Annual jaunt to Watsons Bay…

January 1, 2011 at 09:57 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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Well, I did make it out for a ride yesterday, and given the time of year thought I should make my annual pilgrimage to Watson’s Bay on the fixie.

Amazingly this is the first recreational ride of 2010 that I have done on my own. Ive been out a handful of times with friends this year, but not on my own. Strange to think it was something I did pretty much every weekend in 2009. How things are changed by having children!

I was slightly trepidatious as I set off; I’ve done a lot less riding this year and even less of it on the fixie. How would I manage? Would I get up the hills?

As I started the first modest hill climbing up after Double Bay, I started to have doubts. It just seemed like very hard work, and the little derailleur devil started in my ear, telling me I should have brought the ‘wife’ out for one last ride before I sell her. I struggled on, however, and it began to get easier as I found my rhythm.

By the time I got to the big hill up to Vacluse I was well into my stride. I just danced up it (well, puffed and panted a bit, but in a fun kind of way). I love my fixie – and was reassured that riding the Radish hasn’t caused all my leg muscles to atrophy! I whizzed down the hill into Watson’s Bay; my one concession to tiring legs was to use the brakes to slow down. Eighteen months ago I’d have used back pressure on the pedals to moderate my speed, but it only felt like cheating a little bit…

After a quick pit stop at Camp Cove, I headed back. The climb out of Watson’s Bay is one of the steeper stretches, but any attempt to get up some speed to attack it was thwarted by a couple of cyclists coming around the roundabout from the other direction with right of way. I had to go past them, as they were pootling up (using, as I understand it, these new-fangled things called ‘gears’…) which gave me an incentive to push on to the top without pausing for a breather!

I took the Old South Head Road back, taking a detour to Bondi to look at beach; the preparations for the NYE party were in full swing and things were a bit chaotic so I continued through and up to Waverley Park and then on to Centennial Park. I scooted around Centennial, but then remembered it was a place with possible ‘H’ issues, so made my way home.

All in all a great ride. Whilst riding with friends is fun, and it’s nice to share the experience, I do like riding on my own. Alone with your thoughts, going at your own pace, pleasing no-one except yourself. Perhaps in 2011 I’ll try to get out more than once!

Getting older…

January 2, 2009 at 22:50 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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After being admonished for not riding the other day, this morning I made it out for a ride. Because I didn’t get into gear early enough, I ended up leaving after it had gone 9am. I guess it’s for this reason I didn’t see many other cyclists, as you are all dedicated enough to be up and out and have returned by then…

So I meandered around for a while rather aimlessly; after various excursions by the waterfront around Double Bay I ended up heading to Watson’s Bay via the Old South Head Rd. I had a rest when I got there, as I was rather tired, so I sat and looked at the view for a little while.

Then I headed back via the New South Head Rd. The climb out of Watson’s Bay was hard work, but even harder work was the not especially big hill coming into the city on Craigend St; this I really struggled with. Indeed, I was actually finding it hard to breathe going up here; I’ve never had asthma, but it felt (and I sounded) rather like that as I struggled up the hill. I made it to the top, and tried to catch my breath, still gasping away. I managed to get a really good lungful of air into me, and then, almost instantly, the breathless feeling went away, and I could breathe easily again. Very strange; the lights went green and I got going again, and felt much better, and much fresher. Could it have been exercise-induced asthma brought on by the heat and poor air quality? I don’t know, but it wasn’t very pleasant.

It’s also possible that I’m just not as fit was I was. I’m getting older (I turn 38 tomorrow!), and maybe it shows. Funnily enough, I did a very similar route to the one I took today after Xmas last year (or possible the year before; Bikely rather annoyingly doesn’t show the year when a route was added). I did it on the same bike (although it’s possible that at that point I had it set up as a freewheel singlespeed, rather than a fixie), but last time also managed to detour to Bondi and spin around Centennial a few times, and as I recall didn’t really stop for more than a drink and a snack at Watson’s Bay.

Am I getting too old? Is the mistress (as I wondered about at the end of this blog) getting too hot for me to handle? Are my days of blasting up Heartbreaker Hill on a 48×17 gear numbered? Or do I just need to get out and ride more (which, to be honest, I haven’t been doing as much of over the past few months)?

I guess 2010 will reveal all!

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