Friday, 30 December 2011

Its flat out East

Way flatter than down in the South West anyway. I have been up visiting family (or faamilllyy) as Grant Mitchell would say. My dear old mum lives about 100m away from Thetford Forest, so mountain biking Thetford stylee is literally on the doorstep.

Being flatter though presents the trail builders with problems though, and to make the trails more taxing they have included some bombholes, some tricky narrow tree lined singletrack and The Beast. To be honest, it' snot that Beastly, and over way too soon, but it is a well thought out bit of single track, and it certainly caught out the two in front of me, one of who is probably still trying to get his bike out of the hedge, I pointed out it would have been easier to park further along, but my humour fell on deaf ears. Miserable sod.

The other aspect of the trails which proved taxing was the mud! There was loads and loads of it, grinding, wearing mud, got everywhere, my disc rotors are still crunching now, a whole day, and a good old scrub down later! I guess they will never be the same again, my gloves certainly won't be, they were expensive you know!

Anyway, it was nice to be out on the trails, and nice to be able to cycle for 10 miles, without having to asthmatically wheeze myself up some horrendous bloody hill, only to find a howling gale at the top. It also had the interesting diversion of F16s flying overhead to land at Lakenheath.

Enough of me though! What has been happening down in the Sunny Cheddar Valley? I turn my back for 1 week, and find out that there has been an altercation on one of the local 'Festive' rides! Apparently the Mendip Roleur has been knocking people off. I haven't got all the details straight yet, but my sources say he was Tweeting an up-date on his beta iPhone6, and the automatic cycle positioning radar he has on his bike malfunctioned (a loose carbon self-adjusting diddlyfoo-foo valve clip by all accounts) and this led to him riding full tilt into a complete stranger. Fisticuffs, pistols at dawn all sorts kicking off. I can't wait to catch up with him properly. Honestly, I miss all the fun.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Do they know it's Christmas?

The rain seemed to of held off, the snows hadn't come, it wasn't too windy, the roads were not too treacherous, and I had no decent excuse up my canny old sleeve.

So,the Christmas Eve festivities were to begin with a nice relaxing ride to Sweets, a butty and home. For a change I was to be accompanied by my son, and some friends, Simon and Wendy, and their son. Now, it's a bit odd, because their surname is the same as our surname, which if we had needed an ambulance would probably have caused all sorts of hilarity, as it was I was hoping their would be some confusion around the tea-stop bill and they would end up paying twice. Twas not to be though, I had to pay my own bill.

The ride over was nice and uneventful, a bit chilly, but otherwise very refreshing. The way the Levels look in the Winter is almost poetical. The other startling thing is all the Starlings. Hundreds of them came over, I can't remember the collective noun for a large group of Starlings. The sight of them is amazing, all swooping and swishing and things.

The cafe at Sweets was nice and empty when we arrived, two empty tables and loads of chairs spare. Orders duly placed, it's OK the sausages were low fat, organic ones, I think. We sat down to have a nice quiet chat, then the hordes descended. Within a few minutes the place was heaving with cyclists, it was really good to see so many people turning out for a pre-Christmas bimble and socialise.

It was soon enough time to get up and go home, we went a different route, flatter for the youngsters, but it didn't take much longer than the hilly way.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Back on the bike, but where does it go?

The good news is I have had no ill effects from my weekend amble around the blue mtb track at Ashton Court with my son. The track is really well made, a credit to whoever designed it. I think this could well become a regular weekend trip with the Young Cheddar Valley Cyclist, he definitely prefers the made tracks than cycling through Rowberrow or across the Mendips with me. He tells me that he likes the technical stuff, but I think it is more to do with the desire to know where he is, he has been walking or cycling with me too often, and heard me say "Yeah, I know where we are, we're, er , um, here, or there, I think, maybe". He thinks I should have less of a slack attitude to my navigation when I have a 12 year old in tow, which is probably fair enough.

Anyway, back to the title of this post, where the hell does all the fitness go? How come fitness takes weeks to develop, then seemingly moments to lose? I wasn't puffing and wheezing or anything, but I definitely wasn't as smooth as I would have been a few weeks ago! Lifes just not fair is it?

This Saturday will be the first time on the road for 3 weeks, so that will be interesting. Actually I am really looking forward to it, there should be quite a posse at Sweets, I am hoping to get there early, I need to make sure that they don't run out of tea-cakes like last time. Life really wasn't fair that day!

4 sleeps until Christmas!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Turbo booooooost

I haven't got around to getting out properly on the bike again yet. I have seen the Doc though, and he tells me that I should do what I can do. So the turbo is set up and I am going to do a little session this afternoon. I have mixed feelings around turbo sessions. It depends what is on the tv while I am pedalling mostly. As it is going to be the afternoon, I am looking forward to a couple of episodes of Murder She Wrote and a re-run of Homes Under The Hammer. Or maybe I'll put a film on. Probably not the Flying Scotsman though, it'll get me all worked up and spinning like a lunatic.
Whatever happens, it'll probably look like this in my lounge this afternoon. Except for the crowd, although sometimes the neighbours do look in the window to try and figure out what is going on in my front room!

I have seen the weather forecast for this weekend, and so I would like to get moving again in case there is the option of some snowy mountain biking in the next few days. I love snowy mountain biking, something about the crunch of the snow under the tyres and the ever so slightly out of control feeling whenever you try and turn a corner! Great fun. So, here is hoping for some snow, and for the development of a sense of balance so I can make maximum benefit from it.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Well, there's good news and bad news

Let's start with the good news, I have found a way of publishing a picture of my bruised rear end. Result eh?

The bad news is that the arnica isn't working overly fast, it's still bloody sore! Luckily I had the fore-sight all those years ago to marry a physio, again good and bad news here. Good news, I don't have to wait for treatment, bad news, there is no avoiding the accompanying exercise regime.

Good news also that we have our works Christmas lunch tomorrow, and the lady who has drawn me in Secret Santa has promised to get me something cycley.

The bad news is that I have yet to purchase my Secret Santa gift! Anyone have any ideas what to buy a 59 year old? I have discounted the obvious, and left with a desk calendar, bath salts (do they still sell them anywhere?), a book, a bottle of wine or some chocolates. I was toying with the idea of the latest Cycling Plus, working on the theory that she would just leave it lieing around and I could then take it. I have Tescos in Shepton before 8.30 in the morning as the only reasonable place to get this ostentatious and amusing gift, and a fiver to spend. God help me, and her!

I'm off to lie down again now, with an ice pack and a can of cider!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Hmmm, anyone recognise this behaviour?

Now, I'm not pointing any fingers. See if it rings any bells, completely work safe by the way.

A bit dodgy on the graphics, but the sentiment is spot on, obviously not for me though. To be honest I'd probably risk a dip in form for a shag.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Crash, bang, wallop!

Cyclists crash a lot, it's very much part of the game of cycling. You ride along, slip, crash or tumble off, bust yourself up a bit, ride it off and you are once again as good as new.

Last night, for the firt time in absolutely ages, I went dry slope skiing. Now I am a bit of a nifty skiier, used to do loads, but haven't done much for a few years. How difficult can it be though? Skis on, point downhill and bingo. And so it was, for 50 minutes. Increasing speeds, increasing distances between turns, increasingly obvious that I would get throught the evening unscathed, until the very last run of the evening. Not sure quite how it happened, but it did. I slid rather ungracefully to a halt, in front of all the assembled crowds. That was that really.

Over the night it got increasingly more uncomfortable, I guess I must have fidgetted quite a bit as I was invited to go into the spare bed about 3.30! Well, I say invited......

On waking properly the extent of the problem became quite clear. I had hurt my arse. Like the trouper I am, I made my way to work for the Induction Day. Being barely able to control the accelerator is nothing new, but being barely able to control the accelerator in such an alarming fashion definitely was! It soon became obvious that there would be no way I was going to be standing up presenting all day, so I took myself off for a day trip to A&E in Yeovil. 1 nurse, then 2 doctors, and the diagnosis of 'massive haematoma' was confirmed. I now have a bag full of drugs, and a very lumpy sore arse. Not sure how this is going to affect my riding, I definitely won't be at it this weekend, maybe a mid-week mtb ride will be on the cards next week. We'll have to see.

Maybe I should have stuck to the cycling. I will in future. Oh, and be glad, very glad that I have not yet sorted out the picture posting, I'll try and sort it over the weekend, then I can post a pic of my sore bum!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Would you worry if your nipples were different colours?

My amazing popping wheel is no longer popped. The errant spoke has been discarded and replaced with a nice new one. BUT......I am left with odd coloured nipples as a result. I now have mostly red nipples, but in the middle of them is a black nipple! What's to be done? Would you put up with different coloured nipples, or would you nip (!) back and get it changed when the matching colour arrives back in stock?

I am tempted to leave it different, like a talking point but not so interesting. In fact probably no-one will notice, my nipples do not get a lot of close up attention these days (another topic of conversation last Saturday), so anything that makes them stand out, and isn't an ice cube, may be a bonus.

I'll think about it. Oh, I cycled into work this morning, that caused a strange series of physiologically nipple related events in itself. They popped out, in fact in a directly inverse proportion to everything else popping in!

Pah, and there was me worrying I would have nothing of value to add to the plethora of cycling blogs already out there. Why was I worried?

Monday, 5 December 2011

Everything is bloody breaking!

Well, it's not just my bike that has broken, my almost new high performance Hot Hatch is no longer hot.

Well it is, it's bloody boiling. Luckily a combination of my innate technical genius, and some really useful pictures on WikiHow have led me to diagnose that my Fiat Punto (1.2 brrmmm brrmmm) needs a new resistor thing. It's still a hot hatch though, as the heater is either on full (a very vigorous 4) or off (a very flacid 1,2,3). I'll get a new one tomorrow, it'll only cost a few quid, then I will knacker that one trying to fit it and end up spending £295 to get a mechanic to fix all the other electrics I have fused botching this repair together. It's why I handed over my wheel to the LBS so willingly. I don't mind knackering the car, but having a wheel slightly out of true would be a disaster.

I'm having trouble accessing itunes as well! Apparantly not enough permissions or some such nonsense computer bollox. Of course I have permission. At least they are my 3 though, and my old-Nan always said things happen in 3's. She was a touch mad though, especially towards the end.

I have also come to realise that the software I have chosen to launch this informative and dynamic blog is probably the least compatible with my Android smartphone! So I will have to work out how to update and feed into it when I am not at home, or being taken up the Gorge.

I shall also figure out the linking options, surely you readers will appreciate a long list of links to other middle aged blokes writing about their bikes. Oh, and ladies of course. Pictures too, maybe even pictures of ladies on bikes. Bike calendars, you know it makes tasteful sense....

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Essential and Difficult First Post

I went out last night with some people who I ride with, but who don't mind buggering off and leaving you sat behind a wall in the freezing cold when your spoke snaps. The talk was of many things, at least 90% of them cycling related. In fact even the ones that weren't were soon dragged back to the joys of 2 wheels. Including the possibility of losing weight by having body parts removed and replaced with carbon fibre replacements.

One of the topics was blogging. It seems that I am one of the few cyclists left in the country who do not have a regular blog. So, not one to be left behind in the digital world, unlike in the riding your bike up big hills world where I am often left behind, I thought I had best get blogging myself.

So, with the difficult first post out of the way, I'll be thinking about what to write for the Problematic Second Post. Maybe it'll be a review of the Christmas Do last night, or more likely it'll be a rant on the fragility of modern cycling components, and why does stuff give up the ghost at the most incovenient moments?