Friday, 21 December 2012

.........at Christmas

Well here we are almost at Christmas......just a few more days to go. 
Over these past few days we seem to have had the rains return. 
Looking back on the year it seems that we have been blighted with heavy rain since about Easter. It certainly played it's part in holding me back on achieving some of the cycling objectives that I had set myself at the start of the year... 

I think that I was pretty lucky reaching my mileage target when I did....since then my cycling has been restricted quite a bit by some pretty awful weather. 
To be honest...the mileage target is about all I did achieve in cycling terms over the year..that and the ride from Edinburgh back to the South Coast that I completed in June with JD. 
There were a couple of short cycle camping trips thrown in the mix as well but nothing that I could really feel proud of...or feel that I had actually achieved something by doing.

Looking at the weather forecast for the upcoming Christmas break it doesn't look as if I will be adding too many more miles to my overall mileage. 
I am just glad that I decided not to push on once I achieved the 10,000 miles and try for 12,000 miles.....I can't deny that the thought did cross my mind...
Given the time that I had in hand, it was certainly within the realms of possibility for me, but with the deteriorating weather and with the benefit of hindsight that I now have I can see that I made the right decision. 

One thing that I will say is that I won't be attempting it again next year.....
However I am happy that I managed to do it once! 
It is now two years since my cancer treatment and I am really pleased to see that my total mileage since then now tops out at just over 20,000 miles. 
If nothing else it proves that being given a diagnosis of cancer needn't mean a death sentence and I hope that my cycling in some small way can give others facing cancer treatment some positive hope..... 

Without the commitment of a year long mileage target to attempt next year means that I can spend more time on cycle camping/touring...sportives...and multi day stage events such as the 10 countries in 10 days ride which I am planning to do next June..... 
I really love cycling and everything to do with it and I look forward to sharing my cycling adventures with you all again next year..... in the meantime I would like to wish you all :-



              A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND 

                          A HAPPY NEW YEAR


The Purpletraveller Blog will be back again in 2013

Friday, 14 December 2012

Loving the Turbo......

Early one morning a few days ago I looked out of one of the windows high up in the turrets of Purple Towers to be greeted with a view of ice everywhere..... 

It had been a very cold night and as I watched Anne walk down the main steps of the Towers on her way to work, it was obvious that it was pretty dangerous to walk along the road let alone trying to cycle along it....Watching one of my neighbours  slipping and sliding everywhere as he attempted to reverse his car out of his drive confirmed the thought in my mind, that my cycle riding that day was going to be on the turbo rather than in the great outdoors.. 

Now a lot of people seem to  dislike riding a turbo session judging by all the comments on twitter and letters in the cycling press.... For my part however I have no such dislike.... Some of my view probably comes from not wishing to end up like this again. 

Now although that particular accident wasn't caused by ice, the end result can so easily be the same... 
Since that crash I have been very conscious of a couple of things which might help to explain why I have no dislike of training indoors on a turbo or static bike during some of the worst of the winter weather... 

Hitting the tarmac because of a tumble from the bike can hurt.....!
If you are in your twenties and you fall it might well hurt but you will probably recover reasonably quickly....in your sixties that same fall can take a lot longer to recover from, not only that, but the chances are that you are  more likely to end up with broken bones as well. 

So if I am more likely to suffer a break and also take longer to recover it therefore makes reasonable sense to be just a bit cautious if there are signs of ice about.... 
After all, at my age every day counts and I don't want to spend weeks off the bike for the sake of going out on an icy day just to get that extra ride in... 

It's not just riders of my age though....
Up until a couple of years ago I used to follow the blog of another rider based here in the UK. 
I think he was in his mid thirties....anyway one winter he had an accident when he hit some black ice when out riding on a club ride...he went down very hard and sustained some pretty serious injuries...his recovery took months and the trauma of the whole event was such that it put him off cycling altogether and he eventually shut down his blog after announcing that he was giving up the sport.....

One of the things that a lot of riders say is that they get bored really quickly whilst riding indoors on a turbo or the like... But I can't say that I suffer with this boredom problem.... 
I find when I am forced by the bad weather to ride indoors I can pedal away quite happily while my mind seems to change out of gear to neutral  and just replays past adventures from my mental memory store.... a constant loop of all the previous miles that I have cycled....

Easy for me of course at 65, with years of past adventures of cycling to log into...with a real library of thousands of miles cycling for me to replay it is almost like a state of  meditation... a zen zone......  
Not so easy for someone a lot younger who probably doesn't have the same bank of previous experiences from which they can  tap into.... 
Maybe their turbo ride is more likely to be hampered with feelings of frustration, because they can't get out on the bike and build on their cycling adventures to add to their own memory bank, whereas my turbo ride is not so likely to be overshadowed with those same feelings of frustration.... 

Mind you, this little theory doesn't explain of course all those older riders who have no love for the turbo...Oh well.. back to the drawing board on that one.....

One other real benefit of riding indoors on the turbo of course is the ability to stick much closer to the various personal HR training zones that you might be using in your training plan.
No other riders to egg you on up that hill and push you out of that zone which your plan tells you that you should be sticking to.
No sprints for the road sign when you know that it will push you out of the zone.... 
Training within personal HR zones take a bit of discipline and I find that it is easier to exercise that discipline when using the turbo.....

As with most things, using the turbo or static training bike is all about having the right state of mind.... if you allow your mind to keep telling you that you are going to hate it....that you will get bored....etc........then that is exactly what will happen. 
I just accept that the alternative could well end up worse.....
Learn to take control of your thinking and you could well find that before long you will be 'loving the turbo'.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Another view of the 10 in 10 Finale Ride....

Following on from the recent short video that I posted of the ride up from Lake Como to the church of the Madonna del Ghisallo here is another one...
This is the second half of the BBC film 'Ride of my Life - The story of the Bicycle' which was about Rob Penn and his search around the world for the very best components with which to build his dream bike... 
The film in it's entirety can be found on You Tube so if you have not seen it before it is certainly worth watching the complete film. 

The section that shows the area we will be cycling ten countries to ride in, can be found in this clip between minutes 08.30 -12.25.... The clip shows Rob riding the road along the shore of Lake Como and then the climb up to the little church, it also shows the church interior.
I first saw this film on television a few years ago and when I saw it I decided that one day I would ride from home to do the ride around the lake and then complete the climb to visit the church. 
As I mentioned in a previous post it was only when a rider that I met whilst out on a training ride mentioned it, that I felt that I had been given that extra push to move it up my bucket list....

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Team So Far.....

Quite a few people have told me how they would like to do the 10 in 10 ride.....however at this moment the team consists of just three confirmed riders and one support driver.... 

Now I will be the first to admit that on paper we seem a pretty motley crew...a real recipe for disaster....
We have a 42 year old newbie rider who only took up road cycling in August of this year.......
A two stone overweight 58 year old with only one kidney and a 65 year old cancer survivor...
Then as if to add a cherry on top our support driver will be 5 weeks shy of 70 years of age when we do the ride..... 

Now if someone told you that this little group was intending cycling ten countries in ten days you would be forgiven for thinking that they had absolutely no chance of getting half way through the ride let alone completing it.........
But look a little closer and we might just surprise you...

Regular visitors to this blog will be well aware that despite my 65 years and medical history I am perfectly capable of covering long distances against the clock on a bicycle and like to regularly set myself cycling challenges..I love riding hills and I love riding long distances.

John Donoghue (JD) might be overweight at the moment but he will manage to lose that weight...He describes himself as a plodder..not fast and not swift but he does get there. 
He has never failed to complete any of the cycling challenges that we have set ourselves over the past five years and I have only known him get off on a hill once in all that time. 
That was towards the end of a very hilly 100 mile ride when another 25% beauty just proved to be one too many.....

Dave (the broom) Vaughan is a bit of a legend....70 years old he might well be but he has a wealth of experience in supporting multi day distance cycling events. He has been support driver on a number of our previous rides and he is always my first choice...
Being an ex cyclist himself he understands the needs of the riders...he deals with everything from support to logistics...none better!!

So that brings me to the youngest rider... 
Jon Joynes..42 years of age...a manager of a Mothercare store and only took up road riding in August.. 


The feature about Jon in Cycling Weekly
 He was featured in Cycling weekly in September. It highlighted what was termed as the 'Wiggo Effect' after the TDF and the Olympics and the effect those events had on getting people to take up cycling. 
Jon was one of those people inspired to take up the sport. 
He set himself the task of riding 2012 miles in his first year of cycling and also aiming to raise £2012 for the 'Save the Children' charity at the same time...
Jon outside his store in Yeovil Somerset
Up until a few weeks ago we had never met before....contact was made via Twitter... 
Jon had read about me reaching my 10,000 miles target for the year...
I had tweeted that I would need to look for a new challenge and Jon suggested 'ten countries in ten days'. 
As it was his idea it seemed only right that he did the ride too so I suggested it to him...... 

Jon was making progress on his 2012 miles challenge well ahead of his original schedule and the more he thought about it the more he realized that given some training he could probably complete the 10 in 10....  
Anyway the good news is that he decided that he would join us on the ride....... 

So that is the current 10 in 10 team....whether anyone else will join us only time will tell... but readers of this blog will be the first to know.....

Monday, 3 December 2012

Changing Bikes.......

The Aladdin's Cave that is Scott's Garage 
 With all the filthy weather that we have had recently my mileage has really taken a tumble...
Up until I reached 10,000 miles I was managing up to 320 miles in a week....since then the weather has deteriorated and that coupled with the lack of pressure to achieve a target means that I am now doing no more than about 160 miles each week. 

Mind you...all the extra non cycling time that I find that I now have means that I am able to spend more time on other things such as the planning of future trips...bike maintenance....and most importantly spending a bit more time with Anne.... 

Following the visit to the recent Bournemouth Bike and Tri show my son-in-law Scott had told me that he wouldn't be changing his bike for a while.....    
Scott's Carrera TDF
 Regular readers will remember that about a year ago he made his first move into road riding after being a keen mountain bike rider for some years....
He managed to buy a Carrera TDF for a very good price and I predicted at the time that he would probably upgrade within a year....
Well after our visit to the bike show he kept on emailing me with details of bikes that he had seen on Ebay....all this after saying that he would be sticking with the TDF for a while longer....

Anyway he eventually put a bid on a Felt Z100....I won't tell you what he got it for but it was a real giveaway price...For some reason nobody else felt inclined to place a bit on it so Scott ended up acquiring it  for very little money at all....

The bike is very nice...Condition is really good and the bike appears to have been looked after very well indeed...It's not a huge jump up from the TDF but Scott has wanted a Z series Felt for some time and this one gets him on the ladder........
The Felt Z100 -( It would have been a good buy at twice the price)
 So the next thing was what to do with the TDF....
Scott really wanted to move it on quickly as he needed the space in his garage. 
I have to tell you that his garage is a bit like a bikers Aladdin's cave with bikes and frames all over the place....how he manages to find anything is a bit of a mystery to me......

It so happened that Peter Calcutt who often accompanies me on cycle touring trips has been thinking about getting a cheap road bike for some time....
I knew that Peter needed a bit of a push and this would probably be the incentive he needed...
I got on the phone and told Peter that the time was over for thinking about getting a road bike...
It was make up your mind time!! 
I told him about the TDF and within 24hrs Peter made the decision to have it.... 

On Sunday morning Peter and I went over to Scott's to checkout the Felt and to pick up the TDF.... We entered the Aladdin's cave that is Scott's garage and eventually the bikes were retrieved from the inner depths and the lads were able to play with their new acquisitions...... 
Scott with his Felt and Peter with the TDF
Hopefully Peter will get on with the TDF and it will have the same effect on him as it has had on Scott......
The problem that I now have is to get Peter into some decent looking lycra kit rather than the baggy shorts and assorted baggy tops that he likes to wear on his tourer.....
I'll turn him into a roadie yet..!!!

Cabin Fever .......

 Sorry for this week's posting being three days late but like the rest of the UK last weekend saw the arrival of storm Ciara and our in...