Sunday, 28 September 2008

Enough now... no really

September has not been my month. Whilst some of my friends have been clocking up hundreds of miles, having fantastic holidays and generally enjoying themselves. I haven't. It started well with a committed and determined start to a 30 in 30, and at times there were glimpses of the good life, but it didn't last for long.

My boiler was fixed after 5 visits from the gas man and 6 weeks without hot water. My radiator is leaking.

I sorted out the insulation in the loft. The fuse blew on the lights downstairs. The hallway light blew on the upstairs ring main - either downstairs lights with no lights as I came in and out of the house, or upstairs lights and cooking by the light of the hob.

My week of convalescing in the Lake District was all very pleasant with a good mountain walk or two; in dreary weather. My only ride of the week resulted in the biggest crash I've had in many years. A big, hard, fast crash. Bruised and scraped from my right shoulder down to my right knee, including my ribs. A good chunk out of my right elbow and a lump the size of a tennis ball with a rainbow coloured bruise on my hip. I hit my head and cracked my helmet. Fortunately Hyacinth, my Maverick ML7 only suffered superficial damage to her handlebars and brakelevers and a slightly buckled rear wheel. Fortunately her fall onto the jagged rocks was broken by my stunned and helpless body. Lucky her. I gave the Grizedale Mountain Bike Challenge a miss the following day.

Traffic on the way home on Sunday night was dreadful so I got back in the early hours of the morning to cram in a few hours sleep before an early start to some long days at work. A heavy schedule over the next few days, coupled with a repairing body, the continuing course of antibiotics and the damp from sleeping in a tent all week gave me a wrotten cold. I still have a wrotten cold.

On the way home from work on Friday various pedestrians, cyclists and drivers seemed determined to kill themselves and/or me, by completely ignoring every single line of the Highway Code and their common sense. My journey time home was doubled by roadworks and heavy traffic on the M1.

Ah, my front door by midnight. But no hallway light. Time for a shower. The shower head flew off and hit me on the forehead. I sighed. A deep, shoulder-dropping sigh. I looked around for someone to give me a hug, one of those "don't worry, everything's going to be alright soon petal now dry your eyes and be a big brave girl" hugs. There was nobody there. I sighed and put my head under the pathetic dribble of warm water that was coming from the remnants of my shower head.

One more long day at work and then a day off. I think I'm just going to curl up on the sofa and try not to hurt myself, break anything or burn the house down.

Bring on October, please...

Monday, 15 September 2008

Getting Better... more ways than one. I seem to be on the mend, still another week of antibiotics to complete though but more importantly a variety of things have happened over the last couple of days to really turn my week around. I've changed my plans for next week as well. I've read many a classic novel which tells of Victorian ladies retiring to the countryside to convalesce. I shall be doing the same for most of the week with a camping trip to Beatrix Potter country; just me, some good books and some better wine.

On Friday I found the energy to have a complete spring clean of my bedroom, kitchen and lounge. The bedroom is now immaculate and I plan to keep it that way - a tidy house is a tidy mind as they say and I always feel a lot better when my bedroom is looking clean and tidy.

On Friday evening I found out registration is open for the 2009 Tour of Ireland, hurray! It's not often I get excited about entering an event but the Tour of Ireland is different, it's special - you just have to read my previous TOI blogs to find that out. I'll be entering it as soon as I get back from my holiday and it's really given me a kick to get back on the bike as soon as humanly possible and will be my motivation throughout the long, cold, winter months (I'm actually giggling with excitement about it).

Everything else just seemed to fall into place over the weekend and was topped off in style with a 20 minutes firework display on the way to work to mark the end of the Thames Festival. Now I'm not one to sing the praises of city living and I'm normally bleating on about how I can't wait to go and live in the countryside, but I have to say it's things like this that, just for a second, make me love London.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Bad Timing

Well I finally have to report that I have been beaten by the 30 in 30 challenge. Again! I've been putting it off for a couple of days in the vain hope that I would be able to pick it up again without anyone really noticing, but it wasn't to be. I'd made such a good start, even riding in the rain, even enjoying riding in the rain! I'd been eating well and only drinking moderately and had an excellent set of rides lined up for the following week. 30 in 30 was going to be positively joyful.

On Saturday I was supposed to do a race over near Windsor, but as my alarm went off at 6am I could barely drag myself out of bed and I didn't surface until 1pm - I still managed to squeeze in a ride though. (Who'd have thought early Friday nights out on the orange juice could take it out of you so much?!) By Saturday evening I really wasn't feeling great.

Sunday came and went and I barely moved from the sofa. Fast forward to around 4pm today and I'm doubled over in pain in the front seat of my car, mouth watering, head resting on the steering wheel and unable to focus. I managed to stumble across the car park and into the GP's surgery. A confirmed infection, some painkillers and two weeks worth of antibiotics prescribed. Still too light-headed to drive I was given a cup of tea and some biscuits. Forty-five minutes later I'd finally gained enough strength to make the drive home, and spent the rest of the day on the sofa.

Hopefully I'll be well enough to ride next week, though my motivation to ride, in fact my motivation to do anything at the moment, has completely gone. I'm well and truly fed up.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

"30 in 30" Days of Rain

This looks like it could possibly be the wettest 30 in 30 ever, it seems determined to rain every day. But so far it hasn't put me off (which has surprised even me), and I have been riding - despite a few setbacks.

Thursday, Day 2 and the rain was hammering down. Undeterred, I donned my trusty rain jacket and overshoes and set off. The flooding was so bad in the lane that I couldn't see the perfectly sized divot in the middle of the road and seconds later my rear tyre was flat with a pinch puncture. I swapped the tube but my motivation had gone. I stood on the road side trying to decide whether to carry on - my planned route was an out and back that would take me up to 12 miles away from home, and now having no spare tube and a rather soft rear tyre that would be prone to more pinching. I reminded myself why I had embarked on another 30 in 30 and jumped back on my bike to explore some lanes closer to home, just in case. So, 1h22m and 17 road miles completed.

Day 3 - a simple hour on the turbo trainer. Boring, but necessary due to work commitments. I had a rather lovely pint of Bombardier at the Mulberry Bush at a leaving do for some work colleagues. So far so good on the alcohol front then.

Day 4 - more rain! (If this carries on, I'm selling the bikes and building a flamin' ark!) Yet again the weather was testing my resolve with heavy showers throughout the day. Still, I've just put the original forks back on the Surly 1x1 and it's been years since I rode a rigid mountain bike so it gave me the little kick I needed to get out there and explore for a bit - 1hr10m and 10 miles in the rain and mud. It'll do.

Totals so far - 5h17m, 42 road miles, 10 miles off-road.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The New Regime

Things never go as planned do they? Originally I'd planned to kick off another "30 in 30" at the start of September using the momentum from my holiday - adding in a healthy eating plan, some weight loss and cutting back on my alcohol intake.

Obviously, the start to this was delayed due to various DIY set backs with my house again: the boiler still isn't working (that's 5 weeks without hot water); I've changed the upstairs plan and can't find lights so the electrician has been postponed; my hoover has broken and to top it all off now a fuse has blown in the fuse board so I don't have any downstairs lighting (just as the nights are drawing in). Owning a house really sucks sometimes.

So there was no time for riding on Monday and Tuesday but finally yesterday I managed to squeeze in my first ride and start my Autumn "30 in 30". And boy oh boy, is it Autumn! The first 10 minutes of the ride were met with strong winds and a heavy shower. It's very unusual for me to actually start a ride in the rain, I normally wait until it stops. So this shows a new found tenacity and enthusiasm for riding that I haven't had for some time. (It's also a good start to what could be a very wet and miserable winter.)

So, Day 1 - 1hr45m, 25 miles.
I think I might also start keeping a mileage and hours ridden log, just for a bit of motivation...