I’d thought that 2017 was over for me and cycling – happily I was wrong

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Yes, the grass does need cutting

With my main goals for the year being over by the end of July, and plans under way for 2018’s challenges, I thought I’d probably got to the start of winding down for the winter.

Then I realised that the Tour of Britain is coming within about 30 km and my club has organised a trip out to watch it for our Saturday ride. So to keep things ticking over I got out today for a solo ride. I wasn’t feeling 100% so was planning on a steady pace just to test out the adjustments I’d made to the tri bars.

After Saturday’s try out with them I had a slightly sore neck and shoulders. I decided that I should do some exercises to help, but on Sunday and Monday the pains were worse. Of course, now I didn’t know if I was hurting from the ride or the exercises – so that worked well!

By way of adjustment, I’d moved the armrests wider and back, and extended the bars although, frankly, I didn’t really know what I was doing.

As so often is the case, the competitive juices got flowing once I started so I pushed hard for a flattish (but breezy) 35.8 km. To my surprise I clocked an average of 32.1 kph. The tri bars do seem to be working (and were much more comfortable) as I’ve never managed faster than 30.9 kph before.

Happily, I’ve also had an email from a friend who said that he had entered the Cotswold Autumn Classic Sportive so I’ve signed up too. At present I think there are now 4 of us taking part.

It’s on Sunday 1st October and the current aim is to go for the 100 mile route (with 2005 metres of climbing) which starts in Cirencester (Gloucestershire) and heads up through Bourton-on-the-Water to Broadway before returning via Winchcombe.

Last year another friend (a very strong rider) did the 100km distance and got silver so I guess that there was terrible weather or other bad conditions last year. It’s not a ride I’ve done before and I don’t know what the target times are for Gold, Silver, Bronze awards and I don’t know if they are age-related but I suppose the aim (without any confidence) must be for a Gold Award.

Tri bars are discouraged rather than banned – I’ll stick with mine for a while and then take them off for the sportive itself.

It all means that I’ve got to keep up the training for another few weeks which will be fun if the weather holds – and miserable if it doesn’t. I’ve ordered some new bib shorts that should be OK for longer rides, so at least it will be good to test them out.

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