It’s all coming together nicely!

“It never gets easier, you just get faster” – Greg LeMond

I meant to write earlier in the week but the last two weeks have been surprisingly hectic and random.

Although firstly, a mini update on how things have gone in terms of ‘the ex’ and her. I was recently at one of the local triathlons (for various reasons) and in transition. I didnt see him – although knew he was about, but she was racing. I knew she would be. First time all year she hasn’t raced in club colours and was clearly trying very hard to blend in. I’ve never seen anyone in and out of transition as quick! She ran past me as she headed out so I decided to just cheer her on. By name. She looked rather uncomfortable. To be far, both of them should be feeling uncomfortable and awkward, but its not me making it so. My own feelings on the whole thing were enlightening – I have most certainly turned a corner, knowing full well karma will one day strike.

That’s actually the least exciting thing thats happened really.

There has been quite a lot of cycling training wise and little of anything else.

So awesome things that have happened….

  • Last TT of the season – genuinely gutted and really wish I’d started earlier in the season. Two minute improvement on the course from a few weeks previous. 1st (and only!) woman racing too. It has had an awesome impact on my cycling too.
  • Needed an ego boost. Got it. Found a new cycling partner out of it. Although he is predominately a mountain biker, he put me through my paces the other weekend.
  • Awesome club ride today actually – and not only that, I cycled into town solo, did the group ride and then had lunch with a friend before cycling home solo, making a 30 mile club ride in to a 70 mile ride, with 2s knocked of my own QOM  (Queen of the Mountain). 30 group miles, and 40 solo miles!
  • A fab run or two with my friends – putting the world to rights (As always) and discussing plans for next years racing.
  • A really successful shadow official assignment.
  • Booking a holiday to go and support friends doing the ETU championships in Ibiza – very excited!
  • Booked YHA for the club trip (only 5 of us going but, still – will be awesome!)
  • Tried on my friends speed suit – seriously – how is a woman supposed to get that over her hips? Must have been designed by someone with no hips or waist?!
  • Spend the last two nights in a hot tub. Enough said.
  • Some fab conversations with friends both online and in real life.

There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel and its heading up fast!

Rumblings and Grumblings!

“Cycling isn’t a game, it’s a sport. Tough, hard and unpitying, and it requires great sacrifices. One plays football, or tennis, or hockey. One doesn’t play at cycling” – Jean de Gribaldy

I often let myself get talked into some daft ideas. Last weekend was no exception.

Last Friday I got talked into cycling the Ryedale Rumble two days following. One of the lads who comes in to work had been roped in via work and was not happy about it and in all honesty, I was a bit worried about him doing it. He was supposed to be doing the 100 miler but had decided he was doing the shorter 50 miler. Wise choice I thought, but in it being a wiser choice, I was still a bit nervous about him doing it, and after a brief conversation and failure on my part to look at the weather forecast, I agreed to go do it with him.

That’s the reason I ended up, on a very wet and windy morning at Ryedale School.

I spend all of Saturday grumbling to anyone and everyone about how horrific this ride was going to be and how if I didn’t turn up to work on Monday we would all know why. Turns out the weather was as rubbish as expected and that Boltby Bank really is that step. I was warm enough but even my waterproofs didn’t last the long haul. I should have been miserable.

It’s turned out to be one of the best rides ever – yes it was slow, yes it was wet, yes the wind was howling (literally getting blown sideways), but some how, I spend most of the ride grinning. How much of that had to do with knowing that I had put some miles in my legs, as well as just accepting I was going to be wet, I don’t know. Part of my does know, however, that I actually proved to myself that I can ride in pretty awful conditions and survive! Think it has definitely done my mental strength some good!

Actually beginning to feel rather excited about next year’s racing and what I might actually be able to achieve – coupled with this year’s TTs and the temptation to go play at cyclocross……

Solo riding

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”
John F. Kennedy

This morning, this quote is true. It’s been a bit cloudy and overcast but still warm and a bit breezy.  I’ve been after getting a longer ride in all week with being off work but it hasn’t happened so after a bit of a lie in this morning, I actually made the effort to get up and set myself a target of cycling 50km solo. There is also the little matter of a 68 mile sportive I’ve signed up to…

To a lot of people, 50 solo kilometres of riding, isn’t anything major. It isn’t the first time I’ve done it either, but it’s the first time since I’ve become single I’ve set out to just ride with no destination really in mind and ridden. I suppose at the moment, I need to get used to riding solo as he was my main cycling partner. After a conversation with a mate this morning, I am considering joining local cycling group beyond that of the tri club to get some more miles in with other people – that’s quite daunting and I could ride with the club but at the moment, I don’t want to be any where NEAR my ex and her. There are a couple of others I’d quite like to avoid too at the moment as I don’t trust them after recent events. Mainly due to my ex in all honesty.

Anyway, back to my actual ride. Normally, I get a bit sick of my own company on the bike, especially when things are hard. Today was quite a revelation – it was a bit hard at times, trying to maintain a decent pace into a bit of a headwind but it was actually quite nice to be eating up the miles and the 57km ridden actually flew by uneventfully. I wish I had eaten breakfast though, I mean, I managed it but really should have eaten. My appetite still isn’t 100% normal. Also need to figure out what works breakfast wise too I think. Riding solo was good today, I don’t think I thought about very much actually while I was riding. Partially zoned out of my own thoughts while concentrating on the cycling. I am taking this as a good sign, even though I know some rides will be far more challenging, with future plans formulating, I am taking this as a good sign.

Lessons learnt – EAT breakfast before cycling and solo miles cycling can be therapeutic!

Time Trial Novice

“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” — Arthur Conan Doyle, British author

Apart from Sherlock Holmes being my favourite fictional detective, I rather like this quote from Arthur Conan Doyle. Yesterday was a horrible horrible day, not work wise, just life wise, but tonight, I ended up at the local time trail – I blame one of the lads in the club (who last night was mistaken for my husband, to which I came home to a text referring to me as wifey – this has amused me greatly) but in all honesty, it has done me good. I did one two weeks ago, a rolling and undulating 13 miler – which nearly finished me off, but tonight’s flat-ish 10 miler was mint!

It had the advantage of being reasonable local (second nearest TT route I think), mostly flat and known territory and a beautiful evening for it. I’d gone straight from work and was actually pretty early. A few lads, or rather, gentlemen, from the club were there and some familiar faces too. So far so good. Now, this was only my third ever TT and I’m still finding my feet and tonight for some reason I actually felt nervous. I was honestly also rather surprised that there were only 15 of us.

For once, I wasn’t near the back setting off (9th out of 15 compared to 18/19 last time) – put simply, the TT went ridiculously well for me too. I was without a doubt, the slowest one out tonight but… I came in with 31:32, that’s an average of 19mph so I’m pretty happy with that. I spent the first four miles or so wondering what the hell I was doing for, and the last six miles wishing I had eaten a bit more and feeling marginally sick, and finished with a smile! Despite being overtaken by a club mate and trying so hard to keep within a minute of him (I failed by about 35 seconds).

Problem is tonight, I really enjoyed it! I would have been happy to be under 35 minutes with my current fitness but obviously losing a stone has its advantages. I just wish I’d started earlier in the season! Far too happy after tonights race. Proper endorphin rush. After the last few days – pushing it hard on the bike has done me some serious good!

Next time I have a bad day, I’m going to try riding it out.

Maybe with the pearl bracelet, you know, for added glamour!

Trying new things!

So in the theme of travelling, training and triathlon, my trip out yesterday saw a mixture of these things come together. Having been at Ellerton Park on Saturday and seeing just how glorious the lake was, I headed back there yesterday with a friend to actually swim. I might as well make most of having a week off work.

It is only £5 to swim and the beauty of this spot is that it is open all day nearly, every day. Perfect for the likes of me who don’t work all day every day! The water is so clean and clear (and really quite warm at the moment too) and it’s deep too. The course is marked out with three buoys, which you swim around clockwise. That’s it. There are no spotters or life guides so I bought a new tow float (I used to borrow his but, obviously this isn’t an option now). I felt better for knowing I had it, and that one of my friends was keeping an eye out. It was bliss! I’m lucky that I have a lake very close by to swim in, but for my plans for next year, I really think, despite the distance, this may be my lake of choice! I need to go check out Blue Lagoon though too. It was so nice being in the wetsuit again and out swimming rather than being in the pool. Even my friend managed to get in, despite doing no OW Swimming in nearly a year. There are showers and toilets, as well as a cafe near by. What else could you want or need? Having not eaten very much, I only did 2 laps (still struggling with eating) around the lake before swapping with my friend, but it was just nice to be out!

Later on though, there was a second appointment with a track session. I always said I wouldn’t do track, but I am conscious I am not a particularly speedy runner and I need to work on it. But boy – what a shock to the system that was. I knew it would be hard but I really need to up my running. I nearly hurled a few times but then I pushed myself harder than I would have done if I’d been on my own. I’m suffering today though as well. One of the coaches did say you need to be averaging 15 miles running a week to make most of track sessions. Best start upping my running and find some better trainers. I have sore calves and blisters this morning and I’m supposed to be running tonight.

I really hope that in a few months time I can report some more success in my running in general.