Tag Archives: Cannondale

Mt Buffalo – conquered!

Took me two hours to get to the climb’s end but I did it. I’ve officially climbed my first proper mountain and I have the ride stats to prove it.

It’s long – really, really, really freaken long. My brother described it thusly when we talked about it a few days later: it goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on – fark! I’m only half way!! – and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. Just when you think it’s never going to end, there’s a small descent and the scenery opens out into the most amazing plateau. It’s a meadow at the top of a mountain. Grass, flowers, the whole bit. There’s a tiny little bit more climbing to do after that to reach the chateau that signifies the end of the climb.

The crazy thing is that I did it with a cold. Probably not the most sensible thing I’ve done recently but I had company. Louisa and I ended up nattering most of the way up as evidenced by this photo:

We took our time, stopping quite a few times in the shade to cool down and have a drink. It’s not like were were in a hurry or anything. We also snapped a few photos. I think this one is from about two-thirds of the way up.

But make it to the top we did. There were cheers from the group we were riding with when we arrived. And of course I took a photo of my bike at the look-out just to prove I’d been there.

Am I smiling? Or is it a grimace? (At least I look spiffy in my pink Rapha jersey. And yes, it matches my handle bar tape.)

However, something strange happened on the way down. For the first time ever on a descent I actually got a little bored. 21kms is a long, long way to descend on an unfamiliar road with a dead surface. Plus because I had a cold, my ears were blocked and I couldn’t get them clear on the way down which affected my sense of balance. I had to go more slowly then I probably would’ve a few months ago. By the time I got to the bottom, I was in a bit of pain and I had to stop to blow my nose in attempt to make my ears pop.

There was a cruel torment on the way back into Bright when the sign on the side of road promised it was only six kilometres away. Longest six kilometres of my life! When I finally staggered into the guest house the riding group I was with had taken over for the weekend, I was a shattered woman. Exhausted, drenched in sweat and feeling like death. I thought I’d feel some sort of achievement for successfully traversing my first proper mountain climb but mostly I just wanted to lie down and never get up. The sense of achievement came three days later when we were returning to Melbourne and I realised the mountain I could see to my left was Mt Buffalo. Then I truly realised what I’d done.

See that mountain in the distance? I rode up that, all 1,302m (4,272 ft) of it!

There were a few more rides on the weekend – rail trail tootle to from Bright to Myrtleford for breakfast and then back to Bright and a quick Bright – Harrietville – Bright trip but mostly this weekend was about Mt Buffalo for me and the realisation that right now I’m just not in love with cycling like I once was.

The realisation came as we were heading back from Myrtleford to Bright and were going to stop at a pub on the way. We had to ride across some grass and lucky me, my bike slipped out from under me and I fell. At least time it was on grass and the only damage was to my dignity. But sitting in the shade after everyone else had ridden on – at my request – with my partner, I realised I’m having a bit of a tough time with the whole bike riding thing at the moment.

It’s hard to get out on the bike. It doesn’t feel as natural to me as it once did. I still get edgy in large groups and I’m not comfortable being surrounded by riders I don’t know. I’m nervous and overly cautious. I’m not comfortable on the bike since I switched saddles to a narrower and less padded one with a massive cut-out. I thought it was because I got the seat height wrong but even after adjusting it, I’m still not comfortable. So a new saddle is on its way to me now. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. Don’t know.

Does the fact that I’m still trying count for something? I’m not willing to give up on it. Cycling and I are having a bit of a lovers’ tiff at the moment but maybe everything will be fixed with a new saddle and a few good rides.

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.

So, the plan is…

Weather permitting:

  1. To be on the bike every Tuesday and Thursday by 6:30am to ride Yarra Boulevard before work.
  2. To go for a ride every second Saturday when there’s no group training on.
  3. Continue to ride every Sunday.
  4. Every day do 2×10 jack knife and 2x increasing number of sit ups on the fit-ball to improve my core strength. Once I can do the jack knife sets without struggling, I will add push-ups to each one.
  5. Start going to cardio boxing again on Wednesday evenings.

    Right now I feel fat and lazy, schlepping around the house doing little or no physical exercise. This must change. I have a gorgeous new bike that needs to be ridden. I am ill-disciplined but I have goals I want to achieve. I want to break 100km in a single ride. I want to be able to do the 120km social rides. I want to be able to do hill climbs without feeling like I’m going to die.

    I lost two kilos when I had gastro two weeks ago. However, I ate barely anything for three days so that probably has something to do with my rapid weight lose. Of course, I’m eating again so I’ve put most of the weight back on. Sigh. I’m tired of doing the body test on the Wii and having minimal changes (the last two have been gains). I feel like I’m not achieving anything. I’m tired of seeing this disgusting gut poking out the front of my bike gear. You really can’t hide anything in lycra so all my flaws are out there for the world to see. Any wonder I don’t like looking in mirrors when I’m dressed for a ride.

    Hence the plan.

    I will find the discipline I once had. I will get out there and ride. I will work hard. I will try to eat less of the bad stuff and more of the good. Every day I will try to remind myself that I’ve already accomplished a lot. Going from a 36 inch waist to a 29 one isn’t something to be sneezed at. But most of all, simply enjoy the riding. It’s as close to flying we can get.

    Mmmm… shiny


    Yeah, a white seat. It’s actually pretty comfortable but I don’t know how long I’ll be hanging onto it.

    The leaf motif is all over the bike.

    Yup, I really do have pink handle bar tape.

    Just adding this photo cos I liked it.

    Yet more of the leaf motif, this time on the forks.

    The obligatory arty-farty shot.

    Arty-farty shot no.2 but this time showing the ding I already managed to get on the pedal.

    What you missed this morning

    Me breaking 70kms on my bike:
    Okay so it was by 1.5kms but still…

    I nearly made it to the turn around point at junction of Neapan Highway and Beach Road but I knew I didn’t have the reserves to make it there so I turned around just after St Bebe’s School. I’m disappointed I couldn’t make it but glad I’m smart enough to know not to push it. I will get there (and probably sooner than I think) but it has to be when I’m ready to. Right now, I’m not quite there. Plus, I wasn’t prepared for how hilly it got at the end.

    I got a couple of lifts on the way back. I was really struggling on my own so I latched onto the first group I could keep up with. I think I surprise a lot of guys because I can keep up with them when by all appearances, I shouldn’t be able to. However, I think I had two guys checking out my butt on the way back! I was pedaling along, minding my own business to hear a comment along the lines of “that’s a better view”. The rest of my body might be in terrible shape but my butt? Totally rocking! 😉

    Best bit about today? Having my housemate cook me scrambled eggs when I finally made it home 🙂

    I took the new bike out for a “getting to know you” ride yesterday morning. I’m really looking forward to getting her now. She was so light and I felt like I had more power from a standing start. The gears got a bit sticky a few times but that can be sorted out. I added a Garmin Edge 500 with a HRM to the package yesterday so I’ll be entering the world of power output, maps and a whole bunch of pretty graphs when I get her. The ride yesterday really sold me on the bike. She handled really well and I didn’t feel as scrunched up. I wasn’t even aware I did feel scrunched up but after riding the new bike, I realised that I am. But that’s not going to stop me from riding.

    I’m about to head off to the bike shop to pick a pair of awesome Sugio arm warmers. They’re white with little skulls on them.


    I’m not exactly sure how it happened but I kinda bought a new bike today.

    I put a deposit on an absolutely gorgeous Cannondale CAAD9 Feminine 5 in brushed alloy even though I’m still paying off Lisa.

    The official Cannondale photo.

    Always was a sucker for brushed alloy (as illustrated by my MacBook Pro). The leaf motif is all over the frame.

    This bike is a better fit for me with a top bar of 51cm instead of the 46cm that Lisa has. It should correct any little quirks with my riding style and will hopefully sort out my problems with my elbows.

    It wasn’t my intention to get a new bike just yet. And certainly not a Cannondale. The sales guy was really good. He didn’t do the hard sell or anything. He showed me the bike and we talked about bikes in general. He was funny and didn’t treat me like I was some ditzy girl who liked the bike because it’s so pretty. He picked it up to show me how light it was and then handed it to me so I could see for myself. He really won me over and by the time I went out of the test ride I was pretty much sold. I did ask a bunch of questions before finally committing.

    Such a gorgeous bike. A few tweaks and she’ll be perfect. Heh… I’m going to have a bike with a carbon seat post in a few months. And I’m thinking hot pink tape for the handle bars 😉