Tag Archives: RideLondon

First and last long ride before RideLondon

16 Jul bike close up

I deferred my place in RideLondon last year and had hoped that I would be able to train and take part this year, but things have not gone as smoothly as I had hoped.

I am unable to defer my place again, so I can either take part in the event or keep my fingers crossed that I am lucky enough to get a place again in future. I was erring towards the latter until I read about the launch of the London Classics: “The unique challenge requires participants to run the Virgin Money London Marathon, cycle 100 miles in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and swim two miles at Swim Serpentine, the open water swimming festival.” I hope that one day I’ll get a place in London Marathon and am now tempted to add Swim Serpentine to my itinerary for 2018.

Today, I planned a training ride. I agreed that I would cycle out into the New Forest and do a loop via Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard before meeting my husband and in-laws at the Drift Inn.

The ride out of the city is always slow. There are lots of traffic lights and although there is a new section of cycle path, the road is abysmal in places. Finally, I made it to Eling, which is where the enjoyable part of my ride begins. However, just five minutes later, my enjoyment waned…

I cycled across a busy road and was immediately hit by a pungent smell. The road was covered in manure and I assumed that a muck spreader must have recently passed that way.

I cycled on a little further and was surprised to find the traffic at a virtual standstill. As we were not yet into the New Forest, I was not sure of the cause (roaming animals, such as horses, cows and donkeys, often cause the traffic to stop in the Forest). Cars started to turn off and I was able to see the reason for the hold up: 5 pairs of horses and gigs. The gypsies obviously did not want to get split up, so whenever the road widened or there was the possibility for some cars to pass, one of the gigs would pull out and overtake another, which was very frustrating for the queue of traffic. I really didn’t enjoy this part of my ride – the road was covered in excrement and I was stuck behind a car that was belching out hot fumes. I was surprised to see quite a few police 4x4s, so I assumed that they were aware that gig racing might be about to take place.

Finally, at Ipley Cross the gigs turned off and I was able to continue on my ride. I cycled past Beaulieu and headed towards East Boldre before cycling towards Buckler’s Hard and then back towards the Drift Inn.

As I neared the pub, I was able to see that there was an enormous gathering. There were crowds of people in the road, police wearing high-viz jackets, cars parked everywhere and on the scrubland opposite the pub were lots of horses and gigs.

I took my bike into the pub garden where my family were meeting. We had agreed that Baby M would spend some time with her grandparents whilst Stuart joined me for a couple of hours. I had a quick drink and then we were off again.

Stuart had planned a nice route that involved heading back to Beaulieu before heading out towards Exbury Gardens and Lepe beach. I’ve not cycled this way for a long time – I think it was probably back in April last year when I went for a ride with Teri. That time, the road by the beach was covered in sand – fortunately it was clear this time. I’m not particularly familiar with this route, but a lot of it is the same as Solent Half marathon, which I’ve run a couple of times, so it brough back some happy memories.

By the time Stu and I got back to the Drift Inn, the crowds had dispersed and it was as the gypsy flash mob had never been there. We’d noticed a wedding party at the pub when we were there earlier; this time we saw the happy couple having photos taken amongst the trees.

I stopped for a little while to chat with my in-laws and feed M. I also had a quick snack, before leaving to cycle home alone. As I got to Ipley Cross, I noticed some raindrops 😦 This was all the incentive I needed to pick up my pace a bit. Luckily, the rain eased off, but I tried to maintain my pace. I had hoped that I would be able to do my ride without too many hold ups, but the traffic jam earlier meant that I didn’t really have a clear idea of my average pace.

As I got towards home, I hit 110km, just before the timer hit 5 hours. I’ll need to be able to ride another 50km in a fortnight, but am hoping that determination (and a bit of drafting) will get me through.

Have you done RideLondon before? What are your tips?

Breathing space – training when ill

7 Feb

I’ve not been well for the last couple of weeks. I’ve had a sore throat and a chest infection, which has made ordinary life a bit of a struggle, let alone training… and blogging has had to take a backseat to just getting on with life!

Sometimes being stubborn can have its advantages (such as my refusal to quit when I’ve set a goal), but putting off seeing a doctor probably hasn’t worked in my favour. I don’t like to make a fuss and put down my lack of interest in training to being lazy rather than being ill. For over a week, all I wanted to do when I got home from work (and for some of the time when I was there) all I wanted to do was go to sleep. It felt like I had a concrete block on my chest and I kept waking up in the night to use my inhaler 😦 I finally saw a doctor on Friday and found out that the reason for my illness and fatigue – the infection means that my lungs are currently functioning at 65% – so I’ve been given a course of antibiotics and steroids to take for the next week: 9 pills a day! I hope I’m back on par again soon.

Anyway, there’s a lot to look forward to in the next few weeks:

  • The ballot results for Prudential RideLondon will be sent out on 8th February – fingers crossed! It’s a 100 mile ride on closed roads from London out into Surrey (and its famous Box Hill) before heading back into London where it finishes on The Mall. It would be a great event to make me get out on my bike and train!

Global Swimming Summit

  • I’ve also registered for the Global Swimming Summit. It’s a FREE online event with loads of inspiration speakers who have competed in the Olympics and/or hold world records, as well as plenty of high-level coaches, nutritionists and so on. It takes place from February 8th – February 16th.

I last swam with STC on Monday 25th January. I had decided before going to the pool that I would give swimming in Lane 2 a go – I know I’ve made progress since I started and as slower people have joined lane 1, I keep getting stuck behind them. Also the average distance covered in a session has dropped significantly, so I’m ending up swimming less at a slower speed than previously. I don’t think I’m the fastest one in my lane, but if I start swimming in the next lane then I will have to push myself to keep up. Anyway, back to 25th… I told the coach my plan, and acknowledged that it would depend on how many people were swimming. Well, lane 2 was pretty busy with 4/5 swimmers and there were just two of us in Lane 1 who are similar ability, so I stayed in Lane 1.

I decided that I would try lane 2 at my next swimming session, but on Monday 1st February, I felt so exhausted that I didn’t think there was any point in trying to swim. I’ll see how I’m feeling tomorrow before making a decision about which lane to swim in. It might be more sensible for me to check that I’m recovering before pushing myself!

Have you ever tried to train through illness? What are you looking forward to this month?

Woohoo – I’m now a Breeze Champion!

15 Mar

Today was all about the cycling…

A little while ago, I found out that I didn’t get a place in Ride London, which was a little disappointing, but I think I’ve already overcommitted myself this year, so I’m not too upset!

Rejection from Ride London

Rejection from Ride London

Anyway, I’ve been trying to cut back on my commitments, but I love to make the most of the opportunities that I am presented with in life, so when I received an email from Southampton City Council advertising free places on a Breeze Ride Leader course, I jumped at the chance. After filling in some application forms, I was accepted, so today I went on the course.

I had to choose which of my two bikes to use – my road bike or my hybrid. My hybrid seemed like the most appropriate choice, but it won’t go on the roof rack of the car, so I would have to cycle to the venue, ride around all day and then cycle home, whereas my road bike could go on the roof of the car, so I would only need to do the day’s cycling. In the end, I chose the latter option as I’m still feeling tired and don’t want to wear myself out ahead of tomorrow’s duathlon.

My choice of bike meant that I also needed to decide which clothes to wear. I opted for my Wiggle Honda kit combined with my Pearl Izumi jacket, but realised that I had made a bit of a mistake when I arrived and each of the women I spoke to made a comment about me looking professional – oops.

There was a wide range of women on the course from some serious cyclists to some ladies who haven’t been cycling very long themselves. his meant that there were also a range of bikes to look at. The one that caught my attention most was a three-wheeler Nihola from Denmark.

The course was a mix of theory in the classroom and practical sessions outside. I’ve never ridden two-abreast in a tight group before, so that was an interesting new experience, but I can see how it is safer for all of the cyclists in the group. unfortunately, many car drivers don’t realise that it’s legal. I was relieved to learn that as a Ride Leader, I’m not expected to be able to deal with everyone else’s technical malfunctions. In the afternoon, we split into two groups and took it in turns to lead. The main leader is at the back, which can be quite challenging, especially when the group is quite large.

Overall, I learned some useful skills on the course and will now try to get myself onto a first aid course so that I can lead rides on my own if I want to. I would also like to meet up with some other Breeze champions, so that I can pair up with someone else to lead rides.

Ride Leadership certificate

Ride Leadership certificate

If you’re a keen cyclist, you have probably heard of ‘The Rules’ by the Velominati: http://www.velominati.com/the-rules Rule #5 is perhaps the best known (‘Harden the f**k up’!) I quite like this rebuttal: http://kolotc.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/the-rules/

I also love this old Pathe video about safety when cycling:

Here is today’s IDEAfit photo a day image is on the theme of ‘Nourish’ – I think my healthy lunch goes with that topic:

Finally, here’s some motivation from Erin:

Erin soas

Wise words from Erin.