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Sun, views and sore wrists on Arran bike ride

Written by Fiona October 12 2010

A short break to get off our bikes and out of the wind. Thanks to JoE for the pic!

You’d have thought that 60 or so miles on the Isle of Arran by bike would leave me with sore leg muscles. You might imagine that I would be suffering with a little back pain and shoulder soreness. But in fact the area of my body that seems to be have been most affected by Saturday’s long-distance outing is my wrists!

For a day or so after the cycle outing (it was the final ride of the Glasgow Triathlon Club’s – and Super Gav’s – Summer Cycling Series) I had tired thighs. My back felt slightly stiff, as did my shoulders. But some three days later and my lower arms and, in particular, my wrists are still really quite sore indeed. And the only plausible reason that I can come up with is the wind!

While Arran basked in a fair amount of sun on Saturday, the island was also blasted by strong winds, which made many miles of the round-island cycle slow, wobbly and hard-going. For one stretch along the coastline  between Blackwaterfoot and Machrie the wind was so strong that I was convinced I would fall off. Gusts of wind blasted our group of cyclists forcing us to weave across the road and occasionally on to the the grass headland that skirted the shore. And then the wind would suddenly drop and my bike – and me – and all the other riders would be thrown off course yet again. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared on a bike – nor have I ever held so tight to my handlebars. For a mile or so I even unclipped one of my shoes from the pedal so that if I did fall I would be able to quickly put my foot down.

Something strange in my pocket? Hunting for energy bars? Who knows what I'm doing in this picture. Still, it does show me having another rest from the cycling!

And as the wind gusted and dropped and gusted and dropped I held ever tighter to my handlebars, gritted my teeth and tried to keep pedalling.  By the time we stopped for lunch my hands and arms were beginning to ache. By the end of the ride my hands, wrists and upper arms were painful. Now, while the rest of my body has recovered it is my wrists that are left feeling tender and sore.

But really this is a small price to pay for the chance to be out cycling on such a gorgeous autumnal day. I doubt there will be many dry, bright days left this year but by luck the Glasgow Tri Club managed to choose a truly stunning day to round off a summer of great bike rides. And, of course, there were times on the circular ride when the wind was behind us offering a huge helping hand to increase our speed. At these times I relished the chance to look up without fear of being blown off my bike to take in the wonderful island and coastal views. I can’t think of any other time when I have seen Arran looking so awesome.

This summer has seen many GTC members joining regular weekend rides, as well as longer-distance outings once a month. Some riders have made it to the entire series of rides while others have managed only one or two. I only made it to the last ride, on Arran.

The main force behind these rides has been Super Gav. A great cyclist himself he’s encouraged many riders to join him for numerous bike outings.  Some riders now credit SG with helping to improve their cycling. Others have been delighted to ride in areas of Scotland that they might not normally have ventured. I now wish that I’d joined the group for other rides earlier in the season. Still, there is always next year.

Glasgow Tri Club has now launched a winter bike series. This time it’s on mountain bikes and is being led by Actionman Alasdair. The series will include skills sessions and trips to a number of mountain bike centres in Scotland. There’s currently free membership of GTC (until the end of the year) so why not take advantage and join up now? The club offers coached sessions in swimming and running, as well as many discount benefits etc. It’s  also the friendliest  and most motivated club I’ve ever been a member of. You don’t have to be a super-athlete to come along to any of the sessions. But until you give triathlon a go you’ll never know how much fun this sport can be.

PS I do hope I’ll still see the fun side as next July approaches. Somehow someone (who found me on Twitter!) has persuaded me to sign up to join a team who plan to take part in the London Triathlon 2011 in aid of charity. I have amazed myself by agreeing to do an Olympic distance triathlon and one that includes my most hated discipline: open-water swimming. In the River Thames?! Until tonight I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I was planning to do this event. But then a chap from Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity (the charity we plan to raise money for) came along to tell our team of  20 or so wannabie  triathletes why Breakthrough is so important. I was instantly convinced and I am now determined to raise as much money through this event as possible. Watch this blog for more news…

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