In actual fact the rain doesn’t worry me too much. After 40 years of climbing Scotland’s mountains I can cope with rain, and indeed, under certain conditions I can enjoy the snow and ice – but not on a bike. And that’s my problem.
I want to be bike fit, as opposed to hill fit, and I’ve discovered in the past few years that these two states are not necessarily mutual. I’m not sure why. I guess there must be a level of cardio-vascular fitness that you get from climbing mountains that helps on long bike rides, and vice versa, but I’m not sure why, when I feel fit on the hill, my legs feel like jelly when I start pedalling?
Last winter I spent a lot of time on the bike in preparation for our LEJOG trip in April, and all the hard work paid off. I felt fine every day and physical fitness was never as issue. Next year I want to feel similarly fit when cycling from La Manche to the Med but the big problem at the moment is the weather isn’t playing ball.
The rain isn’t too much of a problem – I have a variety of excellent waterproof jackets that I’ll mention in more detail in a future blog – but I have been struggling this last week or so with the cold. I had a couple of rides last week in temperatures that hovered around the freezing mark but I was well wrapped up – apart from my feet. The waterproof overshoes I used weren’t particularly waterproof and when I arrived home after a couple of hours my feet were like ice blocks. Couldn’t feel my toes at all and it took a while to completely thaw them out. A panic Tweet brought some helpful advice so I immediately bought myself some thick, Campagnola neoprene overshoes. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to try them out yet – the ground has been icy and snowy for the past week, conditions in which I refuse to even attempt to cycle.
I feel a little guilty when I curse the snowy weather we’ve been having. I feel like a real Scrooge when everyone around me is delighted to see the white stuff fall from the sky. So many people in this locality are skiers and it sometimes feels like everyone else makes a living from the ski industry – apart from my regular postman who calls it ‘white shite.’ I’ve referred to it in the same terms several times this winter myself and felt a little bit guilty in doing so. It wasn’t that long ago I joined in the general delight when the weather turned cold and snow fell. But the was before the cycling bug bit…
I want to lose a couple of stone in weight before we head off to France next May and my plan was to try and lose a stone before Christmas, but that’s not going to happen. Essentially I’ve been too idle and have tended to use the weather as an excuse not o go out on the bike. I’ve had a few sessions on my turbo trainer but I can state categorically that I don’t enjoy it, not in the slightest. It’s the boredom of it. I’ve tried watching films, I’ve trawled through BBC iTunes looking for stuff to watch, I play music but I still find it mind numbing. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve never been an ‘indoors’ type of person, I couldn’t imagine myself enjoying an indoors climbing wall either so I guess I just have to try and get outside as much as I can.
So, here I am, full of resolve and best intentions but I’m not much further on than two or three weeks ago. Still overweight, not much fitter and not expecting too much progress over Christmas. I can only hope for a mild spell so I can get back out on the bike… Fingers crossed for some rain, but don’t tell my mountaineering and ski-ing friends!