Category Archives: cycling

Spring is coming

Busy bee

Signs of spring

Signs of spring

Its been quite a hard month with being away from home, and not being able to run. I spent a weekend in Brighton, followed by a weekend in Cardiff for my level 2 coaching course, then I was home for a day before driving to Baildon (6 hours) with the boys to visit family. All this and trying to get back into my training rhythm after being ill. I am fortunate to have an understanding family, so I squeezed in a 4 hour ride up in to the Dales. The weather looked like it was just going to be a shower at midday, but in true style it started p***ing it down about an hour into the ride, and on the way back I could definitely feel the headwind that I did not notice on the way up, and could definitely notice my cold hands that I was struggling to change gears with! I arrived at the cafe at Cavendish Pavillion, near Bolton Abbey, where there were lots of other bikers. I stood by the radiator and waited for my family to arrive, and enjoyed a hot coffee. Out and back

Out and back

The next day I had a lovely swim with a free pass to the gym that my mother in law gave me, had a whole lane to myself for most of the time, I was wishing I could stay a bit longer and make use of the jacuzzi, and sauna, but Leeds beckoned!

Knee and hotel niggles

My knee is still not right. I went for a run in Cardiff, and it was painful afterwards. I put it down to being sat all day and muscles being tight, but as a precaution have not run since. It is quite hard being away and not being able to run, because its something that is easy to fit in around everyone, hopefully it will improve, still using my roller and tennis ball. I also had a pretty bad experience at the hotel in Cardiff I should have known when I saw the topless men outside smoking and the gym that was called “Inn Active” my room smelt of smoke, and drunks woke me up every hour. I called reception a few times but that didn’t help, and they only offered an apology after I reminded them how bad the night had been the next day. Then I got home to find I had a parking ticket from them! park inn needless to say I won’t stay there again, although they have offered me 25% off as a compensation. :-p

Power meter

An update on my power meter. It arrived a few weeks ago!!

It was really easy to install. If you want to know why I chose this meter I read a lot on DC Rainmaker about various types, and for my budget it seemed like a good buy. I’m pleased with it so far. I am about where I was last year in terms of power readings, although I was using a different meter last year, so I don’t know if it is comparable, hopefully I can improve on last year. I went out on Wednesday and had to be rescued as I think I was still tired from Tuesdays ride, I also underestimated how far I was going, whoops. I am in need of a rest though as you can see from the comparison between my last 3 rides! Luckily next week is rest week :-)

Garmin comparison of last 3 endurance rides

Garmin comparison of last 3 endurance rides

Bike mechanics

Power meter

I have been meaning to invest in a power meter for a few months, but couldn’t decide which one to go for. Finally I decided on a stages power meter, but first I needed to change the chain set on my road bike, as it wasn’t compatible with the power meter, cue female panic!

I have started setting up my bike on a bike stand in front of the computer for jobs like this so that I can get advice straight away when I get stuck with something, it works well for me.

Whenever I decide to do some bike mechanics I have a little voice in my head that tells me I don’t know what I’m doing, and I can’t do it, because I’m a woman (ridiculous, but what we’re told by society every day). Anyway I managed it, and had a brilliant high from doing the job, I was very proud of myself! So for any women put off doing a bike job, its really not that hard, although I did have to wait until Milo was full time in school so that I could actually concentrate for a few hours (yes it did take me that long!) Can’t wait for the power meter to be delivered now! Afterwards I did a bit of cooking to balance the Yin to my Yan!! 😉 you can see here on my other blog.

Bike storage

One of the hazards of keeping my bikes in the garage, is that when my husband does some sanding, (which he is quite partial to!) my bikes get covered in sawdust, but I was quite shocked today when I discovered that my TT bike has also got cobwebs on! Not a good look…

The spiders have been at work
The spiders have been at work
In retirement
In retirement

Covered it up today with a plastic bag.

TTFN

Strava debate, my two pence worth!

The Strava debate

I have recently decided to try to simplify my life a bit by not downloading everything to Strava. It has also coincided with a long break from training due to illness, so I have had more time to think about the pro’s and con’s. I found another feature the other day, where there is a leader board for clubs, so that you can see how you stack up against other people in terms of distance, time, etc. This is one of the reasons I dislike Strava. I find myself constantly comparing myself to others, which I am trying to do less of! So here goes my list of positives and negatives

Positive

  1. It allows me to compare my efforts and power data for a certain segment, or hill climb.
My record, while being chased by a dung laden tractor.

My record, while being chased by a dung laden tractor.

2.  I quite like the social side of having been out on a ride with others, it shows up that you had a ride with someone, and also allows you to comment on peoples rides. (I do have friends really!!)

3.  You can see where you are compared to others, however there is a limited women’s pool on Strava.

Negative

1. If you compare yourself to others on Strava you don’t know what the conditions were like, so you are not comparing like for like, they also may have been time trialling while you were on a long ride.

2. Sometimes people can comment negatively on your ride/feed.

3. If you look at what other people are doing it can cause anxiety about not doing enough.

Conclusion

If used wisely it can be fun to use. My husband has just recently entered some of the challenges on there, which got him out riding more than he would normally, so it can be good at motivating people.

I have started making my rides private, then I can still see my results and where I stack up, but I will probably not download everything, ultimately its something else to distract me from other stuff that I should or want to be doing, and I use Training peaks for analysis of data so I don’t really need another programme. However it did show me that I set a personal record on a section of road to Marros, and would have picked up a queen of the mountain had my ride not been private, while being chased by a tractor pulling s**t, maybe I should visualise that in future races 😉

Don't know which is worse, being behind or ahead of one of these.

Don’t know which is worse, being behind or ahead of one of these.

Windy wet weather, and letters.

General synopsis

I have spent the last few days lying around feeling sorry for myself, after a sickness bug has hit the house. My mum looked after the kids on Thursday, and we were meant to go to Brechfa for some off road fun, unfortunately my stomach wasn’t up for it so we went for a wet walk instead.

Abermawr walk

Abermawr walk

Saw lots of seals bobbing about, and we stopped at  Melin Tregwynt which we had not been to before, it reminded me of my university days using looms in Nottingham! Then walked past some creations….only in West Wales 😉

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There was quite a bit of flooding and we had to do an impromptu river crossing. I opted for the bare foot and rolled trouser approach, while Patrick opted for the straight through wet feet approach. Each had their good and bad points which we discussed afterwards!!

Complaint letter

I have been getting home and complaining about lorries that overtake badly so frequently, that I finally managed to get a number plate and write a letter to the company. Here is the letter and reply.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to complain about the driver of one of your vehicles (a white pickup registration number******). I was traveling on my bike along the road from Cross Hands to Templeton at about 4.50pm on 22.10.13. The vehicle overtook me while there was traffic coming the other way, and did not give me enough space.

This is not the first time that I have been overtaken dangerously by one of your lorries, it also happens frequently on the road from Canaston Bridge up to Bluestone, and there have been many occasions when I have been pushing a pram or walking a small child down Narberth Hill and drivers have not adhered to the speed limit.

I would like you to ensure that your drivers are familiar with The Highway Code section on overtaking, (https://www.gov.uk/using-the-road-159-to-203/overtaking-162-to-169) and suggest that they respect the speed limit, and show respect for other road users, and pedestrians.

We have used your services in the past, and have always been impressed with the level of professionalism shown by your employees, it is a shame that this is not reflected in their driving.

Sincerely yours,

Celia Boothman

letter of reply

letter of reply

So there we have it! Will have to get a camera fitted so I can report some more 😉

Last hill climb, the end of the summer, more baking…

General synopsis

After feeling pretty negative last week I have started to adjust to the change in season, and my loss of fitness. I have had my level 2 coursework to complete, and also Milo’s birthday to sort out, so I’ve been busy with that. Also I have been running, cycling and swimming WITHOUT my garmin!!!

Its been good not to have any pressure and I still need more time to recoup before next year. I made some progress planning next years training, and have also looked at areas that I can improve upon. Having the last race of the season as a DNF has focussed me a bit more on what I need to work on. I now have a list of strengths and weaknesses, and action points!

Birthday caketastic

Birthday caketastic

 

Baking extravaganza

Got back into some baking, and chutney making, and have experimented making idli, (if you don’t know what they are the link is here) which I am now addicted to, I think they would be great snacks to take on long rides, so I am perfecting making them!

Hill climb

I spent all of Wednesday contemplating whether to do the last velos hill climb. At 4pm I was about to go out on a ride on my own, when I changed my mind and decided to go after all. I cycled there and back, it was a lovely way to close the season, getting back in the dark, and seeing the sun set behind Carew castle. I took a wobbly photo with my phone….you get the idea!

Carew on the way back from hill climb

Carew on the way back from hill climb

I didn’t get my best time, but enjoyed myself, although I couldn’t stop coughing afterwards.

Results of Hill climb

Results of Hill climb

I took my garmin, but had no power or Heart rate data, so was all good!

Strava stats

Strava stats

Abergavenny, Welsh Champs, more visitors and next years races!

Welsh Champs in Abergavenny

At the beginning of the summer, we decided that we would go camping for a few days if the weather was good. As I had entered the Welsh championships in Abergavenny I suggested a camping trip there! We had a great few days and I had a PB on the 10 mile course of 25:36, which I was pleased with.

Results here, and photo’s here

Great park in Abergavenny

Great park in Abergavenny

Visitors again

Patricks brother, wife and daughter came to stay over the bank holiday weekend, we made the most of the weather and it sent me into a cooking frenzy again! So I started experimenting with  some photo’s of my food, (not as easy as it looks), but you have to start somewhere!

Next season

‘Tis the season to be bombarded by emails about events for next year. As I wind down, I have entered Half Outlaw (which sold out in record time) and the Tour of Pembrokeshire, unfortunately Patrick and I clicked on a link for the Wasdale triathlon, and I now have another on my lake district list, (Helvellyn being another). Too little time and too many races !

Pleased with the year overall, but I think I’ll do a bit more high intensity stuff next year before Half Outlaw, as I am a collector of numbers, here is my data from the year….

I just need to figure out which power meter to buy, as I’m hiring one at the moment from the lovely Nick Brown. I suppose I should give it back soon, seeing as I’ve had it for a year!

Performance management chart for last 365 days

Performance management chart for last 365 days

All my lovely graphs!

All my lovely graphs!

Women’s stuff

Found a great site about hormones, which explains quite a lot, like why I just shouted at the kids! There is a bit about men too 😉

The website is here I found it quite interesting, and useful!

Dynamos LEJOG and thoughts on womens cycling

Narberth dynamos lejog and thoughts on womens cycling

Last few weeks events:

  1. LEJOG on turbos with the dynamos.
  2. Devons Birthday.
  3. Thinking about the gender differences.
  4. Time trialling again with Power!

LEJOG

Narberth Dynamos decided to cycle as a Club from Lands End to John O’Groats in 24 hours on turbo trainers. This was part of Narberth Civic week to raise money for Paul Sartori (a local charity). It was Devon’s birthday on Saturday so I managed to get a Friday afternoon slot, and avoid the graveyard shift. We completed hour slots, most people did at least 2 but I didn’t think my husband would appreciate me doing 2 hours! Anyway, people managed an average of 25mph so we made it!! Next year there is a rumour of going further 😮

The boys came up to see me but Devon refused to get his photo taken with me. Milo obliged though

Narberth dynamos lejog and thoughts on womens cycling

Milo, future Dynamo.

Devons Birthday

It was Devons 7th birthday on Saturday, its been a long run up with countdowns from June onwards and early wake ups because of the excitement! Finally the day came and we planned to go to Blue Lagoon, a pool down the road from us with water slides and wave machine. As we were walking from the car to the pool, Devon ran past and tripped, falling on his arm, he was in quite a bit of pain, but soon chirped up when he saw his friends. We carried on with the day, and then the next day took him to hospital, where he had x-rays and a cast put on, a brilliant start to the summer holidays!

Can still do lego!

Can still do lego!

Thinking about the gender differences

I read an article on Total Women’s Cycling, here about the barriers to women cycling, and it got me thinking about the differences between the sexes. My typical male and female sides vary from day to day (probably depending on my hormones!) One thing that came through in the article, was that women don’t like being cat called when exercising. Its threatening and unacceptable, BUT I was cycling with the club the other week, past a pub, and a woman outside the pub shouted out “show em your tits…” to her friend. Nobody called back, I think the woman assumed we were all male. I wondered if the men felt the same way as a group of women would have done, if a male had been calling out to them. I was quite annoyed about it, and chatting to Patrick later on we came to the conclusion that sometimes it is better to behave like a man, and sometimes better to behave like a woman. If we could work out when those situations were and not be pigeonholed into gender stereotypes then we would probably all get along a lot better. Incidently the woman that shouted out was, in my opinion, just rude. Caitlin Moran, has a good theory, that we are all just “the guys” and if you think someone is being rude then you call them on it, then it isn’t labelled as sexism.

Also tweeted a production company about the women’s coverage of The Slateman and received this reply. I think its a bit lame, what do you think? Race is shown here

Narberth dynamos lejog and thoughts on womens cycling

Twitter feed

Time trialling again…

Another time trial with the Velos, improved my time, and got some power data, although I forgot to press start on my garmin and got 1 and a half miles in then realised, so didn’t have the whole distance! Data is here.

I cycled to the start for a change, which made for a long evening. I got about half an hour from home and started to get blurred vision and feel a bit clammy, luckily I had a gel on my bike (in case of emergency) and about 10 minutes later I was feeling OK again. Not pleasant. I have also entered the Welsh championship 10 mile TT in Abergavenny, will probably come in pretty slow compared to others but we might go camping up there for a few days before.

I’m starting to get loads of emails about events for next year now, which to enter?……

A hard week of training time trials and a hill climb.

Have had another busy week this week, and lots of time outside in the fantastic weather.

A few more QOM's

A few more QOM’s

I entered the Pembrokeshire Velos Open weekend Time trials and Milton hill climb after I got back from Barcelona. I checked with my husband who said this would be fine…. A few days before, he mentioned an event at Freshwater West that he wanted to go to on the Saturday, which was the date of the time trial and hill climb. This was fine as my TT was early, but the hill climb was at midday, I ended up doing the time trial going home, packing up for the beach, driving to the beach, dropping the boys off, then driving back to do the hill climb. When I got back to the time trial HQ I had £5 in an envelope waiting for me, as I had won the morning event (only 2 women entered). I stayed on for the presentation for the hill climb, and won another £5 (again only 2 women entered!) My power meter conked out at the start of the Time Trial so no power data for me. Most annoying, as I was going to use these as a test for my FTP! Now I’ll have to do another one 😮

Hill Climb Results

Hill Climb Results

The sea was great afterwards to cool off in. Beautiful clear water at Fresh West. When I got there the Pembrokeshire surf riders were organising their retro surf contest, which involved paddling races, flapping about in a puddle like a dying fish contest, and a mincing walk contest. (there was no surf!)The stars must have shone on us because Patrick (husband) won best adult male. I was so proud 😉 He won some surf wax, a wax comb, a T-shirt, a surf wax air freshener, and a bracelet!! We stayed for a BBQ which started to catch fire after half an hour, and spent lots of time in the water, lovely.

Freshwater West, so lucky to live near these beaches.

Freshwater West, so lucky to live near these beaches.

Got home for an early night for me, and beach party for Patrick, which was going to involve him sleeping on the beach and me picking him up at 6am to drive to the 15 mile Time Trial. I woke up at 2:45am to hear a van dropping him off back home, so I set the alarm for half an hour later, then woke up every hour until 6am, when I drove to Carew again. On the course there was a strong headwind on the way back, so I took it quite easy on the way out, probably too easy, but my legs weren’t working today, I finished 3 minutes slower than last weeks time, but still won my fiver (only 2 women again!) I got home to a very hungover Patrick, who I sent back to bed.

Getting back into the groove!

After analysing and stewing over my data I decided to ask someone about it and emailed Coach Cox to see if he would do an analysis to confirm what I thought. I payed for a report (really good value) where he gave me feedback on the event. I probably gave myself a bit too much of a hard time, thinking I could have done better, but there is always room for improvement. A few easy weeks a trip to Barcelona, and a trip to Abergavenny to do my level 2 cycle coach course later, I am back to training with a bit more vengance! (Only a bit!)

The taper continues!
The taper continues!

Went running in Barcelona and got lost, but managed to get directions in my poor Spanish, all the roads looked the same…. BIG.

Getting lost in Barcelona

Getting lost in Barcelona

Then repeated the experience getting lost in Abergavenny on my mountain bike. Actually the bit I went wrong on was the best bit!

The Blorenge after I missed the turning

The Blorenge after I missed the turning

I made another rare outing with the Dynamos, did the Pembrokeshire Velos 15 mile time trial , and have entered their open events in a couple of weekends time. So should be improving again for Bala. The weather has been amazing and we spent a lovely evening down on the beach in Tenby watching Devon race Taff kids. Loads of bikes around as its the long course weekend. I seem to be the only one not doing something, and the sea looked sooo inviting on Friday, still Its nice to see people out and about doing stuff, and it was great to watch Devon in his own race!

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An interesting week, and RTTC national time trial

This arrived through the post on Monday. After driving back from Wimbleball on Sunday I had a cursory glance and left it on the table for a week

Just what I always wanted

Just what I always wanted

I had an easy week and did nothing until Thursday. I entered this Time Trial when I was tapering, and full of energy. At the time I wasn’t sure it was such a good idea, but I thought I’d give it a try. Time Trials are great for improving fitness! My start time was 2.46pm (not used to such a late start and only having to remember my bike… a revelation!) So I left home, got to Penblewin roundabout and realised I had left my Garmin at home charging :-0. I always seem to remember something I forgot on that roundabout! Anyway I arrived in plenty of time to drive the course, which was very well signed and marshalled in any case.

Start list

Start list

I signed on at the village hall and helped pin numbers on someone and vice versa. Everyone was very friendly and asked my name and introduced themselves. I had a chat with someone I knew and then went to the car park to get ready, where I chatted with another woman about saddles and chafing, as you do! I was trying something different and set my garmin to beep when I went under a certain wattage, (normally I set it to beep when its above) In retrospect I should have set it 10Watts lower! I went off feeling good, and was overtaken within the first 5 miles. There were people dotted along the course clapping, which was nice. The dual carriageway seemed to go on for a long time (this is the first 50 mile TT I have done) It was a relief to turn off onto the old road, and I knew it was not far to the turn around point. At the turn around point it all changed, the wind was against us and I started to struggle to hold my power, then the dual carriageway just seemed to go on for ever. I was overtaken by several people (stopped counting). I got to the lap point and almost dropped out, but thought I’ll just try and finish, forget about the power. I turned my beeping pest of a Garmin off, and got my head down. I got to the point of no return and was now starting to get uncomfortable in my aero position, had to stretch out a couple of times and was really struggling, it was like the road to hell. I kept wondering why I was riding up a dual carriageway in pain, when I could be at home relaxing! (maybe not, its amazing what you’ll do to get away from the kids for a bit!) I dragged myself to the finish and then to add insult to injury I had to cycle back to the start, which also seemed to take a lot longer on the way back! Many people had parked in a closer lay-by. This was the most mentally challenging race I have done, and I am amazed at the women who do this regularly, well done everyone! Much harder than my race last weekend.

Full results are here, amazing times!

Couldn't take it!

Couldn’t take it!

Finish times, not quite last!

Finish times, not quite last!

I had to get back home to my understanding husband, so didn’t stay for the prize giving, it looked like there was some good cake though! I did an average of 20.4mph so I was quite pleased that I got over 20, I was aiming for that. Drove home and had to stop the car in a lay-by near Resolven as I thought I was going to throw up (didn’t thankfully) Got home and dumped everything in the doorway, could not even be bothered to open the garage.

Left in the doorway

Left in the doorway

And the next day this awaited me!!!

Tidy up time!

Tidy up time!

So would I do it again? Who knows! Never say never :-) Some great photo’s here. and another report. At least I got a good photo though!!

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