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BLOG: Holly Blades Cycletta

by Holly Blades

It's been over a month since my last blog on my preparation for my first ever sportive, in the form of Cycletta Cheshire, and it's time to look back over how far I've come in the past four weeks.

Well, about 77km in terms of moving house, but unfortunately about 1km in terms of distance pedalled. What with upping sticks across the country, coverage of the Tour de France and the continuous and soul sucking rain (drops to knees, camera pans out, shouts "Whyyyyyyy?") I managed 1km. Yup. From the start of the Tissington Trail to the first point where it inclines upwards. But I did it twice, so that's something!

A Huge 1km Ride

SpeciaLiz, my bike, is beautiful. There's no denying that. And after realising that I could actually sit on her without razor wiring my delicate parts (that saddle is narrow) she's actually quite fun to ride and not that different from my old Claud Butler, save for not bruising said delicate parts, the whole braking safely thing, and generally just not being a health and safety issue like that old rust bucket was. Excuse me whilst I wipe a tear in memoriam.

I've moved to Shropshire and live on the middle of a hill. If I ride to the end of my drive, I have a choice of turning left down the descent to white knuckled certain doom, or right up the climb to white knuckled lung bleeding certain doom. Matt, my makeshift coach, keeps suggesting I go out for a pedal on my own when the Tour stage has finished if it's not raining. Fortunately, the 'not raining' aspect has nowhere near happened yet so I'm not faced with the Sophie's Choice of directions, but it has to happen one day. It's just unfortunate that my training relies on the weather (I can't ride my  bike well yet, let alone ride my bike well in wet conditions) and the availability of a trainer who already has a full time job (I can't ride my bike safely yet, let alone ride my bike safely without someone to keep an eye on me). Yet, as I sit and type this, the sun begins to break through the rolling grey clouds and I feel a glimmer of hope about what's to come over the following few weeks. Probably more rain.

My plan is to put the bike in the boot of the car and drive out to somewhere where there's no such thing as a hill. Or the chance of a motor car passing. I thought I might be okay with things coming towards/past me on the road, but when I found myself screaming at Matt "Slow down I can see you in my peripheral vision!" followed by "That's not slow enough, I can still see your shadow!!" I knew the road to 'group' riding was longer than I originally assumed.

It sounds predictable but amongst the excuses there are genuinely good intentions. I want to ride this sportive, and I want to do (reasonably) well at it. I want to make myself, and Matt, proud. I'm already imagining that first can of Coke when I cross the finish line. 

However the plan is still there. I have my Cyclosport kit, I have my beautiful bike, I have the fact that I've only drunk four pints of lager in the past two weeks, and I feel ready to roll. Just bring on the sunshine, okay?

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