Cycling

Confidence in 1,000 miles

Like many things in life confidence is only found through practice. Just knowing that what ever I do repeatedly will get easier, keeps me going. Whether that be making a skirt or cycling, in both cases practice improves skill, understanding and technique, and with this comes confidence.

When I first got on a road bike in May, I was partly terrified and partly exhilarated. There was such a sense of freedom of being able to cycle at a moderate speed. But, for me there is an additional anxiety of about falling off, not that I just don’t want to injure myself, but also not having a spleen, means fighting infection and recovering from illness and injury takes longer.

But now that I have been cycling for oooooh almost 4 whole months, I can see how my confidence has built, firstly it was all about the bike. Things like getting used to the gears, I often ran out of gears going uphill, no idea how I managed to do that, but I did.

Next it was the shoes, most road cyclists used clipless shoes, which ironically clip on to the pedal, however before the clipless shoes, cyclist used straps which went over the pedal to position the shoes on the pedal for better purchase. I started off with regular pedals and trainers, then added straps to the pedals, then graduated into rigid sole shoes. I still haven’t tried the clipless shoes but am sure I will be in them for next spring.

Flying downhill at speed was fantastic until I learnt that most accident happen going downhill, so I am a bit more cautious now, not much, just enough to balance exhilaration with safety.

Sooner than expected I found myself able to go longer distances, going out on Sundays – working up an appetite and stopping for brunch before returning home – a wonderful way to enjoy the day. Having used Sunday’s to develop stamina for distances I then used my weekly rides to improve my speed. I have been using an app Map My Ride which has been a great motivational tool for me.

Finally I had to work on the hills – it looks so easy when watching Le Tour de France, even the mountain stages. I had no idea how tough it was going up even small inclines, but it’s all about practice and persistence – and so I have kept going until finally I made it up the highest local hill – I would have celebrated when I reached the top, but breathing seemed somewhat more important!

I had never before appreciated road surfaces, there are just to many different types, some are a joy, others soul destroying – in which case it’s usually time for a sharp exit.

So finally after 4 months and 1,000 miles I am ready to cycle from London to Brighton, on Sunday. It will be my longest ride  at 54 miles, but I am feeling confident and ready for the challenge, anyway I have to finish as I am being generously sponsored to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Action in memory of my Mum, Joanna Roe who died of pancreatic  cancer aged 72.

 

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Determination

Having a training plan in place to help get me cycling  from 0 to 54 miles in 16 weeks, has been amazing. Firstly, I don’t have to think or worry about trying to create a plan myself, it’s there done, printed out in black and white and stuck on the wall.

All I have to do now is to follow it, which has been much easier than I thought. That being said, I am not over keen on the stretching exercises. Resting I can do, cycling I can do, but stretching well it all seems a bit half hearted really. So I have had to find ways to inspire myself by reading blogs and articles on the benefits of stretching for cyclists in order to motivate  myself. I found an article on yoga for cyclist which was great, I can relate to yoga but not stretching – it’s different words for basically the same thing. However, my favourite article was:

10 Stretches for Cyclists You Can Do Without Leaving Your Bed

Surprising things have happened too – not knowing what the weather will be like for my London to Brighton cycle, has meant that I have been out in every weather no matter what and that has including torrential rain with streams of water running down the roads and cycling through floods. Not something I would have normally persuaded myself to do, but knowing that I have done it, that I can do it, makes all the difference!

Determination has appeared in another guise too, part of which is competitiveness. I have downloaded an app, MapMyRide, so I can record my routes and times. But, I also get points and times for doing certain local courses, which has motivated me and made me more determined to get out and cycle.

Finally, I am determined because there are those who say I can’t do it – there is nothing like being told you can’t to ensure that you do!!

What makes you determined?

 

 

Juicing – highs and lows

One of those little things in life that I have discovered is the joy of having a glass of fresh orange juice after I have been out cycling. Standing still in the kitchen, looking out into the garden gulping back sweet pure orange juice, is a moment of heaven. In an attempt to be even more virtuous or rather more healthy I decided that carrot juice would be a good idea!!

So I juiced a whole kilo of carrots creating a half a litre of juice, when I tasted it, well I was so disappointed, it didn’t even taste very carroty just watery. So I thought why not add some orange juice, 8 oranges later I had a litre of carrot and orange juice, once again I realised my expectations were far too high and half a litre of orange doesn’t balance out half a litre of carrots.

By now I was running out of things to juice to try to create something palatable, however I found a couple of limes in the bottom of the fruit bowl which I added in, and finally I had a drinkable juice!

I have learnt my lesson, start with oranges then add in just one carrot!

As for using the left over carrot pulp to make soup – well that’s a whole other story!

A new love in my life – cycling

It’s only been a few weeks, 4 actually, but I think I have found a new love in my life – cycling. Having spent a few trips riding hubby’s old Trek racing bike, as opposed to his new beloved Madison Genesis, I realised that I needed my own bike. Unfortunately pain from residual scar tissue means that a road bike is quite literally a stretch too far, so after much research I have invested in a Giant Liv Thrive carbon fibre hybrid bike, which gives me a more upright cycling position. Despite a tiny, but female specific saddle, it’s actually more comfortable than my old “sit up and beg” bike – amazing.

London to Brighton Cycle Ride

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Goethe

Or in my case madness…… I have signed up to do the London to Brighton Cycle Ride on the 11 September 2016 to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Action and Rigpa UK, and I could do with some help so if you are able to do any of the following, that would be wonderful.

a) Join me cycling London to Brighton – it would be great to have some companions along the way http://doitforcharity.com/do-it-for-charity-london-to-brighton-2016.aspx

b) Sponsor me – every donation – every £ helps.

http://www.doitforcharity.com/lovingmypancreas
for Pancreatic Cancer Action.

http://www.doitforcharity.com/SuzanneRoe for Rigpa UK

c) Support me – help me tell other people what I am doing, by liking and sharing this page, following me on Twitter @suzanneroe and retweeting some of my posts.

d) Do all of the above – I may be pushing my luck with this option!! 😀

Many thanks in advance for all your help 🚴🏼

 

Enthusiasm

Finally its back, its only taken 14 months since my operation, but I feel enthusiastic and energetic again, yippee.

However, it could just be because it’s Summer, so whilst I am not counting my chickens I am certainly making the most of it, by deciding to go cycling again.

I went out on my trusted and faithful ‘sit up and beg bike’, which is lovely but oh so slow, and means that whilst I am frantically pedalling – hubby is cruising along next to me on his road bike not even having to pedal!!

So I threw caution to the wind and borrowed hubby’s old road bike, which was a total blast, and decidedly nerve wracking going downhill.  After a just a few trips out I was totally hooked, so having purchased some super comfy cycling shorts and downloaded the MapmyRide App I am already for a  Summer of cycling.

The most I have ever been able to cycle in one go before was 7 miles to the local farm shop for breakfast and then an hour later cycling home, delightfully leisurely. But now, no sooner than I arrive home from work I am off out again on hubbys bike cycling along the lanes in rural north Warwickshire – such joy.