Giving Up. Coffeeneuring 2017

So I made it to the middle of the last week before admitting to myself I wasn’t going to complete this year’s challenge. I’ve left it to the final day before admitting it to everyone else.

My first mistake was in miscounting the number of weekends we had. I presumed it was 7 weekends for 7 Coffeeneuring trips. Then I missed one weekend because I was just too tired. In a panic I realised I could still manage it if I got out once in the week, and twice in the last weekend.

I had an early shift on Wednesday so had planned to pop out on my bike when I got home and before it went dark ( I’m just too scared to cycle on our unlit country lanes after dark). Then good news – I got a job interview! Bad news – it was Wednesday morning so I had to rearrange my shift and lose my chance to fit in a sneaky Coffeeneuring trip.

With no more opportunity to get out this week I knew that was it. Sad, but I’m not Superwoman and can’t do everything. Well done to everyone who has completed the challenge this year. As for me, hey – there’s always next year šŸ™‚

Coffeeneuring #4 2017. A picture is worth a thousand words

Nice picture, hiding the reality of a low effort / lower enthusiasm ride.

It was cold, it was windy, I didn’t want to go, but I made it out for a minimal “Coffeeneuring without walls ” trip. Pretty view from the lay-by but my phone was too full for anymore photos. Ride number 4 done, 2.8 miles, sachet of mocha that was pretty bad but at least I could warm my hands on my mug before pedalling home again in the gloom.

Wickstead Wander 2017

We all remember this one from last year, don’t we? The only with the big, dark, water jump? Okay, a little photographic reminder:-Water Jump 2016

This race was again part of the Wiltshire Off-Road League, so of course I again had to enter it. It is the only race in our local off-road calendar that encourages fancy dress, so at the last minute I tried to think of an economical costume that would be amusing, runnable-in, and that would survive the water jump and other horse jumps. Seeing as the water made such an impression on me last year, I used that as my inspiration. So, I give you :- swimming cap and goggles!

Here you can see me preparing for my impressive entry into the water:-

but sadly the actual moment of flesh-hitting-murky-water was missed by the photographer.

The rest of the race was much as I remembered last year’s (to be truthful, quite a lot of fairly dull running around the edges of fields). However, moment of the race for me had to be seeing the burly “Marilyns” from the Royal Wootten Bassett Hounds helping each other over a stile by keeping the brambles from snagging their dresses. Although this sadly wasn’t captured on camera, I can however show you them pouting their way through the water jump:-

Marvellous stuff!

Off Road TrainingĀ 

After struggling at the Marshfield Mudlark, and realising the Wickstead Wander was fast approaching I decided I’d better do some training. So on Sunday I planned a route involving hills, mud, more hills, woods and also a tweak on a route I’ve run before. The beautiful parts of the run were breathtaking (although that could have been the hills). Autumn in the woods is so beautiful and so full of colour. 

Photo of Autumnal leaves
Imagine running through those leaves

Six and a half miles of beautiful exploring was exactly what I needed after another stressful week at work. 

An interesting point of the run was when I ran past a new housing development. Two years ago this was a derelict MOD site which sat atop miles of tunnels. This was one of the Government’s secret bunkers in the Cold War, and I wrote about how it looked here.  As a sneak preview, 2 years ago the approach looked like this:-

and today it looks like this:-

Funniest though is how all but 1 of the three ‘slope shafts’ have disappeared. I wonder if the houses are described as having “extensive cellars”?! 

Photo of remaining slope shaft
Just a small issue here still to deal with …

From here, a new route headed back towards the woods and so onto home. You know you’ve chosen a hilly route when you stand atop the slope you’re about to run down and think “I’ve sledged down here!”


So, training done.  Bring on the Wickstead Wander …

Coffeeneuring #3. All by myself

After being accompanied by Mr B&T on my previous 2 coffeeneuring rides this year, I was abandoned this week. (29th October 2017). Humming “all by myself” I showered after my morning run, dug out my happy shopper bike and headed off back to Corsham.

My favourite bakery, which makes the best vegetarian sausage rolls, also sells hot drinks *and* is open on Sunday. An easy decision to make, I thought!

Although I can confirm that that veggie sausage rolls are as good as ever, I am also sad to verify that sitting in an empty shopping centre is not much fun. Also, although Ā£1 for a freshly made drink is indeed a bargain, the mocha I bought was so strong it practically gave me a headache just smelling it.

Ah well, ride number 3 completed!

Happy Halloween!

Okay, so not *quite* Halloween but close enough. A short run showed me my allotment neighbour’s impressive pumpkin

Photo of pumpkin
Pumpkin. Sadly not mine

I then ran past the pile of wood waiting to become our village bonfire:-Looping back through the village I first passed a house that had peaked too early:-

Peaked too early. It was only 29th October

and then a house with a basket of windfall apples with a sign saying “Help yourself”. Would have been rude not to, so final few metres were run whilst clutching an armful of goodies.

Photo of scrumped apples
Scrumped apples

which were later turned into apple crumble and custard. Fabulous recovery food!

Coffeeneuring 2017 #2

Another weekend, another Coffeeneuring trip! Seeing as I’m currently (temporarily) working Monday – Friday, 9 – 5 (cue Dolly Parton), weekends are my only chance to got out on my bike.

Saturday was spent split between sleeping, and clearing out the shed (not sleeping IN the shed I should point out), so Sunday had to be the day for my ride. Oh and my run, and also my trip to the recycling centre with most of the old contents of said shed. Oh the excitement of my weekends!

My run was short but hilly (i.e. slow, but necessary training for this year’s off-road league races). It was also beautifully autumnal in the woods, and blowy in the village.

After a shower and a quick change, I set off on my bike to meet up with Mr B&T for this week’s Coffeeneuring date. I cycled over to Corsham again, because I though I might see if I could make it 7 trips to Corsham this year. This is not because it’s our closest source of cafes (it is), but to make us seek out other eating places. We went to our favourite place last week meaning we now have to be more adventurous.

The observant amongst you will have noticed the use of the plural “we”. This is not the Royal “we”,  but it is acknowledging the fact that my husband was really quite envious of my lovely coffeeneuring patch when it arrived last year.

My coffeeneuring patch. Very proud of this
Despite completing cycle rides of ridiculous lengths (sitting next to me looking at Strava, he has just announced that he has cycled nearly 9,000 km this year), he seems determined to accompany me on my Coffeeneuring rides this year and so claim a patch of his own.

So, whilst he called in at Corsham after a 60 mile ride, I cycled 3.6 miles from home. I did have to go round and round Corsham to find anywhere open, but just as I stopped outside a promising place, he turned up. Great timing! We ended up in Mother & Wild having a really good lunch. Mushroom arancini, cauliflower soup (which basically tasted like cauliflower cheese soup, which was as good as it sounds) and a mushroom pizza.  All shared between us, with the obligatory drinks of course.

Pic of empty plates
Empty plates say it all

Photo of cycle helmet & coffee
The obligatory “helmet & coffee” shot
It was hard to leave and climb back on our bikes to pedal (slowly!) home, but we just about managed it. Still digesting now – Mother & Wild – we’ll be back!

 

Coffeeneuring 2017 – the First trip

I wrote about Coffeeneuring for the first time last year, and managed to complete the challenge by the skin of my teeth (and with a little subtle rule-bending). I was therefore excited to see this weekend meant it was the start of this year’s challenge.

In case you’ve forgotten, Coffeeneuring is a challenge to visit 7 different “coffee shops” (or cafes) over 7 weeks, travelling by bike each time with a minimum of a 2 mile round trip. You should have a coffee (or tea, or any other drink you fancy), and take a photo as proof. Read more about it here.

The Coffeeneuring 2017 challenge kicked off on Friday 13th October, and with unaccustomed cycling enthusiasm I dragged my husband out on Sunday 15th for my first trip of the year. Living in a small village, our closest small town with cafes is 3 miles away, so it wasn’t difficult to ensure we cycled the minimum 2 miles.

Sneaky cycle parking photo
Sneaky cycle parking
Photo of coffee and husband. Yum!
Yum!

A 2.9 mile hop on our “shopping bikes” took us to Grounded, in Corsham. We enjoyed drinks, shared a raspberry bakewell tart, did a spot of shopping then took a shortcut home and made it back in 2.5 miles.

On board " You can't buy happiness, but you can buy Coffee"
Loving the motto of this place

A lovely ride with my obviously lovely husband, to a really lovely cafe. Recommended!

 

Let the Off Road Season Start!

Sunday 8th October 2017 saw the start of the Off Road season. It was yet another running of the Marshfield Mudlark,Ā  yet again I tip-toed past the cows, and yet again I walked up ‘that’ hill. This year I remembered my trail shoes (unlike last year), which was just as well because it was pretty sticky and slippy in places. There was also a small stream to splash through, which I had forgotten about from previous years.

I hadn’t really trained for this race (see my previous post about lack of time!), but still enjoyed it. As ever, it was a brilliant race, through stunning countryside with lovely marshals, and this year with the added bonus of VEGGIE HOT DOGS for sale at the end. Who needs a medal?!

New beginningsĀ 

New starts, new jobs, new experiences. Some good, some not so (please don’t remind me about that interview- my toes still curl up when I remember it). I certainly made an impression at my new swimming lesson last week. My hat nearly came off, and as I tried to put it back on (over wet hair) I somehow fired it out into the middle of the next lane like a giant catapult.

Some of these changes are impressive, life defining moments in time. On Saturday we dropped our daughter off at university to start her first year as a student. She was so ready for it, but still nervous and excited. I *think* we, as her parents, were ready. We were definitely nervous and excited! We left her in her room looking settled and ready to take on the next stage in her life. I’m not ashamed to say we were two very proud parents.

Less momentous changes include a new temporary job for me, which have left me struggling to fit in any exercise around it (hence the new swimming class. If there’s something scheduled in on a weekly basis I’m more likely to make it.) I spend all day sitting down talking, so not terribly active. I’m going to have to motivate myself to exercise in the evenings now when I get home. You know, the time when I then need to get dinner ready (our teenage son has very long, very hollow legs), tidy up, pop to the shops, sort the cats out – all that kind of stuff.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in this situation, so I’d welcome any top tips on how to fit everything in whilst still managing to have a lie-in at the weekend. Suggestions please!