Monday, 30 September 2013

Got To Keep On Going!

Hello blog lovers.

One blog this morning, and another one now! What is this Old Girl coming to?  Well, this morning, as you know was a path finder jog, to find out the distance of a new route for me to lead the Thursday morning running improvers group.  And, looking at the geeky stats, it looks very flat, but it wasn't!  But my legs were deffo complaining about something!

So there, I have set the scene for this blog.  I was feeling a tad tired.  The Old Boy was dressed in his finery before I had even put one foot on the floor in readiness to stand up!  So eventually ready, we set off in the direction of Halstead.. Trying to get a pb on our usual route!  I just know its not going to happen, but still, its good to be out, and putting more miles on my Specialized too!

I was looking at the weather, and I decided that I would prefer to ride in my other gloves, (the ones that are not fingerless) but those ones lack something else, and that's the padding in the palms!  I removed my rings as well, as Eddie said that he finds that his wedding ring can put pressure on his finger where it really shouldn't be.  I am giving everything a go!

I was a bit chilly to start with, but I soon warmed up, even getting a little sweaty! In fact the evening was a very pleasant temperature for riding in.  Not chilly and not to warm either.  The Old Boy had put our raincoats on our bikes, maybe he had seen the forecast for the evening, I was pleased that our coats were packed needlessly. 

The plod up to Halstead roundabout was slower, even I felt it was slower.  But I was enjoying it.  As long as I am having fun on my bike then, that to me, is all I need.  Cycling and running are great for me, and I enjoy doing both.  I would hate to think that either of them become a chore! I will always try keep them fun and enjoyable.  Yes, there were a couple of rides in the past that have had me in tears, as my running had done, while training for the marathon.  But, once I sorted out my head, and got back to treating both as fun activities it has all fallen into place again.

So, here is my geeky stats for the ride, from the Old Boys Garmin, but he was riding in my slip stream (so I was doing all the hard work really)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Where did The Summer Go?!

Hello blog lovers.

It's seems the summer has all but gone, ok it was still warm out, and the sun was shining this evening, but it's these dark nights I'm not liking!  We went for a twenty miler today, up to Halstead, left to Shoreham, and then through to Eynsford.

I am still giving my Spesh a thorough testing, it seems that 20 miles seems to be the 'magic' number of miles for my hand to start feeling weak again.  Thankfully not as bad as it has been but I feel sure if the ride was any longer then I would have problems of not being able to change gears with my left hand  or pull on the brakes while riding on the hoods! Which is not a good thing, as going down long hills I need to be on brakes, or I could quite easily break the speed limit.

But other than that, the ride was a lovely evenings activity.  I tried my best to keep a steady pace going, all the way up to the roundabout, but I don't think there were any PB's broken getting to there! After a quick stop, to get a chewing gum from the Old Boy, we headed off to Shoreham.  A bit of an undulating road, to get there, but there is one particular bit or up hill section that really seems, dare I say, quite easy to ride up!  It's just by the farm, and the pigs.  I seem to find this bit of hill less challenging, less hurty on the legs, almost like riding on a flat! Very peculiar indeed!  Why cant a hills feel like this?

The road down to the village of Shoreham is a great ride, but still feeling nervous on my bike, because of the problems I have had in the past, I was down on the bars with just enough pressure on the brakes to get down the hill, not slowly, but not as fast as I used to go on my Giant.  We stop at the pub for a lovely pint of the amber nectar.  I found it quite amusing that there were six people enjoying a refreshing drink outside, me and the Old Boy on our push bikes, two guys with lovely looking Harley Davidsons and then two other riders with real horsepower! Two people riding their magnificent looking horses!  I was a bit disappointed that I had forgotten my phone, so I couldn't take a picture.

We headed on up the road after we had finished our pint, and up to Eynsford.  But we were not stopping there, this is not a two pint ride, we are going straight home.  Up Foo Kin Hill to Orpington! Then up Poverest hill.  I am pleased to say that I didn't stop on any of the hills (again) I must be getting good at this cycling!  And apparently the Old Boys Gamin, only had 1 'hissy' fit, where it makes this beeping noise if we go slower than the average mile.  I usually hear that bleeping all the time, so again, I am pleased with that too!

Anyway, geeky stats.  And I think a call to the boys at my local bike shop tomorrow, to try and get this hand issue sorted out.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Sheeeesh, Get Out Old Girl!

Hello blog lovers.

It was a struggle to get out of the house in my Lycra this evening.  Feeling a little jaded, and the 'Kiddie Germs' getting to me, I really had to force myself to get out of the door.  I even tried tempting the Old Boy to going to the pictures. That didn't work, so next I tried going for the jugular, and offering to buy  barbequed ribs from the rib house for him. But the Boy wasn't for swaying.

I knew once I got going it would be ok, it's like my running, once I'm there it's all good.  Usually though, the running is all over and done with, within the hour or less.  But having said that, we were only just going on a short ride, the O.B. could see that I wasn't 100% fit. Sneezing and drippy nose and the such gave him a clue.  So we were going to go through Bromley and head for Beckenham, West Wickham and Keston.  Not far at all!

We had a couple of hills to negotiate, hills that I really don't like!  Usually we were going in the opposite direction and going down them!  How I hate hills!  Trying to tell Tracy yesterday, when we were running up the inclines, that "hills are our friends! Embrace them!" I can just imagine her thoughts  at the time, now that I had struggled up those inclines!  But I didn't stop, I slowed down, obviously, but I didn't stop, for 12 miles solid I didn't stop, apart from traffic lights and junctions.  I was quite pleased with that considering how I was feeling! 

My legs are really complaining now though, still, its all good, rest day soon, on Friday maybe, if I don't fancy going out on a solo bike ride in the morning!

Geeky stats.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Double Bubble!

Hello log lovers.

I guess the title today could suggest that I had a double bubble and squeak breakfast, or maybe even a double bike ride yesterday, (as this blog is all about yesterdays bike ride.) But it is neither of those.  It's because I had double exercise yesterday.  First was the Thursday Improver's group (my first as leader of a group) and obviously the second was a bike ride in the evening with the Old Boy.

I have been feeling a bit down, and tired lately.  The thought of going out on my bike into a possible wet dark evening wasn't getting my mojo going either.  So when the Old Boy suggested just going to Downe Village, I thought to myself, "I can manage that"  Going up the A21 and on to Halstead seemed a pretty hard trek today.  Even though getting up to Downe is pretty hard anyway, at least its that bit closer.

We headed off while the light was still with us, we both had good lights anyway for when we get further into the lanes, and for now the rain has not started.  Unlike the morning when I went running, mind you at least it stayed away until I got into my car! Hopefully the rain will stay away till I get home.  I had my Specialized bike again, as it's a short journey, and she does feel very comfortable, and I just love it.  I am really hoping that the problems I had with my hands before are a one off.  I am remembering to shift my hand positions, and when going down hill I have more confidence to go down on the drops so that I can get more leverage on the brakes.  For some reason, still, I cannot pull the brakes up hard when I'm riding on the hoods!  Is it just me, have I just got weak hands and grip?  Maybe some hand strengthening exercises need to be done. (I am sure I have said that before!)

The long climb up to Downe village was tough.  We had our lights on by now, in blink mode, just to alert drivers that we are on the road.  I kept thinking to myself "Why does it feel particularly tough tonight?"  I surmised that I was just not quite 100%, maybe even baby germs getting to me again.  The schools are back and the kids coming home sneezing and coughing and sharing their germs again, it's quite possible.  It could also be possible that it's because of lack of exercise this week in general, due to my first born coming home from Oz, has something to do with it as well!

Our route was going through the village and on to Jail lane.  Still with some more 'ups' but they don't seem as hard as what I had just done!  I began to feel a little more lifted as well.  Confirming the truth in the fact that exercises can help to lift moods! 

We got to the other end of Jail lane and the Old Boy gave me a choice.  Right, to go to Keston and then down the A21 through to Southborough and then through the park to home. Or left, UP to Grays road (about a mile of up hill riding) and then get to Cudham North Lane and turn left to go to the Blacksmiths, then down down down, over the round about, through to Orpington and then Up Knoll Rise!  I really did think about it, and I seriously considered going left, but my psyche wasn't with me and I decided to do the easier route and go right.

The ride down was brilliant, just sitting back after going through all the gears and letting the hill just take me was awesome!  Of course it's not all plain sailing down, there are a couple of bumps that you have to put some effort in, but all in all it's not that bad getting from Biggin Hill to Keston!  Mind you, when we got to the Greyhound it was closed! They are having it all decorated, so we had to continue our journey to Hayes and enjoy a pint at the George!

Lovely evening, the rain held off, and I wasn't feeling that cold, evening though the evenings are starting to chill down.

Geeky stats.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Rain And Breeze!

Hello blog Lovers.

How would you respond to this question?  Stay in bed, in the nice warm dry house, or go cycling? Do some much needed housework, in the nice warm dry house, or go cycling? Sit in doors all morning and some of the afternoon, in the nice warm dry house, or go cycling!  If you answered 'Cycling' to all of these, (and are of course female) then you truly are........crazy enough to come on a Breeze cycle ride to do the Lovely Ladywell route!

When I told Yvonne that I would be going with her on this ride yesterday, I had been sweltering in the heat, sweating in my house, with three sweaty boys all wanting to play football in the garden! I was longing to jump on the bike and pedal off in search of refreshing refreshment of the refreshing type. (usual Mr. Forster's or Dhr.Amstel)

But I couldn't let her down, .....could I! All dressed up, and raincoat tucked into my drinks rack on my Spesh (yes I am taking the pink one out, see if she can be a proper road bike, out in all weathers, or whether she is just all pink and glitz) my Garmin on my wrist, (which I forgot to switch on! Grrrr) and I headed off to Cator Park to meet Yvonne, and any other crazy ladies want to cycle for fun in the rain!

I got as far as Whitebeam, about 200 yards from my home, and I had to stop and put my rain coat on! Oh well, maybe the rain is only passing!  But the further I got the heavier the rain came down! Why didn't I get Yvonne's telephone number! I'm sure I had it from the last ride!  Maybe I will just cycle up to Cator Park, and then say I'm not going, and the go home! Of course then my brain kicked in, (for just a split second that is), "If you go all the way to Cator Park, you might as well continue to ride the rest of the way, after all its not 24 bike ride, is it Old Girl" So that's what I did.

Cycling in the rain, singing, yes singing on my own all the way to Cator Park.  I knew roughly where I was going this time, so no need to stop and get out my directions to find out which road next, which meant that I was there a little earlier than I was last time, 9:45.  Me, alone, standing under a tree, looking wet, with a bright orange coat on! I was still wondering if there would be any others turning up today, or if it will be just me and Yvonne. I then saw a lady approaching "Is this the Breeze ride" she said and I told her it was,  and that was Mary.

Then another lady turned up, "Breeze ride?" she said, and we both said "Yes" That was Brenda.  Next to arrive was Yvonne, she was a couple of minutes late due to technical difficulties with the printer, or register, or something, and then last but not least Anne arrived.  Quite a nice little group, a nice wet smiley group, to be going on a bike ride with!

Anne, Mary, Yvonne and Brenda
This was taken after the ride!

With the usual checks done, air in tyres (mine felt a little soft actually, but probably a good thing in this weather!) and then brakes and finally the chain. This time of year the trees are shedding bits of twigs all other the place, best to be on the safe side and give it a good look over! And then we were off. I was back marker, probably just as well as I am the only one who's bike has no mudguards! I shall be wearing my stripe with pride! (with a wet arse to boot......and no, that doesn't mean you can boot me!)  With the five of us making our colourful way through the park and onto coffee at Oscars, (and a cake or something for me!)

Yvonne managed to get an action shot, she look at this

Brenda, in blue, Mary in yellow,
me at the back.

There wasn't that many cyclists about, nor indeed pedestrians, on the WaterWay link to Lewisham, and we made quick time to the coffee shop.  The road works still in progress creating an awful noise and smell! Apparently its been like that for well over a year now! It must be all the preparations that take forever!  We arrived at Oscars coffee shop, a bit soggy, but all still very chatty.  I seemed to be the only looking a bit like I have wallowed in a mud bath, my legs were covered in dirt, a huge stripe up my jacket, and my hair!!! Well I don't want to even start with the hair! But my bike! My beautiful pink and black bike, she was covered in grit, mud grass and looking like she has been dragged through the same wallowing mud bath! All because 'she didn't want to 'wear mud guards' she is so vain my bike!

We ordered our coffee and sat down, I again was the only one who had something to eat! (hmmm? weight not in take same....cake check, one needs sugars.... croissants obviously breakfast is important......chocolate......purleeeeessse I am female......Nah, no connection)
They were a nice bunch of ladies, here is a picture of us all

Brenda Mary, Anne and me, (with that hair!)

But all too soon it was ready for the ride back.  Putting my jacket on felt really horrible! It was cold and wet! It may stop the water from getting in but it also stops the sweat getting out! It was just as wet on the inside as it was out!  Is there a coat, a raincoat that can cope with a cyclists needs, and a runners needs!  We don't want a lot, just to be comfortable, dry, warm, looking bloody gorgeous! Not a lot really!

The ride back was a little better, the rain was coming down as hard! If it had been sunny we could have taken so many great shots, where the trees were hanging down framing the bridge, it would have been great to take some action shots of the ladies through the trees! Oh well, next time!

We stopped off at the park, Yvonne said we wasn't allowed to play on the slide or the swings cos it was too wet, and we might get wet bums and we might fall over and get all muddy and we don't want that do we! Hmm, that don't sound like Yvonne at all, what she said was "I bet you want to go down don't you!?" Of course I did.......I did want to go down, but I thought, maybe not this time round!

Yvonne, Mary, Brenda and Anne

The ride as soon over, we said our good byes and we all went off, need to save the but, for the time being!

No Geeky stats, cos I forgot! But it was the same route as last time, so about 20 odd miles from door to door, a great ride, a great wet ride, and some lovely new cycling chums I have met too! How else do you get over a wet horrible day!

Oh yes, the Spesh handle ok in the wet, but I must remember to wear my gloves as the brake levers are pretty slippery when wet!

Monday, 2 September 2013

R'n'R - Racing and Rugby

Hello blog lovers.

What a glorious day it was today! Beautiful day spent with four very well behaved little boys at the Hop farm, put me in a brilliant mood for a nice cycle ride today.

So this evening I decided to do the old route, stick to that, stick to what I know and do as best as I can. Halstead is my first goal, get there as fast as I could, and work really hard to just keep going, obviously concentrating on my hands, and positioning and stuff! I got out and as we got up the ally I remembered to switch on my Garmin! I am going to use my own geeky stats this time, from my forerunner 110, ok so its a running watch mainly, but you can switch the icon on the website to a little bicycle, so you can tell which is which when you do a quick search.

As we were going along the A21, pass the lights at Starts Hill, I saw two other cyclists coming from there, cycling on the shared pavement.  They were all 'Lycra'd up' so I knew they would be over taking me at some point, if they were going my way that is.  So I made a consorted effort to get as far in front of them as I could, before they came onto the road and 'buzzed' me.  I could hear them getting closer, so I pushed a little harder, then two cyclists flew pass me! It wasn't them! It was two other cyclists! So a pushed a little harder, then the first of the two that I saw, passed me, I watched as he rode on pass the Old Boy, who was, now, in front of me.

I kept going concentrating on my 'race', there maybe one of them in front of me, but the other chap doesn't seem that keen on buzzing me!  I could hear him as he changed gears, was he 'using' me for a bit of a rest, slip streaming me (I had heard that on the cycling programmes I had been watching this year!) The Old Boy is always telling me to do that too, but I don't like cycling that close! or like anyone cycling that close to me either. 

He eventually over took me before the last roundabout before the turn off for Halstead. We all kept heading up the A21, with our missions in our minds.  I wonder if they will turn right and on to the Halstead road.  The first chap was waiting at the first turning to go right, I guess that has answered my questions.  But the other chap who by now had overtaken me was still riding straight up.  Then they all, that's the 2 chaps and the Old Boy, turned right.  Good, now is my chance to catch up, and maybe even overtake them!

I could see them ahead of me, I just put my head down and kept pedalling.  The Old boy was behind me now, I think he knew what I was up to, and just let me get on with it (of to see if I could do it).  I did say to him "If you want just fly up there, I will see you at the round about" but he wanted to stay where he was. 

Pedalling harder now, and up hill, I kept a steady pace going.  This is really going to be a testing ride.  But I need to get stronger! I need to build up more stamina! And I need to really test myself on my Specialized!  I started gaining on them! I was feeling very confident that I could catch them up, and who knows, maybe, just, don't be ridiculous women!  Not just yet, no overtaking yet, not until you can sustain the lead for some distance! But gaining on them and riding within a bikes length distance is what I want.  They were getting closer and closer, I was doing it! 

I could hear them having a conversation!  I had done it, couldn't quite hear what they were saying, (I was too busy keeping up with them to concentrate on anything else) I was very pleased, I stayed with them for the rest of the way to almost the top, but then I became a bit tired.  But they didn't get to far in front, and then they stopped at the top, me and the Old Boy stopped as well, I took a slug of his water, shoved my lungs back down my neck, and just rested up for a few minutes.  Then we were off again, the two other cyclists were still resting. (Shall I allow a quick smug look??? nah, it will only bite me on the arse!)

The next bit is of course through the village, through Knockholt village and then up to the Shampan.  I was just going to do this bit as a nice plod out, still trying to get up the hills a bit faster, but not knocking my guts out to do it. I got through this bit ok, nothing spectacular, and those other guys were obviously not coming this way, or just didn't want to keep the pace up again with me chasing them!

When we got to the Shampan, there, 're-grouping' was the Beckenham Boys and girls, looking as if they had had a good cycling ride too!  It was nice to say high to them all.  Then me and the Old Boy carried on our merry way, all down hill now, until Keston, and the Greyhound!  Perfect ride, pefect evening, and I enjoyed it!

Oh, and my hand is not too bad on this ride, although it feels a little weak, but not as much as it has done!  Little and often I think is the answer!

Geeky stats for you