Monday 31 July 2017

4 years, for years

My LEL experience (2013)
For years I have been cycling now. 4 years ago I cycled the wonderful London-Edingburgh-London (LEL) adventure. For years my best buddy toyed with the idea of cycling the Transcontinental Race (TCR). For a few hours (days) now the 2017 LEL and TCR have been underway. I am not cycling in either event but know folks who are - shout outs to Gary and Graeme in the LEL and a high 5 to V for cycling the TCR. For a spell, I got down I wasn't cycling some major event. Then I remembered I had cycled great events and reminisced in this; I remembered folk I knew were cycling wonderful events and felt great for those; I re-remembered that I have pending coast to coast plans ahead. Ooh!
Graeme - LEL controller 2013, participant 2017
Gary, who I met on Paris - Geneva cycle
Buddies! Go Gary Go!
 I asked the Mrs if I could cyclce TCR next year, she said no. I said, ok, what about the year after, she replied no. I said what about the year after, she said, I dunno yet. Sounds like a pass to me... I'll never cycle it to be fair, too hardcore for me (but I do like to see what my Mrs will allow).

Training this week was just a rather uneventful 3 to work and back commutes. I pushed myself to swim, but my paralysis of will kicked in, despite my recent repairs to wet suit. Managed to complete the week with a run with which I was quite pleased. I ran further than my now usual 5k and felt my running was better than of late (ran a distance of 8k). I passed a good many runners out today which was nice and unusual.

I wonder if I can manage to run, swim and cycle next week (which is now this week)?

Monday 24 July 2017


Before the week began, Red Bull sent me goodies, freebies even! For being such a good boy and recording all my exercise data, I got awarded Red Bull. In a nice presentation box too. Bonus!
This (last) week was mostly based around cycling. Completed 3 work and back commutes. Cyled in sun, rain and wind! The sun shine was great, the rain was hard and wet and the wind was the head wind menace variety.
On Thursday, the TDF climbed over the Col de Vars and Col Izard - my buddy Chris and I had cycled over the same mountains last year. We were on fully laden bikes too! The TDF finished this week too with Froomey winning for a 4th time.
On the weekend, we celebrated my parents 50th wedding anniversary. 50 years, wow! God bless them both.  
Finished the week by pushing myself to go for a run. I had not ran in a while. Felt kinda nice. Oh, and a big shout out to Jonny Mitchum who has just completed his Iron Man distance event!
From ground zero! zero! hero! Well done mate!

Sunday 16 July 2017

Ba Bla Blah

Great week on the cycling front. Froomey lost his yellow jersey (in the Tour de France) but re-claimed it before the week was out. And, better yet, I managed to cycle 350k throughout the week.

First adventure took me to my blind buddy Rogers abode. Once at Rogers, I climbed off my bike and climbed onto his tandem. Then the 2 of us cycled to Whitlenge tea rooms and back. The cafe had been refurbished and pretty fine it looked too. Our mega breakfasts were genuinely mega also! A great adventure on a lovely day. Back at Rogers, climbed off his tandem and back onto my bike. My bike then took me to Evans Cycles in Birmingham for it's first free service. Was nice cycling up the towpath which used to be cycled with some regularity on my old commute when I worked at C-SPMH. Whilst bike was being serviced, I decided to pop into said C-SPMH. It was great seeing some folk, however, my evil nemesis 'KB' was as miserable and mean as ever and made failed attempts to have me evicted and prevent future visits. Ha! Whilst in the building the heavens opened but stopped as I left to collect my serviced bike. Newly serviced bike (my Genesis) then took me back home. Whoa, what a lot of adventure for a Monday!

Next cycle was midweek. This was my now regular new commute into work. A nice 51k round trip. 

Friday was a great day. I cycled into work using my 'winter' bike, which was loaded with all my camping gear. After work, loaded bike was cycled to Chipping Norton campsite. Route to campsite was super and not what I expected. Lovely country lanes were followed and the massive climb of Fish or Saintbury Hill were avoided.
Route straight on, through locked gate and into brambles and nettles
My route also took me on a few off-road sections which was fine until stretches of bramble and stinging nettles attacked my bare legs! Pleased to inform I survived and found my way to campsite with no further menace.
The campsite was great and had super nice clean facilities, not bad for £7. Pitched my tent and felt great once my camp was set up. Sadly, I had forgot my hip flask but no real bother - took a quick cycle into Chipping Norton centre to purchase Whiskey.
Back at camp, decided to cook my dinner. Dinner was a 'new to me' freeze dried meal of the Bla brand variety. I poured in the hot water and left it for 10 mins but I forgot to stir the meal. Grr. When I reopened packet, I could see the meal was still dry and powdery at the bottom, where I had not stirred it. No bother, I added some cold water (the remainder of the hot water I had boiled made me a jasmine green tea) and stirred. The meal tasted great, it really did. Surprisingly, the meal was real filling too, so much so, I must have left a couple of mouthfull's. The other menace was I had lost my prized titanium spork (and knife). Luckily, my breakfast meal had a plastic spork included with it so I used that. I miss my spork...
Dessert was Whiskey and Starbar. Nice. Whilst drinking made a call to the Mrs and kids. More whiskey and into bed for a great nights sleep.
Awoke early after a relatively good sleep. Made breakfast and tea. Breakfast was another new to me rehydrated meal and it tasted nasty - it was still cold. Maybe I should have left it longer. This was a 'Beyond the Beaten Track' meal which apparently self heats. Mine didn't - not enough anyway.
It was raining now too and things are never so rosey when the rain pours. Took a shower which made me feel better for a spell. Then I had to pack away my wet tent. Not sure of best practice for packing away a wet tent. Left this wonderful campsite at about 8 a.m and was looking forward to meeting my Mrs and kids et al at Burford Wildlife Park.

The rain was cold and wet initially but at least it wasn't heavy. The scenery was super as I cycled to Burford. Passed places where my family had visited before. We still have the robot water bottle we brought for Lunar, purchased from here. I even passed the pub where Lunar flooded the leather seats with urine. Just before reaching the wildlife park, I passed a burger van and managed to resist...
Reached the park at 9 a.m which meant I had an hour to wait. Cycled back to the burger van and munched on a 1/4 pounder with egg. Yummers! Back to the park where I met SJ, kids et al and had a great day fraternising with others and looking at wild animals in the wet. By the afternoon, the wet weather ceased and the sun came out. Good job, a long cycle home awaited.

Ron was my travelling companion all the way back to my village. We cycled 80k (which I strangely thought was only going to be a 65k cycle). The weather was better than earlier. Cycling was a little tougher than expected and we cycled many hills, much road and a wee bit off road too. Just as I pulled up onto my drive my Garmin crashed (again). Ugh, what a menace to end a great adventure!

Sunday was spent reminiscing about the great week that was had. I'm sure there is great weeks ahead too. The week ended with me finding my prized spork too - bonus!

Sunday 9 July 2017

Dad's Camp / Napalm Death

Just for the crack, I thought I'd start this post with a pic of Johnny M's bottom! This clearly shows his dedication to his training schedule. Bottoms up mate! Johnny is (was?) training for an Iron Man event. Johnny hurt his bottom. Don't be like Johnny!

For myself, the past week was a little different to the norm, that's for sure. I started my new job, well, kinda sorta. I have been in my current role since March 2017 as a manager of a mental health and drug misuse team. It's only been since the start of this week that I've been in the correct building. And as for 'real work', well, that's a different story altogether.

Anyways, I made mention to work simply because being the 'new boy' essentially meant that I had no locker or access to the shower facilities initially (let alone my own desk space, computer etc), so was unable to cycle or run to work. However, I was able to run before work and so that's what I did on Monday and Tuesday. No major exciting runs, but a couple of 5k affairs to keep the legs ticking over.

By Wednesday, I still had no locker of my own but had managed to acquire a locker all the same. This meant I could shower and could cycle to work. So, that's exactly what I did - I cycled a new work and back commute for the next 3 days. This was a nice route, cycling about 50k during each daily commute on nice enough roads. It took me about an hour to get in and about 1 hour 10 to get back out. Happy days!
Green tent was mine
No exercise over the weekend, but fun was had all the same. On the Friday night, I went camping with Ron and Stu et al. We camped out in a forest location near Umberslade. Happy with my new tent, however, experienced much condensation come morning. Spent the evening drinking beer, singing songs, cooking bacon and sausage, melting mallows and chanting 'Dads Camp' at frequent intervals. I had often wondered what would happen should one throw a full can of coke onto a roasting bonfire. Thanks to Ron, I now know the answer to that question - its napalm death! Ha!
Doo's feet, Cap'n Ron, Matt's feet
Marsh Mellow Menace
Saturday was spent with Melody at the Bournville Sunday School party. This was a great day where all essentially ate to the max - ice cream, candy floss, burgers etc whilst the little ones played. Was joined later by Lunar and the Mrs. A good day fraternising in a lovely location.

Sunday was spent recovering from the days before. Felt so whacked that I couldn't force myself to the usual open water swim. Have fixed my wetsuit though with this 'Black Witch' stuff ready for my next session. Also cleaned my bike ready for next Fridays adventure which is another (cycle) camp before a Sunday School party.

Sunday 2 July 2017

Love what you do, do what you love

Lunar created this title pic (aged 4)
This week started out great. As I was on a study day Monday, I got up early and forced myself to go for a quick 5k run. Thing was, my course finished early, so I was able to get a second exercise session in. Once home, I grabbed the oppurtunity and went out for a quick 30k cycle using my road bike 'Slinky' that hadn't been outside since the Wandering Wolves perm some time back. Whoa, forgot how light this awesome bike was! Was a bit naughty too - I read on FaceBook that Mountain Warehouse were selling cheap bivvy's for £20 that were the same size as the Alpkit Hunka XL and had similar breathing properties - I made an impulsive purchase. Well, my current bivvy is ace but weighs like 800g, this new one weighs only 340g. Am thinking this new one will come in handy for Jamie's adventure that I am dubbing the 'War of the Roses'. This 'Jamie adventure' is based loosely around the 'Way of the Roses' coast to coast route, however, this is extra and is a coast to coast to coast adventure.
The War of the Roses planned route
Tuesday proved to be an interesting cycle to work and back commute. I chose new paths (roads) there and back. My inward route was almost completely away from busy roads and followed either the national cycle network or country lanes. My return added a few K's because I saw a sign post suggesting I was travelling down Cobley Hill, but I wasn't. I had headed away from home but all was good as new paths were travelled and new sights seen.

Wednesday was a rest day. Well kinda. A very busy day at my 'new' work location - unable to cycle there just yet as dont have access to shower facilities etc..

Thursday was a trifle menace on my work and back cycle commute. I left early with plans to have a longer ride. Good job I had left early becuase I punctured. I don't think the puncture was new but the foam stuff that was in the tube had decided to start spurting out through the tyre. Puncture was fixed relatively easily but my bike gears felt like they keep slipping, or maybe it was the bottom bracket. I dunno. My return route was super short because the weather was a bit pants, so I took the zoomiest route possible.

Friday was probably my last work and back cycle commute at my current workplace as I switch sites, so to speak, next week. My commute out was fine and bike behaved better since Jamie taught me how to stop the gears skipping. If one has a Nexus hub, this is how you stop gears slipping: Check the gear wire, there's an adjuster at the gear cable coming off the lever. Stick the bike in gear 4 (lowest gear is 1). Look for yellow lines near the hub, by the small chain ring, these need to line up. 
Match them yellow lines
Locate the barrel adjuster and turn. If that fails, drink coffee
Use the barrel adjuster, located near the bars, to line them up. Hey Presto! Took a slighly extended route into work just to celebrate last day and working bike. Return route was a new route and I found myself cycling down the zoomie Cobley Hill. All good.
Lin racing the 2017 Isoman 1/4 distance TT. She came 1st!
Saturday was an interesting day. Started with a 6k cross country run around Hewell. Later in the day I saw Lin racing the Isoman TT route. This all brought back memories of my Iron Man event last year. I kinda wished I had a TT bike and was racing a course. Melanie was cycling too but we never caught site of her.
Hard work watching Lin race...
Sunday saw me go for a dip at Ragley Lake. Yup, my weeks training was finished by an open water swim. Again, I participated in all 3 triathlon disciplines. Feel like I should try and find a triathlon to enter before the season is out...

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&#...