This is Part 3 of Danielle's serialised blog leading up to her big event in June. For the other chapters, click here.

 

I can’t believe I am saying this out loud, but here goes – I’ve become a bit of a techy geek and am now (among other things) tracking my training on Strava. 

To start with this was simply to track how far I’d run or cycled because it’s very easy to kid yourself into thinking you’ve gone further.

Of course now I’ve started, I am quite enjoying tracking my pace too and the calorie counter was fantastic over Christmas – what’s that, my little orange friend? 1,442 calories burned, thank-you, I’ll make that another slice of Stollen then!

My letter to Santa also worked and I’ve now got a set of cycling SPD SL pedals and yes… I have also had the inevitable fall! Sore knee, sore wrist, sore hip. I’ve been cycling round and round the block, not daring to hit roads with traffic, but I am not sure I am getting the hang of it yet.

Something weird happened. With very little warm-up and no pre-planning I turned left instead of right and decided to tackle my other nemesis...

My biggest fear, and I know it’s stupid, is stopping on an upward incline. With no forward momentum, I panic that I haven’t got time to get my foot out. It’s a bit of a mental block, but I am determined to beat it.  Last year I taught myself to swim front crawl and now I can’t imagine why it took me so long, so I am hoping it will be the same with cycle shoes.

Unfortunately the fear factor has lead to me finding mini excuses to go for a run instead. Things like the weather – it’s too windy, too wet, too slippery – mean that I have avoided riding (although running's not that much fun in the wet either - see picture!).

This is a shame because before Christmas I got geeky about my bike too and decided to upgrade from the Bobbin Scout to the Bobbin Albion – this has more serious gear shifters (on the handlebars instead of retro-style on the frame) and a better gear ratio for hills. Which leads me nicely onto what happened this weekend…

All the way to the top with no stopping, no getting out of the saddle and no heart attack!

I decided to go for a short ride without my cycling shoes - just to remind myself how much I love cycling.

Something weird happened.

With very little warm-up and no pre-planning I turned left instead of right and decided to tackle my other nemesis: a big hill - Bathwick Hill* to be precise - the one pictured at the top of this blog.

I’ve no idea why I did this, I think I was probably just cross with myself for being so pathetic about the shoes. Whatever the reason it was a good thing, because as I slowly made my way up past the first third (and the potential bailing point) I realised that I was doing ok. So I kept going, and going and… joy of joys, I made it all the way to the top.

Yes, all the way to the top with no stopping, no getting out of the saddle and no heart attack! I honestly could not stop grinning; in fact I nearly went back down to do it again before thinking better of it. Instead I decided to stop and take pictures of my new super bike to mark the occasion.

Unfortunately it’s not all good though because despite declaring that I have become a training geek, on this occasion I failed to earn my stripes. Having not planned to tackle the hill I hadn’t bothered to set my Strava app, so I’ve no record or proof that I did it. Except of course I know I did and that’s what is really important!

 

* Bathwick Hill is a 1.1 mile climb with an 8% average grade and is a category 4 climb. See it on Strava: https://www.strava.com/segments/2055931