Cold …. Yikes

Map reference: Richmond Park to Ham, family outing, 22k

Carbs and caffeine: Hansel and Pretzel, German bakery in Ham

We were desperate to get out in the sunshine after a Christmas kept inside. Husband’s father can no longer walk any distance so it seems rude to leave him in the house alone.
So today we muffled up as best we could and headed out into a wintery day. It transpires none of our mountain bikes are really roadworthy on the brakes front, but we all managed to keep safe. The real problem was the biting cold, which had daughter, 7, in tears. She is on a tagalong and forgets to keep pedalling. Middle son had his Christmas present hand warmers so we stuffed those into her gloves, which just about got us to the coffee shop. There, the very kind staff gave us a warm mug of water for her to hold to thaw her hands and we bought hotdogs to fuel our journey home.
It wasn’t our best ever outing, but legs were turned and that can only be a good thing.

An airing

Managed to get a couple of flips round Richmond Park, against all odds. I’m juggling guests and 11+ revision at the moment, as well as wasting a lot of time trying to find somewhere to stay (with kids + childcare) for the Etape. Anyway, a window appeared after lunch, when my husband accidentally found himself taking four children out to try Middle Son’s birthday remote control car. He had intended to just take MS, but our other kids and a French cousin popped themselves in the car expectantly and he didn’t have the heart to unpack them. So that was his challenge.
Mine was to stay motivated for a short run. I did 30k in an hour and 15mins, which is pretty ordinary, although there was quite a stiff wind against. Next challenge, dinner for eight! The pub calls…

Dress malfunction

Woke at 7.30 this morning, with a bit of a headache as I had had more than my share of our Friday night bottle of wine as Husband was feeling under the weather. Decided to get on the spinning bike as a cure. It worked, although I looked a fright pedalling in my pjs with the legs rolled up, and wearing my son’s socks.
We have a family dinner tonight, so it will be a couple of days before I get back to my bike. Feeling grumpy already, at the thought…

Note to self: maybe keep some kit out of the bedroom, so you have something to put on if you are up first?

More puddles…

More puddles of sweat on the floor as Bealsey turbo-ed us through our paces in Lucy’s sitting room. It was five minutes sets, four minutes of pedalling on the large cog at 95 rpm and then one minute rest on the small cog at a slower pace. The only light relief were the Christmas songs going round in a loop on the stereo. And then the songs became part of the problem as Bealsey pointed out that I was stomping the pedals to the beat of the tunes to try to keep myself going. I tried to concentrate on sitting still and circling with my ankles but it’s really hard, and four minutes is a long time. Rachel felt a bit nauseous on about the eighth round. She’s training for a half iron man and marathon, so I think she spreads herself pretty thin. Lucy had to keep jumping off her bike to monitor her son who was climbing all over the fence trying to get something down from a tree. There was some speculation that this was an avoidance tactic; I’m sure that wasn’t fair.

We briefly planned our future meets around the holiday season and then all rushed off to our domestic challenges. In my case six children. I dropped two on the way to Kingston and then set three boys loose on the food market, while daughter and I treated ourselves to a Subway… the new McDonald’s it seems. Actually it is better than McD, but the coffee is foul.

Note to self: cards not written and half of presents still not wrapped… food?

Turbo trip

Jacqui was on a tight schedule today so I elected to go to a Bealsey turbo session instead. Richmond Park would have been pretty but cold, and I know I need to get some turbo sessions under my belt to keep up my fitness during this period of eating and merriment. Sorry Jacqui, I missed you.

Lucy hosted five of us. She is pulling her house down soon, so she’s not worried about the sweat puddling on the floor. Which is a good thing, because it did. I can always tell if I have worked hard as the sweat reaches the end of my ponytail. A benefit over my normal spinning class is Bealsey was also watching technique. As I’ve suspected for a long time my hips move too much, my pedal stroke is wrong and I also pedal unevenly, being stronger on my left. Just a few things to fix then…

Came home to maths revision. More sweat.

Note to self: I need to learn to sit still. Haven’t I been told this since I was at school?

Cold comfort

Map reference: Box Hill loops from Epsom Downs

Carbs and Caffeine: none. What, how did I allow that to happen?

Husband and I decided to take Big One, aged 12, out for ride, as the others were out this morning. I warned both it would be colder ”out there”, but my warnings fell on deaf ears. Wife/mother voice doesn’t register, particularly at the weekend. Thankfully Big One was wearing a new very warm jacket (which was supposed to be for Christmas). Husband didn’t fare so well, being in short bibs with ‘legs’ and lots of gaps in between. He also had to hand over his shoe covers to his son at the top of Box Hill as the boy was blue. So I would say it was 50/50 his fault that he never warmed up during the hour and a half ride. He says it’s my fault for riding so slowly. Happy families…

Note to self: try speaking in a lower voice and see if that gets more attention

Wind whipped

Map reference: Wimbledon to Wisley and back, 70k at quite a lick
Carbs and Caffeine: Wisley
Extra early start this morning, I was eating porridge by 6.15. Had to load the bike and leave the car at school, to make our earlier meet time. Jen was the only other taker for the regular Bealsey ride. This meant we went a lot faster, and with wind against it was frankly quite tough. Sometimes I do wonder about this challenge I’ve set myself.
Got back to the car at about 1 but had to go straight to the supermarket to try to find ice cream cake for Middle Son’s birthday.
Note to self: don’t make promises you can’t keep. Ice cream cake is not available in December

Who are you calling old?

Map reference: triple circuit of Box Hill from Epsom Downs. 50k and close to 1k climbing.

Carbs and caffeine: The Grey Dove, Walton-on-the-Hill

Out with my old personal trainer, Neil, today. Well, he’s not old, I’m obviously the old one, and he’s the secret weapon in my training plan. I was slower than him today (I’m blaming the heavy winter wheels) but close enough in speed to force a competitive pace. And I have the advantage of knowing my way round the Surrey hills a bit, especially the cafes. I also have a car so we can drive out, do circuits and then not have to commute home. It’s early days, we don’t need to slog home. This will work as long as I can keep up. If I could only shed a decade or two (and add testosterone).

Note to self: No stretching, come on you know better. No wonder your legs ache

Stranger on the hill

Map reference: Wimbledon to Box Hill and back, as straight as possible

Carbs and Caffeine: Cafe Bean, Ashtead

It was very, very cold. Jacqui and I swapped gloves after ten minutes, it was that or I would lose my riding partner. After that we were both reasonably comfortable, in a hunched shoulders sort of way. Shortly after Epsom we picked up a man who was lost. He was a stranger in the area, on a borrowed bike, and wanted directions to the Epsom Downs. Short of sending him back the way he had come, I couldn’t really think of the best way so I suggested he join us if he wasn’t in a rush. So he did. Down the back of Box Hill, up the zigzag and we left him near Ashtead heading to Langley Vale, some hour or so later.

Now what other sport with give you that kind of opportunity, to meet a new person and travel with them a little way? His name was Chris and he was over 65, I know no more…

Note to self: Eek, must book chunnel tickets or we won’t be going skiing

Underpass impasse

Map reference: Wimbledon, nearly to Box Hill, via Esher, Fetcham, Leatherhead and a cafe I’ve been meaning to visit in Lycra for a long time. Around 60k

Caffeine and carbs: Cafe Bean, Ashtead … at last

There were three women including myself for the regular Bealsey ( Thursday ride. It was wet and misty, with not much promise of anything different, so I was not surprised that a couple of faces were missing. It’s also a busy time of year, let’s face it. Bealsey was undeterred as ever, but sensing the mood, suggested a fairly flat run out to the Surrey Hills and back. New commuter routes are always useful, and in fact a reminder of some of the sections we have done before is also good. As ever, I mostly didn’t know where we were, except for the occasional crossing of major roads. Aha, I think, as if coming up for air, I know where we are, and then we plunge back into a labyrinth of unknown roads again.

We crossed swords in an underpass with a very unsavoury couple, complete with the inevitable ‘dangerous’ dog. They were very upset that we were ‘on’ our bikes, although we were uncleated and merely wheeling down at snail’s pace as the underpass has hairpin bends. Frankly I don’t have the skill to go at anything above walking speed in the space, but this couple were hardwired to loathe us. And, to be honest, following the stream of expletives I received, the feeling was mutual. I wished them a Merry Christmas and moved on. I learned this tactic from Bealsey who gives a cheery wave to all rude drivers (knowing it will infuriate them further).

We did a bit of hill practice on the way up to Headley. I was instructed to stand the whole way in a big slow gear. Jen clung on behind me, and by the end our airpipes were rattling. From there, it was freewheeling all the way down to Cafe Bean, Ashtead. I’ve been many times before to this cafe, and talked bikes and biking with Jamie, the owner, as it’s near one of my kid’s schools. Finally an entrance in Lycra, red in face and glasses steamed up. Mind you, our damp arrival was somewhat trumped by a large party of grey-haired mountain bikers. They looked very hale and hearty. It’s a small cafe, but there’s always a real buzz and hum about the place.

Note to self: For heaven’s sake, must get some clear glasses. Dark glasses, in rain, leave you practically blind.