Saturday, February 11, 2012
It had to happen. Winter has finally kicked in in the UK and it's been a rather chilly start to February. We didn't get three weeks of snow like we did last year but still it's been cold enough to force me indoors to ride most mornings. It goes without saying that our heating broke on one of the coldest days - the relay switch that opens the valve between the boiler and the radiator pipes died. It got sorted but I think heating and I obey some kind of mutual exclusion principle.
Back to training: I'd prefer to watch planks warp in the sun than ride rollers/turbo. There's not much sun so I've been dragging myself to work first thing and riding nowhere for an hour and a half. It beats not riding at all but you still have to disengage your brain in order to complete a session. And having no fan means it gets harder as you heat up, which doesn't take long! As I write this it is -4 outside our window and it was -9 at Lyneham (which is the approximate direction I would head) at 8am this morning. Sunny though, so it should be ok later... (it was, albeit a tad nippy)
Australia was triffic. Seeing the various bits of the family, catching up with a few friends and above all enjoying the light and the sun. The temperature hovered between 20 and 30 for the two and a half weeks that we were there - can't get much better than that. I did enough training but didn't go crazy, as I wanted to avoid getting sick when I returned.
The only downer was discovering a large crack in my Russian titanium 'summer bike'. It's a terminal one and the frame will need to be decommissioned. I've had it for 13 years, the first few of which were spent trying to find a titanium worker to move the dropouts so I could fit the back wheel in the frame. Partly my fault for specifying custom geometry and giving measurements, partly the factory's fault for not bothering to check. I suppose that's why it was cheap. Still, it rode really well and it's quite sad to see it go.
A week after we got back Liz and I headed up to Hinckley for the CTT Champions Night presentation and dinner. Graeme Obree and Eurosport commentator David Harmon were on hand to dole out the prizes and generally be entertaining (which they were - their one on one interview was good). And pretty much all of last year's champions turned up which made it quite an occasion. I was also interviewed by Cycling Weekly, which I guess should make it into print in the next few weeks.
The main thing though was being awarded the BBAR trophy. Wow, this is a real piece of time trialling history. The cup itself dates back to 1888 - it was formerly the Lincoln trophy - and was first used as the BBAR trophy in 1944 (the BBAR goes back to 1930). That was when they used to do the presentations in the Royal Albert Hall. Them were t'days. Now I realise why it's treated with a good deal of reverence by so many cyclists. A great night.
A week later it was the club's turn for the presentation dinner type thing. Another great night, although it did involve drinking a lot of Fosters 'cos I think it was the only lager on tap. I don't make a habit of it, believe me. Strangely it didn't seem to do much harm to my ride the next day, which for some reason was my best ever long ride. I digress.
With the help of Liz, I brought the BBAR trophy to the club dinner and I'm glad I did. Nearly everyone there hadn't seen it up close as no-one in the club has ever won it. Again it was highlighted how special this cup is. As a result, and also for breaking the comp record and generally getting decent results while riding in Chippenham colours, I was honoured to be given life membership of the club (yes, they know I'm riding for Drag2Zero this year, but Chippenham will always be my club). There are not many of these given out - no more than a handful - so receiving it was pretty special.