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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Monday, 18 April 2016

Look - I'm not 'Billy No Mates'

Hi blog readers!

Yay!  Look at me, riding with the fast girls again!  Ok, so they all had a pretty busy weekend, and PoshTotty was coming back from injury, but here I am!  Not only that! Not. Only. That! I was 'ride leader' (notice I didn't use capitol letters there!).    But today there was, me (of course) then PoshTotty (Old girl, you are stating the obvious now!) then we had Karen and Jo, but also we had a newbie, Alex, a friend of Yogabear!

I arrived at the shop exactly at 10, and there was no one there!  I was afraid I had missed them all, as they all so fast!  But I waited a couple of minutes and then they all arrived.  First Alex, followed by Karen, Jo and Poshtotty.  We are missing all the others, but I am sure we will all be riding together again soon.

As Posh was wanting a nice gentle ride it seemed that Downe Village was the destination.  Of course, for the ladies, this is a gentle one, for me is eyeballs out puffing out my backside, but it's a good training route for me!  I will get to their standard, if it kills me I will!  So I lead the way, and I was immediately in a dilemma.  Do I go really fast as I can, just so the girls don't get too bored, or just poodle along, nice conversational pace (for me that is), hmmm.  A difficult one.  From where we start, wherever we go it's all uphill!  I just know I can't pace as fast as the girls on the hills!  Give me a down hill and I'm there!

So it just left me just trying to do something in between.  We were heading up hill and I was going as best as I could.  Their girls came along side and chatted to me, when it was safe to do so of course.  And then Alex said she would take up the lead for a while!  I had just realised, they were all slip streaming!  I was doing all the hard work!  Of course I am jesting, we were not going that fast to cause a slipstream!

Once we were on the road that leads to Downe the girls all went before me "See you at the top" they said, apart from Posh, she was still behind me "I right here" she said.  So I kept on pedalling all the way to the top!  The others were waiting there for us, and as usual, photo time!  This is them, looking lovely,
Jo, Alex, Karen and PoshTotty (Mary-Anne)

and this is me, looking blimmin knackered!

Me......having a kip!

Oh, and this PoshTotty, always good to get a selfie!
You need to do a selfie!!

We carried on along Single Street.  Today, as there were five of us, there was no need for me to do the nasty little hill, you know the one, the one that defeated me last week!  As there were plenty of them to tackle the hill it only left me to ride on the hard bit.  The skinny path way, with the dangers of the barbed wire fence and the fear that another cyclist might come in the other direction!  Someone had to do, and I felt it was my duty, as a Panagua lady to tackle this difficult part!

I always feel so much better once we are all back together and riding up Berrys Green Hill.  I can do this road, even though it's uphill.  It's still uphill, and I seemed to ride up it easier, shall we say, than the hills so far.  Maybe its psychological, maybe I know that at the top of this road is the wonderful undulations (mostly down hills) and then Cudham Lane!  The long down hill!  It certainly does put a smile on my face and energy into my boots.

We took a break at the Shampan, and Karen shared her snack.  Absolutely delicious it was too!  Some sort of coconut thing with chocolate! Tasted far to delicious for looking like a healthy snack!  Then it was time to do the next bit!  Down and up the undulations.  I was really enjoying the longest part of the down hill along Grays Road, until I was faced with a car coming through on my green light!  They had temporary lights set up as they were busy tree cutting, or whatever it is they are doing there.  But it was totally obvious the car coming through had jumped the lights on the other side!.  I had to pull up at the bottom of the hill, so losing the momentum of getting back up the other side! Tut, I was not pleased!

And so it was time for Cudham Lane!  "Go on then Old Girl" they said, get going.  They all know I love a down hill.  I set off, I picked the pace up as much as I could.  I was so enjoying the flat bits and the slight uphills and then it was the downhills all the way to the bottom.  I was just so enjoying it, "Come on then!" said Posh as she sped past me!  Now she has certainly conquered her fear of the down hills and was just flying out in front!

We got to the bottom and turned around, just a few seconds more and then other three came down and joined us!  Brilliant, you gotta love a down hill!  And now, we go back up! Up to Farnborough Village!  Boy do I hate hills!!  But at the top of this one is a lovely cafe!  Look, this is what we had...... although Karens arrived a little late........and she sat there and waited patiently too!

Ok, so we started it before I captured it on camera!

After our coffee and munchies we went home.  A great ride, a toughie for me, but so nice to be riding with the girls again!

Geeky stats......with a bit missing, nothing has changed there then!  Ooops, I just remembered why there is a bit missing!  My Garmin stopped after I bent my wrist and accidently turned it off!  And why did I accidently turn it off....I hear you ask?  Well, here's the thing.  I was tired, I was getting up this last hill, turning left and trying to continue to get up the hill!  Before turning left I unclipped my shoes, just in case I need to put a foot down, but I must have clipped back in again and didn't realise.  Now, remember I was tired, it was a hill and I struggled to get up it!

I turned my handlebars into the kerb, and it hit, I tried to put a foot down but of course it was stuck.  Cue one large pink lady falling slowly (thankfully) to the left onto the soft grass (again thankfully).  I giggled, I looked around to see if I was seen and the got up quickly and walked up the rest of the hill! Hmmmm, next time, make blimmin sure it's unclipped!

Monday, 11 April 2016

Downe and Back!

Hello blog lovers.

It's Monday, and usually it's Panagua Ladies day.  I noticed on our Facebook page that some of the ladies went on long rides yesterday, 44 miles, 33 miles and I do think there were some hills in there.  So when I saw that they were planning on just a nice easy gentle ride I thought I would just rock up there and surprise them.  It's been so long since I been riding with the ladies and I have missed my riding buddies.

After I dropped off the child to school I came back and got myself ready for my ride.  Out of my house and then got to the gate and realised I had left my sun glasses, so back in to collect them.  Locked the door again and then realised I had forgotten my helmet!  So eventually riding along to Hayes to meet the others!  I was feeling really excited!

I got to Panagua Bikes with about 15 minutes to spare so I popped into the shop to see the nice young man to just raise my saddle a bit. I tried myself to undo the bolt thingy but I could do it! (such a pathetic girly excuse right!).  With that done I went to the cafe and ordered a coffee to wait for the others.  It was while I was drinking my coffee, sat at the table that I decided to look Facebook and noticed that no one was going to be here!  Mary-Anne  had some problem with her knee and decided to rest up which meant that Karen didn't come along, as she didn't know that I was going to be there!  I should so have checked it sooner!

So now I had a decision, either got back to mine and then ride the loops for an hour, meh! Or just ride to Downe, the gentle ride(!)  as the ladies would call it!  I took the bull by the horns, or at least my bike by the handlebars and rode up to Downe!  I was just going to see how I did.  At least there is no pressure on me to keep up, no fear of letting anyone down as they have to wait for me.  I will use this a 'lets just see how well I do' ride to Downe!

I went along the exact way that we usually go when I'm with the Pangua's, and I was just riding along as best as I could.  My Geeky stats a missing bits as I had forgotten to start my Garmin, and then I had remembered that I had taken off the Auto-pause, when I was running with the beginners!  My head was deffo somewhere else this morning!  So I think there is at least 4 miles or so missing from my stats.  Not sure why I've added that bit of info here, but I think my brain is still not focused!

Riding around the loops as quick as I can is slightly different than riding up long blimmin hills!  I was hoping that my legs would 'remember' that it is getting easier and quicker now.  But my goodness it was still hurting.  I was also doubting myself again that I am still not quite up to what the girls have been doing of late!  I was pleased that my brother had called me along by Fishponds Road just so I had an excuse to stop and answer my phone!  But then I did cycle on past the bus stop where we usually just have a breather!

Riding up to Downe I noticed there were some really stupid drivers again.  When there are more of us they tend to give plenty of room, maybe because we look bloody gorgeous, all of us lovely ladies on bikes, but with just little old me,  I just think they took advantage!  It's not as if they couldn't see me, I am a big pink bird perched on a a bike, I think by then my face was glowing too!  I took a picture of me and my bike, I guess it looks a bit like 'billy no mates' but it's something I would have done anyway, (mainly to have a little break!)

I was seriously think that I could just ride down the other side of Downe Village, towards Shire Lane and then go home, but I had a firm talking too and pushed on up Single Street!  "You're out Old Girl, you're at Downe, hard bit all done, now go find the sweeties, that lovely long fast descent of Cudham Lane!"  Or words like that!  So I pushed on to where we would have gone had the others been here.

When I got to the place where the ladies turn left and then go down down the steep hill, sharp right turn and then back up, and I usually ride along the footpath, I decided to follow the ladies example and ride the road!  Blimey, what a cheeky little fecker of a hill that is.  Going down it is just as hard, as it's quite bendy, and I knew I had to turn right just a short way down.  But then turning onto Berrys Green Road and being faced with the hill up was quite daunting!  I was totally in the wrong gear, I could hear cars behind me and I just lost confidence.  I had to stop and let the cars go by, but then I couldn't get started again, especially as on of the cars was just up ahead and pulled into a house!  Oh well, get off and walk then Old Girl!

I did ride up some of it, I got back on my bike before the place where I would normally join the ladies, I felt a bit better.  I find this part of the ride a little easier for some reason,  I think it's because we are mostly as high as we get on this route, with just some little ups and down, or it could be that I know just at the end of this is the Shampan, and then ....that road!  Nearly at the 'sweeties' road, fast riding all the way down!

Again along this road another plonker driver decided to drive past me just that tad to close!  It was on the widest part of the road too!  Why would he do that, he was in a white van, maybe it's part of White van drivers test!  But anyway, I was so pleased to see the Shampan.  and I took another opportunity for a photo!

The next road was exciting, but not as exciting as Cudham Lane,  I was so going to enjoy flying down there.  I was just praying there wasn't going to be any stupid drivers that will spoil my enjoyment of this road. It seemed my prayers were answered!  Look at this!

 It felt so good, I even called out "Woo Hoooo!" as loud as I could while I rode on down there!  A big smile on my face met any drivers coming up the other way!  Better than they scowl most of the drivers have had to deal with from me so far!

I couldn't believe how quickly that bit of the route went!  It was so much fun!  Oh well, I continued with the route that we would have taken if all the others had been there, and that included stopping off at the Cafe in Farnborouh Village.  I took this picture especially for Mhairi! ;-)

It was most delicious
(and they were warmed up too!)

So that was my solo Panagua Ladies ride today.  Here's the geeky stats, and I think the other bit is on my Garmin site too, where I messed up a bit, so I think I covered about 20 miles today.  Still not as fast as the group, but I am going to work hard to get there!  This is me, after I got in, still looking blooming pink!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Twice In Two Days!

Hello blog readers.

Look at my bad ass self go!  Out for another ride after I went out yesterday!  Plus I shall be running this evening with my club!

I had the day free after I dropped my little dude off at school.  So I just pottered about the house with the dog (seems I have become a dogminder too!) and then I decided that it was time for me to get out and do something. So I got myself changed into my cycling gear, I was going to try and get a PB on the Blackbrook laps.

I started up to Farringdon and then turned around and came back!  Although the sun was shining brightly, it looked really warm out, but I felt cold.  I had decided, because it looked like so lovely out there, that I would just have my spring/autumn cycling fleece on, but boy was I wrong.  My top layer is windproof as well as shower proof, and it was what I was missing when I first left the house!

So, suitably dressed I started out again, feeling much warmer, in fact I was thinking that maybe I should have just swapped layers, rather than add a layer, but I just wanted to get going so there wasn't  any going back to drop off one of my inside layers!  I didn't have any expectations of getting a PB, at least that was my thoughts as I was riding along to the beginning of the first lap.  "If I just keep it to under the hour that I am happy with that"  But actually I wasn't!  I always have no expectations when I set off on my solo efforts, so this time I decided to change my attitude, blimmin well try and get a PB!  Simples!

So I just pedalled, I felt like I was pedalling harder and a few times I felt like saying "Stuff if, it's too hard"  But it's only an hour long, then I can rest up for the rest of the day.....until running club time of course!  I decided to play a game, see if I can beat the lights, that will keep me motivated.  If the lights were green then I had to try and get there before they turned red, and if they were red then I had to get there just as they turned green, so there would be no stopping.  I failed.....each time.  It made me laugh though, me racing against lights!

My legs were feeling pretty tired, and I was wondering if maybe, just maybe, I would be faster today.  The last lap to do and I pedalled as hard as I could, up Blackbrook and over the little humpback bridge, I turned left and headed for the lights for the last time.  Just along this bit I had to pull up on my brakes......a pedestrian decided to walk straight out in front of me!  It's not as if I was invisible, I am a big fluorescent bird on a bike!  At least I missed her anyway

I rode through the park, still pushing it hard, and down the road.  I was already preparing myself for the inevitable, "It felt slower today" I said to myself, and I switched my Garmin off as I got home!  "Oh well"  I knew it was.  But when I got in, took my shoes off and then checked again, it was 56 minutes!  Yes, go me!  I am sure that is a PB!

Geeky stats!

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Monday, 21 March 2016

Evening All!

Hello blog readers.

It's been a while since me and the Old Boy went cycling in the evening.  Things have kept our evening cycling well and truly banished, work, tiredness, but mainly weather!  This evening it was quite a pleasant evening.  When I got outside my house with my bike I had thought that maybe I have too many layers on!  But we will see!  I would rather take a layer off rather than get too cold!

We were only going to do a tiny little ride, 10 miles or less, just to get back into the habit of getting out during the evening!  I programmed my oven to stop cooking at 9:00 so we had to be back for that, it was already 7:30 by the time we got out of the house.  Our route was just the little one up through Jubilee Park the on the way to Bromley, taking in a locally know landmark.....David Bowies house where he used to live!

It was a good ride, not particularly fast, but getting used to riding in the dark again.  I'm not particularly fond of riding in the dark, the lights of the cars are blinding, and staring at the Old Boys flashing back light is enough to cause hypnosis!

I had forgotten to switch on my Garmin, and remembered only after getting to Crestview Drive! But so only about half a mile is missing.  Mind you, the Old Boys Garmin read 9.10 miles,  How that has happened I don't know so I think I like his geeky stats!

Here's mine, with the missing half mile clearly shown, with a good stretch of the imagination it makes my route look like a tuning fork!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Hello Blackbrook.....Again!

Hello blog lovers.

I saw on the Facebook page that the Panagua ladies will be going on a challenging hilly, speedy (12 mph, that's speedy to me!), non-stopping ride today.  I just knew I would struggle to keep up with them.  I want to keep my riding fun with the odd challenging hill to make me feel alive thrown in.  I have been practising, doing my laps, trying to at least keep to a steady 11 mph speed.  But that is without the hills!

So this morning, instead of rushing about, making sure I had everything ready, (I do panic and fuss when I'm meeting the girls).  There's usually a little more to remember than just my door key, and I still usually forget something.  But just going around Blackbrook Lane laps, well, all I really need is my bike!  One hours riding, non-stop as fast as I can, and all local so I don't need to carry a drink!  No cake stop, no chatting having a laugh!  But, I am getting fit, I am on my bike's getting warmer!

It was quite chilly this morning, I was thinking I had the better deal than the ladies! When I left my house to start my training the sun was shining brightly!  Yup, I love riding in the sun!  It was still a bit chilly but I knew that I would warm up as I did my exercise today.  What do you think about on a ride? On a solo ride? Just you, or in my case, me!

1.    I wonder if there are going to be any plonkers about today!
2.    I had better get a good time today.
3.    I wonder what the girls did today!
4.    Here we go, lap 1 of 4.

I was at the beginning of Blackbrook lane!  Always on this first lap now my thoughts are

1.    Right, first one done! (I know, only just started and I'm wanting it done!)
2.    See you pot hole, just three more times I'm passing you!
3.    Blimey, I got to do this three more times?
4.    I hate this bridge!
5.    Can I get to the lights before they!

I always seem to get caught at the lights along the top!  Thats ok at least it's a breather!  My thoughts normally continue along that vein until the last lap, then I start getting happier thoughts, like,

1.   Yes, nearly finished
2.    I can't wait for my cuppa.
3.    What shall I have for my lunch.........oh yes, I remember!
4.    I don't think I got a PB today!
5.    At least this is the last lap!
6.     Where were all the plonker drivers today!
7.    I miss riding with the girls!

Just the last little bit through the park to do, I was really trying to keep the speed up.  My feet were feeling a bit cold, but the rest of me was just nice and toasty.  Why does my feet always suffer!?  I rode back along Whitebeam and turned into my road.  To me it felt slow, what with the wind that seemed to be head on on the way up Blackbrook and on the way down Southborough Road, How is that possible!  Maybe a little cyclone had developed just in that area!

So my geeky stats.  I actually put them up on my Facebook first thing, mainly because I still got under the hour, which I am pleased about.  But something that made me feel really confident was a comment from Debbie saying that I actually cycled faster than they did this morning!  Ok, so they probably had a few hills thrown in there to slow them down!  But, I will take that!  I will soon be able to 'stray fresh looking' on one of our less challenging (for the girls) rides soon!

Monday, 7 March 2016

Hello Blackbrook My Old Friend!

Hello blog lovers.

So this morning I was feeling a tad delicate after celebrating Mothering Sunday with a couple or so of pink stuff in bottles!  Was very nice!  And I could remember reading that the Panagua Ladies were going to be hitting some hills!  Hills and speediness plus delicate disposition just didn't sit very well at all with me.  I let the ladies down very gently!

I had another couple of hours to get over my delicate situation and into my cycling gear.  I wasn't sure how I was going to do today, I mean the last time I was on my bike was on the 17th Feb!  That's like nigh on 3 weeks ago!  What have I been doing?!  The sun was shining, that's always a good start, there were blue skies and the school traffic had obviously all gone. Perfect for a training run.  If those Panagua ladies are doing what they said they were doing I am going to need to build up my strength and speed!

With the sun shining brightly through my darkening glasses thoughts of yesterdays indulgence of grape juice came painfully back, knocking loudly in my head!  The ride will do me good!  My Garmin was ticking away the time. Time that I want to be under the hour for when I get back!  I was surprised at how windy it felt.  I could hear the wind yet the trees didn't seem to be moving!  Maybe it was me that was moving fast!  when I turned on to Oxhawth Crescent I looked right, to make sure that there were not cars coming, 1) because it's a safe thing to do and 2) because I wanted to be the only person riding pass the traffic signal thing that tells you how fast you are going.  Usually I ride pass it at 15 mph, today however I rode passed it at 18 mph!

Maybe it's not going to be too bad.  I started the first lap of Blackbrook, My head was already feeling tons better, lets get this session done!  I could see that the sunshine is not going be with us for the whole of the afternoon, I just hoped that it will stay until then of my training ride.  The second lap is always good, half way there, and it don't feel like it's only halfway, thats how short these laps are, but doing them I cover 11 miles!  On my second lap and for the rest of the laps there were some w...... rather impatient people in their motor vehicles wanting to get passed me at skinny parts of the road, at the people crossings, at roads with cars parked at the side!  Why must they do that!?

Anyway, with the fourth and final lap done I head on home, I wasn't feeling confident that I had a PB, as I felt a bit tired on the last two laps, but the telling will be on the Garmin!  I was very pleased when I got back and saw that I had indeed kept it under the hour!  so, geeky stats for you!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Free Day!l

Hello blog lovers.

Unexpected free day + 2 pound weight gain = ride around Blackbrook laps!  I knew that the scales would let me know of the blip this week, the fact that I had over eaten and not exercises as much.  The cold and a cold does that me, all I wanted to do was snuggle under a duvet on Monday and not go out anywhere!

But come yesterday I was feeling fine again, did my club run, which was an easy route anyway, and today because I have no kids today I can nip out on my bike for four laps!  I wasn't expecting to even get close to my original time, maybe at least stay under the hour, I just not had enough saddle time!  I set off on my route, with a hope that it won't be too embarrassing!

I had pumped the tyres up before I left and my bike just felt easier to ride, I was wondering if my very slow time before was because my tyres were not properly inflated!  I got to Blackbrook Lane and looked directly at.....temporary lights, plus they were on red!  As there were no cars behind me and I was still warming up I did something very sneaky, I nipped up onto the pavement!  I know, my bad!  But there were no people walking, and no cars behind, I thought 'Just this once!'  If on the next lap it was red then I would stop!

I made sure I kept spinning all the way to the top, if this little route is going to do me any good then I just got to keep working hard at it!  No good just 'going for a spin'.  This route on my bike is like Normans track is for my running!  It's only for an hour then it's all over and done with!  Plus it's local, no getting back from anywhere as it's all park of my training route!

I got held up at the second lights again, that really made me think that I will just have to keep on moving as fast as I can.  It's wasn't until just this very second, as I am writing this, that I realised my Garmin has auto pause on it!   But I shall have to get rid of that thought for my next lap session just so that I continue to go faster, thinking that I don't have auto pause.

The other three laps I got caught at the traffic lights twice more at each set of lights, and plus some little dude giving me 'baby evils' while he was trying to do wheelies on the other side of the road!  I should have really have told him to ride on the pavement but he was too darn lippy as he shouted some sort of remark at me as I passed him by!

The fourth and final lap and I headed off home via my local park. It was nice to see that the kids were out playing in the playpark even though it was getting chilly.  It made me reminise about how we used to always play out no matter what the weather!  The adventure play ground down Fitzallen street, Kennington!  The used to be a hut there too, with youth workers.  Not many places like that these days, kids are left alone to do their own thing if they do venture out of the homes!  It's funny what you think about when you out riding solo.  I did a blog once of things I thought about when out running.  Maybe I will do one for riding and then compare the two!  See if the thoughts are different!

Anyway, geeky stats, and I just noticed that my elapsed time is still under the hour!  Double pleased with that!

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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

A Cheeky Little Ride!

Hello blog lovers.

Its the first time out on the bike for ages, and a one that I wasn't expecting I could do today.  So as soon as I had finished my Toddler group, I came straight back home and got changed into my cycling gear before I had time to start procrastinating!  Even the weather was encouraging, the sun was out and it wasn't raining!

As soon as I started my ride my legs started complaining!  But, 'no pain, no gain' so they say.  That does annoy me that saying, because in my mind, pain means 'stop, you're doing too much, don't do that again' kind of thing.  It was the hill training yesterday, I think, that we did in group 0, but, really, if I am totally honest, it's not so much of a pain, as just a 'you did a bit of running' type of complaint from my legs!

With that in mind I really tried to push hard, as hard as my 'you did a bit of running' complaining legs would take me.  Through each lap I thought I was doing blimming brilliantly.  Yes of course I was caught up in the traffic, but no more that usual. I was looking forward to seeing it today I had got another PB.  We shall see!

On the final lap I was still feeling pretty confident that I was going to get under the hour, and started my cycle home.  I got through the park to get home, rather than carry on up Southborough, so I have to cross over just a little road.  It's on a bit of a bend, so you need to keep your eyes peeled, even though it's a 20 mph road, the drivers still do go a little crazy!  So, having said that, I just stated tocross the road when a car appeared on my left, so I managed to stop and was just about to back up, but instead the driver stopped and let me go instead.  I smiled and nodded, in the way that most, nay, all cyclists do when people at nice, or if they see other cyclists and I continued to cross the road.  The next thing I head was a 'beep beep' from the 'kind' driver. It appears that my thanks/nod of the head and big beaming smile had gone unnoticed by the driver and he was some what peeved.  Maybe he wanted me to come around to his window and shake his hand and say "Thank you, thank you oh thank you" geesh, some people!

Anyway, I made my way home, really tried very hard to go as fast as I could along Whitebeam and then into my road!  You can imagine my disappointment when I saw that I was over the hour!  Tut, oh well, better next time!

Geeky stats

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Monday, 1 February 2016

The Back's Back!

Helo blog lovers.

The weather today was to be extremely windy and so the Panagua Ladies decided not to meet up this morning, and dear Mhairi is not well.  So I had in mind to do a spin class, at least that is what I said on our Facebook page.  I kind of said it questionably, you know, sort of in two minds about it. I am not one for working out in doors.  If I am to get all hot and sweaty I would rather be outside in the fresh air, where it don't bother anyone but me! Peeeewww!

So my mission today was to get around my laps as quickly as possible!  But with this weather, remember it's really windy, 37mph it said on my app, I wasn't expecting any PB's.  In fact I was expecting it to be the longest ride so far on this route!  Especially as I have had a week off due to my bad back, ( which is back in action byt the way, hence today's title!) My back is fine now, not altogether twinge free, but enough to chance the laps and even a run tomorrow in group 0.

Of course I procrastinated, as usual, I looked out side my Patio window and saw the trees being blown all over the place. I watched as the leaves played chase on the patio, they danced and flew up in the air in spirals.  I listened to the winds' voice telling me to stay in and be safe!  I was all set to just curl up n my nice cosy chair and scroll through Facebook for an hour or so before I going out shopping.  Until, that is, another voice crept into my thoughts and was urging me to just bite the bullet and get out there and do it.  After all it was only an hour!  So I went, of course I went!  I have a lot of fat cells to get rid of, and they ain't going no-where on their own!

I could feel how strong the wind was as it blew threw my wheels of my bike.  It always surprises me just how much I can feel the wind pushing against my bike!  Yes, today indeed was going to be a tough ride, ok, so not as tough as the ones I have with the Panagua Ladies, but I am going to have to push as much as I can.

The first of the loops started and I was riding along Blackbrook lane, I was already feeling warm!  Although the wind was strong it wasn't particularly cold but I decided that long sleeves under my cycling jacket was a mistake!  I even had my thick winter gloves!  Maybe a few extra pounds will be sweated off as well as burnt off!  As I was riding  along I noticed some runners on the right, and with them was Adele, she's a PWR but she also has her own personal training business going on.  Maybe they were some of her customers!  She does a boxercise class, a great way to bash some stress away I should think! We waved at each other, or a least I nodded and smiled!

I couldn't believe just how pleased I was to get that first run of Blackbrook lane done! Now that I know what it was going to be like, with the wind trying to whip my bike from me, I knew what was expected.  What I didn't expect was to find it just as hard riding DOWN Southborough Road, with the wind trying to blow me back up!  Yes, indeedy!  It's going to be a hard ride!

So the next lap, I knew what was going to happen, I knew the wind was going to try and push me off my bike, I knew I had to pedal as hard as I could up here, if I want to get at least close to the hour!  My goal of getting a PB was not on my mind anymore, just to get as close to the hour as I could.  The second lap was just as hard, with the wind going along Bickley Road feeling even stronger!

You can imagine the next couple of laps were just the same.  The thing is, I do love starting that third lap, know that I am half way through!  It's funny really, because give me laps in a running race and I a don't particularly 'feel' it!  I would rather do just one big loop, or even squiggly routes.  Just not laps!  I think I am just weird!

With the fourth lap completed I headed home, still trying to get as fast as I can, knowing in my heart that I will probably be getting in at 1 hour and 4 mins or more!  I just felt so much slower!  With the stopping at the traffic lights, the wind holding me back, pushing me sidewards and having a weeks enforced rest, I just knew it was a slow ride.

Well.......not as slow as I thought......1 hour and 4 seconds!! Yup, I will have that!

Geeky stats

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Sunday, 24 January 2016

Squeeze In An Hour!

Hello blog lovers.

I had to do it.  After having a lazy Friday, a socialising Saturday with no exercise what so ever, I just had to get out for an hours ride!  The thing is, I had church to go to, (and I had forgotten I was to open up!), shopping to do and then make a lasagna before I had a chance to go out!  But I managed it.

I just made sure that I had everything done, and everything with me. I put my shoes on and then.... bam!  My back just started hurting!  Not to much, just like I had been sat at a desk to long, type of hurt. What the heck is that about!?  The thing is I was just getting up of my comfy chair, maybe it  was it the way I had sat on the chair, just before getting up? I had no idea.  But I still went out, I thought maybe I would 'work' it off.  I felt ok sitting on the bike as the only time it really hurt is when I stand up!  Lets hope I don't have to un clip too often at traffic lights and round abouts.

I started my Garmin up and then just rode on out of my estate and started the first lap of Blackbrook lane.  I am taking notice of all that has been said to me, to keep on pedalling, no relaxing!  The first lap went by quite quickly, I thought to myself I could, if I stay at this pace, get a PB.  But I had the lights, they were green when i got there, can I be lucky three more times?

On the second lap, my back did twinge a little more, just going over the lumps, but I still felt I could complete what I had set out to do, but I should just take care of where I ride over.  I suppose this is one thing I can do if my back plays up, which it has been known to do every couple of years or so.  I don't know why, it just does!  Usually when I'm somewhere else and I need to get back.

By the third loop I was really enjoying it, working hard, feeling my legs hurt (the good hurt, not like the horrible hurt in my back!), even if I didn't get a PB, I think I would feel satisfied with todays ride, as I worked hard on the continuous pedalling, which set me up just nicely for the fourth and final lap, and so far I had managed to keep on through the lights, not stopping, just slowing down a bit!  But the fourth time I had to stop at the lights!

It felt quicker, if felt a lot quicker, at that point I would be surprised to see at least 10 minutes off, but of course that would be to much, it will take time to knock of 10 minutes.  I was tempted to look at my Garmin, just to see, just to encourage me on the way back home!  But I didn't look, I kept going.  Work harder each time I do the laps, that's what I need to do, keep a steady pace through out each session, but each session work harder each time!

So, I get home, back twinging away like a good 'un, but I was feeling pretty good, I checked my Garmin and baboom!!! A nice shiny Personal Best!  I hobbled into my home, sore but very happy!

Geeky stats.

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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Extra Loopy

Hello blog lovers.

I'm a tad late with my blog, by about 3 days, but who's counting, right?  I had an unexpected free Wednesday afternoon spare, so instead of getting the vacuum out I got my bike out instead!  I gotta try hard to bring up my fitness on my bike!

The laps around Blackbrook Lane is what I did.  The weather was just perfect!  Sunny, not to cold and the streets were dry!  Even the traffic seemed a lot less that afternoon!  I felt pretty good too, maybe, just maybe it would be the day for a PB of Blackbrook Lane.

I wasn't going to look at my Garmin at all, not until I was on the way back home, for one thing, I really didn't want to feel disappointed if I was slower!  That was the plan I had as I headed towards the first of the loops.  Determined I kept a steady pace going up to the round about along the top and then tried to beat the lights, I didn't do it!  So then next time then!

I tried hard to pedal faster on the down hill section, but it is difficult to keep up speed with all the mini round abouts.  The second of the loops I thought I had it, I was pedalling hard, and it 'felt' faster, but the geeky stats will show if that was the case!  I got to the top of the road, turned left and tried to beat the lights! Again, I failed!  What is it with these bloomin lights, they catch me all the time!  Two more times to try and beat the lights!

The last two laps I still didn't beat the lights!  Oh well, I had hoped that the down hill sections would be able to push me closer to the PB that I am after.  I was feeling quite achy on my legs, I wondered if that was a case of working real hard.  I rode through the park and down the road to my house, I stopped my Garmin and.........1:00;04! Darn it! Still not beat it!  Must try harder,

So geeky stats for you.

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Monday, 18 January 2016

A Bowl Of Fruits!

Hello blog lovers.

It's Panagua Ladies day today!  I do love going out with the ladies. Ok I'm slower than most of them.....all of them....but Mhairi tells me off if I say so!  Eleven mph is not to be sniffed at! Mind you, today there was an awful lot of sniffing, blimey was it cold today!  I am surprised I'm still getting my sorry ass out on cold days like this!

There wasn't that many today, just three of us, Mhairi, in her orange Panagua top, Lynne in her bright luminous lemon (yellow) top and me in my Raspberry top, hence bowl of fruits!  Apart from the fact that we are all completely fruit loops for being out on a day like this, a day after the snow I might add, is proof that we are all fruit loops!  Some of the other ladies had things to do today, and couldn't make it.

I was first at the shop and waited for my riding buddies today.  First it was Lynne and then Mhairi.  We didn't hang about too long as we didn't want to get to cold after cycling here.  We were just going to go on our little loop around Downe today.  The long haul up to Botely wasn' even mentioned! Phew!  Cycling in the cold really hurts!  My muscles just don't want to do anything, my feet were getting colder, even though they are wrapped up in thermals, shoes and rubber overshoes!  My hands, oh don't even talk about my hands!  Actually, they weren't as bad as my feet!

We all know the way to Downe, Mhairi lead the way, but as soon as those inclines started, I was over taken by Lynne who was bring at the back.  She was flying today, I mean literally flying.  I know how hard it is to cycle up hills. It hurts me, my breathing is all over the place, my legs just can't seem to pedal any harder, and it is a slow steady slog.  At times like that I just look at my fellow cyclists just going on up hills with ease or so they make it look.  Mhairi just rides next to me chatting all the way like we are just sitting at a cafe chatting over coffee!  She reminds me of Wendimoo, from Petts Wood Runners.  Wendimoo just chats and chats, and sings and chats and has been know to dance along one of our runs.  Although Mhairi might find it difficult to dance, her chatter does keep my mind off my hurting legs, and less chance for me to moan!  It especially helps when she is encouraging me to go, keep pedalling, and deffo "no coasting!"  Not in this weather, got to keep everything moving all the time especially the big engines, my legs!

I was feeling a tad bad that Lynne had to stop and wait for me to catch up at the usual catch up points along this route. We made it to Downe Village, the tree in the middle, without me having any extra stops, unlike last week!  Lynne gave me her water to drink, I had forgotten mine, again.  I had forgotten to bring a lock, again, and I also forgotten to bring my reading glasses too!  At least I had remembered to put some wet lube on my bike chain!  I must say, it did feel a bit smoother, or was that just my imagination?  My bike is due for an MOT, an over haul, som TLC.

We rode on along Single Street, an uphill climb, so there was Lynne ploughing the way for us.  If only I could stay in her slip stream!  I am sure with practise and practise, and training and practise, I will get there.  I really want to be there.  So, train like I want to win!  Get as much cycling done as possible!  Lynne and Mhairi took the left turn, down then hill, then the sharp right turn to go back up along Berrys Hill.  I took the easy route, along the footpath, although Mhairi had forgotten my aversion to hills as she waited for me acting like a traffic cone at that right hand turn!

Going up this road, and yes it is up, with some flat bits, I caught up with the two ladies, I giggled and said "Oh look I am overtaking Mhairi!" and laughed like a small child as I passed her by!  I think she let me have that! Of course she did, she would only need to kick up a gear and would just leave me in her slip stream......spinning around and around..... if she wanted to.  I must admit it felt good to see the car park of the Shampan today, because that meant it's not too far now till we head down that lovely long down hills stretch,  Cudham North Lane.

But that didn't happen today, oh no, the girls decided that turning right heading towards Knockholt was the order of the day.  No long ride down to the A21.  Oh well, it's nice to take different routes.  It's not as if I have not done this route before.  There were a couple of extra little inclines to do but, still, I'm hard core, my head I'm hard core......I just need to put it in practise and make it happen!

The A21 was the next road, just one or two more little humps before we get to our final destination, the cafe at Farnborough!  I was looking forward to my hot chocolate!  I needed to warm up.  Lynne led the way and Mhairi stayed at the back to nag me all the way up, make sure that I didn't stop my legs spinning!  We turned towards the cafe when we got to the right road and climbed up and up.  Mhairi rode side by side with me now, chatting away.  I am so glad of her chatting, just to keep me going.  Every now and then I let out a "ugggghhhhhh" when I struggled with a particular hill, but always Mhairi came in with "Just keep it steady Old Girl, don't over do it" and then she was straight back into the conversation we were just having!  Brilliant!  A passer by heard what we was talking about, I think it was to do with weight and fitness and stuff like that, and she shouted out to us "Pedal harder then".  Yeah, that is what I need to do, and I will, You wait, this time next year I shall be first at the cafe!

So, Cafe Americarlos was a welcome sight, hot chocolate beckoned me!  We were told firmly by Lynne not to have cakes, have eggs instead!  We did try to get away with the fact that cakes have eggs in them as well as carrots!  Lynne wasn't having any of that, "I don't want to see any pictures of cakes posted up" she said jokingly!   Well Lynne, I didn't take any pictures, but I did have hot chocolate.......with just a smidgen of marshmallows on top!......and toast! Thats what I had!

Thanks for a great ride ladies!  I do enjoy my time with you all.......hate those hills......but getting to love the fact that I did them.  I guess that's a start!

Geeky stats;

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Friday, 15 January 2016

Back To The Spin!

Hello blog lovers.

It was a chilly day, but I still went out, because this afternoon it was quite bright and sunny!  I managed to get out at 1:00 this afternoon and it was just perfect!  I set my Garmin, did I tell you how much I love this watch?!  I headed for my training loops.  Four laps within the hour, that's my plan.  I rode on with a determined attitude towards the beginning of my loops.

I was feeling pretty good about being out, but the rest of me wasn't!  Two weeks of training which includes running and cycling, two weeks of eating healthily, two weeks of no booze!  When does my body start to think "Actually old girl, you're doing a grand job!"  Instead my legs feel quite tired and I'm bloody hungry.  It was just then that I realised I hadn't actually had any lunch! Tut! Oh well, can't stop now, first of the loops is here!

Up Blackbrook lane I go.  Ok so it's not a particularly steep hill, it's a more gradual incline, but and incline is an incline.  I am not attempting to push my self so hard that I want to throw up, or I don't want my legs to feel like they want to divorce my the rest of my body.  I just want to get strong on the bike.  Keep doing this loop until I start to see a real difference in time and ease of ride!  Simples.

As last time I did the loops as soon as I got to the over the bridge to the top I thought "That's one done" even though I was only half way round the first loop.  But it put a smile on my face. The best bit of the ride is down Southborough Road.  There is only one thing that annoys me riding down there is the silly roundabouts that I have to slow down for.  Usually 9 out of 10 times they are clear, but I always slow down, check and double check, just to be safe.

The second lap was coming up, I took a deep breath in, and just tried to get a bit faster, but my legs were feeling it.  After the track session last night and the morning run yesterday, my legs were complaining just a bit.  Still, I needed to get it done.  All the thoughts "I shall only do two laps" didn't even feature this time round.  It was all, "I am just going to do as best as I can".  That made me smile, at least my attitude has changed!

 The hump of the rail bridge came up, and I really told myself off, trying to get as much as I can out of my legs, grimacing and smiling at the same time!  Grimacing because it bloody hurts and smiling because I was thinking, if anyone could hear me shouting at myself!  I got to the top again and turned left to ride along.  Just then I head "Hello!"  It threw me for a bit, but there riding beside me was Big E, he from FNRttC company!  On his way home from work!  Blimey, it seems like a different time from when I went riding along with this crew!  And now look at me!  He actually spun around and was cycling next to me!

"Go on then get a bit faster"  he said.  I think Big E has been reading my blogs, and knows exactly why I am riding along here!  It was nice to have the company actually!  Although I don't think I spoke to much, I was concentrating on trying to ride fast!  He came with me down Southborough road and along Southborough lane.  I think he is going to do a lap with me!  Blimey the pressure!  He did come up Blackbrook lane, but just for a short distance,  but then he said he was going!  I just pulled into a road to say goodbye and get a selfie of me riding with the big boys, ok just the one boy!! I expect I have made his average mph look a bit different from the other commutes!  Here look!

 It was nice to bump into him, and it made me remember the night rides that we did.  Such fun, such distances!  And the stops for cakes and breakfast.......and beer after was brilliant.  Again it made me smile! Riding along the top turning left the smile was still there, until the twat with a flat back lorry decided that he would like to pretend to be a cyclist!  He passed me by with just about enough space but then pull in just in front of me, forgetting that he had a long flat back at the back!  WTF was that all about!  When you're on a bike you do see some twatish things, but you also see some brilliant drivers, those that give you tons of space, those that let you get up a hill before trying to over take you, or drive pass if they are coming towards your.  When you get a decent car space between you and the 30 mile an hour car makes you smile, and I generally try to acknowledge them, even if its just a thumbs up from my handle bars!

So one my lap and I was done.  I know it was going to be slower, it just felt it.  I hadn't even looked at my watch, but I wasn't too bothered.  There is always next time, and besides, I can always blame Big E, he 'put me off'!

So geeky stats, like I say, there is always next time!

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Monday, 11 January 2016

My First of Panagua Ladies This Year!

Hello blog lovers.

Ok, it is  only day 11 of the new year, but some of the other ladies have already been the rain!  They are hard core!  But me, I am still a bit of a lightweight........or I should say heavyweight, as I just can't ride as fast as them....not going up hill anyway!

The weather looked really horrible, and I think one of the ladies said on the Facebook page, that forecasts were for rain around 11 o'clock.   I was hoping by then that we will be on our way back from where ever we were going.  As I was putting on my shoes with the 'wet suit' overshoes on, I was trying to talk myself out of it.  "They are going to be so far in front of you" was one thought  "It's so cold and it looks like rain, your bike needs cleaning, the roads are going to be so wet through the lanes, we might stay in town with that bloomin traffic"  Was the rest of the conversation in my head as I headed out of the door.  Even riding along to the Panaguas I was thinking, "I could get a 'punctucture' "and say I couldn't make it.  But then I quickly banished that thought!  One thing I have learned is never to think about the 'p' word! Never, NEVER, NEVER!  I told myself off and rode the rest of the way in silence.  Just as well really as I was still by myself!

As I rode up to the shop I saw Posh Totty and her friend who she is bringing along for the first time!  She is a fit lady, she does all sorts of 'fit' stuff but cycling is a new thing for her.  She is built like a cyclist, slim and tall, her name is Jo which from now on she will be called LongJoJo as she is quite tall I decided to name her twice!  Well, everyone is taller than me!  Then Yogabear came along and Karen and lastly Mhairi.  (I will think of some nick names for the rest soon!)  After a bit of chatting, potty stops, and chats to the Panagua boys in the shop.....oh and a photo shoot of us all, we were ready to go.

Karen, LongJoJo, Mhairi, Posh Totty, Yogabear and me, Old girl!

Mhairi had this route in mind, can you guess where?  Well I thought I did when she said, "shall we just do our usual little route".  So there was me thinking "Oh good, up to Downe we go, that will be nice.  A nice introduction to the Panagua Ladies for LongJoJo" That was what I thought, but Mhairi had other ideas of our usual little route! "We shall go up to that road, you know the one"  she said. I know the one, boy did I know one!  It's up to Botley Inn road.  It's going to be tough!

I know I have been doing a lot since the New Year, but that is my plan.  I can't just half start something.  I want to lose weight, which means eating healthy and  more exercise!  I can not do the healthy eating first and the get the exercise going, or vice versa!  What's the point, just get stuck in and do it!  Of course that has meant that I am a tad tired!  Probably overly worn out for todays ride, but, I am getting stuck in there, and I am doing it!

We all rode off single file from the shop towards Hayes Train station. So far so good!  Well, it's all down hill. I kept up pretty much with everybody for the first couple of miles actually, it was only when we got to the beginnings of the uphill climb that the 'peleton' started to split.  The ladies started stretching out in front of me.  LongJoJo keeping up with the front pedalers!  She may not have had her bike for long but boy can she eat up them inclines!

I must admit, I did have to stop at one point on one of the roads.  My legs we just hurting, I was going so slow I thought I would actually start going backwards.....or worse, fall off!  The roads were turning into rivers as well, and the mud and debris on the roads had Mhairi ride along with this sort of smile on her face!  She was the only one with mud guards!  I probably should look into getting some for mine, especially for group riding as it's a bit more sociable!

Today seemed to be such a hard slog to get to the top, the road with the lovely pub, Botley Inn.  We had one of our regroups (read as waiting for me!) there and chat about where we were going to go from there.  Mhairi was talking about going left and riding on through Tatsfield and then Biggin Hill to Costa Coffee.  I had visions running through my mind of the last time I did that with the ladies, when I was a tad lighter and, warmer, less wet and not done a shit load of exercise the week before.  It was that nasty hill that was in the forefront of my mind, it was like horror movie scene, it kept zooming in and out!  "I think I will go back the way we came" I said, "Solo, you girls carry on with the hills and the rest of the route!"  Well that went down like a lead balloon!  I am forgetting what being part of a group is all about.  We never leave a man down! Ridiculous of me to think they would leave me to ride solo all the way back.

There were a couple of options that were floating about,
1) I will ride up to Tatsfield, (which I was just about to say, because I felt bad!)
2) One of the ladies will ride with me all the back the way we came. Or
3) We all take the right turn and ride along a road which I know I haven't been on before and some of the others hadn't been on before, but it's going back in the right direction, down hill!

So it was option 3 for us, it was bliss (for me) to be riding down hill.  The only thing wrong with that is we were blooming cold now!  The wet bum was now a cold wet bum (apart from Mhairi's) The hands were getting cold, the feet were cold, I expect stopping in the 'river' of water pouring down the roads didn't help with that!  But further along here there was a Costa Coffee!  I saw Mhairi pull into there and get off the bike! Yes!  Coffee!  That'll do it!

This is us, with our coffee, cakes, etc, although I had a hot chocolate, after Mhairi asked for one!  Just what was needed actually, a skinny of course, and no cake for me!  To be honest that was probably the hardest bit of the ride.....ignoring all those lovely gorgeously delicious cakes!

I so needed this!

When we stood up we had a giggle as Karen had left her own  'Costa' mark on the chair!  Anything that Costa can do we can do better ;-)
Costa coffee

Costa bum!

We still had a few miles to get back to Hayes, through some place, with tons of traffic, and getting on to the 'Mad Mile'  Getting back on that bike bloomin hurt!  My thighs were screaming to me "What the hell are you doing woman?"  But once I got back into the spinning of the legs it wasn't too bad.  We quickly got through the traffic and was soon by the New Inn.  Then it was the last of the hills!  The other girls, who were all behind me now (flats and down hills I can do!) were soon all just whooshing past climbing the last of the hills today.  My legs were screaming, I had jelly legs, my heart was pounding from my chest I was breathing like a steam train......ok so I exaggerate.....but it was bloody hard.  Posh Totty was behind me encouraging me all the way up the hill!

Back at the Panagua shop and we had done it!  I had done it!  Only one 'crash and burned out' stop for me. but I had done it.  And the girls today were just so encouraging!  So ...... I can't even think of another word for encouraging!  But they were it, if I could think of it!  It's great to be part of the Panagua Ladies, I am loving it!   And I am now very determined to get 'match fit' to be able to keep up with them even closer, especially has Mhairi has decided that we are all to do an event of some sort!  Yup love being a Panagua Lady!

Geeky stats

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