Foo Fighters

Oh the irony: yes its over a year since Dave broke his leg and my one chance of seeing the Foos disappeared in front of my eyes and about 100million people on Youtube, but some things don’t get any less painful…

Speaking of painful, the shoulder operation has been an apparent success: I seem to have more movement with less pain so hopefully its going in the right direction. But I can tell you its not been a bowl of cherries – the immediate aftermath was pretty uncomfortable and lots of painkillers didn’t make a massive difference. The procedure is called Sub-Acromial Decompression which I’ve heard is referred to as SAD – and I can personally confirm this is an appropriate acronym!

But that’s all behind me now, with the exception of regular visits to the sadist that is the physio. Apparently what he does to me is all for my own good – I’m yet to  be convinced.

He did, however, say I could get back on the bike and for the last couple of weeks I’ve eased myself back into the saddle – yippee!! I can’t tell you how much I’d missed it. Certainly my waistline has too so that’s another reason for getting back to laying down the miles and burning the calories. You know it makes sense!

And it all coincided with the annual London to Brighton off-road event coming past my front door. I had hoped to participate this year and actually raise funds but obviously the surgery had put paid to that. But now I have another goal – to take part, finish and to raise some money for the British Hear Foundation who organise the whole thing.

I’ve got a whole year ahead of me to train and get ready and possibly tempt you all to donate a little towards my efforts. I promise I wont be overbearing about it!

And that leads me to this post’s tune: its all about Next Year!

Happy cycling (or whatever you’re doing!)

 

 

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Curiosity Killed The Cat

It’s been a while since my last post (I’ll get to that shortly) but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been out and about on the bike. I’ve also spent time looking at/following some other blogs and had some follows in return – so welcome to all those folks: I hope you like what you find here!

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that I’ve had to give up on my intended participation in this years London to Brighton Off-Road event. After making it the full distance last year I was really looking forward to doing it and raising lots of cash for the British Heart Foundation

The reason is that I’ve got to have surgery on my shoulder that I landed on when I went over the handlebars of my bike. Yes, it was my embarrassing accident when I’d just bought the bike and made it all of 50yds before taking a spill…. After 18mths, X-rays, MRI scan and a steroid injection, they’ve told me that there is nothing else for it.

Subacromial impingement they call it: googling it mentions rotator cuffs and all sorts of things that I’ve only ever heard referred to with NFL quarterbacks! I’m sure they wouldnt have to wait that long…

So mid-June is when its planned and apparently I’m looking at three months rehab which blows my chances of training for the ride. I’m just keeping everything crossed that I can go out for some gentle rides over the summer or I’m going to a) feel cooped up and b) probably suffer an expanding waistline.

Neither is a great prospect eh?

So for now I’m enjoying the riding I can do and hoping to try some new routes over the next few weeks and then will have to keep my fingers crossed that I’m a quick healer!

And, if you’re of a mind, don’t let my non-participation stop you from making a donation – the BHF are a very worthy cause.

Now to the music – I was thinking of Chumbawamba (“I get knocked down but I get up again”) but I didn’t get knocked down as such. So Curiosity’s Down to Earth seemed more appropriate. Enjoy an 80’s belter, and Ben Volpeliere-Pierrot’s dancing! A classic!

 

 

Lou Reed

I’m sure you’ve all been very concerned as I haven’t piped up since the big day of the ride. But fret no more – I made it and I survived!

Wow, what a day! It started early with a 5.30 alarm clock setting and then a trip to the start line to find that I was very far from the first….

Waiting to start - not nervous at all...!

Waiting to start – not nervous at all…!

It was pretty cold, especially that first mile or two before the legs got warmed up but there was company, a clear and quiet Richmond Park and Thames path and we cycled into the sun so you could feel the day warming up.

Pretty soon we were out into rural Surrey – and who knew there was an old airfield at Wisley? These are exactly the sort of things you find when you get off-road.

By this time I was already passing breakdowns and punctures so my fingers were firmly crossed.

Crossing fields, woodland paths with the sun coming through the trees, some hairy descents and some stiff climbs. We had them all as proven below:

IMAG1225

Across the North Downs

IMAG1231

Through the woods!

IMAG1232

It’s steeper than it looks, honest….

 

As proven by my expression...

As proven by my expression…

Now remember, the ride length was 75miles – not something to be underestimated. My level of mathematical genius allowed me to work out that an average of 10mph would mean a 7.5hr ride. But the climbs en route were something I’d never experienced before so would I be able to keep that pace? Or was I being over-ambitious?

Then I heard about Tourettes Hill…. The last hill before the finish is apparently nicknamed as such because it so damn steep. “It can’t be that bad” I thought. And my first words that I uttered when I saw it? “You’re f*@king joking…” which at least made two blokes having a rest chuckle.

And that explains the nickname Tourettes Hill…..

Then I got to the top and what a relief!

This way for a rest....

This way for a rest….

A welcome sight!

A welcome sight!

After that it was all down hill/level in to the finish and by that time I was good and ready to stop, as you can imagine. In the end I’d averaged just under 9mph so completed in around 8.5hrs (lack of precision due to my phone charge running out!) but I’m just pleased to have finished and got my medal. Here’s the proof:

Nearly there!

Nearly there!

image6

Where’s the chips??

I just wish I’d had the energy to stand in line for the massage because my legs were killing me the next day! Never mind, it was a great ride and I’m definitely doing it again next year.

Lots of thanks go to the British Heart Foundation and all the volunteers that manned the course that day: a bunch of stars!

All in all, a Perfect Day (well nearly….don’t get me started on the rugby)

Journey

[Alternatively: The (tow)path to success…. or failure?]

Goals. Its good to have a goal I reckon. After spending time on the bike I thought that I might want to do more than just ride up and down a section of the Thames. I then received a delivery of an online order from someone like Wiggle which contained a leaflet for an organised ride on something called the Lemming Trail. Great name.

(Incidentally, Wiggle will sometimes add a little Brucie bonus to your order like a packet of Haribo – what’s not to like?)

I wasn’t sure I was brave enough to be a lemming so started looking at other rides and there’s loads of them. I’m sure you’ve all seen people bombing around the roads at the weekend but, as I ride off-road, I saw that there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in an organised ride without risking life and limb on the roads. (Just watching the crowds of cyclists clashing with traffic on Box Hill on a Sunday is stressful enough: forget riding….)

And then one September day I left my house and found lots of people whizzing past along the towpath with British Heart Foundation entry numbers attached. A quick google and I found the London to Brighton off road event and the seed of a plan was planted.

Two years on, I’m enrolled and in training. God help me.

To illustrate the challenge I face, its 75miles in one day and I’ve done well to manage 90miles in one week. So the training distances need to step up a tad.

Then there’s the terrain. A quick check of the elevation profile for the ride shows some pretty steep climbs and likewise with the descents.

l2b

London to Brighton elevation

As a comparison, below is the elevation profile of my longest route to date:

richmond

Towpath to Richmond Park with a loop of the path

Quite similar you’d think? Until you realise that my chart is about a third of the distance that I need to achieve and the climbs/descents on the top chart are compressed in distance compared to the lower chart.

One thing is for certain: I have four months and a lot of hard work ahead of me if I’m going to make it to the finish line.

Wish me luck!

 

And now for your reward for getting this far down. A little predictable but hey…..