Monday, 29 June 2015

Post Holiday Ride!

Maryann, Bims Me and Linda
Hello blog lovers.

I had a fantastic holiday, full of sun, swim pool, great food, drinking cocktails and long cool beer! And now I am having to work it all off!  Especially as prior to my holiday the only exercises I did was ride my bike, no running at all!

Today it was back with the Panagua ladies.  Bims was going, I think she realises that being out in the fresh air, especially on gorgeous days like today, is so much better than spinning on a static, and also another of my friends was going to come, Linda.  It will be her first time riding with this group.  She was there first actually, as I saw her as I was just riding up towards the shop.

Next came Bims, then Debbie and then finally another new comer, Maryanne.  She had come from South London, on the train to be here!  We waited for our leaders, and then waited.  I popped into the shop to see if it had actually been cancelled today.  I hadn't thought to check! It hadn't been.  We waited a few more minutes and it was way past the 10 o'clock start, so we decided that we will go by ourselves.  We all know parts of routes, so I knew we would all be ok, and as for riding in groups, well we had all done that too!

We decided to go to Downe Village, with Debbie leading the way.  I was quite surprised by the way she decided to go to Downe, it's not a way I would have gone.  It's good to learn new routes to places.  Very good for your psyche too! You never know quite where you are!  Of course, though, there was no avoiding those hills! Downe is up, now matter what way you go to get there!

A much needed stop!

We gave our new recruit a good tourist style ride, through the village but Linda gave the 'talk' as she had lived in Downe for years! We stopped off at Downe House to grab a photo stop.  Here, take a look!

Maryann, Bims, Debbie and Linda

From here we carried on down Single Street towards Jail Lane, I was thinking that maybe we would be going through to Biggin Hill, and then along the same route that I went with the Panagua Ladies on the first ride.  But Debbie took us down Berrys Green, it's another hilly little road!  Me and Linda decided to use the little path instead of going down the steep part of the road, but we still arrived at the end of the the path the same time as the other ladies came from the the other way!

We continued up, up, up the road. It's another undulating road!  There is just  no getting away from hills on todays ride!  We rode all the way along to the Shampan.  We took a little breather there before continuing along the way down Greys Road.  I was taking the lead for this part, well it's the easiest bit to do!  Just two straight roads really.  The first bit is a little undulating, but nothing like what we had done so far, and the the next road, Cudham Lane North, well, thats the sweeties part of todays ride!

Once we had finished Grays Road, I said to the ladies that it's a straight road, and we go all the way down to the end!  There are some of us that like to speed (ok, so nothing like the Tour de France) but going at some speed, all the way down.  I, for one, love these parts of rides, the gorgeous long down hills, going at your speed! We all met up at the car park at the end of the road,  I took a couple of action shots of Maryann and Linda!

Linda in action

Maryanne in action

Time was getting away with us, too much chatting I should think, and Bims and Maryanne needed to be places, so when we were riding down the A21 those two carried on all the way and towards Bromley, where Bims lives and Maryanne needs to get a train back to S.E. London.

Me, Linda and Debbie carried on up (yes more up's) Farnborough Road, I thought it would be a great idea to stop off at Americarlos for coffee and cake!  A perfect end to a ride.  From there, after our coffee and cake we all went back home different ways.

My Garmin had run of battery at the Shampan but here is what I had on it, it missed the Cudham lane!  So I have no idea how fast I managed to go down here!

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Monday, 15 June 2015

Out With The Panagua's

Hello Blog lovers.

Well, I am with them again!  The lovely ladies of Panagua.  We did look a colourful bunch, but we sooo clashed!  Two of the ladies were in bright orange Panagua jerseys with three of us in bright pink and Debbie was in black and red!  Now if I was to tell you what bikes there were all on, well, I don't know!  Except what Mhairi was riding as she told us later on!  Darn it, I can't even remember that! What a girly thing to notice!  But that's what I love about riding with the girls, I can say stuff like that and not get 'that look'!

So there were eight(?) of us, Bims, I finally got her out of the gym, Debbie, who has been riding before with the ladies, but not for a while.  Then there was Mhairi, Sian and I have completely forgotten the others.  We met at the cafe near the Panagua shop, The Village Cafe. 

After pit stops, we were ready, now do I mention that one of the ladies dropped her glove in the only puddle that was around for a mile? No, I won't, but I expect it was feeling a tad cold when she put it on!  We set off with Mhairi leading and the other Panagua lady (oh, what is her name!?) riding at the back, we got on our way.  I didn't know which way we were going, but I was expecting to go up, up, up!

I was quite pleased, therefore, when we then turned right instead!  I think I did hear something about West Wickham, but I have no idea in what direction that is!  I think I should start paying more attention to where I am being led to, either with The Old Boy, the Breeze ladies now with the Panagua ladies!  Too long being a passenger!  

We had our first encounter with the hills more or less as soon as we turned right....but it was down hill!  Perfect, I do like a down hill.  We all snaked out way way through Hayes village, past the lovely kebab I've been told......well it looks nice.....ok so I've been in there quite a few times! It didn't seem that long before we were winding our way into the country lanes.

It always amazes me just how close to these country lanes we are.  Fields and farms smells fill the air with some strong aromas!  Something that Bims likes, she likes the smell of stables, horse poo!  Peculiar woman!  So she was in her element!  We rode down Nash lane and caught up with the faster ladies who were waiting just opposite the dog training centre.  

We split into two groups, the more faster ladies all with the other Panagua jersery clad lady, I think they were going to find some more hills, but definitely more miles, and we, me, Bims and Mhairi, were heading up to a place that me and the Old Boy have cycled before.  The road was a hill, but a doable and chatable hill!  There were a couple of bits that had me huffing and puffing a bit, which was handy for the other two as they could hear me behind them!  Those spin classes at definitely working for Bims! 

We rode at a nice easy leisurely pace all the way up to Botley Hill, one of the Old Boys favourite solo routes that he does, but when we ride it, its one of his leisurely rides!  We took a quick break there, at the top and then decided to go back, more or less the way we came, rather than turn right to head into Wallingham.  The country style roads were much more appealing than traffic and buildings!

Of course the ride back is all down hill!  Mhairi gave Bims the lead, she wanted to ride at the back for a bit so she could just watch.  It's good to see how people are when they are on the roads.  It's a bit like me when I lead my group running, I lead from the back most of the time, just so that I can see how people are coping, and maybe offer advice at technique and things.

We took the left hand road when we got to the road that we came down, we were going to ride past another lovely pub, The White Bear, another spot that me and the Old Boy use on the odd occasion.  We were soon riding back up Nash lane, and heading on through to Hayes Village.  Of course there is that cheeky little blighter of a hill to conquer, why does it seem to be steeper on the way up!?  Once at the top we then on to the cafe stop for some lunch and coffee.

A lovely ride, with great company.  Mhairi had to virtually neck down her coffee as she had another cycling activity that she needed to be at.  Me  and Bims had our lunch and then came out of the cafe.  Well, what do you know, we saw the pub opposite and decided that it was a perfectly decent time, so we stopped for another, cooling refreshment before heading back home!  Perfect day!

Mind you, I do wonder if the Old Boy has 'got' to Mhairi, as she was saying that me and Bims should get a goal, an event of some sort!  I guess if there are any nice and easy rides for the S.A.S. crew then I think me and Bims could put our names down....S.A.S.....Slow And Steady!

Geeky stats.  It's  missing some parts, because as per usual I forgot to turn it off when I needed to and then back on when we started riding.  But it's more or less the ride, with a couple of miles extra for the ride home!

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Thursday, 11 June 2015

Off To GreenLand....Docks

Hello blog lovers.

Another day, another bike ride!  I am resting, honest!  I am not running! None of that high impact stuff. What a day for cycling though!  The sun is out, it feels warm, even the breeze that was around felt warm!  This is the day for cycling!

Bims called me about 1 ish to check that we were still going out, and I said yes.  "Going to London?" she said.  I ummed and ahhed, as that is going to be a thirty mile ride!  Was I up for that yet.  I have still only been doing 15- 20 miles.  And then there are those hills....on the way home!

"Yes we're do London" she said, breaking my moaning.  So London it was, I got it in my head, I thought about, I cogitated, I planned, not that there was much planning, and I got it in my head that London is where we are going to go.  I was prepared! When I got to Bims house she said "We won't have enough time to get there, so we shall just do another route"

I wasn't having that, I had it in my mind that we are going to go to London!  So I told her we will have plenty of time! She agreed, she likes that ride into London, I like that ride into London too!  Ok so it's not a fast ride, and there are some arseholes out there in their cars!  Why would drivers try and squeeze past you through the bollards?  They wouldn't do it if we were on a motorbike or another car, or even sat on a horse, so why on a bike?

We had to go via Roger's garage, as silly Bims had forgotten to leave her car key while they look at her car! Fortunately it's not too much of a detour. We headed for Beckenham, and Cator Park.  Yes, we are going on one of the Breeze routes that Yvonne showed us!  I love this route.  Once you get to Cator Park we just followed the WaterWay Link!  Love it.  So,there are pedestrians around, it don't matter, we haven't got plane to catch! And besides, my cycling is not about speed, it's all about the company, the going out, the pleasure!
At Cator Park

The route seemed to come back to us as we pedalled along, turn by turn!  There was just that one little place we always miss, just coming out of a path and then we need to turn right to go over the bridge. We always miss it!

It didn't seem to take long, but then again, we were no Laura Trott either!  It just felt so good cycling about that time and distance, at that moment didn't matter!  On the way home it will!  Bims spin classes are definitely working!  There was a time when I use to tell her to ride in front of me so that I can keep an eye on her, and now I am having to stay in front so that she don't cycle off and leave me!

We got to Greenwhich and I decided to text a friend "I'm outside your office" and he came out and had a chat!  We did try and persuade him to pop down the pub but that horrible stuff that we have to do on occasions, work, kept him from joining us!  I always thought that the pub we were heading for was in St Catherines dock, but it's actually in Greenland dock!

Enjoying the suntrap!

Bims enjoying the suntrap

Totally enjoyed!

Just another 15 minutes and we had 'found' the pub (we can never find it straight away) after going down this way and that!  I was just expected a pint and a packet of crisps but Bims went for the whole panini thing!  So I settled down for a long wait!  We also chatted away to a chap sitting at the next table, John, just about this and that, like you do.  He said he didn't live far.  Back in the old days, Surrey Docks, as they were then called, were full of council housing!  Hardly anyone owned their homes then, but these days, there is hardly and council houses left, and with all the development going on the homes are worth a ton of cash.  Hence the new name of Surrey Quays!

After being suitable fed and refreshed we made our way home.  Still smiling, still totally enjoying the day, and then Bims starts "Come on, I gotta be home by 7"  I didn't realise that time are really flown!  But to think that now she also wants to 'rush' getting home......oh well!  I shall try!

Just a couple of photos on the way back.

It was a great ride, loved it!  Love going into London, for just a nice pootle about!  I couldn't live back here anymore though, but it's still great to come back for a visit!

Geeky stats, not bad for a Thursday afternoon and early evening! Not the faster ride ever, in fact probably one of the slowest, but it sure was good!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Get Your Ass Out!

Hello blog lovers.

Wednesday evening and I was falling asleep on my chair!  I was so tempted to stay there, the weather had been blooming chilly all day, the wind was up, and the sun was being hidden!  Oh Summer, where are you!  I long for warm sunny days, riding with my pals, long summer evenings, just poodling about!  Yet here I was, snuggled under my blanket, snatching some stolen zz's.

But the Old Boy persuaded me to go get into my cycling gear! Again it was my long pants, and I even dug out my full finger gloves!!  I don't like being cold!  And trying to ride my bike while feeling cold is just not my idea of fun.  But the thing is, when we were ready to leave the sun did indeed come out!  It felt quite warm as I stepped out of my house!  Oh well, at least I wont feel the cold. But just as I got out of the gate the wind just blew again, I decided I was dressed just right.

We were only going to do the Downe Village route and back again.  I am trying to build up my bike fitness again.  I felt every single one of those 16 miles we did today.  Every single one, all that uphill climbing.  My legs were hurting.  I thought about Bims, when she does her spin classes.  Don't get me wrong, they are good, they do make you sweat and work hard.  the get the muscles working.  But they are also so easily 'cheatable'.  Take today for instance!  There I was pedalling up hill, trying hard to not think about stopping for a breather.

If I had stopped pedalling, uphill, I know I would have come to a full stop as I was that slow, and then I would have fallen off. Everyone could see that I had stopped pedalling, not working hard, not doing it, but if that was in a spin class I could so easily cheat! And sill look like I was working hard!  When I'm on my bike riding on these hills there is no cheating, there is only continuing, to the top, back down again and then home!

Yeah, I was feeling better about going out this evening.....once I had got to Downe village of course.  Looking forward to the 'sweeties' at the top of Jail Lane, the sweeties being the lovely down hill speedier section!

We stopped off at the George before riding home through Normans Park.  Yeah, I am glad I went out on my bike today, so much better to be tired for doing something rather than not.  Although running around after kids is fun, it doesn't get the heart rate up! But at least I did get my ass out there!

I wish I could share the geeky stats, but waiting for the Old Boy to download them!  I should have taken my Garmin!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Summer...Where Are You?

Hello blog lovers.

I didn't get to go on a ride with the Panagua ladies yesterday, I had childcare duties to do yesterday.  So I thought this morning I would go by myself.  Not as much fun, but can still be enjoyable.  I was walking back from dropping off at the local school I was thinking "It's bloomin cold!" I was pulling my cardigan around myself to keep warm.  "Long pants I should think" were my thoughts.

I also thought two layers on top as well!  I can't believe I am thinking this almost 10 days into June! Where is our summer?!  I come home, pottered about the house before going to get changed into my cycling gear.  And then procrastinated some more!  The weather outside is just not 'doing it' for me.  My disappointment about not being able to run is getting to me, and it's not as if I have even missed a run yet.  But by the time I have finished writing this, then I would have missed my Tuesday group 0 run and group 1 run.

I have asked PhysioMike about what I think I have, shin splints!  The symptoms are exactly right, and he has told me about how to stretch out the affected muscles and also that running should be avoided until it's all mended!  Believe me, when he said that if things get real bad they can cause stress fractures!  So, you can imagine, I am just a tad disappointed.

It could be that which is putting me in this procrastinating mood, feeling sorry for myself.  So i quickly got my bike out of the door before I went back upstairs to get changed again.  I rode just up to the end of my road "Oh my goodness, it's bloody cold" I thought "And this wind, this is not going to be pleasant!"   I really wanted to go back home.  And if it wasn't for the people in the garden then I would have done a U turn there and then.

I carried on up to Oxhawth.  "I will just go up to here and then back down Lovelace, just go home" I told myself.  My logic for that was that I wouldn't see the people in the garden as I would come in from the other end!  But once I got passed there I rode up to Southborough Lane.  The plan I had was to go through Jubilee park, and then all the other parks. But I was too cold.  I convinced myself to ride up to the Harvester and then I can through my local park.

But I didn't stop there.  Although I still wasn't 'Feeling it' I carried on right to the end and turned right towards Bromley, and then went through Normans Park. "At least it's further than around the block" i thought.  I went through Hayes,and I was tempted to stop off at the cafe, the cafe!! Really two miles in and I was seriously thinking about it.  I hadn't even worked off enough calories to even think about a coffee let alone stop and order one.....with a cake!

So I carried on, My plan now was to go along Barnet Wood Lane and turn left along Oakley and then go home via the path.  But when I got as far as the end of Barnet Wood Lane I turned right instead.  I knew if I went the other way I would have gone home.  But now my plan was to stop off at the cafe.  The cafe that I missed out on yesterday, I so want to try the raspberry and white chocolate muffin again!

With my new plan in place that is where I ended up!  No raspberry muffins thoough!  But I did sample the brownie with a coffee!  I also chatted with another lone cyclist.  He had come from Bermondsey and was just out for a jaunt like you do!

No geeky stats, as I didn't want the embarrassment of it being on my activities on my Garmin site. With hind sight I wish I had, after all, 5 miles on a bike is better than no miles on a bike! Right!?

Monday, 1 June 2015

It Feels Like The First Time!

Hello blog lovers.

Well today I went out with a new group of ladies, I do like to share the love!  I was made aware of this group by a guy called Darren, a British Cycling Coach, who had noticed that I had done the marathon this year (how clever of me to get the London marathon mentioned on a cycling blog!) and he wondered if I would like to have a place on the Prudential 100!  That's a London cycle ride of a 100 miles, taking in Box hill! Well, I thought about this for a good few seconds, and then  declined his kind offer!  But he did tell me all about a ladies group who go cycling on a Monday morning!  So I thought why not!  I love meeting new people, and it's not as if I am the shy and retiring sort of person!

And anyway, everything is always nicer in a group, so I thought I would go join in.  The first week that I made plans to go I had to stay in, I had the roofers coming on that day!  The second week I planned to go it was cancelled due to inclement weather! The following week, well the following week I had the Bupa 10k in London!  I was beginning to think that maybe the stars were conspiring against me!

But this week!  This week I managed not to have any commitments, the weather was ok, at least the sun was shining.  I hadn't had any contact from Darren or anyone from Panagua,  so I thought I would just turn up and say "hi!"  I hadn't thought about the fact that it might not be on today, or if I needed to register, like the Breeze rides, I was just going to plonk myself among the ladies and hope for the best.

I got up early, had a quick shower and donned my cycling gear "Longs or shorts?" I was thinking.  I opted for the shorts, be optimistic! I looked at my Spesh, and noticed that my bits and bobs bag wasn't on there so I quickly went to the shed to grab my bike bag.  Before I put it on I noticed that my back tyre was a bit soft!  "Oh no, I can't have a puncture"  I thought, "not now."  I didn't have time to check whether it was a puncture or just gone down, (I have not been on it since I changed the tube anyway, but I guess I could have missed what caused the puncture in the first place!)  I had to go down to the shed again to get my Giant!

I quickly put the bag back on and then out of the door, I hate being late!  There was still plenty of time to get to the rendezvous point at Panagua Bikes, in Hayes, but I wanted to get there unflustered!  I didn't think it would be a good look to turn up looking worn out straight away!  When I got there I still had about 8 minutes before the 10:00 start.  I was the only one there!  Maybe it wasn't on today, maybe it has been cancelled!  I asked in the shop to see if they knew anything.

But after a couple of minutes I saw a lady rider pull up, and then another, and yet another came from inside the shop!  I knew then it was on.  I also knew that this was probably not going to be anything like a Breeze ride!  The ladies all looked very sporty, not that the Breeze ladies don't look sporty, in the named jerseys and Lycra, but they were all riding on road bikes!

You know how you feel when you turn up at a party and feel totally under dressed or you are the one that is dressed up to the nines while everyone else is in jeans and sloppy tee? Well I felt like that just then!  Although I had my lycra and jersey on, my Giant looked totally out of place!  I am sure 'she' (my bike) almost shrunk against the bike stand!  The ladies all seemed friendly though, and one of them assured me she would be the slowest one!  I was thinking, "That will be me now!"

Another lady had joined us, I had found out that she was the ride leader, so now we had them all here waiting to start.  Their names, and I hope I have remembered correctly, were Fiona, she was the first one to turn up, the Lynn, followed by Sian and then Vari!  I am not quite sure of the spellings!

So now we were ready, we set off towards Keston, up hill!  I couldn't help thinking that I am usually coming from the other direction, and that it's all down hill!  I knew we were going to Downe Village so it's not as if I wouldn't have done hills anyway.  We started riding out, and before we got barely a 200 meters we were surprised with a deer crossing from left to right across the road!  What a lovely start to our ride!

It seemed strange heading to Downe Village this way, at least I won't have any 'mile markers' to think about, we were even going to go up the other road to get to the village as well!  I was put behind the leader, as these rides always go at the slowest persons pace.  I just hoped that I wasn't too slow!  Fiona was the sweeper, or tail ender!

It wasn't too long before we got to Shire Lane, and I was already feeling those hills!  I followed the leader as she turned right heading up the road to the village.  I was plodding along, trying hard to keep up, or at least to keep up a reasonable speed!  The other two ladies, Lynn and Sian had better legs than me and cruised on up,  Vari and Fiona kept me sandwiched between them, or came side by side to chat and find out about me.

I was pleased that I got to the village without stopping and without walking, I don't think I could have hidden my blushes if it did, mind you, my face was probably crimson anyway!  Although I wasn't under any pressure from the other riders, I put myself under pressure to at least keep a good pace going.  From there we turned right down Single street.  I was thinking, "Ok, so this is going to be a short ride!"  Of course I was presuming that we would be going all the way to the end of Jail Lane and then turn right to go through Biggin Hill!

I was feeling a bit more comfortable as I rode up one of my regular routes!  Although I was still just plodding along.  Fiona was very reassuring, that it was ok. And Vari had obviously told the other ladies to ride on at their speed to a specific place, and then she came back to join me at the back!
It really did feel like the first time in a group, the first time in my running group that is.  I was always at the back (still am now actually but I volunteer to sweep after running group 0!) And I was always apologising for being at the back, and for being slow!  Fortunately my running club is all about encouraging and including beginner runners!

I also knew that I did improve, I did get faster and I was even in with the front runners of group 1!  I hoped that these ladies have the same patience while I build up my strength and stamina to keep up.

When we turned left, before we got to the Main Road, I was a bit surprised.  I shouldn't have been really, as I was told we would be doing about 17 miles ish and going right would have made for a very short ride indeed.  But I couldn't think where this road would take us, maybe it takes us to that Berry Green place, with the huge hill, or maybe up to the Shampan on the Main road!  As we rode along my bearings suddenly kicked in (quite unusual for me, as I can get lost on a straight road), but just to check. I asked Fiona behind me.  She told me that the Shampan would be on the left hand side just further up the road.  I was right, thankfully not Berrys Green though, which meant of course we were heading away from home!

We took the road on the left that took us past the Shampan, but the rain had started to fall and we took shelter for a couple of minutes in the car park there, while the worst of the rain came down.  A great photo opportunity I thought! Here are my riding party today!
The Panagua Monday Group

It wasn't that long before the rain stopped, just a few minutes and we headed on down Grays Road, an undulating road but after that it is mainly down hill till we get to the A21!  Grays Road felt different to me, as usually me and the Old Boy are riding in the opposite direction.  The road was still a complete mess, with pot holes all over the place thankfully it looks as if they will be doing something with it soon as there are white marks all around the pot holes.

Going down Cudham North Lane was GOOD!  The last time I was on my bike on this road, I was riding in the opposite direction!  "I hate hills!"  That was my mantra as I rode up it!  And now it was "I love hills"  I wonder why!

It wasn't long before we were at the bottom and turning left along the A21.  There is a turning on the left that goes straight to Farnbourough Village, UPHILL of course!  My legs we letting me know that they had done some cycling.  My focus was now on coffee and cake!  AmeriCarlos Cafe in Farnborough village.  The last time I was here I was with Denise, as I out took her on her first bike ride for some time!  I wonder if there is any of those delicious muffins today?

"Just pull up behind the red car on the right" Said Fiona.  Now what I had forgotten to let the ladies know that without my left hand outstretched, making the 'L' shape with my thumb and pointy finger, left and right mean nothing to me!  'Driver side and passenger side' usually helps me when I am driving my car!  But on a bike, well, I shall have to try and think of something!

It was a great ride.  I just hoped that I wasn't to slow for the other ladies, including Lynn, who said that she is usually the slower rider! Not today! That position was held by me!  I wonder if I get a wooden spoon?

Geeky stats.