Monday, 24 December 2012

Festive Commuting

Today's commute was a bit different to normal...

Lots of friendly toots, waves and thumbs up from drivers. A couple of cars even slowed down to take photos.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Bad leg day

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!


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Falling in love again

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, 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.