Category Archives: Biking

Bikes and Trains

In June I took a week off work, the plan was to do some consecutive day riding in preparation for my challenge in August …..The Lap of Anglia 

The week got off to a rocky start,after pottering around cambridge with a few local rides  the weather turned foul on the Tuesday with torrential and never ending rain , we even thought maybe we should have gone away BUT then it cheered up and everything changed.

By this time we had ditched the original plan of going touring for the week and decided we would use the trains and do some linear rides, I basically wanted 4 consecutive day riding as this is what I will have to do in August.

It would also be a great test for my new saddle.

Day 1  Cambridge to Southwold …..92 miles   

Day 2  Cambridge to Norwich ….75 miles

Day 3 Cambridge Villages….. 50 miles

Day 4 Oakham to Cambridge ….74 miles

Day 5 SWNC group ride….. 57 miles

Amazingly I loved the hills on day 4, visiting cafe Ventoux and riding by the viaduct.

A grand total of 378 miles and most importantly due to my fab Specialized Oura pro saddle they were comfortable miles, although due to the saddle not being compatible with my titanium seat post I now had seat post problems !!!!!

It was a great week off and we actually managed to ride 7 days out of 8 and 5 consecutive days so I was well happy and now feel more confident about my 400 miles in 4 days !!!

It was also wonderful to spend a week biking with Geoff, one day I would love to go touring with him but as he likes to tour on his own this week was the next best thing.

Norfolk Special Audax

No sooner was Geoff back from his travels and I had him out on a 200km Audax  strike while the iron is hot was my plan.

It was the Norfolk Special from Lound near Lowestoft, it’s quite a drive for an early start so we decided to stay over in Lowestoft.

Now we have done quite a few Audax it’s nice to see familiar faces on these rides.

I had already done one 200km Audax but this was to be Geoffs first, I knew he was perfectly capable of doing it, it’s just a matter of pacing yourself, something Geoff is not too good at. He starts off quickly trying to keep up with the fast boys then runs out of steam before the finish, whereas I go out slower and have energy at the end.

The route was described as offering a bit of everything that is nice about Norfolk – the Broads, the hillier and scenic north Norfolk, and the North Norfolk coastal village of Stiffkey and attractive market towns, finishing on gentle terrain along the flatter but still pleasant and quiet lanes of South Norfolk

As always the route did not disappoint us, we were lucky with the weather, the route had plenty of info points and 2 cafe stops, one in Wymondham where our friend Jayne lives, so we arranged to meet her there for a coffee which was nice.

Doing these rides has taught me that there is more to riding than bombing round the countryside as fast as possible which means I enjoy the more relaxed riding an Audax offers.

So another fab day out on our bikes Geoff said never again but I have other plans !!!!!!

A multi day ride

With Geoff Home and my desire to do some multi-day biking with him, I was treated to a nice Topeak MTX trunk bag and rack, we decided to test it out with a weekend trip to Ipswich.

The first job was an emergency repair to my lovely Van Nicholas bike, the headset keeps coming loose, not something you would expect from a 9 month old bike.

We set off deciding to go via Maglia Rosso for lunch, where we met a group of bikers who seemed to take a great interest in my new high-vis pink socks !! These socks were bought because after watching a TT I had realised how visible these high vis socks actually are.

After 60 miles of cycling along lovely quiet country lanes we arrived in Ipswich, the route was very rolling and I was happy that the bag was very stable and apart from when getting on and off my bike I never actually noticed it was there.

After booking into our hotel, we had a walk round Ipswich, which seemed a little run down but the pub prices were cheap, a pint of Guinness and half a cider cost £5.50. 

After a good nights sleep we woke to a dull morning,a nice full cooked breakfast was enjoyed before we went to a Friends Art showing at the John Russell art gallery   by the time we left Ipswich at 1.30 pm the sun was shining so we enjoyed another great ride home via Clare, Shop  which passing through some lovely villages including Lindsey where we came across the St James’s Chapel 

We arrived home at 6.30 just in time for a quick shower and change of clothes before meeting friends for dinner at the OShop which incidentally is where my much loved specialised bike came from, so a great way to end a lovely weekend.

and now I want to do some real touring with Geoff but the question is where !!!!!!

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.

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 !!

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 !!

2015

Well  2015 was an amazing year for me I kept myself injury free and I finally ran not one but 3 half marathons

DSCF7741In total I ran just over 500 miles and biked over 4000 miles.

2016 is going to be an interesting year with Matthew joining the army , also I have plenty of events lined up including my first Audax ride.

If all goes to plan the first  3 months I have running events , then biking events through the summer , ending the year with more running events.

I have decided to give up my running club for the summer and go on the SWNC training rides as I really want to try and improve my average speed .

There will also be biking holidays with Geoff  in Tenerife and Mallorca then back to the Cotswolds with SWNC in October.

An exciting year ahead … I think 2016 is going to be all about the bike !!!!!

Swapping running shoes for 2 wheels

First week in November and I spent 5 days in the Cotswolds with biking friends from SWNC. We stayed in a fabulous lodge on the Lower Mill Estate near Cirencester, our lodge even had its own hot tub on the balcony

I was worried about this trip as it involved biking up hills, when it comes to hills I lack confidence and fail mentally but I was hoping this trip would help me overcome these fears !!

imageTuesday we were going to head North to the hills riding through plenty of typical Cotswolds villages.

Wednesday an easier flatish ride leaving time to enjoy the spa.

Thursday drive over the Severn bridge and ride into the Wye valley by Tintern valley and Monmouth

The weather was damp but warm and we managed 2 of the planned rides , happy to say I coped with the hills far better than expected. On the third day we decided it was too wet to risk the ride especially with all the wet slippery leaves about.

We didn’t waste the day though spending it in the Spa and generally having fun, I even tried the outdoor plunge pool .

This was a totally fabulous week spent with great friends having lots of fun and laughs  ,so good that we have booked to go again next year and certain people have promised to join me in the plunge pool.

and I may be starting to fall in love with those hills at last !!!!