What can I say? Apart from thank you, all of you, for your support. This blog was only really ever meant for 30 or so people who’ve been regular readers ever since I started. I’ve been quite embarrassed by the attention it received!
Your comments, on the most part, were touching. And yes I did see the nasty ones on various places.
This was never about giving up on cycling. Not once. I was sick to death of the nasty comments which fly around out there, comments that I’ve never heard once whilst riding with others. Turns out I’m not the only one.
So. Last weekend. A delightful visit to Bella Velo on the Saturday. I can’t thank Belinda enough for her support. A decision to go with the faster group out around Windsor and back. On a hot day. Lucy, who led us out and back is everything you need in a ride leader. Great at setting a good pace, and signalling. Especially if you don’t know the routes quite so well…. yet. Annemarie pulled me back on a couple of times, and Helen. Alison (I think that was her name!) actually taught me a lot more about riding in a group than I had ever thought possible!
A beautiful ride through Windsor Park and Windsor itself to the Chocolate Theatre Cafe – which is a lovely place to stop. And a chill out for a while. Then a nice ride back via Staines and Weybridge. It was only when we were a couple of miles from the shop that I actually struggled. Amazing group of people to ride with!
Back to Bella Velo for a quick coffee and a long chat. It’s the first bike shop I’ve ever felt really comfortable in. Pete and Belinda are absolutely brilliant to talk to and ask advice from.
Luckily I thought to refill my bottles – as having a 9 mile ride home in the heat was not pleasant. Especially as I was tired. By the time I got to the racecourse – I poured what was left of my water over my head – and bloody hell did that feel good! ***Disclaimer: I was a mile away from home at this point – I’d never advise it to anyone!***
Sunday – after a tweet from @hpfordy – I decide to set off in the car to park outside Sigma in Hampton Wick. Then roll across to Kingston to the Specialized Concept store for an *easy ride out to Shere* – when Mark (from work) turned up, I think I knew it wouldn’t be that easy! And it wasn’t. Might have been for them!! Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of this ride. It really was great. I was on the limit most of the way out, did a bit of CX after getting too cocky downhill (by all rights there should’ve been a ditch there and I should’ve been on my ass – but I stayed upright. Somehow). Harry laughing as he shot past, Lucy asking if I was ok. Yup. Fine thanks! Adrenalin spike. Trying desperately not to laugh as I went uphill.
Matt was an absolute angel, dropping back to pull me and Lucy back on a couple of times on the way back.
Not once did I feel that this group was annoyed at waiting for me. Although I apologised countless times! I should’ve taken nutrition of some sort out with me – so I guess I did fairly well on 2 breakfast bars!
Steady ride eh lads? LOL. Harry and Matt- I spent a long long time studying your rear hubs! Several times I felt like I was right on the limit but it was truly great to be honest. And a nice nose around the Concept Store, before heading back over to Sigma. Lovely to catch up with Marjo at the shop too.
That brings me to today. A chance message from @finkcreative and we organised to meet at 8.00 this morning…. a good run through Tidworth and Walton on the Hill, down to Betchworth garden center for me.
Perfect weather for it. And Alex is really good at getting me to understand what I can do to help myself out. From breathing to pedalling to eating better at the right time. Although I think all he heard from me was a lot of ‘Yeah!’
Some people talk right through me, but he has a great way of explaining exactly what he meant and how doing that could help me out.
Did I mention we did Leith, White Down, down Ranmore and up Box?
It wasn’t easy for me in any way, shape or form today. Averaging 1mph up White Down because I refuse to do anything except turn the pedal one at a time. The knowledge that I can do it.
People like these guys are actually putting something back into cycling. And are really good people to ride with.
Maybe I don’t necessarily want to be part of a club. I want to ride with people like these guys. Who don’t mind me being the weaker one!
Also, Ian (one of my bosses) was spot on with what he said to me! Thanks boss! 🙂
So here’s to the support from you guys, even the ones who think I’m the embarrassing know nothing newbie.
And here’s to getting a Kinesis CX….