Winter Miles

after the briefest of lay-offs, i’ve started riding more regularly again, insofar as i commuted last week with quite a few longer loops thrown in, and have just had a big(ish) weekend on the fixed wheel. in fact, i haven’t ridden gears now for over two weeks. it’s paradoxically liberating.

yesterday i rode out around the mendips, choosing the shallower climbs over the visceral legbreakers. Ed, Kieran and two others came along. Ed was suffering, but his newly eyeletted bob jackson looked positively old school. we did a steady 45 miles. today i went out on the club run, it was mostly flattish, no savage climbs to break things apart. there were about 25 riders, which is a considerable number on the road. one rider on some sort of titanium sportive bike kept attacking on any incline, or generally anywhere. the general consensus was that he had earnt the dubious sobriquet of  ‘king of the club run’.

i was hanging out with Jeff Jones and a few other local luminaries, the likes of Rob Gough and Colin Parry last night. It was a sort of end of season time trial, except with the cycling bit replaced by drinking, and time/mileage switched with volume. I told Jeff that this winter i would be keeping the mileage up and losing the intensity, apart from the odd harder session – and the natural benefit of riding fixed up and down the escarpments. He felt this was a good thing: keep the base there and when it’s time to race again, start layering the intensive stuff on top; that way you retain the fitness and then create the form. it’s simple really. my other plan is not leave myself as much to do. last year i stayed off the bike until immediately before christmas, then tried to build up again but was well and truly thwarted by the ice storm and severe cold. i shall try to avoid this.

here are some pics from the past two days of riding around the countryside:

The crest of Burrington Combe with Kieran and Ed
Ed looks for form
newly eyeletted path action from argos
today's choice of cake: coffee and walnut
Cake for the captain

Allen Janes was out on the club run today. he is one of the older riders in the club, still riding into his 60s, who held the club 30 record in 1980, and still holds the club 100 mile team record with Chris Holloway and Rod Collins, set at the National in 1983. when i first saw him on the club run he was riding a really lovely 531 Viking frame, but it looked too big for him. i didn’t want to say anything, but it came up in conversation a bit later on, and he said ‘my dad bought it for me in 1958 and he said i’d grow into it, but i never did.’ so i guess he carried on riding it. Allen was on an altogether racier bike today, an alloy Nelson with a custom paint job from Argos, sort of in the style of a Concorde, with a picture of a Bristol Box Kite and the word ‘Challenger’ on the top tube because it has his name (allen) within the word. it was classy. he is a legend. apparently he’s going to be doing more racing next year, including the hardriders. fair play, he managed a 1.00 for a 25 this season. Allen also has one of the earliest low-pros to make it into the country, a fantastic crown-mounted Argos special. he rode it this season. i haven’t got a picture of this machine, but here is a similar example:

they look quite scary, but are effective.

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