Dear friends, I confess, I am a fair-weather cyclist…

Now, where did we get to? Oh, yes. We both had places on the Ride London-Surrey 100. We had to register again online and we were done. Later we will be issued with our start times (hoping that they are close together) but we would only hear about that a couple of months down the line.

As we were about to start our training the British weather was, well, British. Rainy. Cold. Miserable. Admittedly, I am a fair weather cyclist. 20 degrees C is perfectly acceptable (plus or minus 2 degrees) but I am not, and have never been, keen on the rain or mud or cold!

The Wayneybaby, naturally, is a different animal. He LOVES the mud. I think it’s down to his rugby playing days when I would look in the bath (tub) after he’d been in it and there would be half the rugby pitch’s mud left in the bottom. Anyway, I digress. So back to in March 2016, here were our cycling stats:

Wayne: 113 miles in 9 rides – including all that mountain biking business

Me: 36 miles across 3 rides – lake and trails and coffee stops

April followed a similar pattern, but training started with a 16 miler around the lakes of Milton Keynes (actually, very scenic – more waterfront than Brighton,  you know?) and with, amazingly, no stops for cappuccino!

The plan was that in May, the training would really kick-in at 12 weeks out. 3 rides in the first 8 days of May were a great start, although the first training we did on the roads (with hills – you may know that I love hills? I love hills… I love hills…) was very tough being a 23-mile slightly bumpy route.

A slight interruption then occurred as we went away to celebrate my birthday in Holland – on the coast and then in Amsterdam. Oh, Holland, how I love thee and your flat, cycling highways! We flew home after a lovely 4 days and by mid-May we were raring to go.

On the 17th, we did a 15 miler round the lakes and trails. The first half was okay, but the second half I felt terrible and was slower than my usual snail’s pace. Had I’d celebrated too much in The Dam?

Well, it turns out I was feeling so terrible because I was unwell. The next 3 weeks I was more or less wiped out by a virus and could hardly train. Sigh. That was not the plan. And then Wayne got it too. Luckily he managed to recover a bit quicker than me, but our training plans were blown to bits. It was now just over 8 weeks to go  – and we needed to make a decision to go for it – or to postpone to next year.

What to do? I searched and found a training plan that was effectively this: train for a century in 8 weeks for those with no time! It looked tough, but doable.

So now it was June already. The bloomin’ British weather was still miserable, cold and rainy.  It was decision time – Tuesday June 7th – with 8 weeks to go. We decided that if we could do 3 x training sessions that week, we would go for it. Tuesday came around (a planned training day) but Wayne was coughing like a trooper – so he needed to stay home and rest – although he totally hated that! But, at least he had more in the training bank than me, I was still playing catch-up.

That Tuesday evening I made it home from the office in daylight hours. Good start. It was raining. Of course it was. And yes, dear friends, I went out in the rain. On my own. As per the plan, I cycled for an hour. I got stung by stinging nettles, got rained on and came home very muddy. So it seemed, we were not ready to give up the fight yet. It was ON. We were somehow going to do this thing and cycle the 100 in just 8 weeks time!

Can we do it? Well, I guess we shall soon enough! 5 days to go!

Cycle 100 miles? Yeah, why not!

Once upon a time, a girl had a bright idea. This is how it began:

Back in the depths of winter of November 2015, I thought: “I need a new challenge for next year. Hmm, what’s that Ride London-Surrey thing all about? Oh look, they have a 100 mile Sportive in the summer of 2016. Let’s sign up for that. Wayne, Wayne, shall we sign up?”

Wayne: “What? You want to do what??? 100 miles on a bike! Without an engine?!”

You want to do what

Wayne: “You want to do what??? 100 miles on a bike! Without an engine??”

Anyway, after not much deliberation at all, we signed up for the ballot for a place each.

Like the London Marathon, we knew that this closed-road ride through London and Surrey would be oversubscribed, especially as it was created  as one of the legacies from London 2012, where some of the route was made famous by the Olympic cyclists. Hmm, that should have been a clue right there. (Just say no!)

We were virtually certain that one of us would get a place and one of us would need to apply for a charity spot. On no evidence whatsoever, we guessed that I would get a place and Wayne would not. A deal was struck: the one who did not get a ballot place would choose the charity to support. The other would raise funds as well – we were in it together. The other thing we knew was that we would probably need to update our bikes – he has a mountain bike and I have a hybrid with front suspension. Too heavy and no good for our first (last?) ‘century’!

There followed a period of not much at all. And not much at all to do with cycling. From December to February, we did virtually no cycling, except for a very few holiday cycling miles over the New Year. Which also involved cakes and cappuccinos. During this time, typical conversations went:

Him: “Go for a bike ride?”

Me: “I’m not going out that rain/cold/sleet/hurricane – are you mad?”

(Repeat)

So to February 2016. The mail arrived from Ride London. One addressed to me and one to him. Yep, you guessed it, I got a place and he didn’t. So after a little bit of prevaricating and pretending he was not going to sign up, he chose a fantastic cause. Marie Curie – who look after people living with a terminal illness. As Wayne says “I lost my Dad, referred to by many as Mr J, in 2005 to the Big C, I witnessed at first hand the care and compassion of the nurses that helped both him and my mum in the final days… truly amazing people

Enough said. That’s it then, we were signed up. At least we still had 5 months until the day. Plenty of time for training, right?

And now we are just 6 days away from cycling the 100. We’ve had some stupid questions (how many bananas can I eat in a day?); many cycling-related purchases;  ‘aha’ moments and, of course, dramas along the way.  If you want to follow along, I will be putting pen to paper over the the next few days and sharing our experiences as we head towards the longest cycle ride that we have ever attempted and biggest climbs we have ever, er, climbed.

We’d love to raise over £1,000 for this fantastic cause which would mean that Marie Curie could provide nursing for someone in their own home for 50 hours. If you would like to support this cause, we would be super-grateful, as would Marie Curie: JustGiving: 100 Miles of Pain

 

 

Yippee! Mission accomplished

2015 Palace to Palace … done! First I want to sat a massive thank you to all the wonderful people who sponsored me… your generosity means that the total stands at an amazing £765 – see Justgiving page

We managed to do it in 3 hours and 37 mins of cycling time … and nearly an hour off our previous time 🙂

Thank you so much you are totally awesome in you generosity xxx

Here are some pics from the day:

Early start:
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Roads were quiet:
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Parked at the office:
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Picking up the bikes on The Mall:

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30 miles in … pitstop!
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Yay! Did it!
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And now … recovery time:
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And finally a massive thank you again to everyone that supported me xxx

2 weeks to go: Hills, wind, rain and a puncture

It was Sunday morning. Again. And that could only mean a Prince’s Trust, Palace to Palace training ride.

This week, I was hoping for a slightly easier ride. We were tackling the same hilly circuit as last Sunday. In terms of other training, I only managed a brief 13 miles on Friday night – late in the evening and it was dark! Very spooky through the trees and foliage. Unfortunately I came back with aching shoulders and back … and a sneaky suspicion something was not right on my bike set-up or my posture. Time for some research.

Cue to look for cycling magazines all over the house (Me? Hoard? I don’t know what you mean?).

Success! I found one called ” Cycling Weekly: Complete Guide to Bike Fit & Injury Prevention”. Perfect. Loads of helpful articles. So it seems that my seat is too far from my handlebars … so my personal and favourite bike mechanic made some adjustments before we went out on Sunday. (Thank you, Wayne xx)

Where was I? Oh, yes. Home, Sunday morning. Porridge and bananas consumed. Drinks, gel packs and snacks packed (seriously. someone invent a stylish bum-bag, please) and we were off. The riding position seemed pretty good and the weather was dry, but windy. So far, so good. Not for long. The heavens opened and it poured it down for about 2/3rds of the ride (ie 20 miles!). Luckily we were warmed up otherwise it would have been so tempting to just turn around and go home. Right at the end on the last 100 or so metres from home, my bike suddenly felt very heavy and bumpy – like riding over lots of uneven ground. Oh no… a puncture! But thank goodness – it was right by the house.

Considering the rain, wind and traffic on the roads, the time was respectable (slow by most people’s standards but we ARE improving!) and virtually identical to the week before. We both felt reasonably okay for the rest of the day which is a big improvement on last year when the same 30 miles felt like total and utter torture!

Well, my dear readers, all this cycling is not just for the fun of getting completely drenched in the lovely UK summer, it’s about raising money! Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training. The Prince of Wales’s charity has helped 750,000 young people since 1976 and supports over 100 more each day.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, if you have already supported! If you’d like still like to sponsor me for the 45-mile ride, you can do so here.

Thanks for reading.

Easy like Sunday morning ride – I wish!

With 3 weeks left before the event, we thought we’d better venture out and do a longer cycle ride out. With hills. According to the training plan we should be doing our longest rides this and next weekend. The weather forecast was not good in the afternoon (torrential rain), so alarms were set for 8 a.m. on a Sunday (unheard of!) and for once I did not press snooze, snooze, snooze.

We were out by around 9 a.m. for our longest, hardest ride for 11 months. A circuit of 31 miles including some unwelcoming hills. According to my Strava cycling app last time out we did the same route it took just about 3 hours. I also remember feeling pretty terrible and whinged and moaned the whole way round. And ached like mad afterwards. So was definitely hoping to have improvement in time and fitness this time around.

The hills were still pretty horrible, but I whinged less and pedalled more this time. We managed to do the circuit in 2 hours 35 mins. Yay! Once home, I have to admit to feeling a touch jaded and fell asleep on the sofa for most of the F1 from Spa on the TV. Ah well, it was Sunday after all.

The weather forecast this week is still terrible so will try to get some more miles in somehow, plus have another long ride next weekend. Of course all this cycling is not just for fun 🙂  it’s about raising funds for The Prince’s Trust. Since 1976, they have helped over 80,000 young people realise their dream of working for themselves through their Enterprise programme – helping to start all sorts of businesses from beauticians to barbers and digital agencies to dog grooming.

If you’d like to support the cause, you can do so here.  Until next time!

Signed up again! 6 weeks to go and toothache did not interrupt training!

Yep, so I’ve signed up again to do the 2015 Palace-to-Palace cycle ride – 45 miles of cycling from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle on September 13th. Last year it took 4 1/2 hours of cycling to do it. This year, I’d really like to try to break the 4 hour mark this year if possible.

Unluckily for me for the past 10 days or so, I’ve had toothache! Yesterday I finally managed to get a dental appointment. Penicillin has been prescribed as it seems I have some kind of infection with a few more appointments to look forward to.

Pencillin 20150804_132258

I didn’t let it a little bit of toothache stop me from doing a 13 mile training ride last night! It’s all for a great cause, as the Prince’s Trust does amazing things to help young people in need. They aim to 58,000 young people this year, so every little helps as they say!

If you’d like to donate, please do so here – thank you!:

https://www.justgiving.com/Andrea-Davis2015

10 days to go! Cycling 45 miles (72 kms) for the Prince’s Trust

So it’s 10 days to go and my knees hurt! The other half acquired some new lights for our bikes this week so we could do some evening cycling training (really?!) We went out last night after work and cycled 14 miles around 2 lakes in the pitch black. Pitch black! Not that keen on that I have to say – a little spooky – despite the mega-wattage lights!

The longest training ride we have done so far is 32 miles. Just once. After that, I was exceptionally pleased to be home and on the sofa. 45 miles will definitely be a stretch. And I am still trying to convince myself that I like hills! I love hills. I love hills. I love hills…

Of course, aching knees/shoulders/legs/bottoms aside, this is really all about raising funds to help disadvantaged young people in the UK to change their lives and get into work, education or training. This year, The Trust aims to support 58,000 vulnerable young people, helping to give them the skills and confidence to find a job – for this they need to raise over a million pounds a week! We’re hoping that our Xerox extended team of over 100 people will contribute a massive £20,000 just from this one event – which would be absolutely amazing!

Thank you to those of you who have very generously donated already – you are very kind! If you haven’t, but you’d like to, thank you in advance for your support! Every Pound, Euro, Ruble or Dollar etc. helps! https://www.justgiving.com/AndreaLouiseDavis/

UPDATE: Thank you, thank you, thank you! It took 4 and a half hours but we did it!

My final total was £785 raised – far in excess of what I could have hoped for. As a team of around 100, we raised around £30,000! Seriously, you guys are awesome. Thanks again.

Before - at the start!

Done - 4 1/2 hours - but done!

Done – 4 1/2 hours later – but done!