Comfort was a priority in choosing my new bike. Low gears for the local hills tempered with fast and light. I was quickly drawn to the Specialized Roubaix Compact road bike – named after the grueling Paris-Roubaix race.
I knew that triathlon was not really going to interest me and neither did road racing. I love going on journeys so the criteria of comfort on long rides was the priority and the Roubaix seemed to meet my needs, at a reasonable price. Having decided in principle my mind was made up on July 9th 2011 when an extra 20% off was offered during Le Tour and together with last years colour I got a deal I was happy with. 105 pedals and a ladies saddle completed the dream machine.
The man in the shop said it would feel like cheating when I got on a hill as it would be effortless. He was wrong. There was no difference. I was so disappointed. The reality was that hill climbing ability was down to me – not the bike. A note from the diary says I had hoped it would be easy and pain free. It was not. I was beginning to wish I had gone for that granny cog.
I was still doing all my cycling alone. The nearest group to ride with is the CTC in Dorchester and it seemed daft to drive for 15 miles to go for a bike ride and as my time is my own I could ride whenever I wanted to . I was usually doing my other sitting down sport on Sundays – kayaking on the sea.
In August 2011 – a few weeks after getting my new bike – an old running friend posted on Facebook that he was doing a 100 mile ride round Dorset. Wow! I wanted to do that. Can I come Les? This was such a big deal for me. Husband followed us round in the van and carried limitless supplies of isotonic drinks, malt loaf, sandwiches and cake. Les did comment that he had just planned to go to the pub for lunch but I just couldn’t imagine attempting 100 miles without support. That was my first proper cycling adventure. 105 miles – Not bad. Quite enjoyed it.
The summer continued – running, swimming, sailing, kayaking and weekly mileage on my bike building. On 15th August 2011 I was out in the Bride Valley only a few miles from home one evening . My GPS was playing up and I had stopped to see if I could sort it out. Unusually – along came another road cyclist – he stopped to check that I was OK . He was also riding a Specialized Roubaix – what a coincidence. We set off up the valley together and by the end of the ride we had covered the important bits of life history and realised we rode at about the same pace. I had a cycling buddy. Steve.