+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

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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