01 November 2009

Just bikes...

One way or another, cycling is slowly taking up more and more of my time. If I’m not riding one of my bikes I’m fixing or cleaning them. If it’s not my bikes then I’m out watching someone else. If I have to stay at home, I try and find cycling to watch on the TV! I think I may be getting the bug!

A couple of weeks ago Lynda and I went to the Moorways Sports Centre, which is just a short walk away, for the National Trophy Cyclo-cross racing. Riders from all over the UK took part in the day's racing as well as riders from Germany, Belgium and, I think, France. The weather wasn’t great but at least the light rain that fell for a time added to the excitement - if you were watching and not riding that is! The sharp, off-camber downhill turns caught many of the riders out and resulted in some rather impressive face plants. Luckily, everyone got straight back on their bikes and carried on as if nothing had happened.

This was only the second cyclo-cross event that I had been to, and the first big event, but I’m hooked. I already have other events pencilled in the diary that I’d like to attend. If anyone out there fancies sponsoring a total novice to the sum of around £3000 I’d be happy to take your money and spend it on the equipment needed for me to have a go!

And that was just the warm up!

The sprint away from the start line.

The transition from grass to tarmac.

The climb out of the sports arena.

Over the planks.

L to R... 3rd Jan van Dael. 1st Johannes Sickmueller. 2nd Paul Oldham.

My own cycling has been ticking along nicely each week and I’ve covered a total of 3,120 miles since the start of the year. Now my goal is to reach 3,500 miles this year - 1,000 more that I had initially hoped for. October was my best month of the year so far with just over 412 miles ridden. I also managed my longest single ride so far last month, a 70-mile hack around South Derbyshire! The ride should have been a 55 miler but I got carried away and just kept on adding extra bits to the pre-planned route I had in mind. In the end, the only reason I returned home when I did was because I knew that there was a roast dinner waiting for me! There was no way I was going to risk a burnt, or worse still, no dinner!

The past week has seen the run of warm, dry weather come to an end and I’ve had to contend with a number of wet rides to and from work. The Cannondale is now tucked away in the back of the garage and will be staying there until I can be sure that it’s not going to get a soaking on wet roads. If that’s not a good enough excuse then how about “I can’t ride it because it has no lights”?

Lynda and I are now off work for a week so I’ll start November with little or no cycling. I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed that I can make up the mileage later in the month and hope I don’t have too many pub lunches over the next few days! Yeah, like that is going to stop me!

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