We got asked last week to help with an innovative project debuting at the Bespoked hand built bike show at Lee Valley…on this weekend.

Bespoke frame builders Talbot Frameworks in London had designed and tested an electronic gear shift system…running Di2…but with painted conductive stripes…instead of cabling. The paint is metallic and conducts the signal.

It all worked perfectly..and Neil’s input was to stripe the lines neatly

They picked up the Steve Worland award for innovative design! 

and I must say the handmade steel frame looks amazing built up.

Stuff that’s gone wrong with my body in the last 12 months

… that has prevented me from having any real motivation to ride my bike:

  • Pulled shoulder (not sure what happened here - possibly due to an incorrectly-levelled turbo trainer)
  • Broken toe (caused by walking barefoot into a dumbbell at 2am)
  • Smashed up and swollen knee (clipless pedal fall during fixed wheel hill climb)
  • Chipped knuckle (monkey wrench slipped and smashed my thumb while removing a stubborn lockring)
  • Scuffed-up and swollen knee (same knee as before, caused by overtaking-then-immediately-turning driver)
  • Mystery back pain (no idea)
  • Bell’s Palsy (FML)

Turbo training plan: Trainerroad

Trainerroad is pretty good. I resisted buying a subscription at first because I figured I didn’t really need another subscription to something that I’d only use once or twice, but it turns out to be so amazing that I do use it regularly.

A couple of months ago I pulled my shoulder pretty badly. My belief is that it happened due to an unleveled turbo trainer because the people who built my house didn’t make the floors even. While doing some nocturnal wanderings one evening, mewling to myself in pain, I walked into a dumbbell that I’d carelessly left on my bedroom floor, and managed to break a toe on it. This dual injury meant that I was not really up for riding my bike anywhere, and certainly not at any kind of reasonable pace.

After about a fortnight of this I became utterly sick of taking the bus to anywhere. Ain’t nobody got time for that. My rage with public transport was compounded by catching a cold (I never catch colds) and I decided right then that I was getting back on my bike and I didn’t give a shit how much it hurt. To ease myself back into riding (ha!) I rode the Dunwich Dynamo (136 miles in total) on my Langster, on the single speed side. I did this very slowly, taking about 9 hours to complete the distance, but it felt good to do a longer distance again after my extended off. I continued to pootle about a bit but didn’t get back on the turbo until a week ago.

When I did get back on the turbo I was horrified. 

My fitness has completely tanked. A combination of not doing any exercise of note, eating ice cream all day long, and riding single speed instead of fixed wheel has turned my legs to feeble little noodles made from cheese. My FTP dropped from its already pathetic level to an even more pathetic level. I put on a couple of kilograms in weight, all of it fat. My muscles wasted away. My resting heart rate increased. My HR recovery has slowed. The whole thing bites, basically. Possibly the worst bit is that I no longer have the fitness required to be able to even pretend to keep up with my riding buddies. I knew that I had to sort it, but the fact that even little rides had become so difficult meant that I had zero motivation to get out and do things. In addition to that, the position on my newest bike is an aggressive fit, which needs decent core strength - something I definitely don’t have anymore, and it was causing a situation where I was actually scared of riding the thing.

Something had to be done. I decided on using one of the training plans that Trainerroad provides to subscribers, starting with their Intermediate Base 1. These plans are designed to be used in the winter to build fitness for the coming season, and I’m fully aware that by doing them in August I’m going at it all wrong. I don’t even care. I haven’t got the confidence to ride with my usual groups right now so my focus has to be on building my base fitness up again. By continuing with the training plans through winter, I should be shipshape in time for our upcoming trip to Belgium next year to ride around the cols and cobbles of Paris-Roubaix.