Sunday, 26 October 2008

The joys of winter training

It's eight o'clock in the morning, dark as grandad's hat, blowing a hoolie, slashing rain and about 12degrees outside. You go downstairs to make tea and when you let the dog out he takes one look into the garden and looks at you as if to say "If you think i'm going out there for a p***, you must be mad" and scuttles back to his bed. Yup, for me its straight out to the garage and on the bike for 3 hours of joyful pedalling.

Why oh why do we go out on a bike when it's like this? Even the runs leader stayed in bed today and I still managed 40 miles before swimming home. I had full rain gear on and Steve turned up with shorts and windtex jacket..." It's not cold really, just a little wet"

No mate, it's not cold really but with 20 mph of wind chill it shows some of us have no sense and less feeling. I wouldn't like to be your knees. Time for some BKW methinks and if can keep this up when all around are pulling the duvet over their heads I'll know the motivation is still there even after all these years and I''ll be truly ready for timetrials in heavy snow and driving rain come March.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Danga danga nang nang

Watching Stephen Fry in America and he's got to West Virginia, Kentucky and Tenessee. Not much Bluegrass or Old timey music, but just listening to what there is and watching all those "Good 'ol Boys" brings me out in a rash of both jealousy for not being there and nostalgia for the time I played in Loose Screws. We were probably the nearest thing to the real sound in Southampton, playing more hickey than Oh Brother!
What's worse is that this part of the world also has the Jack Daniels distillery AND C.F. Martin guitars. (OK I know Martin are in Pensylvania, but its not that far really). Just the smell of my 0015 reminds me of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I've had it for about a year now and it's just starting to play in but the inside still has the scent of fresh cut wood. The scenery there is fantastic and just when you start to think that poor old King George III made a very serious mistake someone tells you that our colonial brethren mix marshmallows with mashed potato....Gordon Bennet! what's that all about?

To finish the prog, SF goes to Miami Beach. Most people relate Florida to theme parks and little else, but for my money Miami Beach is the nearest I'm likely to get to that whole world. Florida to me is Gators, Airboats, Canaveral and....yup....Miami Beach. I stayed in a huge, posh hotel right on the beach and despite several visits to all parts of the state (including road rage in Tampa), its Miami Beach and the Deco buildings that live with me.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Winter training

Around this time of year I usually make rash promises about the training I'm going to do over the winter ready for next season. Most years this ends up with me spending a lot of time looking out of the window wondering why I didn't get up and out when I had the chance. Maybe the odd half an hour on the rack (sorry - turbo) and the odd jog will be about it and then I get dissapointed when I have to race myself into something approaching fitness during the spring.

This year was a real mixed bag. I felt strong in Flanders in April and won my first open TT in June but in between rode like a bag of spanners. When I wasn't unwell, that is. I didn't even ride a single 50, didn't ride the ECCA 100 and as a result failed to enter the National 12 hour which had been my main target. 2009 can only be better.

This year will be different...I promise. I has to be, I'm booked into a 1 1/2 day track acclimatisation & accreditation course at Manchester at the end of December and a training camp at Calshot in March, the plan being to ride the Welwyn league next year.

In the last 2 months I've only managed one century and a few short rides so I'm effectively starting from scratch. This weekend I'm getting my legs ripped of by Pete H on the club run. If I do this every week plus regular runs through the local woods, Tuesday training with Team Welwyn and the Maldon 'cross series throughout the winter I will have no excuses for creeping in the new year. All I have to do is get my arse in gear. Simple really.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

A near religious experience

"F*** it. The f***ing thing's f***ed. ". . . . .Not the best start to your second encore after a barnstorming set, especially after a 45 minute late start and an opening comment "Lets not get pissed now, there's a long way to go" but Stephen Stills had the Shepherds Bush Empire in the palm of his hand from the moment he walked on stage. The first half was acoustic, the second electric and I can't make my mind up which was the best set. With so many hits to choose from, he seemed to play just what he wanted with a couple of covers from Tom Petty and Dylan thrown in but still managed several that even Mrs. Kipper knew! - Helpessly Hoping, Change Partners, Johnny's Garden and Love the One You're With. The F*** was a blown monitor which immediately preceeded (after prompting from drummer Joe Vitale) a fantastic electric version of Dark Star. The only disappointment of the evening was that he didn't play Black Queen but that's a minor quibble.

Monday, 6 October 2008

The Great Depression?

Today the London stock exchange had its biggest ever fall, this after weeks of simillar losses in share prices. The strange thing is that if you walk round the City, the shops and pubs look like they are doing good business, there is no drop in the traffic on the roads or the trains, concerts and theatre performances remain sold out and even the employment agencies seem to have a steady stream of posts to advertise. Travelling out through East London the number of construction projects currently underway is higher than I've ever seen it since they built Canary Wharf. So apart from the banks and other financial institutions, everything appears to be life as normal. One can't help but wonder whether we are talking ourselves into a credit crunch out of boredom or have the chattering classes finally decided to put the money gamblers in their place? It has to be said that the obscene salaries and bonuses "earned" by people who gamble with our pensions and life savings have become unsustainable and it would be nice to think that if mass redundancies in this sector had not happened, that the population would rise up as one and sack the Bank of England. . . Watt Tyler where are you now?

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Welcome to my blog

We've been out marshalling the final road race of the year (Finsbury Park CC) before the 'cross season starts and I'm sitting in on a wet Sunday afternoon with lots of better things to be doing. However, I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while but the question is, do I have anything to say thats worth saying? Time will tell...