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:
image

Roads were quiet:
image

Parked at the office:
image

Picking up the bikes on The Mall:

image

image

image

30 miles in … pitstop!
image

Yay! Did it!
image

image

image

image

And now … recovery time:
image

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!

Snake’s alive – there’s a snake in the grass!

No one mentioned snakes when out cycling! There we were cycling in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside and I spotted a coiled up snake at the side of the road as we rode past. I thought it was dead. I have never seen a live, wild snake in the UK before, so it was a bit of a surprise!

We turned our bikes around and approached it cautiously, caused a mini traffic jam in the road (it was a narrow lane) and then the snake moved. It had decided to make a run (slither) for it. Up its little head popped and it started to make its way across the rood – cars or no cars. We were looking for a stick to help it on its way and stop the snake from becoming roadkill!

At this point a man stopped his car complete with gun dog in the back of his car (a beautiful looking German Short-haired Pointer, I think) and asked what was up. So we showed him. He said “no point in killing something you are not going to eat” and promptly found a blanket from his car, calmly picked up said snake with the blanket, took it to the other side of the road into the grass.

The snake played dead. After a couple of minutes it started to move and headed away from the road and into the fields beyond. You can’t say this cycling training business is boring!

You can just see its head on the left

You can just see its head on the left

Off to safety!

Off to safety!

We managed 23 miles with hills that day and the pace was okay considering I wasn’t feeling 100% – sore throat and cold. And we’d like to have done some more but after all we had the Monza F1 GP to watch and I had plans later on with my Mummy.

Surely saving a snake is worth a little donation to the wonderful Prince’s Trust who do amazing things to inspire young people? 🙂

Please donate here if you can: bitly.com/1qK2Bg6

Training ride to the most south-westerly in Europe

I managed only one gentle cycle ride out this past week on holiday in Portugal. The hotel rented out mountain bikes – they were okay but the hotel staff seemed seemed surprised when I asked about a borrowing a helmet. I guess I have become used to wearing one now, from hating them just a few weeks ago. I rode out before breakfast while everyone else had a lie-in (even though 2 other lazy monkeys had their cycling gear with them!).

The journey was good – lovely and quiet – too early for the tourists – just the locals – and me! There were little markers on the way with messages such as “so far, so good” – right by the road so you would only see them if you were on a bike or on foot.

It was a beautiful sunny morning at the hotel, but in under 5 miles the Cape (St Vincent) was misty and cold. You couldn’t see the lighthouse, just hear the foghorn! No wonder they need the lighthouse there!

Under 10 miles in total but at least I did something! If you spare a little to help The Prince’s Trust.. you’ll be contributing to helping 50,000+ young people this year. Thank you!

http://www.justgiving.com/andrealouisedavis

Mist at Cape St Vincent near very big cliff drops!

Mist at Cape St Vincent near very big cliff drops!

Foggy, misty morning but you can just see the lighthouse on the left!

Foggy, misty morning but you can just see the lighthouse on the left!

Me at Cape St Vincent in the mist!

Me at Cape St Vincent in the mist!

Lighthouse the day before

Lighthouse the day before


I’m cycling 45(!) miles to raise money for the Prince’s Trust

In just 6 ½ weeks on Sunday October 5th, I’ll be attempting to cycle 45(!) miles (74 km) for the Prince’s Trust – riding from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle.

My relationship with exercise has varied over the years – I dabble in and out of it – and usually it means floating in a swimming pool or laying down on a yoga mat, so cycling training is coming as a bit of a shock (and so are the padded cycling shorts!). The average participant takes between 4 and 5 hours to finish the ride, so safe to say it is going to hurt – even with the padded shorts!

Together with a group of Xerox friends, families and loved ones, I’m hoping to raise a decent amount of cash for the Prince’s Trust. They do some pretty amazing things to support people from ages 13 to 30 who are unemployed or struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. They give practical and financial support to stabilise their lives – developing key skills, confidence and motivation, enabling young people to move into work, education or training.

So far training has involved getting multiple bruises and scrapes, getting caught in the hailstones and making friends with the whole of my local Halfords!

If you would like to support this cause, any donation would be welcomed! You can donate online here: https://www.justgiving.com/AndreaLouiseDavis/

Thanks for reading anyway – and wish me luck with the training!