Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Windmills and Wild Garlic

It was a ride that was far more enjoyable than it had any right to be.
Riding the freshly built cyclocross bike on the roads, in rain and wind for a short 18 mile pedal. Somehow though the wind wasn't as bad as yesterday and the rain, whilst cold and penetrating was just part of the ambience. Even the draggy tyres just cushioned the road rather than intruding and feeling like a hindrance.

Out from Usk to meet with my mate Pete and his brother Tom, the scent of the wild garlic was strong in the wet air.
Llancayo windmill is a good landmark
and it as just past there that our paths coincided.
Back into Usk to make a nod to drying out in the rather pleasant Number Forty Nine cafe.
Home after that and perversely enjoying the feeling of tingling skin from the cold and rain. Short sleeves and arm warmers weren't the ideal attire and how is it that with waterproof boots all that happens is they keep the water in?

Sunday, May 26, 2013


A week after the finger bashing I was out in Mallorca. I had taken the pushiron with me with a view to getting some miles in whilst my girlfriend took part in a long distance swimming training camp in preparation for her Channel Relay swim later this year.
Packing myself off with bottles full, a map of the island and a rough route in my head I was away.
First impressions were that it was rather warm, around 23'C and that the roads were quite smooth and nicely undulating.
Traffic was minimal, well it was a Sunday, and I was really rather looking forward to the day.
When consulting the map previously I had spotted what looked like a good climb from where we were on the South of the island. Every now and then it would peek out from around a bend or past the trees.

The sanctuary of Sant Salvador lay at the top.
Down to Felanitx and then hang a right up the climb. 4.5km of 7% gradient climb. Not huge, not tiny but you know about it.

I passed a couple of people heading up and enquired about coffee at the top but was met with blank stares.
Steady spinning does it and finally there was the top, or rather the sign proclaiming the altitude.
There is a café and it's around to the right a bit further up the hill!
After a slice of chocolate torte and an espresso I had a mooch around the chapel. Interestingly there were several genuine World Champion jerseys on display, donated by Guillem Timoner, a local cyclist.
 I sauntered outside and took in the view, chatting to a Dutch cyclist.
Then took the obligatory photo of the bike in the view-
before setting off back down the hill.
The eagle eyed of you will have noticed the bike is wearing the clincher wheels not the usual tubular carbon wheels. This was a thought on my part of 1) preventing the carbon wheels getting damaged in transit and 2) if I had a puncture it was easy to fix.
About a third of the way down, and tipping into a right hand bend I heard a sound and thought; 'my brakes are making a fu..' before I had time to think it was the brakes making the funny noise the front wheel had tucked under and I was hitting the tarmac and rolling.
Coming to a stop I did that self check where you see what hurts, can you move hands and feet and what does the bike look like.
Well I could see my kneecaps and parts of my palm I didn't want to and my left shoulder hurt. A lot. Right, I won't be looking at that then.
Bend the bike straight, tweak the bits that can be tweaked and swap the burst front tube over for a fresh one. There was no debris inside the tyre so I have no idea why it burst. Strangely the valve core was bent and the cap missing. Who knows. I do know that no fucker stopped to enquire as to how I was or ask if I needed help and plenty passed.
Back on and down the hill, passing a slow car and a couple of slower cyclist and motorcyclists. I love that shock and adrenaline cocktail.
I headed to Felanitx, the nearest town and stopped in the supermarket with a plan to buy some paracetamol for when the aforementioned cocktail wore off, and some food. In a daze I came out with no paracetamol as the supermarkets don't sell it, some sterile alcohol for my cuts, two apples and a twix.
I bit the first apple and poured alcohol on my cuts.
Then I ate the twix and headed back the way I'd come.
After about ten miles the rear derailleur snagged in the rear wheel. The hanger had been bent in the crash and it was only a matter of time before it went wrong.
At that point I did feel like crying.
Thankfully I maintained the stiff upper lip as two German cyclists actually asked if I was ok. They informed me there was a town a bit further on with a bar.
I walked there pushing/dragging the bike and asked the barmaid if she could phone me a cab back to the hotel as the bike was immobile. That done I asked for a beer.
No beer on sundays.
Long story short after two taxi rides to medical centres and hospitals I have a grade 2 AC joint dislocation and a natty sling.
My kit survived pretty well with not too many scrapes, and the bloodstains washed out ok.
My right hand had a good scuffing, though my left with my injured finger was unmarked.
and my knees were well on their way to scabbing up nicely.
Those photos were taken three days after.
So not the holiday I'd expected, but I'd go back though hiring a bike this time.
Today, three weeks after, is the first time I've been on a bike and it felt good.

Breaking the silence

I realise it's been quite a while since I updated. Mostly that has been due to injury and a little due to being internet free whilst building work took place. This is being written perched on a stool with my back to a bare plaster wall and a shell of two rooms into one in front of me.
Well it's been a busy time and some of the pictures following you may want to skip.
First off I managed to make a mess of my finger whilst working on the little van o'spaz. The caliper bolt came loose quicker than expected which resulted in my ring finger being trapped between the ratchet and the lower wishbone of the car with some force.
Enough force to break the finger, remove the nail and slice the tip of my finger from left to right through the nail bed.
Yes it hurt. You can see where the nail is trying to hold on at the tip there.
The hospital kindly cut the nail off, cleaned it and then sewed it back over the now sewn back up and attached bit of finger.
Ta da!

Yes it hurt, and still does though with at strange feeling that comes from nerve damage; the pain is inside my finger but I can't feel the rest.
Onwards then...