Sunday, 22 February 2015

The power of crystals

I know a lot of people believe in the power of crystals but it wasn't these type of crystals that stopped me cycling as much as I would have liked in January, and gave me a big headache in February.

I was stopped by Ice Crystals and Uric Acid Crystals.

In December I came off my bike on some black ice and it seems to have shook me up a bit, so it was just the excuse I needed not to cycle into work that often. I only managed 2 commutes compared with 11 last January.

For those of you luckily enough not to know about Uric Acid Crystals, they are more commonly known as gout, which is horrible. I don't get it too bad, but this attack was in my big toe on my left foot. Walking was painful and the thought of putting on a tight fitting cycling shoe was unthinkable.

50 Miler a Month Challenge.

While out on New Year's Eve I came up with the idea of riding at least one ride of more than 50 miles each month of 2015. I got the idea from a few people who did a 100 mile ride a month last year, maybe next year.

Because of the gout I left it till the last Saturday of January, which wasn't the nicest of days.

I managed to rope in Chris and his brother Nick, who I did the trip around the Isle of Wight with last year.

I got to Chris' house about 9 'clock and shortly afterwards Nick turned up on his mountain bike, as he was concerned about his brakes on his new road bike. After convincing Chris to put on another layer we set off.

Within a couple of miles we realised that Nick, not only had fat tyres, but he hadn't pumped them up and it was making it real hard work for him. We decided to pop into Peter Hansford bike shop, and they kindly pumped up his tyres, which made a massive difference.

The clearer weather I had seen forecasted never really materialised and it was cold and wet most of the way around.

Nick battled on for about 20 miles but then decided to head home. Fair play to him, he go up Old Winchester Hill and then turned round.

Chris and I carried on and stopped at The Sustainability Centre on the top of Old Winchester Hill for a well earn pot of tea and cake.

When we set off it was freezing, and the first few miles were down hill so we couldn't do any hard pedalling to warm up. I was wearing a thin head scarf, but because it was wet it really hurt my head. Eventually it we got to the bottom of the hill and could start peddling again.

We went through a village called Hambledon, and even though it was freezing it was a lot nicer than when we last went though.
The previous time was last year during all the floods. Cycling through the High Street was like cycling down a stream and virtually every house was flooded with pipes coming out of windows and letter boxes to clear the water. Very depressing.

Once we were over Portsdown Hill we had warmed and the temperature was rising so it was quite a nice ride back till the last couple of miles along the seafront at Lee on Solent.
You come around the corner to a lovely view of the Solent, but we hit a monster head wind, not what you need for the last couple of miles of a big ride.
Chris was being mad as usually and had decided to do the whole ride without changing gear. He was paying the price a bit by now, so I dropped down a gear and dragged him home in my rather large slipstream.

Overall it was a good ride, a bit stop start especially considering the conditions, but good fun.

More Icecapades

My plan is to write a post at least once a month, reviewing the previous month, so this is a bit like a footnote as I had started writing this post a few weeks ago.
It has been quite an emotional week for myself and my family, and I didn't want to dig it all up again next month.

Last Tuesday I decided to cycling into work again for only the first time in February. Big mistake.

As I was walking out to the garage I noticed it was a bit icy and did think about going the short route along the busier roads, but opted for the more scenic route. I noticed a couple of times when my back wheel was twitching a bit but still carried on.

Two hours later I was a home, unsure what had happened in the last two hours.

From what I can work out I came off hard on black ice. I would expected to have sore wrists or elbows but I think my helmet took the full brunt of the fall.

This is what I've been told or can work out from phone records and paperwork, but I have no recollection.
I called my wife and that I stopped Strava on my phone, not sure which order though. I then waited about 20 minutes for an ambulance, and spent the best part of an hour in that. By this time my wife had turned up, and when the paramedic was happy, she took me home. It was half term so my daughter was at home, but I didn't recognise her, so my wife call on a friend to look after her.
I then started asking questions, and then asking the same question many times, much to my wife's annoyance.

Don't worry the bike is ok, a slight buckle in the front wheel.

I am shaken up. I have been knocked out before, once on a bike, but more times on the rugby pitch. But they were all in my youth when I didn't have other people to think about. The thing that upset me the most was that I really upset my daughter when I didn't recognise her.

I have ordered a new helmet, so I will be back on the bike soon, but not rushing things. From know on it there is ice on the car windscreens, I will be taking the car not the bike.

Unfortunately it will probably mean that I won't be able to do a 50 mile ride in February, so might have to double up one month when it is warmer.

Because of my helmet I have walked away, albeit a bit wobbly to start off with, with a few cuts and bruises and the loss of a couple of hours of my life. I don't really want to think how I would have been if I wasn't wearing a helmet.
They aren't that flattering, but are a lot nicer than those hospital gowns that do up at the back and I'm sure I would have been wearing one of those for a while if I hadn't been wearing a helmet.

Please always wear a helmet!