Not the Winter Solstice Audax

I was looking forward to this 200km audax.  The last two years the weather has been relatively kind and it looked like it would be mild today.  I got everything ready last night, got up nice and early, had my pre-200k breakfast and got to the start in plenty of time.  I’ve even been growing my beard.  After chatting for a bit with the usual audax crowd I set off.  In half a mile I heard a ping and suddenly I started spinning.  Looking down the chain was on the small ring and the cable looked like it had worked loose.  I turned round to go back to the start to borrow an allan key but when I got there and touched the bolt with my fingers it came away.  So I got the bike in summer and have done maybe 700 or 800 miles on it as I didn’t start using it until October.  The first derailleur bolt sheared off about 3 weeks ago, and the whole derailleur had to be replaced by the LBS.  This has maybe done 50 miles so it’s not really funny, and as most people who ride with me know, I rarely use the small ring anyway, so it’s not like I’m changing gear every two minutes.  My bikes are all Shimano but this is my first experience of 105.  Dura-Ace, Ultegra and Tiagra have all done thousands of miles with no issues at all.  I’m not impressed.

So I packed my bike up and came home, got the spare winter bike out, tinkered with it to get it ready and then went out on that.  From being dry and mild in South Manchester, it was now wet and cold in North Manchester.  As Peter Kay says it was that fine rain that soaks you through.  Whilst I’m on the subject of poor-performing kit…

  • Sealskinz Waterproof Winter gloves – 5 out of 10 – hands soaked and freezing within an hour
  • Sealskinz Waterproof Overshoes – 6 out of 10 – boots were generally dry except for toe area within an hour
  • Northwave Fahrenheit winter boots – 6 out of 10 – wet toes within an hour – rest okay
  • Sealskinz Waterproof Socks – 5 out of 10 – wet toes, freezing cold – very disappointing
  • Bioracer club winter jacket – 9 out of 10 – body stayed dry – lower arms from cuffs a bit damp – reasonably warm

Anyway I managed around 45 miles or so – I should have gone south rather than north but didn’t want to navigate Manchester as the traffic is pretty bad in the run-up to Christmas.  I’m glad I did get out even though it was raining as I’ve been going a bit stir-crazy on the turbo.  It’s important to keep up the aerobic base fitness training, even if the weather is bad.  In your mid to late forties it’s too easy to lose fitness and if you think you can routinely miss sessions and not struggle then you’re only kidding yourself.  And of course there is a certain masochistic pleasure to be had in souffrance but that’s for another blog post!

Enjoy your Christmas and keep riding!

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