As mentioned in the last post I'll be taking part in the Cycletta North cycling event in October. Woohoo!
I was offered a "media place" on the ride and I'm usually funny about accepting free things (remember I fartarsed around with those Zumba DVDs last year?). I feel uncomfortable blogging about something for any reason other than "this thought popped into my head today". So why yes to Cycletta?
- It's a cool idea to encourage women to try cycling
- It's in a part of England I've never visited before – good excuse to explore!
- It's on closed roads with "gently undulating hills"… perfect for a fraidy cat!
- It's been bugging the hell out of me that after five years of ownership my bike has actual cobwebs on it.
- Gareth is a mad keen cyclist, as are many of our good mates. Last weekend they all pedalled from Edinburgh to St Andrews and back together. I don't aspire to that level of prowess, but it would nice to:
- know what the hell when they're on about when they talk about various bike parts
- perhaps go for a casual pootle around the countryside with them one day
- instead of wanting to spew at the very idea.
So the plan is to give cycling a proper bash, and if I absolutely hate it after training for and taking part in Cycletta, then I will put the bike on Freecycle (near mint condition!).
. . .
I recently took part in a bloggers' conference call with World & Olympic Cycling champion Victoria Pendleton, who is the Cycletta ambassador. It was very cool to be able to pick the brains of a proper champion cyclist!
Do you have any advice for anyone who
a) can barely ride up hills, and
b) is shitscared of coming back down them?
Here is the sage advice of World and Olympic champ Victoria Pendleton:
- Make use of your whole gear range. "Lots of people stick to the same couple of gears – you need to be using all of them and know how they feel and when to engage them. Earlier rather than later is best!"
- Alternate sitting and getting out of the saddle to give different muscles in your legs a rest
- Go at your own pace – if you're tempted to go faster than you're capable of or try to keep up with faster rides you'll conk out. She said, "I do suffer from a bit of that riding with the boys sometimes – I have tendency to try and keep up with them then I die a horrible death before I get to the top!"
- Going slower than you're capable of "will make you suffer too", so stick to your natural pace.
- Scan the road ahead of you – "look out for obstacles, potholes and potential hazards"
- Keep your head up – "it's very tempting to just look down when you're descending but it can make you more nervous"
- Using too much brakes can, "make it worse and more dangerous so you have to be able to relax and let the brakes go a little bit"
- If it's very steep it's really helpful to put your weight back over the back of the saddle… so get out of the saddle and move your weight backwards towards the the back of the seat – "distributing your weight that way might make you feel more control on your descent".
I wish I could say I'm looking forward to putting Victoria's advice to the test
Now here's the second question, which was contributed by Dr G:
What's the top speed you've ever reached on the track?
Her fastest ever speed at the velodrome is 78km per hour (48.5 miles per hour): "Riding behind the motorbike on the track gives you a slipstream and you get the chance to go faster than you could on your own. You can't really see much at that speed but it's really good!"
There are two Cycletta events scheduled for 2011:
Cycletta South: Whipsnade Park on Sunday 11th September
Cycletta North: Tatton Park on Sunday 2nd October
Entry price is £45 per event and the deadline for entry is 31 July 2011. For registration and full event information, visit www.cycletta.co.uk
Image from Cycletta.