24 August, 2012

Tricks of the trade

This post is mostly going to be a dedication to the things I’ve learnt (in sickness and in health) in this fine Belgian land of pushbikes. Hopefully it’ll provide some amusement and might even turn out to be useful advice for future riders.

Don’t panic. This works on so many levels. The beans on the hob are getting burnt, don’t panic: they only cost 47 cents! The break has just gone up the road without you, don’t panic: one of these over-energetic Flandriens will tow you across.

Roads are rough, tough and unforgiving. Riding over them sometimes isn’t that fun; skidding along them on your face never is. The minute you start worrying about that though you’ll be on your arse. The key is to retain a certain ‘joie de vivre’ even when brushing shoulders, bars and rear mechs with other riders and street furniture solid enough to incur involuntary shudders.

Pain cave: no soft landings here.

Yes you can ride the rim for the rest of your ride, but if you do it when you’re 15k from home you get a sore back. As I found out a couple of times this year when two spare tubes just didn’t covered it.  Just take it steady across level crossings because those babies will take you down!

What happens when you train on a flat.

It’s all in the head; unless you really are ruined. Then you should have a nap. I’ve found a few times this year I’ve felt absolutely smashed in, but then I’ve started some intervals and actually been going well. The human body is a weirdo and still manages to play tricks on me regularly.

Hell on earth.

No matter how much you’re suffering, you can still suffer more. The limiting factor of performance is almost always the mind, so don’t be a pussycat. And if it’s getting really tough remember one thing: at least you’re not working a 9-5, sitting your life away in a drab office, eating your way to obesity.

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