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!

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