A big thank you

I’ve just had the exciting news, from Dressability, that Mitchell’s Cycles have offered to provide me with a jersey for the event. Dressability have been looking to provide me with a jersey for many months now, from various outlets – local and national – but I feel it’s particularly nice that the bike shop which I knew as a child (all of my childhood bikes, including the one I posted a photograph of recently were purchased at Mitchell’s) is the one which will be supporting me, and in turn I hope that I will be supporting them. In fact, only 2 days ago, they were my shop of choice to service my bike, they fitted new brake pads for me (which are almost too good!!) and gave me some advice. It is a friendly, family firm, which was established by Mr Mitchell Snr in the ’60’s and is located just down the road from the ground of the Mighty Swindon Town Football Club.

To make it even more exciting, it is now only 9 days until I pull that jersey on at ridiculous o’clock in the morning and head to the start line. That’s 5 (and a half) more working days and 4 more bike rides (including one in London the day before). I can’t remember what life was like before cycling, blogging and fundraising.

Finally, on a completely different note… my Granddad got in touch after my last blog to say;

I knew Colin Gardner, The Bike Magician, many years ago, 1980’s, when we moved to Swindon. He worked in a bike shop on Commercial Road called Total Fitness, now called Total Bike. He was in Swindon Road Club and rode local time trials.  He did my old Raleigh bike up for me one time.

What a small world it is, particularly considering that Colin the Bike Magician came down from Preston to do the bike fits! Here’s some pictures of my Granddad – Phil and my Uncle David, on their bikes back in the day:

Mail0014 Mail0009


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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. 

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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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.



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

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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