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Tale of the close shave

We all know about the 2 types of cyclists, the ones that have crashed, the ones that have crashed and those that will crash again. They make up some serious stories and most are exaggerated to some degree. What does not get repeated time and again are the close shaves with traffic and the near misses with pavements, light poles and other stationary objects. 

Here is one tale of the close shave.

There are only a few roads that lead from my house on my training rides. This particular route, i have cycled possibly 1000 times. Semi challenging when you are not warm but nothing too hectic. It involved a fairly long downhill section which is actually quite fast. On a normal day you can easily get to 65 km/h without much peddling. This hill is not 2,5 km into the training rides. This particular day it was quite windy so the hill was directly into a head wind, a fairly strong wind meant that maximum speed was 41km/h. Anyway, about halfway down the hill, there is a road on the left hand side. Mostly the cars stop and let you pass before joining the traffic flow. There is always the exception that proves the rule. This older lady, driving a small car, slowed down and had a look up the road but then carried on accelerating. 

At this stage, I was about 20 metres from the car! I was close enough that i actually saw her look right to see if the road was clear. I ride in the colours of the COWS and the kit is a black and white cow print. It is really obvious! I am also 193 cm tall weighing 90 odd kilograms. A fairly large object to miss! She missed me barrelling down the road? She pulls out and i had to make a make a call. Is she going to pull out – i would be able to miss her round the back of the car. Or is she going to stop. Roughly half way into the lane, she stopped. 

I was able to swerve arou d the car. In doing so, I uttered a few choice words! I politely asked her what she was doing and managed to keep it upright. What surprised me but yet it is pretty standard in Durban, is when we got to the lights at the bottom, the ldy looked at me as if to say, “what have i done wrong?”

I had to exercise serious constraint then and then had to calm down so I could finish the training ride. 

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2 types.

We all know about the 2 types of cyclists, the ones that have crashed, the ones that have crashed and those that will crash again. They make up some serious stories and most are exaggerated to some degree. What does not get repeated time and again are the close shaves with traffic and the near misses with pavements, light poles and other stationary objects. 

Here is one tale of the close shave.

There are only a few roads that lead from my house on my training rides. This particular route, i have cycled possibly 1000 times. Semi challenging when you are not warm but nothing too hectic. It involved a fairly long downhill section which is actually quite fast. On a normal day you can easily get to 65 km/h without much peddling. This hill is not 2,5 km into the training rides. This particular day it was quite windy so the hill was directly into a head wind, a fairly strong wind meant that maximum speed was 41km/h. Anyway, about halfway down the hill, there is a road on the left hand side. Mostly the cars stop and let you pass before joining the traffic flow. There is always the exception that proves the rule. This older lady, driving a small car, slowed down and had a look up the road but then carried on accelerating. 

At this stage, I was about 20 metres from the car! I was close enough that i actually saw her look right to see if the road was clear. I ride in the colours of the COWS and the kit is a black and white cow print. It is really obvious! I am also 193 cm tall weighing 90 odd kilograms. A fairly large object to miss! She missed me barrelling down the road? She pulls out and i had to make a make a call. Is she going to pull out – i would be able to miss her round the back of the car. Or is she going to stop. Roughly half way into the lane, she stopped. 

I was able to swerve arou d the car. In doing so, I uttered a few choice words! I politely asked her what she was doing and managed to keep it upright. What surprised me but yet it is pretty standard in Durban, is when we got to the lights at the bottom, the ldy looked at me as if to say, “what have i done wrong?”

I had to exercise serious constraint then and then had to calm down so I could finish the training ride. 

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Look where you want to go.

Most people know how to ride a bike. If you do not know how, I would love you to learn. It is a great outdoor activity for all ages. I have ridden a bike from when I was about 5 years old. I only took it up as a hobby about 15 years ago. I now spend between 2 and 6 hours on my bike per week. Not a huge amount of time compared to (more…)

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Having spent about 6 hours on the bike in the last 3 days, life seems to be a whole lot different for some reason. Admittedly,  6 hours is not a lot of riding for 3 days but for me it capped probably one of the best weeks of riding ever.

I did not do it very fast at all but I did it and that is enough. I did my best for the condition I am in currently. I stopped to often but whatever. I actually wanted to get out 3 days in a row and do some pretty serious mileage amd I did exactly that. I probably should have done some carbo loading before hand but I did not realise that I had the stuff at all.

Being alone for length of time did put things into perspective somewhat.  The sacrifice that Carrie (my wife) and my family make in order for me to go out and ride are actually huge and I really hope that I can repay that someday.
My mind then drifted to work and I also started planning my referral email to my contacts. I have really been moved recently by a video about referrals and I am going to use that method to grow my business into something great and I have a new business and I now have a goal, the goal is to grow the business to such an extent that I can employ another 2 people. 

The first hurdle in a new business is the first couple of clients. Once those start rolling and we can start building that nest egg, I can think longer term and advertising more extensively through the various avenues available.

Back to the riding, there is a different focus about me now. I was once told that you get to a level of riding that eventually changes your focus. I think my spirit is a lot calmer and my head is certainly clearer because of it. Here is to findin out what happens next…….

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A long road

It’s been a long to recovery since August 23rd of last year and I found out yesterday that I have come a long way but similarly have a long road to travel ahead. That road is both metaphorical and literal.
The metaphorical road is the fitness level that I am currently at is simply not high enough I found that out yesterday.  The literal road is the miles of black top that will pass under my wheels and feet to get that fitness to the required level.

So yesterday? What happened that made me come to this conclusion? What other lessons could have been taught?

Yesterday marked another running of the Midmar Notts cycle race. It’s a relatively shprt race at 60 or 80 km but definitely a unique event on the local calendar. The unique character is that it is an out and back route along the same road. More unique is the elevation profile. You start at about 1 000 m above sea level and at the turn around you are about 1 400m above sea level. It is certainly not all up hill so you do a lot more climbing than those stats suggest.
It was the second time that I attempted this race. The first, back in 2012, was a blisteringly hot day. I did the 80km ride and my race did not go well. I did not hit the wall but I came pretty close.
This year, the conditions were poles apart. It was 9 degrees Celsius when we started with a slight drizzle. The roads were very wet from heavy rains the afternoon before. The cool weather made it very cold once moving which added to my demise.
Anyway, I digress! Lessons learned?
1. Always be prepared. I was lucky that I took my (sleeveless) rain coat. One should always take clothing for all possible weather conditions. My leg warmers would have been perfect.
2. Never underestimate a race of this nature. Because it is a uphill and downhill route, we prepared for a 30 km race. Wrong! Once we hit 30km it was still an hour back on precarious road sufaces. Another factor to my demise.
3. 5 months off training lost does not come back in 5 weeks. I learned very hard that thos 5 months of lost training have halted progress. This halt is not undone in a very short space of time I.e. 5 weeks. I have lost my legs I had 6 months ago.
4. What goes around comes around. For years, I have been the one to wait foe other people whilst on the bike. I do it as a choice because I want to help them. Well, this was my time to be helped. About 4 km from the finish of the race, I was encouraging my riding partner, who happens to be my dad, to keep going and, well, he did. Straight off my wheel and away into the distance! It was great to see him go. I hoped that he would go and finish but he slowed and almost stopped, to let me catch up. I told him to go ahead for thw the second time but he refused AGAIN! He said hat many time I waited for him so he waited for me this time. It was appreciated and I told him too.
5. The Time Freight Midmar Notts cycle race is one for the calendar! A great race in all aspects. Well done to the organisers once again.

So lessons learned and recovery on the way to complete. Next year will be better becaus of better preparation.

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I may not have got to goal 1 yet but I have got the first brick session in my legs. It was not pretty. Not even close.

It was not fast.  Not even close.

I was not ready for it physically.  Not even close.

I was not not ready for it mentally.  Not even close.

Are you starting to see a trend here?

About the only good thing that happened was that I went out and did it! I completely tanked afterwards but it was nowhere near to the low I would have experienced if I had not gone out there.

So not pretty but it is one in the legs.

My arm is still up to scratch but getting stronger everyday. It was a little tired and sore after the above workout but that was mainly due to the aggressive setup of my road bike.

One down Many to go.

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