August and the riding stats are good

Here we are towards the tail end of August and I am sitting at 2648 miles of riding. Not bad for someone who set a 2000 mile target for the year. I’ve set another since, 3000 but think that I might well be going through that too. So far I have ridden the equivalent of riding from Louth, in Lincolnshire to Aswan, in Egypt. That’s not too shoddy.

What news have I?

Well, the riding is going well, the ride buddy has become something more. Quite a lot more actually. I am not sure what happened but he has mentioned that there was an inevitability about it from the minute we met. I’m not so sure, I thought he was OK but nothing to write home about. I didn’t fancy him at all. Getting to know him, slowly and with no pressure or expectation, was rather nice. I think that we have something quite special going on here now. Something that is going to last a while. That’s rather nice for a little hellcat like me.

On the job front, the new job was for 5 weeks and I hated it. Every single second of it. I was so boring it was untrue. For the first 3 weeks, I couldn’t actually log in to the system at all. I couldn’t even do any photocopying as you needed system access to do that. When I could log in, I got a whistle-stop tour of it and and it was a case of ‘off you go then’. Marvellous. I was expected to unlock if I was first in and lock up if last out. I was a temp and very uncomfortable with that, indeed. I didn’t mind the internal locking up, the setting of the alarms and proper locking up of the externals worried me a great deal. That is not the role of a bloody temp. I had no DBS check for this job so most of the other staff wouldn’t let me scan in their work in case I read it. Like anyone has time to read 30 page thick files before scanning and eventually shredding. I did need to take reference numbers off and make sure that they had a matching date of birth so needed to glance at the things, but that didn’t go down well.
Oh, no talking to the service users. It was frowned upon, even when they engaged me in conversation. I think the final straw, for me, came when a chap came in, who used to learn guitar with NGA and said ‘eff me Raffie, what the hell are you doing here and what the eff have you done with your hair?’. At NGA, my hair was moussed up and all ‘beach hair’, here it was all flat, combed and preppy. Turns out that the lad had been ill and was seriously uncommunicative, but chatted away to me about guitars, music and whatnot for a good half an hour before his appointment. Not suitable behaviour for a receptionist with nothing else to do in that time. Seriously, I had nothing else to do.
Contract ended, on not very good terms, but I don’t care. When I went in and was told ‘contract has finished, go home’ I skipped out into the sunshine like a woman released. Went online to search for a job and then went for a bike ride. As you do, to celebrate.

Interviews all day today, starting at 10.

Back to cycling. I did a nice 101km ride on Sunday. Fuelled by cake mainly. Not so far on Monday night, just 12 miles and I was knackered. I really couldn’t keep up with P the ride-buddy. Yesterday I went out with my new bike club. It’s a brand new bike club and it was our pre-inaugural ride (that will be on the 9th Sept, in Louth). We are the Yellowbellies Social Ride club. We met at Woodhall Spa – I rode there and back – did a quick 14 miles or so, meaning that I did 31.5, or 50km if you prefer. It was brilliant. The cake was shocking in it’s stinginess.
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Seriously, look at the state of that. I’d burned that off just wielding the fork to eat the dang thing. That coffee needed a flaming stepladder to reach it too. Biggest waste of £3.50 ever and we shall be avoiding that place like the plague in future.

Once home, I made a couple of calls and paid a couple of bills and then P arrived for a ride (I must be mad), so I grabbed a quick shower and then we did a faster 20 miles than I would have liked. Averaging 15.3mph across the distance. P has gone clipless and is on an old roadie. He really flies on that thing. He’s 2 years younger than I am, fit as anything and very, very strong. I do sprint drills behind and past him (because I can) but I cannot hold him at bay unless we have some miles under our belt. I have more stamina simply because cycling is my sport and he rides to stay fit to go rowing.

I have stuff to crack on with before a day of interviews, so I shall.
Chat later

R

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Lots of riding has occurred

Since last posting there has been much riding. It was only just over a week ago and I have spent a fair bit of time with a bike under my bum.

My ride buddy has been away on his hols so I have been riding alone, which is fine as I have new Aftershokz Bluez 2s’ headphones. The old Aftershokz half died. The left speaker died anyway. I have linked to the wiggle site, but I didn’t pay that for them, mine were cheaper. They are also Kawasaki green and black. I like them. Smaller and a little weightier than my old Bluez but they feel a more solid product. My old Shokz lasted nearly 3 years so I was very happy with them. These are better as they sit flatter behind my ears and don’t make them poke out at all. Anyway, needing to try them out means tha I have to go out.
Last week I cleared off to Norwich to see my friends. Haircut, coffee, biscuits, more coffee (the Virgin Lounge is an excellent place to go, and the drinks are free. Kind of Club Tropicana for banking). There was much chatting and laughter. Bit of crying, more laughter, wine and pizza. I stayed over at my friend Jaide’s place and brought home a tomato plant that we have called Jody. It’s tall and strong, just like her husband, Jody, hence the name. Should get about 20 tomatoes from him.

I got a nice 50 miler in on Thursday last. Getting chatted up seems to be an occupational hazard when riding in lycra. It’s just so darn comfy but I think I’m going to start wearing a baggy tee-shirt over my top. It’s getting annoying. I don’t get this crap when riding with ride buddy. When I was fatter, I didn’t have this problem. I just don’t want to be fatter so it’s either a big tee shirt or I do the whole ‘suck it up buttercup’ thing.
I rode 32 miles on Friday. I didn’t want to go that far but I didn’t want to be in the house either. I got to the 28 mile mark and was knackered but I was not coming in at just under the 50km mark, having ridden that far already. Nope, nope and thrice nope.

I had planned to have Saturday off but it was a nice day so I hopped off for a little bit of a ride on some rolling terrain. Just 16 miles but that will do. Sunday was also an off day so I did a quick 10 and done with as I’d seen the forecast for Monday (yesterday) and it was Marti Pellow weather (that’s Wet Wet Wet for those who don’t know).

It wasn’t that bad after all. A light shower on the way to Woodhall and then a small, light shower over the river while we were riding. I was late home and I had forgotten my lights – rookie mistake right there – but I did watch the sunset, which is why I was late home.
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I thought that it was pretty. I love the colours and the reflections on the water. Ride buddy has a more up to date iPhone than I have and can do more on site photo editing. I really need to ask him to teach me things with my phone. I might ask tonight as it’s going to pour down. I suspect that riding might be suspended for a trip out for a coke or a coffee.

On the home front, 2n is off into a flat of his own, hopefully this weekend. If no viewing forthcoming today, I shall take him for a drive past this afternoon. Then he can see. It’s a 1st floor place in a purpose built house for over 55s or just unders with a medical condition. He can’t take the dog but I will look after Dylan for him. I’ve got Toffee, so one more is not a problem. I would rather have just the one dog but not about to be jettisoning hounds any time soon. I have a new job so a fresh start is happening. I find that I am so excited that I am bouncing about like a teenager, my thoughts leap from place to place and then fall out of my head altogether. More meditation required I think. I shall do that before 2n gets home from hospital and ride buddy starts texting. He normally has a bit of a text fest at around noon – his lunchtime but nobody elses though.

Onwards then. Let’s see what life is going to bring.

R

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Massive changes so massive update

Oh my word. Where to start.

The winter challenge went well. I rode and rode some more. Eric got a proper workout right across the spring. The Roadie, not so much. Those hills in North Cornwall were hideous. A house move, that was on the cards actually happened. I live now, about 20 miles from Lincoln, the flatlands one way, The Wolds the other and it’s brilliant.

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The house is great. It’s got a garden and Toffee-dog loves it. He’s asleep on my bed as I type.
I am currently living in the front bedroom & 2n in the back bedroom. We share the living room and the kitchen at the moment. After 11 and a bit years of marriage we have decided to call it a day. Indifference doesn’t even begin to cover it and I cannot be wasting life with someone who barely speaks to me and hasn’t actually noticed that I am a female for around 4 years. I know he’s ill but I cannot keep on like this and we have had the hard discussion and the harder one about who is moving out and it’s not going to be me. 2n can’t afford this place, I can once I find a job again. My caring duties are over, I just cannot carry on like this. I’m not asking for thanks or recognition or anything really. Being spoken to would be nice. Some affection occasionally would be better but that’s never going to happen, he’s admitted as much. Time to call it a day while I’m still young enough to have some fun. I will be ringing the Housing Officer again tomorrow. If I get a job, 2n will lose all his benefit and I’ll be supporting him financially again. After doing this since 2009, I am heartily sick of it and am not doing it again. Sorry if I sound a harsh cow but I cannot keep on keeping on any longer.

On the upside. I’m only about 20 miles off 1700 miles for the year so far. If I ride 38 miles I will go through last year’s mileage. It’s only the beginning of July too. I ride a lot here, it keeps me out of the house. 2n has said that I’m like a damp fire; every time he takes his eyes of me, I go out.
The rides round here are great. Have a gallery to look at.

 

 

Ride a bit up the road and there is RAF Coningsby with it’s Spitfires & Hurricanes howling about. I watched the Dakota flying around the other day from my excellent viewpoint of the top of Tattershall Castle. Everyday you can see the Typhoons hurtling across the sky. Good for photos, naturally I haven’t had a camera about my person for the Spitfires, sorry about that. Never mind, have a Dakota on account.

 

 

These pictures were taken the day it all changed.

A regular ride out, nothing unusual. I had a ride in my head and stopped briefly to send a text, and there was a chap who has become my ride buddy. We had a couple of rides and a few texts and something in my head went ‘snap’ and I thought ‘wow, I’m having fun’. It’s been a long while since I have had such a laugh.

I sat 2n down and we had that first conversation where I said that I couldn’t do this any more – nothing to do with ride buddy, he’s just a ride buddy. Even I didn’t know that I was going to say anything, it just came out. He didn’t demure, he agreed that we were dead in the water and that he didn’t really want to save the relationship. That’s me told then. A couple of days later we discussed who was moving and decided that he’ll get housed faster and in something without stairs. That’s that then. I am hoping he will move sooner rather than later as it’s a bit awkward to be honest. Nobody can move on until one of us moves. He’s hoping to stay locally so we can walk the dogs together and help each other out with our respective hounds. It will all sort.

Interestingly, my friends have been amazingly supportive. They tell me that I will be fine as a ‘Single Pringle’ and they are probably right.

I shall endeavour to update more regularly now. The rides here are great and I’m getting the miles under my belt again. The 50km ride for July is now logged and done. I did that this afternoon, it’s better than being uncomfortable in the living room.

Chat soon then.
R

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Weeks 6 to 8 of the winter challenge

I have had a few computer issues that are now sorted. I’ve also had work getting in the way, which was a right pain.

Week 6. (6 – 12 Feb)
5hrs & 42 minutes and 67.53 miles ridden.

I got a really nice 50km in on the 10th as I had an unexpected day off. Riding was a bit hit and miss with work and whatnot, but I did manage to get out. The fact that I needed a new chain and cassette was really showing on poor Eric and gear changing was clunky at best. I was mostly riding on the trail, which is as boring as anything.

Week 7 (13 – 19 Feb)
2 hours, 57 minutes and 14 seconds and a paltry 36.21 miles of riding.

It was half term and I was working my socks off. My Moon Light had packed up and refused to charge so it was sent off to Hong Kong to be fixed and I got a new light, a Lezyne 400 or something. Total pants, it ran out of battery after 10 miles despite being fully charged, so I got to ride home in darkness on the trail, lit by only my frog light. I did a new bit that day too. I rode off up towards Egloshayle and then up the A road hill to Gonvena and then down the hill before going up the trail. I did similar on the Saturday night with another new light (the Lezyne went back for an exchange), a no name brand job which also left me in darkness after about 18 miles so the last 3 miles home were lit by my spare light. Can’t wait for my Moon to come back.
I had a bit of a cold and a hacking cough, which didn’t help matters at all.

Week 8 (20 – 26 Feb)
4hrs, 5 mins & 48 seconds and 51.19 miles

A bit of a better week. No riding with Kenn at all as he was still ill. The weather was horrendous. Marti Pellow weather all week. (Wet Wet Wet for those under 40). I got soaked most days over the 5 days that I rode. I didn’t ride over the weekend as the weather was filthy and I was working and doing so much walking that I just didn’t have the energy.

A few signs of spring were starting to show. The gorse was clothed in yellow flowers and there were a few brave primroses sticking their heads out of the earth. Better weather must be around the corner. Storm Doris meant that I had to rehang the gate again, rescue the bin again and be a bit picky and do a couple of one way routes, again. But it was mostly good.

 

Eric had his new cassette and chain plus a full service on 28th Feb. 12-32 cassette so I’m looking forward (kind of) to trying out a couple more hills soon. My knees are not happy at the moment so taking it easy.

February’s challenge of 14 hours was smashed a bit. 17 hours and change and 200+ miles so I was pleased with that. March is still going to be 30 minutes a day as I’m a bit wobbly. Our homeswap fell through with 3 weeks to go. They were really keen and then, all of a sudden they just changed their mind, so we are back looking for an exchange. That’s 2 exchanges that have crashed and burned in 3 months. A bit fed up but we are going to look at a place near Iffley Lock next week. It’s going to be a wet day so a good day to miss a ride.

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R

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Week 5 of my winter challenge was a bit pants

I got my rides in and ended up just 17 seconds off half an hour over my target. The weather was deeply rubbish all week and I’ve been feeling like I’ve been coming in for a cold too. I’m not making excuses for not riding, just making excuses for not going out in the torrential rain and high winds.

I got out on Monday, only 13 miles up to Bodmin and back and got soaked on the way home. I did get out in dry weather and it didn’t start raining until I had turned for home, so that was something. An hour and 4 minutes through the mud. Eric was in a frightful state.

Tuesday was wet and windy. Just horrible weather. Then, about half past 6 in the evening, the rain just stopped so we both grabbed our bikes and rode up the trail. We got to about 3 1/2 miles and the rain just lashed down. We could barely see where we were going so we turned around and headed for home. The cyclepath, in the gutter through Wadebridge, was flooded, slippery and just horrible so we did the unthinkable (if you are a car driver) and rode in the road instead of risking life and limb by riding on the 14″ or so of designated cyclepath. Naturally there was some twonk leaning on his horn, following us for about 50 yards. He close passed us and then immediately turned left into the co-op. He must have been gagging for a pint of milk to be leaning on his horn like that. BMW driver, naturally.

That was it for January. My last ride of the month right there. It wasn’t a bad month actually. 230 miles in 20 hours and 11 minutes. So pleased with that. I have set a new goal for February of 14 hours of riding. Still with my 30 minute average of riding a day. The monthly target just sits in the back of my mind, I’m mostly about my weekly challenges at the moment. Short motivational targets are working for me in the cold weather.

I didn’t get another ride in until Friday as the rain didn’t stop, the wind was windy and it was really cold. Friday was another wet and windy day, really nasty and I was having a bad day anyway. Then, about about a quarter to 9 at night, the rain stopped. I changed, grabbed Eric, my phone and headset and just went. I told Kenn that I was heading to Padstow and not to leave his phone out of his sight, in case I needed him. I just rode up to the 2nd car park and turned for home. I was just under the hour so rode up Polmorla Road a bit. I’d just turned in to the road and the rain came down again, but I carried on a bit until a massive gust of wind actually caused me to stop riding. The gust just hit me, head on, and it was like riding into a big, invisible cushion. I thought that enough was enough and turned for home. I could barely see my hand in front of my face as it was raining so hard. It got Eric really clean. Silver linings and all that.

Saturday was rubbish weather too. We got a 90 minute window of decent weather so took the chance. Kenn just wanted to ride to Padstow (I am bored to tears with the trail but Kenn doesn’t want to climb and, if it will get him out on his bike and turning his legs, I’ll ride up and down the trail with him). I got him to turn up Polmorla Road towards the end of the ride as I wanted to show him something but would’t tell him what. There is a gentle climb up a few feet and, at the top (before it starts to climb properly) there is a forest school house with a turfed roof. I thought that he’d like to see it. I forgot my camera but I’ll take a pic next time. We rode home and got in about 10 minutes before the rain howled down again.

Weather was horrible on Sunday so we didn’t ride. Our central heating was playing up – it was fixed today – and we didn’t want to go out and get freezing. We also had no hot water.

Week 6 is a new week. I have work Wednesday to Sunday so riding might be hit and miss but I’ll give it my best shot. I’ve got 3 hours and 30 minutes on the goal page. I’ve seen the forecast and it’s what Kenn calls ‘Fairytale Weather’, or Grimm.

I can feel fitness returning though. Getting my 50km this week is a non-starter. I won’t have the time. Probably not next week either, it’s half term and I’m busy, busy, busy. Real life getting in the way of cycling is a real bugbear of mine.

See you next week
R

 

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End of week 4 of the biking challenge

The weather had been quite kind to me this week and I’ve got some riding done and I’m quite pleased with myself.

On Monday, I deliberately kept the time and mileage low as I knew that I wanted to get a good ride in for Tuesday and didn’t want tired legs. The sun was shining and it was a great day and I really wanted to go further but restrained myself and turned for home, so a nice little 7.33 miles in 33 minutes was done and dusted

Tuesday was my planned 50km for January ride. I’ve not been fit enough so far this month and I really want to ride a 50km ride every month this year. Last year was fine until November. The weather closed in and I just didn’t get the chance with the wind, rain and – on the rare nice days – being at work (typical). Kenn came and we took the CXs up to Wenfordbridge, to the Snails Pace Cafe, which is on it’s winter break and we knew this so took squash, fruit and a sandwich with us. We had 15 minutes at their picnic tables, watching the birdlife and looking at how the housebuild opposite the car park is coming along and then got back on our bikes.
The terrain was interesting as it’s predominantly mud at that end, clay mud at that so it sucks at your wheels and makes life very hard work. Much harder than road riding but there is very little in the way of flat around here so it’s the trails or forget it at my current level of fitness. I left Kenn in Wadebridge and cleared off up the trail a bit towards Padstow, got about half way along and turned for home to complete my 50km for the month. By the time I’d got home, Kenn had sluiced his bike off and the shower room was ready for mine. Good job too.

Wednesday and Thursday were both non-riding days. The weather was iffy, very windy and I just didn’t fancy it. Friday was less windy so I got a ride in to Padstow and back – I just couldn’t be dealing with hills or mud as my knees were making their presence known. It’s the weather for them to play up. I can’t take anti-inflammatory tablets as I was a live kidney donor so only have the one kidney. Wish I’d known about the not taking anti-inflams for pain and arthritis before I donated. The hospital failed to mention that bit.

Saturday, I was at work but keen to get a ride in as I was determined to hit 200 miles for the month. It stopped raining so off we went, Kenn and I. We got to the 5km mark and turned for home into a torrential rain and hail shower. I say shower, it lasted for the entire ride back . For some reason, we couldn’t stop giggling about it as we rode through the dark and stormy night :D. Once home, we totted up the mileage and it came to 199.86 miles. The word ‘arse’ might have been used.

Sunday. Hmm. I’d seen the forecast for Monday & Tuesday and it was Marti Pellow weather (Wet Wet Wet for those who might be under 40) so I took the opportunity to get out in the light drizzle on Sunday night. I’d been putting it off and off as I watched the rain fall all afternoon but I managed to get just over 10.5 miles in so that took me to 210 miles for the month so far.

So, week 4 brought me 67.28 miles for the whole week and 5:37:56 in the saddle. I was pleased with that. More of the same for week 5, I hope. Looking for 30 mins a day average across the week. The weather is grim though so I’ll see what I can do.

 

R

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The end of the 3rd week of my 30 minutes a day challenge.

Well, this week has been a whole lot better. The weather has been cold – not altogether unexpected in during January, in England though – but no wind to speak of and no rain either. Well, not much and not at riding time, which is the main thing.

Monday was just little old me, out on my CX, Eric. Just up to Padstow and then back via Polmorla road and back to make up some time. Nothing exciting at all. I did stop for a natter with some tourists at the quarry area, on the way back. They were planning on upgrading their 10 speed cassettes and their LBS has quoted a couple of hundred quid each. I nearly fell in the Camel with the shock. I asked if they had a cassette tool in their bike tool kit, which they did. I suggested looking on Wiggle, buying a cassette and doing it themselves. A 10 speed Shimano cassette is only about £45 for an Ultegra one. I think that they are going to have a go. £200 each! I also suggested a different LBS. I think that they were quite new to this cycling lark.

Tuesday was nice too. Just a gentle pootle to Padstow and back with Kenn. Nice and steady and getting our feet cold. Well, mine were OK, his were cold for some reason. It was 7 degrees C out there so not frosty.

Wednesday was my day off so I rode a quick 10 miles to Padstow Bridge and back. Again, I stopped at quarry to look at the view and chat with other cyclists. There were hundreds of birdwatchers out on the trail today. Literally hundreds of them. I guess a rare bird must have been spotted or something. People with monopods with lenses trained out over the water. They looked cold if you ask me. Got home with minimal mud on Eric too, so that was a bonus.

Thursday was ‘the visit’ from the potential homeswap partner. He duly turned up, we chatted about bikes and gave him the tuppenny tour while swigging coffee. We swapped paperwork and put ours in to the Council while he drove 330 miles back home again. His paperwork went in Friday morning. Naturally, we have both taken copies and have put them safe for when one of the landlords lose the forms. It always happens.
Friday was off too as I was not feeling myself and my sciatica was playing up a smidge.

I managed to get Kenn out on Saturday. Padstow again. Just to the carpark where the diggers are, and back again. I was a smidge short of the hour so rode on a little on the ‘towards Bodmin’ side of the trail. Just to the river bridge and back, so an extra couple of miles to take me over a 20km ride. As you do.

Today, Sunday, was the best ride. We left it to about 3, when the sun came out, the drizzle stopped and it got warm – for January – it was very nice. We got the bikes out and decided to ride up to Nanstallon. Much muddier but I am bored to tears with going to Padstow and Kenn is not in a frame of mind to think about doing any climbing whatsoever today. At Nanstallon gates we turned around by the tea shop that we have never been in. We are unlikely to either, it’s only 4 miles from home.
As I was turning Kenn was visited by a Robin on his handlebars. I was not quick enough with my camera. I was quick enough to snap him when he hopped onto my back wheel though.
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It was tricky but I just turned my phone upside down so I could poke the button with minimal fuss and thought I’d just sort the orientation later.

Master Robin (he looks young to me) then hopped off and went to visit Kenn again.
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Not the greatest pictures but I only had a phone on me and I’d zoomed in a little, which was probably a mistake.
We then rode home again and hosed the bikes off. It’s the dirtiest they have been all week.

This week’s scores on the doors was 4:43:18 on the bike and covered 57.41 miles. I was an hour and a quarter over target, but that’s OK. Same again next week, but I expect that the weather is going to change again. Freezing fog has been forecast. Joy.

Onwards then.
R

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