Saturday, 24 October 2015

Chasing the sun.


At the end of August I decided to finish racing for the season and took some time for a good old rest. I’ve had a lot of fun racing this year and am happy to have stepped it up a level, but I was oh so ready to make dog walking the peak of physical activity for a short while.

After 3 weeks with no bike riding whatsoever it was time to get back on the bike refreshed and ready to train. Or so I thought. A further 4 weeks of lugging my off-season lard arse around the lanes of the Holme Valley each weekend and making the short but somehow arduous commute to work during the week, I was only just beginning to feel in tune with my body and bicycle again. But now I am finally ready. I am hungry to train again. I want to ride more than is in the training plan. This is a good sign.

There is a renewed focus for next season. The team – Team 22 – is a fantastic group of self-starting, ambitious, and talented young women. I am humbled to have been given a ride and am very happy about the calendar and support.

Next week my partner Russ, our child (ok puppy Goldendoodle) Baloo and myself are driving the long journey to the Spanish Costa Blanca where we will be spending the winter. There are a few reasons/ moments of enlightenment/excuses behind this:

1.      We are not designed for the British winter.

2.      There is a very real possibility that either/both of us will develop S.A.D. Seriously.

3.      9-5 with no windows could well be the end of me.

4.      I do not have to spend lunch breaks walking in the bleak rain.

5.      We do not have to ride in sideways sleet for months on end.

6.      There is another way.

7.      In the near or maybe far future we would like to make a permanent move to EspaƱa.

8.      Maybe we will never again spend a winter in the Grim North.

9.      I say it again. The British winter is soul destroying.


So we made the decision to take a temporary break from work and live in Spain this winter and maybe for future years of our life together. We do not know yet and will take opportunities as they come.

So MEGA EXCITED is an understatement.

Our days will be spent playing with Baloo on the beach, riding bikes, riding other bikes with knobbly tyres and riding yet more bikes with strange low positions and wooooooshy wheels. There will be training in the gym, surfing, yoga, meditation. There will be long breakfasts, bakeries, time, drinks on the seafront. There will be a lot of hard work and an equal amount of horizontal behaviour.

There are future plans. These will be explored, researched, investigated, and thought through. We hope we can one day live our dream and live and work in this beautiful region. We will see. For now we just really really don’t want to be in the Grim North until the sun reappears next spring :) Happy winter training to all.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

When the lurgy strikes..

I have a cold! It's awful, my throat feels like someone's shoved a razor down there, I can't hear properly and it was pretty difficult to taste my crunchy nut cornflakes this morning. Yoga even hurts with these achy muscles. The End is Nigh...!

Well almost. It frickin' feels like it. It's actually the end of training for all of a week. 

This is what I get for leaving the house for work, volunteering, family funtimes with my illness ridden nieces, sharing a house with sniffly Rob (whose cold last week was of course 500 times worse than mine :0). It's grizzly out there and he's just gone out for a 6 hour ride with only some homemade rice bars for company – I hope he doesn't get this cold too. I'd be in real trouble then.

This has got me a-thinking. Being bound to the limits of the bed, sofa and bathtub have their benefits. I can have some time to relax, just sit down, lie down. Snooze even. What a novelty I'm sure many can appreciate. Could even pass myself my laptop with my feet (too ill to muster the energy to reach for it obviously) and try to finish writing the training plan I'm supposed to be doing right now. Then the panic sets in – I'm supposed to be riding RIGHT NOW with Ruth Taylor. She's riding, I'm not. Everybody's riding, I'm not. It's my only day off. I'll be so behind. Might as well give up, might as well eat everything in the house and wallow in the bath with a mutlipack of Mars bars.

Right. Get a grip. Calm the frig down. It's only a week says everyone and anyone with an ounce of plausible thinking on the matter. 

Who'd have thought it, it's only a week I'm having off. A week! Pah! I can handle that off the bike... I can. Realistic thoughts begin to dominate once more.

So from in between sniffles, moans and coughs I'm going to enjoy this week. And I suggest anyone wanting to train with the lurgy take heed!!! Might even bake some bread and watch 2013 Paris-Roubaix.    

Thanks for reading (if you got this far)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Winter training

If you have found yourself on this page I doubt this blog is what you were expecting, but hey ho, you might well learn something. Proper cycling blogs are on my team page ( although it has indeed been a while since one of those! The title 'winter training' was a sly tactic adopted to get you on here. And now I have you I wouldn't want to bore you with ramblings on what training I have mustered up for the winter anyway...that's a secret (sort of) and you'll know in any case when I unleash some (ahem) skills in the spring. Tea is the current topic. As it should be. 

Sometimes I go to work and forget to take any Earl Grey tea bags. This is a serious problem. I'm faced with an industrial- sized bag of two-cup builders teabags. wonder the proportion of grump behaviour has been steadily increasing in this shop. Can I, can I start the day with a peppermint? Or a lemon and ginger? Gosh no, and I give my inner self a small slap for the thought of such an atrocity. The thing is I used to go all day every day fuelled only on builder's tea and it makes me eat so much naughtiness its beyond rediculous. But something changed and Earl Grey is now surely the way. It might have been the bike. But I don't think Brian makes those kinds of decisions out right.

Anyway, on these builder's tea days if you have been a customer of Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative and encountered my wrath I'm really sorry. I do actually care if you find the right bike and I honestly didn't mean to glare or gnash my teeth or eat Minstrels from my fleece pocket whilst you were trying out some bikes.

To the point of this. Earl Grey is so tasty that it might be possible to consume, dare I say it, without the accompanying cake that always seems to appear. I swear builders tea makes me eat more sugar. The correlation may well not be true. But I think, in my case, it bloody well must be. I'll be more than satisfied with a nice cup of Earl Grey but normal tea leaves me thinking well where is the cake?? And if I have 5 brews a day, well you do the maths... So maybe just maybe if I take some INCREDIBLE tea bags to work I might be able to go a day without sweet treats. And it has come to dawn on me that it might be a good idea to reduce such consumption from 'almost all of diet' to 'small extra on days when riding is the main focus'.

Not sure why this has to happen. I guess there is not much point training so hard, buying a stages power crank (cheapest power available but SO MUCH MONEY IT HURTS), getting a coach and sweating away in a Bikram yoga class if I'm going to spend the rest of my time fitting as much cake as possible into my mouth. And before you say it. No, I cannot do moderation and yes, I have no self control if I even sniff some cake/chocolate/haribo/tiffin/christmas biscuits from Lidl – the one's that Murray hides from me in the workshop.

If you're still reading, and god knows why, then it must be reinstated that the days that start well start with an Earl Grey. FACT. But it has to be a leisurely tea moment. My boss gets annoyed when we (shop floor staff and mechanics) get the grump on if we don't all have time to individually shower (well you'd hope so) and have a leisurely breakfast. I guess coming in 45 minutes early just to encounter odorous cyclists in the brisk morning air isn't everyone's idea of fun. Fair dos. But from now on I will be there even earlier, starting the day the proper way. So I am relaxed, focused, a 'teaist' almost. Only things that are good for this body will be allowed anywhere near me with the aid of tea. I hope...

Will update on the loss of cake progress soon.