Spring has kind of arrived, it’s coughing and spluttering into action, a bit like my car at the moment, which is in the garage for repairs! Might be time for a change soon. Like me, the car is getting older and things aren’t working as well as they used to!My not so good start to 2018 has continued with a torn quad muscle! My hip flexer became very tight and upon waking up one morning, I found I couldn’t stand up properly as the muscle wouldn’t straighten out. In my attempt to stand up straight and avoid twisting my back again, I may have damaged the quad, athough I can’t be certain this is what did it. Either way it doesn’t matter, it was damned painful!Every step taken felt like the muscle was ripping apart, it was a little unpleasant. Thankfully it wasn’t too bad a tear and a week of rest allowed me to get back on the bike. It was another week before the quad felt ok again, but at least I was able to cycle, I just had to be careful.So doing two time trials in two nights, was obviously taking it easy! With so many set backs this year, I was desperate to just get going.We had our first club 10 mile time trial, another run on the Estrella Fugaz (“Vader”) for me. It still wasn’t feeling quite right and my 90mm front wheel was proving to be hard work in the winds. Nonetheless I posted my fastest first week on the course with a 27:04, if I had changed the front wheel I woud have had something like a 26:30. But I was happy with the result anyway. The next evening I rocked up to the Arrow P311 course, whilst getting ready I did my Superman impression, that is to say I zipped my skin suit up, just for the zip to go pop and split open. Hmmm, not good when I was only a few minutes from starting. Thankfully I was still at the car, so quickly pulled the skin suit halfway down, as I needed the shorts and put my club jersey on. Not the most aero of set ups, but it meant I could ride! I posted a 25:13 with a 55mm front wheel, this time. Again this was my fastest opening run on the course, so another good result. What proved even better was that I felt really comfortable on the Estrella and noted just two minor adjustments.I managed to fix the suit afterwards and noted that a few teeth near the bottom don’t always catch properly, so this was why it went pop. I thought perhaps I needed to lose some weight! Well I probably could do with shedding a few more pounds yet.The second week on our club course saw me post a 27:08, so just 4 seconds slower than the week before, but with much stronger winds and quite a bit colder, so again I am happy with that, plus the bike felt great. I have also traded my 90mm wheel for a 60mm wheel, this is proving much better for me.It takes time and several runs to find the hurt locker and go deep, I am not quite there yet, but each week I find a bit more. The Estrella Fugaz is a beautiful machine and I am now starting to feel at home on it. the frame is very comfortable and beautifully balanced, it is a fast machine, I can certainly feel the difference from last year. I fully expect PB’s to tumble this year. It has taken a while to get used to the aggressive position of a TT bike and the slightly narrower TT bars, but it is all starting to fall into place.On Sunday 29th April I took on my first 25 mile TT, along the Upton By-Pass. I wasn’t sure how things would go, I had a veteran standard time of 1:06:39 to aim for. It was freezing cold and very windy, I was thinking I shoud have stayed in bed as I went off at 07:09.Off I set, I wasn’t sure if I was pushing too hard too early, so I backed off a bit. It’s hard to say if that was the correct analysis, I think I could have possibly pushed a bit harder, but with the cold and the wind, it was hard to judge. However I did manage to catch my one minute and two minute riders, so I wasn’t going too badly. The Estrella Fugaz was amazing, I wasn’t sure how I would be for 25 miles, but I was fine, very comfortable. Clearly there are faster times to come. That said, I did come home within my standard time, setting a 1:04:31, so 2 mins 8 secs faster.I might have been a bit faster if my skin suit hadn’t started rubbing the rather tender area of my right crutch! Not long after 10 miles it started to rub and it just got worse! Every pedal stroke was becoming painful, I tried to move the pad on a few occassions. Anyone who has experienced this will tell you it’s as if you stuffed sand paper down your shorts! You know when you get off the bike and remove the suit, it is going to sting! Sudocream is miracle stuff, I slapped it on like I was icing a cake! Needless to say it is calming down quite nicely.A new skin suit is on order as my club one is just a little too tight, ok for 10 miles but not anything more. Thankfully it wasn’t a 50 mile TT, I don’t think I would have finished it.So now the TT’s go a little quiet, except for club runs and the odd open. This is intentional as I concentrate on longer rides ad getting some hills into my legs, ready for June and Wales.Next up is the Isle of Wight Randonnee, should be good training!Thanks for reading, until next time….