Saturday, 31 October 2009

moving... backwards...

a change to normal service this saturday as a late call from Bobby signalled a trip to Mansfield to help Gill and Bobs move. No problem there, a challenge for my not-so-mighty guns, but doable.

Unfortunalty Bobby needed me to step into his shoes as first runner for his local running club at the national cross country relay championships. He needed to do the serious moving but didn't want to let his team down. Admirable.

I think he thought i could still run. I can't. 18:09 for 5 km put me 100 out of 150. That would have been ok if I had started in 100th position. I didn't. 3rd row of the grid anyone? The first 3 km passed as though i was running backwards slowly through a large herd of thin, largely goateed, gazelles.

Lesson to be learnt... know your place :)

Oh - new hse is nice... just ever so slightly smaller than ours... only by a tiny bit though.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

need a challenge...

but what? Being a good father seems pretty reasonable but that doesn't start till Jan 2010 though (hopefully).

I need something to tide me over till then as little goals prevent staleness. I'm happy to go for little things.

So far:

1) Don't waste eyes open time. Watch less crap TV and resist the urge to stay up and do pointless things. Make sure time awake is positive (note that I am typing this at 11:45 pm, need to work on #1). Basically this translates as 'get to bed by 10'.

2) Get up Capler on the Pink Singlespeed by christmas (set of exercise books in panniers optional)

3) Hit 17 strokes a length in swimming and be able to swim a 1:30 hundred while breathing every 7 (Bobby - take me on!)

4) Stay on target on the 50 commutes challenge. Hit 15 by Xmas.

Anything to add? What's your micro-challenge? Want to throw down a mini-gauntlet?

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Anything with cross in the title seems...

to be hard (cross dressing included I would have thought).

Bashed out my first running cross country for a while. As always, I'm not as fast as I think I was. I imagine that I will run like a Gazelle on speed, the reality is a Gazelle after an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

From moor park xc run

Good fun though, once I'd engaged the diesel and realised that the speed I was running was the speed I was going to run... and nothing was going to change that.

What's nice about these events is the low-key nature of it all. Entry fee? Tiny. Equipment required? Total of about £50 if you get shoes on sale. Fitness required? Moderate. Welcoming atmosphere? Overwhelming :)


and ready to report.

The last week of term was brilliant, knackering, but brilliant! I managed it fueled on more than my normal intake of coffee, jaffa cakes and Frijj choc milkshakes. The resulting hyperactive state got me through 5 tricky days but generated so many positives.

Absolute number one was Alastair Humphries' visit to school. By random chance I picked up Alastair's first book (The Mood of Future Joys) in June, and being a sucker for stories of adventure and ever keen to embark on a bit of vicarious travelling I munched through it then chowed down on the sequel (Thunder and Sunshine).

Basically, round the world by bike, alone (most of the time), 46 000 miles, 4 years and £7000 quid. That makes him pretty unique.The best bits, in my mind, involve the excellent efforts Alastair went to make things hard (like the highest pass in S.America & Siberia in winter @ -40 C). It hit the spot for me as he does an great job of explaining why he felt it important to battle on and seek out 'not the easy way'.

So, having spent my summer reading and day dreaming about bike touring again I persuaded school to divert a bit of money to getting him in to speak to the students. Having done this, and despite having confidence in my assumption that someone who could do that and write two good books couldn't be a total muppet, I will happily admit to there being a significant amount of fear on the morning of his arrival. I'd spent ages and gone to a lot of effort to big up his visit, everyone knew he was coming and that I was responsbile... to make the potential disaster more interesting he was scheduled to speak 5 times, once to each yeargroup of 200 restless students... if he was crap, I was in trouble!

Fortunately crapness did not manifest itself and he was both inspired and inspiring. I lost count of the number of staff and students who made an effort to find me and say how great his talk was.

Double lucky was that he was also a really nice bloke (not necessarily a dead cert. if you imagine the type of person who might want to spend 4 years pedalling round the planet).

So... If you need someone to talk to your group or company look no further - great talk and great bloke. If you need a Christmas present then check out his books.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

2-9 4-46 120-1380

In a blatant copy of Mr Lance Armstrongs marketing campaign I have decided to brand my new plan using only a criptic series of numbers.

I could of course tell you what they meant, but know that to do this properly A-la Lance I should let clues out via Twitter. However, I cannot be arsed with twitter...

So... they represent my commuting challenge. 1 year, 50 trips by bike is the target for the year out of a possible 195. So far we've had 2 months out of 11 this school year and I've done 4 trips, so 46 left. 120 miles ridden, 1380 left. I am behind schedule... need to get the alarm set more often :)

I'm thinking this will be good for me in a period of reduced training and good for the planet... whether it'll be good for the energy levels is another thing altogether.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Hard work...

Cross is hard work. Luckily for me i've put in a couple of sessions in... and so far they've been blessed with good evenings...

From paulas family, cross and track

Luckily I've also had great support, esp from P and, as a bonus for one week only Mum and Tim. This I needed as the zip wasn't there at Crickhowll (Rd 3 of the Welsh Cross Series), lack to zip combined with a strong field and my inability to stay rubber side down (exp. through the sand pit - whats with that!) meant I finished 6th. Good enough, but not fast enough.

Ben Simmons was largely responsible for my time in the hurt locker, pushing pushing!

From paulas family, cross and track

Best bit of the week so far has been the two velodrome trips that I've done with the school. It was fanstastic to watch their expressions as we walked up the tunnel and they saw the banking for the first time. Within 30 minutes they are all charging round... teaching can be great :)

From paulas family, cross and track

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Commuting 'n' Crossin...

Thursday was perfect. Dragging my carcass out of my pit at 6.30 was hard work but the reward was worth it and I was buzzing for the rest of the day. I've built up P's Pink town bike into a singlespeed commuter. I also picked the hilliest (& therefore the quietest) route I could find and cracked on. For the first time in about 15 years a road climb struck fear into my heart - brilliant. I had to get off and run (pride meant i couldn't walk up) but the view at the top was perfect.

From cyclocross oct 2009

Tell me you're not impressed by that Pink-Zebra-Singlespeed-Panniered-Moustachhandelbarred-mudguarded-ringmybell-20kg beast... go on tell me!

This week was also the first sight and ride of the new cross bike - happy days.

From cyclocross oct 2009

First race was today and it was an odd experience. I had the diesel to stay with the front four but every acceleration was blowing me out of the water. I resigned myself to 50 min of wheel sucking and a 4th place finish. In the end I managed to squeeze a mini-sprint out of my non-existent turbo and stiggle 3rd place (kudos too course designer and race organiser Andy Baum for stepping up and winning his own race). The new bike was spot on, I only hung on by being smooth in the corners and making time up by not braking - the Cube stuck like glue and it's given me heaps of confidence for when it starts raining the the fun begins.

I paid a big price for the 3rd place though... £1.85 at the drive through McD's on the way there for the coffee that fueled me through the rough spots. I know, I know but desperate times...

Good to race with the club too. Nedly & Martin smashed it up and P and Chairman Chris gave vital support.

From cyclocross oct 2009

From cyclocross oct 2009