I fell off twice…

Scott Scale 50

This week cyclefucius fell off twice. Curiously, each time while going at less than 5km an hour.

What have I learned from these incidents?

Incident 1: taking the bike when going on “errands” is very tempting – a few extra kilometres, cheaper than petrol, environmentally friendly, all good. The weird thing was that the simple addition of a backpack seemed to completely unbalance the situation and when arriving near the post office looking for a place to “park”, down went the baby, cradle and all. Probably looked much worse due to feet being clipped in. Thank you to some nearby ladies for their concern as I disentangled myself muttering something like “that always happens…”. Lesson: don’t change anything but just remember backpacks and clips are a dangerous cocktail.

Incident 2: stopping to take a phone call on a steep gradient – also tempting (and in the particular case important to do). So far no problem. Getting moving again not so much. Ended up traversing the road sideways in order to get any momentum, turned back to the uphill direction and shoe hit the front wheel. Baby down again. I don’t believe that this is a cleat set-up problem – to me it seems just a “feet larger than frame” problem. But the results (added to the road traversing) seem totally dangerous and unpredictable. Lesson: don’t ever stop? Phone them back later? Walk to the top?

In some ways it seems healthy to fall off sometimes in order not to be scared of falling off. And although micron-thick lycra is not the ideal protective layer, cyclefucius will not be reaching for the goalkeeper shorts yet. So perhaps the real lesson is “be alert, be careful”?

Advertisements

Reunited … and it feels so good

cyclefucius's shadow

This post was going to be entitled “why cyclefucius is like Peter Pan” (to add to my cyclefucius is not Ryan Gosling or David Bowie series).

The prospect of “not getting any younger” jokes put a stop to that one.

But the point is that, after what seems like months, cyclefucius has been reunited with … his shadow.

A shadow in a puddle is still a shadow. A shadow on snow is still a shadow. cyclefucius’s dogs are less than one year old and probably don’t know that the world usually keeps turning and winter normally does give way at some stage. We that are a little older (ahem) put our faith in this. Although sometimes it does seem as if things have got stuck, the evidence does say that time still always keeps moving forward.

One shadow is not enough to crack out the shorts or the factor 50. And our north-east American cousins may be still waiting. But, people, there is hope! Soon we will be fighting flies!

“Greasing the groove”? – (not a post about bike lubrication!)

Cycling Strength Training

These were days where even cyclefucius started to think that indoor rollers could be an option. cyclefucius has been sick and had an enforced additional rest day (just one but feeling it).

Once on the road to recovery, I did get in reasonable weights session though. I listened recently to Tim Ferriss’s interview of Pavel Tsatsouline. He’s essentially a powerlifter so his agenda may be different from ours (very different!) but things that he said about getting strong being the basis for performing better in almost any sport seemed to make a lot of sense.

Favorite quotes:

I wouldn’t visit a chiropractor who couldn’t deadlift as much as me

[when a questioner mentioned joint trouble interfering with lifting:] First of all see a doctor; then get your head right

Apparently his father took up weightlifting at the age of 70 and has the body of a 40 year old…

Anyhow, one of the techniques is to increase the weight and never do more than five reps. But more sets (at least five). If you do this repeatedly throughout the day this is apparently known as “greasing the groove” and reportedly stimulates the central nervous system to get results…

It’s really counterintuitive for an endurance sport. But cyclefucius has now experimented with this for a few weeks, doing 5×5 sets which felt like a good sessions.

Getting back on the bike, the results seem predictable enough (though between germs and if I’m honest accompanying “comfort-oriented nutrition” this may not be very scientific for now): definite stronger feeling on the climbs, but reduced performance feeling on the flats (so favouring low cadence).

The verdict? For general strength training I think this may actually be a major step forward (possibly very individual but for me I see how this would work). For leg work and specifically speed endurance, it needs to be used with care and either balanced out with high cadence work or perhaps adapted for lighter weight and higher repititions, though perhaps the increased number of sets may be a good addition.

Any one else got any experience of or thoughts on “the groove”?!

When the going gets soft…

As Shakin’ Stevens would say: “snow is melting, all around me”. cyclefucius was fortunate to feel a little sun in his face. And not a little mud… Today cyclefucius ended up looking more like his jockey cousin, Feargal O’Fucius, who does like a bit of soft going. Cheers Feargal!

cyclefucius and Feargal in younger days
cyclefucius and Feargal in younger days

Dangerous – maybe. Stoopid – no thanks

Stoopid ice

Picture the scene. Person standing at the top of a hill among scattered cars, waving a ski pole (the person not the cars). “It’s totally iced over up there” he says. “But you can look if you want”.

I look at my fattish tyres and am tempted. “MTFU” as they say.

Don’t be stoopid. Training plans are great and motivating (like this blog). But if we are smart they should be adaptable. A bit of “danger” comes with the sport (most sports in fact); but when we get to the borderline with stoopid, it’s OK to pull back. After all, this is supposed to be healthy fun, right?

So:

  • if you come across an icy morass where injury is a more likely outcome than fitness – go round it! (If going up remember that you’ll need to come back down…)
  • if you are sick – don’t make yourself more sick!
  • if you are injured – get better first!
  • if you feel like overtaking cars – slow down and have a drink!

cyclefucius is a tough but contemplative type of guy. Is he being too adaptable… or just doing the proper cost-benefit analysis?

Be more boar

Wild boar

You get to see some unique things from a bike. Some recent highlights include frogs, a badger (alas dead – and not even sure if native to Spain?), a random jawbone (not human) by the side of the track.

I saw this little guy the other day. Just behind the photo is a huge natural park so it’s not that strange. (A natural park where gunshots are an everyday thing – I think the Spanish attitude to conservation may need some revisiting. And I may soon be choosing some brighter lycra.)

At first I thought it was a strange looking cat or dog. Then a hail of grunts revealed its full boar-ishness. Pretty cool. Cute – from a safe distance.

Now cyclefucius is inspired to become more boar. Small and grunty. Agressively trying to get back to the pack. Athletic and bristly. Social but not to be messed with. Oink! Somebody stop me!

I’m showing you these now because by tomorrow they will be…

New red bar tape
Not a bad job if I say so myself!

I’m proudly showing you my handiwork with the shiny new red bar tape now, because by tomorrow they will be covered in (check all that apply)…

  • road grime (dead cert)
  • rain (odds-on favourite at 1:20)
  • snow (outsider at 10:1)
  • slush (good each way bet)
  • blood (red colour will camouflage nicely)
  • sweat (yes, even in these conditions)
  • tears (quite probable depending on the “hill work” situation)
  • “nose tears” (sorry, it’s that time of year)
  • “mouth tears” (oh, please)
  • chain oil (bound to happen)
  • rips (fate has been tempted)
  • sellotape (where the bits of tape they provide in the box are unable to stand up to all the above).

Feel free to add your own! One thing they definitely won’t be covered in is… dust…