Sunday 25 September 2011

Of frogs and dogs

Relatively easy week on the training front. Have not pushed myself at all. I think this is because I have no big event ahead of me and, well, I must be getting old as I am feeling more aches and pains.

Cycled at the start of the week with Ron and Sarah M. This was a real wet night and dark too. My Ay-Up lights were put too work but I only took the 1 set out (ie the helmet mounted one) and missed the other set (ie the bar mounted one). We cycled the Reed route, that is the Deer route, but in reverse. We also added a section at the start and went down the Woods of Doom. Whilst on the roads, I felt I was playing 'frogger'. The rain had made all these frogs take on a mass exodus and avoiding them required some skill. Sadly some frogs hadn't learned the 'green cross toad'...
Have added links to Charities on this blog site that you guys have helped me support. To date monies have been raised for Agape in Action, Christadelphian Meal a Day, Help4Happy's, BHF and St Basils. My work buddy 'Kerry', is looking into a charity we can support before the year is out. She is thinking of supporting the RNIB. If anyone has a project in need of support, please send information. Once again, thanks to all those who have supported me (and the aforementioned charities). The picture below was a card from one such person who offered support.
Over the weekend, SJ and I took 'the dog' out. Indeed, we took Cody to Dovedale. We scrambled, walked and trekked for about 6 miles and saw some fantastic views, caves, rock sculptures, wild life, hills, etc. We have re-named the place 'Lovedale', as we climbed stairs up to 'Lovers Leap' and because we were 'loved up'. Additional walks to and around Arbor Low and the Nine Ladies stone circles were accomplished on Saturday too. SJ and I climbed the Cork Stone also and we found this other random rock too. Such adventurers we are! Touche, away!
Weekly totals: Cycled 15 miles. 

Sunday 18 September 2011

Back in action! (Cheltenham Old Clee Fyer 205k Perm)

Am so pleased that monies raised from cycling the PBP have been put to good use already. Is so awesome to know that an area in Kenya has a fresh supply of water because of the likes of you and I. I think the kind words of Brother Justus have had a motivating effect, as this week has seen me train hard and feel back in action.
SJ took me and Cody for a run on Monday. We ran the Stinky route, and boy was it stinky this time! As we ran past the sewage works in Studley we had to hold our noses and remembered quite clearly why we named this route so. I think SJ's BMF (British Military Fitness) training is having a good effect on her - she is certainly running faster. I shadowed SJ for pretty much the duration of the run and my average heart rate was a lot higher than usual.

On Tuesday, I completed a 205k permanent audax, namely the Cheltenham Old (Clee) Flyer. This was my first long distance event since PBP and it proved pretty tough. One should never under-estimate a 200k audax!
I did not follow the suggested route, instead chose Alcester as the start/finish control. This allowed me to not leave a carbon footprint, as I was able to cycle from my home to the start rather than use my car. This was the first time I ever cycled to the start of an audax.

Left from Alcester in good spirits. The weather was initially pretty fine and my start took me up a well known road, the road we call 'that undulating road' to Astwood Bank. A menace hill was tackled almost straight away (I thought this was going to be a flat route). France was in my head space all the way to the first control as the roads I cycled were long, much like that in France. Once I had reached the control in Bewdley it had started to rain a little. I took shelter in a Bakery and consumed a sausage roll. The ladies in the bakery made me smile - the one asked 'so how far are you cycling?' I replied 'about 200k'. She remarked 'so how many days will that be over?'

Leaving Bewdley cemented the fact that this was not a flat ride. Callow hill had to be climbed (Ron and I cycled this hill on our 'Montgomery Madness' audax) and it's a trifle tough. The route followed an up down up patten all the way to the control in Cleobury Mortimer. I chose this control to eat my staple audax diet of beans on toast.

More climbing took place as I made my way to Ludlow. Clee Hill had to be climbed and this is a tough hill. Spectacular views but 379 metres of climbing in a strong headwind! Argh! Stopped at the control and purchased a (fake) can of Red Bull for stimulant purposes.

Much menace from Ludlow. The route sheet said 'At Rbt SO SP Caynham', but Caynham never appeared. I did not follow the correct route through Tenbury Wells and Bromyard but ended up in Leominster instead. Heavy rain at times. I stopped and asked a couple of guys the best way to reach Ledbury and got to Ledbury just fine, with no additional K's cycled. The one guy commented that my saddle looked painful, and from then on, it was! Stopped at the control and ate my lunch, which consisted of a ploughman's sandwich and hula hoops.

The route down to Cheltenham was great. The sun had come back out and the bike was moving fast. Cycled up Coombe Hill, but this hill was not hilly at all. Just a quick stop here to eat some chocolate.

Short but painful ride to Winchcombe. This was real hilly and Cleeve Hill had to be climbed. This was the first time that I climbed Cleeve Hill from this direction and it was much tougher this way around. Nice to stop for a cup of tea at the control.

The leg to the arrivee seemed never ending. It wasn't so difficult but I figured I just wanted to be home now. I refrained from taking a cheeky short cut to Alcester (wise decision, I stayed off the dual carriageway) and again refrained from taking a cheeky shortcut through Ragley Hall (despite voices in my head instructing me otherwise). Reached Alcester and awarded myself with 2 pork pies. Then I made my way home, ate curry, had bath and crashed!

Cycled 222k (138 miles) in total, 205k (127 miles) during audax.

Wednesday was spent resting. The audax event I had completed had really hit me hard for some reason and I felt stiff and painful. Thursday was spent resting too. I had planned to use my rollers but allowed myself to rest as I was still a little stiff, wanted to 'save my legs' for Saturday's climb of Mount Snowdon and because, well, zombies had eaten my bicycle!
Friday was supposed to be an early night, as SJ and I had planned to climb Mount Snowdon the following morning. According to the weather reports it was going to be heavy showers and major winds all over the U.K. With that in mind, we scrapped ideas of going to Snowdon.

Saturday came around and SJ and I still wanted adventure. SJ took Cody and I to Worcester Country park for breakfast. Following this delicious feed we walked both the 'Woodland' and 'Meadows' walk. These walks were both about 1/2 mile long. The first walk certainly proved thrilling, I had to save SJ and Cody from a killer snake...
And I also found out that Cody, my supposed Border Terrier, was actually a fox!

After our adventure in Worcester, we continued to the Malverns for further challenge. Starting at the British Camp, we walked up the hills to the giants cave and continued to the obelisk. There was little rain (grr, should have gone to Snowdon) and it proved to be a great day. Today was also the 9 month anniversary of SJ and I. From the obelisk we walked on through the deer park and dodged arrows from a great number of archers there. Eastnor castle could be seen in the distance as we continued to head for another wood and walked our way back to the start. I think we walked about 3.5 miles in all, but it felt much further and my poor hoof developed a blister. We rewarded our efforts with some fresh pure Malvern water from a nearby spring (not to mention the rock cakes and tea).
Weekly totals: Cycled 138 miles; Ran 2.3 miles.

Monday 12 September 2011

Water, water everywhere!

Thank you, thank you and thanks again to all those who sponsored the 'Tim's Well' project on behalf of Agape in Action. I am so, so pleased to share the fact that the sponsor monies raised are being used right now and providing water! Copied here is correspondence that I received via email ''Many loving greetings in the hope that we share. This is just to thank Brother Taylor for his inner most love to the water project. He really did something that I do appreciate, I lack the words to thank him so much. Let God bless him and his family. The school will enjoy good quality water after tested and the building works will go on without hardship of water. Maybe if we have finished putting up stand, a tank and immersive bump, we may call it Taylor’s water project by writing something on it. Please pass lots Thanks and Love to him and to all who were involved in making this project success. REGARDS JUSTUS MABUKA''. So, as Mr Mabuka says, thanks and love to you all!
Monies are still coming in for the ''Tim's Well'' project. Thus far, £2,930 has been raised. For those wanting to know more about this project and for those wishing to donate to this cause, please visit this link:

Despite this past week being awesome on the project front, the cycling has been poor. I did not complete my planned permanent event. My sister Jane (yup, I blame her) told me that I should rest my body. I did take Scotty, my mountain bike out for 1 trek in the week and cycled in, around and through Webheath Woods. The rollers got used once in the week too - no intensive workout, but used all the same. Maybe, I will complete a permanent event this week?!

Weekly totals: Cycled 38 miles

Sunday 4 September 2011

Post PBP blues

A strange feeling I have now that the 2011 PBP has finished. Well, it's only sort of finished really - I have to wait a while for the results to be validated and the DVD and medal (with my time engraved on the back) to be sent out. Most nights I have continued to dream about the PBP. Have been reading other folk's blogs too - they informed that I cycled 767 miles, climbed 40,100 feet, conquered a 20.7% maximum gradient and informed I was 1 of 65 different nationalities taking part.
'So what next?', 'How do you feel now?', 'What would you do differently, if you were to cycle PBP again?', 'Are you going to cycle the PBP again?' are common questions that folk have asked me. I will answer them here.
I will most probably not cycle the PBP again (sorry Ron). I figured, you only have to complete this event once to get your medal. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed training and qualifying for the PBP 2011 but the actual experience itself despite being awesome, was painful and demanding. At time of writing this entry, it is 10 days post PBP and I still have a pins and needles type feeling in some of my fingers and my butt is still painful. My poor backside blistered. It is easy to say what I would do differently if I were to cycle the PBP again - invest in a better saddle and acquire carbon bars (or at least apply double bar tape and/or get better quality padded gloves). In addition to that, I would arm myself with more batteries for lighting and probably sleep more.
'So what next?'. Well, I have a few ideas pencilled in. SJ wants to enter a gruelling off road run event, military style in October. This sounds like fun and I think I'll join her. Chris Orange likes the idea of a cycle trip to and around the Isle of Wight. This sounds like fun and I think I'll join him. The LEL (London - Edingburgh - London) 1400k ultra long distance cycling event is being held in 2013. This sounds like hell, maybe I'll have a crack (and possibly aim to complete an SR series in 2012 and a double SR series in 2013 as part of my training). Have been off my bike too long now, maybe next week I will complete a 200k perm.
Before the week was finished, SJ and I took our bikes out. We cycled the Deer Route. It felt nice for my legs to pedal again and my bum wasn't too sore either!

Weekly totals: Cycled 15 miles.

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