fitness

Triathlon triumph!

I’m a triathlete! In the very broadest sense. What I mean is, I managed to complete the super sprint at http://www.theblenheimtriathlon.com/BTMaps.html

The super sprint is: 400 metres swimming in the lake followed by 13kms on the bike followed by 2.9kms running. Hope you’re impressed. However let me expand on that for you.

The Swim

I was the last swimmer in my ‘wave’ to complete the swim. It took me 20 minutes and I had the company of a guy in a kayak all the way as his job was to make sure the last one got back safely. He was a nice guy, he engaged me in quite a lot of conversation and applauded when I reached the shore.

The 1st transistion

Transition is the time taken between one activity and another to compose yourself and to change your outfit. My first transition took 13 minutes, it was only bettered by one woman who took 17 minutes!

The cycle

Was on an undulating course where the fitter competitors from ‘waves’ after mine caught up with me and shouted ‘to the right’ with unnerving regularity. What they meant was, get out of the way as I’m coming past at top speed. Sometimes it’s tricky to keep to the left especially when you’re wobbling from side to side trying to cycle uphill without falling off.

The 2nd transition

I was really slick at this one, only took 3 mins something seconds- not bad.

The run

Or rather the walk. I was so exhausted by this time that I decided I’d finish but I would walk it. However now and again I broke into a trot and towards the end when I realised that I could probably make it to the finish line in less than two hours I almost hurried.

The time

Was 1hr 56 mins and I was so pleased to have finished it and finished it under 2 hours.  Now that I’ve recovered I ‘m thinking I might do it again next year.

My daughter did the same race as me and came in at 1 hr 25mins and my husband did a race twice as long and came in at 2hrs 16. IMG_3045 IMG_3032

Categories: bike safety, Blenheim Palace Triathlon 2014, cycle rides, cycling, cycling in the rain, fitness, middle aged women getting fit, run, trek bikes, triathlon, triathlon outfits | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Folding bikes and a trip to Devon & Cornwall

Just bought two Dahon Vitesse folding bikes. They’re really nifty.  The 20 inch wheels make them easier to cycle and the  8 gears are a great help on hills. The blurb says it takes 15 seconds to fold them – not for us! Current time is about 3 mins and the first try took 15 mins on platform 5 at Gatwick but we’re getting slicker.

Folding bike on hols

Folding bike on hols

Went to St Ives by train and bike which was successful if a bit stressful in Reading station which seems to  be under reconstruction at the moment. Used the same travel method to get to the Eden Project which also worked fine. The most tricky trip however was one evening from Totnes to the Steiner school just outside Dartington. I tell a lie, the ride from Totnes to Dartington  on the lovely, countrified cycle paths was absolutely fine it was the ride back which was tricky.

We’d gone to an evening of anecdotes about a 3,500 mile cycle ride across Europe combined with a piano recital of Beethoven’s greatest hits – unusual I know! Jenni Quick – the pianist and cyclist delivered the  goods in a very entertaining way so much so that by the end of the performance we were surprised to find it was pitch black outside.

Running true to form we didn’t have any bike lights so it was a bit tricky finding the cycle path. Fortunately a woman who had attended the same event was going our way and she allowed us to follow her. A simple solution you would think. However the chosen route was through the woods on a narrow concrete path and our leader had a motor attached to her bike.  Consequently I kept slipping off the path and had difficulty keeping up with her. Soon she disappeared into the night and Al and I were left in inky darkness pushing our bikes. Happily our guide soon realised she’d lost us, turned around and came back and maintained a steady pace all the way back to Totnes. I don’t know what we’d have done without her.

By the way, Cornwall is the hilliest county in the world. I thought Northumberland was bad but it’s not a patch on the crags and climbs in Cornwall.

Categories: bike safety, Cornwall, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, Devon, fitness, Folding bikes, Hoildays, middle aged women getting fit, Northumberland, Train stations, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Triathlon Triumph!

Allan completed the London Sprint Triathlon last Saturday, 750m swim in open water followed by 20K cycling and then a 5K run, in a time of 2 hours 15 mins. Beating his expected time by 15 minutes. He’s trained so hard these past few months and it’s all been worth it.  He’s also raised £625 for the Compassionate Friends, thank you so much to everyone who donated. We had a wonderful day with fantastic support from family & friends.

On the podium

On the podium

I can’t resist putting in this pic tho’. It’s a new product (developed recently in Crawley) – the Triathlon Transition Towel  (TTT)  for those people who prefer to change their shorts to suit each activity, as opposed to those who wear all purpose tri-suits!

The Triathlon Transition Towel

The Triathlon Transition Towel

Categories: bike safety, cool stuff in London, cycling, fitness, London, running, The Compassionate Friends, triathlon, Virgin Media Sprint Triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cycling and pop up indie bookshops

Picked up the Easy Way Cyling map for Crawley the other day. It’s a really good, handy sized map of the town centre cycle paths. I called Kay Wagland, one of the people at the council responsible for promoting cycling in Crawley and as a result found myself invited along to a trial ride with one of the councillors. She’s the glam looking one in the pic.

IMAG0063

Also had a great ride last Saturday to Horsham – about 8 miles each way. Left Crawley through Ifield, passing The Gate pub  (where incidentally the Boom Town Rats played just recently), rode through Rusper- which is a bit hilly but manageable and down into Horsham.  The purpose of the ride was to take part in Daisy White’s Pop Up Indie Bookshop

It was a really fun day, I ran a haiku competition, met people from the Crawley and Horsham Writers Circles and I (or should I say Daisy) sold 6 of my books – result!!

 

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, haiku, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, West Sussex, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Al’s Sprint Triathlon

My husband Allan is doing the London Sprint Triathlon on 27th July.

That’s 750m swim followed by a 20k bike ride and finishing with a 5k run. Al’s a pretty fit guy but he’s also 60 this month, so he’s been training hard for this event.  This is what he says about it:

‘I’m doing the London Triathlon in memory of my son Matt and to raise funds for The Compassionate Friends.

It’s 10 years since Matt died and we miss him every day. I think he would have approved of me doing something crazy like this, so please give a donation.

Alreet son! ‘

If you’d like to donate please go to  justgiving.com/allantriathlon

Thanks

Categories: bike safety, books, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, fitness, London, loss, love, Northumberland, running, triathlon, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free book on Kindle for Bike Week

My book, ‘Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ is free on Kindle from tomorrow 15th June to 19th inclusive. UK Bike Week starts tomorrow. Click here for a copy http://tinyurl.com/co5b6ee

This next bit is unrelated but I have to include it in my blog. You would too if you had the opportunity…the other evening I attended the First Woman awards and had my photo taken with Clare Balding!! She’s a very nice woman and she did a great job at the event. Also I seem to remember she did a TV programme about a bike ride in the UK, so mentioning her is not entirely out of place here.  Re the photo below, I must learn from Clare how to look at the camera!!

IMG_0154

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Kindle, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bike Week coming up in the UK 15-23 June

Bike Week starts a week on Saturday. See   http://www.bikeweek.org.uk/for details of events all over the country. I have to confess that I haven’t been on my blinking bike for ages now but I did manage a dip in the North Sea last week (wearing a wetsuit – I’m not entirely stupid) so all is not lost.

I was going to cycle from Warkworth to Howick in Northumberland today but I’ve been saved by visitors. Seriously though, it’s a lovely bike ride, skirting picturesque Alnmouth and riding alongside crashing waves on the rocky shore of Boulmer.

Howick was the home of Earl Grey (you can have a cup of his tea in the beautiful high ceilinged tea room) and his wife and 15 children. The children all survived, no mean achievement in those days, they called their parents by their christian names and had to undergo a right of passage when they got to their teens. The rite of passage comprised walking at night for one & a half miles through Howick gardens to the bathing house down by the shore. Quite scary stuff. The bathing house is another delight. Situated right on the shore with a natural bathing pool alongside, hollowed out by the sea.

You’d think I worked for the Northumberland Tourist Board but I can’t help waxing lyrical on a day like this in Warkworth when the sun is shining, the sea is the bluest of blue and there’s no wind – perfect!

Categories: bike safety, books, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Howick Hall, middle aged women getting fit, Northumberland, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thanks so much

Thanks so much to everyone who voted for Barbara and Straw Works.  Barb is through to the last 4 who are going to pitch to Rich on May 2nd.  Straw Works got 39.1% of the total votes. If you’d like to check out the competition go to:

http://tinyurl.com/bvarshj

Good luck on the 2nd Barb.

Categories: casitas, Ecobuild, fitness, insulation, low cost housing, natural house building, natural plasters, pioneering building, strawbale building, strawbale building courses | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Running & repairs

Poor Bertha’s been in the wars again. She’s had her front hub greased and generally sorted out…that’s technical talk for you! And she’s all the better for it. No longer does she shimmy from side to side while I try to propel her forward. In fact she’s acting like a proper bike. However because the weather’s been so bad she and I haven’t been out anywhere exciting. In fact we’ve only been as far as the shops. Instead I’ve been persisting with the running programme.

You remember the  NHS from,’Couch to 5k’? On Friday I’ll be on week 9 and will be running (well jogging really) for 30 minutes without stopping. Ideally during that time I’ll cover 5k. I know I’m close because we went to Goffs Park recently where there’s a 4k marked trail and I did that with a bit of time to spare.  Who would have thought it? I’m really pleased but I’m going to have to work on my self belief, as I start every run with the thought that I won’t be able to do it. Any tips on cultivating positive thinking will be gratefully received.

Which leads me to other empowering stuff… Straw Works, a company I work for is holding a 1 day introductory course to natural plasters – lime & clay, on the 20th of April.  Go to http://www.strawworks.co.uk  Click on the ‘Bale Frenzy’ button and check out ‘Getting Plastered.’ You’ll love it!

Last thought…my book Changing Gear. A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria will be free on Kindle from 5th-9th April inclusive. Click here to read it http://tinyurl.com/co5b6ee    Hope you like it.

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, cycling, Ecobuild, fitness, middle aged women getting fit, natural house building, natural plasters, running, strawbale building, strawbale building courses, womens cycling, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Riding in the rain

As you know we’ve recently moved to the deep South  from Northumberland and we were hoping to experience some of the fabulous weather we’d heard about.  Sun, warm breezes, blue skies etc but since we arrived, at the end of November last year, it has been raining non-stop.  No, I tell a lie, there have been one or two weeks when it’s been snowing.

Yesterday the weather was running true to form, the forecast predicted 80%  chance of rain all afternoon. Despite that info and the grey, threatening clouds my husband decided it would be a good afternoon for a bike ride, that we’d be alright and he knew a nice route to a village with a pub, about 6-7 miles round trip max.

I’m not sure why, after all these years, that I believe him but I dutifully got ready and we were on the bikes just as a gentle rain began to fall. Still it was good to be out. The villages around Crawley are beautiful and only marred by the proximity of Gatwick airport. In a 30 minute period 8 planes roared overhead like huge, menacing, mechanical birds. Despite this I was happy cycling along. The rain wasn’t bad and I was sure the 3 miles to the pub must end just around the corner. However this was not so. We’d arrived at Charlwood when my husband stopped to look at the map. He hadn’t remembered coming this way the last time he’d done the cycle ride. We looked at the map. Charlwood was off the map! We didn’t know where we were and the rain began to fall steadily. A motorist told us what route to take but warned us it was hilly. ‘No problem’ said my husband, ‘ my wife loves hills.’ Unhappily my hands were too cold to put around his neck and throttle him, so we got back on the bikes and started up Russ Hill. I don’t know how high this is, suffice to say I hadn’t expected it.

The  ride continued up and down hills in torrential rain until we finally (after 16 miles!!) spotted a sign to Rusper which had been our original destination. By then we were completely soaked so decided to leave Rusper for another day  and have a gin and tonic in a pub called the Gate just outside Ifield instead.

The pub was warm and welcoming, we got a seat by the fire where we sat and steamed gently in time to the Irish music provided by a small band to celebrate St Patrick’s Day – there’s always a sliver lining.

Categories: cycling, cycling in the rain, fitness, love, middle aged women getting fit, West Sussex, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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