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

Monday, 30 May 2016

I've Upped My Mileage!

In preparation for riding the 68 mile Davina Big Sussex ride on 12th June I've been increasing my mileage over the last two weeks.

Last weekend I headed from home to Shoreham Harbour along the cycle path and then back again a round trip of about 32 miles, pushing through to Seaford after a quick stop off at home to replenish the drinking bottle and give my legs a rest.  Mr B was supposed to be coming out with me but had just done 3 late night shifts and didn't have the energy so I pushed on to do the last 10 miles to make up the mileage to 42.  Not a particularly hard ride apart from dodging people, dogs and children on the cyclepaths and the London to Brighton Mini Rally at Madeira Drive.

This weekend I increased my mileage to 54.  Should have been 55 but I missed it by a few yards!  This weekend's solo ride was to Worthing and back, then add the extra 10 by doing the Seaford and back ride!  Mostly cycle or shared path with a little bit of road cycling and a couple of inclines!  Lots of testing the brakes to avoid colliding with young children, dogs & people who don't understand the concept of shared paths and cycling designated areas!
I wasn't feeling too bad until I was coming back from Seaford, everything was starting to hurt, the worst being my backside, and the mental demons were starting too.  All the doubts about doing another 13 miles on top, being out on the bike for probably more than 6 hours!   It's very true that all long distance exercise is more mental than physical.   I never thought I'd go further than 40 miles so I just need to convince myself.  I think the thing that scares me the most is the lack of hill training, if Shaun had been around yesterday it probably would've been a proper circular ride with some hills thrown in, but I just had to go with what didn't knock my confidence too much!  Better to get the mileage in than not going at all

I've been playing with nutrition - Power Bar protein cereal bars are great and easy to eat on the move.  I'm not too keen on gels, they tend to play havoc with my digestive system as they have overnight and this morning so I think I'll have to rethink the food side of things.  I'll also need to carry spare drinks tabs to refill the bottles.

No cycling next weekend as we're away in Tribby.  I've got a double class of Kettlebells and Boxercise on Tuesday but hopefully I'll be able to get a few miles on the bike on Wednesday, and hopefully some the following week in the run up to Davina.  It may still come down to the weather - I'm not riding 68 miles in the piddling rain!

The good thing about yesterday's ride - I've topped up my Vitamin D well and truly and am now sporting some very tanned legs, arms and face*

*read sunburn

Tribby's Travels - Freezing May Bank Holiday

I can't believe we're now on the second of the Bank Holidays in May - what a complete difference to the first one!  Weather wise it couldn't be more of a contrast, also Mr B is working the whole weekend, so we're not away.   I forgot I had this post on draft, so time to publish!

We're determined to make the most of this year's trips in Tribby - even if it means getting wet or being frozen solid!   The Early May bank holiday was no exception, I hope our next trip away is warmer.

We'd booked Saturday to Tuesday at the Caravan & Camping Club's Canterbury site - I used one of my valuable 3 days annual leave to enjoy Shaun's first long weekend off since we got back from Australia.   We've come to the conclusion that using the club sites is less of a lottery as far as facilities are concerned.   I know we have our own but being able to have a proper shower and hair wash at some point over the weekend is much more preferable to the dribble of water we can use in Tribby's little shower and also it's warmer!   It also means that we can wash up and not fill our waste tank and have the hassle of driving off site to empty every couple of days.

Canterbury Club Site is about a mile and a bit outside the city centre.     We were given a pitch in "The Wood".   The site is quite large (200 units) and is divided into sections.   The Wood was lovely and quiet - lots of enormous rabbits and a squirrel for Archie to stalk and bark at all day.   There was only us a tent and a trailer tent - lots of space, especially when the tent left on Sunday!  We weren't too far away from the facilities either.

We actually managed to get the new chairs and awning out!
Huge rabbit that Archie had his eye on !
Across the road from the site is a golf club and entrance to a public footpath which leads on to a vast expanse of heathland which was ideal for walking the dog.   On the Saturday afternoon we walked along the main road into the City, had a mooch about and then walked back the same way.

On Sunday we ventured over the road and found our way along a series of footpaths to a network of cycle/shared paths - it probably had a name but I have no memory!   It was very pleasant not having to walk near the main road.

my kind of shop
On Monday we walked over to the heathland again, but took a different path which led us further out to the edges of the City.   We walked back in to the City Centre and found The Forge and had something to eat and a glass of locally brewed cider each.  Archie was spoilt by the staff and had his own bowl of water and a treat, plus a couple of chips from the plate!

Even doggies get cold
Luckily I took my big scarf 
It wasn't the warmest of weekends, although rain didn't stop play we spent most of the time wrapped up in blankets with the electric heater going.

Next stop - Graffham on 3rd June !

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

South Downs Spring Sportive - The Return 15th May 2016

I last took part in the Cycling Weekly South  Downs Spring Sportive in 2014, so knew what to expect.   The last time I took part was in aid of my charity for the year but this time was just for "fun" and a training ride for the next challenge I've set myself.   34 miles of "rolling" "undulating" Sussex hills.  I'd actually had nightmares about two of the hills which I'd walked up in 2014, I have no idea why because they didn't seem that daunting when faced with them this time - just another set of hills!

It was perfect riding weather on 15th May - not too hot, not too cold, a bit of sunshine, some cloud and a bit of a breeze.  We were supposed to meet up with Nik and her husband Conrad who were also riding and would have been there at the same time if Shaun hadn't suddenly realised at the entrance to the racecourse that he'd forgotten his cycling shoes!   So back home (we're in Tribby so that was never going to be very quick), pick up the shoes and drive back, register, spot Baylo at the start line and wave her off, back to the van to change and off we went.   It was quite busy at our start time and everyone in our group soon sped off and left us to it, only to be joined a few minutes later by the next group.   First major hill came soon after we left the start - one very kind cyclist checked to make sure that the heavy breathing, granny gear numpty (me!) was ok and not about to go into full cardiac arrest.   My new method of getting up the worst hills is to really take in some deep controlled breaths down into my stomach (theoretically obviously cos that ain't scientifically possible) and then push them out loudly - like the weightlifters do.  It's something I've started doing at boxercise too, it's amazing how much energy that hard breath out can produce!

Shaun came and went - checking on my progress, shouting encouragement and then whizzing off into the distance and then suddenly realising I wasn't keeping up.  I've decided we both need to acknowledge I'm never going to be Miss Speedy Pants.  

We reached the feed station at 20 miles in less than 2 hours so it was going ok - Nik and Conrad were leaving just as we'd arrived so we'd done ok - or so I thought!   Quick freshen up and grab some goodies from the table and we were on our way again - on to the next hill I'd been dreading.  I'm not sure it was anywhere near as bad as last time, in fact I can't even remember which one it was I walked up.   We were doing really well as we entered Plumpton Green and then disaster struck - the railway crossing barriers came down!  These are now automated so are down for what seemed like an eternity.  Lots of joking between those of us caught by it that we should do a Paris-Roubaix and just go through - joking!  Absolutely no way is bettering my time worth risking my life.  It gave me an opportunity to catch my breath, take a drink and relax a bit and enjoy the last bit back to the finish line.

We collected our lovely medals

and headed into the relaxation area to meet up with Nik & Conrad who had obviously finished quite a bit before us - thanks to the train!  It was good to see Nik - her first sportive and she totally smashed it - she's far better than she thinks she is.

Quick coffee and a fried egg roll and chat with Nik before we headed home.

Having downloaded the data from my new Garmin I improved my time by about 5 minutes, although the official time says I was slower.   I need to get my head round it - major victories in the fact that I didn't walk up any of the hills this time.  My average moving speed was faster, in 2014 it was 39.6kph and this year it was 42.2kph - not a massive difference but it does at least mean I'm getting better at going downhill, and I spent a lot of time cycling alone with no instruction or encouragement from his lordship.

This is a great starter event for new cyclists, and old hands.  Great starting venue, lovely marshalls out on the road making sure you're safe, amazing selection at feed stations and a great atmosphere back at the finish - well done Cycling Weekly.

Onward and upward - next stop Davina Big Sussex Bike ride - and it is big - all 68 miles of it and LOTS of hills (with Nik).   I've got to up my distance this weekend to around 45 miles and push out of my comfort zone, hopefully with my trusty coach by my side.  The following week (which is a Bank Holiday) I've got to go even further but by myself - that's going to be hard, otherwise I'll be dropping back to do the 40 mile ride, on my own!