Back on the bike

The last time I rode my road bike… on the road was September 2011. Shocking. With 39 days until my first triathlon, I desperately need to get back out on the road!

After procrastinating for several weeks, I decided that today was the day and loaded my bike in the back of the car and set off for Lakeside. The grand idea was to ride the 20km bike course that forms one-third of the EOW Tri in order to establish a line in the sand of my current cycling ability or performance.

One of the things that has stopped me getting out on the road bike more often was concern about clipping out of my clipless bike shoes. I have had a love/hate relationship with them. I love them when the peddles are turning but as soon as I have to unclip myself, I worry. Not without cause!!

Anyway, back to that shortly.

The course takes you from Lakeside Country Park in Eastleigh, north-east along Wide Lane, left onto Chestnut Avenue, past the Asda roundabout along to the roundabout at the end of School Lane. You then return to Stoneham Lane where you head out to the main junction at J5 before heading left into Wide Lane to your start point. That’s a 10km lap (almost) so for the Sprint triathlon, it’s a 2-lap course.

EOW bike lap

Each lap is undulating with the first half of each laps being mostly uphill and then downhill back to the start point.

EOW bike elevation

As it’s not a closed course, there are several roundabouts and sets of traffic light to negotiate. Everything was going really well and I managed to get to 18km without any issues. Each time I saw the need to stop, I slowed early and meandered gently until the traffic flowed again. It’s a little annoying that at traffic lights drivers tend to hug the kerb which gives no space for cyclists.

At 17.5km, the lights changed just past the Concorde Club. I hadn’t slowed enough and the lights took an age to change to green. The cars pulled away too slowly and I found myself stuck behind a stationary car unable to go anywhere. I started peddling backwards! Have no idea what I expected that to achieve! What it achieved was the bike toppling to the kerb and me not having time to unclip my kerbside shoe! Knobhead! I picked myself up, remounted the bike hoping that I’d not damaged the paintwork on the bike. Fortunately, other than a few superficial scratches on the paintwork, no damage was done.

The last 2km went ok. I was kicking myself for my school boy error. Hopefully a lesson learned? Maybe!!

I completed the course in 44:47 with an average speed of 25.5 kmph. Not spectacular. Definitely something to improve on! How I’ll do after a lake swim and then following up with a 5km run is open to debate!

I’ll repeat the experience (hopefully without the fall and a little quicker) next week time permitting.

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