Fit for purpose

Hole lot better: a popular choice at the moment for men and women alike

Map reference: Velosport, Putney http://www.velosport.co.uk/

Carbs and caffeine: some French biscuits (from ski holiday… no biking but plenty of fresh air)

The ‘fit’ doesn’t refer to me this time, the fit was for the bike. I had um-ed and ah-ed about where to go to get the new LaPierre fitted, but in the end it was a no-brainer to go to Husband’s ‘pet’ shop. They’ve built a bike for him in the past and repaired and prep-ed his bikes for his various challenges. It’s good to develop a relationship with a local shop. For a start they know as we walk in that we are not about to buy one of their top end bikes and that saves a lot of time.

We were late for our appointment with Nick as Husband had to fit some pedals onto the bike and lower the seat so I could sit in the knife edge saddle. It was a very uncomfortable ride to the shop; the brakes seemed out of reach and my rear end was certainly getting a bum deal.

Nick was sympathetic to my complaints (no need for biological vocab, just pointing and pulling a face was enough) and started by fitting an Adamo saddle. They are the ones that look a bit like a tuning fork, with two prongs at the front and a large gap in the middle. Enough said, I think we know what that geometry is all about. Then it was down to measuring and tweaking and sticking fuzzy dots on me… and then videoing the result. I don’t like me on camera and this was no exception, but the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures were a revelation. I looked much more comfortable, and less hunched up… although with my shoulders I shall always look more like a rower than a pro cyclist.

I can’t wait to have a proper go on some familiar hills so I can feel the difference. Well, actually, I will have to wait for the weather to clear … again

More puddles…

More puddles of sweat on the floor as Bealsey http://bespoke-velo.co.uk/ turbo-ed us through our paces in Lucy’s sitting room. It was five minutes sets, four minutes of pedalling on the large cog at 95 rpm and then one minute rest on the small cog at a slower pace. The only light relief were the Christmas songs going round in a loop on the stereo. And then the songs became part of the problem as Bealsey pointed out that I was stomping the pedals to the beat of the tunes to try to keep myself going. I tried to concentrate on sitting still and circling with my ankles but it’s really hard, and four minutes is a long time. Rachel felt a bit nauseous on about the eighth round. She’s training for a half iron man and marathon, so I think she spreads herself pretty thin. Lucy had to keep jumping off her bike to monitor her son who was climbing all over the fence trying to get something down from a tree. There was some speculation that this was an avoidance tactic; I’m sure that wasn’t fair.

We briefly planned our future meets around the holiday season and then all rushed off to our domestic challenges. In my case six children. I dropped two on the way to Kingston and then set three boys loose on the food market, while daughter and I treated ourselves to a Subway… the new McDonald’s it seems. Actually it is better than McD, but the coffee is foul.

Note to self: cards not written and half of presents still not wrapped… food?

Who are you calling old?

Map reference: triple circuit of Box Hill from Epsom Downs. 50k and close to 1k climbing.

Carbs and caffeine: The Grey Dove, Walton-on-the-Hill http://www.thegreydovecafe.com/

Out with my old personal trainer, Neil, today. Well, he’s not old, I’m obviously the old one, and he’s the secret weapon in my training plan. I was slower than him today (I’m blaming the heavy winter wheels) but close enough in speed to force a competitive pace. And I have the advantage of knowing my way round the Surrey hills a bit, especially the cafes. I also have a car so we can drive out, do circuits and then not have to commute home. It’s early days, we don’t need to slog home. This will work as long as I can keep up. If I could only shed a decade or two (and add testosterone).

Note to self: No stretching, come on you know better. No wonder your legs ache

Underpass impasse

Map reference: Wimbledon, nearly to Box Hill, via Esher, Fetcham, Leatherhead and a cafe I’ve been meaning to visit in Lycra for a long time. Around 60k

Caffeine and carbs: Cafe Bean, Ashtead … at last

There were three women including myself for the regular Bealsey (bespoke-velo.co.uk) Thursday ride. It was wet and misty, with not much promise of anything different, so I was not surprised that a couple of faces were missing. It’s also a busy time of year, let’s face it. Bealsey was undeterred as ever, but sensing the mood, suggested a fairly flat run out to the Surrey Hills and back. New commuter routes are always useful, and in fact a reminder of some of the sections we have done before is also good. As ever, I mostly didn’t know where we were, except for the occasional crossing of major roads. Aha, I think, as if coming up for air, I know where we are, and then we plunge back into a labyrinth of unknown roads again.

We crossed swords in an underpass with a very unsavoury couple, complete with the inevitable ‘dangerous’ dog. They were very upset that we were ‘on’ our bikes, although we were uncleated and merely wheeling down at snail’s pace as the underpass has hairpin bends. Frankly I don’t have the skill to go at anything above walking speed in the space, but this couple were hardwired to loathe us. And, to be honest, following the stream of expletives I received, the feeling was mutual. I wished them a Merry Christmas and moved on. I learned this tactic from Bealsey who gives a cheery wave to all rude drivers (knowing it will infuriate them further).

We did a bit of hill practice on the way up to Headley. I was instructed to stand the whole way in a big slow gear. Jen clung on behind me, and by the end our airpipes were rattling. From there, it was freewheeling all the way down to Cafe Bean, Ashtead. I’ve been many times before to this cafe, and talked bikes and biking with Jamie, the owner, as it’s near one of my kid’s schools. Finally an entrance in Lycra, red in face and glasses steamed up. Mind you, our damp arrival was somewhat trumped by a large party of grey-haired mountain bikers. They looked very hale and hearty. It’s a small cafe, but there’s always a real buzz and hum about the place.

Note to self: For heaven’s sake, must get some clear glasses. Dark glasses, in rain, leave you practically blind.