Twice in three days

We all know that the way to get fit is with a structured training plan.  so here I am  starting out with an hour or so on the bike- little and often.    The plan is a regular commute on two wheels, at least a couple of times a week, although I have to get comfortable going the distance, first.

Seven am work start time, is in my book, just way to early for me to add a bike commute, but thankfully I'm moving on to something new, and only have a couple of silly o'clock shifts left.

So for now the training had to be an hour after work.

A mere ten miles,   still a struggle and  took an almost an hour, still enough to get my heart rate up,  with strong winds that almost knocked me over at times and waves splashing the path in places, I took a very slow safe approach before turning inland on the more sheltered road.

It's just the beginning, but out twice in three days, that's already 20 miles better than last week, a good start. Nutrition is yet to be thought about,  but I guessI need to work on getting it right if I'm ever going to make London to Paris this summer.

With that wonderful feeling of having had wind in my lungs, and stretched the muscles, I going to sleep well tonight and possibly wake up feeling a bit tight tomorrow, in time for silly o'clock start in the morning.

I'm aiming for 15 - 20 miles on Monday,  fingers crossed the weather will be better.

Starting from scratch - after a crash

Slow and steady wins the race, but oh dear, how unfit am I.

It can be tough getting back into the saddle after a crash, it would have been easy to stop at the end of road, and walk back home, my ride uncomfortable.  I was huffing and puffing even though we took it slow and safe route, staying on the flat, worst of all I had lost my confidence.  

The bike newly serviced and the saddle hight was all wrong.    Stopping to get the saddle raised half an inch, and by the time we got home, it was more comfortable,  I wanted to go around the block to make a minimum 20km, I know that's not very far  - but starting from scratch to rebuild confidence, so little and often it is for a few weeks, to get back into some sort of shape to hit the road proper.

Summer is on its way, it won't be long before we start working the tan lines, oiling our legs as well as the chains, going for long coastal routes, stopping for the odd ice cream! Soon to be spinning up the hills again, I miss that feeling of achievement on the climbs and the wind in my hair no the decent.

Hit the deck - took the corner too fast

CRASHED - bike in for repair, that was an expensive fundraiser.
Still a good ride, with excellent company and cake, managed to limp to the finish, before going to check on my friend at A&E, thankfully she is ok, neither of us will be rideing for a few days and will be a bit back and blue till we heal.

New Years target achieved by end of October

It's been little sacrifice living on supermarket own brands, home made and home grown or wild and free but it has more than paid off.  There have been a few slip ups, tea bags and biscuits from the corner shop, the odd lunch from the bakers, or worse the garage forecourt, pre packaged sad offerings,. 

The idea of paying someone else to make an inferior sandwich due to my own lazyness, is now something that I no longer do without thinking blimey that's expensive.  Lunch for less than a fiver, not really excessive, but a lot when you consider most weeks this year I have lived very well on much less than twenty quid for groceries. Fast food outlets and coffee shops are still a temptation I  do enjoy a Costa, Costa lot- cup of coffee, although I have gone ten months without the muffins, or flapjacks instead making my own. 

Fresh oysters from Whitstable, and a glass of artisan wine - would cost a couple upwards of fifty quid at Wheelers, cooking on stones and sticks on a beach is much much more fun. Oysters wrapped in bacon over an open fire, a BBQ, made of stones on the sand, a salad of marsh samphire in the company of friends can not be beaten.  I fed six for under three quid, and all of them have asked to do it again, and even know now, that the oysters did not come from the fish market, only the shukka (oyster knife).  I had collected them earlier on the rocks at low tide.  Now a regular summer night -full moon event, for privileged friends certainly more fun than a night at the pub.

Some may mock at me collecting snails,  or picking garlic chestnuts or damsons in the woods. In many parts of world, with warmer climates these things  are considered a delicacy to be hunted for and eaten. Here in Margate rain and snails are both plentiful, very easy to find especially with a little experience and knowing when and where to look, far more tasty and nutritious than pot noodle any day.

Next years resolution : study Mycology!   Could I study it in FRENCH?  
Why not.

Plentiful rain  and snails, are not a good trade off for Mediterranean warmth and sunshine. 
Here, a bigger target for the future, the question is does it have water?  and how long will it take me to achieve it and what's it going to cost to do up?   Till then I'm on a foray in the woods to find my dinner.

Recover Ride needed before work today!

The sun is shining and it is a lovely day for it. Just a gentle recovery ride for me today, legs still feeling Whitstable Road and Tyler Hill from Sunday’s Pub Run, slowed down with fish and chips in Whitstable Harbour soaking up the sun.

Maybe just a bit more than our regular Bacon Butty Ride, it's an excuse for a cyclist social, a short ten mile quick fix, where we girls take a steady chatting pace, and put the world to rights. At least we sometimes carry on to the top of the hill, before turning back to The Cafe, at Recolver.   Bacon Butty, is just a training run, well that's what we tell ourselves. A quick spin, for the days when we're busy, limited by time, or the weather is miserable; our good intentions are squashed by the smell of bacon. It’s a twenty mile round trip coastal cycling on the flat from the Margate clock-tower.

Sunday's Turner to Pub Route, a bit more challenging 50 miles+, with a few hills thrown in for good measure. You can take the easy option along the national cycle route following the coastal path most of the way, before turning into a quiet Kentish lane. At The Freewheel, Britons first cyclists pub, you can fill your tubes with air, your stomach with ale or if you prefer energy bars, your lungs, with talk of all things bike this is a great place for any cyclist to head too, regardless of the type of bike rider you are on, or the direction from which you are coming. Alternatively head for the villages around Canterbury, cross country around Hoath, into Canterbury and out again for some added hills, I decided on the hills before food.   Serious roadie, mountain biker, or shopping bike with a basket, it is all about the bike, the landlord of the Freewheel, has been seen cycling to France on a lovely old cargo bike, for him it is as much about the good wine, food and fun with friends and of course the bike.

There are many good places to stop,  Whitstable, oysters cooked in batter at the Neptune an afordable pleasure.  Soaking up the rays in the trendy harbour fish market with inflated prices, it's a bit of a luxury, just don't give a care if you are in lycra, as some boozed up day tripper yuppies are bound to make fun of you, as they guzzle the next bottle of champers.    JoJo's in Tankerton,  excellent coffee, on an amazing little sun-trap terrace,  the food is also fab - phone and book a table as this place gets packed.

Fish and chips in Whitstable Harbour.

Download Turner to Pub Garmin route, although it may be better to go avoid the cut though Blean woods if you are on road tyres.    Yeh, a personal best on Canterbury Hill ;- )

Sundays Pub Run. 3000 calories plus burned, a thousand or so consumed!

Ride Chartidge

What a fun weekend.

This event was published by British cycling on the events listings.  The Chiltern Hills are a wonderful place for cycling, hills enough to even challenge even the pro's. The Tour of Britain passed though Chesham last year. Whiteleaf Hill features in the 100 best climbs, even if that is way beyond my standard.

I had chosen the shorter, red route, the so called easy option, which was challenging enough. Halfway up Tom's Hill, which is 9.1% at it's steepest.  I had to stop to catch my breath.  Back in the saddle and onward, no way was I going to be caught by the photographer on the brow of the hill, pushing my bike!   Along the flattish to Ashridge, though flowering bluebell woods, refreshing shade and the sounds of birdsong a true pleasure. The "ridge" bit says it all. I felt on top of the world and the views proved it.

The sun shone, arm warmers and jacket off. A glance at the Garmin elevation, showed I was past the highest point. A time to chat with other riders, relaxed and simply enjoying the rhythm of the pedal. One last push into Wiggington village, I felt like Wiggo, even if stopped by the busy road crossing, momentum thrown, and in the wrong gear!  it was a struggle.   The Chiltern Hills felt like mountains, for one who lives on the flat, more of a sprinter than a climber, a tough challenge, even though it was a short 30 miler.

At The Lee Church, my mind wandered to the thought of cream teas. This ride was nearly done, I knew it was just a spin down the lane to the finish.   A slight decent on the finish, wow that's how all rides should end.

The private parking and shower, just a bonus and nothing compared to the pre-event dinner and a weekend away in company of friends - I did hold back on Jean's famously strong gins! even it was a roll out of bed to the start line.

For a school fund raiser, this was a brilliantly organised bike ride.

Vision and Goals

Effective time management starts with clear vision and goals

The work life balance has been heavy on the work side, not the gainful employment, but the working to improve the gainful employment prospects.

Sparked by a change in Employment Terms and Conditions, my focus changed, refreshed the C.V. gained some new qualifications, yes I have been studying too, applying for jobs, writing well crafted cover letters, half a dozen interviews, sifting out the dross jobs, it's quite a pleasure to turn some offers down.  It all takes time, days off suited and booted, and travelling here and there, selling myself to prospective employers.

So my cycling goals have been on the back burner, no time to sit in the saddle.   Totally out of character as even in 2 degrees- January's fog and sleet, I have managed 50 miles or so.  Demotivated by a lack of a place in Ride London, only going out once since the middle of February,  local charity ride in Whitstable cancelled, life is feeling heavy and my general fitness suffering. My knee playing up (old skiing injury) exercise actually helps.

Healthy lunch boxes have been a replacement for burning up the calories on the pedals,  I won't beat myself up that after five days the weekend started scoffing McDonalds, with all the extras that are fully loaded with rubbish calories. Having skipped breakfast, feeling famished and weak willpower.  What the hell, a week of salad box is boring, but without regular exercise,  I can't get away with rubbish food too often.

Time to draw up an action plan, set some goals and have a positive vision.  I start by scheduling a training plan into my diary, a few short rides to get back into the swing of things, and then some longer rides out, it won't be long before I'm once again keeping up with the boys!  and breezing through the spin class.

Sometimes it is necessary to simply say no, I'm busy that time and get on with the things that matter.
Get out there and get on my bike.

New Bikes - Are you thinking about spring and N+1

We agree that the number of bikes you should own is N+1?
Any cyclist will tell you, the number of bikes you should own is  the number you already own, plus one more.    It's agreed by us all.

If you are dreaming of the spring and spinning on a new bike, then the London bike show it the place to go, all the new seasons offerings, and of course it does't stop at bikes,  new kit, and just about everything cycling related, be it road, mountain or any other form of bike.

Thanks Shelley for the temptations to drool over, I'll be checking out the new machines

Chilly Weather Cycling

We all know what they say:  There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.  Well it is true with the right kit, you can still enjoy a bike ride throughout the year.

The answer is to layered up with thermal base layer long sleeved jersey over thick bib tights and woollen socks. So there is no excuse not to go out with friends even when it is just two degrees.  Shoes covered with overshoes, and hands snug in thick gloves.  It is chilly on the decants, when you are cruising and not putting in too much effort. Wind in your face, is nothing that a buff, neck warmer can’t cure. A cheap one from the supermarket, that cost under three pounds is worth every penny, and you can't have too many of these handy things, protecting your head and ears from the bitter cold and worn under the helmet.  

The only time you truly get cold is if you stand still, fixing the inevitable punctures, thanks to the road gritters,  expect more than usual. Make sure you have a tube and a pump, and or invest in a set of good winter tyres,  ride a solid bike.

Cycling home from a night shift, in the early hours of the morning today was a little chilly. Dressed in jeans and boots on an upright heavy bike, with bumpy tyres, a hoodie and a cycling jacket over the top, with a cheap pair of knitted gloves, that flashed christmas lights on the ends of the fingers,  We are not too old to enjoy the silly fun I felt like a kid, with the feel of crisp air in my lungs, cutting through the park, and watching the frost sparkle under the lights as I avoid the gritted roads as much as I could.  My day just ending as others are waking up.   I’m home, as others are de-iceding the car and feel pretty good too.

November Bike Rides

A mild start to the winter, so there has been no excuses not to get out on my bike, not a bad achievement for the time of year!

403KM done, in November, now I just have to work off a bit more due to the upcoming mince pies.