Team Cycling Plus - Kay Bowen

A ferry gets the better of Kay - stick to noodles instead!

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. This week Kay warns don't try cycling west of Southampton...

Team member: Kay Bowen

36 year old Kay from Southampton is a very active person. She overcame thyroid cancer last year which has inspired her to try a whole host of new activities, including sailing, tennis, skiing and triathlons. As a triathlete, she already does a lot of cycling, but is keen to work on this aspect of her training. Her goals are to sustain longer distances and to go on a cycling holiday.

I achieved a huge first this weekend – my first ever solo sail, on our 15ft cat. That’s a catamaran, NOT a domestic pet. Despite four nights camping at the sailing club, and lots of sailing action, I am proud to say I hit 6 hours in the saddle this week. I seem to be finding a realistic pattern which involves about 3 solo rides of between one and two hours and then a social ride at some point with a friend of varying fitness who wants to tag along. This week’s victim was Josh, who had not been on a long ( we did 16 miles) bike ride since uni, and was won over by borrowing Rob’s home built RJB bike with its carbon frame and general whizzy features. I nicely told Josh to go at his own pace, I’d wait for him, blah blah, but he shot off in front in a haze of dust and approached every climb like he was a ‘King of the Mountains’. I put in some grinding if short climbs in the route and I did get up the last one before him. We found a real old time pub, the Woodman in Upham, tiny and does drinks and crisps, none of this modern food stuff. Great place.

Setting off for a Saturday night ride from the sailing club, I hit upon the idea of cycling into town and getting the ferry to the New Forest, doing a circuit round Bealieu and then hopping  on the ferry back. Clearly all the time on the water had me wanting more of it. Disaster. I  got to the ferry outward and it had just gone, so rather than hang about I cycled round to the New Forest. Whoever is the cycling manager for Southampton City council has never cycled out west of the city centre. I was either on stupid cycle paths which were rutted and lasted about 25 m each, or on a dual carriageway with cars passing incredibly close, with clearly no expectation of seeing a cyclist. Any other fools who have tried it are probably in coffins. I found a cycle path which had a sign to the place I wanted to go, but it was not intended for road bikes and clipping in and out of cleats as I had to keep going up and down kerbs and round obstacles. Once on the New Forest side, I was so frustrated I never made it to the pretty bit, instead cycling twice round the military port of Marchwood (by mistake both times) before hurtling down the road to Hythe to get the ferry, which turned out to be the one a day that doesn’t go, so spent 20 minutes in a lads pub with a diet coke and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps. Bought a Chinese takeaway and back at the sailing club, sat on the patio and watched the sunset with Rob and a plate of noodles. Here’s to a better New Forest experience next week

Who are Team Cycling Plus?

Team Cycling Plus powered by Verenti are readers Andy Ward, Kay Bowen, Malcolm Ratcliffe and Sam Shaw. We’ll be following them in the magazine for the next few months as they train towards their personal cycling goals under the guidance of Team Wiggle’s Ben Simmons and we will be publishing their weekly trials and tribulations here too. For regular updates check our twitter page twitter.com/cyclingplus and the Team Cycling Plus facebook page

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