Having adventures back in the UK

There are some blogs that you read a lot, and through comments you get in little conversations. You feel that you know something about them and about what they do. Their comments lead to inspiration, increased challenges, acquired facts that spur your training on and improve your races. A recent comment by PedalWORKS said “I am going to miss your adventures in Spain“.

My first thought was… oh my god. Me too. Me toooooooooooooo. Head filled with sun and warmth and blue skies and empty paths and manchego cheese as the best mid-ride fuel ever. Then my second thought was…. okay. I just have to keep having adventures in the UK.

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That’s possible, right? The reason I had so many adventures in Spain was because I went out there and made them… had them… did them. Whatever. I didn’t just sit at home at the weekend, hungover, complaining about it being too hot (swap out hot for cold and you have my usual winter in the UK). I wanted to make the most of six months in Spain and so I went out there… so much cycling. Trips to Andalucia, Valencia, Santiago de Compostela, Toledo… exploring Madrid. Exploring.

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And okay. A little bit more rest will not be a bad thing. Having a few more weekends where I come in from a training ride/run and lie on my sofa instead of walking for a few hours around town will probably be good for me. My body has pretty much been broken these last few weeks and I am sure it is trying to tell me something. But that doesn’t mean I need to give it all up!

With that in mind, I need to make some adventures happen in the UK. I had months in Spain without a single free weekend in the diary – now I have months ahead of me without plans at the weekend! So here are a few…..

  • My first half ironman next weekend. That’s a pretty good adventure by anyone’s standards. And I get to do it in the beautiful New Forest. Due to training issues (injuries, illness etc) I am just seeing it as a fun day out, a chance to swim, cycle and run in a beautiful place relatively near my home but that I haven’t yet explored.
  • a weekend in Northumberland – James and I will be visiting a newborn baby (his brother’s first) but I was also thinking it would be the perfect opportunity for a bit of a hike along Hadrian’s Wall. They live so close and I’ve never really ventured out of their little village, Prudhoe. Time for some exploring!

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  • a bit of mountain biking. I had an absolutely fantastic time a few months ago in Santiago de Compostela riding the Camino de Fisterra and I am desperate to go back and do the whole route next year. But if I aim to do 90km in one day on a mountain bike, I am going to need to get a little bit quicker and a little bit more skilled! I am thinking about starting with a skills session at Lee Valley Velopark. It turns out it is quite hard to find out about mountain biking around London – especially without a car! The Velopark seems pretty good as it is much cheaper than some of the others I have been looking at (£20 for two hours including bike and helmet hire) AND it is in London so not too hard to get to. After that I can perhaps graduate up to a guided ride in the Surrey Hills with the Singletrack School and keep popping along to the Lee Valley Velopark for Pay & Ride sessions for just £5! I am hoping it will not only improve my mountain biking but also improve confidence and fitness on the road bike.

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  • Day hikes. Because of our lovely kitty we don’t like to spend too many full weekends away from home. So I am on the look-out for day hikes that are relatively easily accessible from London. I have a few ideas that I need to run by James before we decide buuuut I am quite keen on:
    • hiking the whole North Downs Way. It’s 153 miles from Farnham to the white cliffs of Dover and its estimated to take about 10-12 days if you were to do it in one go. We can do it in bursts, in between places that are relatively easy to get back to London from! The first one would be Farnham to Guildford and I suppose we should do it soon before the nights start drawing in, according to this fantastic hiking guide.
    • Cliff-top walk from from Seaford to Eastbourne, with stunning views of the Seven Sisters. And I do love stunning views.
    • Or a shorter walk from Salisbury to Stonehenge – I have never seen Stonehenge before so perhaps this would be a good one to do!
  • Then there are some foreign adventures coming up, including a long weekend in New York in November… and finally….
  • Last but not least – over six weeks off work from Christmas onwards, in which I will be holidaying and scuba diving in Mexico, backpacking through Guatemala and ending up with more hiking and some culture in Colombia! I am SO excited.

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If anyone has any more ideas for some good day trips from London, let me know!!!

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4 comments

  1. It sounds as though you have some epic things planned – who needs Spain!? Well, apart from the weather I guess 😉 But seriously, hiking the North Downs Way sounds absolutely amazing.

    I’m already excited for you for your half ironman – I really think you’re going to surprise yourself with how well you’ll do!

    • Thank you Jess! We will see…. the excitement is kicking in now. I just wish I was turning up fully primed to race but never mind. And once that is out of the way I can get on with all the other challenges like hiking the North Downs Way!

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