Since the middle of December I have been working at Pedalhouse, a spinning gym, off Beaverhall Road. 3 friends have taken over the industrial unit and kitted it out with 30 bikes and I have been helping with paint and signage. On Friday I spent 11 hours there, painting and making the place presentable for the first test ride at 7.30pm. Slight teething problems with the sound and the new ventilation system, but that is the purpose of the test rides, (apart from the publicity), to iron out any problems before the doors officially open.
Pentland Triathletes were invited along for the first test run. You could tell they knew what they were doing as most wore cleated shoes and didn't require instruction. I took photos and video on Friday evening but at the second test run on Saturday morning (can't stay away from the place) I got on a bike for the session. This was my first ever spin class and it was FAB! I have never had much interest in turbo trainers; any more than running on treadmills. Both of those things seem a very dull and boring second to running or cycling outdoors. However, turn the lights down, the music up and have Hugh up the front hollering out instructions telling us about the next hill or that we are about to double up to twice the cadence and it becomes something of a cross between boot camp and a rave. And a great workout.
As a novice I wondered if I'd have to learn how the bikes work or if it would take a few sessions to get the hang of it. However it was very straightforward and after putting the saddle to the right height I found it was no problem to adjust the resistance which seems to be the way you self-define the amount of torture you require. (You don't have to wear cleats - there is a toe clip on the reverse of the pedal.) There is a digital readout to tell you rpm but I found it was easier to just copy the cadence (pedal turnover) Hugh was taking on the stage. His inspirational choice in music also helps define the beats per minute we were to follow and the combination of his instructions and trance soundtrack is hugely involving. It was a very strenuous (but low impact) session of about 45 or 50 minutes during which I emptied a bucket of sweat onto the floor. Change of clothes essential for the cycle home. Great cardiovascular sweat-fest.
This is how much moisture I left on the floor - I know, gross, but it shows what sort of a work out you get.
You can find details of when they open (later this month) on their website or facebook page, link here. Do go along for a spin!
When I got home Mary hadn't yet managed out for her run so I went along too. I felt really boosted after the spin session and the sun was shining.
Mary crying because it was cold.
They always pick a freezing day for the xc at Holyrood. This is about as close as we got. It looked very cold and very muddy. We headed in the opposite direction.
What with the blue skies the Parliament buildings were looking almost attractive.
(Or was I just still high from the rave, I mean spin class?)
never noticed this before
a pigeon either side
I had to photoshop out a massive concrete mix cylinder in the foreground.
Sadly the high winds had done some damage in the Meadows.
However this pile of shite was made by a human. This looks to me like a badly painted bonfire and that would be by far the best use for it. Utter garbage. No skill going on here at all.
Since we had the Borders XC on Sunday Mary would need to get her weekly dook in a day early. After a spot of lunch we headed off down the A1 into a rather sleety afternoon...
lovely day for it
By the time we parked at Gullane the snow shower had passed over. However it was not a particularly attractive prospect to get out and into the water.
Mary bought an excellent new thermometer. We were curious to know what the actual temps are since the perceived cold changes so much. Sub 2' in the car park. Brrr.
tide was very high
And a balmy 5' in the water. The only other people on the beach were kiteboard surfers who thought we were bold for coming here for a swim. I have always thought of them as far more adventurous - choosing a sport that requires them to interact with the cold deep water for longer than we do, but I guess because they spend so little time actually in the water, they thought we were being hardy.
The thicker socks I have now stop the ingress of the sea for a while and I am up to my waist (feeling weirdly dissociated from the icy tide) before the first cupfuls invade. The new kit is less prone to "flushing", so water warmed by proximity stays in, keeping us warmer. It then becomes much more like fun, playing about in the bigger waves.
I was expecting (almost hoping for) rougher seas after a couple of days of strong winds. It was more difficult to swim right enough and I did swallow a bit more water than usual. And you do lose the ability to speak with a numb face.
You get fabulous buoyancy from the wetsuits - Mary seems almost airborne here.
You can see the spray being caught by the stiff breeze. It was quite challenging. Also that extra 3' warmth of the water over the air - didn't (take my word for it) make it feel warmer to get under the water despite the logic of the idea.
Lack of light (and Mary's waterproof camera on zoom) made this photo a bit grainy but sort of captures the mood/horror.
We have now got sufficiently warm kit that it is possible to swim for about 15 to 20 minutes before death comes running down the beach. The worst bit is, as ever, in the car park and stripping off. Especially with a door-slamming Baltic wind howling. I almost dislocated a numb thumb trying to howk off a bootee. Also I seemed to have left some iq on the beach: I asked Mary if she reckoned there was a way to get pants on from the head down rather than over wet sandy feet. She thought maybe Derren Brown could manage.
nothing makes dinner taste better!