Sunday, 10 March 2013

Week 10....Variety is the spice of life

With the onset of march i decided that i would up my regular commuting distance from 1 to 2 days, as the distance for training increases this is an easy way, mentally of ensuring i do enough miles. This does not happen without a certain amount of faffing though, Sunday night preparation of packing all my clothes to take to work for when i cycle in, not wanting to carry anything more than i need, checking both bikes over, rationing out my food stores and making sure i had the necessary equipment on board in case of breakdowns.
The plan was to cycle home cross country on my single speed on Monday evening and then cycle back in on scotty Tuesday, home again and then to work again on scotty Wednesday, car was almost out of fuel so it saved me filling up for a couple of days too.
First i thought, i should take my single speed for a quick blast on Monday lunchtime to make sure the newly refitted brakes were all OK.
This i did and all was good. just my usual lunchtime lap which was a good test and a chance to bed new brake pads in.
The ride home was stunning, much drier than the last time i did this route, it was a clear evening but the lack of cloud cover meant it was pretty cold too, following my GPS and remembering some of the hitches i encountered last time, i whipped along quite well, hardly seeing anyone, did see a big hairy cow at one point which completely ignored me. 
I arrived at Windsor Great Park with the light being quite "dimpsy" (a south western term i am lead to believe meaning getting dark, but in between light and dark) a Warden flagged me down who thought the light was certainly nearer dark than light but he was kind enough to let me progress so long as i got a move on. This i did and I made it home in a longer time than i had expected at 2 1/2 hours but felt really good, and my muscles all felt pretty good, I'm attributing this to the bike set up changes i made at the weekend rather than my cycling fitness.
With the morning came some pretty intense fog, at times visibility down to a couple of car lengths, i altered my usual route a little and went cross country to the great park, i have become tired of the run into Windsor and from the town centre to the great park, it always feels cold and lonely, whereas the route following the cycle network chops and changes and feels a bit more urgent, and gets me going better, oh and less hilly too so whilst i still have chunky monkey tyres on scotty i may continue to do this. Leaving the rest of the route to my usual commute, i got to work feeling pretty good, strong and legs, i felt, would be good for the commute home.
For some time i have been toying with the idea of riding the "3 Castles Path" which i think i have mentioned before, is a path (marked on OS maps) which starts at Windsor Castle and goes to Winchester Castle via Odiham Castle (now a ruin). Last week i stumbled upon someones entry onto which was a cycling version of this ancient path, well in the absence of doing a reconnaissance of my own route i thought i would give it a go (only half obviously)
Overall verdict was a thumbs down, too many busy roads, battling it out with car commuters but with the occasional interlude of total remoteness either in the woods or down little roads. Part of the route went through Minley Manor, whereupon i noticed what looked like proper mountain bike tracks, it felt like a trail centre, committing this to memory i checked some of my old routes (not knowing at the time of riding that it was Minley Manor and Spors-tracker confirmed that this was where i had competed in the Torq in your sleep 12Hr event, this would surely have to be revisited on a more suitable machine.
The route also put me through Lookout at Bracknell which is actually be turned into a trail centre at the moment ahead of the summer.
all in all i was certainly glad to have tried the route but it is unlikely i will repeat as it is.
Wednesday morning, i needed to beat the rain which was forecast for 8ish onwards, i didn't oversleep so this seemed achievable. I again went cross country to the great park and continued as usual until i got to the top of Red Road in lightwater (a pretty steep hill that feels like a test every time) instead of turning left and going through Deepcut (famous in the news years ago for the barracks...not in a positive way) i went straight on, i thought this would bring me out by the Lakeside complex (famous for the Darts world championships) well it didn't!
Having a history of appalling sense of direction i can say with some confidence that this has improved (ignoring the previous paragraph), i went what i thought was roughly the right direction, checking occasionally on the GPS, and then started hitting roads i recognised, another unexpected achievement as my memory is rubbish too. This detour missed out a couple of "gutty" bits which i don't care for and replaced them with different rubbish bits, but it was different so i didn't mind.
Got to work, threw the bike in the back of the car just as spots of rain appeared on the windows...mission accomplished :-)
I had planned to do a 200K permanent audax on Saturday but i had fallen behind on my frame preparation which was getting to me loads, i was even more intolerable at home than usual!
So i binned this idea which given the terrible forecast i wasn't so disappointed although i missed out cycling wiv my buddies Tim and Aid, hope they didn't get too wet.
Evenings and all day Saturday (on and off) was spent filing and polishing of my frame and the most exciting thing happened...the postman brought me my graphics too. Frame got finished, new forks modified. All that was left was to pack it up ready to post it Monday morning for paint. Big milestone achieved.

Additionally i took on another project this week (you can never have too many projects) A skill i want to learn is painting, of the bicycle frame kind. Not wanting my bespoke frame to be the guinea pig, i purchased an old school road bike and forks off eBay for a tenner +P&P with the idea of it not being terribly important whether i make a hash of it or not. It turns out the frame size is perfect, almost matching my bespoke frame.

With no markings and just the faintest residue of it's original colour i discovered that it is a 1978/79 Elswick Mistral, nothing special, not rubbish but not exotic either, perfect. this will become a single speed project also for short road training, but for now it will sit in the corner of the shed and do nothing...much...probably...for a while (piccy of what i should look like)
Target for the week: 150K
Total distance achieved: 189.2K

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