It’s February, Must Be Time For A New Mission

Looks like February is a time when I get myself sorted. One day it will be ALL YEAR LONG! But until then, I’ve signed myself up to do Chloe Madeley’s 4-Week Body Blitz.

So I have seen the light. The January madness at work is over, I’ve moved house and now it’s time to refocus on Project Me!

I probably need to do it for 12 weeks, but to start with a 4-week hit (and HIIT… ugh) seems a good starting point. I am on day 4 now. One day at a time. I’ll be posting a bit more frequently on Instagram with pics and daily updates.

Wish me luck! If you are doing anything similar – let me know! We can do it.  Yes, we can!

+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

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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!

Happy Birthday to me (!) … the 4-week/9-day push ends well!

I didn’t quite make my original 4-week goal, but I got so close! I did drop a little weight overnight so I can happily report that I am the lightest I have been for 20 years! And I did make it into a dress that was too small for me 4 weeks ago… and even my Mum commented that my legs looked slim!

Here we are out for a very lovely lunch today!

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I loved lunch! It was delicious and very special! I couldn’t manage all of my dessert, though (poor attempt!) but it definitely didn’t stop my enjoyment of the whole day

I’ll be taking a diet break for a few days, and I expect to increase a little weight over the coming days, but I am not going totally wild! I am planning to be back at the same weight in one week’s time, all being well.

New goals need to be set when I’m back. I’ll think about what I want to achieve in the next few weeks. That will take us to the middle of June and one whole year since I started this healthy mission. One year! I can’t believe it’s been such a long time, it has flown!

Thanks for sharing my journey with me… I wish you a wonderful day, evening or morning… wherever you are!

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!