It's been a while since I last posted a blog in part because I've been lazy and in part because I've been dealing with some personal issues over the last 6 months. Suffice to say the last six months have been particularly challenging. Cycling has provided a healthy escape and I'm very thankful to the various groups I've ridden with for, well, being there!
So this weekend I find myself in Normanville for a big birthday party. We decided to head up Thursday night and chill out before the main event on Saturday. I also thought this would be a good opportunity to retrace the Grand Slam 3 loop 2 that provided me with so much pain back in May. During that ride I suffered quite severe cramps climbing Parawa Road and, while I didn't walk, I had little choice but to stop 3 times to stretch (or fall off the bike). In the end I was happy to finish the ride. Cramp has been a companion on every 60km+ ride (with exception of BUPA). The issue has somewhat resolved itself, as evidenced by completing GS4 without episode, with a magnesium supplement and proper hydration. But, not liking to be beaten, this is one hill I wanted to have another crack at, at least to prove to myself that I'm capable.
Another issue has been saddle comfort in 100km+ rides. I've invested in a new saddle and it arrived just before heading to Normanville. The saddle is a Selle Italia SLR Carbonio Flow, and weighing in at 115g is about 140g lighter than the OEM saddle. So, freshly installed, a nice 60km loop would be good way to break it in.
Conditions were more or less the same as GS3 with a higher likelihood of showers. The ride to Parawa Road took about 30 minutes. Just before the climb began in earnest I was attacked by fairly obnoxious magpie, striking my helmet numerous times. The hill itself was a bugger... a grind on a 25 even with compacts. I looked at each of those spots I stopped last time and thought to myself 'not again!'. The climb was as hard as I remembered last time, only this time I pushed myself all the way. Just near the top the rain started and stuck with me all the way along Range Road. Toward the end of Range Road I had two more magpie attacks, the first more obnoxious than the one on Parawa (he only stopped when I made contact with my arm). The ride through Second Valley with all its undulation is one of my favourite stretches of road. Its rewarding and quite scenic.
In conclusion, a joyous ride. The jury is still out on the saddle - that will take a bit longer to break in but I could feel it flex in the right places, and it felt like the saddle was supporting the sit bones rather than the perineum - I figure this is a good thing!
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