Number on the front – a transition from cycling to running

The summer of 2015 was a landmark summer for my cycling. It was the first year that I had not gone faster than the previous year. Suddenly I was no longer new to cycling and was no longer magically improving.  Deeply distressing indeed. I knew exactly why this was. I’d simply not ridden enough. Rather than clinging onto my clubmate’s rear wheel winding up Sa Callobra on our usual spring training holiday, I was nursing a hangover in a tent high up in Sierra Nevada. Rather than strapping on my panniers and conquering more hills from the top 100, I’d been drying my socks in front of a bothy stove. By the time summer came I was desperately hanging onto our Tuesday night fast ride and found myself being passed by newcomers on the hills. For years I had been enjoying feeling myself getting stronger, entering harder races and completing longer rides than ever. Now I was going backwards and to get back to that level of fitness I would have to not only train hard, but train smart.

So I decided that Continue reading “Number on the front – a transition from cycling to running”

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4 Cyclists in a Van – 100 Greatest Climbs Wales Edition

The van was visible above the ugly fence panels. Parked across the block of prefabricated garages and illuminated by the orange streetlight it looked pretty big. Feargal was hungry and therefore angry. Ollie had a rough day at work and also hadn’t eaten. I had spent the afternoon scouring Strava and making a list of objectives to be displayed in the back of the van. Matt didn’t know what to expect but had packed his trusty up-cycled bowl.

This was it – four lads, four bikes, three days, one van and fifteen of Wales’ most offensive stretches of tarmac.

Continue reading “4 Cyclists in a Van – 100 Greatest Climbs Wales Edition”

The Monsal Head Hill Climb

Way back in the beginning, cycling started off as something to do on a long, hot summer’s day. I remember adventurously going out for a very gentle spin on a clear, crisp winter’s day dressed as all beginners are – completely inappropriately. It ended with tears in the shower after nearly freezing to death and vowing never to ride my bike at such a silly time of year.  Continue reading “The Monsal Head Hill Climb”

The Scottish Highlands – Shafts of Sunlight and Blizzards

corran ferry

When you regularly ride your bike you get really good at gauging the temperature outside, making assessments as to your likely intensity, the wind conditions and evaluating your choice of clothing on yesterday’s ride. Over the years I have amassed a pretty comprehensive collection of clothing to cover all weather conditions and still, crucially, look Euro Pro. (I’ve since discovered a different, crazy-dutch-cyclo-tourist way of dressing but that is covered in another post). There is a way to layer up. There are ways not to layer up.

It’s always the same, after having had a few days off the bike the weather has changed, and despite standing in the garden in your underpants for a few seconds as part of your preparatory assessment, as soon as you reacquaint yourself with cycling, you inevitably either overheat or chill and shiver.

When going to the Highlands at the end of October, standard Autumn attire is just not going to cut it! I have since learned through many other trips to Scotland that for cycling purposes it’s always winter and in winter it is extra winter.

This trip was undertaken in in October half term 2012, when I was enthusiastic and naive and when my companion Rick was even more naive and even less enthusiastic. 
Continue reading “The Scottish Highlands – Shafts of Sunlight and Blizzards”