Training ride in the New Forest

Flat lay of cycling kit with the text 'Training ride in the New Forest'

After a series of conferences on Fridays, I finally had a Friday free to go on a training ride. It was much needed as I’ve got Castle to Coast sportive triathlon and RideLondon within the next month. I’ve not spent enough in the saddle this year.

I’ve also been struggling to get enough sleep as M is still not a great sleeper, so I arranged to meet Pete at 9:30am. That gave me plenty of time to get my kit ready and I was able to try Racestak pre-workout drink. The recommendation was to mix it with 400ml of water. However, I mostly drink water and very weak black tea, as I don’t like strong flavoured drinks, so I found it quite tangy. In the end, I diluted it further and found the taste more palatable.

Flatlay of cycling mitts, sunglasses, a packet of Racestak pre-workout in summer berry flavour and a Fullsteam bottle.

Buckler’s Hard and Steff’s Kitchen

When I cycle alone, I almost always do exactly the same route. It involves cycling from Southampton to Beaulieu and then a loop around Buckler’s Hard.

The 5km out of Southampton has recently been improved with better cycle paths. Every time that I’ve ridden it recently there has been at least one lorry parked on the cycle path making it necessary for cyclists to move out onto the one-way road where traffic is going in the opposite direction, which is at best nerve-wracking and at worst terrifying.

My route goes from Southampton via Eling Tide Mill. At that point, the ride becomes more pleasant as there are few cars, so it’s easier to hold a conversation with a friend.

At Beaulieu, Pete and I cycled up the hill towards Buckler’s Hard. It’s really the only challenge of my favourite route. We had a quick refreshment break and then continued together.

We stopped at Steff’s Kitchen in Beaulieu for a break. The Old Bakehouse had lots of cyclists sitting outside, but it’s not somewhere that I stop. Back in 2016, when I was pregnant, I stopped there for a slice of cake with a friend. I was served something that was really mouldy. The poor response from the staff means that it’s not somewhere I’ll ever stop again.

Tamsyn and Pete's bikes at Steff's Kitchen.

The slices of cake at Steff’s Kitchen are enormous and absolutely delicious. I think one slice is enough for two people to share, but Pete and I had a slice each. I’d recommend stopping there is you ever go out for a training ride in the New Forest.

A large slice of caramel sponge cake with a cake fork.

I fuelled up on a slice of caramel cake, whilst Pete enjoyed a slice of cherry and coconut.

A man eating an enormous slice of cake.

Pretty fly for a white guy

After we’d had a break, we decided to continue our ride down to Lepe. I was reasonably confident that I knew the route and figured that Pete would recognise sections of it from Solent Half Marathon.

When we got down to the beach, Pete asked for a quick break. I thought that perhaps he wanted to rest his legs and have a drink… then I looked at him… Pete was wearing a predominantly white t-shirt and it was absolutely covered in flies. He brushed them off and then we took some selfies.

Selfie of Pete and Tamsyn by the beach at Lepe. They are wearing sunglasses and Tamsyn has on a cycling helmet.
Selfie of Pete and Tamsyn by the beach at Lepe. They are wearing sunglasses and Tamsyn has on a cycling helmet.
People on the beach at Lepe.
View of the beach at Lepe looking across towards the Isle of Wight.
The Isle of Wight as seen from Lepe Beach.

My photos of the beach show some dark clouds, but in reality, it was hot and sunny and we didn’t notice the clouds.

Garmin failure on my training ride

After leaving Lepe, we cycled back to Beaulieu before heading back to Southampton.

We got to Pete’s house and as we were chatting on his drive, the battery in my Garmin died. I felt so frustrated. I had already cycled over 91km and knew it would be about 5km to get back to my house, so I ought to be able to do another 4km around Southampton to make it up to 100km. However, if it’s not recorded on a Garmin does it really matter? In the end, I decided just to head home for a shower and a recovery drink.

Flaylay of cycling mitts, a headband with the slogan 'You can be tired when you're finished', a Garmin showing the training status 'peaking', a sachet of recoverystak and a Fullsteam bottle.

I made a bottle of Fullsteam Recoverystak in strawberry flavour. I’d found the summer berry Racestak quite strong flavoured, but the bottle of Recoverystak was perfect. It’s one of the nicest recovery protein shakes that I’ve ever tried. It was just like a milkshake made from fresh strawberries!

I then had a look at my Garmin status and was delighted to find that my training status had improved to ‘Peaking’, suggesting that I’m in ideal race condition. What more could I want from a training ride? Woo hoo!

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