bike to commute. It is cold, it is miserable and it is dark. But, and this is the point, at least I have ridden.
It has been a strange day. I planned a ride this morning, but have been working and trying to put the horrid winter out of my head. Having my summer holiday at the end of November has thrown me completely. I certainly don’t feel like the year is drawing to a close! The cold and wet in England after the gloreous weather of Cape Town is depressing me. It didn’t help, of course, that for the entire day I have been reminded of it. I listen to BBC Radio Five Live on a digital radio a lot. The Pretty One works there, so it was a loyalty thing, but actually it is rather good and I like the company when working from home :-). Well, the World Cup Football draw is in Cape Town. They broadcast from my haunts of two weeks ago. Oh, the aching!
I had to ride the bike to clear my head!
Taking a long lunch hour today so that I am able to get a daylight ride in. There are product meetings all afternoon via Skype, and these are well known to roll on later. I prefer working in the evenings anyway, and intend to tonight.
Just popped the pedals back on my bike. It is really cold outside. The kit that I am going to have to wear will make everyone from Sundays ride in South Africa laugh. So many layers!
Wish me luck.
Riding yesterday was strange. One of those rides where all of us in the office had been offering up different reasons for not going.
Head of R&D for example: “I crashed my cross bike at the weekend and my shoulder hurts” or Ergon Outdoor International Sales “I need to get the design for winter ISPO’s booth, wont be able to make it”. Fact is it has rained pretty much non-stop for the last week. I actually think it is dryer in the UK!
A few of us (Topeak Ergon’s Team Manager, an Ergon Designer and myself) gritted our teeth, kitted up and met at the railway station.
Night riding always has a surreal edge to it. Things are just ‘different’ riding after dark. It is very easy to get lost, and to ride at any speed the concentration required as you try to combine your memory of the trail ahead with what you are seeing just in front of you. Add to that the goings on in the woods, such as the wild nocturnal animals, hunters, steamed up cars (!) and it is a really is a different experience. As if that isn’t trippy enough, imagine being greeted by this:
After disturbing them (a singing group of children, and an adult wearing festive clothes) taking pictures, we continued up to the highest point in the forest before running the snowy gauntlet back down.
Old School Rigid forks for me! It was icy, and someone over cooked one of the corners (not me). Big grins all round though.
Super super tired today, and really struggling with getting the images to look right in this post. Very much looking forward to the weekend – my gf is in town. 3 weeks since we saw each other. Not sure what priority my bikes will get!