Sunday, 30 June 2013

Tantrums and toe cleats.

In the last couple of weeks I have been introduced to the world of mountain biking. Now, I have always cursed the mountain bikers that chew up the paths in the Pentlands, but the biking I have been doing is on proper bike trails down at Glentress.

My first trip was on my very old and heavy fully rigid mountain bike that has only ever been used for commuting. It was hard work but I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill and excitement of it all. So this weekend we headed back and to do some more as plans to go away camping for a few days to the North West were thwarted by crappy wet weather.

So, on Friday evening we went back with my old bike, now sporting some actual MB tyres but also some clip in pedals, as I was finding it hard to keep my feet on the bike as it jumped around over the bumps. I thought that I would be able to manage the cleats ok as I have found them good and relatively easy to use on my road bike. However, testing out the pedals in the car park proved to be my first challenge and I fell over and winded myself on my own handle bars! Thankfully nobody was watching, but I felt rather foolish and initially thought I had ruined my weekend before it had even begun.

Not to be put off I jumped back on and began the journey up the hill, so far so good, a tad tricky at points but no more falls......until I tried to stop, didn't quite manage to undo in time and boom in the ditch. Pride starting to get slightly dented by this pointed, but no blood so all good. The rest of the evening was uneventful and again thoroughly enjoyable.

Saturday, up and away back down to Glentress, this time though we thought it might be good to try out one if the hire bikes and get a feel of the trails on a bike more suited to the terrain. Since I had quite liked using the toe cleats we swapped the pedals and off we went. Fairly soon though it became apparent that a new bike and toe cleats was possibly just a step too far for what essentially was my 3rd trip out. I had lost all confidence and hated having my feet confined. I tried to use that flat underside of the pedal but even that was proving difficult. A minor meltdown was on the verge of happening and I was finding that my cool and calm demeanour was melting away fast by the heat of my own annoyance.

Thankfully my co pilot was very laid back and reassurig about the whole thing so we cycled back down changed the pedals back to flats, had a gluten free chocolate brownie and a coffee before puffing our way back up the hill.

Result, happy Caroline was back, but fear had also creptd in. I hate adult fear it is so debilitating at times, you just want to wish yourself back to childhood when you feared nothing. So in order to try and recover some pride I faced my fears head on, and was given some tuition in the skills area going over bumps and rocks etc. It certainly helped and the rest of the day went by without a hitch, thankfully.

However, there is one further minor hurdle that I have to over come. I think the motion and the concentration of the downhill gives me slight motion sickness. It would be interesting to know if anyone else has ever experienced this or if it is just one of the weird things that happens to me. Not that this will hold me back as I purchased a new mountain bike today a long with some travel bands that I hope will help stop the motion sickness.

All in all a fantastic weekend of exercise, good food, nice drinks, great company and chat. Happy days. xx

Let the weekend begin.

A room with a view.

Taking a breather.

Grass and trees.

New bike baby.

Peace x

All photos by Caroline Harvey on instagram.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Edinburgh to St Andrews Cycle.

Today, along with some friends, we took part in the Edinburgh to St Andrews bike ride. This event is organised by LEPRA and this year marked it's 33rd birthday. I have done it twice before but many, many years ago. So long ago in fact that I had actually forgotten and did not even recognise 90% of the route.

Beth and I did not register for the event until this morning as weather wise this event has a very poor track record, and I did not fancy 65 miles of torrential rain. However the rain seemed to stay away for the most part and the wind was very much in our favour, which was a blessing as I have not exactly been doing much in the way of training.

The route has a few steep sections which cause a fair amount of lung and leg burn, but combined with some downhill and long undulating sections, makes for an excellent tour, although at points some extra way markings and marshalls would have been useful. This event does have a very friendly and family orientated vibe to it, and people complete the course on a very varied array of bikes. It is definitely not just for your wanna be Bradley Wiggenses. There were even 2 girls dressed as crayons!

Our friend Charlie and his mates did an excellent job of completing the course, one team member did get a little lost but found his way eventually. Beth and I were just glad it wasn't us getting lost for a change. This was their first foray into the world of cycling and possibly their last, but they had a great support crew that brought us alcohol at the finish and a minibus to take the bikes home. Thanks guys.

The Crew

Well done Dolly.

Do it.

Windswept and sweaty!

St Andrews band stand.

2 out of 3 boys ain't bad.




A big thanks to Beth for her amazing flapjacks, they are the best cycling fuel ever and so delicious.

Great day out.

Peace x

All photographs by Caroline Harvey.