Monday, 29 June 2015

Action 100 Charity Ride on 30th August

I have just received news of a charity ride at the end of August to raise funds for Action Medical Research, the well-known children's charity that has Paddington Bear as its mascot. I have never posted on the blog before about such events, though I do participate in at least one charity bike ride a year myself. 

In any case, Ellie's email was so charming and not at all pushy... and I do believe this is a ride that may appeal to a few readers and is certainly a good cause... so here you go!


25 June 2015

Charity seeks riders for Action 100 cycle challenge

The Action 100 cycling challenge will take place from Bristol to London this summer and children’s charity Action Medical Research is calling for riders to sign up now for the event on Sunday, 30 August.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Rock Creek Weekend

(Arachnophobes may want to give this post a miss...!)

I write this sitting at my desk at home in Bedfordshire. But this time a week ago -- and a whole world away -- I was sitting next to a camp fire in the forests on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon.

My trip 'home' centred around final goodbyes to elderly parents in failing health. But almost as precious  in my memories will be the camping trip that brought me and all four of my sisters together for a "girls only" weekend retreat.

We drove from our parents' home in Roseburg up the North Umpqua River, passing a seamlessly shifting panorama of scenes from our childhoods. I say 'childhoods' because the age gap between eldest and youngest is 19 and a half years, and our memories from this area span all of that plus another 20 years, then (for several of my sisters) after a long gap, another 7-8 years of hiking in these mountains, camping along its streams and 'ridge running' its spider web of old logging roads.

I was travelling "light". I had my (re-packed) carry-on bag from my flight, plus this:

We took two vehicles, each carrying only two people but towing one of these:

My youngest sister's family-built teardrop, after she sprayed it
inside and out with ant & spider poison (a precautionary step that paid off)

Monday, 8 June 2015

Life's Latest Lesson: Don't Panic

Based on the way my knees felt, I returned home after our three days of cycling in France thinking I may need to start preparing for the next round of knee surgery sooner rather than later. 

Backstory -- or, how Grumpy Knees Came To Be

I had an arthroscopy on my left knee in October 2010. There was so much damage to the cartilage (which started degenerating when I was a child), the surgeon said: 

  • I have removed as much as I dare and still leave you a little bit of cartilage for at least some 'cushioning', but what's left is still quite damaged; 
  • Further procedures like this will not be an option (for this knee; for the other, rinse and repeat); 
  • Frankly, if you need another invasive procedure, that will be the end of your cycling*. 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Tandem Dreaming

FNRttC Burnham © The5MileCyclist 2013 

Adam and I love our Circe Helios Duo and we've done two Friday Night Rides to the Coast on it. However, the value it brings to our life lies much more in its cargo-hauling capabilities. We haven't used it in tandem mode enough to get my stoker position and fit completely sorted to my satisfaction. What we have is okay for 50-60 miles and it's an easy set-up when swapping out from cargo mode the day before a tandem ride. 

However, I do ponder from time to time the possibilities that might present themselves if we had a road tandem with the sizing for captain and stoker optimised for us. At the moment, it's no more than idle speculation and musings, as I linger over stories, reviews and photos on other blogs, such as --

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Fridays' Tour de Normandie 2015 -- Day 3: Honfleur to Dieppe (via Harfleur, Le Havre and Rouen)

Posts about previous days of this tour: 

Sometimes things don't go to plan. 

Sometimes I argue with my body, knowing I need to win. 
(Usually, my knees are playing at being drama queens and need to be told to "shut up".)

Then sometimes the body says something to which there is no possible reply; it's game over.  

On a drab, damp Monday morning, about 5k out of Honfleur -- having (yet again) had little sleep, conquered a migraine in the wee hours, then fallen down the stairs on the way out of our accommodation -- the body spoke and that was that.

Let me rewind a few hours.

My day started at 5am -- with a migraine. An injection followed and two hours later I was very nearly recovered, from the migraine at least if not from the cumulative lack of sleep which was almost certainly its trigger.

We had to be dressed, packed, loaded and round the corner to the meet up point at 8am. We had plenty of time, as we had bought a few groceries in Houlgate the previous day, so ate "breakfast" while we packed without losing any time.

All was going well until the very last minute, when, arms full, I descended the narrow steep angled staircase and somehow missed the last step altogether. Down I went. I didn't drop anything but my head hit the wall. (By the way, that's how I discovered where my errant Polar cyclocomputer was: in my cycling cap. And briefly between my head and a wall. Ouch.)

I sat against the wall for a few minutes taking stock. I hadn't lost consciousness and didn't feel dizzy. Psychologically shaken but fairly certain I hadn't broken or sprained anything, I stood up and loaded my bike.

Monday, 1 June 2015

The Fridays' Tour de Normandie 2015 -- Day 2: Bayeux to Honfleur

Posts about other days of this tour: 

I am up to my neck in revision ('exam prep', for the Americans) but want to get these French ride reports written while I still remember the stories!  

Sunday (day 2) consisted of 65km of just about the best cycling ever, followed by 35km of what Martin summed up as "the worst afternoon I have ever spent on a bike". (I agreed. Others may have said similar beyond my earshot.) Fortunately, I have ample photographic evidence of the first and very little of the second. 

Up early, I started my day with the most comprehensive self-massage of my calves and lower hamstrings as it's possible for a non-qualified person to do! My knee joints felt 'tight' and the outside of my lower right leg also felt stiff and a bit painful. A massage helped tremendously but the relief was short lived. (I've since learned more about key trigger points in muscles I'd never heard of -- unfortunately, they are nearly impossible to "get at" in one's own legs.)

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