a journal - cycling, sociology, social media

Sunday 26 August 2018

2018 That summer when we hardly ever needed to wash our bikes

I decided to take a break from writing during the summer, with a very full race season (a little too full as it turned out but more on that later) which entailed a lot of weekends away at races, along with holidays and a couple of other significant events I knew I wasn't going to be able to give the blog much attention. 

Even though I had decided on a blogging sabbatical before the temperatures began to soar it turned out to be a good decision as what a summer 2018 has been - way too nice to spend any more than the absolute minimum amount of time office bound.

So for this my first post back after my break I am starting with a quick summary of my summer of 2018, the year when we hardly ever had to wash our bikes or wear our arm warmers. More detailed posts on some of what follows will come over the next couple of months so just some snippets this week to get things in some sort of order and refresh my memory as much as anything else.

My race season Part 1:

My last blog post was on the 13th May just after I had completed the TourofTheAbberleys and what a great race it was. The day after I got back I raced a 30 mile TLI handicap at the Croft motor racing circuit, my 5th race in four days and my racing season was in full swing. I ended May having had thirteen race days in the month - this was a mistake. What I should have done (with the benefit of hindsight) was take a short break after the Abberleys, because I didn't rather than getting fitter from racing my form slipped (badly) and after some promising early season results I was finding every race a real struggle. More on this, what I have learned and how the rest of my race season went in a later post.

Above - 20th May - The TLI National Circuit Championships at Oulton Park in Cheshire I was feeling okay for this one and still had a bit of form but managed to miss the break and finish 11th which I wasn't too disappointed with in what was a quality field and a very aggressive race. Picture courtesy of  VeloUK - thanks Larry.

Above the start of the TLI Lapierre Series Round 5, The George Darlington Memorial RR promoted by Liverpool Century Road Club - big field, great circuit, perfect weather, legs felt good ... proceeded to crash on lap one of seven ! Thankfully I got a relatively soft landing in a wheat and field escaped with a cut finger and some grazes and without any major damage to the bike so it could have been a lot worse.

Pedalling out of a hole in Cala Millor 

Races every weekend along with a lot of driving began to take its toll and I realised that I was well and truly cooked, struggling just to get round races never mind get results. So having managed to dig a big hole of fatigue for myself a weeks holiday in Majorca in June came at just the right time. We had planned this break to come at the half way point in my race season with the intention of just doing enough training while I was away just to maintain fitness, but as my form had deserted me completely and I was really fatigued I was forced to have an easy few days of recovery/cafe riding. I felt a bit better by the end of the week then promptly got ill with a stomach bug when we got home which was far from ideal, Calla Millor was really nice though we enjoyed it.

First ride in Majorca and I am colour coded to the max with this killer shoe/sock combo, a Pinarello rental bike and a zebra, yep legs don't look great ... didn't feel great either.

By the end of a week of gentle cafe rides and not much else the old legs were starting to look and feel a bit better.

A bridge, a bike shop and brewery.

A summers day in the 'Toon' taking in the Tyne Bridge on my visit to the The Back Yard Bike Shop at a 'creative container community' the ByTheRiverBrewCompany in Newcastle. I was lucky enough to get a full tour of the shop and the rest of the Hillgate Quay development from the man behind BackYardBikeShop Nic Vieri.

The TheBackYardBikeShop is literally underneath the Tyne Bridge right on the quayside. If there is a cooler location than this for a bike shop anywhere, I would love to know where it is (answers on a postcard please) Nic has created something really different and the location and set up is so impressive it definitely deserves a full blog post - coming next month.

Plane Spotting

At some point in the summer I developed a bit of a thing for aeroplanes - this came totally out of the blue (pun intended) sounds a bit weird I know but it happened. I think it started with Google Earth, you know when you see something on there and think to yourself I am going to have yo go and have a look at that, so I did.

And that's how I found myself on top of a moor in North Northumberland dragging my CX bike across a bog to take pictures of a 'crashed' jet plane complete and in remarkably good condition including the engine - the things I do for Instagram.

From one extreme to the another and my plane spotting phase continued. This time with a visit to my local model flying club, where I spent a very pleasant hour chatting to the members, admiring their planes and watching them fly ... and crash, oops. I have enough aeroplane related stuff for a full blog post with loads of cool pictures along with the story of how the jet plane ended up in the bog, plus a Spitfire taking off and a plane landing at a bike race - don't miss it.

My race season part 2:

As I write this its still on-going, not many races left, but two of them are LVRC National Championship races, the criterium champs at Milton Keynes on September 8th and the Road Race Championships at Stratford on Avon on 7th of October - I will let you know how I get on.


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