Right, to ease me back into blogging again after a lengthy lay off, I am posting a little photo diary of this weekend’s trip to Copenhagen. It was savagely cold, in a way that the UK has not been so far this winter. The east wind goes through any layers you are wearing and eats its way into your very being. Copenhagen is a compact little city, with a lot of waterways, and a few very good real ale pubs. These shots were all taken with my little Samsung point and shoot camera, because we only took hand luggage and the big camera is too big!!
I did a short ride today in order to collect my bike and bring it home. 13 miles total around one of my short routes.
The temperature was 0 degrees and there was a very slight wind and no blue sky – how depressing!
I was fully thermal’d up today, and also wore my balaclava and new sunglasses (the prescription lens inserts arrived last week). Even so, I was taken aback by the cold once I got going and the wind chill started. I had ideas of doing a 30 – odd miler, but a mile down the road I had given up on that idea!
My windproof gloves, which have given me sterling protection from the cold all winter so far, were rendered far less effective. The going was easy, though, with an absence of headwind for once. I averaged 16.7 mph and did a time of 47 mins.
This time of year certainily sorts out the hardcore and the ‘occasional’ cyclists! Roll on March!!!
Did a good, (reasonable speed) 21 mile run yesterday as the poor weather abated. Clear sky and a 5 degree temperature prevailed, so it was on with the lycra and thermals.
This week has been a mad rush – staying away for work all week until Thursday, and then finishing off with a work night out and lavish consumption of fine Italian wine and grappa putting paid to my fitness work.
So, mindful of the effects that Christmas will no doubt have, I got out and managed an average of 17.6 mph, not bad in my general riding experience, and half the ride going into an at times lively headwind breeze.
The route, back roads but still decent enough not to be too muddy/leafy/generally dangerous, was largely flat (as are most in Suffolk..) but one or two decent ascent/descents thrown in.
One thing that did hit me toward the 17 mile marker (maybe due to my higher average speed combined with lack of exercise, stress and tiredness from the past week?!!) was that I felt close to blowing up – my legs were getting that awful empty feeling and it took me some effort to keep going – especially as the headwind returned for the last couple of miles.
I also picked up a set of Race Blades (the Orbea doesn’t have clearance for mudguards), and am in the process of fitting them – got the back one on in 30 seconds, but due to the computer, the front ones may take some thinking about!
A glorious winter’s day today with a temperature of about 5 degrees, so I took a long lunch to go for a ride. I didn’t go too far, but at 17 miles it was a decent weekday training ride. For the first time in ages I haven’t come back with the wet streak all the way up my back, so it’s good news all round.
The sun is low in the sky on days like this so shaded patches on the roads can be a hazard, but some beautiful scenery all the same. I also came across these roadside spectators after about five miles.
Today’s average was 17.4 mph, which is lower than I would have liked, although there were a number of car-related frustrations on the ride. I tried to stick to open, fast roads today, but traffic lights at some roadworks stopped me, so I had to ride through the roadworks with a queue of car drivers following me. Then a mile on, a line of considerately parked cars blocked my side of the road and so I had to pull in for oncoming traffic. Yet again, I get the feeling that cyclists are just a pain in the backside for car drivers (of which I am admittedly one myself).
I’ve just consigned yet more riding kit to the washing machine. Limited time this afternoon left me with about 1.5 hours of daylight for a ride, and all I managed with the slippery wet roads was a 12 miler. But again, the computer has completely changed my approach to riding – it’s amazing how prescient data, presented at the right time, can focus your mind and improve your efficienty.
Well, after a ride around a new local route with a mixture of road conditions and a little undulation, the results were one thermal jersey with a wet stripe up the back, wet shorts, socks and shoes, and a calculated average of 17 mph (now calibrated properly and therefore ‘trustable’).
The above picture was taken a few weeks ago in rather better conditions, but it’s a landmark when you’re cycling around here – the plume of steam from the Sugar Beet factory at Bury St Edmunds which, when on unfamiliar roads, acts as a beacon.
If I get out on ‘proper’ roads, rather than the fiddly little lanes I have been doing recently, which conspire to present you with every problem from freshly laid top dressing, through wet leaves, slippery manhole covers and mud, I should be able to increase this average speed. I am getting a real time speed reading between 15-20 mph on climbs, but a lot of very slow and fiddly junctions and crossings on today’s run slowed me down.