I pretty quickly cracked, and I have a day off work today to await delivery of my brand new Focus Cayo 105 from Wiggle. The Giant Defy has done really well this year, and I've clocked up over 3200km on it in 6 months, however it lacked in the gear department, which accentuated my generally patheticness on hills. I've sold it to a chap who has just left work, as he is looking to start doing some longer distance cycling.
Not only is it a jump-up in drive-chain quality, but it's also a full carbon frame. After a fair bit of shopping around I wasn't able to find any other bike that offered both a 105 system and a carbon frame for the price.
I've been trying to stick to the training plan for JOGLE, though I've slacked a bit on the interval sets, as I'm waiting for the velodrome to re-open. Last weekend I did my first back-to-back sessions, doing a fairly rapid 40 miles on Saturday, and a slower, hillier 60 miles on Sunday. The 60-miler was led by a chap called Callum, who is a fairly awesome cyclist, and he managed to haul us up most of the big hills around Henley and into the Chilterns...hard work, but I got up a couple of gradients I would have failed at a month ago, so it's a good sign. The plan for this weekend is to do another similar set, which will also be a good chance to break in the new bike (if and when it arrives...I'm checking out the window for a City Link van pretty regularly...). I'm racking my long cycles up on my Nokia SportsTracker page (I don't bother with the commutes, as to all intents and purposes they are too short to count as training). It's some great, free software for my phone, even if it is Beta, and occasionally crashes.
To back up the cycling I'm having a fortnightly physio/massage, in an attempt to conquer the continual injuries I've strugged with in the last year. The sessions are insanely painful, however I'm seeing some real benefits, adn I've been able to train at an intensity that would have reduced me to a limp earlier this year. I'm driving her mad by effectively not taking a rest day (apparently cycling to work invalidates a day as a rest??). Today will be a rest day, unless the bike arrives in the next hour and a half, in which case I'm cycling into town for PIE!