Thursday, October 27, 2005

Bike enjoys the ride home after a difficult day of Audits including three rides across to the main office (to save time and reduce stress). She's leaning on a cow catcher from a wrecked 1930's steam train.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Anyone got a glass?

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

This from Wednesday...

When I got home my bum hurt SO badly. Not just bruised cheeks but a feeling that I’d been riding with the bones in my ass being forced outwards by the saddle and my tendons (being weakly out of practise) couldn’t hold my hip bones in my pelvis any more. I couldn’t get out of the saddle and rode in a tiddly gear. When I did have to force myself out of the saddle, it was excruciating to sit back down again. The pain ran all down my legs, made every muscle cramp and caused the backs of my legs to ache for two days – which has never happened. I decided that something had to be done so I went to the bike shop after work yesterday.

The nice man asked if I needed help and duly pointed me towards the saddles. I began to explain my discomfort of separated bum-bones. He waved a piece of neoprene stuck to cardboard at me and asked with a twinkle in his eyes, “Have you ever had your sit bones measured?”

“Sounds like fun,” I said, always up for a neat way to find the right solution to a painful problem.

It wasn’t really any fun at all. I sat on the neoprene pad with my feet on a step for a few secs then he measured the dents my bum bones made in the neoprene with the graduated scale on the piece of card. I was disappointed that my bum dents were a little squidgey. Not enough riding. But my bum bones are 14 cms apart which apparently is “quite normal” but then he added I was like him and would need to find a wider saddle, which tells me that the average saddle is not made for the average rider. So we set-to with the tape measure, measuring saddles and I also decided I wanted a longer one with long rails on it to make it adjustable in the fore-and-aft direction. After all the effort I bought one the same as my MTB saddle because it’s always been comfy and it was.

At midnight last night there was a downpour. The kind of downpour that woke me up like a shot because it sounded like some horrendous natural disaster was occurring, or it could’ve been really cold outside because it sounded like the furnace starting. Eventually after shaking my head and putting my brain in first (if I were a cat I would’ve swivelled my ears a few times), I realised it was raining – really hard. I could feel the prospect of my ride to work thinning, but when I got up at 5:30 all was well and the sky was crystal clear. Good morning Orion, is your belt particularly long this morning or are you just pleased to see me? And… my leg bones were no longer disconnected from my pelvis bone by my old, hard, racing saddle.

Sorry “Terry Liberator,” this day you lose. I positively enjoyed the feeling of the old aches and pains being soothed by the new, softer support network of the “Specialised BodyGel”. Maybe I will manage to ride home too, so long as the sky is not falling again by then.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005



This just in... BC drivers have eyes in their head and know how to use them.

(From Tuesday on what happened Monday)

I got inspired by Crazy Biker Chick and yesterday I rode my bike to work. It being my ISO Audit this week, I realised it was important for me to have something to look forwards to on Monday morning. When the alarm went off I knew I had to get up or lose the stress-busting experience so I did manage to pull myself out of bed to some semblance of organisation, having spent half of Saturday laying out clothes and working on Green, resetting the brakes after the bike shop interfered and left the adjustment screw thread close to shearing off the one and a half threads at its tip. Of course I should change the pads eventually, but playing with cable was more immediate putting me on the road on Monday morning and anyway, I found out someone (no me, no, I never service anything) had put the assembly together backwards. You can tell Lynton that dad. I also went in search of the slow puncture but to no avail.

So yesterday morning I got dressed in a blurr, pausing only to choose my warmer clothing on the basis I’d rather de-layer than shiver for the first 20 minutes. At 6:55, my non-existent slow-puncture was back but by then, of course, the panniers were in the way so re-inflating was tricky. Particularly when I forgot to unfasten the valve.

This made me hot and thirsty. I already needed a drink but I had none as my nice chunky battery for my rechargeable lights was occupying the bottle cage. I decided (without digging my watch out from layers of clothing) that I had no time to go to the kitchen so bright lighties and reflective jacket on I set off.

I struggled up the stairwell with the fully laden Bike and blanched at the concept of wheeling it through the new 5 inch deep gravel drive. I opted for the firmer flowerbed – no flowers yet though.

“Dimp dimp dimp” said the bike as my straining spokes bowed, tapping the computer magnet against the detector on my forks. I can’t stop yet on this hill so I cope with the “dimp dimp dimp” as long as possible, not stopping at road junctions because this is my village and no-one else goes this way at 6am. Eventually I’m warm and have to stop to undo arm zips and adjust my magnet. Someone’s dog knows I have stopped and starts to bark. I move on before I find he’s loose.

3 cars pass me on the road from the village. My hi-vis gear and lights do their job as they all give me lots of room. Then a car approaches. He’s a good ¼ mile away on a straight hilly section of the road and he dims his headlights. I start to wonder what my main-beam light is for – the one I’d flash at approaching UK drivers who had their main beam on me. Failing that I used to wave my hand in front of the beam to make it flicker and failing that, I’d just ride at the drivers hoping that they would see me before I was completely blinded and hit them.

I had the opportunity to test my new-found luminescence a few times and even a car behind me gave way to an oncoming vehicle before he passed me. Top marks village drivers for a job well done.

Joining the KVR I remembered what this high-beam setting is for. The last time I went off-roading in the dark was in Sheffield with the MTB baby when we rode to the peak, got drunk then off road downhilled all the way back into the city. That time was without lights and infinitely less scary due to the alcohol consumed. I turn my hi beam on for this day I am without backup.

In place of the drunken giggling, this day, the only noises are my jiggling panniers and the crunch of my wheels on the compacted sand surface. My eyes focused on the circle of light in front and the shadows of my cables on the trail, like antenna on a bug, my senses turned instead to the smell of cider from the fallen apples rotting on the orchard grounds to either side.

Another dog barked some distance away and a farmer was starting his day, charging the battery on his tractor. Then I was back at the road, riding past the (thankfully) peaceful cemetery and looking across the lake to the steady stream of headlights on the highway. I scoff at the poor rich people in their big SUVs who will never know the peace I feel now. And just at that moment an adolescent moon-deer strides across the road, its stumpy downy not-yet antlers so tempting to reach out and stroke. Then his sister crosses the other way and prances into the cemetery in elegant bounds that make me think of Pepe le Peu. Then I turn off my main beam since I’m now in “the city”… though I’m not sure what part of “city” applies to the Agricultural Land Reserve that I am riding through, but the border is crossed so the street lights exist.

After 1 mile of road I’m back on the KVR, flitting silently past the windows at the back of 5th storey apartments as cats yeowl at each other in the car park. Then the 3% grade finally pours me out somewhere the school where a sleepy-eyed caretaker is turning on lights and cranking up the heating for the children to come back to school.

I affect the rest of my journey without signalling, never mind dabbing (my foot) because on these roads, no-one’s ever coming at the intersections. I consider cutting off the last corner through safeways staff carpark and a lane but allowing for potholes the main road is safer. Just as I think I might have to put a foot down, a car pulls past me and turns the light before I get there.

I race through the last green light at work and have to negotiate our first trucker of the day who overshot the driveway. Only the start of the day’s chaos but I feel fine.


Death by ISO audit

But I'm riding to work again.

Back soon....

Friday, October 21, 2005

I was Sunset Boulvevard which I haven't seen so I preferred to be Einstein instead.

I know the ski season is coming because...

1. There is the occasional cloud in the sky
2. I get bills for professional institution membership fees that I don’t mind paying.
3. A gear guide suddenly appears in my mail box
4. People with big rucsacs start lingering near the gate of my workplace
5. and I consider picking them up and blowing out work for the day.
6. I can manage to spend 1hr in the gym without getting bored.
7. I see lifties and other instructors at the gym and in the pool.
8. I think of buying another iron so I can use my old one for waxing skis.
9. I’m wondering if there’s space in the basement for a conditioning bench.
10. Winter tyre ads on the radio when I’m driving to work.
11. When I find my goggles in the basement, I’ll put them somewhere I can find them instead of pushing them to the back of a drawer.
12. I’m thinking of putting my new ski coat through the wash for the first time since last (warm) season.
13. The words “pineapple express” have been hissed through gritted teeth and curled lips at least once on the TV this week.
14. I have something to actively avoid watching on TV – Hockey Night.
15. I’m browsing the professional institution’s website for deals and new tric clothing. They’ve invented yet another new fibre.
16. For the next 6 months, I wouldn’t mind if they fired me (be careful what you wish for).
17. My boss is suffering from S.A.D. (Seasonally Affected Depression) whilst I am experiencing I.S.S.E. (Impending Ski Season Euphoria)
18. I am checking the webcam almost daily and getting unnecessarily excited to see a) snow, b) excavators building big jumps.
19. I know what day the resort is scheduled to open
20. I have last year’s rock toons going through my head.
21. The community theatre makes me think of Warren Miller.
22. Studs are cool again.
23. I feel the need to colour my hair an even-more drastic shade.
24. I wonder if an avalanche transceiver would make a fun toy or if I’d get more out of playing with the box.
25. A craving for Gluhwein and decent chocolat chaud.

Life, the ******** and everything.

I've gone off kittens. He climbs my trousers when I'm least expecting it. Which is funny when I'm wearing my old work jeans (you know, from before they started adding lycra and jeans were jeans and lasted forever and were thicker than the canvas of your average squadie's kit-bag)... but not so funny when I'm wearing my nylon hiking pants and it's 6am.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

And the winner is....

I heard from the Bride and Groom yesterday.

They have named their lifesize (3ft long) Canadian Beaver....

Hudson Halman
So, JaG you get 50,000 virtual points to spend as you choose.
And for anyone who didn't play - can you IMAGINE the hits I got when I did a websearch for lifesize stuffed beaver???

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Go figure

Golden Delicious Apples off the tree taste way-better than outta the supermarket
Yesterday morning there was very freaky low, thick cloud over the valley but blue sky beyond, then the sun came up from behind the mountain and made the most wicked sunbeams in the gloom and darkness and lit the tops of all the trees.
Just for half an hour. Then it was gone.

We decorated the car. Well, the paint-job was already done but we added a few touches.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Threashold? CAR.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Hang on, hun. It started yesterday.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

It all started out a bit Welsh-like

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Adam tries his luck

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Then the rowdy crowd showed up

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Then it really started to get silly.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Oh, go on then. Swing yer pants with me... Hang on. I'm in a skirt.. Ok that works.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
No shit! There's no lectures tomorrow. Pardy-on Ad.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
You... yes you there.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Mmmm nice ass....

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
So jazzy man

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
And a bit rowdy

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Considering the possibility of having her new husband sectioned...

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
You next m'dear.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Awww c'mon, give us a hug.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Friends. 'Nuff said.

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image
Sitting on the Andy-chair

(c) Andy Click on photo for a larger image


The best bit about my trip back to England was seeing everyone I have been missing for the last two years. My lovely family and my totally special friends. Pinching an idea from Lauren I have come up with the top 50 things I love about my friends.

1. When necessary we all scrub up really well
2. But at the end of the evening the shoes will always come off.
3. You take my breath away – literally
4. I always injure myself somehow when I’m with you
5. We CAN drink
6. None of you smoke.
7. Hugs are value for money (see: you take my breath away)
8. No-one can ever remember how we all know eachother. Sometimes even I don’t remember.
9. You know what to ask me about and when and when to draw the line
10. You make me feel totally special. I hope I do the same for you.
11. Innuendo.
12. You remind me that I can be selfish and never give me the opportunity to get away with it.
13. You are great to share a hangover with.
14. You know how to decorate cars.
15. You all like eating, a lot.
16. Those of you who are more disorganised than I am, married organised people. Those of you who are more organised than me, are married to my disorganised friends – figure that one out.
17. We find it socially acceptable to wear, and be around PINK.
18. Show you a hill and you’ll climb it – or come down it really really fast.
19. I can always rely on one of you to fill me in on the status of the others when I get out of touch.
20. When I come back after 2 years away it feels like I was never gone. We just pick up and get back on from where we left off.
21. You came to bike races to watch, even though you don’t get-it.
22. If you did get it, you had a go. That applies to everything in my life
23. We shared millennium eve together and it was so perfect. (Post-events excepted)
24. When you were scared, you did it anyway.
25. You all made my wedding day the best day of my life.
26. You keep inviting me to gatherings, even though I live 4451 miles away. I have to think hard about not attending (but keep asking because I’m getting richer).
27. You keep sending me your holiday pictures. I really enjoy looking at them.
28. It feels so bad that I don’t see you so much but it feels great that I know you’ll visit one day. Niall, make SURE you bring Kay this time.
29. You remind me how not-normal I am and don’t criticise me for being insane… in fact you encourage it.
30. When I broke myself for the first time you all laughed hard and didn’t worry.
31. You’ve all turned into such great people.
32. You made my dad feel great on my wedding day.
33. I don’t really feel safe when one of you runs up behind me.
34. You laugh at me for goofing up, but in a good way.
35. You know I’m always skinny and know I don’t try to be.
36. You give inanimate objects names too.
37. You know skiing is good.
38. Jeans look good on you.
39. You all enjoy your jobs but don’t talk about them too much. We have way more in common.
40. You’ve watched me grow without taking the piss or saying “we told you so” too much.
41. You hold my hands and cuddle me like I’m your long-lost sister.
42. When we were younger we all made plans with eachother for when we get old(er) and now we are, we can look back on those plans.
43. You’ve let me try to break your girlfriends / boyfriends. On various occasions I have succeeded but you’ve forgiven me (once I wasn’t even there though…).
44. You tell me when you’re excited.
45. You usually tell me when you’ve moved house. (ADAM).
46. You’ve looked after me when I’ve been really really drunk, going as far as drying my eyes, holding my hair, keeping me decent, keeping me awake and letting me sleep in your bed for a long time.
47. You understand that anything said on a rockface or during a race is not me speaking, it is something evil inside.
48. You’d drive on English motorways for a good party.
49. You mostly understand, “This is the “why?””
50. You tolerate my highs and lows – large as they are.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Is it Autumn (fall) Yet... Is It?

On Saturday morning I continued to do my best to finish the curtains for the house. However, this proved difficult with a kitten who thinks cotton is fair-game and finds it terribly amusing to up-end the pin box at regular intervals. And he’s so fast… you really don’t see it coming.

Slaughterpuss continues to sulk HARD. She will now stand within 2 feet of Andrew, summing up whether she can kill him or not but his unnerving habit of sneaking up on her has her trembling in her little white running shoes and she much prefers the comfort of the basement. Andrew is not yet allowed in the basement for fear we might lose him amongst all the junk.

Hubby spent the weekend tinkering with his car and it’s now looking most snazzy with all its new bits on it. So much so, we’re thinking of importing me a baby-one to replace the low-riding, totally electronic, gradually failing VW, that flinches at the sight of deep snow but that’s a long way in the future.

It rained all Saturday morning which is good because it makes for snow on the mountain and there has been lots – they have pictures of it on the website. Unfortunately though this morning is a temperate 17 degrees in town and 6 degrees on the mountain so it’s all goin' again – boohoo.

The annual ski swap that was supposed to be held at the school has been postponed because of the teachers strike. My support is starting to wear thin and I don’t even have children. It reminds me a little bit of the firefighters strike in England. You want HOW much more??? You're paid WHAT already???

On Saturday afternoon we went for our weekly walk around the village and up The Gulch and watched 7 kokanee salmon trying to swim up Camp Creek to do their thing – lay eggs for next years stocks. IN answer to a long-standing question, these salmon do not swim upstream from the ocean to here but are a race of land-locked salmon left over from when the world was all oceans then one day the all-encompasing being of the universe pulled the plug (or created the mountains) and took the salt away from the water and the salmon turned extra-pink and live here. The end.

This lunchtime I managed a long run – well, I was going to run to the gym but it’s further than I realised so I just ran – and saw a Great Northern Diver, or a Loon to be Canadian about it – diving for food (kokanee salmon spawn no doubt) in the river.

I like this time of year. Off home to rest my aching knees.

More from Chris and Tracy's doo.

And for the rest of today only I will be accepting bribes not to show the rest from the evening...

How could you NOT love this

Chris and Tracy's Big Day Out

Pretty lad and lassies

Chris's first lesson in looking at the photographer he's paying for

There's Travolta blood in there somewhere

The crowd goes wild!

Floaty and gorgeous

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Great Canadian Question Eh! (well, BC anyway)

Do you still have to do the school zone speed limit when the teachers are on strike?

JaG? Any suggestions?

Ladies and Gentlemen, please say "Hi" to Andrew. No pictures yet, the flash might scare him.

The new kitten is SOOOO cute. He was immediately named Andrew because he looks like one… though hubby doesn’t think so. We tried Yoda but that didn’t work either so I’m sticking with Andrew.

He spent the first five minutes hiding in his cage, then the curiosity overcame him and he ventured out to explore his new world – in a drunken kind of way. As soon as Slaughterpuss saw him she hissed and ran to hide behind the kitchen wall. Thinking this was a game, Andrew wobbled through the kitchen on his new legs (the ones he’s still working-in) and crept up on her. This completely freaked her out and she ran up the stairs screetching. She is now behaving like a teenager that’s just got a new baby sister in the house and fights viciously every time you bring her near the new kitty. Ever heard a cat snort? It’s SCARY. She spent most of the evening and night hiding in our bedroom, only once daring to snuggle with my feet then adopting a haughty air of indifference until she went out at 6am.

After investigating every possible hiding place in the new house (and there are plenty as pictures are still leaning against the wall), Andrew came to investigate us because by now we were eating dinner and relatively safe, sitting down on the sofa. Hiding under grandad’s old coffee table, he was totally amused by my toes which wiggled in his general direction. They were especially interesting when he found sharp claws that made my toes jump. Then there was this damn tail that follows him everywhere. A skinny, fluffy little thing that reminds me of a piece of climbing tat that’s been in place for too many years, too many rainstorms and too many sunny days. It gains sudden life and whips around and surprises him when he least expects it.

We left him in his cage overnight with a cushion, bowls of food and water and a litter tray. He meowed for a while, then played with his toys noisily, then was silent.

This morning though, he was gone! The cage was still locked, but there was no kitty inside. I called him whilst the coffee was brewing, again and again. Then, just as I was starting to think Slaughterpuss had eaten him in the night, I heard the faintest little mew. He decided I was no threat and it was safe to call back… but I couldn’t find him. By now the coffee was coming on well and even Hubby got up to help me look for Andrew.

We found him under the TV unit. A space I didn’t really even think big enough for his tiny skull to fit in, never mind the rest of his body and that damn whippy tail. With some effort and care, we extracted him and placed him back in his cage whilst we had our coffee. I only managed three steps with the coffee when I found his mode of escape. Using his water bottle as a lift off point, he scaled the metal bars of the cage then forced himself through the gap between the door and the cage and he was free again. This is a gap I could probably only make 2 inches wide, using my own hands to pull the door off its hinges! This time I put him securely in the spare room with a litter tray and other trimmings, from where he proceeded to cry like a baby – a very annoyed baby.

Finally, I relented. I let him out again and drank my coffee downstairs whilst he pattered about, still exploring, happy just to have someone around, not necessarily for entertainment, just for comfort. Someone to share the space with.

So, I don’t want to be here today, at work. I want to go home and watch the kitty play and try and fix the territorial rift in the house. A big fat sumo cat that grew podgy whilst we were on vacation who is terrified of a tiny, wobbly kitten ½ the size of most of the birds she kills. At least its Friday. Roll on the end of the day.

Hangin' with the Family

I went to Romsey to see my boy-cousins. As an only child, I have many make-believe siblings. These are probably my closest.

The skiers in the family, Jammin' with uncle Steve, OK, now you're scaring us.

Unlce Tom, Aunty Anne and Us.