Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another Ride!

Julia and I went for another ride this morning. We met up at Freyberg at 9 on a rather fresh but not unbearably windy day. It's true that once we rounded Pt Jerningham we hit a Southerly so cold that we nearly turned around and rode straight back to our cars. However wimping out would have been ridiculous.

We agreed to ride up Mt Crawford and see how we felt after that. I sat behind Julia until Cobham Drive then overtook her, thinking it was about time she got a break from pulling. Unfortunately, by the time I got to Maupuia Rd I had managed to drop her and, being somewhat faster on the hills anyway, I had a bit of a wait at the top. Next time I'll ride back down to meet her.

Julia took the lead down the hill to Awa Rd, even if I did ride it faster than I would have done alone. I need to move the brake levers a little closer to the drops I think. They're just a little too high for my hands to reach comfortably and it's a bit un-nerving!

I took the lead again at Seatoun with Julia catching up on the way down from the Pass of Branda. At some point however I lost her again. It wasn't a deliberate thing at all. I thought she was right behind me but then she was gone. Next blonde moment of the day - I should have waited for her but kept going regardless. My stunning lack of regard for cycling etiquette astounds even me at times.

Riding up through Happy Valley to Brooklyn I had a great tail-wind but I had a nervous moment as I was approaching the lights at Brooklyn. The lights turned red as I was approaching, then a truck passed me followed by two cars. The truck stopped at the intersection indicating left, so I couldn't creep up on his inside. A third car was following behind the other two but there was enough of a gap for me to get onto the right-hand side of the lane. The pedestrian light turned green just as I was coming up alongside the truck, leaving me enough time to get past him and back into the left-hand side of the road before the three cars came through. I hate that intersection!

I stopped at the bus stop and a couple of quick txts established that Julia wasn't too far away. I decided to try eating the banana I'd brought with me and had a little of the Replace in my water bottle. I was chatting to a couple of guys who'd pulled alongside when Julia arrived. After that things went pear-shaped again. I saw Julia moving off so swapped a couple more comments with one of the cyclists then went to follow. Looking around, she was gone. It took some time to cross the road and I got stuck at the lights so I assumed she was ahead of me and spent the whole ride down to the Southern Coast and then around to Lyall Bay caning it trying to catch up. I was fighting that cold Southerly again and was very glad I hadn't taken my leg warmers off, as I'd been considering doing at the top of the hill.

Through Kilbirnie without any abuse this time and back to Freyberg at speed, only to find no sign of Julia. Oops. Another couple of txts and a few minutes later she was pulling alongside me. Apparently she'd waited at the bottom of the hill then ridden back up looking for me. I couldn't work out how we'd missed each other and then something clicked. She said she'd ridden back up to Central Park. So when I'd been riding down through Happy Valley Julia had been riding down the city side of the hill. When she said she'd gone back up the hill looking for me she'd ridden back up the steep side. Um, once again, oops.

Today convinced me that I am definitely faster on Cleo. Poor Julia proved that! I'm having a lot of fun with my gears, spending much most of my ride on the large cog (that's right, isn't it?) and taking a lot longer to move through the gears on the hills. More power must equal more speed. It might just be my own changed attitude, but I also feel like I'm taken more seriously on this bike. The other cyclists today (including a woman who passed me on the way up Happy Valley) were all extremely friendly and chatty. Never have I exchanged so many smiles, waves and one-liners when riding.

I'm also finding that I'm not getting anywhere near as fatigued on Cleo as I used to get on Lola. Even as I was supposed to be chasing Julia down on the way back to Kilbirnie I found myself looking up Houghton Bay Rd and thinking 'hmmmm'. I'm happy with my bike fit and my bike fitness and am feeling psychologically and physically prepared for the first Gearshifters ride in a week's time. The word that comes to mind to describe riding this bike is, once again, exhilarating. Yes, I really do love my Cleo.

A classic moment in the carpark this morning - Julia and I are just clipping in and moving off and I make a comment about how I took her out a couple of weeks ago and the roads were quite wet and about how I was feeling sad that she was getting dirty. A guy walking past overheard and asked "New bike?" Cue nods, smiles and sheepish looks on my part. Thank heavens she's a sexy champagne gold and not pink. I felt like enough of a girl as it was!

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