Spinning, Grinding and Bonking…

Cycling has a number of interesting phrases, ones that I think are intended to raise the corners of the mouth whilst searching for a possible explanations. The first two on this list are alternative approaches to padalling up a sharp incline whilst the latter is the description of sugar-deficiency brought about by over-exertion and inadequate refuelling. Last night I was doing the first two.

I hadn’t cycled since Saturday and I seemed to feel it a little. The easy turn of the wheels was not so easy and I noticed a pain emerging from my right knee. This pain transferred to the left knee once I started to climb. I assumed it was down to having spent an unhealthy amount of time in cars over the last week. I’ve started to do that ‘getting out of car thing’ whereby I take moments to stretch out limbs that are a little stubborn. It makes me feel a little older each time it happens.

Spinning or Grinding?

Seems to be a question that could be asked on the door of a ‘meet the kinky neighbours’ get-together.

“I’d really like a bit of grinding, but the back’s playing up.”

Last night, as the evening sun was getting ready to pack it in for the day, I was doing both.

Spinning is easier on the legs. You don’t put as much strain on muscles or joints and, as long as you can turn the pedals, you’ll be sure to get up that hill…eventually.

Grinding is about you being up and out of the saddle, working against the incline and forcing the pedals to turn against their better judgement. It’s a battle approach rather than one that relies on stealth.

My mixing and matching saw me moving between Chris Froome (a proponent of spinning) and Alberto Contador (a grinder who makes grinding look so very easy and effortless).

When I’m out on my own I can have a tendecy to dawdle. I like the idea of the open roads, the vista of the countryside, and the making the most of the moment thing. Quite often, when I am in this zone, some bastard creeps up upon me and overtakes with a cheery “morning” or “evening”. As a cyclist I have to say that those words sting.

When the spiky salutations come my way, it is normally as I am climbing a hill; normally ‘in the moment’ thing. Unfortunately, my biking buddy can’t read what is going on in my thoughts. He was under the impression that he is kicking my arse so I had to put him right. I always put a little spurt on, catch up, and start a conversation. I go out of my way to demonstrate just how easy it all is (I am one sad old man).

Last night, just in case, I put more effort into the climbs in the mistaken belief that my cycle-stalker could be approaching at any given moment. I kept looking over my shoulder, but no one was there.

Into the sun…

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