Saturday, 7 August 2010

Illness & Injury

Whilst I've been experiencing the normal post-TdF dip in cycling enthusiasm, I find it very hard to think about cycling, let alone write about it, when I'm unable to get on a bike.
This past two weeks haven't been a lot of fun. First up I had a tooth extracted: the operation was started before the anaesthetic had kicked in; which caused me to make some urgent gurgling sounds. This meant lots more anaesthetic, which knocked me completely sideways for about 5 days. Then there was a bit a of a family crisis for a couple of days, followed by a nausea and lack-of-appetite bug.
The last thing has been decidedly not-fun! I'm diabetic, so the vomiting after eating & having done insulin is something I'm almost phobic about, so having been violently sick after meals a few times has been the stuff of nightmares. I've also had close to zero appetite, which has been less than amusing. In the first five days of being ill, I'd managed to lose almost 6kg. This would be fine if I had a lot to lose, but, my BMI is about 22 normally, so there's not much to spare. I'd like to think that this would mean that I will be able to go up hills faster when I recover, but it's more likely that I'll be significantly slower. I think I've lost some significant muscle mass, which will prob be replaced, at least in part, by fat.
It's really quite depressing that I've probably managed to put myself back 2-3 months.

I'd planned to head through to Edinburgh this week to meet David (of Laid Back Bikes) to do some riding. I had Arthur's Seat on the agenda. Ideally, doing some repeats on it.
Arthur's Seat is a short, but vicious, climb. 1300m with 83m of climbing at an average of about 7%. This sounds fine, but, again, it's the undulating nature of it that is difficult.
The first 700m has a reasonably even profile with just 35m of climbing. It slowly twists round the hill, so it's hard to see what's coming & you get to wondering what the reputation is about. You then take a fairly sharp right turn & then you hit the ramp that makes it hard: 200m at 12%. Then there's a 5% section, then a 9% section. Short, but brutal.
The first time I attempted this climb was on the Sheldon Brown memorial ride in Edinburgh. I was riding a 15kg Nazca Fuego with 3-4kg of luggage & did fairly well until the steep bit, where my bike choice really showed me up (well, that & the fact that I'm a useless climber!). There's film of the climb on that day here (yes, that's Edinburgh in April!). The climb was quite a shock to me then, but I've since done it on my Fujin & on my first ride on a tandem. I want to keep going back. I like this climb!
There's a bunch of times up the hill here for anyone interested. I'm still in awe of anyone who can do that in the big ring!

Maybe when I'm riding again, I can get my day of hill repeats on Arthur's Seat before the summer's (completely) out.
For now, it's back to the Tour of Poland (I lie, despite being bored & miserable, there's no joy in watching this apart from the stage with the 5km climb at the finish with a cobbled section which was almost amusing) & looking forward to the ENECO Tour (this is another lie).

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