People watching as my world spins by

Map reference: Bank of England sports Club

Carbs and caffeine: made myself a nice smoothy when I got home

Tuesday is my Jacqui day but unfortunately her boiler has blown and she had to wait for the gas man. Shame really, as there was briefly a lot of blue sky. Anyway, I settled for a spin session with Mark http://www.markreynoldsfitness.com/. The class was packed, I’ve no idea why. There was a couple I haven’t seen before, who seemed to be having a row. Her arms were crossed and she was clearly fuming and not really joining in. He was glancing sideways at her and then moved to another bike, ostensibly to let someone else have his front row seat… but I wondered. About half way through the woman suddenly perked up, took off her sweatshirt and started pedalling like mad. Maybe the endorphins kicked in.

I forgot to look at the stats on my bike, which is unlike me, but the class was the usual mix of climbing, racing; sitting and standing, followed by the dreaded abs. I was my standard beetroot colour, so perhaps that’s as good a measure as any.

The second half of my kid-free window was spent ironing, as the ironing lady was marooned by the bus strike. I drew a line at Husband’s work shirts as I can’t do them properly. I can only just manage fitted sheets and that’s because the difficult bit is tucked out of sight. I counted his shirts and I think he can get through to next Tuesday.

I also did some research on the Etape Du Tour. Last year 275 women finished, 41 in my 45-49 age group. In fact, only 81 finished in my age group or above, including one remarkable woman in the 65-69 age group. This is making me nervous. I would love to know how many started. I read somewhere that it was around 600 which, if true, means half didn’t make it. Oh dear. I suppose a challenge isn’t a challenge unless… well… it’s a challenge.

Note to self: Maybe stay away from the science bit and just keep pedalling

Tucked behind my shopping basket

Map reference: Kingston shopping trip, through Richmond Park

Carbs and Caffeine: restrained myself, despite being starving. Cold carbanara left from kids’ supper waiting at home

I did a little over an hour on the spinning bike and then decided I needed fresh air, and a shopping cycle to Kingston on my mountain bike could do no harm. Little did I realise how windy it was. Really hairy, with gusts making me wobble like a child and a wind that was virtually blowing me to a standstill going downhill.

In Richmond Park, heading east I was making next to no headway at all. I badly missed my drops and tried to hunch down as much as possible, with my head just about in my shopping basket. I even toyed with trying to hold the basket, time trial style, but it was too fragile.

I was extremely relieved to get to Kingston as a light drizzle set in. I’m rubbish at shopping, but eventually Sports Direct provided me with some rigid-soled trainers to spin in. I’ve been getting achy feet and I think it’s the soft-soled things I have been using. The shoes are incredibly cheap, even for Sports Direct, because they are incredibly ugly. Still, if they do the job, I don’t care.

Note to self: Wednesday is the only nice day this week. You need to find someone to pedal with

Top spin

Map reference: Bank of England Sports Club
Carbs and Caffeine: none, a mouthful of nuts on my return home
Back into my sans-children groove, I want to my normal Friday spin class with Mark Reynolds (info@markreynoldsfitness.co.uk). It’s another sweat dripping off the ponytail vibe, followed by abs (how I hate abs, I bet there’s a hateabs hashtag out there).
Mark’s speciality (I’ve spun, or should that be spinned – as in hung and hanged – with many trainers. They all have their special ways) is an upper body work out where you sort of do pressups over the bars, while still pedalling and keeping your hips up. Although quite painful, this has actually transferred to proper cycling as I am now much more comfortable on the drops.
Husband disapproved at first, thinking I should stay upright in order to keep the chest open, but he’s now found it’s quite a good position for himself too. On a long ride, I figure the ability to change positions has got to be a good thing.
So thanks, Mark, another minor victory over my resident expert.
Note to self: you know you work harder in class, less spinning at home while watching the iPad, I think.

Birthday blog

My birthday cake, baked by Cathy

My birthday cake, baked by Cathy

Map reference: Lucy’s house

Carbs and Caffeine: Lucy’s super healthy banana cake

I so wanted to get out on the bike today. Ignoring all the weather warnings, I dressed for a bike outing and did my school car park duty top to toe in Lycra. When I could finally look at my phone – headmistress was under an umbrella next to me, I  didn’t dare sneak a peak until my duty was over – my fears were confirmed, we had been driven indoors by monsoon weather again.

This gave me time to go home, get a caffeine fix, shock the cleaning woman (very young) with the truth about my age, and be on the bike in Lucy’s kitchen by 10. Bealsey http://www.bespoke-velo.co.uk/blog/ was in charge as usual. The only other attendee was Jen, super fit… and super drunk when I last saw her on New Year’s Eve at midnight on a Wimbledon hill watching the fireworks. Actually, in fairness, she was just a bit giggly and wobbly (on New Years Eve, not today, no giggling today) but I couldn’t resist the literary play on super (too much English revision).

To get back today, it was the usual painful hour. Sweat was sweated, even Bealsey sweated which makes me think he also let his hair down over the festive season. And I felt much better by the end, even if the only fresh air was washed in by rain through the French doors in Lucy’s kitchen.

A good day. And a friend baked me a cake too. Picture of the cake will be posted when she has passed on the picture to me. My phone storage is full.

Note to self: sort out the storage… maybe kill some of the kids’ gaming apps, and my 3000 emails.

Out … And in again

Map reference: Richmond Park
Carbs and caffeine: Roehampton Gate Cafe
I’m three days late with this post, so pre-tests are finally taking their toll. That and the whole back-to-school malarkey. One down two to go on that front.
Anyway, back to Saturday. Bealsey had organised an all-comers post-festive 90k circuit to Box Hill. Unfortunately someone forgot to order the weather. I had invited my brother and was unable to stall him as his mobile phone is on the blink. So he and I had some coffee and narrowed our horizons to Richmond Park. I had invited Jacqui too, and so she headed that way too. We made no arrangement to meet her, but with us going clockwise and she going anti-clockwise we met and joined up for a final lap. Clever, eh?
By this stage my brother was freezing in his running shoes. He has a nice Cube bike but has been slow off the mark on cleats. Never again. I was feeling the frost in my winter booties, he was way beyond uncomfortable.
Jacqui headed home and Angus and I stopped at Roehampton cafe. Coffee for me and a few stolen bites of the cake I had packed for our longer run. I made Angus eat most of it as he needed fuel to reheat himself.
Strangely he then submitted himself to another lap, and I pedalled with him to Putney Bridge to see him safely on his way home.
Note to self: must persuade brother to buy into cleats… And normal cycling clothes. Baggy shorts slowing him down

Does it count?

Map reference: Richmond Park
Carb and caffeine: not out long enough to indulge
Just a short spin round Richmond Park today, with Big One picking up a school friend. Big One has managed to suddenly outgrow his bike and now has possession of Husband Bike #2. Husband is gutted.
I feel for him, as I feel quite miffed when Big One wears my socks… And I get them back. This is a bike. It’s a one way trip. The seat has been lowered and the pedals swapped to match his cleats. And he certainly looks good on it. Yup that’s it, no return.

Note to self: one week to Middle Son’s pre-tests. Am I spending too much time on the bike?