August 16, 2013

More Running! The Great Orme, North Wales, and a proper rest day

My 4 days in North wales went quickly and slowly.  I got 2 nice long runs in - the first was to Conwy castle and the second was up the Great Orme.  Well I mostly walked up the Great Orme, because running up a mountain is super hard and way harder than running on a road.

The Great Orme is this random bit of lump on the coast of North Wales.  It is kind of nice looking
I planned on running the flat bit on the bottom but I got to this building and wanted to go up
The view from the top was awesome but the clouds started to come in, and also my photo is kind of overexposed...
It was also mega windy.  I tried to take a picture of me but my hair looks CRAZY!  Also I was worried I would drop my phone off the mountain
It started to rain a lot on my way back, and when I got back to the hotel I was properly sploshing through the lobby.  I was also worried about being late as I had a really bad stitch.  I keep getting bad stitches on my right side, I don't know why but it is super annoying!

After breakfast I went for a cheeky little swim and did 20 minutes of laps, alternating between steady strokes and occasional sprints.  The pool was pretty small (18 meters maybe?) so it was hard to get my pace right.

I had 36 hours back home in Cardiff before I set off again. Wednesday and Thursday were my rest days, but today I managed to go for a little 3 mile run before bed.  Speaking of that, it's 10:15pm and it's time for my sleep so I can get my 6am cycle on in the morning!!

August 12, 2013

North Wales - Running around Conwy and Deganwy

I made it back from Denmark safe and sound! After a 2 hour flight on BA we arrived at Heathrow airport, where I unfortunately sent my bicycle back to Cardiff while I boarded a bus up to Chester for another works trip. As we landed in Heathrow I had this awesome view:
The bike is in desperate need of some TLC, mainly a new crank and some oil and a new skewer for the front wheel.   I am going through some massive bicycle withdrawal though, but I'm trying to avoid the sadness with other sports. On Sunday I tried using a Livestrong bike machine, but it was super boring compared to actual cycling:
This morning I woke up at 6am again and went out for a "long run" though it didn't turn out that long as I was so indecisive about my route. First I ran to this castle, which is 1.5 miles from where I'm staying
Then I ran up a hill, and then I ran down the hill.  Then I got a bit lost. Then I found my way again.  In the end I did 5.7 miles, which was okay but I wanted to do 10K

Running is not as good as biking for lots of reasons, one of which is that running makes my knees hurt. Cycling sometimes makes my knees hurt too, but not like they did before I had a bike fit. Cyclopaedia in Cardiff sorted out my bike so it fits me well, which I then ruined by flying with my bike and forgetting where my seat post should be.  Whoops.

Anyways, after the run I iced my knee, which feels soooo good it should be illegal
I'm in North Wales until Wednesday, and then I'm back in Cardiff for a day before starting my next adventure.  Thankfully I'll have the bike again, so at least I can clock some more miles!

August 10, 2013

Goodbye Denmark!

Today is my last day in Denmark.  It's been good here - I managed 5 rides in 7 days.  It's been awesome to finish 20 miles by 8am every day, but I don't think I can keep going to bed by 10pm to make the 6am wake up calls possible when I'm back in the UK.  I've packed up the bike now into it's fancy travel box and this evening we fly back to the UK.  Bike goes back to Cardiff and I go up to North Wales for another work-adventure - but this time at a hotel with a gym.  Yippee!

It only rained 1 morning but I think that was better than the heat - I was doing a good 19mph average.  I came home very muddy tho!
 I cycled past this weird store every day.  I'm not sure what they sell but it scared me the first time - looked like people stuck in a glass bird cage!
These cows also kept me company in the mornings

This was one of my favourite parts of the cycle.  Big long roads stretching flat and far. Intermittent trees for interval sprints (not that I did many!) and blue skies.  I wish I had hours to cycle in Denmark!
On one of the days we went into Copenhagen and I saw this copy of lady and the tramp.  I thought the translation was funny, but "Tramp" is kind of a funny word anyways!
I did get 110 miles done this week, which is really good, but I just wish I could do more.  One of the mornings I found some other cyclists and we had a mini chain-gang.  Cycling with others is much more fun than cycling alone.  I also noticed I was easily doing 22mph when I cycled other people whereas I was often pushing slowly when by myself.  It wasn't just the benefit of drafting - it was the benefit of trying to keep up!

Oh and I got a Queen of the Mountain!! That's right Denmark, Ajax riders are coming for your Queen! (of the mountain).

August 6, 2013

Cycling in Denmark - Bike Faff that is so worth it.

On Saturday I left for a week long trip to Denmark with work.  I brought a bike with me this time, which involved learning the basic mechanics of my bike.  I had to take the wheels, stem, and pedals off for transit.  After a 45 minute oily mess I got the bike back together:
On Monday I went for my first cycle in Denmark. Denmark is awesome.  It is pretty flat but green and interesting.  We are staying right on the water, so I get to cycle the coast road with loads of other cyclists.  There are loads of people on nice bikes - more time trial setups than I've ever seen. There were loads of cute houses but I only took this fairly average photo:
When I'm away with work we have very long hours - 8am to 10pm usually.  On Monday I got up at 6am for a ride and just did an easy 20 miles down the coast and back again.

This morning I got up at 6 again and did 25 miles in 1hr 40, which is very slow but I think the tiredness is kicking in.

On the way I passed Louisiana!
I wish I had days to cycle here - I would love to do a long ride!  Unfortunately I probably will not get that opportunity, so my trips up and down the coast will have to suffice.  It's very handy staying on the coast - I definitely won't get lost!

I even managed to take a ridiculous cycling "selfie" on the ride this morning.
Fact: I need a better helmet.  MTB helmet and Road bike is such a faux pas!!

August 1, 2013

July - Recap

This month is the month that Ben died.  He was one of my best friends in Cardiff - a great guy, a great cyclist, a great friend.  I haven't been blogging lately because everything I do, every day, is less good now that Ben isn't around.  
The Wednesday after Brewer half and I got back from Luxembourg we woke up with a message that Ben was in a cycling crash during a race. This wasn't too uncommon as he had certainly been in a fair share of crashes and accidents before - once he got bit by a dog while cycling and came home with teeth marks in his leg.  But soon we found out it was serious, and when the news was confirmed it felt like a piece me had been ripped away suddenly - I can't (and won't) write about that too much.

I think about Ben every day, and things are not the same, and every happiness is less good when I can't share it with him.  The successes I have on the bike are less grand when he's not there to tell, the Strava segments I blast are less exciting when Ben won't be giving me kudos.  There were so many adventures we had left in our lives, so many things we were supposed to do.  He was supposed to be in our lives forever.
But at the same time I've been inspired this month to cycle more, to try harder, to get better and to get stronger.  Ben (and most male cyclists) are often jealous of Lady cyclists because it is easier for us - we are small fishes in a small pool but with some training could be medium or even big fish in that same pool!  With that in mind I've tried to do more - to cycle more - to exercise more - to be a stronger version of me.  I also hope that being physically stronger will make me mentally stronger, and my victories will be a small sample of the success ben must have felt.
 This month I cycled 315 Miles.
This month I ran 13 Miles
This month I competed in the Cymmer Triathlon 
And this month we said goodbye to Ben Carroll after a quick blast up his local Gower climb with 200 cyclists and friends clapping him over the finishing line.