Saturday, 8 December 2007


This week has been filled with decisions... some good, some in hindsight not so good...

The first decision of the week was made off the back of last weeks bad race, i have just about got over the dissapointment of last week.
Thetford winter series is a 4 race affair... but only 3 out of the 4 count, my plan was to race the 1st, 2nd and 4th as the 3rd clashed with the Strathpuffer 24.
After my 3rd place at Dusk Till Dawn i wanted to see how far i could push my luck so stuck my name of Strathpuffer reserve list, now i want to race the rest of the Thetford winter series to see where i can place overall.

At the moment i'm back in 7th overall... not bad with a 2nd and 36th placing!!

The decision to race Thetford has got me fired at the moment.. put the 2nd round behind me and push on forward, now i know that i have the ability to be up at the front i want to see how far i can push it...

The second decision was to contact an a friend of mine in america regarding my training.. Mark is a racer himself and recently qualified as a coach, he helped me greatly with some wise words when i first started riding and i still use alot of the advice he gave me on a daily basis.
Training for me has always been organised with structure but i have based it on feel and not science... time to bring in a professional.
As i write this i know somewhere in colorado a training plan is being crafted which i am really excited about starting.. lets see what happens when science is introduced.

The third decision was after planning to take the week off to rest my knee up getting drawn into a mid week singlespeed night ride.
Usual coastal run with Micheal (Rose), the man responsible for me being on the Msc course.. repsponsible for my 12 hours days and total lack of money.. he should feel lucky i even speak to him never mind ride with him:)
Knee felt a little stiff but okay.. till 10 minutes into ride and playing on some speed bumps and back came the pain... rest of ride it was really sore but just throttled back and spun it out. wind was horrendous.. had a comedy slow speed fall on the cliff top as i was compensating for the wind and it died off and i couldn't unclip.. lucky i wasn't close to the edge as i wouldn't have seen the funny side to a 30ft fall..

The final decision this week was by far my worst and most painful...
I had organised to go road riding with a racing friend of mine, Lee Eaton, a fellow sport cat sufferer... before Lee even got to my house i had the dawning realsisation that i had left my helmets in Newcastle!!! my race helmet is always in my kit bag so never though about it... however after last sundays mud bath i had to wash it and it was put in the airing cupboard to dry.. its still there now.
Lee had already left home to come meet me so as it was a road ride i decided to ride without helmet for first time in my life.. i would never recommend this and won't be doing it ever again.. i trust my handling skills but you can never be too careful in life.. i adopted a very european approach to the whole affair and wore hat instead with glasses tucked underneath it... looked good but wouldn't fancy my chances in a head/car interface.
Weather was dry when we set off so arm warmers and autumn gloves were on instead of full on winter fare.. this was my BAD decision!!!

About 12 miles into the 40 odd mile ride it started to lightly rain.. the route planned was out to the lime kiln pub, follow the clarion 10 course to harby, up harby hill and continue on the rudy project course ( belvoir castle, long lane etc) then finish the rest of the 10 course and back home...
By the time we got to Harby the rain had intensified.. Harby hill was a good warmer.. muscled in the big ring hitting 189bpm on HRM... by the time we got to Belvoir castle it was getting cold... as we hit Long lane my hands were really cold... at Harby for second time i couldn't feel them.
The last 10 miles home were aboslute agony... i lost feeling in my hands and arms and couldn't grip the hoods anymore so had to ride on the drops for fear of literally dropping my handlebars!!! i couldn't brake and i couldn't change gear.. i couldn't even move my fingers.
When we got back to my house i had to get Rach to help me take my gloves off and put my bike away.. i managed to get myself into the shower for a further 20 more minutes of agony...
Anyone that has experienced cold weather will knwo that having cold hands is bad enough but when you start to gain feeling and they warm up the pain is unbelievable... the picture under the blog title is me on Helvellyn in december last year suffering that exact pain, if the picture had been taken from the front my face would have painted a different picture to the scenic one the current photograph portrays..

I've learnt my lesson.. long sleeves and full on winter glove for the rest of winter

I think i'll take more time over my decisons from now on...

1 comment:

Martin said...

Christ Paul, take care of yourself!

I have frozen my hands more times than I can remember and it sucks every single time.

Especially these days what with me getting a bit long in the tooth as they say... seems the old circulatory system is not what it used to be.

Funny too as I used to always be that guy riding with no gloves in 40 degrees. Not anymore my friend, not anymore.