The *Real McCoy*

I’ll put my hands up. I never finished the Paris Roubaix photo post. And due to data limitations, I doubt I will!

Most, if not all, photos are on Imgur.com under my username of elzrocks.

Right, so, the *Real McCoy* well I’m obviously not AP McCoy  (the world famous NH (National Hunt) jockey who lived next to the parents for a while.

I mean me. After being politely questioned by a twitter friend (James Ward I’m looking at you!!) something actually made me wonder. Who do you see me as? What do I do? What do you think I do?

My *day* job is looking after/ working with racehorses. You might see a little bit about it on fb/twitter – but not a lot. I start work at 5.45 and finish at 12.30ish. This includes the delightful aspect of ‘mucking out’ – and the more normal aspect of riding out. We usually ride 3 or 4 different horses a morning. Back at work at 15.15 and finish roughly at 17.20.

Sometimes I get to go racing – usually with the horses I look after. That’s also why I tend to know the roads quite well! 

I work 12.5 days out of 14 – the half a day off being a Saturday, and the whole day being the Sunday directly after. We don’t have Bank Holidays off either. And you thought you worked hard?!! 😉

Anyway.
This year I’ve kinda started everything again. Gave up smoking last year, put on a bit of weight (obviously not ideal in my job where every other person weighs 9 stone max wet through!!) and have been trying to do something about it.
I took up spinning 3 times a week to start with. With the intention of leaving when the evenings got light enough. I dropped the Thursday class in favour of Konga (part of the jungle body routine – Google it before you laugh too much).

Now it’s light enough, I’ve been getting out as much as possible. I’ve dragged myself out of half the mess I was in last year kicking and screaming. Ironically despite changing most of my lifestyle – including healtier eating – I haven’t lost much weight.
Having put the seat post up 3 inches on my bike – I’m a lot more comfortable. And finally for the 3rd time got myself back on Strava.

It’s hard to change everything, and I’m pretty impatient sometimes. But I’m feeling a lot fitter and proved a point to myself when I ran from Nottingham centre to the Station Car Park (most of the way) and back (most of the way!) Without winding myself or giving myself sore shins! Pat on the back and all that.

Also, you’ve probably seen me at a cycle race somewhere. Tour Series is great fun, and haring off to the Isle of Wight at the last second was brilliant. I love watching it – I mean who am I kidding, you think I’d ever race a bike?! – and it’s great to be asked to be involved.
GP Wiltshire was great – awesome to run into Lili McClean and Mitch Webber again.
Then a jaunt to Redditch for the Tour Series round 2. Where I got involved again. Lovely to meet Claire Rutherford at last!
Really should give a shout out to the behind-the-scenes lot – Paul Baillie  #legend and Andy Hawes who I never ever run into!
The weekend just gone was equally as busy. Shot off straight to Chesterfield as soon as I’d finished work. Had a bloody hard ride with Louise Wainwright  (I loved every second of it!) and a few drinks after.
Sunday was the Milk Race. Great race to watch though I better say nothing about Showsec!! A lovely day out with lovely people!

I enjoy watching the cycling – although I’m not usually the most vocal. And I like getting involved. I’m more than happy to help out.

The last few years haven’t been easy. So I’m hugely grateful to the people who put up with my still daft questions (Stuart Clapp!) and those who’ve been there along the way.

#keepsmiling
Elz

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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…

Hmm

Might see you there!

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

Ciao 🙂

Not a typical weekend!

Saturday morning, I once again joined up with https://www.facebook.com/breezingstoke (part of the Breeze network). Meeting in the War Memorial Park at 8.45, one of the ladies informed us that there was part of the cycle path cordoned off by police. This happened to be the way we were going, so we duly set off to investigate. No, we were not allowed through, and I still don’t know what had happened, but there was a police car and it was certainly off limits. We were redirected back past the tennis centre to rejoin the cycle path further down with much wondering what had happened!
Did I also mention there was a Park Run on? Ah, yeah, there was people EVERYWHERE!!
This was only a social ride, and road bikes probably shouldn’t be used going up through Crabtree plantation (far too gravelly really!) but I survived! A short run sort of around Old Basing and back via Eastrop Park (where Breeze leader Ruth took a lovely piccy of us ladies!).
On the smoothest, loveliest piece of road I switched to a higher gear and my sodding chain came off – cue mortification!
Honestly the weather and company was perfect for a short ride! I thoroughly enjoyed it, but once home I was soon bored!

After a quick wander around town, I decided to take my bike over to my parents (Kingston Lisle in Oxfordshire) and go for a short ride around there. Dad wondered whether to join me on his Eddy Merckx but he’d already been out for a long ride in the morning, so I thought that @v_girlracer might like to join me! She did an it was a lovely easy ride until we got to Common Hill.

Common Hill. Yep, for two not very fit people, it is a bast**d of a hill to climb as it’s steep enough, it twists and turns and the road surface isn’t great, but we both managed to stay on our bikes and get up it! Needless to say I was pretty damn pleased with myself. Thank god once up Common Hill we were back in Kingston Lisle, and only a short ride back to my parents.

Then still in lycra we decided to play tennis (although ‘play’ wouldn’t describe it as there was certainly no scoring – unless you count hitting miscellaneous objects as points). We had a whale of a time, even if the odd ‘Oiiii’ from mum (yeah we might have hit the window ;S ) made us calm down a bit.

So back to Basingstoke and Sunday morning meant putting together a flat pack (fabric) wardrobe, set of shelves and a bedside cabinet. And not doing any TdF planning (unless you included talking)!

Ciao
🙂