Thursday, January 29, 2009

20 Years of Being Rubbish

The National Championships came around in January. 6 weeks after the start of the agonising back pain and the cough and god knows what else. In truth, this cough has wiped out too many members of the club but I really didn't expect to come last. Yet with this face, it's fairly obvious what was going to happenIt didn't help that on the first lap, I found myself sandwiched between two other competitors. The gap closed and left me lying on my back in the mud. On the next lap, in exactly the same place, I was trying so hard I cycled into a bush and floundered again. Being rubbish.

The next week took me to Reading on the Saturday where I felt obliged to race to defend my silver medal position in the Wessex league. On a points basis, Lauren had taken my silver medal place but, if I rode and she didn't, I would be back in the running. So I slobbed my way round this...
to achieve this...
I have to get some pretty wellies too really but Yay, I got beer! After 45 minutes of racing I realised I was feeling just fine. I raced every inch of the race, always catching someone infront of me and only letting one person get by me. If I'd felt like this last week at the nationals, I might've stood a chance of not being last.

The next day I woke at 6am and told TSK I had changed my mind about going up to Derby for the final National Trophy round. By 8am I was leafing through the programme for the day wondering if we could make it. I concluded that we could so, 5 hours later I found myself standing in a line-up with 20 others.

At least the Reading course was just soggy-muddy, the Derby course was gloopy-muddy and every turn of the wheel dragged clumpy handfulls of mud into the wheel to the point where it would not turn.

The strategy was developed in my mind to run anything that had any leaves on it. Because this was most of the course, the strategy worked and I had no trouble completing the running race since I didn't have to rely too much on the cycling muscles I used the day before.

The race flew by as I gradually passed two of the women I was racing with. I had a little bit of trouble with my gears. As the derailleur filled with mud it pushed the mechanism into my rear wheel in bottom gear but I coped with it so when TSK called to me to change bikes I ignored him feeling that a lighter bike covered in mud was better than a heavier bike covered in mud. The next lap I switched to bottom gear and behold, irrevocable damage was done. I shouldered the bike and ran about 250m to the pits to retreive the clean one.

I shouldn't have worried about the heavy bike because in its clean state it was a dream, like suddenly steel became titanium. All that mattered to me was the two ladies behind me had been lapped by the leaders and would therefore forever be still behind me and so I finished the last lap last and I crossed the line last - but not last of all.

This weekend we went skiing in Switzerland to get rid of the end of season blues. It worked wonders. Time spent with friends who make you laugh so hard your face and tummy hurt. TSK and Fi tried playing in powder. Brian fell over lots and we were derogatory about Tim.

Then I got home and got flu... 20 years of being rubbish. Let's see how long it takes me to get rid of this one.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Water Everywhere

The living room radiator emptied its contents all over the living room floor last night so we got up this morning to a puddle and a cold house.

By 10am when I had finished fixing the house, the swimming pool was closed so I burned some flex hours bumming about on the pC.

At 12 I was allowed back in the swimming pool and churned out 46 lengths and crawled almost all of them.

The day was slow but mercifully short. TSK got himself a new bike so I cooked dinner whilst he built it.

On the other hand, I can't remember when my cashflow was last in such a dire situation and I'm usually really careful with money. Spoiling people - that'll be the problem. Having too many lovely people in your life is a problem I can cope with.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Cold Park in winter

The crazy golf was busy. It's built from Cotswold stone - only the best for Swindon.

Me being as tall as trees

Bird watching - Tufted duck, Pochard and Smew.
And today I went racing for the first time in about 5 weeks. I coughed and I hacked my way around the course but DIDN'T get lapped by Claire and DID beat an Ironman (tho' it was his first race so I suppose we let him off since he kept falling off on the slippery corners).

If felt good to be back on the bike after such a break. We had a good bonding session yesterday during which I cleaned and fiddled and tuned and fitted a new chain. I have been wondering what the grinding noise is on my lowest gear then yesterday figured out I was running a 6-speed chain on an 8-speed block. Huragh, no more grinding. The new bike is perfect.

Now I need to add her to my home insurance after Sil's experiences.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


It has been cold here for some time and today I am finding it impossible to clean my bike for a race tomorrow. Every time I clean a bit, the smeared out mud just freezes on the bike leaving an icy black smear everywhere. I have had to do my best with hot water then bring it in to the kitchen to defrost before I can start on the micro-cleaning and reassembly.

The chain hasn't had an outing in 5 weeks either so I think I might need a new one of those.

On new years day we went out with TSK's parents for a walk and stood in the National Trust cafe on the way home and watched the starlings reeling in the sky. An original fairly unimpressive group of around 200 birds eventually swelled in to a flock resembling those I have seen before in Brighton then finally after 5 minutes of indecision they swooped in groups to settle in a volume of reed bed about 2 metres cube.

A fine accompaniement to tea and cake.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Years Resolutions

I have it in me to start my new years resolutions early so yesterday I spent 20 minutes on the running machine and then found the energy for 44 lengths of the pool. This morning I ran around my village circuit. I have no idea how long I was out in the cold but I ran the whole route except for the stiles which were too icy to approach with a run and a leap. I took it careful on the railway crossings too as I seem to have a habit of coinciding with the 10:15 from Swindon.

I am pleased I ran round the whole circuit since 3 weeks ago at the end of the back pain, just before the gastro entoritis, I walked the same route and had to stop 4 times on the steep grassy hill, just to catch my breath and rest my legs. Perhaps I haven't lost as much fitness as I thought.

I hope so, since the national championships are the week after next.

TSK have been doing our best to fill in the 2009 calendar for this year. So far, I have entered this and I am scared.