Cramming for my finals!!

Strava Cycle Ride – Wakefield to Baildon 24th May 2016

Strava Cycle Ride – Baildon to Wakefield 24th May 2016

Too Late!?
You know it’s coming, it’s been planned for almost a year but still you leave it until the last minute to get into peak condition… or at least that is what I have done. (peak condition bit is a bit hopeful!)

It was June last year when we decided we were going to cycle the C2C (Coast to Coast) BUT as usual I have left it until the last minute to start training for it, hence the big ride on Tuesday.

I can say, I’m not on my own in our little group (there are others!!) that have left it late. This year I think it will be more of a casual ride for the fitter and a bloody slog for the rest of us.

Wakefield to Baildon
Tuesday was my final day for cycling before we trip off to Whitehaven to start the C2C on Saturday morning. I wanted to get some miles in but didn’t want them to be too strenuous. So what a good idea to cycle over to my home town of Baildon to see my family and show them what they have bought for my birthday. (They have seen it all new and clean in my living room but I wanted to show them it in ‘action’!)

Canal Towpath
I opted for a flat day with miles (for me anything over 20 is ‘miles’) so thought the canal towpaths would be a good route. It’s approximately 6.5 miles to the canal at Rothwell near Leeds and as soon as I got onto it I knew I had made a mistake.

The sun that morning had lured me into a false sense of security. It was warm, bright and dry so I never gave the state of the towpath any thought. For about 3 miles it was more like a cyclo cross section, I was caked in it! I had to keep stopping to dig out the mud from my cleats.

Stuck in the mud BUT will be worth it
Towpath Rothwell side of Leeds
Cleats caked in mud on Leeds Liverpool canal
Stuck in the mud

It’s not often I will ‘officially complain’, I’m a rambling complainer, then forget about it BUT all the way along this muddied potholed track I was thinking ‘right, that’s a letter to Leeds Council, Canal and River Trust, Sustrans and anyone else I can think of….. they just cancelled the super tram (or whatever it was they wanted for Leeds), it’s one of the fast growing cities in Europe (these are my thoughts not actual stats) and yet there is a perfect access point for 100’s of people – keeping them off the traffic jammed roads – getting them fit, BUT have they made a decent surface for people to even walk on let alone run or cycle – NO THEY HAVEN’T.

I chuntered to myself hoping that my head cam (yes I have one!) was recording so I could send the footage with my letter. BUT my thoughts changed a little when I got to about 10 miles on. I began to see the devastation that the recent flooding had caused to the towpaths, washing paths away and leaving gaping holes. It was clear a lot of work had already been done to make the pathways at least usable in a somewhat haphazard manner but they appeared to be working on the problem.

After the flooding in Leeds
Major construction work on Leeds Liverpool canal leeds
After the flooding in Leeds
Major construction on Leeds Liverpool canal leeds

Cross Over
A different story on the other side of Leeds. You come off the canal behind the Royal Armouries, nip down a couple of streets and back onto the canal behind Hilton Hotel.
Lovely towpath, walk, run, cycle, cartwheel, whatever you like, it’s a good path.

Everyone was out enjoying the infamous sunshine so there was no putting the pedal down. Gosh, I wish I had a pound for every person I said good morning to, I would be able to pay for private tuition on ‘How to Ride up a Hill’!!!

BUT will be worth it
Leeds Liverpool canal Royal Armouries
BUT will be worth it
Canal Leeds City Centre


Leeds Beckett Hockey 5 Marathons in 5 Days
Big up the Leeds Becketts Hockey Team. I ran (not literally) into these guys between Leeds and Calverley on day 2 of their #5marathonsin5days chalenge . Day 4 today, keep going lads you are almost there. Told you day 2 was the worst!!

5 Marathons in 5 Day’s, amazing guys. They are fundraising for Marie Curie. Read about their challenge and donate here;
Leeds Beckett Hockey Teams face toughest challenge yet 
Twitter: Leeds Beckett Hockey
Facebook: Leeds Beckett University Hockey Club

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Almost Home to Baildon
Met up with Tom somewhere near Denso Marston Nature Reserve. He was riding from Bradford to meet me as he, like me needs the miles in as he is joining us on C2C. It was a lovely relaxing ride and I was able to hold a conversation, which I can’t normally do due to all the puffing and panting I’m doing. I hope it’s because I’m getting a little fitter but I know I wasn’t pushing the miles either.

Don’t get me wrong I was still panting and every pedal turn is a struggle BUT it is getting easier and I feel more fluid in the motion of pedalling. My ‘old’ lady bit sores are just about healed (hahah, just read this back … haha… I don’t consider myself to have ‘old ladies bits’, just refering to my older sores from two weeks ago…. old ladies bits indeed! why i’m still a spring chicken!)

BUT it will be worth it
Leeds Liverpool Canal met up with Tom

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…Where’s the best place to stop for lunch when in your home town? … mummy’s house!!! Mother’s always want to feed you. She’s funny my mum, in one breath she asks if I want anything to eat and in the next breath she says I could do with a little exercise (though she hasn’t said it in a while!).

So me and our Tommy did no more than sit down to a plate of beans, toast, egg and bacon, oooh it was like a gourmet meal, we scrammed it, washed down with a cuppa tea. Did you used to do it as a kid?… put sugar on your strawberries? Well my mum still does, so … when at home do as your mum does and cover those berries of goodness in lashings of sugar!! Yummmy!!!!!

I got so comfy I could have sat there all day but we had to go. I was feeling sleepy and we had to get back to Wakefield. With full belly’s and mum stood waving us off we set of on stage 2.

BUT will be worth it
Mum seeing us off on our cycle back home

Part Two
I was going to do this blog in 2 parts, Blog one Tuesday, Blog two Wednesday BUT just wasn’t in a writing mood. I had some sad news on Monday which affected me in a way I never imaged. (no it wasn’t a death or illness just sad news). It’s amazing how therapeutic cycling is, at least for me. Whilst I was cycling I didn’t think about the news but once I was home and sat in front of my computer it was there again and I was sad again. Cycling clears my mind as all I can think about is turning those pedals and breathing.

The Return!
Well you lucky, lucky people I am back and as you can see waffling away like mad and you are going to get it ALL in one! You can tell I had a more leisurely ride…. Look at all the pictures you are getting! Normally I have all on breathing!

Tom had used the Spen Valley Greenway cycle route on his previous rides and this was the route we were taking back to Wakefield. It goes from Bradford to Ossett, perfect for us. We negotiated Bradford city centre, up the ruddy great hill to Richards Dunns Sports Centre then it was downhill all the way to just before Ossett.

BUT will be worth it
Joining the Spen Valley Greenway

Spen Valley Greenway is Sustrans Route 66 and was created following the disused railway line that runs through this beautiful area. The route is extremely popular. Walkers, cyclist, commuters, all use this route which is a lovely 7 mile stretch away from the very busy city and towns of Cleckheaton and Heckmondwike. There are lots of on and off’s all along the route making very user friendly and there’s never a cafe stop too far away.

The 7 mile route is enhanced with metal sculptures of sheep, seats made from digger buckets, large hoops to ride through, all sorts. Go and enjoy it, it’s great for everyone. Run shout, scream, let off steam or even ride your bike. It is a beautiful track.

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Almost there
It’s is a beautiful track BUT perhaps I like it even more because it is downhill all the way until just the other side of Dewsbury then…. Who put the blood HILL there!!! What a little stinker!!!!

Remember my Strava ride on the way back is a copy of Tom’s as my Strava didn’t save properly. We rode together but any trophies and PR’s are Tom’s and NOT mine. And when you see the ‘little stinker’ at about 18 miles …………. I got off and PUSHED!!!! …. Yes people I am NOT ashamed to say it …. I PUSHED!!!!!

The gearing on my ‘new bike’ is different to what I am used to and it doesn’t appear to come with a ‘granny ring’ (a gear that ever a mouse can turn round).

I could see the ‘little stinker’ coming so prepared…. This was my time to ‘stand up and pedal’… or maybe not!!

I’m having great problems with this stand up and pedalling malarkey. I just can’t do it and it’s getting very frustrating.

My technique (though not really sure I can call it technique),
Stand up – let’s say first stroke is down with left)
Use body weight to push down left foot – meaning right foot will be up
Use body weight to push down right foot …….. and that is as far as I ever get!
I can’t seem to get my right foot to push forward and over the top to get a down stroke.

Is it really that hard? I don’t think so, blinking numpty!! Just do it!!!!!

My knees are hurting and they hurt even more when I attempt to pedal standing up BUT that is not an excuse …. I just don’t seem to be able to do it.

Never say Never
I’ll never say never but at the moment I am blinking annoyed with myself. Come on lardy get thee legs moving!!!

Yes I was frustrated at not pedalling stood up and not getting up the ‘little stinker’ BUT all was forgotten when…… simple things please simple minds and it just had to be done!!!

No Blue Butts here
Simple things Blue Butts, just had to be done

No Blue Butts here though, NOT with my incredible Selle Italia Lady Flow Gel Saddle and my (sorry to disrespect the saddle) new Aldi cycling shorts (they are made in Italy!!)

It would be great if you would like to follow my blog either and on here (think there’s a follow button if not give me a shout)
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Thank you for reading
Always TRY, if you never TRY, you never know!
Keep healthy
Jo x

2 thoughts on “Cramming for my finals!!

  1. Hi, enjoyed reading your wee blog!!! I’m sure you’ve done enough training for the weekend. Just like to say ‘Good luck’ to everyone and ENJOY!!!! Feeling well jealous as would have liked to join you all. I know you’ve not been and come back yet but when you start to plan next year’s let me know a rough date so I can book off work!!!! Have fun, don’t be cursing too much, haha!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much matey, Sorry not seen much of you last couple of weeks. I have been trying to get some miles in. Really looking forwad to it this time and of course as soon as we sort the next ride i will let you know. Take take and a pat for Jetty Boy xx


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