Ben completed the 50 miles around the demonically agressive hills and single track roads that made up the Tour de Lauder this weekend. He was joined by James and Simon who are friends since their days growing up in Haddington. The trio did remarkably well considering their group training had been sporadic- Ben and James squeezed in two training rides before the event and we only met Simon for the pre-race strategy beer on Thursday.
The story of the Tour de Lauder is a teary yet inspirational one, I only learned the history by listening to Rosy Cully’s pre-ride speech. Steve Cully was an amazingly fit man who was police officer and was on the Royal Protection detail, to give you an idea of his fitness, he competed in the Marathon des Sables which is ‘ultra-marathon’ or ‘ultra’ run in six days over a course of between 150 and 156 (254km) miles and he finished. He died of a sudden heart attack at just 41. Leaving Rosy and two young children.
Two of his friends decided to organise a small cycle ride in his honour and donate any proceeds to the Steve Cully Tribute fund at Chest Heart Stroke Scotland, before they knew it word had spread and almost 100 cyclists wanted to take part in the 2012 ride. It was a smashing success and they raised 17,000 pounds in Steve Cully’s honour.
This was year two of the Tour de Lauder and there were 270 registered riders who had the choice between 50 miles or 86 miles ending on the Col de Stow- a hill with a 15% grade.
It was an especially nice day sunshine and blue skies. There was a bit of wind, but according to Ben, it did not bother them too much. Ben, Simon and James completed the 50 mile ride in 3 hours 51 minutes, with an average pace of 13.5 miles per hour and a top speed of 40 mph.
I went as a volunteer and had the pleasure of meeting many of the cyclists at the check-in table- I will always be strong support of anyone with numbers 1-70! Sarah joined me out on the course where we helped at the first water stop- they do it right, the Lady Bakers of Lauder- I am unsure if this is a real organisation, but in my opinion they should band together, all the refuelling snacks were homemade and donated for this event- I have never seen such baked-goods variety. For a healthier option there were 600 bananas and orange wedges. Sarah and I opted for the bananas.
The people of Lauder were unbelievable- Sarah and I were driven around by Carol the event organiser and she was funny and friendly. There were some scary moments on the narrow roads, but we made it back to the ‘chateau’, unfortunately, we missed the finish or our team- they were too fast. There has already been chatter about trying it again next spring and maybe even tackling the 86 miles.
Tour de Lauder- we will be back!
Complete photo set can be found here.
LISTEN UP… This week’s theme is inspired by Ben. He is competing in his first-ever cycle race this Saturday. The distance is 50 miles and he is ready! I will be return the favour of being an awesome support crew member, hopefully will get some great race snaps for next week.
Have a great weekend and enjoy this week’s mix- on Spotify.
HE’S STILL GOT IT… The best head of hair in Hollywood has a new movie, The Company You Keep. Mr. Redford still rocks a fabulous mop and I am looking forward to the politcial thriller and spending some time with a handsome man and Ben too- whenever it arrives in Edinburgh.
I like flowers and I like vegetables, they are pretty and tasty respectively, but I was never too interested in growing things.
Since we moved to the U.K., I have become mildly fascinated by the increased popularity of allotments.
Allotments have been around for hundreds of years, dating back to the Anglo-Saxon times, but today’s system is based on when land was given to the labouring poor so they could grown their own food. There have been several legal movements to ensure the state is providing a sufficient number of allotments.
Today, you can rent an allotment and prices can range between 25 and 125 pounds depending on your location. The demand for an allotment continues to grow as people want more control over how their food is produced. At the moment it is estimated that over 90,000 gardeners would like a piece of land and are on a waiting list.
I have heard from fellow Edinburghers the most desired allotments are in Inverleith Park and after checking, there is a 9-year waiting list to secure a plot. In Edinburgh there are 1233 plots across 21 sites in our city. The photos are of the India Place allotments in Stockbridge, these only have a four year wait. Are we ready to commit to Edinburgh for this long?
The system of measuring the allotments is interesting as well- they are measured in rods a measurement from the Anglo-Saxons, historically 10 poles is the correct size. This is equal to 250 square meters.
This got me thinking if there is a similar scheme in the U.S. and I stumbled on the American Community Gardening Association which promotes gardening and greening across the U.S. and Canada.
For more information in the U.K., there is The National Allotment Society.
HALFIE… Rock n Roll Half Marathon- Edinburgh- Here is the video- the sound quality is poor and for this I apologise, but it also shows how unbelievably horrendous the weather was. We finished in 2.17.16- not bad we think and truthfully we do not care what you think! Plus there were hills- quite a lot of them.
Ben went above and beyond, he cycled to several points on the course to support us. Our pals Sarah and James also popped out in the wind and rain to hold a sign and clap as we ran by the Meadows.
More photos to come!
When I was 22 my friend Jessica and I went to see Neil Diamond in concert and although we were seated in the last row of the Target Center, it was a fabulous concert and I have remained a fan ever since.
When I was 24, I was dating someone who knew I was musically into Neil and he introduced me to Minnesota-native, Martin Zellar and his fabulous show NEIL!, where he and his band sing all the classics. Despite this commonality, I soon parted ways with this man, but Jessica and I would try to hit the show every time it passed through O’Gara’s in St. Paul. (Jess-APRIL 27- O’Gara’s Shanty)!
When I was 36 and in fact this week, Ben, who has spent years honing his Urban Edge style through music and fashion, surprised me with tickets to see the U.K.’s Real Diamond, the foremost Neil Diamond tribute artists at the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh. Pretend Neil, John Hylton, has been performing his tribute to Neil for 22 years! The show was fabulous and hilarious.
The fabulous, Pretend Neil can really sing and was dressed the part- sparkly top and trousers with some detailing. He rallied the audience with some sing-alongs- Song Sung Blue and the ever-too-popular Sweet Caroline which he saved for his one and only encore.
The hilarious, Ben and I were the youngest by at least 10 years! A nice feeling. I was one of about 20 people who have actually seen Neil live in concert. There was a lot of hand raising. Pretend Neil was joined by Pretend Barbara Streisand- Tina Law, complete with wig! Singing together You Don’t Bring Me Flowers! In real life, Neil and Barbara performed in the same 100-member choir at Erasmus High-school, so this makes complete sense.
Ben said he has a new appreciation for Neil- mission accomplished!
Pretend Neil and his son have a Simon and Garfunkel tribute show, called Garfunkel and Simon- that is almost too much especially when you see the son sports an Art Garfunkel hair piece.
Over the next few months Ben and I are registered to compete in several sports events.
APRIL 14: I have finished the Rock n Roll half marathon this weekend.
APRIL 20: Ben is racing in the Tour de Lauder, his first ever cycling race- he has been training up a storm. I will be there and hopefully get to see him cross the finish line. I am going as a volunteer for Chest Heart Stroke Scotland.
JUNE 23: When in Vancouver for work- run the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon- sure why not- a great way to explore the coast.
AUGUST 10-11: A sporty-surprise for Ben’s birthday- so excited for this one- the one clue- can you pop?
Check back for the mile-by-mile recap of all this sporty fun.
I really like a lazy weekend, but this is not going to be one of them (Reia arrives in a few hours)- ours started a bit slowly- I woke up at 6.30 a.m.- curses British Summer Time, Ben slightly later, however, Ben did not want to get up. The consequence- a photo (it is payback for this one).
The weather today is supposedly going to break 50 degrees, so iced coffees were a must, the best recipe I have found and have used over and over- most memorably on the hot summer days in Grenoble, when the ice would be melted even before I arrived at work, is this one from GQ. We pass on the second to last step of adding water- the stronger the better.
A swirl of almond milk! You’ll notice Ben’s fully swirled on his bedside table!
LISTEN UP… This weekend I, along with my pal Reia, will be running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Edinburgh. This is our second halfie together, you might recall the time we ran the one in Paris last year. I will only make two pre-excuses- Reia has tendonitis and I have not been running as much I should have been since I proudly ran my 80 miles during my trip.
Our goal- best my mother-in-law’s last half marathon time of 2:18. Can we do it? I am hoping so, but Sue is a serious athlete and a very regular runner with her club, Bushfield Joggers.
Enjoy this weekend’s mix! If you are on Spotify, listen here, if not, what is stopping you, it is easy- even I can do it.