Posts Tagged With: BikeSplashBike

Lake Windermere: Fell Foot to Wray Castle

10 miles. 9 hours. One huge mental challenge.

As we set off into the mist we had no idea how hard it would be…

windermere swim  12

It was without doubt the hardest thing we have EVER done. 

I think both of us doubted whether we would make it and I don’t think we could have done it for any other reason.

The first few miles were chilly, but it seemed like an adventure…

After a few hours, despite the amazing scenery and the fly past from the Red Arrows, it began to seem less fun… actually it began to feel like a hellish nightmare! All I wanted was to lie down on firm ground… At the halfway point I was dizzy and shivering uncontrollably! But Alice and I both knew (and Luke kindly reminded her at regular intervals) “if you don’t swim, you won’t get there”! So we kept going. Actually it was too cold to rest so slow and steady seemed the only way. I tried to deceive my body that it was warm by imagining that I was swimming in a huge vat of chicken stew… it actually kind of helped 🙂

Miles 7, 8 and 9 were the hardest as the wind had picked up and there was a lot of boat traffic so it felt like we kept swimming, but weren’t making any progress and as the water was at it’s deepest I was terrified that i was going to freeze to death! I think I had three mars bars in the space of an hour! Helpfully my paddler thought it would be motivational to lie about the distances – so when I had done nearly 8 miles I was told I had done only 6… Possibly the most demotivating lie I have ever heard!! I was NOT happy!!

Finally the red balloons came into sight and it seemed like we would make it. But the actual finish was around the corner and it took what felt like an age to get there… Mummy was waiting and both Alice and I were sobbing as she helped us scramble out of the water and collapse onto the matting provided for exactly that purpose! I have never felt such relief.

To be honest I think the day was almost hardest for Mummy – she must have been so worried and she had to rush around the lake from side to side to watch us as we struggled along. It actually takes well over half an hour to drive from Newby Bridge to Ambleside, which is some indication of the distance we’re talking about!

It certainly felt like Daddy was watching over us and giving us the strength that we needed. I don’t think we would have made it under any other circumstances…

windermere swim  32

 

There are so many people we would like to thank and so much more to say… but perhaps that is for another day.

For now it is still hard to believe that it is over and we made it… As Clint Eastwood would say

“Let’s not go and ruin it by thinking too much”

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 19: Dornoch to Tongue

Miles travelled: 65

Metres climbed: 714

Midge attacks: only one, but it lasted all afternoon!

Today was our latest start, but we were so stuffed from last nights dinner and porridge for breakfast that we made speedy progress. (Actually Alice was especially well fueled after eating more than 20 dried apricots and a few prunes… I’m not quite sure what she was thinking, but she quite quickly regretted it!)

The morning up to Crask was the wildest place we’d been so far. Actually it felt like a bit of a wasteland,  which became a steady incline for the last fifteen or so miles which felt like hard work… 

 But we made good time and reached the legendary Crask Inn before 2pm… Where we had a yummy lentil soup (great for Alice’s tummy – it was a perfect complement to the bucket of dried fruit she had for breakfast!)

Mummy decided (having heard that Tongue was beautiful) that we should push on so that we could spend the night there instead… It was only about a 30 mile detour, but as midges had descended in Crask we were all happy to get going! We sped away into Strathnaver and through some of the most stunning scenery, (with a couple of big climbs…) but sadly there were too many midges for us to fully appreciate it…

We eventually reached Tongue at dusk and luckily found somewhere to stay. We felt like we’d almost made it as we are now on the northern coast of Scotland! It actually seems a little hard to believe!! Especially as Alice seems to think “it’s all down hill to John O’Groats”!!

Categories: Lejog | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 15: Glen Coe to Fort Augustus

Miles travelled: 53

Metres climbed: 384

Near misses: 2

We set off at a speedy pace hoping to keep Mummy warm after yesterday, which seemed to work! (Apparently you have to work hardest at the back – even though Alice and I have been taking a the headwind :))

After a quick coffee in Fort William we popped into Inverlochy Castle for a comfort break (unlike Mummy and me Alice is unable to use the bushes and needs a five star toilet to relieve herself on route ;)) It was a stunning setting though so we were glad to see it 🙂

We then stopped for a snack overlooking Loch Lochy… After I nearly fell into a pot hole the size of Oxford, but was rescued by a soft verge and nearby fence 🙂 Then for a few brief moments the sun broke through revealing the splendid scenery 🙂

image

We were touched to receive two spontaneous donations… From Alice Forest,  Sheila Waters and Lyndsay the waitress… Perhaps an indication of how shattered we were looking 😉 Mummy was so hungry we had to supplement our snack with some of the chocolate Cordelia gave us a few days ago!!

image

We then pushed on alongside the loch to Fort Augustus… When it wasn’t raining the view was mesmering 🙂

But after the drama of yesterday, and mummy nearly falling off her bike when her coat got caught in her rear wheel we were very relieved to reach Fort Augustus and the legendary Loch Ness in one piece!!

Categories: Lejog | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 14: Loch Lomond to Glen Coe

Miles travelled: 54

Metres climbed: 760

Hours of torrential rain, wind and hail: 8

So far our experience of Scotland is that it is every bit as bleak as it is beautiful! The scenery certainly is stunning, it’s just that today we only got to glimpse it through sheets of rain and fog. Apparently the “real feel” temperature today was 2 degrees C, which was definitely a little colder than we’d planned for…

Today at was all about the stops! We planned our route around places where we could shelter from the elements… The first was the atmospheric Drovers Arms for the best coffee of the trip..

Then after a few more soggy hours we stopped at Tyndrum to defrost and refuel… The Real Food Cafe was fantastic – definitely set us up for the afternoon ahead 🙂 I certainly would like the recipe for their Lime Courgette Cake…

image

Glen Coe didn’t seem as big a climb as we’d expected, but that was partly because we couldn’t see all that much… Nevertheless it was very satisfying to know that we have reached the Highlands and crossed Rannoch Moor…

It was colder than we’d realised and Mummy was almost hypothermic by the time we reached the Clachaig Inn and my feet were almost frostbitten (sorry for the gross picture!) 😦

image Fortunately a hit shower and a hearty dinner left us all feeling much better!!!

image

image

Categories: Lejog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 13: East Kilbride to Loch Lomond

Miles travelled: 45 metres climbed: not many… Weirdly, despite being a pretty short flat day, we all were struggling a but today… Maybe it was the after effects of our bumpy ride yesterday… And I suppose that navigating Glasgow made things a bit more interesting! imagewe stopped at Clarkston Cycle Centre to see if anything did need tightening on our bikes (which apparently it didn’t :)) but mummy did need a new tyre… In fact her inner tube was basically poking out – the guy in the shop couldn’t believe we hadn’t noticed! Oops!! Alice navigated excellently through Glasgow and we eventually found our way onto a cycle path that was actually signposted to Loch Lomond… image The path wasn’t as great as it looked, but was lovely in places…

After 35 miles we were all flagging, but were revived by a MASSIVE lunch alongside the loch… We considered accelerating things by flying the last few hundred miles…

But the plane seemed to be heavily guarded by swans so we got back on our bikes for the last 10 miles along side the loch and then had a quick swim before dinner and bed!! image image Unfortunately we did get a chance to try a deep fried mars bar… Not something I’ll ever be doing again!! Utterly gross is really the only way to describe it!! image

Categories: Lejog | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Day 12: Moffat to East Kilbride

Miles travelled: 57

Metres climbed: 760

exploding tyres: one!

I was sad to leave Moffat – it was the quirkiest place we’ve visited, with lots of cute shops and yummy looking bakeries…

I was even more sad when I realised that the road we were following all day was so bumpy we felt like we were cycling uphill on a power plate!!! The scenery was awesome, but we were concentrating so hard on staying on our bikes that we hardly had a chance to see it…

We eventually made it to Lesmahagow and found the most amazing tea place… Abbeys on the Green felt like an oasis in a desert!! Spotless, yummy and friendly…

While we were recharging our batteries we met another trio of girls cycling end to end the other way! They raved about Scotland and re-assured us that the roads improved 🙂 yay! They did mention something about having to tighten their bikes all the time… Can’t say I knew what they were talking about!! Hope it’s not too important! image

We are, however, getting quicker at replacing inner tubes… Luckily! Mummy had a blow out shortly after lunch 😦 it was a bit scary – sounded like a gunshot, but fortunately she was fine and the bike was repaired pretty quickly!!

We pushed quickly in to East Kilbride and after a minor detour to avoid a closed road we made it to the farm where we were staying, which had a very cool swing, so Alice was happy! 🙂

image

Categories: Lejog | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Buttermere and Crummock Water: End to End and Back again… Twice!

No cycling this weekend… but we did make up for it by swimming over 8 miles in the Lake District 🙂

All the advice we’ve had said we needed to do at least one swim over three hours, so we decided that we would do two end-to-end-and-back swims in a weekend and despite the dreadful weather we managed about 5 hours swimming and had a great time! We were very lucky to find an Open Water Swimming shop – Head to the Hills –  entirely by accident next to our B&B in Ambleside. I persuaded Alice that she really did need a wetsuit to spend over 3 hours in water below 17 degrees. Even she ended up being grateful for the added warmth which made all the difference – we’d never have completed the mileage without it!

Saturday was Buttermere (about 3 miles) and was actually a pretty enjoyable experience – we were apprehensive about our first proper lake swim – and although our boat support did their best, we certainly missed Borut’s calm reassurance (from Strel Swimming Adventures)!

We set a very leisurely pace and probably because of this – I was surprised how much I enjoyed the swim. The scenery was absolutely breath-taking in every direction which meant I kept wanting to look up, but for the first time I did manage to get into a reasonable rhythm and actually just began to enjoy the experience – I couldn’t believe how easy it felt! However, (maybe because she thought things were going too smoothly!) Alice made the mistake of removing her wetsuits half way… and ended up nearly blue by the time we’d finished!! It was a valuable lesson to learn before attempting Windermere! Luckily the Croft House Farm Cafe supplied us with copious quantities of “ButterBeer”, a drink I thought only existed in the pages of Harry Potter, but turned out to be a delicious concoction of warm milk, butterscotch syrup (apparently from a secret recipe) cream and marshmallows! It was absolutely what we wanted with our yummy sandwiches we’d brought from The Apple Pie shop in Ambleside!!

As we emerged from the cafe the clouds cleared and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery before celebrating in style with more conventional ale, pie and the most competitive game of Jenga I’ve ever played at the nearby Langstrath Inn 🙂

Sunday at Crummock Water was a little harder… the Weather was worse, the swim was longer and we were already tired, but we (or more realistically our support team – You were amazing guys!!) were committed to at least making a start. We rented a boat from the Wood House, where the owner was distinctly unhelpful, although he did reluctantly provide us with a mop bucket to bail out the water! Getting in was not very appealing, but the promise of a second round of ButterBeer kept us going – we set ourselves a target, if we completed the end-to-end and back in over 3.5 hours we would have to forgo the cakes and drinks – it was clearly sufficient motivation as we completed the five miles in just over 3hrs 15mins! The last hour or so was difficult, my arms were tired and felt a bit like jelly, but we were in a good rhythm again and our wonderful support crew made all the difference – stopping us like clockwork every 20 minutes for isotonic water, jelly babies and carbohydrate gels. Actually given how rubbish our boat was, they probably had a tougher time of it that we did. Alice admitted that she kept herself going by dreaming up new cake recipes… I’m hoping she’ll start making some of them! They sounded unusual but yummy… hopefully I can post some photos soon!

Now that we are back it seems like a bit of a dream. About this time last year a great family friend took us on a wonderful tour around the lakes, and if he’d suggested then as we drove past Crummock water, that just a year later we’d be swimming it both of us would have thought he’d developed a severe case of dementia!! Amazingly though, the fact that we struggled initially with open water swimming makes these little achievements all the more rewarding! We did imagine Daddy looking down on us and felt sure he’d have approved – he always was a massive Water Baby!! We drove home feeling like we’d really made a breakthrough and Windermere might just be achievable after all! Although it was a little disconcerting when we stopped to have look at the longest lake in England and realised that from our viewpoint neither end of the lake was within sight!

Oh well… I guess we’ll just have to take it 20 minutes at a time!! Amazingly we’re actually beginning to look forward to the challenge 🙂

 

 

Categories: training, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blenheim Triathlon – 9th June 2014

 

The triathlon was so much more fun that I’d expected 🙂

Having freaked myself out a little with that bad swim a few weeks ago I was not looking forward to the swim, especially knowing that my team mates would only get to compete if I finished. (when we entered all the individual places had sold out, so we decided to do it as a team, which certainly made things more interesting!)

In the end the swim was actually really fun – I was actually too hot and finished in a respectable 14 minutes… which just made me feel like it didn’t even count as exercise it was over so quickly! Mummy actually probably took the most exercise just running round after us trying to take photos!!

Alice managed to stretch the cycle out for nearly 40 minutes, but was going so fast we couldn’t get a photo of her actually on her bike…

We then nearly killed our team mate by making him race us for the last 100m… oops!!

But all in all it was a great day – and Daddy would have absolutely loved it! We felt certain he was there in spirit. He was always so supportive and never got tired of running around supplying us with water, food and sun-cream at all kinds of sporting events.  I distinctly remember him missing the rugby world cup to come and take me to a competition with my horse… in between sessions he’d sneak back to the car to get an update from the radio, but he still made me feel like there was nowhere he’d rather be than supporting me! He was amazing like that 🙂

I am so happy to have conquered my swimming issues and am now getting quite excited about Windermere!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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…

THANK YOU CYCLING PLUS!!!

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

Categories: training | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So Grateful, Humbled and Overwhelmed…

We have been overwhelmed by the all the many and various ways so many people have supported us through this difficult time. With relatives flying round the world to surprise us, old friends making wonderful and moving tributes and so many people offering their condolences both in person at the funeral and in many beautiful letters. We are simply humbled by all the support and know that Daddy would be so  touched – as someone wrote in one of the letters it is ironic that his funeral probably turned out to be the one party he would have died not to miss!

We couldn’t believe that even his gym sent us flowers…

The funeral was never going to be an easy day, but we were strengthened by the tremendous support of all our family and friends. We are so grateful to so many people, but especially Reverend Jenny Edmans for allowing us to use the All Saints Church in Brill and for guiding us through such a beautiful service; Esther Brazil for her heartbreakingly beautiful rendition of Laudate Dominum, which reduced us all to tears, but was the perfect send off! And S&R Childs for making the process as easy as it could possibly be under the circumstances and providing everything we asked for and many things we didn’t even know we needed. Daddy would have especially loved the yellow flowers which are still brightening up the house…

Perhaps the biggest tribute of all was the massively unexpected generosity of all who donated to the collection at the Church – even the Funeral Director couldn’t believe that we collected over £1700, which will go towards Cancer Research UK and hopefully ensure that others do not have to suffer as Daddy did.

We are also grateful to the fantastic recommendation of the Idle Rocks in St Mawes, where we took Mummy after the funeral for a surprise break in the hope that a few days away from it all would make everything easier to face…

It couldn’t have been a more perfect place and in the spirit of Alice’s poem, even the dreadful weather seemed appropriate…

I Live On

 I died but did not leave you.

I am here, and have not gone.
Though my spirit left my body
don’t be sad, for I live on.
 
 

My love is all around you.
Can you feel it? Can you see?
That gentle breeze upon your face

is not the wind… but me.
 
 

I’m the sweet song of a bluebird

when spring is in the air.
I’m the roses in a garden.
You can find me everywhere.
 
 

Whenever you are missing me

look up to heaven’s skies.
I’m the twinkle in the stars.
I’m the sunset, and sunrise.
 

 
I’m a raindrop and a rainbow.
I’m the ocean’s waves of blue;
So everywhere you go you’ll know,
I live on, loving you.

 

Despite everything we cried, laughed, walked (for miles!) and had a wonderful few days together…

On our last morning we awoke to an enormous rainbow encircling the town – perhaps we have all gone crazy, but we decided to interpret this as a sign that Daddy approved…

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: