Monday, October 11, 2010


My good idea on Sunday was to incorporate (the infamous) French Pass into my 90km ride, on the basis that I have to do it as part of the Hamilton Charity Chopper ride 100km on labour weekend so wanted to have a go at it first. My second good idea was to plan the route so that I'd already done Tahuroa and Scotsman's Valley before getting anywhere near French Pass. Are you beginning to hear the sound of a good idea unravelling..... So apart from the fact that I was already tired by the time I got to FP it was also the most evil thing ever encountered. By the time we got to the last stretch of the climb I was at the back of the group (and my 2 cycling buddies were barely speaking to me due to me being in charge of the route!) and all I could hear from the front as I creaked up one more bit of hill was "I'm round the corner, there's more hill". Eventually with the end in sight I piked, managing to unclip both feet (see I do learn some lessons) I ground to a halt and got off intending to walk up the last bit. Only it was just too much, I was too tired, and the grass verge looked so much more inviting so I sat down. Ok I might actually have lain down, just to check I wasn't actually having a heart attack and that neither of my lungs was poking out of my chest or exploding or anything. Eventually I thought I'd better get up in case someone wondered where I was and I dragged myself to the top, where one of my group was indeed waiting (the other is a total slow-mo going downhill so had gone on assuming we'd pass him as usual - ha!) I decided to have another sit down. I wish I could say the ride got better after that, unfortunately whoever designed the Waikato does seem awfully fond of hills. The best thing about finishing the ride was that it was done, the worst thing was thinking about having to do FP again in 2 weeks time. Turns out the route goes the other way through, apparently that is easier. Hmph.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

The lovely Selina of the  Pretty Clever blog has tagged me for the Versatile Blogger Award, and as I currently have nothing to do other than lie on the sofa groaning (see my next cycling blog for more details when I can summon up the energy to write it) I thought I'd get on to it.
The Rules: Tell us seven things about you then tag 12 other blogs for this award.
I will totally fail at the 12 tags as there are only 3 blogs on comment on regularly (and on of them is Pretty Clever....), but in the spirit of things here goes:
1: I'm Welsh, and very happy to be so, although having lived in NZ for over 10 years I'm also a little bit kiwi.
2: I have a habit of setting myself ludicrous sporting challenges which seem quite reasonable at the time but increasingly less so as the actual event gets closer and closer - having said that I have completed and survived 3 half marathons so I usually get there in the end.
3: At one time I made my living as a professional singer and actress, and have performed at the Belfast Opera house. This sounds posher than it actually was, it was a touring children's production of the Owl and the Pussycat. I played the cat's mother....
4: I completed my Computer Science PhD 2 years ago and am still unnecessarily excited when I receive mail addressed to Dr Bowen. The day my name plate went up on my office door I took a photo of it!
5: My household is run by two small white dogs and 2 unnecessarily large cats, this often leads to vermin-related incidents.
6: I think beetroot and honey are both the work of the devil
7: 7 is a great number because it reminds me of Blake's 7 which was my favourite tv show when I was growing up. Of course I'm grown up now, so that has been replaced by something far more sensible. Dr Who.

And I now hereby tag my lovely sister at Jans cards crafts and musings and the cranky one at Feed Me I"m Cranky

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


A couple of icing sessions on my ankle, and it seems to be improving, most importantly it's not giving me any grief on the bike and so I successfully completed my interval sprints on Tues with my ankle only complaining as much as the rest of me (which was quite a lot to be honest!). Today I had a strength interval session to complete, normally I do this by cycling up Tahuroa, coming back down (the same side) and then going up again. Going up Tahuroa from this side (ie from home) is the less hard way as the climbs are longer and more gradual, coming back the other way is, well, it's just evil! So today I decided to bite the bullet and go up and over and then come back up the evil way (not because I'm a total fool but because the spectre of the infamous French Pass is looming in a few weeks time so I have to stop being such a wuss about big hills!). Anyway got up and over without too much trouble, had a great "wheeeeeee" down the other side before turning round to head back. I hadn't gone all the way to the bottom, just far enough to give myself about 15 mins of climbing. I managed the loooong first climb and despite having to stand a few times was in fairly good shape before I hit the final short sharp climb which I have given a very rude name to on more than one occasion. There is a bit of downhill before you hit it but then it's a (short) merciless climb to the top. As I hit the first part of the hill I knew I was in trouble, the bike was creaking and I was going nowhere slowly, I stood up to get some momentum, it didn't help.... then I stalled, bugger! Managed to unclip my left foot only to topple over to the right (!) ending up in a big heap of grumpiness and bike. I was sooo p'd off, apart from a nice graze on my leg I had a huge dent in my ego that I'd failed so miserably. As I got up and started wheeling my bike up the hill I looked down at my front rings and realised I was still on the big ring -- w.t.f. ! No wonder I couldn't move - grrrr. I'm not sure if I felt better that it was a gear fail rather than my legs fail  or worse because it was my own stupidity. Nothing for it, turned round and headed back down so that I could give it another go (using the right gears this time). It seemed so much easier this time around and I reached the top without incident. Hmph. Now sporting some lovely red gravel stripes down my leg and a large bump on my knee.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

At Last!

Some decent cycling weather, long ride on Sunday was a joy in the sun - very little wind and no rain! Managed my 81.5km and it definitely felt easier than last weekend, alhthough how much of that was down to the weather and how much to improved fitness I don't know. I have paid my entry for both Pukekohe and the Hamilton charity ride so that's 2 100km events coming up in a couple of weeks time - eeep! Mind you, I could have done 85 (and probably even 90) this weekend if I'd made myself, so I shouldn't be too far off getting through them (I hope). Taking advantage of another lovely day I did a recovery cycle in to work today, I have a few odd sort bits including a niggling tendon in my right ankle, but nothing major. Had a gym session with PT which wasn't too bad although I had to bail early on the final set of a couple of things. Hoping the ride home this afternoon is not too much like hard work.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Few Hints of Spring

Finally the weather has improved a little (although forecast to be rubbish again soon!). Saturday was still windy and wet in parts, but nowhere near as bad as last weekend. I managed my 80km without too much pain and although I was pretty stiff and sore for the rest of the day had more or less recovered by Sunday. Am getting set to enter a couple of 100km events in the next month to get me used to big group riding and also longer distances. One of them is local and includes the infamous French Pass - the hill that makes my personal nemesis (Tahuroa) look like a mere incline -gulp! Out today for a training ride with PT which was hard work and left me looking like a tomato (luckily I'm just banned from eating them not looking like them!), will have a nice slow recovery cycle home from work which I hope will help ease everything off again.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Do It

After rain (and gales) stopped play last Saturday I couldn't face the thought of trying to do 70km on the indoor trainer (an hour is about my limit) and so persuading myself that the wind had dropped on Sunday I went out then instead. Hmm, note to self, when you're zipping along at more than 40kph on the flat having a great time don't forget you have to turn around.... The slog home was very painful, very slow and very wet. The cross winds were almost as bad as the head winds as I was getting blown off the road. Actually no, the head winds were worse, uphill, then it started raining. Are you getting the picture yet - miserable! Piked at 64km but given the weather it felt like I'd done 90. Seriously sore legs all this week, not helped by a hard gym session with PT on Monday. Tuesday evening I was supposed to do sprint intervals on the way home (wind assisted -yay!) but my legs weren't having a bar of it so I had to settle for a harder base ride instead (50 mins at 85rpm). Last night was wet and windy for a change so I got the trainer indoors and did an hour of sprint intervals in front of the tv. And today is Friday, day off to recover,  which I am seriously in need of! Hoping for a little less wind this weekend as I have an 80km target to meet. GERD meds seem to be working well and most of my symptoms have reduced significantly or gone, back to the docs today for a review. Two weeks without coffee, alcohol, chocolate and a whole heap of other things, and I've managed not to go completely mad :#

Friday, September 17, 2010

Seriously? No Way!

It is Saturday and I owe my training schedule a 70km ride. The wind is gusting at 45kph with intermittent very heavy rain showers. Ummm, sorry, no. Even the supermarket shopping is looking appealing right now.