Thursday, 21 March 2013

My roller debut

I was fairly certain that this pedaling on rollers thing wouldn't be so hard. Surely the popular press would have it wrong in the same way that a turbo session isn't the most tedious thing known to man.  In fact I was so sure that I decided to add a few extra ingredients to spice things up a bit.

Firstly I wouldn't use a modern set of rollers with smooth bearings and parabolic drums.  I'd used a set that at best guess were 25 years old and had sat rusting in the back of a garage for at least 22 of these 25 years until their recent discovery.  They would have bearings that sounded like a load of tin cans sat on top of a demented washing machine.  Secondly I'd use my newly acquired road bike which I hadn't yet managed to set up into a state that was either comfortable or well balanced and on which I needed to shift myself all over the saddle in an attempt to get vaguely stable whilst I tried to pedal.  And finally I'd choose a two hour interval session in which to try all this out.

Rollers and torture rack at the Tower of London - Spot the difference

After a couple of practice sessions and only once ending up on the floor, I decided that I was ready to embark on the main event.  Not wanting to be too cocky about this I carefully placed the rollers in the door frame so I had something sturdy on both sides of me.  And so off I went.  After a rather sketchy start I got my eye in, picked up momentum and things got a little easier.

After 20 minutes I decided I was going to have to try and have a drink.  I was so pleased with myself for managing to get my bottle out the cage that I stopped concentrating for a moment and nearly plummeted off.  With order restored I managed a couple of sips and attempted to return my bottle to its home. In theory this procedure was only a little more challenging than removing it.  After some sharp side to side swerves and the accompanying ricocheting in the door frame I confessed I was rather relieved when I dropped my bottle.  At least if it wasn't within reach I had an excuse not to try and drink again and therefore save myself from a certain crash.  

From then on things went ok.  I managed to change gear.  I managed to hit the heart rates I was supposed to.  I even managed my second lot of sprints with a little more control than the first.  The post session recovery was a rude awakening as the massive drop off in gyroscopic force as I clunked down the gears left me scooting side to side for a full 10 minutes.

But I did it. I managed a full 2 hours and despite some incredibly close shaves, I didn't fall off.  But just in case it was a complete fluke, the next session will probably be on the turbo.  

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

It's started

As I'd just finished sorting my blog and was preparing for my first post I saw a tweet that summed up the situation I'm finding myself in and this blog aims to chart.  I've sat on a start line on less than 10 occasions and suddenly I'm named by SIP events as part of a strong field for this weekend's Whinlatter Challenge - alongside Josh Ibbot and Huw Thomas.  Illustrious company. 

I prefer the anonymity of last year and feel rather odd.  I'm only doing these things to achieve something for myself, not race other people.  Yes I'm competitive, but with myself.  There's so much to work on - fitness, skill, mentality - it seems backwards to me to worry about others before I've improved on some of these things myself.  Does this mean that others are out to beat me?  Or does no-one except me care?