Monday, 19 December 2011

Pitch Black Hints Hill

Couldnt get my lazy arse out of bed yesterday morning for my planned early doors ride. When I did wake up it looked too icy. Spent a great day instead with Mrs B and the rugs at the park decorating the Hungarian Silver Birch Mrs B had planted for me last year in memory of my mom who died from cancer in 1987. Kids made their own baubles and we put them on the tree. Then went to a chinese buffet establishment at 2pm and ate my bodyweight in food. It was a 'top button undone and belt unbuckled' job by the time we left at 4.30pm. My calorie counter for the day had a minor heart attack when i logged the meal. Dropped the boy off at a party and then once home Mrs B and the girl made it clear that they would be watching such Xmas toss as Noels House Party Presents (or some such cack) and my presence was ruining their girly time together. So I went for a spin on the bike. It was pitch black but I have lights and decided to tackle Hints Hill. If you live in Tamworth you'll know it - if you dont its just a very steep big hill thats bloody horrible to run up and i was going to find out what it was like to cycle up. Its basically a straight run up the old A5 to the A38. Very undulating but quiet because the A5 relief road takes all the traffic. First couple of miles nicely lit with street lamps and I felt smoother and faster than previously. Seem to be getting more of an idea of what gears to be in and when. 2.5 miles in and towards the bottom of Hints Hill its dark, dark as in pitch black dark as there are no street lights. Save for 2 or 3 by the houses after the top of Hints Hill there are no street lights on the next 3.5 mile stretch at all! The light on the front of my bike lights nothing infront of me so I stick to the central painted line in the road to avoid hitting the kerb I cant see! I power up Hints Hill (not so much power as entirely struggle whilst my chest bursts and my lundgs collapse) and I was very glad to get to the top. I think its harder to cycle up than run up although the advantage of course is going down the other side! Up to the A38, turn and back to the top of Hints Hill is all in complete darkness which is very isolating and allows the mind to wonder...usually to wonder what the bloody hell am i doing and when I am struggling how the hell do i plan to finish an Ironman! Anyway on reaching the top of Hints Hill on the way back I have to decide do i nail it as fast as i can sticking to the middle and hope nothing impedes me because I won't see it or do i take a steady/safety first approach. Yeah I nailed it - top gear (or bottom I havent grasped the terminology yet) - and I flew down Hints Hill hanging on for dear life and for all I could see I might as well have had my eyes shut. Bloody exilerating. Garmin afterwards showed a peak speed of a smidge over 30mph and an average of 13mph. Not much for you pros but bloody great for this novice! Just got to squeak that up to 18mph by July! Got a good power on for the rest of the ride home and I've decided this cycling mularky is all about letting the bike do the work, maximising output for minimal effort! Cant wait to be out again and if you see this mushroomesque breathless man cycling about give him room and give an encouraging parp of the horn please.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Idiot and insults!

What a twat! Hilariously whizzed out on bike this morning and nipped into bike shop to mention back brake and mudguard. Mudguard easy to adjust and sorted. Brake even easier - all that it needed was the quick release clip to be clipped back! I did look silly! I did think that at the time on my first outing but because i could see no clip (I am blaming the dark and the fact its slightly different to the front one I knew about) assumed it was something else. Anyway smashed (well dordled) another 8.5 miles. Ave speed 12mph. Based on that the cycle section alone of IM will take 9.5 hours!! I am loving this cycling mularky at the moment its brilliant. It is doing wonders for my verbal insult dictionary as one after another motorist gives me a nats knacker of room when they overtake. The decent ones get a thumbs up though! Really looking forward to London Marathon and Outlaw at the moment. Cant wait to tag a run onto a ride too! Hoping to squeeze a good 2 hour session in at weekend. Prob a nice 6am start!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Comedy fall avoided?

Damn that felt good! First real exercise since my knees went funny Nov 1st. Not running just yet the plan is to cycle in some fitness and then ease back into the running. So, my first bike session was this morning. I try and fit my training in early so as to minimise the impact on family life. Up at 5:30 am for a snack, some stretching, cutting tags off the new shoes, gloves etc. Outside looked dry and calm suprisingly so I went for shorts, skin layer, cycling shirt and 'you failed to get into London Marathon 2008 reject' jacket. Wooly hat under my helmet, reflective bib, Garmin in pocket and I was ready to go looking very much like Toad from Mariokart! I reluctantly peeled the protective plastic wrapping off my handlebars accepting the fact my new Merida Road 75 is a tool for IM and is gonna get dirty. Its the same with new trainers though isn't it? Always a tinge of sadness when you step in the first muddy puddle in them. In my mind the plan was to keep it steady, get used to the bike and NOT, definitely NOT fall foul of the right of passage many had told me about of getting my feet stuck unable to unclip when coming to a stop and falling slowly to the left or right still attached! Right shoe clipped in no problem and off I went leftie clicking in with ease too. No cars about at 6am as I approached my first hazard. A straight forward right turn at island. Nothing coming but I do need to slow a little as the island is quite tight, the ground is wet and brand new tyres not yet warmed up. I recall you're supposed to brake with the rear brake first so I pulled the rear brake lever only for nothing at all to happen. Pulled again ('was I pulling the gear change lever instead' went through my head) still nothing. Thankfully the front brake worked - everything under control - negotiated island and pulled over. Remembering to unclip leftie whilst stopping and comedy fall moment easily avoided. Checked the brakes and the back one needs adjusting as it simply doesnt work! Thought about going home but that would have annoyed me. Decided to press on as one brake should be fine for a first gentle outing on the bike. These new fangled bikes are a lot different from my Raleigh Racer 10 speed circa 1984ish. Quick, light, smooth provided a very enjoyable jaunt around Tamworth for 42 mins and about 8.1 miles. Two further stop moments after the brake check and no problems both times. Feeling quite pleased with myself as I pulled into my street confident I had avoided the comedy fall moment @JWUltra & @Dazhalfpenny had warned me about. As I slowed still wary of a fall I unclipped leftie no problem rolled over to the kerb on my right and stopped....only to instinctively lean right to put right foot on the kerb which of course was not possible as it was still clipped in place!! So I fell, in slow motion, breaking my fall with my right hand, holding my bike off the ground with my left, and lay on the floor chuckling to myself with embarressment. Thankfully it was still pitch black and I could see no one about but what an arse I am! Still cant believe it actually happened! It was great to get a sweat on again after so many weeks of inactivity and bloody thrilling to get out on the bike and begin my IM cycle training. Already looking forward to adding runs on afterwards (a brick session I am told). Knees feel fine, bike brilliant, me happy. Gotta get the brake sorted obviously and tweak mudguard at front as it seems too tight to tyre and the little mudguard brush slows the wheel in free spin! Really looking forward to getting up to speed on the bike and getting some miles in. Think I am going to enjoy it. Looking forward to a blast with @rmcycling @jwultra @madlot1 soon! Woo Hoo!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Merida Ride 75

This is the bike thats gonna get me from cycling proficiency badge 1980ish and nothing since to Ironman 112 miles over the next 7 months. Not gonna name it or genderise it, might grow to hate it but ultimately will respect it! Next update almost certain to include 'comical fall from bike because I cant unclip from pedals' incident and photos of grazing!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Patience is a virtue...

..sadly not one I possess. I am itching to run - I can feel myself getting bigger and heavier and less fit and despite trying to watch my diet (thankyou @TakeaChallenge for the point to MyFitnessPal) and trying to keep mobile by walking the dog further each day its not the same as running, swimming and cycling BUT I have to counter the urge knowing that making a full recovery this side of Xmas is more important than rushing back to training too soon and jeopardising the whole thing! November was a month of inactivity - December will be a month of cycling (just getting my eye in) and easing back into running with a few steady short ones perhaps tagged onto the end of a ride (gotta get used to it afterall). I am waiting on the call (was gonna type 'just waiting' but and old English teacher claimed the word 'just' doesnt exist!) from the bike shop to say my bike is ready and my patience will be rewarded. The knees have been pain free for 10 days or so now which is a good sign and I am trying to get an earlier Dermatologist appointment so my face can get sorted and I can start swimming!! I've started following a few blogs from various members of my IMS (Ironman Support Team) for added inspiration and focus. @runner786 @paintedrunner @movingalong79 @robsavva - all prepping for Outlaw or running phenominal distances. My much better half, Mrs Brightside, is keeping me grounded in all of this and does well to remind me I have a family to think of. Her support is the lifeblood that will see me through this! My next post should be bike related and will hopefully involve some actual exercise. Be patient!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Swim 2.4 miles, Cycle 112 miles and Run 26.2 miles

The problem is even if you say it fast its still a bloody long way. Up until 8pm yesterday I could allow doubt, I could still come up with excuses as to why not to do it such as the commitment to training, the costs involved, the additional amount of boring I become by having two more exercise disciplines to talk about to people who just arent interested, the inconvenience, the blogging, the fear, the effort and ultimately the ridiculous effort and body stress of the event itself! The problem is that none of these excuses wash particularly when you consider that my niece Poppy has had a daily 7 year battle with a brain tumour and battles each day with a smile on her face, Abi picks herself up after each knock down battling her brain tumour and a stroke. Niether of them can make excuses they have no choice. Consequently I dont think I have either. I am lucky to have Mrs Brightside supporting me through each gradually more ridiculous endeavour, family around me with constant encouragement and friends offering training help, support advise and tips, prepared to run with me on a freezing December morning or drag me around Staffordshire at 20mph on a bike for 4 hours. Add to that a group of cyber nutters on Twitter quick to support and help whilst doing their own impossible! So I have done the deed. As of 8pm last night I am officially entered for the Outlaw Ironman Triathlon July 1st 2012 in Nottingham. The feeling is exactly the same as clicking the confirm button when registering for the Edinburgh Marathon - the first and hardest step? That seemed impossible when I entered it too - it proved not to be! So, the knees have been pain free for a week, I've ordered my Merida today, a dermatologist is due to see my face Jan 30th (Jan 30th FFS!), I should be cycling next week, running by Xmas and swimming Jan/Feb at the latest. I've got the small matter of a little training run around London April 22nd and a warm down stage cycle of JOGLE Relay race August 10th as well. I guarantee nothing other than some ups and downs.