11 Apr 2016

Itchy Legs

It's hard being off the bike.

At first I felt great, like my legs just got to the weekend and don't have to get up in the morning. Nice and relaxed and, well... lazy.

But then my legs start to itch.

This week I've been sick. It's just a cold, a tickle at the back of my throat and a snuffly nose. I can't breathe properly and I've been feeling pretty rotten, so that means time off the bike to ensure I don't wear myself out and make it all worse.

When you ride 14+ hours a week it takes up a certain amount of time, including the extra time outside of that where you're washing bikes, greasing chains, and making sure that all your gear is washed and dry. Making sure that lights are plugged in and charging, that the training logs are up to date and the burn-down chart has all the details in it. Weighing in to keep an eye on the general mass that I'm dragging around... Eating lots of extra food, and generally apologising for doing everything I just mentioned.

When the routine is broken. There is nothing to do, and I found myself doing strange things...

I started eating breakfast at home - normally I eat after my morning ride. I also usually shower when I get to work. 3 mins in and out - I'm infamous for my quick showers ("I've been doing it for years, I got good at it"). Using the shower at home means I have time to laze around a bit more, and even shave off that pesky facial hair - so instead of my signature week-by-week stubble I've been relatively clean-shaven for the last 5 days. It's all a bit weird really.

I've also been re-introduced to the horrific concept that are Public Trains. Now, I'm not against mass transit - in fact I'm certainly in favour of it for many, many reasons - but going from the feeling of being free and out in the open to take in the world, to being smooshed into a fast moving tube - it's a juxtaposition that just isn't all that pleasant. At least I don't have to drive - trains have a relative lack of congestion and you can kick back and ready a book - not have to pay a hideous amount of attention to what people around me are doing; as I'd have to do if I were driving a car.... or riding a bike... ok, but it's different when you're on a bike... totally.

Trains aren't a completely foreign concept for me though - I do take the train when I am not cycling - bad weather or the need for a rest day - so on average I take the train once a week. When I do use it I feel like a visitor, a proverbial tourist of public trains - I'm having a rest from cycling, and I even get to feel a teensie bit smug that I'm only there because I've worn myself out from my primary commuting option. It really is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there all the time.

Plus my legs itch... I just want to get out and cycle around!

Then there is this 'walking' thing that one has to do to get from the train station to work. It simply isn't natural. After doing this for a few days my legs are starting to hurt in strange ways - my calves and ankles just weren't designed for this type of activity.

On the flip side of all this, though, I've had a lot of time to think about things.

I've finally read through the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Guide by Amy Tailor that I've been reading since the beginning of the year, and do some reflection on how things are going, and some concentrated thinking about where I'm going go next.

In March I rode 1261km and climbed around 10km in elevation. I spent around 52 hours in the saddle. The month seemed pretty good - I had a weekend where I didn't ride and another week where the weather must have been feeling about as bad as I do now. The training has been a nice mix of endurance and strength work, and I've seen improvements on times and efforts on some of the more regular climbs. I've also managed to consistently go slower on one particularly clallenging climb - every, single, time, but I also managed to smash 3 minutes off one particular climb, taking my time from 9 minutes down to 6. Much wow!

Next week I have a bike fit booked in with Anthony from BikeFitter. I'm really looking forward to getting my bike set-up done properly, and being in a place where I know all the niggles I'm feeling are expected and that I just need to harden up. More on that after it happens!

I've also been reminiscing on the darker days. The ones that come now that daylight savings has come to confuse our brains and have us wake up at 5am. Thanks Daylight Savings Guy. This, along with extra training rides in the morning has been putting a strain on my bike lights - the excellent Moonlight Comet and not-so-excellent-but-cheap $40 headlight I got on Trade Me - are struggling to keep up with my extended commutes, so I've spent the evenings snuggled up with a cup of herbal tea and the laptop, reading reviews on the different lighting system options out there... oh and also and watching video reviews, in German, with auto-translation-subtitled... seriously this is a source of complete amusement - if you thought that Bad Lip Reading was funny...

It simply is amazing the amount of time you can spend researching a product - something else that takes time away from the family and adds to the seemingly-infinite list of things that need to be sorted before the end of November. I think I've figured out what I'll order, so I'll put up a *gasp* product review (more like an expectations vs reality review probably) when I get around to ordering it.

I also got new pads for my old helmet this week. My helmet is a Scott Groove II - something I mention so you can laugh at me, rather than as a recommendation. I got it after I was hit by a car about a year ago and my old helmet split. It was pretty much the only thing I could afford that didn't have unicorns on it. After a year of sweat and general use the pads fell apart and I started shopping around for a new lid. I was seriously tempted by the POC Octal, but The Engineer brought me back to earth and suggested I look around for replacement pads. Who knew! They actually sell spare parts for helmets, so I got a couple of spare sets from Avanti Plus in Lower Hutt - only to find out that each 'set' comes with two sets in it, so I have enough spares for my helmet to last about 4 more years!

Aah how the mind wanders when I'm not doing anything...

I can see a guy cycling alongside the motorway as we trundle along in this hulking beast, and I'm jealous.

...and my legs have started itching again.
~~ ~~


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