Sunday, 26 June 2011

Why Is Kent So Gorgeous With Rolling Hills?

Hello blogees,

I finally got around to writing my blog about my bike ride yesterday. I was not suffering too much for my run I had in the morning, as was looking forward to riding with the Old Boy as the weather men promised a glorious day.

We set off with our bikes on the back of the car and our fleeces on! I am sure it will warm up, its quite muggy out so the promise of sun could quite easily be fulfilled!

We Arrived at Tonbridge and our route was going to take us through to Penshurst. I know of a lovely pub there, and then after that head of somewhere else and do a loop back to our car.

The paths were a tad muddy to say the least, the Old Boy is just fine, with his off roader, this is where his bike comes into its own. Of course I opted for the bike I have, it should do well with the terrain, and I am hoping the super duper gel gloves will absorb some of the impacts.

Just as predicticted the weather warmed up. We where about 2 miles into our ride, at the top of quite a long hill and my fleece came off. Now it was really muggy! But of course there is that lovely pub at Penshurst! I nice long cools drink is what is in order. But when we got there, the Old Boy said there is another lovely pub just about 3 miles away in Fordcombe. Well, three miles is nothing when you're on a bike, is it? And I do love going to different places.

Fordcombe is a lovely place, a little village, with a church and pub, but the top of the hill! Spring Hill! The Old Boy managed to cycle his way to the top, but I just couldn't do it. Even the thought of a pint and a bite to eat couldn't get me to peddle my way to the top.

Eventually the pub was in sight, I got back on to my saddle and rode the little bit extra, I wanted to 'ride into' Fordcombe, the sign was just up ahead and I rode slowly past it, past the church, who where having the summer fete, bang the rat out of the tube, soak granny in the stocks, and dunking the wicked witch, were probably among the games. A real old time summer fete.

The pub was lovely, and empty! Everyone was probably at the fete. We order our beer, and a lovely light lunch of crayfish salad for me and chicken and bacon Caesar salad for him!.

After lunch we spent a few minutes looking around the lovely church opposite. Some very old types in there! from 1790 and something, up till 2008 I think I noticed. Then it was back down the hill and we head for Bidborough. And another refreshing drink stop. It really has warmed up nicely now!

We stopped at some places to look at the great views. We also stopped off a another establishment (I do like these pleasure rides) called the Spotted dog. Here is a picture of it. Its been going forever this place!, since 1520!

After this we continued our ride back to the car. We past the Leicester Arms again, which looked so inviting, but we kept right rolling by and headed for Bidborough. He neglected to tell me of the next hill as well. I noticed the name of this one, Rogues Hill. I could have called at few other things as I attempted to climb it, with my lunch and a pint inside of me, and the weather heating up nicely!

Getting to Bidborough was a relief, we stopped for another pint of lager, well at least I did, the Old boy was doing the driving home from Tonbridge. A large diet cola for him! After we carried on straight down the road. A great free wheeling down, but coming to a main road so we had to keep the brakes on.

On towards our car. After we got back to the car, what with all the stops and taking in the views, and things, it was getting late. We thought about dinner! One more stop before we got home. Here was our dinner! And of me, enjoying it!

It was nigh on 11 at night by the time we got home. But a great day, a busy day, and and active day......yes yes, a drinking day as well!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

London To Brighton Bike Ride 2011

Hellooooo Bloggeeeees!

Well what can I say! What a day it was. I didn't sleep very well the night before, I think I was just too excited. Its only 54 miles, I know, but its to the seaside! The edge of Britain, and I was to ride my bike there. Up till now me and the Old Boy have only ever done loops, or our first long ride included a train journey first!

But first off, I must say a huge thank you to my hubby, Old Boy, he was up with me at 5:30 this morning, driving me and my bike to Clapham, and then was going to meet me in Brighton later on. And also to all the sponsors who have sponsored me loads of money for this ride, and for my Cancer research run. I shall let you all know how much was raised for both charities.

By the time we got the bike on the back of the car and had everything else ready I was already late for my start! But that didn't matter. At least I wouldn't be going to the back of queue to start my ride! So after the Old Boy dropped me off I joined the queue for the loo, well there is no need taking extra baggage is there.

Then I went to the next earliest start gate and got my card stamped and joined the throng. I was excited, I was smiling, my belly was full of butterflies!! And I was thinking I hope I don't get lost! Then the count down began, and off we went.

Here is a pic of the start.

The ride through London was slow, just because of the sheer number of bikes on the road. I knew there was going to be loads, but wow, hundreds of bikes! So I just went along with the flow, and thought to my self that I would be able to make up the time when it had thinned out a bit!

The 'expert' riders, with their matching hats, shirts pants and shoes, all co-ordinating with the bikes were just buzzing past me. I knew I couldn't ride at their level, on the right hand side of the road!, so I had to stay on the left hand side with the 'I want to ride to the seaside' bunch!. So I used this time to 'acclimatise' myself with the whole riding in a huge bunch. Get the measure of people, and how they react, and ride, and practice my overtaking skills, etc. Because surely once we were out of London then I shall be zooming past people, on clear roads!.

There were so many bikes, and I worried about getting lost on the way! All I had to do is follow the line of riders. And its all marshaled along each road, and crossing, and the police are on hand to stop and direct traffic, just to keep the throng moving as much as possible. About 5 or 6 minutes into the ride I realised that I hadn't set my Garmin, so I quickly did that and then settled back into the flow of bikers.

I was wondering how long it will take to get out of the city, out of the huddle of cyclists so that we can start to peddle with some conviction. Still the atmosphere is good, and everyone is happy and chatting, and laughing and joking. Yup, this is going to be a lovely day.

The weather is chilly, and a bit windy. I am glad of my fleece. And I do have my raincoat in the backpack, just in case! The forecaster predicated that this is the better day of the weekend. Lets hope they got it right! I knew working hard peddling will also keep me warm.

The first Official stop was about 10 miles into the ride. So I took this opportunity to have a cuppa. Well, I managed to eat my porridge this morning, the Old Boy had made it for me, but I just couldn't get a cuppa down me as well, and I do need my caffeine intake! So we pulled into Fannys Farm. Seriously! A great place, there were bacon butties, or sausages, bread pudding if you like that, tea and coffee. And they wasn't demanding tons of money either. 50p for a cuppa! brilliant! So I had my cuppa and I gave the Old Boy a call to let him know where I was. He told me he will be on his way shortly, and he had made me a lovely salad for when I got there. Such a diamond bless him.

Then it was back on the road. And let me tell you, the bike traffic hasn't eased off! There is no let up to the amount of bikes on the road! Oh well, looks like my dreams of a 4 hour ride is down the chute......ok 5 hour ride has gone down the chute. But there is still plenty of time to catch up. I decided that the next official stop I shall go straight through. But there was a hill before it, and I had a tiny break there, mainly because I can't ride my bike as slow as that of the throng. I just tend to topple over!

By now I had made a decision, the ride today is not going to be any faster than this speed. There is not going to be any records broken by me for covering this distance, so I shall just have fun and enjoy the whole experience, and if there is a chance that I can go faster I will take it! No doubt the Old Boy will be calling me to see where I am, and I can just hear him now "is that all you have done"

For the next twenty miles it was uneventful, the throng never seemed to thin out. And when it did then it just came together again at a bottle neck or traffic lights. We were in a place called Lindsfield, another official stop. And they seemed to have the whole village roped in to doing something. They were cheering and handing out water, or they were just sitting outside the pubs and houses watching the riders go by. Just a lovely welcome. This is the time the Old Boy calls me to check up. I had to ask a local where I was, I just didn't see any sign posts. It was her who told me I was at Lindsfield. The Old boy thought I said Lingsfield which is nearer to our house than Brighton! But I soon assured him I wasn't on the way home! Then the local lady made me smile. She said "only 15 miles there abouts and you're in Brighton" Well my Garmin was saying another 20, but I had forgotten to start it again after tea, and toilet stops!.

I knew what was coming up next. It was Ditchling Beacon. Well, I have already walked up a couple of hills! So there is no shame in walking up this one! I knew it was going to be a long, steep and narrow road full of walkers. I was impressed with the riders who was attacking the hill, not giving up. Of course there are always the 'expert riders' but even some of those were puffing. I got chatting to one of the walkers as we made our way up. He said "I wanted to give up 2 hours after I started" I made a joke, I said "I expect to see God up here waiting for us" It is a hugely steep hill, well it seems it after what we have done so far. It is a demoralising hill. One particular rider had a tee shirt say 'Dam you Ditchling' He knew from the beginning of his ride that he was walking up there too. Another chap fell into the verge. He was one of those 'expert' riders, with the cleats, and he couldn't get out of them quick enough and just toppled over. I tried not to laugh, things could quite easily go wrong for me!

The chap that I was talking to couldn't even manage to walk the whole way up, he said he was camping on the verge for the night. I carried on. I had to walk to the top of this hill at least, without stopping. There were plenty of people laying on the verges, draped over their bikes or just standing catching their breath.

I heard the announcement over the loudspeaker. Nearly at the top of the hill. Just a few more yards and I made it. I was going to use this official stop. Its the last one, and I was going to drink my drink and chillax for a few moments. I pulled in, the announcer was informing us this is the highest point in the Tour De France race, and from here it was all down hill! Yippee!!!!

I sat on the grass and drank my drink, I was going to eat my packet of crisps, but it suddenly got very cold. I looked at the sky and saw these dark clouds approaching. Here, take a look at the sky:-

I thought I had better make a move from this place. I put my fleece on and took to the road. but just a few yards down the road the rain started. Well thank goodness I got my rain coat with me! (The Old Boy said I should, I was going to be optimistic!) I got it out of my back pack just in time. The heavens really opened up. I carried on riding, hoping that it will just go away, or even just stay on the hill. But it seemed to follow me, and came down in torrents. I was wishing I had bought the Old Boys fishing wet weather trousours (again, another suggestion of his) But instead of getting down hearted I started to sing, out loud, like some demented party goer coming home from a brilliant night out! #Show me the way to go home#

Just then my words came back to me "When I get to the top I want to see God waiting there" Well, He certainly showed me whose boss! Visions of Him upstairs laughing, with tears rolling down his face, and splashing on all of us down here, filled my imagination! And I just smiled. I was riding in the torrential rain, singing and smiling all the way to Brighton. Crazy or what! The rain was stinging my face, the drops of rain felt like hailstones, and there was me with my sunglasses on! Then I had another quieter word, "Ok, God, very funny, but can we have some sunshine now". Then it broke, the rain subsided, and it got brighter. I was soaked through to my unmentionables! There were puddles in my trainers! But I was still smiling.

It has been a great ride down to here. And I was looking forward to seeing the Old Boy at the end.

Riding up the last 100 meters was a fantastic feeling. I could see the finish up ahead, I stopped and took a photo of it, much to the amusement of the on lookers. Here, look at this,

They said to me "You can't stop now, you're nearly there!" But I just explained that I wanted to photograph this moment.

It's difficult to get pics when your a lone cyclist, I just kept on forgetting to do it. Riding through the big finish time, getting my medal and my card stamped, fantastic feeling, I was smiling, freezing, shivering, wet through and not seeing anyone I know, but I was so happy!

I still hadn't seen the Old boy, after I rang him he said he was down near the roundabout before the last hundred meters, we had missed each other!

But when we did finally meet up this is what I was handed by my lovely Old Boy,

And just a couple more from the day that the Old Boy took


Geeky stats for you.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Not Long Before L2B!

Hello bloggees,

What a lovely day it is today, and I need to get on with my training! Only 5 days left, and I had a week off from training last week, due to this cold, which is still hanging around! But at least its not making me feel ill any more, and the energy levels are back up.

So I decided to do a bit of banking, bit of shopping, then come back put it all away and then go for my ride!. Didn't quite happen like that, the local small supermarket just didn't have what I wanted! So I just did the banking, came back to get my Garmin, as I didn't take it with me, I am not even clocking up the ride to the local supermarket anymore as exercise, even though I did go on my bike!

I will have to do the shopping as part of my bike route today. Rucksack on me back and away we go. I am doing one of my usual routes today, with the stop off at the supermarket for my shopping (ingredients for my beef curry tonight!) and just head off up to Greenstreet Green.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel, considering I have had a week off, but I did do the Race for Life on Sunday, and I felt pretty good after that, my chest a bit tight, but still good. If I cant manage to get as far as Sidcup bypass then it will be no biggy! I still think I will manage to get to Brighton, just not sure how long it will take me.

Of course I forgot to stop my Garmin as wandered around the shop looking for ingredients, so that has add to the mph! Still, its not about speed today. Today is all about getting back on the saddle and seeing how I fare.

All together not to bad, I am quite pleased, I was going to go down and up Summer Hill in Chislehurst, but there is plenty of time for that! It was just good to be back on my bike!

Geeky stats

Why didnt I think of this earlier! Here is my widget, just click on it if you wish to donate, thanks :-)

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Uh Oh Jungle!

Hello bloggees!

What a gorgeous day out today! The sun shining, its warm, its not raining! But it is a little windy!

We decided to take a leisurely ride around our area, taking in our bike shop, to get a inner tube for our bikes, and a bit of shopping, and also some shopping for our tea a bit later on.

So nothing very strenuous! Which was good, because Saturdays is all about pleasure riding! The training happens during the week! So our first part of the ride we went through the Grove, and on to Hayes common. Just lovely! Love these pleasure rides.

The Old Boy was trying to find a route with less hills to get us to the bike shop, but there was one hill! Had to be done. But as it was a pleasure ride, I got off and walked! We got to the bike shop, and I mentioned to the guy that my bike had a little rattle when the gears were in a certain combination, and he just took it, checked it out, tweaked it, oiled it and gave it back! How cool is that! Then we bought the inner tube ........ and some new riding gloves for this Old Girl, check them out!!!

They're pink! and they have this whole gel thing going on in the palms to help with the vibrations and other stuff like that, but they're pink!!! Love them!

I took this picture after we got to Chislehurst, and after our little treat of a lager! But the pond where we were was such a lovely little pond, I have never actually stood and looked at it, always just passed it by! So it was nice to look and stop and listen and take pictures, here look at these cute pics of ducklings and their mummy.

See, how cute is that!!

And another picture of the ponds, this one looks like these ducks live on the 'council' pound, the are waiting for the workmen to come and fill it up with water!

We did our shopping, and then went straight back the the pub for one last pint before we head off home! Well, it is a pleasure ride.

We rode through the woods, the old boy had strapped my back pack to his back now, well, its heavy with all that shopping in it, and he let me carry the one item that didn't fit in the backpack. But that was really annoying! It kept banging into my wheel, so I ended up putting my arms through the handles and wearing that like a backpack!

We rode on through the woods, and we were going to go through our local woods as well, a right rumble through the jungle! And you all know me by now, a proper townie! Woods, trees, bugs and dried muddy paths are not my forte!

All I kept doing was letting out these girly squeals, and 'oooompfs!' as I rode over ....... stuff! I did loose the Old boy at one time, and had to resort to shouting for each other, and he rang his bell as I followed the sound!

But we got back safely, even though we did a mini loop in our local woods! I thought the Old Boy got lost, but after we got home he informed me that he planned it, as he knew I wouldn't have a clue where I was! Well, there are not road signs are there!

Enjoyable ride though, and he are the geeky stats!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Time For A Service!

Hello Bloggees,

Well today I thought it about time to have a service on my bike! Make sure that it is in tip top condition for the 19th! You all know that I will be riding from London to Brighton then! (Don't forget to click on my link and sponsor me!)

It's a gorgeous morning, and I am the only one here, so the is only one way this service can happen. I ride to the shop and run back! Simples! It's not that far to ride, only 3 miles away. So it really didn't take that long to get there.

I was looking forward to the run back!

I took my bike in, and told them about the slight buckle on my front wheel, and about my brakes being a little sluggish, and they whipped it away and said that it will be ready tomorrow. So geeky stats for the ride there!

Now for the run home!

I shall write it all on one blog, saves swapping and dithering!

The weather was bright and warm, very warm! I had put on a long sleeve top, but made sure I had a running vest underneath. Off came the top, Garmen reset for the jog home.

I was going to run the route that I came up on virtually, but at the bottom of Pageheath Villas I turned left and headed for Blackbrook lane, down there to Southborough Land and the up to bottom Oxhawth.

I think the pace that I ran yesterday was a fluke, (I knew I shouldn't have sounded cocky) My legs were feeling line lead, and they were hurting, I was doing a lot more jog/walk on the way back. I can't believe that this distance is usually what I run and yet I feel totally worn out! But I kept justifying that I had just rode up to Bromley (only 3 miles!) but it kept my enthusiasm going.

I did the run in 41.37 mins! Pitiful! Very Pitiful. I have done that distance quicker! Oh well, tomorrow when I pick my bike up I shall be quicker on the way there.

Geeky stats

Now, I had stuff to do, shopping to do and people to see.

When I was at my friends house the Old Boy gave me a call to say that my bike had been done! Blimey that was quick, 2 hours! Well, I will spend a little more time with my friends drinking coffee before heading back home, to put the shopping away and then take a slow run back to the shop.

When I say slow run back, it was actually faster than when I ran from the shop to home! I did take a slightly different route back to the shop, but I didn't realise how shorter the distance was by going that way!

Here check the geeky stats

I did look a picture when I got to the shop, all sweaty and pink faced, and no doubt probably not minging to good either. But my bike was looking good, brakes feeling like new, and the buckle in the wheel all fixed they said.

And so the ride home

Not rushing, my legs have been filled with lead, and concrete, and anything else heavy that you can think of!

Geeky stats,

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