A good ride captain

I wonder what you think makes a good ride leader? I’ve had experience of very good (Callum Clarke, Toria Jamieson and Louise Wainwright immediately spring to mind) and very bad.

It’s not just communication with others in the group, it’s keeping an eye on/ looking after others, including dropping back to check on others. The odd bit of praise doesn’t go amiss either. Knowing when to call out for pace/directions/stupidness is always good. Common courtesy and manners round it off.

Yesterday (Sunday 8th November) was a perfect example of how it can work. And if I think praise is due I will give it. An organised women’s (and partners if they wanted) ride starting at Sigma Sport in Hampton Wick, heading out via Cobham and West Horsley to the hill at Shere, and back via Cobham. Not far, and in fairly decent weather.
Sod’s law Callum punctured as we headed toward Esher, but great for everyone to see how to change a tube quickly and effectively – even with mudguards on.
Cat (or Kat, sorry if I’m spelling it wrong!) was our other leader, and they both held a good steady pace out through Cobham.
Throughout the ride Callum dropped back to check on the others, calling out quickly if we were pushing a bit too fast.
Everyone waited (like they should do!) at key points, the top of that sneaky climb at Shere or at junctions.
An extra bit through Bushy Park on the way home gave everyone an opportunity to stretch their legs briefly, and then it was back to Sigma Sport at Hampton Wick for coffee and pastries.

Everyone I spoke to really enjoyed the ride(s) and the unusually warm weather helps too.

Rather epic to treat my cx bike to a nice little spin on the road, some nice greasy/leafy sections around Shere made me rather happy for the awesome little rig I’ve picked up!


Plus. I’m a bit in love with my shoes! Limited edition Giro ‘Anodised Red’ CX/mtb shoes.


Oh. And the bike?


Not a terribly great picture, but I’ve been too busy riding it to take pictures of it!!
It’s a Kinesis 5t Disc from Upgrade bikes http://shop.upgradebikes.co.uk/Catalogue/Bikes/Kinesis/Kinesis-5T-Disc-Brake , with eggbeater pedals from CrankBros.

So much fun….

Even better I have a couple of skills sessions coming up. Caroline Stewart and Bruce Dalton have both offered up their free time to help me out a little. And Helen Wyman has promised a take over clinic.

As usual I can’t thank people enough! You amazingly wonderful people!

Meanwhile, here’s a few pictures from this mornings ride. This is why you should #ridelots






All taken from Kingston Bridge this morning.

Hilly Loop

I wanted to get out today, whilst the weather is good. Previously I’d put off going out on the Sundays I work, because… ah… yeah… I was quite frankly being lazy. Going spinning has helped, as I’ve said before, and I’m at that point I have so much energy that sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself. This usually means I get irritable, and probably the best description: arsy (or arsey, or assy)!!!

So, I’d had it in my mind since yesterday, that the bike needs riding. I finished work by half 9, and finally persuaded my Dad to come out for a ride. He invariably suggests the Ashbury Loop. Now I don”t actually mind going up Ashbury hill, even though I find it a long, long way from easy. What I don’t like is the top road, the B4507 from Kingston Lisle crossroads, to Ashbury crossroads. It’s steep ups and downs, coupled with hairpin corners, is not an ideal stretch to warm my legs up. Alright, I’m just being picky, but there is ALWAYS a strong headwind along there, and today it really had my legs burning. And had me doing a credible impression of a steam engine.

I let Dad decide at the crossroads in Ashbury which way he wanted to go. He said up the hill, so we went up the hill. He’s 70 and riding steady away, if not slowly. I keep going, surprisingly strongly, although very slowly in bottom gear. Coupled with that sneakily strong crosswind, it isn’t easy. But I do it a hell of a lot easier than back in the summer when I last tried.

It’s a nice long gradual descent into Lambourn, passing Ashdown House and we see quite a few very early lambs! (pic to follow)

It’s a road well known to both of us, and it’s wide and nicely surfaced until we get into Lambourn itself. We swing around past The Wheelwright Arms – one of my favourite watering holes, and turn onto the Wantage road. As we cross the bridge over the stream, I say rather wryly ‘It’s all uphill from here.’


This is demonstrated very well on MapMyRide – although the link won’t post on here currently, I may be able to screenshot it on my phone later. It doesn’t feel like uphill, until we pass Faringdon Place – where I work. Then it’s up onto the Faringdon Road (all still the same road – B4001). Our gallops run parallel to the road on the West side (or left as I’m heading). Nicky Henderson’s gallops are parallel on the East side. A nd it might look flat, but believe me, it”s not. Just ask Chris Snook (Madison Genesis last year).

Finally, a turn to the left at the top of Sparsholt Firs, and down the hill towards Sparsholt, then a left at the crossroads and back toward Kingston Lisle.

It’s not a hard route, but it made me feel better! And if anyone finds my appetite, send it back will you?!

Another thing to point out – no Garmin, no Strava. I don’t eat before I ride, and only take water with me. I do take enough to grab a coffee should I need it, but dad won’t do coffee rides…


Anyway, I feel a lot better. For everything. Who knows, I might take up running next. At least it’ll keep my over active mind from thinking of excuses to not do anything. I have 3 spin classes next week too.


Keep smiling!



Club ride with Dorking CC

Yep. I finally went for my first club ride with DCC on Sunday. I decided to take the bike up in the car and looking back it was a good idea although I could have cycled up.

I honestly can’t remember who I first spoke to, but was taken inside the sports club to talk to Jennie (club secretary) and to sign some bits if paper.
They asked what sort of speed I was doing and told me I could go with the D1’s (beginners as such about 11mph) or D2’s (averageing 12 – 15).
Now I’ve always been told to go with a slightly faster group, and decided on the D2’s.
Flic(k) was to be ride leader, and with 2 other ladies I thought I’d be ok!
So we set off on the cycle path up towards west Humble and turned to go up Ranmore Commen road – with everyone wondering why there were so many sportive riders out riding toward us. King of the Downs (Evans Ride It) I told them 🙂
Gradually more and more from my group overtook me until I rode up next to Flick (not sure how she spells her name!) and had a bit of a chat with her.
We had a right laugh shouting ‘morning!!’ to these very very serious sportive riders and seeing how many we could get to reply (not that many 3 out of every 10 I’d guess). Then we started up Ranmore and I was alright for a while managing to hang in until just before the hairpin. Then I died a death (could neither breath or push those sodding pedals round!) And yes I got off and walked until just after the hairpin (feeling a twat!) Then back on and I caught up with Flick before we got to the others. Cue a few sympathetic smiles!!

Now I’m not sure exactly where we went after that, I was fine hanging on near the back until we hit proper hills. Then I struggled! A nice run downhill – thank god someone said there was a t junction at the bottom. Then off again. The next time we stopped (at another t junction) we had Kingston Wheelers in the opposite side of the road waiting/resting (someone had come off I think) and the sportive riders coming up the hill next to us! Slight chaos! Chatted to a couple of lads, as we waited for Flick. Then we heard she had a puncture and someone suggested waiting at the bottom of the hill by the A25 to ease the congestion!

After a good ten mins, we set off minus Flick (she was fine) and I managed to ride the next hill out of the saddle on the big ring without noticing! Or getting dropped (cue victory dance). I remember we turned left at the top and being asked how many was behind me. I knew the other 2 ladies were somewhere. Off I hared after the rest and glimpsed one going down the hill in front of me. By this time I knew were not far out of Shere but otherwise had no idea where we were!

The other two ladies had gone and the bloke in charge told us we had gone the wrong way!
I remember going to put my foot on the pedal and missing, thinking I had just whacked my leg on the crank, I carried on. This was to be my undoing in a mile or so!
‘Your legs bleeding’
‘Is it? Oh.’ Quick look down but I couldnt see much beside a cat 4 tat from earlier. But I was riding back up the steep hill we’d wrongly gone down, then we went down another hill (we’d missed the t junction) and clustered at the botton.
‘You alright?’

I had a proper look, I’d sliced it good and proper but it felt ok.

We carried on, but I was dropped within a minute. Stiff and sore this freaking hurt to pedal! They did wait for me, and were rather concerned.

Did I want someone to get their car?
No but thank you!

Brian then asked if I wanted to ride back to the sports center slowly. Yeah, think that would be best.

I felt like a fool but hey! We made it back – lots of lovely downhills into Dorking on the A25!!

I thanked him when we got back, and set off home…

If you want to see the pic its either on Facebook or Twitter!!

Thanks Dorking CC for looking out for me, and it was a great ride on a beautiful day! Even though I can’t climb!! I’ll be back for more pain 😉

Then I went to Eastbourne for the E/1/2/3 mens racing and met up with Lois (@ClaudAndI). What a great chilled afternoon!

Keep smiling
I’m going back to work…

Getting dropped and getting back on!

Yah is the first word that comes into my head. Getting dropped, for non bikie people, means starting with a group of people and then seeing them sail away into the distance. Hmm, not fun.

Again I got there far too early and hung around for ages. Chatted to a nice bloke called Steven who was equally early – his friend had got stuck in traffic, and they were doing the 60miler. Eventually Mum and Dad arrived, I’ll have to get Dad to have a go at one of these, and I registered and waited for Annie to arrive. Unfortunately I didn’t see her, and she hadn’t signed in so I was faced with the prospect of doing this alone. I’m not sure what time I set off in the end, and promptly got passed by all but 2 going up this stupidly small hill! Hahaha I said I was slow! I’ve got to admit that on your own doing this isn’t that much fun for a first timer, and when a group passed me the first time I just sighed and got on with it. Then another group passed me and I wanted to cry, but told myself to shut the hell up and get on with it. So I did. Then I started passing a lot of people with punctures, just at the bottom of the hill that went on forever. Oh my lord, I was wobbling but determined to get up there in bottom gear, and it got steeper! I knew a car was behind me, and had been for some time, and thought it was best if I pulled into the side as it was fairly narrow. 5 second break. I wasn’t sure I’d get up the hill, but I did, even though for the next mile or so I puffed along in bottom gear. I really could do with a friend right now, I kept thinking, and as I got to a t-junction I could see rather a lot of people cycling past. Had I gone the wrong way? Then I remembered we had been told at the start that there was the three counties cycle ride on. Most people were doing that! I passed a couple of them, and felt a bit better! Then I saw a feed station, and realised at the last second that it wasn’t ours – it was the three counties one! Needless to say quite a lot of people who had passed me were stopped here, but I didn’t feel it was fair, so I carried on. (I later heard several people complain that the ‘first’ feed station didn’t have any cake!!).

Then I heard someone behind me, who promptly overtook me. He was only going a bit faster than me, so I managed to sit in his wheel for a few miles until I saw ‘our’ feed station. I stopped with a sigh of relief, and got talking to three blokes who were doing the short 30miler that i was doing. ‘Can I tag along with you?’ I naively asked when they said how slow they were. ‘Sure.’
i tried the High5 energy drink they had at the feed zone, it was pretty good actually! Also had flapjack and jelly beans! It was also time to take off my lightweight rain jacket (it had been cool at the start and although I wasn’t hot, I thought it’d be easier to take it off as I didn’t really want to stop again.
So away downhill I went, sodding freezing now I’d taken my jacket off!! (I only possess a short sleeved jersey that I bought yesterday from Pedal On) But as soon as we hit the flat my legs wanted to give up, and it wasn’t long before I was getting dropped, and the three blokes were out of sight up the next small incline. It was fairly warm by now, I was sweating buckets and blowing like an idiot, but was determined to get up the next hill, hoping there would be a descent somewhere along the line!
Then a couple of miles later, there was and I found myself overtaking the 3 that had dropped me! I’d never felt so good! Looking behind, they had disappeared a minute later, then my chain came off! Damn it! Only took a second to put back on and I was away again. Then traffic lights appeared, which gave them a chance to catch up with me, by now I’d had an energy gel (why didn’t I think of it earlier?) and took off away from them again!!
Turning a corner, a chaffinch nearly caused me to have a heart attack when I thought it was going to fly into my front wheel! instead it flew in a straight line in front of me, giving me a chance to admire its colours!
Suddenly there was only a couple of miles left, and before I knew it I was at the finish! I got my time 2 hours 40 mins. My bike clock said 2 hours 29 mins (it stops when I stop moving, so it had taken into account my stop at the feed station and when my chain came off).

I’m sooo happy I did it, although it’s not as fun on my own, and I have no idea if Annie turned up in the end. I’ll email her later and find out.

I will say this wasn’t as well organised as the Wiggle Magnificat, the maps given out were a bit rubbish, and I was unable to download the gpx. file before the ride. I was lucky enough to get there so early I could park opposite the village hall (where we registered). I just wish the Evans blog had been better updated with the details of the day. However the route I did, with the explanation at the start, I thought to be extremely well marked out. Although I did hear several people complaining that it wasn’t!

No matter what, I really enjoyed it, and am fairly chuffed with my time! I will post photo’s later…

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Thanks for reading this, can’t wait for the next one!


Getting ready for the LadyCat

This being my first sportif, I’m a bit worried about everything! Cue constant checks online to see if anything has changed.

Nothing has at the moment, that I know of, but it doesn’t hurt to keep looking! (must stop biting fingernails) It’s great to see that stuff is published online, because without it I would be lost!
Rider Information Brief
Riders Route Saftey Notepad: http://www.cyclegb.co.uk/sites/www.cyclegb.co.uk/files/Routes%20safety%20Notepad%202012.pdf

Now those who know me tend to find I’m usually stupidly early (maybe it’s because my dad is ALWAYS late). So I may well be at Newbury Racecourse at bang on 6.30 (yes it’s possible I’m slightly mad).

Early starts don’t bother me, although today I managed to wake up at 8.00am (thats very late for me) and will be out on the bike shortly.

I did a 37.1km ride yesterday – had to turn for home early as I wasn’t feeling too good. And when I got home, promptly slept for 4 hours. I feel better today, and might try my original route.
Cliddesden Lane, over the footbridge of the M3, out onto main road and into Cliddesden. Turn up past the church and follow past the primary school. Once at the top, along for a while and take the first left, down and up the small valley, and right at the top of the hill. Then next left…. oh, FFS! at the end of the road turn left and follow to Herriad Crossroads (across the A339). This time I’ll hopefully be carrying on a bit further, and I’ll see where I get to when I’m here.

It takes me 5 mins to get up the sodding hill outside of Cliddesden, and I REFUSED to get off.

Hey I’m unfit, and I know a few people will be laughing, but I don’t care – I’m getting there, even if it is boring, lonely and frankly wants to make me give up. I can do it, and the more people that laugh just make me want to prove them wrong! I think reverse psychology works quite well on me occasionally!

So there we go!!