Nervous novice

A quick blog post on the night before my second ever sportive, this one is just under 30 miles longer though. At 90 miles, the mileage tomorrow is slightly more than what we did on our trip to Wales and back. So, understandably I am nervous. I haven’t yet managed to work out what caused the sickness and the weather is much hotter. Tomorrow will be a great test as to how well prepared I am for the August 100 – I suspect I will struggle as very little of my training has been in heat. 

I found this article last night, which I found really interesting. To see the image in a readable form visit the webpage: here

How your body beats the heat from

How your body beats the heat

I have discovered that when you become a cyclist, becoming a nutritionist and physiologist is all part of the package. I’m still learning though, my stomach is just hoping that I am a fast learner.

Apparently one should ‘carbo-load’ before a big event and I’ve certainly taken on a lot of food today! A lovely, big chicken risotto for lunch and then at least two full adult portions of tuna pasta bake this evening. Desserts were of course part of both those meals – Eton Mess this lunch time and a calorific delight of Nutella and ice cream this evening. 


I feel sick before I even start.


Wish me luck! 


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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


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.




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. 

Alteration of the week – Oxygen Hoods

Before and After shot of Oxygen masks

Before and After shot of Oxygen Hood

Demo of Oxygen Mask

Demo of Oxygen Hood


The pictures above illustrate some of the work that Dressability staff are doing for their youngest customers. They show Oxygen Hoods, which have been adapted to enable children to use them. Younger or smaller children can wear them down to their waist, while older children can use them as intended, as a hood.

From new, the opening on them was proving to be too tight to manoeuvre over the head. Dressability replaced the plastic with a Rip-stop nylon fabric and made an adjustable, elastic and toggle, fastening to ensure that the hoods are as airtight as possible.


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Keep calm and cycle on

The pace of the SRC development ride last week was do-able but left my legs fatigued for the TT, so this week Sammy and I decided that we would do our own thing rather than going out with the boys. The Dame girls have all been very chatty this week, as there are two events coming up that we’ve been discussing – mainly over Facebook, so Sammy and I were joined by Carmen, Mandy and Kelli on the route which we had planned. We left Rodbourne and headed out to Tadpole Lane, via Casa Paolo, the Dog Track and followed the Blunsdon Road out to Hannington and Castle Eaton.


Unfortunately we weren’t quite the cohesive group that you might imagine. While we did our best to cycle in pairs, and keep on the wheel in front – it was taking all of our concentration to not wobble and cause a domino effect. So once we got on to the quiet country roads the nattering began, the concentration dropped and the cohesion was non-existent. 


And so it was around Castle Eaton somewhere that I uttered the famous last words of: 

Sammy, I think it’s time you and I were up front

cue (it took me half an hour to remember this word – I now have an itchy brain)


A perfectly executed changing of turns.

A perfectly executed changing of turns (less bikes obviously).


Okay, okay it wasn’t like that at all. It was more like this…


How it really was…


So, yes, my suggestion of going in front ended up with Carmen and Sammy colliding and me cycling straight over the top of Carmen. I have been told that I did a perfect bunny hop over Carmen, but I’m not convinced and I’ve asked her to check for a tyre mark across her back.


We had all ditched our first aid kits for ‘more practical things’ like inner tubes and lip gloss, so there were no plasters or niceties – the best we could offer was some fresh water to wash it off and a short-cut back home  (oh and a rapid return to the bike so that her arm wouldn’t stiffen up). Kelly tidied up the bike, Mandy searched for a missing light, Sammy and I reflected on how we (in particular our rides) are cursed and then we were off again… albeit it on a slightly shorter route – bumping into SRC, as they were approaching our turn from the opposite direction. 


I didn’t immediately take a picture as I bunny hopped over Carmen, of her lying on the floor in a heap,  like the kids of today would have done… however after about 30 minutes she volunteered to pose just for you blog readers: 


Injured but still smiling

Sadly her shoes and cleats came out the worst in this incident, though it could be suggested that this is simply a ploy to buy new shoes 😉 

The remainder of the ride was relatively relaxed, although Carmen wasn’t having a great day, and had a chavvy boy racer drive aggressively at her,  but she told him what she thought of his ‘driving’ at the next traffic lights 🙂

Loads of exciting events coming up which I will tell you all about, but right now I need to get to bed as its 00:20 and I have a 07:25 train to catch. 

(I started writing this at 22:00 – I am a little slow this evening!)

L x 

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Alteration of the week

I wanted to share Dressability’s Facebook post from earlier today, as it shows some of the good work that they’ve been doing.

These trousers have had the zip removed and replaced with Velcro, a magnetic button replaces the existing button to give independence to a cerebral palsy client. As his weight is variable we have inserted buttonhole elastic for a better fit.

These trousers have had the zip removed and replaced with Velcro, a magnetic button replaces the existing button to give independence to a cerebral palsy client. As his weight is variable we have inserted buttonhole elastic for a better fit.

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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!



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First club ride

After a weekend of me scoffing cheesecake (story below)…Chris and I had a second attempt at  riding to the windmill. However, no-one had given me the memo which said that Monday’s weather had happened on Sunday…and instead of the nice sunny bank holiday Monday that I had been expecting, it was miserable. After much deliberation about coats, Chris gave me his fold away waterproof (I now have my own on its way from Wiggle – “What?!!? It’s an essential!”) and carried a far bulkier coat for himself – thanks 🙂 After about 10 miles we put them on and that’s where they stayed. Around about the same time, Chris suggested that we stay closer to Swindon and I was most definitely in agreement; we would have had, roughly another 90 minutes of travelling away from home in the rain, which would have meant at least that in order to return. As it happens, I was totally knackered after only 30 miles so staying close to Swindon worked in my favour. The total ride was 40 miles, which we completed in 3 hours and 3 minutes – I really was very slow.  Sorry to Chris for having to put up with me!


So this evening I was positively surprised. There was always a chance that I might meet up with the girls and go out with the Swindon Road Club development ride this evening; although I was running late and had very little motivation to go out in the rain I managed to rush into my flat and get myself and my kit ready to go. Within 10 minutes of leaving Casa Paolo, I was knackered and considering making excuses to escape, but it turned out that I had simply surprised my system and once I was properly warmed up I managed to keep up with the pace of the ride (just about!)

The route and other details can be found at: First SRC Ride – Strava. The differences in my energy levels between yesterday and today were vast.

Ooops – I just fell asleep on the sofa, midway through writing. I think I had better head to bed.




P.S. The Cheese Cake story: To coincide with my Mum visiting and also her birthday, I decided I would make a baked cheesecake, which is her favourite pudding. I found a recipe on the BBC website and thought it would be best to make a practice cheesecake first. My first attempt went very well and I promised slices of it to Ollie and Krystyna. Having had a successful attempt I was confident to make a second cheesecake with relative ease, so I made a start on a second and started to eat the first.


Sadly, the next morning, cheese cake two looked like this…

Cheese cake

Cheesecake Mark Two – a mess.


…and it only got worse, once the tin had been taken away. Thanks to Ollie, who managed to save some of  the first cheesecake, which I was then able to give to Mum. But that left me with ALOT of spare cheesecake to eat over the course of a couple of days.



Happy Birthday Mum and Thank You Liz

I must start this post with thanks to the Queen for the free day off yesterday, very kind. Take note Princes Charles, William and George…us Civil Servants are incredibly grateful for an extra day off.

Sadly, the girls wimped out of the SRC development ride on Tuesday evening due to the stormy weather, and having not yet done any group riding I wasn’t confident to go alone, plus I am going through a lazy patch. After two long work days in London, on Wednesday and Thursday, Friday was my first chance to get out on the bike for a decent ride, however the weather was being less than understanding. I spent the day doing house work, a massive food shop etc… and then my Mum and Dad visited (a visit which incorporated some sprint training when I realised I had no milk for their tea) – Happy Birthday Mum 🙂

Dad and I changed my back tyre,  in the lounge-cum-garage and I set up my bike on the turbo (I thought I was done with that for the summer). So my ‘long-ride’ yesterday turned out to be a 40 minute TT training session on the turbo. I hope Monday is nicer.


Off to the circus now, far as I know I am not one of the acts.


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Paint balling without the armour…

A week off. (Well of cycling anyway). I hope people haven’t given up on me ever writing again.  Not laziness I assure you – just a mix of getting over the Welsh trip, a horrendous essay deadline looming and gale force winds not looking particularly enticing. Although apparently Sunday was a…

..QOM day – Ride out to Brinkworth somewhere, you’ll get load of them when you turn around to come home.

I didn’t go out – a mere breeze in the trees puts me off! However a chat on our girls “Cycling Stuff” Facebook group message, this afternoon, ended up in Sammy and I arranging a thirty-miler for after work.  This was before we looked at the weather forecast, which we then promptly ignored. Although I did wear a ridiculous outfit just in case of rain… a mountain bikers waterproof jacket, shorts and overshoes is a slightly strange combination but I was glad of it!    As we left Hannington, down the big hill it started to hail for the second time but this time the hail stones were mutant and to quote Sammy…

 I believe we screamed like banshees – I have welts all over my body!

She isn’t exaggerating. If you’ve ever been paint balling – imagine it, all over, but without the body armour. So, after a few minutes of screaming, we got off of our bikes and both curled up into balls at the side of the road – faces and legs hidden from further bruising! Goodness knows what the cars that came past thought we were doing. As soon as it stopped – we got back on and cycled back up the big hill and home!   The thirty-miler can wait.    I hope to make the Time Trial this week, although I hope to avoid this nutter...Help police catch this driver “before someone is killed” but this week is mainly about finishing my essay which is due in at the weekend. Followed by one extremely busy week at work and then RELAX!   Finally, the high point of today was receiving my SRC Membership card! Now just for ordering their – not so stylish- kit and I might start to look like I know what I am doing…ish.

SRC Membership Card arrived - exciting!

SRC Membership Card arrived – exciting!

I’m still deciding whether to enter the GW Sportive on Sunday; dependent on essay and weather I think!   Laura x