Riding in love …
Being Valentines day I thought I would try to spend the day constantly thinking about what I love and how those things make me feel. My thoughts drifted to past loves over the years before settling on the present being bikes, my Garmin GPS and Lycra … oops should have kept that to myself
With the wife out at work, I decided to give some attention to an “old flame” originally from America called Canon Dale and planned a secret rendezvous around East Surrey and West Sussex area. ‘She” was waiting only a short walk away from the house so I decided to look her up. When the door opened, I could see she only needed to have her shoes cleaned and we could get together for a couples of hours of fun.
It was a little chilly and I hoped we would not get too wet so I put on my tights and plenty of layers which I could take off if things started to warm up but I was not going to be presumptuous on that front, with an air of unpredictability about the trip and the weather.
It has been a while since I got my leg over Ms Dale but she was like old slippers and we set off south with the Horne as the first waypoint, passing where the club ten starts. Me and Ms Dale go way back and I have probably rode her over 10,000 miles , once was a 9 day end-to end marathon from Lands End to John O Groats.
I have been keeping to a weekly training plan and today my coach advised me to warm up well and then change into some gear that was comfortable but big enough to push me. I was already in my cycling kit so not sure what he was talking about. In fact I was only allowed to change down if pushing up hill proved too difficult.
We cruised west, through Smallfield and I was reminded that while she is now my winter “bit on the side” I have always found her to be a good fit, well built and very reliable. With the warm up out the way and 50 x 12 gear engaged we worked together at a slow cadence and my hear rate started to rise. Even the smallest rise was a temptation to go down the gears but I stuck at it, as I rode north west to Salfords.
I was lacking a little bit of motivation today and while enjoying the re-connection with Ms Dale, I was still not firing on all cylinders. As the road rose up over the M23, I saw fellow club member “Super” Ted Boorman coming the over way. As always, Ted was in the low racing position and working hard. Inspiration enough, I thought, thanks Ted!
As we went North, on Lonesome Lane I saw a large “Vote UKIP” banner on the side of a barn, surrounded by cows stood in mud and some other stuff that would go well on an allotment. The irony of the accidental message, was not lost on me.
I passed the half century 2 weeks ago and find I am now even more mindful, that I need to look after myself more and eat well. If I was struggling with the pace on Ms Dale then I was prepared and wanted to avoid bonking towards the end of the ride. As we approach Newdigate, (which I think was the location of some scandal around naturists in the 60’s) I was starting to feel tired. I patted my back and was reassured by the bulge of a banana so looked for a safe place to take a quick breather, fuel up and take a drink. I was tempted to stay a little longer in the lay-by but had another 50 mins to do in the big gear so needed to crack on!
Ready to go again, I was surprised how stiff I was and had to lean the bike over to get back on, pitiful. I soon loosened back up and headed south towards Rusper. Ms Dale had been very quiet, which is how I like my bikes and this was mostly due to the lube and some WD40 I had touched her up with, pre-ride. However, I could now hear a click and after about 5 mins of careful listening I realised it was my left knee. I would spray some WD40 on that when I get home, I thought.
The run into Ifield is flat which meant no wimping out of the top gear so progress was good. Once through Ifield, I was back onto busy roads and I crossed Manor royal industrial estate keeping away from buses and cars as much as possible. As I went over Shipley Bridge, I was pleased the 90 mins in the big gear was over and went down onto something more enjoyable.
Back through Smallfiled and I did think about having a go at a Strava segment named “ Taking the Horne to St Mary” but Ms Dale, as much as I love her was not the sort of girl who would help me to a PB
Back at home, I hosed her down, dried her with an old towel and put her back in the shed, with a big cable and lock to keep her safe.
Thanks Canon Dale, I have missed you and it beats riding that old bag indoors who is locked into the turbo at the moment. Happy Valentines