26 May 2016

26th May 2016 Back in the saddle.


Thursday 26th 55-?F, 13-?C, heavy overcast, breezy but dry. My calf continues to improve but still hurts. I manged only one return trip to the road, along the drive, before deciding not to prolong the agony. It was sunnier in the afternoon. The Head Gardener would not let me take a gentle tour on the trike.

Azelia, showing off.  If you've got it, flaunt it!

Friday 27th 57F, 14C, sunny start with light winds promised. My right calf felt as if I had cramp when I climbed out of bed but went off again. Perhaps it is the lack of exercise and sitting at the computer all day? I am off for a short walk now to see if I am making any progress. I was still walking much more normally when I reached the road so I kept on going. An extra mile and I returned home in fair shape.

After a while I took to the trike and did the 3 mile tour de rural block. No discomfort at all despite riding with all my usual exuberance. Only when I climbed out of the saddle to attack the short slopes did I sense my calf sending a near-subliminal message. So it looks as if I have a short ride to the shops ahead of me today. It is a beautiful, sunny day with the birds shouting from every vantage point.

After coffee I rode to the shops and found my legs in  far better shape than usual. The long rest must have cleared any residual tiredness. I was doing 18-19mph coming home with an off-the-shoulder crosswind. With the oil seed rape almost gone over to seed the landscape has returned to a gorgeous, soft and fluffy green. Only 10 miles but it is a good start.

Saturday 28th 56-68F, 13-20C, bright sunshine from a uniformly white sky. Just a hint of a breeze. No ill-effects from yesterday's ride and my calf continues to improve when walking or climbing stairs. Tempting as it might be to enjoy the fine weather with a longer ride I really ought to increase my mileage slowly. It's very odd how walking muscles can be so entirely separated from those used in cycling.

Despite being back to walking with a more normal gait my walk was curtailed inside a mile due to discomfort in my calf. Thankfully it became no worse as I headed back home. My ride started after early coffee and rolls but felt no different to any other day. It seems there is a very specific muscle or tendon that causes localized calf pain when I walk but [thank goodness] it has no effect, at all, on my cycling. On the way home I even climbed a couple of 200 yard hills out of the saddle, just to see if it hurt, but nothing was noticeable. I rode with my usual "gusto" and saw lots of "weekend warriors" out training. Most of them waved or grinned. Threatening black clouds formed at intervals but passed over without dumping anything. 17 miles.

Sunday 29th 60F, 16C, breezy with bright sunshine. Yesterday all the wind turbines were standing still and pointing in different directions as they each ran out of wind. Today they were turning steadily to a north-easterly wind. A translucent moon struggled for attention against raggedy vapour trails and fluffy cloud pompoms. The hedges were stuffed full of singing birds as crows and Wood pigeons raced over on urgent errands. Then  a motorcyclist nearly clipped me as I cowered against the extravagant weeds overlooking the Coot pond. Another idiot who thinks the road is always clear around every blind bend. Until it's not. I turned back before risking further strain to my calf. Though it continues to improve I am still not without occasional twinges.

Conversely, my fitness on the trike seems to have improved. I was trying to stay in a band between 14-16mph into a strong crosswind with a slight headwind component. Then I was chasing a young chap on his carbon TT machine after he really struggled to pass me on rather a steep hill. Well, he did have two energy bars in his back pocket and I only had a trike and a giant sports bag hanging over the Carradice Camper Bijou Longflap on my rack and forty more years on my back.

Despite his being tucked down on the tri-bars and I on the hoods he wasn't really putting too much distance into me until the next descent. Then I made up some lost ground on the mini roundabout at the bottom. Taken at 20mph while hanging off both sides rapidly in succession and signalling my exit clearly at the same time. I'm always wary of that roundabout because there are so many registered blind drivers living in that area. Or perhaps they are simply drawn to it by their white sticks following local ley lines?

In the shopping village, a drooling moron, with his drooling family aboard, forgot to stop at the exit to a supermarket. He nearly cut me in half off  as he rolled right across the pavement without looking either way. Well, he had every excuse, because he had his mobile, mental iHandicap in his hand. So I did my; "Replace the telephone handset now!" hand signal and he grimaced at me like a werewolf about to make the change. Wouldn't it be fun to have a couple of well oversized incisors and grin back like a hungry vampire? I must have been watching too much Netflix!

Giant poppy looking almost surreal. Real flowers should not try to imitate clever paper sculptures. It's not the done thing.

Coming back, the wind was now pretending to be a crosswind with just a smidgen of tailwind. I'm not so easily fooled because I saw the numerous flags were perpendicular to the road. It felt just as windy as the outward journey, except I was now cruising at 19mph, while heavily laden with shopping. I tried climbing a few more hills out of the saddle but couldn't quite find the right resistance to keep it up for literally hundreds of yards. Only 12 miles but still not [quite] out. I wonder if I should become a weekend warrior myself?

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

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