Thursday 31 December 2009

The last days of winter

Have not posted for a while because I haven't done anything. No running, cycling or swimming for 2 weeks now. The Christmas period and my return to work are to blame. Work always gets in the way of fun.

Now is a good time to reflect on this year and share some of my accomplishments. In this year of 2009 I pulled my first ever pint. Shaved my head. Competed in a duathlon. Saw the Riverdance. Cycled Land's End to John O' Groats. Climbed Sydney harbour bridge. Visited the oldest post office in the world. Ate kangaroo, crocodile and emu. Ran a 10 mile (off road) race. Climbed Ayer's Rock. Visited Dunnet Head - the northernmost point of mainland Britain. Slept in a traditional Lavvo. Ran a 1/2 marathon. Visited the ice hotel in Sweden. Competed in a race series (4 x 10k trail). Raised a lot of cash for charity. And, 1 of the most memorable things I did was to sledge huskie dogs in the Arctic circle.

I guess I have until tomorrow to dream up challenges, adventures and goals for 2010. Resolutions are not my thing. Would be awesome to share someone's dream.

Am not going to post weekly totals for the past couple of weeks (they would score zero) but am chuffed I am able to record that I cycled 3,160 miles on my road bike in 2009! I did not record what distance I covered on my other bikes. Have no idea how far I ran or how long I swam for.

Until 2010, peace out my friends! I hope all of your dreams come true!

Sunday 20 December 2009

Big Chill

The Epic Cycles Winter Warmer sadly did not warm me up. The event didn't happen. In an email statement, Epic Cycles stated '... the adverse weather has sadly forced us to call off the Winter Warmer ride'. I have never participated in a sportive and will make this a goal for 2010.

This adverse weather is really bad, so bad in fact, that I wont venture out just yet. My training is put on hold. Meanwhile I have been overcome by 'Christmas logic' and am eating lots and doing all the things I shouldn't.

Weekly totals: Swam for 45 mins; Cycled 32 miles; Did not run.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

10/10 for Ay-Up!

Ron sent me a link yesterday to and more specifically to a grouptest on off-road lights. I was convinced earlier in the year that Ay-Up's were the best and followed after Jon, Ron and Stu by equipping my bike with the same. It was a good choice, as confirmed by the mbr review where they scored 10/10!

Feeling quite proud, Jon, Ron and I did a lap of the Deer route with our Ay-Up lights shining oh so bright.

The weather today was awfull - wet and overcast. I completed another lap of the Deer route - and so appropriately named, as I saw 3 deers run out in front of me in Sambourne! This may be my last cycle until the weekend, as I have to return to work (after having 8 weeks off) tomorrow. Saturday is my next day off - the day of the much anticipated mini sportive...

Saturday 12 December 2009


Cycled the Troad route today with Ron. I can see why he calls it The Route Of Absolute Doom now. The route is hilly throughout - lots of short steep climbs and 3 noticeable 'get out of the saddle' climbs. The route weaves in and around a lot of places I know including Henley, Redditch and Feckenham. Is a lovely route as it misses out busy main roads and sweeps along country lanes and forms a kind of circle. Ron doesn't like 'cycling over the same piece of tarmac twice'. Poor Ron, we did cycle a short section twice as we got lost trying to take a detour to Cult Cycles. Cult Cycles was a welcome stop (once found) - we were treated to a cup of tea and purchased new mudguards (which sadly, we have to fit ourselves as 'the mechanic' was not there). Started talking to a chap inside who has not long recovered from a broken leg - was more like a clinic than a bike shop! Felt good to finish the route, knowing that I had conqured 3 climbs and raced 2 sprints (set by Ron). Am feeling a bit better about the up and coming sportive next weekend now.

Cycled a distance of 32.44 miles at an average speed of 13.7 mph (max 37.0)

In the evening I cycled my Deer route. This trip was pretty awesome beacause, not only did I see the electrically lit up deer, but I saw a wild one too. Strangely, the lanes are no longer flooded - not even by the ford.

Weekly totals: Swam for 45 minutes; cycled 141 miles; Ran nowhere!

Friday 11 December 2009


Did not do any cycling today. Did not run or swim either. Struggled to take poor Cody for a walk. Am sure we all get days like these, especially when one may be hungover... Did manage to equip my road bike with it's new Continental Ultragator skin tyre though, which looks awfully swish! Hope my bike performs well tomorrow - Ron is taking me on his 'TROAD' route. The Troad route is otherwise known as The Route Of Absolute Doom! Hmm. Can feel the fear setting in. It will be a week tomorrow till I (hopefully) do my first sportive and was looking at the event website. This was a bad idea, it increased my fear by stating that the route includes the infamous 'Ankerdine' hill. My research found a blog entry which stated ''Ankerdine is properly steep, with an average gradient of 17%''. The Beacon Roads Cycling Club had this to say "Ankerdine Hill ... asks a great deal of a racer's physical and mental strength. Climbing it ... is demanding at any time". Earlier this year I climbed a 16% gradient during my LEJOG challenge, so maybe I'll try and take some solace in that.
My Dear, the fear, is here...

Thursday 10 December 2009

Oh Deer, hard decisions

Cycled my deer route again today (4th consecutive ride). Wonder how many consecutive days I can keep this going for? Washed my work bike today but have failed to put new tyre onto my road bike. Am having nagging thoughts about selling my cube (the bike I came off not so long ago). Should I change my full susser back to a hardtail (?) - hard decisions...

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Longbridge menace

Planned to do a nice 60 miles or so today. Started my journey and all was well, minimal traffic, shining sun and nice tunes on the ipod. Once I got to Longbridge though, disaster struck! I punctured. This was soon fixed but menace enough because the tyre did not want to go back into the wheel rim. Once in, the tyre was soon pumped up because I now carry C02 canisters. Decided to cut my journey short and head home as the tyre had a tasty little hole in it and will no doubt need replacing. Put my headphones back into my ears and grr, could you believe it (?!) my ipod had died too...

Cycled a distance of 29.80 miles at an average speed of 14.3 mph (max 35.1)
In the evening I repeated the route I have done the last 2 days on my work bike. I am going to name this route the 'Deer route', in honour of the electrically lit up christmas deer I have passed on 3 consecutive days now. Strangely enough, the electric deer looks nothing like the picture above.

Tuesday 8 December 2009


Because last nights ride was so awesome, I repeated the same route. The only difference this time being it was a solo cycle, broad daylight and a different day.

'Things go wrong, admit defeat, things go well, repeat'.

Monday 7 December 2009

Swim, swim, swim

Have continued to use my 'Reddicard' and swam saturday gone and twice today... My first swim was in the pool, my second swim was 'a play on words' and describes the flooded roads I cycled today with Ron and Jon.

This was the first time since my accident that I had ridden with Ron and Jon. I was using my specialised mountain bike aka my 'work bike', as I have not yet made peace with my 'cube', the bike that I came off. We took a nice 'on road' only route (despite using our mtb's) through the country lanes of Studley into Great Alne and passing through Coughton before returning home. The roads really were flooded but quite 'passable if you can hold your breath for 3 minutes'.

Cycled about 16 miles into the dark, wet and chilly night. It was awesome to use my 'Ay-Up' lights after such a long time - I remember saving so hard for them at the beginning of the year. Hopefully Jon, Ron, (Stu), and I will start cycling as a group on a weekly basis again. We should really give our un-official mountain bike club a name

Friday 4 December 2009

Random Andy!

Woke up today with un-expected motivation. Decided to put this motivation to good use and go for a cycle - however, soon changed my mind when I saw how frosty it was outside. While waiting for the frost to disappear, took Cody (my beloved dog) for a game of 'dogball''.

After our game of dogball the frost was still present, so Cody and I went for a run around Oversley Woods. Felt strange running without a heart rate monitor (had been so long since my last run that the heart rate monitor had turned it's toes up). Felt strange running, full stop! We only ran 1 lap of the woods and it took us about 22 minutes.

After our run, the frost had finally vanished so went a bit extra and cycled away. I cycled a similar route to wednesday's cycle, only this time I knew where I was going so took few wrong turns and didn't 'double up' on any sections. I like this route and am going to name it 'the Barton Beast' route and use it lots for training. Barton is probably the furthest place out during the route.

The cycle went mostly well, the gears were changing fine and the map holder had stopped slipping. No kamikaze squirrels were out today, but a beautiful deer stepped out and crossed the road about 8 feet in front of me - this was just outside Abbots Morton and in broad daylight. My right knee was quite painfull throughout (could this be due to the running?) but I soon forgot about the pain when a random cyclist 'Andy' joined me in Great Alne for the leg home. Andy introduced himself and we shared stories all the way to Studley - my finish point. Andy was continuing on to Stourbridge, training for an Ironman event. I wish him all the best!

Cycled a distance of 39.43 miles at an average speed of 13.4 mph (max 37.7)

Weekly totals: Swam for 135 mins; Cycled 117 miles; Ran for 22 mins.

Wednesday 2 December 2009

Solo cycle from Studley to the relics of a medieval forest and through the Arrow Valley

Honesty is the best policy, right?!

Despite the Dr telling me to stay off the bike for a couple more weeks, I couldn't resist and took my road bike out for the first time since my accident. The terrain was a good mix of gradients - lots of ascents and descents (some relatively steep but not so long), but for the most part fairly flat smooth road. This was an easy/moderate route.

Left my home in Warwickshire and entered Worcestershire cycling into Redditch Town Centre before skirting back into Warwickshire along the Arrow Valley and down to the River Avon via Abbots Morton. Lots of interesting looking churches were past en route, and I even stopped at St Peters church in Abbots Morton to shelter from the rain and eat my sandwiches. I passed a rather fancy looking post box on my journey too...

Felt so nice to be back on my road bike. Not everything was working 100% - the front derallier kept on slipping, the map holder kept coming loose, I kept on losing my bearings and a poor squirrel nearly ended up as road kill. Still, job done and it felt good. Felt good, that is, until I got off the bike...

Once off the bike my wrist felt rather painful. Strangely enough, my feet were in pain too - right on the 'boney bit' where my foot puts pressure on the cleat. Amazingly my backside was fine (there is a lot to be said for that 'nubutte' cream).

Distance - 62.17 miles, at an average speed of 14 mph (max 36.9)

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Plans, Training and A & E.

My training to date is easy to recall, I have done zilch, nothing, nowt! Well, that's not quite a 100% accurate. I should have done zilch ... Indeed, I made another trip to the hospital today and got x-rayed yet again (soon I will glow), and the Dr said I should stay off my bike for another 2 big fat weeks! The Dr did have good news though - he said I could take my splint off for periods of time now. I didn't inform the Dr that I had been out yesterday (and the previous week) and cycled a 16 mile loop...
Despite being away from my bike, I have not been away from my computer. And being sat at my computer has led to me signing up for quite a few events already. I will provide details of each below:
19 Dec 2009 The Epic Cycles Winter Warmer. This is a 'mini-sportive', a picturesque 40-45 mile route. I really hope to complete this, as it will be my first ever sportive (mini at that). The Dr doesn't want me back on my bike till 15 Dec and the event is only 4 days after that which doesn't give me long to train... Hartley, a fellow LEJOGer may attend this event and it would be good to catch up.

6 Feb 2010 The Snowdrop Express Audax. This is a 123k affair around Worcestershire. I am really looking forward to this, as this will be my first audax event. Better yet, Clive the Dr (fellow LEJOGer) and Ron & Jon (guys from an un-official mtb club I attend) are signed up for this too! Hartley and Stu (the other un-official mtb club member) are possibly going to enter also. In fact, I believe Ron is attempting to round up a number of folk that I know.

27 March 2010 TriLive Duathlon. This will be my second duathlon and consists of a 2.5k run, followed by a 20k cycle and finished off with a 5k run. I don't remember the last time I ran, and my 'paralysis of will' is preventing me from running at present. I've just purchased a new ipod shuffle and custom made running shirt (advertising my charity) to help with motivation...

9 May 2010 Stratford 220 Triathlon. This will be my first triathlon. It consists of a 400m swim, followed by a 23k cycle and finished off with a 5k run. This will certainly be challenging, as I haven't ran in a while, am 'not allowed' to use my bike and swim like a brick. Luckily, this event seems an age away and I purchased a 'Reddicard' last week which means I can get a discount (some sessions free) at Redditch swiming pools and have indeed been for a swim on a few occasions this past couple of weeks. The pool closes for Christmas on the 14 Dec though, and I'm back to work on the 16 Dec...

Reasons for and against such a challenge..

There are many reasons not to do this challenge, including the usual 'will I be fit enough?', 'have I trained enough?' and the fact that my diet has consistently remained quite poor. However, the major reason not to do this challenge, is the fact that I have trouble staying on a bike ....

Back in 1991 I had a Road Traffic Accident which resulted in a 10 day stay in hospital, much dentistry and scarring to my brain.

A few years later and another trip to A & E was required following a jump on my mountain bike.

And we already know about the fall in October 2009. Still, I'm able to smile ...

Despite having reason enough not to take part in any further challenges, there are valid reasons to do this. Such reasons would include all the well known health benefits from cycling, plus the fact it would be a lot of fun. The LEJOG trip proved to be awesome and by cycling through France and into Switzerland I would be reaching personal goals of vsiting countries that are currently still foreign to me and seeing such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower. The greatest reason for doing this challenge however, is the fact that it enables me to raise money for the Christadelphian Meal-a-Day (CMaD) Fund.

The CMaD is a registered charity whose mission is to share their blessings with those who have need in the less developed parts of the world. For more information please visit

Oh, and please sponsor me by visiting my 'Just Giving' page which can be found here:

Wild Ideas

'All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways'.
The idea of cycling London to Geneva came to me sometime during October 2009, following a blow to the head. I was involved in a mountain bike accident which left me with 2 broken teeth, a broken arm, multiple cuts, scratches and bruises and a head full of wild ideas!
Travelling 'new ground' really appeals to me, and France and it's close associations with the Tour de France is appealing in itself.

Beginning of a blog

Hi and welcome to my blog.

In 2008, my curiously random friend 'Jet Jetty McJettyson' created a website to record all her goals, and it worked so well that I chose to steal all her ideas and create one of my own.

Creating the website was easy, and this led to me creating lots of goals, challenges and dreams. From the creation of my website to this blog, I have achieved numerous goals, chased lots of dreams and taken part in 6 sponsored challenges including sledding across the Arctic Circle with a bunch of huskie dogs and cycling from Lands End to John O' Groats.

This blog was created to record the ideas, planning, thinking and training behind my 7th sponsored challenge where I plan to cycle from London to Paris to Geneva, starting out on 16 June 2010 and hoping to finish by 25 June 2010.

Happy New Year 2022

Happy New Year folks. I wonder what's in store for 2022,  - something crazy, something new? It's a shame Covid is still here and I&#...