Track day!

Saturday. 3rd August.
Probably the best day of watching bikes going around in circles in south east London.

Who wants to go?
Who wants to race?

Who wants to stand on the sidelines hurling encouragement as racers hurtle by the grandstand at excessive speed?

Come to CS Grupetto’s track day at Herne Hill.

Big sausage and massive stinking balls (of cheese) fest guaranteed.

Track day!

Boast post

I went to Wales. Alone. Well. Not alone, but without my family. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Going away without my family that is, I’ve been to Wales a couple of times. Llangollen. Cardiff. Barry Island. I’ve been everywhere in Wales me.

The last time I went away on my own, away from my family to continue labouring the point here, was to my mate’s stag do. Which was somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Yorkshire. I think. Maybe. No. Hang on. Staffordshire? It was pretty great. Live noise/metal gig,  stag in a cat suit playing drums, refreshing conversation. There was a football match as well. I think.

Anyway, Wales. It involved bikes, riding them, talking about riding them, reading about other people riding them, reading about other people who designed races for other people to ride bikes in. And some science fiction stories. With illustrations by Chris Foss.  stuff like this:

This is really getting away from the point. I managed  to get two decent rides in. One was a little loop, up, down and around. The other was slightly longer, and moar feersum.

What I found out was that Caersws is surrounded. By hills. And wind. That blows from every direction, giving you no respite. And inducing panic on downhills.

I also found out that slim fit Edwin jeans are no good for cycling in. At all. They were fairly awful to cycle in on the first day. They were awful to cycle to the pub in. And they were fucking painful to ride back to the station on the last day, in the rain.

What I got from this weekend was a complete break from London and riding bikes in and near London.

Apart from the obvious, quiet, no traffic, there was a strange mutual respect between road users. I got given plenty of space, when I moved over and stopped to let bigger vehicles past I was acknowledged. C R A Z ZZ EEE eh?

The roads were in pretty spectacular shape,  I got to see things like this:

Which was fairly scary.  There were also lots of incidents of “WOAH” when the wind started gusting and actually impeded forward motion. Or caught my front wheel and gave me the speed wobble on a descent.

There were only two of us who went out there, and each of our own personal strength on a bike is probably the other’s weakness. I’m rubbish at going downhill fast and I’m fairly rubbish at going fast on a flat. I am quite good at going up. It’s quite hilly in Wales.

There was a general agreement I’d get to the top first and not push on going down, this worked really well. There was a really liberating experience about 10 miles from home where I knew I would be able to push on after the last hill (there’s always one more hill to go) and not have to worry about Dan.  Which was good really, as I’d finished all my food, had started to see stars when I blinked, and more worryingly had begun to think about myself from an external commentators viewpoint. These three things together generally indicate I’ve not got long to go before I get “the knock“.

I think what I took most from the weekend was that cycling doesn’t require you to drink the raphakool-aid and believe cycling is suffering and pain; it’s actually about recognizing what you are good at on a bike and what you’re not. It’s about identifying those areas and preventing them from affecting the enjoyment of another person’s experience. I don’t race, really. There’s no value in me getting up a hill quickly, waiting around, tutting and sighing and moaning at someone else. Especially if I descend like a nun on a bike.

There’s a lot of talk about suffering and epicness, and how much a ride hurt. Or how deep in to the “hurt locker”, “pain cave” or “wardrobe of self doubt” you went. I just don’t think it’s worth talking about in terms like that, when/if you’re not racing a bike. For cash. Or a free cup of tea when you hand your number back in at the village hall.

If you’re just riding a bike with mates, shouldn’t it just be about understanding what makes them tick? And what they enjoy/are good at? Why would you want to stop your mates from having fun on a bike?

Boast post

Peace and harmony

This weekend wasn’t about bikes at all. Which was great.

There was a moment when we were getting preparations for MJ‘s birthday party started and Alex played this song:

Apart from singing along while pegging out the washing (not a euph) it made me think about the song a bit more. Listening to the lyrics it’s got the same feelings as Joe Smooth‘s classic “Promised Land“. Which would make sense as it was released in  1988, so it was written around the same time. What I didn’t know was that it was a Jellybean production, and also featured Roy Ayers on vibes. It’s also got this guy on percussion:

 

And more importantly, sealing it’s importance as a rave classic, it led to this:

 

Which, as we all know, is a “banger”.

What I didn’t know until 5 minutes ago was that David Morales remix was rejected as “too housey“.

 

 

Peace and harmony

A slightly better return to the crash scene

I’m off work for a week! A whole week! What shall I do? How about tidying up? How about applying for some jobs? How about catching up on sleep and reading?

As Kendrick might say

Fuck dat!

The weather is glorious.  I’ve managed to get two rides in already this week and it’s only Thursday.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was my first TT. The day seemed to be heading along the path of least resistance until 3 pm, I’d plotted my route. And loaded it into the infernal machine that gets me just as lost as my own internal machine.  I calculated I’d need to leave my house at 5 at the latest to get to Hillingdon for 630.  I’d decided I was going to attempt the course on the winter bike.

At 430 I was still finishing the Sainsbury’s order. Out the door at 5, woah woah woah there neddy! I’d forgotten that I’d been swapping stems over from nice bike (CAAD 10) to winter bike (Ridley). And guess who forgot to tighten the stem bolts? Fortunately, I didn’t die. I didn’t crash and managed to tighten the bars into position. I then rode off.  And got a puncture. Turning the bike around I walked back home, thinking I might not make it, the distance was almost too much. 100 metres in cleats is not  particularly elegant.

I grabbed the nice bike, put air in the tyres and got going. I then had a beautiful ride over to Southall via Wandsworth, Putney, Richmond, and Twickenham. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. The traffic was mental, lines of cars crawling along.  I’m going to be doing this club TT more often I think, but getting to Hillingdon for 630 from Central London is going to be even more fun….

The event itself was good. Lots of nice bikes with aero wheels. And I wasn’t the only person from my club there, so that felt good. Safety in numbers and all that.

I didn’t start so well, I’m not a big fan of being held up by someone else, I’m a bit like this horse trying to get into the stall

I smashed my gel into my face before the start, clipped in, wobbled, pushed off, go, got into a rhythm. Fuck. I didn’t start the garmin. And I hadn’t reset it. Right. 10 laps. I just have to count to 10.

That didn’t work out so well. I did 11 laps. I pushed on ok, it was windy. No aero bars,  I could make up some more excuses. It was a good effort. I think I can go faster on that course if I can get my cornering right, and also if I didn’t concern myself too much with those who were coming up behind me. I made too much of moving out of the way for the faster people.

There was a recumbent vehicle pelting it around the course. I don’t think the rider had an aero helmet on. But then the whole bike was one one big aero helmet I suppose.

The weather is still glorious, and is hopefully going to hold for the weekend. I don’t think I’ll be doing any more riding though, as there are two birthdays to prepare for. One will involve dancing,  crazy make up, running around, trying to work out what people are saying over the noise, slightly wobbly view on what is actually happening due toa  lack of sleep, and the other will be going to see Theo Parrish.

I am excited for both.

A slightly better return to the crash scene