New Year QE2 100km Audax

One of my Christmas gifts from Geoff was an Audax membership, Audax rides are something I really enjoy and as Geoff prefers these to sportive’s it something we can enjoy doing together.

So with this in mind we booked our first Audax of 2017, the New year QE2 100km from Swaffham for Jan 14th , little did we know that this weekend there would be a bad weather warning !

The sprinkling of snow which arrived early on Friday 13th was followed by strong wind and low freezing temperatures. I think it was the wind that saved the day because it dried out all the roads leaving just a few icy patches to look out for.

Thankfully the strong wind  disappeared over night leaving us with a very sunny if cold day, this sun did cause a few problems though as it was very strong and low making visibility hard at times.

The route had info points at Docking, Swanton Novers and Hulver street with a control point at Nortons cafe, where the coffee and scones were as good as ever. It was the first real outing for my Hip Flask, a christmas gift from Matthew, I filled it with home made Sloe Gin which hit the spot on this cold day.

Luck was on our side and we enjoyed a great ride, only having to take real care at a few hazardous places, unfortunately on the way to Bradenham we had to help two guys who came off on ice just behind us and I believe one has a fractured hip, it could so easily have been us but that is the risk we take.

We arrived back at Swaffham community centre 5 and a half hours after setting off ,we were greeted with Home made soup ,rolls, bread pudding and tea/coffee, which we enjoyed along with many other riders.

A great start to our Audax year, many thanks to Jonathan and all the volunteers who make these events possible and I am looking forward to riding many more especially my first 200 km Audax with Julie sometime in May when the weather should hopefully be warmer.

Blog Birthday

This Christmas my blog had its 10th birthday, it was a gift that arrived by e-mail from Geoff.

We had only known each other a few months but he thought I would enjoy / make a good blogger, I on the other hand wondered what on earth I would write about and how would I ever spell everything right !!

Armed with a dictionary I set about writing about everything that makes me happy, walking cooking, running, slimming world, to name just a few things and then massage and biking came later.

I love looking back and reading my old posts,its lovely to see how much my writing has improved,  here is my first blog post and no I have not done the Christmas day swim yet !!

I have had 5,871 comments and 282,192 spam comments, I have also met some lovely people through my blog .

Biking in Ibiza

While Geoff was away on another biking tour I had plans to go away to the Cotswolds with some of the SWNC crew, but due to unforeseen circumstances this trip away was cancelled.

To say I was devastated was an understatement but Geoff came to my rescue and arranged for me to join him in Ibiza for a weeks biking.

November in Ibiza was perfect, its out of season so very few people about but still hot at 26 deg. making it a great place for doing the things we enjoy, biking, running, swimming and walking.

My hire bike was a Merida carbon from Can Manolo and I loved it,the roads were smooth with just enough hills to give you a challenge. Ibiza is not a large Island but we had 3 great 50 mile rides, making it a perfect place for a weeks holiday.

We also saw the beaches at there best with no people on them, just miles of beautiful golden sand and calm sea still warm enough for swimming in, no doubt I would hate them in summer when every inch would be taken up by sun beds and people

The only downside to visiting Ibiza out of season was to get home we had to take the ferry to Valencia so I could then catch a flight home while Geoff continued on his bike tour, the upside to this was that Geoff liked Valencia so much he stayed for a few extra days.

I left Valencia at 26 deg and arrived at stansted at -1deg

Cambridge Autumnal 100k Audax

The  Cambridge Autumnal 100k Audax was my 5th Audax ride this year, I so love these rides as they are far more relaxed than sportives, cost a lot less to enter and it feels like a real day out rather than a race to finish as quickly as possible and get home. The food is usually pretty good too !!

I was doing this Audax with 2 girlfriends, Jo and Gina,in fact it was Jo’s first Audax and the first one where i was in charge of the navigating, which did make me a little nervous, Unlike when walking I confess to not being able to follow the written route sheets on my bike so have to totally rely on my Garmin 1000.

The start was from Girton and a nice breakfast had been laid on for us so after booking in we enjoyed tea and toast before setting off , the organiser assured me the garmin route would be excellent but was happy to see that i also had a written route sheet just in case ,not that it would have helped me at all !!

img_4021The route was going to be  slightly undulating and take us through cambridgeshire suffolk and essex , with controls at Great Thurlow, Thaxted and Saffron waldron, then an information control at Balsham, the amazing thing is the TCX file was so good it told me at intervals how many km to control points and also told me when we had reached them and was always spot on .

It was a little hairy coming back through central Cambridge at 3pm but we made it without running over any suicidal shoppers who just walked straight out in front of you without even looking !!!

On our return we had a slap up meal consisting of vegetable chilli, cheese/ham rolls, lemon/toffee cake plus tea/coffee which we totally enjoyed while having a good  girlie chat

Next year I hope to move on to do some 200k Audaxes which I am sure Geoff will enjoy if he can stay in the country long enough !!

The Flower Of Suffolk

Its been a while since I did some real walking, I am usually put off due to the amount of travelling and cost, but yesterday I dusted off my walking boots, made the effort and was not disappointed.img_4002

The day started with a 2 hour drive to walberswick ,in pouring rain with Jo,where we met up with Gina and Jayne to walk The LDWA challenge walk ,the Flower of Suffolk, in the past Gina and I have walked the Daffodil Dawdle 26 miles and Jayne well she has now done 13 of the 100 mile events, while this was going to be the first taste of a challenge walk for Jo.

Luckily by the time we had met up,picked up our route sheet had a quick chat and coffee the rain had stopped and the sky was brightening up.

Although I can follow these walking routes, as we are chatting a lot !! it’s easy to lose your place so I decided to put the route on my garmin 1000 as a back up. Happy to say it worked very well fullsizerender-15especially as when we set off  Jayne just presumed we were doing the 26 miles…..

Once back on the 18 mile route the sun had decided to come out and greet us,and much fun was had as we found our way from check point to check point.

Walking through the heath at this time of year with the heathers, grasses and boardwalks is really beautiful, the route ended with a stretch along the beach too, shame my battery died on my camera.

The Marshalls at the checkpoints were all friendly and it was nice to see people I knew, the other fab thing about these LDWA challenge walks is the food, great food at every check point, then a bean and veg stew followed by crumble and custard when you finish.

A really great day out with great company lots of chat and giggles…….. and I must make more of an effort to do more walking, next year we will try to do all 3 challenge walks, The Daffodil Dawdle, The Poppy line and The Flower of Suffolk.

Biking in Mallorca

Well with a tear in my Achilles and a ban on running and any strenuous walking it was lucky for me that our next adventure was all to do with the BIKE .

p1000218.jpgIn April myself,Geoff,Gina along with Andy and his non cycling wife Kate went off to Port Pollenca for a week,where we had hired bikes for 4 days , while we biked Kate was going to enjoy the pool and do some walking.

Our trip overlapped the youngsters from SWNC by a night so we enjoyed a get together meal on our first evening, where we heard all about their adventures.

Mallorca is definitely the place to go for cycling the roads are perfect and there is something for everyone from the beginner to  the elite.

From Feb to Easter the place is swamped with bikers and when you go out the roads are just full of cycling pelotons giving it a great atmosphere.img_0080.jpg

Our first ride out was to Petra where the main square is just full of cycling cafes full of cyclist.

We then carried onto the outdoor velodrome at Sineu which I loved biking round!!

The following day we had a nice hilly ride up to the Monastery at Lluc ,of course what goes up must come down, it was a fun but scary descent in strong gusty wind, at one point it felt like I was not moving anywhere !!

Andy showed us all how the descents are meant to be tackled bombing down like a pro and making it all look so easy !!

img_1672.jpgThe Lighthouse ride is one not to be missed a long slow Climb all the way up taking in fabulous views and at this time is year no buses full of tourists cluttering up the roads.

As well as the biking we enjoyed some fabulous meals out in the evenings,the highlight was going to Tolo’s the cyclist restaurant and one where Barry Wiggins has his bikes on display.

A fabulous holiday enjoyed by all and one I hope we get to do again and again as who would not want to be biking in the sunshine !!

Cambridge Half Marathon

Very annoyingly I returned from El Medano with a sore achilles so as it was so close to the Cambridge half I decided to rest until the event on Feb 28th.

Due to injury my friend Gina had already decided not to run but after much soul searching I decided to take a risk and run, so Gina decided to come along and cheer me on.

I was very nervous on the morning of the run,wondering if i was doing the right thing but thought if i just took it steady I should be ok. The weather was perfect and the atmosphere amazing.

IMG_3516Due to the huge amount of runners, around 7,000, the start was a slow one , which was not a bad thing. first part of the route took us through Town passing by many of the great city colleges, we then headed out to Grantchester which was more rural. Much to my surprise and delight I spotted people I knew in the crowds of spectators and this gave me a real boost.

There was Four water stations on this run each included a gel option too, so I decided to take a gel at each station and I think this worked really well for me as I never got the usual tired feeling at around the 9/10 mile mark.

By the time I was coming back into town I was happy and relaxed thinking i was going to get my P/B time, I heard Gina cheering me on and I thought I had cracked it but then at mile 11 disaster struck and i felt something “pop” in my lower leg, I stopped for a second thought bugger what shall I do now !! then decided that as i was so close to the finish I should just run/limp to the end.

My time was 2.19 not bad since I had to limp home, it was by far the best running event I have ever done,the bling was awesome, and I don’t regret running it at all.

After visiting the physio I found out I had actually torn my achilles and only now after 12 weeks can I start running again 🙂

El Medano

Back in February I spent a lovely 2 weeks in El Medano with Geoff. before he went on his travels to Africa.

We decided to see what it was like to stay in one place for 2 weeks and El Medano offered winter sun,biking, walking  and beaches but being a wind and kite surfers paradise also means it also always very windy !!IMG_3123

We stayed at the adult only hotel Arenas Del Mar, a little isolated but only a short walk into El Medano village.  A lovely hotel with a great buffet breakfast , and a pool ,although unless you went out and bagged a sunbed by 9am you could never get one !!

There are 2 small volcanoes to walk up, Montana Pelada and Montana Roja, we enjoyed walking up both of these but they were not hard walks just a fews hours stroll for us. We never got to swim in the sea because it was always wild and choppy due to the wind but we did enjoy watching the wind and kite surfers.

FullSizeRender (11)We hired bikes for 6 days from the excellent Bike Point who were very friendly and helpful. The plan was to do the famous Teide climb, the longest climb in europe. The Biking was fantastic , always climbing and always windy but we enjoyed rides to Vilaflor, Los Abrigos, Los Cristianos and San Isidro,though the highlight of our holiday had to be the Teide climb, which was totally amazing and had me close to tears with emotion when I realised that I had reached the top !! Riding back down was another experience altogether and one that I need to get used too !!

After we returned our bikes I felt quite sad and wondered how we would fill the rest of our holiday but we spent the rest of our time walking in and out of town basking in the sun out the wind, watching the wind and kite surfers and reading.All very enjoyable but i do think one week in El Medano would have been enough.

A fab holiday but i do miss our long distance walking adventures.