Saturday, 10 August 2013

Lycra Is Painful & so is Dismount

Catching sight of yourself in Lycra is a bit like looking up to the ceiling for the first time in months only to see an industrial sized cobweb with dead flies hanging all over it - misshapen, unattached in places but potentially still able to function to a purpose.

It’s a difficult to know how best to approach tight clothing when you reach a certain shape. If like me you’ve what we commonly call, ‘let yourself go a bit’ then there’s no choice but to man up, or woman up in my case, squeeze into your old training kit and not really give a damn.

My Lycra hurdle overcome, it’s time to reintroduce pain. Firstly, don’t do what I did and think you can jump casually onto your bike like you used to. Make sure your leg still lifts to the required height It’s a good idea to practice in your bedroom beforehand… (away from the window and remove all mirrors – sight of yourself now could set you back weeks)

Once confident, steady yourself and slightly tilt the bike, then counter lever your leg and body into position. Visualization is often used in sport so imagine the elegant leap of a gazelle or that final sack of spuds lobbed onto the back of the truck by a rustic farmer.

At this point it is a good idea to check you have all the essentials on you; a puncture outfit, a full bidon (don't confuse with bidet, that’s something else entirely), a large bar of something - could be Galaxy, Cadburys or I prefer something a little more luxury like Divine or Green & Blacks - these sort of nutritional details will become clearer once you’re more attuned to your body’s needs. I will be covering nutrition at a later date. It’s a good idea to take a mobile (it’s something to look at if nothing else) and lastly a credit card. Actually I’ve just remembered my first mistake, check you’ve got all this stuff before you get on. Now you’re ready to roll.

Always take your mobile. Love Yellow 2013

On with the training:

Disclaimer:  I’ll take you through my first training session but whatever happens to you is not my fault.

Right, lick your finger and hold it aloft. Whatever way the wind is blowing go towards it. Set off on a low gear at Tapping pace, i.e. cycling along not making much effort. When the road goes up turn off at the earliest convenience. This is what I did even though it lead me up a bridle way (completely legal and safer than most designated cycle paths providing the local lunatics aren’t out killing foxes). Riding along bridle ways is what was known as Rough Stuff (also know as Rough Stuff: the current state of the road surface round here)

In my regime Tapping Along is Level Minus 8. The aim of Level –8 is to be able to get home. Training guru Peter Keen has a similar level in his training theory that advises this type of training when returning from injury or sickness which fits in well, what with my initial leg lifting incident and years of laziness.

After about twenty minutes of Tapping Along it is time to face every cyclists’ most feared challenge – getting past the cafĂ©. Even if you see bikes leaning by the door where others have succumbed, you must not go in – you’re just not ready. Getting off for cake and coffee WILL be your undoing. You Will Not want to get back on, even if you can.

To head home take as many Left turns as required (this turns you around, a bit like a tanker) and continue on at Level –8. You might want to exercise your upper body now by reaching down to your bidon and lifting for a drink. So reach down, lift up, drink and reach down again. This will sharpen your motor skills. Do this with both hands (not at the same time) and then repeat but instead of going for the bidon, extend behind to your back pocket for a square of chocolate. I repeated the chocolate exercise twice on each side, then did an extra one for luck as cyclist often neglect their upper body and I wouldn’t want to do that (5 Chocolate lifts in all).

It should be plain sailing now until you reach home, if not I can’t help you, you’ve gone too far on your first ride because you assumed you were fitter than you actually are. Once home the dismount should be easier but to be safe wait until your neighbour has finished putting his bin out (the nosey git) before attempting it (visualisations: nothing you’ve ever seen on You’ve Been Framed, blancmange or a cat sliding off the back of the sofa)

Recovery could be anything from an ice cream smoothie to a sickie off work the next day depending on how much you enjoy your job.