Starting a new blog for 2012 . . .
Thanks for taking the time to read it
Starting a new blog for 2012 . . .
Thanks for taking the time to read it
my posts seem to have fizzled out towards the end of the year . . . slapped wrist!
Have to admit that I haven’t been out on my bike since the beginning of December due to lots of things going on at the weekends leading up to Christmas.
To make up for it I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym mainly doing spin classes, which I’ve been told isn’t the same as being out on my bike! I do know it’s not the same, but what’s a girl supposed to do when she can’t get out?
In all seriousness, the classes have helped. I really push myself and only found out the other day that when the instructor says to turn the tension up, I’m the only one who turns a full 360°. The others are only doing a partial turn. No wonder I look like I’ve just stepped out of the shower when we’ve finished!
The build-up to Christmas was fairly stress free; thank goodness. We managed to buy presents; the tree and food without too much hassle.
My eldest son Mark was thirty-two on Christmas Eve. It started to snow the exact moment he was born . . . such a lovely moment and still so clear in my memory.
Christmas Day was spent at home with Laura and Vin coming for dinner. Vin is very easy to cater for. So long as there are plenty of roast potatoes cooked in goose fat and lots of pigs in blankets, he’s a happy chap. Dinner was good and as is usual I ate enough to feed the street and so fell asleep the moment I sat down.
Boxing Day is mine and David’s day for walking to work off the excesses of the previous day. Our day wasn’t anywhere near as taxing as DB’s who went walking in Snowdonia. He returned home very tired . . . and drunk!
We didn’t venture far this year; only walking about six miles and walked in a circle from our house, which took us through Tettenhall Wood and past this tree. Apparently it’s been there for about three hundred years.
Been past this loads of times . . . never noticed it before and not paid any attention to this clock tower either.
There is a saying on all four sides . . . thought they were nice, so added them below.
I obviously need to stop rushing around and pay more attention to my surroundings.
I spent Tuesday and Wednesday lazing around and reading. That’s the problem when I open a book; I tend to lose myself in what I’m reading and forget the world exists.
Thursday was spent clearing out the spare bedroom, which has been used as a dumping ground for my bikepacking gear. Of course I blame Stuart and Taylor for the amount of gear I’ve accumulated over the year. It’s all nicely packed away now ready for new adventures in 2012 and everything else unlikely to be used has either been binned or is now living in the loft.
Yesterday was our Christmas with Mark, Jeanette and the boys. We had a lovely day with lots of home cooked food and lots of laughs and reminiscing. No amount of money can pay for days like that!
Today I’ve been to the gym for another spin class . . . the hardest I have ever done. I do wonder though if it was the right thing to do considering I’m single speeding up at Cannock with Jez tomorrow. Think I’m going to have very achy quads tomorrow night.
I don’t usually do New Year’s resolutions however, I’m determined to keep next year’s blog more up to date. Be interesting to see at the end of next year if I managed to do so!
Anyway, that’s it for 2011.
I hope those I love and know have a happy 2012 and things go well for them.
A Happy New Year to you too.
up at Cannock Chase on Saturday was good fun.
It’s been a few months since I’ve ridden my single speed and after having done three spin classes during the last few days, which mainly consisted of standing sprints, I wondered how my quads would hold out climbing some of the hills.
It’s also been a few months since I’ve cycled with the Pearson Syndicate, Andrew, Bruce and Abby; Jez and I met up with them at the urn outside Swinno’s. The only plan we had was to have lunch at Pine Cafe and make it up as we went along about how we’d get there.
While the others cycled through Section 2 of Follow the Dog, I went round it along the fire road. I really don’t like this section and if I haven’t said it often enough before, I don’t particularly like any of the red at Cannock Chase apart from Section 11, which is quite appealing since its revamp.
I met up and rode with them through Section 7 only because I wanted to see how I managed the climb up the fire road leading to Section 8. Not wishing to sound big-headed, but I practically flew up and managed the climb mostly seated. I’m not saying it didn’t hurt, but it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
Jez and I split up from the others at this point and arranged to meet them at the cafe. He was trying out his new full suspension, which he’d built ready for a trip to Wales and really just wanted to get used to it and note any fine tuning it needed.
By the time we reached the Pines my quads were ready for a rest. The food as usual was good and there was plenty of it. It was nice to be in the warm; outside was cold and windy.
We made a detour on our way back to Birches Valley, cycling along trails I haven’t ridden for some time and ended up at the top of Tackeroo blast. My quads were aching from the hills and I rode the downhill bit back to the car park mostly seated. It hurt too much to stand up on my pedals!
I was glad to get back to the urn, but at the same time wish I’d cycled a lot more miles. Forgotten what it’s like to be out with others and fitting in with them.
Turned out my SS was a good choice; my legs are a lot stronger since I last rode it; just needs a good old clean before I can ride it again. Lots of mud and water in places . . . my favourite type of ride.
which stated I wasn’t a very good writer, so good or not, I thought I should at least write something as it’s been over a month since my last post.
I haven’t been idle; just haven’t got round to writing what I’ve been up to.
I’ve been out on various rides on my bikes on the road and off-road.
I spent one of the days cycling at Cannock Chase with Jez, which was good fun. Lots of laughs, a lovely lunch and some good trails were found.
On another day I drove up to Leicester to ride with Jannette. We rode along the country lanes near where she lives and had lunch at a local country park, which has the remains of Lady Jane Gray’s house. We also came across a very strange man sat in the back of a transit van playing his electric keyboard very loudly next to a reservoir. He must have been hard of hearing because Jannette and I couldn’t hear each other speak as we rode past him. Think his dog must have been as well!
I’ve spent time with my family and joined the gym again. It’s only five minutes away from work, so no excuses!
Thought I’d never say this, but I’ve become a big fan of the spinning classes. The gym uses Livestrong bikes; better than bikes I’ve used in other gyms . . . don’t make my butt ache either!
I’ve also changed my job at work. I’m no longer a PA (too stressful and too much responsibility) and have moved to more of an admin role, but still help out my old boss at times as he hasn’t replaced me. It’s nice coming home and leaving work at work.
I was told today it’s only thirty-one days till Christmas . . . not sure how I’m going to fit in shopping for presents with going to the gym and weekends of cycling, but I’m sure I’ll think of something. Gift vouchers seem very appealing!
Didn’t get round to writing about last week’s ride, which took me to Bridgnorth via Shifnal. I rode past the hotel where Laura and Vin were married in July; I didn’t realise this church was opposite.
Nor this; thought it might be stocks at first, but not so sure now.
The road leading to Bridgnorth was pretty uneventful, so it was a welcome relief to see this sign and know I didn’t have much further to go until lunch.
Bridgnorth is a lovely town . . .
very busy, even on a Sunday and attracts lots of tourists. I ate my lunch by the river . . .
had a mooch around the town and set off for home heading up the steep climb called The Hermitage. Having driven up this on many an occasion I had wondered what it would be like to cycle up . . . not so easy on a bike!
I nearly turned off here for Albrighton, but instead carried on home on the Bridgnorth Road.
The downside to my decision meant I had to cycle up Jenny Walkers Lane; another steep climb back to Perton.
I was tired and my legs were aching when I arrived home, but it had been another good day of nice weather and nice places visited. You miss so much when travelling in a car!
Sunday’s ride was to Wellington for lunch at mum and dad’s. I cycled to Shifnal and out the other end, heading for Telford.
The ride uphill through Priorslee was rewarded with a downhill to Donnington. Next was Donnington Wood, which took me to Hortonwood and then through Leegomery into Wellington.
I’d arranged to meet Laura at mum’s as we were going to Mark and Jeanette’s after lunch. After lots of chat, food and numerous cups of tea, I put my bike in Laura’s car and we went to see Jeanette and Logan (Mark was at work.)
We took Logan to the park, so Laura and I could play on the roundabout and swings, which was a laugh. After we’d managed to drag Logan away and back to his house, Laura drove me back to hers where I put the wheels back on my bike and set off for home.
I’d forgotten about the steep climb from Donnington back up to Priorslee and if that wasn’t enough, there was a climb up towards Shifnal with another just after I’d ridden through the town. It was the first time I’d cycled from Shifnal to Wolverhampton and it was definitely more of a slog than going the other way.
I was halfway up the final climb to Kingswood and wishing I’d cycled from Mark and Jeanette’s. It’s not so much that it’s a steep climb, but it drags on for about a mile and seems never-ending. Don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to get home.
I’ve really enjoyed the last three Sunday’s cycling on the road, but have missed the eventful parts of being off-road.
This Saturday I’m spending the day with Jez up at Cannock Chase. It’ll be a day of mud, hills, verbal abuse (always good) and hopefully lunch at Pine Cafe. Can’t wait!
I spent part of Saturday evening cleaning my 69er; replacing front and back tubes (blasted thorns); making flapjacks and sorting out my gear ready for Sunday’s ride in Wales with Stuart.
Up at 6 Sunday morning; had my breakfast; made my lunch and packed my backpack; just about to get in the shower and received an email from Stuart cancelling the day as he had been up most of the night being ill.
I’d been looking forward to a days cycling in the Welsh mountains and after sitting and staring at my stuff I’d got ready to pack in the car, I decided to go back to bed . . . it was 6.45am. I dozed for about an hour and then lay in bed deciding what to do.
I could have gone to Cannock Chase; didn’t fancy that. I could have gone to the Long Mynd; fancied that, but was looking forward to riding there sometime soon (fingers crossed) with the Chase Trails gang. I could have cycled along the canal and old railway track; quite fancied that, but no hills to climb!
I decided instead to go out on the road on my commuting bike. I’d had a good ride home from work on Friday and the thought of cycling along country lanes, taking photos and stopping for lunch somewhere along the way seemed very appealing.
I set off for Albrighton, which I reached by cycling to Cosford and turning left into the village.
I cycled through the village and back onto the road heading for Wolverhampton, eventually turning off for Codsall. I rode through Codsall, Codsall Wood and ended up in Bishopswood.
From there I decided to cycle to Brewood; I’ve often driven past the sign, but have never been to it; it’s a really nice place.
By the time I reached Brewood it was getting on for lunchtime, so I thought I would start making my way to West Park where I planned to have my lunch.
The next village to Brewood is Coven, which I drive through when I’m going up to Cannock Chase.
Bilbrook followed Coven. Cycling along roads I used to run brought back memories and made me realise just how many miles I used to do on the Tuesday and Thursday night club runs.
I finally reached West Park about 1.30, starving and looking forward to my lunch. I rode through the Albert Road entrance . . .
the park has signs like this placed at various points, all named after roads.
I cycled up to the lake . . .
and made my way to the bandstand . . .
where I sat for half an hour or so eating and watching.
There were children playing on their bikes; people walking their dogs; families having picnics and an old bloke who looked like he’d had a hard life with his Jack Russell.
The last time I’d been to the park was Boxing Day 2009 when we had taken my grandson Logan for the afternoon. The day was freezing cold and the surface very icy . . . Sunday was a complete contrast.
The flower beds in the park during the summer are lovely and colourful; reminds me of the Dingle at Shrewsbury park . . .
at the head of the flowerbeds stands the clock tower . . .
and spaced around are plaques such as this one.
West Park is only 4 miles from my home; by the time I reached it I had ridden almost 29 miles and wanted to do some more before going home.
I rode round the rest of the park and left by the gate I’d entered and headed for Tettenhall Road. There’s a hill going out of Compton into Wolverhampton that I used to run up, but never cycled, so I made a detour and rode up it turning off to ride past the local college and ending up back on Tettenhall Road.
I couldn’t really think of where else to go, so decided to make my way home. Just as I had started to climb The Rock I remembered the turn off for Old Hill. A fairly short climb, but steep. I still remember the first time I ran up it . . . I thought I was going to die when I reached the top!
I stood up on my pedals and rode up as fast as I could. At the top I felt just like the first time I’d run up it, but it was a lot easier this time to carry on and get home.
It wasn’t the day I’d planned, but it turned out to be a good one. It was nice being out on my own, with my own thoughts and only having me to think about.
Something I’ll definitely be doing more often.