Training diary of a cycling rookie

 

 

“I have been cycling all my live, but in a “practical Dutch way” of using the bicycle as transport for short distances. Here you can read how I trained hard, constantly pushed my boundaries, pied myself, fell of my bike for the first time and short thoughts on how I transformed from out of shape to ready for our amazing journey! Enjoy and hopefully it will inspire some of you out there! ūüėČ


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My training goals for this trip:

By the 30th of June I am comfortable cycling 70 miles with 30 kg weight

15-11-2015: I have about 7 months to get ready, I am currently comfortable with 30 miles

Training schedule:
Every month I add 5 miles distance, 0.5mph to my average
and 5kg weight

My goal is to ace these hills:
February: Ally achieved in January (Booya!)
February: Highgate Hill & Box Hill (Booya!)
March: Mott Street & Claypitt Hill
April: Swains Lane (Aced it on 19/03!!) & Brasted
May: Magpie bottom & White Lane
June: Ide Hill

Weights on the bicycle:
February: 5kg
March: 10kg
April: 15kg
May: 20kg
June: 25kg

26/05/16: I cycled 62miles, climbed 5600ft with 45kg! ūüėÄ


Our last training weekend before the trip!!!!
19/06/2016 70 miles-> After a late evening with friends and a slow morning, we jumped on our bikes for our very last UK ride before the trip…I feel like we milked it hahah It was a fantastic day for a long ride, the weather was great and the roads were mainly smooth. We stumbled upon this amazing BMX/dirtbike track field/park caller Radical (link) bikes, it was amazing!! One of the owners came over for a chat, it was very nice to meet her, hopefully we’ll be back one day! We went to see our friend Phil in Brentwood. By that time Chris and I were both absolutely knackered…we had done 53miles spread out over a looong day on the bikes…we didn’t stay long because we still had 17miles to cycle, we were both tired, hungry and sore by that time, but it felt amazing, I felt proud, it was the longest i’ve cycled so far. We got pizza’s and chilled the rest of the short evening. Well that was that…training is over, I am ready for the real deal!! I am very grateful that Chris kept faith in me and trained me intense to transform me from completely unfit to the point where I am now! I am ready for the hills&miles to come!! I am incredibly excited to start!! Thank you all of you who believed in me and those of course who didn’t, I couldn’t have achieved all of this without all your support!!! I hope you enjoyed reading/following my transformation!! And I hope to have inspired some of you out there!

18/06/2016: 60 miles -> I really enjoyed this ride down memory lane, we rode fully loaded on most of the route that we had done earlier in my training…except this time I was more capable then before…It was the first long ride I did with Chris on his new fully loaded bike, so for a change Chris had some training to do..I crossed of another “infamous” steep hill Avery Lane of my list. After the Peak District training weekend, this was no challenge! It was a great ride with beautiful sights. I wasn’t to exhausted afterwards, which was convenient because we had still a couple friends to see for the last time that eve.

9/06/2016 London Hills by myself-> Cycling through the Peak District changed me for good! ūüėÄ Slaying London hills, Highgate hill, Muswell hill, AllyPally and Swainslane twice and easy on this beautiful day!! It wasn’t long ago that I used to cry (if not on the outside, on the inside) up these hills!

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29/05/16 35miles, 45kg -> First thing we did this morning was pack everything¬†13342950_1313995338616740_6600753344122663712_nup, which went surprisingly quick and smooth, had some breakfast and off we went. I knew we would start again with the monstrous hills we slayed on our way to the festival, so I was prepared! That really helped, also that it was at the start of our trip, because I aced those hills “as if it was nothing”! That was incredibly satisfying! the weather was fantastic again and it was quite a pleasant ride…then we got in to the Pennines, so so beautiful again, but merciless hills, when I say¬†merciless now, I mean even Chris the machine was struggling! I have never been in anywhere like that place! It felt like a time warp to the middle ages, incredible!! But very tough..We crossed the border Lincolnshire to Yorkshire, trough beautiful villages, since it was a bank holiday, there were many people out and about..and then after a good 30+miles out of the blue my gear shifter broke AGAIN…It got stuck in the heaviest gear, so continuing cycling in this hilly area was no option…we had to 13319826_1313995505283390_3922566150989064591_nchange our plans completely so I had to push the bike most part to the nearest train station, we found out that the first train would come in another 2 hours, so we decided to push the bike to the next station and take 3 trains back fully loaded to Tony&Maria, had to cancel our camping for the night, it was quite late by the time we arrived there, but thankfully they waited for us with a warm shower and bed and many different cheeses to snack…we are worried and bummed to say the least that this close to our trip, we are still having to many shenanigans with my bike…


28/05/16-> We learned a couple useful tips and tricks, listened to several speakers, had a great lunch, checked out many touring bikes had an incredible dinner provided by the festival. Later that night I shared my story in the 3 minute open mic session which led to another familiar face! Rupert, that I had mentioned before in my diary, we met him on top of the massive hill Swains Lane in London, he recognised our story. It was great catching up!


27/05/16 58miles-> This day was also hilly, but it felt less extreme then the previous day, except for the one monster of a steep hill at the end. That hill was so steep, it didn’t take long before I decided to push my bike up (which was hardly doable) I believe it was 19% , Chris cycled this up..since Chris had only back panniers, all the weight made his front wheel come of the road, so he had to lean forward to cycle…it was unbelievably impressive! (I knew he was part robot) the day was beautiful, we cycled through many middle age villages, it looked like a fairytale, I loved it. We witnessed a funeral carried out with horse and wagon, that was very impressive. We cycled through “witches country”, I remember that mainly as the hilliest, but prettiest part of that day. When we13307408_1314006441948963_5977996177365629003_n got closer to the festival we finally met another tourer, his name was Mark and cycled from Manchester, Mark was lost and joined us for the last part of the trip to the festival, where we quickly set up the tent, showers (these showers were more the classic camping showers we expected in the first place, but never the less, very refreshing after another 9/10 hours on the bicycle) Chris cooked us some delicious pasta on our little stove and then we went out on a stroll on the festival area. We ran into a familiar face from our trip to Amsterdam, we ran in to Ralph, the lightest packed traveller/tourer i’ve ever met, his stuff fits in a match box.


26/05/16 62miles-> I think I passed the test!! We¬†cycled 9 and a half hours, 62miles of non stop massive hills trough the peak district (5600ft elevation)!!! Fully loaded about 45kg…waaauw what a ride that was hahah one hill right after the other not a single flat 13282225_10153556295402513_27158161_nroad…either climbing or free-wheeling…that was incredibly intense! It was unbelievably beautiful!! The views we had at the peaks!! All the landscapes, it was absolutely stunning!! I was doing and feeling great for most of it, but at 56 miles I had enough!! My body started to hurt and I got mentally tired, it was not fun any more…I felt a tantrum coming up…but Chris wisely ignored that, so I quickly gave up, wiped my tears and got back on that saddle and pushed through those last 6 miles…there was literally no other option…we camped in Crowden at the best camping I ever stayed at, the guy Ritchie that welcomed us there was very friendly and funny, we had luxurious showers like at home, pizza delivery at the tent!! We got to test our gear out for the trip, used the tent etc for the first time, it didn’t take long before we were all set, I slept like a baby that night…pleased with that victory and bracing myself for another day similar to the one we just ended.13282303_10153556629772513_412608870_n


25/05/16->¬†Our plan is to test our gear (and me) with a trip to the UK Cycle Touring Festival. The timing couldn’t have been better! Right before our trip! We rented a car as Chris just sold his. Drove to his Cousins Tony, Maria and Kristin with the bikes in the car, they live about 120miles away from the festival, our plan is to cycle half of that, camp 1 night and continue the next day towards the festival, camp there two nights, learn all kinds of useful tips & tricks from experienced tourers, share our story/my transformation to cyclist story and cycle back 120miles over 2 day’s.


22/05/16 52miles-> After all the partying we jumped back on the bike to make some miles. The weather was great! The ride was alright, should have been flat but it was harder then the previous day…maybe because of the activities the night before and inactivities the weeks before.


21/05/16 42miles-> Chris had discovered that my frame had snapped..so we had to go through a few weeks’ process of sending it back, waiting for a new frame to arrive and so on…so I was very excited to go on this ride since it had been almost 3 weeks…which is a lot of time of my training schedule..anyway..It felt great to be on¬†the bike again! We went to Nottinghamshire to stay with Chris’ cousins Tony, Maria & Kristin, it was so nice to meet them for the first time. 13226802_1164346590262828_8766304986998549249_nThey spoiled us well!! Chris had prepared me for a hilly ride..it all looked pretty hilly on the map, but it was not nearly as bad as I was preparing myself for…better this way ūüėÄ It was a very pleasant ride. I felt great afterwards, we quickly got ready to go to Judy & Mike’s golden anniversary party, danced the ceilidh and went satisfied to bed to ride the next day again.


01/04/16 30miles 2800ft climb-> After our night out we left the car in town, so this early morning we started the day with a nice walk, still feeling a bit shaky. We had some nice breakfast in the harbour and I felt still a bit resistance towards the upcoming extreme hilly ride…we drove back to Chris‚Äô parents house, got in to our cycling outfits and quickly after left on our bikes…

the hills started immediately..it took me till the end of the street to give in..and just there¬†and then I decided to give it all I got and make the most out of it…well this ride turned out to be amazing! It rained the whole ride long, but that didn’t matter any more, 13183247_10153517206207513_2129797429_nI really started to enjoy this ride, I aced so many hills, we cycled through awesome (spooky) hidden towns.¬†I started to enjoy uphill more then steep down hill, more because I still find it a bit scary to let go of my breaks with many potholes and broken asphalt.
We got to a field with so¬†many baby cows, I‚Äôve never seen a baby cow from this close, they were very curious and so cute <313152900_10153517206382513_96312273_n¬†We stopped at the Ship inn in Noss Mayo for a delicious ploughman’s and soon after we started our ride with a massive steep hill at the start, immediately followed by another extreme steep and long hill on which many cars seem to struggle…just saying..I aced that! Purely because I was feeling great and determined and acing that hill really felt rewarding and as a victory! I was convinced again that I could do this trip and that I wasn’t going to let anything stop me! It gave me so much energy and adrenaline that I didn’t feel any fatigue until later that evening. This was the first time I had seen Chris this tired after a training I couldn’t believe it,¬†it gave me a strange feeling of satisfaction to see this human side or as our friend Fordy well described “we found his kryptonite”¬†haha


30/04/16 30miles 3000ft climb-> We left London the day before to spend the weekend with fam, friends and many hills in Plymouth. Right before we set off Chris discovered a crack in the frame of my bike..this caused a little stress with having to sort another important thing out before we leave…and leaving my bike at the shop, having to miss out13152618_10153517206097513_837803856_n on training jadiejadiejada…it is not the end of the world, but it is annoying. Chris was mentally prepping me for the extreme amount of hills awaiting me…I tried to not let it discourage me but I did feel a bit scared…This morning we started in unbelievably pretty Dartmoor, Chris drove us there to ease me in to today‚Äôs ride..
the landscapes were so intense beautiful!! Little creeks and little groups of pine trees and gold looking spiky bushes, we could see for miles. We‚Äôve seen so many wild (baby) horses! And lambs and sheep, I absolutely loved it!! it was extremely hill as in: No flat surface at all! I started optimistic and took the challenge. There was a cycling tournament going on, a lot of cyclists with numbers on them passing us and giving us ‚Äúrespects‚ÄĚ and thumbs up for riding there fully loaded. That did encourage me to ace those hills. I even managed to ace a 4 mile hill.¬†I was feeling great! I got very excited and pleased with myself. Chris‚Äô parents came out to meet us in Princetown with a fantastic picnic! After lunch I had enough of the hills considering the way back we would 20160430_134350still have plenty of hills to slay. I got tired and wanted to turn around earlier then planned. I got all dramatic in my head, doubting whether I could do this trip etc…This really taught me how important it is for me to be in a positive and optimistic state of mind…The way back to the car felt endless, I had enough…I was fearing the next day…I was looking forward to some downtime with friends…


23/04/16 47miles-> We went to spend the weekend 20160424_174113
with our¬†friends Tom & PK &¬†Seb,¬†Captain X & Emma, Danielle & Fordy, Rob¬†&¬†Sarah¬†in¬†York. We all stayed at the¬†awesome Waggon & Horses pub owned by Tom¬†& PK. I was feeling ill this week (a lot of nightly coughing, snotty slimy noses etc) which made the ride a bit tough…and eventually a big of a struggle‚Ķ The scenery was absolutely beautiful!! We slayed a couple of mean hills and cycled through some very cute villages…saw a massive ruin…I started to feel a little “funny” so¬†we stopped in Hovingham at a small local bakery¬†for lunch…that as incredible…the fresh¬†home¬†baked bread was absolutely heavenly!!! mmmmm get’s me hungry remembering it…¬†It appeared to be a popular stop amongst¬†cyclists…The people were so welcoming and¬†friendly as they were in the whole of York…it was very pleasant! It didn’t take long before I started to feel really bad…we were about 20 miles in.. of¬†course this happened in the middle of nowhere…I kept getting hot flushes and all my slime started to come loose in extreme amounts¬†which made me quite nauseous…we decided to head back to York,¬†I left a trail of little hurls….I really wish I could enjoy the ride and the incredible beautiful¬†scenery in a better state….mmmm¬†and then we passed the Nestle factory…mmmm smelled fantastic!! Not long after I curled up in bed to powernap this out of my system, so I could join the rest and cycle again the next day.


24/04/16 49miles-> Much better!! Today I felt so much better, I was ready to roll again. We were planning to meet Rob¬†& Sarah for lunch in Colton on our way back, so we made¬†some miles before that. We cycled through many farm fields…I thought it was still a bit hilly but mostly flat which was very pleasant…especially after a day like yesterday’s.. We went over a very cute toll bridge (40p a car) and saw soooo many lambs <3 It was so cute! We turned around 1 mile from Boroughbridge to cycle to Colton where we met Rob & Sarah at the Ye Olde Sun Innpub where the food was great especially Chris’s pie, I had the beef roast, my Chef’s¬†pudding was delicious! Rob had cycled from Leeds to meet us¬†and was cycling back to Leeds after.. It was also¬†time for us to cycle back to York.. all stuffed…we “winged it” ’cause that’s how adventurous we are :p ended up cycling for quite a bit on a dual carriageway, I don’t mind this, because it helps me keep a steady tempo…we cycled through the centre so I could eye up the massive famous cathedral and then within no time got back to the Waggon & Horses pub to quickly change our clothes, load up, thank our wonderful and most generous¬†hosts¬†and get on the road back to London! Chris drove us 4 hours long back, as I struggled to stay awake, incredible, I am very grateful¬†he got us back save and sound.20160424_174142


17/04/16 55miles-> After a great night sleep we got spoiled with a fantastic Pakistan breakfast of which we received a great pack up lunch! We cycled

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the name kinda gives it away…Lethal it was..

again through many amongst the hills was Leith Hill… little towns on country roads…had a few massive hills to slay…because of my gear situation I had to walk up half of it, but when I thought I aced it…I still had quite a bit left…we got a lot of “respects” and encouraging signs from other passing cyclist because we were doing this with panniers…it was fun…it was a very foresty environment, which was beautiful! After “Lethal” hill we had a very nice ride downhill…where I shared a “”trippy-magical” moment with a horse…Whilst speeding down we made eye contact and as I got closer, he started running and so did another horse…It was one of those “you had to see it” moments…anyway, down that hill Chris was waiting for me and signing me to be quiet as I got closer I could see why…13045393_10153491808297513_698936819_n
2 baby lambs were (quite loudly) minding their own business….they were yelling¬†around…We stayed around for a bit…and then 2 seconds later in to the ride a sign appeared warning us for the 18% climb…which would have been an awesome challenge if all my gears were working…but that wasn’t the case…13020515_10153491808372513_272314537_n (1)I had to push my bike for most¬†part…right after this hill we¬†had another sign warning us for a 20% climb…but this one was surprisingly way more doable then the 18%…after that it was over for a while with the hills…It was a very pleasant ride‚Ķ It was “warm”, quite busy, everyone seemed to be out and about….I really enjoyed it and then we reached Richmond Park…by that time I just wanted to go for a drink and chill somewhere…which we ended up doing…but close to home ūüôā


16/04/16 58miles-> This day we went to visit our friends Faz and Lorraine in Sussex. The weather was a bit chilly but dry, perfect for a long ride.¬†I started to clip in more often, the difference is amazing! It feels just a bit scary still in urban areas…It was the first time I got to use Chris’s old Garmin, I still have to find out how it actually works and Chris used his new one, the one that will lead us through our trip. We had the usual beautiful sights of British countryside. We cycled off a massive steep hill…Chris went 45miles an hour, which isn’t even his record. I got to test my self-adjusted breaks..I did something like 27 miles an hour…it was steep and my bike was vibrating on all sides…Soon I’ll get used to up and down hill so much that I get to enjoy the speed without brakes…We had a nice coffee break in a cute town using our little stove…20160416_140557and then a woman drove up to us, on the sidewalk right in front of us, between our bikes…making quite an entrance…she stepped out, came over to us and with much excitement in her voice started complementing us, mainly Chris, She told us she’d been following us since the hill (I just described) sharing how she couldn’t keep up with Chris’ speed and that he was going about 45miles an hour…she followed us for quite a bit apparently to tell us this and then drove back hahah Amazing I love how she literally went out of her way to compliment us…Everything seemed to go well….and then it happened…out of the blue my gear shifter stopped working, leaving me in the heaviest gear…so flat parts I cycled a nice decent speed and with the littlest elevation way slower…anyway there wasn’t anything we could do about it then…but I wasn’t looking forward to hills…this time with a legit reason…we decided to look for a bike shop as it was a Saturday afternoon around 16:30 in the middle of nowhere…we had to hurry up as most of them close at 17:00…we found a Halfords…where there was no bike mechanic so our race continued…I started to feel a bit nervous as I knew there would be more hills to come and the chances I would find an open bike shop the next day were none…and there he was‚Ķ Nick @ Brand Cyces(link)…He had no time, his work was piling up as we entered the shop and yet he made time to strip my gears, find the problem, tried his best to fix it, but it appeared to be a production fault and not fixable on the spot and since there was still a warranty on my bike, it was best to bring it to the shop where I got it from (link) the only thing he could do to make the rest of the ride more doable, was to put my chain in the rear middle ring…that way I could use my big front ring to switch gears which would leave me 3 gear options…that really saved the rest of the ride…We cycled through a very cute town called Colgate, I wonder if it has anything to do with toothpaste…and around 7.30pm we reached Faz and Lorraine’s super new casa!! Their neighbourhood is so new, it looked like a movie set. It was so nice to meet Faz & Lorraine, they pampered us with their company and lots of food and drinks!! And then the usual happened…I tried to fight it, but around 10:30 already I started to doze off and soon fell asleep in to a deep coma till the next morning…13082029_10153491808537513_81584295_n


20160410_09330510-04-16 65miles-> We slept in and at 9 Jo was ready to cook us an amazing eggs benedict breakfast! After breakfast we quickly packed up and cycled of to the train¬†station.¬†We¬†took the train from Eastleigh to Basingstoke and started our journey. It was such good weather that we both wore shorts and I wore short sleeves. (I find that if I am a little bit dressed down, I cycle faster to stay warm) It was a long but beautiful ride‚Ķ we took a couple of scenic, but slower¬†routes, It was nice, I felt great and enjoyed the ride…at some point out of the blue I started to feel shaky and dizzy so then we both took a shot of “Mule bar” fast caffeine energy gel’s…wauw…that was amazing, how fast that stuff kicks in, within no time I felt more energized then ever! Acing the roads until we stopped in a very cute place called Old Windsor where we stopped for a delicious farmers lunch…later on we cycled so close to Heathrow airport that I felt the wind from the landing air planes‚Ķ as we cycled the last 15 miles though seemed to be the longest again…we tried to get to the Thames and cycle all the way back following the river…that wasn’t as easy as we thought‚Ķ there were a lot of blocks such as flooded paths that prevented us from doing so, so we¬†had to take a couple of detours. the weather was great and it was still light out side that helped a lot to¬†still feel good for those last couple of miles. This day I was still a bit anxious with the clipping in, as we went in to urban areas a lot, but as soon as we would be on a motorway I’d click in and notice an immediate speed change…I hope I’ll get over that soon and become better at clipping out as that would raise my confidence to clip in more and there for speed up…¬†As we finally¬†got home around 20:00,¬†I was surprised to see that Chris for a change felt more knackered then I did…We did our stretches, binged our left over food, showered and cocooned at the sofa…that was incredibly satisfying…


09-04-16 67miles-> We went to visit Graham and Jo. This was the first time I’ve cycled “clipped in”¬†outside. (meaning my feet clipped/”glued” in the pedals. 20160412_104424That was quite exciting…Chris had promised me that I would fall at some point and that I should be prepared for that…I thought “that won’t happen to me, I am from Amsterdam, I know how to cycle hahaha” Well…I fell…in standing¬†traffic…I still blame the car that was blocking our way ($*^&^^)…anyway I couldn’t clip out¬†and this fall really went in slow motion…I had time to realise what was happening and I still couldn’t take my feet of the pedals…I slowly tipped over on my left side, hitting the pavement, lying on my side like a helpless turtle…still clipped in…It didn’t take too long before Chris realised what had happened and came to my rescue as did another cyclist who immediately recognised what had happened…I pulled a muscle in my right¬†leg, but that healed quite quickly, that was all, it was more the shock and the being/feeling “stuck”¬†that had traumatised me a bit…I find it scary to be clipped in in urban area’s where pedestrians randomly cross the road etc and unstable roads such as potholed or gravelled…I tend to slip in the clips automatically and get a minor heart attack every¬†¬†time I realize I am stuck‚Ķ I definitely do see the benefit of clipping in, I go way faster with less effort, it creates a steady pace,¬†it saves a lot of energy! I just need to get over my little gained¬†anxiety…get more confident. The ride was very pleasant! I loved it again! We cycled trough many small towns and seen so many unbelievably gorgeous mansions! The weather was perfect, very mild. We made a couple nice stops where we either ate our lunch, made our own coffee or ate an energy bar. We found our way to the train station in Basingstoke where we took a train to Graham and Jo in Bishopstoke. I was feeling great!¬†It was very nice to see Graham and Jo and their new home,¬†after a quick shower a royal meal:¬†delicious steak dinner¬†and beverages and great company¬†was waiting for us…It didn’t take long for me to feel the effort of the day kicking in and a little after midnight I passed out the minute my head hit the pillow.


04-04-16 08-04-16 ->¬†I’ve¬†trained¬†every¬†day¬†30-45 min. on the Turbo trainer, I love it! Super intense and very effective!


02-04-16¬†60min¬†on¬†the¬†turbo¬†trainer-> This weekend we went to Wales for a family weekend with Chris’ parents and brother+his family. Chris’ brother Adam (who also is very much in to cycling) lent us his Turbo trainer so I can train daily indoors on my own bicycle(!), save time, train for speed and become more fit. This day I trained an hour in Adam’s garage, that was so incredibly intense. I cannot compare this with road cycling…but it definitely is an incredibly good work out.


29/03/16 56miles-> With little sleep stored, nice early ferry breakfast buffet,
it was time for our last part of the ride home. It was 7 o clock when we started the ride, I still felt ‚Äúbend-backwards-and-broken‚ÄĚ but did not wanted to keep that as my main thought to start the long ride. Carefully we started out, we did some stretches and off we went…The first¬†40 miles were quite pleasant, beautiful scenery, farms, horses, sheep, cows, pheasants, cute little rabbits, there was a beautiful early morning smell and it was relatively flat. This ride contained more graphic gruesome road kill then¬†any other ride so far…poor little fella‚Äôs…It was nice not to have the time pressure, so we had many little breaks‚Ķ and then I found out that I had misunderstood how long this ride would be, I thought we would take a train from Chelmsford home, but the plan appeared to go from Shenfield 11 miles further…so we did a coffee in Chelmsford where I let my tiredness kick in (cause it was almost over), only to find out we had another 11 miles to go…pfff…that was so painful…the fun was over…I just wanted to get it over with…I am really looking forward to read this back further in my training and have a little giggle over the drama those last 11 miles were…the physical pain became unbearable… on or off the bike did not even matter anymore…my knees, saddle, wrists‚Ķ mentally‚Ķ my body really protested this part…I was done…In 24 hours we cycled 17 hours..¬†we pushed trough…we made it…IMG_5485


28/03/16 54miles-> After all the fun and friendly faces it was time to head back to the ferry. It was promised to be a tough ride, there was a weather alarm out warning for storm,12939220_1276594252356849_149897691_n big lorries weren‚Äôt aloud on the road etc. We did not let that stop us…It was hard…the hardest ride for me so far…I was pedalling as hard as I could and was only averaging 6-8 miles an hour‚Ķ which resulted in 12966069_1276594355690172_1618067637_ntime pressure in order to make¬†it in time to the ferry. This resulted in not having time for a single¬†break. It took us a little over 8 hours, there was sand flying up, it was a non-stop battle with the continuous head wind,¬†I injured my knees. Cyclists from the opposite direction were flying by without pedalling, that looked like so much fun! This was for me definitely an unpleasant ride,with a lot of pain, mental exhaustion, but on the up side, it was a flat ride. I also learned that I‚Äôd rather battle with a hilly ride then a windy ride…The ferry got delayed and we made it well on time‚Ķ I was dead…all we wanted at that point was food, a shower and sleep…

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24/03/16 63miles-> From the Hoek van Holland we cycled to Waddinxveen, 12246658_10153426981932513_6524100428191610450_nthis road was
unbelievably flat! With all the excitement (my head was all over the place) and some detour/freestyling early in the morning it took us 4 hours to get to Waddinxveen. We paid a quick visit to family and then moved on to cycle to Amsterdam. This ride was incredibly easy! I loved this ride! I was full of energy, the weather was perfect, the roads were perfect and flat. It didn’t take us long before we arrived in Amsterdam where we celebrated our arrival.12417738_1261947150488226_7520123664177924432_n


23/03/16 57miles->Off to Amsterdam!! ūüėĬ†This ride IMG_5424was super hilly and long, but I was very excited to get to the ferry!! We¬†cycled through amazing landscapes!! I loved it!! We saw a lot of beautiful farms and many horses, sheep, pheasants. By the end of this ride it was pitch black in the¬†countryside. This was a good ride to test our lights, the roads were purely lid by the lights of our bikes. I am very impressed by how strong and bright my headlight is! As I was cycling up front I was dependant on what my headlight IMG_5426would light up, because that was all we could see, that¬†was very exciting I thought, especially with all the potholes in the country roads. We made it in time to the ferry, had a quick shower, a quick look around a quick drink and then it was bed time…after 4 hours sleep it was time for a quick (classic Dutch) breakfast containing a “beschuitje” with chocolate sprinkles, slice of brown bread with aged cheese and later on another one with peanut butter. A great start for a new exciting day! We arrived at the Hoek van Holland!

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20/03/16 58miles-> This was a massive hilly ride, it took me a bit by surprise, but I did enjoy it. I ticked off another “famous’ tough hills, Carbone Hill! We left the city trough the urban north London, it was great weather for a ride. The country side-Essex is very nice to cycle trough.

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More like “Cabron” Hill :p (Mexican word joke.. ) :3


19/03/16 18miles-> Since time is ticking we are planning to12527883_10153413374867513_1698570336_n hit every week a new target. I had worked till 2AM the night before and in the morning we did falconry, that left us the afternoon to do hill training. I wanted to do a short but target hitting ride, so we decided to hit Swains lane a bit earlier then planned. I aced it!! In one go! Fully loaded! On top of that hill we met another touring cyclist Rupert, who will cycle this summer from San Diego to Vancouver!! You can follow his whereabouts at continentalthriftcycling.wordpress.com/!


13/03/16 58miles->¬† We went a complete different route in to the country side, the weather was absolutely perfect, spring is in the air, the ride was fun, more energised then lately. (even though we did went out for a couple, meeting Ross @ the Blackheart) We cycled trough many small towns around Essex meeting our friend Phil in Brentwood for a late lunch. The temperature dropped unbelievably quickly during that encounter which made us fasten our pace. Rushing home and¬†all the impatience taught¬†me a big lesson , during our quick “nature stop”; I had a little accident with the sheewee hahah and had to pay the price for it…I guess if it had to happen at some point, I am glad it happened relatively close to home where we have a great shower and a washing machine >.< All in all I had a fantastic training weekend in which I’d set my new record of 111miles (178.6 km!).


12/03/16 53miles-> ¬†It was my first ride with both front and back panniers. We cycled through the north of London through some great neighbourhoods for people watching out into Essex. I was slow again at the start, but then I had an energy boost on our way back, when I recognised where we were and doubled my speed. With long rides I seem to want to spread my energy a bit, not give it all at start and be exhausted half way, I’d rather start “slow” and comfortable and have energy by the end.


6/03/16 40miles->¬†Essex, We had been out the night before (Who would want to bail out on a Kiss cover band with friends) and with me still being a bit sore from the training the day before, this seemed to be a never ending ride, both tired but did not wanted to give in, we did our “usual” route in to the country side, I was slow, it felt like hard work, but happy that we did it, realising that I did 100 miles that weekend felt enormously satisfying.


5/03/16 60miles-> Box Hill, This was a very nice, cPicture2hallenging and satisfying ride: urban¬†mixed with a part countryside, middle age towns, pheasants, rabbits & horses I loved it! It was quite hilly. I didn’t go very fast, I believe I was going about 10-12miles an hour, but this was comfortable (I had worked the night before till ¬Ī2 AM). I was non-stop mentally preparing and a bit anxious about Box Hill, because Chris had mentioned that it was used for the Olympics. Whilst cycling uphill I was bracing myself so much for the “hard parts” that I had build up in my imagination, that I reached the top before I knew it… Ace!!!¬†We drank a coffee up top, enjoyed the view a bit and made our way back. On the way down it was so freezing I couldn’t feel my face for a while…then the tiredness and a little claustrophobic panic attack kicked in…we had some more hills to go, I was tired, we¬†were in the middle of nowhere countryside, I had sore knees, felt cold, bit emo, this took about 3 min. with some cuddles and loving and support from Chris, gave¬†me the right spirit and energy again to make the702769_10153403201967513_342167000_n way back home way smoother and pleasant. We nailed it!!! I¬†love that feeling of accomplishment after a day cycling! When it gets tough, that is often what pushes me through¬†<3
Oh yeah and this was the first time I used a “shewee” hahaha what a brilliant invention! I wear a sort of padded wrestling cycling outfit, which is very comfortable, but not most convenient for “naturestops”, so a shewee comes in very handy as a most (uncharming) solution. I do feel that I need to mention this as it is part of this cycling reality.


27/02/16 36miles-> We went to visit Chris’ brother Adam & family who live in¬†Glamorgan,¬†Wales, for the weekend. We brought our bikes so we could discover the incredibly beautiful area and still do some training. We enjoyed the scenery a lot, many castles, sheep, beautiful coastline and rural area. We had lots of headwind and me being out of shape didn’t really help the speed. It was a slow and beautiful ride. ūüėÄ

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18/02/16 20miles-> I went out on my own because I had work in the weekend. I did Highgate hill, Muswell Hill and Ally Pally all way faster and easely then the last few times. I had a lot of energy, the weather was amazing: crisp and sunny. For some weird reason I tend to cycle significantly faster when I am on my own or cycling up front or cycle one way (instead of a circle).


14/02/16 19miles-> “Romantic¬†Valentines-morning¬†hill-training: Highgate hill, Muswell and Ally Pally! I aced it! never thought i’d say this, but that was a very satisfying accomplishment to start an actual incredibly romantic day with a luxurious delicious brunch, gifts and movie ūüėČ


13/02/16 21miles-> A nice short refreshing ride to end the week, we didn’t go far out because Chris’ parents were staying over this week and we wanted to spend time with them and still do a quick training.


31/01/16 27miles-> Essex, a cold and wet ride in the country side.IMG_4445


30/01/16 40miles-> Essex, a ride in the country side.

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24-01-16 47miles-> Newport (Essex) back to Hackney Wick. We woke up early, after the usual stretching, we continued our trip home. I was less energetic then the day before, it was quite intense, but there was no other option then to move on…there were no hills expected, but yet there were a few..I held my eyes on the celebration when back home, that¬†pushed¬†me through…and indeed it was very satisfying ūüôā


23-01-16 46miles-> Newport (Essex), I was veryIMG_20160122_212306 (1)
excited for our first overnight cycling adventure, because I knew we were only moving forward towards somewhere, instead of a circle back home, I was less tired (a weird psychological logic).¬†Breaking in the new Brooks saddle, I was prepared (mentally & ‘n cream) for all the promised saddle sores, but TG there wasn’t any!! ūüėÄ I looove it!! Such a beautiful, comfortable and classy seat.


17-01-16 27miles -> I did it!!! I felt like a champ!! I‚Äôve cycled up Muswell hill twice without a single stop!!! What an achievement!! *tears of joy* I didn‚Äôt really feel like cycling today,‚ÄĚ I just did a day of climbing the day before I thought…pushing myself out and then… I really enjoyed the ride!! The weather was perfect (crisp) for a ride and climb and I really felt excited cycling up those hills, pushing myself. The hills the day before really helped nailing the hills this day!


16-01-16 46miles->

My first trip with my own Cafe du Cycliste lady bib shorts!! A Christmas present from Chris Essex, I cycled back from a client in Essex, It was one straight line, no hills or challenges, just a nice ride.IMG_4538


10-01-16 29miles-> My first encounter with Highgate hill, Muswell hill and Ally Pally, 3 of the 4 biggest hills in London. This was extremely challenging for me, I had a flu in my system and had never cycled up hills of these proportions yet. I had to stop many times on all the hills, I was exhausted yet satisfied that I did it, but not to pleased with myself that I had to stop so many times.


09-01-16 44miles-> Toot hill, we trained with me cycling up front, apparently we go about twice as fast.


01-01-2016 30miles -> Towards Epping, It was more of a refreshing ride then a challenging, a fantastic was to start the new year fresh, clean new energy.


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on our way to Beaver world

22-12-15 40miles ->Epping and surroundings…it was pretty¬†hilly, finally it went well, I can¬†see a clear improvement in handling those hills, I haven‚Äôt cheated by walking up the hill at all this time ūüôā I handled it like a boss, I‚Äôm proud of myself…I had fun, I felt good and enjoyed the ride, the weather was wet-ish with wind from all sides, of course I did not mind the tailwind :p the side wind made it hard to control the bike from time to time, Ive never been on a bicycle that felt this light that will of course change when the bike is packed…I feel proud, satisfied and tired ūüėÄ


13-12-15 36miles -> West London Richmond Park, I loved this ride, dressed the same as the day before, mainly flat ride through the centre of London towards West where we cycled through Richmond Park, incredibly big park, only the very few hills were a challenge, but I think at this I am starting to learn how to use the gears for my benefit, now I need to work more on my strength.
‚ÄúThe hills….my big challenge, cant help but hear with every hill ‚ÄúIron Maidon‚Äôs the hiiiiiiiiilsss ‚Äúcycle up thaaaat hiiiiiillll cycle for your life!!8932066216_2710dc0267_b


12-12-15 38miles -> Essex, got my gooch creme on, padded wrestling outfit, Chris’ old cycling clothing and my granny trainers, this was a pleasant, though little bit hilly ride, it was the first ride whilst raining mildly, challenging but nice.


08-12-15 24miles ->¬†West London Hilton (flat) I did a course tiesfietsin the west side of London,¬†all flat roads, zig zagging in fast pace through traffic on my 3 geared city bike, regular clothes, (extra clean dry shirt with me)…the first day I took a detour back.


28-11-15 46miles ->¬†Southend beach (hilly- on my new 20 geared touring bike, new¬†energy, ready for a new challenge, got my gooch creme on, padded wresting outfit, and wearing Chris’ old professional cycling clothing and grandma trainers, it did not take long before I realised my new challenge, ‚Äúto have my gears work for me instead of against me…I never rode a geared bike before, I never needed that in The Netherlands…)


21-11-15 10miles ->¬†Essex (the first meeting with gooch creme and padded wresting suit heaven (Chris’ old suit), grandma sport shoes, 3 geared city bike, during the start of this ride I broke one of the gears, made us break of the trip before we made it out to the country side


15-11-15 37miles -> Epping (hilly – nice challenging and satisfying introduction to a ‚Äúlong‚ÄĚ ride)


08-11-15 28miles -> Shenfield (relatively flat – I am on my 3 geared city bike, I am
wearing thrift store reindeer leggings, grandma sport shoes, sweater, and by the end extreme saddle pain! I learned how to cycle on one cheek at a time!