2012 turned out to be a really good cycling year for me notching up just under 3000 mile on the road the, most I’ve ever cycling in a year. I’m hoping I can emulate my training in the coming year make as much progress.
I started 2012 by doing lots of RPM classes and turbo sessions so by the time the good weather, what little we had of it, I already had 100o miles in my legs and was in better shape to make the most of the summer. Taking of a new bike August changed a lot and spurred me on. However, I was off the bike for 3 or 4 weeks over the summer when my Dad was very ill but, I’m glad to say, he is doing great now.
This year seems to be getting off to a good start with a mild spell of weather. I intend to do as much as I can again during the winter months to keep in shap.
I really would like `to do some charity rides this summer. I would like to start doing charity work through my cycling so that is a goal for this year.
I was lucky enough this Sunday to visit the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow and to have the chance to ride the track for the first time. Edinburgh Road Club (ERC) booked the track for 3 hours on Sunday morning and run junior and senior coaching sessions along side each other. I was lucky enough to spend about and hour on the track.
Firstly, it was just amazing to see the place, it is huge. The building is very modern from the outside and it is in the Parkhead area of Glasgow right beside the Celtic football ground. Parkhead is really quite a run down area of Glasgow that I am glad to say is being regenerated for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It seemed slightly surreal to driving along a road lined with social housing, which screamed deprivation at you, and then to turn a corner and be faced with a £113 million Velodrome.
One of the best moments of the day was, after I got my track bike to hire, climbing the steps into the centre space of the track. I was quite overwhelmed by the size of it. Fortunately I didn’t have long to wait before getting to ride. The most difficult bit is getting on and off the bike. Someone had to hold the bike for me while I clipped my feet in. Once I was in, I has hanging onto the barrier with one hand just trying to stay upright which I found quite tricky.
The hardest thing was keeping my feel in the pedals. I have an ongoing problem with my right foot jumping out of the cleat. On a road its not too much of a problem because I can just freewheel for a bit and clip back in. On the track bike it was really difficult because you can’t freewheel so I go into a pickle a couple of times with one foot hanging out the side.
It was much more difficult than I thought it would be but I still really enjoyed it. Going round the banking at speed is an amazing feeling. I’m going to try and get another opportunity to go through again next year. I’m hoping Scottish Cycling will start a track league for disabled riders although I think it will be a while before they get around to that.
I don’t know about you but I’ver got pretty fed up with the weather lately, we have had very little in the way of a summer this year. It has rained constantly for the last few weeks which has made it difficult to get out cycling much. I’ve kind of got out the habit of cycling and am finding it difficult to get back into.
Nobody needs me to tell them the effects of physical on mental health and mood. For a while I was feeling a bit rotten because I wasn’t getting out on the bike. However its amazing the change that a couple of days can have and the effect of a long run on the bike.
I made a decision to start feeling great again and have taken various steps to achieve this. As well as getting out on the bike more often I have started takking daily walks, eating healhy and looking after myself. I hope I can keep it up!
Spend the afternoon with a cycling coach who very kindly measured me up for a bike and examined my riding position on my current bike. I’m getting a bit of a sore back and sometimes sore arms off my bike which has been causing me a bit of difficulty. My friend kindly measured me up and took a good look at my position. Turns out my saddle was a bit height and I’m stretching too much. I need to try and get a shorter stem to make it more comfortable.
It5 highlighted the need to get a properly fitting bike. The reason I wanted it done is because I’m hoping to get a new bike in the not too distant future. I’ve been given a bit of money from a couple of disability trust funds towards a bike with Di2 which should make life on the bike a lot easier for me. I really look forward to spending the money so should be good.
I’m feeling a bit sheepish about not updating my blog for a little while, and my excuses for that are two fold. I’ve not done quite as much cycling myself in the last couple of weeks partly because the weather has been terrible and partly because I have been feeling a bit run down and tired. I have been very tired for whatever and not been sleeping well. In the first half of this year I have already done more miles than I did in the whole of last year so I am quite please with my progress so far.
Another reason for not updating my blog so often is partly because I am running out of ideas! writing a blog about myself and my personal cycling expereince seems a little narrow and dull, my own experience is really not that interesting! Therefore I am hoping to start to broaden the scope of my blog and to write all about cycling in general.
Hopefully this will .give me more to write about and help keep readers mroe interested in my blog. I’m planning to cycle again tomorrow after a long break and hopefully get back into some serious training again soon.
I spent Thursday evning helping out with an APR race where I was a marshall This involved standing in the village of Gifford for a couple of hours in the pouring rain which was really not my idea of fun.
An APR is where riders are set off in stages according to thier ability, kind of like a handicap systems where the fastest riders at the back are meant to catch the slower group at the front and everydody races to the line, although it never seems to work like that. I think the last riders were set off 12 mins after the front group so they were never going to catch them.
I’m helping at another race this thursday although it looks like will be in one of the cars this time. At least if its chucking it with rain, I’ll be dry.
In the last 1o days we have seen a much more settled spell of weather for a day or so lulled us into thinking that summer had finally arrived. I’ve been lucky enough so far to get a couple of runs and some cycling training in the sunshine wearing only my shorts and top, an experience I’ve not had since way back last summer sometime. Unfortunately things have takes a turn for the worse again and we are back to our usual rain and drizzle for now.
The good weather certainly brings out the cyclists and I was on a club run last week where there must have been around 20 riders. I generally enjoy cycling in the big pack like that although when it speeds up, as it does, I get nervous. If anything is going to happen it will happen very quickly so you have to have your wits about you. As well as bringing the cyclists out, I think the summer makes people cycle faster, further and harder which is probably help by the cycle season being well underway and people’s fitness much higher. Unfortunately this is somewhat to my detriment because I am, struggling more than ever to keep up with them. They are getting fed up waiting on me and I’m getting fed up busting a gut to keep up.
A good friend of mine reminded me of something which find of put things in perspective for me. The club that I cycel with, Edinburgh Road Club, is not just any old club, but its the most competitive club in Edinburgh. Some of the people I cycle with and not just any old cyclist, some of them are top athletes and are very competitive cyclists. There are Scottish champions and a couple of world champions in different disciplines.
Its not appropriate to compare of measure my progress up against theirs. I forget I have cerebral palsy sometimes, and I think they do too which on the one hand is a positive thing but, on the other creates false expectations. The fact that they make no difference to me is fantastic and they obviously don’t see me as disabled which is great. On the other hand, I have to remember that there is a difference and I’m not going be able to realistically keep up with them.
I think the best thing is to keep doing what I’m doing and most of all enjoy my cycling. Comparing oneself to others can be a futile pursuit unless you have good reason to do so like, you are about to enter a race or a time trail which I am not. Even I were however, I wouldn’t be about to race against the elite riders on Edinburgh, rather I’d be riding against other disabled people with a similar level of impairment. With that in mind I am not going to loose a wink of sleep about not keeping up with people and going to enjoy doing what I am doing.
Not done much cycling for the last seven days or so because we are experiencing a particularly bad spell of weather. Low pressure has been sitting over us for a while bringing much rain and high winds. Temperatures for the time of year have been very low too. As a result I’ve been struggling to get out riding for a bit. The few times I have been out cycling recently, I’ve had full winter kit on because it has been so cold. I do hope it warms up soon.
I am really enjoying the Sunday runs, and the club are very patient with me indeed and never leave me on my own but I feel guilty about holding them back sometimes. I feel that I must try to keep my training up so that I am as fit as I can be and don’t’ hold them back to much.
If summer ever arrives it will be great and I hope to gert lots more done then. I am going to keep up my indoor RPM class and hope the weather picks up soon.
Yesterday I attended Highland and Perthshire Cycling Festival after being invited to speak about the cycling that I’m doing, and about disability cycling in general. I met some lovely people and was inspired by the number of disabled cyclists there, and by the development that seems to be taking place to promote and encourage cycling amongst disabled people.
I was particularly inspired by a young cyclist with cerebral palsy who was into cycle-running and has won many medals in her discipline. She was a top athlete who brought along here running cycle to show us. I was quite surprised by the number of specialist bikes on show that are available to disabled cyclists. There were a couple of companies there displaying specialist cycles and equipment for enabling disabled cyclists to take part. For example, there were tandems, three wheelers that would enable a wheelchair user to sit on the front, as well as side by sides that enable disabled cyclists to be accompanied on a bike. It was great to see so much variety and ways that disabled people to participate in cycling.
One thing that did make me feel proud yesterday however was, that I realised that there are not many disabled people cycling and doing the sort of distances and training that I am doing. I feel fantastic that I am so fit at the moment and am able to cycle 40 miles or so with the local club. I continue to monitor my training and performance in the hope of finding other disabled people to compare notes with. The girl doing the cycle-running was fantastic and I hope she goes on to train and record her data and experience. Meanwhile I will continue to try and improve and encourage disabled riders to do the same.
I was so delighted to have been asked to attend yesterday and hope that even in a small way I might be able to encourage other disabled people to ride. I can’t put into words the freedom and enjoyment that cycling gives me as well as the obvious challenge. I think the good thing about cycling is, that it is as challenging as you make it. I love setting challenges for myself and stretching myself to the absolute limit. For example, a few weeks ago I went out with a group who I was never going to keep up with and they would drop me pretty quickly indeed. I managed to hang onto their tails for about 15 miles before they were out of sight and I just felt fantastic that I had done that. The challenge for me is one of the best parts and I hope that I can get that over to others and they get the same enjoyment out it as I do.
I now have to set myself some more challenges and things to archive. I would like to ride to raise money for charity next and then try some bigger longer, endurance rides. I would also like to pluck up the courage to take part in local time trials and see how I get on with that.
There is a climb that is well known called The Granites which is just on the boundary between Mid Lothian and the Borders that has been on my ‘to do’ list for over a year now and I finally cycled it today. It was good clear conditions and I was out with ERC and climbed it today and what a fantastic road it is. I feel really lucky sometimes because within an hours cycle there are so many fantastic country roads around.
I didn’t however complete the run that I wanted to do, rather I climbed to the top of the Granites and came back down the same way rather that carrying on with a circular run that the others were doing. I was struggling to keep up with the others because it was a particularly hilly ride. Again I’m back to the old problem of finding it difficult to get up hills. Someone said to me that I should work at my hill climbing.
The truth is I have been working at climbing all winter in RPM class and by doing hill reps. I might never be able to climb as effectively as able bodied people but I just have to accept that. am trying to raise money to buy a light weight bike at the moment which will help tremendously. Unfortunately, these things cost a huge amount of money and this might take some time.