Category Archives: MiniMe

The gloves are off

Another day, another ride.  According to GB, I did hills on the wrong day.  I should have done flat yesterday when it was calm, and hills today when it was windy.  Apparently everybody knows that…  Well clearly I did hills yesterday so that wasn’t going to happen again.  The solution?  Do flat and sit on Martyn’s wheel! 😉  It was still hard work though.  Reflecting upon that, I think my current problem is a one of strategy and time scale.  In the long run, the wattbike is going to be a very good thing for my form.  In the short term, I’m overdoing it on that and paying for it when out on the road.  In the long run, not eating a lot will be a good thing, because a lighter me will be a faster me.  In the short term however, it means I’m under fuelled and there’s not enough in the tank.  Both of which means the last couple of rides have been harder than they maybe needed to be.  Add to that the fact that once my body is busy my brain tends to spin off elsewhere, forgets to pay total attention to what the legs are doing, they slow down and…well, that’s not conducive to keeping up.  I’d like to say I shall learn from all of this but…well…it seems unlikely *grin*.

I’d show you pretty photos of autumnal Somerset, but you got those yesterday.  Instead, you can see my new Defeet Woolie Boolie socks, the latest weapon in my cold war arsenal.  Last year’s pair had pretty much had it, plus these are longer.  Toes crossed that they help! ;).  I also have some new neoprene overshoes on their way, when the sportpursuit sale ends.  I hate cold feet.  I like to be able to feel my feet…even if it’s not essential for pedalling.  Mind you, the socks are so thick inside my close fitting shoes that I think I may be squashing the blood flow out of my toes rather than freezing them and the end result is the same – no toes!

defeet woolie boolies

I also have a new camera.  Which is the same as my old camera, but which hasn’t been dropped, stuffed in sweaty jersey pockets, used in the wind, heat, rain, and snow, etc, etc.  According to MaxiMe it is however better because it’s blue.  According to me it is even better than that because it is blue, and therefore matches my bikes ;).

camera front camera back

Cycling time: 1:59 hrs.
Distance: 31.5 miles.
Avs: 15.8 mph.
ODO: 16876.3 miles

I don’t suppose I’ll get to do so much riding outdoors henceforth, so I’ll be sitting on that lovely wattbike, sweating up a storm, without needing to worry about the impact of that on real riding.  I now have a new routine to try, explained to me in words of one syllable so that I can actually understand what I’m supposed to be doing, and which will hopefully make me better at going up hills.  Gotta be worth a go, right?

on wattbike 

So be it, threaten no more

Playing catch up again…and I don’t just mean trying to keep up with the wheel in front of me.

Just for form’s sake, and to keep things up to date, last Friday I went for a tapering ride with MaxiMe.

If you’ve been paying attention lately, then that will explain why there are only two of these for him today.

white wooster red rooster

Cycling time: 0:48 hrs.
Distance: 11.7 miles.
Avs: 14.7 mph.
ODO: 3476.5 miles.

Hey, you, get off of my cloud

Ok, so the Tour of Pembrokeshire took its toll…but the only way to get back on the bike is to get back on the bike…and with the (windy) sun shining, what better way to do it than an easy recovery ride with MaxiMe?  Lovely it was too, no agenda, just a ride in the sun with my boy.  I quite like him you know, he’s almost human ;).. He was on form too, though I still didn’t let him win the sprint finish ;). Having said that, with my yet to fully recover legs, it was a close run thing! *grin*.  That was Monday…

austin ahead austin alongside

Cycling time: 0:45 hrs.
Distance: 11.3 miles.
Avs: 14.9 mph.
ODO: 1509.45 miles.

Look – new shoes! With cleats, attached and set up properly by my pit crew, aka Andrew, yesterday.  He also re-aligned the gears on the Cube and, since he was there and is lovely, changed the puncture in the rear tyre.  Well, if I did it I might break a fingernail right? ;).  So I now have summer shoes to match the summer bike, and it turns out they’re pretty comfortable too.  Not just pretty.  Looks aren’t everything you know ;). That was Tuesday…

new shoes

Which brings us to today, which last I checked, was Wednesday. Even having issued an all-points bulletin in search of company, it ended up just being me out there. Which was probably not such a bad thing.  Head space ‘n all that. I went for a ride in the sun, happy going nowhere, taking photos as I went, and just enjoyed the ride. Apparently that’s kind of the point, and it’s a good thing to be reminded of that from time to time.  It wasn’t quite time for shorts…but ooh, nearly….!

Have some pretty photos of the outside world. Where there were flowers, and herons, deer and swans. Where the skies were blue, and the grass was greener on this side as well as t’other.

why i went out  tulip

rhyne  Brent Knoll

nesting swan  cresting  


It felt good out there. In lots of ways, mostly weather related ones. Sun on face, lack of wind in hair, and so on. However it was, interestingly enough, my fastest time up both Mudgely Hill and the climb to Christon this year. As I’ve said before, there’s no point me comparing this year with last year, but it’s encouraging to see things slowly improving this year.  Let’s see how that translates on the Forest of Dean sportive on Sunday…*fingers crossed* it goes well! :).

Cycling time: 1:41 hrs.
Distance: 27.2 miles.
Avs: 16.0 mph.
ODO: 1536.65 miles.


Life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it.

More blue skies, more sunshine, more reasons to ride…  Due to the nature of the childcare juggling beast, today was a divide and conquer day.  Youngest and Daddy went off to kick bouncing butt in Bath.  Which left MaxiMe and I home alone.  In an attempt to be a parent, I decided we’d go for a ride together, all bonding like, rather than hit the hills by myself and leave him to his choice of electronic entertainment.  Besides, just like me, he’s not going to get any better at riding the bike unless he actually does some riding on it!  I can’t say as he was thrilled by the idea, but he came around soon enough…

MaxiMe was not having one of his better days.  Not to start with anyway.  Not only is he not used to the fact that you feel crap for the first half an hour or so until you’ve warmed up properly, he was also not having a lot of fun fighting the headwind that he had insisted we go out into so as to have it behind us on the way home.  A good theory I grant you, but there was rather more of the blowy stuff than predicted, and it did turn the exposed flat roads of the Levels into somewhat of a slog.

boy pre ride boy early ride

me shadow

When we reached Mark, me having gotten a little tired of having to continually encourage, coax, nag, tow, jolly along…we had a chat.  I gave him two options, go left, head directly for home, do not pass GO, do not collect £200, and more importantly, do not eat cake at Sweets.  Or MTFU and go and eat cake.  He was clearly torn, and the decision making process took a while…but cake is a strong motivator…and even knowing that would mean returning via Mudgeley Hill, he opted for the first option.  Who’s a good boy then? ;).

And it was beautiful out there.  There were herons, and swans, and unidentified wading over-wintering ducks, and geese, buzzards, crows, magpies…  All these things we observed whilst trying to ignore the fact that the headwind hadn’t gone away and there really isn’t anywhere to hide out there.  On days like these that long straight road seems to go on and on forever…at least MaxiMe thought it did!

boy in need of cake

But this too shall pass…and it did…and we made it to Sweets.  Although it wasn’t empty, it was quiet and we were the only cyclists there….bizarre for a sunny Sunday!  Although judging  by the number of cyclists we passed on the way home afterwards, they were going to be busy later…

cake boy has been tangoed

See how much happier he looks now?  I told you cake works wonders…  It even got him up Mudgeley Hill with the minimum of complaint.  I had forgotten it’s possibly to go up hill so slowly…!  I guess hills always feel hard because I’m trying to get up them the best I can?  Maybe I should just pootle more often ;).  However bad it may sound, it is nice to be reminded that I’m not the slowest cyclist out there sometimes *grin*.

The ride back was more pleasant.  The wind was, as hoped, behind us.  However every cyclist in Somerset was out there, in dribs, drabs, and quite a lot of large groups.  The local traffic had clearly had enough of this, what with Sunday driving to be done, and pub lunches and garden centres to get to, and there was quite a lot of cars squeezing through gaps that didn’t really exist just to navigate us all.  Not entirely pleasant, so on the busier roads I took up my usual rearguard position on the basis that if they’re going to hit someone, I’d rather it was me!  We finally escaped after a little sprint down the bypass, and got back into town with smiles on our faces.  In the (not so) long run, the boy done good :).

Cycling time: 1:30:39 hrs
Distance: 21.36 miles
Avs: 14.1 mph.
ODO: 15946.79 miles

blue bikes

Beauty has her way

When I woke up this morning, having also gone to bed this morning, it has to be said that the chances of me riding today seemed slim.  Though the hangover I most richly deserved failed to make much of an appearance, the shortage of sleep and the general feeling of *bleurgh* that is inevitable after such a night left me feeling distinctly under motivated.  Self-induced jet lag ;).  What difference would waiting to ride for another day, after so many days of delay, make?  I’ll ride tomorrow, when the world returns to normal, I decided.

Time passed.  Copious quantities of coffee restored a degree of humanity.  My insides slowly settled.  We packed and made ready for our return home, surrounded by the chaos of family, half wishing I didn’t have to come home at all.  But we did.  It’s a chicken sitting thing.  During my many sweeps of the house to see what we’d left behind, I grabbed the chance to check the weather forecast for tomorrrow…and wished I hadn’t.  As the weather map slowly advanced, as did a blue wave, predictably coming in to cover Somerset for precisely those hours that were free to me to ride.

The little voice in my head starting calculating, and worrying, and niggling away at me…

So we came home.  Leaving behind us some rather essential chicken sitting keys and the cool bag full of cooking ingredients and the like that I had taken with us to allow me to do the catering in safe stylee.  As yet ignorant of these facts, we drove along the sunny and dry lanes, seemingly passing every cyclist in Somerset.  By the time we got home I’d formulated a plan.  Not a cunning plan.  But a plan nonetheless.

I was still feeling a tad rubbish.  Just as I was recovering from my op and espying the light at the end of the tunnel, Boxing Day saw me come down with the worst cold I’ve had in a long time.  Great if all you want to do is lie on the bed and watch episodes of Criminal Minds, but not good for getting me back to the gym or on the bike.  We were not amused.  It was only the day before yesterday that I finally started to clear of it enough to get a sense of smell and taste back, and it’s still lurking around the edges.  I made it back to the gym twice before New Year’s Eve, on the basis that little steps are better than none.  And believe me, there is work to be done getting me back up to both speed and strength, but it was a start.

But I am feeling on the way back to better.  And the sun was shining, so not to ride?  Positively wasteful.  Rude in fact.  But to overdo it, try and train properly just yet?  Stupid.  Welcome to my plan, my compromise, my brownie point earning scheme.  I decided to take MaxiMe out for a short ride for the first time in forever.  A popular choice all ’round it would appear, and no sooner were we re-installed chez nous than we were kitted up and heading out.  Probably to save me changing my mind ;).

We did the Nyland Loop, as we tend to in such situations.  It’s familiar, easy, fairly quiet, and predictable, with several opportunities for photo ops along the way should the urge strike.  And here we are.

him and I by Nyland

Of course the sun chose that particular moment to be hiding behind an irritating, albeit dramatic, cloud, so it doesn’t look as sunny as it was out there.  It was however dry overhead and, mostly, underwheel.  There’s still a lot of gravel, holes, and puddles around, but we managed to avoid the worst of those, though my back wheel did slip on corners a couple of times.


Doesn’t it look nice out there nonetheless?

boy and tree tree

MaxiMe was very insistent that we take a photo of this swan, conveniently located in the rhyne by where we stopped, which has clearly been doing its own fair share of wheel sucking…see the mud on its neck? 😉  MaxiMe is almost useful that windbreak way now – as he’s grown again!  So much so that he felt a lot more comfortable on his bike.  His back problem, possibly caused by too much stretch to the handlebars, never manifested itself, though to be fair it’s not like we were out long.

muddy swanTime will tell, but he said he was feeling much more comfortable and he definitely looked better on the bike than before.  There has to be some advantage to the speed at which he’s growing right?!  He enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, and let’s face it, it was the best way to start a cycling year :).

maxime cube and scorpion mother and son

Stats for your delectation, should you be interested:

Cycling time: 0:49:37 hrs
Distance: 12.39 miles
Avs: 15.0 mph.
ODO: 15562.39 miles

Last year I cycled 5118 miles.  I have to admit to being a bit disappointed with only managing 177 more than 2012.  But considering that for the last two months I’ve barely ridden and done around 600 miles less than I did over that same period last year, that’s not too shabby, right?  And I do have my reasons, though I’m planning on trying not to use them as excuses.  It is very easy to get so lost in some of the rubbish that has gone on this year, especially latterly, but actually I probably need to remember that I did really well.  I did!  All those lovely sportives, the progress I made, my beautiful new bike, the wonders of the Dolomites, the great people I have met and/or cycled with?  Standing on the top of the Passo di Giau was such a highlight for me this year.  I should stop moaning :).

photo taken of me top of GiauSo ok, come to think of it, 2012 wasn’t as bad as it sometimes seems.  But for all that I am determined that 2013 is going to be a better year.  Plans are afoot and falling into place.  It’s a whole new year.  A new start.  And it’s going to be great – because I said so!  Come ride with me? :).


Next to me

Ok, so it was a rest day.  But it was a rest day when the sun was shining and the road was calling, so when he came home from school, and youngest was duly deposited where she needed to be, MiniMe and I did the Nyland Loop.  In shorts!  Not like I had that much choice actually, as all Sunday’s kit was in the washing machine.  So it was shorts, sleeveless top, and minxy arms, which did the job a treat.  Parfait.

Cycling time: 0:48:03 hrs.
Distance: 12.11 miles
Avs: 15.1 mph.
ODO: 13829 miles

I know I call him MiniMe, but man, have you seen the size of him now?  Come to think of it, I probably ought to check his saddle height and position again…

We had a lovely ride in the sunshine, with no agenda, just enjoying being on the bike.  He’s getting better all the time, as he gets bigger and stronger.  When he stops growing he can have some proper shoes and cleats too – but I think that might be a way off, and he grew out of my old shoes a while back!  Maybe I should stop feeding him?

He quite likes being a blog entry – and even chose the title of this himself, because when we’re riding, that is where you’ll find him.  I am also supposed to inform the donor of his top that it’s very lovely and he likes it a lot.  This is as good a medium as any, so thanks GB! 🙂

Anyway, I know I look a right state, but here’s my boy and me, smiling in the sun.  He’s not actually that much taller than me, it’s a position thing, but hey, it’s only a matter of time :).

And so this is Christmas.

By the time you’ve reached this elevated age, you don’t get a great many Christmas presents.  And Santa Claus is clearly not satisfied that I’ve been good, for goodness sake, and I didn’t find a Van Nicholas Chinook under the tree.  To be fair, I’d have been beyond gobsmacked if I had!  However I am the happy recipient of an “I love to ride” necklace, and a lovely snuggly crank hoodie.  Not a surprise, since these days the safest way for me to get Christmas presents I like is to buy them and then tell hubby what he’s bought me *grin*.  Best of all my brother and family have bought me, as requested, a Rapha winter hat :).  Can you spot the theme running through my gifts at all? 😉

So the Rapha collection (or addiction) grows…*grin*.  I also had a bit of a weak moment (I may have been drinking) when pointed at the Rapha sale last night…so there may be a Galibier jersey (I’m entitled, right?!) and black logo t-shirt  (black is so slimming) on their way to me too.  Oops ;).  Good thing I got a bit of money for Christmas too, no?  Actually my best gift is a pendant/keyring that MiniMe made me at school.  He’s very proud of it, has been dying to give it to me since term ended, and it’s lovely :).  I just need to find a jump ring and a chain for it and then I’ll be wearing it a lot.  Bless his little cotton socks :).

Clearly I’m not riding today.  In fact I won’t be back on the bike until the Turkey Teaser on the 28th, which I’m already looking forward to.  Time off is really not my thing…  In the meantime however I shall make the most of it, and there is carb loading (aka over-indulging), and resting to be done (falling asleep on the sofa after lunch).  Merry Christmas everyone!  Hope you all have a great day :).


Drop the boy

For the first time in a very long time, life and circumstances combined in such a way that MiniMe and I were able to go for a ride today.  For some reason his school thinks half term is three days longer than everyone else does, meaning that he’s at home until Thursday, unlike his sister.  The shopping and errands in Weston were surprisingly easily completed, and we were home with plenty of time to get out for an hour or so before lunch.

Today is the first day of November, and it would not be unreasonable to expect it to be cold, wet, and horrible out there, right?  But no.  The unseasonal continues.  It was mild, gloriously sunny, with very little wind.  Again!  Shorts, mitts, sleeveless top…the only concessions to the slightly less than summery temperatures were my arms and his gilet.  Result!

I won’t go pretending it was the world’s most exciting ride – in that we just did the Nyland loop, anti-clockwise at his request.  However it was a lovely one.  He’s been cycling to and from school every day for a couple of months, which isn’t far, but does seem to have improved his bike handling skills, and he was a little less wobbly than before.  I let him wheelsuck as much as possible but it’s not the easiest thing in the world for either of us.  He gets distracted and falls off the back, and I get distracted and speed up!  I made him sprint a couple of times, which was kinda fun.  Well, fun for me anyway 😉  He still hates hills of any sort, but he was definitely a bit faster on the flat, bringing his average speed for our ride to 14.4mph, with which he’s very pleased.  It’s going to be hard to find time for us to get rides in between now and the Spring, so it’s great that this one was a good one 🙂

Cycling time: 0:52:23 hrs
Distance: 12.62 miles.
Avs: 14.4 mph
ODO: 10775 miles

In the meantime, since I can’t be on the bike as much as I’d like, I’m continuing to book events for next year to look forward to.  Up to 4 plus the big one now.  Mad March Hare (already sold out!), Tour of Pembrokeshire, Wheel Heroes (again) and the Dartmoor Classic (also selling out fast).  I’m hoping to do a sportive roughly every two weeks up until the Maratona, so I’ve pencilled in 4 or 5 other weekends I can do and shall be in search of sportives to match those dates as next year’s calendar gets more events added to it.  As for after that, who knows?

My boy lollipop

Last night’s forecast for this morning was “hint of autumn” which I suppose the fog probably was.  So when it brightened up and became positively summery, and MiniMe and I had a chance to ride, it would have been downright rude to refuse.  Although I was initially a bit reluctant, feeling a bit tired after yesterday’s longer ride, I was reliably informed that it would count as a recovery ride, so I had no excuses left.  Let’s face it Autumn will be here for real soon enough…

We did the same loop as the other day, just in reverse.  MiniMe has now been UP Rug Hill, and DOWN Notting Hill.  He’s learning to enjoy descents which might just motivate him to go up the ups with a little more enthusiasm now.  Even I had a blast going down Notting Hill *grin*.

However the traffic on the more main roads was doing the usual job of making me even less likely to let MiniMe out on his own.  One particular large lorry went past us on the bypass close enough to make me duck…like that would help.  I mean really, would it kill you to give us a bit more room?  Because if you don’t it might kill us, and I’m thinking that might delay you more than the 30 secs that taking the time to go ’round us properly would.

Cycling time: 1:06:28 hrs
Distance: 14.65 miles.
Avs: 13.1 mph
ODO: 9962 miles

That not withstanding, it was actually a lovely ride.  Warmth, sun, no wind…see look, I’m all recovered! 😉


Yep, no mp3 player today, as it was a MiniMe ride and I felt I should be paying attention to what he was doing.  We spent an hour this morning with Andrew, getting his new (shorter) stem fitted.  His saddle also had to go up – 4cms!!  4cms since June!!  OMG!  It’s no wonder I can see his ankles all the time, and that my cycling shoes don’t fit him anymore…*gulp*.  It’s a darn good thing we bought him a decent sized frame to future proof it a bit!  He’s not been on a bike for quite a long time so today’s ride was just about getting his legs going round again, and testing that the changes made have made things better.

Anyway, we did an loop for an hour in the sun, with which he is mighty pleased.  There was barely anything that counted as a hill, though he may disagree with that.  There were lots of nice quiet country roads, very few cars, nice weather, and, well, what more can you ask for?  I am ignoring the little voice that says longer, faster and hillier would be good, on the basis that it wasn’t about that, and that I plan on doing those things with GB on Sunday.

Cycling time: 1:04:32 hrs
Distance: 14.26 miles.
Avs: 13.2mph
ODO: 9880 miles

I do think I’m going to miss those Cornish hills though, and if I end up doing another big event next year, I’m thinking a training camp session down there beforehand could well be the way to go.