Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Good news...(again)

I've been to the gym! There are plenty of half hour spin classes (2 already).  The half hours enough to make you feel capable for another the next day so I was there yesterday and today, managing 12km each time so it's no kick in the teeth.  I've done yesterday and today, I have one more tomorrow with a 'core class'.  What's quite good is that you can book online so there's no turning up 'just in case' or having to phone up and sign your name in.  The only bad thing about it is you need a pin number to get into the locker room as well as out side.  So you stand there, having to empty your entire bag because the wee bit of paper you wrote your pin on is at the bottom.  If it's not, it's lying on the floor in the locker room where you discarded it thinking 'Oh, No! I won't need that again.'

Not looking forward to January though - as what could be described as a veteran gym goer I'm expecting it to be mobbed.  That's not the bad news...

The bad news is my Nanna has died and we're going to have to go down on Wednesday to the Dear Green Place.  Funeral on Thursday and then back up again.  Never mind eh?

Mx

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Good News and Bad News

The good news is I've managed to join the cheaper gym.

The bad news is I can't go because I'm ill again.

The good news is it's not plague, measles from the Germans, or anything serious (I've been to the docs).

The bad news is that I am probably contagous so sweating, huffing and puffing in an enclosed space with other people would not be appropriate.

The good news is I've signed up for a mountain bike thing through the work.

The bad news is I've missed the cycle to work scheme and have missed the chance of a cheap light mountain bike (i have one, it's like riding a horse with wheels).

So... If my spots are away by the weekend I'll be gyming it all next week. 

Jx

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A bike! A bike! My kingdom for a Bike!

I've fallen in love.  Get yourself a cuppa and I'll tell you all about it, making it as clichéd as possible.

It's Autumn in London.  The plane arrived at Gatwick on a dark Thursday night, the tube shunts it's way mundanely towards our destination and we sit, unspeaking, waiting to arrive in Kensington High Street where sits my Gray and blue love alone at his docking station. 

In a bed so small my feet dangle off the edge (I'm 5ft.) we huddle together whilst the autumnal leaves of Hyde park fall like sailors to the deep.   Where the red and white brick townhouses seem to hold their occupants safe from the Posh Boys and Twendys, and the drunk girl with the excruciating laugh that we saw pee behind the bushes at Café Nero's.  These townhouses eventually unleash their inhabitants onto the city and there they flock out to the businesses and their doings.  The entire town gearing it's way towards the inevitable and knackering Christmas season.

We awoke on the Friday to a bright Autumnal day, and after a quick breakfast of the finest Poached Eggs on Toast, (The Muffin Man – v. good and open late.  Most expensive thing on the menu was about £14), rocketed off to find the best of London. 

Our first morning was spent in Hyde Park, and there he was.  My Life! My Love! And quite possibly the only bike I will ever be able to ride without holding on the handlebars!  A little chubby (at least 25kg) but reliable he stood looking resplendent in utilitarian grey, mudguards in black and accented in blue.  But alas, we were thwarted by an uncompromising docking station!  It would not register my bank card!  So on we pressed.  But absence makes the heart grow fonder, and love wins through out!  There he was again!  A short walk away…

I don't think I can keep this up but needless to say we went to London for the weekend and the Boris Bikes are ace.  They're basically public hire bikes stationed at various hubs around the city.  You hire them using your Oyster Card (a travel card that lets you use the tube/busses in London) or chip and pinning your debit card in one of the hubs.  Then you can roll around the city for the day – which isn't as nasty as it sounds.  In Kensington you can basically do about 20 miles without going onto any of the heavy trafficked streets.  I'm sure you could do a tour of the city entirely missing out the major roads.  They cost £1 for access and then you are charged up to £5 for 6 hours.  They are everywhere as well, with clusters turning up in all sorts of random places, and groups of bike hubs are within walking distance of each other so if there's none at one particular point you've not far to walk to another point.  Big comfortable and simple bikes, easily balanced you're not going to win any races with them, but for seeing the city they are bloody marvellous – only if you plan to hire one continuously you'll need a bike lock for loo stops and the like.   Busy times seemed to be at the end of the day when the sun goes a lovely orange colour, and entire docking stations were empty on Sunday morning (a few revellers perhaps missing the last bus on Saturday night?)  All sorts use them, we saw business men on them, road workers in their bright yellow working coats, school kids, ordinary people.  They're really well done. 

I wrote that about four weeks ago.  I've been ill.  It's been miserable.   Well, tea drinking, watching day time tv miserable.  So not really.  My sleeping's gone a bit off as because I've been ill I've not had time to do any sort of exercise – a horrible flu thing that made me look like I'd Slapped Cheek followed by a chest infection and a dodgy tummy. 

3 weeks of illness and what did I do the week before, having had all the time to keep folk ill informed of my well being?  Cancel t'interweb.  My flat is  Web free zone so no updates, just lots of napping, reading books and (quite shakily) walking the dog.

I've started having broken sleep again, and sleeping with the eyes open. It's extremely creepy, and a good way to test your boyfriend out to see what he's got the stomach for.  My dog on the other hand seems to have some sort of sleep addiction.  I think it may be the short days that are upsetting her some what.  It's getting up for Winter Solstice so it's not properly light until 9 at the earliest, with the sun beginning to set at 3.30.

Bike rides – The week before I got ill I managed 17miles, but I got chilled and I think that's when I succumbed to illness – much like a Edwardian heroine who gets wet then dies.  We went to see if we could see Grampian CTC but instead we met a lovely laydee called Louise and did the 17 with her.

Sunday (just there, 4th December) – Managed 21 miles with a massive café stop in between.  Drumoak Garden Centre does some of the loveliest Cullen Skink I've ever had.  Not too creamy not too light.  And also their cake is pretty fab!

I've also been doing (just these past two mornings) 10 minutes on the turbo trainer.   I'm managing to squeeze in about 3 miles each morning, though I intend to add up what I've managed at the end of week.

Last of the plans this week is to join that gym I've been meaning to join.  It's a good deal £16.99 a month non-contract, I'm paying £24 for my current gym but haven't been because they wouldn't let me pull a spin bike into the main hall.  I'm sure my one woman boycott will crush them (ignoring the fact that I've been paying them up until this month because that's when my contract finishes).

And today, Subway for lunch me thinks.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Whateva'.

My family are having a bit of a time – well me mam is – we've spent most of last week having  familial hissy fit on trying to do a nice thing, and whether it would make things worse or not.  I have come to the realisation that parts of my family don't have a very good opinion of me.  Me mam thinks that I can't get from Birmingham to Redditch (I'm apparently incapable of booking a taxi at 32) and my bro thinks I'll throw myself on a coffin of someone I barely know, because I'm a wild pathetic little creature who wails at taxis and behaves inappropriately at funerals.

Ah… to see ourselves as others see us.  It takes practice, a massive level of arrogance (or – as I prefer to call it - self esteem), and discipline to do what you think is right and sod them all.  The scunner of doing something for your nearest and dearest inspite of them, and not because of them will wear off no doubt.

Needless to say there has been no cycling. Nothing, nada Zippo and zilch.  So a plan has to be put in place to introduce this back.  I'm down south on Wednesday until Saturday so I can't do much.  Instead I shall start commuting to work by bike again.  It's only 2 miles there and back but it's better than the nothing I have been doing.  

I shall come back early on the Saturday and see if I can go out on Sunday for a proper ride.

A goal into next week will be to get in touch with some clubs/groups.  I am in a bit of a quandary about finding a club.  The one's we've (me and my occasional cycling buddies) come across all seem a bit too 'hard core' for my liking.  Rather than going out and riding (which is what I like to do), there does seem a rather big pull towards time trialling, maximum heart rates and all sorts of jiggery pokery I don't want to have to adhere to (or more honestly can't be arsed with).

Going out two weeks ago (16 miles roughly 11mph) we did come across a set of cyclists that were going down the Deeside railway line – one of them had a carriage on the back with two kids inside – who looked like my kind of cyclists.  They had CTC Grampian tabards on so I'll get in touch with them.

Mx

Friday, 28 October 2011

25ish miles pootling around town!

Myself, the blokie and a mate should do about 35 miles tomorrow on a cafe run so with any luck I should be more closer to my target.  However shouldn't get too complacent - I had some bad news today which will result in a couple of days down south next week, with a possible weekend in Glasgow the following week I'll have to be careful - I shall need the turbo trainer quite a few times next week.

It's also getting fairly miserable in the morning now - I must stop looking at BBC Weather.  Sunrise is at 8.13am.  In my rule book when the dark breaches 8 in the morning it's winter.  Don't get me wrong - I love the cold, dark nights - it means sitting in pubs with fireplaces, stodge for dinner, fireworks and christmas nights out, also of the occasional silly cycle wrapped up in a blizzard with no cars on the road.  In saying that I'm actually against bringing Scotland into european time.  It would mean sunset would be 2pm, earlier on some days (it starts getting dark about 3.45pm in the darkest depths of winter).  Our school kid would not only get their second break in the dark but they'd still be walking home in it.

Have a good weekend y'all!

Mx

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

According to Auntie Beeb (BBC) sunset is not untill 17.41...

Not sure if anyone's told Aberdeen that. 

Anyhoo, with my resolve of yesterday still fresh in my mind, I set off down the Deeside Railway Line.  In the dark. which gets to you after a while. 

For those unfamiliar with the terrain it's a strip of tarmac about 2 meters wide and can be followed - for the most part - all the way to Ellon (I think, though I'm sure some pedant will no doubt correct me).  It's a general haunt of drinking teenagers, dog walkers and other cyclists. With it having no lighting there are strips of it so dark your eyes play tricks on you.  We cyclists are usually armed with some sort of light, where we for the most part glide silently along the strip looking like some ethereal lycra (or jegginged) clad ghost, escaping from some self imposed purgatory. 

Occasionally you will come across a dog and his walker both bedecked like Christmas trees yielding a fist at the silent cyclists - which is kind of what happened to me last night.  I was gliding along, minding my own business (the dog was on the back sitting comfortably), and I see this red and blue light dancing about on some trees, then up a side of the embankment and then across the path way.  Now I'm not one to jump to conclusions, it was very dark, and I was beginning to loose it somewhat, so naturaly I thought it was faries.   When it tried to get into the buffcage with my dog when I stopped I realised it was a black lab.  Get speaking to the man and he said I was the first cyclist to stop, (he himself could be seen from space he was so brightly lit - I really don't know how I missed him, well I do, I was seeing faries.) that he's had abuse from other cyclists and there is a longstanding war of attrition between the cyclists and the walkers along this line. 

Now, having been too and fro on that line for quite a few years now, I have seen many a thing there.  I've seen all sorts of transport from horses to little tyke motor bikes, and as a cyclist I've come to the conclusion that as long as something’s conscientiously done no one can object.  You will get the odd misery guts who will snort 'Have yeh no' got a bell' when I'm rolling by at a snails pace (2.5 miles) and choose say a cheerie 'excuse me' as opposed to ringing a bell. But I find an equally cheerful 'Go to hell you old fecker' usually shuts them up. 

Anyway, after chatting to the man and his blue and red lit dog I hope I eased the walker/cyclist relationship.  Next stop The West Bank...

But the point is -50 and counting. Yey.


Mx

Monday, 24 October 2011

My wedding hell is over….


Actually that’s a bit melodramatic and very unfair.  It wasn’t hell, it was rather pleasant but quite tiring.  The first wedding was a big affair with speeches, photos, grand entrances (walking down the isle to Z Cars theme tune) and a Ceilidh with the best fireworks ever!  The second was a quieter affair, in a grand castle with delicious cream teas in stately rooms, whilst the North East sea kissed the landscaped gardens with Haar.

On the cycling front - excluding the run for the bike on Saturday, zero, nada, and nothing was done.  It’s not good for me.  I woke on Sunday a little grumpy fecker.  Had the second wedding been a larger affair I may not have shown myself in the best light, throwing my shoes off at one point and acting like a child.   We were going to go out on Sunday morning, but my blokie wanted to come to and as his bike is still in the realms of disrepair we spent too long trying to put it back together and did not go out.

In reflection of last week I have decided the 26 miles I did was no where enough.  I managed 13 pootling about the Town Centre – I recon I can increase that vastly this week - aiming for about 30. The rest was done on the turbo trainer, 20 minutes a day.  On Friday night I did do a lot of ceilidh dancing but I’m not sure how that translates into road miles.  The only sleepless night I had was on Thursday, which resulted in a Facebook update of ‘Where is that Fecking Nytol’ at 1am.  That’s the only day I hadn’t done any exercise, and I did have a Chai Tea latte at about 7pm.

So... Onwards and upwards folks!

Mx

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Do believe I am not...

...hungover or still drunk.  Will have to go get the bike.

I am also considering going and giving the Leggy blonde a poke in the eye and see what happens.  He was soo rat@rsed he was havvering, telling the bar staff that he will be b!tchslapped one day as I do him (I don't, yet.)

Mx

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It's White-Van-Man!!! YAYYYY!!!!!

On Tuesday myself and the dog (in her basket on the back) managed to negotiate horrendous traffic, dangerous hills and windy lanes without incident, for the dog to fly out the flat, out of the close* straight into the road!  The hero of the day was White-Van-Man, who on seeing me running down the street screeching 'BUFFFFFYYYY' stopped his van, jumped out and called to her (of course she went to him directly, no problem there: it's not like he feeds her or even knows who he is) loured her in and picked her up.  I could have kissed him had he been less unconventionally good looking.

By the time I got back in the flat I needed a sit down with my head between my knees and a glass of water.  Since then she has been uncharacteristically sooky, wanting to sit on my knee, looking at me with those big brown eyes, checking to see what I'm doing.  Usually it's a course of intense napping in the evening but she's following me around.  I am having none of it, she has disappointed me most thoroughly!

On the plus side, on Wednesday night coming back from work, I managed to navigate an awful junction on
King Street
, to turn right in front of 3 lanes of traffic!  I usually get off and push through the pedestrian lights but I was brave in my wee heartie!   I was pinned at one point between one of the local busses and this massive touring bus but I kept my cool.   All I have to conquer now is the massive round abouts situated on every major road out of Aberdeen –  I need more practice going fast round corners first.

This weekend's a bit of a big one (two weddings!) so am not sure how much cycling I'm going to get in.  Saturday during the day is supposed to be free but the wedding party on the Sunday wants us to go for a rehearsal dinner (I'm not really sure what these are for??? So you get to see the faces of those you are having at your wedding, and decide if any of guests won't perform well in the main event and perhaps arrange stand ins?) I don’t know if it's a lunch or what, so will have to clarify that at some point. 

I could do some weight training at Pete's though will have to see if I'm not 'feeling tired and emotional' on Saturday.

Boring Stats so far:

Tuesday:           Turbo Training 5 miles Ave 14mph Max 23mph (Interval and Standing),
                        Road 5 miles to and fro Blokies
Wednesday:     Turbo Training 5.11 miles Ave 15mph (whilst listening to BBC4)
                        Road 2 miles

Total this week so far: 20 miles

*'Close' is Glaswegian slang for the foyer.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Hello...

... It's getting dark up here.  So in order to keep myself motivated for the winter on the bike I've installed this thing (blog) so I can track my progress and see how I'm going.

A big bit about myself...

I've been cycling about a year now in total.  Myself and a mate grabbed on another mates Etape Caledonia and we've (well I) have been riding those coat tails ever since.  Partly because it 'does' to be fit and healthy, but mostly because I tend not to go mental having a certain amount of miles under my tyres (geddit - please say no).

I cycle because I have inflamed hip flexors.  I used to run (quite a bit) but then a spot of snowboarding (well 'leafing' was what I was doing) fecked my hips which made running painful.  And also the dog was getting a bit too old to keep up.  I'm also quite partial to a spot of yoga and the occasional pole dance (though more in the style of a russian gymnast than laydee of the nite - I've video taped myself once and it wasn't pretty, utalitarian was how it could best be described but never mind.)

The last big cycle race I did was a 64 miler round Ullapool.  It took me 7 hours and 4 minutes and 18 miles from the end I nearly cried.  I had no feeling in my break hand and at the curry with friends that night I tried to open a toilet door using the hinge. 

The tools I aim to utilise are:  1 Luella (winter bike, Old Lady Dawes seeing her third decade), 1 turbo trainer, and 1 Specialized Dolce (I NEED that granny gear!) kept for best (not the sh!t of winter)and for using on the turbo trainer.

This week so far I've managed 4 miles with my blokie down the railway line.  It was his birthday last week and me being the saddle w@nker I am I've bought him a second hand racer that needed two new tyres and the gears and chainset sound like some sort of old style hand machinery they're soo old.

I've also managed a few pottering around but I'm not sure how many yet.  Just to and fro his to mine.  But I'll save that for when I'm more sure of my miles.

Mx

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