First ride in Surrey

I’ve been here, near Dorking, for 2 weeks now. Because of the cold (wimpy I know) yesterday was the first time I actually got out on my bike. Not far, but enough to test that my tyres were pumped up properly and I was happy with the kit I was wearing!

So yeah I still ride in trainers, although I am hoping to change that at the end of the month, and today was the first time I had proper time to get out and about.

Using Google maps to have a look at connecting roads, I devised myself a ‘block’ to ride round. I already had my bib tights on (dhb Vaeon and totally invaluable!) and 3 top layers (winter Zipfit jersey, endura summer jersey and my Tour of Utah jersey because its white and shows up well). All set. No. Helmet and sunglasses. Right. No. Water bottle. Yep, using my Matrix Prendas one at the mo because it kinda goes with my bike! Decided to take a gel and some of the Shot Bloks. Not that i actually needed them! Treble check to see if I had my phone, keys and a fiver.

Then I was out the door and away, consoling my self that as I couldn’t watch RvV, I might as well be on my bike!

So starting from Henfold Lane, I headed toward Dorking, but hooked a right and headed vaguely toward Charlwood. Fairly flat, quite potholed and I wasn’t in a rush so took it steady away. This gave my legs time to warm up, my shins protested for about 10 mins until I channeled my inner Jensie and told them to shut up. Or maybe I forgot they actually hurt 😉

A couple of little rises and I could hear the ‘mocking’ tones of @spokesmen… ‘…couldn’t even climb a road bridge…’ Yep, today I am that person! Ha! Then the road turned south ish and I could see a slightly bigger rise. Plenty of time to get to it, quick drink and steady peddling. Halfway up a pile of fresh horse poo. Now I know I work with them, but oh my lord did that stink! Cue gagging and spitting.

At the top was a cross roads, pub on the right and I could see of I stayed on the road I had a nice descent ahead. Nah, the road to the right was signposted Newdigate, which is where I was heading back toward.

Despite having a good look at the pub, I then slowed even more to have a good look at the nice houses on either side of the road. Then suddenly came upon a t junction i recognised. Left to Charlwood and down Stan Hill would have taken to long and would have bought me back on myself (sort off). Right to Newdigate and down some nice slopes. I went right and immediately whacked it up into top gear and pretended to be a pro until it flattened out 😛

Right at the next t junction toward Newdigate and I slowed a little, being nosey and looking at the nice houses. Then it wasn’t long until I came upon the t junction to take me back down Henfold Lane and home. Again just steadily away until I got to the nice downhill (17% the other way) and rode it flat out and freewheeled to a stop outside.

I was just a bot surprised to see I had done 12.55 miles ( I will convert back to km when I remember!) in 56.29.
Thats good for me as I remember 10 miles over similar terrain taking me over an hour!

Its a block I can go round at lunch time if its dry and not too cold.

Its also the Hot Chilli sportif at the weekend…


Might see you there!

Oh and was Fabian Cancellara absolutely awesome today?! Thanks to my Twitterarti who keep me updated on the cycling!

Ciao 🙂

My First Sportif

If you read my blog, you will know I was pretty damn nervous about doing a Sportif! Many thanks for the supportive comments guy, it means a lot!

I was up at 5 this morning, had a bowl of porridge and a coffee and wondered what on earth the weather was going to do. I don’t have much kit, so went for my Muddy Fox tights, grey cycling t-shirt (Polaris) and my Altura waterproof jacket as it was meant to rain. I also took my reflective yellow Endura top.
I arrived at Newbury racecourse far too early in hindsight (7.20am), but it gave me chance to look around and chat to a couple of people. After I signed on – I took a look around but couldn’t see any ladies doing the LadyCat (26.3miles) so went back to the car. Thick drizzle and a low cloud base meant me putting my reflective top on as soon as I’d unloaded the bike. My parents arrived – they wanted to know what it was about, and Dad thinks he might just have a go at a sportif now! We walked up and got a coffee, then as it was 8.15 I thought it would be a good idea to go and bring my bike up – we were due off between 9.10 and 9.30.
I talked to a couple of girls who had the pink LadyCat numbers and we all agreed to set off together about 9.10.

The sheer amount of people sporting Team Sky Procyling kit was just slightly unreal! There were very few ladies (that I saw), but I was happy to see it wasn’t just me wearing trainers!

By 9.10ish I’d met up with a few ladies, who were hanging around talking, but me an a couple of others were eager to be off as it felt a tad chilly with the constant heavy drizzle. We were soon on our way, and although I puffed a bit going up the hill, I was fairly surprised to find myself at the front with an older lady on a mountain bike. We carried on as we were going about the same speed.

The first bit was fine, until we came across a couple of short sharp hills – bloody hell! We both made it up them, and she stayed with me through Ecchinswell and Kingsclere, just the other side she got a puncture but told me to carry on. A girl on her own had just gone past us, so I decided to catch up with her. By now I had been blowing for the last 10 miles or so – so I had an energy gel – and it was nice!!
I caught her up and found we pedalled at pretty much the same speed. Annie was great company and knew the roads we were going on as she lived in the area, then we hit the sodding 10% hill. She told me she usually walked up it!! I just made it up there without getting off – although the thought did cross my mind!!

Apart from a longer, less steep hill up to Brimpton, that was pretty much it and we happily pedalled away. I looked at my bike computer – we only had 3 miles left!!! Then it heaved down with rain and we both got completely soaked!

Yes ok I did sprint for the finish line!

Wow, now I know why people like doing this. It. Was. AMAZING, even if we were both soaked and my white saddle is now black and purple (I’d guess my cheap tights ran!). We both had a great laugh and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, its over 2 hours since I finished and I’m still grinning like a loon!!

Very glad I took a change of clothes, ironically got changed in the female jockeys changing rooms!

I think it’s best to do this with someone who goes roughly the same speed as you, I was lucky Annie was about the same fitness as me as well.

Might be doing the 30 miler in Reading next week – we’ll see how it goes.

On another note – food was shit and expensive. There was no one to collect the timing chips – although the guy sat in the Wiggle tent told us to take them home.

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But I absolutely loved it! And I want to go again!!!!

Keep smiling! I need cake….

A winner, a broken down horsebox and a surprise…

I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already! Firstly my apologies for not blogging the last 2 days, but I have good reasons.

Monday – wow – what wet weather, and thank God for waterproofs! I did my usual job, riding out a couple of horses and stayed dry, not even wet socks. Then it was off to the races at Chepstow with a little filly I look after. It rained pretty hard the whole way there, and all day as far as I know, but it’s nothing new to me 🙂
My little filly won! Even though she was sooo muddy I could barely recognise her as she galloped past the winning post. WOW. Bless her!
It was only as we left the racecourse that the problems started, the driver had left both her phones in the canteen, so after driving a couple of miles up the road, we had to turn back. On the bright side, at least they had both been handed in, and we left for the second time, knowing we were going to get caught in Bank Holiday traffic, and in the roadworks on the M4. To start with it was just a question of when we would get home, I had already planned a very short ride round the block in my waterproofs – if it wasn’t too dark. If it was darkish, then I was going to stay on the footpath and go up and down the hill a few times.
The the petrol gauge decided to stop working – again on the bright side, at least the box driver knew we had enough petrol.
Then as we hit the stop start traffic on the English side on the Severn Bridge did the trouble start. Revving the lorry, only to go kangarooing forward (think of a learner in a car). Plenty of swearing. Phone calls. Then a little sign on the dashboard lit up – FR. I looked it up in the lorry manual.
Drive Control.
Uh oh.
Cue more frantic phone calls, we weren’t sure if the lorry would break down, or we could keep going. Next services 20 miles away (Leigh Delemere). We hoped we could make it! Then some slight relief, another racing yard coming back in our direction could take me, the horse and our gear home, if we could make it to the services.
See if a horsebox breaks down on the motorway and a horse has to be taken off, the police have to be called, and the motorway shut in both directions. I never knew that until Monday! Now I do 🙂

We made the services in the windy rainy weather, successfully changed onto the other horsebox, and eventually at half past eight got into the stables where I work. And it was still raining heavy!
I thought I’d be home by half nine at the latest, but no, thanks to Bank Holiday traffic, lasing windy and a massive dowpour I didn’t get home until gone half 11.
I didn’t go out on my bike – I had to be up at half 5, and by then I was knackered! Sorry 30 days of biking, I failed 😦

So on to Tuesday…
Even with it being a bit windy, with the occasional shower, I thought going up to Hatch Warren, then up to Farleigh would have some amazing views of the weather scooting past us. I even planned to take my camera and get some pictures if it didn’t rain too hard. I had that planned at half 6 in the morning, by about half 9, that wasn’t going to happen. I had done the stupidest thing ever, well even the most surprising… sprained my wrist. It would be very complicated to explain exactly how, but needless to say I had the use of one had the rest of the day (and I’m not Flecha from Sky, who rode Paris – Roubaix with a broken hand). No chance of me going out on the bike! Talk about being frustrated!

Needless to say, I would have loved to go out today, and the weather was perfect when I got home, but I tried squeezing the breaks on the bike (admittedly indoors), and the pain it sent up my arm was unreal.

Sorry to say I’ve failed 30 days of biking, but I’ll get back on as soon as I can!
My poor forlorn looking bike 😦

Keep smiling, even through gritted teeth…