Category: rides

Getting old is not much fun

Well that what I have found over the last few years, I think the point was emphasized when the doctor joked that if I was a horse I would be put down!!

As it stands I think I am on top of my diabetes (not stupid enough to say I am 100% in control, been brought down to earth with a bump to many times), still suffering with Achilles tendonitis on the ankle, apparently suffering from diabetes does not help (all to do with circulation). My calf muscle problem while not hurting me as it used to is still there and in part is why I have the Achilles tendonitis. Three or four hour undisturbed sleep is the best I can manage at the moment, if I sleep for more than 6 six hours in total it has been a good night. I had a case of vertigo for good measure a few weeks back which was not much fun, for those that have never had it, think being drunk without having a drink or the hangover. According to the doctor it is all part of getting old, not sure I am liking that.

There is some positive news, I have sorted out a big issue with the new fish tank stand, well I say tank stand but it was in fact a workbench that I had made to a specific size (about 9″ lower than a normal workbench). The problem was work benches are normally meant for cold damp workshops where being perfectly level is not an absolute requirement. When we brought the workbench in doors the top timbers (38mm thick) twisted so I was unable to get the top level enough to put the tank on the stand. I even filled the tank with water to see if the weight would flatten it out (which was a risk itself as it could of stressed the tank and cracked it) but even filled with water I was able to slide a CD under one corner. So the tank was drained and it was back to the drawing board. In the end the 38mm thick planks were removed and replaced with 18mm ply, currently I have two sheets of ply (36mm) the same size as the stand and a third sheet the size of the tank (same length but narrower). So directly under the tank is 54mm of ply and now it is flat. Been working on building the 3D background (pieces of Styrofoam stuck together then sanded into shape then covered with cement which will then be sealed and then stuck to the back of the tank). I have most of the other bits I require to run the tank I have been picking up rock and coral sand for the tank second hand as I see them come up for sale. The only thing I am missing at the moment is a light unit (I have a temporary unit I intend to use). Hopefully the tank will be running by mid July and ready for inhabitants by the end of August.

Things are slowly moving forward on the bike front, been out a few times now. The good news is that it does not hurt my ankle (unless I wear a thick socks). I have given up on purchasing a new bike, I went to a shop with the intentions of buying one of two bikes but came away empty handed. I just found myself compromising what I wanted to the point that I had to ask myself if I was going to be happy with the bike so in the end I walked away from both of them. I have decided to keep my current bikes and decided give the Whyte a bit of an upgrade with a new set of brakes, pedals and a saddle.

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Picture of dear son and both my bikes (he was riding the hard tail) on a recent ride overlooking Poole. Son was complaining about not feeling very well, 20 minutes after this picture was taken he dived into a bush and was sick, spent the rest of the weekend sleeping or being sick, still went to school on Monday because he had an exam!!

OK I have waffled enough see you all later

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Making the effort

I seem to remember saying in the last posting that I was off on my travels, well I was until 2:15am Friday morning when the hospital called, Father in-law was not looking good. So we laid there all night till early morning waiting for the inevitable next phone call which never arrived. So early Friday morning I dropped the wife of at the hospital and then went back home to look after our son. He made it through the day but because of the uncertainty we never made our trip up north. I worked from home for the day and contacted all those that were expecting me to say we were not coming. Long story short, the father in-law is still with us but the outlook is quite bleak.

Despite last weekends events I did get out on the bike on Sunday, a small loop around Throop, felt not so bad afterwards, would of felt event better had it not been for the headwind on the way home.

Today I decide on a ride to the beach, started off cloudy but quite warm, got to the beach and it started raining, by the time I got home it had stopped was still cloudy. Then when I came to wash and oil the bike it started raining, seem like I upset the weather gods today.

I was intending to go to a bike demo day and Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Hampshire but with things as they are I felt it was safer to stay closer to home. It is now looking like I wont be able to fund a new bike until the new year anyway.

As many you will know my fish tank cracked and leaked all the water over the floor in early January. Well I have a new fish tank (in fact I have had it for several weeks) and I am slowly building it up. It is slightly smaller than the last tank (capacity wise) although slightly longer but not so deep or wide. Because I am now feeling paranoid about the new tank cracking like the old one I have made a couple of modification. The new tank stands now stands on a 1.5″ piece of ply to help take any unevenness out of the carpet\floor and where the tank sits on the stand which was only 1/2″ thick, I have added another piece of 3/4″ ply to make it 1.25″ thick hopefully that will help stop it twisting or warping and thus cracking. I have also added some egg crates, which looks nothing like egg crates. They are in fact 1/2″ high plastic mesh that covers the bottom of the fish tank. Any rocks that is added to the tank sit of this egg crate\plastic mesh and it distributes the load more evenly over the bottom of the tank. I have the rocks and the sand to go in the tank which will be the next job over the bank holiday weekend.

Finally something completely different for the music video, take 5 minutes to listen to what this guy is saying…………..

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and the next one please.

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.

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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

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Under the circumstances

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.

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frozen solid

 

No not me the bike, on Friday we had that rare thing here called snow, must have been the first decent snow fall in the area for at least 10 years, ended up with about 4 to 5 inches of snow. I would of loved to have gone out for a ride Friday afternoon but apart from working (they owe me time anyway) and the fact that I was waiting for an insurance accessors to visit and a plumber to visit (more on the later) so I had to stay in. So I was all ready to go riding on Saturday morning after we had done the shopping and running about. By the time I was ready it was mid afternoon and any rides would of led into darkness and my big light is not charged. So Sunday morning it was then, I was reasonably early with the intention of leaving as soon as it got light and that is exactly what I did. We had had no more snow since Friday night, Saturday the snow had become quite slushy and and Saturday night – Sunday morning it froze.

I gingerly rode down the centre of the road trying to avoid the patches of ice that had formed from the melting ice of Saturday. I had decided to ride over Canford Heath, I can’t make my mind up if this was a good or bad idea, the heath is a well trodden route with dog walkers, family wanders etc. all the slushy snow was frozen solid. Riding a cross the top of the heath was like riding on a cobbled street to the sound of Rice Krispies going snap, crackle and pop in your ear as the ice cracked as I rode over it. The back wheel was skipping and sliding all over the place and I was nervously trying to hold the front straight. I had a few respites from the icy cobbles but then I had to look out for sheet ice, there was still quite a lot of soft snow about but that quite often hid a muddy section underneath.

At one stage my front brake froze up after riding through a few puddles and by the time I started to make my way back I found I could not change the front dérailleur as it had frozen solid so I had a very slow pedal home. A ride that normally takes me about 1hrs 40 minutes took 3hrs today and I was knackard . Finally to make things worst, I had to put the bike away covered in mud as there was no way I could clean the bike.

Here a view of Poole from Canford Heath

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The plumber, on Tuesday we noticed that we had no hot water, heating was ok but the water was just of the chill. After the now customary argument with the utility company  about being covered for central heat breakdowns we were eventually told that we were not a priority and it could be 5 days before they could come out. Following day wife get s phone call from the plumber but she at work and so am I so we rebook for Friday. So there I was waiting for the plumber who decided not to show or even call to say why. Fortunately with the help of a friend of the wife’s on Facebook we managed to get the hot water working (and is still going), it was a stuck valve on the motorised valve.

Today this site hit the magic 10000 page views, in fact it is probably more than that as the site had been running several months before I added the counter, so I will give myself a pat on the back and thanks all those that made up those 10000 page views.

Tonight tunes comes from the aptly named Snow Patrol

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