Tag: Cleeve Hill

Can I get a new body please

So there we were out shopping early on Saturday morning not a care in the world, getting on with the the jobs that needed to be done so that we could have the rest of this lovely sunny weekend to do what we wanted.

Walking through the doorway of the aquarium shop and TWANG, it sounded loud enough for the whole shop to hear but nobody was looking at me apart from the wife who was trying to work out why I had a grimace on my face as I did my best one legged flamingo impression.

I don’t know what I have done, all I know it is my right calf again, it is just like I have seriously pulled the muscle again. I have had this happen many times, it exactly the same feeling I get when my right calf cramps up when riding. Today it does not feel as bad but I still know it is there especially if I try to stretch my right calf. I have considered dehydrations as a possible cause (causing cramps)and have started to keep a record of what I am drinking. It is early days yet but I don’t think it is but I need to record even if it just to discount it. I think another visit to the doctors is in order but not until I have a bit more of my drinking record. Alternative is to trade my body in for a new one, unfortunately there are not many takers!!

Needless to say there has been no bike riding this weekend, I had planned a long ride which had several early turn off available if fitness or injury were to cut short the ride. I would had loved to do the ride a the local mountain bike club were doing but I knew 30 miles up some big hills that I could not beat 18 months ago is definitely a no go at the moment.

Last weekend we went back to Cleeve Hill where we held the charity recovery ride and met up with Tazz again and Jon. It was a lovely sunny day but blowing a hoolley on top of the hill, (18 to 33mph). In fact we actually had to ride (as in pedal) down one hill as the headwind was so strong, the consolation was we actually got blown up another hill earlier. It was a good day with friends but not a lot of cycling.

This Wednesday was the day of funeral, and it went as well as can be expected, the day was sunny and cloudy. Now starts the task of moving on.

The fish tank, this simple job of putting everything together is becoming a pain in the butt. Having purchased the sand and the rock I laid everything out in the new tank as I wanted and then filled the tank with water. I took my big filter off the old tank, washed it all out, fitted new media and put it on the new tank………………where it promptly sprang a leak all over the new carpet, thankfully it was only a small leak. Further investigation revealed it was the main seal between the top and bottom of the filter. In the hunt for a new rubber O ring I was offered a new pump. I really needed to get a pump on the tank so I went for the new filter. This is all up and running although I have to shorten the hoses, as they were all coiled up and to long when I first set the tank up. So now I have to take the hoses off and shorten them.

With the lid on and pumps running came my next problem, condensation in the tank lid. I have a plan, I have purchased a bit of polycarbonate sheet and currently waiting for the lid clips to arrive so I can fit my diy condensation tray.

With all this sunshine there could only be one song to end this blog.

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It has been a long time

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.


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