Saturday 27 December 2008

Better start training

I've now entered two things for next year - 24/12 12 hour solo (again), and "The Dragon Ride". The first holds no fear, as I sort of did it this year. The second is a 183km road sportive with 3500m of climbing, or something like that. Probably quite hard. It'll be even harder if I don't start to feel a little motivated and begin training. The past few days all my Christmas intentions have been paving the road to hell - I did 35 mins riding on Boxing Day, went for a run on Christmas Eve, but that's about it. So, I need a plan...

"The 144 Episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Training Plan"

I didn't get many bike related things for Christmas (just a Twin Six T-Shirt, which is cool, and maybe some stuff that hasn't been delivered yet), so I've decided to tag the comnplete Buffy box set as being bike related by planning to watch it whilst doing all my turbo sessions. I reckon if I can get through six or so episodes a week then the sheer quality of the turbo sessions will set me up in good stead for all the other riding I need to do. Obviously I used the first two episodes to think of this plan, so only 142 to go! Brilliant. Starts tomorrow, honest.

Saturday 20 December 2008

Empty shops, muddy bikes and a present

I couldn't believe how empty the shops were at 10am (when I'd finished my shopping). Last Saturday before Christmas I thought it would be like a scene from Lord of the Rings, mass battles over gold rings, that sort of stuff. But no, either everyone couldn't get out of bed or they were very organised or they just weren't buying. I did my best and got a few things - shirt, pants, all very exciting. Best of all was stopping at Halfords on the way home and finally deciding to buy a proper tool chest - a present for myself. It's big, red and has ball bearing drawers! My tools are now much better organised and I no longer run the risk of severing a tendon whilst rummaging around in the bottom of a dark plastic box.

I also went out on the singlespeed and got proper muddy. I took some pictures but the visual evidence doesn't really correlate with how muddy I felt I was getting. Either I haven't been muddy for a while and was therefore over estimating how dirty I was, or my new teflon shower gel is having some effect.

The assault begins

Thought i'd fight the christmas shopping crowds, just for fun. No real christmas shopping to do, but i might get a few things for myself. Traditional start to shopping, caffe nero.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

Trained but not assessed

Tim, Darren and I did our SMBLA Trail Cycle Leader training this week. It was fun, I learnt stuff, I ate stuff and I drank stuff. Oh, and met some very nice people too. Most of it was pretty much common sense, and the whole course was run with that attitude - not in the super-prescriptive fashion I was expecting from the book.

We did the course in the Lake District and had an amazing day out - the kind of cold, crispy, still, sunny, blue-skied day that all the best winter riding needs. Big icy puddles to crack through, glistening frost on the moors, snow on the hill tops... I feel almost poetic thinking about it. Oh, and I used a combined sink/urinal for the first time.

We've still got to arrange the assessment day, and we might even do a coaching course too... we shall see.

Lance, you were wrong

I did my entry for the "Technology Triathlon" today - a work thing involving 8 minutes of cycling, 8 minutes of rowing and 8 minutes of cross-trainering, all in the gym. The greatest distance (done on set levels) wins.

The trial I did made me realise that the cycling was the major part of the overall score, so I did that first and absolutely killed myself on it, survived the rowing then ambled the cross-trainer. My distances were:
  • Bike 5660m
  • Row 2039m
  • XT 660m

So Lance, it is about the bike.

Sunday 7 December 2008

Ode to the fairy

I'm off to the Lake District tomorrow for a Trail Cycle Leader course... I'm a bit excited, a bit nervous, but at least I'm packed.

I did a few rides in the past week. Saturday I went out with Darren to Reading (MTBs on the road) as he had to pick up an X-Box from work. He was a bit broken, still suffering from the after effects of a cold. Still, it makes a change from me being broken whilst riding with him.

Thursday morning I dragged myself up at 0630 and was out on the icy roads at 0645. I did an hour and three quarters before work - the first time I've done a ride of that length at that time. I felt pretty good, although as I stood in front of the bathroom mirror it took a real effort to not to stumble back to bed. Work was full of meetings, and without the glorious coffee bean and magic flapjack fairy I wouldn't have made it through the day.

Thank you magic flapjack fairy.

Friday 28 November 2008

Time for another post

Not really done much this week - Pie has been down with a rubbish cold so I've been trying not to exert myself too much in case I catch it. This was meant to be quite a hard week - about 11 hours of riding - but it's been mre about sitting watching TV and playing I-Spy on Facebook.

I did do something slightly different in the gym this morning - I've been roped into an indoor triathlon team, where I have to bike, row and cross-train for eight minutes per machine. The biggest difficulty is that my team mates have insisted on being in the "intermediate" category, which means that the machines are all set on level 6. In essence, this meant I was spinning at 130rpm on the bike to get any kind of power out. We were benchmarking today (there are prizes for most improved teams) so I guess I'll have to practice spinning on the turbo at 140rpm... I am the human hamster.

The rowing was the most pleasing part. I've not used the rower for a couple of years, yet I was still about to break the 2000m in 8 minutes target that I remember being a real stretch back then. I guess it means I have got fitter, without really realising it.

As I reward I went to Sainsbury's and bought a tin of celebrations, three different beers, two packets of ground coffee and a packet of prawns. I bet they don't get that combination very often.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

So this whole whales thing

I've been all over, me. I've travelled. I've been to places that have oceans, oceans full of life. And by some of those oceans there have been "whale" watching operations. Or scams, as I like to think of them. Let me explain how it works, so you won't get scammed by these consumate snow-job artists.
  • Build a cabin by the sea, preferably from wood, with enough room for a cafe and a decent gift shop. Good places to do this, in my experience, are in New Zealand, the Azores, Canada and Iceland.
  • Stock the gift shop with items related to the mythical "whale" beasts.
  • Buy a small boat, and paint something like "Ntunga Wild Whale Tours!" on it. Like this one:

  • Set up a "booking" operation. Encourage dumb tourists to come along, pay a deposit for a ticket that entitles them to go an see the "whales" on the small boat. On no account allow them to go out imediately - there has to be at least a four hour gap between the purchase and the scheduled departure times. Next morning is preferable, 6am is perfect.
  • When the dumb tourists (or victims) arrive, tell them that you are waiting for weather reports, or whale spotters. Encourage them to buy things in the cafe, and the gift shop.
  • When they get tetchy, tell them that the trip can't run today because it's too windy/not windy enough/too hot/too cold/too rainy/the whales are sleepy/the whales are practicing a dance routine and can't be disturbed. Rebook them for another time.
  • Repeat until the victims give up and forget to reclaim their deposits.
  • Buy sports cars with the proceeds.

I'm going to set up a "whale" watching operation in Newbury, on the canalside. My fortune is on its way.

Here's hoping this works...!

Movember - Sponsor Me

Monday 17 November 2008

Things I remember about the holiday and might write about later

Whales still do not exist, and all whale watching is a sham.
The crazy taxi driver who'd probably not been out of his village for years, and who thought the best way back to the capital was via every other place on the island.
Terrible, terrible crimes against food. Tinned vegetables, tinned pineapple, tinned mango. Steak made from a shoe. Fish that had more bones than a skeleton convention. Deep fried millimetre thick chicken.
Daniela can spend hours in gift shops.
A Kia Picanto is barely a powered vehicle, especially the first one.
The crazy taxi driver who'd probably not been out of his village for years, and who thought the best way back to the capital was via every other place on the island, stopping for us to take photographs.
"Lax Car Rentals"
Never believe a travel guide or a tourist information woman when they say the two hour bus journey is worth it.
Tourism is still a slightly alien concept in some places around the world, which is nice.
If there are any attractive women in the Azores, they were all hiding in a cave.
The crazy taxi driver who'd probably not been out of his village for years, and who thought the best way back to the capital was via every other place on the island, stopping for us to take photographs, whilst trying to teach us Portuguese.
Bathing in orange volcanic pools is not beneficial to hotel towels.
Geese will chase people with bread.

Friday 7 November 2008

Can you believe it, I've hurt my other shoulder

Not badly, but annoyingly. I was doing some lying on back arm weight things to strengthen the shoulders, and there was this slightly disturbing tearing noise from my left shoulder (the good one). I kind of dropped the dumbell at that point, but I think there's a bit of damage, maybe the rotator cuff. The physio was always mentioning the rotator cuff, so I'm sure it's that. Sounds about right. Anyway, it's not terrible, just a bit annoying at the moment.

I've now got a list of events to do next year, which means that I could spend a bit more time on the training plan. There are a couple of things in mid June which I'd like to be in good shape for, so that works back to base training from January. Up til then I'll do a few more weeks of base and then a bit of build in time for the start of the Gorricks (XC races).

I'll in the Azores this week - an actual holiday, somewhere warm! No idea what we'll be doing, I've heard there are some whales around there but given our less than impressive record on the whale watching front I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday 2 November 2008

Forget Ghostbusters

Audioslave is the thing for turbo training. I watched the live in Cuba DVD today - 30 mins of zone 2 (bit of warm up), 50 mins of zone 3, and the last song of the concert, Cochise, wound me up to 5 mins at threshold (that's where it starts to get a bit hurty).

I then calmed down, back to zone 2, and watched the documentary about the trip to Cuba. And whaddya know, it even had mountain biking in it - the bass player was riding over various historic monuments and jumping off of things. Perfect. All in all, a good session after another week disrupted by illness and weather.

I managed to get out Friday night for the Halloween ride, which was a lot of fun. I rode the whole thing with a rubber skeleton mask on, which interferred slightly with the breathing but was just about manageable. Singlespeeded too. We went to Combe Gibbet, which is the highest point in the area, and the site of the hanging of a couple of adulterers. Didn't see any ghosts though.

Right, I'm off to browse Amazon for some more music DVDs.

Sunday 26 October 2008

One Week

One week without posting, and one week without riding. My slightly scratchy throat on Saturday turned into full-blown "I feel rubbishness", which wiped me out for three days. I did manage to get to the gym on Friday, but then I woke yesterday with some kind of neck/shoulder spasm. So overall, not great.

In the meantime I've started to think about events that I could do next year, that might be a bit different to this year and might enable me to buy more things.

Firstly, the UK Singlespeed Championships. I don't think this will really require me to be fit, it's more a case of finding someone to go with and getting the entry done in time. It might allow me to spec up the Inbred with some shiney new bits.

Secondly, The Dragon Ride. This is a long (100 mile), tough (big hills & the odd mountain) road ride, in the middle of June. It's a bit like the Etape Du Tour, but much nearer and much cheaper. Jon seems interested in this, he's definitely a bit of a roadie at heart. Of course, doing a challenging road event may well require a much better road bike. I've discovered the Orbea Orca (not discovered in the "dug up in the jungle" sense, more the "read about it in a magazine" sense). It's one of the few road bikes I've seen that doesn't look like it's been painted by a chimp with a fixation for primary colours. On the minus side, it might be totally unsuitable for what I want to do, and is verging on the stupidly expensive. We shall see.

Not much mountain biking in the list yet. To balance things out there might be for XC racing, and I've booked to go on a guiding course. This is step one (of about 12, one of which involves finding oil in the garden) in the escape the normal job plan.

Saturday 18 October 2008

Friday 10 October 2008

A plan that nearly came together

Last night I was out riding with Darren, when he revealed one of his "special" plans. It started when I arrived at his, and he suggested going away for a ride the next weekend - but I would need a day off to do it. Mainly because it was a day trip to California.

Friday - Fly to San Francisco
Saturday - Ride Pine Mountain, Repack, and whatever else was to hand in Marin County
Saturday eveining - Fly back
Sunday - Arrive back in the UK

Travel light, hire bikes over there - it just could work. I could even fly in bike kit, camelbak and helmet on. I might get a few odd looks, but I'd be well protected if something fell out of the overhead lockers (which they always warn about but I've never seen happen).

By the end of the ride he'd more or less convinved me (helped by the offer of a ticket bought with his airmiles), I just had to check I had nothing else planned.

And you can guess the rest - I did. Bah. A "Grease" night, at a local hotel. How did that ever happen? I'm going to dress as a disgruntled mountain biker. I'm sure there were a few of those in the film.

Tomorrow I'm off to the bike show, so there might be a few pics of exotica appearing on here.

Sunday 5 October 2008

Baa bap ba, ba daaa, da da, da da da da daa!

It's been a filty weekend. My one chance for a dry ride was blown by thinking I was on the verge of a cold and been kept awake by someone who has a cold. So I ended up in the garage, on the turbo trainer, for the first time in ages. I was nearly scuppered by not having any clean cycling shorts (how did that happen? I've got seven pairs!) but I figured I'd worn normal shorts in the gym and not died, so I used some of them.

It was a bit odd being back on there, but at least I got to use my new laptop to watch three episodes from Simpsons series four. When we first bought a DVD player I purchased lots of stuff I thought I needed, such as the first four Simpsons series, Ghostbusters, all the Futuramas. Obviously I've not watched a lot of these - the fourth Simpsons series was unopened (after a good four years). I guess that as they are on TV every night I don't feel the need to watch them on DVD. So, being back in the garage might be a chance to catch up on all those boxed sets, and maybe buy some more.

Anyone want to buy me the complete Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Playing Frogger

Last night's ride had a few things that added a sprinkling of nutmeg on the egg custard of normality. It was the first ride of the year that had that autumn feel to it - dark, rainy, wet, gloopy, windy and a distinct chill in the air. Also, I was riding my singlespeed off-road with mud tyres - probably the first time since my arm fell off. And then I was playing frogger. But not in a good way, being a frog. I was one of the bad guys.

For some reason that I can't be bothered to google, about this time of year the roads get dusted with dead frogs. At least, I like to think of them as frogs, as toads aren't as pleasant. They come out in the rain and the dark and sit in the road, waiting for a passing car or bicycle to turn them into flatfrogs. Some of them have the decency to face you as you ride along, so their light coloured fronts glisten in your bike lights. These generally get dodged. Others have less sense, and are playing a dangerous game. The third kind are already squished so avoiding them is more down to a desire to keep tyres clean than the preservation of froggy existence.

I don't think I squished anything that hadn't already been under a car, but it's going to happen one night, and it's not going to be pretty.

Especially when I photo it and post it up here.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Friday 26 September 2008

Why is bike DIY better than house DIY?

I really, really find house DIY tedious, stressful and pointless. It does nothing for me. My total DIY efforts in 5 years have been

  • Fixing some concealed bolts on the door between the house and garage
  • Putting up some shelves in the garage
  • Putting up lots of hooks in the garage
  • Fixing the back gate
  • Fixing the front door lock
  • Filling a few cracks in the plaster

Now, half of those relate to the garage - where bike fettling takes place. So if I find house DIY so difficult to get started, how can I spends hours in the garage stripping and servicing hubs, tweaking derailieurs, lining up brake hoses, replacing suspension linkages....? Maybe I'm addicted to the smell of GT85 in the morning.

Thursday 25 September 2008

This time next year I'd like to be...

...a vaguely qualified MTB guide. I've started by registering with Scottish Cycling on the SMBLA scheme, and I've read some of the manual. I've even got three friends who are interested too, and someone (who isn't me) to pay for the first course. Next is to assemble 20 logged rides (i.e. rides that I've written down), book on a course and go along. Oh, and I'm already a qualified first aider, paid for by work, which is nice.

On a completely different note I spent today visiting a call centre. As well as being astounded by how knowledgable and skillful these people were, I noticed that there were lots of large people. I'm not sure if this is because

  • they spend most of their working lives sitting down


  • it was an area of the country that has "larger" people

All I can say is the restaurant attached to the hotel was and "all you could eat" and packed out on a Wednesday night.

Tuesday 16 September 2008

Sunday 14 September 2008

Saturday 13 September 2008

Wednesday 10 September 2008

And it was...

The Friday before the event it rained and rained and rained. Proper "lead item on the news" kind of rain. This didn't fill me with hope, and I changed my plans from camping from the Friday to driving down on the Saturday. I'd heard that the course would hold up relatively well to the rain (compared to say, a giant sandcastle) but I still wan't brimming with keenness.

Saturday morning was slightly better and I arrived about 8am to meet Jackie and Nick (pit bitch #1). We soon had the super-gazebo up and there was a fairly relaxed pre-race few hours, with a bit of a test ride. The course was rideable, we did the first couple of singletrack sections which turned out to be the hardest of the whole lap.

Then the rest arrived - Jon and Phill riding as a pair, Caroline riding solo and Caroline's assistant Tessa (I'm not sure if it's quite correct to call a girl a pit bitch). Start time came around and off we went.

Things started reasonably, I was going too fast as usual at the beginning and rode round with Jackie for a lap or so - not deliberately, we were just doing the same speed. I stopped on the first lap to help Jon, who had a puncture and had forgotten how to use a bicycle pump. The were the usual chats with the usual people, including one guy on a singlespeed who I've only ever spoken to at events, mainly whilst riding. The track was just starting to dry... and then it rained. All got a bit gloopy then, especially in a couple of sections which were total slurry pits. I'm sure I saw the top of some guy's helmet just breaking the surface - he must have hit the deep bit.

About the start of lap 7 (about 7.5 hours in) something went ping. And not in a good way, in a "hmm, that was something fleshy breaking" way. Thing was, it only really hurt under power, just above my left knee. Normal pootling was fine (which was 96% of the time by now) but any kind of burst, e.g. getting out of a dangerously deep slurry pit, caused some real "oweeeee" moments. I was really in two minds whether to carry on, but my natural cowardliness won in the end and I quit at the end of the seventh lap (about 8.5 hours in).

It was a really brutal course in the end - no real respite because it was fairly flat, so no long downhills. There were a few people who just keeled over in the woods for a bit of a sleep, and a few more who were still moving but had lost all sense of reality. Great atmosphere though - I was even asked if I was OK when I stopped for a piss. Fine thanks, I'm quite good at it by now.

Jackie ran out of gas at 7 laps too (considering she did the Transrockies a couple of weeks before, I'm not surprised), Phill and Jon managed 11 laps between them, and Caroline did brilliantly, keeping riding til the end and putting in 8 laps. All in all - a tough, worthwhile event.

My next challenge will be a 13 hour blindfolded singlespeed ride.

Saturday 6 September 2008

Another event

Another attempt at 12 hours... Could be rainy.

Sunday 31 August 2008

Revenge on brambles

Not only are they feeding me, but i'm stopping them breeding! That's revenge for all the scratches and pain they cause me.

Saturday 30 August 2008

This is why we ride

Sunshine, a couple of hours off road, followed by bbq leftovers, cake and beer. That's Darren in his transrockies top.

Sunday 24 August 2008

Trail centre fatigue

The Wales trip took in three trail centres in the end - Afan, Brechfa and Coed y Brenin. And I'm not really sure I like them, or the concept. I've done mostly natural riding in the past so this was a bit of a change for me.

What I liked:
  • The lack of having to think about where I was going. It was just ride, ride, ride.
  • The facilities (at Afan and Coedy)
  • Something else (which I'll cover at the end...)

What I disliked:

  • The lack of having to think about where I was going. I enjoy the navigation, the getting lost, the feeling of being "out there" in the country. Following handy sign posts took all this away.
  • The facilities closing early, so when I wanted cake there was no cake to be had.
  • Riding a route that felt "built", rather than evolved. You know, that big rock is there because the trail builders thought it would be a good place to put it - not because that's where it's always been. Coedy was particularly annoying for this reason - "hey, lets put in 100 yards of medium slabby rocks contouring down the hill, not too steep, not too varied". Yes, but very very dull after the first 10 yards. I can ride the 10 yards fine, it wasn't fun or exciting, why continue for another 90?
  • Big gangs of people being out, who all disappeared when it started raining. Thinking about it, the cafe was packed at about 1pm. We did a shortish trail 1.30 - 2.30 (where there were loads of people about), then a longer one 2.30 - 4. We didn't see anyone on the second trail, apart from one bloke taking a short cut back because his leg was leaking. Where did everyone go? Did they, and their bikes disolve? Were they really made of sugar?

Now, the "something else" that I liked is sort of against what I said about not liking the "built" feel of the trails. I liked Brechfa Blue - and this was the most obviously man-made trail we did. It was to mountain biking what a velodrome is to road cycling. Surfaced, swoopy, jumpy and not trying to be "natural" or "blend in". Jon called it a big BMX track, and that's a great description. It was all the better for not pretending to be something it wasn't.

Plus the little shop in Brechfa sold brilliant cheese.

So, if you are going to Wales, go to Brechfa - buy a picnic from the little shop and ride the big BMX track.

Saturday 16 August 2008

After last nights curry...

I'm going have to have something vaguely healthy for breakfast. Although it appears the pic is upside down. Bit rainy today and my bike is a bit broken, so there is a plan to possibly sit in the cafe while bike is getting fixed. And watch the lympics.

Friday 15 August 2008

Best shop in the world

Little shop, brechfa. Amazing selection for the self assembly picnic.

Thursday 14 August 2008

Trail food

Two trails down, lunch time now. Jacket served the correct way, beans then cheese.

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Since 24/12 I have been mostly cycling

I sort of promised myself some time off after 24/12, to have a bit of a play on the bike and generally relax a bit. Thing is, I've entered another 12 hour solo so it was back to crating and following a training plan again. I had a hard week last week, including being back in the garage on the turbo trainer. It still hurts so much more than riding a real bike in real life. I managed to cram seven bike rides and three gym sessions in to seven days. Yesterday was a well deserved rest day (so only a gym session), and today I'm saving myself... for Wales.

That's right, off to wet wet wet Wales for four days of riding trail centres. I thought it was about time I visited some and managed to convince a couple of other to come along. I'm looking forward to it, with a minor amount of trepidation about falling off and trying to remember to treat it as a holiday rather than a race.

On the subject of races, Darren is now in Canada, two stages down on the Transrockies... best of luck for the rest of the race!

Wednesday 30 July 2008


I think I've recovered sufficiently enough to write about the 2412 now. Not that I was particularly broken (OK, a bit broken), more that I just haven't got round to it.


1. The course. Brilliant. Obviously helped that it was hot and dry, but it's the first enduro I've done where some of the sections are so much fun that you want to do them again. The bombholes followed by Cottage Return...mmm, swoopy.

2. The crash. There had to be one (one and an eighth really). First lap too, washed out on a shaley track and removed 25sq cm of skin from my left hip. Ouch. By the time I took my shorts off, they were a bit stuck to the wound. I blame the fact that my tyres hadn't warmed up. That's what an F1 driver would claim anyway.

3. The eating. I reckon 10 litres of Torq Orange, plus one Torq bar, a few Cheddar biscuits and about a litre of Elete-dosed water (electrolye mix). Felt OK actually, my carbo loading strategy much have been about right. Oddly didn't feel that hungry imediately after, but at 6am the next morning I was raiding my food box in the tent for the free Clif Bar we'd been given.

4. The result. 29th out of 57 I think. I basically started riding at midday, and stopped at 9.17pm. I paused for about a minute every two laps to take on more drink, and it took me about three minutes to fit my lights. I'd been on the edge of cramp for about 5 hours, but the main reason I stopped was that I was starting to lose concentration on the technical stuff. I'd been getting faster on those sections each lap, so when I started to make silly mistakes on lap 10 I thought it was probably a bit risky to carry on. I was probably about 11th at this point...

5. The learns. Remember that you've bought caffiene laced energy gels and use them when your concentration is going. Try and have someone telling you where you are in the field. Don't wipe out on lap one and have to spend 9 hours sprinkled in blood.

Will I do another one...? Wait and see.

Saturday 26 July 2008

The all new super Gazebo

So here it is, in all its blue and white glory. Window, door, pointy bit at the top.

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Blues odyssey part 4

Keb Mo at the jazz cafe London. Absolutely awesome.

Sunday 20 July 2008

Less than a week to go...

This time next week my 12 hour race will be over, someway or another! I've got one hard training session this week, a couple of recovery rides, and lots of eating.

I have to say, I've been doing the eating thing anyway. The holiday really didn't help as I'm not a kilo heavier. Ah well, I'm sure I'll work it off.

The weird thing is looking at my training plan, and seeing nothing after next Saturday. Completely blank. My intention is to spend August messing around on the bike really - there is a vague plan to spend a few days riding in Wales, plus places like Swinley appeal. This does all depend on summer arriving though. There is sunshine this morning so maybe that's the start of it.

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Friday 11 July 2008

Waiting for Bill

At the eden project, praying for it not to rain.

Monday 7 July 2008

Saturday 5 July 2008

Somehow I'm getting fatter

Actually, it's no mystery - I'm eating more and not riding enough. I seem to have let my monk-like discipline (OK, it was never that bad), probably because I've been very busy at work the past couple of weeks and feel that pastries, muffins and beer will somehow help.

I'm now on holiday for a week, so I can't see it getting much better. I am going to be doing quite a bit of driving though, which will limit the beer, and I am taking a bike away with me. Hopefully mobile blogging will come to my rescue again, expect lots of random shots from my phone.

Saturday 28 June 2008

My first century!

101 miles, six hours twenty minutes. Going to celebrate with a can of spongebob pasta shapes on toast.

Post Mayhem

So after my frenzy of mobile blogging from Mayhem, I guess I'd better write a bit about it.

I remember:

- The rain
- The wind
- The off camber rooty clay section that was tricky to walk
- Overtaking 41 people on one lap (yay, go me!)
- Needing Darren to convince me to go out again
- The atmosphere of the last two hours

But my one, overriding memory was dragging myself out of my tent in the rain and wind, feeling quite chipper (given the circumstances) and going to wait in the changeover area for Gareth, at my allocated time of 240am. The changeover area was two deep so I was standing behind some others, peering into the murk, trying to spot Gareth coming in. After twenty minutes or so, a rider came in, looking shattered, lights failed. He started talking to his team mate stood directly in front of me, describing how tough it had been. It was about thirty seconds before I realised that the rider was Tim (in our team) and I'd been standing behind Gareth... who had been waiting over two hours for Tim.

At that point, I went back to bed.

It was kind of an inverse-Mayhem changeover - you quite often see people arriving and getting stroppy when they find there is no-one to handover to. Our team sent out an extra one, just in case.

Saturday 21 June 2008

Mud tyres going on

We've had quite a lot of light rain, so the dry tyres are being removed. I can't believe people didn't come with mud tyres on anyway.

Friday 20 June 2008

Last minute mechanicals

Darren tries to fix vicky's bike. It's not going well!

The camp

This is our home for the next couple of days. Not raining yet!

Monday 16 June 2008

Crash Test Dummy

After a big crash, resulting in some kind of seriousish injury, there is that nagging thought... what will the next one be like?

At the moment my shoulder is about 80% I reckon - I can do most day to day things, but there are still certain positions that it won't go into and I'm still doing daily mobilisation and strength exercises. I've got a mountain bike event at the weekend (Mountain Mayhem) which obviously results in increased risk. So I've been thinking over the past couple of days "What happens if I fall off again onto my righthand side?". Will the shoulder just pop out again, will I be in agony, will it set back my recovery?

So, fortunately I fell off riding home tonight, at about 5mph, onto tarmac.

I say fortunately, because I now know that it can just about take a 5mph impact onto tarmac without coming out and without pain or noticable damage.

I did take the skin off my right knee, right elbow and tiny marks on the shoulder itself and right hand. Oh, and ruined a pair of jeans by tearing them open. So that was unfortunate.

But overall I'm sort of pleased.

Saturday 14 June 2008

A pair of peckers

Woodpeckers. Great Spotted Woodpeckers, on my peanut feeder this morning. I've never seen a Great Spotted Woodpecker before, and now there are two eating my nuts.

That is all.

(Oh, I know that peanuts aren't really nuts)

Thursday 12 June 2008

Rest week = eating week

On a rest and recovery week at the moment. My plan has three weeks of increasing intensity, then a recovery week with about half the volume. I'm mentally resting too, from the whole concept of being in shape - it's been beer, chocolate, ice cream and nuts all the way this week. I reckon that I'll have to start thinking about what's going into me from next week.

Even though it's been R&R week, did a three hour off-road ride last night. Described as "more Haribo than Torq bar" (i.e. eating sweets on the way round rather than energy bars), it was actually fairly intense - some good climbs in there. I was great just to be riding with a couple of friends, not looking at the heart rate monitor and looking at the countryside and wildlife instead. I must do a few more of these, especially after the big event in July. I've noticed that there seem to be many more birds of prey around, compared to when I was a kid. Last night we saw a Red Kite and a Buzzard. I'm not sure why but I do get excited by birds of prey - perhaps I still think of them are rare and react accordingly?

Didn't see any bears though. Perhaps next time.

Monday 9 June 2008

It's getting hot in here

Not in the garage (which stays pleasant all year - being half underground helps) but in the house. We've had a couple of days of summer, and as I rode in to work this morning I caught a whiff of that summer smell - pollen, dust, heat. Not quite intense enough to really excite me, but it's on the way.

They say smell is the most evocative sense - something familiar can trigger a long hidden memory. The "summer smell" reminds me of riding in hot climates; that last day in Sardinia, the drag across Morocco when I ran out of water and had a bit of heat stroke in the evening. I guess that's why I'm craving it a little, I've no trips planned to warm places this year.

I do have a vague plan/promise to spend a few days in Wales with Jon, doing the trail centres. I've only been to a couple and it should be fun - bikes, beer, stupidity. We'd better get the dates sorted soon anyway.

This is the week I start learning to ride off road again... two weeks til Mountain Mayhem!

Saturday 7 June 2008

Argghhh! Missed training

I noticed that the last couple of posts have both had titles starting with "Today". So That's changed for a start.

Secondly, I'm not going to be doing my Saturday super long ride. That's because my neighbour is taking me to the cricket, the England-NZ test match in Nottingham. Free.

All I've had to do is provide the picnic. Now, this is an absolute pleasure for me, because I love picnics. Not the actuality of them, more the idea. I can't really remember enjoying one, but in my head they are wonderful things, filled with sunshine, gambolling lambs and home-baked goodness. In reality it tends to be wind, rain, ants, wasps and a deep fried selection from the supermarket.

The best picnics I've had (and now I've thought about it, I do remember some) have been on bike holidays, most notably in Italy and Morroco. These are the kind of bike holidays that provide a full catered service using fresh, local produce - which in Italy and Morocco means just picked/killed/dug up. I ate my first ever pear on one of these in Sardinia, and my first donkey sausage.

So, in honour of these bike picnics, I've included a couple of token peaches amongst the deep fried selection and Mr Kipling cakes. Here's hoping they taste of Italy, rather than Nottingham.

Thursday 5 June 2008

Today I dressed in my jeyest roadie top

It's actually a bit of a milestone. One thing the shoulder has been stopping me doing is wearing certain tops, because they're a bit difficult to get off. Today I wore my tightest, jeyest top to do a road ride, and managed to get out of it without the help of other people, scissors or pulley arrangements.

It's been a pleasant couple of days, sunny in parts, verging on the warm, and everything seems that little bit greener and bushier. Jon was riding home so I slipped out of work more or less on time so that I could get my road bike and meet him. We rode together for 45 minutes or so, then he carried on and I turned back. We'd been bimbling along, but the ride back was a bit more painful - I did some much harder intervals, the kind of "better ease off in case I vomit" intervals that are just so much fun. Still, it felt great to be flying along at 25-30mph for three minutes at a time.

After a shower it was time for the shoulder exercises. I've got physio tomorrow so I spent a little more time than usual on them. I think I've made progress since the last time, but it's not dramatic. Ah well, we'll see what she says. Hopefully I'll need more physio!

Tuesday 3 June 2008

Today it...

...absolutely pissed down.

It's stopped now but for some reason I just can't be bothered to go out - the forecast for the rest of the week is much better, so maybe I'll be able to make up for it then.

Of course, I could go on the Turbo. But somehow, it's lost its attraction since I've been able to go out and enjoy the real world.

Friday 30 May 2008

Biking again

At last! And I've also discovered that I can blog from my phone - praise be to Sony Ericsson. It was a fairly gentle ride but there was the odd flash of "I've done this before" happening. Six others were out, and you can probably guess from the picture that we ended up at the pub.

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Am I going off road?

I've just realised that I've arranged an "Easy Ride" for the MTB club that I'm chairperson of, where I promised to take out some people who've not really ridden off road before. Thing is, I still haven't ridden properly off road since dislocating, and though I sort of think it'll be fine I am a bit nervous.

  • Fitness - fine, in great shape (but somehow putting a bit of weight back on)
  • "Skillz" - fine, for the route I plan
  • Risk - pretty low, again based on the route I've got planned
  • Consequences of falling off - potentially nasty

So it's one of those "low risk but serious consequences" situations, like riding on a metre wide track by a 1000ft drop. You know that there is virtually no chance of falling, but then again, a stray mountain goat could leap out and send you plummeting to doom.

I think I'll still ride, but I'll be riding the skill-compensator.

Saturday 24 May 2008

Some Kind of Wonderful

1. Doing a five hour ride and still feeling that I could have done more (bottom quite sore though)
2. Eating everything in sight on return (after four Torq Bars and a gel)
3. Hot dogs (see 2)
4. The film (see title)
5. Half Man Half Biscuit - Achtung Bono

Thursday 22 May 2008

Physio, Intervals and Jaffa Cakes

Three things stand out from today. The first was my second NHS physio appointment. I've made good progress apparently, but still need to keep doing the same exercises. The external rotation (image holding your arm by your side with your elbow bent, then rotating the forearm outwards) is still pretty shonky, but she poke, prodded and twisted and I think I've a bit more movement now.

The second was the Jaffa Cakes - I had about 10 of them - my own fault for buying four tubes to entertain people at a lunchtime presentation. I justified this by telling myself they are good energy food.

The third was my first session of anaerobic intervals - I did this outside on the road bike, in the sunshire. Lots of other road bikers out too. Anaerobic intervals involve riding as fast as you can for three minutes, then easing off for five minutes, then repeat - I managed six sets, which I was pleased with. The first didn't really count though as I was held up by a tractor!

Long weekend coming out - I'd really really like to get some long rides in, but I think it'll depend on the weather and how the shoulder is feeling.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Sprints and Football

Training going ok this week, I've kept (more or less) to plan - although my legs felt empty Tuesday morning. I don't think that hard intervals straight after getting up are recommended.

That sounded a bit rude.

Also - hurrah for the football! I'll say no more...

Monday 19 May 2008

So... tired...

Bit of a busy weekend, and a combination of getting up early, going to bed late and eating and drinking too much has left me very sleepy. Another reason might be my first road bike road (like, on the road and everything) since I fell off. It went well, no locking shoulder sensations in the 50 minutes that I was out. I did notice that when standing up for a sprint/climb the bike sort of pulled to the left - my right arm is obviously weaker and wasn't pulling on the bars as much.

Taking the road bike out also meant I could try my new wheels. They felt just like the old ones. But they are more shiney, which I think is important. Also, I got to play the "take the bike off the turbo" game for the first time, and I've just done the reverse too. My clean jeans from this morning are now my oily jeans. I might not get away with wearing them to work tomorrow.

Right, up at six for some intervals before work....

Sunday 18 May 2008

Yup, that bit works. So what's the point?

I guess it all came from being a bit bored whilst sitting on a turbo trainer in the garage. Some explanation needed?

A turbo trainer is a thing that converts a bike into an exercise bike.

A garage is where you keep junk, and occasionally cars.

I've been spending a lot of time on that trainer recently. I never planned to, but a combination of things has kept me in there for about 9 hours a week.

  1. I wanted to have my best summer riding mountain bikes in various events

  2. I entered some events

  3. I went to Spain for a training camp

  4. I fell off whilst on a "gentle" ride with Jon

  5. I dislocated my shoulder

  6. Ow

  7. Ow, really

  8. I couldn't train on a real bike

  9. I had to get a turbo trainer and spend hours and hours in the garage

So, I've been "dislocated" from the trails to my garage, because I dislocated my shoudler. Hence the name of the blog. Geddit?

First post - are they all called that?

This is a bit of an experiment really - seeing if this external blog to facebook idea works...