I haven’t posted on the blog for quite a while. This is partly because my work-life balance has turned very much in favour of work this year (which is exhausting, but in the current climate is good in the sense that I still have a job to go to) and getting quality cycling time in has been harder. It’s also partly because I don’t have much new to report!
We’ve come through 2020 probably luckier than most – living in the country it has been easy to get out for fresh air even during lockdown. My wife as a front line healthcare worker has been completely worked to the bone in some incredibly stressful and challenging conditions (alongside many other heroes of our healthcare system) and we’ve both taken a knock after contracting Covid although I got off a lot easier than my wife. Work in general has become somehow busier and more stressful which I think is the same for many people. I was already a home based worker before lockdown so that didn’t change much, but the nature of interaction and expectations of always being available at your desk for another Zoom call seems to have changed very much to the detriment of the employee. I know a lot of people have found the same thing.
Bike wise, I’ve managed nearly 5500 miles this year to date, which has been pretty good for me. Lots of tandem miles on ‘The Beast’, and an intense period of time trialling over the summer with the Cruzbike gang had me at my strongest ever. A bad crash gunning for a KOM round the Innerleithen loop had me retreating to Zwift for most of that (I was ahead of schedule too when I hit the deck!) and by September and the end of the challenge I was really glad to put Zwift away and just ride for the fun of it again. I’ve been doing lots of meandering low speed triking around the Borders since which has been good fun. I bought a fairing for the trike this year – my Raynaud’s continues to get worse each year and permanent damage to the fingers and toes is becoming more of a challenge to manage on the bike when it’s cold. I had hoped the fairing would help but my opinion so far is that they are not worth the money. You’ll get some benefit but not enough to justify the cost and they do have some downsides too. It looks pretty cool though! Cars also give you a wide berth so from that point of view it is good.
Here’s a cracking picture from one of my super early morning trike rides – top of Windydoors hill at around 6 am. I went through a period of getting up around 4.45 am to go out early – but it didn’t last 🙂
This year has seen mental health issues from my early childhood rear their head again and I’ve been focussing lots of time on my Buddhist practice and keeping myself above water. This blog probably isn’t the place for that story but let’s just say that there are certain people in my immediate family that badly damaged me and my brother when we were very young kids with some rather unspeakable deeds. You realise as you get older just how much these things affect you and your path through life.
I’ve also been working on a new software application for doing aero analysis and creating optimal power plans for a given route. It’s nearing completion – hope to release it early next year. It’s been a lot of fun putting that together and for those who care about such things, I hope you will check it out as I do believe it’s a cracking little tool.
I have a day off tomorrow – I’m hoping this infernal rain will stop and I’ll get out for a few hours on the trike. I’ve made a few changes to the trike too – got myself a rear rack from Laid Back Bikes, added the fairing, and I’ve replaced the front tyres with Big Apples at a nice low pressure. With the mesh seat it is now truly a moving lawn chair. Not remotely speedy but so much fun to just pootle around and enjoy the scenery. The side pods are great bags but the amount of water on the roads has meant that you get a lot of puddles above the height of the bag bottoms and they were getting soaked all the time. The rear rack is a more sensible place for stuff, being able to take 2 panniers and a rack top bag. I’ll use the side pods for more demanding luggage scenarios now, such as triking to Gala for shopping.
The CHR has had a good outing this year and is now garaged for the winter. The Fuego continues to be my trusty companion and is always a blast to take out for a comfortable laid back ride. With Marathon Racers and a soft suspension it’s a nice secure ride with wide enough tyres to handle the cracks in the roads. I’ve also been doing some miles on both the road bike and my Crosstrail hybrid. I’d like to do a couple of events on the road bike next year if I can, but I need a bit more core strength to stop me putting so much weight on the arms and shoulders. I still enjoy a good blast on the road bike, I think old habits die hard. I can go about 2 hours in reasonable comfort now. After that I always end up thinking ‘whose stupid idea was it to come out on this’! 🙂
I haven’t seen many cyclists this year or managed to meet up with many people. I hope you are all doing OK, and that your families and those you love are healthy and dealing with these strange times we live in.
All the best for the festive period and here’s hoping for a brighter 2021. For all the kids’ sake, if not for ours.