Tag Archives: bike maintenance

What I’ve been doing

6 Feb

Busy, busy, busy! I’m still managing to exercise, but it’s so difficult for me to find time to blog, which is very frustrating. I thought I’d do a quick summary of what I’ve been up to recently…

Sunday 22nd January

No running for me today. Stuart, baby M and I headed out into the New Forest to marshal a race in the local cross-country league.

We had been positioned on one of the first marshal points, so we saw the start of the race and were then able to move to another point to watch runners heading towards the finish, before we walked back to the finish.

It was a crisp and cold day and as usual, there were lots of New Forest ponies around.

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You might not be able to tell from my photograph, but the water below was frozen solid and remained that way all morning.

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I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful area and am looking forward to being able to get back on my bike and cycling in the forest.

Tuesday 24th January

I went for a long run with Pete around Chilworth. We left in daylight, but the sun started to go down as we headed down a very long hill. We paused to look at a beautiful sunset and to take some photos… but I hadn’t dressed adequately (just a t-shirt and shorts), so I quickly started to feel cold.

We ended up running around 10 miles, but it was hard going as my hands were so cold.

Wednesday 25th January

Baby M and I went to Buggy Mums on The Common again. We ran some laps around the model boating lake before heading up to the top ‘field’ part of The Common where we did some paired exercises. As usual, it was a lot of fun.

Thursday 26th January

The following day, I went to Buggy Mums at Weston Shore.

Last week the weather had been beautiful, with warm sunshine and no wind; it was the complete opposite today. Just before leaving the house, I decided to put on a base layer. I was so grateful that I had. I kept on my base layer, long-sleeved top, jacket, Buff and woolly hat for the entire session. Towards the end, I took my gloves off for a short period of time, but not for long!

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I really like the Thursday sessions as they are less busy than the ones on The Common and there are more opportunities to chat to people.

buggy-mums-weston-shore

Saturday 28th January

It was my turn to run on Saturday. I met my friend Teri who is recovering from injury. She has to follow a walk/run strategy. I agreed to join her as I thought it would be nice to do a steadier-paced run… however, Teri is fitter than I am, so he run intervals were quicker than I usually go and the walk breaks were very short, so I barely had time to decelerate before we were off again.

In the end, my time for the run wasn’t much different from my usual result.

Southampton parkrun 28th January

Sunday 29th January

The following day was Sunday Runday – a training run for Southampton half marathon. It was my turn to run, so I was able to choose which group to help. Part of me was tempted to go with the 11 minute mile group, but I know that I need to push myself, so I joined my friends Pete, Kate and Malcolm in the 10 minute mile group.

It’s interesting to refamiliarise myself with the route for the half marathon (as well as learning the new parts). The race is being run in the opposite direction from last year.

Monday 30th January

The following day, I decided to return to Southampton Tri Club for my first swim since having my baby. It was a logistical challenge as Stu swam in the first session from 7-8pm and I swam in the second session from 8-9pm. Stu finished his swim a little early, and then met me outside the changing rooms at 7:55pm. I passed him Baby M in her car seat and my car keys; in return, Stu gave me his car keys.

There were lots of new faces in the swimming session, so Coach Steve had to rearrange the lanes a bit. I was asked to move into Lane 2, but I pointed out that I no longer have any stamina. I swam in Lane 2 just for a bit before Steve rearranged us again and I went back to Lane 1. There’s now quite a lot of disparity in the ability of the swimmers in Lane 1 as some people find it tough to do more than a length or two at a time.

Steve had planned an interesting session that included some core work on the pool side. This was quite challenging, but good fun.

In the end, I did the majority of the session, but I finished nearly 10 minutes early. This was because the pool was so busy that I didn’t want to have to queue for a shower as I needed to get home quickly. The changeover seemed to work well, so I now need to get myself back on track ready to take part in Swimathon. I think I swam around 1600m (1 mile), so I need a lot of training!

Tuesday 31st January

I had originally intended to go for a long run with Pete today, but I had completely forgotten that I had booked onto a cycle maintenance for women course at my local Giant Store, so we rescheduled for Thursday.

I know that some people will think that it’s not necessary to run separate maintenance workshops for men and women, but most of the women who attended seemed to be quite nervous and didn’t want to made to look stupid in front of men.

My friend, Lou, has recently bought a road bike, so she had also booked to come to the event with me. When we arrived, we were divided into three groups, as there were three members of staff, each of whom was running a separate 30 minute workshop.

giant-store

The first workshop was about bike cleaning. This was a simple topic to start with, and didn’t really warrant a 30 minute timeslot. One of the most interesting points was when we were shown the difference between Muc Off and a cheap alternative, which was quite eye-opening:

The second workshop was led by Nigel, the store owner. He was covering dealing with punctures. I’ve fixed punctures in the past and changed an innertube, but I think it’s always good to refresh this knowledge and there’s always something new to be learnt. Nigel showed me some tricks that make it easier to replace an innertube and tyre without using tyre levers. It was easier, but as I have delicate thumbs, I will probably continue to use levers!

Lou raised an interesting question about the need to pump up tyres after filling them with CO2. I hadn’t heard of this before and neither had the others. Later, Lou proved us wrong by sharing the scientific information that she found online!

The third and final workshop was the most technical one of the three as it was on brakes and gears. Whilst I understand the theory of all of this, I’m still nervous to adjust the gears on my own bike. We’ve had a few problems with the brake on M’s running buggy, so I asked a couple of questions and should now be able to fix the problem.

Overall, I think the evening was a great success. The staff were helpful and friendly and each participant was given a goodie bag, including a lanyard, button badges, a New Forest cycling map, some dry lube and a puncture repair kit. Apparently there are plans afoot to run more events in future, which would be really good.

Wednesday 1st February

On Wednesday, I went to Buggy Mums. My mum had come to visit, and I needed to drop her off before the session, so I ended up parking on the opposite side of The Common and had to dash to the start of the session.

We did a warm up on The Flats, so I ended up travelling back towards where I had parked. We then went back to the play area for the main part of the session, which included some pull up and chin up preparation as well as lots of tricep dips and press ups on the benches.

buggy-mums-on-the-common

Thursday 2nd February

I had so much to do and was feeling tired, so decided not to go to Buggy Mums and to save my energy for a long run with Pete.

I ran down to meet Pete on The Common. As I was cold last week, I decided to wear a long pair of tights that I had got out for Buggy Mums, as well as a t-shirt and jacket. I took off my jacket when I met Pete, so it immediately started raining. Fortunately, the shower was over quickly.

Yet again, Pete had planned a lovely route, which took us all around Ocean Village. I think it would be a lovely route to walk in summer, but it was quite windy and the water looked rough.

Part way around, we stopped for Pete to have a ‘comfort break’, which gave me a chance to put my head torch on. I was grateful that I had it on as we got to the east side of Riverside Park. The river was overflowing and all of the paths were covered. Pete and I took an alternative route for part of it, but in the end we just had to go through the water. It was ankle-deep and cold 😦 This meant that we had cold, wet feet for the final part of the run.

We headed up Bassett Green Road, which is a long hill. Pete had intended for us to go all of the way up to the top, but about 3/4 of the way up there is a short cut that leads towards my house. I was starting to get tired, so I suggested we took the short cut.

In the end, we covered about 13 miles. I’m finding the long runs tiring, but am not struggling with DOMS afterwards, which is a good sign.

Saturday 4th February

On Saturday, Stu, Baby and I headed to parkrun with my mum. My mum has never completed a parkrun before, so I agreed to walk it with her. I didn’t want to push her too hard, so we took it very steady:

Southampton parkrun 4th February

I’m now hoping my mum will take part in a parkrun near to her in future.

Well, that’s all of my recent training summarised. In the last few weeks, I’ve also been testing out a variety of products, so I’ll be posting about those this week.

What have you been up to? Are there any events that you’re training for?

Embrace Sports 13/10/14 – A swim in the ocean and a woodland trail run

13 Oct

Monday 13th October

The day started early with an ocean swim. I love sea swimming, so this was a great treat.

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We then had a bike maintenance course over breakfast. I’ve heard Neil explain the basics of bike maintenance before and have also been on a basic bike maintenance course, but that certainly doesn’t mean that I know very much. I keep hoping that each time I’ll understand and remember a little bit more. I’ve watched people replace an innertube many times, but the one time I had to do it myself, I found that my tyre was stuck on the wheel so tightly that I couldn’t get it off.

During Neil and Andy’s talk, they explained how to replace an innertube and also explained the importance of tightening up handlebars and seatposts. When I first put my bike together, I thought I had tightened everything up, but then Neil pushed hard on the handlebars and they slipped – oops! They also explained how to clean a bike – it turns out that baby wipes are a cyclist’s best friend. I also now know how to take apart a back wheel to clean all of the chain rings. This infomration will come in handy when I start on one of my next projects.

After breakfast, we headed off in the minibuses for the woodland trail run. I knew that the run would be tough as I was much more fatigued than I was last week, but I was determined that I would do my best.

I started the first lap at a faster pace than I was able to maintain. I tried not to go out unfeasibly quickly, but I couldn’t get my breathing sorted. I could see Paul up ahead – he kept turning around and looking back at us – and I felt reasonably confident that I would eventually catch up with him if I went steadily. Tietsia wasn’t far behind and I could hear Odette, hot on my heels. About 2km in, I managed to catch up with Paul, who started chatting. I had managed to get my breathing back under control and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to beat my time from last week, so I decided to stick with Paul and enjoy the run. It was a lot cooler than the previous week, and as a consequence of the rain, it was a lot tougher underfoot.

When we got to a downhill, Paul had to take it steady as he didn’t want to aggravate an old knee injury, but I love running downhill, so I went ahead, knowing that Paul would catch me on the next uphill.

Between 4 and 5km, Odette fell behind and was unable to catch up again. Paul and I continued chatting and pushing each other on. Eventually, we could see the finish. It took some effort for me to keep up with Paul, who had made his decision to complete one 5 mile lap.

When I got back, I decided that I wanted to complete another lap, so Jen agreed to come out and do a conversational lap. It was slower than my first lap and I had to stop and stretch a couple of times, but I was pleased that it wasn’t a terrible pace. I’ve not done very much running training over the last few months, so I it was a relief that I was still able to do the distance. Hopefully, it will help me to do well at Gosport Half Marathon.

The evening’s meal was a barbeque with some of Graeme’s home-made mashed potato – it was delicious!

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Day 3 of Pyrenees Tri Camp with Embrace Sports

3 May

There was a slight change to the original schedule as we had already visited the sports shop, so the core class was moved to Saturday.

Saturday's plan

Saturday’s plan

After eating some porridge, some of the group decided to cycle to the lake. I was still injured, so I made the sensible decision to go to the lake in the minibus and I didn’t swim as I knew I would be unable to put my wetsuit on. I was bitterly disappointed as I really wanted to be able to show how much my swimming had improved since November.

The lake looked beautiful: calm and clear. About 200m out were some rocks, which made a convenient turning point.

The lake

The lake

I watched everyone get into the water and do some laps. I had been told that the lake was quite shallow, but was surprised when I was able to see Graeme standing near to the rocks.

Alan and Stu at the lake

Alan and Stu at the lake

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Jonno, Neill and Bernadette

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Helen and Louise

I went for a walk around the lake and was amused by the signs prohibiting swimming. The coaches had already mentioned that we would see these and that as part of an organised group, we would be perfectly safe and that there was no reason why we shouldn’t swim.

No swimming!

No swimming!

Kat, Graeme and Neil

Kat, Graeme and Neil

Some people said they thought the lake was very cold, but when I dipped my hand in, I thought it felt significantly warmer than Lakeside.

When we got back, some people used the hot tub. It was suggested that it might help my arm, but I couldn’t face trying to get changed again as it was painful.

hot tub party

Helen, Poppy, Alex, Kat, Jonno and Elena

After lunch, Neil went through some basic bike maintenance with us. I’ve watched people demonstrate how to replace an inner tube on many occasions now, but I’ve never had to do it myself (and hope that I never have to!) Neil also explained about how to ensure that your brakes are set up correctly.

Bike maintenance 101 with Neil

Bike maintenance 101 with Neil

In the afternoon, everyone went out for a 35km bike ride to visit the larger lake in the vicinity. Unfortunately, my arm was too painful for me to join them, so I just stayed at the farmhouse. After everyone had gone, I realised that I should have asked for my bike to be put on the turbo trainer. Instead, I took the opportunity to organise some of my possessions and laundry as well as reading some emails.

Trip to the lake without me

Trip to the lake without me

I felt quite sad that I was missing out on the fun, but hoped that some rest would mean that I could join in with everything the next day.

I changed into my running clothes, so that I would be able to join in with the brick run, but it wasn’t easy as my arm throbbed with every step. It was a 50 minute session:

  • 15 minute warm up
  • 10×1 minute hard with equal recovery
  • 15 minute warm down

We then had a core session with Kat. I was unable to do a plank, as I couldn’t put weight on my arm, but I was able to join in with most of the class, which helped to make me feel like I was part of the group again.

Core Pyrenees

In the evening we went out for dinner in a French restaurant. As expected, there wasn’t really a choice for vegetarians – fortunately, I now eat omelettes, so I was OK. I was also good and resisted dessert as I didn’t feel that I had earned it.

French restaurant

French restaurant 2

I enjoyed getting to know Elena and Alex, the Russian couple, a bit more. It was really interesting to learn that they are Event Directors of Moscow parkrun and that parkrun has changed their lives in the same way that it has changed mine!