April 2014 Cycle Update

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April has been a very frustrating month. I had a load of stuff in the calender including the Welsh Coast to coast and my first 2 Individual Time Trials of year; the Peak ITT and the Hellcat100. It all got under way quite well at the start of the month. I headed up to Great Orms Head on the Welsh coast to meet up with the lads and head south to Worms Head on the Gower. You can read the ride report for the detail or watch the video(s) but unfortunately due to the testing weather and unfortunate logistics we didn’t make it all the way south. Slightly disappointing but given the conditions there was still a pretty big sense of achievement and ultimately a great time was had by all.

It was a few days after getting back from this trip that things started taking a turn for the worst. I was commuting into work when I started to get some pain in my right knee. I generally speaking don’t have problems with my knees so this was out of the ordinary. After riding into to work the next day the pain had got considerably worse so I decide that I needed to take it easy and give it a rest. I gave it a week not riding and as I had the week off work I barely even walked on it as well. Unfortunately this meant I didn’t do the Peak ITT as planned but by the end of the week it was feeling loads better, very slightly stiff but no pain any more. I thought I would give it a go and went out for an easy flat spin. An hour or so into riding the pain returned and I made a break for home. I decided that giving it a few more weeks was probably the best course of action. After 2 more weeks rest it was feeling good but I decided that if anything was going to aggravate it, then 100 miles of back country Welsh gravel roads was probably going to be it. I decided not to do the Hellcat100 as planned and hope that another week of rest was going to leave me fit for the Welsh Ride Thing at the start of May. I have commuted a few days this week and actually the knee is feeling fine. I’m having a few odd sensations but nothing that can be considered pain. I guess this might be a bit of stiffness from not really riding for the last 4 weeks.

Pictured with AA sized batteries for scale.

Pictured with AA sized batteries for scale.

I picked up a few new bits of bikepacking gear this month. I really like the Hyalite Peak Oyl Lite sleeping mat as it’s comfortable and warm but it really doesn’t pack down very small. I think it’s a bit of over kill for the warmer months so I took a look around for an uninsulated air mat and ended up getting a Karrimor X-Lite from Ebay for a bargain price. It packs really small and at 300g is pretty light weight as well. I’m taking it with me this weekend for the Welsh Ride Thing so I should know by next week how it fairs.

I finally made up my mind and took the plunge on which USB interface I was going to buy for the dynamo hub, going with the Sinewave Revolution. This isn’t a cheap bit of kit but after having had a quick play with it and it certainly seems to do the job. There are cheaper alternatives out there but I felt that spending a bit extra, after what I had already spent on being self sufficient for power, was just a drop in the ocean. The box is very light weight, small and fully water proof. Expect a proper article about this and my full “power” set up in the next few weeks.

The last thing I picked up this month was a Montane Bat Pack. They were on sale for 50% off at Blacks and so I decided to give it a blast in order to get some weight off my back. When I use my frame bag this means I can’t have the bottle cages on the frame. I will then use a hydration pack which I normally end up over filling, so I thought going for something that will only allow me to carry 2 small-ish bottles and some bits of food might be a good idea. Also being a lumber pack it means that the weight is taken off my back and put on my waist which I believe could also be beneficial. Time will tell of course.

Stats wheel for April, courtesy of Velo Viewer. Interactive version.

aprilWheel

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So, what do you think ?

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