Cycletta: 7 weeks to go!

Time flies when you're huffing and puffing up hills in the very lowest gear… only seven weeks til the Cycletta bike ride!

There is now route information on the website:

Cycletta North's 38.5km route is somewhat deceptive. Unlike its sister in the South, Cycletta North is a series of gradual inclines and declines, turns and straights, so you'll have to keep your wits about you and push throughout.

Dagnabbit! I swear I'd read before, "gently undulating hills". It must have been either wishful reading or I'd read the Cycletta South blurb by mistake. Oh well. There's still seven weeks to go. And 38.5km is a whole 1.5km less than originally thought, even if it the route requires wit-keeping and pushing throughout.

Besides, there is a refreshment stop half way round the course. It's not the Olympics! It is a fun and friendly event. And so far the training is doing exactly what I was hoping it would do – making me not dread getting on the bike. It can be quite exhilarating at times… the wind in my hair, the pollen up my nose; eyes blurry with hayfever tears…

Aside from being unable to get up a hill without using all the gears, the descending also needs work. Braking the entire way down can't be doing the brakes any favours. And my right calf is forever streaked with grease as I seem to press it into the chain on the way down, as if that will stop me flying over the handlebars. No matter how many times Gareth tells me this will not happen ("You are not above the laws of physics!") I can't let go!

17 thoughts on “Cycletta: 7 weeks to go!

  1. Haha! The Doc’s comment made me laugh, I can totally picture the scene!

    You are doing so amazingly well Shauna, taking on something that scares you. Or used to scare you. πŸ˜‰ And of course the north course will be tougher than the south – us southern pansies don’t like hills!

  2. You will kill that Cycletta course! When he was asked during his interview in Fed Square this week, “has all this changed your life”, Cadel Evans response was “It still hurts to ride up hills”. So, hills are hard for everyone, just go out and enjoy!

  3. You’ll do great πŸ™‚
    Like you said it’s all about having fun. But having a focus is really useful.
    Yeah I break going down hill all the way. What else can you do? Are you supposed to only break every so often? I’m too scared of not being able to stop πŸ™

  4. I just starting biking again (hadn’t really biked since I was a teen) and have had many of the same thoughts about hills. But it’s a great way to break up the exercise routine.

    What IS up with that right calf and chain marks? Thank God I’m not the only one.

  5. Oooh, I was wondering how your Cycletta training has been going! I know you will do great. How are your knees doing with the hills?

    Glad you are finally “liking” riding the bike, maybe you wont get rid of her after all??

  6. You can do it!! I just finished RAGBRAI a few weeks ago. 456 miles across Iowa. It was a LOT of hills. And, crazy hot. In fact I had to sit out 2 days because of the heat. So, I did about 300+ miles and 10,000 feet of climbing. Here is what I learned… it really is true to that it is easier to bike up a hill than walk it. But, sometimes your legs just get fatigued. I found that as I was getting fatigued I would pull off and rest and then get back on the bike…even on an incline. I ended up walking up some hills (1.3 mile incline? puhleeze. Everyone walked)…but my speedometer was 2.4 miles per hour walking and at my slowest biking it was 4.4 miles per hour. So, I kept that in mind!

    Ideally, ride for about 5-10 minutes and then get off the bike and stretch. it is hard to do.. loss of spiritual momentum. So, I started to just ride around before the start for a few minutes and then stretch. AT EVERY BREAK… stretch. You will appreciate it later.

    Drink. A. Lot.

    Now.. I realize that my ride was a bit different (since I was averaging 65 miiles a day for 7 days… or 100 KM a day for my trip ..which was 5 days out of the 7). But, I did a lot of 40Km training rides and I think the above holds.

    As to going really gets easier. Especially when you are tired! It is nice to just rest and get some momentum.

    the ONLY thing good about riding with my extra 100 pounds… I pick up some serious speed going downhill. Of course, the laws of physics are only nice to me at that point. I don’t get quite as far UP the hills as others without pedalling. My momentum dissipates as quickly as it accumulates.

    Have a wonderful ride!


  7. Shauna, you are going to be just fine. Hills are hard and using all the gears is ok, that’s what they are there for!

    I’m used to a husband who screams “no need to brake” down most hills. My best tip is to relax your shoulders, it does seem to help.

  8. You can do this. Last month I rode the Seattle to Portland. 204 miles in two days. Not really a cyclist but wanted to do something different than running. The training was far worse than the event itself. Except my crotch may never be the same. I am so slow that… at one point when they stop the traffic going over a bridge that goes over the Columbia river they started it again because I had not gone over the bridge in the time allotted. This happened even though I was in the middle of the pack when the group took off. I also hold the brakes on downhill because I think I died in another life going downhill. But I finished the damn thing and felt great. I actually had more stamina and energy at the end and hurt less the next day (except my crotch)than my husband who goes uphill way faster and is not afraid to die going down…

  9. Shauna… do you think perhaps “series of gradual inclines and declines” actually means exactly the same thing as “gently undulating hills”?? Don’t freak out over that. Its not as if you were planning to be doing the ride WITHOUT having your wits about you, anyway! You can totally do it.

  10. You are not above the law of physics? I swore you were that unique one.
    I hate that damn grease stuff.
    Any time I see “rolling hills” for a race, I know to get the hell away fast.
    I am proud of you….

  11. Congrats on sticking with the training – I bet you’ll have a great time – supported group rides are really fun! And don’t worry about using all the gears, that’s what they’re there for (true story: I added easier gears to my bike last spring specifically for an event I was riding up some steep hills – best decision ever!).

    I’m still scared on some of the descents too. It helps if you shift your weight so that you’re sitting more to the back of the saddle than the middle, and practice (gently at first!) using your front brake in all sorts of situations so you get a feel for it – knowing when and how hard I can slam on my brakes without flipping over the bike has helped my confidence a lot.

  12. What about going out and riding portions of the actual course? We did that for my ride in May and it was tremendously helpful. And if you figure out how to stop braking the entire downhill, do drop me a line because I’m sure it would lean my love/hate relationship with biking right back into the love column!

    Denise xxxooo

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at