Monthly Archives: September 2011

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Maybe now…

Work in progress. New shifters and brakes are on!

Whoo hoo!! All finished!! Oohh… look how pretty she is now 🙂

Maybe now I’ll shake off my well and truly entrenched case of CBF (or the more polite version of CBB – can’t be bothered – I’ll leave it to you to work out the other one).

Yup, I’m having some serious issues scrounging up the motivation to get on the bike besides commuting to work. Which means I’m barely riding my Cannondale. I always seem to have some excuse: it’s too windy, it’s raining, I’m tired… Blah, blah, blah, blah. But I think what it really comes down to is that I know I’ve become very unfit in the last few months. It means I’m back at the beginning and all the gains I’d made, the strength I’d developed is totally gone.

Case in point: this 70km spin around The Bellarine Peninsula left me totally shattered. The first two hours were okay, I wasn’t exactly powering along like I used to but I did okay up the hilly bits (granny geared it the whole way!). The third hour was a total disaster. We turned into a crosswind and it just smashed me. I felt totally drained and nauseous. About 60kms in, I had to stop on the side of the road. I physically couldn’t keep turning the cranks. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had that happen to me before, even on some of the epic rides I went on earlier this year which were way longer and physically more demanding.

And it was only a 70km ride. It took me three hours to do a 70km ride. What’s up with that? A few months ago if I was on the bike for three hours I was doing over 80kms.

Part of me just isn’t feeling comfortable on the bike. I can’t find my rhythm, which sounds so weird when all you’re doing is turning cranks. No rhythm required there! Yeah? Really? Try telling yourself that once you’ve lost it! Before today, the bike hadn’t changed. I have. And I’m not sure I like it too much. I’m slow and overly-cautious. I feel awkward on the bike, like I’ve got all the grace on a swan on land. I didn’t used to feel this way.

Coming back from an accident sucks. Got no idea how to fix my current predicament except to keep riding. And perhaps take a dose of HTFU.

Little niggles

So, it’s been about a month since I fell over. On the whole, I’ve pretty much recovered. Well, sometimes I yawn and it hurts but that’s nothing really. Everything appears to have healed well except for my elbow. If I bump it, the pain I experience is well beyond hey, you’ve just whacked your elbow dummy! pain. I’ve only done a few rides since the accident but each time my elbow starts aching about 40 minutes in. It was hurting today on my ride to work which isn’t that far. But I’m not sure what I can do about it. My elbow was x-rayed at the hospital and it was no sign of breaks or bone chips. It’s most likely tendon and nerve damage and there’s no fixing that except with time. I keep thinking I should visit my physiotherapist but what could she do?

My confidence is pretty much back as well. I don’t feel the anxiety I did on my first ride. Still, sometimes I can be edgy and I know I’m being overly cautious on the road, probably to the annoyance of other people. But I don’t believe being overly cautious is a bad thing right now. I’ve traumatised my body enough recently, I don’t need to to it again.

One thing I have noticed on my recovery is that my cornering appears to have been affected. I’ve always been pretty fearless when it comes to throwing myself around corners at speed (after learning them of course) but I noticed I’ve back off quite a bit. There’s a section on the bike path that I usually take great joy in hurtling down – it’s got a gentle decline on it where you can build up quite a turn of speed but lately I’ve been over-thinking my line and I start drifting off to one side before correcting myself by touching the brakes a little. When I do take corners at speed I’m chosing a much wider line (which is probably not a good idea on busy city streets). I’m fairly certain it’s because I’m over-thinking everything I do on the bike right now. I should probably stop it because that way leads to accident. Somehow I have to learn again to trust my body to do what I want to do and believe that the bike will respond how it did in the past.

If nothing else, this latest crash has taught me a lot about myself as a rider. Perhaps sometimes I was stupid and doing stuff that was beyond my abilities (eg. descending at 60km/h down Kinglake probably wasn’t the smartest idea when it’s a really technical descent). Sure, at the moment I really don’t like being overtaken by just about everyone but it’s inevitable. My fitness levels are nowhere near what they were and if I try too hard all I do is wear myself out even more quickly and have to struggle the whole way home. Not fun!

But I still love being on my bike. Sometimes when I ride to work I get caught at a train level crossing and I look at the people crushed into the carriages and think I’m never doing that ever again. All those people who complain that they don’t have time to exercise…

But now to fun stuff! Bike upgrades!!

The current thing is whether or not to get a new groupset for my Cannondale. I’m aware that it’ll mostly be a cosmetic change and I’ll get no real value out of it. But I still want to do it. There has been many discussions with people about what I should buy. Should I go for Campagnolo Athena or really blow out my budget and get Chorus? Or maybe SRAM Force? But it’s simply an aesthetic change so why spend the money?

My current suggestion to my brother (and bike mechanic) is for me to buying new shifters and brakes and be done with it. I’m fairly certain the rear shifter is shredding the cable again so replacing it seems like a really good idea. The brakes my bike came with are simply rubbish and I’d buy new ones right now if I wasn’t thinking groupset.

But I don’t know. I woke up this morning having decided that yes, I’m going to buy a groupset and hah!! to it being merely an aesthetic change. After all, it’s my money. But now it seems silly to spend the money when so few of the components need to be changed. And I’d have to buy some extra bits to get Athena to fit. New shifters and brakes seems way less complicated (and expensive).

Eugh… it’s starting to make my head hurt.