Tag Archives: Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive

Best bike ride ever!

16 Apr

After all of my training recently, my lovely husband bought me a beautiful bouquet of Oriental lilies, which are my favourite flowers.

The flowers that my wonderful husband bought for me.

The flowers that my wonderful husband bought for me.

On Saturday morning, I decided to go swimming instead of running. I’ve only been swimming with the Tri Club on a Saturday morning once before. That was a session during the Christmas break, so it was not necessarily the usual mix of people and Darryl gave me quite a lot of attention as I was clearly a different ability from everyone else who was there. As the swimming pool isn’t far from my house, I decided to cycle there, which was a nice start to the day.

I think the turn out on Saturday was probably the usual mix of people. The first thing I noticed was that the ability level was much higher than the usual Lane 1 crew from Monday evenings. We had to count our strokes per length for 400m. I didn’t manage to keep this even for the 16 lengths, but it fluctuated between 21 and 26 for the section that I was counting. I think that when I’m not focussing on reaching at the end of each stroke then I don’t make as much effort as I should.

We then moved onto my favourite part of the session: 200m of kicking. I like kicking as I don’t need to worry about breathing or what my arms are doing. I started as the last person in lane 1, but by the end of the 200m, I had passed all but one person. Unfortunately, we also had to do some backstroke and I failed to keep in a straight line, veering up into the wrong side of the lane, which made one of the ladies in the lane very angry – oops!

New swimming PB

After swimming, Liz and I collected our bikes and walked to Boulangerie Victor Hugo, a new French bakery, with Sonia and Suzanne. Stuart and Katherine had been to parkrun so they were already there waiting for us. The breakfast deal there is very good: half a demi baguette, a croissant, butter, jam and a hot chocolate for under £5.

After breakfast, we set off on our bikes for a bike shop, as I’ve broken the bell on my hybrid bike and wanted a replacement part. unfortunately, the shop didn’t have a replacement part in, but they fitted a replacement bell for me – thank you CycleWorld! We then set off on a scenic ride home. Katherine and Stu both had road bikes, whereas I had a heavy bike with full panniers, so we didn’t go too fast… and all three of us were wearing jeans. We ended up cycling about 10 miles.

In the afternoon, I decided to try out a ‘recipe’ that my cousin’s partner Lauren had shared on Facebook. I say ‘recipe’ as it’s a pizza base made of just two ingredients: Greek yoghurt and self-raising flour. I had two different pots of 0% fat Greek yoghurt in my fridge and a bag of plain flour, but I decided to give it a go anyway. I mixed the yoghurt with flour and added some baking powder. Of the two yoghurts that I tried, it was easier to make the dough using the Fage yoghurt, but the Tesco yoghurt dough was wetter and actually came out better. I also made my own tomato sauce for the pizzas. I don’t think they turned out too badly!

My homemade pizza

My homemade pizza (Fage yoghurt dough)

Stuart's homemade pizza

Stuart’s homemade pizza (Tesco yoghurt dough)

On Sunday morning, we got up early to go to the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive. 2000 riders take part in this two-day event. There is a choice of two routes: 62 miles or 84 miles. We chose the 62 mile option as I’ve only cycled 100km once and haven’t been on my bike much this year.

When we arrived, we had to register with our helmets. We were given time chips on our helmets as well as a High-5 bottle filled with gels and energy drinks.

My number

There had been quite a lot of traffic getting to the start, so the first riders were leaving the site as we arrived.

Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive 2014

My only other experience of a sportive type event was the Garmin Sharp Ride Out last year, which was a much smaller scale event. I was amazed by just how many riders were here and was also hugely relieved to notice that there were plenty of women who were taking part. I also had time to look around at other people’s bikes – there were plenty of mountain bikes and hybrids, as well as some top-end road bikes.

The weather conditions were perfect – it was quite warm and sunny with very little breeze. I set off fairly quickly and decided to see how long I was able to maintain that pace. I’ve not really fiddled with the settings on my Garmin, so it measures my cycling in 5 mile laps – I did the first lap in a pace of 27.4 kmph, which is a lot faster than I’ve ever managed before and I wondered how long I would be able to maintain that sort of pace. My best previous pace was 21.1kmph (although I have managed an hour at 25.5kmph on a turbo trainer). I kept going and really enjoyed being able to pass a few people. We had to stop for a short while when we got to Burley as there was a Palm Sunday procession to church, which was fine, although it meant that I had very little momentum to climb the hill out of the town!

I knew that a ‘cake stop’ was planned at the half way point. I had tried to drink whilst cycling, but I’m not very coordinated and am still a bit nervous that I might crash, so I hadn’t drunk very much. At 50km, I really started to look forward to a break, but I was pleased that we hit that distance in 1:59.

It wasn’t long before we got to the rest stop. After finding a bike rack where we could park our bikes, we joined the queue for sampling the goodies: flapjack, oreos, Tuck biscuits, jelly beans, pistachios etc Stuart was very helpful – he retrieved my drink bottle from my bike and also held his hand out to catch my pistachio shells!

Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive 2014


Although there were bike racks, there just wasn’t enough room for everyone’s bikes. Bikes were leaning against fences and walls as well as being placed in ditches!

Cyclists arriving at the rest stop

Cyclists arriving at the rest stop

I enjoyed people-watching. There were lots of interesting jerseys and bikes.

The stampede for flapjack

The stampede for flapjack

We had passed lots of ponies, donkeys, cows and pigs and there were even a few New Forest ponies at the rest stop.

Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive 2014

After I’d eaten a bit and had a drink, I felt better and was ready to tackle the final section. I wanted to maintain the pace that I had set, but it was a long uphill drag for several miles. After we got to 75km, it was downhill or flat all of the way back. There were a couple of scary moments, including when a man stopped dead in front of me as one of his friends had dropped something, but I felt more confident than I have done before. I kept pushing as I wanted a good average pace overall, and was really surprised to find that people were slowing down in the last 10km… but it was nice to pass them. Stuart had stayed with me for the whole day, but when we got to the entrance of the event site, Stuart sprinted off. It was a reasonable slope, so I just continued at a steady pace.

Finally, we crossed the line, and I was surprised that we were interviewed by a member of the event crew. I don’t think I really said very much, so Stu and I didn’t end up on the video, but our photo was one of 50 that appear on the main website:

Wiggle screen shot

Finishing Wiggle Ride

Finished! Being interviewed at the end…

We were then given medals and t-shirts.

Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive 2014

I stopped my Garmin at the rest stop, but not for the Palm Sunday parade, so my cycling time was 4:08, however, this is not my start to finish chip time.

Garmin data for Wiggle Sportive

Wow – they’re impressive stats for me 🙂

My official time was 4:41:04.

Tamsyn Smith Certificate


I’m a little frustrated that we stopped for over half an hour at the rest stop… if I’d finished in <4:16 then I would have been a gold finisher!


Finish pose with bike

Yay! I did it 😀

Happy pose with medal

Happy pose with medal

I really enjoyed this event and am now feeling slightly less stressed about cycling in the Pyrenees, although when I see those mountains, the panic will probably resurface!!!

There were some nice photos taken of Stuart and I during this event, so we’ve ordered some – I’ll upload them here when they arrive 🙂

Finishers' t-shirt and medal

Finishers’ t-shirt and medal

The finisher t-shirt is quite attractive, and as it’s a technical top, I will probably wear it.

After the event, we decided not to hang around for hot drinks, but instead we headed to Ringwood to get lunch and some hot drinks:

Post-event hot chocolate

Post-event hot chocolate

What a great day! 😀

I’ve been to Hull and back…

5 Apr

I seem to be constantly playing catch up at the moment and don’t have enough time to blog. I joked with friends that Brighton will be the first marathon I’ve done without anyone to chat to on the way around and that perhaps I should use Siri with the WordPress app on my iPhone to ‘write’ my blogpost on the way around, and I’m actually starting to think that might be a good idea (although 5 hours of me rambling might mean that all of you unsubscribe/swear never to visit here again!!!)

I’ve done very little in terms of training this week. Monday was the first night when I didn’t have to Run Lead, so I planned to go to the early swimming session with the Tri Club. Unfortunately, I wasted too much time faffing around, so I knew I wouldn’t make it there on time. I then thought I would make it there in time for the 8pm session, but I was feeling tired and when it started pouring with rain, I was put off. My car was at the garage as it failed it’s MOT and I didn’t want to get my bike back out of the shed to cycle to the pool in the rain, knowing that it would be nearly 10pm by the time I got home. Thinking back, I came up with too many excuses for myself, but I just felt exhausted.

On Tuesday, I went on a day trip to Hull with a work colleague to share digital literacies ideas with colleagues there. It was a really helpful visit that I got a lot out of, but it was also exhausting. On the way, Fiona and I got to stop at Kings Cross Platform 9 3/4:


I was back at work on Wednesday and then on Thursday I worked from home as I had so much planning that I needed to do and I thought I’d get a lot more of it done if there were no-one around for me to talk to. I always used to worry that people would see working from home as an easy option, but I always end up doing far more than when I’m at work – I started at 8am and didn’t finish until 10pm, with only 40 minutes for lunch. I also remembered some things that I had forgotten this morning, so I did them before going out, even though I had booked the day off!

Anyway, today’s activity was going to Brighton Marathon Expo, to collect my race number. Stu and I had a bit of a lie in before he drove me to the Brighton Centre, where I didn’t have to queue too long to pick up my number.

Collecting my race number

Collecting my race number

The race number is one of the ones that incorporates a chip on the back, which is convenient.

Brighton Marathon number

Brighton Marathon number

We were also issued with a goodie bag that included:

  • various leaflets
  • teapigs lemon and ginger teabag
  • 2 sachets of spatone
  • 3 sachets of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 sachet of Nikwax base wash
  • 1 bottle of glaceau vitamin water i-focus kiwi strawberry
  • an issue of Outdoor Fitness
  • an Outdoor Fitness buff.

Most of that will be useful, although the Worcestershire sauce will be donated to my husband.

It was then time to browse the Expo. The first stand was by Saucony as they’re the main sponsors of the marathon. It was quite crowded, but I was disappointed by the small range of stock that was on show – I had expected there to be far more to look at and a few more bargains. We then wandered around the rest of the exhibition, but there weren’t many items that caught my eye. I managed to resist the Bondi Bands. I had hoped that there would be some lovely racer back sports bras to wear under my Team SOAS kit, but there were very few bras in that style.

We then had a look at the Nuffield Health stand where there were two smoothie bikes. Initially, Stu and I thought it might be a speed/distance challenge, but it was quite interesting as there was a computer screen with some characters on it, each one relating to one of the bikes. The aim was to keep the characters on a path by going faster or slower… whilst also blending your smoothie. I thought Stu looked like he was in the lead, but I won! My prize was a bottle, but we were both winners as we got to drink the smoothies we had made!

With our smoothies from the Nuffield Health bikes

With our smoothies from the Nuffield Health bikes

Nuffield health bottle

Nuffield health bottle

We went over to the Gatorade stand as they were offering samples of what will be out on the course. The orange drink was a little weak, so I may try another flavour during the race, although mainly I’ll stick to water (especially if it’s cold and wet).

Opposite the Gatorade stand was a map of the course. We studied it for a bit and I’m hoping that I’ll see Stu at 14, 18 and 24 miles, as the last part of the race is the toughest. I also picked up some pacing bands: 4:30, 4:45 and 5:00. All of those might be optimistic, but I’m refusing to contemplate anything over five hours, as it’ll be too painful! I’m not good at pacing, but might start out at the pace for 4:30, knowing that I’m likely to fade in the second half. Realistically, I always start too fast and have never managed a negative split, so I have no idea what will happen tomorrow!

A selection of pacing bands

A selection of pacing bands

We then had a look at some more clothes. There were some really lovely visors for sale, but none of them fitted my tiny head 😦 So, we headed off to the Compress Sport stand as I wanted to buy some calf guards. Stuart recommends them. I’ve run three of my four marathons in Skins compression tights, but I did the New Forest Marathon in shorts as it was so hot. I’ll be wearing shorts for Brighton, but some calf guards might help with my tight calves.

Compress Sport calf guards

Compress Sport calf guards

Before we left the Brighton Centre, I had a sports massage. Fortunately I had a pair of shorts with me! The price was £15 for 20 minutes, but as it wasn’t busy, I had 35 mins 🙂 My legs had been feeling very tight, and they felt much better afterwards, so I’m glad I stopped.

Stu and I then had burritos for lunch and had a bit of time to look around the Lanes in Brighton. I would love to spend more time here – especially looking in the jewellery shops! I tried to hint that it’s about time I got an eternity ring, but I think that might take a bit more nagging! (Traditionally, they’re given after the birth of your first child OR ten years of marriage, so I’m assuming Stu is waiting for a baby!)

We had just enough time to glance at the Royal Pavilion before heading back to the car.

Royal Pavilion

Royal Pavilion

In other news this week, I’ve been looking at a few interesting running apps on my phone. I’ve installed:

  • Nudge – combines sports data with other healthy living info.
  • Localeikki – helps you to find places to run/walk/cycle… unfortunately, the nearest places are 600+ miles away at the moment!
  • Waterlogged – logs how much water you drink and send you reminders
  • Beatrun – find music on your iPhone that matches your cadence

Have you tried any of these apps? What do you think?

I’ve also splashed out and have paid for a domain name for the next five years… but don’t hold your breath as it’ll probably take me that long to work out the technical stuff! I don’t think I’m ready to move from where I am right now, but it’s nice to know that I’ve got it 🙂

Challenge Weymouth have been drip-feeding information to all of their athletes about the event. One piece of good news is that the average sea temperature in Weymouth is 17C in September. That’s not exactly tropical and there’s no risk that wetsuits will be banned, but it’s not unpleasantly cold!

Next week brings some excitement as well, as I’m going sailing. Watch out for a post where I tell you all about it 🙂

Sailing details

We’ve also received the information about the Wiggle New Forest Spring Sportive, which takes place next weekend. Unfortunately, it is on Sunday, so I won’t be able to support my friends who are running London Marathon, but I will try to keep an eye on their progress on the app.

What are you doing this weekend?