Yesterday we got word that the Scottish Cyclocross Champs was cancelled because of poor weather and course conditions, so that meant an unexpected day off for Chris and I today. Instead of counting people riding round in circles, we'd get to go for a bike ride.
An unexpected bike ride is quite exciting, so when I woke up this morning I was really looking forward to getting out and having some fun. I was even hoping for a relatively big ride to make the most of the free day.
I set off with what I thought was loads of energy, only to find my body didn't want to play.
"Maybe I'm coming down with a bit of a cold."
"Maybe it's because I didn't sleep well last night."
"Maybe it's because I'm wearing too many layers and I'm too hot."
"Maybe I didn't have enough breakfast."
"Is there something wrong with my bike?"
I thought of all the excuses and none of them seemed to explain why my legs just didn't want to do what they were told.
After a few hours, I had to give in to the fact that I was just having a bad leg day and suggested we cut the ride a bit short and head back to the van. (Luckily Chris was having an equally bad leg day, so I didn't feel too guilty.)
Never mind. A few hours of riding is better than no riding, but I do wish my bad leg days would happen on the days when I didn't want to play on my bike!
It's 2 months since I got home from the Trans Provence and it's been a funny 2 months.
6 weeks off the bike with my hand and wrist in a really uncomfortable splint, fortnightly visits to the orthopaedic surgeon for more x-rays and prodding and poking and umming and awing....being told that "I'm not convinced that it's not broken, so we'll keep it splinted up for now". It got increasingly painful and numb, which made me increasingly worried. On my final visit to see the surgeon, a worried look came over his face when I said I no longer had any feeling in my thumb at all and was having pains from my thumb right up to my elbow. It turns out that the splint was putting too much pressure on my tendons and was doing more damage than good, so I was given the all clear to take it off and get on with things...."as long as it doesn't hurt to do so".
Hurrah! (Well, it still hurts a wee bit, but I'm not putting that splint back on!!)
So no more taking the bus to work and trying to get by with my surprisingly useless left hand.
You might think that would mean I'd be right back on the bike and making up for lost time, but my weekends have been taken up with the Scottish Cyclocross series...no, not racing...I've been working with Chris on the timing and results for the races.
So, 7 weeks after I finished the Trans Provence, I had my first free weekend and went out for my first bike ride. That first bike ride just happened to be the No Fuss Dudes of Hazzard Enduro.
The guys at No Fuss teamed up with the Dudes of Hazzard to put on an enduro based in Kinlochleven up in the Highlands of Scotland. I'd never ridden around there before, so on Chris' advice, I took the big bike as well as elbow and knee pads and full face helmet (just in case).
We headed up early on the Saturday morning to squeeze in a few practice runs and figure out whether I'd need my full face or whether I could tough it out with an XC helmet (I opted for XC, but most definitely knee pads).
The trails were fantastic fun - rocky, steep, muddy, rooty - they had it all, as well as spectacular views down the glen and Loch Leven towards Loch Linnhe.
Heavy rain and some snow on the Saturday night made the trails all the more exciting for the race on Sunday.
(Photo courtesy of No Fuss Events)
Although I was really unfit and nervy after so long off the bike, being unsure how my slightly achy wrist would do and desperately not wanting to fall off on my wrist, I had a great time and was so excited to finally be back on the bike (even if it was a heavy beast). It's also put Kinlochleven firmly on my list of places I want to do some more riding.
The guys put on a fantastic event with amazing trails and a great vibe, despite the cold and wet weather. I'm already looking forward to next year's event.
Another couple of weekends working at cross races and then this weekend was my last free weekend until Christmas, so after being off work and ill for the last week with the lurgy from hell, today was my first proper ride on that new bike I got just before I left for the Trans Provence.
We woke up to a heavy frost and clear blue skies, so we wrapped up and headed out hoping the trails wouldn't be too icy and that the new bike wouldn't be a disappointment.
It was bliss!
Snow, frost, quiet trails, spectacular views...
Oh, and the new bike was fantastic! I've fallen in love with riding bikes all over again.
RIDES a Surly Cross Bike, a borrowed fixie (badly) and a steel Jones. Yes singlespeed and with the truss fork since you ask.... LISTENS to Midge Ure 'May Your Good Lord' in her head when climbing hills. Has RACED slowly but with passion. WISHES she had the attitude of Marla Streb. THINKS Greg LeMond chasing down Laurent Fignon in 1989 was the best tour ending ever. LIKES pre-ride coffee at Marrocos. BEST TRAIL riding with Jeff Jones in Oregon. NEMESIS Porcupine Rim. LOVES the moments it comes together. HATES the hours that it doesn't. MISSES Marco Pantani.
LIVES a southerner in the north and loving it. WORKS freelance bike journo. RIDES Trek 69er, beloved Kona Unit, Kona Jake the Snake, rugged Kogswell, Omega Helix for the road. BEST TRAIL Nightride Cheek. FAVOURITE POST-RIDE FOOD crumpets, tea, cake, cake, cake..... FILM somewhat predictably Belleville Rendezvous SONG Subject to frequent change but often something from Lamb...
LIVES South London WORKS in branding stuff RIDES Orbea Orca and Orbea Aqua (yup, Orbeas ROCK) BEST TARMAC Col D'Aravis FAVOURITE POST-RIDE FOOD Always cake FILM Indochine - gloriously epic but tragic SONG Harper Valley PTA by Dolly Parton
LIVES in Wiltshire; only in her minds eye are there mountains.
WORKS freelance sustainability, writer, researcher & consultant, saving the world from itself.
RIDES Nukeproof Mega, On One ‘as heavy as the suspension bike darn it’ 456, slicked up Rocky Mountain Oxygen for scooting round the lanes.
BEST TRAIL is still waiting for me to ride it.
FAVOURITE POST RIDE FOOD tea and cake, always.
FILM ‘Breaking Away’, bikes and coming of age classic.
SONG Underworld’s ‘To Heal’ never fails to fix me.
LIVES sunny/windy Edinburgh WORKS doing hard sums on spreadsheets RIDES oh dear... Santa Cruz Juliana Superlight, pretty little Spot Singlespeed, Santa Cruz Juliana Cushtail, Cannondale CX9 and my trusty, very old, very beat up Specialized Hardrock commuter BEST TRAIL the extreme canal towpath near Trevelez and Stoory Brae FAVOURITE POST-RIDE FOOD a big mug of hot chocolate and really good gingerbread lathered in butter (proper Scottish style!) FILM Cinema Paradiso (it makes her cry every time) SONG Ca Plane Pour Moi (just for the memories of bad dancing at SSWC in Stockholm) WISHES the tune of Dad's Army would stop going round in her head every time she races
LIVES the hills of Lancashire. WORKS not since returning to Uni to be an art student. RIDES Surly Cross-Check, On-One Pompino, Endorphin VP-4 and a Voodoo Bokor - anything with pedals really. BEST TRAIL the tree and nettle lined, leg scratching trails through the woods at the end of my road. FAVOURITEPOST-RIDE FOOD malt loaf, toasted bagels or marmite on granary bread and mugs of tea. FILM 50 First Dates for when only cheesy will do, Fargo for something sinister and Le Grand Bleu for pure inspiration. SONG sorry but impossible for an i-tunes junky to pick just one.
LIVES sunny Clifton in Bristol. WORKS as a lecturer at UWE. RIDES Kona Hei Hei, Marshmallowed Commencal Supernormal (handmedown from Jenn), Trek singlespeed cross bike, Scott cross bike, On One singlespeed, Focus Cayo road bike. BEST TRAILsingletrack descent off Chinley Churn in the High Peak. FAVOURITE POST-RIDE FOODtea and sandwiches. FILM Truly, Madly, Deeply for wistful moments, or anything James Bond for Sunday evening escapism. SONG‘Where is the Love?’ by the Black Eyed Peas.