Sunday, 16 July 2017

Ba Bla Blah

Great week on the cycling front. Froomey lost his yellow jersey (in the Tour de France) but re-claimed it before the week was out. And, better yet, I managed to cycle 350k throughout the week.

First adventure took me to my blind buddy Rogers abode. Once at Rogers, I climbed off my bike and climbed onto his tandem. Then the 2 of us cycled to Whitlenge tea rooms and back. The cafe had been refurbished and pretty fine it looked too. Our mega breakfasts were genuinely mega also! A great adventure on a lovely day. Back at Rogers, climbed off his tandem and back onto my bike. My bike then took me to Evans Cycles in Birmingham for it's first free service. Was nice cycling up the towpath which used to be cycled with some regularity on my old commute when I worked at C-SPMH. Whilst bike was being serviced, I decided to pop into said C-SPMH. It was great seeing some folk, however, my evil nemesis 'KB' was as miserable and mean as ever and made failed attempts to have me evicted and prevent future visits. Ha! Whilst in the building the heavens opened but stopped as I left to collect my serviced bike. Newly serviced bike (my Genesis) then took me back home. Whoa, what a lot of adventure for a Monday!

Next cycle was midweek. This was my now regular new commute into work. A nice 51k round trip. 

Friday was a great day. I cycled into work using my 'winter' bike, which was loaded with all my camping gear. After work, loaded bike was cycled to Chipping Norton campsite. Route to campsite was super and not what I expected. Lovely country lanes were followed and the massive climb of Fish or Saintbury Hill were avoided.
Route straight on, through locked gate and into brambles and nettles
My route also took me on a few off-road sections which was fine until stretches of bramble and stinging nettles attacked my bare legs! Pleased to inform I survived and found my way to campsite with no further menace.
The campsite was great and had super nice clean facilities, not bad for £7. Pitched my tent and felt great once my camp was set up. Sadly, I had forgot my hip flask but no real bother - took a quick cycle into Chipping Norton centre to purchase Whiskey.
Back at camp, decided to cook my dinner. Dinner was a 'new to me' freeze dried meal of the Bla brand variety. I poured in the hot water and left it for 10 mins but I forgot to stir the meal. Grr. When I reopened packet, I could see the meal was still dry and powdery at the bottom, where I had not stirred it. No bother, I added some cold water (the remainder of the hot water I had boiled made me a jasmine green tea) and stirred. The meal tasted great, it really did. Surprisingly, the meal was real filling too, so much so, I must have left a couple of mouthfull's. The other menace was I had lost my prized titanium spork (and knife). Luckily, my breakfast meal had a plastic spork included with it so I used that. I miss my spork...
Dessert was Whiskey and Starbar. Nice. Whilst drinking made a call to the Mrs and kids. More whiskey and into bed for a great nights sleep.
Awoke early after a relatively good sleep. Made breakfast and tea. Breakfast was another new to me rehydrated meal and it tasted nasty - it was still cold. Maybe I should have left it longer. This was a 'Beyond the Beaten Track' meal which apparently self heats. Mine didn't - not enough anyway.
It was raining now too and things are never so rosey when the rain pours. Took a shower which made me feel better for a spell. Then I had to pack away my wet tent. Not sure of best practice for packing away a wet tent. Left this wonderful campsite at about 8 a.m and was looking forward to meeting my Mrs and kids et al at Burford Wildlife Park.

The rain was cold and wet initially but at least it wasn't heavy. The scenery was super as I cycled to Burford. Passed places where my family had visited before. We still have the robot water bottle we brought for Lunar, purchased from here. I even passed the pub where Lunar flooded the leather seats with urine. Just before reaching the wildlife park, I passed a burger van and managed to resist...
Reached the park at 9 a.m which meant I had an hour to wait. Cycled back to the burger van and munched on a 1/4 pounder with egg. Yummers! Back to the park where I met SJ, kids et al and had a great day fraternising with others and looking at wild animals in the wet. By the afternoon, the wet weather ceased and the sun came out. Good job, a long cycle home awaited.

Ron was my travelling companion all the way back to my village. We cycled 80k (which I strangely thought was only going to be a 65k cycle). The weather was better than earlier. Cycling was a little tougher than expected and we cycled many hills, much road and a wee bit off road too. Just as I pulled up onto my drive my Garmin crashed (again). Ugh, what a menace to end a great adventure!

Sunday was spent reminiscing about the great week that was had. I'm sure there is great weeks ahead too. The week ended with me finding my prized spork too - bonus!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Dad's Camp / Napalm Death

Just for the crack, I thought I'd start this post with a pic of Johnny M's bottom! This clearly shows his dedication to his training schedule. Bottoms up mate! Johnny is (was?) training for an Iron Man event. Johnny hurt his bottom. Don't be like Johnny!

For myself, the past week was a little different to the norm, that's for sure. I started my new job, well, kinda sorta. I have been in my current role since March 2017 as a manager of a mental health and drug misuse team. It's only been since the start of this week that I've been in the correct building. And as for 'real work', well, that's a different story altogether.

Anyways, I made mention to work simply because being the 'new boy' essentially meant that I had no locker or access to the shower facilities initially (let alone my own desk space, computer etc), so was unable to cycle or run to work. However, I was able to run before work and so that's what I did on Monday and Tuesday. No major exciting runs, but a couple of 5k affairs to keep the legs ticking over.

By Wednesday, I still had no locker of my own but had managed to acquire a locker all the same. This meant I could shower and could cycle to work. So, that's exactly what I did - I cycled a new work and back commute for the next 3 days. This was a nice route, cycling about 50k during each daily commute on nice enough roads. It took me about an hour to get in and about 1 hour 10 to get back out. Happy days!
Green tent was mine
No exercise over the weekend, but fun was had all the same. On the Friday night, I went camping with Ron and Stu et al. We camped out in a forest location near Umberslade. Happy with my new tent, however, experienced much condensation come morning. Spent the evening drinking beer, singing songs, cooking bacon and sausage, melting mallows and chanting 'Dads Camp' at frequent intervals. I had often wondered what would happen should one throw a full can of coke onto a roasting bonfire. Thanks to Ron, I now know the answer to that question - its napalm death! Ha!
Doo's feet, Cap'n Ron, Matt's feet
Marsh Mellow Menace
Saturday was spent with Melody at the Bournville Sunday School party. This was a great day where all essentially ate to the max - ice cream, candy floss, burgers etc whilst the little ones played. Was joined later by Lunar and the Mrs. A good day fraternising in a lovely location.

Sunday was spent recovering from the days before. Felt so whacked that I couldn't force myself to the usual open water swim. Have fixed my wetsuit though with this 'Black Witch' stuff ready for my next session. Also cleaned my bike ready for next Fridays adventure which is another (cycle) camp before a Sunday School party.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Love what you do, do what you love

Lunar created this title pic (aged 4)
This week started out great. As I was on a study day Monday, I got up early and forced myself to go for a quick 5k run. Thing was, my course finished early, so I was able to get a second exercise session in. Once home, I grabbed the oppurtunity and went out for a quick 30k cycle using my road bike 'Slinky' that hadn't been outside since the Wandering Wolves perm some time back. Whoa, forgot how light this awesome bike was! Was a bit naughty too - I read on FaceBook that Mountain Warehouse were selling cheap bivvy's for £20 that were the same size as the Alpkit Hunka XL and had similar breathing properties - I made an impulsive purchase. Well, my current bivvy is ace but weighs like 800g, this new one weighs only 340g. Am thinking this new one will come in handy for Jamie's adventure that I am dubbing the 'War of the Roses'. This 'Jamie adventure' is based loosely around the 'Way of the Roses' coast to coast route, however, this is extra and is a coast to coast to coast adventure.
The War of the Roses planned route
Tuesday proved to be an interesting cycle to work and back commute. I chose new paths (roads) there and back. My inward route was almost completely away from busy roads and followed either the national cycle network or country lanes. My return added a few K's because I saw a sign post suggesting I was travelling down Cobley Hill, but I wasn't. I had headed away from home but all was good as new paths were travelled and new sights seen.

Wednesday was a rest day. Well kinda. A very busy day at my 'new' work location - unable to cycle there just yet as dont have access to shower facilities etc..

Thursday was a trifle menace on my work and back cycle commute. I left early with plans to have a longer ride. Good job I had left early becuase I punctured. I don't think the puncture was new but the foam stuff that was in the tube had decided to start spurting out through the tyre. Puncture was fixed relatively easily but my bike gears felt like they keep slipping, or maybe it was the bottom bracket. I dunno. My return route was super short because the weather was a bit pants, so I took the zoomiest route possible.

Friday was probably my last work and back cycle commute at my current workplace as I switch sites, so to speak, next week. My commute out was fine and bike behaved better since Jamie taught me how to stop the gears skipping. If one has a Nexus hub, this is how you stop gears slipping: Check the gear wire, there's an adjuster at the gear cable coming off the lever. Stick the bike in gear 4 (lowest gear is 1). Look for yellow lines near the hub, by the small chain ring, these need to line up. 
Match them yellow lines
Locate the barrel adjuster and turn. If that fails, drink coffee
Use the barrel adjuster, located near the bars, to line them up. Hey Presto! Took a slighly extended route into work just to celebrate last day and working bike. Return route was a new route and I found myself cycling down the zoomie Cobley Hill. All good.
Lin racing the 2017 Isoman 1/4 distance TT. She came 1st!
Saturday was an interesting day. Started with a 6k cross country run around Hewell. Later in the day I saw Lin racing the Isoman TT route. This all brought back memories of my Iron Man event last year. I kinda wished I had a TT bike and was racing a course. Melanie was cycling too but we never caught site of her.
Hard work watching Lin race...
Sunday saw me go for a dip at Ragley Lake. Yup, my weeks training was finished by an open water swim. Again, I participated in all 3 triathlon disciplines. Feel like I should try and find a triathlon to enter before the season is out...

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Not the Ju-Ju Hounds

Lunar (not dancing to Izzy Stradlin' and the Ju Ju Hounds)
Started this week with a run in the wonderful sun. We've had great weather for a while now and lets hope it continues for a spell. Only ran a 5k trek cross country style which was my only run this week.

Completed 2 work and back commutes on my bike this week. The gears have started to slip just a little and maybe require a tighten but I'm not completely sure what to tighten. New 'hub gears' and all... The 2 days I cycled were still warm but much cooler than of late. On my last commute I picked up my new tent from the Post Office.
My new tent is further prep for my pending coast to coast adventure. This one is much lighter and more spacious than my Gelert solo, which I still consider to be rather good. I'm hoping I'll be brave enough to wild camp solo one time, but just for testers, I camped solo in the back garden. My sleep was on and off all night but I was pleased with the tent. If anyone knows why or what the 2 velcro strips are for on the tent door of a Terra Nova Laser Competition 1, please let me know - there doesn't appear to be velcro tabs elsewhere. My first real camp will be one day next month all being well.
Juliana Buhring
Talking of adventure... I read the wonderful book about Juliana's record breaking trip of her cycle around the world. She had even signed my copy of her book. How cool is that?! Her book was read within a week. Now with that book finished, I have ordered her first book for another read (about her time growing up in a cult rather than cycling across the world).
My 'training' for the week was completed with an open water swim at Ragley Lake. The rip in my wetsuit had re-opened from where I superglued it a few weeks back. Menace. Swim itself was ok though. Wow, finished the week with taking part in all 3 triathlon disciplines.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Holidaze (Round and 'round and up and down)

Oh man, realised I hadn't blogged for a while so here follows a summary of past couple of weeks. Didn't have much to dance and shout about really. Save for the fact that I had a lovely holiday in the bright shiny weather with the family and all.
Anyways, managed to complete just 2 work and back commutes the week before my holidaze. The first commute was interesting as I spotted a baby adder on the ride. Didn't have my phone on me to take a picture so figured I'd drape snake over my bars and take a pic once home. This didn't work, poor snake soon fell off just missing my foot which kinda freaked me out. This was probably the 4th adder I've seen to date whilst riding my bike.
Not my adder but much like it
My next commute was a trifle menace - I punctured for the first time using my new machine 'Blue'. Thankfully, this was a front puncture so didn't require messing with my rear hub wheel geared complexity. I fixed the puncture with this spray stuff that I had gotten for my Iron Man event - it was very messy and looked like shaving foam but hey, it did the trick! A week on and the tyre remains inflated.

Had a real lazy hollibobs but did manage to run on 3 occasions. My first run was a 5k barefoot jaunt across the beach. The second run was super tough - I ran across the cliffs which was super undulating and the weather very hot. Only planned a 5k run but it was over 8k by the time I finished. Final run was again along the beach and stoney sections for a good 5k.
Bare foot run
Cliff top run
Hilly ain't it?!
Last Hollibobs run
The beach on which I ran and the sea we all dipped in!
Once back home, ran a couple of 5k cross country runs across the fields where I live. The nice weather had followed me. Aces!  
Still wish I was camping with these 3!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Short blog about a man without a dog

This week started with a bank holiday - bonus! The weather wasn't so great though - boo! Went for a jolly good 5k run and felt the balance was just right.
1,500m around Ragley Lake
Tuesday was like 'the old days'... I managed one of my so called 'duathlon days' and took part in 2 sports. The first was a 5k run before work. The second was an open water (OW) swim. So pleased I swam, this was the first time in the water since completing my Iron Man event last year. Could only manage 1,500m (2 laps) and boy did my arms and shoulders ache. My wetsuit seemed to have shrunk too (I am a good 10kg heavier). But, aha, I swam!

Wednesday and Thursday were my cycle commute days. I played around with the return leg from work on both days and cycled more country lanes which was nice. On the Wednesday, I also managed a walk around the work lake.

Friday was another multisport day. Started with a 5k run around the village. Finished with my wife thrashing 3:2 when we played badminton.
Did little over the weekend. Well, did a lot of eating to be fair - including some super burgers cooked by the Mrs. On a healthier note, swam for a second time this week (and year) in Ragley Lake. Was a lot quieter than earlier in the week. Only covered 1,600m but that was enough for me.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Yeah George

Bye Bye Jenny, Bye Bye
After what seemed like an age, I finaly caught up with my blind buddy Roger and went for a cycle with him on the tandem (aka the Beast). It was a beautiful Sunny day, so chose to cycle to Roger's abode too. Very pleased with my new Genesis Day One 20 machine - oh, what a dream. Roger and I had a great cycle, as usual and must have covered about 70k in all. We stopped at a rather splendid golf course for lunch. Hot and sweaty by the time we returned to Rogers domicile - and then I had to cycle home too!
Roger and Doo
Completed 3 to work and back commutes on my new machine. Even saw Jonny Mitchum out runing on one occasion. On each commute day, I also walked around the lake at work during my work break which was nice.

Didn't play badminton with the Mrs this week, made a change not having a thrashing. Did not swim either despite planning too, just couldnt get myself motivated on Sunday.

Completed my training for the week by running a simple cross country 5k run. Great weather again. Great weekend, but weather looks naff heading into the bank holiday...

Sunday, 21 May 2017

New Blue

This week was great on the bike front. Mostly because Jamie and I became Genesis 'Day One 20' bike friends! That's right, I acquired a lovely new bicycle for commuting purposes. Let me introduce my new machine 'Blue'. Isn't she lovely?!
It was a bit of a menace collecting Blue. I had to cycle a girls bike (courtesy of Polish lady from 'Free to collector' FaceBook page) all the way to Birmingham (for trade in purposes) before I could collect my new steed. The cycle home on Blue was a good test - I rode on and off road and experienced rain and shine! Am happy with my Genesis and the previous Day One is now on FaceBook should anyone be interested. Even Chris our 'associate Genesis friend' rides a Genesis.
Other than the adventure cycling to collect Blue and back, only one other cycling adventure was completed. I managed to cycle a work and back commute. Had wanted to cycle more but the weather was just pants.
Due to the weather being so naff, I chose to run on a few occasions (and leave the bike in the dry). Three times, in a row, I ran a 5k circuit before starting my work day. Really should complete a Park Run soon.

Had wanted to open water swim this week but this didn't materialise. Was such a busy boy. Still was not 100% healthwise yet either and the lake was closed for other activities on Sunday. It'll happen sometime soon...

Managed another bout of badminton in the week with the Mrs. Started great winning the first couple of games. Then the Mrs got mad and beat me 3:2. She's so competitive...
All in all, a rather busy week. Was whacked by the time the weekend came. Always great to take advantage of a power nap!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

A toe in the ocean

Very little training took place again this past week. This was not due to opportunity or paralysis of will. The man flu I had been suffering with for a good 2 weeks or more had not shifted. Much mucus. Grr. Filth.

Only once was a work and back cycle commute completed. This probably wasn't a good idea. Sure, the cycle helped clear my chest but my orange jacket and shorts were now covered with a goblin green film. Grr. Filth. Am not sure how many commutes 'Jenny' (the Genesis - single-speed cyclocross bike) has got left. Jenny is soon to be replaced with a geared model.

On the subject of bike adventures, my Geneva-Turin-Nice plans have been shelved. Buddies Jamie and Toll first bailed - maybe because of 'the fear'? Chris, my main man has a new love in his life. And, well, I'm skinted and Lunar starts school at the time the tripped was planned, so, that was me out too.

However, as one adventure is shelved another is born. I have decided to cycle a coast to coast adventure and (wild?) camp as I go along. I figured I'd follow the Trans Pennine Trail and have an easy adventure for a change (easy in the sense of navigation, not mega distance and relatively flat). My buddy Ron commented 'well, that's 1 day sorted, what ya doing the rest?' - cheek! I plan to cycle this trip solo but am more than happy to have company should any of my mates want to join me. I've not yet been brave enough to camp alone. To help kick my plan into motion, I have purchased a rail ticket ready for my adventure. My first day will be a cycle to Birmingham and then a train to Southport. From Southport my journey really begins. I'll keep you posted....
Played badminton one time in the week. Just like the last few weeks, this was with my Mrs. It was a great session and felt better because I won more games! Woo hoo! Scores on the doors 3:2. And, as an aside, the pharmacist where I'm currently based would look the spit of George Dawes should she cut her hair off. Ha!
Weekend spent with the munchkins!
Pushed myself to run on the weekend. Didn't take part in the Parkrun, but ran a couple of 5k run's all the same. Run felt great and this was the first time I had ran in like 2 weeks.

Hopefully, my health will be better soon. Maybe I'll dip my toe in the ocean. Who knows?

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Sick as a badger / Wandering Wolf

This last week I felt mostly sick. Major cold, head ache, sore throat. A usual case of the dreaded man flu.

Almost no training took place as illness took over my poor body. Was not able to complete a single commute to work and back. Not one run was ran. The dirty great lake of Ragley was not swam in despite me having sorted out my wetsuit ready for same.

At the end of the week, I decided to play badminton with my wife. I figured I would sweat this man flu out. It didn't work. Neither did I, I lost 4:1. Yes, the wife gave me a thrashing!

Weekend came and against the advice of some, I went out and tackled a 200k permanent audax with my buddies Ron, Jamie and Andy. This was the 'Wandering Wolves - Shropshire Union' audax organised by John Hamilton.
The ride started in Codsall. So we all met there. We all looked dodgy donned in cycling gear hanging outside Coop, but we had to start somewhere. So we started there.
Our start was a grizzly one. Grey clouds overhead and riding in misty drizzle. Spirits were high though and the roads were great. We cycled along country lanes that were largely traffic free - bonus! Was nice to see so many Blue-bells were still out and all the greenery looked really green. We appeared to cycle through many tunnels and pass numerous churches on route which made the whole experience very nice visually. Shortly before our first control (I think) was passed a hotel with the 'old' CTC sign on it. Why they changed the name, I don't know... First stop was in Market Dray ton where we feasted on a rather splendid breakfast consisting of 3 rashes of bacon, 2 sausages, (mushrooms), tomato, 3 hash browns, toast and butter. Delicious.
Jamie's bike (before audax adventure)
Jamie was taking his new steed for a spin - a rather delightful Day One 20. Andy was using his relatively new adventure bike. Ron and I were riding our Specailized steeds. I'd quite like an adventure bike. I quite like the look of that Genesis. Oh, wonders - the Genesis branded as an 'adventure road bike'. Well...
Second stage took us to Chester. Amazed at how evenly spaced the controls were throughout. My Garmin was bang on 50k for the first control and 100k for the second - how cool was that?! The stop at this second control was next to a large river and we stopped at Moorings for fuel. This was a bad idea - the scones were rock hard (like rock cakes) and the thick Schmoo shakes were not thick and luke warm. Yuck! At least the scenery was great. I saw at least 2 fish jump in the water whilst I supped on my evil Schmoo. After the Schmoo we were good to gooo!
Stage 3 was a strange one. We seemed to keep slipping into and out of Welsh Wales. I never expected that. The country lanes essentially continued in their largely un-motorised manner and the drizzle had mostly cleared away by now too which was great. During this section, my flavoured water bottle had ran out and my second filled with water tasted like the dish-washer. Thankfully, we found a P.O. and was able to refuel. Why the shop was called the 'Poo Room, I never quite found out. This 3rd stage took us to Wem where we fuelled up once again.
The last stage took us back to Codsall. By this time, I found that the ride had started to take it's 'Toll' (haha, no offence Andy) on me. I was quite whacked and I think Jamie was too. We were the 2 of the 4 suffering with man flu. Still we soldiered on, on lots of newly gravelled roads and more (still minor) ascents. At one junction we (Ron) stopped to rescue a baby bird that was lying all alone in the middle of the road. After several pulls, and before you could say 'man, I've only gone and rode another 200k event', we had only gone and completed another 200k permanent audax. All in all, a great days riding and am tempted to discover the other 'Wandering Wolves' perms. I'm sure to suffer the next few days...

Ba Bla Blah

Great week on the cycling front. Froomey lost his yellow jersey (in the Tour de France) but re-claimed it before the week was out. And, be...