Sunday, 22 June 2014

Thanking my lucky stars

I sit here typing this as a very lucky man.

I normally consider myself unlucky in most respects but last night, the big man in the sky was most definitely looking after me.  I'll explain in a mo.

It has been a good week.  I'm getting back in the swing of doing my regular chest and abs sessions around my cardio, although I havent been to the Gym in a while, almost 6 weeks now, my longest break in a while.

I've blogged recently that I havent been enjoying my running, so I've been getting back out on Hayley and getting some cycling done...and this week has been good.

Out on the bike Wednesday night.  My old favourite Welling to Higham and back loop.  Just a fraction under 2,000ft of climbing, so not particularly hilly but more than enough to give the legs and cardio a thoroughly good work out.


I'll take the 17.1mph average speed all day long for that course. My legs were really it and I was backing down the pace on some stretches where I would normally be going flat out but it was more than sufficient for a Wednesday evening ride straight from work. Pretty chuffed with that. In at 5:30pm, out by 6 something and 50 miles done in less than 3 hours. Happy Days. 

Throw in some pretty heavy duty gardening into the mix then it was back out on the bike late Saturday afternoon.

Riding at pace on a reasonably flat course is fine but that never compares to hills. The only way to improve is do hills and lots of them. Not necessarily all on the same ride though. Saturday was supposed to be a rest day and I was only going out for a gentle spin but it didnt really turn out like that.

As it turns out, I headed out to Westerham via Cudham Lane at Orpington.  Dropped down Hogtrough on to the Pilgrims Way and dropped down into Westerham then I done the three absolutely stinkers.  Hosey Hill, Toys Hill and Ide Hill.  Thankfully, at the top of Ide there is a lovely long descent back into Dunton Green and then back to the Pilgrms Way to climb Old Terry's Lodge before heading back to Dartford via the Fawkham Valley.

It was a lovely ride, albeit very hard on the hills as I'm just not bike fit right now but I was going great guns.  Until I hit the single track part of Pilgrims Way.  This takes me back to my opening line.

The road/track is only wide enough for one vehicle to pass.  If there's a cyclist in the road, you can get past until the road widens.  Cue me on Hayley cycling around a left blind bend and a speeding White Van Man coming the other way.  I had two seconds to make a decision before I got hit.  I either throw myself left into the tall hedge or get hit.  It was a simple decision.  I had nowhere else to go.  So I threw myself to the left, missed the van thankfully but when cycling along at 18-19mph, landing in a 8ft hedge isnt the best option but its a damn site better than ploughing head first into the front grill on a van.

Its a real blur now but the cuts to my forearm, bicep and bruising to my ribs are testament to how much little protection you get from lycra.  Getting out the hedge was fun.  I was almost laying on my side in the hedge and I was still clipped into my pedals.  I managed to unclip myself from Hayley and crawl out.  I was a mess. 

Thankfully I'm ok and so is Hayley but it could have been so much worse.

I was more shaken than hurt although the blood coming out of my arm was a concern but made my way back towards home but stopped at my parents for some First Aid.

So there you go.  After almost 15,000 miles of cycling over the last 3-4 years or so, thats my first proper incident.  Not bad going really.

As a whole, I was really pleased with the ride, aside from the mishap.  To average 15.2mph with such little mileage in my legs this year was great with that amount of climbing involved (approx 3,400ft).  

What with a 8 mile run last Sunday, a 10k on Monday and a slow 5k thrown in for good measure too, it was a good week of training.

8PM EDIT: And if that wasnt enough for one weekend, Izzy's Mum phoned at 6:30pm to say they'd spent the last couple of hours in A&E after Izzy fell off her bike.  They'd been on a nice family ride and Izzy took the last corner too fast.  Came off on the alleyway down the side of their house and on top of some road rash, she's got a pretty nasty cut on her knee which needed 6 stitches.  That means she's now going to have to miss Sports Day on Tuesday :(

Izzy's leg all bandaged up after six stitches in her knee...

And if that wasnt enough to top the weekend, the THIRD cycling incident of the weekend happened on the way home from my parents on the quick time trial back home.

As I was decending down Central Avenue at Welling Station, some blind Ford Focus driver nearly wiped me out. He turned right into Station Approach as I came down the hill at 20mph+ and somehow, somehow, I managed to avoid him and stay upright. It was so close that I actually shut my eyes and prepared for the impact. I was so sure he was going to hit my back wheel that I was already clipped out on my right pedal and I was preparing to roll right and stick my leg out to stay upright but no need.

Central Avenue, Welling.  The Ford Focus was turning right from where the car is pictured here...
One near miss too many this weekend.  Am now beginning to remember exactly why I decided running was much better for me than riding!

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