Record breaking year

2014 is already turning out to be a record breaking year.

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  • Britain’s best ever medal haul in the Winter Olympics since 1924 – 1 gold medal
  • Record levels of flooding in Oxfordshire and the South of England- 1.4 goggleplex cubic metres of water
  • Guinness world record for the longest distance of continuous underwater unicycling- 1.3 miles (Ashrita Furman, Portugal, video)
  • Record number of  visits to a gym in a year by Tejvan – 2
  • Record percentage of training rides done on indoor rollers by Tejvan –  65%

On a less promising note, I’ve managed to dns 50% of entered rides.

For the past seven years, I’ve been wanting to do the early season North Road Hardriders  25 around the lanes of North London. It’s an early season hilly classic, but despite entering three times, I’ve never made it to the start line. It seems to come at a time in the season when I’m prone to knee injuries. This year, it was a bout of flu – which kept me not just from riding the North Road hardriders, but also picking up the Oxonian CC 10 mile and 25 mile TT at the Oxonian annual dinner. A nice free three course meal – replaced by an evening of soup, rice cakes and fit for nothing more than watching repeats of the Tour of Oman. Well, I suppose you can’t eat caviar every day of the year. I consoled myself by reminding me there are worse times of the year to come down with a bug. I also consoled myself by saying although Oman might not be subject to floods and rain, there is a distinct lack of any scenery which isn’t resolutely grey, sandy. (or where’s the grass?)

Last Wednesday was one of those rare forays into the outer world of tarmac, puddles and real roads (well, some were roads, but are increasingly starting to resemble lumpy farmyard tracks). The weather forecast at BBC and Metcheck, both promised 0.0mm of rain for that day. The weather looked so good, I cancelled an economics lesson (easy in half-term week) and planned a good long five hour ride in the hills of the Chilterns. With the good weather forecast, I took my time trial bike. When you get used to spinning away on the rollers or flying on your TT bike, it’s a bit of comedown to go back to winter training hack. I did 40 miles on Monday, in a record low average speed of about 13.8mph. I didn’t want to repeat that.

Alas, the weather forecast proved to be misleading. Almost as soon as I had got spitting distance from Oxford, the weather gods began having a laugh, and started spitting at me. It was never heavy rain, just that fine drizzle that soaks you through. I think fine drizzle is better English phrase than ‘it’s spitting’ – but I heard it a lot when growing up in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

I persisted for a good four hours, and was quite pleased to get some hard miles in. It was made more difficult because I tilted my tribars upwards – this is more aerodynamic, but much more awkward and painful, I’m being to question whether the aero gains suggested by the wind tunnel are worth the extra effort and pain in the arms and shoulders. Not for a 12 hour, that’s for sure.

I did several hill efforts. A five minute power effort suggested I’d gained 20 watts in two weeks Yah!. From a very low base, but at least at this time of the year, you can see easy gains for relatively little effort. It’s like the first season you take up cycling and make huge gains. Only to find it gets increasingly difficult to keep increasing power as time progresses.

It was quite a good two weeks training, so five days off is not the end of the world. But, it would be nice to starting breaking records which don’t involve cycling under a deluge of rain and water.

By the way, Ashrita Furman of cycling underwater fame, has one of the few Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team records, that I don’t have. He did a very credible 405 miles for 24 hours back in the 1970s. It’s one record I won’t be attempting for quite a while. And as for the long distance underwater unicycling…..

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