Here I am.
On a bike…
I promised myself that I’d never become a ‘mamil’ (Middle-Aged Man In Lycra) after all my colleagues at the climbing company I worked at veered off from the ‘true path’ of rock climbing into road biking. Being in the midst of chat about cadence nearly every day while dying to talk about routes (on rock) instead of on Strava bugged me intensely; thus my resolution to never pull-on a bib was made.
However, 10 years later, after a wrist injury curtailed my climbing and because I was now living in a road biking paradise (though possibly not for beginners) I decided to dip my toe in the water. Calling up a few mates I got some advice on gearing and suchlike (bearing in mind I live on a 7km 9% hill) and after a few weeks of searching found what seemed to be a very good deal. And although not a bike-tech nerd I’ll tell you it’s a Scott Speedster 20 size small with Shimano 105 and a 50/34 front ring and an 11/32 (essential for me) on the back.
I spent more than I wanted in the end (something all my biking friends said would happen) but the bonus is that I felt that I’d bought a bike with decent re-sale value if I didn’t take to it.
And I was still very unsure that it would be for me. After all it was only a few months earlier I’d reduced my mate to tears of laughter as I failed to ride a basically flat 15km on a mountain bike: swearing profusely about how ‘I hate this’ as my back hurt and my thighs burned!!!
Still I figured ‘in for a penny in for about £600 pounds’…But the one thing I decided not to do was commit more money for biking clothing when I had a selection of performance climbing clothes and a helmet that would ‘do’ for the time being. And since the bike came with normal pedals I eschewed clip ons as well. Maybe waste money on a bike but don’t add even more on top…
First day. I decided that on my new superlight (comparatively) bike would make it a piece of cake to do a quick spin up the hill past my house. It’s only 7km I figured not really realising how hard the patches of up to 12% I’d encounter on the Puerto de Marabio would be.
Boy I suffered! I went gamely enough but only managed 4km and was bitterly disappointed by the fact that a lighter bike didn’t seem to make up for no training and didn’t make steep hills a piece of piss…!?!
The negative was quitting after I’d figured that all I’d have to do was put one foot over the other and ‘keep spinning’ (as my mate told me); it just wasn’t as simple as that. The positive was that i almost enjoyed it. The sweat pouring off me, my legs blowing up and the gasping for air.
And as I realised that I didn’t dislike it I started to think that I may actually like it if I put some effort in…training and suchlike. So as I pootled back down the the very potholed road back to the house I even smiled a little and basked in the irony of enjoying something I’d so vehemently sworn off so many years ago! (Still don’t understand cadence though…)
Here’s the link to this first effort on Strava: https://www.strava.com/activities/1821456847
You can follow my progress here and if you follow me on Strava you can see my routes as well…