Cycling Begins

So I finally took my bike out on a “bike ride” rather than just up and down Park St. in Bristol. I’ve had my Carrera strapped to the back of the old mans beamer and bought over the Severn and back to the motherland.

Every Sunday a couple of the locals hop on various types of bike and go for a leisurely ride around the delights of South-East Wales. I’ve never been on one of these, mainly because my choice of steed would have been either a Raleigh Chopper or a No Logo fixie but not any more, I have my road bike!

Since this photo I’ve fitted a water bottle and a pressure gauge pump to the frame which I was originally reluctant to do because aesthetics, but I ruin almost all of my possessions so it’s only a matter of time. Whilst I have utterly no idea what an expensive, super light bike feels to ride, I’m incredibly happy with the value for money with the Carrera TDF (Wish it was TCF). I imagine the gears could feel a bit more “tight” as the shifters don’t exactly feel like top of the range plastics let alone carbon fibre. You get what you pay for and all that jazz.

So as for the ride. I’m sorry to point out if any of the chaps who came come across this (if they can find it, 1/4 don’t have smart phones), but you guys ain’t quick. This could be down to the fact that when  I went out on Sunday, I expected to train in the same way I would when I run. This was the Sunday Stroll of Bike Rides and I think I’ll keep it up. They mentioned cycling up to Big Pit is something they’ve done before and I can imagine that’d have some decent climbs.

So training aside, the bike went well. It was fast, faster than the mountain bikes and hybrids as most people would expect but as for me, I had no idea just how much a difference it would make. Especially hills. Coming down into Ponthir on some back road I’ve never heard of was stupidly scary as I don’t have all that much confidence in the brakes on these road bikes, I find I tend to slip and I’m not sure why. I also took this oppurtunity to hook up Strava and give that a try for my first long cycle. The GPS didn’t drain my battery nearly as quickly as I manage to when I’m just using my phone on a day to day basis (I tend to charge iPhone 6, 4x a day from 0-100%). Strava has some absolutely hilarious names for roads, “Llantrisant little b***ard hill that I hate” is one of my personal favorites from our route.

We even stopped at a burger van and had a sausage sandwich in a retail park. This makes the ride seem was less scenic than I may have mentioned earlier on but actually, we cycled along the canal in Cwmbran which was all in all extremely pleasant.

After covering 42km over 3 hours including a stop for a sausage sarnie and a cuppa, I’m left wanting more. I’m looking forward to getting out and training a bit on my own and continuing the weekend cycles, most likely for the 3 times a month I’m planning on being home this year.

Tri Training is Hard

Right. 

I’ve made commitment. It’s no longer 4 days a week training weights. It’s no longer training for 4 days. It’s now a multi discipline sport of which I’m totally awful at all three. I have an entire winter to train before next season and whilst I know we are doing a super sprint distance, I’m sure we will all be fit enough to do sprint next year and hopefully work up to an Olympic the following year. 

Currently due to my continued lack of home I am focusing in running quite a bit and I’ve really got into it. At present 5km is definitely my gig. I enjoy that distance. I love running in different places. Working in Bristol has seen me find a nice route around the Downs that I think is absolutely gorgeous and when I head up North I really enjoy Prestatyn Beach because I’ve done two 10km runs along there and it’s straight and then air is lush.

As for Cycling, I’ve grabbed myself a cheap but reasonably specced Road bike from Cycle Republic which had absolutely great customer service. It’s a spin off of halfords which I’ve never had a problem with either. Top marks chaps. I’ve only been doing short rides to the office at the moment and am loving it. So strange riding a geared bike and having the ability to rest your feet. I’m looking forward to getting some serious miles on it once I’ve got it back to Wales and out of the office basement (genuinely,not having a “base” sucks).

   

 As for swimming. Good lord is it the hardest thing to do. I now realise all the effort put into getting my yellow dolphin badge is in vain because they actually teach you not to drown as opposed to how to swim well in a competitive environment. I’m in a spot where swimming non stop for a considerable amount of time seems impossible. I think I might need to get lessons again for this aspect of the tri.