Running into the Irish Sea

Half 6 was rather an early time to be woken up on the Sunday morning, but Ryan had the start line of a TT to be on for his race slot at 8.45. 

I waited for the first 15 minutes while he covered the 10 mile TT course in St Asaph. The last 5 minutes were me anxiously waiting to see if he’d get a sub 20 minute finish time or not. He did…just…at 19 minutes 52 seconds. The fastest he’s ever been on the course despite the strong winds. 

Averaging 30 mph isn’t exactly an easy task I guess.

An early start did mean we still had most of the day left to fill, which we’d do cycling along the coastal path.

The sea going from a dull blue rippled by the wind to a rich emerald every time the sun popped out from behind the clouds.

Seagulls bobbing up and down on the waves or flapping like crazy against the sea breeze and getting nowhere. 

The path twisting and turning along the coast with a new view around the corner. The odd steep piece of path with the potential to catch you out if you were in the wrong gear. 

Waves crashing against the rocks. The sounds of which I could listen to all day.

The rhythmic splashing as the waves go back and to.

Countless amounts of dogs dragging their owners to every new smell they pick up with wagging tails to match. 

A main road not too far away, but we were to pre-occupied with the sight of the sea.

Taking a break in a quaint coastal tea shop, full of unique & detailed gifts you’d struggle to find anything similar anywhere else.

Nautical scarves, photo frames and little trinkets with seaside quotes on the side like,

“Love anchors the soul.”

Filling ourselves with bacon butties and pots of tea.

Not those pathetic thin pieces of bacon, but the type you’d only find in a local butchers.

A tailwind pushing us back to the point at which we started.

Only to finish by running barefoot into the crashing waves as they crawled further and further up the pebbled beach.

Sand trickling between our toes and waiting with anticipation to see how big the next wave was going to be.

Our spontaneous trip into the sea was without spare clothes and towels after all…

And we’d be silly to expect the Irish Sea to be anything but cold. 

Just doing without a care for the consequences.

Every laugh and crashing wave making any worry, no matter how small, become insignificant. 

The pebbles warm as we walked back to the car park, but sharp at times against my wet and sandy feet meaning I had a piggy back to the van.

The seaside now bustling with people compared to the ghost town it appeared to be when we’d first arrived earlier that day. 

Demo Weekend at Alf Jones Cycles

With their annual road bike demo weekend, it was a busy time for me at Alf Jones Cycles this weekend. But it wasn’t just a case of building bikes or working in the shop, I actually got out on some of the bikes too!

My first time trying a carbon road bike, I quickly grew fond of the Lapierre Sensium 600 I was currently riding. With a full Ultegra set up, I seemed to get on with the bike rather well! The medium size fitted me perfectly and put me in a perfect position to put the power down. And once on a straight piece of road I found it fairly easy to pick up speed. (We were mainly on back roads so didn’t want to go round corners too quickly!)

So the Ultegra parts worked flawlessly and then there’s the saddle…! The Selle Italia X1 Flow Women saddle that comes as standard with the bike. Actually the comfiest saddle I’ve ever sat on! Saying that I’ve never had a women’s specific saddle so there might be no surprise really! I may have to get one of those…

After the Lapierre I turned my head to one of the Giant Liv bikes. A Giant Liv Envie Advanced Pro, which is one of their aero race bikes. I’d never ridden a race bike prior to the Envie so wasn’t too sure what to expect. 

The position you were in whilst riding the Envie wasn’t one I found comfortable. I later found my discomfort could be a result of how stiff they make race bikes instead of absorbing the vibrations from the road. 

One thing that came as a surprise to me was the Di2 gears it had, which I only realised once out on the road. It felt more like a computer than a bike…ha! Despite all that, I could see why it was a race bike. It definitely picked up speed quickly and was extremely light so pedalling was bit easier than normal.

During my two rides out I also tried out some Sealskinz Madeleine Classic gloves. More specific toward road and commuter cyclists you instantly feel it’s a glove that is well thought out. 

Gloves that I am use to wearing always seem a bit bulky to wear and restrict movement. But the Madeleine’s felt incredibly light and extremely soft. Almost silk-like. 

In terms of fit, I used the Medium. On the fingers they had a snug fit which I always prefer from a glove. On the palms they did feel quite big at first, but once riding they seemed to mould to my hand. I didn’t feel like they were restricting me at all, which made changing gear a lot easier to other gloves I’ve used.

I also found out that the gloves are made from water-repellent material so rather than absorb rain straight away, they don’t. I’ve not been able to see how they fair in wet weather yet but no doubt I will get a chance to since Sealskinz gave me the pair I tried out. So I’ll update you all in a few weeks on how I’m finding them!