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

 

 

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.

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


36 hours to go in the 4-week focus…

image

36 hours to go in the 4-week/9-day push. In the last 36 hours, I achieved the 9-day target and my gym goals 🙂  The problem with achieving your goals is that you then need to set some new ones! So, new gym goals have now been revised and the programme revised with some even more evil-sounding exercises … including way too many squats for my liking!

It didn’t dawn on me until I was driving home that in my new programme, my repetitions have increased by 50 percent! Wah! Okay, okay … that’s the 6-week goal. But still … wah!

Breaking things down into smaller goals works really well for me – into manageable chunks that don’t seem too overwhelming – both in terms of time and difficulty. It’s amazing what can be achieved when fully focused on a short-term goal. It seems silly to even say it, but the short-term goal thing is so obvious, yet so effective.

4-week focus … time is nearly up. From a weight-loss perspective, I may  be a pound or two adrift from the four-week goal, but you never know what might happen in 36 hours!

In any case, I’ll be able to enjoy my birthday in the knowledge that it’s all in the right direction. One step at a time.

Good luck with your own goals, whatever they may be!

9-day push update, slightly obsessive scale usage and boiled eggs

Super-quick post tonight.

I’m so pleased that I have digital scales. They measure increments of a quarter of a pound or 200 grammes.

Yes, I am getting on every day, and so far the scales are going in the right direction, even if is a quarter of a pound down a day. I fear I may be slightly obsessed though, as I took the scales to an overnight hotel stay with my other half earlier in the week. Sorry, Wayne!

So sticking to the diet IS tough, but seeing the scales go down is great motivation to stay on track. And also knowing it’s only for a short while, then I can stablise again.

There are 3 of us in the team at work trying to lose a little weight, so that definitely helps that there is not so much ‘naughty’ food around to tempt us.

And finally, thinking forward to next week, for our birthdays, we normally bring in cakes, donuts or other goodies to work. I think I’m going to have to bring some healthy snacks in as well next week! Healthy suggestions welcomed, as I don’t expect anyone will welcome a hard-boiled egg as a snack!

A wobble on the 4-week push … refocus, refocus, refocus!

Well, unless I chop a leg off, I don’t think I’m going to make my 4-week goal. I’ve had an enjoyable week and I DID resist the egg-buttie-breakfast-run on Friday, but then it went a bit downhill from there. I had my Mum round for the evening on Friday – dinner-and-a-movie-night. I was all determined to have a healthy dinner. She was a bit later than planned, so I convinced myself I needed a glass of Sancerre while I waited… and this simple decision began a weekend off the diet.

What’s encouraging, though, is that I can view a weekend off the diet in perspective. It simply is a wobble, not the end of the world. It’s true, I haven’t lost weight in the last few days, so no progress made to the 4-week push since last week – but the important thing is not to continue in this vein. In previous years, I’d have just carried on – eating and drinking what I fancied, regardless of the consequences. In fact, let’s be honest, that’s how I used to eat every day! So I must have learnt something this past 10 months or so!

Time to refocus: So now it’s the 9-day push! I recognise there is only so much I can do in 9 days. It’ll probably take me 2 days to get back to where I was on before the wobble. I think the very best I’ll be able to achieve in 9 days is to get to ‘X’ stone 11 lbs – above where I wanted to be, but still would be an acceptable loss across the 4 weeks and – importantly – it means I am still going in the right direction. (And no, I’m not publishing my actual weight to the world – even I have my limits as to what I’ll share across to the world!)

So, it’s back to reducing the calories. Later this afternoon, Wayne and I are off to the gym – I’m going for that ‘X’ stone 11 goal!

 

Yippity do-dah; Zara and size 12 Jeans!

Time to report in on the previously documented four-week push. So far, so good. A little wobble (involving a certain Mr Pinot Grigio, scrummy bar food and some 10-year old Port last week) but still managed to lose weight in the week overall. So just under 3 weeks to go now for the final push!

Super-busy at work with multiple deadlines. In the denial* days, I would have come home from a long day and hit the wine (I deserve it) and food (I deserve it) as some kind of instant gratification and my reward for getting through a long day, long week, blah blah blah! This time, I decided that I would just have some healthy food (which was on-hand luckily – the secret is in the planning) and that I didn’t need the wine – so I could stay true to my four-week final push. And – yippee! – I managed it.

I felt a little wardrobe update was called for, as I was last at this weight in 1995. So shopping, we went. Pre-‘project-Andrea’ I couldn’t shop in places like H&M and Zara. So I ventured in. Cautiously, I tried a couple of things on. Happy days – they fitted! I can’t tell you how nice it is to be free to shop where you like, because you are not restricted by your size. It’s extremely motivating. So a rather summery peach-coloured jacket was acquired and worn to work this week.

I also did some online shopping as I wanted some new jeans. Size 14s arrived (Size 10 USA). I tried them on straight away. They were too big. What? Surely I can’t be a UK 12?  Re-order online. Size 12s arrive. OMG. They fit! They fit! Cue singing around the house! Now, I am not naive enough to think that all size 12s are created equal, some are obviously bigger than others, but I am so happy, happy, happy about this.

It’s funny, I obviously know I have lost weight, but my brain hasn’t quite kept pace with my physical appearance – it’s like it needs some time to adjust to the new me. I have had some lovely comments from my friends and colleagues this week. I don’t know why in particular this week, maybe it’s the new jeans and jacket in the right size? Who knows? What I can say is that it does help that other people are noticing – and it makes me even more determined to keep getting closer to my goal and ultimately keep it off. Thank you to everyone who commented – it really does help! 

And finally, gym this morning to kick-off the weekend in a good way – which, shock-horror, I really enjoyed. So, it’s definitely been a good week overall, and I have a few key ‘lessons learnt’ from it:

  1. If you have a goal – document it, set a timescale and take the first step to achieving what you want.
  2. Pay someone a genuine compliment – maybe they are looking good or maybe they have been good to you – so thank them for being so nice – it really can make a difference to them.
  3. Recognise the small successes you are making towards your goal – if it your goal seems a long way off, one step towards it is better than one step away from it.
  4. And lastly, If you have a wobble, it’s okay, we’re all human and it’s just a wobble – just get back on track as soon as you can.

Have a fab few days and be good to yourself!

*denial = denial that there was a problem