Saturday 26 January 2019


This is the First month of 2019. I have done a number of things for the first time this month. With my 2019 plans in mind, here is a collection of Firsts for the month (thus far).
January 1st - My first cycle. I cycled a 30k+ route with my bro Rob and buddy Ron. Also had my first pint (thanks Ron) - it was a dark fruits cider. Oh, also had my first shot of whisky. Maybe my reduced drinking will start next month.

January 2nd - Whoa, a lot of firsts today. My first run - I ran a regular 5k Studley Triangle route. Hmm, this was also the day I had my first McDonalds followed later with my first pizza of the year. This eating less malarkey might have to start next month too. On a brighter note, today was the first day I had quoted a biblical verse to this blog.

'Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together... He who sits in the heavens shall laugh'. (Psa 2:1-4)

That verse speaks politics to me. Politicalamity! And it appears that God himself laughs at the politics on the earth. It sure is comedic at times.

'The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men' (1 Cor 1:25)

January 3rd - This day proved that changing eating habits is super difficult. Not only do you have to convince yourself to eat less, you need to convince (or at least inform) others too. I went out with my wife and family to the lovely Stourport area. My dear wife asked what I would like for breakfast. After scanning the menu, I opted for a simple Full English breakfast. What came back was a Mega Breakfast with about 2 servings of everything including black pudding. So, yeah, a delicious fried breakfast which was my first this year. This breakfast reminded me of my staple diet during the TAW race last year. Later in the day, I had my first carvery this year too.
January 4th - What a great day for adventure this turned out to be. The evening welcomed my first curry which was super nice. Curry was followed by a trip to The Lark for some liquid refreshment. The night finished with my first BAM for the year. BAM is an acronym for Bivvy-a-Month. Ron, Rob and I decided we would camp out on this freezing night. First BAM! Woo hoo, only 11 to go!
This was the first time we had camped at this exact location. This was also the first time that I had ever used a hooped bivvy too. The bivvy was pegged out which was great as it stopped everything drifting away.
Ron's snoring was heard for the first time this year - at least by me and Rob! Not sure if I snored but I slept real well using my new Thermorest pillow for the very first time. The pillow was great but does not pack small enough for long distance bike packing.
When morning came, I brewed us all a cup of green tea. This was followed by an amazing sausage breakfast (we ate sausages before we went to bed too). This breakfast was particularly special as I used my new camp knife for the first time.
Frustratingly, this was first time I had punctured this year. Thankfully, our camp spot wasn't too far from home. Punctured bicycle made it home with no real worry.
January 12th - This was a great day of adventure. This was the first time I saw my buddy Chris Hodge this year. We both cycled the 'January Sale' 200k audax. This was the first audax and first long distance event that either of us had cycled this year. We have both cycled this event in the past and have experienced seriously wet and/or cold weather, this was the first time the weather had been mild. This was a great day and I really enjoyed both the cycling and the company.
January Sale, 200k 
January 14th - Chris Hodge had built a wheel for my bike and after many months of patient waiting I was real pleased to attach it to 'Eleven'. For the first time since Ireland, I cycled Eleven (on my work commute) using a wheel Chris had built. There's a first time for everything, and this was the first time I cycled using a wheel Chris had built. Eleven cycled like a dream. Top job Chris.
Jan 19th - First Park Run this year. Not my first one ever, oh no, this was Park Run number 18. I finished in 80th place out of a field of 457. My time was exactly 24 mins. I'd like to run much faster but this is as fast as my legs would allow.
January 22nd - First yoga session ever! And this was not any regular yoga, oh no, this was Hot Pod Yoga! SJ had convinced me to attend and had sorted me a free trail session.
The session was really good to be fair. We were in this big pod thing which reminded me of Stranger Things and Teletubbies. Initially, I had the fear and started to panic a little because I felt a tad claustrophobic. Once we got started, all was great. We essentially performed a lot of Pilate's type moves but in a very warm, well 'hot', environment. The sweat dripped from us within seconds. Hot and wet!

Jan 26th - First 'different' Park Run this year. Better yet, this was my first Park Run with my wife too. We both ran the Churchfields Farm Park Run which is considered to be the countries toughest. This was my 19th Park Run to date and I finished in 30th place out of a field of 145. My time was 26:20. SJ finished not long after. I hope we both run this again sometime soon.

I've done a whole bunch of stuff for the first time this year. The above was just a selection of things to write about. If that doesn't give you a thirst for adventure, I'm not sure what will.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

2018 out; 2019 in.

It's the New Year! I do hope the New Year blows the socks off anyone reading my blog! May your year be filled with love and adventure!

Before I blog about the new year (2019), I figured it would be fun to reflect on the past year (2018). What better than to have a look at the plan I made way back in January? Well, my plans were as follows: (2019 comments in blue)
  • Cycle frequently, both solo and with my pals. Cycle on tandem at least bi-monthly with my blind and oldest (age-wise) buddy Roger. Giving myself a tick for this one, maybe the odd ride short with Roger.
  • Complete a RRtY this season. This will involve cycling a 200k audax each month up until September. Completed - my 4th RRtY to date.
  • (Maybe) complete an SR Series this season. (The 3 Coasts 600 is unfinished business). Never happened, have no inclination for 2019.
  • Cycle 10,000k before end of year. Shot past this mark, wahoo!
  • Complete XDP17 - failed attempt last year. Did not happen, maybe 2019?
  • Wild camp. Yeah baby!
  • Learn to become a tortoise whisperer. Indeed, followed by becoming a tortoise shouter..
  • Search the scriptures. I did but need to explore further and deeper.
  • Attempt to complete a Park Run at least monthly. I think I only completed 2 Park Runs. One was on Xmas day!
  • Attempt to hold a plank daily up until TAW. Let's move on shall we...
  • Collect and post motivational quotes to this blog. Meh..
  • Lose weight at least up until TAW. Pah..
  • Lift weights. Groan. Meh again..
  • Run a 5k in 20 mins something. (A dream rather than a plan). Lucky to run in sub 24 mins currently.
  • Be the best husband, lover, father, that I can. Guess you better ask my better half and kiddy winks...
Whilst I'm in this reflective mode, let me look back to when my records began and update further. Indeed, presented below is a list of my annual cycling and running distances (km, followed by miles in brackets). I've also high-lighted my 'big events' for particular years in red.

2009 - 5,086 (3,160) LEJOG 2009
2010 - 8,509 (5,287) Paris to Geneva Cycle 2010/LEJOG 2010
2011 - 8,378 (5,207)   PBP 2011
2012 - 6,935 (4,309)
2013 - 12,498 (7,766) LEL 2013
2014 - 9,253 (5,750)
2015 - 5,531 (3,436) and Ran 1,170 (727)

2016 - 6,515 (4,048) and Ran 1,204 (748) Iron Man (Bolton) 2016/TNR 2016

2017 - 8,940 (5,555) and Ran 514 (319)
2018 - 10,958 (6,809) and Ran 417 (259) TransAtlantic Way (TAW) Race 2018

I started 2018 weighing 89.6 kg and ended weighing much heavier. Grr. Oh well, who cares, I cycled far more miles than previous few years. Maybe I need to run more as my running stats were quite poor. In my final month of 2018, I ran a few more k and managed a couple of runs with my wife which was nice. I think the Xmas day was my favourite run of 2018 (even if I had my slowest time).
Xmas day Park Run 2018
Will the real Santa please stand up
I now start 2019 weighing 96 kg. This is of little surprise considering how much food I have devoured and how much whisky I have drank over the festive period. Lot's of work to do to get this weight shifted. Shifting weight is not my only plan, see below (in no particular order, save the fact that it follows a review of previous year):

Plans, or rather goals for 2019:
  • Cycle frequently. Cycle with buddies and solo. Commute by bicycle.
  • Cycle 10,000k before end of year.
  • Wild Camp. In fact, attempt to bivvy-a-month (BAM).
  • Search the Scriptures more thoroughly than last year. Add interesting quotes/thoughts to my blog.
  • Run more Park Runs. Try a Park Run I have never ran before. Run a Park Run with my wife.
  • Run 500k before end of year.
  • Complete the Fort William 1000 audax (my 'big' event for 2019).
  • Eat less, drink less, adventure more.
  • Be the best lover, husband, father that I can.
H A P P Y  N E W  Y E A R

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