Breeze road ride

5.45 meet in Eastrop Park. Only 3 of us, including ride leader Ruth. Just 20 miles. I’ll be fine!
I’m not sure of the route we went after we went out through Old Basing, but it included Stratfield Saye and Bramley, and we came back into town via Popley.

All I can say is it took my legs 10 miles to warm up! I still don’t get sore, achy legs, but my knees were a tad creaky this morning. Oh and I still get dropped on small hills 😛 I’ll get there one day!

It was lovely to meet Lex (on her new Specialized), and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride! And surprisingly don’t want to go back to work tomorrow, but hey!

In Bramley, we had to wait for 3 trains to go through the level crossing, which prompted Ruth to tell Lex about what happened at the level crossing in the Tour of Switzerland (or #TdS on Twitter). Thankfully that didn’t happen to us!

Only a short post this time, just keeping my fingers crossed that the weather might get less rainy at some point so I can get some decent miles in my legs. I’m still looking out for another sportif to do, and I’d welcome someone to ride with me (whoever it is would get a fair easy day out of it!).

Anyway, I’m off to.. er.. ‘watch’… Twitter (I’ve already missed the cycling on ITV4). And try not to embarrass myself any further….

Keep smiling 😛 😉

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!

Cheers!

Reading Ride-It tomorrow

Just a quick post – I’ve already said I’m doing the Reading Ride-It tomorrow (the 30miler). Thank god I managed to contact Annie – who rode the last of the LadyCat with me – and I’ll be able to meet her there. This is brilliant as we pretty much ride at the same pace and she was great to have a laugh with!

I also seem to be supporting Endura (clothing) single handedly – bought a mens small racing jersey, and fingerless gloves from http://www.pedalon.co.uk/acatalog/shop_info.html and already own a hi-viz jacket. The mens racing jersey was 50% off – even though the bloke on the till had no idea they had a sale rail!! Happy days!

I also have my Magnificat bib shorts – they are perfect! Wonder if I’ll be able to wear them tomorrow?!?!

The ride tomorrow doesn’t seem as well organised as Wiggle’s Magnificat last weekend. Maps of the route still haven’t appeared in my email inbox – and have failed to get a reply after emailing them. Thankfully they have maps there tomorrow.

I’d also like to point out that I’m not having a dig at them! And I understand about pre riding the ‘course.’

Anyway, hopefully the rain stays away…
There is always wishful thinking…

Cheers!!

Addicted!?

So I’ve been back to work since Monday – racehorses don’t feed/exercise/water themselves (unfortunately). I thought I’d give myself a day off the bike yesterday as although my legs were fine, I was shattered! So hope all of you that get the Bank Holiday off had a great time 🙂 Oh, did it rain? 😛

I posted on Twitter to ask if anyone is doing the sportif at Reading http://www.evanscycles.com/ride-it/reading-10th-june-2012
I’m going to have a go at the 30 miler – although that does mean I need to get some miles into my legs this week! And no I haven’t gone out today!

It doesn’t matter if I don’t know anyone doing it – it would just be nice to go around with someone, seen as this will only be my second sportif and on roads I don’t know! Hmm, hopefully someone will come through!

I got a surprise this morning when my dad text me and said he’d bought me some bib shorts (and in my size)!
 http://www.wiggle.co.uk/wiggle-ladies-magnificat-cycling-bib-shorts/
I’m unbelievably pleased!

I also know it’s going to be hard to find time to go out on the bike – but I enjoy it sooo much, that TdF planning is having to wait until its late/dark.

So any suggestions for the next sportif? I don’t really want to be doing anything in excess of 30 miles for a couple of months. I can’t afford to travel far either!

And next Tuesday I get to meet up with some fellow Twitter friends and go for a ride around the area I grew up in (Oh god, white Horse Hill!?!?!). Yes I do have a couple of days off work 😉

Cheers!!

 

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….

Busy weekend

Having my alarm wake me this morning at 7, I’ve had to get up pretty quick. I need to have a short ride out on the bike before packing my racing bag (horseracing!)

Actually that’s pretty easy, black boots, black trousers/jeans, sponsored t-shirt, then sweatshirt, spare jeans and maybe a t-shirt. My boots are always dried and cleaned and then live in my bag ready for going racing. The rest of my gear is also ready nearby. In reality I don’t need much, but I haven’t checked the weather forecast yet!

So I’ve been told I’m leaving the yard at 1.30. That’s all fine, and it means leaving the house at about 11.45. Yes I’ll be early, and will get to work for for about 12.25, and it only takes a few minutes to get the horse and gear ready. This also means that I can have a quick cuppa when I get there! The horse runs at 6pm, thats means leaving the racecourse about 7 to come home. Then it’s another 40 min drive home from the yard. I expect by that time our ‘street party’ will be in full swing!

As for Sunday, I think I’ll get to Newbury Racecourse for 7.30, then I have time to be nosey and hopefully meet a couple of ladies doing the Sportif! This means being up at half five, so I can have a coffe and eat breakfast without making myself sick 😉

I’ll let you know how it goes!

And finally, many thanks to all my twitter friends who gave me such a show of support after my blog post yesterday. Yes I am nervous, but feel now that it might actually be alright 🙂

Time to go for a ride…

Take care!!

losing confidence

Yeah it happens, especially when I pretty much bike on my own, eat on my own, live on my own (sorry to my landlady here, who is an absolute legend and a good friend).
I have the internet, Twitter has given me some amazing friends, Facebook bores me rigid (and no doubt I bore my FB ‘friends’ rigid), and sometimes the only escape I have is my blog, oh yeah and a book or two (maybe 10).

I have this Sportif (LadyCat at Newbury Racecourse) on Sunday. I have no idea of anyone who is doing this – in fact some people have turned their noses up (fellow cyclists) – ‘oh well if I was there I would be doing the Magnificat, not the LadyCat.’ Er yeah, thanks for that, I’ve only just got started in the expensive lycra clad world of road cycling. I don’t have ‘kit’ that matches my bike – and to be frank I don’t care. I don’t have cleats – can’t afford them. I’m quite frankly a bit worried – I’m not overly fit, I’m kinda hoping I can get through it!

And it’s not just the cycling, I’m fair worried about doing this TdF thing. I don’t actually know if I can afford to do it, although the hotel in Paris is booked, as are the hotels in Pau.

Maybe it comes down to money, I don’t earn very much at all, and I don’t care who knows that. Working with racehorses pays a shitty weekly wage that barely covers the cost of living. Wonder how I afford my TdF trip? Pool Money. Please don’t tell me to move back to Andover unless you can give me the months rent upfront (mostly in excess of £400).

So for those of you sporting brand new, up to date kit/bikes/cars, lucky aren’t you! Please don’t shove it in my face – I do a more dangerous job than any of you!

A rant is a rant I suppose, but I’m still under confident about this Sportif issue! I doubt it really matters in the long term…

Somewhere I’m smiling 😛
Ciao