Good Friday and it's not raining so determined to take advantage of an extra day off, we set out for Stowe, which is 24 miles away. I didn't blog about it at the time, but we went there on New Year's Day. On that day, we had an excellent tail wind, which meant that we made very good time, but we got lost trying to get in and ended up on a 2 mile trek through very muddy grounds with our bike. On leaving, Mr Tuna gaily declared that he thought the wind was with us. It wasn't. We struggled back and I got slower and slower, eventually having to stop because it had got too dark to see.
Today, the forecast was for a NE wind, so as Stowe is in the NE direction, I was hoping for the reverse situation. And it was! Unfortunately, my legs felt like lead for the first few miles and the wind didn't help. I was really questioning my ability to get there and wondered about turning around and having my hot cross bun at home. We managed to push on and covered the 24 miles (without diversion this time) in 2h10 which was reasonable. There are many pretty villages on the way so it is quite pleasant, not so pleasant is the traffic around Bicester due to the hordes visiting Bicester Village on a Bank Holiday (it was even more horrid on the way back).
Reasonable cafe at Stowe, where I was able to pick up some gf cake, although I chose to eat my gf hot cross bun that I'd bought with me. Mr Tuna had a sandwich and some simnel cake (which was fortunately "not as nice as yours darling").
On the way back, I got VERY cold whilst we sorted out the bikes to leave (unlock, refit panniers, Mr Tuna change shoes...), so it was hard pedalling all the way back (I was wearing 2 thermal under armour long sleeved tops, a short sleeved jersey, my windproof jacket and Mr Tuna's windproof jacket - the bit of me that was most cold was the bit where the tops stopped down to where my legwarmers started. Anyone got any ideas on how to keep bum and upper thighs warm please?). Anyway, we did have the wind with us and we made excellent progress until my trainer lace got caught up in my chain and I fell off (sigh, not even a cool way of falling off, and yes, I know, I have got to get clipless, but maybe when the weather warms up?), which led to a bruised knee and 5 minutes of tears at the side of the road and trying to blame it on Mr Tuna (I don't know what it is, but after 40 miles I almost always burst into tears, sadly doing rides of less than 40 miles is not an option when I'm training for a 70.3). Shortly after this, Mr Tuna got cramp. However, we did get back in 2h5 so not bad, 4h15 for 49 miles.
The trouble with cycling is that I feel a lot of pressure on me at the moment as the cycling component of my 70.3 is a very big challenge for me. I probably wouldn't have gone out in the extreme cold today had it not been for the need to get miles in, and I get cross and grumpy and tearful trying to push myself through. I know that completing the 70.3 will be a big reward, as will raising money for Mind again, but I have to say a little bit of me is looking forward to 2014 with swimming as the top priority and cycling as an optional extra when the sun is shining and it's warm!