Wet Weather Racing

I fear i may have angered the rain gods with my slightly assertive heading in the previous post. today i rode a ten mile time trial and it was wet and cold. on the ‘chippenham‘ scale, i’d say it was around a 5 out of 10. It wasn’t long, luckily, nor did it snow and the temperature may have been in double figures. i managed a 21.28, my quickest time of the season, but 40 seconds down on last year. I came 4th, as opposed to 10th, and was much nearer the quick men than a year ago.

today i have offered two schwalbe RX1 ultremo tyres as sacrifices to the rain in the hope that it might be appeased some time soon. the tyres were still in fairly good condition and were only beginning to cut up marginally. i also consider this week’s lost campagnolo chainring bolts (3) as a further votive cast-off.

tomorrow i fear may come to soon for any noticeable changes. In fact, there appears to be a weather warning blanketing much of the UK. this coincides with my participation in the Beacon Roads Little Mountain Time Trial. In light of the scheduled wind and rain i have opted to take the road bike and lots of warm wet weather gear. discretion is the better part of valour, and never have i been less like sean kelly than right now.

typically i’d be relishing the prospect of 39 miles with about 3,500 feet of climbing, but instead i am full of trepidation. i will resolve to enjoy it and ensure my extremities are warm.


I think that’s how the nursery rhyme goes.

After my exertions of the weekend i started to pick things up again on tuesday, heading out for my usual pre-work hilly training ride. I surprised myself, i had good legs. furthermore, there seemed to be no head or tailwind for the first time in living memory. I went up and over Dundry and then up Belmont.

On Belmont’s vertiginous lower slopes i looked down at the chainrings and noticed there was an alarming amount of flex or lateral movement with each pedal stroke. i resolved to look at it later when i got home. at the time i presumed it may have been because i’d been running the inner ring on my fixed wheel over winter and this possibly might have bent it a bit. but what the hell, i’m not robert forstermann. i ignored it and carried on riding.

oooh la la, that's a lot of leg

I was listening to music; this sometimes helps and can make the ride feel a bit different. occasionally it can stifle the pained squeak of a badly-fettled bicycle part, and I fear this may have happened on this occasion. I rode on along Beggar’s Bush Lane and enjoyed the pace and speed. I felt good, and like Ralph the Rover, had no fear of impending disaster.

I was about five miles from work when some bad stuff happened. There are mechanicals, and there are mechanicals. (and there also the mechanicals, who feature heavily in a Midsummer Night’s Dream, a group of craftsmen who also enjoy amateur dramatics and like to gambol in the woods and get in the way of courting Athenian lovers).

I was out of the saddle, honking up to the downs from the top of bridge valley road when my chain unshipped and i nearly emasculated myself on my shiny cinelli stem. i stopped and attempted to flick it back across and on but to no avail. i looked down more closely and realised my chainrings were no longer properly attached to my bicycle, but rattling around like some filthy dancing hippy’s bangles at the front of a hawkwind set at glastonbury.

not one, not two, but THREE chainring bolts had mysteriously vanished. I had only two left, and they were about to  follow their suicidal brethren and leap into the void.

i hastily rearranged the remaining two and limped the last 4 miles to work, anxiously checking every 2 minutes to see if it was still hanging together. I rode home in the evening accompanied by a horrific scream of grinding metal, scraping with each pedal stroke. in truth, it was a minor mechanical because i could ride home.

i’ve had an additional rest day today on account of the abhorrent weather. I made use of the extra time by massively overtightening every chainring bolt in the house. this may lead to complications under the ‘law of unintended consequences’ at some point in the future, but it’s a risk i’ve got to take. this weekend sees a fast 10 (weather permitting) and the Beacon Roads Mountain Time Trial, which is in short, one of the best time trials in the world and hideously tough. I am currently undecided as to whether i should take the uber weapon of the c-bomb…

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