The A-Z of 2014

A – Amazing/August: 2014 has been an amazing year and there was a massive build up to the main event in August.
B – Bicycle/Bertha/Blog: Bicycle speaks for itself. Bertha did her best to ruin the day. This blog has been great fun.
C – Century/Cadence/Caffeine: Completion of a century was the main goal of the year. Cadence was new to me, but made a difference when applied correctly. Caffeine was an amazing find.
D – Devizes/Dame: Devizes is where the 100 was finally completed. Dame cycling introduced me to many opportunities and lovely people throughout the year.
E – Energy: I never seem to have much anymore. 😄
F – Family: Were extremely supportive, and I wouldn’t have completed 100 miles without them.😘
G – Grand-beings: A new term, used to describe Grandparents and their various animals, as a collective.
H – Hurricane Bertha: Arrived at just the wrong time!
I – Italy: A great, cycle heavy holiday to relax after London!
J – Job: 2014 saw me starting a new job.
K – Killer hills: I still haven’t grown to love them. 😓
L – London: Closed roads, a hurricane and amazing crowds.
M -Master’s: It will be worth it. But it steals bike time.
N – Night riding: The Runway Rumble. Great fun and so disorientating in the dark.
O – One Hundred: The focus of the year.
P – Puncture: Way too many of these on 10th August.
Q – QOMs: I’ve actually got a few!!!
S – Sizzler: The Savernake SIzzler, our first big challenge.
T – Time trial/ Tandem/ Triathlon: So much choice! first time trial, first tandem purchase and my first team triathlon event.
U – Umbrella: Even an umbrella wouldn’t have helped on 10th August.
V – Vomit: What I’ve been scared of happening ever since the projectile vomit occurrence.
W – Wiggle: Great online cycling shop, Where all of my money goes. So addictive.
X – Xmas Day Cycling: A new up and coming tradition, which takes advantage of quiet roads and the laziness of other road users.
Y – Yellow Jersey: The only Y word I could think of.
Z – Zzzzzz: All of this cycling is tiring.

Happy New Year! 😃😀

Reflection on a year to treasure

Wow, it’s almost a month since I last posted.

Today is my birthday! 🙂

So I thought that I would briefly reflect on an interesting year. In fact one of the best years.

Since my last birthday I have:

  • been accepted to ride in a sportive I didn’t even enter
  • started this blog, to discuss the sportive which I didn’t even enter
  • projectile vomited, thanks to a bike ride
  • met the perfect man
  • inducted this same man into the cycling world
  • met some amazing cycling ladies (Dame Cycling)
  • competed in a time trial thanks to those ladies
  • joined a cycling club
  • ridden on an airfield, during the night
  • …and experienced being engulfed by a peloton
  • ridden in the sportive which I didn’t even enter (with the support of a couple of Dames!)
  • …in a hurricane, I will have you know
  • completed a century (but not the sportive that I didn’t even enter!)
  • raised £1,100 for Dressability
  • passed multiple Masters modules
  • competed in a team triathlon (something I would never previously of considered doing)
  • bought a tandem
  • started a new job
  • ridden 3,361.90 solo miles
  • ridden 67.7 tandem miles
  • completed 242 hours on my solo bike
  • completed 4 hours in the Rear Admiral’s saddle

All topped off with a cycling birthday treasure hunt of 31 miles, which resulted in me finding my presents right back at the start!

Finding the second clue at the top of the White Horse hill.

Finding the second clue at the top of the White Horse hill.

Treasure! Right back where I started!

Treasure! Right back where I started!

I think Ollie wants more cakes... amazing present :)

I think Ollie wants more cakes… amazing present 🙂

A fairly quick post, but thank you for your support and to everyone who has made this year so special.Thanks for the boost to the Carbon Bike Fund, the winter gear to keep me warm on these cold days and the games to play when I just can’t be bothered to get out on the road. Here’s to the next one, to all of us getting into the sportive that I did sign myself up for, and to some party planning for the big 3-0.

Laura x

Easy like a Sunday Morning

I have to admit, I wasn’t really looking forward to my Triathlon experience, but it was great! I really enjoyed it.

I imagined that I would turn up at 0730, hang around until 1000, struggle through a slow 26 miles and then wait hours for the runner to finish. I was wrong. There was very little hanging around, well for me anyway! Ollie kindly supported me, and was described by Fiona as a very good bag carrier; in fact he was like a pro team support car – handing up bananas, a towel and water as required, whilst also undertaking photographer duties. Fiona, Zoe and him had much more time hanging around, due to the cycling length taking much longer to complete than either of the other disciplines.

Zoe, I met for the first time and Fiona I used to work with. With ten minutes to go, Zoe wet-suited up and got into the water for the mandatory acclimatisation period, until the klaxon sounded and a sea of orange caps set off around the 1500m course. Once they’d reached half way (it was impossible to tell who was who) I went and waited in the transition area. Zoe did a fantastic time; less than 30 minutes! Absolutely crazy though – there’s noway you’d get me in that weed filled lake! She passed me the timing chip, which I strapped to my leg and then ran through the aisle of bikes to where mine was racked, collected it and continued running to the cyclist start line.

The first few miles were a little awkward, a man had crossed the start line at around about the same time as me and we were going around the same speed. I didn’t want to pass him as I knew that he was likely to be faster than me once he got going however I also didn’t want him to think that I was drafting him and therefore cheating. Eventually, knowing I had the energy I went past him, though don’t remember whether I stayed ahead or not… they all looked similar!

I think adrenaline got me round the first half of the course, whilst banana and Jelly Babies sorted me out for the second lap. The wind picked up slightly during the second lap, and we cycled into a head wind along the final straight. As we approached the line I overtook someone…wooohoooo. With legs like jelly I leapt off the bike and ran my bike back to the rack, then cheered on by Zoe sprinted the length of the racking to a waiting Fiona, who took the timing chip from my leg as I collapsed on the floor. I had done my 26 miles in 1:27.31, which was better than the 90-100 minutes which I had predicted, though I have to admit, I had done my trial run of the course the wrong way around!!!

I quickly recovered to watch Fiona do an amazingly fast run. All in all it was great fun and, although as the only all girls team we didn’t have much chance of a prize, we produced a good overall time between us; 02:39:14:85 which put us 112th out of 235 finishers.

I think we will be teaming up again next Season for a few events!

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Bunting and bidons

What an absolutely fantastic seven days!

I celebrated the century with a day off to rest on Monday, followed by a brief trip to the office on Tuesday and then off on leave Wednesday. Chris, Ollie and I cycled over to Horsley to watch the Tour of Britain scale the hill into the village and disappear into the village and on to Bristol.

After a pleasant ride, throughout which we were increasingly joined by other cyclists heading in the same direction, we set our bikes against a bunting lined fence and patiently waited along with crowds of villagers.

The first signs of activity were the helicopters in the distance and the police motorcycles roaring past (and certainly making the most of the closed roads). As the exitement was building a large transit van approached with hazards flashing.

Looks official – he’s got his hazards on!

Turns out he was a Yodel delivery driver in a rental van. He pulled up, half on the pavement and half on the road, completely blocking any view down the hill.  As he sat and fiddled with his sat nav and prepared to jump out of his cab the crowd groaned, moaned and stated their frustration. But he had barely removed his sat nav from the screen before the occupant of the house (and owner of the bunting) launched herself at his van, grabbed her parcel and shooed him away. Cue laughs and relief from onlookers.

And so with that minor drama out of the way we were back to focusing on the many many police motorcycles making their way through the village…and then a large police four by four. Clapping in the distance.

Here they come!

The breakaway group steamed up the hill past us and all was quiet again. We’d had word that Alex Dowsett had suffered a double puncture, so would be alone between the break away and the peloton. He came into sight and we all cheered like mad…

He isn’t even trying!

I am heard to say on the video my brother was taking. And so it turns out he was waiting to be eaten up by the peloton. The punctures had ruined his day, I could have cycled faster up that hill.

The peloton followed and Sir Bradley Wiggins passed within touching distance. Cavendish nowhere to be seen. A few stragglers followed up shortly afterwards and then the police packed up and drove off.

Which is why I got on my bike and cycled up the hill, cheered on enthusiastically by the crowds who tried to encourage me to carry on rather than get off at the pub. Seconds later a further group of pros came through. I had briefly, accidentally become part of the Tour of Britain and it was great fun!

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A brief stint at work on Thursday was followed with a further day off on Friday, to follow Stage 6 of the tour. We were lucky that there were two stages which were within riding distance this year.

We chose to cycle to the feed zone and try our luck at getting some musettes and bidons. Though we weren’t overly hopeful.

We spread ourselves out on either side of the road and our tactics paid off…

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…from diving into a nettle bush to get a mussette which had been thrown in my general direction and from bottles each of us had rounded up…(including one which Ollie caught)…we managed to get a decent initial haul.

We then followed the route of the ride and kept our eyes on the hedgerows for any which had been discarded outside of the green zone. Both my brother and I had cycled past a certain hedge but Ollie called us back and pulled a mussette pretty much unused from the bush. A long way to carry a bag which you aren’t going to use!

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Haul complete we headed to the pub for food.

Both days were brilliant fun, thanks to Chris for organising us so well! We don’t have to buy bottles for ages now 🙂

After a week of cycling we had a weekend of food. Ollie won a massive blow out meal, so we made the most of that at the Bell at Sapperton on Friday night which continued to fuel us for our respective Saturday morning rides.

Saturday morning I did just over 40 miles, which included delivery of present and cake to my Grandparents on their anniversary. 56 years. Congratulations.

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Barney, Granddog, has a feeding tube coming out of his neck…but fear not he appears to be doing well. Keep getting better Barn!

Morning cycle complete…no hot water. So I made a death by chocolate cake for afternoon tea with Ollie’s brother’s family.

Still no hot water.

Cold shower.  Eurgh.

To finish the weekend off, I did not practice for the tri as I was supposed to, we chilled out, I studied and Chris made us a blackberry and apple meringue roulade. Oh well…if we must.

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Hints and Tips

The weekly Prudential RideLondon hints and tips e-mail came out today and it caught my eye! It looks like it may have been written for me…

 

Screenshot of e-mail

Screenshot of e-mail

Be kind to your gut…Survive long climbs

They were a bit disappointing really, common sense and things I have already learnt, although ‘Go with what you know’ makes a lot of sense…

Go with what you know

“People should try to relate the unknown of tackling long climbs to another area of cycling, such as time trials or any other sustained effort they are used to. That helps to put it into context.”

When I see a hill up ahead the groan is audible to all those in the vicinity… maybe if I were to learn to put it into context as suggested, then I would have a more positive mental attitude. A ten mile TT is basically 30 minutes of sustained effort – a hill is never going to be that.

Be kind to your gut …

..was slightly more interesting and split the article up into ‘Nausea’, ‘The Runs’ and ‘Windy days’. Nausea was of the most interest to me…

Nausea

Anyone who has ridden a time trial will be familiar with that horrible wave of nausea that comes on at the finish. It’s possibly a sign that you’ve put the right amount of effort in, but if it comes on more frequently it can interfere with your enjoyment of the sport. Dehydration and low blood sugar can contribute, as can overeating before an event, and even anxiety. Low blood sodium can also cause nausea and is best avoided by drinking hypotonic sports drinks – simple water does not replace the sodium lost in sweat.

Whilst Windy Days simply explained that passing wind up to 15 times a day is average, and that ‘excess’ flatulence is probably just a perception.

 

On that note… I am off for an Italian meal, carbo loading for tomorrow’s adventure.

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A wee improvement

I’ve been really nervous this week about my upcoming sportive (Sunday), but today has been an exciting day so it helped me to forget.

After only one ride on his new bike Ollie decided to do a Time Trial! I was planning to marshal but at the last minute, due to the nice weather, I decided to race too. We arrived early and got places 3 and 4. While hanging around at HQ I purchased my new Dame Cycling  jersey but I was totally distracted, having received an e-mail saying that my essay results were available online (remember NoSQL – the course which I was going to leave because I was clueless…). Well, I needed to load the webpage in order to see my results but  HQ is in the middle of the countryside, and often I struggle to get mobile signal, let alone 3-G so Ollie and I were stood on my car, waving both our phones in the air trying to load the page. Five pages later and after much torturous waiting I found out that I had been awarded 75% and 78%. I am totally shocked. I genuinely thought that I would struggle to get 50% to pass.

Back to cycling: During the second lap I was reminded of my novice status when I was passed by a gentleman, three times my age, who had started two minutes after me! Realising this, I decided to try my hardest to keep up with him and maybe even pass him and regain my dignity. Despite his seniority I had to try my very hardest to keep up with his casual cycling…

I improved on my last TT time, but still not sub 31 and not my best time. Ollie however, managed a 28.51 on his first time out. Impressive and a little sickening! 

 

Ollie enjoying his first time trial

Ollie enjoying his first time trial

 

For all my effort I looked like this, at the end: 

 

End of TT pain

End of TT pain

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Unattractive, unimpressed face.

Finally, this evening, I collected my latest cycling related purchase… 

New purchase

New purchase

 

Do you know what it is? (I had to ask my Mum whether it was acceptable to post about this!) I’ve not tried it yet… updates to come! 

 

Yet another late night post. Bed Time.

 

Laura

 

P.S…In case you were wondering… I didn’t catch him up. In fact, after about five minutes of trying to catch him up I don’t remember seeing him again. I base this on years of experience. 

Nutritional discoveries

Sorry for the delay in writing about Thursday’s time trial; sadly I was slower this week but on a positive note I was still faster than my first attempt and I still beat a man 🙂 Results: 29 May TT ResultsI think my legs were fatigued from Tuesday’s club ride.

Well done to number 2, who got a time of 22.22 – not only v fast but pretty cool!

Thanks to everyone who came to watch 🙂

No cycling this weekend, as I was being spoilt in London and treated to a roast dinner 🙂

Yummy Roast Dinner

Sammy and I have a ride planned for tomorrow night though (congrats to her on completing the Night ride through London on Saturday), Time trials on Thurs and then a ride to Amberley and back next weekend.

While in London I came across these…

New trg snacks

New trg snacks

… they are going to make all the difference to my training! No more being sick after the ride.

 

Maybe during instead.

 

Only one more weekend between me and 90 miles: Cotswolds Ride It!

 

Laura

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