It’s not all about the bike.

Thanks to my boss Patricia I still am able to have Wednesday afternoons off to swim. This week I can definitely say it was to train.

Ali was at the lake and she casually asked me what my "swimming intentions" were.  "Oh I just thought I would swim for a bit" said I.

WIth a glint in her eye she said "I know something you can do!"

The arrival of Claire Russell saw us sit down for a cup of tea and a chat. 

Then let the pain begin. 

A 750 m steady warm us was easy. Claire and I matched each other and swam together.

We returned to begin the spider.

This involves swimming as fast as you can to each of the bouys and returning to the pontoon. Only when you have swum there and back to each can you have a minutes rest. 

Then you do it again

And then we did it again.


The Critical swim speed sessions have certainly helped with the faster swimming. But it was hard. 

I executed a perfect double V sign to Ali as she stood on the jetty daring to shout directions!

I may have even called her a rude name.

There was a silver lining however as we heard that there is a "Swim Shop" in Faversham. Where you can go and look at and see all things swimming.

Guess where we are headed as a Tits Trip out? 

Now dear Reader, you may be feeling somewhat mis led by my posts title. "You said it's not all about the swim and you are still banging on about swimming" you may well say. 

But even if you don,t think that I am about to prove that I actually do more than swim work and sleep. 

For on Saturday 31 August I actually helped (or hindered) my friends cycle training. 

Stacey decided that she wanted to cycle 100 miles. And so in July (some 8 weeks before the event) she entered a 100 mile cycle challenge. Kaz who has recently bought a new bike (N+1) decided that she may like to join her. 

So they have both booked to do the same event. Different days mind, but the same event! 

With 8 weeks to go the training has had to ramp up quickly. And 31 August saw us setting off to cycle on Route 2 to Rye. 

Kaz said it was 30 miles each way. (I think that is on the A259 but certainly not the way we cycled).

Route 2 is part of the SUSTRANS national cycle way. A range of routes which take you usually on quieter roads from A to B. In cities the cycle lanes tend to run out just as you most need them. At busy junctions, roundabouts and the like. The intention is there but in the UK we are still a long way from accepting cycling as a viable means of making a journey. Not that you would know that in London. There are loads of cyclists. But, the cycle lanes still run out just as the less confident need them. 

As an aside I follow the Highway Code when I cycle. I stop at red lights and cycle on the road. It irritates me beyond belief when people castigate all cyclists for riding recklessly. First of all, cyclists are people who do push and bend rules. Pedestrians do it when they cross the road 20 metres from the zebra crossing. Motorists also jump red lights. The thing that they all have in common. They are people. 

We all do stupid things from time to time so I would like to give cyclists a break. But  it also does irritate me when cyclists jump red lights. Particularly where it is a pedestrian crossing. Have some respect for others please. That said when you do the same in a car, the respect is more likely to be shown at the graveside.

But onward.

THe plan was to leave at 10am and cycle to Rye and back. What could be simpler. Of course we had to have bike faff. Having taken Stacey's wheel off to get it into my car, the brakes were rubbing. She had never taken the wheel off in the whole time that she had had it. That means she has not had a puncture. 

We eventually set off at 10.30, got half a mile away and Stacey realised she had forgotten her medication. We pop back for that. She didn't really want to but it is all time in the saddle.

And so off we went. 

I met Stacey and Kaz at the Rotunda in Folkestone having gone ahead down the steep hill. I am a bit of speed queen down hill. I love descending. The fastest I have ever ridden was 52 miles an hour down a big long clear hill near Pevensey. Fantastic. 

Kaz and Stacey are more cautious than I (but then both can beat me up hill but more of that later)

Cycling is cycling. Along the sea wall we went and we bumped into Phillip Williams. He is walking round the coast line of Britain in aid of  The Alzheimers Society. With 2 weeks to go he will end his more than a year long walk in Brighton. He had been through 7 pairs of boots during that time. We stopped for a chat (us chatting .. never!) and Stacey made a donation. We wished him well and then was on our way.


Just as we were exiting the Royal Military Canal road we chanced upon a lady dressed in a long skirt and a blouse. She was either a member of a cult or there was some other explanation. She had been providing sustenance to a group of Edwardian cyclists she told us. We may catch them up she said. Well you definitely will given the bikes they are riding. 

We were not exactly sure of the route they were headed but were delighted to catch them up when they were paused for their next stop. 


Another stop and a chat and naturally a photo opportunity and we went in opposite directions. 


 I had thought that the routes were erratically sign posted but Route 2 only had one point where we were not sure. We plumped for straight on at that point as in the absence of a sign post why would you leave the road you were on? 

 We arrived in Camber. At this point we had already risen 33 miles and Rye was further on. We decided to stop for food.  The Tubbys Cafe provided us with chips, pins, mushy peas and for me a strong cup of tea in a mug.

We decided to head back. We had done a cycle path along the road into Camber but I decided that I wanted to ride on the road. It would be faster and the surface was tarmac rather than than the gravel on the bike route. 

Following route 2 on the way back (an out and back for us) I spotted a gentleman in yellow some distance ahead. I decided that I wanted to catch him so off I went at a greater speed. I over took him and then passed him. As I waited for Kaz and Stacey to catch up they arrived with the gentleman cyclist. We stopped for a chat. (again) We explained that we were on route 2 and we had only been confused about the way once remarking it was well sign posted. 

Not so, as the point at which I over took and Kaz and Stacey caught him up were were no longer on Route 2. The roads eventually joined up but we had missed a turn. Not to worry as we had a delightful ride. He had riden LEJOG  (Lands End John O Groats) aged 71 and was planning a ride to Paris with his grandson next year. Kaz and Stacey set off but I stayed to chat for a bit longer. 

We eventually regrouped. Stacey was not feeling the love. In fact she had not been feeling the love since Camber. But she found her mojo and went off ahead. Kaz and I meandered for a while and eventually we were all together again at the military canal. 

WIth 9 miles to go I had really had enough. I wanted to be home. We were all at the point but were faced with the big hill up to Capel Le Ferne. 

With Kaz ahead and me not far behind we rode off valiantly. Stacey had stayed behind to ride round in circles at the bottom of the hill! Lunatic! Did she not realise what we were faced with?

I followed Kaz up the hill. Neither of us got to the point we had hoped but we turned and watched Stacey do it. Shouting encouragement to her, she did it. 

We pushed our bikes to cross and then decided to follow route 2. It takes you off the main road up a country road. I said I would go off for a reccy. I cycled off stopping abruptly when the road surface appeared to have crumbled. Kaz was right behind me so she was also forced to dismount. No sign of Stacey as yet but we pushed for a bit. Kaz got back on but I just could not get a start. I could not push off and clip in fast enough so I continued to push. Stacey passed me and cycled right to the top. Her gym training is certainly paying off.

I have to confess to being vaguely (i don't know what the word is). Ok I was well jell. 

Stacey did it through brute strength and determination. I am sure the 100kilo leg presses have certainly helped her. 

stacey conqured the hill

I lack the brute strength to push my weight.

Kaz is like a mountain goat and has realised that she likes hills and climbing. In the past she avoided them but there is no need for her to do that as she can climb. When I say mountain goat, I should say mountain goat with a phone. With only 5 minutes cycling left, she had to get her phone out and make a call. It would be fair to say that she had withdrawal as there was no reception in Camber! 

A grand day out. We cycled 65 miles in total (100km) It took 6 hours and 20 minutes of cycling time. 

Sadly I did not get the stats from Runtastic. It had measured the duration, just not the distance or speed or anything else. 

Stacey has a garmin. Which is how we know.    

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