Am I a happy cycling noob? Part II

Well, it is time for an update on how my cycling is progressing; just in-case any of you may be interested. :D

Before we go any further, I have an important community announcement:

In the interest of public safety, the following half-a-dozen paragraphs have been declared wordy and may contain large amounts of nonsense. It is therefore suggested that you only read the last couple of paragraphs, unless of course you choose to be foolishly entertained by a noobie road cyclist that is still romanticising about a two-wheeled, crank-driven, non-motorised vehicle.

Almost two weeks have past since I purchased the great bike and commenced the exhilarating road cycling journey; and what a journey it has been! Every single day proves to be a challenge, and each consecutive day an even greater challenge. I am truly starting to believe that those ‘challenges’ are becoming the foundation to a pure enjoyment of the sport. It’s a culmination of those selfish teeth gritting moments at the base of an incline where nothing else matters or even exists; or those simple “just a couple more kilometres” moments at the end of a hard days training. They are the challenges which twist your arm; the type that force you to come back the next day to give it another crack.

You may recall that when I purchased the bike, I described the moment as a “beautiful sound of harps chiming and angels singing in harmony”. Whilst this is still sickeningly true, the bike has turned out to be more of a well trained steed; a beast ready to claw at the road and to perform precisely as instructed. She twitches from side to side with the slightest adjustment of my weight; she attempts to break me by testing my will and spirit on every hill decent; and yet somehow she manages to remain sleek, streamlined, and well balanced. I can, and will, definitely recommend her to anyone starting out, or even to those well seasoned in this great pastime.

It would seem that my fear of using cleats has been unjustified so far. This may simply come down to a pure luck benefit that I hadn’t ridden with any particular pedal system before, and therefore clipless is just as new to me as riding; or perhaps simply summarised as it’s “Always on My Mind” as Willie Nelson would suggest. Whichever answer rings true, almost ignorantly the stats remain at Mark 1 : Bitumen 0.

Fitness wise I have progressed in leaps and bounds! Leg strength is the obvious difference, as well as small attributes such as generally ‘feeling’ better. However, I am yet to experience any of those “Jenny helped me lose 50 packets of 500mg butter from my body” moments, and in all honesty I am a little concerned as to where a square shaped piece of lard can safely, and perhaps comfortably exit your body from?

Technically I obviously have a lot to still learn about the basics of riding, let alone the finer points of strategy and perseverance later down the track. For now I am concentrating on ‘pulling up’ on the pedals when I ascend a hill, which is working quite nicely. It’s all just a matter of learning, and does anybody truly ever stop learning?

As previously noted, my first ride had the following stats, based around a training circuit I mapped out:

Date: 13/01/2010
Distance: 8.81klm
Ride Time: 19 mins 53 secs
Avg Speed: 25 km/h
Max Speed: 34.9 km/h
Avg Cadence: 82rpm

Whilst I have increased the circuit distance to 9.25 since the first round trip, it is what I call the ‘afternoon quickie’. The circuit is a loop around North Lakes, which is not only safe and beginner friendly, but also consists of generous bike lanes the entire distance <begin rant> thanks to the many rate payers like myself whom continue to pay overinflated fees</end rant>.

For those punters who would like to have a little ‘afternoon quickie’ of their own, I have included the simple ingredients below:

Add a good splash of roundabouts; a pinch of testing inclines; a generous splash of soccer mums; and a good shake of seemingly pre-pubescent male P plate superhero drivers. Mix thoroughly together and voila, you have a good challenge which may keep you on your toes per se. For added enjoyment, I highly recommend sporadically including the odd broken bourbon or rum bottle in the middle of the bike lane; you will be stunned and amazed at just how much more pizzazz you achieve by adding a simple “bogan throwing glass out their car window the night before” ingredient.

However, I digress once more; back to the progression. Approximately one week after cautiously dipping my toes in the water, I had learnt more about pedalling and decided to test the water further. And in breaking news the circuit distance was increased to two laps! And the crowd goes wild, it’s a standing ovation, this truly is a remarkable effort…………. ahem…. some stats:

Distance: 18.56
Ride Time: 00:44:21
Avg Speed: 25.07
Max Speed: 44.59
Avg Cadence: 84

Not a bad effort, but I found the loops still lacked that ‘something’. Only one thing to do, which brings us to yesterday’s ride. The 3 x loop. Stats as follows:

Distance: 27.33
Ride Time: 01:05:05
Avg Speed: 25.20
Max Speed: 47.99
Avg Cadence: 79

Notes: Strong head wind for ½ the circuit.

After completing 3 loops of the circuit, I found that I still had some energy in reserve. Maybe this is contributed to a recent change in diet; or mixing pedalling styles on different parts of the circuit? Or maybe it’s just part of breaking through some form of psychological barrier and becoming just that slight amount healthier? Whatever the cause, tomorrow is another day, bringing with it another challenge, and the possibility of getting that much closer to obtaining another goal.

Bring it on! Happy pedalling.