An introduction to cycling

Almost a month ago, at 11 months old (well, a day off of 11 months), Sebastian went on his first bike ride.

We bought a second-hand Croozer Kid2 as recommended by a fellow cycling parent. Sebastian sat in one seat, and “Cow Cow”, his large Jellycat Cow, sat in the other, both tucked up under a quilt.

Ollie attached the Croozer to his Giant TCR, and off we went on a short trial ride, to coincide with nap time.

Sebastian was so amazed and excited that he fought sleep for half an hour or so, but finally gave in and had a nap for the last few miles of the 10 mile ride.

10 miles, which took us an hour! It was hilly, and a lack of maintenance and cleaning had taken toll on our bikes and Ollie was subjected to a problem that I had experienced earlier in the week; he was unable to change down off of the big ring. Making what was already a challenge, towing a trailer with a small person and cow, even more difficult. He did very well, and I struggled to keep up with them!

Sadly a nasty bug kept us from repeating the experience the following weekend, and then other commitments kept us away from our bikes last weekend. But this weekend we were free and (semi) healthy, so we decided to have another trial ride, this time with me towing.

After some domestic delays (yawn!), we departed for our ride somewhat late, so I made a last minute suggestion that we ride to a local farm cafe for lunch. We stuck a packed lunch in the ‘boot’ (trunk) of the trailer for the little one and headed off on what was supposed to be a 10 mile ride.

The cafe, 5 miles in, was perfectly placed as I was desperate to use the facilities (waaay too cold for the SheWee), but closed on a Sunday. So, sure that we would find a pub if we continued, we carried on, going away from home.

We came across one pub that was closed, then went on and on, until we got to a town. We cycled right through the town, and were about to give up when we saw a tourist sign to a local pub, which we then followed. Frustrating that was the only sign and we didn’t come across a pub. We pulled in, and I had a cake to console myself, whilst hoping that I would soon find some facilities!!!

Ollie checked Google Maps, and some 8 minute ride away was a farm cafe and it was open. So, off we went for a lovely lunch, and a play on their play park. When we got there, we’d done over 13 miles!

Ollie offered to tow home, and it’s lucky he did – a strong headwind meant that it was very difficult cycling to get back and I was exhausted. At one point, going up a hill my Garmin AutoPaused because I was going so slow! If I’d had to tow, we’d either still be going now, or we wouldn’t have made it!

Two naps, two play parks and a large lunch meant that Sebastian enjoyed his second outing despite it being more than double the length it was meant to be (24 miles altogether), and a 4 hour + trip.

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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

IMG_5160

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. 

Getting serious.

The countdown from 113 to 106 days to go, came in the form of a pretty demanding week. Isn’t it always the case that a week which is shortened by a Bank Holiday seems like such a struggle to get through!? Another week of juggling work and a Masters, when all I really want to do is go out on my bike. Trying to do all three with equal amounts of enthusiasm and commitment leaves little time for sleep! Talking of which, why is it that I can fall asleep: on the sofa, in lectures, at my desk, on the train…yet when I get in my bed it just doesn’t happen?!!?

 

So, the inconvenience of working meant a trip to London on Wednesday and thus an early morning, busy day and late return – cue arthritic joint pain, inflamed tonsils and a desire to curl up in a ball…and so it was with trepidation that I worked my way through Thursday, wondering what 1845 would bring….

Earlier in the week my new cycling friend, Sammy sent me a message asking if I would like to join the ladies at the SRC and CCC Time Trials on Thursday evening. Keen to meet some more women cyclists and to reunite with my poor, neglected bicycle I jumped at the opportunity and thought nothing more of it.

Then while making conversation over a family meal I happened to mention that I was going to be going along to the Time Trial event. My uncle, visiting from Portsmouth, jumped at this news and immediately invited himself along to watch. Since he doesn’t have a car, this automatically meant my Mum and Dad would also be stood at the side of the road trying to get a glimpse of me huffing and puffing past them.

As the week progressed, this enthusiasm to watch, a good luck e-mail from my Grandparents and various comments such as ‘are you on drugs?’ made me wonder what on earth I had let myself in for.

… Thursday at 1800 I collected Sammy and we headed out to Ashton Keynes – I told her how my week had developed and she also wondered what on earth we were heading in to! The answer to which, became clearer as we pulled into the village hall grounds which were occupied by an army of streamlined, super competitive males.

Not to be so easily discouraged we donned our vented (holey), none aerodynamic and frankly ugly helmets and headed to the start, where we were released numerically at 1 minute intervals. It was great fun, and whizzed by! I managed the 10 mile course in 32.42, which is according to Strava 10.1 MPH slower and 11:35 minutes behind the  King of the Mountain(KOM), but puts me in 19th out of 31 placed ladies.

I wonder what my time will be in 106 days !

Here’s some pictures to end this weeks post:

IMG-20140424-WA000124 Apr TT124 Apr TT24 Apr TT Results

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