Escaping the greyness!

I always have a weeks holiday in January to escape the greyness of the English weather and to recharge my batteries after the Christmas/New year period

Between 23 December and 6th January I made 8 trips up and down the A10 as well as trips to Chesterfield and Nottingham, more exhausting then running a half marathon !!! I also did a Christmas Day Parkrun,ran two 10km events and rode around 200 miles all this while working too. This year though I didn’t have to cook Christmas dinner as Geoff treated me by taking me to the six restaurant in the Varsity hotel for Christmas lunch and very nice it was too.

In the past we have gone skiing but with my shoulder and arm injuries I cannot risk a fall and to be honest skiing is only fabulous when the sun shines.

I thought we might go back to El Medano but Just a few weeks ago Geoff suggested we try Cyprus as a holiday destination I agreed straight away as it was somewhere I had looked at going in October last year.

Now for some reason maybe because I was feeling exhausted after Christmas and was also fighting off a cold I left Geoff to make the bookings etc. A big mistake that was! as I forgot Geoff never researches or looks at reviews he just books the first thing that looks value for money on booking.com.

So today we find ourselves sat on a plane flying to Paphos. Booked into the Panareti hotel, that is actually 6km outside Paphos at Coral bay, though looking at the map it’s not really in Coral bay either.

if the reviews are correct we could be in for a shock but surely this all adds to the adventure!!!

On the plus side I did find a good looking bike hire shop, Aspire cycling and we pick up a couple of Canyon bikes on Monday

Inspire Thetford Forest Trails 10k

Today I did my first running event of 2019 and it was a little different to my usual road running events.

The Inspire Thetford Forest Trails 10k was an off-road event round Thetford forest, starting from High Lodge.

The registration area had a nice party atmosphere with music, lots of info over the loudspeaker and a huge Inspire deck chair for fun photos. I was surprised to find there were 500 plus runners. with a Canicross race starting 30 mins after the main runners.

 

This was a gentle introduction to trail running, the course was well marshaled on a mixture of wide Forest tracks, some soft and grassy, others stony and uneven. surprisingly by the time I finished, my feet felt quite sore !!

I enjoyed running through the forest, the scenery was lovely, it was quiet and still almost relaxing but it also felt a little lonely with no supporters around the course like you get on a road race.

Epic end to 2018

Happy to say 2018 ended on a high with a 200km DIY Audax followed by a 60-mile ride with Cambridge CTC, followed by the Ely NYE 10k run.

This was far better than the start of 2018 which saw me having a fall off my bike on Black Ice, this caused me a great deal of pain and put me out of action for many months… even now I still get a niggle in my side when running!

With some care, a few painkillers and lots of determination, I still managed to do all I had planned for and more in 2018, including Cambridge half, riding in Mallorca, Walking in the Dolomites, the Lap of Anglia, run/walking 18 miles, many 200km Audaxes, a couple of 150-mile rides and an epic 300km Audax.

The most amazing thing to me is that I have achieved all this while suffering from menopausal hell !!!!

My next big goal is to get through January and February without taking any risks in the bad weather and icy conditions which are inevitable !!!!

My recorded Miles for the year are (approx)

6,340 Cycling, 465 Running,151 Walking

I have many plans for 2019 so exciting times ahead…………

 

 

Another 200km Audax

Amazing mild weather for December so today we grabbed at the chance of doing a DIY 200km Audax.

Geoff did a great route which took advantage of the tailwind, which helped blow us home, he also chose perfect roads for the night time riding.

There is something special about riding in the dark, especially when most people are still asleep it’s also beautiful to see the sunrise.

Anyway, that makes three 200km Audaxes in 3 months and now I am wondering if I can keep it up for an RRtY, if so the next one has to be in Cyprus !!

Four Min Mile 200km Audax

As many people will know I love Audax riding, especially long Audax rides, I read all the write-ups about the various rides and admire the riders who do the super long rides which involve night riding, I often wonder just how far I could ride !!

My longest Audax is the Mildenhall 300 km which did involve a couple of hours in the dark but apart from that I have little experience of night riding.

Just recently I have started to ride with the Cambridge CTC, rides which I really enjoy, many of these riders are experienced Audaxers so I enjoy their company the stories they have to tell and soak up all the advice they give about long distance riding.

Nigel and Yasmin were planning to ride the Four min mile audax and while Geoff was out on a ride we were invited to join them, when he mentioned it to me I grabbed at the opportunity especially as I know no other women that like to ride long distance.

After the initial excitement wore off I realized it would be a hilly ride, as we went over the Chilterns not once but twice and  many hours would be spent riding in the dark so I would need a bigger saddle bag to carry a jacket and a better rear light, while I sorted the bag out I sent Geoff out on the hunt for the rear light

So the alarm was set for 5 am on Saturday 17th November and armed with our egg sandwiches for breakfast we met Nigel and Yasmin at the train station for the 6.24 train to Stevenage.

After collecting our receipt in Stevenage we were on our way just after 7 am, the outward ride to Oxford was lovely with perfect weather for the time of year. I especially enjoyed riding through Woburn and seeing all the beautiful autumn colors, we arrived at Iffley Stadium in time for Lunch, the choice of food at the cafe was disappointing but the stadium and Roger Banister memorabilia made up for the lack of choice.  The runner in me was drawn to the running track, shame I didn’t have my running shoes but I did have a little jog !!

An hour later and we were on our way again, deciding to take a detour down Oxford high street before heading back to Stevenage via Chesham and Welwyn Garden City. Having never been to Oxford it was a very impressive High Street.

The aim was to get over the Phoenix Cycle trail near Thame before dark, as the rumor was it had some bad road surface in places. I was very happy we got over it before dark as the surface in place was horrendous with cracks so big you could have easily disappeared down one if not seen.

Onward we traveled up and down, then along another cycle track that ended with a steep slippery narrow exit, Nigel made it out but the rest of us got off and walked and that is when Geoff discovered a Puncture, by now it was quite dark, which made changing a puncture very interesting, Geoff opted to change the tyre so didn’t have to look for the offending flint/thorn, after a good 30 mins the puncture was mended, with a helping hand from Nigel who had returned after noticing we were missing.

We were happy to be on our way again heading towards Chesham, and a much enjoyed Costa coffee. then it was more climbing and more downhills, along narrow twisting lanes, which made for challenging riding in the dark, a tip from Nigel was to keep my Garmin on the elevation screen so I could see what was coming. By the time we reached Welwyn Garden City my arms were aching from gripping onto my handlebars so much. 21km left to go back to Stevenage train station, better roads made for easier night riding and we rolled into the station and collected our last receipt with 30 mins to spare.

Not the best route for night riding and maybe better the opposite way round but then we would have missed the beautiful scenery around Woburn, but definitely a great calendar event to do.

All in all a great adventure with good company and it certainly has not put me off night riding.

( Thanks to Nigel for the Photos )

Girlie weekend in Sheringham

Finally, my injury seems to be better and the weather is cooling down making it the perfect time of year to start my running again.

8 months ago I booked the first weekend in November at the YHA in Sheringham, for Gina Jayne and myself, the plan was to do some longer run/walks. The week leading up to our weekend away was very wet and we did wonder if the ground would be too muddy but we didn’t have to worry as by the weekend it was perfect weather and perfect underfoot too.

We spent the Saturday run/walking the 18-mile LDWA poppy line route, I use my Garmin 1000 to follow the route, we chat so much along the way that we never really know where we are !! but it works well and soon tells us if we wander off the route.

After a beer in the pub, we spent a few hours planning more adventures for next year and had a mad 30 mins entering the Ely New Years Eve 10km, luckily we all got a place.

Sunday we woke to another fine day and caught the coastal bus to Blakeney, such a beautiful place. We then ran/walked back along the coast to Sheringham, the shingle beach was a bit of a challenge but much fun was had along the way with many walkers and birders taking time to talk to us,one guy was looking for a rare bird,Jayne soon told him we were the only rare birds to be found here which he quickly agreed too !!  The 12 miles were soon covered and after enjoying a delicious Sunday lunch we all made our way home happy after a weekend full of running, walking, eating, drinking and chatting.

I am sure we shall be returning to the YHA again next year to do the 26-mile LDWA poppy line route.

Saucy Suffolk 100km Audax

I had completely overlooked this Audax ( Thanks to my friend Sue for reminding me! ) so it was a last minute entry and what a good decision it was.

It was a fresh cold morning when we left home for the later than usual start at 9.30am, with fog lying in the valleys but the sunshine was forecast for later in the day.

Arriving at Debenham nice and early we had time for a coffee and a mingle with the many other riders all out to enjoy the predicted beautiful Autumn day.

The route was a figure of 8 so any new riders to Audax could do a shorter 54km while more experienced riders could do the full 100km. Tea and cake were at the church in Debenham at the halfway point, all money going to the local school, very good cake it was too!

A great ride on a perfect Autumn day although a few too many stops for us but that’s probably because we are used to doing longer rides.

Good to be back out on Annie after my short but sweet love affair with the Pinarello in Mallorca.

Fun Day in Felixstowe

Today we headed over to Felixstowe for the yearly sea swim with the Jesus Green regular swimmers. It’s the first time I have joined them at Felixstowe.

In the early days they always used to go to Dunwich,where I remember it was always cold and windy with a very rocky beach I also remember how cold I used to get so today I went with no intention of swimming.

The weather was also predicted to be wet and as we left Cambridge it was actually pouring with rain,this made me feel quite happy about giving up a cycling day !!

When we arrived at Felixstowe much to out amazement there had been no rain and it was actually quite warm, we made our way to the Fludyers hotel to meet up with the others and enjoy a social cup of coffee while Jane tried to encourage me to swim !

The sea temperature was 15.5 but I still insisted I was not swimming although I did notice it was a nice sandy beach, with lots of nice small groynes. Then I thought it might be rather nice to feel cool for a change since these menopausal flushes drive me so mad !!

Getting in was the hardest part as it felt so cold,I was very vocal, just like I am when riding up a large hill !! But once in it felt amazing and exhilarating. I spent the next 30 mins enjoying a fantastic sea swim getting out feeling refreshed and cool but not cold.

We then walked along the sea front where we enjoyed lovely fish and chips and I finished the day off with a Rhubarb and Ginger Gin and Tonic.

Arriving back in Cambridge we found it was still raining so we definitely had the best weather day today.