28 December 2008

Happy Christmas to me?

Well thank god Christmas is now behind us for another year (I'm not a lover of this time of year, which is surprising as I love getting presents!).  I must now start to really concentrate on my training.  As I have said before I am determined to be around 14/15 stone when I do this in August & must start early with the eating regime & fitness.  I plan to cycle to work as often as possible & will start on Monday even though it will be -2 degrees when I leave home.  The first mile is uphill & tends to warm me up quickly!

We had a shock on Christmas Day when my mother was admitted to hospital with difficulty in breathing & high blood pressure (my blood pressure doesn't seem that funny now) so again more reason to train hard.  (She is still in hospital, waiting to see a consultant & she is a lot better, hoepfully home soon)

I have managed to persuade some like minded individuals to join me in May for a real test of endurance, the continuous relay over LEJOG route.  I think we might even have enough people to have 2 out at anyone time.  This will mean we can draft each other, which remarkably as it sounds isn't rude at all!!

I am seriously thinking of getting myself a belated Christmas present or even an early birthday present for this ride in May?

A dedicated time trial bike

I shall plant the seed in Carol's mind today & if she asks you what I want for my birthday in 3 weeks, the answer is of course a time trial bike!!

I just also wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year & share a thought for those friends, relations & colleagues who have received a higher calling in 2008. A special thought to the widows & orphans of officers who have died & if you are able, please remember you can always donate to the widows & orphans funds by sponsoring this ride.  Details are in the top right hand corner of the blog. 

Have a great night on Wednesday & remember, alcohol: it's not just for breakfast!!

20 December 2008

A sad end to 2008

Just as the festivities are about to commence (except for me as I'm nights again, 14th year running) I had an email from a dear friend of mine to say that he has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer & will be starting his treatment in the New Year.  It reminds me at the festive time, why I keep doing these seemingly foolish events!

Good luck Joe, thinking of you mate

17 December 2008

Another sponsor

Well so much for me saying my post before last would be my last for 2008!  I received an email at work yesterday from Schwalbe UK, which I would think will mean almost nothing to all of you?

They are one of the major manufacturers of inner tubes & tyres & have offered to supply us loads for both rides.......woohoo!!

Thanks you Schwalbe & please visit their site by clicking on their link on the side of the page.

15 December 2008

Unexpected news

Dear Reader

Had a little shock on Saturday at work, I managed to twist my knee getting out of the van , so saw one of the nurses we have here at Charing Cross. They examined & confirmed what I thought that the leg looks fantastic!! However more worryingly they took my blood pressure which was 195/90. Putting it simply I'm like a pressure cooker waiting to blow!!

The good news my resting pulse was 63 bpm. I was disappointed that my team now have a book running to see how long I'll live, I think that's in bad taste?

This has strengthened my resolve & the training must continue in earnest & I must lose weight & eat more sensibly to lower my blood pressure.

Watch this space!!

11 December 2008

Goodbye 2008

Sorry to say that the weather got the better of me today, coupled with no cycling partner I have decided to hang the bike up in the garage for the year.

I start work on Saturday nearly all the way through to New Years Eve, so I will not even get to the gym.  This will be last post of 2008 & can I on behalf of Carol & I wish you all a Merry Chrstmas & a Happy New Year.

There is however one piece of news, because of the world wide recession Santa has had to lay off the reindeer & has bought himself a bike to deliver the presents with.  So if you see a fat person on a bike it's a chance it's him or me!! 

8 December 2008

The missing overshoes

I think I must have let the sun or something get to me??  I did Marcia's spin class this morning, which is the hardest at the gym & when I got home I donned my cycling gear & went & cycled 16 miles.  It was absolutely freezing, but I put on my thermal cycling long tights & best of all my overshoes.  They made a hugh difference & I can feel my toes!!

The overshoes (or Nora Batties as I call them) & you'd be surprised how difficult is to take a photo of your own foot!

Carol & I have also been out running tonight, doing a 2.4 mile circuit .  We haven't been out for a while & we were a minute off our best pace.  I'll blame the cold weather & my new running tights.  I am now getting a little worried as I have now worn tights twice today!!

I wish I spoke Danish, I have no idea what this means, do you??

Carol & I recently went on a camping weekend, do you think I'll win the husband of the year award?!?!

7 December 2008

Another day, another hill & trying my overshoes!

Last Thursday Sandra & I got very cold, due to a combination of things, but mainly the rain & getting wet shoes.  Did I mention that I bought some neoprene over shoes, I should have worn them!

I'm off again nearly all week & on Thursday if I can get anyone to join me (I think it's safer riding in at least pairs) I plan to cycle to Sevenoaks & back home, which is just about 38 miles.

Please clink on the route below & at the bottom you can see the topography!  I want to try & incorporate some hills into my rides.  I'm getting better at hill climbing, but still have a long way to go to reclaim my polka-dot jersey!!

Hopefully Thursday 38 miles

Having recently discovered the route planner with the topography I have added a few more of the rides I have done for your information & even interest? If you click on the map it makes it much bigger & you can work out our route.  If you like cycling & fancy coming out for a ride, email me on pc.clare@gmail.com We don't go at a fantastic fast pace (about 15 mph) we just enjoy it!

Completed with Nathan,  Sarah & I (15.5 miles)

Completed by Nikki, Gav, Nathan & 1 - almost too many times to mention (45 miles)

Completed by Sandra & I (60 miles)

5 December 2008

There are people as daft as me!

I said a few weeks ago that I wouldn't mind having a stab at LEJOG as part of an endurance relay with 5 or 6 other riders each taking it in turns whilst the others rest/sleep in the minibus.  I thought I would mention this to a few of my riding friends to get their views.

I have spoken to 5 other people & all are extremely interested in doing this obviously depending on time of year etc.  So this looks to be a goer!! The other 5 are Nikki, Sandra, Sarah, Alan & Gav

If we can average 15 mph (which is easily achievable) it would take us 2 days, 10 hours & 26 minutes to cover the 874 miles

Looks like May for this as Sandra & Sarah are running in the London Marathon in April & need to taylor their training towards that.

Watch this space for more updates on this & the big one!!

4 December 2008

Cold, cold, cold!

Dear all

Sandra & I started with good intentions today leaving mine at 9am to cycle to Ashford.  The weather has been more wintery than in recent months & it's fair to say that it was a little on the chili side!

It was raining when we left, which to be honest I am used too!!  The worse thing is when lorries go passed covering you in cold dirty water!

Top of Wrotham Hill

This was clean on before the start!!

At Maidstone East train station, notice the smile on Sandra faces as she warmed up!!

Sandra in her favorite place, under the heater at Bromley South Station!!

We had to stop at Maidstone today as both Sandra & I had no feeling in our toes, I've been cold before, but nothing like today.  It doesn't help that we are coming down Wrotham Hill at about 45/50 mph with soaking wet shoes.  My new waterproof socks were great though & I can recommend seal skinz socks to everyone!!  I did buy some neoprene overshoes that keep your feet warm........should have worn them!!

We only managed 34 miles today & I can say without fear of any contradiction the bike is now sleeping until the warm weather.

3 December 2008

It's Thursday it's Ashford

Dear Readers

Tomorrow (Thursday) Sandra & I are off to sunny Ashford (55 miles) to continue the training for the main event.  I would imagine that the chances for long rides will soon be diminishing as the weather will be against us.  To be honest it's not the cold or the rain, it's the light.  We cycle out to these places in Kent & get the train back.  As my local station isn't on the lines these trains use it can mean a 6 mile cycle back.  The problem we have is the light.  We want to cycle as 'light' as we can & having to carry the additional weight of lights seems wrong.  (I know what you are thinking still being 19 stone & worrying about a few extra 100 grams will probably not affect my hill climbing or overall speed!!)

I had another really stupid idea, I am contemplating (as a warm up to the big event) cycling LEJOG on a continuous relay, say an hour on & then depending on how many other daft people I can get to join me have their hours asleep in the minibus.  I would think if we average 15 miles an hour, it will take two & a half days!!  Funny enough not many takers for this yet.........watch this space!

Still spinning & trying to eat healthily.... 10 stone by Xmas!!

1 December 2008

I survived the new spin class

At my gym there are a number of different teachers for spin classes, all are good & all have a very different style.  Marcia is by far the hardest & today she announced her new regime.......oh dear!

Her class was an hour & I burnt in excess of 1200 calories.  My highest heart rate was 110% of it's maximum & I can't deny I was glad to finish!!

I'm spinning every day this week & will be getting out with Carol doing some running, so I am hoping I may finally actually lose some weight? 

On Thursday Sandra & I are off to Ashford for a ride.  This may be the last of the year as the weather is destined to change to become a lot colder, but you never know what lies round the corner!?!

27 November 2008

Old Photo

Chatting with the Soup Dragon tonight about the ride & me doing it next year (unfortunatley she can't take the time off work....anyone drive a minibus?) & the lack of photo's.  She pipes up with I've got some on my iphone

Testing the brakes in Carlisle

Why does Nikki look so happy.......we'd just cycled about 96 miles & we were in a dry hotel!!

The bottom of Glencoe, 80 miles completed for the day & only 15 to go!!

The start for the final day at Tain (Can you see the rainbow??)

Sandra & I are cycling to Ashford on Thursday next week (55 miles) just to keep the legs moving & get used to cycling a long distance.  Apart from that we enjoy it!!

Still doing my spin classes & surprisingly still 19 stone......bugger!

20 November 2008

The 3 musketeers

I was joined today by Nathan & Sarah (who hadn't ridden a bike for 10 years) & we went out to the Kent countryside.  The weather is remarkable for late November & to be honest we were too hot in our waterproof jackets!  I'm not complaining as it was dry!!

Just about to leave!

Like all the best policeman (woman - sorry Sarah!) never turn down a cup of tea!

Sarah's not smiling it's a grimace!, it's the first time on a bike in years & she was a little tender!

Our route..........Ashford again next week!

19 November 2008

Me the triathlete?

I dropped Carol off at the station this morning & because of road works, I went to the gym early & ended up doing 2 hours on the spin bike.  I burnt 1754 calories & travelled 47.9 km.  Still feeling incredibly good I then swam 200m (swimming is not a strong sport of mine) before sitting in the jacuzzi, which to be honest is the best piece of equipment in the gym!!

To complete my triathlon Carol & I are going running tonight

17 November 2008

GSSA and RUC charities

I was invited this weekend to Dublin for the AGM of the Garda Survivors Support Association (GSSA) & diner & was able to present to their treasurer Margaret Dixon the generous donation that you gave in sponsoring Alan & I on this years quest (It's a shame the £ to € is so poor at the moment)

Presenting the cheque to GSSA

Also there were representertives of the RUC George Cross Association.

I am delighted to announce that next year I shall also be supporting the GSSA again along with a RUC charity. 

A retired RUC officer summed up why I want to support the police charities.  He had seen many of his colleagues murdered over his 42 years service.  "Politicians & public are all appalled when this atrocities happened, but they soon forget.  It's only really police that care about police" This is so true, my good friend Tony Haines died 7 years ago, but no-one really remembers him or cares about his widow Jill except the police family

I am now off for a week & the training is again being kick started.  I have taken to using the gym at work & am in the top 3 on my team of 40 for bench pressing.  Only trouble with that is my arms are now killing me & I am finding it hard to type!

Cycling down to Ashford on Thursday with Sarah & Nathan, watch out for the pictures!

13 November 2008

First sponsor!

I received I hope the first of many emails today offering sponsorship for our ride. This was a company called sudocrem, which is better known as a nappy rash cream.  

I can assure you after last year, being in your early 40's & having a nappy rash isn't pleasant & sudocrem is a must & helps makes 10 hours a day in the saddle almost bearable.

I can also show you another picture of a member of team plod, who is Sarah.  As you can see from the picture she is hard in training with weights, whilst keeping herself hydrated!!  I have asked all of the team to send me pictures of themselves, watch this space!!

I am also have a picture of Nathan, again another member of team plod......how will London cope when we are all away?

There are no hiding places on the ride!

This is another member of the team Richard, doing his best impression of a sperm whale.........when is the wedding again??

10 November 2008

Spin classes

I have been asked a couple of times what I mean when I say spin classes.  It's a group excercise class at the gym on a static bike.  As the weather is now closing in & the days are getting shorter I shall soon be hanging my bikes up in the garage & looking to do these to keep my fitness up. On an average 1 hour class I burn somewhere in the region of 1000 calories & my heart works at about 90-95% of it's maximum.  I usually leave a puddle of sweat round me when I've finished!!

4 November 2008

Another member of team plod

Dear reader

There are currently about 15 people interested in Team Plod for next year.  I will gradually get round to getting pictures of all of them, but in the mean time this is Claire with her nice new bike!

2 November 2008

The credit crunch?

I've sent off a few letters to try & get corporate sponsorship for the ride.  I have written to specific companies asking for certain goods, Sudocrem, Vaseline, shower gels, tyres, spare wheels, inner-tubes, energy gels, isotonic drinks & to Garmin for a bike satnav system

Should be able to gauge how the credit crunch is by the replies!!

I've added a box on the right to add details of sponsors in........watch this space!

31 October 2008

I clearly have too much time on my hands

Carol bought me a nice new Imac & in transferring all my old songs etc over, I clearly have too much time on my hands & was playing with the computer & the route.  I can reveal the route in pictures!  I really must get a life?

Day 1 - 51 miles

Day 2 - 72 miles

Day 3 - 66 miles

Day 4 - 73 miles

Day 5 - 72 miles

Day 6 - 75 miles

Day 7 - 66 miles

Day 8 - 91 miles

Day 9 - 38 miles

Day 10 - 83 miles

Day 11 - 97 miles

Day 12 - 90 miles

Looks easy doesn't it?!?!?  There is still time if you want to do it.  Email me at pc.clare@gmail.com

30 October 2008

2009 Route

Dear reader

I have been working too many long hours, but managed last night with the aid of google maps to plan the route.  Apart from Devon & Cornwall it's virtually the same route but I have added 2 extra days.

The 12 days are

Lands End to St Austell         51 miles
St Austell to Exeter           72 miles
Exeter to Bristol             66 miles
Bristol to Worcester        73 miles
Worcester to Crewe         72 miles
Crewe to Lancaster          75 miles
Lancaster to Carlisle        66 miles
Carlisle to Kilmarnock       91 miles
Kilmarnock to Balloch       38 miles
Balloch to Fort William      83 miles
Fort William to Inverness  67 miles
Inverness to John O'Groats 120 miles

It's a daunting thought again, but I really enjoy it last year.  The last day we will not be doing 120 miles, the day before we shall ride past Inverness over the Black Island to Tain.  That will leave us with about 90 miles to do into John O'Groats.  Oh how I am looking forward to Helmsdale already (It's worse that the north face of the Eiger!)

The cold winter months are now fast approaching,so there will not be many long rides & I will spending longer in the gym or even out running with the 'Soup Dragon'

I have deliberately kept day 9 short, to allow a bit of a lie in & then only about 3 hours cycling. We have the high lands of Scotland to go over & to be honest you need a bit of an easy day.

24 October 2008

It just keeps falling

Training this week has been a bit disappointing, I have managed 4 spin classes, but alas no rides. I was supposed to cycle to Ashford on Thursday but my cycling partner couldn't make it, so I cut the grass instead!!

Carol & I have done our circuit tonight & we have shaved almost another minute off the time, 3.71KM in 28'09" at an average speed of 7'35" per KM.

I also want to dispel any rumours Carol looks nothing like Max Wall in her running trousers!

22 October 2008

New record

Carol & I did the run again & managed to shave over 2 mins off the time!!

3.73 km in 28'52" at an average speed per KM of 7'44"

Of course the real test is the cycling & tomorrow Nathan & I are off to Ashford after I have done a spin class at 6.45am

Nikki is running from London to Brighton with 15 others carrying public order shields....silly buggers.  They are not running all the way, doing 1 km without a shield, 1 km with & then resting until it's there turn next.  I think I'll prefer to cycle?

Sandra on the other hand is running in the Dublin marathon this weekend & people have asked me why I am starting my serious training early!!

21 October 2008

Training update

I thought I would try & vary my training regime for next year & I apart from the riding & spin classes I am incorporating running into my schedule.  It's fair to say that I am not a natural runner having snapped my anterior cruciate ligament at work, I went from 12 stone to over 20 in a very short period of time.  I have actually played all 15 positions in competitive rugby matches.  

Carol (Long suffering wife AKA 'The Soup Dragon') & I donned our new running shoes & went out for a run.  I saw this as the perfect opportunity to buy the nike running attachment for my ipod.

We ran 3.68 Km in 31.02 minutes which to be frank is awful.  Our average speed was 8'26" per KM.  I would like to blame Carol for stopping & walking all the time, but I can't as I was just as bad!!  We now have something to do together in the evening instead of sitting in-front of the goggle-box.  I am aiming to do the run in 20 mins (I think that may take a few months?)

Still spinning & planning to cycle to Ashford on Thursday with Nathan.  

17 October 2008

This years charities

Dear all

I have chosen the charities I am supporting next year for LEJOG.  It will come as no surprise that I have again chosen COPS & I have chosen a slightly different cancer charity this year which is MacMillan Nurses.  Again both worthy causes & both very much dependent on donations to keep going.  I have set up 2 'just giving' accounts, which you can donate on via the right side of the page.  I have also included details of the high interest savings account where money can be transfered into

I know that I have collared most of you over the past year, but isn't it better to give than to receive?!?!

Thanks for your support to come!!

13 October 2008

The official start for 2009

Today was the official start for the 2009 LEJOG,  I was joined by the newest confirmed member of team plod (Carol, The Soup Dragon has come up with the name & thinks it hysterical & basically if I want my shirts ironed & sausages in onion gravy I have to use it). The newest team member is Sandra who I have been on many rides before with. We cycled to Folkestone today for a bit of fun.  I would however qualify that the last hill from Sandgate to Folkestone is not my idea of fun & for the first time since Devon my heart rate went above 100% of it's maximum.  It looked so flat on the map?

The weather was remarkable, fine, dry, no winds & warm are we really in October??

Sandra & her new bike

After nearly 70 miles a well deserved pint

On a cold platform waiting for the worlds slowest train (2 hours to Orpington).  Sandra has stolen all my peanuts by this time & was looking very pleased with herself!!

Facts of the ride

Total distance covered 67.7 miles
Calories burnt 3865
Average Speed 13.7 mph
Top Speed 35.8 mph
Average Heart beat 80% maximum or 143 bpm
Maximum 101% of maximum or 181 bpm