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The Sunday Lesson

3 Feb


The lesson is read from the ‘I’m too old’ testament from book of Gazzagurns on the third Sunday run after Christmas.

And lo the rider looked out and the morning was fair, save for the testing wind from the west. The rider spake onto his spouse and said ‘ make haste for today we will enjoy the bounty of a steady run’. The rider and spouse did make onto the meeting place of the children of Shimano by the crossing point of the great river but the spouse fell by the wayside on the journey. The rider joined with the tribe known as the wheelers and set forth onto the blind run to find his spouse and found her in desolation as all air was missing from her chariot wheel. And lo the rider said onto the children of Shimano ‘go forth onto Agivey whilst I tend to my spouse, yeah do not delay but return onto me whence you reach Agivey’. And duly the spouse was tended but her chariot wheel was beyond repair and she didst retire to her quarters.
The rider did determine to re-unite with the wheelers and did smite upon the pedals with all his might and drove forth until he was on the rivet. But the rider had strayed from the path of abstinence and into the land of overindulgence and desert of non-training; lo his weakness of faith was manifest in laboured speed. The rider placed his trust in the wheelers and had faith that they would rescue the fallen and would deliver unto him a chariot for the rider to follow a true course, but whence he came upon Agivey the rescuers were lost to him. The rider kept faith with the wheelers and did trust that they were caring for the newbies at the heights above Bendorrah and did press onto the yoke of his chariot with all his might. Yeah though the rider did smite on the pedals the blow crept upon him and the lord did announce the blow with thunder and with gnashing of teeth the rider was punished as a sinner who had indulged and had not paid his just dues. The rider was admonished by the lord and, on his knees he did pray for the wheelers to rescue him upon the city of Ballymoney. The rider lost all faith in the city and strayed from the path of the wheelers and was cast into the wastes of Stranocum without hope and without sustenance or support until he came upon the dry arch whereupon he heard the call of the wheelers from the oasis beside the home of the water of life. The rider’s faith was restored and he did hold his resolve to battle into the teeth of the wind from the west and defeat the threat of the knock firm in his belief that the wheelers would ride to meet him or tarry further at the oasis until his arrival.
The rider came upon the oasis but the wheelers chariots were not in sight and the rider was not pleased. He cursed the wheelers with a thousand saddlesores and did resolve to make forth to his camp to seek refuge and prayed that his chariot would carry him home.
And the rider did resolve that, in future, all commandments should be chiselled in stone so that all true believers would keep to their troth and unite in runs with a 16mph average.


Dear Diary: To Roller or not to Roller, that is the question!

1 Feb

File The Spurits1 - Copy

My first experience of indoor cycling was the good old stationary bike at the local gym. An uninspiring event in itself but, a necessary part of the basic fitness programme I had been advised to use. However as the time rolled by, the good old stationary bike developed into an essential singular element with the advent of the “spin class”. Here, I made a second foray into indoor cycling with all the vigour that our super fit instructor demanded. I didn’t know my body could hold (or in this case NOT hold) so much water, as I finally stepped off the “spin-bike” into my resultant reservoir of sweat (awkward). Then, as I learn’t more about cycle training, I heard about the wonderfully named “Turbo-Trainer”!! Who could resist a name like that, with all it’s intimations. Now, at last, I thought, the machine to make me great and I don’t even have to leave the house. I could now train “every day”. Famous last words!!

After a week of sheer monotony the “Turbo” was jettisoned into the back of the shed and now serves as not to reliable saw-horse! Eventually, however, I found my niche! This came in the form of Rollers. No not of the hair variety, it was a set of simple aluminium and plastic cycle Rollers!! They looked fantastic. Easy to set up, just lay them on the floor, put your bike on top, hop on the bike and pedal away to your heart’s content! Simple? No!

The Rollers are something of a dark art in that, while the principle is simple, the actual doing is nigh on impossible to begin with. For example, when is it actually safe to release your vice-like grip from the work-bench or kitchen work-top? And, if you do manage this, how long must you cycle between the two old mattresses you scrounged off your granny? No, I think, for most of us mere mortals of MAMIL age, learning the “Rollers” can be something of a health hazard.

However, assuming like me, you manage to “ride free” and are able to dispense with the mattresses, how, you may ask is this different from “Turbo-Training”? Well, apart from the need to maintain your balance and steady speed to stay upright, there is no real difference. The differences actually come when you decide to relieve your boredom by livening up your session with a simulated race DVD or Computer Programme. Fancy!!

These simulations usually go under the, oh so inviting, name of “Sufferfest” or “Death on Wheels” or “Please Let It End”. Not one to be totally daunted, I decided I liked the sound of Sufferfest. I was full of excitement as I scanned the DVD noting that my favourites would definitely be Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders, the so-called “hardmen” races.

L’enfer du Nord it was, my first attempt, so I decided to do it in the kitchen as the shed was too cold. I made the off from Compiégne steadily enough, only the occasional grab for the larder handle was needed until I got my confidence. Gradually the first cobble sections appeared. Sectors 27 – 18 trundled by uneventfully as my nonchalance grew, I mean, “What the hell were Sean Kelly and Bernard Hinault going on about? Pedalling powerfully and steadily now, my mind began to drift, “I would need to sort out that damp patch above the end cupboard sometime!” Pedal, pedal. “Oh, and that double socket needs replaced as one side isn’t working!” Pedal-pedal. Suddenly Sector 17, The Arenberg Trench flashes into view just as I spot loose grout around some of the tiles behind the sink and, in my surprise, I try to straighten the front wheel as I hit the Arenberg cobbles at speed. The cobbles by now are soaking and layered with wet mud, the front wheel begins the inevitable sideways glide and my handle bars drop lower as I hurtle still further into the shade of the Trench. Suddenly I feel the thump and, before I know it, my shoulder is bouncing off the fridge door ricocheting me toward the kitchen door where the bike gets jammed. This in turn, causes me to do a headlong over the handle bars and up the hall sliding on my chest to the front door! Now only slightly stunned, I frantically look around for the support car but realise, I’m on my own. Victory and Roubaix will have to wait for another session!

Session two, a few days later. Maybe Paris-Roubaix was a tad ambitious therefore, I think I will try The Tour of Flanders. This time I thought I might be safer in the shed so, after the initial set-up , I found myself pedalling comfortably among tool-boxes, paint-tins and hanging bicycle tyres. Settling into my race, I feel better now here in the confines of the shed. Laying down the miles, I negotiate the famous “bergs” with relative ease and find myself in a not too shabby position in the pelaton. Onward we trundle and again my mind wanders within this simulated world and toward possible glory in Oudenaarde! Then, again, I’m caught on the hop or the “kop” so to speak. We hit the bottom of the Koppenberg and I am in the wrong bloody gear! It’s too much of a grind and before I am even 50 metres up the 11% “wall” I have come to a wobbly standstill. Riders pass me on all sides as I frantically make a grab for the nearest hanging bicycle tyre. Got it! Momentarily I stabilize until the ceiling hook gives way. Then, it’s all screw-drivers and hammers and chisels as I flail down into the depths of Magnolia Matt Emulsion 20 litres B&Q £14:99 while my still “clipped-in” feet launch the bike off the rollers and sideways up onto the work-bench! Alas, I have been undone, one of the thousands of historic withdrawals from the famous Ronde van Vlaanderen!

It’s a curious thing, this Roller cycling. You just can’t get enough of it. I still cycle on mine and have to say, that I have got the hang of it. However, I have dispensed with Sufferfest, and now just do my steady “tempo” sessions at a much more relaxed pace aided by the simulated 1950′s scenery of Poirot or Miss Marple!

How about you folks, what have your experiences been?

Dear Diary: The Rogue Dribble!! OMG what to do?

26 Jan

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Dear Diary!!

You’re on the club-run. Rolling steadily over and off.  The tempo is good.  No-one misses their turn.  It’s a sunny Sunday morning and all is good with the world.   As the late morning sun cranks up it’s temperature and, as the miles melt away, so too do you.  You’re a seasoned cyclist now, so you know the pitfalls of dehydration. Conscientiously, you’ve been taking in those regular 6oz gulps of fluid advocated by your chosen training manual. Suddenly, as the pace quickens, you’re struck by that intolerable, tormenting, prickling, sensation in the loins.  Like an internal car-alarm, it irritates you while, at the same time, panics you.  Damn it, it’s ten miles to the coffee stop and you need a ‘Natural Break’!  What to do?

Thinking now, you consider your options.  I’ll ride off the front, stop up the road and….no can’t do that we’re flying as it is, I would never get enough distance before the group catches up with me.  I know, I’ll just let it go on the move like they do on the Tour…..forget it, that’s to awkward.  Ok, I’ll just shout up that I am stopping, the guys will wait….not bloody likely!  Only thing to do then, hold it in until the café.  Nine miles, eight miles, seven miles, suffer!  Six miles, five miles, four miles, suffer-panic!  Three miles, two miles, one mile, suffer-panic-agony!  Then, at last, the café!

Casually, you set bike against wall, suffer-panic-agony-grimace!  Enter café and clip up the tiled floor with an air of cool dignity, suffer-panic-agony-grimace-scream inwardly!  Nearing the gents now, suffer-panic-agony-grimace-scream inwardly-strange feeling of relief!  Reaching for the handle and….oh no!  Red for ‘Engaged’! Suffer-dance-suffer-dance-panic-dance-agony-dance!  Then oh, thank god!  The hand dryer whirrs and the door opens, suffer-panic-suffer. Step in quickly.  Fumbling with bib-shorts, bloody bib-shorts, panic-suffer-panic.  Where is it, where is it, panic-panic-panic?  Got it, relief-relief-relief-relief and, for a man of my age, yet again relieeeeeef!  Then it’s shake-shake-dribble-dribble and again, shake-shake-dribble-dribble and, wait a moment, yes definitely finished.  Then replace in bib-shorts, those bloody bib-shorts.  Wash and dry hands walk casually back up the café floor through the Sunday lunch-time customers, busy place now.

Through the crowded tables now, customers seated at crotch-level.  Toward the window you walk, relaxed now, the warm sun bathing you in light and, oh no!  What’s this, dribble-dribble!  Damn it, a ‘Rogue Dribble’!  Affronted, the glistening, gleaming, sun-lit patch spreads slowly like some, obvious, insidious oil-slick.  Oh my god, what to do???

Logie’s Blog

25 Jan
Young Dun Tally circa 1974

Young Dun Tally circa 1974