Saturday 23 July 2011

The Poor Student (not), The Poor Nurse (indeed)

Major menace with the PBP planning. Chris 'Orange' noticed that I was booked into the Camapanile St Quentin and not the Campanile in St Quentin. This basically meant that I would have been 200k from the start. Grr. Cancelling and re-booking the hotel proved difficult too - the policy stated no refund or change and despite 2 phone calls little could be done as I was not able to speak french. After much frustration and a further 2 calls, I was able to get a complete refund. Chris said he would look into accommodation and bless him, he got it sorted. Maybe I should have let SJ do the planning ... My friend Clive aka 'the Dr' has completed another London to Paris trip this week so big claps to him! He posted to me while he was away, and this is what he had to say 'Hey Doo we passed along some of the PBP route! Town called Villaines-la-Juha got all their banners up & stuff! Few juicy hills in the vicinity you're gonna love!! Out AND back again!! Good luck mate - madness is confirmed!! Doc'.
On a better note, I have claimed my AAA SR badge and my AAA medal. The AAA website stated 'Tim Taylor completed his AAA and AAASR with the Bryan Chapman on 14 May 2011, having ridden The Dean, the Brevet Cymru and the Kings, Castles, Priests & Churches earlier in the year'. Better yet, folk are still contributing to my worthy cause - 'Tim's Well'. If you haven't sponsored me yet, please do and take a look at the information provided on this link:
Training this week began on Tuesday. I was able to take Scotty out for the first time in a while. Scotty had been fitted with a new Hope headset, a new carbon Eridy bar, plus a new Ritchey stem and much love. I also switched the DMR's for spd's. My bike felt like new, the only real problem was that the bike shop had placed my lock-out the wrong side of my shifters. Scotty met up with Ron, Sarah M and Lydia. The was Lydia's (who happens to be my 2nd cousin, 'something' removed) first trip out with me and the others. Ron led us out and took us to relatively hard spots for any newbie. Such spots included Mars hill (where Ron allegedly rewards folk with mars bar if they complete climb), the climb to the pylon just past Astwood bank and, of course, the Woods of Doom. Lydia punctured and Ron did too (maybe that'll teach him).
Wednesday was the day I planned to complete my second permanent event, namely 'The Poor Student 200', in Oxford. Just a few miles into this ride and disaster struck. Two spokes on the rear wheel had come loose and another one had completely snapped and tore a hole in the rim. This really was bad news, as rims cannot be fixed. Mavic Aksium wheels are rated quite highly, but not by me any longer. This was the second time I had broken spokes on this wheel set. The wheel jammed too and would not rotate so a taxi had to take me back to my car. A trip to a bike shop confirmed what I already knew - a new wheel was required. I cheered myself up and purchased a new wheel set that is said to be 'bomb proof', I hope so, they cost a bomb. My new wheels are American Classic Hurricane's and have a great many more spokes than my previous set. (Audax riders tend to favour more spokes). I guess problems now are better than problems during PBP.
Despite my lovely new wheel set, I decided to take Scotty out instead. After putting the lock out in the correct position I went for a trek along familiar paths. My idea was to get used to my spd's so I chose a few 'tough' areas for this purpose. I cycled through the Woods of Doom, past Coughton Ford (and up and down the big mole mounds) and headed towards Studley Castle. I climbed Thistle Fall hill at last, but it did take 3 attempts. The first attempt was nearly successful - just a few yards from the top and I fell off. Take 2 was awful. Take 3 and mission completed - I found I had to use my lowest gear and stand on the pedals. My journey then took me through Thistle Fall Woods and down the steep off road descent and back home through Studley fields. Awesome.

I planned to test my new wheel set with a quick spin on the rollers, but SJ called and had other plans. Indeed, SJ invited me to join her military training. This training was proper hard core stuff. We met up with a couple of SJ's mates (namely Steph and Becky) and a whole bunch of other gluttons for punishment in a suitably named Cripplegate park. Two ex soldiers then marched us off and made us perform many exercises. These exercises were extra mean as press-ups had to be performed on a gradient, sit-ups had to be performed on a rock strewn path and so on. Two days later and my stomach, arms and pecks continued to ache.

Thursday involved little exercise, but ... we got SJ a new bike! A bright shiny Boardman. Her bike is pretty awesome and has Avid, SRAM and Ritchey components plus Rock Shox forks. We pimped the bike up a little too and added DMR pedals and a Hope seat clamp. SJ and I then cycled our first trip together (ever) by cycling a loop within Studley.
I got the running bug on Friday and ran over the fields of Studley with Cody. We hadn't ran for a while and this just felt great. Because I had recently gotten a new phone, I was able to record the distance via gps - we ran 4.5k. Should I record my running distances in miles or k's?!

So good was Friday's run, that I repeated it on Saturday. Am not sure Cody was so pleased to go running again. I finally used my new wheel set today too. I didn't take my bike outdoors, but cycled a low intensity ride on the rollers. Even though I cycled at low intensity, I kept my average speed higher than last time I rolled (26.7 mph).
Sunday turned out to be a good day. SJ and I played a few games of badminton. We were both determined to beat each other. The final score was 3:3. Following our game of badminton we still felt pumped up, so we decided to go for a run. Our run took us from SJ's front door to Worcester race track. We ran around the track but stopped at the stadium to run 5 reps up the stairs before continuing around and back to SJ's front door. Also, I managed to perform 7 real man style press-ups (SJ scored 5 - I knew I'd beat her at something!).

Weekly totals: Cycled 54 miles; Ran 9.1 miles.

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