Last week I was out the country with family for our warm holiday of the year. This is why I’ve been non-existent in terms of this here blog.
But before we went away, I booked an extra day off from work. Usually my mum does the school run on a Friday for our eldest, but Nanny and Grumps were away in the US of A this particular time (or rather on their way back from). I could have worked from home, but the forcast was decent and it gave me an opportunity to get a decent ride in on my bike.
Leading up to the day off, I had planned a couple of different rides using the Strava Route Builder tool. Strava is great, it’s free (unless you want the added perks) and it allows you to not only track your rides, but plan them too.
The particular ride I eventually went for utilised the trails around where I live. There are a few old mine railways which have been converted to trails for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to enjoy. Once I was happy with the route on Strava, I exported it in GPX format and imported it into Garmin Connect to link it to my Garmin. This way I would get turn-by-turn notifications and wont get lost.
Hectic, that’s how I would describe things at the moment. Between family and work I am finding little time for myself. Little time for myself means fair irregular blog posts. But, I’m trying to set to time aside to fix this.
Things being busy also means other things have taken a little slide of late. Especially in the direction of food. Slimming World is great because when you’re on it, you can often get some amazing weekly results. But there is one catch with Slimming World… you need time. Time to plan, time to prepare and time to execute.
The Slimming World plan is all about cooking healthy food from scratch. Yes there are their own frozen meal range etc, but I refuse to pay those prices – £3.50 for half a meal… I might as well go out for the evening.
We’ve all heard several highly paid actors tell us Winter is Coming… not heard it for a while, about time that final season is released. For those who don’t know what I’m referring to, where have you been? You need to watch Game of Thrones.
This morning when I got in the car to go to work the temperature read out was 5.5 degrees Celsius (about 42 degrees Fahrenheit for those who don’t use degC). That’s cold, especial considering the fantastic summer we’ve had this year. I even had to wait for the car windscreen to demist, not done that in a while.
With the colder weather comes a change in food. Already I’ve switched to soups for lunch. A lovely butternut squash soup with some wholemeal bread, I do love it when the wife makes wintery food. Soon we’ll be making stews and casseroles as we say bye to the summer-like salads and lighter lunches I’ve been consuming the last few months. I love winter food, it’s so warming and filling, nothing better than tucking into a nice hot bowl of corned beef hash when the temperature drops.
Winter also means the slow cooker will be coming out too. I’ve already decided I want to experiment a little with it this year. Someone from my Slimming World group made a Slow Cooker English Breakfast not long ago, looked lovely and nothing better than leaving it on while at work and coming home to it be cooked and ready (even though it’s a Breakfast, the English Breakfast can be enjoyed at any meal time). There’s also Slow Cooker Jacket Potatoes which I’ve never tried before, but I’m intrigued as I love a crispy Baked Potato every now and then.
The clocks go back for us UK people next weekend, the bonus being and extra hour in bed (if you don’t have a baby like me). This also means the nights will be drawing in a lot earlier than they currently are, so night cycling is going to be the norm unless I can get out in the day at a weekend. To that end I’m glad I’ve got rechargeable lights, no more worries about batteries giving way during a ride as I’ll make sure they’re topped up before I leave each time.
Reflective gear is also a must at night to be seen, so I will be making the most of my nice florescent jacket with reflective strips. Let it be known I’ll probably be seen from half a mile away. But my biggest problem is the cold.
I’m not overly prepared at the moment for the cold weather that is coming. I have a pair of bib-tights but I’d say they’re for autumn use, not so much winter. I was wearing them on Thursday night when I took the Boardman out for it’s first ride and I was cold, really felt the cold on the downward stages. So I need some better thermal bib-tights. I also don’t have much for the top other than a short-sleeve base layer and my jacket, so I’ll need to look into a long sleeve thermal jersey. I don’t have much of a budget – if any at all, so I will have to keep on eye out for any online offers where I can.
Gloves are another thing and I think more important than maybe the thermals (I can layer in clothes but not gloves). I have the summer time finger less gloves at the moment, but they won’t be any good through Winter. I’d hate to think what could happen if my fingers got cold enough I couldn’t quickly apply the brakes if needed. So looks like I’ll be hunting for some nice warm, waterproof gloves over the next couple of weeks.
As much as the cycling part makes it look like I don’t like winter and I’m not prepared, I do love winter, more so than summer. In winter I can layer up if I’m cold, it’s not like you can strip your skin off if you’re too hot in summer. I’m a big guy so believe me when I say I get hot in summer.
Fighting with myself taking on the war of being severely overweight with dieting and cycling