I have some great friends, don't you know?! On Monday, my buddy Ron rocked up with a fantastic present. Yes indeed, Ron had gotten me a Marvel Ironman figure to help me keep alive the buzz of becoming an Ironman. Cheers mate! How cool was that?!
Monday was also the first day that I had ran since completing my Ironman challenge. This 10k commute into work felt much harder than normal. My time was slow (took about an additional 10 mins compared to my more usual times) and my back and legs ached following this activity.
Tuesday's run commute was much better. I ran a slightly shorter route (8.7k) and felt great. It rained the whole time but that didn't matter - it was so humid, the rain felt fresh and cooling. As I ran down the Pershore Road, Suz Runner whizzed past in her car and gave me a thumbs up. Let's hope the running mojo is back!
In the evening, my wonderful wife SJ had put up a rather funky picture and frame in our new dining room. Yes indeed, SJ was keeping alive the buzz of me completing the PBP (with her wonderful support) back in 2011. How superb was that?!
Thursday and Friday were days that I cycled to work and back commute style. Nothing particular of note happened. Weather was pretty fine.
No more training / exercising took place. However, I played around with my Winter bike and hope I've turned her into a super gravel bike. She is now sporting fat tyres (32mm), a rather splendid frame bag (designed by my good self), a PDW bindle rack and a gizmo allowing me to carry an extra bottle on my top tube. Pretty funky, eh?!
The pic above does not show the gizmo things holding the further bottle on the top tube. Plan is to add a further gizmo to the down tube - bike will have capacity to carry 4 bottles then (1 bottle may carry tools). My Wildcat harness did not fit the bars on this bike, being specifically made for a MTB (or bikes with crown forks at least) so my tent will have to be strapped to the bars. Hmm. Maybe a couple of extra straps will do the trick. Packing one's gear onto a bicycle is quite a feat!
The weekend was also a great time to experiment with my gear. With the help of wife and kids we set up camp in the back garden. The smaller of the tents above will come bike packing with me.
This solo tent, as the name implies, is super small. If you're Melody size, it's perfect size. If however, you are 6' 2'' like me, then it's a bit of a squeeze. My buddy Chris has the self same tent and has ideas of taking his daughter camping with him using this solo tent. He is crazy!
Lunar and I both fit in this tent together. Just. But, I don't think any quality sleep would be had if were to camp out together. Not sure how camping would go with just me, so decided to try it out!
The tent was snug and quite cosy in fact. Very difficult to get in and out and hard to manoeuvre inside. (How I will get changed in there will be interesting). My Snug-Pack sleeping bag was a little small but in a tent this size it mattered not. The 3/4 length Gelert self-inflaming mattress was perfect.
Before I went to sleep though, I figured a cup of tea was in order and what better way to try out my Trangia stove. It took me about half an hour to make this cuppa! The stove really needed shelter from the sides to burn well (and not blow out), the gel fuel I had was naff (maybe alcohol would be better) and the pot stand did not allow my titanium mug to rest on it. I did not mount the Trangia on the stand - instead I placed the stand over the burner and then placed my mug on top. Half an hour for a mug of green tea - but it was great and worth it!
As for my sleep, you wonder?! Well, it was ok but not the best. The local youth were noisy and out drinking until 2 in the morning. The biggest problem though was definitely the fact that I did not have a pillow. Next time and a dry bag or similar will have to rest my head.
Plan to go camping for a few days soon with the wife and kids. Hopefully, I can try and test stuff further. Maybe I'll be able to make SJ a cup of tea in less than half an hour!
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