Category Archives: IBS

Stormy weather

Welcome to November.  It’s cold, wet, and windy.  Maybe it’s just as well that I’m not currently riding the bike then?  No of course it isn’t!!  It’s driving me more than slightly insane, in case you were wondering.  It’s also exceedingly bad for my stats which are, as we all know, extremely important things.  My enforced rest has put me 78 miles down this October on last, about which I am (irrationally) not happy! *sulk*.

So forgive me bike(s), for I have sinned.  It’s been nine days since my last ride…  *sigh*.  As if to rub it in, and remind me what I should be doing, I have, somewhat bizarrely, made it into Cycling Weekly for the last two weeks!  See for yourself…


First for Strava and Cheddar Gorge last week.  Looks like I need to improve by 13 seconds right? ;).  And the only reason I’m there at all is due to the fact that there are less female riders, proportionally, and even less of us that use Strava!  And then this week there I am again, resplendent in Cyclosport kit on the Etape Cymru and kicking Kevin’s ar*e on a downhill somewhere.  Courtesy I believe, of sportivephoto – so thanks for making me look good!  Did I mention I like downhill?  I think they should put photographers on descents more often – there’s far more chance of me smiling at them!   Kinda cool to make the rag though, for whatever reason.  I was quite chuffed :).  I know it’s only been 9 days, but it feels like ages, and it was kinda nice to be reminded that I can ride a bike!  Well I could.  Whether or not I still can remains to be seen… :/.

While waiting, thanks to some much needed retail therapy, and some very helpful customer service from the guys at Rapha, I am now a whole heap more equipped to face the cold weather that has arrived during my absence.  Thick wooly winter socks, women’s long sleeved merino base layer


…and the deep winter collar that I love already even though all I did was wear it to work today!  To be fair it gets proper arctic in my office 😉  It’s very clever, and kind of in segmented overlapping pieces, so that it sits where it’s supposed to, and can be pulled up to cover your face.  Snuggly :D.

I’m going for a short ride tomorrow with Martyn, and anyone else who is around – just out to Sweets for coffee and back.  To see how it goes…  *fingers crossed*.  Best find my waterproofs, bet you it rains!  But hey, at least I’ll be warm right? And well fuelled, since hubby has made a gluten free beef, veg, and red wine pie.  You can tell it’s pie, it says so on (top of) the tin.  It should be safe…though these days there don’t seem to be any guarantees :(.  Here’s hoping anyway…

One last thing.  If riding is your thing, and you’d like to come and help me celebrate my birthday next year, I’m going to be doing some kind of away from home and riding type of weekend thing so keep 23/24th March free and come join me.  Details nearer the time, location yet to be decided, but there will be riding, and drinking, and then hungover riding ;).  Should be fun *grin*.

Sodbury Sportive

Bless me father, for I have sinned.  It’s been four weeks since my last sportive, and I’ve been on holiday…  I know it had only been four weeks but it felt like a lot longer and having not put in many miles last week, I was actually a bit worried about how I might get on today.  In an effort to give myself half a chance of getting through it, it was important to have a decent meal the night before – I’m a bit lazy about eating properly these days what with it being so bleedin’ difficult!  Hubby knocked up a low FODMAP gluten free lasagne which turned out to be absolutely lovely and which was actually as safe as it was supposed to be.  ‘Rah!

So.  A decent meal the night before.  A good night’s sleep.  And, as these things go, not a hideously early start.  Chipping Sodbury is only a hour’s drive away, which meant the alarm was set for 5:15am.  Yes, I know, that probably sounds horribly early to you, but it’s not as horrible as 4:15am!  Up with the alarm, packed and sorted in no time at all, and I was away.  The forecast for the day was for warm and clouds/sun, but there was no way of telling what it was actually like out there, as my motorway world was covered in a blanket of fog.

By the time I arrived at Chipping Sodbury RFC, after a small argument with the satnav, the sun had come out.  Registration opened at 7:00am, which is more or less when I got there.  If I’d followed the written instructions I’d probably have been even earlier!

The event was being run by the local Rotary Club who had turned out en masse to do everything.  I was marshalled into the car park, which was rapidly filling up, and as HQ was just next door, I went over to register before coming back to the car to do the usual faffing.  Being early – yes  I know, I always am, my queuing time was minimal, but the queue did grow later as you can see.  I think there were quite a few signing up on the day, encouraged by the finally seasonal weather forecast, and having to be properly processed.

HQ had hot drinks and bacon rolls etc available to purchase, as well as having toilets , showers, and the like available.  All the facilities you could need basically, including a bar which, I imagine (hope?), was to be of more use afterwards than before.

There was plenty of bike parking, and lots of seating, respectively full of bikes and rider getting ready, enjoying the early morning sunshine.  There was also mechanical support available if you needed it.

That sunshine was already pretty warm, and it did cross my mind that if it was starting out that way, and carried on likewise, it was going to be a scorcher.  Not my favourite kind of riding conditions, so I made a mental note to keep my bottles topped up and to drink whenever I felt like it.  I’d run out of things to do by now since, let’s face it, I do so many of these that I’ve kinda got the hang of it by now and since the weather was nice I didn’t even have to faff about clothing.   A single Cyclosport layer day.  Simples.  Time to go and line up at the start then.

Rider numbers were marked with a coloured dot indicating which distance they were doing – 100, 60, or 30 miles.  The idea was that all the 100 milers get away in the first few pens, followed by the rest, although this wasn’t being strictly adhered to.  As you can see I was right near the front.  Raring to go?  Well no, not quite.  Oddly, and unusually, I actually felt a bit nervous for a change, possibly because I was on my own.

There were no timing chips – just your number marked with the number of the pen you joined.  I’m presuming that’s what the number 1 on my number meant anyway,  I’m guessing they gave the whole pen the same start time, and then recorded your individual end time when you crossed the line – we’ll see when the results go up.  When the time to go finally came, they moved the pen up to the front for a delightfully unpolished, yet comprehensive, rider briefing.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…“.  It’s not a race, this is what the signs look like, there are some potholes, play nice with the traffic, and have a good ride.  That essentially covers it.  With a “Gentlemen, be on your way”, we were off.  “and Ladies”, chimed in the rider behind me – which was nice.  I wasn’t the only one, so the plural is appropriate too.  Time to cautiously filter through the slight bottleneck of an exit, through the gate, and out on to the open moor land in the early morning sunshine.

The riders spread out fairly quickly.  I think there were 50 or so in a pen, about 40 or so of which seemed to stay behind me.  Off we went…  This was clearly not going to be a day of groups and pelotons, I just don’t think there were enough riders for that, but maybe if I’d started a bit later on I’d have had more luck?   As ever, the first half and hour or so felt horrible as both I and the day warmed up.  At least the first five miles were flat…

Now, let’s have a alliteration challenge  See how many you can spot today?  Well it is the Sodbury Sportive after all.  As we approached the hills I could see a tower on top.  There is no way, given a tower on a hill, that any sportive organiser, let alone a novice one, or maybe especially a novice one, is going to resist the opportunity to make you ride up to it, now is there?  I’m not daft, I’ve been here before.  King Alfred’s Tower anyone?  Well I’m pleased to say that the Hawkesbury Howler was nowhere near as bad as that, though quite hard work that early on in a ride.  There was a little sign at the bottom of this, and every “proper” hill, with a picture of the hill profile, average gradient, max gradient, and length of the climb etc, completed by a sign at the top to tell you that the misery was over – a very nice touch, even if I didn’t usually have time to read all the details.

The descent from here was one of the best I’ve done in a long time.  Long, wide, not too wiggly and with a nice long straight run out at the end.  More of those please!  The next two big hills came in quick succesion, at Alderley and Tresham.  Is this what we’re in for I wondered?  3 climbs in 5 miles…  To be fair, though they were hard work, and clearly very hard work for some, they weren’t very long as these things go, which made me feel a bit better about what the rest of the ride might be like.  So I was thinking it might be hard, but then things settled down to what was essentially fairly flat, for miles.

Having done quite a few Cotswold’s based sportives it was a new side of the region to me.  I kept expecting hills…and not getting them.  Not that I’m complaining you understand.  Well ok, maybe I am a little bit.  It had clouded over a bit by now which, and I know I shouldn’t diss the weather, was actually a good thing for me as I don’t like to be too hot riding.  Warm but not too warm, breezy but not annoyingly so.  Perfect riding conditions really.

In addition to the lovely hill signs, we got these mileage signs too.

Every 10 miles.  As well as signs giving the distance to the next food stop, the usual marker signs, caution signs, pot hole signs.  And then my favourite, the 15, 10, 5 mile to go signs.  There were a few stretches where, riding on my own as I was, the odd repeater sign would have been nice and in Yate where the roads were busier a few more signs would have been good as it’s easy to miss one if you’re busy trying to negotiate traffic on a roundabout or at a busy junction.  But essentially the signage was great, as long as you were vigilant and paying attention.  As I was pushing along on my own I had to be quite careful not to zone out, because if I had I could easily have missed one, and I hadn’t downloaded the route beforehand.  Actually I’m not sure you could.  It was on a website I’m not registered for and I’m signed up to enough such sites without joining another one just to get this route.

Back to the ride, and the first foodstop 25 miles in, which came 3/4 of the way down a hill, so the turning was being marshalled.  In fact quite a few junctions were marshalled, those where you might get lost, or that were that bit busier.  There is clearly no shortage of luminous yellow tabards in Gloucestershire!  Anyway, 25 miles in may seem soon for the first stop, as they said in the briefing, but on a hot day it’s important to keep topped up, right?  Actually I didn’t need to, having not drunk much by this point, but the toilets were handy, proving I wasn’t dehydrated ;).

Even the bike got a brief rest while I ate my homemade flapjack and stretched a little.  My left calf twinged on and off all day and I was worrying about cramp – yet another good reason to keep drinking.

After the food stop there was a long climb out of Nailsworthy which I’d heard talk about as I waited around first thing so I knew it was steep at the bottom and then just a grind, so I was prepared, and it was as described.  Doable.  Forewarned was forearmed so thanks to whoever it was told me about it.

The roads were unbelievably quiet all day.  On a sunny Sunday in the Summer holidays in the Cotswolds I was expecting way more traffic.  I don’t know where everyone was, but apart from in Yate, they weren’t out there!  There was one road that was an exception to the rule.  It’s a narrow road with so many passing places that it’s clearly always like that, but I don’t think we were adding to the general sense of well being of those drivers being forced to negotiate past us as well as each other…the little men in their little tin boxes were looking distinctly grumpy, and judging from what little lipreading I can do they had some choice words to share…

Here’s one for MaxiMe.  We like these.  Well, they’re not in our back yard are they? 😉

Even those few occasions when the route crossed the A46 or A420 were easy.  Where was everybody?  Unprecedented.  I don’t think I’ve ever done such a quiet sportive.  Just me and out there.  Since the next 30 miles were pretty flat, would it be wrong to say I got a bit bored?  Riding on your own makes it easier to stop and take photos, but it doesn’t make the ride any easier.  I’d have cheerfully sucked wheel, or worked with someone but I didn’t get the chance.  Which didn’t stop the occasional rider sitting on my ar*e for extended stretches.  Ah well, I’ll take it as a compliment shall I?  Basically there just weren’t enough riders around for me.  Cyclists are like liquid,  (bear with me, it’ll make sense in a moment), they find their own level.  The fast hurtle past and off, the slow are behind you, and you end up with a little group of similar speed riders who you play leapfrog with, depending on food stops, calls of nature etc.  Faces and kit that become familiar, with the odd cheery “hello again” as you pass each other.  Quite friendly really.  Which is a good word for today.  Those riders I did see were friendly, there was the odd chat here and there.  None of this head down nonsense.  The staff, all Rotary Club members and friends I presume, were without exception friendly, and cheerful.  That makes a massive difference to the atmosphere of a ride – I’m not sure you get the same with paid staff.

The Cotswolds was full of the usual picture postcard villages.  Churches.  Massive stately piles just glimpsed through hedgerows, with never a clear view at the right time to grab that all important photo.  Berkeley has a castle.  Though probably not a square nor a nightingale.  I didn’t see the castle, I expect I was looking the wrong way at the right time, but I did see this.

Well it’s a castle compared to my place :).  The next food stop came along shortly, being a couple of trestle tables set up on a village green.  No toilets – as the rider manual had pre-warned us – but liquid and food and yet more happy shiny people.  I forgot to photograph it because I was chatting to the rider who I’d towed in there ;).

Only 10 miles to go to the route split., which was practically back at the start.  I mentally flirted with the idea of bailing and calling it a day, but let’s face it, that was never going to happen.  Which is the whole point of flirting right? 😉  Having negotiated a slightly busier and less pleasant Yate, it was time to (wo)man up.  As I approached the split it a whole heap of dayglo marshalls were making sure we all went where we wanted to, and I went right.  If I thought I was on my own before, man was it ever quiet now.  There was a hill shortly afterwards – the Dodington Drag I believe – which another volunteer photographing half way up.  She reassured me that I wasn’t the only one out there, which was good to know.  Having made it up that hill, it was back to the undulating again.

No-one in front of me.  No-one behind me.  For miles and miles…  I hit a bit of a flat spot.   Predictable really, as it happens on many rides, especially the solitary sportives.  That patch when you’re over halfway but there’s still quite a way to go, and you’re physically and mentally in the middle of nowhere.  But slowly the miles ticked by…  I stopped to take a photo of this, just before a junction.

Then as I was standing there, five riders went past me.  “You are not alone...”.  Well, ok, not true for long, but hey, it made a nice change.  I followed them for a bit, just to enjoy the novelty value.  Besides they made a change from green and blue and yellow…

Then it was back to being me, myself, and I, having perked up a bit.  I could show you more Cotswold sights, but hey, google image search the Cotswolds if you’re that desperate.  Have one of these instead.

Far more interesting, right?  One of the slight downsides to the very quiet country roads was that sometimes they were a little more like tracks than roads.  Shaded sheltered damp tracks which, with the brightening skies above, were like tunnels and the transition into them meant pushing your sunglasses down your nose to try and see which bits of the road surface to avoid.  One of these turned out to be a climb; cue more slow plodding for me.

The final foodstop came at 77 miles in, where I was pleasantly surprised to see a few other riders.  It’ll be interesting to see how many riders did the 100 miles – I’m thinking not many!

The pub next door was providing toilet facilities, as well as serious temptation.  Well the sun was coming out, there were people sitting at the tables outside, with long tall cold drinks… Time for another mental note – I was definitely having one of those later!

I’ll have you know that those are entirely the wrong kind of bike though… 😉  I topped up my bottles as by now I’d definitely been drinking more.  It may have been blessedly cloudy up until now, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t warm and I was very conscious of the fact that I needed more fluid than usual, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t run out.  Judging by the comments from those able to eat them, the homemade goodies were fabulous.  Being me, it was half a banana time, but they did look nice.  I would if I could!

Ok, 25 odd miles to go.  But how flat were we talking?   Flat apart from the up and down bits said the comic volunteer.  Apparently I was the first woman to the foodstop, which I hasten to add doesn’t make me fastest, just first.  I did feel a little urge not to be overtaken before there and the end as a result though *grin*.  Hey, take your motivation where you can get it, right?  So, 25 miles to go.  Well, having set off again, and flying along the flat for a while at 22 miles an hour made that look like a little over an hour, but that was never going to be sustainable on my own.  I reckoned on it being more like 1 1/2 hrs, or thereabouts instead.  Again, fairly flat, with not much by way of hills to my mind, but then the metres climbed kept slowly racking up somehow.  Some of the other riders I passed were bemoaning the long dragging hills, so I guess I must just be used to them by now.  Or not consider them hills compared to Shipham, or, well, the Giau ;).

I did actually catch and pass some riders.  I really didn’t want to, as by now I was pretty happy on my own, but I was faster that they were and keen to get to the end.  It kept not really being hilly, and I kept pushing.  Barrelling along on the flat I can do, though the wind had inevitably become a headwind by now.

I chatted to, and passed, this one last rider, before hitting the country park roads that indicated that I was nearly back at HQ.  Doesn’t this look like the perfect place for a sprint finish to you?  Oooh…if only :).

I crossed the finish line a little while later, where a little welcoming committee was waiting to clap each rider in.  I bet they had a very long day!

The goody bag, one High5 bottle and some Zero tablets, included a food voucher.  I grabbed it, parked the bike up, and headed back to HQ.  The bar was indeed proving popular, as predicted, but with a car to drive home that wasn’t an option.  The lovely canteen ladies seemed a little crestfallen that I didn’t want my free pastie and beans – so we had to have the “it’s not you it’s me” conversation.  Sorry – they did look lovely!  I was also all sweet stuffed out so didn’t buy any of the lovely cake.  I did have a coffee and a glass of lovely cold Cotswold Spring water while sitting in the sun watching everyone else relaxing though.

Being all on my own meant there was little else to do than drink up and head for home.  One of the things Howie was brilliant at was approaching people and interviewing them – he had no qualms at all about it.  I keep meaning to take a leaf out of his book, but I still haven’t quite got the nerve.  Must do better *slap wrist*.

It took me just under an hour to drive home and staying awake was a struggle so it’s just as well I avoided the bar or I’d never have made it.  I made up for it later though *grin*.

Cycling time: 6:19:55 hrs
Distance: 102.11 miles
Avs: 16.1 mph.
ODO: 15333miles

I think that entitles me to a Silver – and it would even if I was male.  Which is kinda cool :).  As you can see, 1973m climbing turned out to be more like 1500m, and it certainly wasn’t, to my mind, a hilly ride.  I do wonder if that’s just because I’m better than I used to be though?  Maybe I’m getting a little blasé in my old age?  It was still hard work mind, as however you do it 100 miles is a fair few hours in the saddle.

Doing an inaugural sportive could easily give you cause to worry as to how well it would be organised.  With Andy Cook involved as Race Director.  I guess it’s no surprise that it all went swimmingly.  He kinda knows what he’s doing by now *grin*.  Actually I’d like to wrap the whole of the Chipping Sodbury Rotary Club up in a parcel, tie it up with a bow, and give it to myself for Christmas.  They were all so lovely and friendly, warm and welcoming, and helpful.  A large part of the success of any sportive is the manpower you can mobilise, and man, can they ever mobilise!  All in all, a Successful Superlative Sodbury Sportive :).

UPDATE: 82 registered for the 100 miles. 6 DNF.  6hrs 35.  Silver :).  And no I wasn’t the fastest woman.  But I wasn’t the slowest either.  Official Cyclosport review is here.

Sun’s gonna shine on everything you do

I’m a busy bunny this week, and squeezing the riding in feels just like that – a squeeze.  Which is not an ideal frame of mind for riding.  But with the forecast deteriorating rapidly, the sun shining, and another gym session not appealing, I was determined to squeeze it into today somehow.  One major factor in making it all work was arranging to ride with Martyn at 2.00pm.  This meant that everything would have to be done by then, otherwise I would be letting someone else down, which is not an option.  It also stopped me from being lazy and opting for the gym/babysitter option instead if everything went pear shaped.  As it turns out everything went swimmingly.  Well, not swimmingly, because the weather remained dry and warm and pleasant, but I can’t be bothered to try and come up with a more appropriate adjective 😉

First up this morning was my follow-up appointment with my nutritionist/dietician which was oddly unsatisfying.  I should, post Maratona, start the process of working out which specific foods are my IBS triggers.  Well, that’s the plan.  It all seems like a lot of hard work to me, and is going to take ages.  You can only re-introduce one food at a time, over a three day period – small amount day 1, double that day 2, double that day 3.  It either proves “safe” – in which case you stop that food, and move straight on to trialling the next.  Or it doesn’t, you get symptoms, you stop that food, wait for everything to settle down again, and then move on to the next.  The idea is to end up having narrowed down which foods trigger you, and discovered foods that you can eat to expand your diet, make it more varied, and more healthy.  However this is all just IBS management.  It doesn’t fix you – and I’m big on fixes, and solutions, and conclusions.  Although the elimination diet occasionally fixes people, it sadly hasn’t fixed me, and neither am I quite as improved as she would have liked.   The low FODMAP diet has been a very good thing in many ways – in that most of my symptoms are greatly reduced when I’m strictly following the diet.  It does make it virtually impossible to eat out, or to be catered for though, which can be a little depressing.  However the pain element remains somewhat unrelated to the diet.  It may yet prove to have been related to my use of NSAIDs (ibuprofen to normal people), and just mean that my insides haven’t healed up yet.  Or it may mean that it wasn’t that at all, and I will need to have my consultant look further into that if, in the fullness of time, it hasn’t gone away.  I am still no wiser as to why I have developed IBS, or to what the long term prognosis or effects of it might be.  My nutritionist describes IBS as a life altering thing, and it appears to be precisely that, irrevocably.  As if that wasn’t enough, it seems quite likely that something else is going on in there too.  Marvellous :(.  I have to admit to have been being a little bit ostrich about it all, just following the diet, and sort of hoping that somehow it would all go away.  It may well be time to start taking it a little more seriously, getting my head around it, and making an effort to eat properly within whatever my limits turn out to be.  Apparently rice cakes, ham, and white wine, do not a balanced diet make 😉 *grin*.

I didn’t really have time to get depressed about all that then though, I’m saving that for later (now?) when I can wallow properly, because I had places to be.  It was time for a little retail therapy, of sorts.  Back up the motorway – my half an hour appointment was an hour’s drive away! – and into Tescos at Weston, for various bits and bobs, including the all important lactofree milk, and nutella.  I made it home in time for rice cakes and ham for lunch – lazy as ever – and a quick carb induced siesta before getting up to get ready to ride.

The weather had returned to grey blanket by the time I arrived in the Square, but it was a very warm grey blanket.  Layers in the singular only, legs out and everything.  Novel.  We made our route up as we went along.  Martyn, having come from Brent Knoll, was clearly far more warmed up than I was, as he was off!  I felt the strain for a while, partially because I always forget that the reason I feel crap for the first half an hour or so is just because I haven’t warmed up, not because I’m not capable of keeping up.   You’d think I’d know that by now wouldn’t you?  Having said that – remind me to stop letting fast fit people join the ACG – a girl could get tired of being continually outclassed!  Eventually I got a grip and settled down into it more happily, and we nipped around the Levels in fairly swift fashion, whilst still managing to chat at the same time.  This probably means we weren’t trying hard enough, but I was supposed to be taking it a bit easy, what with the long and hilly Dartmoor Classic on Sunday.   That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.  Having been a cow last time, this time Martyn was showing off some very fetching new kit from, in a distinctive mustard yellow, which is apparently an Eddy Merckx thing.

Our improvised route was relatively flat – with only Mudgely Hill on the way out, and Winscombe Hill on the way back.  According to Strava I didn’t even do those well, ho hum…  Bl**dy Strava! 😉  Mind you I’d probably have gone up them even slower if I hadn’t had those segments lurking in the back of my mind.  Somewhere in between the two hills, on the Christon road, we came across this fallen giant.

That was once a BIG tree – proof of just how bad the weather has been around here lately?  Or is it a sign?  No, that’s not a sign, this is a sign! 😉

‘Rah – I got another sign in there! *grin*.

I may have broken my two hour rule, but it was a close run thing, and even though I went all the way down the bypass and back into town from the other side to stretch it a little, it wasn’t to be.  I guess if I add on the couple of minutes here and there when Bella wasn’t up and running, it was close enough right?  Besides, I blame it on our speed – it would have taken longer if we were slower! *grin*.  I got my ride in, and as a result I’m feeling less squeezed all ’round – thanks Martyn! 🙂

Cycling time: 1:51:56 hrs
Distance: 32.08 miles
Avs: 17.3 mph.
ODO: 14482 miles

My power, my pleasure, my pain

Ok, so I have the Wheel Heroes sportive tomorrow, so strictly speaking I really shouldn’t have been riding the bike today.  But given what the weather is usually like and the lack of guarantee that it will continue in this sunny vein, it’s virtually impossible to not go and ride given half a chance.  And an ACG ride is more than half a chance :).

Which would probably explain why there were eight of us this morning.  Can’t remember the last time we were that many!  We even had a newbie – welcome Martyn – who had found us via, which is a fairly new website that allows you to share routes, log rides, but mostly importantly find cyclists in your area to ride with.  Clearly it works!  It’s also further proof that it’s a small world, since he knows the guys from HBB, who make cycling kit, who I also kinda know.


Given that I am not the only one with bigger fish to fry tomorrow, that others had to get back, and so on, this was billed as an easy ride.  Out to Glastonbury for coffee and back.  I’d show you the route and actual stats, but I forgot to turn Bella back on after coffee so you’d only get half of it.  But it went something like this, and the stats you see later are extrapolated from GB’s.  It wasn’t that exciting as rides go – exciting is over-rated – so mostly I’m just going to show you how nice it was :).

Look – ACG kit and everything. That’s me that is.  Or at least part of me.   GB has clearly had enough of me taking his photo.  Not that that’s likely to stop me…

So that accounts for two of us.  Thirdly, though usually firstly since he’s so fast he has a tendency to be ahead, was Chris.  That’s his real name.  I call him Figgy (more of which later), and I’m not likely to stop doing that either…

We made it to Glastonbury in no time flat, even with the nasty headwind.  Probably because it was flat.  You may now admire our precariously arranged and balanced bikes.  I hope no-one actually wanted to use the rubbish bin.  Think of it as like bicycle Kerplunk – you have to be really careful about which bike you move when or it all comes expensively tumbling down…

I don’t know if the Farmers Market is new or if we’ve just somehow managed to miss it up until now.  Stranger things have happened.  Many of them in Glastonbury ;).  It was most definitely there today, bringing quite a different atmosphere to the place, and allowing for the purchase of very yummy pastry goods to go with the coffee from Heaphy’s.  I had one of the flapjacks I made yesterday, which had just about survived in my back pocket – result!  Here’s hoping they do as well tomorrow…

So here we all are, barring myself of course, sitting in the sun outside Heaphy’s once more.  Figgy, Martyn, Mike, Dave, Steve, GB, and Ian.  Good riding, good coffee, good weather, good conversation, what more does a girl want? 🙂

Shall we get up close and personal with the ACG for a little while?

This is Mike showing that cycling is actually a very serious business…

This would be Steve, proudly showing that MTBers are cyclists too ;)…

This is Figgy eating.  Not fig rolls for a change.  Hence the name, should you need reminding.  Must remember not to let him eat again – he just gets faster!

And this is Mike and Dave, now apparently seeing the funny side…

OK, can’t sit around all day right?  Places to be, people to see…time to ride home again.  Well if the A stands for Axbridge, and the G stands for Group, the C stands for Cycling, not Coffee! 😉

Presumably Ian is patriotic…  Aren’t we a colourful lot?

Apart from those of us that were black and white of course…here demonstrating how many cyclists it takes to watch another cyclist try and fix something.

Talking of black and white…Martyn was clearing milking it! ;).

It’s all very well trying to take it easy, but it’s so hard when the sun is shining, the wheels are spinning, the roads are flat, the wind is behind you…  We did try.  Honest.  But as you’ll can tell from our average speed (see below), we didn’t do a very good job.  GB informed me that I’m my own worst enemy, and he did try to be the voice of my conscience…before he succumbed to the lure of the chase himself…  So that went well then *grin*.  Ah well, carpe diem and all that :).

Even a sign telling us (and Figgy there) to STOP didn’t have much effect.  Although to give us all credit we did do a very good job of keeping the G for Group thing going – waiting as necessary, picking up stragglers, etc.  No-one got left behind, though various folk did peel off as necessary on the way home.

(sorry, couldn’t resist…)

One last photo for you – of GB and Steve, Level pegging it on our way home.

Wasn’t it gorgeous out there?  And the descent of Weare Hill was even better – I’m presuming that’s where I hit today’s maximum speed of 43.8mph!!!  That’s pretty awesome for me.  Gotta be close to an all time PB :).

Cycling time: 1:50:00 hrs.
Distance: 32 miles
Avs: 17.3 mph.
ODO: 13937 miles

Right, I have some serious faffing to do, and an early night to get, if I’m going to be on the road by 5:30am tomorrow.  I’ve had a proper dinner, in an attempt to fuel up in preparation.  Lamb steaks, safe sauce, gluten free pasta, green beans…  Ever since that butternut squash risotto it doesn’t seem matter what I eat, it doesn’t sit well, but I have to get the food in whether or not that’s a comfortable thing.  Hopefully this will do the job without making things any worse – damage limitation etc.  It tasted pretty darn good and included carbs, and the rest is in the lap of the gods…

The sun

Today’s entry is sort of like a three course meal.  Possibly four courses actually.  Practically a feast…

First off let’s start with last night’s dinner.  Butternut squash risotto.  Very few ingredients at all really (olive oil, black olives, arborio rice, homemade chicken stock, butternut squash roasted with salt and tarragon, and red wine), and the only one that I haven’t had of late was the butternut squash.  Now I did think that butternut squash and I had fallen out a while back, but my dietician was surprised that I thought that, and suggested that maybe it was just because I’d usually eaten it in dishes that involved other “bad” ingredients, such as onion, garlic, and so on.  According to the FODMAP lists butternut squash is safe.  What do I know?  So I thought I’d give it a go.  Ha!  That’ll larn me, right?  Having spent the rest of the evening looking about 6 months pregnant, uncomfortable, and back on the painkillers, I think it’s safe to say that butternut squash is not safe.  It is far from safe, it is about as safe as investing in Facebook shares, or considering Greece a sound financial investment, and I shall not be eating that again in a hurry.  Shame, cos the risotto itself tasted yummy!  🙁

Which brings us to this morning, when I still wasn’t feeling great.  It takes quite a while for my system to settle down once I’ve p*ssed it off properly, and I seem to have done a cracking job this time.  Which reminds me, I need to take some more painkillers.  Typical – this always happens shortly before a sportive!  Mind you, anytime is shortly before a sportive at the moment 😉 *grin*.  Anyway, it was time to go ride my bike in the sun again.  Yes – again.  Isn’t it lovely to have a little patch of consistently lovely weather?  Ok, there’s still plenty of inexplicable wind around, but even that wasn’t chilly today.  Cycling in one layer, with suntan cream applied, and dark lenses in the sunglasses.  Blissful :).

Mim set the route, as she finally has her new Team Hope Factory bike (albeit not with the right wheels yet) and needed to test it out.  This involved being mostly flat, with one big hill.  A route that had a great deal in common with that which I did with George last Friday actually.  Am I destined to climb Westbury Hill every Friday now? 😉  Apparently I get to be the QOM too, but that’s not really true, since I know that I followed a slowly vanishing Mim all the way up – it’s just that she doesn’t have the relevant gadgets, nor care for them!  As ever, I’m only QOM because I have no competition, as someone kindly reminded me yesterday.  I do know, there’s no need to rub it in you know! 😉  The top of the Mendips was windy and still hiding in clouds/fog, which the sun had yet to burn off, and it felt almost like a different day up there.

We made the route up as we went along after that, coming down a blissfully dry Old Bristol Hill, out of the clouds, through Wells for photo ops, and back home via Wedmore.  All very pleasant, apart from the fact that the sun brings out the eejots, who were very keen on re-inforcing the white van man stereotype.  I hate stereotypes, but this one really does seem to be true…*sigh*.  Some people just have no patience.  I’m presumably that if they actually knocked me off, it would have to be a hit and run, because stopping to sort it out would slow them down too much too?

Cycling time: 2:13:44 hrs.
Distance: 34.20 miles
Avs: 15.3 mph.
ODO: 13905 miles

I’ve been so busy since then that it already feels like days ago…  If I got paid for all the things I do for free I’d be a whole heap better off!  Mind you, I’d only spend it all on bike and bike related goodies ;).  Having managed to get a lot of my “to do” list done – go me! – I switched into cooking mode.  I wonder what colour light bulb that involves?

To start with I made home-made gnocchi, using a recipe from one of my new cookery books, to go with a bolognese style sauce that hubby made.  They didn’t go brilliantly well, but well enough that I’m definitely going to make them again.  The recipe used potato flour where I used rice flour since that’s what I had.  Next time I’m going to use gluten free flour, and chill the gnocchi before I cook them, in a bigger saucepan of boiling water, and then I reckon they’ll be even better.  They’re easy to make, and they’re carbs – just what a cyclist wants, right?

I then had another go at making Rudolph’s carrot flapjacks, as planned, whoever Rudolph is.  I hope Rudolph doesn’t mind, but I used sultanas (safe) instead of apricots (not safe).  Come to think of it I suppose it’s Rudolph because of the carrots.  Are reindeers renowned for eating carrots?  I thought that was rabbits?

They’ve worked better than the last lot in that, as you can see, they actually hold together more or less.  More rather than less.  More flapjack, less granola.  They will probably be even more cohesive when they’re properly cooled down.  Then I’m going to wrap a couple of them up in cling film, and see how I get on with one on Sunday.  The forecast for the Wheel Heroes is currently 25C, with an easterly wind, and sunshine.  Good thing that sun cream arrived today then.  Now I just have to figure out what to wear to be cool enough whilst minimising tan lines…whatever the rules say.  Weren’t rules made to be broken? 😉




I wished it would get warmer, and warmer it has become.  And me oh my, but it is lovely out there :).  Would now be a good time to wish to win the lottery?  😉  I was planning on riding today whatever, and as it turns out, thanks to a torch, a dentist, and an osteopath, GB had the day off, so not only did I get to ride, I got company to ride with.  Getting better all the time :).  I didn’t even have to faff about layers.  Because that would be a plural thing, and today was a most singular thing ;).

I met GB in a very sunny Square at 1:00pm.  Everything looks better in the sun, and the Church was looking great.  Taking photos in the Square always amuses me – it makes me look like a tourist, and reminds me that Somerset is somewhere that other people come on holiday and that I get to live here.  A good frame of mind in which to go riding :).

GB has been threatening to do hills, including the glider hill, which I have to admit really didn’t appeal.  I am going to conquer that hill, but I’m going to do it by myself, without an audience, without anyone else to gauge my performance by or to interfere with my mental mojo.  Luckily when it came to it, we made our route up as we went along, with the main aim being to enjoy riding our bikes in the sun, not kill me going up hills.  Phew!

On the way out of town we startled a grass snake that was basking in the sun in the middle of the road.  Considering the fact that they’re verging on endangered, we did a good thing, because if we’d been a car, it would have been squashed.  I stopped and watched it for a little while once it was on the pavement, and then it slithered off into the undergrowth, free to bask another day.  I do like snakes :).

not our snake, but near enough

We headed off towards Wedmore, discovering that while it was most definitely warm and sunny, it was also pretty darn windy, even if it wasn’t supposed to be!  As you can see GB was breaking the rules (15 and 16, I believe), but then since my top was sleeveless (rule 7), so was I.  He was certainly looking very colourful, as was the scenery as a whole to be fair.  Lots of green, thanks to all the recent rain, lots of recently bloomed flowers, and then the blue sky and the yellow sun.  Somerset was looking at its best :).

We took a rather circuitous route to get to the top of Mudgley Hill, to keep off the more major roads, and avoid the traffic.  It also made a change to the usual route, and let’s face it, variety is difficult to find around here.  Odd how climbs that once seemed huge are now not so.  John’s hill (named after an ACG rider) was one we always used to descend, and rarely if ever do in reverse.  I’m sure it was bigger, or longer, or steeper, back then.  Maybe that’s how it felt because it was so much fun to go down?  But today it was just another unremarkable climb.  Signs of progress?  I’m sure the sunshine helped though 🙂  Round the back of Wedmore, and at the top of Mudgley Hill there is, and I think I may have shown it to you before, a sign.  And also a very lovely view.

Being up there meant we got to go down there, although the side/head wind did take the edge off the descent somewhat, as it made me a bit more cautious than I sometimes am.  A lot of the route out after that involved zig-zagging around and doing our best to avoid having to do too much slogging into the wind.  We went via Burtle, which is still a great name for a village.  It sounds like something from the Trap Door (BURK!).  It also sounds like something out of the Midsomer Murders – a quiet little village where nothing happens but where actually all the bodies are buried *grin*.

On a bridge over the River Brue on the other side, past the peat works, is this sign.  Which I always wonder about.  Who was he?  How was he killed?  Why was he so important that he warranted a plaque?  How has it stayed there for so long?  I guess I could probably do some research and find out more…but nah forget it yo home to Bel-Air! ;).

There’s also a boat where it ought to be (which I may explain in a future blog entry) tied up by the house by the bridge.  Small but perfectly formed.  I wonder if they use it much?

And if you don’t believe it was windy, I’m going to prove it.  I kind of understand wind when it’s grey and horrible and I can actually see weather happening.  It’s kinda hard to figure out where the wind is coming from on a day like this, but it was there, and there was plenty of it.  From the South West ish.

Our goal was Brean Down for coffee, on the basis that it was a good day for the seaside, but hopefully it not being a weekend and not yet being holiday season, the roads and traffic to get there wouldn’t be too bad.  And it wasn’t too bad, but there were still too many cars on the road for my taste.  Which is why, as I’ve said before, I tend to ride in the morning, because it tends to be quieter.  The only consolation to the slog there was that there was every possibility that we’d get to fly home afterwards which sounded good :).

I have to say we stood out like a sore thumb amongst the raggle taggle customers at the Brean Down Cove Café.  And from some of the looks we were getting you’d have thought we came from a different planet.  Nothing new there then.  We sat outside on one of the rickety as ever picnic tables in the sun and chilled out for bit.  My americano, once they finally a black one, was generously sized and very nice.  GB’s cake looked lovely…(she says wistfully..).  He chilled out so much he had to put his gilet on before we got going again ;).  We popped up to the beach for photos before heading back, as you do.  Well, as I do.  I have to admit to preferring my beaches with waves and rocks, but this one wasn’t bad :).

I loved these two – eating ice-cream and swinging their legs in the sun – very young at heart and oddly cute.

The route home was indeed distinctly faster, though due to the wiggly nature of the roads, the wind wasn’t as consistently behind us as would have been nice, but boy when it was…GB called it magic carpet time, and he had a point :D.  We parted company at the Webbington – I needed to get back, and given a choice between going my way and then home via the A38 or going home via Winscombe Hill, GB preferred the hill option.  Unsurprisingly – he’s so good at them!

Look – Wendy has reattached my shadow :).  Actually  I didn’t even notice the hill because I was so busy messing around with my camera.  Maybe that’s a tactic I should try more often?  Not likely to work with steep gradients though – I need to be holding on then! ;).

Cycling time: 2:22:21 hrs.
Distance: 41.49 miles
Avs: 17.5 mph.
ODO: 13870 miles

Here’s our route for information purposes.  GB reckons we were pushing it, and I guess maybe we were, but that’s probably because no-one wants to be the one to say “slow down”, now do they?  Pride is a terrible thing *grin*.  Maybe I should try to do that sometimes though…  I got home just before eldest, who decided it was time he took his revenge with the camera, which was only fair.

At least I have proof that it was sunny, and that I got to ride my bike in one layer, in shorts, in sunglasses…  🙂  It looks like the rest of the week may continue to be nice *fingers crossed*.  Having said that I have a sportive on Sunday so what do you want to bet it breaks by then?  Just in case it doesn’t, and having been reminded that the application of suntan cream is a good idea, I nipped over to Amazon and bought myself a couple of bottles of the Riemann P20 which I used last year, which I’d forgotten about, and which I’d run out of.  It’s brilliant for sportives – apply once, and forget about it!

Right.  One last thing to share with you.  Yesterday’s stirfry dinner, which was also today’s lunch. Ginger, green chilli, chicken, peppers, green beans, bean sprouts, carrots, sweet potato, rice noodles, Sharwood sweet and sour sauce, and coriander.  Good yesterday, and even better cold today :).

I really do need to start cooking some more interesting things, so in addition to the little gluten free cookery book I picked up the other week (not quite safe enough), I decided to get these two recipe books from the Book People that are even more restricted so therefore more likely to be safe for me if I’m careful.  I’m still being way too lazy about what I eat, and not eating the best from a fuelling point of view *slapped wrist*.  Yes, I know, I should know better…

They both arrived today and I’m looking forward to reading through them later when the mob are in bed and out of my hair, and planning some yummy meals for us all :).


Food, glorious food

I’m home alone, faffing pre-event, and doing my best to try and eat properly.  It’s very easy to be lazy and stick to what I know, plus cooking for one is less than motivating – but you can’t ride a sportive on rice cakes and ham alone so…time to stop procrastinating and get on with it.

First off, my attempt at cereal bars.  I started with this recipe, but had to swop the butter & honey for dairy free spread & golden syrup, and so cooked them like standard flapjacks, ie in the oven.

flapjack ingredients

ingredients toasted, melted, mixed...

flapjacks ready to go in the oven

finished flapjacks

Hm.  Not an unqualified success.  They’re very tasty – but also very crumbly and crunchy and liable to disintegrate if you look at them wrong.  I think I’ve made granola!  They’ll certainly get eaten – my mob will eat almost anything – but there’s no way they’re going to work in a back pocket…better luck next time?  Which will be these, but with sultanas not apricots, in case you were wondering.  Anyway the crumbly flapjack bits are going to go very nicely on top of tomorrow morning’s muesli, so it wasn’t a complete disaster :).

So it’s just as well today I accidentally tracked down the bar that I had last weekend that was safe enough and seemed to be an improvement on the Nakd bars from a carb supply front.  Thank you Morrisons.  I may have to go and hunt them down online and buy the usual mixed box now, but at least I have one for tomorrow.

Time to see if I could do any better for dinner which, it being pre-event, has to be pasta.  It’s traditional.  Or something.  So I took all of these:

And turned them into this:

Not bad actually.  I made enough sauce for two meals, as very wisely suggested by George, so I’m sorted for at least one other meal this week.  It would have been better if I hadn’t discovered I’d run out of paprika, but it was pretty tasty.  Very tomatoey, unsurprisingly.  “Pasta with bacon, olives, and tomatoes three ways“.  Well, it would look good on a menu anyway, I guess it’s sort of variation on pasta amatriciana.  Anyway it may not be cuisine, but that’s not the point.  Carb loading done :).


My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies

I went for a ride today and, once more, forgot to take my camera with me.  To be fair I only did a seaside loop, so I’d probably have been hard pushed to show you something new.  Having said that, the fact the sun was shining and the skies were blue might have added novelty value.  As would the sight of my pasty white legs making their way around Somerset.  Unlike the unexpectedly strong headwind, which was not novel at all but at least was in my face on the way out and on my back on the way home.  It was a ride with two goals – to be a recovery ride and spin my legs out and see how they were, but also to test out my snazzy new cycling shoes and Look pedals.  My legs were fine, the pedals went better than I was worried they might though I still need some practice when I set off again, and my new shoes totally rock!  They just make the bike feel more responsive somehow.  They’re comfortable when you’re riding, lovely when you’re out of the saddle, and when you kick off, they seem to wake my wheels up and off we go… Nice :).

Cycling time: 1:46:56 hrs
Distance: 28.21 miles
Avs: 15.8 mph.
ODO: 13722 miles

So, anyone want to know how the eating is going?  Well generally I think it’s working.  Or helping anyway.  I’m not living on paracetamol, which has to be a good thing.  As for the riding – having made an effort to have a better eating strategy before and during the last event, I think I got through it better.  OK, I still nearly lost it, but that’s the point.  Nearly.  I saw it coming, ate the jelly beans, and dealt with it.  I did eat more during the event – though clearly still not quite enough – and I ate at regular intervals whether I wanted to or not.  I had one of another kind of safe bar – irritatingly I’ve forgotten which one – which wasn’t just fruit and nuts and had oats etc in it too, and I think that helped, in combination with the Nakd bars, bananas, and Nuun.  The plan in the long run is to start making my own bars, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.  No excuses – procrastination is a terrible thing…

This Sunday my youngest celebrated her 12th birthday.  The first thing we did when I got back from Pembrokeshire was to make her birthday cake together.  We made a speckled chocolate beetroot cake, from my new cookbook.  All gluten free, wheat free, dairy free…sounds good right?  And it was.  Tasted bl**dy lovely, went down a treat all ’round.  Shame that it turns out beetroot is on the banned list isn’t it?  Doh!  Didn’t even occur to me to check…*sigh*.  And that keeps happening…

So I think it’s safe to say I’m still getting it wrong from time to time but, slowly, I may be getting there…  Live and learn, right? 🙂



One potato, two potato…

It’s Thursday, and I’m riding the Tour of Pembrokeshire on Saturday.  It starts from St Davids, which is a LONG way away, so I’m heading down there tomorrow afternoon, after a quick leg spin with Mim, once my bike is washed and sorted.  With only a couple of days to go, and some lessons learnt from the last event, I’m well into trying to eat properly already.  Last night was sardines and boiled potatoes.  Well, 1 sardine, lots of potatoes.  Which mean I had potatoes and ham for lunch today – there’s a whole heap of leftover eating going on around here – it removes the element of thought/decision from my meal planning!

Which brings us to this evening, and further planning ahead.  I made a massive pasta dish.  Since I’m away tomorrow night and I seriously doubt I’ll easily be able to find safe food to eat down there, and I really can’t risk upsetting my insides before the ride, I needed to make enough for both tonight and tomorrow night.  There has been a tendency for the safe food I’ve cooked to be a bit bland, inevitably I suppose what with onion and garlic being banned, but I nailed it tonight.  Not only did it taste good, nice and rich with a bit of a kick, but the mob happily ate it too! :D.

Fry 1 chopped green chilli in olive oil, add chopped turkey breast and brown.  Add half carton of passata and one can of chopped tomatoes.  Add oregano, mixed herbs, black pepper, and one carton of deli olives with lemon.   Bring to the boil and then let simmer for a while.  Toast one packet of pine nuts.  Cook one pack of gluten free brown rice pasta.  Drain pasta.  Mix with the sauce, and stir in the pine nuts.  Serve. Done.  Nom, nom, as my youngest would put it :).

Carbs duly loaded methinks.  I even managed to knock up a safe dessert – lactofree vanilla icecream topped with lactofree strawberry yoghurt and linseeds.  Gotta get some dairy into the diet somewhere right?

Since I’m off tomorrow afternoon, I need to do all my prepping and faffing tonight.  Which, due to this low FODMAP diet is even more complicated than it used to be, due to the amount of food I need to take with me!

Just look at all that stuff!  There’s breakfast for two days – gluten free muesli and bananas and lactofree milk.  There’s tonight’s pasta for tomorrow night.  There’s rice cakes and nutella, and gluten free pretzels, if all else fails, for Saturday night.  Then there’s numerous various bars, jelly beans, and Nuun, all for the ride itself and possibly after.  That’s not including the fizzy water that’s already in the car, or the flask of coffee that will get me down there, or the bottle of wine I might need on Saturday night.  Blimey!

And I haven’t even started to sort kit, and layers, and clothes, and…*engage panic mode*!  Aaarrrrrrrrrrrgh!


Here’s a little song I wrote

Well ok, it’s not a song.  It’s my first ever article for Cyclosport – “What is a sportive?“.  My first article, out there in the big wide web world.  Kinda exciting, and scarey too, because I put a lot of work into it, and having it out there for public consumption and criticism feels a bit like putting a target on my chest and saying shoot me.  Remember this?

So, I’m hoping you like it, and don’t shoot me down…*fingers crossed*.

Back to the wonderful world of IBS and cycling.  Clearly I did not get my strategy for Sunday right, because if I had, I wouldn’t have bonked like that.  Looking back on it, I think I probably got it wrong on several levels.  First off, I probably didn’t start eating for the event early enough.  Paying attention the day before is probably not sufficient…

pre-event fuelling
I managed to eat an IBS friendly, and fairly successful, meal on the Saturday night.  I have discovered debbie & andrew’s Harrogate sausages, stocked by Tescos, which are gluten, wheat, and dairy free.  More importantly they actually taste really nice!  These were served up with sweet potato/potato mash, as recommended by @skipinder, and carrots.  On Sunday morning, I had a bowl of Tesco’s Free From Pure Oat Muesli, with a sliced banana, added linseeds, and Lactofree semi-skimmed milk.  With black coffee, of course :).

during the event
Thanks to Skipinder (again!), I’ve discovered Nakd bars, which are just fruit and nuts.  They’re gluten, wheat, and dairy free AND not glued together with apple juice, honey, or any of the other things I’m supposed to avoid.  I got a mixed box of 18 for £14.99 from Natural Balance Foods , but you can get them from supermarkets.  They’re possibly cheaper there, but you can’t guarantee the range, or that they stock the gluten free ones.  I ate these during the ride.  However actually I only ate 1 and half bars, which since they’re contain only around half the calories of the bars I used to eat, and ate more of, probably goes a long way to explaining why I bonked.  No lunch, 1.5 bars, 1.5 bananas, and half a packet of lucozade jelly beans towards the end…hm.

I’m drinking Nuun these days, for many reasons.  There’s a great range of flavours, some of which, like the lemon tea, contain caffeine for that extra boost.  They’re not too sweet.  The tablets are easy to carry around for when you need to top up your bottles.  Although Nuun tablets are gluten free, they’re not strictly FODMAP safe as they have sorbitol in, but they don’t contain any carbs, and drinking it doesn’t seem to disagree with me.  All good…but there’s not much in there on the calorie/fuel front.  I only got through a bottle and half of that too, which may not sound much, but it was cold, and that’s not unusual for me.  Though maybe it should be.

after the event
Chips.  Not ideal no doubt, but I think I’d earnt them, and I had to eat something to ride home!  At least they’re high carb, right?  I then went home and ate gluten free snack things with the family, before what was due to be a safe and pleasant dinner.  Yet again I completely forgot that gluten free does not mean safe, and forgot to check the packets for ingredients.  Man, I so should have!  So the carefully prepared roast chicken, potatoes, and carrots, made thinking of me, was a little wasted on me, though I ate it anyway.  At least white wine is safe…*grin*

lessons learnt
Clearly I need to eat more.  I need to start getting the food in a good few days beforehand.  I need to eat considerably more during the event, at regular even intervals.  Because there’s less in the Nakd bars, and they’re smaller, I need to eat more of them, and also keep my eyes out for other suitable bars, possibly with more in.  I’m going to see if I can make my own flapjacks for taking with me too – anyone know any good recipes?  On a positive note, I always used to end up with horrible indigestion by the end of a long ride and I didn’t have any of that.  Also, having not eaten anything that irritated me, the paracetamol I was taking only had to deal with my knee, which it did adequately, and I didn’t have to resort to ibuprofen.

last night’s dinner.  
A very simple risotto made with arborio rice, home made chicken stock (made from the roast chicken carcass, safe veg, bouquet garni, bay leaves), frankfurters, green and red peppers.

Colourful, but a little bland.  As usual though, risotto is much nicer cold.  Which is why I’ll be having it for dinner in a minute too :).