Us Femoles have chortled for some weeks about how our Saturday rides were always dry and sunny but on Sundays for the boys rides it was wet, wet, wet. I even wrote a post but didn’t publish it a few weeks ago with some links for the boys to YouTube “Why does it always rain on me” but maybe I had had the last of the laughs.
Today was overcast, the type of Saturday morning when I wake up after a week of work, a Friday night curry and some red wine, look outside and think “nope it’s gonna rain, I don’t fancy that much. The hoovering and ironing looks much more enticing.”
I don’t mind cycling and it starts raining, I just don’t like heading out in the rain, in fact I was discussing with Debbie today when her and I first went out back in October 2008 it poured down and we were drenched by the end of the ride just like we were today.
So excited yet nervous this morning that I would be out on my new bike I was disappointed to see grey skies. Dave had worked so hard to get my bike ready for our ride this morning even with my stem and bar grips arriving in the post this morning, that while I was stretching out of bed and drinking my coffee he was in the garage perfecting my new bike for me, there was no way I could duck out.
Last night I had tried my bike and I was unsure, there were still adjustments to be made and I started to feel like I just wanted to go back to my original bike and my comfort zone, my bike with which I have come a long way and feel safe. I started dreading going out on a new bike and torn between the excitement of a new bike and scared of the unknown.
We ordered my bike on Sunday, it arrived Wednesday and during the week Dave has changed my tyres, brakes, handle bars,stem and grips so he has worked hard to get this ready for our Saturday ride. I felt nervous going out on a new bike. I felt worried I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I had thought.
Plus it started raining. However I also dislike being too hot, so wearing my normal cycling clothes and no waterproof we headed off to the Bell carpark where Debbie was waiting and Tony was there finding it very amusing that us girls were going to cycle in showers for a change.
We decided to do the same route we had done last week as it would be a direct comparison for me on the new bike to last week, I am very lucky as a riding group we are so flexible and others were happy to do this route.
So off we headed towards Alsation, we stopped just before the climb and Debbie loaned me her watch as I didn’t have one and my timer on my other bike is still on it and I have been racing myself each week to measure improvements, last week I improved my time by 1 minute 10 sec on the week before. This week I was 30 seconds slower but we had to stop to let someone pass going down hill and get back on the bike up hill so I think I would be at least 15 seconds faster than last week.
It was spitting rain and keeping the air cool which when climbing can be refreshing. From there we headed up through the back of Headley golf course and I managed to stay in front with Dave, Jill and Debbie were right with us and while I was watching my breathing they were able to have a conversation, I was just happy to be up with the pack and not miles away like I used to be. We crossed the road into a wooded area and again Dave and I were in front, last week I had to drop back during this stage but this week I was able to keep going noticing how much it pays off to persevere.
Out of this area and past some horses fields I needed to drop back and re pace myself but felt comfortable that the others weren’t having to wait for me as long as they have done in the past.
Down past the Cock inn we took a left turn into a stretch that I don’t really like, it is a thin stretch of singletrack (not my favourite) stoney, loose and thin. I released my suspension for a bumpy ride and enjoyed it even less than normal, I felt quite vulnerable and bouncy, so locked the suspension back in and just went with what was more familiar.
At the bottom we discussed that this is an experience when going from a hard tail to a full suspension bike. I like the switch for the suspension on the handle bars it does make it easy to manage while you are trying to focus on what’s coming up ahead.
We also discussed that I need to hang back off the back a bit more and so on the next down hill that’s what I did and I experienced a much faster and very much in control ride, on a new bike that I thought I would be timid with I felt like we had been buddies for a while. I felt safe and I was having alot of fun.
Arriving back at Stane street we were back at the top of Alsation and it was tipping down, really needing wipers for our glasses by the time I reached the bottom I could hardly see but I almost felt that I could have ridden blindfold because I trust my new bike. love the suspension and started to value different riding experiences.
Before I met Dave a bike was a bike now I understand all the geometry lark, I realise how important it is.
If your seat needs moving back take the time to move it, if the handle bars need adjusting then do it, there are a few things that can make a ride much easier, comfortable and enjoyable and understanding that can make the ride better and help a rider know it’s not that hard to make a bike feel more suitable.
A really wonderful ride today on my new bike accompanied by my mechanic I am a very lucky Femole. I hope the sun shines on the boys tomorrow.