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Wife (to Shaun), Mother (to Danni), Dog walker of Archie the JRX, learner cyclist, injured runner. 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

Saturday, 25 June 2016

What A Difference a Week Makes

Thanks to the ridiculous summer weather we had no choice but to abandon a Tribby weekend away last weekend, that and the fact that, despite the weather forecast, all our favourite local campsites were fully booked.  Instead we had a nice gentle weekend at home.

On Friday during the worst summer thunderstorm I've experienced in a while we went to our local motorhome dealer to look round some upgrades.  We're not thinking of jobbing Tribby in yet, but if the right one comes up then we might consider it.   We know what we want and what we need now - the main thing being a fixed bed.   I can't be doing the daily bed making up and dismantling forever, it's exhausting and takes ages once you've consumed a jug of Pimms or a bottle wine !!!

Saturday we spent being lazy!

Sunday was Father's Day.  We should really have gone up to visit the parents but lets face it Shaun is a dad too and he wanted to go for a ride, to make up for the previous weeks ride in view of the change in the weather!   So glad we did.   I didn't question where we were going, normally he just says "we'll see how we go" or "depends on whether you want a flat ride or a hilly ride".  I just went with the flow.   Turns out he wanted a hilly ride, setting out from home along to Seaford along National Cycling route 2, down the hill at Exceat, a quick left to Friston Forest and then on up (and up, and up, and up) to the Chapel Hill which takes you into Wilmington (yes that's where the Long Man is).  I've never done that route before but wow what a bastard that hill is - but the view reward at the top is just stunning (the photo doesn't actually do it justice - but it brought a lump to my throat).

Here I come!

Trying not to cry!


Our Green & Pleasant Land
Coffee & Quiche reward !

Not the fastest 30 mile ride but sometimes it has to be about enjoyment - and I actually got my new Garmin to track the whole ride!   I've saved it as a route so hopefully I can take myself out and do it alone ...... maybe !

This weekend we've spent visiting the folks making up for last weekend's selfish activities - weather's still atrocious!   Hopefully we'll be out on the bikes tomorrow!



Friday, 17 June 2016

Juneathon Week2 - including lots of slacking and a 40 mile bike ride in the rain!

8th June - nice walk with Archie to our new road to nowhere and through some stinging nettles.  11,763 steps (which was brilliant considering I'd only done about 4,000 when I finished work).  New cycling top arrived ready for Sunday's bike ride.

9th June - Been a proper slacker today - was supposed to go to spin class this evening but haven't been feeling well all day.  Decided to cancel, don't want to push it too much and not be well for Sunday.

Steps 11,378

10th June - work and food shopping !  Essentials arrived for Sunday's bike ride

Steps 7,357

11th June - hair do, dog walk - steps 11,886

12th June - Davina Big Sussex Bike Ride - was supposed to do the 68 mile but because of the weather forecast dropped down to the 40 mile.   I agreed with hubby on Saturday night that we would see what the weather was like when we got up on Sunday morning - if it was lashing with rain we'd go back to bed but if it wasn't we go for the ride.  I met up with Nik and Conrad and we started off together (but they left me for dust whilst I was trying to work out why Garmin wasn't recording).  The ride is set off with a chat from Davina McCall, who then rides the route when everyone's been set off.
Credit : Nik Bailey - what a great selfie! 
It was ok to start with but it wasn't long before the rain started to fall.  I'd managed to borrow a waterproof jacket but didn't put it on until we left the feed station when I got cold.   It was ok all the time we were moving. The worst rain I've decided is the wind driven stuff, it's hard to cycle when you've got your eyes half closed.    As last year it was a lovely route, not as hilly as I remember but still challenging.

Quite pleased with my time this year, I'm still getting used to my new Garmin and managed to lose 2 miles somewhere.
I was enjoying myself at this point - don't look much like it!


Nice medal which is given to you on the finish line

Time on the Garmin is 3 hours 3 mins, which is way better than last year, and the official time is 3 minutes faster than last year's which takes into account stopping at the feed station and breakson the road!  At the end I was handed a lovely goody bag - banana, Mars bar and a bottle of fruit water and was told to head to the BBQ where I could have lunch.  Nice choice of BBQ burger, sausage, veggie burger or a chicken kebab - I went for a sausage in a bun


Now deciding which event to do next - need some time to do some more training but the September (11th) London to Brighton is looking favourable, or a repeat of the Chestnut, which is a week later.

Steps 7269


13th June - Boxercise - cycle to and from - Steps 13,455.  Spent the whole of Monday night being very ill.  Not sure what to put it down to.   But it really knocked me for six.    No Kettlebells and Boxercise on Tuesday and no return to Spin.

Juneathon 2016 is done!   Hopefully I'll be back to it soon!


Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Tribby's Travels - A spot in the woods!

Shaun was on a long weekend off so he did the shopping and packed the van up whilst I was at work - on the road by 4pm to Graffham Caravan & Camping site in Sussex.   Doris (my trusty bike) was on the back too.  When we arrived at the site Shaun spotted that there was a fish & chip van parked up so instead of tucking into the homemade lamb casserole I'd made we had some very nice fish & chips.  He'd also bought some very nice wine from Majestic too - Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz (Australian of course).  We managed to stay outside until nearly 10pm, something we haven't been able to do so far this year!

The site at Graffham is lovely - each pitch is in it's own "glade" among the trees so very secluded.  Full of kids because it was the end of the half term holidays but most of them went home on Saturday.


After a fantastic nights sleep we got up, I got ready to take Doris on a lovely bike ride (we'd chosen a route on my bike GPS that meant I would only be out for about an hour and a half).   While I was out Shaun explored some of the footpaths that lead from the site - lots of places to walk Archie!


Unfortunately the bike ride didn't quite go to plan and I ended up getting lost thanks to the Garmin trying to take me down public footpaths and bridleways so I was out for over 2 hours.  Lots of frantic phone calls to Shaun to guide me back in.  I was on the right track just going the long way around!  It was actually a very nice route, lots of hills to practice for my event next Sunday (12th).

When I got back Shaun had made some lovely poached eggs, ham & avo on sourdough which was consumed in about 10 secs flat!   We walked into the village to find the shop and bought some cake, and some eggs from an honesty box on the way back.   Saturday dinner was the lamb casserole we'd saved from the previous night, washed down with a bottle of Yering Station Pinot Noir.
 We stayed out again until quite late - Shaun had bought some fairy lights to put out on the awning and windbreak so we stayed up until they came on!

On Sunday we woke up to a beautiful blue sky - shame we had to pack up and go home.   We didn't rush - had breakfast, packed up slowly and left at about 11.30am.

We will back to Graffham - I think this is our new favourite.  The facilities appear to be a bit dated but the showers are hot and clean;  and next time I bring the bike I'll set my gps up properly so I don't get lost!


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Juneathon week 1

June has arrived which can only mean one thing - it's time for the annual festival of exercise and excuses - Juneathon.

I'm always in two minds whether to bother taking part but this year I was gradually drawn in.  I've been recording my daily "achievements" on the Facebook page rather than filling up the blog (the part which takes the time every day).

1st June  Recovery from double kettlebell/boxercise class the previous night.  Walked the dog in the afternoon - total steps for the day 11,100.   Set up my gym/class/swim membership and booked boxercise classes for the following week.

2nd June Somehow I only managed 8,369 steps (no dog walk always has an impact).  Booked another class for the following week.

3rd June Only 7,319 steps today.  In my defence we were packed up and ready to go away for the weekend in Tribby, and the most active thing I did was to make the up the bed (having drunk rather more wine than I intended!)


4th June  Better steps day today 11,028.  I took my bike away so managed to get out for a 2 hours 15 minute ride that didn't record on the new Garmin, and I got lost because I hadn't set it up quite right.  Lovely route though, lots of hills and quiet country roads around the Petworth, Sussex area.  Another bed making day (yes it has to be done every night).



5th June  Home from campsite today - only managed 3,194 steps (terrible!)  Lots of physical activity though dismantling & packing away.

6th June Woohoo Boxercise Monday - cycled down to the centre and back again on Dawesy, sweated my way through an hour of circuits and punching & crunching.  Steps 12,972.

7th June  Today is double class day - one hour of kettlebells and one hour of boxercise - cycle there and back too. Dog walk - total steps for today 13,330.








Monday, 30 May 2016

I've Upped My Mileage!

In preparation for riding the 68 mile Davina Big Sussex ride on 12th June I've been increasing my mileage over the last two weeks.

Last weekend I headed from home to Shoreham Harbour along the cycle path and then back again a round trip of about 32 miles, pushing through to Seaford after a quick stop off at home to replenish the drinking bottle and give my legs a rest.  Mr B was supposed to be coming out with me but had just done 3 late night shifts and didn't have the energy so I pushed on to do the last 10 miles to make up the mileage to 42.  Not a particularly hard ride apart from dodging people, dogs and children on the cyclepaths and the London to Brighton Mini Rally at Madeira Drive.


This weekend I increased my mileage to 54.  Should have been 55 but I missed it by a few yards!  This weekend's solo ride was to Worthing and back, then add the extra 10 by doing the Seaford and back ride!  Mostly cycle or shared path with a little bit of road cycling and a couple of inclines!  Lots of testing the brakes to avoid colliding with young children, dogs & people who don't understand the concept of shared paths and cycling designated areas!
I wasn't feeling too bad until I was coming back from Seaford, everything was starting to hurt, the worst being my backside, and the mental demons were starting too.  All the doubts about doing another 13 miles on top, being out on the bike for probably more than 6 hours!   It's very true that all long distance exercise is more mental than physical.   I never thought I'd go further than 40 miles so I just need to convince myself.  I think the thing that scares me the most is the lack of hill training, if Shaun had been around yesterday it probably would've been a proper circular ride with some hills thrown in, but I just had to go with what didn't knock my confidence too much!  Better to get the mileage in than not going at all

I've been playing with nutrition - Power Bar protein cereal bars are great and easy to eat on the move.  I'm not too keen on gels, they tend to play havoc with my digestive system as they have overnight and this morning so I think I'll have to rethink the food side of things.  I'll also need to carry spare drinks tabs to refill the bottles.

No cycling next weekend as we're away in Tribby.  I've got a double class of Kettlebells and Boxercise on Tuesday but hopefully I'll be able to get a few miles on the bike on Wednesday, and hopefully some the following week in the run up to Davina.  It may still come down to the weather - I'm not riding 68 miles in the piddling rain!

The good thing about yesterday's ride - I've topped up my Vitamin D well and truly and am now sporting some very tanned legs, arms and face*

*read sunburn

Tribby's Travels - Freezing May Bank Holiday

I can't believe we're now on the second of the Bank Holidays in May - what a complete difference to the first one!  Weather wise it couldn't be more of a contrast, also Mr B is working the whole weekend, so we're not away.   I forgot I had this post on draft, so time to publish!

We're determined to make the most of this year's trips in Tribby - even if it means getting wet or being frozen solid!   The Early May bank holiday was no exception, I hope our next trip away is warmer.

We'd booked Saturday to Tuesday at the Caravan & Camping Club's Canterbury site - I used one of my valuable 3 days annual leave to enjoy Shaun's first long weekend off since we got back from Australia.   We've come to the conclusion that using the club sites is less of a lottery as far as facilities are concerned.   I know we have our own but being able to have a proper shower and hair wash at some point over the weekend is much more preferable to the dribble of water we can use in Tribby's little shower and also it's warmer!   It also means that we can wash up and not fill our waste tank and have the hassle of driving off site to empty every couple of days.

Canterbury Club Site is about a mile and a bit outside the city centre.     We were given a pitch in "The Wood".   The site is quite large (200 units) and is divided into sections.   The Wood was lovely and quiet - lots of enormous rabbits and a squirrel for Archie to stalk and bark at all day.   There was only us a tent and a trailer tent - lots of space, especially when the tent left on Sunday!  We weren't too far away from the facilities either.

We actually managed to get the new chairs and awning out!
Huge rabbit that Archie had his eye on !
Across the road from the site is a golf club and entrance to a public footpath which leads on to a vast expanse of heathland which was ideal for walking the dog.   On the Saturday afternoon we walked along the main road into the City, had a mooch about and then walked back the same way.

On Sunday we ventured over the road and found our way along a series of footpaths to a network of cycle/shared paths - it probably had a name but I have no memory!   It was very pleasant not having to walk near the main road.

my kind of shop
On Monday we walked over to the heathland again, but took a different path which led us further out to the edges of the City.   We walked back in to the City Centre and found The Forge and had something to eat and a glass of locally brewed cider each.  Archie was spoilt by the staff and had his own bowl of water and a treat, plus a couple of chips from the plate!

Even doggies get cold
Luckily I took my big scarf 
It wasn't the warmest of weekends, although rain didn't stop play we spent most of the time wrapped up in blankets with the electric heater going.

Next stop - Graffham on 3rd June !





Tuesday, 17 May 2016

South Downs Spring Sportive - The Return 15th May 2016

I last took part in the Cycling Weekly South  Downs Spring Sportive in 2014, so knew what to expect.   The last time I took part was in aid of my charity for the year but this time was just for "fun" and a training ride for the next challenge I've set myself.   34 miles of "rolling" "undulating" Sussex hills.  I'd actually had nightmares about two of the hills which I'd walked up in 2014, I have no idea why because they didn't seem that daunting when faced with them this time - just another set of hills!

It was perfect riding weather on 15th May - not too hot, not too cold, a bit of sunshine, some cloud and a bit of a breeze.  We were supposed to meet up with Nik and her husband Conrad who were also riding and would have been there at the same time if Shaun hadn't suddenly realised at the entrance to the racecourse that he'd forgotten his cycling shoes!   So back home (we're in Tribby so that was never going to be very quick), pick up the shoes and drive back, register, spot Baylo at the start line and wave her off, back to the van to change and off we went.   It was quite busy at our start time and everyone in our group soon sped off and left us to it, only to be joined a few minutes later by the next group.   First major hill came soon after we left the start - one very kind cyclist checked to make sure that the heavy breathing, granny gear numpty (me!) was ok and not about to go into full cardiac arrest.   My new method of getting up the worst hills is to really take in some deep controlled breaths down into my stomach (theoretically obviously cos that ain't scientifically possible) and then push them out loudly - like the weightlifters do.  It's something I've started doing at boxercise too, it's amazing how much energy that hard breath out can produce!

Shaun came and went - checking on my progress, shouting encouragement and then whizzing off into the distance and then suddenly realising I wasn't keeping up.  I've decided we both need to acknowledge I'm never going to be Miss Speedy Pants.  

We reached the feed station at 20 miles in less than 2 hours so it was going ok - Nik and Conrad were leaving just as we'd arrived so we'd done ok - or so I thought!   Quick freshen up and grab some goodies from the table and we were on our way again - on to the next hill I'd been dreading.  I'm not sure it was anywhere near as bad as last time, in fact I can't even remember which one it was I walked up.   We were doing really well as we entered Plumpton Green and then disaster struck - the railway crossing barriers came down!  These are now automated so are down for what seemed like an eternity.  Lots of joking between those of us caught by it that we should do a Paris-Roubaix and just go through - joking!  Absolutely no way is bettering my time worth risking my life.  It gave me an opportunity to catch my breath, take a drink and relax a bit and enjoy the last bit back to the finish line.

We collected our lovely medals


and headed into the relaxation area to meet up with Nik & Conrad who had obviously finished quite a bit before us - thanks to the train!  It was good to see Nik - her first sportive and she totally smashed it - she's far better than she thinks she is.



Quick coffee and a fried egg roll and chat with Nik before we headed home.

Having downloaded the data from my new Garmin I improved my time by about 5 minutes, although the official time says I was slower.   I need to get my head round it - major victories in the fact that I didn't walk up any of the hills this time.  My average moving speed was faster, in 2014 it was 39.6kph and this year it was 42.2kph - not a massive difference but it does at least mean I'm getting better at going downhill, and I spent a lot of time cycling alone with no instruction or encouragement from his lordship.

This is a great starter event for new cyclists, and old hands.  Great starting venue, lovely marshalls out on the road making sure you're safe, amazing selection at feed stations and a great atmosphere back at the finish - well done Cycling Weekly.

Onward and upward - next stop Davina Big Sussex Bike ride - and it is big - all 68 miles of it and LOTS of hills (with Nik).   I've got to up my distance this weekend to around 45 miles and push out of my comfort zone, hopefully with my trusty coach by my side.  The following week (which is a Bank Holiday) I've got to go even further but by myself - that's going to be hard, otherwise I'll be dropping back to do the 40 mile ride, on my own!