Monday, 31 October 2016

Panaguas!! Hello!

Hello blog lovers.

Look at this, two riding blogs in a row!  And boy, does a certain part of my anatomy knows about it!  I had no children here with me, I didn't need to be waiting in for packages, I had the key to be able to put the dog in his house and my bike is in perfect condition, just waiting to be ridden!  I finally can get out with the Panagua Ladies!  It has been a long while!

I know my cycling fitness has dropped off quite a lot, months of not being on a bike regularly will do that!  But I didn't let  that put me off meeting up with my pals.  Mhairi was going to be there, she hasn't been along for a Panagua ride for a while and so it was just so good meeting up with them all.  We had a big turnout today, 7 of us including Carmel, she is new to the Panagua's and this is her first ride.  We had YogaBear, Lynn, Karen and LongJoJo.  They are all pretty fast, fit riders!  They just love a climb!  Where as I just love a descent!  I am like the chalk to their cheese, but what a welcome back I got along with SpeedyMhairi, I have just come up with her new nickname!  We just need PoshTotty, Linda and Bims back and we will have all the first members of Panaguas!

So, after dropping off little dude to school, coming back, taking the dog to his house, via a short walk, and then getting my stuff ready I still managed to get to the Panagua Ladies at the cafe on time!  I think!  They were still there which was good!  After the introductions to Carmel we were soon off.  They usual route for me, the girls were being kind!  I was feeling a little nervous, I didn't want to slow them down too much, but I so want to be able to keep on riding with them.  I will have to do some loops or something, to get my legs stronger.

Getting to Downe is an uphill struggle all the way, from the moment  we take our first right turn its up and up.  But I took in a big breath and got on with it!  Lynne was in front with me next and then rest of the ladies behind. I think they wanted to keep an eye on how fast.....slow I had become!  Lynne kept checking that I was still near her.  Mind you she said to me "Can you chat and ride Old Girl?" When I told her "Yes" she said good we can go a bit faster!  That is the sort of thing I say to Tracy when I am running along with her!  It's all good training!

We rode on through Keston to the A233 and I so enjoyed that little bit of down hill to our next left turn that will take us to Downe Village.  The girls by now had all gone ahead of me, Mhairi had stayed behind to encourage me all the way up to top, our usual photo stop!  And this is it!  YogaBear took this picture, it was a pity there wasn't a random about so that we could all get in the picture!
Karen, LongJoJo, Camel, Lyne
me and Mhairi!

Although it is still all uphill it does feel a little better. I have decided it's because I have now become numb when I get to this point!  Almost delirious, in fact if you told me to hop on one leg clucking like a chicken I would probably do that!  We took the path to Berrys Green road, when I say 'We', it was me and SpeedyMhairi.  The rest of the ladies went down the road to climb up the cheeky steep bit first!  See what I mean about them loving a climb!  SpeedyMhairi came with me as she didn't like anyone to go by themselves anywhere.  But then she could see how much loss of confidence I have as I try and cycle along the narrow path!  It has given her ideas again of getting us to go along to a Velodrome!  Something that I am really thinking about now, even if I do it once!  I am sure it will be a great experience! "Keep you eyes in front Old Girl" she said to me as I kept looking down at the path!

Out of the path and I decided to just keep on going, no stopping till we get to the Shampan.  The girls had waited a little further up for me but I rode on by.  It's still up hill so they will and did pass me by again.  Again I didn't want to stop, not until we get to the Shampan! That was my next 'rest'  The girls normally stop here and have snacks and stuff.  I never remember to bring stuff like that!  But I think I may start getting an energy drink, just to give me a little bit of energy!

From here we discussed which way to get to the A21.  You know me, I love a down hill, and Cudham North Lane is 5 miles of downhill!  I wanted to ride down here, I love riding down here!  Not everyone likes riding down here, so we were going to go into two groups once we got there. One lot going to Knockholt and me and Karen going down Cudham.  But once we did get to the 'seperatation' point everybody had decided to ride Cudham!

It felt so good riding down there, I was in front, of course that didn't last too long.  Even though I just let go there are a couple of spots on this road that I take just a little slower.  YogaBear then overtook me and she was just sitting a few feet in front of me.  Then a couple of miles down SpeedyMhairi can riding on past us and starting to pull away from us.  This is why I decided on her Nickname!  She just flew past, all tucked in, down on her bars looking like the professional cyclists!  I was impressed that's for sure!

SpeedyMhairi got there first, then YogaBear and then me.  We waited just a few more minutes before everyone else joined us.  The next stop will be the cafe at Hayes, where we started from, so up the A21 and then turn left into Farnborough to face that horrible hill.  This one is always a toughie!  Usually tired and in need of sustenance!

We rode through Farnborough, the cafe that we use normally if we are coming this way and made our way to Hayes.  I was so looking forward to a bite to eat!  Nearly two hours after I had set off from home I was back at the cafe enjoying my burger and coke!  And a great catch up with the ladies!  A fabulous ride and such a perfect sunny morning too!

Geeky stats, way slower than what a Panagua Ladies ride should be, I have a lot of training to do!

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Sunday, 30 October 2016

Support Crew!

Hello blog lovers.

Yup I was on my bike today, as support crew for NaggyNeighbour!  She has decided that she is going to do an ultra marathon and I had promised her that I would ride along next to her on one of her long runs! Today was that day!  Thirteen miles of a nice slow ride!  It felt nice to get some saddle time in, no matter how slow I went!  But that didn't mean I didn't work hard!  Oh no!  Naggy likes to challenge herself with a few hills!  Well, actually, if you want to do a nice route, that doesn't take you around and around, driving you crazy on a long run, then hills will feature in your run, quite a lot!

The first hill was up the A21.  This is where I found that I can't ride slow up the hills.  I now understand why the Panagua ladies all zoom past me when we get to the hills. I wasn't as fast as they usually go, but I still needed to put a bit of power up on the hill!  I waited for her to get to me when I got to the flat bit!  She was still running!

At the top of the next hill we turned left to run down Locksbottom towards crofton.  A nice flat part of the route.  Naggy is running nice and steady, quite fast....deffo faster than I would be at this point if I was running!  We were chatting away, she is deciding about her nutrition on this run, whether to have gels first then the foody drink.  Last time she did it the other way around.  When you are doing ultra marathons keeping your energy levels is extremely important, and it's best to sort this out before the big day!  But she was still running!

I was her support crew, I had to bottles on my bike to hand over to her when she needed it, one with the 'food' in and one just plain water, I had visions of grabbing out the bottles from the bike cages and handing it over like they do on Tour de France!  No stopping, just keep on moving!  But I can't do that!  I need to stay focused on the road ahead and traffic behind me and blimmin plebs  getting blimmin close to me on my side! Why do drivers do that! Ok so I am riding a little slower than I normally do, but there is still no need to get that close!

We ran/cycled all the way down Crofton Road and into Petts Wood. Our next bit is going through Jubilee Park.  At least this will be traffic free, no more idiots wanting to see what perfume I was wearing! Well, when I say no more traffic, there were people! Lots of them.  Naggy just slipped by them I had to manoeuvre my bike through the gate and around the people!  Is there no where I don't have to dodge people!  Once past the gate though I caught up with Naggy!  Who was still running!

Up and over the bridge on Blackbrook lane, our next little hill is Plaistow Lane!  I remember this hill used to terrify me! Just before we go there though, Naggy swapped bottles, so she had her energy drink with her now! I know I can do this hill, but I will have to go a bit faster than what I have been doing!  So I rode on up and waited for Naggy to get to me! She ran the whole way!  I was so impressed!  I was feeling a tad guilty, thinking that I was keeping the pace a little fast for her as she tried to keep up with me, but she looked so comfortabe, still chatting too!

We ran through to Bromley North, and then I had to hit the pavements to stay behind her.  I wasn't quite sure which way she was going.  We headed over Kentish way and then took the back street to get to Norman Park.  This is where Naggy usually fades.  But looking at her now, there is no fading at all!  She was looking strong!  I on the other hand was feeling a little sore!  It's been a while since I've been on my bike, I need to do a few more miles to get my saddle ass back! We entered the park and she was looking good, she was chatting away and had no intention of going straight home.  Nope!  This time she will be doing the loop around the park!  Just the one! And then head on home!

It was amazing to see, she ran the whole way!  I am totally inspired!  Just running a nice steady pace, not speeding up, no slowing down, just keep it going!  That is the trick!  I am going to try and do that on my next solo run, or parkrun, which ever comes first!  I was just totally impressed.  I think my Garmin must have had a hissy fit because it was reading something different to hers, so I am going by her Garmin, which read over 13 miles where as mine was under!  Whats that all about!

Any way, geeky stats!

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Monday, 3 October 2016

An Evening Meander!

Hello Blog lovers!

Back to my bike!  Not only that I was out with the Old Boy!  It's been a while since we both been out on our bikes together, I just hope that my running, with the occasional bike riding and his lack of riding lately, will be able to bring our speeds to around the same pace!

I put my long pants on, forgetting all about my 'commando' training!  Boy did I feel that!  But I still only had on my short sleeve jersey with my long sleeve autumn jersery over the top of that!  Full finger gloves and my nice cosy socks!  Where did that summer go, eh?  I just realised how much I have missed going riding on my bike, but work and other things just got in the way!  Anyway, there I was ready, dressed and eager to get out, even missing out on my favourite programme, Hollyoaks, just to enjoy some of what is left of the light! We made sure we had fully charged lights and spares, just in case.

So Downe Village it is!  I had to make a conscious effort to try and keep at a steady pace!  But I also want to keep it so that I am not struggling every second of the way, but just a nice work out!  That's what I need to do.  Steady work out.  The weather is a lot cooler, the workout will seem harder.....or maybe it will be easier....? It's been a while since I could compare the difference!  Anyway, I was hoping that I had the right attire on for the short ride.  I hate feeling cold....or too hot!

We set off up the ally way, and then along the A21 towards the Farnborough turn off.  The hills, or boy do I hate the hills!  But these one are not half as bad as High Elms Road!  But I tried not to think about that, I am way to near home.......I don't want to suddenly find myself ...quitting.....and heading off home!  No, I can do this, just keep it steady, not too fast, I got to keep it enjoyable, not too slow, the Old Boy needs to feel he is working out......just right.

It was soon time to turn off for Farnborough and then that awful hill begins at the bottom of church lane!  I was not looking forward to it.  I tried to remember where I had stopped on the last time I rode up there.  I know it was about half way.  I am not going to beat myself up if I have to stop again this time, but I will try and try and try to get all the way to the Village before I do!  That is my this evening.....but my shorter goal is to get further up before I have to stop!  I know! I am rambling now, but it's all clear in my head.

I asked the Old Boy to cycle in front of me, I just feel a lot better if I am the last rider.  I can relax a bit more, I can go at my pace and not worry if I am getting in anyone's way or slowing them down.  I don't feel half as bad making them wait at the top thought! It's probably why I say to the Panagua Ladies to "Ride on by, see you at the top", they are all way fast than me at tearing up them hills!

I did stop.  And I was a bit annoyed at myself too....after I saw how near I was to the two pubs in the centre of the village! But I will not beat myself up.....I am back at it....I am here.....I am doing it!  I am not sitting on the sofa wishing that I had been on my bike today!  That is how I am going to look at it!  

But from the here though, from this tree in the centre it was non stop!  I just kept on going, up some more undulations as we rode on towards that lovely, perfect, enjoyable down hill to Biggin hill! I am glad that I decided to start my Garmin on that up hill to Downe Village because I can now see how fast I came down that hill!  It does feel good!

There was not stopping of for a crafty pint this evening either, no, we are both determined to get back into shape and lose those extra pounds!  I have a party frock to get into!  It's my running clubs 10th anniversay this November, and the day of the party just happens to fall on my birthday!  Now if that isn't incentive enough then I should just go sit in the middle of chocolate town and weep!

Here is just some of my geeky stats!  There is about 5 miles would have been that slow slog up to Cuckoo House, (something like that anyway) where I stopped for a breather!  The Old Boy had his Garmin on, I shall check just how far we done when he uploads it!  Just looked at them, and it's not showing how fast I was going, unless you go and look on the speed thing and go along it to see!  31 mph!!

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Panagua Ladies!

Hello blog lovers!
Charlene and Linda
with my bike in the middle!

So, finally I thought I may be able to ride out again with some of the Panagua Ladies.  Well most of them were busy doing things, and I think Mhairi and Fiona are doing something ridiculous in Ireland!  A very green country, mainly because of the plenty of water that comes down!  And hilly, but I've heard its a beautiful place to visit.  So they are saving their legs.

It was just me and Linda and Charlene today.  Charlene is an honary Panagua Lady, as she normally does her trail riding.  But she is in training to ride to Brighton, a night ride, off road!  So she needs some miles under her saddle!  I thought as Linda has been off her bike for a while (only just going out by herself for a couple of weeks) I thought it was going to ok to meet up with her and we could poodle around!

We decided to meet up in Petts Wood as it seems central for the three of us, and it was just as well as my tyre was flat again!  It deffo had a slow puncture!  I nipped in to Petts Wood Autos, I spoke to John there and he fixed it for me!  I can do it myself, but I would have been a bit slower, and we would be even later starting our ride!  Charlene decided to have a bit of air in her tyres too, well they were set for going through the woods, she will need a firmer tyre for the road!

Eventually we were ready and we chose our route and headed off up Southborough lane.  We were going through Farnborough Village and down that lovely long road Church Road.  The down hills I am good at, as you know.  The up hills I am still struggling with, which is why I have been doing my loops around Petts Wood, plenty of undulations in there!

We got to Shire Lane, which is quite a nasty road actually, and we crossed over it and turned into the country park!  It just saves riding along any more of that road.  We came out in the carpark along High Elms road. I remember the first time I took this route with Charlene, I was a lot fitter back then, Charlene was just started out on her bike!  When we started the ride up to Downe we had to stop several times so Charlene could catch her breath!  It was tough!  I had to stop several times the first few times I did this road.

But today, oh my goodness! Today Charlene and Linda seemed to fly up there while I was left 'spinning' in the wake!  I felt every single spin of those pedals!  The other two had disappeared around the bends of the road.  I was so hot, so sticky.  I remember that I had left my water in Charlene's back pack! I had her smaller one in my bike rack (both of us had forgotten to bring water and Charlene bought two bottles of water for us)  The big one didn't fit in my water cage!

Half way up there I just was coping very well!  It was relentless, I had to pull over and catch breath.  Then a feeling came over, one that I had recently.....while running to try and get a good parkrun time!  I thought I was going to throw up!  I just put my head on the handlebars of my bike and waiting for the feeling to go!

I am ashamed to say.....I walked a bit!  I haven't walked my pink bike for ages!!  But today I did.  I guess I shouldn't beat myself up, I have been off my bike for a couple of months......Listen, I need all the excuses I can get for such an act as walking up this hill!

I eventually got to the top to find.....nobody!  No Charlene and no Linda!  Where were they!  I waited by the tree.  I just knew they wouldn't take any of the roads unless I was there.  And then there they were!  Coming up from where I just come from.  I felt pretty good actually, because another cyclist came by and it looked like I was the first one there and I was waiting for these two!!  Smug face!!

From there we went down Single Street, and the two ladies found their pace again I pedalled to try and keep up with them.  We were heading for Knockholt.  Linda is not that keen on Cudham Lane, unlike me!  I just love flying down there, but she knew the way through Knockholt and that is where we rode to, via Berrys Green Hill!  Yes there is another hill!  Do I like hills!!

We eventually got on to the A21 and I finally overtook Linda (on the down hill section of course) but there was no way I could catch up to Charlene!  She was waiting at the end of the road.  From there we started to head for Magpie Hall Lane, but we didn't get that far!  We were all a bit tired and hungry, and Charlene was feeling the heat!  So we stopped of at Frankie and Bennys!  I haven't been here for a while.  We parked our bikes, Charlene got a table and me and Linda went to see what there was to eat and drink.   While we were choosing the lovely waitress looked at us and said, "Look why don't you go sit down, I will bring some water, and you can ....breathe"  She brought out the menus then collected our own water bottles and took them away.  When she came back not only did she refill them, she managed to stuff some ice into mine and Charlene's drinks bottle, you know, the ones that you buy from the shop and the throw away, and stuffed loads of ice into Linda's drink, she had the proper sports bottle!  Now that is just perfect!  This could possible become one of our stops!

Once we were suitable re hydrated and fed we decided to go home the way that we came, up Tubbingdon Lane!

A great ride, and it was good to be back with the ladies, but it has showed me that I am still not quite up to standard quite yet!  But I can't wait to see all the girls again!!

Geeky stats.

Garmin Connect Just click on the link

Monday, 12 September 2016

Hello Bloggers

Today was such a gorgeous day, warm, the sun was shining!  Perfect for a ride.  I wanted to go along to meet the Panagua ladeis at 10 but the bike I wanted to ride on had a flat.  So instead I sorted that out and then did my new Petts Wood loops.

Straight away I felt different on my pink bike from the my white bike that I used on Friday.  I was 'feeling' like I could go faster with this bike.  Now if I do go faster, do I call it a PB, can I still claim it? Or will it be a new challenge, due to the different bike? Hmmm.  Well, in the Tour de France they change bikes, don't they!?  And they are still in the same race!  So I think I am going to have it, if I beat last Fridays of course.

I rode on up Farringdon, quite leisurely actually, until I remembered I had a target to beat!  And then I just upped the gear slightly.  After all, I don't want to peak too soon!  I was thinking about last Friday's ride around Petts Wood, how I was feeling at the time.  I know I was feeling disappointed that I wasn't on my Spesh, and I was feeling a bit tired too, having done a few runs during the week!  But today, after having two days rest as well (I should have gone running both Saturday and Sunday!) I was feeling pretty good.

I was soon looking up Petts Wood Road ready to start the first of the loops.  I was feeling positive, this was going to be good.  I felt pretty strong going up that first incline, again I thought that maybe its the bike, and I was in a better frame of mind. I thought to myself "Don't get cocky Old Girl, it's only the first loop". Once at the top I took the first left at the round about and looked forward to the first down hill, Birchwood!  The 'undulations' as I call them, when I am running with my running club, just after the long downhill of Birchwood seemed 'easier' too!  Nah, sure not, it's got to be the combination of all of those factors, rested, different bike, feeling good, etc that is making this ride a good one!

I was doing the third loop and I couldn't remember how many I had done, 2 or 3 or was it 4.  I thought about it on the nice down hill, and realised it was the third time I had come down here.  So just one more to do, and I was still feeling good.....glad it was the last one though!  I started to singing a song, to keep me going, I put my own words to it though, "#This is the last time, going up this hill, this is the last time going up here" to the tune of "Mummas little baby lovest shortening shortening"  Why I don't know, but it kept me focused.   Once at the top by the roundabout I was smiling!  "That's it, all done" I thought to myself. "Just those inclines to do and then back home for a cuppa"

All done, and whats more, no plonker car drivers.......well maybe just that one that just couldn't wait a few seconds more till I passed the parked cars before he went drove passed me.  It's not as if riding up hill is easy or anything!

Geeky stats, just click on the link!

Garmin Connect

Friday, 9 September 2016

Saddle Sore!

Hello bloggers

I can't believe how long it has been since I was last on my bike doing loops.  I must admit, I had a Friday off a couple of weeks back and I went out on a solo ride. I had all intentions of doing the Blackbrook loops but it was just way too hot!  So instead I went on a slow crawl around Bromley had a pint in the Red Lion and then went on to Hayes for lunch.  Then I called my sister and stayed for just one more!

But today I was out to do some training.  I have this new route, I was getting fed up of the Blackbrook Lane anyway, but this one, this one....well it's a bit more challenging!  It's where I do my running with my running club.  It has slight inclines, as I tell my group 1's.  Well, when I'm on my bike, and not my lightest bike either, that has a puncture! Those slight inclines are tough.

I could really feel the extra poundage, not just on my bike either, but the spare tyre around my waist too.  But I need to work hard, I need those extra undulations on my riding route to get fit and lose pounds.  Why is it so easy to get fatter, get more unfit.  Why is food so delicious, and why does beer make you feel so special!  Why, Why Why??  If there was a competition to see who could get unfit the quickest then I would win that little trophy!  But anyway, there I was on my white bike, and I am not liking my pedals any more.  They were ok for when I was getting used to clipless, but now they are just winding me up!  And what is it with being bloomin uncomfortable!  Surely the saddle can't be that different from my other bike!  I know I am just looking for things to make excuses for not doing as fast as I could have gone!

I rode up Tudor way and then turned down to station square.  I thought I would use the down hill part of Petts Wood Road as a little help to get up to the first of the hills.  Four times I was going to do this loop, and already my thighs were telling me to stop!  But I just grit my teeth and rode on up there.  Then I turned left at the round about and rode along to Birchwood and turned to ride down there.  Following the road all the way around and back to Petts Wood! I did that loop three more times!  It was tough.  I took a break after the second one!  It really was tough!

I think this route is going to really challenge me, but I need to work on those hills to get stronger, I know that. So I shall grin and bear it and try and do this loop as often as I can!

Here is the route.

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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Hello Loopy!

Hello blog lovers.

Things are just not working out entirely how I want them to, but that's fine.  I will get time eventually to do what I like to do and to meet up with my riding buddies again.  But for the time being I take what I can get.  Yesterday I managed to find an hour to spend time with the 'B-iatch'  my bike!  I have been neglecting my cycling but not because I don't want to be on it but just because of time!

Because I want to be near home, not more than 10  minutes or so away I chose to do Blackbrook Lane loops again.  I must say, getting my cycling gear on instantly put me in a feel good place!  Just an hour, lets see how I do.  I think the last time I was on my bike was about 3 weeks ago!  Of course I had to do the usual checks, make sure that the tyres are still inflated and the brakes and gears hadn't done anything silly like seizing up! My bike was perfect, lets hope she don't live up to her name and kill my ass for ignoring for so long!

I made sure that I was completely comfortable, you know, the way proper cyclists are supposed to be when they pull on the padded lycra!  I don't want anything to spoil my ride.  I came out of my gate and rode on up Farringdon and then along Oxhawth.  I was trying to make the speed indicator go off, sometimes it has read 19 miles an hour!  But today it didn't register!  "Maybe it's because I've not got my reflective clothing on" I pondered to myself. I didn't want to think that maybe I was going that slow that it didn't even notice I was there!

Along Southborough Lane and the turned right into Blackbrook.  "That's number one started" I thought to myself as I kept a steady pace all along the road to the top, ok so I may have slowed down over the bridge, but I felt like I was keeping to a steady pace.  Then the obligatory wait at the round about and then ride as fast as I could to.....the lights! Every time I get to the lights they are always red.  I was hoping I had not turned off my auto-stop when I was playing with my Garmin!  A quick glance at my watch as I waited at the lights gave me that answer, auto-stop works perfectly.

Doing the second half of the first loop and I seemed to be able to get through all the roundabouts fairly quickly and I thought that maybe I could be on for a good time.  Down the hill and the up......only to find bloody temporary lights!  4WAY lights at that! Well that was that.  I just thought to myself "Lets just enjoy being out on my bike again"  I didn't think a PB would be even in the realms of possibility now, why I don't know!  It's not as if I don't stop at the little roundabout here, but the lights were longer than I usually wait!

So my second lap I just poodled along, well, still trying to keep a nice steady speed going, just no thought of PB's in my head.  I'm just out here to enjoy going as fast as my little legs could take me.  So I decided that I would count how many completley selfish, ignorant drivers there would be from now til I get home.  There was one chap in a white care that decided he didn't want to wait two seconds till I got through one of the pinch points along Blackbrook lane and zoomed past me quite close to me!  Dipstick! And another chap (I say chaps, but should say driver as I don't usually see who drives at me) in a red van going along Bickly Park road probably wanted to see what Garmin I had on my wrist as he came that close to me!  The thing is the other side of the road was completely empty!

Anyway, by the time I got on to my third lap, I had counted only one other driver that I feel sure could have given me plenty of space but for reasons only know to them decided not too,  Each time I was caught by the Bicky lights and the temporary lights!  Oh well, I was enjoying the whole thing anyway, even smiling to myself as I got to those lights again too.  My forth and final lap went without incident, I even managed to get past the Bickley lights before they turned to red!

Going back home I decided not to look at my watch, either I would be disappointed or thinking I should totally got crazy and get a pb.  Either way it wasn't what I wanted at that time.  It had been a great ride and felt good to be on my bike again.  I even took my time going up my path, usually I am going crazy for every second.  When I got outside my house I stopped my watch and did a double take!  "Really?" I thought to myself.  I was thinking maybe I had accidently stopped it somewhere and then switched it back on.  I shall have to scrutinise in when I get it!

But there it is.......time, moving time well under the hour but you can see how long I had to wait at those blimmin traffic lights!  I am very pleased with that!  A PB and I wasn't even thinking about it!  Maybe that's the way to go!

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