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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, improving cyclist, broken runner. Boxercise & Spin class fanatic. Collector of exercise DVDs & equipment. Cake is my weakness together with cider (Westons only thanks)and brandy. Noisy spectator of running & cycling events. Owner of Tribby the campervan

Friday, 11 August 2017

Sometimes a break does you good

Decided to have a bit of a break from blogging after we got back from Crete in May.  No particular reason but I just didn't feel like it, and couldn't come up with the words I wanted to write - a bad case of bloggers block I'd guess you'd say.  

Our holiday in Crete was amazing despite the rain for the first few days.  We'd treated ourselves to an upgraded room - one with our own swimming pool.  Our hotel, the Solimar Aquamarine was beautiful having just had a lot of money spent on refurbishing it.   Our room was enormous just for the two of us, a huge double bed, a walk in shower and a bath and of course the pool outside.
Our pool

the hotel pool
Before we'd left we'd booked a cycle tour with Hellas Bikes and had picked out some other trips we wanted to book through our travel company (First Choice).   Unfortunately because we hadn't been able to contact our rep we missed a Gorge Walk but luckily managed to book a trip to the Palace of Knossos which is on the other side of the island.   Whilst the hotel food was good we did venture out to enjoy proper Greek food at local tavernas.  We've decided we won't go All Inclusive in Greece again, you lose the atmosphere.

We found a great way of getting around Chania - the Little Fun Train provided a number of mini tours including the one we chose - a ride up through the Gorge to a small village in the mountains where we could have lunch and a cold beer or visit a local museum set up to show the German occupation during WW2.  It wasn't very expensive either just 19 euros each - a great way of spending 3 hours, and a lot cheaper than some of the excursions being offered by tour operators.





Wish we'd known about it before we left for Crete - there was so many other trips we could've done.

Our trip to visit Heraklion and the Palace of Knossos meant a very early start and a never ending 3 hour coach ride.  It was well worth it, the Palace was amazing, I've got a zillion photos, far too many to share on one blog.



Our bike tour was brilliant.  Our guides took us up into the mountains and we cycled back down, stopping off at various points to learn something of the life of the Chanian people, their religion and their ancient past history.  We stopped off for coffee and cake soon after setting off.
Coffee & cake stop





it was mainly downhill but there were some small inclines too!



Our finish line - the beach at Maleme

me on my "flower bike"





If we go back to the Chania area we'll definitely do another tour with them.  They picked us up from the hotel at the time we'd arranged and made sure we were safe the whole time.  We even thought we'd hire bikes from them too, getting around seemed quite simple.

We even braved the local bus service and went to Chania for a few hours.   The bus stop was right outside the hotel so we just waited until it came along - no timetable available - it wasn't very expensive and well worth the trip - Chania is a beautiful Venetian port.  Lots to look at and you can just sit on the harbour and get ripped off for food and drink - 17 euros for a beer and a sprite!  Lesson learned - lunch was bought away from the harbour.



All in all a lovely 10 days, despite the weather and First Choice attempting to make our lives a misery! Absolutely couldn't have done without our own pool - it felt a bit unsociable but we still managed to get to know other holidaymakers.  

Lots more to come - including a new bike and a couple of Tribby trips and a sportive!

Monday, 17 April 2017

The Big Five Zero & Easter

I've been waiting ages for my Christmas present from Danni & Joel and the first opportunity was Wednesday  after we got back from the New Forest - done and dusted now

Quite cute I think!

Thursday saw the arrival of the big 5 zero birthday - no idea what I was doing or where I was going but it was soon revealed that Shaun, Danni and I were going on the Brighton i360 and then having lunch after in the Bellevue which is underneath the i.






Some lovely presents including a night away with a meal, a couple of afternoon teas and a voucher for beauty treatments at a local salon, a cycling related poster and some cash to spend, and some pretty flowers.

Didn't do much Thursday evening and on Friday we headed to Shaun's sisters for a barbecue to celebrate father in law's birthday.  It was lovely to catch up with his side of the family - not something we do very often.

Friday night Shaun said we were going for a 40 mile bike ride the next morning so when I got up on Saturday and didn't feel up to it I decided to have a duvet day and catch up with some of the telly we'd recorded.  At mid-day Shaun told me to get ready to go out because he was bored and wanted to go out, whilst I was getting ready Danni arrived with Joel - wasn't expecting to see them at all!  We drove out of Newhaven and finally arrived at the Green Man at Ringmer, didn't spot my brother's car parked next to us but there they were - mum, dad, Steve and Jo waiting for us to turn up with the table all decorated - what a lovely surprise.  Think I gave everyone heart failure when I posted on FB that I was having a duvet day and watching 10 hours of NCIS LA.

We had a lovely lunch - bit too much food!

On Easter Sunday we actually made it out for a ride - not far just 17 miles!   It was very chilly with no arm and knee warmers - no idea why I thought that was a good idea, first time ever I've been cold on the bike and won't make that mistake again.  The roads were very busy, a couple of scary moments so we stopped at the YHA at Southease for a coffee and cake and then rode the Egrets Way to Piddinghoe instead of the road.
No idea why he was doing the grumpy face
I haven't done much today apart from washing, sorting out my winter to summer clothes ready for work and a MASSIVE pile of ironing whilst watching the first episode of the new series of Dr Who and 4 episodes of the current series of Line of Duty.
Told you it was MASSIVE
Back to work for 4 days - Operation Greek Goddess is a go, back to classes too and back to the weightloss.  Going to take it easy with the classes though, no doubling up until I'm sure the rib is going to behave itself.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

New Forest Spring Sportive and a Tribby Trip

Following on from the last post last Saturday Shaun and I headed to Verwood Camping & Caravan Club Site for a few days on the New Forest and to take part in the New Forest Spring Sportive.   We'd both entered the 66 mile standard ride as had our friend Steve Hyne (@mountainhiker59 on Twitter).  I'd more or less decided on Friday I wasn't going to ride at all and leave Shaun & Steve to ride together.  I'd had a bit of a problem with my asthma meds during the week and was a bit scared to put my lungs and heart under any unnecessary strain.  Shaun had decided that Doris and my kit was going to the New Forest anyway even if I only went for a short ride on the Monday.   During a chat with Steve on Saturday evening it was agreed that if I got a decent nights sleep I would ride the 29 mile short sportive with Shaun and Steve would ride the 66 miles alone, provided we met before and after at the start.  So glad we made the decision.
All set up

Fish & chip dinner
 The next morning we got up early with an aim to be off site at 7am as soon as the gates were opened and drive the short distance to Somerley House for the start and meet Steve.   Once we'd met up and sent Steve on his way, we headed to registration and then back to Tribby to get the bikes ready.


Ready to go #TeamGRN
We were soon being set off through the start gate and out on to the Forest.  It actually felt great to be on the bike, I hadn't had time to be nervous about the ride itself and what was ahead, I just had to ride and enjoy it.   After 12 miles we arrived at the first feed station - tables laden with flapjack, hot cross buns, chocolate mini eggs, cola bottles (apparently but I missed them), the usual PowerBar nutrition and sports drinks.  Quick comfort visit and we were off again.   17 miles later and we were heading back into the grounds of Somerley House - 2 hours 10 mins moving time.   I was extremely happy with the ride.  Don't think I would've managed the 66 miles but I still got a medal and a finishers tshirt so I was happy.  

Bling & tshirt
We took the bikes back to Tribby and got changed and then headed back to the finish to wait for Steve who came in another couple of hours after us.   There was a lovely atmosphere at the finish with a band playing, food and coffee stands.  While we waited we had a cup of coffee and sat in the sunshine - it was a lovely day!

Reunited with Steve we headed to a pub in Ringwood for some lunch.  Unfortunately being such a lovely day the pub was really busy and the wait for food was getting longer, so we had a drink and a catch up and then went our separate ways.  We headed to Lidl to buy some food - we hadn't catered for Sunday night!
Feast!

We hadn't really planned anything for Monday other than a lie in and maybe a recovery ride.  To be honest the road running alongside the campsite was so busy I didn't fancy cycling on it.  We could've driven Tribby on to the forest and ridden from there but neither of us really had the energy so after brunch we headed to Burley to stock up on cider and Brockenhurst for a coffee and cream tea and buy a new table in the amazing camping shop in the village.

While we were in Brockenhurst we said hello to the donkeys

Dinner on Monday night was the Pork Ragu & Veg I'd planned for Saturday with some prosecco and some rose wine (we seem to have drunk quite a bit of prosecco over the weekend)

On Tuesday we headed home, picking up the dog from my parents on the way.  Time to download finisher's times, Garmin and photos.   Official time was 2 hours 20 minutes and the photos were brilliant.


I think we'll definitely do this sportive again, or at least more rides on the Forest.  A great event.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Oops, We Did It Again

You know me and Mr B love a competition entry or two when we get the opportunity.   Our visit to The Bike Show in Birmingham last September was no different.   We filled in a number of surveys and cards etc and waited.   Not long after the show we were contacted by GRN Sportswear to advise Shaun had won 4 cycling jerseys in his own design.

If you click on the link above you'll go to the website but basically GRN manufacture ethically made sportswear in the UK.  The cycle tops are made from recycled plastic bottles and the tshirts are made from bamboo.

So, mad frantic thinking about a design.  Luckily we know a very talented art & design teacher who lives in Melbourne (our mate Andy) who is also a mad-keen cyclist so we tasked him to come up with some designs that we could give to the guys at GRN.   Some back and forth over the emails and up popped these three ideas



We decided that we liked the colourful coffee beans idea - an homage to 90's Mapei Team (and all the greats that rode with them), our favourite beverage (apart from the wine and cider obvs) and Sir Wiggo.   We sent them off to GRN and waited, with baited breath.   We met Rob and the gang at the London Bike Show in February (and bought a couple of bamboo tshirts) and he promised us faithfully that the tops were almost ready.   Another couple of months later 4 brand new, perfectly made cycling tops have arrived.

2 large

Shaun getting ready for a ride
They are very comfortable and the pockets are very deep so no worries about carrying essentials.  We're heading to the New Forest for the Spring Sportive this weekend so they will hopefully get a showing off!   Unfortunately due to a few health issues over the last couple of weeks it's unlikely I'll be taking part but no final decisions until Saturday night or even Sunday morning as we head to the start.  I need to be sensible though, 66 miles is a long way if you're not fully fit!