Saturday, 25 August 2012

Some cycling pictures

First col!!

second col

a biggy!

road open now! On way from d'Aubisque to Soulor

Weather closing in!! This wasn't fun!

This was a lovely ride and lots of hellos at top!

An unhappy hungry welshman! 9.30 and closed!

no crepes and cold! Smile for the camera! Don't bother then!

Long climb but worth it. 

Lawr tries out his FHM pose

last one and we wouldn't have noticed it!

We missed her!!! Myvanwy xx

some walking pictures at last

pointing the finish of the pyrenees before the start on la barcares beach

late night attempt at start photo

looking down to very steep descent on day 3

I'parla the first mountains over 1000m

la pierre st martin

'official' camping at Borce

Chemin de la Mature

over the 2200m pass then deep snow and mist to Gabas

col Soulor and the 'closed' road

val d'aran, Catalonia

back in France with thining snow

or maybe not!!

the Med.

Bonnie Scotland

Chapter one complete!
Well we hope we can enjoy even more adventures. So rather than say it's the end it really is the start of something new! 
It has been a fabulous time away with many adventures and dreams achieved. We are really grateful to have been given this opportunity and realise that this trip would not suit everyone, but I cannot think of a better person to have spent this time with (lucky that!).
Since last weekend have cycled, swam, ran and climbed and hope we can continue as work begins.
Of all the beautiful places we have been to this is still one of the best.

Thanks for reading our diary hope you have enjoyed it.
Lawr & Wend (&Myfanwy) x

13th-17th holland and home

 17th Aberfeldy/port glasgow
While the lads enjoyed fabulous weather, a fantastic fishing trip and a mackerel massacre I got ready for the triathlon. Joined by two others from crieff we warmed up in the warmish waters of the loch. As I entered the water I suddenly couldn't remember if I had locked the van and then for the whole race drank most of the peaty loch water. On the bike, although I avoided the potholes and punctures, my tribars came loose but it didn't hinder the beautiful cycle. The run was just survival and more undulating than I remembered! Nonetheless a beautiful triathlon on my doorstep. Gave two french hitchhikers a lift to Dunkeld and enjoyed chatting and trying out my french! Short conversations..

16th Home
Lawr and the fishermen headed off for the yacht and I got packing for Aberfeldy triathlon.

15th Home
waking early we had a long breakfast and sat in the van before beginning to disembowel Myfanwy. It wasn't long before Lawr's fishing chums started to arrive. My Dad brought Otis (chihuahua/dachshund cross) and it filled the dog gap a little, then suddenly things seemed nice and busy again.
It was an evening swim in loch earn as 4 of us paddled about. Lovely..
Not quite ready for the photo as we pull some faces and Derek is caught looking for sharks

14th Lake district
As the ferry pulled in the sea was calm and the air warm. We gently then loudly reminded each other which side of the road to drive on. Lots of roundabouts to encourage rapid learning! Across to the lakes we unpacked the bikes and cycled the Helvellyn Triathlon bike course. This Tri is the only UK one in the worlds hardest top 10 Triathlons. Apparently the swim is skull crushingly cold (have they ever swam in loch Tay, the cycle takes in The 'Struggle' and the weather can be treacherous, have they ever cycled in the Scottish highlands and the run up Helvellyn where 3 people have died in the last few years, OK we'll give them that one.)
Anyway the wind was warm and the roads were undulating and the struggle was a bit of a struggle. Until Glenridding it was dry then we had a free shower over the last 7miles, saved having one in the van.
Before driving home we visited friends at Penrith and eventually got back home for midnight.
Taking only the essentials from the van we headed to bed. Couldn't sleep though as we had a slight agoraphobic feeling!

13th Heemskerk
The morning was spent getting lost (directed by a friendly clog wearer) in the dunes trying to find the sea.  We eventually ended up on the lovely beach at Heemskerk then gradually found our way back to Myfanwy via some highland cattle.  We met with a friends brother and family and shared a long and pleasant chat before packing up and heading to the ferry.  Our cheerful satnav had great fun sending us up cycle paths and asking us to hover over various watery inlets.  She was obviously finishing her trip off with a flourish.  She nearly got a quick swimming lesson!
After kibbling and chips we boarded the ferry and enjoyed a smooth crossing.

Monday, 13 August 2012

9-12th august

12th Den Helder
Decided to cycle to Harlingen, crossing over the Afsluitdijk dyke. It was a really strong headwind on the way out- it was relentless cycling. Harlingen was quite nice and after suitable refuelling we headed back, looking forward to the tail wind over the dyke. We cycled up a slope which I will classify as a hill for todays cycle. A strange day, but lovely.

Highs – nice stop for our last days
Lows – our last days
Note – where’s the time gone

 11th Den Helder
With our plan to lsland hop scuppered we tried to enter a 10km race on Vlieland, but it was full. So a day on seeing the sights and a jog along the amazing dyke.

10th Texel
Got the ferry across to the island and had the whole day out. It should have only taken about 3hours to cycle but once you include cake and coffee stops the day just seem to extend. It was a beautiful day, the skies were blue the sand was white, very much like a tropical island, but the sea was chilly.

9th Den Helder
Wandered round the town to get our bearings and try to understand the ferry system to the islands and if they are road cycle friendly.

5-8 august

8th Bad Neuenahr
So after a we run around the local area and a roasting shower (the first time the water heater has been tested on electric) we are on the road again. We head to the flat lands and make a detour over the dyke between Markermeer and Ijsselmear. Park at the marina at Den Helder where we will spend the remaining days of our trip.

Highs – dyke, posh loos and showers
Lows – where’s the hills
Note – feel like we should be swimming even though we are on land

7th Bad Neuenahr
Went for a wee run to see Arweildhr. It is a pretty town and the Ahr is very pretty too. Went to the pool which was just next to us, where Lawr and I felt overwhelmed by the larger than life Germans. Post clean we managed to watch the Olympic triathlon. With Lawr suitably inspired he is now looking for another event (although not sure Lawr’s brother Pete will be keen on the swim).
Made it to RAF Bruggen which is now the Javelin barracks. Lawr asked for a look around but we would have to get a taxi and the guard on the gate said it was so run down it wasn’t worth it. Lawr was a little disappointed, so we went to an old haunt of his and he had a Jaegerschnitzel.
Parked up and went to find ‘the pub’. Lawr had trouble remembering the place, but not sure id that is age or beacasue he was usually tired and confused. In the ‘the pub’ we had a few, but couldn’t believe that everyone was smoking!
Wandered back to the van, but got lost, thankfully it was a lovely night for a walk.

Highs – beer, ‘the pub’
Lows – the biggest and most active RAF base after 30years is a rundown army depo.
Note – do trips down memory lne become more frequent with age?

6th Bad Neuenahr
So after getting info from sis from the place to visit (she lived here for some years) we cycled along the Rhine to Koblenz. Interesting route on varied surfaces with varied scenery. We finished at the monument where the Rhine and the Mosel meet, where there is quite a flow. Not wanting to follow the same route back we chose to go west over the hills. Once we eventually got out of Koblenz it was a pretty route back, although I would have thought a head wind on the way out woul mean a tail wind on the way back?!
Back at the can we were ‘set’ upon by Ernest a retired economic teacher. He grilled us about teaching in Scotland and everything seemed similar until he mentioned German teachers get 70-75,000euros a year.
Eventually, once Lawr had been lured to Ernest’s van to inspect his handy work on his internals, we went for a beer and food in a traditional German establishment called Killybegs! Lawr said he has been there. Strange sitting in an Irish pub in Germany listening to Lawr’s account of his fish catching.

Highs – cycle
Lows – lost in Koblenz
Note – have to check with Derek about the fish catching.

5th Ravensburg/Bad Neuenahr
Bit of a lazy start to the day, so instead of the prompt get away the day consisted of, dicht bike using a trough, dip in lagoon, dried clothes, dodgy road side loos, delays in roadworks, wils goose chase to stellplatz, arrived in thunderstorm at Bad Neuenahr. Very late, so Olympics watched in bed.
Highs – post race relaxation
Lows – road works
Note – holidays and time keeping don’t go together

3rd -4th Ravenburg

4th Ravenburg
Woke to the sound of much activity as the triathlon was being set up.  The water side was completely transformed with red and white tape.
There were a number of kid’s races and this lot were serious. Great to watch.
Next up was us. We had to find a translator to check we didn’t miss anything.
The start was a complete rammy of people as we all lined up in the water and along the beach. It was elbows, fists and feet to try to stay your line to the buoy. No wetsuits as the water was 24degrees. I could see Lawr on my right and tried to stay with him until some breaststrokers cut me up at the buoy and hemmed in and nowhere to go I took a few kicks to the ribs before I could get some space. It was a good swim but not sure it was 1500m.
Both into transition together, but Lawr out ahead on the dry cycle route. It wasn’t long before the later starting sprint athletes zipped by on their aerodynamic machines.
Lawr suffered a bit on the hills and I was working my socks off to catch the ladies ahead. On the second lap I could see Lawr and we came into transition together. The run was good, but we found our times slow, although most times seemed that way. (4lap run route).
I heard my name on the tannoy as I came across the line and not far behind was Lawr.
Post-race swim coffee and cake and watched the winners ceremony. We both did well in your age group and I was surprised to find I had picked up a medal in my (old) age group. As I came forward to collect my medal the announcer started to sing ‘You drive me crazy..’ Didn’t think he knew me that well!
Tried to slack line but was pants, (tired legs?), Lawr was pretty good though. Back to stellplatz and watched J Ennis win gold.

Highs –triathlon trophy
Lows – Lawr’s hills, knackered but couldn’t sleep
Note – if you need to take anti-inflammatory’s before and after an event is it time to give yourself a rest?

3rd - Lindau
Nice stop at busy Stellplatz and travelled back to Ravensburg. We went to look at the triathlon cycle route. It was beautiful (although we may not be saying that on lap 2 tomorrow). It went through the farmland of fruit and hop growing. Lawr returned to his childhood and aquired a pear from an overhanging branch. Went to register and check out the water temperature for tomorrow - 23degrees! All looks good. Warm evening.
highs - cycle route, pear
lows - horseflys
note - trees seem to affect our olympic coverage

Friday, 3 August 2012

2nd august

2nd- Meersburg
Decided to visit Liechtenstein as had been looking at it on the map. It seemed like a good idea to visit a small country.
If you enjoy visiting financial institutions then Vaduz is the place for you.
Back to Lochau for swim in lake Konstanz. A nice end to the day.
highs - Aldi´s (Swiss)
lows - Journey to Lochau
note - sometimes it pays to research before visiting a place.

1st August - Meersburg

So the last month has arrived. We decide ´celebrate´ the last months by a cycle round part of the lake, then get the ferry back over to the van. It´s a beautiful cycle, although for part of the way we have to use the family friendly path, so progress is initially slow, but quite flat. As usual we get shouted at but have no idea why. I mean Lawr doesn´t even have his Welsh shirt on today. We cycle from Germany to Austria to Switzerland (for the first time without visiting George!) then back to Germany.
From a bikes point of view we found, the German´s very considerate and patient with cyclists, The Austrians would run you off the road and the Swiss are very polite even when you are in the wrong!
We thought we were getting shot at today as some twit set off bangers and threw them out the car window. One whizzed across the road under Lawr´s bike. Unscathed we caught the very quick and free ferry back to the van. This however was not without incident. Coming down the metal steps Lawr´s cleat cover came off and he slipped, thankfully stopping just before knocking me over too, but leaving behind some skin and blood. I did my Florence Nightingale bit and applied stinging stuff to the wounds. Never mind Lawr nothing broken...
highs - lovely cycle
lows - being ´shot´at, Lawr´s encounter with trip snipper
note - great place for anyone to come and explore

31st july

Quite a big town here in Ravensburg, about 50,000 inhabitants. The more colourful residents were keeping the police ´entertained´ in the town centre. After gathering the information we needed from the very helpful tourist office we headed to the lagoon for a dip and to see what water we would face on the tri day. The lagoon was 23degrees and i thought a bit to stagnant. I did my best not to swallow to much of it during the splashing/swimming i was doing as i don´t think we could cope in the van with a dodgy tummy..
Drove later to lake Konstanz. The stellplatz are very busy but there are plenty of them. Lake looks lovely.
highs - lagoon
lows - questionable water quality
note - can´t believe Ravensburg is twinned with Cynon Taf... the next local authority to Merthyr Tydfil
(Have photo evidence but not able to up load)