A new challenge for 2017

I began this blog in 2014 when I was new to cycling, and I was preparing to do the London-Surrey 100. I had been entered into the event by my brother, and had previously not ridden very far at all. The thought of cycling 100 miles seemed crazy –  I’d seriously think twice about a car journey of 100 miles. But I did the event, and then I did it again in 2015. With resevations about the way London-Surrey is run, Ollie and I looked for a new challenge in 2016 – and so we cycled 200 miles doing Vatternrundan in Sweden. After Vatterundan I barely cycled, I was pregnant and renovating a house, I didn’t have the time or the inclination. But now, with a baby in tow, I am back on my bike and my brother thinks I should be doing a new event!
He has kindly recognised that I will have far few hours in the saddle this year, and thus thinks I should concentrate on hill climbing, and that I should enter in the to Walbury Hill Climb!
Ollie and I had discussed the fact that we wouldn’t be able to do endurance cycling anymore, so I had decided I would just try to get faster, you see hills and I don’t really get on!
Have you ever heard of a cyclist who is atrocious at getting up hills, and terrified of going down them? Well, that is me. Though, in my defence, I have only ever got off and given up on one hill, and one (or two?) mountain in the last 3 years of cycling. Have you tried to get up Bushcombe Lane in Gloucestershire?!? (It is truely evil! There is one corner, which is so difficult – I ended up in the verge twice just trying to get up it). And the mountain/s was purely down to the heat – I don’t fare well in excessive heat.
It is true that we have a nice steep hill right on our doorstep, and that I could do hill reps, and I have in fact been up it since I started back at cycling; I think if there had been any, then walkers would have overtaken me! A runner felt so sorry for me that he took the time to shout “You’re doing well!”.
No, hills and I don’t get on.
I think for 2017, my challenge will simply be bringing up the future winner of the Tour De France, in a way which keeps him happy (or at least not wailing).

Seb’s head coach

Some of you may have noticed the following comment on one of my previous posts:

I feel it is my duty to suggest your next event.
Lavington Hill right on your door step ideal for training, far fewer hours in saddle required practising for a ~6 minute effort.
You’re welcome.
The comment was written by ‘Seb’s head coach’. You might be wondering “Who on earth is Seb?” and on finding out he’s our 12 week old son you might think “Why does he need a head coach?” and… “Who is this coach?”
Well, there’s no need for Ollie and I to be pushy parents, because he’s got his uncle (A.K.A Seb’s Head Coach) for that!
On hearing of Sebastian’s birth, my brother sent him a training plan to faciliate him in “turning pro by the age of 20”, “winning his first monument at 24” and a “grand tour or major stage race win by his mid 20s”.
So without giving too much away to his 12 week old competitors….his uncle is expecting him to be confident and competent with a balance bike by the age of 18 months. To have his first bicycle at 4 years and to do exercise five times a week.
But the plan doesn’t start at 12-18 months, oh no! The plan started at the age of 1 month, with exercises to do each day, except for Wednesday and Sunday- the days of rest!
One of the days is put aside for Yoga, which Sebastian has taken note of; he is beginning a Yoga class tomorrow!
He also has a balance bike and a bike with stabilisers just waiting for him to be (nearly) big enough.
So, watch this space, in 20 years time, it will be “Chris who?, Seb’s the man in Yellow!”
I’ll address his actual comment in another post.

Back in the saddle

Last week and weekend my Grandad, Ollie and Myself got the turbo bike and the Ribble (and Ollie’s summer bike) back into a maintained condition. Working and clean, I was able to go on my first ride last weekend. We live on a long road which goes through several villages, so I rode to each end of our road – 10 miles.  It was brilliant.


Today I went on my second ride, this time a 13 mile loop with some minor hills.


Whilst I was out, I was thinking about the things I missed, the things I hadn’t missed, and how things had changed.


What I missed:

  • My bike
  • The countryside
  • Exploring our new area
  • Wind (!)
  • Hills (!!)
  • Going fast
  • Competition
    • Someone came past me today, and it really made me speed up, despite me not having any chance of catching him up.
  • That tired ‘after exercise’ feeling
    • I’ve been exhausted for two months, but this feels different, and much better.


What I didn’t miss:

  • Cars
  • Drivers
  • Potholes
  • Always forgetting something and having to go back
    •  On my first ride I had to unlock the house and outhouse in order to go back for my helmet. So annoying!


What’s new: 

  • Time Constraints
  • Scar tissue
  • Not fitting into some of my kit
  • A new baseline of pretty much no muscle at all
    • I am almost certainly more unfit now, than when I first started cycling. It was really unclear as to how much weight I put on over the last 11 months; the figure on the scales wasn’t increasing much, and I assume that’s because I was losing muscle. So the scales couldn’t really tell me how much weight I had gained due to the pregnancy. So now, as I gain muscle, I expect to be the heaviest I’ve ever been, alone that is.
  • No cycling partner
    • Ol has to stay at home with the little one
    • We live miles away from everyone else now
    • I wouldn’t be able to keep up with anyone anyway
  • A reason to rush home

The kit which does fit is currently in the laundry in case I get an opportunity to go out again tomorrow.