Tag Archives: rain

Dear Summer, I’m sorry.

Dear Summer,

I’m sorry.

I made a terrible mistake. Winter will never come close to what we had.

She promised me the world, Summer. She said there would be crisp, bright mornings and beautiful tyre trails in crunchy, frozen grass. She said we would see our breath in the cold, clear air. Bright blue skies would cover us, she said. She promised carpets of snowdrops, chirping robins, snuffling hedgehogs. The sound of dry twigs cracking underfoot.

Her promises were empty, Summer. She took everything I had and gave me nothing in return. It has felt like a constant battle against the elements, and my body is weary. We had a fleeting moment in the sun – and then it was over – replaced with black clouds. It has been dark for so long, but I never forgot your sunshine, even in the darkest moments.

Her embrace offers me no comfort. I avoid her, hiding inside. Making excuses. Lies and deceit. A bitter atmosphere lingers and seems like it will never leave.

Even the taste of water is better with you, Summer.

I long for long days with you again. For sunshine spilling through windows in the morning. For coffee on my doorstep, and beer in the garden. For scorching tarmac and dry, dusty paths. For salty skin and beads of sweat. For little patches of cool under trees. For short sleeves and smooth legs. For cold showers and open windows blowing curtains.

My heart is breaking for you, Summer. Please take me back.

x

Daughter, ‘Winter’: YouTube

 

It rains less in my lounge.

After riding in the snow and rain recently, I can safely say I’m fed up of Winter. It didn’t take much; I’m definitely a bit of a wimp when it comes to the weather.

However – I’ve found a way to counter this. I have bought a turbo trainer. I figure that training on it will be so sufferingly hard that I’ll soon change my mind and get back out in the rain for some light relief.

Wet, muddy and COLD this weekend

Up until now my only indoor training has been using the MyRide bikes at the gym to do intervals. They’re better than standard ‘exercise bikes’ – with a slim saddle and drop handlebars – but it is still not quite like riding a real bike. I’ve previously put off buying a turbo or rollers because I live in a flat with downstairs neighbours who won’t appreciate the noise (they don’t like it when we play that PlayStation dance game…) Anyway, I’m just going to have to time my training with when they are out. There are also plans for some team turbo sessions which will be a laugh I’m sure. I bet I can win the prize for Sweatiest Jersey.

Lastly, while we are on the subject of turbo trainers, check out this completely mad idea: training with a live band. I’ll do my best to get along to that, if nothing else I think it will make for an amusing write-up!

Bye for now, I’m off to sweat a bucket or two…

Wet weather and wobbles…

Today I bit the bullet as I decided to finally get over my self and road-test the new shoe/pedal combo. I have joked liberally about falling off due to said shoes/pedals but this is all an elaborate cover for the fact that I was genuinely petrified of my first ride wearing ‘clippy’ shoes.

My lovely shiny black & plum Giro shoes have been sat beside my bed for almost a fortnight now. They have been much admired, used as a coffee cup holder, sniffed, etc….but before this morning had yet to make it out of the front door. Being the cautious soul (there’s a shoe joke in there somewhere) that I am, I first attempted the clip in/out movement whilst sat on my bike in the lounge, with my flatmate holding the bike in case of disaster. Turns out this is quite a difficult exercise, which just makes you more nervous, and it is better just to harden up and get on with it.

The pretty new shoes before being worn outside

So, this morning I donned my cleated footwear and clip clopped down the road to start my journey on the flat seafront. Readying myself for embarrassment in front of the homeless chaps sat on the bench beside me, I got on the bike and….clip, clip…..success! Off I rode. I even managed the first 12 miles without so much as a wobble.

Flooded roads

I did have one moment where I almost didn’t unclip in time and thought I might go over, but I avoided disaster.

Of course it was a rather wet morning, and I got completely soaked, along with my shoes. Next thing on the seemingly endless shopping list that comes with this new love of mine: overshoes.

Sheltering in Steyning

My beautiful shoes after 20 miles

After not very long I had decided I was never going back to cycling in dodgy trainers. In contrast to what I’d anticipated, I actually felt more secure and confident with the new pedals, not less so. I could push harder on the hills, I didn’t have to worry about my feet slipping off the pedals in the rain (that’s happened to me plenty in the past) and I knew my feet weren’t going to move out of the right position.

On top of all that, I totally look like I know what I’m doing now. Until I fall off ;-)

Stanmer Park Cyclocross

Today I was up bright and early to lend a hand setting up for the cyclocross at Stanmer Park. Nothing that begins at 5.45am ever starts well, but it was a brilliant day in the end.

***

05:45

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

Huh? Wha? Urghhhh….

 

06.45

Rain. Lots of rain. It might stop if I wait a bit.

 07:00

More rain. Run out of excuses not to leave. Time to harden up.

 

07:03

Trains are nice and dry, aren’t they.

 

07:30

Sinking mud underfoot. A few kilometres of plastic tape. A few hundred plastic stakes.

 

09:30

Soaked.

10.00

A change of shoes and a cup of coffee

10:30

People with bikes! Lots of them! Oh yay!

 

13:00

C’MON!

IT’S A RACE YOU KNOW!

MY MUM CAN RIDE FASTER THAN THAT! (etc, etc.)

14:00

Muddy people. Muddy bikes.

Belgian beer. Gin.

Smiles all round.

Gavin took some excellent photos of the race today, which you can see here.

Damp and muddy, but still smiling.

When I woke up this morning, the last thing I wanted to do was go outside. I could see the rain on the window from my bed, and getting out from underneath my cosy duvet took a vast amount of effort.

Eventually, fuelled with espresso and porridge, I made it out the front door and onto the road with Claud to meet a friend in Lewes. It was drizzly, damp and grey…and these continued to be the themes of the day. We had coffee in Lewes before setting out (putting off the inevitable, us?) and then headed out of town through Offham.

At this point I was still wishing I’d stayed in bed. Before my legs warm up everything seems like twice as much work. Most of my rides start like this – I keep telling myself I must be mad: why do I ride a bike?!

10 miles in, and I remember…

Legs warmed up, I’m free to enjoy the views. The hills are a challenge, but they don’t make me want to give up and go back to bed. The rain still falls and I’m covered in mud, but it’s invigorating – not disheartening. I’ve remembered why I ride a bike, and it’s making me smile.

The route we took went through Plumpton, Streat and Chailey into Barcombe. Having cycled through this bit of Sussex for Cycletta a few weeks ago, I wanted to go back and explore a bit more. Much of the ride was on single track roads, with vast fields either side and framed by cloud covered hills. We didn’t see many cars, just a few horse-riders, dog-walkers and cyclists.

It wouldn’t be a perfect Sussex ride if we didn’t go to a pub – so we headed to The Anchor in Barcombe for a pint and a roast dinner. We’d covered 30 miles by this point, so we were ready to wipe the mud off our shorts and rest our soggy legs for a bit. It is Sunday, after all.

Another 12 miles or so and we were home and (not very) dry. I made it back to busy Brighton: damp and muddy, but still smiling.

Day 24 – Riding the night

I went on a short (8 miles) but very cold, wet and windy ride along the seafront late last night. The road was lit until a certain point on the coastal path, where upon I was plunged into darkness (apart from the light from my bike lights, of course). I could hear the sea crashing, but barely see it.  The wet, white chalk of the cliffs splattered my clothes and my bike.

Despite the cold and the rain, it was great fun. In fact, as long as you’re dressed for the weather, riding in the elements can be exhilarating. I’ll be out soon for another, longer, night ride. Winter is fast approaching…time to stock up on light batteries and cocoa for making hot chocolate at the end of a ride.

 

Day 23 – Puncture in the rain

It doesn’t always go to plan.

I headed out this morning with every intention of an hour long ride before heading to London for the rest of the day. Instead, I got less than 15 minutes down the road, and punctured my back tyre. Of course this was on the one day that I didn’t take any equipment with me. So I pushed Claud home in the pouring rain and had a coffee.

Frustration.