Built for comfort not for speed
9th July 2014
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I was really pleased to hear that after the success of the Haverhalf, Haverhill was going to launch the very first Triathlon for the town, Havertri. Excellent, I thought to myself and promptly set about seeing how Haverhill Research Park could get involved with this, and after many and email back and forth and drinking copious cups of coffee at meetings, Haverhill Research Park became the main sponsor for the event, to be held in October. Little did I know that I would be competing in it! Rather naively it never occurred to me, but the idea was put forward to enter a Haverhill Research Park team into the relay. Some arm twisting later and having explained that I would really rather not compete at all, I reluctantly agreed. I had to choose the lesser of the evils for me, although frankly, none appeal to me greatly. I would only consider running if I were being chased, and to get me in a pool and swimming, there would need to be either a huge spider on terra firma that I was escaping, or perhaps the rumour that David Beckham found swimming goggles attractive. The only thing I could even vaguely have a shot at would be the cycling.

 Just under two years ago I bought my first bike. I never learnt to ride as a child ( cue the violins playing some weepy background music ) but I wanted to conquer the fear of not being able to balance on two wheels, though more importantly to me, there were some handsome vintage looking bikes out there, complete with basket, that I so wanted to ride around the beautiful Suffolk countryside. The countryside I was thinking of was that between my house and the village shop for chocolate and between my house and the village pub for alcoholic beverages. So I bought Jenny. She was, and still is a delight to behold, a vision of loveliness and we learnt to be good friends. She helped me gain confidence and although I am a fair weather bike rider, I was cycling almost every day.

Having also recently discovered apps (you get the feeling I am a bit behind on everything ) I downloaded a free cycling app to measure distance and speed. I was amazed at how far I was riding and enjoyed around ten miles at least five days out of seven. The only problem with all of this was that 25 miles (40K) for the triathlon is a long way for a novice. Not beyond me I hope, but in my dear heavy Jenny, complete with basket, it was going to take me hours. Jenny, not dissimilar to her owner was built for comfort not for speed. Exercise was the by-product of my relationship with Jen. I loved her chirpy Wiggins-esque yellowness, her tan leather saddle and handles with bright yellow stitching. She was pretty and that was enough for me. Two of my great loves are cake and cheese. Neither make good bedfellows with fitness. Jen didn’t seem to mind this. I loved Jenny and still do but Jen had to stand aside for a bike suitable for longer road journeys. Enter the meaner, slicker, lighter, bike. A tall and dark bike and male bike at that, or so the crossbar would indicate.

The bike in question arrived last week. I was so excited to have a lighter bike that I thought would aid my plea to get around the 25 mile course quicker and perhaps even with ease. I rode it home, which was just under a mile and I could really feel the difference in weight. I wasn’t sure what to make of all these new gears (Jenny only had 7) but it all seemed ok, if a bit new to me.  All fine and dandy I thought, until I attempted my first five miles in it.

I have pet names for many a thing (she clears her throat loudly) and of course Jenny was , well, um, Jenny, as it was written on her in an upbeat fifties style font. So I had a look around the new meaner leaner bike for inspiration. Sure enough there were two options, sticking with the words written on the bike theme. First there was Tiger. I couldn’t call a bike Tiger, particularly as my Mum and Dad’s looney German Shepherd is called Tiger. A darling doggy, but with issues. The other word written on it was Spirit. It seemed fitting, what with the Spirit of Enterprise roundabout being adjacent Haverhill Research Park and all. Now my new bike isn’t laser lit, nor is it wonky like its namesake but it seems to fit the bill.

It isn’t the bike that is leaning to one side as the sculpture on the roundabout. No, it’s me. If I transfer all my weight to just one buttock when sitting, it spares the pain of the blood blister on the other. The saddle sore Spirit gave me, whilst ripping my trousers too I hasten to add. Yes, Spirit and I have not bonded as yet. I am still getting to grips with him. He has certainly got his claws into me. My bottom to be precise.

By the time I write next week of my adventures I hope that I am back to being perpendicular and that my fitness has improved sufficiently that I can manage ten or so miles. Currently I can get as far as a tube of Savlon.

Wish me luck.


About the Author

Helen C

Member since: 8th February 2013

Hi, I'm the new Site Representative for Haverhill Research Park,the new home for technology companies on the Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire border. Haverhill Research Park will bring the Cambridge science...

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