Training for the Next Ride

I have had Doris for almost a year, We’ve trained in Thanet, but have done a few longer rides too, what a great way to see the best of Kent. Sadly the driving rain and the cloud of today was not the way to do it. So if you visited Kent today for the Viking Ride, and did the whole course or just part of it, well done you, if you dropped out like me, I hope you got to see some of sights. Anyway here are a few pictures from the the Viking ride on a sunny day, when it looks quite different.

L2B posterLondon_to_Brighton_Bike_Ride_2013-_London_to_Brighton_Bike_Ride_2013-7132313_DSC_9770Inspirational DorrisFilling up, Thanet Cauliflower
Original London to Brighton PosterStop on brow of hillStop on brow of hillTshirt Painting
London_to_Brighton_Bike_Ride_2013-_London_to_Brighton_Bike_Ride_2013-7133323_DSC_6875 - Version 2
After the action, PizzaDoris gets TLCDoris makes it home to MargateFCBT2096-cp20x30-53437-952Y3miles to Canterbury9.15 start time,
Doris, a set on Flickr.

Post ride preparation, Viking Ride

I havent really done much preparation for the Viking Ride tomorrow, normally I’m re-searching route maps, elevation detail and planning pit stops about every 25 miles.

Getting to the official start of an organised ride, with bike and without excess-luggage is often more of a challenge than actually doing the ride, this will be an exceptionally easy ride for me tomorrow, with a late start time of 10am, and a start just 4.5 miles from home, most of which is down hill and if you ask me a quite a good pre-ride, warm up.

Starting at the Viking ship, and straight into the ship to summit (where if there are not too many people, and weather allows, I hope to beat a personal best, and improve my position from 213th on the leader board, or a much more respectable 9th if you only look at the women!)  We will have a steady climb up from the coast at Ramsgate, a few short but steep hills through Broadstairs, a climb up from Ramsgate, and  after that there is a long downhill section through Margate and Westbrook, and along to Minnis Bay, and an even longer costal flat path,  almost all the way to Whitstable.  The climb into Canterbury might need a it of preparation, it would be smart to plan a food stop somewhere before then – Maybe a few Oysters, which would make a change form the normal banana and jelly babies, or perhaps I’ll just keep going.

Crab and Winkle route marker

The six mile Crab and Winkle way, which was an old railway line, has a bit of a hill, into Canterbury but not too bad and very easily do-able, and then the advantage of living at sea level, it’s always downhill home!

Recently I have been plagued with punctures, seriously I need to by a new tyre, as my rear on has a nasty glass cut in it, and the tubes get damaged, not ridden since recently fixed again, so I’m just hoping it holds out and I’m not fixing flats at the side of the road.

It’s not too late, you too can sign up for tomorrow’s ride,  or you can compete agains me in on Strava, if you dare?

Ride through the garden of England.

A wonderful morning out cycling with new friends.  A few hills and the Beautiful Garden of Kent with orchards of pear and apple, ready for harvesting we rode out to Ash where we stopped for lunch.  The ride also took in some of the best of Thanet’s  beaches and sunshine.

No matter where I cycle all road’s seem to lead to Sandwich – not really somewhere I know,  just somewhere and somehow, I always seem to end up, we stopped at Pegwell Bay before the climb up from the Viking Ship and a few hills around the coast from Ramsgate and Broadstairs to clock up a few kilometres, before heading home.

It was great riding out with new friends, to have a bit of motivation, a push to go further, and a bit of competition on a few of the Strava segments.  Shelly who is lives around the corner,  is a bit of a geek, a fellow Strava user too, which helps to improve speeds along a few of the Strava segments.   Today we both picked up a few digital trophies.

I’m rather proud Tivoli Sprint section, only because I’m at the top of the leader-board, well until I get beaten  (Scroll down to the women’s leader-board and take a look!) My friends had better watch out, because I plan to beat you on some of the hills too!

Bikathon Weekend

Doris my bike and I started the weekend on the high speed train, all very appropriately named, after britians fasted, “Sir Sebastian Coe”.

Start in Sunshine

Sunday morning we set off in sunshine, dressed in my unstoppable jersey, and Doris clean and freshly serviced, we were ready for a long day. The Mall had been closed for the duathlon, and I sprinted down it without any traffic, at some speed. Then found my way around Victoria, and to the Royal Chelsea Hospital, by following other cyclists in their red and black jerseys to the start line.

Early and, hanging about, waiting for my departure time, I somewhat emotional, which is strange after so many years.   Still I relate to those who were going through tough times dealing with blood cancer. Kids at the start   seeing their daddy off, set me off, and I chose to hide out and get a coffee from a parked van, rather than let them see my uncontrolled tears.

Soon we were off,  traffic was a bit of a nightmare, my concentration was fixed on the road – I’m not used to London’s traffic on a bike,  and I had had near miss with a red bus before even getting over the bridge.  Thinking that all the drivers were cursing us, and from then on cycling very cautiously, started at an average speed of about 10mph!  and thinking this going to take me ten hours!

A London black cab driver dropped his window at the traffic lights and told me “You are doing a great job, for a great cause“, which lifted my spirits and made me smile, brought back memories of a jolly cabbie that drove me to Great Ormond Street one Christmas morning, but that’s a story for another day.

It was fun taking in the sights, recognising the bridges over the Thames, the stop start of the traffic lights, a bit of a bummer.  Traffic was hellish and thats a Sunday morning, goodness knows what its like on a weekday.   I filled up on Bananas at Clapham Common, which brought back memories of London to Brighton and I had the obligatory porta-potty stop.  Lesson learned here, pick up food and eat it in the que for the loo..  had to wait a good while.

Once we got past the twenty-six miles point the traffic and cyclists started to thin out a bit and at times I managed to pick up some real speed but nothing record breaking.

On the way back the drizzle started,  Sky was grey and it looked like a storm was brewing, I was going strong and stopping only to put on waterproof  jacket, which had been picked up in Aldi for under a fiver,  a god send and I was more than pleased to have it with me.

Ham House, chocolate and rest, stopped for a breather, it would have been better to get further, before the rain, but I was going for a personal distance best, so was in no hurry, my goal just to finish. The energy helped, it was a nice touch to have to drinks and food supplied by the organisers, an altitude of 200ft at Chessington, for a girl who lives on the flat, and trains on the coast that is a “big high”!

It’s a push bike, not a mountain bike, Yes ‘push’ being the word,  because and I had to get off and push towards the end and up Wimbledon’s Copse Hill, which is now known affectionately by cyclists, as CORPSE HILL.  Lets face it I’m crap at the hills, even with the training up and down Ramsgate’s Military Road, it seemed to be never ending.  Proud I had managed this far,  I got a climb in, took a few sips of fizzy drink, got to the lowest gear I have ever riden in, carried on a bit,  before giving in, and ended up walking the rest,  I sipped more liquids from the bottle as I pushed Doris and let my heart rate recover, from its pounding, before enjoying the downhill ride to Putney Bridge and back to the Royal Chelsea Hospital.

finish line

A personal best, in distance, although not my quickest ride, finished in heavy rain, and didn’t fancy getting further soaked at the finishers party.  I could have easily polished off the hog roast, and stayed all afternoon, lounging on the grass, if the sun had been out, today just walking across a muddy field in the rain with my bike, that was enough.  The poor band, everybody seemed to be making a dash for it.  Brownie points to the few mad fools dancing in the mud, they looked like 100mile racers boys, who had got to the beer tent early?

My second sporting medal

Proudly I cycled with my bling around my neck to Slone Square tube,  had forgotten my Oyster card and just couldn’t be bothered to go to the hole in the wall to get money for a ticket,  my legs tired and needed to keep moving, so slowly biked it, across London to Kings Cross.  (all those extra miles adding up, you know!)

The journey home on the high speed train, to Margate was also apply named after Britain’s Fastest “Laura Trott”,  after the Harlow girl, who achived  two golds in the Ladies Cycling.  Tired and legs feeling sore, I bet Laura would have cycled home…. I was just smiling,  because I too,  have two bits of sporting bling,  the feeling was just as triumphant, as any gold medalist.    Bring on the next ride.

Together we raised over £750,000 – I’m proud to have been part of this, I’m one in the red and black jersey!

58K ride, and a Sandwich shop

The truth is I got a bit lost, and stumbled on the National Cycle Route 1, somewhere around Groveferry after crossing the A28 so headed on to Sandwich, which turned out to be a very pleasant ride on quiet roads in beautiful countryside.

A Personal Best and a suntan stripe where my jersey and shorts end! A great little cake shop in Sandwich and not too far off my beaten track to worry about getting home, and a little reassuring, soon as I was in sight of the Pfizer site, and no longer lost.

So I’ve been reading up on Route 1, Dover to London,   of course I was heading in the other direction between Canterbury and Dover.  Now I learn this beautiful ride is just part of the EuroVelo 5,  now that gets me thinking!

What next!  A bit of planning needed, me thinks..  Milan, is that a bit ambitious?

Bumps on Bikes

Most cyclists suffer from friction pain at some point, saddle sores are common and I’ve been lucky avoid them.  I put that down to the excellent Body Geometry Riva woman’s saddle, at the correct angulation and nearly always wearing padded cycling shorts, training regularly and developing a resistance.

For the last few days with the egg like swelling and bruise on my backside, my bike saddle is more comfortable than an armchair as I have found it hard to sit down.

Cuts, grazes, and bruises generally occur as a result of falls to the ground, this injury seems excessive for the short fall from bike to the road, that didn’t even break the skin. I was holding my line and cycling at a comfortable steady pace, abut 20kph, when I was wheeled by another cyclist from behind and taken out.  I knew I had taken a bump, but didn’t think that much of it, checked the bike over, and got on and carried on, another twenty or so miles!

The next day, after sleeping I woke up with a spectacular bruise and the egg like bump, for a whole week I’ve taken it a bit easy, which is not good as I need to get back in training for the London Bikeathon in September, the deep purple is starting to turn green and this is the bump going down!

week old bruise

The fitter you are, the quicker you heal, so it’s time  get back on the horse.

Weekend of cycling

Friday kicked off with and early ride on London’s cycle super-highway (CS3) out to ExCel, to visit the Prudential Ride London Expo.  Waiting early in the morning with a coffee for the exhibition hall to open, wow, so many suntanned, brown armed men, with strong legs, and in Britain!  If any woman needs an excuse to start cycling, the eye candy is certainly something to consider.  As good as any ski- instructor, a few were even in lycra!

Saturday, I set of early to join the traffic free roads of central London, with the plan to cycle the route 12.5 times.  Unfortunately I had underestimated the numbers of people, this was a family day with loads of little kids and the average pace was very slow.   Time restrictions, and crowds made this unrealistic, still it was great to see so many out on their bikes and enjoying the fun and carnival atmosphere.   A lot of kids will be sleeping well on Saturday night, and many will be watching the big event on Sunday with extreem enthusiasm for the sport, having cycled some of the route and on The Mall  without traffic themselves.

Having picked up unofficial souvenir, a bit of road rash, due to a pile up,  we were all able to get up and carry on for another twenty miles or so, before calling it a day. Lunchtime, it was getting very busy, time for an ice-cream and look around the festival zone, soaking up the sun and the fun, before watching  the ladies, pro race on the big screen lying on the grass in Green Park

I wish all those who were in the wipeouts, a speedy recovery.  One thing is for sure, the fitter you are, the quicker you recover and a few bumps and scrapes is not a reason to give up on the benefits of Cycling, we just have to make the roads safer for everyone.

Thanks Boris, it was a fun day out.