Saturday, 30 May 2015

A whole new ballgame

It's taper time, we are now only 3 small weeks away from the West Highland way race. Let the taper madness begin.

Since the Fling I've been feeling pretty good. I recovered pretty quickly and was running again by Tuesday. Last month has been pretty busy with work & life. We marshalled at the Cateran and I was also  doing the cooking. I was up at 4.30am having gone to bed at 1am. Cooked breakfast for runners & marshalls then headed off to our Checkpoint where we had an 80's disco complete with genuine ghettoblaster.  We had a proper blast, thanks Helen & Julie, great fun.

Then it was back to Lodge to get cooking dinner. Luckily had the very able helping hands of Helen and I even managed to sneak off for a bath at some point during day. Only person I managed to see finish was the awesome Ritchie who won it comfortably . For rest of day I was stuck in kitchen, not even seeing the presentations. Long tiring day but worth it to take pressure off Karen and happy that everyone seemed to enjoy it. I love the Cateran, was very envious of all the runners, its the most beautiful route.

 I've recently moved jobs and I'm no longer in city centre. I was only 2.2 miles from work but tended to do 7 or 8 miles most mornings by meandering a bit, and I'd usually do 3 home. I think 10 miles a day is just fine. But now I'm based out at Edinburgh business school at Heriot Watt. It's 8.02 miles door to door. If I don't run I'd have to either walk 2 miles to Princes st or get bus there. That would mean 4 buses a day. For anyone who knows me also knows about my bus rants. Something had to be done.

So I decided to get a bike. I've never had a bike, not unless you count when I was ten that is, even then I was never on it. Its only for when I'm not running, ie- tapering r recovering from races or injured.

apologies for anyone who's already read this on fetch!

Ian was dead excited, makes noises about cycling holidays and long bike rides together, I looked at him as if he was nuts

 I thought you could just go into a shop, pick a bike and cycle out. It would appear not, there are lots of bikes in shops, just not for sale.
I went to Edinburgh bicycle co-operative at first, Ian got his there and was happy with service and loves his bike. A proper bike for road cycling, not the kind I was looking for. I looked at a few I liked look of, apparently you don't go for ones you like look of though? Isn't that what you do when you buy a car? Oh, that looks nice and its red-I'll take it! That's how I buy things, you know- dresses, shoes, bags etc.

But no, girl steered me away from ones I liked and towards ones I didn't. These were lighter, faster ( I don't want faster!) better handling, better gears (gears? ) aaargh. It just stressed me out. I got one and cycled round shop, bumping into anything within a fraction of me.   And it was more than I wanted to realistically wanted to spend. Its not that I cant afford to spend a lot, I just don't want to. This is purely functional, its not for pleasure.

left there feeling a bit downhearted, Ian suggested trying Evans seeing we were out anyway (we'd ran and weather was fowl) So off we went. I actually ended up buying one from their website, well I put a deposit down it anyway, could get it back if I didn't like it when it arrived. He said 2 or 3 days so I expected it in on Tuesday/Wednesday. True enough got phone call on the Tuesday so ran from work and popped in to see it. Except I couldn't. They were too busy to build it, they'd got over 200 bikes in that morning and would be working from 7am till 10pm building them don't you know. my would be ready in week.
That's my problem how? Don't tell me my bike will be ready by midweek then tag another freaking week on to it. I was bit annoyed and told them so. Ian was doing his sportive that weekend and I thought I could've taken it up and cycled round a bit and get used to it at my leisure. hmmph.

So no bike for Sportive, hey ho. I got call & email to say it was in, again I ran there. I got told when I ordered it I could add on mudguards and a pannier rack, that they'd do it when I went it to test drive/pay for it. only guess what? they were too busy, they'd had lots bikes delivered blah bloody blah. Another days wait.

EVENTUALLY I got the bloody bike. The seat is down low, yes I know its too low, stop telling me its too low but until I feel comfortable on it I want my two feet to go flat on ground, deal with it folks. I paid rest of money (cost me around £400 all told) and pushed it out of shop and towards meadows. The shop is next to a very busy road and no way was I jumping on it and looking like a kid trying to ride a bike for first time in middle of lorries and buses.
I got to meadows and jumped on, I genuinely had no idea what I was doing, I have no clues what the gears do and kept moving them which made them jump a bit and me nearly fall over. All too soon I was through the meadows, had to cross a road into oncoming traffic and get onto cycle lane. got beeped at for not getting across fast enough.
Once I was on cycle lane it wasn't too bad, its wee bit slight uphill then a downhill toward causewayside, the cycle lane is clearly marked but sometimes there was a car parked in it which freaked me out having to go into middle of road. I've seen the way cars pretty much ignore cyclist. I was proper scared.

Got to Suffolk road after being passed by about 5 cyclists literally whizzing past me and it was straight road down to house. This is very nice area full of big nice expensive cars. There are cars parked both sides of street so only one car can get up or down at certain parts. As I was cycling down a big fuck of Landover which has no place in the city centre came towards me, I had space to cycle down side no bother, I was horrified to find driving towards me whilst txting on his fuckin mobile. I was nervous enough without arseholes like that around ffs.

I glared at him and cycled down to house and to put bike in bike shed. I got off feeling shaky and bit seasick! I'd only cycled 2 bloody miles.

Its like riding a bike. Ian got home from work and he took me down to cycle around estate a bit to get bit more used to it, look I'm even smiling.    Next day I was cycling to & from work. Scared face. Its ok, it's like riding a bike.

I left about 10mins later than I'd normally, I cycled same way I'd came night before, Roads very quiet at 6.30am thankfully and soon enough I was on canal without incident. Until I got to aquaduct. There are signs asking cyclist to dismount, no problem there, no way am I cycling along cobbles on a path half the width of one I'd just been on. Of course not everyone does that, and sure enough I came across a cyclist hurtling towards me whilst I tried to keep in as close I could banging my ankles, legs etc. for the umpteemth time I might add.
only 1.5 miles to work from there, phew. Got to my turn off and tried to turn bike round sharp corner only to fall off it, bike landed on top of me and I just lay there thinking, fuck this malarkey. Its like riding a bike.
Girl cyclist came from behind me and asked if I was ok, I was. I wasn't hurt. I said that thank you I was fine, just an idiot new cyclist out on her shiny new bike for first time. She was very kind and told me it was very sharp corner. I smiled & thanked her again. I pushed bike up the hill and got back on for last mile which I managed without falling off again. I was pretty relived to get to work. 9 miles done and dusted which is mile longer than my run route as I take the *less road* approach.

So then I had to do it all again at end of day. It wasn't too bad on way back except for the 3 cyclists all coming towards me on the aquaduct. ignoring the signs. Got home, got off it, felt seasick, wtf! Seasick? Legs felt bit wobbly, how does anyone do a triathlon? Not that I *actually* want to know, I just felt crap, not exactly the exhilaration I was hoping for. Oh and the bell, I do have freakishly small hands but the bell feels like a million miles away from my wee hands, I have to move my whole hand. Not easy when you're wobbling all over shop and about to go under a bridge with cobbles. God only knows what cyclists, walkers or ducks thing of me when looking at me.

I have no huge desire to run to bike shed and cycle to work or anywhere else for that matter. Like I said before its functional. Its like riding a bike I'm told, only if you've not had a bloody bike then what's it like?
The bike and I are not friends, merely acquaintances. I'm afraid Ian will have to keep dreaming of cycling holidays for a bit longer.....

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