Thursday, 26 March 2015

Diary of a Wimpey BMX Kid!

Since beginning to exercise in 2010 I've had a few niggles to contend with. My brain tells me I don't suffer injuries but my much better half reminded me of bouts of sickness, manflu, diarrhoea, Basel Cell Carcenoma (skin cancer), ankle injury, back injuries, shoulder injury, calf injury. Of all the events I've been signed up for it was only London Marathon 2014 I missed because of illness. Preparation for the events I have done has been disrupted to varying degrees.

I am currently unable to run (5th week) and ride (3rd week) due to Piriformis Syndrome which is something to do with the Piriformis muscle falling out with the Sciatic nerve and all hell breaking loose in my left ass cheek, left thigh and my back! Looking back it has been niggling since the New Year but only recently has it become intrusive enough for me to pull up on a run. Strangely it isn't a problem while cycling but I have stopped cycling while I try and sort it just in case its the new cycling position of using a BMX that is causing the problem.

As I see it I don't need to panic yet ( I am panicking) as there is loads of time until Outlaw (there isn't!) for me to get it sorted and pick up training where I left off (which takes an age due to loss of fitness). I can at least swim (I haven't started yet) and eat healthy (unless Kebabs are healthy I am failing there) so that I maintain some fitness (no chance) for when I can fully train again!

As for the BMX I now have a 34t front ring to go on which I think will be my limit for Outlaw, striking the right balance between flat speed and hill climb ability. Thank you to Tony Jeffreys and my little bro for sorting that for me.

Finally, enforced training breaks play havoc with the mind. Idle hands and all that. I am now thinking that perhaps this challenge needs to be done in a Morphsuit. Not the whole thing of course that would just be silly, but the run at least....or maybe the ride and run......don't be daft......or maybe I should........the Tuxedo Morph or Splash Morph look don't look, look away now........or perhaps.............

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Tri Bars....on a BMX?

When I started this Outlaw BMX nonsense the initial plan was to butcher a 24" Cruiser BMX to effectively make it an odd looking roadie/BMX Frankenstein of a bike. As I couldn't blag a 24" cruiser I settled for the 20" standard BMX that I have now. Other than a few tweaks it will be a standard BMX but a few things do need to be........modified or added.

I can justify clip in pedals and the extended seat post no problem. I am going to be in the saddle for 8 hrs trying to hit 14mph ave so some things are a necessity. I can also justify the upgraded front cog to give me the optimum gear for this single speed journey. On the standard original gearing the challenge simply wouldn't be possible. I can justify slick tyres that will go on nearer the day as they are standard BMX tyres and it would be daft to not have the right tyres on for the event that it is.

Before Trimming

After trimming with Tri Bars

This leaves the handlebars and the tri bars question? The handlebars are standard (if a little Old School) and I have had to cut them down in size to comply with the bike specifications in the rules. That's fine. The question is do I add tri bars? Or, more accurately, is it a modification too far and will I lose the essence of the challenge? I should be considering can I use them comfortably and effectively and do they make a positive difference? I understand they take some getting used to! Instead I am backwards and forwards over whether they belittle the challenge. The pros (subject to me being able to use them properly and my back being able to cope) are that they will help spread the weight which is currently massively spine loaded, they provide an extra position, they may improve my speed overall and they look ace! The cons are that they are hardly standard BMX issue and, essentially, do they make the challenge too easy? Am I cheating?

Its not a modification that fundamentally changes the BMX like a set of gears would. I can look on it as an addition rather than a modification cant I?

The question is of course redundant if I cant get on with them and I wont know the answer to that until I am cycling again after my thigh improves.129 days to Outlaw!

Monday, 9 March 2015

OutlawBMX is on!

I looked back on my training for Outlaw '12 & '13. I only did 17 swim sessions (inc 3 ow), 40 runs and 26 bike sessions for '12 and only 14 swim sessions (incl 3 ow), 65 runs and 55 bike sessions for '13! I had a look because the BMX training is going pretty well but I've yet to swim and not been able to run for nearly 3 weeks due to a leg injury. I am pretty calm about things as the leg has time to recover and the main challenge this year, the bike leg, is going better than I had hoped it would. The swimming I can get done in April, May & June.

I got a big BMX boost this weekend as I took it long (ish) for the first time. I was up to 25 miles at 14.5mph ave with some of my shorter rides (10-15 miles) getting up to an average of 16 mph! Its all well and good getting the speed up by going hell for leather over a short distance but I needed to check what the drop off was going to be when going long!

On Sunday I managed a 45 mile, hilly, windy ride out with Daz Brady (he on his brand new carbon Planet X geared up thin tyred 26" wheeled roadie!). Managed to clock 14.6 mph ave which I was well chuffed with. I know its only 45 miles but with 4.5 months to go I am really quite pleased. I am only going to get stronger and faster.

A revelation on Sunday was my knew Old School handlebars. They stopped the numbness in my hands from the standard cut down BMX bars, they let me brake properly and provide loads of positioning options I didn't have before! In fact the BMX has undergone quite a transformation so far.

It came to me like this

The first change was to extend the seat post and pop the clip on pedals on

Then we upped the front cog from a 29t to a 32t

Sadly the handlebars were too wide at 70 cm

So they were cut down to 50cm but the bend in the bars made them very uncomfortable and braking was really awkward

Here it is compared to my Merida Ride 75

I managed to track down some Old School BMX bars that I had on my Apollo prototype BMX circa 1985

Griff cut them down for me again

And Daz taped them up

This is the BMX as it is now compared to Daz's Planet X

The only things that will change from now until Outlaw will be a 34t front cog, slick BMX tyres and possibly tri bars depending on whether my back is suited to them and if I think they provide any benefit.

See you on the start line.