So, my wetsuit arrived…

… I hope it gets bigger in the water, because I don’t think you get extra points for looking or moving like an incapacitated dolphin.


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Adventures on two wheels

So, bit of an adventure today – I managed to cycle 44.5 miles, to Egham and back!

Knees are a bit sore and my butt is killing me, but otherwise I feel good.  We did 44.5 miles in a total time (roughly, as I wasn’t being scientific with starting and stopping my cycle tracker) of just over 4 hours.  We split the outbound journey in to two, stopping just after Kew for a coffee; after a three-hour lunch and rest in Egham, we headed back, stopping at Chiswick to refuel and carry on.  According to Cyclemeter, we burned over 2100 calories each in the process.

Why?  Why the hell would anyone cycle to Staines and back?!  Well… we’re shortly headed out on an adventure – we are going to cycle to Bruges for a weekend.  We’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks now, planning the trip, and today’s ride out was a test to see how we dealt with that mush distance and saddle-time.

The journey will be about 125 miles overall, traveling from Dover to Dunkirk by ferry.  We’re going to split the London – Dover leg in to two, stopping overnight in Gillingham at the end of day one, taking the ferry at the end of day two and staying overnight in Dunkirk, and arriving in Bruges on the Sunday night, the day before my birthday.

The plan is then to spend two nights in Bruges, at a lovely four-star hotel, eat as much moules-frites and chocolate and drink as much beer as I can get into my body (having burned 6000 calories on the way over!) and then head home on the Eurostar on the Tuesday evening.

Plans are afoot for kit; we’ve been testing bags and the packing skills we’ve honed traveling cabin-baggage only on long weekends away, and I’m confident we can manage it.

Had you asked me ten years ago if I would ever cycle that far for fun, or for a break, I’d have laughed at you.  It may therefore be a surprise (it was to me) that this was my idea…

More to come.  Now, stretches and bed.

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In which I shed the last remnants of shame

I went running for the first time in my trisuit tonight.  Got a few funny looks.  Hardly surprising – it’s an incredibly thin (but absolutely opaque) and doesn’t hide much, and it’s not what normal people run in.

I feel like I have very little shame left to shed.  The facilities people at my new job have been kind enough to give me a big locker – but it’s right in the corridor where everyone enters the building in the morning, so I’m bumping in to all those industry peers and new colleagues from the last six years to recent weeks as I’m stood all sweaty and red in my post-cycling lyrca.  Going out alongside the general public in my trisuit was really the last remaining bit of shame I had left.

Bad news: the run SUCKED.  I really, really need to do more running; I’ve been really lazy and I need to get on it.  Reminded me of my old school grades for sports: “C+: could do better”.  So – more running.

Good news: the trisuit is AWESOME.  Really, genuinely comfortable, supportive but not tight, and really great for running in heat.

Other news: ran up to the Parliament Hill Lido (which, it transpires, is a whopping 10 minutes from my house) and found out about swimming sessions.  £2.50 for an adult from 6.45 to 8pm – sounds reasonable.  It’ll hopefully help me acclimatise to cold water.

Yet more news: got my email through today about the VLM Training Day on 22nd July.  Apparently I definitely need a wetsuit… any views on that?  Have you done an open ater triathlon without one?

So: running, wetsuit, more wearing of trisuit.  Not to the pub, naturally…

Big cycle on Sunday. Watch this space.

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On mad plans and moules-frites

So, the mad idea I had rattling around in my head stayed for a few days – always a sign it should be considered for filing under ‘action’.

Not going to reveal full details just yet – largely because it’s not set in stone – but a small adventure on Sunday coming should cement it, and then I’ll spill.  The title is a hint… and it’s going to be a challenge.

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Eurgh. Hurts.

So, tonight, I rather ambitiously got off my bike – after my 5 mile commute from work – and went for a run.  I managed 1.6k before I gave up… and now, three hours later, I don’t want to move anywhere.

Two reasons:

– I didn’t feed my muscles the rights things before I did all that exercise.  They didn’t have a lot of fuel to burn, and so they didn’t work efficiently and they haven’t recovered well.  I’m going to regret that in the morning.

– I haven’t run for about a month. BAD IDEA.  Note to self: get running more.

On the plus side, I picked up my trisuit and new cycling gloves today.  Jury still out on the gloves (I think they’d be great for regular bars but for the drop bars on my road bike, where most of the pressure is on the web between my index finger and thumb, they’re not 100% comfortable – yet) but the suit is aces.  Revelation – doesn’t make me look like a whale.  Namely because I’ve never seen a whale with RED GO-FASTER STRIPES. Yeah, take that, triathlon – I’ve got stripes and I’m coming for you…

Also: new cycle helmet tomorrow.  I lovelovelove my Bern and it looks great on the slopes but ‘sweaty head’ is not a good look for a new job – I need something with vents.

Reviews of kit coming soon – promise.

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How things change

Two years ago, my reason for not cycle-commuting was that the cycle helmet messed up my hair.

Today: I’m changing my hairstyle because it doesn’t fit right under my cycle helmet.

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Learning to love my cleats

Cycling to work this morning, I did not want to get off my bike.  The weather was glorious and I just wanted to keep riding around and around… it helps that I get to cycle across the river (Waterloo Bridge for anyone who’s interested – not Blackfriars! Terrible for cyclists; not Southwark, because I don’t like cycling through the City as cabs are rushing people about) which is beautiful, and makes me feel really connected to my city.

After work I cycled home, and even through my ride is almost twice as long time-wise than my previous commute, I loved it.  I arrived home sweaty and happy, and feeling great.

And then it hit me.  I love my shoes.  Just a handful of weeks after I considered putting my old pedals back on (yeah, I didn’t blog that bit…) I honestly love the cleats.  I love the increased power I get going up hills, and the extra push on the flat; I love the sense that I’m working out more of my legs than before.  I feel like I can put more in – and get more out.

Also: maybe it’s the weather, but I’ve come to realise recently that I don’t just cycle-commute because it’s cheaper and better for me – it genuinely has become my favourite way to travel around London.  Having spent two weeks at the mercy of unpredictable cross-city trains and tourist-filled sweat-box tube carriages, I really love being able to get to work under my own steam, not relying on anyone else.

What can I say?  It seems a certain someone has converted me into a cyclist… Well done him.  For now, I have a few cycling-related seeds of ideas rattling around in my head, which may grow into projects in the future – let’s wait and see.

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