Monthly Archives: April 2013

Old Bat In A Boat

Photo of author in a sea kayak.

The Bat in her boat. (Photo courtesy of Mark Rainsley)

An Isle of Portland Canoe Club trip that I was committed to organising was scheduled for today. As it happened, unusually, the forecast was promising. The Met Office was giving a red line indicating strong winds for Selsey Bill to Lyme Regis but we decided that Force 5 -6 was probably hamming it up a bit and we were good to go.

9 paddlers met at Swanage ready to launch at 10:00 when we expected to have tidal assistance all the way to Kimmeridge. The sky was blue and the sun was shining making for a sparkly start to the journey. This is a committing trip with no opportunities to land until Chapmans Pool 12km away.
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2 hours – 2 hills – 27 miles

Eggardon Hill

Eggardon Hill in the sunshine.

A busy weekend so I just managed to squeeze a couple of hours on the bike today. It was irresistible as the weather was great. Blue skies and sunshine. There was still a chilly south easterly breeze but the sunshine was enough to tempt my legs out and I wore shorts for the first time in 7 months. I even left the overshoes off. It’s much nicer riding unencumbered by layers of clothes.

The bike is loaded up ready for LeJog so I can get used to cycling with the extra weight. I was only out for 2 hours and rode 27 miles with 2,200’ of ascent. I rode a bit harder as it was so short and this showed in the average watts I generated. This figure is usually between 100 and 115 but today it was 121. How does ridewithgps know I was working hard? I didn’t have my HR monitor on.

Away from the main roads West Dorset is quiet out of the peak summer season. The sunshine had brought the cyclists out – all blokes though.

The Ride with GPS track is here.

Countdown…7 days!

Picture of author's green Dawes Galaxy touring bike leant against the sign for Forde Abbey.

Galaxy in full touring trim at Forde Abbey

Today the weather was bright and sunny but with 25mph of westerly wind. I decided against my original idea for a long ride. Although it is tempting to ride as many miles as possible with one week to go before I start riding from Lands End, I suppose it’s more important to be rested and uninjured. Realistically I am unlikely to gain much more fitness now.

The weather forecast looked as if the wind would drop a bit in the afternoon so I waited until 15:30 before going out but it was still very windy. I did a few other LeJog related jobs. I am still tweaking the route and every time I go through a section I get a bit more familiar with it. I adjusted the straps on my helmet so it is a snug fit now that (hopefully) I will not be needing a beanie. I brought out my new Ortileb back roller panniers and packed them up with the things on my packing list and put them on the bike. I am keeping things as light as possible and the panniers weigh 6kg. A grab bag of Walkers Cheese and Onion crisps only weighs 50g so I can take plenty of them! I also use a front box for stuff I might need easy access to.
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Something beginning with Sh…

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury (Wikipedia Commons)

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury (Wikipedia Commons)

Husband decided we need a new shed. To be fair the one that came with the house is a bit rotten. However, he has been looking wistfully at Steve’s shed at the National Trust Car Park down at Burton Beach for some time now. So this is not going to be any old shed this is going to be a Poultons Heavy Duty Apex shed – like Steve’s.

I was reliably informed that we need to go to Sherborne. Before planning my route I checked the location of the shed place and discovered it is somewhere else beginning with Sh – Shaftesbury. 41 miles and only 4,000 feet of ascent. Just 4 proper hills. In addition there were quite a few ‘flat hills’ as classified by cycling buddy Steve.
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Drug Run

Picture of Lewell Mill, near Dorchester

The very attractive Lewell Mill

I often suffer with cramp particularly after a hard exercise session. It seems to attack me as soon as I relax to go to sleep resulting in me springing out of bed and hobbling around the place much to the amusement of Husband. I also sometimes get cramp at yoga and Alex recommended a homeopathic remedy, Magnesium and phosphate. Well I’m a bit of a sceptic so did nothing about this but miraculously Santa knew I needed these little pills and there was a bottle in my Christmas stocking.

I started using the pills first as a treatment (i.e. whilst hobbling about in agony) and when miraculously it seemed to work, I occasionally remember to take some post exercise as a preventative. It has definitely helped. So to make sure I am prepared for LeJog I decided to make the focus of today’s ride a visit to Galen Homepathics to stock up.

Galen Homepathics is east of Dorchester at Lewell Mill DT2 8AN. (01305 263996). There is no website and they do not accept card payments. However advice is freely given over the phone and it is possible to just call in like I did today. The kindly, white coated pharmacist confirmed that Mag Phos 6 is used as a remedy for cramp so I bought myself £3 worth. While I was at it I got a bottle of Arnica 6 tablets as well – to relieve stress and tiredness.
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Flat on the average!

Picture of author's green Dawes Galaxy touring bike leant against a red fingerpost bearing directions to Chard and Wambrook.

Red signpost close to Wambrook. The reason why some finger posts were painted red was because this marked out the route that prisoners would take on their long march from prison to the docks, where they would be deported to Australia. As many of the prison wardens were illiterate, the signs would tell the wardens that the marching group would need to turn right at the junction.

This being Sunday we have a lie in. It wasn’t raining when I eventually woke up. It was about 1030 when I decided that today I would ride the Audax ‘Coast Roads and Coach Roads’ Permanent 100km. Husband, being helpful, offered to drive me to Uplyme where I could start the circuit. He suggested that to get added value from the day I could ride home after completing the 100km – a further 32km. Audax inform me that this ride attracts 2 altitude points as it is extra hilly.
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Preparing for Scotland?

Dorset gloom

Dorset gloom

It has rained all day and despite the forecast promising that it would stop late afternoon it didn’t. It was also windy and visibility was low.

So at 6pm I decided to put some lights on the bike and just go out up the valley. I would like to ride every day before I start From Lands End on 26th April.

I had a really nice time. OK so it was raining and I couldn’t see very much. But it was quiet. There was no traffic and the air was fresh and clean.

There were daffodils in the cottage gardens and primroses in the hedges. The new lambs at the road side scampered away as I took them by surprise appearing out of the mist. I enjoy these solitary excursions – my mind takes to wandering. I mused that if I was unfortunate enough to encounter such adverse conditions on my E2E adventure it was likely to be in Scotland and I was lucky enough to have had some preparation. How’s that for cup half full!

I went up the Bride Valley staying as low as possible only going up to 600’. This is as close as I can get to a flat ride locally with 1453’ of ascent in the 18 miles. It would have been unsafe to have gone on the B3157 Coast Road in such low visibility. I almost squeezed 20 miles out of my little jolly and I was very pleased to have been out.

Details of the ride can be found here.