carolspage

October 1, 2011

“I want to ride my bicycle…I want to ride my bike…”

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 21:53
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I left the gym on Friday, after my last session with my trainer before Cycletta tomorrow. I got into the van, turned it on and radio came on – and I heard Freddy Mercury’s voice singing the words “I want to ride my bicycle…I want to ride my bike…” I can’t lose!

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow – it is going to be GREAT!!

I’ve got my fluids in, I’ve loaded carbs. I’ve got everything set for tomorrow morning and I am READY!

See you all later tomorrow –

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September 27, 2011

It’s almost time…

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 19:18

It HAS been quiet on this blog, and for that I apologize.

I had a bit of a setback in Greece – I ended up with heat exhaustion. Not fun.  We got back home a couple of weeks ago and I just slept for the first few days.

On my first session with the trainer after our return, I told him about my heat exhaustion. He didn’t train me that night and I was told to do no training at all until I saw him again the following week.

So it’s been ages since I’ve done any real work. Well, weeks, anyway. Since before I left for Greece and that was 25th August!

I went out on the bike this past Sunday and it wasn’t pretty.

BUT – I’m feeling much better now.  Had a great session with Tom the Terrific Trainer last night, and we talked through a lot of things.

I have ordered a gel cover for the bike’s seat….and padded cycling shorts for MY seat.

That’s one end taken care of.

The most important end, which sits on my shoulders, well…..we’re having ongoing discussions about how great it’s all going to be.

Tom knows I can do this. I know I can do this.

I’ve gone from “I think I can” to “I will“.

…and I will. I am, once again, excited to be taking part and really looking forward to 2nd October.

Sunday morning, at 9.40am, I will start pedaling and I won’t stop until I’ve crossed the finish line.

Cycletta North? It’s going to be great!

September 7, 2011

Why I’m doing this

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 05:28
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Some of you may have noticed the Justgiving button on my blog. That is because I am using my participation in Cycletta to raise money for the charity I work for – St Luke’s (Cheshire) Hospice. When I first came to work at St Luke’s, it was quite a shock. I’m from the US originally and where I’m from if you’re taken into A & E conscious and not in imminent danger of bleeding to death the first question asked is not “What’s your name?” or “What happened?” but “Do you have medical insurance?” Yet here was an organisation that cared for people at the most stressful times of their lives and their only question seemed to be “How can we help?”

Many people think of a hospice only as someplace to spend their final days. St Luke’s does certainly provide that care, but it provides so much more!

I’d like to tell you about Debbie Estcourt, if I may.

Debbie was a remarkable woman. She grabbed life with both hands and shook it till every last bit of it was hers. Music was important to her and she was an accomplished pianist and cellist. She received a Masters Degree in Scenography (theatre production design), studying in Utrecht and Prague. This led to a job that took her all over Europe, installing and painting scenery in theme parks in Norway, Finland and Germany. She seems to have done everything from helping out at several of Elton John’s charity garden parties, to assisting with costume changes in the West End production of ‘The Snowman’, to helping a friend (who is a veterinary nurse) care for puppies featured in one of the ‘101 Dalmations’ films. She travelled through Thailand on her own, studying meditation and helping at an elephant sanctuary. She earned diving qualifications in Egypt and Thailand. Returning home to England a few days before the tsunami that devastated Thailand, it is no surprise that she immediately began helping with relief efforts here. Debbie moved to Portsmouth and it was there that the bright pink mountain bike she’d purchased while living in London really came into its own as she rode it to work almost daily.

In January 2007 Debbie was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. She left Portsmouth at that time and moved back to the family home in Cheshire, where she would have more support. But it was a lonely time. Though now living back where she grew up, many of her friends had moved away. Those still in the area had jobs to maintain and families to care for. Debbie began to attend the Complementary Therapy Clinic at St Luke’s. At St Luke’s she found a most welcome change of scene. There were people to talk to, tea to be shared (the volunteers always made sure that Debbie’s favourite tea was available for her) and the therapies to be enjoyed. Both of Debbie’s parents received support from St Luke’s – because St Luke’s understands that one person’s illness affects the families and carers as well.

Debbie made a good friend during her time at St Luke’s – someone she recognised as a fellow patient at the hospital in Manchester. Their families would joke about their friendship – for Debbie was a committed vegan and Mike was a butcher!

Debbie died in August of 2008. Recently her parents donated that pink mountain bike to a St Luke’s shop. Debbie’s mum says “Debbie was a great recycler and supported many and varied charity shops (often purchasing as well as donating). Therefore we feel we are continuing her ethos by offering her bike to St Luke’s and we are thrilled that in turn this may be part of a further fundraising event for the hospice.”

It is on Debbie’s pink bike that I began my Cycletta training.

It is the care and support that Debbie and her family received, and which all of the patients and families that come through the doors receive, that I want to keep going.

This is why there is a Justgiving button on the right sidebar of this blog.

This is why I am asking you to support my efforts with whatever you are able to donate.

I want St Luke’s to be here whenever we are needed.

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August 18, 2011

More advice from the Under 10s

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 06:50
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Shortly after I started this two-wheeled adventure, I got an email from my sister telling me that my niece, 6 year old Riley, had just had the training wheels removed from her bike. She too was learning to start, stop and turn.

My sister has posted video of this momentous event and it pains me that I cannot find a way to pass it along to you. I can, however, show you a picture.

My favourite clip shows her pedalling furiously up the street in front of her house. (Yes, she has mastered the riding up hill that I am still working on …) She reaches the top and gets off the bike to turn it around to go the other way. As she is making the all important pedal adjustment, she looks up to proclaim to the world

“It’s easier downhill!”

Yes, once more I am indebted to the under 10s for words to live by…

August 15, 2011

Sunday was for pedalling

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 12:00

SUNDAY was for pedalling!

My husband and I packed the bikes up in the van and headed to Oakamoor and there, along the disused railroad tracks, I could ride.

And ride.

And ride.

I’m not sure how long I actually rode for – it was somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours.  And it was wonderful!

I’m not saying that I didn’t stop at all – I did stop. Occasionally I just needed to get off the bike for a moment or two in order to get a bit of circulation back into my backside, but that’s it. I never stopped for very long and then it was right back to riding.

It was beautiful riding through the trees and past fields. I loved the earthy, woody smell that you miss out on speeding through the countryside in a train.

We met other cyclists and some walkers – I learned to use my bell – and I learned that when you are stopping it’s good to look before you plant foot on the ground. There may be dog doo. There was dog doo.  The trainer is now clean, but that’s a toothbrush I’ll never use again!

I don’t know how far I went – the GPS on my phone wasn’t working properly. I didn’t care, it was just wonderful to be out!

After the ride

August 14, 2011

I need to do more!

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 19:11
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Last Saturday morning I felt very strange…I couldn’t stand to be in the house…I had to be outside…I had to be on the bike.

This was very strange.  I’ve never before had this feeling that I Need To Get Out And Do Something. I mean, I’m the girl whose favourite weekend pre-hubby was a holiday weekend where I slept for three days straight (the few hours of wakefulness were spent watching movies while waiting for the pizza to be delivered).

But there it was – I was pacing around…I couldn’t sit still…I felt….squirrelly – that’s the best word for it….squirrelly.

I went to my gym and unloaded the bike.  I’d been around this field before, with my trainer. While I didn’t try The Big Hill, I did ride round the field, which gave me lots of practice turning corners (not my best thing) and more practice avoiding dogs, their walkers and other cyclists.

But I started to get frustrated. After 45 minutes of riding, it wasn’t enough to just ride back and forth, over and over again repeating the same route endlessly. I wanted to ride and see new things, new scenery.

On that day, however, I had to settle for an additional 3 mile walk with the dogs. Not bad….but not pedalling…

Ahhhh…..but Sunday…

August 4, 2011

So THAT’S how it’s done!

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 19:43
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Thank you all for your fine weather wishes – the rain stopped long enough for me to get in some riding this evening.

We spent 45 minutes riding around a section of the 3 mile  cycle path. I’ve learned to start pedalling (without falling over), go around corners (without falling over) and stop (all together now….without falling over). I can’t tell you what it does for my confidence to not have to be picked up off the ground twice for each meter I pedal!

We even went down a hill….a BIG hill….and it was curvy….very curvy…..and I went really fast, so fast I nearly took off!

Well, that’s how fast it felt, anyway.  The reality is that in a race between me and a snail I’d probably have come a close second.

Then we had to go back UP the hill….the BIG hill.

I started, I pedalled…well, I tried to pedal. I stopped.

A word of advice to the beginners reading this – never stop on a hill!

Because that means you need to start on a hill.

And this is not good.

I tried many times to get going and failed.

It was at this point, while I was standing with my bike on the hill, trying to catch my breath that a young girl of about 4 years old came round the corner, along with mum and dad and Jack Russell terrier.

When the little girl saw me, she stopped dead and put both  hands over her mouth, as if she was trying not laugh.

She finally took her hands away from her mouth, looked at me with a big grin lighting up her face, and gave me her sagest piece of advice.

“You have to pedal!” she said.

Yes, I do, Petunia. Yes, I do.

Rain, rain, go away…

Filed under: Cycletta — by carolspage @ 14:10
Tags: , , ,

It’s raining today and it must stop.

I’ve been working with my trainer, who has been helping me get fit for Cycletta, and today is The Day.

It is The Day That We Go Out Riding Together.

I’ve ridden this lovely bicycle in bits’n’pieces, here and there, to and fro, fore and aft.  But I’ve not ridden.

Today I will.

There is a 5k cycle/footpath that begins behind the Fitness First gym that I go to and today I ride that.

Which means that the rain must stop.

Say it with me?

“Rain, rain, go away…..rain, rain, go away…..rain, rain, go away…..”

July 31, 2011

I ride on my own!!

I received an email from Ged at Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative telling me that the bike was ready for collection – woohoo! We went on Friday to collect the bike and once again the staff were helpful and encouraging.

I took the bike out for a spin for the first time today and what a difference it makes, being able to keep my feet on the ground!  We went around the way to a cycle path and I was able to start riding, WITHOUT anyone holding on, right away. What fun!

My husband said he thought I’d found my inner 7 year old – that’s about how old I felt.

I could pedal on my own! Wheeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Just so you know – the ‘vroom-vroom’ sound you hear is a motorcycle travelling on the nearby road, it is not me breaking the sound barrier on my bike!)

 

And another bike appears…

Shortly after my first tentative foray into pedalling, our corporate fundraiser Pete came to tell me that he had received a positive response to one of his initial calls to area bicycle shops.

Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative had agreed to donate a bicycle for me to train on and use to take part in Cycletta in order to raise money for St Luke’s (Cheshire) Hospice! Pete took me to their store in Manchester and we met with Andy, who had been tasked with finding out what size bike I required.

Here is Andy introducing me to the Revolution Streetfinder Women’s bike, which is the model of bike being donated. As you can see – my feet touch the ground. [sigh of relief]

Andy determined which size frame I needed and he talked me through the gears and other features of the bike.  He will send this information off to Edinburgh and then they will make the bike I will be using. It should be ready for collection in about a week. I can’t wait!

By the time I left, I felt much more confident about my ability to complete the Cycletta course, thanks to the guidance and encouragement offered by the staff. They’re the best!

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