13 December 2009

I'm now famous!!

I have recently changed roles at work & for the first time in nearly 21 years I'm not doing shift work. I now work Monday to Friday 8-4. It feels a little weird & the weekends just don't seem long enough??

To try & get into some routine I've cycling to work. It's only 12 miles so to spice up my training I have added a 45min swim to my day. I'm trying to maintain this habit & seems to be paying off. I've lost a few pounds in the past few weeks...... the hills will be easier next year!!

I will shortly be ordering my new bike & I am opting for the Specialised Roubaix with a triple ring on the front. Hopefully I will have this in time for the Hell of Ashdown on the 31st Jan!!

On other news it would appear that I am now famous & recently had a page devoted to my cycling escapades in the Surrey Overseer magazine

If you double click on the page it will become readable!

22 November 2009

Like losing a loved one!

Went out with Rae today & did the Evans Cycle ride out of Biggin Hill. It was truely a miserable day with strong wind, rain wet leaves on the roads....in fact I should have stayed in bed!

The ride was punishingly hard over the North Downs & many a time we cycled up rivers that were cascading down the road. I managed to break my satnav & as it came off the bike I braked to stop & managed to trap it under the rear wheel between the road as I skidded to a stop on it. Needless to say it is now buggered!!

One knackered satnav

The incredible thing is that it still works & needs a new case & screen, which I will arrange over the next few days.

I managed to come off today as well, fortunately at very slow speeds on wet leaves, nothing broken on me or the bike. The only good news to come out of today is that my waterproof overshoes are excellent & they certainly had a good testing today!!

17 November 2009

Exmoor is a Bas%$rd!

Dear all

Chris & I drove to Neals in the early hours of Sunday morning & this trip alone should have acted as a warning for me not to go!! The weather when I left home was horrendous; I like to feel that I am a confident driver (The Commissioner has sent me on several driving courses!), I've never seen surface water like it. I aquaplaned about a dozen times & the car behind me 'dosey-doe' on the road, did a 360 spin & ended up on the hard shoulder. Things were that bad I slowed down to 70mph!!

We got to Neal & I had told him that I wanted to practice hills. He didn't disappoint me. We left his & strayed out onto the outskirts of Exmoor, where we climbed for ever & never seemed to stop! We finally levelled out & it was an excellent ride. Day 2 was a completely different kettle of fish!

Day 1!

We drove to Dunster & left the car. The first 17 miles were uphill & took about 2 & a half hours to climb. The wind & rain was in our faces & it was relentless. It was energy sapping & demoralising. When we finally reached the top of Exmoor the strong wind & rain got stronger & it was truly miserable. The decent off the moor, was eventful. Chris had his first puncture, which we mended OK. We then arrived at the part the locals call Little Switzerland.......... It was awful. The road reached 29% in places, which was too steep for me. Chris managed (just) to do it & chapeau to him!! The descent was a scary affair. Descending some 1500ft at speed over a road surface covered in wet leaves. It was like cycling over wet paper -mache. I locked both wheels up a number of times & my brake blocks are now shot. How can you cycle a circular route & always seem to be into a head wind & going uphill??

Day 2

To put into some perspective how hard these 2 days were, when we go out cycling over almost any terrain, we average between 13 & 15 mph. Day 1 was 9.4 mph & day 2 was 7.3!!

Day 3 was a different ride, we left the road bikes at Neals & went out on our mountain bikes. Neal was setting the pace at the front when his chain snapped as he was standing out of the saddle. It's wrong to laugh at another's misfortune, but he landed rather abruptly on his love spuds & let out a high pitched scream that only dogs could hear. We managed to mend his chain (not his wedding vegetables) We limped him back home & had a stab at the local hill leading to the Monument. The daily download doesn't do it justice, it was 31% at the top. I stopped because my glasses were just covered in sweat to take them off & couldn't get going again up the hill, I had to cycle across the road to get some momentum going before I could turn to do the hill!! I was glad to finish it at the top

Day 3 (Mountain bikes & a sedate pace as our legs were shot!)

The climb to the Monument, the other didn't do the steepness justice!!

13 November 2009

Winter Training

Dear all

The top riders are now resting after a long season & will start their pre-season training in the hills of the Canary Islands. Having a few more days off before I start my new job, on Sunday I am doing the same & driving down to Devon to spend 3 days with Neal & Chris cycling the hills of Dartmoor, Exmoor & the Blackdown Hills.

The weather forecast for the Canaries is 25 degrees & sunny. We have 11 degrees, torrential rain & strong winds.

Madness must be setting in!!

I'll post pictures etc Wednesday next week when I get back

2 November 2009

The end of the 'season'

It's almost time to hang the road bike up in the garage & start to get down the gym for longer & more often. I am planning to spend 3 days with Neal in Somerset in a few weeks time to do some hill work & then on the 22nd I am doing a sportive from Biggin Hill.

I am then looking forward to the Hell of Ashdown on 31st January. Not sure if looking forward to it, is the right phrase. It's only 65 miles, but you climb over 2000 meters & it's steep. In fact it's so step when Le Tour de France went through Ashdown they modified the route to take out some of the step hills that I will be going over!!

All I will say is the diet is now well & truly on!!

Oh dear!

29 October 2009

An Indian Summer

Have you ever wondered why an Indian Summer is called an Indian Summer. Well so have I & no-one seems to know why?? If you can tell me please email me on pc.clare@gmail.com

I was joined by Rae & Chris as we enjoyed the last of the glorious weather on what will possibly be our last ride of the year? We did a 40 mile circuit which was a tad misty to start with!!

Some famous Kent Oast houses in fog!

The ride was uneventful, I am amazed at just how quickly your stamina & endurance can go. It was only a few months ago that I cycled 80 miles a day for 12 days & I struggled in places today!

Boys Toys 1 - my heart rate recorded on my Garmin Satnav

Boys Toys 2 - my heart rate recorded on my Garmin watch

The 2 Garmin products seem to vary quite considerably when recording my heart rate. I know it's only a guide, but as they work off the same chest band, surely they should be closer???

My favourite download of the route, shows it in clear detail. What more could you want??

Alas I am now working this weekend & Chris & Rae are off to cycle to Brighton tomorrow & I wish I was with them. I am off from Monday for 3 weeks before I start my new job. Hopefully the weather will be kind to me & I can get out on the road! Failing that I'll keep on spinning & running at the gym

23 October 2009

The winter months

The training is very much continuing as the nights draw in. I am spinning when ever I can & have now taken to getting to the class about 2 hours before it starts. This is helping me to burn off some extra 1000 calories a day & more importantly to regain some of the stamina & endurance I lost since finishing LEJOG back in August.

Rae & I are going out on Thursday next week & doing a 50 mile ride around the North Downs (I so love hills!) & then I would imagine my road bike will be hung up in the garage for next year rides' to start.

The spin classes are hard & I sweat so much that it runs down my legs into my socks & shoes & I can actually wring my socks out at the end.... isn't that a pleasant thought??

My heart rate for (the class is the huge bit at the end!)

15 October 2009

Boys toys!

I went to the London Cycle Show last week at Earls Court & to be honest I was a little disappointed with it. There were some wonderful looking bikes & I saw about 3 that I think I need, however I settled for a new heart rate monitor to help me with my training. As the winter will soon be with us, I am concentrating on spinning & have added running to my regime. I have often been asked a few questions:

1) What is a spin class??

It's an exercise class on a static bike in a group set to music. The bikes have gears & the display records your gear, cadence & heart rate (if you have a transmitter on) & total distance travelled along with the time spent on the machine.

The dreaded machine!!

The Handlebars & display unit

2) How hard is it?

If you look at the 2 downloads below they are me on the last couple of days warming up then spinning for an hour & then running for 25 mins. I think my sustained high heart rate gives some indication of effort used!!

Camerons Class (45mins) & 25 min jog
Marcia's class, can you spot where it started!!

5 October 2009

Where has it gone?

I am amazed at how quickly my fitness has disappeared. I have had roughly 4 weeks off training & doing very little & today I did Marcia's spin class..... where has my fitness gone?? It was extremely hard work & I am now looking forward to spinning as often as I can until next years ride to help boost my fitness level back up. I will be below 15 stone next year!!

Other news I didn't get a place in the 2010 London Marathon, so to make up for this I have entered Carol & I in the Silverstone half marathon in March.... should be fun?? I am also changing roles & will soon be at Lewisham Police Station. I can cycle to there easily & may soon start to jog too & fro??

Spinning again tomorrow & I do hope it gets easier!

24 September 2009

Day 1 for 2010

Dear all

The blog has now been changed & today I am looking forward to again cycling LEJOG. Confirmed this year is Rae, Gary, Neal & Nathan. I think Chris can be convinced & I'm sure Trevor will as well. Sandra, Nikki, Alan & Kevin are all a big NO's!!

I am looking for volunteers to drive the support car. It's 15 days away & you don't put your hand in your pockets, we cover all your expenses.

I am also looking for other riders. Again we are away 15 days & it will cost approximately £1000 to do this (hotels, petrol & food etc.) email me if you are interested pc.clare@gmail.com

If you are interested you will have to come riding with me on more than one occasion & also prove your fitness on the Norwich 100 miler or other similar cycle rides. (details will be circulated!)

I will soon be choosing which charities to support. It will be a police one & also a cancer related one. I have a few in mind, but haven't decided yet.... watch this space!

Crack open the sudocrem, the training starts again on Monday!!

2010 the final time??

Dear all

Just wanted to say a huge thank you for again supporting me & the team for this years ride. I raised nearly £4000 for some very worthy charities & on their behalf I just wanted to again thank you all.

A big thank you to Schwalbe our official tyre & inner tube sponsor. We certainly got through some inner tubes. Thanks also to Neal the wheelman, a tough job to do well & you did us proud.

The blog must now change & I must start to focus on 2010 ride & I will soon start my training in earnest for this. In 2009 I was a lot fitter than 2008, but I still really struggled up & over the hills of Devon & Cornwall. Of course I always will at 19 stone, so next year I plan to be below 15. To help in this I find out next month if I have a place in the London Marathon..... I must be mad!!

Thanks again & watch out for the blog name change when I can come up with anything suitable!!

17 September 2009

Kent from a different way!

Today I joined Chris & Rae & we cycled a measly 40 miles in Kent. I hadn't been over these parts before & forgot how hilly parts of Kent are. Needless to say I still hate hills & probably always will!! The steepest was the hill coming out of Tonbridge at 20%. Needless to say I was in the lowest gear grinding my way up!! I enjoyed the ride, just wonder how many I can get in before the weather turns too much??

Our rather hilly ride through Kent!

10 September 2009

St Albans ride

Dear Reader

Before the weather turns against us completely Sandra & I went & saw our old friend Nikki & did a 50 mile ride through Hertfordshire on wonderful weather. It was great to be riding with her again & makes last years LEJOG seem like a lifetime ago!!

Todays route

I am now starting to send off the first batches of sponsorship money that has been raised & I received the nice letter from Christine who is the president of COPS. She is also damned good cook & did us a wonderful meal at hers when we cycled through..... thanks Christine it was the best meal of LEJOG xx

My secret is now out, perhaps we should get Old Speckled Hen to sponsor us for next year??!!

8 September 2009

The first time?

Dear Reader

You would think after cycling LEJOG that I would be sick of the sight of my bike!!! Today Sandra & I are going out & doing about 70 miles to try to keep the endurance we have built up??

We were joined by an old work friend of mine Gary who has convinced me that I need to go LEJOG again next year, with Rae, Neal & Nathan...... oh OK then! See I'm easy to convince!!

Gary & Sandra having a well deserved drink (it was 28 degrees)

Gary, next years riding companion

Our route today with the topography & other interesting facts!!

New Gucci shoes!

20 August 2009

The dust has settled

Dear all

Well I am now back at work after being off for nearly a month & nothing changes!! It just all seems a distant memory, good memories though!!. I hadn't mentioned it on here, but good news. We were cycling along the A49 somewhere in Lancaster, when I heard a girl scream & I looked behind to see Kev throwing his bike on the floor & calling for me running into a hedge. (Not a girl, but Kev...... must have been saddle sore??). I went back & he had seen a car in a ditch that had clearly just gone off the road it had a lone female occupant who was unconscious & trapped in the rather mangled car. She had an obvious serious head injury & amongst us we dealt with it until the local Plod, Ambulance & Trumpton arrived........ Sandra you were magnificent!! The good news is the victim is going to be OK, she apparently was touch & go for a while, but so the locals tell us she is now on the road to recovery. It did mean we spent a few hours in the driving rain & cold there... hey-ho I've had worse days at work & I haven't got to go & do the call that all Policeman dread & break the awful news that someone has died (we are human after all?!)

There are a number of awards that need to be mentioned here. We didn't have a King of the Mountains we had a Queen (no, not Kev!!)

Queen of the Mountains Sandra Rutherford

Yellow Jersey Chris Stoodley

Most whinging tosspot Kev Parks

Person least prepared Kev Parks

Person who moaned the most Kev Parks

Best crash Trevor Barnes

Best spleen ranting Kev Parks

Best admission of daftness Chris Stoodley

Some of these need to be explained. Chris & I were cycling at the front of the group in Bristol, when a bus pulled out & clipped Chris who shouted at the driver to stop, he did & apologised. Kev the for some unknown reason (probably as he couldn't catch the original bus as he was soooooooooo far behind) rented his spleen at the bus behind??

Chris fell off twice, once in Bristol on the climb to the airport where he has no idea what happened, one minute he was going up the hill & the next he was lying on the verge & he has no idea how he got there!!! The other time was in Scotland when he couldn't unclip his feet from the SPD pedals!

Sandra fell off once when her chain came off, but the best 'Torvil & Dean' moment goes to Trevor just outside Gloucester when at about 3 mph his mobile phone rang. Neal our wheelman describes it as like watching a triple jumper & after his hop, skip & jump it was goodnight Vienna, he ended up lying there like a turtle on his back, legs & arms flapping in the air......10/10 for presentation & 10/10 for execution....!!

Chris does warrant special mention. He is off on leave for all of August & never actually asked me the dates of the ride. A few weeks beforehand he did. I told him we finished in John O'Groats on the 16th. No problem, anyway 15 mins later he rang me back to say he had a problem as on the 17th he was on the 12.30pm ferry from Dover for his family holiday. On day 11, when we covered 75 miles, he pressed onto the end & cycled an incredible 155 miles........... Chris Chapeau as they say in France..... awesome & yes dear reader he made the ferry & I trust he is now having a well deserved baguette & bottle of Vin Rouge!!

I have been asked if I would do it again......... yes I probably would. I love the feeling of cycling along through magnificent countryside with the sun on my face & the wind on my back...... the first 5 days were fantastic, alas it then poured down & we had strong head winds & I am yet to see Glencoe & to be honest most of Scotland in sunshine!!