Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Headin to Jordyland

All right, where shall we start? How about the beginning. Last time you got a posting, it was Vix telling you about my Newcastle to Leeds leg. Shall we go back a bit? How about the first day on the bike?

Firstly we lined up in Edinburgh with Mark Cavendish (see photo) we rolled out headed towards the borders, Berwick upon Tweed actually. So, off we went and it was just as I expected. Lots of different riders, trying to show how strong they were. I picked up with a group or two, but couldn't really find anyone that provided a good combination of conversation and geeky bike talk.

Once we hit the borders however, the elevation started; and the weather came in. Really awful weather. I'm sure that the views were great, but with the rain and the mist, you couldn't see a thing. Well, apart from the road kill. I think that I saw just about every type of animal that a vehicle could hit. And then the hills came. Not hills, but big 17% inclines that were just trying to slow me down. And then, once I did get up it, I had to deal with the incredible decline. Normally, it would have been fun, but with the limited visability and the wet roads, caution won out.

We wound our way through about 62 miles on the first day, and ended up in Peelham Farm, a great sustainable farm that put on a great campsite with live music and some of the best food I could eat. Here's another photo.

So, you probably want to know how I felt, and how I did. The group on the haybales are the first in, and I was about 13th in. But, it was all due to John a guy from Surrey who helped me on the last climb. Nice guy.

Good thing about getting in with the first groups mean that you get more recovery time. And first into the showers. Excellent.

The next day was Berwick to Newcastle. A big day, with over 100 miles. Great! Again, I fell in with a pretty strong group that consisted of Dan (IronMan) from Imperial who I had met earlier. He's a strong rider and was using this as a cool down from his IronMan UK competition. How's that for endurance? So, I hung with Dan most of the way, and we rode out with a great rider named Ruth. She was absolutely awesome! Strong and real confident in a group ride. And she was funny, which isn't that easy when you have been hammering along in the big ring for hours after hours. Here is a picture of both of them.

So, we headed out to the pub, while some of the riders went to see Newcastle play Sheffield Wednesday (1-0). I expected some really good beer at the pub, but all Ale was off, so I had a lager. As you might guess, I'm not a fan of Newcastle. Especially as the halls we stayed in were like a rabbit warren. And they had no Wifi. Hence the reason for not posting.

Well, thats it for tonight. I'll try to post the SufferFest that was Newcastle to Leeds and the next day (Leeds to Nottingham). But, you'll have to wait. I'm going to bed.

Tonight, I post

I've done it! The ride is over and so am I. Fear not, I will post tonight (with Pics). Just have been a bit slack with posting.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

It was a long one today!

Well, it's the wife again. Bill called at 830pm to let me know he had just finished! He cycled 127 miles today averaging 21km per hour and that was in the rain in hilly North Yorkshire. The bizarre thing was he cycled close to where we lived when we first came over here, how weird is that!

He is sore but ok and was one of only about 25 finishers today so I guess that competitive streak is still hanging in there! He might get here himself tomorrow, if not I'll let you know how he gets on.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

From Berwick to Newcastle!

When Bill first told me he was going to do this cycle ride, or Epic as he likes to call it, I thought.....nah, that will never happen......then his excitement took over!

He committed and is doing it and loving it. Today was apparently brilliant and the only reason I am blogging on his behalf is because they are not allowed access to the Uni computers. He is, as always, being far too competitive a strength of his that I adore however annoying it can be. He reports that his recovery is good but tomorrow is going to be tough as it is due to rain and it's a long one. He has taken loads of pictures (quite how whilst riding a bike I will never know, surely he should be arrested as it must be similar to using a mobile while driving? Or is he just showing off riding no handed like you did when you were a kid)

Anyway, my hat is off to all of them. I found running, or rather bumbling the 5K Race for Life a challenge so can't even imagine what this must be like. Keep up the brilliant work and if anyone reads this who hasn't yet sponsored him, look on his sidebar and go for it!
Love you Bill

Monday, 17 August 2009

Why do they use oil paints?

Wow, how cool is Edinburgh? This city is amazing. Firstly, its the Fringe so everyone is here, and secondly the architecture is incredible. Lovely gothic buildings, with some Georgian and Elizabethean here and there. Incredible.
So, here's how the first day of the Epic began. 5am wake up call, and the bags were already
packed. I'd bought some fruit toast to ensure I had some decent food prior to getting into London. But, as usual, I faffed about and at 5.55a realised I needed to get to the station. And quick! So, grab and go, I was off and on the 6.06. Whew.
Whilst in London I stopped off at work to catch up on some emails and ensure that all was ok. I also used that time to tidy my office. Then off to Euston to drop the bike off to the guys in the Luton to take it up to Scotland.
Onto the train and I finished my book before we even got to York. Great, and now what am I going to do for reading material in the evening? Met another rider on the train who is doing the ride.
Checked into the accomodation and then had the day to myself. It's about this time I realised that I left my helmet at the house. What an idiot! So, I had to buy a cheapy just to tide me over. Then I went into town.
I got to see a few shows, and most importantly a Blue Man Group rip off called 'Brown Man Group' they were good, and I was pleased. But, I did hop over to the Scottish National Gallery and what an amazing collection they have of Rafael and Tititan. Also, some Lippi and even a Van Dieke. The Tititan was the jewel in the crown, as it was the one that showed Diana being interrupted whilst bathing with the Nymphes. This is an amazing work of art, and to see it in the flesh just cannot be described. Amazed.
The whole collection is impressive and I would even say it rivals some of the National Gallery in London, but I'm sure that I would be debated to death.
We had the ride debrief and tomorrow we go out. Can't wait.
Oh, due to using Uni PC's I won't be able to post photos as the USB's have been disabled. But I'll try and get ahold of a personal computer. Tomorrow is tough as we are at a campsite in Berwick on Tweed, but I will post on Wednesday evening in Newcastle.
So, friends, stay tuned. The big event is at hand.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Why I love the sherpas

So, its the last weekend before the ride. Here's some pics of the packing this evening. Looks fun, huh?
I don't know how you are when it comes to packing, but I am rubbish. This is pretty good, I have to admit; however most of the time, I just shove things into a small place and forget most items I needed. This is really overstating it, but when it comes to holidays I just think if I forget something, we can buy it when we get there.
This might explain a few of my questionable purchases. And my awful way of keeping track of expenses.
Anyway, its the night before I head out and I hope I am ready. The weather looks bad for the week, and its going to be really awful on Thursday. Great. But, here we go...

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Forgive him, he's American

All ok here, just trying to rest in preparation for the BIG RIDE. Went for a run this morning, and feel a bit heavy (must be the BBQ at Maynard's last night), but all good now. Spent the day at Imperial in a meeting for the upcoming term. Interesting to see the line ups and here what our governing body is doing to represent us. Also got to meet up with some of the other riders for the RTP, which was encouraging.
I am wondering if my training will come through. Dan (IronMan) spoke with me briefly and reminded me that it wasn't a race, but that he was expecting me to ride with him on some of the tougher bits. Great.
So, a few more posts and then its off to Edinburgh (by the way, how the hell am I supposed to say it? Edinbro, Edinburr, Edinboro?).

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Every Rose has its Thorn

So, whats going on? A lot by all accounts. Firstly, some family friends had their baby girl (Molly Mae) so congratulations to the Payne's. Vix and the kids are having a great time in France, and the Grandparents are loving having them. Mabel is being a perfect French dog, and might have developed the ultimate 'gallic shrug'.

Me? Well, its been a revelation really. Firstly, I am rubbish on my own. Without the kids around, I forget to eat, leave my clothes all over the bedroom and have the TV set to watch Top Gear reruns on DAVE. I thrive on my kids and my wife. Its kinda like my grass (bear with me).

As you can see, new shoots are starting to develop. This is due to the weeding, then adding of seed and then finally lots of loving care. If you take care of things, and have them loved things develop. Whilst the kids have been away, I don't think I have developed. In fact, I might have regressed. When I was a batchelor (long time ago), I used to race bikes. Because I was lazy, having the race season take over my life meant that I HAD to do things. Without the family around, I have realised that I don't have to make the bed. I don't have to tidy up my clothes. And I have regressed to a slob. But.......

If you have been reading these posts you know that I am training for a long distance ride in Edinburgh (462 miles!). I have been training, but without having the family around, I can ride at strange times. Like yesterday. I went out at 6.30am and returned at 11.30am. No problem. But if the kids had been around, it would have been hard to be away for so long. Not for them, but for ME! I then woke up this morning, at 6.30am went for a run for 45 mins and then went for a MTB ride with Maynard. Then this afternoon, went for a quick loop on the road bike. Just random acts of training. But, I would have traded it all in for puzzles with the boy, or watching the girls ride their bikes. And most importantly, some time with Vix. I really can't wait to see her at Hyde Park.

Sorry, if this got a little TOO personal. I'm just in one of those moods. Now, back to the geeky stuff!

Here are some photos of what may be the best bike ever. Now, I know what you are saying, (but its got risers, but its carbon) but I mean it. This bike is comfortable, and wants to be ridden in ANGER. My friend Paul let me borrow it since MY bike got stolen, and I have been a bit worried about how it looks and rides (especially after riding Patrick's Pride and Joy (see earlier post) on the Col). But this bike just eats up miles. And it shifts. Or at least it makes me feel that way.
All right, thats enough for now. Long week at work shaping up, so will try to post when able to. However, I'm tapering the amount of training so will not be doing much other than a quick 1.5 hours here and there.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

This little piggy went home

Interesting few days. Sunday evening I rode back from Orpington after work. Good ride and the weather was with me. Speed was up, and I felt great. Monday, woke up to a raging headache, runny nose and body aches. First thing I thought, Swine Flu. Called work and let them know that I wasn't coming in, and checked the NHS website to see if I had it. I didn't. Excellent. Now, I just felt awful. Called the doctor, who said that it was either hayfever or overtraining. I went with both, and bought some meds, and took some time out of training.
So, nothing on Monday, or Tuesday, and today. Instead, I have rested and I feel better for it.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Nice weather for ducks

Bit of a mixed bag this weekend. I was working on Saturday and Sunday, so was planning on riding home from London. However the rain on Saturday made sure that the only riding I was going to do on the way home was in a train. I still rode from the uni to the station which soaked me right though to my skin. Add in the ride from the station to the house, and I looked like a drowned rat (and felt like one too). However, the bonus was that it rained so much that it was easier to clean the bike. So, now its nice and shiny.
This morning (sunday) I wasn't sure if it was going to rain, so went for a 10K run and then off to miss the train in. Yep, I got there at 7.25a for the 7.30a and it wasn't there. They had decided to cancel it, and I had to scramble to get there for just before 9a.
Must do better!
So tomorrow is another week, and I am determined to put in around 225 miles on the bike. With a combination of riding from work/to work (42 miles) and some intense riding on the weekend I should do it.