Friday, 24 June 2016

Kirkstall Abbey

Happy times.
Been managing 50km cycles no problemo!
Well one 50km cycle a few days ago, but that's good enough for me.
Yorkshire and sunshine and cycling and all is well in the world.
This 50km cycle was up West Chevin then out to Kirkstall Abbey, a building I always see from the plane flying into Leeds.
Planned on going along some other landmarks I see from the plane, but somehow an old route to Bingley was pulled over onto my Garmin, so when I set off on my route to Kirkstall (East) and the garmin kept directing me towards Bingley (west) I was ever so slightly frustrated.
Eventually I gave up on the garmin, took out my iphone and set off directly along the a65 thru Guisley, which was interesting in itself. 
Also passed and explored a new setup called Kirkstall Forge, a whole village/ offices being built.
Kirkstall abbey was very impressive and beautiful up close.
Sat outside in the sun and had sandwich from the Gatehouse opp the Abbey.
Cycling back from Leeds through Headingly I wondered into Lawnswood cemetery, a beautiful old (and new) cemetery.
Was a lovely, lovely day cycling.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Human again

As is the status quo of late, ill health has kept me off the bike for most of the last few months, muscle tremors and fatigue- not even my back this time.
Waiting for an apt with neurologist now to rule out anything serious. Not a nice thing to have lurking in the sub conscience, but something both my Physio and Dr (and me) think needs to be ruled out. 
If I get the all clear, all the issues I've had with my back will seem small fry in comparison and I'll just be eternally grateful it's not the permanent diagnosis I hope it isn't.
Ironically my back has been great lately, so I really am biting down on the back of my hand in frustration that something else has raised its head.
Would have been a treat to experience a whole year of good cycling, but there you go.

Over the last few months I've managed a few commutes to work. That's 8.6km each way, but I've been shattered each time, with legs which think they've just cycled 100km.

Today I managed 33km.
Had a rest after, secretly hoping these constant muscle tremors would magically disappear, but I'm still trembling like a cold dog.
Had the tremors after the last 80km cycle I did.
Who knows what the cause is, could be a billion things. Blood tests all came back healthy.
You'd swear I was doing this for attention.
I just signed out of the Orwell whasapp group, my hopes of being healthy enough to re-join them have gone.
For now.
I'm disappointed I'm still trembling after the 33km today. Means that the 2 weeks total rest didn't work and neither did just biting the bullet and going for a cycle.
So what can I do?
Bite on the back of my hand!
Some pics from today.
Yearned for the smells, sights and sounds of Strawberry beds and with a hazy, warm day I was treated to all at full volume.
It was like arriving home cycling along, I felt human again.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Cycling with picnic on my back

Cycled to Phoenix park to meet others for picnic. Was mentally just what the Dr ordered. 
Actually went to the Dr on Fri, she took 6 lots of blood for testing, if these all come back clear it's be neurologist time.
Shakes were quite bad this morning when trying to fit new saddle to bike.
Hopefully just a virus, but no other symptoms associated with viral infection, just constant muscle tremors across back and in legs. Feeling heavy and no energy. Last night felt acutely pmt but I'm not. 
All odd.
Valium made no difference to the tremors.
Was so great to manage short cycle in the warm sun to the park and to just relax chatting for a few hours.
Shaking now like a nervous dog left tied up on a lead outside a newsagents.
Maybe it's the constant shaking zapping my energy. It's been 5 weeks of this which is why I went to Drs Friday. Should maybe have gone after 2 weeks, but just assumed it would go.
Will try cycle to work tomorrow, the weather's supposed to remain clear and dry, so let's get this summer party started!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Dumb 1 - 4

Well bollix to it.
I'm off the bike again.
neglected proper rest and stretching and have been unable to cycle since Tuesday.
Rested for a few hours after the 80k with Orwell on Saturday and ideally would have liked to stay in for the evening but had promised a friend I'd meet up with her for the cinema at 5.30pm, so headed out again when really I should have stayed put.
Dumb number 1.
But it was the cinema, I'd be sitting down, surely that'd be fine? 
And I'm sure it might have been except afterwards I decided I'd walk from Smithfield over to Cork st which is a bit of a trek anyway, but given my cycle a few hours earlier it was definitely dumb number 2.
Next day I drove over to IMMA, which was good.
Exhibition by Hennessy was ok. I liked a couple of his paintings, one of a lovely sunny countryside scene with a woman in black to the left standing with her back to us (which I took for depression)
The other painting I liked was one of an old derelict cottage being reclaimed by surrounding brambles, trees, nature.
Not so much walking in IMMA, but I drove over to the war memorial park to watch some rowers racing on the Liffey.
I was physically tired and should have just headed home, stayed a little too long. Dumb number 3.
Monday, I decided I was fit as a fiddle and cycled the 8k to work, after work cycled 5k to a 6pm class on Pembroke st, cycled 6k home at 7pm and was trembly. There's only so much dumb my body can take apparently.
Tuesday, I had to drive to work, there was no fit and no fiddle. 
I was drained and felt very weak, too fragile to cycle. An Inflammation party was in full swing across my lower back. Not painful thankfully, just hours of constant spasming across my back. Anti inflammatory tablets had no effect, no surprise there. Ran an epsom salt bath when I got home, was comotosed and slept like a log.
Tired again Weds and tired again today. The inflammation died down today which gave way to the tightness across my back which must have been there all along asked by the inflammation.
Got a bit panicky, what could I do?
Called the UCD physio where I used to see Ciara, asked if by any chance did they have an apt for a deep tissue massage - they did if I could get there in 20 mins.
Quick lower back massage and some dry needling and I was back to work for the afternoon. Back home and I'm zonked again, but he said to expect to feel like I'd been hit in the back (nice).
I'm a little down I mightn't make the 2nd spin on Saturday. It's a flat 77km too which I'd be well able for.
Fingers crossed this weakness lifts.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Orwell Mount Seskin, Blessington, Butter mountain

Note the terms Mountians, not hills.
That's right.
I'm going to keep it to myself but I've been up worse hills. That's not to say today wasn't tough, but it wasn't as horrific as my anxieties persuaded me it was going to be.
Felt very different being out with Orwell and not Otley today. Missed the Otley heads, only natural as most my spins lately have been with them.
The scenery was notably Irish today and struck me far more than if I'd been regularly cycling in Wicklow instead of Yorkshire. 
How to describe the difference in landscapes, scenery, feeling?
The most obvious is the yellow gorse growing absolutely everywhere here in Ireland. The misty mountains in the distance, the road markings.
The blackbirds and bird song are the same, the road surfaces are very similar.
The walls are different, the layout of the land is more mountainous here.
They're both incredibly lush and they're both stunning in their own ways.
Did hill repeats for the first time ever today. Not as bad as I thought and quite do able.
Climb for 3mins in a gear which makes you work your leg muscles, cycle back down, climb the same hill again x repeat.
We only did two today which is probably why it seems do able.
Great leading and patience from Derek and Katherine.
Katherine kept the pace White, which I was thankful for.
I think keeping the whole spin steady, including hills is the magic pill to avoid headaches, exhaustion, back problems later. I've always known that but today I practiced a slower pace and I feel good.
Didn't have anyone in particular struggling today, so I think the group will work well over the next few weeks.
Predicted rain fell for our last hour and sent us all home cold.
But hey, I cycled 76km including Mount Seskin and Butter mountain, nothing's going to dampen my satisfaction.

No parking

The sign said don't park, I parked anyway. Returned from my nightclass to definite puncture. Typically didn't have my saddlebag with me so had to walk with the bike and Luas it home.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter Rising 2016

The last few weeks have been been a quite a big deal in Ireland. Last Thursday was Paddy's day and this weekend marks the Easter Rising of 1916. 100 years since Ireland started a week of armed revolution which ultimately led to Ireland claiming back it's independence in 1921.
I'm at home in Yorkshire, but Dad has been watching the rte player all weekend so I feel like I'm in Dublin watching the parades.
Cycled to Otley this morning, passed the Manor pub in Otley with it's 2 massive tricolour flags blowing boldly an proudly in the Yorkshire wind.
Great to see.

Beautiful cycle this morning led by Ruth.
We were forecast storms, but lucked out as only a heavy shower caught us at the end.

By the time I'd gotten home I had clocked 62km and felt ok seeing as there were no killer hills.
Was a lovely route: Otley-Arthington- Bramhope- Guisley- Cow and calf (beautiful- especially as we came down the hill rather than going up) then coffee in some Italian coffee shop in Ilkley (great place). Then back to Otley and home.
Great day- I loved it.

Thursday, 25 February 2016


Trek out to Bingley, West Yorkshire today.
Had to wait til noonish to be sure the ice was mostly melted from the roads, though up along Bingley Road there were still icy puddles and frosted grass verges, even at 2pm.
Was a solo trek which suited me well today. 
Meant I was able to stop when I wanted, and that seemed to be often. 
Whether to look across at the views or stop at the top of a hill for a breather, sometimes it's just more of a relaxed cycle when alone.
My phobia of hills wasn't improved today.
At the top of one hill where the Reva Cross was, I honestly thought I was going to get sick.
Did the 'I'm going to get sick pose' and everything. Then it passed and I was fine.
I don't know what it is. 
I went slowly up what wasn't even that bad a hill, avg 8kmph and still I felt sick at the top.
Dizzy and nauseous- it's just odd, but also a very real physical reality which isn't that nice.
Not the politest of ways to show respect to a 15th century landmark.
Saw Kestrels, flocks of Lapwings sounding great, heard and saw some Red grouse and heard Curlew en route.

I had intended to head further than Bingley, had wanted to hit the cycle route along the canal path and cycle onto Haworth, but it was too late by the time I got I Bingley, so I popped into a cafe in Eldwick called Tasty treats? 
It was a good stop, home baked granary bread and decent sandwiches.

I would go the route I went today again, Haworth was only another 13km away, so 38km from home in total, which is nothing. 
Just seemed too far today.

Dedicated today's ride to AM and AE, both missed.