Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Silver foxes and a total wipe out.

I’d been planning on going to Cannock Chase for some time but one of my work colleges persuaded me to give it a go and I went determined to give mountain biking a shot even though I had tried it once before and it had scared me to death and I was ill equipped to go.  My bike is a hybrid and has thin tyres. Hardly suitable for the terrain and with no suspension it was totally unsuitable but I thought I would give it a go. How hard could it be?

We were going to ‘follow the dog’.


My colleague had warned me about some of the hard bits so I was a little prepared and my OH went ahead to warn me of obstacles coming up.

It’s hard work and takes a lot of concentration and hard work on the upper body. The trail through the trees is really tight in places and coordinating brakes, body position, peddle position, gears and speed takes a lot of work and sometimes I got it wrong!


My peddles when in the down position would catch on stumps or rocks and throw me sideways. The slopes down are often followed quickly by steep slopes up and sometimes i missed a gear change and lost  momentum and ended up stopping dead on a steep slope. The bends were really tight between the trees negotiating my big wheels round the bends was hard.

There is a  steep long climb too. A real lung buster, needless to say I stopped twice going up it!


It doesn’t look that bad from this pic but believe me it was a killer.

There are some parts where the dirt path turns onto steps then thin wooden bridges. I didn’t have the guts to go over these when I saw them and came to a sudden stop and walked down them!


(I nicked this picture of the boardwalk off the net!)

However, further on the track I didn’t have the chance to stop as the steps come upon you quickly and before you know it you’re going over them!

Scary but exhilarating.

The worst parts I found were the sandy/gravelly tracks which wound  snake like down the hill because you have to go slightly on an angle on the side of the track and keep your speed up to avoid slipping or skidding. It seemed to go forever and I was grateful when it was over!


That’s not me by the way! I wasn’t going that fast!

I stopped on a bit like this and realised someone was coming up behind me so had to scramble out the way sharpish!

I’d stopped further up the track as well, in the trees and pulled over to have a drink when 3 guys came whizzing down on top spec bikes. They must  have been in their 60’s! Owned by silver foxes!

We followed them further down the track and luckily my OH got off his bike and walked down to where the silver foxes were having a break. It was a steep and messy and I was relieved to walk down it.

The foxes proceeded to tell me that my bike was all wrong for the course and the terrain. Erm, yep I had gathered that but there was no going back now!

The only way was forward and I was determined to show them I was going to make it to the end in one piece!

We got to an easier bit and could rest a bit a bit and then Bruce shouts ‘rollers ahead’ what the heck were rollers? Well I was about to find out! They are very large close together humps about a metre high. They looked easy and Bruce steamed over them so I followed. Nothing to skid on, no tight bends.

I picked up speed over the first 2 humps and then on the way up the third I realised I was going really fast and flew over the top of the hump and panicked. I think I slammed my breaks on and hit my front wheel head on to the ground. I flew forward towards the ground and as if in slow mo I saw the ground coming towards my face and thwack, smacked my head hard on the ground. I came to a stop and assessed the damage. My handle bars were wedged  between my thighs and one was stuck in my bladder region!

Bruce realised I wasn’t approaching him so dumped his bike and came to my rescue. He untangled me from the bike and got me up. Luckily I was off the track a guy came tanking over the hill and shouted in passing ‘you ok? You need help?’ I said ‘I’m fine thank you, don’t worry’ to his departing image as he flew off.

I was covered in dirt and had a few cuts and bruises and an egg on my forehead but apart from that I was fine, thank god. No broken bones!

My pride was the worst thing hurt then as I was determined to see those guys and show them I had made it round unscathed. But alas I wouldn’t be able to :-(

My bike was fine apart from a few battle scars. My new bike computer and glasses were scratched. Every pair of glasses I own are scratched on the left lens right in front of my eye! Every single pair and now these. Gutted.

Still I’m in one piece thank goodness. Feel a bit spaced out and drunk but not in a good way!

My head hurts and my neck is as stiff as a board and I feel like I've been in a car crash but I shall definitely be going back but with a decent mountain bike and body armour!

28119_393605805582_647475582_4511835_5018552_s 28119_393625015582_647475582_4512286_4203189_s doesn’t look bad but it hurts!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Man or woman???

When I was a child Mum insisted on giving me snd my brother the same hair cuts. Short back and sides. I was often mistaken for a boy then. So I grew my hair and had what I thought was this beautiful head of blonde hair. Then mum made me have it 'trimmed' then it went frizzy and dark :-(
Starting senior school is always a but traumatic but I hated it. I was given enough money every day to get a proper dinner. So I'd eat properly but the girls I went in with would eat really quickly and leave me to finish mine alone and I'd sometimes be subjected to sitting with older kids who would snicker and make jokes so I would leave my dinner and walk round til the bell went and back to class. The final straw came in the dinner when a boy in my brothers year asked 'are you a boy or a girl?' and I was standing in the queue alone humiliated. He knew who I was and knew damn well I was a girl(partly because the skirt gave it away). I couldn't eat my dinner that day as I had a lump in my throat which felt the size of a tennis ball trying not to cry. I stopped going in for lunch after that.

I bloody hated school. Kids are so mean!!
When I started my nurse training I had dyed blonde hair, longish and kept that for quite sone time with not much bother. It's not until I cut it off and darken it that the trouble begins.
I had it really short and black once and at the local shop the assistant asked ' what CSM I get you sir?' I was mortified. Not long after that I went away for a TA weekend to try it out. Again I got called a 'lad' and when I complained one of the guys on the trial weekend said 'well, you shouldn't dress like a bloke then'. I had a fleece and trousers on!

Whilst travelling in Scotland with an ex of mine, his sister and her friend (they both had long hair and were very slim)we went into a pub and were greeted by the locals. All were half cut and it was only 2 in the afternoon. One guy asked my ex 'which one if these 2 beauties us yours then?'. He looked at the floor in shame and said 'actually I'm with her' and pointed to
me. I had a woolley hat on as it was freezing so I looked crap anyway and hadn't bothered with makeup either. The other 2 girls were made up with their hair done looking good. The guy laughed and asked if my ex was desperate! I went off and hid in the corner minus the hat snd left them at the bar. After a few minutes the guy pipes up ' actually she's not so bad son if she made something of herself like'.

A lot of people have also said that they have been surprised on seeing my husband and didn't expect him to be 'quite so trendy and good looking'. What does that say about me then???

Most recently, just when I think all the 'bloke' comments are out the way I get another. I was on my bike going to see him at his work and one of the staff said 'who's this bloke coming up the drive on a bike?' no wonder dad didn't introduce me and made me go and sit in the garde

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Greenfly bra!

Determined to do a big bike ride today. So after dropping the sproglet off I set off on my journey.

Wasn’t entirely sure where I was going yet but I took my usual route towards Findern, a pretty little village not far from me and it’s on the road is nice and quiet, mostly.


I love going past this cottage. It’s so pretty. Pity the sun wasn’t shining on it.

From here I travelled towards Willington. Past the marina, which has a beautiful cafe looking out over it. Sadly, I had no time, or money to stop for some of their lovely cake.

Through the village and on towards Eggington and Hilton.

My Dad lives at Hilton but being a fine day he was out working so I rode over to where he works, at a residential home near the Tara Buddhist centre. The centre is an old school house set in beautiful gardens and woods. It’s a very relaxing place and I have had many a session meditating there but cannot subscribe to the Buddhist theory so stopped going. It made me feel terrible to think I had to be mindful of everything. I have to saw I wasn’t mindful of the greenfly stuck down my top today!

After a quick natter with pops it was onto the village of Sutton on the hill then Longford.

DSCF0337 DSCF0336

Coming out of Longford and heading back towards Radbourne is a killer ride with lots of hills. I tried to photograph them but the photographs don’t do them any justice.

They are truly evil!

DSCF0341 DSCF0343 The brow of the hill in this photograph is actually just opposite the house you can see in the distance. The last little bit in the foreground of the photo is very steep and an absolute killer!

Off then towards Kedleston Hall where I stopped for a wee while with the sheep (and their poo) and thistle up my bum! I didn’t actually go to the hall as it was further up the path and I was keen to get moving.

The hill I had just coasted down for ten minutes was absolutely mobbed with greenfly. They sounded like torrential rain hitting my jacket. At the bottom of the hill I stopped and was covered. Wish I’d zipped my jacket up to the neck as I had a ton of them in my cleavage :-0 I could feel them crawling about, so forgive me Buddha but they got squidged!

I decided then in my wisdom to head back up the hill I had taken ten minutes to coast down! What?? It was like an out of body experience. Maybe I have a split personality with masochistic tenancies?

Anyway it was a gradual incline and looked worse than it actually was.

I then headed towards Radbourne again and on towards Mickleover where I joined the Sustrans route 54 towards Egginton. This is a disused railway track and makes an excellent ride through some beautiful countryside. Quite busy with cyclists today too.

Getting off at Eggington Junction I headed back towards Willington and I was running out of steam and had finished my water too so decided to head home for a well earned cuppa (a couple of biscuits)! I think I deserved it as I had clocked up 70k.



Monday, 17 May 2010

Panic attacks and bad dreams.

It's not going too well. It doesn't help I haven't been out on my bike much for days. And I should be in bed now in fact after my night shift but I searching for bike parts I can't afford.

I'm skint and so is everyone else. Saturdays carboot sale proved that. I raised a whopping £29.00 woo hoo, not. 6 hours and 29 quid. Better than nothing but still I was hoping for more. People were haggling over a few pence even after I said it was for charity. Some people were generous but I think I was hoping for a bit more. Most of the ladies in the 2 groups are doing very well with the fundraising. I am barely scraping 200 quid. People have pledged money and are giving me stuff to sell but i really was thinking I might be a little further on in the money stakes.

It's going to be a tough year me thinks.

On a brighter note I actually rather enjoyed the carboot sale and enjoyed somerather yummy home made chutney on my burger from a stall near me. I could hear them talking about about the products to interested parties and it was making my mouth water so I was really grateful when my OH turned up and bought me a burger and a brew and allowed me a pee break!

I sold a stair gate on Ebay and the lady who bought it picked it up and paid for it and gave me a donation then I saw she had already paid so I gave her money back. She kindly offered to let me keep it. How sweet is that?

Everyones broke I know that but I'm really nervous no-one will come to my 'waxing night' and I'll look daft.

People are talking about it a bit at work so that's reassuring.

I also need to do some off road work but my bike is a city bike unsuitable for that. I don't have any cash for another bike so may have to borrow the OH's. His is so uncomfortable though. Saddle like a razor.

I love my bike and it's not bad off road on trails. I guess the only way to find out is try it!!


Thursday, 13 May 2010

mmm maybe it's because I'm on days....

Just thinking whether feeling this good is actually to do with being on days and off nights after 4 years???

Back to nights soon though :-( bugger.

One thing I've noticed recently I've been saying the word 'twat' rather a lot.

I accosted a high school yobo playing havoc on the roads on his way home (surrounded by lots of people) and proceeded to call him a 'twat'. Bad move.

He called me a 'pussy' lots of times. But I wasn't the one who had a leather purse round my neck!!

I find myself saying the word all the time. It's like I have 'twat tourettes' Including calling myself one.

Twat twat twat twat twat repeat as necessary.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Will power

A day off training today. My knees are sore :-(

I’m doing more admin. Crikey this fundraising lark is a full time job! And what a fab job it is. I’m very nervous but excited at the same time.

I’ll feel better when I have reached the £1000 mark I think.

There are good and bad things about being at home all day:

going out to shops and spending too much money.

going out to shops and getting bargains for cycling in!

watching crap tv.

watching crap tv!!

eating too much.

having to fight the urge to sleep!!

Being cold :-(

drinking too much tea and avoiding water!

One fantastic thing about all this exercise is I sleep so well now. I rarely dream these days and that is fantastic. My dreams could sometimes be quite disturbing. I wake up before the alarm too :-*

Not done that for years!!!

I got 2 freebies today too, think I’ll buy a lottery ticket later and maybe………well you never know. Good things come in 3’s eh??

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

I’m too tired to type!

I’m not giving myself a minutes rest. Sunday I ran the race for life. Now, running for me is a mean feat. I’m no runner. I’m overweight, lots! Have dodgy knees and it just does not come naturally to me at all! Still I trained hard for it and ran virtually all of it except the uphill bit!!  It was a brilliant event and I was really proud to be part of it.


Then, on Monday morning at silly o’clock 7a.m I was at a spinning class! Must remember to take my bucket next time because I was nearly sick! Although I did better this time it was still really hard work and my heart rate was going mental. It’s good for me, it’s good for me and repeat.

I could hardly do anything yesterday and fought all day not to go back to bed. I was well ready by 10 p.m and that’s really unusual for me! Never before midnight normally.

Today, I was determined to get some miles in on the bike so made myself go on it to the hairdressers and then head out for a couple of hours. I chose a hard route to help with training on hills and although the hills were a killer they felt really good and of course bombing down them is wonderful.

The weather as usual was bloomin’ changeable so I was kitted up for rain and when the sun came out I was sweating! Again all good for me. Except I had a new hydration pouch and the water in it tasted of dettle!! yuk.

Pee’ing in a field next to a well used road wasn’t too pleasant either but what is a girl to do? Is that the done thing to do? Or are you supposed to wait to find a toilet? Not sure.

But it was a bit of a struggle trying to get 4 layers up sweaty legs without showing off my derriere too much!! Lucky I wasn’t caught out.

I made my way back home along a disused railway track that Sustrans which is beautiful through the South Derbyshire countryside. I even saw a woodpecker, which was amazing !


The flat path however was not so amazing. It’s a great track but flat and constant peddling after such a hard slog was hard work. Thank goodness the scenery took my mind off it. Going through the gates along the trail gave me a welcome break though :-)

The end of the railway track meets the busy main road to Mickleover and back to cars racing about everywhere.

I use the iphone walkmeter app to monitor my route, which is ace but gobbles the battery so arrived home in time to charge it up again.

It gives you a detailed map of where you have been, time, calories burnt and average speed. I could do with a cycle computer. I shall have to speak to Santa!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Itinerary for Kenya


Day 1, overnight London to Nairobi


Day 2. Transfer to hotel in Nyeri (4 hours) then bike fitting and short 5 k ride to Baden Powell's grave (good job I work nights and can stay awake all day and night and day!!!) Stay awake for dinner that night to hear about the ride...yeah right. I'll be asleep in the soup!!!!

Day 3. 98 km cycle.
long steady climb with downhill stretches. after 83 km’s we reach the equator for the first time.

day 4. 57 km.
some uphill climbing. Leaving Nyahururu and head into Subukia Valley. After 14k we stop at a view point over the valley (2550m). From there into Subukia town and then through vast tea plantations. After lunch transfer 140 km to Kabarnet on the edge of the Kerio Valley. Overnight at Hotel Kabernet built by President Moi.

day 5. The most challenging day! 93kms. Climbing the Elgeyo escarpment. 8 km downhill (steep). Around 28 km's we start a 26km climb on windy roads through the forest to the top of the Rift valley. After lunch a gentler ride downhill.

day 6 Eldoret to Kakamega 98ks or 110s if it's been raining. Up to lunch time we cycle on very hilly tarmac roads which undulate through plantations and farms. Some steeper hills when we reach Kapaset. After we cycle on a dirt track past small farms and villages and into rainforest towards Kakamega.

If it's been raining (which is likely) we will cycle on the busy main road for 62km's. Then 34 km along a smaller road entering the Kakamega Forest reserve.

Day 7. Kakamega-Kisumu 53 k
Mainly downhill with some steep climbs. Heading towards Lake Victoria.

End of ride.

day 8 transfer to Nakuru. free time to relax with option of a game drive.

day9. Nakuru to Nairobi.
In the afternoon we will visit Nairobi national park and visit an elephant orphanage. in the evening a night out to the Carnivore barbeque pit and to the Simba Saloon.
Day 9 back to London and reality.

Elephant Orphanage, Nairobi, Kenya