10 Apr 2012

10th April 2012

10th April 43-50F, 6-10C, very windy, very wet. I'll leave it until later to see if a window opens in the weather. The forecast is rain for a week. I went out when the rain stopped mid afternoon. It started again within a few yards. I was much too warm in the Aldi jacket but stayed dry. Only 7 miles.

Site of an ancient castle. The trees form a ring. There is a dungeon pit on the left bank.  

11th 50-53F, 10-12C. Light winds clearing to sunshine after a damp start. The wind wasn't too bad. So I took off the Giordana jacket after I'd warmed up. I'd left the tights at home. On with the track mitts too. I met a fellow cyclist in a supermarket and we exchanged a few words. 17 miles.

12th 46-53F, 8-12C, almost still, sunny. An overnight frosting was quickly cleared by the sun. The bare fields were "steaming" strange clouds in spots of mist for several hours. It was rather too cold for the Giordano jacket at first but eventually it warmed up. My bare knees don't feel the cold at all. Only 14 miles.

13th Friday, 50F, 10C, just a breeze, overcast. It was supposed to rain all day but cleared up after morning coffee. Just another shopping trip. Going quite well today despite my chest being bunged up. 19 miles.

14th 48F, 9C, sunny, light winds. Cool at first but I eventually warmed up. Swapped jackets and took off my Thinsulate hat after a few miles. Went looking for hills and even found a few. To practice climbing up them! Not free-wheeling down them!

I seem to be going through a new transition. After two years of my legs shrinking steadily into well defined muscle they are now growing larger again. I don't seem to be suffering as much on the hills as I once was. Though I can't say my breathing is showing much improvement. Fortunately I do recover quite quickly.

I deliberately sought out some long hills today to test my new climbing ability. My legs just don't seem to hurt as much as they once did. It is hard to describe but they just feel strong enough to cope with the increased load of climbing. Don't get the false impression that I'm going very fast, though. 10-12mph seems about my average for a long uphill drag.

The real test, for me, is to be able to increase my rpm in the same gear on the same incline while sitting down. It sounds so easy but not for me. I am also doing a lot more of out of the saddle climbing. In the past I was lucky to manage 50 yards before the agonising pain in my legs had me quickly back in the saddle. Now I can go for several hundred yards standing on the pedals without discomfort. And, in a high enough gear to use the additional speed over twiddling from the comfort of the saddle.  I'm practising pedalling faster out of the saddle too. To make it worth the extra effort and energy use.

Not that I can pull up much on the pedals. The Tahoes are far too flexible in the soles to allow much of that. It often feels as if the soles will rip right off the uppers! Feeling like half an inch of lift before the cleat to pedal tension is finally taken up. Only breathlessness is limiting my climbing distance out of the saddle now.

I have an old pair of Shimano road shoes in the shed.  The toes have always been too pointed for my size 10½-11 plates of meat. I tried stuffing the toes hard with newspaper but they didn't change shape. I think the uppers are man made. So wetting them is unlikely to help as it would with leather. It might be fun to have more pull on the pedals when climbing now. Not that they'd manage the supermarket aisles as well as the Tahoes. Though even these are wearing down to cause tapping of the cleats with every step.

I managed 155 pedal rpm for a few seconds on the flat today. Just to see how fast I could pedal. I'm wondering whether I've been pushing higher gears at lower rpm since the cadence computer fiasco. A couple of riders were out training. Both ignored me. Probably  because I was wearing my day-glo cloaking jacket. Black is the in thing. Fluorescents so yesterday.

The air was not so stinky today. Though I could smell the chemical scent as I lifted the jersey over my head. The rain must have finally washed the shit into the ground. So I had to make do with acrid, creosote from house chimneys and smelly bonfires instead. In addition to my usual biscuits I am now eating a banana on every ride as a matter of routine. I don't get so tired physically or mentally towards the end of a ride any more. So they must be working. 28 miles.

15th 48F, 9C, breezy becoming windier, sunny periods. It never did warm up. What a difference a day makes. I felt much more tired today. I still managed the hills I went looking for but not nearly as strongly. Saw quite a few cyclists out training. A bunch of about 20 clubmen went past but I had nothing left in the tank to stay with them. Finally a girl overtook me into the wind but again I had no response when  I tried to match her speed.

Saw a few Yellowhammers foraging the verge beside a ploughed field. Being watched by a large bird of prey circling overhead. Possibly a kite judging by the long, high aspect ratio wings. Certainly not a buzzard. I was racing downhill at the time. So had little time to crane my neck in its direction. 30 miles. 

16th 42-50F, 6-10C, breezy becoming windy, sunny. Overnight frost left the grass white again.  I lost something vital in the shed yesterday. So spent hours searching yesterday evening. Then I had to get up early to look for it again before going out. It was lying on the floor behind the lathe cabinet. Having rolled over the back of the shelving. Grrr.

It's not all bad news. I found some other things I had mislaid years ago. I must have wasted man years searching for missing items over my lifetime. Why couldn't I have been born tidy and organised? Why are storage tubs always too deep? Stacking trays would be far more useful.

I left after coffee to do some shopping. A side wind going. A cold headwind coming back. By then it had doubled in strength. I twisted my knee on a step. It hurts while riding or walking. Happy days. 18 miles.

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