Our 2016-17 UK Voyage
Day Four of Training for 2017 Rockies Expedition:Mri Fails At Captaining the Tandem
15 February 2017 | Mri Grout
My first attempt at captaining our tandem bike went about as well as I expected. My second one went a bit better as you can see below...not.
Eventually, however, I was able to do 'well enough' to convince Rob to get on the back where I then pedaled for two rotations before ditching the bike in fear of falling off. This happened another three times before I demanded to be the stoker again and Rob's idea of me being able to get us to town if he ever has an accident died to a most unsurprising death.
Day Three of Training for 2017 Rockies Expedition:Just Another Day Riding
23 January 2017 | Mri Grout
*long story short: 10 banana curry is about as appetizing as it sounds, mothers with children do not like a weird man jumping out of a white van asking if they'd like a banana, and three years later, I still do not eat bananas; if you're wondering why we bought 13kgs of bananas - they were only $2.50, for the whole thing, not per bunch
Day Two of Training for 2017 Rockies Expedition:Already Daydreaming of Cars
09 January 2017 | Mri Grout
Not a very confident title for two people planning on cycling 6000 miles across the Rocky Mountains with less than three months of time to train, huh? But in our defense, maybe I should start at the beginning. You see, after finally having the same day off work since Christmas, Rob and I loaded up our Dawes Double Edge tandem bike with an unneccessary amoung of luggage and decided to tackle two mountain passes in a single day. This was all because of a stupid naive sense of accomplishment after our first day of cycle training where we kicked out 20.5 miles in just a few hours and so felt like bosses. But oh, oh no we were not like said ‘bosses.’ Not even their freaking assistants. And we definitely were not ‘boss enough’ to do a 1:4 gradiant as our very first freaking mountain to tackle. And THEN still feel fine enough to do another one. Alas, we didn’t know this at the time and so instead of going luggage free or only with the neccessities, we stuffed our two back panniers with horrible extras like a stupid giant glass bottle (filled to the brim of course), camping gear, and a random pillow because why the heck not. Then we set off on our great adventure, which you can see mapped out below.
The trip started off well enough. We were out of the house only a few minutes after we said we would be, Rob didn't forget his helmet this time, and I remembered to loop my laces around my ankles so they'd stop getting caught in the pedals. Unfortunately, this 'wellness' barely lasted longer than our first cycle of the feet as the panniers were too close and needed readjusting; but small fixes like that were common neccessities and so we ignored the universe's call to leave them behind. We were making good time when it started to drizzle and given the forecast only called for light patches of rain here and there, we decided to press on. Luckily, it stopped raining quite quickly and we got to fully enjoy the colorful fells and picturesque lakes we were cycling past.
But then we passed a sign claiming a 25% climb up ahead at Honister Pass. However, given we were used to only just feeling something that steep when driving, we (for some very stupid reason in hindsight) thought it we would also 'barely feel it + a little bit more' on a tandem bike. That was unneccessarily loaded. Again, for some very stupid reason. And so as the hill began growing in size, we picked up speed with the hopes of being able to roll up a good bit of it before the real effort kicked in. Now I'd love to say that we beat this beast of a mountain and are all prepared for our 2017 Rocky Expedition in March, but in reality it kicked the snot out of us as we were forced to walk up numerous bits of it to the point of sheer exhaustion. For despite having failed to cycle all the way up Honister Pass, we still had to take a much needed break at the top before beginning the long descent. At this point we were getting hungry and though we had a packed lunch, we were also tired enough to not want to sit on the side of the road in the cold wind and drizzling rain while it cooked. So we made a short detour into Keswick where we popped into Kat's Kitchen - a nice vegetarian cafe that also does full on meals of sheer deliciousness. So whoever says riding a bike saves on fuel, they're clearly doing their math wrong. It cost us $20 to cover a mere 23 miles!!! Though I have to say, it did taste a heck of a lot better than diesel! Granted, I've never tasted diesel, but unless it tastes like the mythical ambrosia of the Gods, then this statement stands.
And because we were already completely broken by this point, we decided to skip the second mountain pass up Whinlatter and instead just head home. It might have meant a few extra kilometres, but it'd save us from being found the next morning dead in a ditch somewhere. And as I type this up the following day, I am so freaking happy I'm not working today. For instead of the regular exhausted muscle pain you normal people get (I know because I used to feel this nice, beautiful pain), I feel as if two screwdrivers have been shoved into my kneecaps and a Japanese samurai has attempted the Death by 1000 cuts on my leg muscles. If you're wondering, it's because my stupid brain and nervous system screwed up during puberty, so everything equals pain now. Even something simple like wearing a shirt with a back on it. But meh, that's life, isn't it? And you can't let crap like that keep you down. (: So though we might have failed the ridiculous ride up Honister Pass, we now know what our limit is and can continue training from there. 2017 Rockies, here we come.
What's the steepest gradiant you've attempted to cycle up?