My Waterloo…

IWM

Map reference: Turbo session at home, 23.5k, 45 minutes

Carbs and Caffeine: managed to get first caffeine hit at Waterloo, on way to Tate Britain. No cake, none whatsoever

I’ll admit the picture above is fairly random, bear with me. My mission today was to get through one of Bealsey’s turbo sessions and then get to Waterloo by 11. I just about made it. It meant jumping on the bike straight after the school run, and then jumping in the bath – briefly – and running out of the house to get to the station. In fact I ran most of way to the station.

It was worth it though. My friend Helen and I went to see Conflict Time Photography at Tate Britain. Here the picture of the Army Cyclist Corps comes in, just about. In the exhibition there was a picture of the cycle corp of HMS Hermes. Unfortunately I was too chicken to take a snap, so the picture above is of the Army Cyclist corp in 1917 (from the Imperial War Museum collection, I hope they forgive me for borrowing the image). The pictures are similar. The bikes heavily loaded and uniformed men chatting idly. It looks like the sort of convivial meeting you see at Roehampton Cafe in Richmond Park, until you remember these men were in the middle of a bloody war.

Sort of puts my worries about ‘battling’ the Alps into perspective.

Note to self: Out tomorrow, fresh air. Cold, fresh air. Layers, layers, layers …

If you’re going through hell, keep going (Churchill)

Map reference: Home, spinning, 1 hour 5 mins, 32.5k

Carbs and Caffeine: brunch at book club, including Sophie’s banana cake and berries

Beastly Beasley http://bespoke-velo.co.uk/ has set me a four-week programme to improve my endurance, ie stop the wheezing. In it, I top and tail the week with a turbo session which consists of increasing hill sections interspersed with active recovery. The hill sessions start at 5 mins, then 10 mins, then 15 mins, and then, phew, back down again.

My spin bike doesn’t have gears as such, just a knob you twist, so there was guess work there, but at least I get a rpm, which is what I really need. If I’m struggling to keep up the required 90 rpm, I guess I’m in a stiff enough gear.

I felt a bit wheezy when I got off the bike, but not too bad. I love going out on the bike, but spinning does at least give me time to squeeze in other things, like my book club. I’m reading Boris Johnson’s The Churchill Factor at the moment. Even here, Boris the biker comes through. He mentions his cycling several times and points out that cycling in London is considered very dangerous and yet there is approximately one death in every 14 million journeys. When Churchill was flying his beloved planes in 1912, there was one fatality in every 5,000 flights. No wonder his wife went potty and Winston was forced to lie about where he was going when he went out. At least he didn’t have to sneak out of the house in Lycra. Oh dear, Churchill in Lycra, let’s not go there…

Note to self: four weeks takes us up to half term. Perfect timing. Just do it

Out, at last…

Map reference: Wimbledon to Bookham, retreat to Leatherhead and home, 60k

Carbs and caffeine: Homemade walnut and coffee cake, Bocketts farm, Leatherhead http://www.bockettsfarm.co.uk/

The weather finally went our way and Jen and I met up with Bealsey http://bespoke-velo.co.uk/ for our regular Really Helpful Club http://www.reallyhelpfulclub.com/ ladies ride. There were a few faces missing, including one whose husband had booked her into a skiing lesson with him (without asking). Post-Christmas admin took the rest, I think.

We did one of Bealsey’s wiggles through south-west London. Met the same angry couple and dodgy dog in the same underpass as before. Had the same row. Do they live there like trolls, ready to attacks any passing cyclists? (See my post Underpass Impasse, 12/07/2014).

We popped up in Fetcham. Unfortunately torrential rain popped up at the same time and we battled our way to Bookham before stopping at a bus shelter to add rain layers and give up on the glasses. A quick look at the sky told us that if we kept heading in the same direction we were just heading into more watery stuff, so we double backed on ourselves and made our way to Bocketts children’s farm. Thankfully there were no children, and the coffee and cakes were good. The cake is packed in little plastic boxes, which is a shame, it just seems so wasteful. Give me a slice off the whole cake anytime, but perhaps they are mobbed sometimes by greedy little monsters. Then I can see the efficiency in pre-cutting.

We stayed quite a long time, drying off and discussing Jen’s nutribullet http://www.nutribullet.com. Bealsey, like most cyclists, has lots of opinions on food and nutrition. Jen impressed us with the fact that she is hiding kale in her son’s smoothy. The nutribullet may go on my wishlist, as I have a fussy eater at home too.

We made our way home through Leatherhead, towards Epsom and the Hook Road Arena, and the sun joined us. Jen regained feeling in her hands somewhere around Ewell.

More tips from Bealsey today about my riding. All this winter spinning has taken it’s toll and I am riding at far too high a cadence and getting out of breath. Following Jen up the long hill near the Yehudi Menuhin school, I could feel myself dropping off. It’s obviously a combination of heart-lung capacity and leg power… and a bit of how you feel on the day.

Note to self: Don’t be disheartened, early days…

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.