Saturday, 15 July 2017

Under Pressure...another week of learning on the bike!

If you're anything like me you know have Queen's 'Under Pressure,' as an earworm and if you didn't the power of suggestion probably means you do now. It's a favourite game of mine to plant earworms. On rides I like to put Taylor Swift's 'Shake it Off!' in people's heads. At home I like to plant the Divinyls 'When I Think of You,' in the Queen of Cakes head. It amuses me to think she might absent mindedly sing it to herself at work! Oh the fun...

Anyway back to the cycling. This has been an interesting week! I've only done one outdoor ride, last night's Friday Night Summer Series race at Wadenhoe. Earlier in the week I was restricted to rollers due to time and needing to be at home and today I've turbo trained because I can't put weight through my left wrist!

Some of the things I've learned are: I can ride no handed on the rollers! Tyre pressure is a tricky issue and cows like to watch a bit of Mountain Bike Racing! Then there's stuff I already knew but chose to ignore...this should be the actual Rule #1 of not blindly follow advice on the internet!

As it's the only comment worthy ride of the week this blog will concentrate on the Friday Night Summer Series Round 11 at Wadenhoe. This week it was the turn of Kettering based Mountain Bike Club - Numplumz. This was a fantastic circuit with some challenging features and some clearly marked Strava segments.

As ever I'm grateful to a number of snappers for getting some shots of the race. Pre-race though I met up with Ashley and we got a selfie in. A couple of warm up laps showed this short punchy course was going to be tough on the legs and lungs!

With about 5 minutes to spare a third C&D ride, Chris Barratt appeared in his VW combi. Chris registered quickly and then realised he didn't have his helmet. Luckily this is a very friendly group of riders and a spare was located quickly! His bike was an absolute beauty. He had a retro skinny tubed steel Marin with those now unfashionable 26in wheels. It made me think of my Orange P7 and I do regret selling that bike a bit! There's Chris signing in just before he realised he was missing a helmet!

The star of the night had to be the cow that belongs to the landowners who at this stage I believe is called Peony but I'm waiting for an update on that. This beautiful old beast is a beloved 25 year old pet and was a thoroughly chilled out VIP spectator. Thanks at this stage must be extended to the landowners. Your venue was superb!

The race started and as usual I was near the back but still in touch with many in my age group. It was about half a lap before the best of the grand veterans passed me and then the youngsters flew past a few minutes later. I know I'm way off the pace to be competitive but I don't care, it's great to see the better riders physical ability and ride skills. The other thing that's nice is that all the riders respect each other and accept that occasionally you can't help being in the way.

Due to some comments I'd read I was running my tyres right down at 20psi. I'd tested this out on the trails in Desborough and the improved grip was definitely helping on the short sharp slopes. On the tight grassy corners though my back wheel was misbehaving periodically and I really should have seen what was about to happen! 

I was doing okay. The kid on the fat bike hadn't passed me yet and I hadn't been lapped by too many riders. Then my chain skipped off my granny ring on a slope and just for good measure wedged itself in my crank. I really like the look of these 1x11 systems. It has to help not worrying about your chain rings! This cost me couple of minutes on the lap but I soldiered on. Then I approached the fun little downhill with the tight turn at the bottom...not that technical just fun! My back wheel just slid out underneath me at speed and I went down in a heap! I strongly suspect it was those low tyre pressures.  It must have looked bad because people came running to help. Notably Paul Kelf who I've ridden with many times. I'd broken another rule of falling off and put my hands out. I'm really lucky not to have broken my wrist or collar bone. After that I got back on and dribbled round for two more laps but I couldn't grip fully with my left hand and today I'm bruised and swollen. That'll learn me! I now have an app  for tyre pressure which suggests at my weight, wheels and riding conditions I should be running 30psi front and 35psi rear. To add to my learning it appears I'm confined to the turbo until I can hold handlebars properly again.  I will do my best to be fit for two weeks time in Harrington because I'm flipping loving this FNSS malarkey!

After the race Sam wondered if he could have a go on my bike. It appears with the saddle down low he fits on my focus. Only one thing for it then. Donate Franz to Sam and purchase an XC MTB with that 1x11 drivetrain! 

As I've been blogging Chris Froome has just retaken the yellow jersey in the Tour. How cool is that. It's been a funny TdeF2017. It felt ruined when Sagan and Cavendish had to leave. Then it seemed like a Team Sky procession to Paris. Now it's got interesting again.

Well that's it!
Happy Pedalling


So it turns out I did break my wrist after all. I have a fractured scaphoid. I'm in a cast for at least six weeks and currently unable to drive let alone ride a bike! I need to make the best of this. So it's time for some turbo sessions and maybe test that dodgy calf with some running!

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