+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


All I can hear is ‘click, click, click’ as he is free-wheeling behind me; I am pedalling and getting nowhere

So now training had now begun in earnest and our thoughts turned to our bikes. Wayne has a heavy mountain bike – not really ideal for 100 miles on the road. He started to look at bikes – hybrid ones (but no suspension) with flat bars rather than drop ones. He’s the King of eBay. No really, he is. It’s truly impressive. I think he could make a living at it. In no time at all he had found an amazing carbon fibre bargain – in mint condition. Lightweight and pretty. He did some tactical last-few-seconds bidding and Bingo, it was his! Not one to hang around, he drove straight away to pick it up and less than 5 hours since bidding he was back home with his new ‘pretty’.

Actual bikes aside, we need all the advantages we can get in order to do this crazy ride so clip-in pedals are recommended, because they increase your speed. Oh boy, with my balance? I have managed to topple over at a traffic light in London for no apparent reason on normal pedals. And managed to damage a finger coming down a slope in Portugal after I fell off and the bike fell on top of me – so badly I had to have 2 rings cut off as the finger had swollen so much. How on earth was I going to survive being clipped in to pedals on my bike? Anyway, my friend, the lovely Tania, was having a clear out at home and donated me some cycle shoes, which miraculously fitted me, and so I just needed to buy the pedals. Also I needed to try to work out how to make my hybrid bike lighter so I could ride it for the actual event.

So to Halfords. Found the pedals. Now time to chat to another Wayne (not my Wayne) in Halfords. So how can I make my bike lighter/go faster? Halfords Wayne suggested smoother tyres and other things. Then he asked my how long the ride was.

Me: 100 miles

Him: (Pulls face… silence… then…) Umm, honestly, that bike is not the kind of bike you should be using for cycling 100 miles. 50 maybe, but 100? No.

Me: Silence as it dawns on me I will really HAVE to change my bike. I had kind of thought I could get away with riding my existing bike.

He suggested that I go for an endurance road bike – which has drop handlebars and all. Eek. I had one of those when I was 15  – a long, long, long time ago! Back then it was called a racing bike and it had a massive 7 gears!

I go home to contemplate what to do and where to buy it from. Putting it out of my head for a bit, (my) Wayne has kindly fitted my new pedals to the current bike and we are off to try the silly shoes and pedals (spods or SPDs). Remarkably, I don’t fall off, but I am the slowest, most cautious cyclist you have ever seen. Wayne rides his new pretty, finds it a bit weird but the blooming thing is so fast, on the roads… all I can hear is the ‘click, click, click’ of the chain [correction: click, click, click of the crank – what is a crank anyway?] as he is free-wheeling behind me while I am pedalling and getting nowhere fast. Grrr.

Training continues and so does the research for a bike, I can’t leave it too late as a new one will need to be run in (seriously!) and I need to get used to it. Evans Cycles have a good range so we head to the Central Milton Keynes branch. Long story short, I settle on a bike. Pay the deposit. It will be here in a week. Perfect – we are now 5 weeks before the ride, I will have 4 weeks to get used to it.

But for some reason I don’t have a good feeling. A couple of days later, I call Evans to check on delivery. “Ah, I was just about to call you – there’s a problem” Turns out there are no more bikes available and they cannot fulfill my order. So now I am really running out of time.

I start researching all over again. The King of eBay helps me and sends me more bikes listings. Some like his (not sure I can be so matchy, matchy, even though the bike is so pretty!) and we see a decent bike for sale near us. The bike is not due to sell for another 10 days. Too late. I contact the seller to see if they will do a ‘buy it now’. But he never gets back to me. Sigh. Is this ride not meant to be?

I start researching the same bike from bike shops, and thank you, Google, find a local bike shop with really good reviews selling similar bikes. I call them, speak to a guy called Andy, who seems to know his stuff and says he has stock. I have hope again! Now I just need to get into see them asap as I am running out of time!

Good news. I manage to get to the shop, get measured and look at the bike they suggest. They have an Aladdin’s cave of bikes and bits – the perfect bike shop! I wait overnight to make sure I am making the right decision – which turns out to be the best idea as the next day, the manufacturer is offering a 20% discount now! Yay. Things are going okay now. So I get fitted for the bike and take it home. The next day will be interesting as Wayne and I planned to cycle more than 40 miles, as per the training plan. Scary stuff: Clip in pedals, different riding position, drop bars, different gears and brakes. I can do it, right?

PS We preparing to cycle for Marie Curie in the Ride London Surrey 100 … here:

https://justgiving.com/fundraising/waynejackson2016

 

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