Tuesday, 28 June 2011

more cycling!

I must say, I can't BELIEVE I am doing this. When I first signed up for the cycle it was as if I was destined to do it – Action for Charity 'persuaded' me, so did the FH. And I was ok with it, as it seemed light years away. Now, it's 123 days, 21 hours, 42 minutes and 3 seconds away! [yep – we all have the iPhone app!]. NOW it's becoming real. The fund raising has been exhausting but fun. The cycle training is exhausting but not that much fun! Well, it's fun, but AFTER the event.

This weekend the FH and I did a 57 mile cycle for the Force Cancer Charity. They are close to our hearts, as they were there for both of us during my treatment. We took advantage of their various programs, the best one for me being the Look Good Feel better day – loved it [even though I really had to force myself to go].

The day started out with drizzle – and we all looked completely…well...not normal! Lycra cycle shorts and hat [!] are not the most flattering attire ;)


We waited for the 100 milers to set off at 8.00, so we had brekkie in the meantime – Force supplied a fabulous kedgeree and porridge. All for free.  I had kedgeree – the FH had porridge? Ugh. Then at 8.30 we got going. First thing that happened was a fellow fell off his bike at the start line! Poor chap – cringe!

Then we were off – there's something quite amazing about cycling with lots of other people. It gives you confidence and there's an amazing camaraderie. We were four deep on the dual carriageway – makes car drivers think twice about driving into one.
We of course were on our mountain bikes [Kenya I am using a mountain bike, so we're using them for training] – oh woe! The road bike peeps were going past us and commenting about how insane we were. We just didn't realise – the course is for road bikes. It's very hilly – road bikes are so light and have such thin tyres. Whereas our mountain bikes have knobbly tyres and weigh a ton! Well, we made it – we did the 57 miles in about 5 hours. Pretty good time, but ohmygod it was torture!! It seemed like the entire course was a big hill! My chain fell off twice as I tried to change gear too fast in the face of sharp inclines.

I was bitching so much on the very longest hill [Long Drag Hill to Nomansland] that the FH actually reminded me of when I was struggling to walk up the hills of Porto. Unlike him to drag up past memories of chemo – but it did make me think. I could never have achieved this then. I really would have fallen over into a shrub! Probably vomiting…and I did make it up all the beastly hills! Here I am, second in the pic. gritting my teeth and gears 1:1.


We eventually got back to Topsham, [with a lot of swearing and groaning on my part!] to receive a medal and re-register to let everyone know we'd arrived. Shot off to the bar and got a glass of wine each to celebrate – we couldn't believe we'd done it! 57 miles!! On mountain bikes! Bloody amazing – well impressed with ourselves!

Lay on the grass in the sun – listened to lovely live music and drank our plastic glass of wine. Too brilliant!


We eventually went home, after listening for a while to the live band and watching people [good fun]. The sun was out, so we collapsed on the patio on a big throw. What an exhausting day – we were in bed by 9.30 – but so worthwhile. This year I couldn't ask for sponsorship for the ride – I've already asked all my friends and family for money for the Women v Cancer cycle. But next year we will be asking sponsorship for this ride – and we will have road bikes! This year we simply paid the £25 registration.
Here I am getting cake! The Force ladies made a ton of it, plus sarnies…made me remember when I was in chemo. The Force ladies would come round with sandwiches for us.  They are such sweeties.


Here's the ride map.

So – at least I now know I will be able to do the hills in Kenya. There we will be using mountain bikes – no frills, and normal gears. That's how I will train.

In the meantime, finding the expenses is a slight nightmare – airport taxes: £280 – visa: £30 – inoculations: £?? – malaria tablets etc etc…uff! But I WILL do this.

And of course, just to add to the drama, my check up is coming soon.


Monday, 13 June 2011

women v cancer – training weekend

sand_vick 02 Vicky and I before the ride

What an amazing weekend! 37 of the 80 women doing the first cycle [I think 37?] all got together this weekend for a training weekend. We arrived Friday night for what was to be a 2 day training session of 40 miles per day in the Cotswolds. Ho ho. Stupid English weather fixed that plan!


Check out my lovely hat…

Friday night we stayed at the Volunteer Inn in Chipping Campden. Great place – absolutely spotless! Loved it.
I drove up after a manic days work, through such heavy rain that I had the fog lights on all the way – visibility was about 10 yards! I was nervous about meeting lots of women all at once, and terrified about having to cycle 40 miles per day…my training has been non existent. So we all met up for drinkies [and CAKE!!] and some dinner [do not have an omelette in a curry house – yuck. Curry looked fabulous though!] Then rather decorously went to bed at 11.30 with plans to meet for brekkie at 7.30. We had to be at Vicarage Farm by 9.00 for a 9.30 set off.

Saturday we all sprang up, had a full English, nicked a few bananas and tootled off behind the extremely organised Anita, bikes sticking out of every vehicle. We had an introduction to the day, met the man on the ground, Ed [he was support – and so chirpy as we slogged up the hills that we wanted to kill him heh heh], Calum – our first port of call for all queries, his mum, and Reg the support vehicle driver. We had Nicky Jones, our very own tri-athlete too. She raced up and down like a maniac giving advice and directing us. Then we had the awesome Trisha, who is coming on the cycle – she did the route and made sure none of us got run over by a bus, tractor or car. She also adjusted our bike seats etc so we were more comfortable. A very useful person.

Organised, and off we went. We stopped at the Fleece Inn for a rather interesting lunch of tomato soup, chips and bread rolls. All morning we had sun and it was great, but as we left the Fleece the weather closed in. The upshot of which was that we did 48 miles!! In ONE day…as we left, the rain arrived. But we were lucky and it didn't drown us.
Here is Vicky and me leaving the Fleece. Why we look so cheerful I can't begin to imagine!
sand_vick 01

I really struggled with the hills. One of them I am sure was actually vertical, and I had to get off the bike half way and walk – I was crying with rage! But, with a bit of advice from the girls, I made it up a really long hill with a 12% gradient – I am so pleased!

Saturday night we had dinner and mistook one of the girls for Aggie! I still have no idea who I was talking to, but it was not Aggie. Here I am in full training mode on the way to the Red Lion for my dinner.
sand_02 All told, a fabulous day because I am now confident I can do the Kenya cycle. I am amazed that I managed to cycle a whole 48 miles – I really didn't think I'd do it.

jones x 3Plus we met up with loads of amazing women who, until now, I've only been in touch with on Facebook. The camaraderie and support were amazing. It was great fun – unfortunately, Sunday's weather was a nightmare. I didn't see any point in putting myself through torture, plus risking a cold, so I bottled it and came home on a high.

The drive was awful again – and some of the girls stayed and cycled in the horrible gales and rain! All credit girls, I had enough trouble keeping the car on the road!

So I have just booked up for a 50 mile cycle for Force – good practice and I need the saddle time. I do rather wonder if I've lost the plot ;)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

friends in the USA

Ovations have been very kind to me – and to lots of other women. They recognize that ovarian cancer patients may need help and guidance while battling this disease. In many ways – not just the physical battle, but the mental one, and the everyday one where even cleaning the house or cooking a meal can be too much.

They have a new program called 'helping hands'. One of the ways they assist patients in need is by providing a healthy, well-balanced diet. And now, thanks to tremendous support from their generous sponsors, they can provide patients with meals - free of charge - across the state of Massachusetts.

So, if you're in need, call them! Oh, and check this out:


Loving the t-shirts! :)

Find Ovations for the Cure on Twitter and Facebook. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, 6 June 2011

our 11th anniversary

wedding well. I've been married to the FH 11 years today – astounding! time flies when you're having fun! And we really have had some fun – and some very dark times too.

My office smells beautiful – this morning I had a great big bouquet of lilies…and a lovely card…the photo is of us cutting our 'cake' – a massive pile of meringues which went with  a huge bowl of strawberries, and another of clotted cream…I have my Gran's Victorian scarf on [for something old], and my Mum's amethyst ring [for something blue].

I was thinking about this [the dark times] at the weekend. We've been through so many troubles. We seem to attract drama of the worst kind – divorce, CSA [translate – blood sucking imbeciles], redundancy [both of us at the same time!], unemployment [again, both at the same time], accidents, car problems [er – these cost a fortune!], house problems [these too!], volcano deleted holidays...you name it...we've dealt with it. Oh and of course the cancer crap.

How can a person ever know WHAT they are getting into when they get married? Ah – in 'sickness and in health' – no-one really understands that part. The FH thought he was marrying a fit and fat individual. And he was. Fat. Not so sure about the fit bit…but I was a normal healthy woman – with normal healthy appetites for life. How that has changed. And how supportive has the FH been. He is an amazing person – his own everyday stresses are horrendous. Running your own business sucks – people get the idea that if you have your own business, you must be at the top of the food chain. Er – not. It sucks – no paid holiday, no wages at all if the people don't come in and buy. Bah. Hate it.

And we have struggled. A lot. We still are struggling now. But – we struggle together. We meet every challenge together. We deal with every difficulty as a team. It's hard. But – we also have fun – we go off on mad trips – the FH is a genius for planning 'Stuff'. Stuff that doesn't cost us a fortune,  but always means we have a great time. I have had the best holidays of my life with this man – and that's saying something, as I have had a brilliant life, full of travels. But the FH always always manages to think up something new and fun…

He even managed it while I was in chemo. He is a genius for making happiness happen. I am so lucky.

I am so happy today! I hope to God I remain in remission for ever?