Friday, 31 January 2014

Did you get dressed in the dark?

"Nice outfit Suz, did you get dressed in the dark!?"
Antony commented on the cycle club forum, under a picture taken from an Alba Rosa Sunday ride. OK so maybe my outfit was a mix of clashing fluorescent colours, but in sub zero arctic like temperatures, fashion points were the last thing on my mind. Warmth, the only thing on my mind when getting dressed that morning!

Winter priorities are warm clothes and bright bike lights at the moment, for those pre dawn and post dusk winter rides.

"When's the next Blog Suz?" I was asked while riding the 1st reliability ride of the year, 80km in reliably British winter weather. Only good thing is the post ride shower....all you winter cyclists know that feeling of getting into the shower, still fully dressed as your hands don't operate to even un-clip your helmet  let alone take your socks off. It takes at least a full 5 minutes to regain feeling in your hands to be able to slowly undress under the hot water.

Happy 2014 everyone! My blogging contributions have been as reliable as ever! I could claim many an excuse, changing jobs and having to give back my laptop has left me writing with ink on parchment paper (well tapping away on the library computer!) Being  evicted by the landlord on 31st Dec, I think the number of muddy trainers and bikes in the garage had just tipped the balance from acceptable to "what the hell are you doing to my house"! He wasn't a cross country runner!

So with a new year brings a new job, new flat and new challenges. So here are some of the key events from the last few months, in no particular order:

Christmas is a great time to hone new skills, bit of golf and a bit of igloo building were high on my agenda... variety is the spice of life and all!

 When a sportive is called "Mills Hills" That means there will be plenty of hills and mills, generally more hills though. I think a more appropriate name would have been "Mills, Hill, with lots of Hills and a few more Hills sportive"8 
You have got to love Strava for giving you nice little cups afterwards, it's like a virtual mum saying well done and a pat on he back!

Usually at this time of year I am trudging around muddy fields enjoying the delights of cross country running, not this year though as I attempt to fix my Achilles that gave me grief over the summer months. Now with the advances of sports medicine, rehab can be a very scientific process. Well for me, this is definitely the case. As you can see, i fill up my state of the art backpack with heavy vegetables, a kettle bell, bags of rice and load it onto my back and begin my complex calf raising exercises! No frills Achilles rehab!

 So while some traditions such as cross country running have been broken, only the second season since I was 13 that I have not run around the British countryside in winter conditions in vest and hot pants. Other traditions over the festive season stayed well and truly alive. Boxing day is much about running races as it is eating left over turkey in the Richards household. This year was no different. Clevedon 4 mile road race, along the sea front was the destination, a chance to catch up with old Bristol Athletic Club team mates, training partners, coaches and friends. Most importantly a chance to beat my brother, a feat i have never managed before. He always gets the better of me, this was my year, I knew it. Race day comes, its icy, he conveniently has no deicer, so is late and decides to support aka shout abuse from the sideline. Scared of getting chicked by his little sister!? Sibling rivalry will have to wait till next year!

So the winter mainly  consists of eat, sleep, train, work, repeat. With the main concerns being, how to fit all the curly kale in the fridge?

And having learnt the hard way, through shredding my back tyre on the turbo and consequently getting punctures every time I left the house, I am now becoming well practiced at changing tires depending on the  training I am doing. Thanks Chris for your old tires  which I now dedicate to turbo and Alan for suggesting the continental tires for winter road use....lets hope the new landlady doesn't mind bike mechanics happening in the bedroom!

I hope everyone is wrapping up warm and enjoying their winter training, remember to stay strong eat lots of kale!

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