An amazing weekend of Sunshine, Stretching and Slipstreaming with Cycling Plus Weekenders

Last weekend training began in earnest. We had thought it was just going to be a nice relaxing break in the Cotswolds with a bit of cycling and yoga thrown in.

We had NO IDEA.

There must have been nearly 100 seemingly pro-cyclists, with snazzy matching outfits, clip-on shoes and bikes laden with hydration bottles and energy gels and… us with our strappy tops, back-to-front shorts (long story!) and single bottle of unmodified water. We got seriously burnt, seriously hungry and properly exhausted, but we met some inspiring people and had the best weekend we’ve had for ages!

We feel so lucky to have this challenge to train for and focus on. I honestly don’t know how we would have coped without it. Daddy has always been such a massive part of our lives… And the world certainly feels much emptier place without him, but in the midst of everything he continues to be an inspiration. It is really wonderful to be able to continue an adventure, which feels all about him and which he was so excited to help us plan. Daddy, I certainly hope you’ll be watching over us in August…  and making sure the wind is blowing in the right direction 😉

We are very grateful to Cycling Plus for such an awesome weekend at Heythrop Park, which was a perfect venue combining elegance and functionality in a rather unusual way. When we were cycling home I certainly noticed that the drive is exceptionally long.

A few weeks ago I never would have believed that I could cycle 100 (hilly!) miles in one weekend. And by lunch-time on day two, with 25 miles still to go (into a 14mph headwind) It was pretty hard not to ask to be taken home in the van!

But the feeling when we finished was fantastic… Optimistically we are already looking forward to a similar feeling on the 7th September 🙂

We also learnt quite a few things, but most importantly that:-

  1. We have actually been wearing our bib-shorts back-to-front!
  2. Slip-streaming (sharing the burden of a headwind) is a very useful trick. We now just need a string of volunteers to come and lead our daily rides and bear the brunt of the wind-resistance for us – any takers please do get in touch!
  3. We need clip on shoes
  4. There is a reason why all the other cyclists wore sleeves
  5. It is possible to drink and cycle at the same time
  6. Sports nutritionists struggle with the concept of “vegetarian”
  7. If you think you are too exhausted to continue – eat a whole box of jaffa cakes!
  8. Yoga is a life-saver and dreaming of our post cycle session was the only thing that kept us going. Thank you Lorna Chapman for the excellent classes!
  9. CNP, according to their founder (former British bodybuilding Champion Kerry Kayes), is the ‘only’ manufacturer of protein supplements in the UK that has any kind of effective quality control. If you are starving, their lemon meringue flapjack actually tastes reasonably good.
  10. Apparently it is possible to be an endurance athlete without consuming any carbohydrate – using the ketogenic diet… I’m not sure we were convinced by that one…

It was a milestone weekend and we are so happy to have survived it. Apparently the the group leader generously reported that we had “great potential” – Although I’m not sure whether that was meant to be a compliment or a reflection of our current ineptitude…


We are already getting ‘excited’ (or terrified!) about our 3km swim in ten days time… fingers crossed for another heatwave!

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