Joys that outweigh the pain

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves“. Edmund Hilary.

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Mountains lie ahead of me, and I guess it’s not just them I have to conquer but my fears about the whole trip, and how it will be, and how I will feel about it all.  But “fear is the mind killer“…maybe there is nothing to fear but fear itself, and when it is gone, there will be nothing, and I will remain? We’ll find out soon enough… ;)

First things first though.  Bike is (finally!) in the box, but the packing is not done.  Half way there…just as well we don’t leave until Friday then ;)


Freedom is only one more step away

George ride 05:09:14 Still busy…but not too busy to ride.  Not quite anyway.  On Friday George and I did a Glastonbury run for coffee, which appears to be somewhat of a habit these days.  To be fair, it was not because I was being lazy, as is oft the case, but because she had work errands to run there.  I was happy to tag along, have a good chat, and then make my own way back.  Well, they do do good coffee.  See, I’m very easily motivated really ;)

Cycling time: 1:48
Distance: 30.0 miles
Avg: 16.5 mph
ODO: 6451.3 miles

drinks cupboard Today I did one of my usual loops, in very welcome warm sunshine, which, due to my hectic schedule, may well turn out to be the last time I get to ride before the ACG get to the Pyrenees this weekend.  My Wednesday will be spent cleaning and oiling the bike, and then trying to get it into my bike box…*gulp*.  Luckily I see Youtube has an official video to help me, which may prove essential!  And yes, still dreading it…*grin*.

Cycling time: 1:48
Distance: 28.8 miles
Avg: 15.9 mph
ODO: 6480.1 miles

I was a bit slower than I expected today, but since eldest has given me a cold, and my weekend playing Aunty in London was less than abstemious, I guess it’s probably not surprising, and neither is it important.  Enjoying riding my bike in the sun was however.  And, courtesy of one of my lovely nieces, both my bike and I have matching co-ordinated loom band bracelets.  How cool is that? :) rhapsody in blue


Like a whirlpool it never ends

Plans are fluid things.  There was one, and then there was another, and then finally and perfectly, a plan came together that involved both cycling, and my mate Gary.  Parfait!  And everybody loves parfait ;)

gaz at heaphy's

We went for coffee in Glastonbury, by a slightly more circuitous route than usual.  All about the cycling and the coffee and the craic.  Oh and the cameras.  I got him and he got me.  B*gger!  Ah well, at least black & white is not just a bit arty, but also a bit more flattering.  Like candlelight ;)

Cycling time: 2:06
Distance: 35.5 miles
Avg: 16.8 mph
ODO: 6421.3 miles

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Learning to fly

link ink
Today, over the space of nearly 3 hours, I climbed nearly 3500 feet, and descended the same.
On my own, on my bike.
Yesterday, in about 20 minutes, I climbed the same, and descended the same.
In a plane and then on my own under a parachute.

Both good.  Different clearly, but good…  Well ok, one was awesome, but the other went pretty well too ;)

It’s been a year, which is a lot of water under the bridge.  What better way to thumb my nose (in a respectful, please don’t do to me again, just in case the fates are listening, sense) to it all?  To be fair, the timing was actually coincidental, but then maybe there’s no such thing as coincidence?  It’s been an educational weekend in a lot of ways :)

Cycling time: 2:51
Distance: 39.6 miles
Avg: 13.9 mph
ODO: 6385.8 miles

ready to go

 

 


All I was searchin’ for was me.

Heavy cloud but no rain my ar*e.  It rained this morning when I was considering riding.  So instead I went to work, while the skies cleared and the sun shone both bright and warm.  I came home, laid my cycling kit out on the sofa and…yep…on cue, enter stage right, more rain.  *grrrr*!  I was under-amused.  I checked the forecast, but since the rain that was here wasn’t supposed to be here, I’m not sure why I thought that would help.  I considered setting the alarm and getting up and riding tomorrow morning instead but the mob are due to be collected sometime then, and since punctuality and courtesy are in short supply these days, there’s no telling quite when that might actually happen.  Besides, as I pondered and deliberated it did look like it was brightening up a bit, and it’s not like I was planning a long ride anyway, what with light being in increasingly limited supply of an evening.  So I decided to go out anyway, rather than stay in and sulk about the fact that I was in not out.  Carpe diem, or something with slightly  less enthusiasm about it.

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I was initially going to do the usual hilly evening loop, but I realised that cycling up and then cautiously down the wet Mendips didn’t appeal, riding it like I stole it was out of the question, and I actually wanted to be out there enjoying it instead.  After all, I already knew it was going to be hard work, what’s the point in suffering for the h*ll of it?  As I headed west, towards the now unveiled and soon to be setting sun, the roads turned out to be pretty much dry, which pretty much made up my mind for me.  Besides, the loop I now had in mind included one of my favourite stretches of road, and it didn’t let me down.  Flat, quiet, scenic, sunny.  A stoic buzzard unperturbed by my passing, fragile moorhens furtively darting for cover, a pair of defensive swans and their prodigious brood, herons startled aloft…and shortly layers stashed away and warmth on my skin, all with my latest iPod playing my tunes in my left ear.  Time for some of the body’s natural happy drugs :)

My body was not entirely happy, as it turns out I should have strapped my knee up, and it hurt.  I may not have a beautiful mind, but I do have a fabulously selective memory, and I’d forgotten how much it was hurting all evening yesterday after my indoor spin bike workout.  But hey, yet another good reason I wasn’t pushing myself up those hills,right?  Momentum maintenance is one thing; I can still barrel along on the flat ok, even when the knee is off on one, but fighting gravity is quite another.  Always good to have your decisions vindicated ;)  In the meantime I was out there, not in here, riding along in the sun.  Didn’t suck :D

Cycling time: 1:08
Distance: 20.4 miles
Avg: 17.9 mph
ODO: 6346.2 miles

So, did I find myself out there?  Nah, not really.  As if.  There was maybe the odd glimpse of what form might look like, so I might recognise it if I ever see it again.  I’d say it went pretty well all things considered, but the stats are pretty irrelevant – I’m mostly just pleased that, however it felt, I made myself get out there.  I’ll catch up with myself sooner or later if I hang in there.  And I wasn’t entirely on my own.  Look, I have a new little friend.  His eyes even light up for me! ;) *grin*.

friend lights up

 

 


Just driftwood for the sea

Just a short one today – a bit like today’s ride.  Today the ACG had a three way split.  Some were off to Lyme Regis and back, some off to do 47 local hilly miles.  Being off form and still ill, I wasn’t up for either of these…but three of us did make it to Glastonbury for coffee and back :)

Ride 24:08:14 coffee fun

Cycling time: 1:50
Distance: 28.8 miles
Avg: 15.7 mph
ODO: 6325.8 miles

It was just what I needed.  Not fast, not hard, not alone; just enough to show my legs are actually still there.  After struggling and suffering on last Sunday’s Sodbury Sportive, I’ve been a little out of love with the whole cycling thing, and it was a good start on the road back.  Besides, if I didn’t ride, what would I do about my low boredom threshold?  So, in the absence of an alternative, cycling it is.  I just need to focus on enjoying it more.  Yes I’m still dreading the Pyrenees, but I should learn to judge myself by my standards, not that of others, right?  Or maybe just not judge myself at all.

 


Shutt Velo Rapide Isobel Jersey review

Sometimes there are perks to my Cyclosport “job”.  This time around I have a jersey to review and also, as it unexpectedly turned out, semi-matching socks!  And, to gild the lily, when it turned up last week, it’s also purple!  Not that that makes a jersey better of course, right?Isobel1w

And so on to the details.  That which you see before you is a Shutt Velo Rapide Isobel short-sleeved jersey.  I wasn’t sure which size I would be from their size chart, falling neatly between two camps, but they very kindly supplied both so that I could have the right one (and return the other).  As it turns out I’m a medium, which is no doubt better for my ego than being a large!

spots

Apart from the joys of it being purple, it also has a polka dot band on both the front and back and also inside the collar which is a nice touch.  Apparently this inspires thoughts of a certain polka dot bikini song, which is close as you’ll ever get me to being in a bikini!  There also isn’t a flower, butterfly, or hint of pink anywhere to be seen – result!  I think it’s quite attractive – a bit quirky, distinctive, but not OTT.

The jersey has three rear cargo pockets with an extra zipped valuables pocket, which is great as I’m forever wondering where to safely stash my keys without having to worry about losing them mid-ride when I pull other stuff out of my pockets.  The pocket is also waterproof on the body side, so it would be great for your phone too, though I use my trusty pOcpac for mine, which is the reason my phone survived Ride London and neither my camera nor iPod shuffle did!

pockets

Once I’d stopped examining it and put it on, some of the other features became obvious, especially when taking photos.  All the zips and the piping on the hem and pockets are reflective, as are the logos, as you can see!    It’s longer in the body, especially at the back, than I’m used to, with a good silicone gripper all round, and having worn it a few times now, that’s nice.  It covers your lumpy bits, never rides up, and it keeps your behind covered properly.  It’s not the lightest weight lycra out there, but it also has mesh side panels which you don’t really notice but will mean that it’s breathable, and means that it’s probably perfect for most of what passes for both spring and summer weather over here.

front view rear view

I wore it for Ride London, and the extra length was both good and bad.  Good because even when soaked through, you have an extra layer of warmth there.  Not so good as, once the pockets were full of my assorted crap, my lovely waterproof, being somewhat shorter and relatively close fitting, couldn’t extend to go around and cover them too, so the water just ran off it and on to (into?) them.  My Cyclosport gilet wasn’t up to the task either.

All that said, and most importantly however, it feels really nice to wear.  I wasn’t aware “Italian lycra” was a special thing, but apparently it is, and it is lovely and soft on the skin.  The sleeves are a good length, and fitted but not tight, so you can get arm warmers on under them, though you have to be a bit careful not to stretch them too much, as I think that might pull stitches, but that’s ok.  The white trim on the sleeves goes well with a tan too ;)  The full length zip can be a bit tricky to get started from the bottom as it’s beneath a little protective fabric corner that it hides in, but once done it works fine, and it goes up and down easily enough en route.  Oh and it tucks into a matching corner tab at the top too.

It fits pretty well, but having curves, the front doesn’t always sit flat, and there’s sometimes a bit of a gathering effect as the jersey stretches to cover them and the less stretchy front zip tries to cope, while the longer back pulls down happily.  The collar isn’t quite as fitted as I’d like so it doesn’t stand up straight when the zip is fully done up, but those spots do mean it looks lovely when the zip is undone some.   Also trying to have the polka dot panel horizontal and where it should be that pulls the collar down a bit too.  All of which probably work better on the less well-endowed however.  And none of this is anything you’d notice whilst out in it riding the bike either.

What else can I say about it?  Having worn it for Ride London, it did not dissolve!  And so far it’s washing (30c machine wash) and wearing well.  Thanks to the fit, the length and how nice it feels on, I’ve already worn it again twice, which is pretty telling, and it’s rapidly becoming a favourite.

socks

As for the socks well, they don’t actually match, but it’s the same colourway.  And it is nice to wear matching things :)  Sock length seems to be a matter of personal taste; I tend to prefer my summer ones short to minimise tan lines, so these, at 9cm high, are longer than my usual.  They are, once again, very comfortable, with a good fit and no seams to rub anywhere.  The cuff is doubled over so they stay up well, what with that meaning double the elastic.  When it comes to the technical bit, because even socks can be scientific, they have a “high-density elastic mid-foot support band and a diaphanous web on the top of the foot”.  I’m not quite sure what those mean, but I’m presuming that’s why they’re so comfortable!  It also means they’re very breathable which, along with the special Meryl Skinlife™ fibres they’re made out of (which “contain naturally bacteria-static silver ions so that bacteria will not grow”) will keep your feet and shoes nice and fresh.  And you thought they were just a pair of socks! ;)

 sock on

At £79 for the jersey, and £12.50 for the socks, it’s not cheap kit, but then neither is it up at Rapha level, it’s somewhere in the middle and don’t let’s forget that you get what you pay for.  It’s really nice to have women specific performance kit that fits well, feels good on, does the job above and beyond, and is stylish without yelling “girl” at you!  There don’t seem to be matching shorts available at the moment, but if there were I’d be seriously tempted to get some and go the whole matching hog :)


Saddleback Sodbury Sportive 2014

And so the sportive calendar rolls on…

…with another 5:15 alarm call dragging me from sleep and back out onto the road again.  Today’s target?  The Saddleback Sodbury Sportive starting from, as you may have guessed, Chipping Sodbury.  Not a first for me, I did their first one in 2012, which makes this their third, and my second.  But I had fond memories of it, felt bad when I was unable to do the second one when they asked me to, and so, here, or there, I was again this year.

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HQ was an hour’s drive away, at Chipping Sodbury RFC.  Easy to find, and easily marshalled onto the playing field where the ranks of cars were slowly filling up and discharging lycra clad cyclists and their steeds.  With a positive weather forecast but a distinct chill in the air thanks to the wind, conversations all around were mostly concerned with what to wear.  Well, we do love to talk about the weather, right?  Before I made such momentous decisions, I headed off towards the clubhouse and found the registration marquee outside, as yet fairly queue-less, and for the clue-less, it was made easy – queue up by at surname ordered desks.  I duly signed my name, and collected my bike number (complete with integral timing chip) and two cable ties, before making my way inside to pick up a free cup of coffee, also known as warmth in a cup.

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Right.  My turn for faffing.  Ooh, the dilemmas.  What layers to wear?  Would it rain?  Would the forecast be accurate…in which case it wouldn’t?  I shook off the ghost of Ride London past and decided that limb warmers and gilet were the way to go, and trusted that leaving the rain jacket in the car would not prove to be an unwise decision.  There wasn’t much else to do, so me and my trusty, and also cleaned, polished & oiled, steed headed for HQ together.  I trimmed the cable ties with the cable cutters provided – a nice touch that – and parked up so that I could use the facilities while waiting.  Even that only takes so long, so that done, I was amongst the first to be ushered into the start pen when it opened, having first had my number taken down, presumably to be used against me should the official system fail.  It was sort of considering being sunny as we all stood there waiting, and pretending to ignore the official photographer, which was nice.  Finally the time came for the rider briefing, complete with a top dressing warning, and the usual “play nice, be good, it’s not a race” warning from one of the many yellow tabarded Rotary Club volunteers.

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Time to go then.  No fanfare, but nonetheless we were off, first to be sent on our way into the Cotswold countryside.  In boy, or make that girl, scout fashion, I was prepared.  Well, prepared in that I’d read my blog from 2012, and looked at the route profile, and knew that however nice the first few miles were, it was going to be less pleasant very shortly.  About five miles from the start there are three big hills.  Well I think they’re big, and they’re big when you haven’t warmed up and there’s no respite between them.  The Hawkesbury Howler, the Alderley Grunt, and the Tresham Tester, one after the other…and if I hadn’t known that things were going to get easier after that, the latter of them could have had me throwing my toys out of my cot and walking…it was hard work!  It takes me a good 45 minutes or so to warm up these days, and so I really wasn’t ready for them.  Still, I recovered fairly quickly, in time to not enjoy the aforementioned and recently top-dressed section afterwards.  I swear some councils wait for a sportive to be imminent and go out that week to sabotage it accordingly!

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Onwards and luckily not upwards, through a constant stream of cutesy villages, and quiet country lanes.  The route split comes all of 11 miles in, and I didn’t even consider opting for the 60 miles instead of the 100, or more accurately 102.2, according to the Garmin file I’d downloaded the night before.  Nope, it was a right turn for me.  It was really windy out there, mostly in our favour initially, though once again having prepared for a change, I knew that that wasn’t going to last either.

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Still, the first 30 miles or so passed by fairly fast, and I was the first woman to the first foodstop, a novelty value that lasted for about 2 minutes before I was no longer the solitary female there, but which I enjoyed nonetheless.  Located outside a convenient pub where normal mortals were completely ignoring the steady stream of cyclists in and out of the toilets inside, there was food of all sorts from savoury to sweet, including printed lists of ingredients for all the cakes on offer, something the less tolerant of us appreciated.  I settled for a banana and a bottle top-up before heading off again, determined to be first woman out there for a little longer.  She and her much larger wind-break of a male partner (jealous, moi?) didn’t leave me out there alone for long though, and I was shortly left in their dust.  Ah well, nice while it lasted!  Mind you, she did hold me up going downhill at one point, which just goes to prove I’m more of a nutter than she is, not that I’m any better at it I hasten to add ;)

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It wasn’t long before we were heading the wrong way as far as the wind was concerned, and just to rub salt in the wound, it even started to rain.  I’m pleased to say it stopped fairly soon though, and the lack of rain jacket did not prove to be an issue, otherwise my sense of humour failure would have been complete.  As it was, life turned into a constant and fairly solitary slog.  I hate wind!  It felt like an uphill slog which, as it turns out, it gradually was, all the way up to the very pretty village of Minchinhampton and the Common beyond where a helpful sign informed me that I’d now done 50 miles…whilst considerately failing to mention that that left another 52 to do of course ;)  I took a moment to immortalise it and try and get a grip of my fed up of struggling self, before heading off once more unto the breach.

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Somehow I had completely forgotten the hill that came instantly after the lovely hairpin descent into Nailsworth where, just briefly, I felt in control of my bike and all pro and stuff.  Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, how very European ;)  Then through the town itself, with the way ahead indicated by a camera-toting marshal at whom I actually smiled, and his smiley encouraging mate.  Ah, a yellow sign.  B*gger.  This would be the Nailsworth Nailer then.  Up and up and up, past pedestrians enjoying a sunny Sunday and cats crossing the roads, through and out of town to where you think it’s finished…and it hasn’t.  As I reached the roundabout where straight on was straight up, the road to the left was amusingly called “Another road” which was pretty much what I wished I was on ;)  Still there was a wind turbine to admire, and finally another helpful sign informed me that the hill was over.

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I do like that – a sign at the bottom of each hill and at the end – proof that I am officially going up a hill rather than just feeling like I am ;)  And of course ups mean downs, and we all know I like them.  Sadly the next one was interrupted by traffic lights and then, once they had changed and a couple of us that had gathered there waiting were on our way through, a “lady” in a black 4*4 decided that even though her light was red, she might as well head up and plough through us anyway.  Well, we all know they own the road, right?  Shaking our heads disapproving, and maybe even tutting sotto voce, we carried on down the hill, and through the woods, around a gratuitous little extra loop thrown in, as it turns out, just to get us to the next hill…

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Now, just because some smart Alec (or smart Simon!) realised that if you write a book about Britain’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, a whole heap of lycra-clad sheep will buy it and then slavishly tick every one off, whilst swelling his coffers in the meantime, does not mean that your sportive has to include one of them.  D’ya hear?!  Nope, thought not…and this is not the first time a route has deviated just to include one such which, I’m fairly sure, it didn’t in 2012.  I’d remember going uphill for the best part of two miles right?!  Having read the description of Frocester Hill beforehand (see, said I was prepared), apparently “the gradient is all but uniform, steep, but it’s never a grind”.  Hah, bl**dy hah.  Just for once I was happy to take heart from the guys passing me with cheery words of encouragement and what I would normally consider to be patronising remarks as to how well I was doing.  Today I needed them.  To be fair, I’d probably have been much better off if I hadn’t gotten my head all bent out of shape today by worrying about the ACG trip to the Pyrenees…ie if I wasn’t enjoying this much, how the h*ll am I going to cope with them and that?  Cycling is so mental…and after hours of slogging into the wind, and now slogging uphill, my mood was going down in the same way as the road was going up – constantly!  Hey, at least it was sunny and the views behind me were nice, right? :)

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Moan, winge, gripe…I know, I should button it…but it’s my blog, so it’s my way or the highway :P  Inevitably, and finally, I made it to the top.  I was very pleased to find the next food stop shortly afterwards, even if it did interrupt my downhill progress, as my bottles needed topping up again and I needed a break.  Jelly babies for me this time, thought I was sore tempted by the marmite sandwiches.  I didn’t stop long, as I didn’t want to get cold or take root, and headed out again to fight the wind a while longer.

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No more hills for a while, just endless country lanes on my own as other riders seemed few and far between, grateful for the good signage and the occasional marshals to remind me I was in fact on the right route.  I was definitely in the mental doldrums.  But not becalmed, that bl**dy wind made sure of that!  I just wasn’t enjoying it, was still fretting away, and when my right knee started to hurt in chorus with the already strapped up left knee, it all got a bit much and a few not very manly tears at all were shed along the way (just as well I’m a girl then).  Honestly girl, get a grip!  In retrospect it occurs to me that this was my second longest ride of the year, only my second over 100 at that, and the other one was back in June, so it’s probably not a big surprise that I was struggling a bit.  I’d also been hoping to do it faster than the last time but in the face of the wind and the altered route, I was disappointed to see that goal blown away early on, possibly setting the tone for what was to come mentally.  That’ll teach me to have ambitions above my station ;)

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After a very pretty patch heading southwards along the hills above the Severn valley, finally I turned a corner, physically if not mentally, and that wind started to be behind me, with about 15 miles to go.  This didn’t stop me popping into the last food stop at the 91 mile mark – again I was keeping hydrated enough to need more fluid on board, and besides, how can I review the foodstops without stopping?  They were all well-stocked and staffed by friendly helpful volunteers – job done on both counts ;).

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Inevitably there were a few more draggy climbing bits on the way back which probably only felt that way because I was tired and my legs had had enough.  Still, having had a quick peek at the map, up on display and helpfully marked out at the final stop, I was ready for them, and they were just part of counting the miles down.  By the time I rolled over the finish line, to a cheery chorus of cowbells and applause, I was more than finished.

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I collected my goody box, checked my time on the spot – with 7:12 officially making me a Silver (must have low standards!) –  dumped the bike in the car, and headed back to HQ for free food.  Not my usual fare, but I didn’t care.  One Cornish pasty and potato salad (though you could have had baked beans instead) were mine.  Oh and a large glass of orange squash enhanced lemonade – my latest post-sportive craving is fizzy orange for some reason, and that they didn’t have at the bar.  And if I’d bought lager instead there’s a distinct possibility I’d never have made it back to the car, let alone home.  The food may not have been good for me, but man it tasted good!  I sat and ate it at a table outside, zoned out and on a slightly different planet, as the lady who tried to talk to me when collecting rubbish will attest, as I didn’t notice her existence for a good couple of minutes…oops!

Cycling time: 6:52
Distance: 102.9 miles
Avg: 15.0 mph
ODO: 6297.0 miles

There were showers, which I was half tempted to use, but with only a relatively short drive home, I opted for heading back and doing such in the comfort of my own home…where I also knew there was a bottle of restorative lager in the fridge with my name on it.  Well, not really, because that would probably make it Coca Cola and that wouldn’t have hit the spot half so well ;)  Somewhat later, having narrowly avoided falling asleep on the motorway, and having drunk my well-earned pint, my goody box turned out to be a souvenir travel mug.  Now that’s a goody.  Lovely though medals are, I’m thinking this is way more useful! :)

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The Sodbury Sportive is a lovely well-organised friendly event.  I haven’t got a bad thing to say about it really, other than that the route could possibly be a bit more interesting, and it would be nice if they could turn the wind off.  But if wishes were fishes…  I’d do it again.  But I’d do it better.  Honest ;)

PS: And yes, I’m still fretting. Now that I AM good at ;)

PPS: provisional results are now out.  817 riders took part in all.  Only 10 women did the 100 mile route.  Out of them, I was third overall (missed second by just a minute).  And I came first in my category.  I feel a bit better about it all now ;)


I want to dance

I wonder how many more times it will be possible to just put on a short sleeve jersey & shorts, strap on the shoes and helmet, and go ride the bike just like that.  Not as many as I’d like I reckon.  So even though I did a pretty good workout last night, and my gastroenteritis turns out to be campylobacter (so I have antibiotics now), I couldn’t not go and ride in the sun this morning.  That would be looking a gift horse in the mouth, and the weather gods are not to be spurned…

…so I went out and did a fast flat loop instead of staying in bed.  Properly fast as it turns out, even if the headwind on the return leg did drain away a little of the impressive 19.5mph average (well I’m impressed) that I managed for the first hour.  It was pretty hard work, and I was tempted to slow down and take it easier…but I was liking the figures so much I just couldn’t do it.  I’m a sucker for stats ;)  Having said that, ich bin geknackert now!  OK, so some of it is probably down to my lovely new wheels.  And some of it will have been wind-assisted.  But maybe, just maybe, a little of it was just me?  I like fast :D

panasonic lumiz sz1

You’ll no doubt be thrilled to hear that I have a new camera.  It’s exactly the same as the old one, and the one before that, apart from it being purple that is.  Well, why not?  The new iPod shuffle is en route somewhere.  I think I ordered that in purple too.  And thanks to the seduction of the Rapha sale, I also have fabulous new gloves, which fit, ooh, let me think, like a glove? ;)  Clearly they’re not purple.  But they are very comfortable and I forgot I was even wearing new gloves.  Nice :)

gloves back gloves palm

In the meantime, after a long week, it’s finally the weekend! ‘Rah!  :D

Cycling time: 1:43
Distance: 31.8 miles
Avg: 18.4 mph
ODO: 6194.1 miles


Don’t you forget about me

I am getting more than a little bored of riding on my own, and since I am home alone this week and thus more on my own than usual, I took myself off to my folks for a bit, to eat, sleep, and then ride with Dad and his group.  I think they officially call themselves the “Portishead Old-Timers” and I think it’s safe to say I was the youngest there…probably by a good 20 years and in several cases, quite a bit more.  It wasn’t the longest ride ever and, due to the nature of the beast, and the cycle paths used, and the chatting to be done, it may well have been more of a case of us being the “Portishead Potterers” (hey, I do love a bit of alliteration) but, you know what?  It was really, really nice.  The sun shone, mostly.  It didn’t rain even though it threatened to.  They made me feel very welcome.  It was (sorry guys!) very good for my somewhat battered cycling ego to be reminded that I’m not quite as slow and incapable as I tend to think I am, as I found it pretty easy going, and didn’t even object to the odd hill.  Just the kind of spin my legs probably needed.  And just occasionally l hit sprint mode, and hurtled off into the distance, just for the sheer joie-de-vivre hell of it.  Just because I could.  And I can :D

Sadly since only my phone was in a trusty pOcpac on Sunday, both my camera and iPod shuffle have succumbed to the ravages of Ride London, so I was unable to take any photos.  That turns out to have been one bl**dy expensive weekend!  Here’s one I prepared earlier… ;)

statuesque

I hope that when I’m that age I’m still riding my bike half as well as they do :)

Cycling time: 3:02
Distance: 40.2 miles
Avg: 13.2 mph
ODO: 6162.3 miles