Ever notice that when you are down, life tries to make it hard to get back up again? That is exactly how I feel. We were just getting back on an even keel, the wife is working and enjoying her job and even better her job likes her. I had got the lounge finally decorated, the new carpet had been laid, a new fish tank had been purchased (not yet setup), a new book shelf is on order. Sure there is still lots to do but at least we could see a path and we could plan our route along that path, but then the father in-law was admitted to hospital. Don’t get me wrong it is not his fault, he is 85 and has always been active. He has been ill for a few weeks but when the hospital phone you at 9-30 on a Friday night and tell you they are concerned about a blood test you did the day before and they are sending a doctor out to you now, you know it is not going to be good. The doctor arrived and agreed to admit him to hospital, 1:30am the ambulance arrived to take him to hospital, I eventually got to bed at 4am having taken the family to the hospital and then back to their relevant homes. Nine day later we are still visiting him in hospital, he has good days and he has bad days but he is getting the attention and treatment he needs.
On the weight\slimming front, well I don’t know as I have not been for the last couple of weeks (due to hospital visit commitments). Last time I went to weigh-in I was totally dishearten, another gain, to make matters worse I have had to go back on the medication for my knee (I finished the course the same weekend as the Tazz ride, previous post), so I have to do something, ignoring and doing nothing is not an option but what I am not sure what.
I am still suffering from a lack of enthuiasism at the moment when it comes to going for a ride. It seems as though if I have a planned ride, like the Tazz ride or the ride I did at Swinley Forest with a mate I am up for this and ready to go. I want to ride, a Saturday or Sunday morning ride and I am struggling to get up and go. But if I do make it on a Saturday or Sunday ride, I enjoy the ride, it is not that I don’t enjoy the ride be it local or somewhere new I do, I just cant find my “get up and go”. I managed it this morning but I could of so easily turned over and gone back to sleep. I am intending to go out again tomorrow morning but I have to clear that hurdle of getting out of bed first.
I did mange an evening ride a week or so ago, went out with the intention of practising my hill climbing, there is a long drag over the local heath which I was intending to try to clear. Well not content with clearing it once, I was so shocked I went round the heath a and up the long drag and cleared it a second time, went home feeling very happy with myself even if two lycra clad whippets shot up the hill past me faster than I ride on the flat!!
This morning ride was a beach loop, it is only a short ride but has a mix of uphill climbs and downhill bit as well and a bit of road riding (to join all the bits up). I got up and left in sunshine, by the time I got to the beach it was dull and overcast with dark clouds looming, by the time I got home it was sunny again. When I got to the beach there seemed to be some form of triathlon going on, lots of people walking a round in wet suits with number on, I left them to it.
The picture was taken from near Bournemouth Pier (sorry about the quality, when I got home I found the lense on the phone was filthy). The hills in the distance are the Purbeck Hills, the small white blob is the Barfleur cross channel ferry heading for France. My knee held up for the ride, unfortunately by the time I was a couple of roads from home I was starting to get the tell tell feeling in my right calf of impending cramp, this is despite drinking water and an electrolyte drink during the ride.
Next weekend I am off on my travels, 12 month ago I did the same trip and got the phone call Saturday morning telling me water was coming through our bedroom ceiling, so had to return all the way home from Preston. Hopefully we wont have any problems this year.
Finally I will end with something a little less main stream
The last few weeks have been a real mixed bag of events, so good some not so good and some ho hum.
I had to check my last posting I made as I could not remember what had been said. Well the bike was rebuilt with all the new bits added and I managed a short ride the following day. The following weekend was a stunning weekend, but first the story. I am a moderator on a Mountain Bike forum and back towards the end of last year we found out that one of the forum members (lets call him Tazz) was facing his 4th battle with Mr C (cancer). Not content with battling MR C again he was also going to be a guinea pig for a new cancer treatment. To help keep Tazz focussed on recovery it was suggested that when he was recovered we would join him for a ride. No exact date was set but April 2013 was the chosen month. What happened over the next 8 months was stunning. I produced a banner for those forum members who wanted to, could put it in their signature to show their support for our fellow forum member. Within days the forum was awash with posts showing the small blue banner showing our support for Tazz.
When Tazz was under going treatment his wife would come on to the forum and post updates of Tazz’s progress for all of us and with each update there would come a wave of support from the forum members, not only for Tazz but for his wife and family as well. So great was our support that Tazz’s wife would print off all the forum messages and then read them back to her husband at his bed side in hospital. The messages that Tazz’s wife past on to us varied from the heart wrenching “he is seriously ill and were not sure if he will make it” through to Tazz being banned from running a card school with the other patients and has been stopped from jousting with wheel chairs and crutches!!
Tazz made it home just before xmas (or as Tazz said, they were glad to get rid of him) but the stories still continued as did two return trips to hospital. As the new year started a date was confirmed for the recovery ride which suddenly became a weekend event, a party, a meal and a celebration.
So that was why I picked the wife up straight from work at 5pm on the April 19th and headed for Cleeve Hill in Gloucestershire. I personally had not met Tazz, we had exchanged a few texts messages and I spoke to him for the first time on that Friday morning. Many of those that were attending the recovery ride over the weekend had never met Tazz or any of the other forum members that were coming to the recovery ride event. This was simply a group of people who’s only connection is that they had a love of mountain bike riding and they were all member on the same mountain bike forum.
I am not sure of the exact number of people that attended over the weekend because some rode with Tazz on the Friday only, some rode on Saturday only and other stayed for the entire weekend but I believe the number was in the 30′s, all coming together to congratulate a guy for recovering from cancer.
While all this goodwill was going on, some low life scum bag tried to ruin it for us by stealing one guys bike that was left locked up on the cars bike rack in the car park. While it did dampen all our spirits we were determine not to let it ruin our weekend.
Saturday morning dawned brightly and I don’t mean the weather, as a surprise to Tazz we had all got bright pink (throbbing pink as Tazz called it) cycle t-shirts for the ride so there we were about 20 of us sat in the breakfast room of the hotel glowing in pink when Tazz walks in for breakfast and in totally gob smacked. Many of the other hotel guests asked us or the hotel staff what the pink t shirts were for as they came down to breakfast.
With breakfast over it was off to the car park to unload our bikes and prepare for the ride. With a car park full of pink t-shirts people passing stopped and asked us what was going on, a quick photo call in the hotels beer garden overlooking the Malvern hills and then we were off. For me one of the best moments came as we left the car park and set off up the road, being at the back I was able to get the view of a long pink snake making its way up the road. What the other road users thought was going on I am not sure but it looked impressive if nothing else. As we rode across Cleeve Hill, walkers would stop and watch as the long pink snake made its way past them.
Where we went on Cleeve Hill was an old disused quarry, Tazz had found a small plateau half way up a valley. The sun was shining to the extent that I got burnt, the weather that weekend was stunning we could not have asked for better. Remember the guy who had his bike stolen, he was not left out once up at the plateau not all of us were riding at the same time so he had the choice of well over 25 bikes to choose from to go for a ride, that may not sound anything special but bear in mind that some of these bikes were worth over £2500.
After a day in the sun we headed back to the hotel where we stunned the beer garden into total silence. Having started the ride from the beer garden it seemed a good idea to end the ride in the beer garden, the only problem with that was the beer garden was now full of members of the public enjoying an afternoon drink in the sun when suddenly 20+ mountain bikers wearing pink t-shirts descent on the bear garden, you could of cut the silence with a knife!! We decided to beat a retreat to our rooms and return to the beer garden for drinks more normally dressed.
Having had the problem the previous night with the stolen bike the police had recommended not leaving the bikes in the cars that night just encase the thiefing little scroat came back prepared to nick some more bikes so the hotel allowed us to put our bikes in the rooms, that was an interesting sight with all the bikes being wheeled through the hotel, good job they were not muddy!!
An afternoon trip into Cheltenham (to a bike shop where else) preceded the evening entertainment. First we had a speech from the editor of Mountain Bike Rider magazine who had arrived for the day with a photographer all the way from Croydon. A meal followed, then, messages of support were read out from those who, for one reason or another were unable to make the weekend. We also raised money for Tazz’s charity of choice The Shakespeare Hospice , not sure how much we have raised in the end but even guest at the hotel were donating money.
It is difficult to capture the past 8 months in a 1200 words (or more), but it will certainly be one of the more memorable moments in my life.
Two out of three is not bad, I am talking about bike rides. In my last post I said that I was intending to ride Sunday, Monday and Wednesday, well I managed Sunday and Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday (a possibility of late afternoon ride if I did not ride Monday) were wet and windy. Sundays ride did show one deficiency, no front brake. On closer inspection the pads were pretty worn and very glazed so I spent Sunday afternoon trying to find a set of disc pads. I needed to purchase them over the counter as opposed to mail order as I would not be able to order them till Monday (or at least that when the order would be processed) and I had to have them by Tuesday morning so I could fit them for Wednesday. I tried three local bike shops on Sunday and no one had them. Fortunately I managed to get a couple of sets Monday morning and got them fitted before the rain came down (it started as I put the bike away).
Sunday was just a simple short ride to make sure that my knee was able to cope with riding, which it was. Wednesday was a different story. While my knee coped well, the engine room had serious problems. I left home in thick fog and arrived at Swinley on a dull grey day. By the time we set out for the ride the sun was starting to shine through the clouds and warm up. Within 4 four minutes on the first little rise I was a over heating gasping wreck. The nice thing about Swinley Forest blue trial is it is broken down into small sections, by the end of the first section I was off the bike removing my jacket and pumping up the tyres (new hi volumes tyres needed more than the usual amount of air). Thankfully my riding buddy was happy to wait for me (or though I was wishing he did not have to) at the end of each section, I was now a little cooler and the tyres were better but not perfect. It was not until a little further round that I gave the tyres another pump and this time they were a lot better, he bike was not squirming around under me any more. The end result is I am not going to be ready for the ride next Saturday, I am just going to have to take it as it comes.
Only likely to be one ride this weekend as apart from the heavy rain and gusty 30mph winds forecast for tomorrow, I have a lot to do. A part from the shopping and banking I need to fit the new cassette, chain rings x 3, chain and jockey wheels to the bike ready for next weekend and I want to do it tomorrow so I can test the gears when I ride on Sunday (which is supposed to be sunny).
All the decorating is done, the carpet has been laid and we now have a lounge we can use again. This means that I have to go fish tank purchasing this weekend, I have three in mind (two of them are in sales so I need to decide soon) and I need to do it this weekend if I am not here next weekend.
And finally, I go back to work on Monday…………………….joy!!
Almost forgot the video, no music this time (unless you are a petrol head), watch this video of the Pikes Peak Challenge, simply get up the hill as fast as you can, watch out for the road cone around 8:22 (detail of the car are on the Youtube page.
Well as Saturday draws to an end and the first day of my holiday also draws to an end. Nothing special about today, shopping in the morning back for lunch and then a bit of window shopping in the afternoon. Went to a bike shop over in Swanage this afternoon Charlie the Bike Monger, the guy had moved to a new premises, I had been meaning to visit his shop so off we went. It was probably the best afternoon we have had all year so far, it was a nice little drive through the Purbeck countryside. We soon found a parking spot at the top of a steep hill and the shop nearly at the bottom of the steep hill. It is not your conventional type of bike shop which offer all the big names manufacturers, here you get the lesser known ones like Surly and Salsa amongst others. Never having been to the old shop I am not sure how much more had to be moved but there were some bargain bins to have a rummage through so that where I started. A while later and a few pound lighter I left the shop with two pairs of fingerless gloves, water bottle, pair handle bar grips and a t-shirt.
On the way home we paid a visit to a few other cycle shops where I added a few more bikes to the wanted list, not that I will get them all, but I am hoping to get a new one later in the year but certain things need to be right before I can.
Last weekend I got really annoyed with myself, I had intended to go for at least 2 rides out of the four days off over Easter weekend, I did none!! Simply put I just did not get my arse in gear. The closest I came to going for a ride was to get the bike out the shed, pump the tyres up (which I had noticed were a bit soft from a previous visit to the shed) and give the bike the once over. I can’t put my finger on it, half of me wanted to go for a ride and the other half said sod it, I know it sound stupid but I was not impressed.
Today I had intended to ride this afternoon after shopping duties, but my knee was twinging that bad while we were walking between shops this morning that I had to stop and rest my knee. After that I did not want to risk my knee but I am determined to go out tomorrow, I have a short simple ride to test my knee. I have a another short ride with my son lined up for Monday and I have agreed to ride at Swinley forest on Wednesday, so kill or cure as you might say. I also have a charity ride to get ready for on the 19th April so I need to get back on the bike sooner rather than later and to get that new bike I mentioned earlier, I really need to get back to riding again.
On the decorating front, all the painting has been done apart from a few spots of touch up and a bit on trunking to be fitted. The carpet is being fitted next Friday so maybe then life can return to normal.
While I am on holiday next week it is going to be a fairly busy week, Tuesday I have an X-Ray on my knee and my wife goes for an ultra sound scan on her bad shoulder, Wednesday I am going to Swinley forest while the wife goes shopping in Southampton, Thursday the wife has a MRI scan on her bad shoulder and then it home to finish clearing the lounge ready for the carpet layers on Friday. Saturday and Sunday will involve refurnishing the lounge. Think I will be ready for a holiday by the time I go back to work on Monday.
Ok so for a little music to finish with, the intro of this song is great when listen to on headphones, I could not find a official video for this song but hopefully you will like this one