Reboot the noodle

bike at Old GorhamburyOnce more into the fray etc – or, at least, the first time this year into the fray on a drop-bar bike. Not covid, but a somewhat broken back (apparently literally at some point, according to the MRI scan …) and spinal nerve issues etc have been getting in the way. Much physio, some steroid injections and rather more painkillers/anti-inflammatories/muscle relaxants etc later, and things are beginning to get back to normal.

ETA: this is not the same disc issues from the last post – just in case anyone was wondering. Those got sorted out fairly fast and did not cause anything like the same degree of problems – this was a fresh batch in January. Lack of posts last year was due to a global pandemic and generally not doing anything interesting on the bike, not due to back!

I still can’t walk all that far without a cane (but that’s an improvement on crutches) and I did get out on the flat-bar bike a month or so back, but this was the first time out on drop-bars. It has to be this bike as this is the least-aggressively set up of the two options open to me, and I need to be careful on back flexion.

Various things done to try to make this a little safer – I was already running tubeless, but have added Airliners so that, even if a tyre flats completely, I can still ride home/to the nearest train station – the insert reduces the risk of certain types of puncture, and provides enough support etc to be able to still ride. The problem is principally that I’m not entirely sure that I could manage to deal with the tyre/inner tube etc without quite a lot of pain – this effectively adds some security. I’ve also adjusted the stem for height so that my back flexes less, and running the tyres at a little less pressure for comfort/shock absorption. I’m thinking about getting a suspension seatpost as well (the stem already has suspension).

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Ride: StP3

Third time out for Cascade’s Seattle to Portland ride – the one day version (stopping halfway and making it a two day ride always seemed more hassle than just riding through. This might say something about me – but then, check the title of this blog …)

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Winter kit check

48km at zero C was a useful test of the winter kit that I bought in the sales, in the hope that it would get me outside. Not sure if it was the kit so much as the responsibility of being second leader on a club run that got me out, but the kit got tested either way. Read more

Now to taper …

The training is done. Last ride – which was more of a spin – was today with my cycling club (who most likely had forgotten my existence, as I’ve been off doing longer rides etc in training). 62.5 miles, to get it to the Rapha #womens100 ride as well.

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Saddles and so on

A short ride today, trying out a new saddle: enough has hurt over the last week or so that I clearly need some sort of alternative point of contact on the bike for long rides. The Brooks Cambium I’ve been using has been fine for 100+ miles; it was a bit uncomfortable towards the end of the 200k ride a few weeks back, but that could have been the shorts. Somewhere around 300k into LWL, though, it was pretty clear that Things Were Not Fine.

Experiment now is with a Brooks Cambium Carved (C17 version); partly on the “well, it almost worked, see if a tweak changes anything” principle. On the face of 17 miles today (when still sore …) it may well do the job. The principal test will be next weekend, with back to back imperial centuries (more or less; the second day isn’t quite so far).

I’ve also reworked my audax schedule a bit; I don’t think I need to do another 400k – having checked/rechecked the LEL route against my time start and so on, I don’t need to do more than 200 miles a day (on the basis of sleeping at controls). Training to do a harder ride has some basis in sense but I think I would be better served with doing 300k rides instead, as that’s closer to what I will be riding, and to try to do a couple of back to back (I have a 600k – which is effectively that) already booked.

There aren’t any 300k rides within reasonable distance near here, at least not in the time frame I need, so I’m planning to do a permanent from Cambridge out to  Norfolk etc (yes, flat – but the all-ways-round headwind usually makes up for it).

Bonus: that’ll qualify me for the Super Randonneur audax award (200, 300, 400 and 600k rides in one audax season).