About Me

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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, reformed gym bunny, broken runner Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Tribby's Travels - Paris Roubaix Take 4

Following the accident on the bike, it's taken me the last two weeks to fully recover.  I took the following Monday off work.   I was struggling to walk and just couldn't face having to walk up and down stairs all morning, or be stuck in the basement not being able to go anywhere.  The bruises on my left leg were getting blacker and my right knee was very swollen.  The massive graze on my right elbow also meant I could neither bend nor straighten my arm and I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  I don't make a habit of taking time off sick but I really just needed to take it easy for another 24 hours.  I spent the day catching up with TV, reading, napping and icing my knee.   I also found some more road rash when I had a shower and had to make the decision not to go to boxercise or spin.  Back to work on Tuesday, the stairs were a nightmare !

Shaun spent Friday packing Tribby for our annual trip to France and after I finished work we headed to my parents to drop off Archie before we headed to Dover and our overnight stop at Hawthorn Farm.  This weekend was almost a repeat of last year's trip!   The crossing was ok - as always made easier by booking the lounge.  The French campsite was more muddy this year thanks to all the recent rain and so we chose the pitch that looked less boggy (or so we thought).  The owner, Marcel, has built a new shower/toilet block since last year - it's much nicer than the original one and the washing up area is not near the open air urinal.  On our way into the site we spotted some event signs in a strange place and had a bit of panic that the route had been changed, so we decided to head to our planned spectating spot to check.   Panic over - all the normal signs and sector marker were in place.   When we got back we opened the bubbles and got dinner - tonight's culinary delight - home made rabbit stew & vegetables

On Sunday morning we headed back to Sector 14 at Sars et Rosieres.  We parked up where we thought we would be safe and went for a little wander down to cow poo mound corner and back.  Quick breakfast of fried egg sandwich and then the Gendarmes arrived to move us on - absolutely no vehicles on the route, no matter how far away from the road you are.   Quick putting away of stuff and off we went to find a better parking spot.  Luckily we were still able to get to Tribby - sitting by the roadside from 9am to 4pm would mean a visit to use the facilities.  It was a perfect day for sitting and waiting for the event to start - we took our new chairs which were very comfortable and perfect for watching the comings and goings, and chatting to other supporters.

Mr B surveying the cobbles

Relaxing in the sun

Our Belgian friends who have been at the same spot for the last 10 years!

At about 12.30/1pm the junior riders came through - there was a massive pile up on the corner before our spot which included one of the Team GB riders - luckily no serious injuries and they all carried on to Roubaix, although some were pretty battered.

 The advertisers cavalcade came through about an hour before the cyclists and dished out newspapers, bags, hats and Haribo.

The cyclists were supposed to reach us at about 3.15, but at 3.30 there wasn't even a sighting of the helicopter following them.  It was another 15 minutes before they made an appearance.  It had obviously been a very hard day on the road

Fabian Cancellara 

Matty Hayman - the eventual winner
We've learnt that you never leave the course until the "broom wagon" comes through - you never know what you miss and it's pretty dangerous to be walking along with your back to a cyclist!

Back to the campsite - couldn't get on to our pitch as it was so wet, we tried another but that didn't work either and had to be pulled out by Marcel the owner!   He showed us where there was a better pitch and we parked up for the night.   Tonight's culinary delight - sausage stew!   We do eat well on our trips and are getting better at catering for ourselves in a limited space with limited equipment!   Batch cooking is definitely the way forward.

I think I had too much sun and wine on the Sunday, and spent the rest of the afternoon/evening napping inside Tribby

I did have a lovely view though.

Up early on Monday for the drive back to Dunkirk.  We stopped at our normal service station for breakfast and buy some baguettes for lunch (much better than what you can get on the boat).  Spotted a migrant sitting on the grass in the car park so it was a flying visit.   The security at Dunkirk has been stepped up a huge amount with the lorries going through a number of scans and searches.  Luckily for cars and motorhomes it's only one search!

All in all a fantastic weekend - just what we needed after the disaster of Easter weekend and the bike fall and not long until my birthday !

Monday, 4 April 2016

When Things Don't Quite Go How You Expected

The last two weekends have been very "interesting", and neither were quite what we thought they were going to be.

We were really looking forward to getting away in Tribby for Easter Weekend, even though Easter was a bit early and the nights were still dark early and there was a nip in the air.  We hadn't any time out since Australia so we were really looking forward to 4 solid days of relaxation and dog walking.  Getting Tribby ready over the couple of weeks beforehand was very exciting.  We treated the water tank, made sure the water pump and heater worked, swept, dusted and wiped so the inside was clean and gradually put the contents back in and refilled the "goodies" cupboards.
The weather forecast wasn't too favourable as we headed to Chichester - Storm Katie was heading our way, but probably not until Monday morning.  Driving out on Good Friday, especially towards Chichester, is always a bad idea but we hadn't really expected it to take nearly 3 hours to make the 50 mile journey.   We'd booked a pitch at the Camping & Caravanning Club Site at Chichester - a perfect place for walking being on the estuary.  When we arrived we had to find a supermarket - the journey took so long we decided to skip the visit to the big Tesco and instead search out the Express in the village.  Provisions purchased we headed back to Tribby - Shaun took Archie for a recce walk and I sat and read my Kindle and ate Hot Cross Buns.

The weather on Friday and Saturday morning was ok - we woke to lovely sunshine.  After breakfast we headed out to walk the footpath that Shaun had found the previous day and walk part of the Estuary.  It was quite windy at this point, funny watching the birds trying to fly across the water.

It was a lovely walk.  Back to Tribby for lunch and a bit of relaxing.   Shaun headed back out for another walk a bit later and then the weather started in earnest.   We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening watching DVDs.   We agreed to pack up on Sunday if it got any worse.  It's ok in Tribby with just Shaun and I, but having Archie with us when it's raining isn't comfortable, and not fair on Archie who just wants to have room to play.  Saturday night was a bit uncomfortable, we got woken up every time the rain started and the gusts of wind were getting worse to the extent that Tribby was swaying.  On Sunday morning, although the rain had stopped we decided to pack up and return home.  The winds forecast for the next 24 hours were 70mph - Shaun didn't fancy driving in that.  On Easter Monday we awoke to devastation - the back fence had been removed by Katie!

Later in the week I was contacted by my friend Nik asking if I wanted to join a group ride - originally 40 miles starting at the Brighton Pier.  I struggled to make the decision whether to go or not - Shaun was working on Saturday so I was on my own - having to drive there and back as well do the ride without him!  On Friday I asked Nik if she knew the route and she came back to me and said the ride was now only 33 miles  but starting from Hove Park at 7.30am, via Devils Dyke (or renamed by me as Bitch Hill).

In the past my anxiety has stopped me from taking part in these rides but I desperately wanted to get out on the bike and I needed some miles in the bank - no cycling next weekend!   So after a few moments of "nope I can't do it" I found myself in the car with kit and bike and on my way to Hove at 6.45am to meet up with the guys and girls from BTRS.   Quick safety briefing and route explanation, including where the regrouping points were and we were off!   I have no idea when but at some point between 10 and 15 miles I managed to touch my front wheel on Nik's back wheel - never a good thing when you're on a bike.  So ....... the inevitable stacking of me occurred.   Somehow, and I have no idea, I got back on the bike after a little time of being checked over by Kurt, the ride leader, and a few people who had stopped on the road.   I think my right knee and elbow took most of the impact.  We caught up with the rest of the group at the halfway point.  Short rest then back on it and headed to the hilly bit of the course - Devils Dyke.    I managed quite a lot of the hilly bits apart from the worst parts of the climb - pain was starting to kick in with my back and right hip so I couldn't ride up the worst part!  So proud of Nik though, on her first ever road ride she actually managed to cycle up the whole way - something I've not managed!

We caught up with the rest of the group at the top in the golf club car park.
Nik bringing up the rear - so proud of her

The view from Devils Dyke
The ride back into Hove was pretty fast - it's pretty much downhill all the way with two horrible roundabouts.   When we got back to the park there was hot tea and coffee and cake waiting for us - very welcome.  Having surveyed my injuries I was very lucky nothing got broken - lots of bruising and grazing.   Apparently I'm a proper cyclist now I've got road rash!
Photo by Nik Bailey - Love riding with these two!

I couldn't be more proud of this one - first proper road ride!

Checking my injuries back at the Park
My expensive arm warmer was a bit ruined

Bruised left leg the day after

Sore elbow - imagine if that had been without sleeves
The big lessons of the day - always wear your cycling helmet - I only had a small scratch and a dent from an impact but just imagine if I hadn't been wearing it.

Casualty list :-

1 arm warmer
1 pair of shorts
lots of skin
1 bottle rack
1 cycling helmet

Luckily it's my birthday in a couple of weeks !