3 Jul 2012

Ist July


1st 70-72F, 21-22F, windy, mostly sunny with fierce gusts. No obvious ill effects from yesterday's 70 mile ride. In fact I felt stronger than during much of yesterday's ride.

Because of the wind direction I headed north. Then west at high speed along a main road. Then tacked my way back into the wind from Slukefter. (which I fondly translate into "turn the lights off when you leave") I was rediscovering the often-wooded, narrow lanes where I had previously become lost. The area is just as pleasant as I remembered. Loads of cyclists out and about in the sunshine today. Most acknowledged me. It must be the ruddy knees and the cheesy grin. Mine, not theirs.

The lanes had lots of moraines of gravel washed across them from the verges by the recent torrential rain. This sandy mess often contains large pieces of gravel. So can be quite risky taken at high speed. Add in the morons. Who only imagine they are rally drivers. But without a fraction of their skills or reactions. It can be quite hairy on dark, blind corners in the woods sometimes! The triumph of ambition over ability is commonplace in the younger driver.

My knee caps started complaining at 25 miles while going up a long, exposed drag into the wind. So I raised the saddle 1/4" and the pain immediately went away. Rather oddly, the saddle is now an inch (or 25mm) above the previous taped mark. Which I put there when I lowered it to stop knee pain last time. So I have no idea what is really going on here. A cycling sports specialist on YouTube suggested that lower knee cap pain means too low a saddle. I'll trust her on that until the pain moves to the top of the knee again. Then I'll sue! :-)

The raised saddle really seemed to help my climbing and seemed faster on the flat. (Wind permitting) My shoe heels still reach the pedals when they are at the bottom of their arc. My foot is at a right angle when my leg is locked out just forward of BDC.

My computer bracket suddenly died of metal fatigue again. A combination of rock hard tyres and recent, universal, road surfacing with foolishly oversized gravel! Or just badly maintained roads in most cases. I tucked the untidy mess behind the front brake cables against the head tube. Quite amazingly it all stayed put for the twenty miles home.

My arms had another overdose of sunshine today. To make them even redder. I had coated them well with 30 factor sun cream before leaving. Lashings of Aloe vera after my shower. Still no pain though. So a chestnut tan may be in the offing. I just hope it doesn't clash with my new bag straps! 42 miles.

2nd 62F, 17C, windy, sunny periods. I remade a longer computer bracket from thicker alloy material using much softer curves to avoid local stressing. By then it had started to rain. None was forecast. I'll go out after coffee now.

Later, it stayed dry but was quite breezy. I seemed to be going well again. No knee problems. The bag was fine and easily held an 8 pack of large toilet rolls under the extended flap. I zoomed past a gaggle of laden cycle tourists at twice their speed. 24 miles.

Pm. I added another crossbar to the stays at the bottom of the bag. My heels were catching on the curled corners of the bag where they wrapped around the trike seat stays. I'm using the plastic plumbing clips and two more of the clips I used for the top, bag hanging crossbar.

3rd 61-73F, 16-23C, warm, sunny with light winds. I have set up another digital thermometer in the bike shed with the outdoor sensor in permanent shade but open to the air. My usual thermometer is showing 87F due to solar heating of the surrounding timber and roof! This may be making a complete mockery of all my past temperature readings when the sun was shining!

The wind was promised light from the SE so I chose to ride to Svendborg for the first time. Big mistake! The head wind was far stronger than I expected and I was very tired by the time I got there. Naturally I was trying to get there as quickly as possible. There is a nice climb up to Egebjerg from Stenstrup and then a long descent on Cycle Route 55.

I toured the Svendborg bike shops and then headed back. All the mills and houses I had promised myself to photograph on the way back were now on another road. Fortunately my plans to enjoy a tail wind home met with greater success. Just outside Svendborg I stopped to remove a length of old wood lying right across the cycle path. Promptly getting a painful splinter in my finger for my thoughtfulness!

I came back through Fåborg. Though an onshore wind was making it more difficult than I'd hoped. That stretch is hilly too.

I shopped in Fåborg and then tried to cut across country by the shortest route. The slowest I have ever climbed Svanninge Bakke! Though it went well enough.  Another wrong turn later put a kink in my plan. The rivets on the back of the saddle were becoming quite painful after 60 miles. Svendborg always seems much more distant, than it is, at about 30 miles by the shortest possible route. I couldn't even manage to stick to that and got lost going both ways! It seems to take forever to reach Svendborg even by car.  Every road is fairly narrow, undulating and twisting with countless small villages.

Luckily traffic was very light today except where I was forced onto the main roads. Even then it wasn't bad enough to be a real problem. Mostly thanks to adequate cycle lanes. Though even here they aren't often wide enough for  a trike to stay inside the while lines. Often it is a case of choosing which side to put the font wheel. Usually depending on the cycle lane width and condition of the tarmac. It can be sickening to ride for miles on an assault course. While the cars travelling only a metre away are enjoying perfectly smooth surfaces.

 76 miles is my longest trip on the trike so far. It took me 6 hours allowing about ½ an hour for all the shop visits. All done on two bananas, a small handful of plain biscuits and about a pint of tap water. The ride. Not the shopping. ;-)

The Carradice Camper bag behaved very well again. I have moved the Carradice reviews into two separate posts. No point in boring those who seek them out by forcing them to read my daily, ride diary. The i-gotU GPS logger is becoming ever more untrustworthy. I had all sorts of odd pains in my knees coming and going. My arms are even redder! Am I having fun yet?

4th 60F, 16C, warm and sunny. Already breezy. Lighter gusts forecast at only 20mph instead of the usual 30mph gusts. No ill effects from yesterday's ride. An old women driver brushed close past me on a long, wide, straight. Should have gone to Specsavers! 27 miles.

5th 62F, 17C, windy, sunny. Another pleasant day for a ride. Though the easterly wind was already very strong. I had an appointment mid-morning so just had time for a short ride. Only 8 miles. Going out again this afternoon. Hopefully. Another tootle to the shops pm. Still windy. I bought a pretty purple water bottle and it wouldn't fit the cage! So I had to put a dirt cheap alloy cage on the trike after bending it to fit. The Zefal cage fell in half when I tried to bend it. Knees still complaining now and then. 29 more miles for 37 total today. The knees and forearms tan is coming on well. :-)

6th 63F, 17C, windy. Rain all day with cloudbursts forecast. Might as well call it a rest day. Not so fast! It was overall grey didn't look as if the rain was going to arrive soon. So I managed a short ride before it first started spotting the road. The rain didn't last long and was never heavy. I treated it as a gentle rest day. Only 10 miles.

7th 62F, 17C, heavily overcast, very light westerly breeze. Promised to be dry and clearing up later. After the discomfort of the long ride to Svendborg I have refitted the Vetta SL saddle. I want to see if I can get used to a modern saddle. This is the only other saddle in my junk collection which I can live with. It may take some time to readjust to alternatives to the Brooks.

I left after nine to ride over to a Ringe bike shop. About 24 miles each way. The wind was so light the wind turbines were all standing still. Fine going, but a bit tired on the way back. Both ways I tried a different route. Just trying to avoid the normally-busy, main roads.

I stopped in a tiny village on the way there. To ask an old chap (of my own age) leaning on a bike, the way to Ringe from there. After ten attempts to pronounce Ringe in a way he might understand I gave up and rode on. It was only six kilometres away. About 4 miles. Clearly signposted at the next left turn in the village high street! I asked a girl in a shop in Ringe how to pronounce Ringe properly in Danish. It sounded exactly the way I said it but with a bit more rolling of the R. We're local you know! <sigh> The i-gotU GPS logger failed again. Fell asleep at half way and never woke up again. 48 miles.

Cheapo, no-name saddle. It has Velo moulded underneath but  nothing visible on top. Hard as hell with very firm padding. It cost me about £15 equiv. I placed it on a canteen chair and sat on it before parting with my money. It was the only one, so far, which didn't instantly feel like it was splitting me in two! I am terrified of spending more on a saddle and finding it uncomfortable. He said they had 'loner' saddles but they were models costing far more than I'd want to spend. (even if I was allowed to) I was getting saddle sores lately using the Brooks. It was this which prompted a rethink on saddles. It could be just the higher mileages of course. 

8th 70-75F, 21-24C.. Sunny and windy from south-east. Forecast is dry. I rode up to Særslev then across to Søndersø via the rural lanes as much as possible. Passed through the most uninhabited area I've found so far. Almost no farms or cottages. Traffic almost non-existent today. I'm getting odd pains in my legs but my knees are okay.

Still struggling with the no-name, cheapo plastic saddle. Some of the time it's fine. Others it's downright painful. Oddly, it seem to be most comfortable when I'm sitting upright with my hands on the tops of the bars. The saddle was set dead level with the crossbar. I also lowered it slightly. 24 miles home yesterday plus 58 more today and I've survived. I am fighting the temptation to put the Brooks or Vetta back on. If I bottle out now I will never know if I can use another saddle.

I was given some free Zero High5, bottle salts, rehydration tablets at the bike shop. Quite tasty, but I can't say I noticed any difference in my performance or well-being on the bike. The i-gotU GPS logger stopped halfway again. 44 miles so far. I still have to go out again. 14 more miles later. Very warm and windy. The air has been amazingly clear today. Though it didn't stop my arms going black from flies stuck to the sweat and suntan lotion.

I saw a cyclist leaning over his racing bike at the top of a hill. Wondered whether he had a mechanical problem. Having ridden all the way down I finally decided to check. So I quickly climbed back up to discover he had cramp. Not much I could do to help. He was using hydration salts in his bottle so that wasn't the problem. I've had cramp very occasionally off the trike but never on it. I (casually) mentioned wanting to shave my legs to make massage easier. No chance!  :-)  

2 miles short of 5000 miles and over 8000km for the year so far. About halfway through the year too. So I may still beat last year's total if my daily mileage keeps increasing. My wife says I have OCTD: Obsessive Compulsive Tricycling Disorder. She's probably right! :-)

9th 62F, 17C, windy and grey. According to the online experts I'm not resting nearly enough to recover the daily damage I'm doing to my muscles. Not to mention holding back improvements in fitness progress.

For the last three years I saw rest days as weakness and laziness. Instead of which I have been over-training well beyond the call of duty. Even to myself. I saw rest days as the thin end of the wedge to giving up cycling. There were enough negative reasons already. What with daily exhaustion, the endless pain, bitterly cold winters and the torture of riding vicious saddles.

Some advocate at least two rest days per week. I have sometimes gone two months without a rest day. With my legs aching this morning I really shouldn't need an excuse for a rest day. Forecast to rain all day and very windy indeed. With gusts up  to 50mph. This will have to do. :-)

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