Sunday 24 September 2017


Doo, just an ordinary guy.
Don't wish to keep raving on about the TransAtlantic Way race (TAW) 2018... Actually, I doo. This is a big race (2500k !) and have decided that I'd like to raise big bucks for charity in so doing. Have not yet decided which charity I am going to support and am open to suggestions. What I'd really like to do is support a specific project. Will keep you all posted on future developments. If you could support me supporting some project, that would be some awesome support going on.
Not much crazy about this fella...
Ultra-distance cycle racers have been described quite fittingly by J. Buhring. She says 'They are regular people with regular jobs, but once or twice a year, they race bicycles, covering distances that double or triple what pro riders in the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia race daily. They do it without the benefit of a support crew, good nutrition plans, a massage, and a comfortable bed. They carry their own gear, fix their own bikes, find their own food and water. There is no prize money or reward, apart from a cold beer and a handshake from fellow riders at the finish line.'   
A stolen pic from the TAW website
Both Jamie and I have been doing some TAW research and making plans. I have plotted our route for the first 5 days and found 3 cheap places where we can be accommodated with proper beds and a free breakfast on one day (and reserved our spaces). Have scheduled 2 bivvy spots and decided which bike I will take. Jamie has purchased a book (on ultra distance cycling). Ha!
The Beast
This week started well on the training front. First adventure was a tandem ride with Roger. We cycled about 50k together and enjoyed the great weather, the banter and Wedges bakery. Whilst chatting, it turned out that Roger was related to Bob Scarle. Bob was the organiser of the Alan Partridge memorial audax I cycled a few weeks back. Bob is Roger's son's father-in-law (or something like that).  Small world indeed! This tandem ride was unusual in that we didn't finish at Roger's domicile. Our trip ended at Northfield Cycles so that 'The Beast' could be treated to a service. Thankfully, Roger is so well known (super star) that he got recognised at the bus stop. This spotting ensured we were driven back to his abode and missed out on a bus journey - bonus. I cycled my newly fixed commute bike to Roger's and back. On the return route, bang, my rear mudguard spontaneously combusted. Oh man, have had much menace with this bike. Hey, at least all the gears work! 
Roger, deep in thought
Tuesday was a work and back cycle commute. Surprisingly, just 4 seconds off Ron's KOM on the commute Strava segment. Wow, maybe there is some magic in my commute bike after all. 

Midweek saw me complete a 5k run around my village. I'd have liked to have ran more but time did not allow. I guess I ran out of time. 

Thursday was another cycle to work and back commute. Tributes were at the side of the road near Honeybourne where some car had crashed into a tree and resulted in a fatality. Apparently a cyclist had been killed in Honeybourne the same week too. Very sad. 

Decided to run into and from work on Friday. Was really cold in the morning and really quite warm late afternoon. Felt pretty whacked on both runs, regardless of the weather.
Weekend was mostly spent with my kids because my dear wife was away on some birthday jolly. On her return though, I managed to sneak in a cross country run. (I really wanted to make sure I had run more than 100 minutes because had entered a competition, whereby some lucky runner who had run 100 plus minutes was in with a chance to win a Nike sports watch. I don't want/need the watch but am hoping to win it. If it becomes mine, I'll sell it on eBay and raise funds for TAW). My run ended at the park where my wife, sister and kids were hanging out. More exercise took place. A nice way to conclude the week!

Monday 18 September 2017

I'm in (trouble), we're in (trouble)

I'm in (trouble), yes. Monday was a race to ensure I had gotten entry into the 2018 TransAtlantic Way (TAW) race. This is a 2,500k un-supported race across the West Coast of Ireland. And, wowser, I'm in! There was only 200 places open and my mate Jamie wanted to ride too. Better yet, Jamie secured a place too!
TAW, a mere 2,500k cycle
We were both listed as solo rouleurs, however, we later changed that and have decided to cycle as a pair (of idiots). We're in (trouble) ! Looking through the rouleur list was super interesting - folk have signed up from all over the world including France, Italy, USA, Australia and Korea. Do hope our names appear on the finished list too!
Was great running into work knowing that entries opened for TAW. Was even better running home knowing that I had confirmed a place. On my outward bound run I had a leap in my step. Was super cool discovering that Jamie had been successful too.

No further running took place in the week, which was okay - I was happy enough with the 10k I had ran. Managed to cycle on a few occasions. Two work and back commutes were completed. Was interesting riding to work on these occasions as I was playing with Strava segments for the first time (because when I cycle the CrossDuroPennines, segments will create the race times). Low and behold, my buddy Ron had the top place for 'King of Mountains' (KOM) on the segment I was cycling. Ron will most probably keep this place a while too - I had raced and was a good 11 seconds behind. Future attempts will be futile as I will only be cycling this segment on my commute using my heavier commute bike (was using my off-road bike this week due to gear issues on commute bike). Am sure Ron had used his super zoomy road bike... My other cycle was a quick 30 minute indoor spin. Last time I had completed an indoor spin, I felt quite sick. This time around, I felt a little sick but not as bad. Maybe the high intensity on an empty stomach isn't so wise?
This is menace, let no one tell you otherwise!
Weekend was great. No training took place, however, 2 important 'things' happened. The first thing was that Lin had helped sort the gear issues on my commute bike. Second thing was that my niece 'Cassia' had gotten married to Matt which was super awesome. All is well that ends well.

Sunday 10 September 2017


A relatively poor week on the training front. Only managed to cycle twice and only ran a couple of runs too. Groan.

After the faff of removing the rear wheel from my commute bike (Genesis Day One 20), she hasn't been quite right and I need to faff further to sort her gears out. Oh the delight of a Nexus hub. Hmm, maybe not. At least my commute bike is fitted with (hopefully) puncture resistant tubes now (removed wheels to add gunk filled tubes). Suffice to say, I used a different bike for my commute into work and back. My 'off-road' bike was great but was not fitted with mud-guards and I had a lovely stripe up my back from cycling on wet grubby roads.

Spent more time thinking about the TransAtlantic Way (TAW) race next year. Don't the pictures (below) look awesome?! I am almost certain that I will enter. Was hoping my buddy Chris would have changed his school of thought, his response - 'no chance'.
Even though my place is not guaranteed, I did a little research into possible hostels along the way and this fuelled my excitement further. Am led to believe entries will open next week. Jamie said he is still interested so we may well enter as a pair (of clowns). Mac 'n Doo, sounds like a great team name doesn't it?!
Premature research and intelligence
My other cycle was an indoor spin. Had been ages since I used my turbo trainer and at the end of my short session I felt a tad sick. Maybe it was the big lunch I had only moments before.

Cycled (commute-wise) so little mostly because my work days required me to attend meetings at various locations and hence unable to cycle into work and back. With this in mind, I attempted to run on those days instead. Even with best intentions, only managed 2 such runs. On both occasions, I ran about 5k around my village.
Highlight of the weekend was celebrating Qasim's first birthday with some friends and my family. We had a wild time and a lot of fun. Not quite training or exercising but exhausting all the same!

Sunday 3 September 2017

Adventure calling

Steve Hale has improved at math
Following my Trans Pennine Trail C2C trip last weekend have felt that an adventure for 2018 should be planned. I have a feeling in my bones that a challenge lays ahead and its cycle flavoured. Looked at a few events and it wasn't looking good - TCR is too mammoth, I wouldn't get a pass, too expensive... EWE was for mountain bikes... a lot of other events involved flights and travel, money and time... Then I heard about the Trans Atlantic Race (TAR), a 2,500k race across the Irish Coast. I have never been to Ireland, love the coast and 2,500k, well that's only 600 miles or so further than my LEL experience. Was hoping my buddy Chris would be excited about this too but it didn't get his juices flowing. In fact, Chris said it would be wet and windy. Chris also said some folk were 'bigging it up' and saying it was 'tougher than TCR'. Wow, it does sound like an adventure doesn't it?! My other pal, Jamie, says 2018 owes him a mega adventure and he'll be 50 and all. I think he might be interested...

Back in the real world, my week started great. Monday was a bank holiday which meant family time. We had a great day at Charlecote park. Such an amazing sunny day.
Charlecote Park Adventure
Tuesday meant back to work. First cycle commute in a while. Right calf still felt a little funny but no real bother. The great weather had gone and was replaced by drizzle.

Drizzle had turned to heavy rain by Wednesday. Ran into work and back. A nice (and relatively knackering) 5k each way, despite the wetness of the day.

Thursday saw me complete my last commute of the week. Another cycle affair. Pretty cold in the morning today and the fog was like pea soup. Maybe it's time to switch from sandals back into shoes?!
L-R Toll, Jamie, Doo, Ron
Next adventure was on Saturday. A great day which saw me complete my 118th audax event. This was the 'Alan Partride memorial' ride organised by Bob Scarle. This was a 200+ k affair that started and finished in Redditch and went to Stamford Bridge, Weobley and Red Marley on route. Quite a hilly ride covering about 2,100m according to my reckoning. Was great to cycle with Ron and Jamie throughout. Sad my buddy Chris wasn't able to join the posse. Sweet that Toll had graced us with his presence for the first 50k or so. Bumped into 'Wobbly' during the ride too - a YACF cyclist that I had rode with on other events including LEL. Wobbly in Weoble. Ha!
Alan Partride Memorial Ride, 220k
Sure enough, Jamie and I talked about TAW during the audax event. He is as excited as me. I think we are both likely to sign up. Jamie said 'training starts now' and I believe he is treating this audax as event number one in the ARTY (audax round the year) challenge - I might just follow suit. Is funny how a little bit of excitement leads on to other things - I have booked a camp site in Holme Firth and plan to cycle the 'CrossDuroPennines' race on 7 October 2017. Argh!

Happy New Year 2022

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