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...!

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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.