Archive for August, 2012

All Change!

Cancel last. Cancel everything. Momentous things are afoot.

Sod the bike-bus, the camper van and the transfer-to-Cornwall job, I have a new plan; Canada!

Home of the brave, land of the free. Or some such.

It happened like this; I was looking on Gmaps Pedometer to chart a bike route. Before I’d zoomed in it was showing the whole world. On a whim I measured how far it would be to ride across Russia. (Straight lines, East to West, via Moscow, then while you’re there anyway, a quick nip down to Odessa, then back up to Blighty, on to home. It’s something like 7,500 miles.) I was starting to speculate on that for a new challenge but was put off by the language barrier.

Then I looked next door, a few miles across the Bering Straight and you’ve got Canada. A mere 5,780 miles at it’s widest point. Legendarily flat and cycle friendly, like Holland with mooses. (sic) OK, technically there are the Rocky Mountains to contend with, but how hard can they be?

I was thinking a leisurely 100 miles a day, as I’d have to carry quite a bit of kit. I started looking into it. Masses of Canada is wilderness. They have a deadly snake, the wolverine, wolves, and three types of bear. The grizzly being the most lethal. The advice was “Try to avoid contact. If you get into a fight with a grizzly it’s probably not going to end well.”

Sage advice. You can tell they really researched that one.

So; wilderness, carrying however many days supplies, all the spares I may need, camping equipment and bear-repellent-bat-spray. Over a mountain range at some point.

How much fun does that sound?

 

The proper issues arise when you start costing it out, though. Flights, with bike and kit, two months supplies whilst not being paid for two months…, dear do. I still fancy it though.

This lead me to idly googling  ‘Canadian truck driving jobs’. They are absolutely gagging for UK truckers. There is an ongoing shortage of drivers. Even with the recession. Apparently Canada’s manufacturing industry is doing very well for itself, thank you very much, and is shipping it all to America. They can’t keep up with the increased demand and the retirement of existing truckers. They are so keen they’ve brought in an immigration by-pass thing. Trucking doesn’t make it on the ‘top boffin and other asset people’ list, so they have introduced a special ‘people we need right NOW’ attachment to the list.

And therein lies my first hurdle. You are trucking to the US. ie, you have to be able to gain access to the country. People have been turned away at border control for tweeting criticisms of the US or ‘threatening’ jokes.  As we all know, I am a flag-waving, all American cheerleader. As of three days ago.

 

So here’s the plan; next year we are going to Canada on holiday. (In itself a big event and thrilling! I’ve not been out of the country, except to kill people for Her Majesty, for the last 25 years.) To which end I’ve sent off to renew my passport and ordered one for Wendy.  Whilst on holiday (after a year of posting “Yay America!” tweets) we’ll try a border crossing. If that goes OK, then I’ll get a job tramping around mainland Europe while I apply to Canada.

Tramping is where you live in your cab for five days at a time. Start in the UK, take a load to France, over to Germany, back to France and home, say. You drive for your maximum hours, find somewhere to pull over and sleep in your cab. Get up and start again.

 

Not ideal, but you get paid for your nights out. More importantly, the Canadians want you to have experience of distance driving, in mountains and through ice and snow.

Apparently you apply to the companies, when you get a job offer you can apply for a work visa then move over there. The UK HGV licences aren’t recognized in Canada (uppity Canadians. Call themselves subjects of Her Majesty? ONLY JOKING!) so you have to take the local test. Two lots of multiple choice theory questions, a practical on air brakes, and a “surprisingly easy” (huh! We’ll see.) practical driving test.

 

Then there’s the job itself. It seems they like to run the trucks with a team of two, each allowed to drive for 13 hours a day so they can keep the truck rolling 24 hours a day. They don’t believe in all the mamby-pamby EU working time directive either. Over here your maximum weekly driving time is an average of 45 hours per week, with your max overall working time being 60 hours per week. Hah! We Canadians laugh in the face of such health-and-safety-gone-mad, nanny-state, want-to-live-forever legislation. Try 84 hours driving a week! Hell yes! Man stuff. 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. And the ‘long-haul’ jobs advertise as ‘driving for 7+ days’ so it’s not just hypothetical.

Anyway, after six months of that, assuming you survive, you can apply for long term residency, or citizenship or a return ticket on the mothership. Something on those lines.

 

So; Canadian holiday, test whether the cousins (with whom I fought shoulder to shoulder in the Gulf War, let us not forget)  will let me in, if so; back home, EU tramping, and apply to for jobs. Get job, visa, pass local test, do job, don’t die, get settled status (or local equivalent) bring Wendy over. Get better job, or better run, become minted (guy was saying he made $70,000 in a year -£44,400-) take time out to ride across Canada. Imagine having the Rockies as your training ground. Running up mountains, wrestling bears and swimming lakes.

 

With my new masterplan in mind all other plans are on the back burner. I would still like to do my Outlaw and marathon, (have to see how the money goes) but I expect the Lands End to John O’Groats is off the cards. The expense for one thing, the time off work for another. I’ll still train for it, you never know.

Things that I can be doing though include learning French and German (basics, at least. French would be handy for the EU and Quebec, German probably just for the former.)  I mean, how hard can French be? It’s just English with a soupcon of je ne sais quoi. Quite a big dollop of I don’t know what, actually.

 

In other news, yesterday (Friday) was a landmark day; we finally paid off the credit card! That’s it now, no loans, overdraft or credit card. If it wasn’t for the fact the contract on which I work ends in two weeks, we would be looking pretty peachy now.  There are plenty of jobs being advertised, I’m not overly worried, it’s just change is always a bit scary. I know exactly what I am doing on this job and, apart from parking in the yard at night (nightmare, every time!) it’s easy driving. Still, I need to be challenged and up my game for next year.

 

Other good news; I’ve entered the Warrington half marathon! It’s only two weeks away. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do anything this year. That injury put me out of the game for nearly six months, then when I finally got back to it I was shit. Cornwall sorted me out and I’ve not had a recurrence of the injury (touch wood) for a few months so I’m going for it. It’s only a half, nothing to write home about, but it’s something. I had more or less written this year off as a year of fail.

 

Also, due to fannying around trying to sort Wendy’s passport application, I set out for work at 10.45 the other day, (supposed to be 10.30) then had to pedal like a bastard. It was partially wind-assisted, but I did it in 31.20s!  PB! My legs were screaming the whole time and the sweat was pouring off me, but what a time! Sub 30 mins is looking possible, but I’ve only got two weeks. I’m going to go for it. Rest up for a day or so then go at it hammer and tongues.

I have changed my strategy. As of Thursday night’s ride home. Instead of dropping a gear so you keep pumping your legs at the same cadence (ideally 90+ rpm) I’m leaving it in top gear and working harder. As I understand it from body builder sorts, if you do lots of light work you gain muscle definition, if you do less but harder you gain muscle bulk. I think. Anyway, I know as a kid I rode everywhere in top gear and I had calf muscles the size of a baby elephant. Which came first I don’t recall, that is the bitch.

 

Well, all this is newsworthy and, for me, terribly exciting, but it’s not getting my fitness built. I’m off to Frodsham to run a 13.1 mile course that includes Frodsham hill. If I can do that I can batter the Warrington half marathon. If not, then I’ve really dropped a bollock. Ho hum, I’ll wait until I’ve run it before I post this. I’ll do the Ironlap tomorrow.

Did it! A few hitches, such as me working out a course that was a mile too short, only realising when I was nearly dead approaching the top of Frodsham hill and having to run down the other side before turning around and running back up with legs totally wasted. And only taking one energy gel as I got it confused with a ten mile run, so I had to over-extend the period running on empty.  Not ideal. Were it not for the fact that it was a there-and-back run, so I had to keep going to get to the car, I think I would have quit at about 8 miles. Frodsham hill is hard. And not the mile straight up I had in my head. That was the distance of the mile I had set out. Duh. If you are running in through Frodsham village it is actually nearer to 2 miles, just the last mile is the stupidly steep bit. Nice to have a mile of leg knackering uphill to warm you up for the big push, though.

Anyway, I did it in 1.53:13. Poor, but it was my first run over 10 miles this year, it was a bitch of a course, I didn’t take sufficient energy gels and I’m crap. That covers all the bases I think.  Good workout though, really did put my legs through it.

The downside is that bloody Creamfields was on down Daresbury so it took ages to drive to the start. From what I saw it seems to be a gathering of chavs, scallies and skanks. Never has so much perma-tanned mahogany flesh been so ill advisedly forced into ‘hot’ pants. I think the gig is sponsored by Cuprinol.

Kenny Everett had a sketch where he said “stand them in a field and bomb the bastards!” These are already in a field and the government has all those roof top missiles left over from the Olympics… You do the maths.

Off to glow in my own body heat.

Later,

Buck.

Ironlap

I had another go at my Ironlap today.

The bottle dynamo, which I repaired, re-positioned and tested before setting out, failed utterly. Again. I had to keep stopping, putting in the next position on my ‘phone, starting the GPS, and the satnav, seeing where I was supposed to go, then shutting it all down again to save my battery. Then I’d find I’d missed my turn and have to backtrack. And so it went.

That ‘hill’ at 48 miles, that a fellow triathlete described as “a bit of a leg-burner” is an utter nightmare. You wind up a steep hill. (You get to the summit, think ‘YAY!’, whizz to the bottom on the other side then find you’ve missed your turn and have to go back up the hill. After about 50 hard miles. Your tears on the return ascent are hidden by the sweat running off you.)  I was thinking that at least I’d done the worst hill, that now it was just normal roads back to Warrington. Ha! The road that I should have turned on to, Rivington Way (Rivington something) is the nightmare, the preceding climb was just a warm up.

I was following a dedicated cyclist (as opposed to a triathlete) who seemed to know the roads. He was having to stand up on his pedals to get up. I passed a bunch of mountain-bikers who were pushing their (off road ratio-ed bikes) up the road. I ended up stood up on the pedals in first gear. My thighs were on fire.

The thing is, on the Ironman (IM) you have to do three laps of the course. That’s three ascents of that bitch of a hill. The first one was painful and sapping, by the third…

 

I had to stay off satnav after that as my battery was down to single figures. Obviously I got totally lost. Then after five hours riding (and stopping to shout at the satnav) I got a puncture coming down the East Lancs. What I was doing on the East Lancs I have no idea. That took me 21 minutes to repair.

Anyway, it was about six hours I was out. I reckon I did between 80 – 90 miles. Even if you knock off a whole hour for stoppages that is, at best, 90 miles in 5 hours.

I am not claiming that, btw, I’m just saying at best. Maybe 82 miles, 5 hours 15.

Pitiful.

 

On Wednesday it was bloody windy so I had a bad ride in against the wind. I had to race the whole way as I was late setting out. As per.For a change I got an early finish so decided to make the most of it. I charged the 10.75 miles home, quickly swopped cycling shorts for running ones and shot back out. That was my first transition run in ages. The odd thing was my legs felt fresh. I was going to do a slow hour run, I was thinking 6 miles. I kept checking my watch at the mile points and I was doing 7.30 minute/ miles. That’s as good as I can manage on just a run at the moment, only about 15 seconds m/m slower than my best from before the injury. I ended up running 8 miles. The thrilling thing (for me) was that on mile 6 –7, my legs felt like I wasn’t working it, and I upped the pace! You have no idea what a joy that was. Post injury my runs have started off at a poor pace and got slower.

I was buzzing. My legs have never felt anything less than painful on a transition run, ever, and I was speeding up.

 

That was when I started thinking.

You set yourself goals, achieve them, then think “Meh. Anyone could have done that.”

There are yardsticks that are recognized as being a bit special, though.  A sub 3 hour marathon is one, a sub 10 hour Ironman is another. I decided to do both next year.

I did the maths; I can currently run 10 miles at 7.30 m/m. I’d have to run 26.2 miles at 6.45 m/m. Quite a lot faster and a hell of a lot longer.

Then the Ironman; take lessons do a 1 hour swim, (1.40 last year) cut my transitions down to 5 minutes each (ages last year) the ride down to 5 hrs 20, 21mph (6.54 last year 16 mph) which leaves me a leisurely 3 hrs 25 to run the marathon, 7.45 m/m, (last year 4 hrs28, 10..20 m/m).

On paper, and in my head, all eminently do-able. Hard, yes. Challenging, doubtless. But do-able. Then I did that ride today.

Drastic re-think.

They say choose your marathons if you are going for a PB (Personal Best, you knew that, right?) for instance no-one would break any records on The Lakeland Trials one I did. You choose a flat course. So, for next year, I think I’ll keep training on the Ironman course but do the Outlaw again. The year after, when I’ve really had chance to build up the necessary muscles I’ll do the (harder) brand name Ironman. For the Marathon I think I may as well look at the Liverpool one. I’ll research it first, but it’s on the sea front, you wouldn’t have thought there’d be many hills.

That way I can still achieve my goals. I could do the branded IM next year and grind it out, just going for a finish, but it’s a lot of money so I only want to do it the once. Do it once and do it right. a proper, branded IM, sub 10.

 

The best news about today’s ride…er, the only good news about today’s ride, was my bum. Last year, in those cheapo cycling shorts (with basically a thin layer of foam in the gusset) every long-ish ride (say, over a few hours) got more and more painful. It was the main thing that kept me going through the ride on the Outlaw; the thought of running, not sitting on that agonising saddle. The truly sad thing is; (as with my ‘snip’, now I come to think about it) I went through hell because I thought that was just how it was. I didn’t know it could be any better.

On the ride today, wearing my fancy-pants mankini design cycling shorts/bib with a specially designed padded gusset, I was relatively fine. By the last hour it was getting a bit uncomfortable, but not bad by any means. Last year I was up and down trying to find a position that hurt a little bit less. I can’t remember if I’ve posted a pic of my shorts/bib. Here they are (possibly again):

shorts

That was when I’d just got them, hence the tag on the lag, and my shirt and trousers underneath!

 

The downside to my sporting pursuits is I now know how Wendy feels when her heels come back into fashion. When I go out (especially in my new trainers) I look like an Olympic newbie. Every bastard is at it now, running or riding in brand new kit. I may have to start wearing all my trophy tee-shirts from last year (Lakeland Trials Marathon 2011, etc) with the 2011 underlined.  Gawd bless ‘em for starting though, that’s when it’s toughest. One chap at my works has just bought a road bike, another is eyeing a dear one. Suddenly I am the authority on all things bike. Damn the Olympics! Bright side: it should give me a source of cheap fancy-pants second hand bikes in a few months.

 

The Seat Alhambra (bike bus) plan has been put on hold. Wendy was all excited by the plan, saying we could go for weekends away. I explained it was just a car with the seats taken out. We could, if next door were too noisy, happily sleep in it, but there were no toilets or living facilities. She’s not sold on that at all. I don’t actually need it until next year, so wait until I see a good one. The bloody things hold their value. And a lot of them have been used as taxis. Got to avoid those. Or, if we are really flush, buy a camper van. It’s not like it would cost me a lot in diesel, I ride to work four days a week (I rest my legs on Friday for the weekend) and I won’t even be running Wendy in to work if I get the morning start job at Hermes.

I’m not pushing that at the minute. My current agency keep booking me in for a week at a time, this other agency, for Hermes, seems to be “Quick! Can you work tonight?” I’ll do that when I have to. 

 

Well, sorry. That was a tedious. To be fair that’s about all my life is at the minute; work, sleep, exercise.

Makes Jack a dull boy. Oh, and my diet. I’ve lost over a stone, but I genuinely think I’m putting on some muscle now so the weight thing might not tell the whole story. And my bones are growing. And I’ve not had a shave.

Wendy says I’m looking skinnier than in years. Bearing in mind I did the Outlaw last year, that must be good. I think the word she was groping for was ‘buff’, but I’ll overlook it.

Queen keep popping in to my head “build up muscles while your body decays.” Midlife crisis in a nutshell, Mr Mercury. In a nutshell.

And on that nutshell, goodnight.

Buck.

The road to recovery.

After my bump two weeks ago I was not so good last week.

You have to have confidence you know what you are doing and a sense of what you can do. Like when you are in a car and doing a reverse manoeuvre and there is a post or low wall. You have to hold in your head where the back end of your car is, where it is going to go and where the object would be if you could still see it.

Of course it can be a tad trickier when you can’t see the whole side your 13 metre trailer, or the wall you are trying not to hit, and you have to judge the amount it is going to swing (without reference to the striking point or the point that could be struck).

You have to have confidence and competence. The two go hand in hand.

Look at the bay that I had to get on:

Crashbarrier

Actually, from that angle it looks easy. However, to  get in, (as it’s tight against the wall and there were other trucks parked in front of the bay, so I couldn’t pull forward and drive back in in a straight line) I had to go in at an angle. Which immediately blinds you to the side you need to see. The side that is going to hit the wall/barrier. So you have to look at the ‘safe’ side, unable to see the blind side or the wall and guess, basically.

Anyway, you only have to get it wrong once and suddenly it’s a big deal. And my confidence went.

Then they told me to get on that bay again on Friday. Not a happy bunny. I just took my time and made sure I got it right. Sod guessing, I kept getting out of the cab and having a look. It makes you look like a clueless newbie but not as much as crashing does.

I got on to the bay, had a quiet nervous breakdown, then the warehouse lad popped his head out and asked me to put it on a different (easy) bay. Grrrr.

 

Also on Friday they had a guest shunter in our yard. I think the regular bloke is on his holidays. She is obviously a massively competent driver as that’s what shunting is about; reversing trailers around the yard all day and putting them in whatever spot is available, however difficult. She is not good at organizing others though. She tried to have me take a different unit to the one I was issued with, then to take a trailer I wasn’t supposed to, then had me put a trailer in a tight spot to save her a job. Then she made the job loads worse by giving me direction. The wrong ones. Turn left, no turn your trailer to the left… Nightmare. Especially with someone watching me making me flap, then buggering up the instructions anyway. She left to harass someone else for a minute so I quickly parked the trailer while she was away. It didn’t help my confidence. Then when I came back into the yard at night a place was available in the same situation. I just reversed back into it. With no-one to hassle me it was relatively simple. That has given me a good weekend, knowing I did the crashy bay and the awkward reverse in the yard.

 

Also I think I cracked the 34 minute barrier on Friday night! Woo-hoo! Unfortunately it’s only ‘think’.

I set up the GPS function on Map My Ride on my ‘phone which is a faff, then plug in my headphones to the ‘phone and stash it in my waistband of my cycling shorts. Then get a foot clipped into the pedals, put my watch to stopwatch, set it running then set off. The first few hundred yards my legs were wrecked from the ride in and I wasn’t going for it. I always seem to set off late in the morning (surprise!) and it was quite windy so I’d knackered myself. After a few hundred yard my legs started to loosen a little and I noticed the wind had stopped so I went for it. I rode like a demon all the way home. A sloth demon, perhaps. I got to our house. Unclipped a pedal clicked the stop button on my watch and held it up to my headlight, 00.00 I’d not set it running! I double checked in despair, nothing. Then I remembered the ‘phone. I got it out, unlocked the screen and stopped Map My Ride, 34.24 seconds.  I reckon I can knock off 25 seconds for the faffing about at each end. I reckon but I can’t claim for sure. Bugger.

 

I went for a flat ten mile run on Saturday. That nearly killed me. My thighs were set like concrete. I just couldn’t get a ‘comfortable’ rhythm. Pure misery.And slow.

 

…Well, that was last week. I didn’t get to finish off whatever I was rambling about as I ran out of time at the night and there is never enough time to finish off during the week.

One thing from last week though; I ordered some trainers off t’internet. I don’t like doing it as you can’t try them on first, but no-one was stocking the ones I wanted. And they were a steal. Usually you are paying £80 or more for a good pair of trainers, these were just under £50. The thing is, because I over-pronate (roll my foot inwards as I run) I need specialist ‘support’ trainers to correct my gait. Otherwise you put undue strain on your joints and get shin splints and the like.

I ordered the trainers (from SportsShoes.com , if you are after a bargain) and set to waiting. On the Friday I got a note through the door saying the delivery guy had called, for a second time (!) and would try for a third and final time on Monday unless I contacted him.

It is a national delivery company the trainers shop had chosen, but it seems that company uses self employed couriers to deliver to the final destination. For reasons that will become apparent in a minute I can’t name the company, but it sounds  like Burmese.

Anyway, I rang the Burmese geezer over the weekend. Not even answering his ‘phone. So I waited in as late as possible, eschewing my pushbike so I could wait half an hour longer on Monday. No sign. I rang him at 11am  to say that I was leaving for work (he was still at home, so hadn’t started working by 11) and there would be no-one in until 4.30pm. He said he would be finished work by then. Quite when he actually worked was not made clear.

He asked me where I worked, I said ‘Irlam’, so he said I’d have to go past his house (off Cromwell Ave) on the way to work so I could pick it up. I was gobsmacked by the audacity so laughed and said “nice delivery service.”

He said “Fine. I’ll attempt my final delivery today then. Goodbye.”

Which he did. Knowing we were out.

I was going to ask him to leave it somewhere or come around on Wednesday when Wendy is off, but no. What a wanker.

I tried to email Burmese, but their website just directs complaints to those you ordered the goods off. I emailed them, saying what a disgrace that particular Burmese driver was, that I would like a refund and obviously wouldn’t be able to shop with them again as I couldn’t receive my goods. They got straight back to me saying they would raise my grievance with Burmese, how sorry they were (not their fault) and they would re-post my trainers, ‘expediated delivery’ (or some such) by Royal Mail, free of charge, as soon as they got them back. (The re-posting was free, not the trainers. They are good, but not that good!)

They finally arrived yesterday. So, SportsShoes.com good, Burmese bad.

In other, unrelated, news I have found out last week that the full-timers at my works have all been given 30 days notice. Which later was clarified as: just the full-timers on the contract that I work for. Which is to say, the parent company run several contracts out of the Irlam yard, the company I drive for has upped sticks and buggered off to Crewe. Where they already have drivers and warehousemen. All the warehouse people are gone, so far it seems all the drivers are joining them. Agency drivers don’t even rate a mention. I found out second hand.

 

So I’ve applied for that job I was after before. The trunking driver for Hermes.

 

As I said, totally unrelated news.

Next week (assuming they don’t google my blog and see through my cunning subterfuge) I should be having an induction.

 

Also this week I had my first crack at my ‘Ironlap’. It’s a route from our house (Warrington) to Bolton, then a lap of the Ironman bike route (you do three laps on the race) and back home.

As it’s a twisty course I spent ages working out how to plot it on my ‘phone. I sussed it using Google Maps. Then I spent even longer trying to get the satnav app (Google Navigation) to direct me around the route. In the end I settled for a cumbersome partial success. I can tell it to direct me to each major point on the course (there are 31 of them!) then when I arrive I have to stop, come out of Navigation, into maps, get the next point up, then tell it to guide me there via Navigation.

It’s a ballache, but if I was to write it out and try and navigate by directions it would be huge and I’d get utterly lost.

The problem with that (besides the hassle above) is being connected to a satellite and running the screen constantly, drains your battery from 100% to flat in about 3 hours. Not convenient for a long ride.

I thought I’d had a flash of genius when I thought of converting an old bottle dynamo (that old bikes used to use to power the bikes lights) to a ‘phone charger. They have been flogging them as ‘phone charger specific dynamos for years. Ah well, so much for that.

I bought one and installed it yesterday. £35! I need one for the Lands End to John O’Groats ride, so I didn’t begrudge it too much.

I went to install it on the front forks, as per instructions, only to find it would only fit on old fashioned, small, round tubes. Not the flattened, aerodynamic forks of a modern road bike. I improvised and stuck it on the rear wheel.

I set off to try out the Ironlap yesterday. I had no idea how many miles it was or how hard it was going to be, but what the hey! After about an hour and a half I decided to engage the dynamo (it has two positions, one pointing upright, the other at a steep angle with the wheel at its end jammed against the tyre, thus turning the dynamo.) Super. ‘Phone went “Beep beep” to indicate it was charging, all was well with the world. Except with the top at an angle into the tyre the bottom was at an angle pointing out. Right in the path of my heel. Within half an hour it was broken. the bottom had fallen off and was hanging by a wire. My battery was down to less than 10% and obviously I had no idea of the rest of the route. I had to switch off the Navigation and satnav and turn for home.

I got lost on the way out (before I thought to turn on voice Navigation) as I couldn’t see the screen in the bright sunlight, and I got hopelessly lost coming home trying to pick up road signs. I was out for 3hrs 35 and I reckon I did at least 50 miles but I couldn’t find a way to run Navigation at the same time as Map My Ride, so I couldn’t record my distance.

I managed to suss out how to repair the (brand new, £35, “durable construction”) dynamo when I got in, and have worked out how to mount it on the other side of the frame, furthest away from my feet, so with a lot of insulating tape it should work next time. Grrr.

This morning I did it the hard way, did a point by point route map on Gmaps Pedometer, and it turns out the full Ironlap is 76.6 miles long.

Here is the map, look at the elevation changes, particularly at 48 miles! Eek!

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5607435 

A total of 4,304 feet elevation on the route. My poor little legs!

Still, if I do that once a week as well as the 21 ‘sprint’ miles a day commute, I should soon build up.

 

Oh, and to clarify, another week on, and I’m back in the swing with my driving. No problems. I had a moment there. I was all panicky and thought I’d lost it. Back on top again now.

 

The only other thing going on is my new vehicular plan. I’m not sure how I started thinking about it, but I suddenly realised I wanted a car that could comfortably fit a bike inside. Preferably one with enough room that I could doss down with my bike stood up, that way I could go for training sessions and be able to sleep over for races as well. After that hotel experience at the Outlaw (where I paid good money to be kept awake all night by pissheads) I had planned on camping next time. This would be even better, just turn up and doss down. Near some toilets or bushes.

I was looking at something cool last year, such as a VW camper van, but they are really dear. As I’ve been driving along I’ve been eyeing cars that might do the job. I saw the Ford C-max and S-Max. Again dear. Then the Vauxhall Zafira (ugly, Vauxhall.)

Then one of my chums on Twitter said about the Ford Galaxy she used to have and how the seats folded flat in it. A bit of googling later and I discovered the Ford Galaxy, Seat Alhambra and VW Sharan are basically the same car. Built to VW standards, using VW engines off the same production line. So for a fraction of the price of a VW I can get a Seat, which is basically a VW without the badge!  FTW!

It’s still an ugly, utilitarian, minibus, but it’s cheap, should be reliable, has a VW (diesel) engine  (should be bullet proof) and the winning-est part is; the back two rows of seats clip out, leaving a flat, massive surface! Epic FTW! 

Bus1

 

Also, it would be big enough for an emergency doss down/ escape for me and Wendy when next door are having an all night coke party. Hopefully we wouldn’t need it except for a few nights a year, but at least Wendy could relax knowing we can get away to sleep. She has issues with next door.

I’ll be looking in to part exchanging the Ka in the very near future.

Oh, before I go, I did break the 34 minute barrier on three consecutive days! Go me!

Later,

Buck.

PS, Just been for a trial run in my new trainers. It was a bit of testing the water, really. I set off on the harder of my 10  routes, but was prepared to turn around at any point. New trainers, especially Assics can rub your instep right off. Not too bad. Barely noticed for the first 4 miles, after that my right instep was burning but my left remained comfy as anything. I was setting a cracking pace (for me, post injury) with the first 2 miles at just over 7 minutes each. I started to tire by 5, but then, for the first time since before my injury, so late last year, my legs came back to me! Mile 7-8 suddenly I felt fresh and managed to up the pace!

I did the 10 miles in 1.17.30 which is 7.30 minute /miles. 30 seconds a mile quicker than my last run, itself a landmark in my recovery, and after a 50+ mile ride yesterday. *happy face* Finally moving in the right direction. Go me!