Wednesday, 15 October 2014

TRAINING UPDATE: Cycling in the countryside

It seems like yonks since my last Training Update I'm struggling to think through all that has been happening the last couple of weeks. A few runs have happened, as well as swims but the key highlight for me has been spending a weekend in the Cotswolds with a fellow cyclist and close University pal for a weekend of cycling!

I LOVE getting out of London. I'm not exactly a super fan of living in a city so any chance I have to whisk myself off to somewhere peaceful with clean air, I'm off in a heartbeat. When my friend asked me to visit her for the weekend a few weeks back for a cycling weekend, I was so excited! This was in fact only my second ever proper bike ride and I knew where she lived was going to be picturesque (it's on the outskirts of the Cotswolds).

I started off bright and early on the Saturday cycling through Central London (in the rain miserably) to Paddington. I arrived nice and early to board the train with my bike but found when I arrived at the front carriage where the bikes are stored, I was refused entry due to there being a confusion about my train ticket and reservation. After almost flipping my lid at First Great Western (and many angry tweets after), I was luckily let on the train (so I should have been!) and was on route to the pretty little village of Honeybourne. 

I spent the journey reading my book and having a snooze until two hours later, I had arrived and my friend was waiting on the platform with her bike in tow. After a quick stop off at her cottage a mile away, I dumped my backpack and we were straight out on the road. She has a route planned of around 20 miles (I felt like that was a safe distance for me). The rainy weather was good to us and held off for most of the journey so we were able to thoroughly enjoy the cycle side by side catching up on life.
At around the halfway mark, we had arrived at a quaint village (where apparently scenes from Bridget Jones was filmed!) which was lined with pretty listed buildings of houses and boutiques. The rain also started to spit down on us so we saw this as a perfect opportunity to stop off at a local pub for this delicious hot chocolate.
Once we had warmed ourselves by the fire, we headed back out on the bikes to continue our adventure across windy country lanes and endless farm lands until we arrived back home.
I absolutely loved whizzing around the countryside on my bike with these glorious views surrounding me. Gone were the big red buses, endless taxi drivers and constant weaving in and out of traffic. This was my time to pick up speed and see just how great my Trek Lexa is. Turns out, this baby is a breezy smooth ride! Going downhill was a bit daunting as I felt like I was going 100mph but my bike offers great control and sturdiness, especially when braking at high speed. 

Once we has returned home, we got out of our cold damp clothing and into our slouchy slacks to chill for the rest of the afternoon. Being in a cottage felt so unbelievably cosy, especially when sitting in front of this homey fire. I was so comfy I nodded off!
It felt sooooo nice and relaxing being out in the country. The surrounding area was so quiet an peaceful and being snuggled up on the sofa with a toasty fire was far too dreamy. Not one part of me was missing my Central London flat on a busy high street.

By the evening, we were both revived from our cycle and dolled ourselves up to head out for an evening meal and cocktails. We drove into nearby town Stratford to dine at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The food there is divine! I was starving by the time we arrived and wolfed down a delicious three course menu, along with some rather scrummy cocktails!
By the morning, I felt really sad that I had to leave. I definitely should have booked a long weekend so I could have taken the opportunity to cycle out further and explore the area more. It really was such a lovely weekend and I'm already planning my return!

Now I am back in London, it's time to face the music and get ready for Cabbage Patch 10. The training has been well, minimal but I feel confident I will complete the course in full. I just have no idea what time. But, I also don't care. I'm not setting standards with time. Instead, I am setting a standard in enjoying the race. No matter the time, I just want to go out there, relax and have fun!

Lipstick Runner.

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