Tuesday 4 November 2014

Running very slowly up hill

Firstly (as most of my posts seem to begin nowadays), apologies for the lack of update in... half a year? I suppose my main excuse is that I didn't really think that "Anna being sad and stressed about her PhD" was anything that anyone really wanted to hear about, nor I wanted to write about, and that has largely been the theme of this year.
Maths maths maths maths LaTeX maths
I stopped racing my bike about a month into the season as I quickly came to the conclusion that to race you needed (a) time (b) effort (c) money and (d) some mental capacity to spare, all of which I am and was sorely lacking. After a few *epic* blowouts I just canned it. I've then just spent the rest of the year (after an amazing winter getting as fit as I'd ever been, awesome) feeling a very small, crushed shadow of my former self.

There should really be another, smaller anvil on top of the PhD anvil labelled "trying to find a job" because that wasn't a barrel of laughs either
However, the end of this year is thankfully in sight, I have a job lined up that I am UNBELIEVABLY excited about starting and I will be finishing my thesis soon and getting on with the rest of my life. 2015 will feature such exciting grown up challenges like "trying to buy a house in a horrific financial climate", "endeavouring to be shit-hot at my new job" and "building a ridiculous recumbent tadpole bike because that'd be awesome*".

*See hypothetical future posts. 

With that I will cut the sad violins, smash them and throw them down a well, and tell you of how I went to Ireland to do a mental Adventure Race and 100% did not die.

For some reason or another I had a media spot on Killarney Adventure Race in County Kerry, Ireland at the beginning of October. There were three lengths of race I could do: the 27km, 60km or 70km. The first had 9km of running, then 17km, then 27km.

Oh, and this running was up mountains.

Naturally, having not run for years, I picked the longest option. I mean, none of the others would be hard enough, right? I didn't want to be weak.

Now, there was only so much I could rely on residual fitness and 27km of running up and down hills on rough ground was full on non-blaggable so this was going to need some training. Therefore, in mid-June, coinciding with me moving from Cambridge to the Peak District (yep, that happened) I, Anna Railton, started running.

I barely believed it myself to be honest. My past experiences with running have all been along the lines of

*runs 10 miles*
*catastrophically breaks self*
*vows to never run again*
*repeat annually*

This time I resolved to do it sensibly (turns out that I have actually learnt something after 25 years of living) and build up the mileage SLOWLY. The first few times I went out where AT+ sessions of complete and utter horrific wheezing. It was truly embarrassing for someone who was still reasonably fit to be coughing up bits of lung after 1.5 miles of running (not even up hill by this stage).

I was however doing it in countryside that looks like this

Lathkill Dale, AKA "I currently live in paradise"

so I have precisely no leave to complain about anything. (There were also less people to witness the embarrassing Anna-running experience than there would've been in Cambridge which was another massive plus.)

However, slowly but surely, it got better. I was less doubled over in pain and my ankles were getting better at not dying at the slightest bit of off camber. The mileage slowly climbed and I started to get it. I started to get running. For a while it helped to run away from my demons.

By the time I made it to Ireland I had done a few runs >10 miles and felt like I had got myself to a position where I wasn't going to injure myself in the attempt. My rather modest set of ambitions for the race were:

  • Finish
  • Do not stop
  • Do not injure self
  • Do not die
  • Do not come last

I soon found myself in Ireland feeling like a total fraud with my media spot (imposter syndrome, anyone?), surrounded by actual journalists from places like the Telegraph and the Daily Express and some whacking great big hills in the background... I was out of my depth.

View from hotel window. Was going to have to run up that the next day, wurg
After some last minute flitching of bananas from breakfast I was ready as I was going to be and it was race time. Kit involved some totally badass Salomon trail runners (orange, naturally), a rolled down onesie, a rowing short sleeve, a totally fit longsleeve from Helly Hansen and a rucksack off eBay for £10. And a platypus drinking tube thing I found at the back of a cupboard. Basically, amateur ++. Why had I decided to do the long route again?

Rucksack was cheap as one of the straps had been mildly chewed by a dog
Wow so stripey! WOOOOO
I win at awkward selfies

The first leg was a 10km "warm up" run up and down a hill.

Now superpose that into this:

(Irish Times)

and add some sort of wheezing soundtrack over the top and you've pretty much got it.

We started in waves of about 50 so this leg everyone was just so bunched together that you just had to run at other people's pace. That and I was hardly in the position to work myself to the front of the pack. It will come as no surprise to you to learn that I run very slowly uphill. (This is a very good metaphor for the entirety of my 2014). Admittedly, if I hadn't been a good stone overweight it might have been a bit easier but such is life.

Gravity sucks
I struggled on to the top then threw myself downhill again, back down the way I came.

GRAVITY RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Turns out I go *down* hill very fast indeed *evil laughing* and actually overtook people at this point. It was FUN.

Next came the 35km bike leg, on a trusty rental bike whose tyres and brakes I neither knew nor trusted, over roads that could only loosely be decided as such. I decided to go for the style of riding known as "don't break your fucking collar bone else you'll never finish your PhD". This resulted in a bit of passing by people decidely more gungho about the blind corners and gravelly descents than I was (I think only one person broke their collar bone on the cycle ride, not too bad considering). However, once the flat and the inevitable headwind kicked in, these people were my bitches and I passed them all again. I was enjoying myself. FUCKING POWER TO WEIGHT DOESN'T MATTER ON THE FLAT HAHAHAHAHA.

When my eyes were not on the road watching for the ever present gravel banks/mud/sheep, the views were simply stunning. Tourism Ireland had even organised to have a rainbow on show when I got to the top of the valley, which was nice of them.

Here is an actual photo (not taken by me - I wasn't stopping for no photo taking!) in case this drawing isn't really helping your imaginations along very much:

Oh yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Srsly. Wow.

I think in terms of tarmac quality I would classify the roads thus:

but that's totally forgiven since in terms of scenery:

Around this point I realised I had been going for a good couple of hours and hadn't eaten anything yet, but whatevs. I felt totally fine!

The ride finished in a field with lots of crash barriers in it and bikes EVERYWHERE. I left the bike and started to stuff my face with food as I walked (yeah, sorry) down the the **KAYAK LEG** OMFG. It was my "oatcake transition" and sadly I can't run and eat multiple packets of oatcakes (stored in my rowing onesie "snack pouch" like some sort of oatcake marsupial) at the same time. There was a free cereal bar in the race pack so I ate that too. Honestly, it was the most well prepared transition you have ever seen and everyone within a five mile radius was in awe of this display of slick professionalism.

The kayak leg (out and round and island and back) was a nice break for my legs and a chance to talk to a nice Irish nurse who was being my stoker (they were two man kayaks). He however was weak and went for the 60km option, which reminded me that I had a 17km run up a bloody mountain to do in a bit. Hmm. Shit. I got out the kayak, wished my kayak-stoker good luck, ate a micro stolen-from-breakfast banana and started running. Naturally I immediately got the worst stitch known to mankind. Then the path went from "flat field through transition" to "cliff face" and I started to get into trouble. This was three hours in.

I was pretty much already at my limit walking up this hill so I resolved for "run on the flat, route march uphill" formula. On and on it went. Steps turned to a nice trail through woodland. Nice trail through woodland turned to "mud with some rocks in it at 25% gradient" and my pace slowed to a crawl. I ate some more things, felt awful and kept climbing upwards. The only slightly reassuring thing was that everyone else I saw was walking by this point too (the elite entrants had gone in the first wave and were now hours ahead). "It's only 45 mins to the top" someone said. I think my reply was a 1000 mile stare.

"Oh it's fine, I will run down" I thought to myself. If there ever was any down. What was "down"? Who was I? Why was there a plastic tube flapping round my shoulders? WHY HILLS EXIST?

My quads by this point felt like I had gone to the gym after not doing weights for a couple of years and smashed out some serious number of back squat reps. My hip flexors were strips of burning pain. Why ON EARTH did I decide the longest route was a good idea? The 60km people didn't have to go up this bloody mountain and would be done by now and home eating cake or something. Bastards.

The path finally started to flatten out but I couldn't progress from my death march trudge to running. I'd try, then peeter out after a few steps. I repeated to myself the mantra of 2km ergo tests and head races alike

 "This will end." 

"This WILL end." 

All my food was now gone and I still had to get to the checkpoint at the top then get down again. Eventually, I rounded a nondescript corner and there was THE FINAL CHECKPOINT. I turned round and tried to run back down hill.

Sadly by this point a very very deep bonk had set in and my brain no longer had the sugar that 5-hours-ago Railton had done to make the quick decisions needed to run downhill quickly over rough ground.

I was in the "fuzzy vision" section of sugar-bonking and was therefore going to have to walk all the way back downhill too lest I act in infringement of the targets "do not injure yourself" and "do not die". Arse. Still, there were stunning views over the lake I'd kayaked in a few hours ago, it wasn't raining and the memory of those micro bananas stolen from breakfast were still fresh. Can you get sugar from the memory of a banana? I hoped so as I had sod-all else to eat.

Eventually, (very eventually) I hit the woodland trial again. I tried to run, got horrendous stomach pain so stopped and continued trudging. This repeated every 500m or so. It was tragic.

I reached the steps past the waterfall. I trudged, a little more carefully, dodging the water-fall tourists.

This is the waterfall (not taken by me, but TripAdvisor). In all honesty I was so sugar bonked it barely registered. 

Then, finally, I reached the field with the bikes in, three hours after I left it. There were not many bikes left, I thought sadly. Still, there would be food soon. One little 6km cycle and food, so off I set in the direction of the finish line and FOOD.

And. There. Was. The. Finish. Line. Which I had to go underneath, deposit hire bike with a man then CLIMB OVER THE TOP OF THIS GANTRY OVER THE ROAD to get to the real finish line, not this fake finish line.

Who the HELL thought this was a good idea?

The real finish line had a table with bottles of protein milk on it (and some other stuff, but I only care about the milk). I drank a litre of milk, bloated to the size of a house then collapsed in a heap. I realised that someone had given me a hot food voucher so I swapped that for FOOD, enhaled that too then collapsed in a heap again. Then I went to sleep. I think in my room. Not hugely sure to be honest. I DIDN'T CARE.

At some point I also washed these in the bath, stuffed them full of promotional newspaper and fell asleep again. I am *really* sorry to the person who had to clean that bathroom :/ (This was sadly very necessary as past-stupid Railton had only brought one pair of shoes to Ireland...)

Things I learned from this trip:
  • Mental breaks from PhD doing physically strenuous things = GOOD
  • Entering a race with 27km of fell-running in while a stone overweight and not particularly fit = BAD*
  • Running/walking over rough terrain for hours really trashes your core. And your quads. And your hip flexors. Write off going downstairs normally for at least four days, or even being about to get out of bed normally
  • Taking enough food with you is super important
  • Eating said food is even more important
  • 2500 people doing an Adventure Race drop a lot of litter (and whole bananas which in hindsight I should've picked up and eaten instead of trying to sustain myself on memory-bananas)
  • The west coast of Ireland is completely epic and I am definitely going back again

*Though to be fair I did finish c.30 out of 60 women doing that 70km route. YAY RESIDUAL FITNESS. YAY HEADWIND BIKE SECTIONS. 

So, it wasn't fast and it wasn't pretty but I did finish it without any lasting injuries to myself and I rediscovered that feeling of pushing yourself that bit harder...

And with that, I must bid you farewell for another few months and disappear back to my PhD cave. I have a thesis to write!

Monday 24 February 2014

North Road Hardriders

So first ride of the year is DONE. It involved vomiting, crying, a very homemade TT bike, an excellent pointy helmet so can only be qualified as a GREAT SUCCESS.

The race in question was a 25 mile time trial in Hertfordshire, best described as "sporting" (i.e. hilly) or "fucking horrific" if your name is Anna Railton and you are ROWER SIZED with a catastrophic lack of climbing ability.

Two hours the day before cleaning up the "TT bike" - i.e. this bike with a different cockpit and wheels on it (and different groupset come to think of it) and shovelling it in the car with Wojciech's bike for company and we were READY. Getting up at rower o'clock again (i.e. 0530) was a bit of a shock to the system but a couple of coffees (and a coke in the car, then caffeinated energy gels ha) sorted that right out.

Matured over the winter in a cellar (much like tubular tyres).

Number pinned on (getting marginally better at pinning numbers on skinsuit before putting it on but naturally it still needed redoing as I am still largely incompetant at this key cyclist skill) ,CHECK. Courage legs dug out the box and securely attached, CHECK. An all too short warm up done and I was at the start waiting for my time to go off. I was amused to see that my resting heart rate on the start was a mere 150bpm. I guess the three energy gels thrown down my throat pre race were working then! Let's get this show on the road!

[Man holds me up].

[Man with clip board and stopwatch starts the countdown]




(160bpm, start Garmin).









You'd better make cleaning your chain and cassette for an hour worth it, Railton. 

I didn't fall off, or start in the wrong gear so start was successful at least. A fast drag downwards then the climbing began. All thoughts about being in the big ring for the whole time trial were quickly shelved!

Three miles in and I'm swallowing vomit. Brilliant. Good one Railton. Guess you should've only had two gels, ejit.

With thanks to the esteemed Davey Jones of Cambridge CC for this excellent shot! As you can see, I am about as aerodynamic as a house brick and still have rower shoulders to force through the air :)

Four miles and I glimpse my minute-woman (i.e. the woman who went off a minute in front of me). Number 73, YOUR ASS IS MINE. I AM GOING TO HUNT YOU DOWN.


I see the luminous yellow number on the climbs, getting steadily closer. YOU ARE MINE.


Cadence? 95rpm. Good. Heart rate? Ermmmm yes. It's fine you are TOTALLY not going to die doing that for over an hour, it's fine. HONEST.


I pull myself a little further into the time trial bars. Stick a few more watts down. You can totally do this Railton. This is GOOD.


Another climb that feels like a brick wall. Small ring. More pressure on the pedals. Keep the power on over the crest of the hill MUST CONSERVE MOMENTUM. MUST REMAIN AERO AT ALL COSTS. MUST BE FAST.

6 miles. Casually pass #73. Try to look cool while snot pouring out of nose all over face. Effortless cool. I like it.

Bracing the core, must keep still in the saddle and smoooooth. Must be FASTER.


OK, horse passed and 100% no death. Good. 8 miles in. That's like a third! Woo! GO RAILTON.

[SHIT 16 MILES TO GO* D: D: D: D: D:]

* Course was shorted to 24 miles due to road work. This pleased me as 24 has more factors than 25 allowing for more "oh you are X% through the TT calculations to keep my mind off the pain and my looming death.

IS THAT ANOTHER RIDER AHEAD? *cue evil laughing*


[Memory fails me, not sure what happens 8-19 miles. It was probably painful.]


Some sort of blur of lactic acid and lung burn passes and I see the 5 miles to go sign. Thank FUCK for that.

Of course, this last five miles is into a headwind, naturally. SLOG SLOG.

Four miles to go.


Three miles to go. I ride into what feels like the side of a cliff. OH GOD THERE'S A MASSIVE HILL FUCK MY LIFE.

Photo credit Ian Lambert of North Road CC (??). I have quite a strangely small head. 

Hill is longer than a minute. This is BAD. I am already very deep into the pain cave and the door has been sealed long ago. The only way is deeper, darker.

I start to click up the cassette. Into the small ring. Into smaller gears and still it continues.

People are cheering at the side of the road, shouting "dig deep!" at me. I want to shout at them "WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK I'M DOING!?!?!?" but there was no spare oxygen for such fripperies. I needed all the oxygen I could get to remain actually alive and travelling up this BASTARD FUCKING ENDLESS HILL.




Mercifully, the hill did actually end, as geography usually dictates. An age seemingly passes before the "2 miles to finish" but by this time my soul has long since dropped out my arse and I am blinking back tears. There is no natural light in the pain cave any more. Not even a flickering bulb hanging from the roof. It is all black. I bump into a black cat painted black wearing a black hat. Heavy metal is playing I think. WHERE IS OXYGEN? IS THAT A BAT?!?

 I push on.

One mile to go. Another small hill. Instantly small ring, grinding up it. There is no souplesse, no thought of form any more. This just needs to end, soon.

A group of cyclists out for a Sunday pootle. I go wide to pass them and see the finish board. I aim myself at it.




I throw my bike towards the line (which is just kind of pointless and very ineffective in time trial bars but habits from the track die hard) and it is over. I push the 'Stop' button on my Garmin, nearly crashing in the process and there it is. That was what I, Anna Railton, can produce for 24 miles up and down some hills.

I ride back to the car at walking pace, sort of quietly pleased with myself because I was totally fucked, which was precisely of the object of the exercise.

"I should do this again next year, it was fun" I thought to myself, coughing up bits of lung.

I shove a banana down my face when back at the car then put on all the clothes I own. I contort to take my number off my back under all these new clothes. I am intelligent.

I cycle the 150m to the HQ (because fuck me am I walking anywhere at this point), abandon my bike next to a wheelie bin, crawl up the stairs and attempt to swap said number for a cup of coffee.

"Black or white?"

*blinks at nice lady manning the tea and coffee*

"Would you like black or white coffee?"

*blinks again*

"ERMMMMMMMMM" I don't understand this question what is going on.

*random pointing*

*I receive white coffee* (This is fortunate as I don't actually like black coffee).

"ERMMMMM thanks?" Is that the right word for this situation?

I glance at the time board, note that Lucy "The Goss" Gossage has smashed everyone. Then I sort of do the "controlled falling" method of getting down the stairs, spill coffee on my fleece and retrieve my bike from next to the bins. Somehow I manage to drink the coffee while cycling. I head out on the road again to try and get some of this 24 miles of hell out my legs before I need to drive home.

A few miles of walking pace cycling down the road and I meet The Goss, out for a run. There I am, totally shafted, and Lucy has just turned it into a brick session.






What can I say, professional Iron Man athletes are ... well, a bit mental. In a good way, naturally. I informed her she won and went on my way, probably cycling a damn site slower than she was running. I reminded myself never to take up Iron Man.

I eventually made it back to the HQ and saw to my (quite considerable surprise) that I managed to be the third fastest woman so I was £40 richer! HURRAH!

And thus the 2014 season began. And it was good. Two weeks time = Belgium!

(Also, many thanks to North Road CC for such a great event, too - I *will* be back next year!)

Wednesday 19 February 2014

London Bike Show

So, with some considerable irony, my late night zero degree centigrade bike build extravaganza left me waking up at the weekend with a mental resting heart rate, a nice sore throat and general feeling like shit-ness. BRILLIANT. Played it safe and bailed on the team ride on the Saturday and gave up my place in the Bike Show crit the following day to my teammate Jasmine.

However I still went along to the show, self-relegated from racing to a more "being there with safety pins and allen keys" role.


[Photo credit Adrian https://twitter.com/alien8]

As you can see I GOT A NEW CAP. And, despite me sort of thinking I can pull of cycling caps, I still can't. It won't stop me wearing them, but I know deep down I can't pull them off and never will. SIGH. I just don't have the cheekbones or am not Italian enough or something.

Bryony's gloves. Bit overtly feminine for my taste :D

Jasmine, with racing bandana and a really craply pinned on number (my fault, out of practice!) 


Doing deals on the Aprire stand...

With the obligatory "OH SHIT MY BIKE DOESN'T WORK" panic a few minutes before the race out the way (resolved thanks to my allen keys), the three riders from Velosport-Pasta Montegrappa got away round the course. And by course I mean "barriered off bit of the arena". It was basically: straight  - U turn on slippy surface - U turn on slippy surface - straight. Repeat. A lot. 


 Bryony got unlucky when someone came down in front of her in the first few laps <OOF>

Yep, nowhere to go...
Yep, going down...
OOF, down :(
With Bryony out the running, a lead group of four went clear out the front, containing both Jasmine and Lydia. Hurrah! Lydia forged ahead and the remaining three became two and the race was decided then; one rider out ahead gradually putting in more and more distance between her and the pack and Jasmine in the chasing two, making the other girl do all the chasing like the pro she is :)

At the finish, Jasmine nips round the Trek Bicycle Coventry rider (Maxine Filby) to clinch a 1-2 for our team. Great success!

L-R: Jasmine Dotti, Lydia Boylan, Maxine Filby
Other highlights of the Bike Show included making multiple passes past the Clif stall (protein bar YES PLEASE) and buying more "Friend of Herne Hill Velodrome" stuff (I love that colour scheme SO MUCH and they are lovely people).

I also recently passed quite a cool milestone on my Garmin the other day:

So I got my Garmin in March 2012? 12 000 miles in 2 years isn't too bad in my opinion, especially when you consider this includes no commuting miles at all (at least 5 miles a day) and no miles done on my track bike (which probably added up to quite a lot last year).

Got my first race FOR REAL THIS TIME on Sunday (North Road Hardriders - basically a hilly and technical 25 mile time trial) I will be unpacking the COURAGE LEGS from their box (along with my moustache TT helmet) brushing off the packing peanuts and removing random bits of sellotape stuck to them, and unleashing seven shades of hell fire fucking hell badgering rage all over that. Really looking forward to it, which I'm taking to be a good thing. Who knows, given my current level of blog writing form you may even get ANOTHER post out it.

I am spoiling you all with this "more than one post a year" stuff! :D

Friday 14 February 2014

Yet another bike build post


A quick post because EXCITING NEWS my team bike arrived last night! Therefore I've spent many hours over the last 24 fiddling with it and swearing at internal cable routing and why I seem unable of cutting cable housing to the correct length, ever.

Also, I did resolve to myself to WRITE MOAR POSTS (after my one post in 2013, I mean FFS) so here you go. A POST. WITH 57% MORE ADDED CARBON.

Exciting boxes!
I gingerly start taking stuff out of boxes. Everything looks carbon and expensive. OH GOD I SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED WITH THIS.

As you can see, it is very important to have old toothbrushes and pyjama bottoms lying around because I'm pretty sure that is what pro mechanics use for degreasing stuff.

Those bars are carbon. At this point I was developing a great fear.

The frame makes it out the box. I like orange, and I like this orange A LOT. Also note the Q rings (i.e. slightly elliptical chainrings for DAT PEDALING EFFICIENCY). This installs more fear in me because I need to make a front mech work with that!

Nice touch of team name graphics on top. 
Box #1 has yielded its goodies, now time for box #2!

I am pretty certain I am not a good enough bike rider to deserve these wheels.

I take them out the box, realise they weigh nothing and carefully put them back. I step away.

*deep breath*

I woman the fuck up and got the wheels out the box and tape, tube and tyre them up. They look...dangerous.

I sadly have no cassette for them so back in the box they go for the time being. From now on this build will feature a pair of my shit winter bombproof wheels (SWBWs).

I start putting the groupset on my bike. It is late. It is *very* cold and I am listening to Radio 4. The later it got, the weirder it became. I periodically left to get more clothes, to drink tea and to lament my not owning fingerless gloves. The mechs and shifters went on, then I had the arduous and time consuming task of measuring everything to get everything the same height and distance apart as all my other bikes.

You'd think this would be a 2s job with a tape measure.

It's not.

It takes fucking ages. Half the problem is of course that bikes don't tend to stand up perpendicular on their own so there is usually lots of awkward leaning against stuff and swearing when you realise you've been measuring everything while the bike is leaning 10 degrees over to the left.

By this time it was about 10pm and I hated everything. Especially retracting tape measures and saddles and shifter hoods that were all slightly different to each other. Radio 4 was talking about Belgian child euthanasia and I was really starting to lose the plot.

And THEN the internal cable routing started. Now this can be tricky at the best of time without you being (a) tired (b) cold and (c) listening to progressively weird shit on the radio. It nearly broke me. Honest to god.

I slowly iterated to the correct cabling solution (cost: MY SOUL). Some of them are definitely a touch short but I'm human and my soul was dying so I think I can be excused.

Finally FINALLY cabling was done and all that needed to be done was gear/brake adjustment and bar taping. ON THE HOME STRAIGHT YAAAAAAAAAAY.

The front mech + elliptical chainring adjustment was definitely entertaining, especially with the hilariously bad instructions from ROTOR which I can neatly summarise as:

1) Install front mech. Make sure it is parallel to the chainrings (dur)
2) Adjust front mech correctly.
3) Here are some unhelpful diagrams that are both low resolution, incredibly small and completely devoid of ANY INFORMATION WHATSOEVER.


I therefore binned the "instructions" and followed the standard applied mathematician approach of iterating to the correct solution, changing things a few mm at a time until it worked, then stepping the fuck away from it sharpish when it did and saving it to your external hard drive.

Taping up, thank fuck for that. 
Indexing stuff = done. Adjusting brakes so I don't die = done. Now just some bar taping and DONE DONE DONE.

Dat campag. Dat Ritchey and Aprire loveliness. Dat lack of feeling in my hands and OH FUCK did I just slice my hand open with a Stanley knife? (A: Yes, yes I did).

Time to step back and appreciate the lines.
Just to prove that the bike did actually work, here it is hiding in my office after getting wet in some seriously biblical rain :'(

So there you go! Just got to get used to it now before my first race at the London Bike Show on Sunday! This is by far the most quality carbon I have ever ridden (not worthy, not worthy) so I am interested to see how it feels compared to my other bikes (a mixture of steel, alloy and cheap carbon).

Hopefully I'll get a post out about the Bike Show race (which I do really hope doesn't include me failing to get round the first corner and taking out a crash barrier). Watch this space!