Beaten by 29% hill… bah

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Amusant? I’m not sure my LaPierre is going to take to this Italian bling

Map reference: out to the Surrey hills from Worcester Park, 100k, 1,200m climbing

Carbs and caffeine: cuppa at Peaslake Village Stores http://www.peaslakevillagestores.com/, new loo a blessing

Jacqui is away at the moment, so she kindly lent me her husband for our regular Tuesday slot. Rob is training for the Flanders (250k, 1,800m climbing) and so proposed ten Surrey hills and 140k. Unfortunately we set off a bit late with one thing and another and I had to cut this short to 100k and about 5 1/2 hills.

Along the way I got snowed on (yes, really) and beaten by a 29% hill (Rob tells me it is 29%, my Garmin had given up and gone back to zero). I am annoyed by this as I hopped off about 4m from the end of a longish climb. I had had to take pain killers for my back at one and a half hours, which is a setback in itself. I think my spine is still suffering from the short French bed on holiday and disastrous ride on ill-fitting saddle  last week. And then about three hours in to the ride we were on a perfectly normal hill – ranging from 10-20 percent with some false flats – and suddenly there was a ramp in front of me, with the top tantalisingly in view. It truly was a ramp, such as you see in a multi-storey car park. I’ve looked on the map, and as far as I can work out it was on Barhatch Road. Avoid it at your peril… or bring crampons.

So I am resting today; stretching and planning for tomorrow, when I intend to take LaPierre out for a joyride with a new group. One of the prep things was to use my credit at Pearsons http://www.pearsoncycles.co.uk/ to buy water bottle holders. They assure me that the titanium ones pictured above, made by Ciussi, are my best bet. They are light and strong, if strangely blingy. My bike is turning into a patchwork of European style. As long as I don’t have to get into Greek style debt to get the new brakes I desperately need, I should be fine.

Note to self: don’t forget to switch your saddle and stem bags too… going out without tubes and gas is not smart

Outside the box…

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Bike in a box: LaPierre awaits it’s grand unveiling

Map reference: Wimbledon, Cobham, Ashtead loop, 60k

Carbs and Caffeine: Quick stop at Cafe Bean, Ashtead

What a dilemma. Stay in and wait for my bike to arrive; or head out in the sunshine with Jacqui. What unbelievable luck that I could do both. The box arrived early, I would have lost money on that. I haven’t had a chance to open it, but it is enough to know that it is there, nesting in my garage.

With a little farewell tap on the box, Jacqui and I headed out for a nice loop, a bit trafficky, but no real bottlenecks. One silly fool old fool roared up behind me having jumped some lights at a small stretch of roadwork cones near Sandown Park. I moved into the middle of the lane, as I sensed he would try to squeeze past and knock me flying. I must have held him up or about 3.67 seconds. I do hope he managed to make that up during the rest of his busy day.

Aside from that, all was calm. My son is in to his senior school and Jacqui’s on a very hopeful waiting list with more results to come in. We both feel pretty chilled compared to a few weeks ago.

All in all, I feel lightly tired in the legs and much refreshed in spirit.

Note to self: that chain needs lube… no good remembering once you are out

Parallel universe

Map reference: Wimbledon to Ashtead and back, 60k

Carbs and Caffeine: Cafe Bean http://www.bikebeans.co.uk/, carrot cake

It was cold today, but dry. Having gone back into the house once to get my Garmin,  I couldn’t bear to go back in for my hat – not my helmet, I had that and would never ride without – and had to risk brain freeze. Luckily I was wearing a muffler, albeit thin, and was able to get the ears covered. They’re the bits that will actually fall off if frozen, after all.

As it was, I was warm enough, with just a bit of toe-lossage. Even my hands were relatively ok, so I think it was slightly warmer than the 4 degrees we had been warned of. And there was no wind. That was the major difference with last week’s ride. There was even some thin sunshine at some points. All in all it was a very encouraging day. I think we all felt strong. It was like one of those wonderful skiing days, when the sky is blue and the snow is perfect and you feel finally feel at one with your oh-so-parallel skiis.

Bike Beans did us proud as usual. Bealsey http://bespoke-velo.co.uk/ has managed to persuade the owner to have his holiday promo video going round on a loop on one of the televisions. Good work, Bealsey, I’m impressed.

Note to self: Why are your shins hurting? That’s a running injury. Peddling wrong again?

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…

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

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.