Saturday, 29 March 2008

Another one bites the dust

Day 20 went ok. I had to wait in for a delivery so spent an hour on the turbo. The couriers had said they'd be here between 7am and noon, so obviously they turned up at 11.55, great! As I'm on night shift, it was time to go to bed after that.

Day 21, Thursday - this is where it all broke down. I'd arranged to fly up to Edinburgh for the day to visit Endura. So having got up at 6pm Wednesday evening and worked a full night shift, I drove straight to the airport and caught a flight to Edinburgh Thursday morning. We spent the day discussing womens cycle clothing and trying on the Endura womens product range.

My 6pm flight home was slightly delayed and then traffic meant I didn't get home until 20.15 - I had to leave for work again at 21.05. That left a maximum of 50mins ride time, never mind having to get changed, showered etc. Scuppered! Failed. There simply weren't enough hours in the day.

Still, 20 days in a row is the most riding I've done in a long time. And I might start again in April, we'll see.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

"30 in 30" Days 18 & 19

Well I did manage to get into the bathroom - it involved a wooden wedge, a piece of skirting board and a lot of huffing and puffing. I lost count of how many times my head hit the door frame; the door hit my head; and I pinched my arm between the door and the door frame. There's a large bruise on my upper arm from reaching into the bathroom holding the skirting board and then having to pull the door tight against my arm to allow the bath panel to move.

Moving on...

Day 18, Monday - ventured back to my old stomping ground for a spin around the lanes for an hour and a quarter. It was wetter than I remember it...

Day 19 - used my hour to run some errands this morning. Took the long way down to the recycling centre then had to pick up some new road pedals from the post office and took the back way home. I never realised how hilly Hemel Hempstead was! My stops only amounted to a minute or so each so I was happy with my very productive 1hr 5mins.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Oh b#ll#@$!

I'm locked out of my bathroom! I got home this evening to find that the door wouldn't open more than a couple of inches, something was jamming it. Bugger! I got a small mirror and manoeuvred it around the door to see what the problem was - it was the wooden bath panel. The panel had been removed some months ago to get to the pipework under the bath. It had been leaning up against the bath ever since. It wasn't leaning any more.

After much reaching, scrabbling, stretching and trying to make my arm bend halfway between the elbow and the wrist, I gave up; I was running out of unbruised sections of my forearm for the door to rebound against. Lucky for me I have another toilet downstairs.

So currently, I can't move the bath panel, I can't lift the bath panel. There's something wedged underneath it so it won't lie flat on the floor. The door hinges are in the bathroom and I can't get to the hinge on the door itself. The door is made of solid wood. I'm locked out of my bathroom.

On a brighter note, I'm at the end of another week of my challenge: 13 hours, 125 miles. Much better totals than last week and I'm half way through. Whoopee!

Day 15, Friday - raining when I got home so just another hour on the turbo trainer.

Day 16, Saturday - a big day. 5 hours on the road doing a recce for the new Mayhem Classic Sportive that Patrick Adams is running as part of Mountain Mayhem this year; 100km and about 1600m of ascent. Luckily we didn't have any of the rain, hail or snow that the rest of the country was having, just gale force winds.

Day 17, Sunday - a little day. Span the legs out on the turbo for an hour. It's been a couple of months since I did a 5 hour ride so I thought it best not to push things if I have to ride again tomorrow. I had a wash in the kitchen sink. Did I mention I can't get into the bathroom?

Friday, 21 March 2008

"30 in 30" Day 14 - I Knew It...

I knew this day would come. The day when I had no time to ride, no real window of opportunity on a wet, dreary Thursday. And so came the scenario I had feared since the start of this challenge: riding around the streets of London on my folding bicycle for an hour.

There, I've admitted it; My name's Sara and I have a folding bicycle. It gets worse - I was wearing a bobble hat, a bicycle clip on one ankle and tucked the other trouser leg into my sock. I had a day glo wrist band on one arm.

I was a British Champion once (well, singlespeed anyway) and now this is what I have been reduced to. Damn you Dr Jon! Damn you and all your silly bike riding ideas! I spit in your general direction...

In a vain attempt to divert attention away from these shameful admissions I thought it was about time to do a roll call of my fellow 30ers:
Simon - Grant - Ali - Cris - Samuri - Jenn - Steve - Marty and dR jOn.

So go, go I tell you! And read their exciting tales of proper riding, on proper bikes, I don't need you anyway! I'll be here if anybody wants me, on the bottom of this barrel, under the big cloud of shame (sniff, snivel, scrape...)

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

A Stolen Day

It seems I've been on the go now since the start of February - yes I've been on holiday, but it was hardly relaxing, and when I've not been at work I've been dashing around the country, or grabbing an hour on my bike, digging the garden, digging trails, painting, sanding, fixing, cleaning etc. Every moment of every day is filled with something I need to be doing and a never ending jobs list.

Today I phoned in sick. Around 8pm last night, with the prospect of getting up at 5.30am this morning, my body finally gave up and told me to sit down and shut up. So today was an unexpected free day, a stolen day, a void in time and space.

Not surprisingly I woke up late, around midday. I had nothing planned and no jobs laid out as I wasn't supposed to be here. I decided I would ignore the jobs list pinned to the notice board; I would continue to step over the pile of junk in the hallway; the bare wooden skirting board and half stripped doorways wouldn't bother me; and my email account simply didn't exist. Today would be my day, to do what I wanted to do.

And so endeth my day. With nothing done. (Nothing of note anyway.) And now I'm ready to enter back into the chaos again, refreshed and rested, satisfied with my Stolen Day.

"30 in 30" Days 11, 12 & 13

Day 11 - after yesterdays nightmare I actually managed to get out for a good couple of hours today, happily spinning round the lanes on my Surly 1x1. Music played a large part; My psychic iShuffle playing exactly the right songs at the right time. (I don't care what anybody says, and I can't explain how it works, but iPods ARE psychic and know exactly what kind of mood you are in and exactly what to play!) Home just before the rain started for a pint of tea and a toasted Hot Cross Bun.

Day 12 - I put my hour to good use this morning by going out before breakfast to ride to the mill to get bread. After 50 minutes I was still only half way there and I was freezing, so I turned around and headed home. Luckily for me there's a farm shop on the way home which also sells fresh bread, and home-made cakes. I treated myself to a Lemon Crunch Loaf for the hour and a half I'd done today.

Day 13 - not a good day. I felt dreadful last night and phoned in sick for Wednesday. It was gonna be tricky going out for a ride. Boredom prevailed and I rode around aimlessly for an hour just wasting time and going really slow.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

"30 in 30" Days 8, 9 & 10

Well, time for a quick catch up on the progress and I'm a third of the way through. A pitiful 12 hours ridden and 60 miles covered (hey, 5 of those have been on the turbo trainer ya know!) Gonna have to pick up the pace a bit now and stop faffing about.

Day 8 - an hour and a half exploring out in the woods. If there's one thing this challenge is making me do, it's go exploring all those trails and bridleways that I've passed so many times.

Day 9 - starting to feel the effects of consecutive days on the bike (and yesterdays bike pushing through unused trails thick with mud. Ironic really that I get shouted at for making a bridleway muddy one day, then spend the following day up to my ankles in hoof-churned sludge!)

Day 10 - a 5am start at work, a long day, dreadful traffic, torrential rain, gusting winds, cold grey and miserable. Can you tell I didn't want to go for a ride today? I really, really didn't want to go for a ride today. My legs felt like lead after yesterday as well. I think I'm going through a rough patch. I simply didn't have the motivation to go outside so sat and span pathetically on the turbo for, you guessed it, an hour. I might as well have not bothered for the effort I put in. But I did it. It sucked. I hated it.

Only 20 more hours to go...

Thursday, 13 March 2008

"30 in 30" Days 6 & 7

When did I cross over into a parallel universe? If somebody could tell me, and then pull me back into normal universe, that'd be great, because at the moment I'm in the Universe of Cycling Chaos.

Day 6 - hour on the turbo. I'm going slightly mad, it finally happened, I'm slightly mad...
Then, riding through London on the way to work I stopped at the traffic lights on a pedestrian crossing. People crossed. The little man turned red, the traffic lights turned green and I pushed off - just as some woman walked straight into me in the middle of the road. Then she shouted at me!
That's right, SHE shouted at ME for going through a green light! I swear if I'd had a handbag like old Baroness whatsherface I'd have clouted her round the bonce with it. I rode off in a British (quietly outraged) manner.

Day 7 - Finally out on my bike in the fresh air and physically moving. Couple of hours exploring the local woods again.
Then, having spent much of the ride stealing cheeky trails, a man wearing an anorak holding a litter picker shouted at me for making the bridleway muddy.
That's right, HE shouted at ME for riding on a bridleway!

Looks like I'm not the only one who's gone mad, the whole word is slightly gaga. But these last couple of days have taught me a valuable life lesson: do what you want, when you want, where you want, because someone will shout at you for doing it anyway.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

"30 in 30" Days 4 & 5

Day 4 - hour on the turbo. It was lashing with rain and getting soaked before work isn't my idea of a good time. Legs were heavy. Just about made it.

Day 5 - another hour on the turbo. It really wasn't happening today. Could barely get my legs to go round, spinning at a high rpm just seemed a chore. And it took at least 20 minutes to get my heart rate up to 140bpm - I'll have to check it in the morning to see what's going on. I'd forgotten just how much it makes my backside hurt as well.

I'm gonna have to try and get outside tomorrow. Spending two hours on a turbo trainer in two days has left me with too much time to think. Far, far too much time to think. Some of it was deep self-analysis (I won't bore you with that stuff), other stuff was totally random.

It really is amazing where the mind wanders if you give it the chance, lurching from one thought to another. God alone knows how I connected the holly tree, the bathroom, mountain bike tyres, venison pie, my waterproof trousers and Christopher Dean. But these were just some of the subjects of my thoughts in a ten minute time frame - hardly a game of word assocation! (Actually, the thought about Christoper Dean, the ice-skater, lasted substantially longer than many of the rest, but I won't go into that either...)

Sunday, 9 March 2008

"30 in 30" Days 2 & 3

Day 2 was a short, simple spin for an hour. The rest of the day was spent hacking in the dirt and shifting wood at Eastnor Castle, scene of the 24hour Mountain Mayhem race, with Ickle Paul and Quad Ben to start some trail building for this years race.

Day 3 - an off-road ride that covered 4 miles of the new Mountain Mayhem course. It took 1hr10mins. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Shovelling dirt, humping wood and swinging a pick axe for two days is quite a full body workout when you're not used to that level of manual work; and it does wonders for the physique - if you happen to find female body builders or Russian shot-putters attractive? Personally, I don't. Tone is one thing, rippling latissimus dorsi and veiny deltoids are completely different! And my forearms currently resemble Popeye after his spinach.

I can't imagine how much all of this is going to hurt in the morning. Hopefully it will be worth it. But as my Mum always says, 'when are you going to grow up and stop playing in the mud?'

Never Mum, never.

Friday, 7 March 2008

"30 in 30" Day 1

Ah the simplicity of singlespeeds!

Didn't get up until midday so half of my 'to do' list had to be scrapped. I was rapidly talking myself out of starting my challenge as well, until I gave myself a kick up the arse, threw on a pair of shorts and t-shirt, grabbed my helmet and shoes and prayed that my Surly 1x1 would work straight off the shelf?

It did. After a small amount of GT85 and some coaxing of the freewheel. It was all still covered in mud from a few months back and slightly seized, but soon loosened up and I was happily spinning down the road.

My first hour clocked up and some very fun exploring in the woods around the golf course - not many miles but a good start. Only 29 more to go...

Sadly the other half of my challenge didn't last long; I went to the pub after work last night and then accidentally poured myself a large glass of red wine this evening. (Normal service is resumed Shelly, I'm feelin fine ;-)

And whilst I am still working on my Kilimanjaro adventure, I've started a flickr account to exhibit my photos. They can be found at Enjoy!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Time To Get In The Game

So three days of being really very ill (how come I can camp rough at 4000m in Africa for two weeks, weeing into a hole in the ground whilst standing on who knows what with no running water, eating 6 day old food that's been carried up in sweltering temperatures, using hands ingrained with filth, and feel fine, but get a stomach bug from my first meal on the friggin' plane! Top Tip: Don't fly Kenya airlines).

Anyway, three days feeling ill, two days intense DIY desparately trying to finish my kitchen and two solid days work; (well ok, two 16 hour shifts with a late night drinking session in the middle that went on long enough to make going home a pointless exercise) All of this has meant that I never quite got round to starting my "30 in 30" challenge that a group of friends are doing at the moment.

Basically the "30 in 30" challenge is to ride at least one hour a day for 30 days and March was the chosen starting month. I'd pretty much written it off by now, seeing as most people are on day 6. But having read the various blogs and comments from people doing it, plus the fact that I haven't been on my bike for three weeks, I've been spurred me on to start tomorrow!

That's right! You read it here first - I am starting my "30 in 30" tomorrow, first thing! Straight out of my lovely, warm, cosy, comfortable, soft, snuggly, relaxing, restful, hardly-been-slept-in-for-3-weeks-in-favour-of-a-sleeping-mat-on-a-frozen-mountainside-and-oh-my-god-how-I've-missed-you-,-I-promise-I'll-never-go-away-for-that-long-ever-again-ever bed...(sigh)

Ahem! Sorry, I digress... Er, right, yes, hang on... oh yes, "30 in 30", starts tomorrow!

Wish me luck!

Disclaimer: The author of this blog reserves the right to totally renege on any promises, resolutions or statements made at any point during his or her ramblings and this document in no way constitutes a binding contract. In the likely event of adverse weather conditions, the probability of reneging on such promises, resolutions or statements is greatly increased and the author cannot be held responsible for her actions of staying in the item previously and henceforth known as the 'bed'. All rights reserved.

Is now a good time to mention I'm giving up alcohol for the rest of March as well...