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ROD'S BLOG - PCUK CYCLE RIDE

15 May 2014

Our club secretary's cycling blog

You know how some sport is said to have a therapeutic side especially when in practice mode.

A great way to ‘getaway from it all for a brief time’, whatever ‘it’ may mean, and get you into a zone where you concentrate so much on the activity that its only when you stop that you realise for a while all other worries/concerns had been put on the old back burner.

Cycling it seems to me has that quality and is probably just as well considering what the football club has been going through in the past couple of weeks….

Admittedly on long training runs you are out there in the saddle for hours on end and that could in itself allow ‘thoughts’ to wander.

But somehow the changing environment, and weather, and birdsong, and approaching hills, and anticipating trouble ahead, and the increasing pain, and un-cleating in time ( see Blog 4 for details ), and avoiding fellow travellers and the problems that can cause ( see Blog 6 re the demise of Kirsty…who incidentally is now much recovered and close to being radiant once more )…..

All of that plus well chosen music to sing along with does have the effect of focussing the mind very much on the present and nowhere else for at least a while and at this moment that is good for obvious reasons.

Speaking of the ‘pain’, that now seems to be arriving later on than it was a while back - I read this as progress. During last weekend's ride out to 66 miles ( the longest yet ) it was only during the final 4 miles or so that things got harder.

Quite a bit of this however I put down to the slightly worrying increase in the intensity of wind that was blowing and perhaps more especially the gusts which did produce a few sharp wanderings away from a straight line.

Now on a cycle path this is one thing but on the busy main road from Chipping Sodbury to Bristol it is quite another.

You do learn to anticipate this blast however, by keeping your eyes peeled for a gap in the houses by the side of the road or by a break in the trees that have been providing some protection momentarily. 

Nonetheless a head on breeze does hamper forward movement, especially so when you are entering new high mileage territory.

Additionally I have been advised by a number of ‘Those What Know’ that once you reach a certain level of fitness and competence ( and I would add confidence ) one of the best ways to improve performance is by tweaking the equipment on the bike.

These experts seem agreed that by upgrading the wheels, improvements can be felt immediately. For the recent ride referred to above I did fit some better quality ones that were on loan on to give them a try and things I must admit did seem to roll along smoother.

Consequently the internet was hit and the new ‘go faster and further’ are being professionally added to the machine as we speak.

A recent article I read had an interesting take on this side of things. One of England's ex Cycling Greats by the name of Barry Hoban, a good Yorkshire lad, who until a certain Mr Cavendish arrived was the most successful Tour de France stage winner, commented that he came from an era where fancy kit was deemed a luxury.

At best he had a silk jersey and longer cranks for a time-trial but otherwise hi-tech aerodynamics involved wearing his cap back to front! In his day he added that his saddle with all its steel bits, copper rivets and leather weighed more on its own than a whole bike does these days.

It seems cycling generally over the years has made huge moves forward… lets hope I can continue to do so in the next few and final weeks in the run up to the 6th June.

Many thanks again to all who have sponsored and continue to do so www.justgiving.com/rodwesson
Rod.

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