Irony

I didn’t cycle much at the start of the year as I had a nasty cold which included a lot of coughing. Not conducive to performing well on a bike! The irony is that my cycling has increased massively since the lockdown began. I’ve no other outlets for exercise as capoeira and boot camp are no longer on, and I’ve rediscovered the joy of cycling.

There are some mechanical issues. The chain rings on the Carrera TdF need replacing, but they don’t seem to be individually fitted so I think the whole crank needs replacing, something I’m not sure I’m up to. I’ll take another look later in the year, but for now I’ve simply swapped to the Ribble. The warm weather has coincided nicely with the lockdown! However, the chain and cassette need replacing, I’ve ordered the parts but there’s been a bit of a delay witih the retailer despatching them – fair enough given the circumstances.

I think I’m going to order some new sunglasses soon, as the prescription insert on my current ones is practically falling part – there’s only so much superglue I can put on it! I think a new helmet is due as well, as the clasp is starting to fall apart. It’s not urgent so I’ll keep an eye out for any offers.

On the family side, Rory has finally learned how to cycle without stabilisers. I got him a new bike for his birthday and something has finally clicked – we managed a 6km ride with me and the children last week, and Rory has discovered the joy of cycling downhill. I look forward to some more family rides, especially if the lockdown continues into the summer.

Not a great month

I’ve not done anywhere near enough exercise this month. After my brief flurry of activity at the start of the month, things have quietened down considerably. Annoyingly the school sports days were all scheduled at the time I would normally go to circuit training so I missed a few days one week, and I’ve just returned from holiday. I did a lot of walking on holiday (I managed 10,000 steps every single day last week) but only properly exercised once – a quick run on the beach:

Hopefully things will return to normal soon. I’ve definitely noticed the difference that all the weights and training have made to my body – I’m in much better shape than I was last year, I still have a slight belly but if I breath in there’s actually muscle definition there! I’m going to try and shift the last of it by Christmas. I’m not massively worried about the way my body looks (although it is a pleasant side-effect) – the main consideration is that I want my clothes to fit properly, right now I’m kind of halfway between 32″ and 34″ with various brands measuring up differently. My t-shirts have also started getting tighter in all the right places. I need to overhaul my wardrobe but it’s not ideal to do so whilst my body keeps changing shape!

Tour de France

Up until halfway through this year’s Tour it was the most exciting it has been since I started taking an interest (2009). Everything was balanced nicely and there was no runaway leader. Unfortunately the bad weather conditions meant they had to shorten a stage. I understand why they did so but I think they should have neutralised the stage rather than take the results at the top of the penultimate col. Kruijswijk still had a team-mate and was looking good, and Thomas would surely have come back too. Bernal might well have won anyway but the way it happened was very anti-climactic. I was gutted when Pinot had to pull out as well.

It was even worse because where I was staying on holiday had very poor mobile coverage, so I was trying to follow the race on Twitter (livestreaming gave up after 5 seconds!) Luckily stage 19 was broadcast on 5 Live Sports Extra so I did get to follow some of it ‘live’.

Still not getting anywhere

Apart from the year when I was suffering from a hernia, this has been my worst year for cycling so far. I’ve only been on a couple of rides unfortunately. The main things stopping me from doing more are:

  • Lack of time – work is keeping me busy, as well as circuit training and capoeira
  • Injuries – I’m determind to get better at running but I still keep getting injuries which is very frustrating
  • Lack of sleep – usually when I’m planning to go for a ride, something will stop me sleeping the night before (usually a child)

My inspiration last year for training more was getting a place on RideLondon – sadly, this year I didn’t get a place:

I know that cycling makes me feel better (physically and mentally) but it’s felt like I’ve not had enough hours in the day recently. I must do better.

Running isn’t going much better – the last time I went out for a 5km run, I hurt the outside of my left knee after 2km and had to cut it short. It seems like my IT band is getting irritated. Cycling would sometimes cause problems there but as I’ve not been cycling much recently that’s not the issue! I might need to go and have more gait analysis, or maybe even get some physio.

Capoeira is going OK though, I’m almost getting the hang of doing armada com martelo. I’m still finding it very tiring getting through an hour, even though I seem to be getting fitter in other ways. Hopefully I should be attending my first festival next month and possibly getting my first cord!

Still injured

I’ve been doing a reasonable amount of circuit training but my time on the bike has been pretty limited as I keep injuring leg muscles! My left calf went this week, as soon as one muscle recovers the next one goes. It has been pretty cold recently so I’m not missing being out in the snow that much, but hopefully I’ll be able to manage a ride or two next week.

Froome

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I really want to believe that nothing untoward is going on with Chris Froome but Team Sky have not made things easy on themselves this year and it’s just another excuse. I don’t think he’d be daft enough to take too much salbutamol whilst in the red jersey as he knows he’s going to get tested every day, so there must be some other reason for it, but other riders have been suspended for lower levels. If the UCI don’t treat Froome the way they have other riders then it won’t look good for anyone. I hope they can demonstrate there is a legitimate reason for the positive test otherwise all the trust will be gone.

Hernia

So my groin pain turned out to be an inguinal hernia for which surgery is required – it won’t be until the end of February at the earliest. Ho hum. So my cycling has been massively curtailed – I’ve managed two turbo rides of 20 minutes, the first was OK but the second made me quite sore, although it was a little sore when I first got on. I can cycle on my MTB if I wear a hernia truss but I can’t really wear one over my Lycra without looking even dafter than I would anyway.

I bet this is the year I get a place on Ride London – it’d be typical of my luck! There’s no way I’d be properly fit to do it unless the surgery really was at the end of February and I was able to get some decent training in beforehand (no guarantee of that). At least they give the option to defer entry for a year so I’d have it to look forward to next year. I really just want to go for a decent ride again anywhere though!