Morning Ride Motivation
by Robert Thorpe
by Robert Thorpe
The problem with writing about cycling is that you have to be prepared to ride… even when tired. Today was one such day, and the wind was howling a gale too, with rain forecast – sod it, skin is waterproof and this is Yorkshire. I’m not mentally ready to ride today, but I know that I’ll feel great once I start pedalling. I need nutrition to get me focused, and I need my mind to tell my body to get moving. In 4 weeks I’m cycling in Verona, and then in 8 weeks I’ve got to tackle the famous Transgarafasan road in Transylvania, Romania – so yes, energy is needed today if I’m to train. Thankfully, my bike is a pleasure to ride, and thankfully my friends at Voom Nutrition look after me too. Time to sort the bike out then, to do the pre-ride checks.
It’s a Bianchi Infinito C2C carbon frameset that I built up myself, using 3T carbon handlebars with internal routing, a carbon 3T seatpost and stem, Vittoria Elusion carbon disc wheels and a Shimano Ultegra disc groupset. Yes, I know how lucky I am. Elite even helped me out by finishing it off with carbon bottle cages, and Pirelli provided their awesome Italian PZero tyres in Celeste trim, so why on earth do i not want to ride it today. Sort yourself out Robert and get dressed 😉
If I’m going to ride, I need to prepare, and so head to the kitchen and prepare 2 Elite Jet bottles with Voom hydration powder. I choose 2 Voom bars too, hoping not to need them, but knowing that I will. Two 750 ml bottles should do the trick, and I like the bottles from Elite. They clean easily and can be put into the dishwasher, but best of all, they don’t have that horrible taste that many bottles suffer with. I need to feel positive on the ride today and every little point counts. Yes, small details like my choice of bottles are important, and yes I can be a little bit set about these things. We’re all on the spectrum a little and detail is important to me.
Wrapped in our new team kit,I set off not knowing exactly where I’d ride. The only stipulation was that I had to ride for at least 2 hours – whatever the weather. I headed up the narrow lane that climbs from Ripon to Nidderdale and Wensleydale, and selected a route that took in a few minor climbs as I warmed up, then a few short and steeper hills because I needed to hurt if I was to train well. Thankfully, we’re blessed with numerous hills of at 17 to 20% close to home, and so pain was guaranteed.
Riding into the tree covered lanes, I’d chosen a route where cars wouldn’t trouble me. These hidden roads are unknown to the masses and a local secret in this cycling mecca. However, just over an hour into a windy ride, the rain came. Not hard, but annoying and unpredictable. On these country roads, with dirt and grit, the addition of rain can be treacherous, and so the route was amended. More climbing and some reasonably straight descents. At least I’d be able to see where I’d fall! On this eastern edge of our national park, close to the flat vale, the unpredictable winds can also be treacherous. Gusts come from nowhere and blow you sideways from your bike, so control is imperative.
The state of the country roads also needs constant attention, as holes and cracks lie in wait with lethal consequences. Without being too political, it’s the result of 12 years of failure to spend or invest in infrastructure within the U.K., coupled with a policy of waiting until things actually collapse before repairing them, and simply hoping that the public don’t complain too much. The result is a road network that falling apart at the seams and which is often a nightmare for cyclists, who now need eyes like a toilet rat if they’re to safely spot the dangers that lie in wait. Today thankfully, my eyes are working better than my legs.
After 2 hours of battling these winds and the unpredictable rain, I headed for home, thankfully feeling good. I’m confident that the training is going well, and I’ve lots of information to write about: kit from Presca Sportswear and Pirelli. The one very good thing about being a cycling writer, is that you get to test the very best kit, like these tyres from Pirelli or the simply pleasure of drinking from a really good water bottle (the Elite Jet) – and on a windy and unpredictable day in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, good kit is what makes the difference. So thanks guys… you know who you are 🙂