About Andrea

Unrelenting optimist; slow but enthusiastic cyclist. I love family; happiness and kindness; the ocean, bubbles and sunsets - combined if possible; watching Dance; having sofa sundays; love, laughter and as much silliness as possible. Making healthy changes in my life. Blog: https://changingonestepatatime.wordpress.com/

It’s February, Must Be Time For A New Mission

Looks like February is a time when I get myself sorted. One day it will be ALL YEAR LONG! But until then, I’ve signed myself up to do Chloe Madeley’s 4-Week Body Blitz.

So I have seen the light. The January madness at work is over, I’ve moved house and now it’s time to refocus on Project Me!

I probably need to do it for 12 weeks, but to start with a 4-week hit (and HIIT… ugh) seems a good starting point. I am on day 4 now. One day at a time. I’ll be posting a bit more frequently on Instagram with pics and daily updates.

Wish me luck! If you are doing anything similar – let me know! We can do it.  Yes, we can!

We did it. 100 miles!

We did it! We did the Crafted Classic 100 miler in August.

It took over 8 hours. It was hilly. It was hot.  We were nearly the last back. But we did it. It was mostly beautiful. But the last few miles were very tough. I didn’t realise quite how beautiful Suffolk was. 

And most importantly we raised around £1500 for Marie Curie. So it was worth all the pedalling and the pain. 

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts xx

+3 days; Diary of Horace Wimp helps me get back on the horse

Time for a quick solo hour ride out. The weather was good and I had no reason not to go out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Sunday. Friends and family have been really lovely. They know how much training we have put in, but we feel that we want to make up the mileage and just have to figure out how and when.

On Sunday I wrote to my friends that we had only done 54 miles (46 plus the 8 back to the hotel). Then I thought about it. Only 54 miles? 2 years ago I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to cycle 45 miles of the Prince’s Trust Palace to Palace ride. I thought those doing the 90.mile Ultra route were crazy. Then It took over 4 and a half hours of cycling time on a mostly flat route.

So it is fair to say some progress has been made those 2 years! Anyway, I went out last night and had my Garmin set for an average of 13 mph. Not that fast admittedly, but faster than some of our training rides a couple of weeks ago. I checked it on the ride, I was ahead of the pace! The route I had taken had some ‘rises’ for sure and Stoke Hammond hill which in the past had me cycling it at walking pace. One time I had barely managed to overtake a man walking it! It’s short, though, with a maximum inclination of 8.7%.

Strava segment (in case you are bothered)!

StokeHammondHill

“It’s not a hill” I told myself, “it’s just a rise”. I compared it to Wimbledon Hill that we cycled on Sunday and thought it’s not even as long or steep as that. Up… Up… Up… I pedalled. It seemed to be at the top quicker than normal. Good.

Home straight now. I cycled and sang ELO’s Diary of Horace Wimp in my head then (sort of) out loud coming home.

Horace_Wimp
Cover art for single The Diary Of Horace Wimp by the Electric Light Orchestra. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the label, Jet Records, or the graphic artist(s). By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6667559

Don’t be afraid. Just knock at the door. Well he just stood there mumbling and fumbling, when a voice from above said Horace Wimp, this is your life, go out and find yourself a life…  you can do it come on, Horace...”.(etc).

Thank goodness there was hardly any traffic! Bizarrely this motivated me … come on Horace, you can do it! Got home. Computer says 14 mph average! And load of personal bests. Finally. I have found a little speed!

So it seems this cycling thing is not yet over. More things to achieve and improve. The Pretty* is not going on eBay yet!

*my road bike

 

 

+24 hours: for us, we can cycle another day; it’s just a goal that we have not yet achieved

Firstly, Wayne and I are fine – but we did not manage to complete the 100 miles route, as we we got diverted to the shorter, 46 mile course.

24 hours on, we are still gutted but also we are happy to be safe. And we are very thankful for the wonderful support and generosity of all our family and friends – and the money going to Marie Curie is just wonderful – £1,300+ – thank you so much!

This is how the weekend played out:

We drove up to London on Saturday as we had early starts the next day from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. As with all mass participation events, there was lots of waiting around to get to the start line and we were part of 27,000 people doing the ride. We left the hotel at 7am but were due to start at 8:48 (Wayne) and 8:59 (me). (We realise now that we should have put the same estimated finishing times into our applications to have a better chance of being in the same start group). We were both very nervous, but it was better when we were actually cycling. The mood in the starting pens was very good, people were friendly and chatty. After lots of nervous energy, waiting, threats of the start line DJ/Techie playing that Techies’ favourite track 😉 Tina Tuner: Simply The Best … all of a sudden it was 10 seconds to go: 9, 8 (clip in shoes…) 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 , 2, 1 …. we were off!

Wayne and I had agreed to meet at the first drinks station on The Mall at mile 11. The first miles went really quickly and London looked beautiful (even Wayne had to admit it!). We met up as planned. We agreed that it was a lot quicker than we had been doing in training, but we’d be warned not too go off too fast, and then have nothing to draw on later on… a 100 miles is a 100 miles after all.

We paced ourselves really well, ahead of schedule and keeping to a 15 mph pace. We passed the first big hub at Hampton Court Bridge and kept going. All good so far. We heard the Marshalls shouting “everyone go straight on” “go straight on”. After about half a mile we realised we had been diverted. We couldn’t believe it; saying that we were gutted would be an understatement. We cycled the rest of the route in a daze. We finished only 46 miles and felt absolutely fine physically.

After all the anticipation it was really difficult to process what had happened. We decided to go straight back to the hotel and generally be miserable together, until a very nice man from Marie Curie stopped us on the way out of St James’s Park and asked us if we were going back to their hospitality area for food and showers. He was so pleasant, gave us a map, we just decided to go with it and maybe we could find out what had happened. Lots of questions were in our minds.

When we got to the Marie Curie place, they were lovely. We were a bit emotional to be honest. They told us that they had heard that there had been some big accidents and someone had hit a tree and the air ambulance was in attendance. A little more digging and we found out that there had been two serious crashes, and that riders ahead of us on the course had been stopped on Leith Hill. Diversions were put in place. That put things in perspective. We were well and safe, but some people were having a much, much worse day than we were.

Today, Ride London have just posted that a charity cyclist passed away after a heart attack at around mile 25 – so very, very sad. Although we are still disappointed and my first reaction was put the bike on eBay and go back to the sofa. But our disappointment is nothing, just nothing in comparison to that tragic news. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones.

For us, we can cycle another day; it’s just a goal that we have not yet achieved – raising money for a fantastic cause and a ‘century’ on the bike. The first part is done (thank you), just not the second. We have decided that we will make up the miles somehow for everyone who supported us and also, for ourselves. Not sure when and how, but we will.

In closing we would just like to say a MASSIVE thanks again to everyone who supported us – emotionally and financially – and for your messages yesterday before and after – you are all awesome. Thank you so much from us both xx

 

 

Eve of the ride, yikes 

2 weeks ago I was in a bad place. Our plan was to ride more than the 60 miles from the previous week.. As per normal I was dressed in a full-length Big Daddy (see previous posts) as the weather had been so terrible I hadn’t ever made it into shorter cycle gear. First 31 miles were okay-ish. But during the second part of the ride the temperature rocketed. It was searing hot outside. Hmmm I am no good when it is hot and humid. Never have been, even as a child. Wayne was really good though and made me keep stopping for drinks and shade. Then it dawned on us that I was basically cycling in what looked like a material wetsuit – designed for the winter. Keeping cool was a challenge. Anyway we limped home having done 62 miles. Very dejected. Probably the lowest point in our training. What if on the day the temperatures were so hot? For sure I needed to wear something more suitable in the heat but I have not been a shorts wearer for a long time. I prefer a nice sarong/pareo on holiday! Hmm, rethink needed. 

The next training was miserable. Not for the heat but just very tough going. The subsequent one was better … enjoyable even, dare I say it? The next day a new Big Daddy arrived for me (summer weight) as well as some knee warmers! Really! 

One week ago, we drove the Surrey Hills of the ride. Oh my. They are tough. Scared ourselves again! We will just do what we can do. In hindsight (always wonderful) we would have gone earlier and actually ridden them. The gradient is 13% at its highest on the worst hill !!!

Next training was the next day … target 76 miles. We’d had a break of 3 days and it was a good call. The ride was tough (quite a bit of climbing) but manageable and we felt vaguely human after it. Breakthrough! At last.

That’s it. Then we tapered this week. My cycling app  (oh I love a spreadsheet / statistic!) tells me I am in form (balance of fitness vs being tired –  worked out from my bike computer / heart rate monitor. So we are all set. Registered. 

We’ll be in yellow jerseys for Marie Curie but you won’t mistake us for Chris Froome! 🙂

Thank you for your ongoing support.  We won’t promise an full update tomorrow but will try to do a quick post to confirm we are in one piece! No news is good news 🙂

Wayne and Andrea xx


Buying a book called Racing Weight does not mean you will instantly be at Racing Weight, more’s the pity

So we have been reading a lot. What to wear. What to eat. Even how to pedal. Cycling magazines litter the house. What has happened to us? Parcels arrive at the house almost daily. Electrolyte tablets, gels, whatever. Most likely it is for me – arm warmers or other such ridiculous items. Packages from weirdly named places like Wiggle and the poor postman is a constant visitor.I found a fantastic blog called Sportive Cyclist by a guy called Monty. He offers all sorts of practical tips and recommended a great book called Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. Sub title: How to get lean for peak performance. We need all the help we can get.

What a great book. Loads of practical tips for improving your cycling performance by improving the quality of your diet and effectively reducing your fat content while retaining your lean, muscle mass. 

Would have been even better if I had read it 5 months ago and not finished it a week ago. Ho hum. Meanwhile the Wayneybaby has been annoyingly determined and has lost 18 lbs (or 8 bags of sugar). Grrr. Good for him obviously. But grrrr nevertheless! For some reason I have found it really hard to train and lose weight at the same time. Although the scales do say that I have increased my lean tissue and reduced my fat content a bit, I had hoped that all this exercise would have shifted more weight. Nope. You really do have to address the diet too. In the last couple of weeks when we have ramped up the exercise the scales have finally started to move in the right direction. Can we move Sunday’s ride back to November? 😉 

Ah well, the super skinny cyclists will be whizzing past me up the hills for sure… but for now mwua ha ha I will have the benefit of gravity on the way down. 

Signing off now. Until tomorrow!

JustGiving link: 100 Miles of Pain

Chamois Butt’r and butts in general (…sorry, Mum)

Seriously. The things you learn when you start to cycle. If you are very prudey then perhaps this blog is not for you. There are some images that will be revealed in this post that cannot be un-imagined. Tune in tomorrow instead!

Anyway, we shall wait a while before getting to the butts. I was back at the bike shop Chaineys (see what they did there?) picking up my new pretty. I brought my very practical car along for the job. Admittedly the bike did not fit in the boot, but it fit a treat when the roof was down in my old Saab Convertible. Only a bit stuck out!

Made it home (all of 15 minutes) and Wayne suggested we went for a short trial rode to get used to the new, well, everything!

Me: “No, I don’t think so!” W: “So you want to wait until tomorrow when we have to cycle 40+ miles on busy roads?. I do hate it when he is right! But honestly it was scary for me! Everything really was different (except two wheels and a saddle). I had a bit of a crisis of confidence but eventually I agreed – we would go and cycle round a nearby garden centre car park that was closed and try out the pretty. Cycling gear on and headed out. I walked the bike to the car park as didn’t want to risk the road. I really was anxious. I know, I know.

Slowly, slowly I got used to it. I even liked it. And managed to cycle it home! But goodness, this past 2 weeks had been a steep learning curve. The next day we went out and good as gold we managed to cycle 40+ miles. It was okay! The pretty was okay. Phew. Now let’s talk about butts.

Let’s start with Chamois Butt’r.  So really… who would have thought there would be a cycling cream for your, erChamois_Buttr, butt? But there is and all the long distance cyclists recommend using it.

So why is it called Chamois cream? Back in the olden days, cycling shorts had a kind of pad in them that used to be made of – yep you’re ahead of me here – chamois leather to help ease the pain and sores (yuk!) from long hours in the saddle. Apparently, repeated washing of the chamois hardened it, so there became a need for a leather cream to keep it soft. Who knew?

Now we don’t live in the olden days, chamois pads are made of other high-tech materials, so you may think why do you need the cream? Same reasons as before: to prevent chafing / friction / saddle sores etc.

And in case you are wondering, you apply it to the pad and/or yourself. (sorry!) Liberally! But not so liberally that it oozes through your shorts and makes you slide around your saddle! I guess at least it would treat and moisturise your leather saddle, though. So Chamois Butt’r it is then, even if it does seem wrong!

Let’s move on but stay on the subject of butts! The good people over at Ride London recommend that you test out what you are going to ride in, to avoid any discomfort on the day. Wayne has some Marie Curie bib-short things (if you are a Brit, think of the Wrestler Big Daddy!). So he decided to try them out during an evening training ride. To be honest, I wasn’t feeling it that day. Wayne headed out first and I followed closely behind. It turned out that it was a bit too close behind!

My view had became a bit more interesting as Wayne’s new shorts turned out to be semi-transparent. Not quite a full moon, but I can say he was working as a good pacemaker with the muscles in his bottom contracting and expanding! 1,2 – 1 ,2 – 1,2 – 1,2 !  Highly amusing, if not slightly indecent. Too funny but definitely not recommended for the actual ride. Imagine if it rained! Oh, boy.

Back to our training ride. It was becoming dusk. A police car drove past us. Female officer driving. 5 minutes later, she loops past us again. We reckon she was wanting a another look at the (nearly) full moon! I’ll leave you with that image 😉

Until next time!