Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rollers. Coasters.

My apologies for being off-line for a while. I spent the weekend at the Triathlon Canada AGM in Quebec City and my travails there can be seen on the Triathlon Nova Scotia blog. It was an interesting weekend; I got to meet many of the players in triathlon provincially and nationally. Whereas in the national meetings I felt a little intimidated and had a policy of head down, ears open, mouth shut, I felt very comfortable in the Provincial meetings. Thanks for making me feel welcome guys.

Plus, we got to stay in the Chateau Frontenac; it felt pretty plush. You don't get this Hogwarts view from your window at the Holiday Inn Express, that's for sure. Does the Holiday inn even have turrets?

As you can see, it was snowy and cold, The old City was bedecked with fir-trees, fairy-lights and baubles.

The streets were narrow, twisty and steep.

The shop-windows were full of goodies;

It felt, in short, very much like Christmas in an Alpine village.

Meanwhile, back in Nova Scotia, life carries apace. It doesn't feel like Christmas, that's for sure! Just more of the same. Still getting out running, not so much riding. Since 'cross season just finished I think I finally experienced a little bit of burn-out. I unexpectedly found myself looking at the bike(s) and thinking "Why?". It's nice enough to ride, certainly it's not snowing as in QC, but perhaps a rest is a good thing.

I did find myself on a bike today, under very different circumstances. I popped into TIBS for a capp and a croissant between teaching gigs. Zane gave me a wicked little grin and said "Rollers? They're upstairs".

Let me finish my coffee and pastry I said, and then we'll see.

So I finished up and headed up the stairs with not a little trepidation. You see, there's pretty much nothing I haven't done on a bike in my time, well OK, a road bike, but I've never, ever, ridden rollers.

I mounted up; Zane's bike is a little bigger than mine and it felt somewhat awkward. Also, he rides brakeless, so there were no hoods to grab hold of, just the bare cow-horns.

Zane held me up in the old-timey time-trail start position and I pedalled off. Strange feeling, I was wobbling from side to side like a total newbie, like I hadn't even ridden a bike before. All the stories I'd ever heard of people on rollers slide-slipping off the damn things and riding off across the living room until stopped by the sofa, the TV, the door flashed across my mind.

In this instance, the rollers were set up overlooking the cafe, with only a slim, decorative fence between the bike and the short drop to the cafe. I"d heard about dropping in for a coffee but this was possibly ridiculous.

Given I was at TIBs between classroom gigs, I was atypically dressed for cycling; a fitted dress-shirt from Simons in Montreal, complete with vintage bicycle cuff-links.

Yup, for two seconds I felt like one of the Rapha Condor pros from the video....

...but for the other fifty-eight I felt like a muppet. Possibly Animal on the drums; all enthusiam but no coordination.

Not that I had to be dragged kicking and screaming off the rollers. Still, they felt like something I might want to use in the winter. Stationary trainers are OK for power stuff; big-gear intervals and the like but I can see how rollers would help to smooth out your pedal stroke. Ankling isn't just a dirty word from Victorian drawing-rooms you know. Just as soon as I've padded the front room. Maybe I can get the padding from the CG Speedskating Oval on the Commons when they're done with them!


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