Pretending to be a bike mechanic

Well it’s been a while since I posted ( I really must get back in the habit of regular updates ) but I have been very busy training. Until tonight I thought my injured calf had fully recovered, tonight its a little sore, hopefully nothing too much to worry about though.

I’m back running and although I’ve been taking it relatively easy I’ve been pleased with my progress, the leg has held up and I’ve been feeling stronger and faster. I met Andy last week for a couple of runs and it was good to catch up as I think with injury and work commitments we’ve only been out twice this year.

The swimming has also been going really well – I’ve been working on my stamina with long swims of 3.7km and shorter faster technique building drills using my fins ( flippers ). They are special short, split fins that allow you to flex your feet and force your legs into the correct position at the surface, like most runners coming to Triathlon I tend to kick from the knee rather than the hip. The fins make you quicker through the water but you don’t half feel it in your legs, its a serious workout.

I guess the major happening of the last few weeks has been the temporary death of my road bike. I was cycling to work and the back wheel was wobbling like hell, it was a case of everytime I went round a corner I had to check to see if my back wheel had come with me. I got John at work to look at it as he knows a lot more about the mechanics of bikes than me, he confirmed my worst fears. The bearings in my wheel had gone, the wheel not spinning true had worn my cassette ( gears ) and chain. So that put pay to my weekends riding, why do these things always happen on a Friday ?? I did a couple of decent sessions on the race bike on the turbo instead and turned one of them into a brick session ( 1 hr bike + 30 min run ).

So I ordered the new wheels, chain and a cassette. I took the old chain off and threw it away and thoroughly cleaned and polished the bike. The new wheels arrived and I swapped the tires and tubes over from the old wheels, I’m only ever going to buy folding tyres in future because rigid tyres are a bloody nightmare to get on the rims – there is no give in them at all. I took great care to fit the cassette following the instructions in my Hanes manual, I’ve gone for an extra gear to make climbing easier, from a 12-26 to a 12-27, not ridden big enough hills yet to try the difference out.

I was talking to Andy and he said “What did you do with the old chain?”, I told him I’d thrown it in the bin, “You need it to check the length of the new chain”…..OOPS…..so I went home, donned the head torch and went routing through the dustbin to find the old chain. I eventually managed to fit the new chain after breaking the first chain tool I had and dashing to the bike shop to exchange it. I was amazed that a chain and cassette are actually silver, the old ones were never that shiny.

Saturday morning I cycled down to Andy’s and it was obvious that the chain was too long because it was sagging when I went onto the small cogs. Andy got his tool box out and a few minutes later and a few links shorter we were o our way for a great ride through Garstang and Pilling…….it felt great to be back out. I managed to ride for 31 miles and felt as fresh as a daisy when I got back.

Sunday morning I met up with the COLTs and we had a good strong ride through Halton, Carnforth, Leighton Moss, Arnside, Levens, Holme and back to Lancaster through the Kellets. There were only 6 of us out and we all had a good crack, led by Ironhippy Chris who was on his full racing bike with his new fancy tri spoke wheels, he was breaking it in as he’s spending next week warm weather training in Lanzarotte as he prepares for the Ironman there in May. I’d done 40 miles when I’d got home and again I was buzzing about how well I’d ridden, the winter turbo sessions have helped, especially the high cadence sessions, I’m using lighter gears but going faster which can only be good for my legs when I hit the marathon in Frankfurt.

I’m looking forward to Germany more than ever, hopefully I can build on the last few weeks and hit Frankfurt in the form of my life.

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