2 Feb 2013

February 1st 2013. More of the same!

1st. 40F, 4C, still, rain. A rest day tidying the shed. A rear tyre was flat this morning. That's four punctures this year on the Durano Plus! Bløødy flints and wet roads! I can hardly believe they have done 2000 miles already. I re-measured the width this morning and they are about 25.5mm wide. So they did grow from their original 23mm width. Running them at 85psi keeps them lively without too much jarring on cobbles and bumps. Letting the pressure drop any lower they feel a bit heavy and slow. I haven't tried pushing the pressures any higher because I prefer my comfort and they haven't pinched yet. Not even with a heavy load of shopping on board.

2nd 30-34F, -1+1C, cloud free, sunny with a light wind. Fixed the puncture before leaving. Then had to stock up on some heavy items on the hilliest route I use regularly. A beautiful day for a ride and I was going quite well.  The grass is still white with a thick frost where the sun can't reach. Lots of ice where the fields are still draining across the road. 22 miles. Plus 10 more miles after lunch. I was going even better though not very quickly.

I am trying to stay on the 32T chainring to give myself a better workout. Though my cadence drops enough to force me out of the saddle at times. I have been practising changing gear while I'm climbing steadily out of the saddle. A momentary pause helps to smooth the change. I discovered something interesting about Ergo levers. Pulling on the bare down tube cable makes the lever skip over its ratchet. It has very poor resistance to cable tension. Not that the lever is expecting much resistance while indexing normally. Friction levers would cheerfully hold while I pulled on the cable and the changer did its thing.

I told you it was cold in the shed! Cruel and unnecessary Spa treatment of the Nidd. Three days of water-boarding. Then I applied the thumbscrews! Even after three days in icy water I could not depress the top by finger strength alone. 

3rd 32-35F, 0+2C, just a breath of air movement early on, overcast with a white frost. A clear overnight sky turned pink and then clouded over. It is supposed to sleet or snow after lunch. Winter has returned. It was a dark, grey, rather gloomy day with a steadily increasing wind. Making it feel far colder on the skin than the thermometer might suggest. I rode a wobbly route for 34 miles trying to keep up a good pace as much as possible.

4th 36F, +2C, overcast, raining. Yesterday afternoon's 2-3" of snow is being thinned by the rain. 20m/s, 45mph, winds are forecast for later. Not a good day for triking.

I was reading about asymmetric legs on Cycling UK and wondered why I have such dissimilar calf muscles. I mentioned this some time ago but it hasn't changed. My right calf (usually) shows poor muscle definition and is much larger than the left. Only occasionally do they match. I usually massage my legs at bedtime as I wait for Windows to shut down.

The Brooks 'Professional' getting the "dying fly" treatment after three days of soaking. This is to bring up the sloping shoulders as it slowly dries. I have also applied a rubber tourniquet to the waist. (not shown) Just to keep the proper shape in plan. I wonder if I should apply shock treatment as well? Despite appearances, the C-clamps/G-cramps are not vigorously applied. I don't want lumps and bumps on the top!

The difference between my calves is usually quite obvious. The left calf is completely floppy and tenses to look like a "proper cyclist's" leg. All sinew and "sticky out" bits. (If you will forgive the medical term) The right feels much stiffer in texture and hardly responds to prodding and smoothing. There was talk in the Cycling UK post about blood clots causing such problems. Perhaps I should make an appointment with the quack? I doubt they will remember my face at the surgery. So long is it since I took up cycling seriously and stopped needing a doctor. There is absolutely no pain. Nor any difference in how each leg seems to perform. In fact, they both seem to arrive home at much the same time. It never did stop raining, sleeting or blowing. Another rest day? Tut-tut.

5th 34F, +1C, breezy, overcast. The forecast for the next week was, sunny periods, below freezing but mostly dry. Now they have added more cloud and snow showers. It stayed dry and mostly sunny with a headwind on the way back. Lots of sheets of thin, pressed snow on some roads. It's snowing now I'm back. I've brought the reformed saddles indoors to dry slowly. 22 miles.

6th 33F, 0C, still, overcast. An inch or two of snow fell overnight. The windspeed is supposed to be low today with occasional wintry showers. It stayed dry and brightened a little. Roads a bit slushy in places. 20 miles.

7th 31F, 0C, almost still, overcast, light snow falling. A couple of inches of new snow overnight. The traffic seems very light this morning. Just a shopping run mid-afternoon. Roads clear. Cycle lanes full of slush and snow. 13 miles.

8th 30F, -1C, overcast. No new snow but light, wintry showers possible. Another rest day. I felt better for the last one and recovered strength and urgency I had almost forgotten.

9th 30F, -1C, overcast, breezy. I did a hilly loop for 25 miles worth of shopping. Going quite well. The rest day did me good. I usually resent the drop in my average but I don't miss my usual tiredness. I think I get a bit stale riding every day.

10th 26F, -3C, overcast turning to bright sunshine later. I tootled off in search of something I knew was there but never found it. You would not believe all the hills I climbed in the quest! I was sure I had pinpointed it on the map. It was horribly cold with a constant headwind. The Sealskinz gloves were inadequate even with thinner gloves underneath. I stopped in a village and had a long chat with a chap about tricycles in general. He approached me! I didn't just collar him and start talking. 35 miles going around in circles.

11th 24-30F, -4-1C, sunny turning to overcast, breezy at first becoming 20mph. I rode to the shops 20 miles away. Coming back was hard work pedalling into the freezing cold wind. Thankfully I wore the Dintex (Heatpax) gloves with thin liner gloves. One of those rare days when I put my cycling cardigan back on again at half way. 40 miles.

12th 26-30F, -3-1C, breezy, overcast. The sun struggled to show itself briefly through thick cloud. I found the place I was looking for. It was just further away than I had calculated. A horrible cold wind again today. Somebody had lost control, crossed the road and wrapped their old car around a massive rock and caught fire. Without air bags I doubt they survived. The car was gone when I came back the same way a couple of hours later. 31 miles.

13th 30F, -1C, light breeze, overcast. The person who crashed their car yesterday was thrown clear and uninjured. How is one thrown clear while wearing a seat belt? Talking of lucky escapes: A small bird of prey had caught a male Blackbird and was about to start breakfast when I happened along on my trike. Seeing me it tried to take off with its meal but dropped it. The blackbird sat there looking confused. While the bird of prey kept going. It can't have been any bigger than a  female Kestrel. An unbelievable number of birds of prey around at the moment. Many are so tired and hungry they are tamer than usual and will often tolerate me riding under their perch. I had punctured by the time I reached the shops. I searched the tyre but could find no flints or thorns. 19 miles.

14th 30-33F, -1+1C, windy, bright sunny periods. The wind must have been over 20mph and was perishing cold. I limited myself to a short run into the wind and a longer return route. Only 13 miles.

15th 30-34F, -1+1C, sunny periods, breezy.  A very cold wind. Going quite well. 27 miles.

16th 30-35F,  -1+2C, light easterly wind, heavily overcast. Supermarkets lying through their tills about special offers. Half a dozen other items well out of date, none on the shelves or non-existent stock rotation. Pig ignorant staff with all the social graces of backward peasants. What a way to run billionaire's money printing hobbies! Pavements, roads, pedestrian precincts and cycle paths shitted up wherever you go. What a way to run a country!

The other day I saw what passed for Council worker, pothole fillers. The pair of them were sharing well over 50 stones between them. A shovel full of tar into the hole then only two whacks of the back of the shovel and they needed a long rest! Before  moving onto the next. And the same performance again. Leaving a raised, hard-edged mound at intervals like molehills in their path. I'm all for giving the handicapped meaningful lives but what about lazy gluttons? There are plenty of people looking for jobs. I am heartily sick of this cold, cloudy weather! Front wheel is punctured again! Grrr. 19 miles.

17th 35F, +2C, still, overcast. Just mended the puncture. It was freezing out there despite the lack of wind and positive temperatures! I brought the tube indoors to allow the glue to dry before applying the patch. Probably unnecessary but why waste a chance to warm up myself? The supermarket finally had some stock of the organic salad dressing oil I was looking for. Brand new stock. Guess what? Out of date. All of it! Incompetent? Crooks? Too lazy to check? Or couldn't give a monkey's? Choose four. Only 10 miles.

18th 39F, 4C, overcast, spitting with rain. 13 miles.

19th 33-30F, +1-1C, windy, overcast, frozen rain. The lakes and ponds were strewn with the frozen rain like flour on a baking tray. I punctured at the back again on the way to the shops. A tiny disk of flint had cut through the tread leaving an open gash. I'm not doing very well with punctures on these Durano Plus since the New Year. I'm wondering whether the roads are being covered in the wrong sand by the gritting lorries. The type they used on that cycle path which was full of flints. 19 miles fighting a 25-30 mph headwind coming home loaded with shopping.

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