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!

Summertime and the training is easy … not! 5 weeks to go

This Sunday we actually had a day that resembled summer, unusual to experience with our variable four-seasons-in-a-day British climate.

We have worked out a 23 mile cycle route from home that is mostly roads (yay!) and quite a few hills (boo!) but I am trying to learn to love hills! I do like them when I am at the top, at least as it’s heavenly to cycle (roll) down them!

We (the man and me) had planned to get up early on Sunday to do our training ride avoiding the forecast heat, but somehow we didn’t manage to get out until nearly midday so by that time it was hot, hot, hot!

I am not very good in the heat, never have been. It seems to have started when I was in Primary School and our class went to do a country dancing display at the Buckinghamshire County Show (how very British!) on a boiling hot day. Sadly I ended up with heatstroke as it seems that my pale English, freckly skin does not much like activity in the humid British heat!

I know this is potentially an issue if the day of the ride dawns and it is super-hot, so I have to push through it. So push through it I did by drinking loads of fluids on the way round which definitely helped. Knocked 5 minutes off the previous week’s cycle time at just under 2 hours, which is pretty okay considering the heat!

Made it!

Made it in the heat!

When we go home we went for a “cool down” (code for cycle to the local pub for a drink in the sun) but the closest pub garden was already full, so we cycled on to the next one. This meant we upped our miles more than we were expecting. Total cycle ride: 30 miles – 23 at a reasonable pace, 7 very slow! On the last couple of miles, I was definitely ready to be home.

This week coming is a busy one – so will be tricky to do any training, but will try to fit something in.  It’s all for a great cause – to inspire young people. Almost a million young people are not in education, employment or training in the UK. The Prince’s Trust need your help to tap their potential and build their confidence. The results can be amazing. Have look here if you have a moment: http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/support_us/lewis_cassidy.aspx

Thank you for your financial and/or moral support to this cause!

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

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!

No Sauvignon Blanc tonight after a mediocre day

Today was okay. Not amazing but not terrible either. Even the good old English weather was okay. Just. This morning my Google Now thingy on my phone told me there was a 70% chance of rain. I ignored the forecast and wore a summer dress with some summery high-heeled wedge sandals. What a rebel! (Hardly!)

Overall it was an okay kind of day. Work was okay. Average levels of interuptions. My food intake was okay – ish. Walked up to the town at lunchtime to top up a few steps on the pedometer. Probably a little over my calorie goal in total but no wine consumed tonight – I didn’t fancy it.

Tomorrow will be a week since I started my own 13 weeks to the beach mission and then I will know what needs to be done tomorrow and in the coming weeks.

Looking forward to some good sleep tonight!  Until tomorrow.

image

Still 2 left!

A stressful day tested my resolve!

Gallery

Work yesterday was stressful. Not like life or death stressful. But stressful nevertheless. I was constantly interrupted so that I couldn’t get anything of substance done. It was unfortunate, but I did need to react to the interruptions for long-term … Continue reading

4 changes of clothes before breakfast!

So I set the alarm for 5.30am but somehow didn’t leave the house until 7.45. Why? I couldn’t find what I thought was a flattering outfit to wear for work. This is not for lack of choice, but simply due to the bit of extra padding my dresses are tighter and shorter – they rise up due to the extra around the middle and bottom bit. So that’s why I tried on four outfits before I was happy enough to leave the house!

That’s one of the things I disliked so much about being heavier – the care needed to disguise unflattering lumps and bumps. And conversely, one of the things I loved, loved, loved about being lighter – being able to have much more choice about what to wear. Plus … early mornings are not my best time in the day so those few extra minutes in bed were fabulous! 

image

Shoe choice was equally lengthy - one must get the silhouette right!

Having got over the clothing dramas of the morning, I did manage to successfully complete day 2 of the new ’13 weeks to the beach’ mission. My food diary is complete and pleasingly I did not feel hungry or deprived on 1,200 or so calories a day!

Good luck to anyone trying to do something similar!

Until next time.

Today I confessed my weight to …

… an old friend.  One that I hadn’t contacted in a while. The old friend has been with me since the start of my journey 2 years ago. The friend is myfitnesspal.com!

I told my old friend my new weight goal, my current weight and how much weight I’d like to lose per week. I was rewarded with a calorie goal per day and an updated weight graph.

My goal is stated – written down – always an important thing for me and I have a date (and a reward) in mind. I will track my food and activity. Day 1 is complete. I am focused. It was good to make friends with my old pal again.

Wishing you a wonderful day!

image

Just say no to the unnecessary chocolates!

Back on track … nearly!

I am in the pre-contemplation phase.

It’s 13 weeks to a beach holiday so plenty of time to get back on track. Have had a bit of a splurge recently with food and drink.  Have kept off half the weight for a year. So I guess my current weight is my new “maximum, I have to stop now, weight”. Time to stop messing around and get back on it.

Went for a cycle ride at the weekend (then rewarded myself with a bottle of wine). Oops.

Today I am back… let the 13 week mission begin.

image
Dinner was lovely, but now it’s time to rein in the treats.