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Saturday, 19 June 2010

It's been a long week

We've reached another Sunday, but it's been a trial. This is not least because Nic & Philip went for a training session on Wednesday and have spent the subsequent few days moving around rather slowly.

The technical term, we were informed, is muscle overload. On occasion this is supposed to be a good thing - when exactly?! After a standard warm-up, our 'hard-work' antennae were immediately twitching as we left the gym for the car-park. Walking lunges should be carried out in the privacy of your own home unless you are an olympic athlete - this is something we learned very quickly. We have spent more than enough time balancing on two feet and walking, we thought we had it down to a fine art. It's very embarassing when moving forward without a drunken wobble seems to come at a premium. FIVE sets!

We moved on to sundry strengthening exercises that involved the kerb in the car park and holding onto a bit of fencing. Then came the next trial, Mac has a wall outside the gym, on consideration, it's about 3 bricks too high. Step-ups, three sets, followed by jogging and sprinting. Nic has never had a fast-twitch muscle fibre in her body and age is also now against her. The 'sprint' took place on legs of blancmange, even arms pumping failed to get much above a stagger. Philip seemed to be able to do this exercise - maybe he'd been cheating on the step-ups. We finished the session with a 1000 metre row. It's a good job Mac has gone on holiday, given the level of difficulty a set of stairs became on Thursday and Friday. Oh, don't worry we cycled on Thursday just to keep the stiffness at bay -Ha!

The proof is in the doing, whilst Jake wends his way back from a hopefully successful attempt at walking up Snowdon with the cubs, Nic and Philip are planning some cycling reps up a local hill.

The benefits of training - let's see.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Pubs - great for getting donations?

Jake awoke refreshed from his camping experience and had not been too cold - very good result!

Having not been on a bike for a week we decided to head off into the Cotswolds and get some miles on our saddles. Jake was loaded with his new tent, sleeping bag and some snacks and bits and pieces in one pannier - gently does it.

What a lovely 27 mile ride we had. From our start point in Lower Swell across to Bourton on the Water, Little Rissington, Church Westcote, Nether Westcote, Foscot, Bledington (The King's Head), Churchill, Kingham, Daylesford, Broadwell, Donnington, finally back to Lower Swell.

The hill out of Bourton on the Water runs parallel to 'The Drainpipe' out of Wick Rissington (see earlier blog) but is longer and not quite such a climb - 50ft. less. It was amazing how much easier it seemed and Jake kept grinding until he got to the top despite the added weight. It must be said, the gearing on his Isla Bike is great, although we know he wants desperately to grow enough to be out of his 26" wheels and competing with us like-for-like, he gets there.

The weather was deceptive; sunshine, with a stiff breeze blowing, the sort of day you need to remember your Factor 30. Everywhere looked very lush, a myriad shades of green rolled out in front of us as we looked across from Nether Westcote. It was also a day for fabulous wafting perfumes from the fields of beans and cloaks of honeysuckle draped over garden walls and hedges.

Being so close to Bledington, we took a slight detour in order to fuel up on the King's Head cheesy chips (probably not the image they want to conjure, but very welcome). A much busier lunchtime than our previous visit, we were still able to grab a table outside and enjoy the warmth. Philip was sent in to fetch the provisions and came back armed with a £10.00 donation for Action for Children! Thank you very much Will Cairns from Pedal England, we have added it to our offline donations tally on the http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/bikewithjake fundraising page.

We were keen to return home from Bledington without any mechanical disasters this time so we opted for our gentle return via Kingham and Churchill. Churchill was hosting its Classic & Vintage Car Show, sadly we'd left it a little late to pay a visit but what a great setting!

A day that proved an excellent anti-dote to workday pressures and heavy training sessions. We ambled, achieved our targets on distance and weight carrying, enjoyed stunning views, scents and generosity - just what was needed to give us a lift as we hit 50 days to go and counting!

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Saturday, 12 June

Jake's School Fete - thanks to the PTA for allowing us to have a stand in exchange for a small donation to PTA funds. We decided to set up the stand so that Jake's schoolmates could see his bike all fully laden with his kit.

It looked an awful lot of stuff which was quite a sobering thought. However, the object of the exercise was to encourage people to part with their money. Of course, they were already giving to the school so they hadn't necessarily come prepared for another charity request.

There was quite a lot of interest and many people seemed impressed at the idea of a 10 year old tackling such a challenge. From a village
school fete we attracted 11 sponsors and a number of people who have taken the information away to hopefully make a donation online. A special mention must go to Andrew, Lucy, Alfie and Lily all from the same family who all pledged money!

With Nic manning the stand, Jake was free to enjoy the fete and join the others in a quick re-run of dancing round the Maypole.

The other school tradition was the egg-throwing competition - as you can see from the photo, experience has taught Jake not to wear a shirt! This year, though it was his throwing partner Jessica who got covered.

Fundraising complete for the day, the next most obvious occupation was Jake pitching his tent and trying out his Vango Banshee and lightweight sleeping bag. Jake pitched in the garden and retired for the night in the middle of the first half of the England football match (he must have known something!)

Would he wake refreshed and feeling like a pedal in the morning?