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.

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/

Snake’s alive – there’s a snake in the grass!

No one mentioned snakes when out cycling! There we were cycling in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside and I spotted a coiled up snake at the side of the road as we rode past. I thought it was dead. I have never seen a live, wild snake in the UK before, so it was a bit of a surprise!

We turned our bikes around and approached it cautiously, caused a mini traffic jam in the road (it was a narrow lane) and then the snake moved. It had decided to make a run (slither) for it. Up its little head popped and it started to make its way across the rood – cars or no cars. We were looking for a stick to help it on its way and stop the snake from becoming roadkill!

At this point a man stopped his car complete with gun dog in the back of his car (a beautiful looking German Short-haired Pointer, I think) and asked what was up. So we showed him. He said “no point in killing something you are not going to eat” and promptly found a blanket from his car, calmly picked up said snake with the blanket, took it to the other side of the road into the grass.

The snake played dead. After a couple of minutes it started to move and headed away from the road and into the fields beyond. You can’t say this cycling training business is boring!

You can just see its head on the left

You can just see its head on the left

Off to safety!

Off to safety!

We managed 23 miles with hills that day and the pace was okay considering I wasn’t feeling 100% – sore throat and cold. And we’d like to have done some more but after all we had the Monza F1 GP to watch and I had plans later on with my Mummy.

Surely saving a snake is worth a little donation to the wonderful Prince’s Trust who do amazing things to inspire young people? 🙂

Please donate here if you can: bitly.com/1qK2Bg6

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


When do you know you’ve succeeded? And what are you doing this week to achieve your goal?

I find it interesting as people are now asking me how I’ve lost weight. In their minds it is as if I have already succeeded. (By the way, there’s no one easy answer because I’ve changed just about everything, from using the stairs and not the lift – to my entire eating habits. I’ll come back to this – probably – in another post.)

I wrote in my last post that my mantra was ‘get it off, keep it off’. Well, I’m still in the ‘getting it off’ place – a few more pounds to go.

But it got me thinking – how do I know when I have been successful? I don’t feel like I am successful… yet! Yes, I am part of the way there, but I think it has to be to do with the latter part of my mantra ‘keep it off’.  As we know, a massive proportion of dieters regain the weight after they have dieted.

So I think I’ll be able to say that I have been successful if I am the same weight as I am now (or less) in one year’s time. That will be an achievement.

In the mean time – to keep losing those few extra pounds so that I achieve my goal – and to counterbalance going out for lunch AND dinner on Friday (can’t wait!) – I’m going to:

  1. Make sure I drink at least 2 litres of water a day (yes, water helps!)
  2. Get to bed before midnight (yes, sleep matters)
  3. Go to the gym on Sunday for an ‘MOT’ (health check) and workout (no surprises, here)
  4. Watch ‘The Biggest Loser’ for motivation!

What about you? What will you do to help achieve your goal this week?

Until next time…

 

 

 

Training and Rewards

So 2 swimming sessions done so far this week. So far.
I decided a couple of weeks back that once I got to 10 swimming sessions that I’d allow myself a reward. So on Sunday it’ll be 10 sessions done, so I shall be buying myself some boots that I’ve been wanting for a while! Often, though, my ‘reward’ for anything would be food or drink… but am trying to get out of that habit! You know that thing. Food to be sociable. Food to commiserate. Food to celebrate. Food because I deserve it.  I guess I need to change just ‘food’ to ‘healthy food’!!

Anyway today I swam about 90 lengths today – and about 40 of them legs only! Feeling it a bit tonight!

Session 4 … pull buoys and swim paddles …!?

So I didn’t manage two training sessions this week as I was chained to my work desk! I won’t bore you with the details except to say that I more well-aquainted with Brazilian import prodedures than our Post Room (and more than should be) and yet I still have four packages stuck in Sao Paolo that should be somewhere else. Just a tiny example of the week’s trials and tribulations.

So swam I did this evening at least – session 4 of the Swimathon training and it was tough. And apparently I needed a swim paddles (for my hands) help with the training. And a pull buoy (just a funny shaped float). So no swim paddles unfortunately – I had never even heard of then so I’ll have to acquire some! So I did 30 lengths without swim paddles – just arms only – but it took me ages. I guess the paddles would have made me faster, right? If anyone knows, please do tell!

I haven’t signed up for the 5K yet (200 lengths of a 25m pool) and I’m slightly concerned that I’ll be the slowest one there and run out of time to do it!  I guess I still have time as it’s in April…!