Friday, 14 September 2012

Don't Panic!

That's what Chris told me last weekend. But I can't not panic. Anyone who knows me will know that I'm a panicker and a worrier. I just can't help myself.

Why the panic? I'm now on the final countdown to the Trans Provence...the race starts in just over a week and I feel completely unprepared.

I always get myself worked up before a big race, but this time I feel a lot less prepared than I'd like to be and a lot less fit than I'd like to be so I've been getting myself into a bit of a panic. Hence Chris' words of wisdom last weekend.

Did I take heed? Hell no!

Instead I tried to break myself this week and took the long, hilly, off road route to work each morning and then the longer, hillier, off roader route home. To spice it up, I decided to use a range of bikes over the course of the week.

On Monday, I used my usual commuting clunker. Not ideal with semi-slicks, ten tonne weight and shonky gears, but all good training. And on the plus side, I discovered a new, freshly tarmaced bit of bike track on my way home.

On Tuesday I used my singlespeed for a bit of comfort riding and took a trail that I've not ridden since the start of the summer. It was quite overgrown because the entrance to the trail is now blocked off, putting most people off from using it, but the wet summer means that the nettles and thistles have gone into overdrive.  I charged part way along the trail at speed hoping that I'd be able to charge my way through, but came to a sudden stop because it was so overgrown. Unfortunately I had to get off my bike to be able to turn around, so ended up getting thistles and nettles all over my legs and arms. Not nice!

On Wednesday I used my big boingy bike to try to get used to my new uppy downy seat post and monster truck tyres (apparently I need chunkier tyres for the TP). The tyres are taking some getting used to and were a bit sluggish on the final road section in to work, but they were ace on dirt.

Then as soon as I got home from work on Wednesday evening, I was straight back out with Chris and for a local ride and spent ages sessioning the scary bits of trail with my new monster tyres and fancy seat post and found that actually they both make a difference! I made it down the rocky drop of doom to the steps which I've always chickened out of at the top. Hurrah!

Then on Thursday, to recognise the fact that the cross season is fast approaching too, I used my cross bike. I quickly realised that I've forgotten how to ride my cross bike as I took a corner too tightly and ended up plunging face first into a hip high patch of nettles. These were nettles like no others and left very angry welts all over my knees, arms and face. To make matters worse, the crash was on the way to work, so I had to spend the whole day suffering from nasty nettles! (It seems to be the theme of my week!)

So by the time I got home on Thursday night, I'd ridden over Stoory Brae 8 times in the last 4 days, which, by my reckoning, must mean that I've ridden up Everest or something.

Then I managed to take a cheeky last minute day off work today (well, I figured that it was work that meant I had to go out to India and not ride for 3 weeks and then it was because of work that I got Delhi Belly and spent more time off the bike so surely I was due a day off...okay, it was just a cheeky last minute day off!). So I headed down to Innerleithen with the intention of "beasting" myself. After riding up to the top and back down 3 times, sessioning a few bits which have troubled me all summer then riding back up for some final playing on the DH trails, I'd succeeded in beasting myself and just couldn't pedal any more.

So tonight I treated myself to a soak in the bath with some special arnica bubble bath.
Tomorrow is a day off...well, sort of, I need to pedal about town for some errands...then on Sunday I'm going out for a big boy ride on some scary new trails.

Why all the frantic riding? Sheer panic. With a week to go, I just can't help but panic, but my bike gets cleaned and packed up after Sunday's ride and I need to get my kit all packed up, so I've only got 2 more panic days before I have to stop.

It's like Christmas, but more scary! It'll be fine though...won't it?


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