Yesterday’s cycle was… strange. It was my first trip with my brand new very swanky bib tights, and lo, they are good. I had to stop soon to take off my rain jacket, though, as the deluge promised by the forecast was nowhere in sight, and I was boiling, boiling hot. Yes, I too think this is somewhat strange in 10’C weather, but well. I at least gave two guys in two different cars something to get excited about, it seemed.
Because, ya know, without the jacket I was clad in the tights and my sports bra. Which in my defence looks like a crop top, not a bra. I hope. Feck it, I was very, very hot.
Had to stop to adjust my saddle, move the nose about four millimetres up, as I kept sliding forward. Lo and behold, a pair of knights in shining armour (okay, it was actually Cuchullain Cycling Club gear, but still) stopped to lend what assistance they could. It seems not uncommon for a member of this establishment to have to stop to either scrape me off the road after a fall or offer assistance as I wave around a dangerous multi-tool.
That fixed, and having explained to the astonished gentlemen that I was very hot and therefore shirtless, I set off again. Up the mountainside, up Jenkinstown hill, and here is the second strangeness. There is one particularly steep section of this route where for the second time now, my back tyre spun when I pedalled up it. This time it freaked me out enough to get off the bike and push it a few steps to somewhat less steep terrain. I was not happy, to put it mildly. I hate deferring a challenge, and my undertaking has been to never stop to rest on Jenkinstown hill again. But I can’t stand the bike skidding like that, so.
I still hate to have stopped.
Back on the bike (or it might have been before I stopped, I’m not sure), I saw a man walking with two young boys. They smiled at me, I smiled back, generic wave, until I heard one of the boys calling: “Hi, Nadia!”. I had no idea who they were, and felt bad then, because most probably it’s someone I know well and would feel dreadful to not have recognised. I’m so sorry, if you’re reading this. Brain like a sieve, and I was wearing tinted glasses.
Top of the hill saw me putting the jacket back on, because I know from experience that once you crest that hill just before Windy Gap, the denizens of the North Pole lie in wait to freeze your flesh and crumble it from your bones. I froze my butt off (not literally) all the way down to the O’Meath-Newry road, and then gently roasted in my jacket once more. Very frustrating, one of those either too cold or too hot but never just right days.
Through Newry, to Warrenpoint, on a bit to turn around at the 2hrs30 mark. Back through Warrenpoint, where I learned that when you cycle through a town, you must always have your fingers on your brakes. A woman who is either blind or stupid or just a [insert really bad language here] bitch, passed me, then swerved right in front of me into a parking space.
There was no time to shift my hands to brake, I had to swerve into the parking area as well to avoid plastering myself all over the side of her car, as there were no Cuchullain Cycling Club members in sight to peel me off it again. Thank all the gods in Ireland the parking space was vacant, or I’d have been spread over the back of a different car. The swerving gave me just enough time to shift my hands and haul on the brakes.
After demonstrating the various ways in which I can combine the words ‘fuck’ and ‘stupid’ in a sentence, I pedalled on. I’d been taking strain, but the adrenaline from the near miss was amazing. It had me going much easier for about ten minutes before it wore off and I suffered once more. No idea why the cycling was so difficult, that bit of road is flat (perhaps a very slight uphill), the only thing I can think of which could have made life so difficult was a mild headwind.
I went up Newry hill non-stop (which is scant comfort, because it’s not as steep as Jenkinstown), and at the top yet again took off my jacket. Good cycling this last bit, but the problematic left hip flexor started niggling again towards the end. This infuriating bit of body is very sore after every long cycle, calming down over the space of the next day, maybe two. I Googled it today, and it looks as if a too high saddle might be the culprit. Put the saddle down half a centimetre this morning, and we’ll see how we go with that. After too-low-saddle knee problems kept me from training for just over a month this year, I am wary to put the saddle down too far again. We’ll take it very, very slow with the adjustments.
All in all, a rather weird day’s cycling. I’ve had better.