Apocalypse Averted - People’s Grand Tour day 17
It was certainly a wet ride today, but the rain never quite reached the Biblical levels we expected based on Met Office predictions - I was certainly pleased not to have panicked last night and built an Ark. So uninspiring weather spawned an equally uninspiring route choice - yesterday in reverse (the easier way). In spite of the steady drizzle I quite enjoyed the grind from Bobbington to Tuck Hill, although the weather seemed to briefly affect my Garmin which was showing a 0% gradient when I was on a slight upward slope, dived to -3% as the road kicked up a little more, then just as I hit the 3 to 4% section it jumped to a dizzying 20% before eventually settling down to more realistic readings. Overall the legs felt good, as in better than yesterday, but not great. Which was better than expected.
Although I joined Strava many months ago I’ve never really used it on a regular basis until joining the People’s Grand Tour Club which Lionel Bernie set up for us PGTers to record and compare rides. Whilst I haven’t made much use of the club element of the site, I don’t even know if there is anything special there, I have really enjoyed the standard stats, especially the “Segments” feature. I have added one of my regular hills into the section myself, but generally I love uploading a ride and then discovering that I’ve ridden a “Segment” that somebody else has added. The highlight of this rider for one stretch of road that I ride regularly and, better still, that I know the guy in second place and that he’s a pro cyclist. Of course in all likelihood I was hammering it in front of a ferocious tailwind on the day that I rode it whilst he was probably using having a recovery day on a unicycle with his grandma, but at this point the fact still remains …… Still, even without such cold and out of context statistics to bolster my frail ego, I’ve come to really enjoy using Strava. Once, briefly, I even considered paying for the Premium service so that I could compare stats by age group, weight etc. As I said, that was just briefly.
There were a couple of other things that I learned today; Firstly, French teenagers are very much like British teenagers. They don’t live entirely on fresh fruit, healthy food and Perrier, but enjoy chips and Pepsi and chocolate. Furthermore they don’t stare longingly at pictures of Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland all day, counting the seconds until the Tour de France begins, but think about films, musicians and shopping (the latter explaining why I ended up spending some of Easter Monday at the Merry Hill Shopping Centre). Cycling is not a consideration, not even a faint blip on their radar. Secondly, high street shops have no sense of proprietary when it comes to inappropriate use of “cool” images. It’s probably me, or my age group, and the concept of “sticking it to the man” that I grew up with in the seventies, but when I see bog standard, chain store clothes shops selling tee shirts with pictures of Johnny Cash and Miles Davis on them, I just want to hurl. Presumably the estates of those masters of their craft know about this and are being remunerated, but I remain convinced that the vast majority of people who buy those shirts will never have heard, nor indeed heard OF, those guys. It’s a failing of mine that I find that offensive, but I do and probably always will, although with Ramones shirts (but not their records) mainstream, and Guns and Roses, The Stones and MANY more selling their images to the High Street, I may end up getting reluctantly used to it.
To exorcise this grumpiness tomorrow’s ride will have a major league rock n roll WITH INTEGRITY theme to it.