Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Panic Sets In

Oh my god. It's this Saturday. And I'm not the slightest bit prepared.

Things hit a snag last Tuesday when I developed pain in my left knee while training. I've since been taking it a bit easier and bought a knee bandage.

We had a great ride on Saturday along the cycle paths at Sandgate. Flat... soooo flat. But I still had to pull up at 20km due to the sore knee.

Alas, yesterday I ended up with major cramping pain in my left calf, hamstring and glute within 2km. Thus, all plans of last minute muscle-building have gone out the window. I'm now resting in the hope of getting better before Saturday.

There's no going back. We've paid for this and there's no refunds. I AM going on this ride and I'm going to make it, goddamit. Will rest some more, think healing thoughts and take it VERY easy on the first leg.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Knee Trouble

Only managed 50km today, had to finish early because my left knee had really started to hurt. I think I pulled something while pedalling up a hill and it deteriorated from there. Interested to see if it will get better easily or if I'm in a spot of bother. It's only a week until we head to Rockhampton. I really can't afford to have an injury in this last week of training. Also ended up with a heat rash.

The magpie now knows where we live. It attacked me in the driveway. Will make sure I keep the doors locked at night. Luke says he also saw a wood duck swoop at me. Who knew that my cycling adventures would be so Hitchcockian?

Hurtling along Groundwater Rd I startled a bearded dragon who was sunning himself on the asphalt. He made a quick scamper into the bushes. Made me smile.

We both noticed that P platers give us a lot less room and are generally disinclined to decelerate near us. It's a bit of a worry.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Am I Having Fun?

Today: 55km, a bit under 4 hours, average speed 14.2kph. This is the farthest I've cycled in my training program so far. Am now feeling rather exhausted but I think if I was on the tour I'd have been able to manage another 15-20km if pushed.

We stopped for lunch half way and resumed which was hard going. We may have had too much lunch. Lots of stops in the 2nd half but didn't actually get out of my seat the whole time.

I'm making an effort to smile, wave and say hello to people I pass. Usually the response is positive. Today a lady grinned at us and asked: "Are you having fun?"

I was hot, sweaty, sore-legged and heading for exhaustion but I answered immediately: "YES!"

Because, in spite of everything, it IS fun. Beats working.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ms Grumpy Trousers

I've only done 15km today. I think I'm getting the flu so I've called it a day early. Front derailleur has gone awry. I tried to adjust my helmet and it ended up choking me, couldn't re-adjust it back into a good position. Because of the headrest on my recumbent trike, the helmet has to sit a long way forward on my head. I need a new one that doesn't get in the way. Today, I am definitely in favour of non-compulsory helmets.

And the magpie was positively rabid. The flag didn't put it off today, it's now going for my head. Bit of a worry.

Just call me Ms Grumpy (Lycra) Trousers today. No use cycling if I'm not enjoying it. Hopefully I'll be better tomorrow.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Attacks and Abuse

This is not me.
Or the offending magpie, for that matter.
Pic from here
Rode 25km around the local circuit this morning and I still feel very energetic which means I'm getting fitter.

There's a particularly angry magpie that flies in and attacks every time I go near its tree. Unfortunately the road loops past the tree twice on the route so I usually get attacked twice. Lots of swooping and squarking. Fun times. I usually wave my hand or clap and it gives up. It also stops if I make eye contact which can be fairly amusing. It's a case of: "Squark SQUARK!" then, "What, are you looking at me? Ooh, look, a bug on the ground. Nothing to see here, doo doo doo doo... SQUARK!" Magpies are cowards, really. They like to sneak up from behind you.

Anyway today she was being a lot more aggressive than usual, swooping in very close. Usually my flag puts her off. I'm wondering if she's getting braver, perhaps stocking up on artillery for next time.

I also had the pleasure of having two young  P-plater dopes yell abuse at me from their ute. Couldn't hear what they said; it's sort of like a dog barking at you and just as intelligent, most likely. Of more concern was the loose bale of hay on the back. As they swerved around me it nearly flew off the back into my path.

Riding on the electric choppers, you become used to abuse from motorists. Unfortunately I feel a little less secure on the trike - I'm lower and completely human powered so it's a little harder to get out of trouble, I expect. Still, idiots yelling is par for the course with cyclists, I think. Motorists don't like us. We're a confusing inconvenience.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cycling Smilie

~_- \,
(*)/ (*)

What's The Deal With Lycra?

I've been a lover of natural fibre for a very long time, mainly because it feels more comfortable and I'm also inclined to become very static-y on dry days. Synthetics have always seemed like a bad idea to me. Maybe it's due to that horrible nylon sports T-shirt we had as a school sports uniform in 1985. Damn, that thing was hot, sweaty and uncomfortable.

And I never really understood the whole "lycra warrior" thing when it came to cycling. I've seen some people suggest that it's purely to show off your muscles while on the bike.

Now I know differently.

Lycra and the other specially-created synthetic sportswear actually keeps you cool. I'd never have thought it. The technology has advanced to the point that the fabric draws sweat away from your body and evaporates it quickly, meaning that you're not all hot, sticky and sweaty at the end of the day. Weirdly, your skin feels quite smooth and happy.

I've now been cycling for 30km at midday in the full sun and felt perfectly pleasant in full-length tights and a long-sleeved shirt..

Sure, I look a bit ridiculous but the end result is I'm more comfortable and I waste less energy being hot. I'm also better protected from the sun which is important because I'm a redhead.

Wicking is the wonder word to look out for. That and antimicrobial.

It's not as cheap as cotton, of course. I've now spent more money on synthetic clothes in the last couple of weeks than I have spent on clothing in, well, years. But it is worth it.

Yes folks, I've become one of those lycra people. It's very strange. I never thought I'd see myself like this. Still, the figure-hugging thing isn't that bad. My arse is looking better all the time.


It's been a good week of training so far, 110km all up. Had a big day on Monday with 30km and then an even bigger day on Wednesday with 45km. Wednesday saw me trying out a different route on Sorensen/Groundwater road and I was really able to stretch the trike out and get it into top gear along the wonderful downhill straight. Top speed 45kph. You pay for it with a long 1km uphill later on, of course.

Today I took Luke out on the new route. We stopped at Madill Park and saw 2 wonderful rainbow bee-eaters in the trees. Madill proved handy for it's supply of bushes for a wee, although it's hard to sneak off when you're in colourful highly visible lycra clothing.

Luke's had some trouble with the clips on his 2 wheeler and has fallen off a bit too much resulting in multiple bruises and scrapes. He may have solved it, we'll have to wait and see.

The info about CQ2010 arrived today, looks interesting. Still wondering if we're going to be fit enough to do it - the 45km on Wednesday saw us both exhausted and staring at the wall. But must keep the training up. We're getting less tired and more able to work the hills every day, even if our legs are very sore.

My top speed today was 50kph. Luke hurtled past me at almost 60 on the downhill.


I've decided to set up a simple blog to record my experiences as a beginner cyclist.

The backstory is this: I've never been big on cycling, even though I've enjoyed it occasionally. My main issues have been that it gives me a sore neck, wrists and crotch. Also, I was never really confident about riding in traffic.

Enter the Yellow Velo.

This is a bright yellow recumbent trike that I have commandeered from my husband and which I am now rather passionate about. The commandeering has occurred by way of eBay and a 570km tour organised by Cycle Queensland.

In early July, Luke announced that he wanted to go on the Cycle Queensland tour from Yeppoon to Bundaberg on September 4. Great, I said, you go for it. I'll stay here.

And then I started to think about it. And started to wonder that maybe I was going to be missing out on some fun.

Nah, I thought. These people will be cycling an average of 70km a day. That's not fun, that's masochism. I'll just offer him my support and stay at home and be comfortable.

And then I thought: maybe I could go on our electric chopper bikes. That would be a challenge, trying to get the batteries to last for 70km. And maybe I could film it and make a mini documentary. The idea made my heart beat a little faster. There was potential there, possibilities. But the next day it all seemed a bit much.

And then Luke, via eBay, found himself the owner of a 2 wheeled recumbent bike. Which meant that his pre-ordered recumbent trike needed a rider. Suddenly, it all became possible.

The first few rides of the 2 wheeler were ridiculous but addictive. It had been a while since I'd had to learn a new physical skill and this was, well, like learning to ride a bike all over again. We practiced on the school oval and fell off numerous times... but there was something about it that felt exhilarating.

And then the trike arrived in the mail. Luke took it for a spin up the street and then I had a go. It was like the most amazing billy cart ever; I felt like a kid again, grinning like an idiot as I hurtled down the hill. The seat was comfortable, the view was great and my arms and crotch didn't hurt. Perfect.

Of course, the muscles required for recumbent riding weren't exactly prepared for it. It's been a hard couple of weeks, training in preparation for the big ride. We've progressed from 6km to 10km to 18km and near prostrate exhaustion. But then the distances have increased along with our fitness.

I'm starting this blog in week 3 of training. There's less than 4 weeks until the start of Cycle Queensland 2010.

It's going to be a huge challenge but I'm really looking forward to it!