Epic cycle ride undertaken by unfit, overweight, not middled aged lady

I visited Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos in 2002. One of the things that really struck me about the countries was the indefatigable people, the welcome extended to visitors and the simple joy taken in small pleasures. But, having visited the Museum of the American War in Ho Chi Minh City, seen the 'Danger UXB' signs in Laos and read the good news headline in a paper in Cambodia: ' Deaths from UXBs down to 3 this month. Only 40 maimed.' I was acutely aware of the toll still being taken on the population.

Over the years I have pondered the munitions still there and this year I have finally decided to get off my bottom and do something. So I have, somewhat impetuously and with little regard for my physical fitness, cycling ability or dodgy left knee decided to join the MAG cycle ride from Ho Chi Minh City to Ankor Wat. I will be doing this the first week or so in Feb 2011 and it does involve a couple of days of over 100km in 30 degree heat. Having signed up I have been told that neither a rickshaw nor an electric bikes are options and that doing the distance on my own pedals is expected.

Donation link is further down on the right - I have paid for my own flights and contributed enough to cover living expenses so all money raised from sponsorship will go to MAG.

This is my blog of my progress to get on the road and when I am there - assuming I will be capable of rational thought after a day of unaccustomed exercise.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Here there be dragons...

Place at Rye House - with dragon...
Got a little over confident on yesterdays ride - decided  to    push for Rye House (about another mile on previous distances) and had to have a few stops on the way back to breathe and rest the legs. Debated about ringing hubby to pick me up as wasn't sure I would make it back but eventually got back. Collapsed into the bath  and lay around for most of the evening.

The ride did mark a milestone - having been passed by a number of fit young (and not so young) blokes on their bikes decided to have a go on the overtaking thing myself. Goal was achieved when I sailed past a chap on his sit up and beg.... victory was sweet even allowing for the fact that he was a few years, well thirtyish, older than myself.

Also had a gear revelation: When you are changing gear you need to keep peddling otherwise strange things happen...

Family taking an afternoon saunter
Trusty steed was in good form after Paulie had provided a little TLC (oil and air) on Sunday but I think that maybe a full service from the bike shop may be in order as one of the brakes isn't working plus my front reflector seems have developed a permanent case of brewers droop . Paulie asked what I did when I worked out that I had a non functional brake and didn't seem too impressed with the answer 'only used one brake to stop the bike'. As I pointed out - me driver you mechanic :-)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Nice Weather .... for swans

Swans on the Lee Navigation just past Ware
Following advice from both hubby and the work psycho - cyclist (so called as he bikes to Holborn every morning) I decided to give the 'using the gears thing' a bit of a try out. Apparently adjusting speed by peddling faster/slower is not the right way to do it. But, I learnt on a bike that had 3 gears and the habit of dropping the chain when you tried to change gears so I have never had much truck with them before. Although I did wonder if I should give them a try when I first got my 18 gear bike but then decided it was a bit too much effort.

Trusty steed needs TLC after a few puddles...
So today, on training run 3 I managed to have a play with the derailleur bits of the gear and decided that changing down is definitely good when you are trying to get up the steep bits by the locks. Got to St Margarets, despite the rain and mud, so a bit further than the last ride. Now paying for this as the one thing the boys forgot to mention was that it is harder to peddle in the higher gears.... limped into the house and now going to have a long bath since it is not only the steed that is muddy.

And the saddle is still shrinking.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

And so it begins....

Just back from an approx 6 mile ride to Amwell nature reserve. I was trying to get as far as St Margaret/Stansted Abbots but the reserve was so lovely I just had to stop, and then I realised that I might not have the where withall to actually get back - discretion won out and I managed to cycle back without resorting to walking the bike

Only disappointment is that my super comfy, gel filled saddle seems to have degraded over the years and is now much smaller than when I bought it. Well, that is the only explanation I can come up with :-)

Wine tastings (to raise funds) being organised so watch this space

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

First cycle ride after 5 years

Did manage to dig out bike and was relieved to see that the trusty steed was in reasonable nick - yippee. My first ride in a while had good and bad points: 

Good points: Admittedly the wobble factor was high but the peddle speed was medium and the incidence of falling off was low so I count that as a pass

Bad points: I am not sure that collapsing into a puddle trying to work out the universal sign language for 'get me an oxygen cylinder and a paramedic' is a good omen for the months of training ahead....

Getting onto ebay to see if anyone is getting rid of an exercise bike :-)

Methinks there will have to be more cycling on a daily basis (assuming that I can move after today).

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Training - Week 8

Welcome to my blog - which will detail my progress (or lack thereof) on training and also have a diary of my trip. So, progress on training, to date this has been a little slow - so far I have made many plans but none have yet met the implementation phase.... so I have simplified the regime:

a. Dig bike out of junk in shed
b. Get on bike
c. Pedal

Hoping to put the plan into action first thing Weds.... will update if I manage it :-)

Bye for now