Or, A Year Of Madness

The sad tale of one man's - failed - bewildering attempt to get into the 1,200k endurance cycle event, from Paris to Brest and then back again, in August 2011. Oh, and walk 100 miles non-stop in May. And run a marathon - all in within 12 months. The marathon went OK, the walk was fine and the final qualifying ride was too close to the 100 mile walk. So the Pointless Project goes on for another four years untilk PBP comes round again in 2015.....

Friday, 27 June 2014

Bordeaux to Caen - by bike (again)

Went with The Fridays to Caen, then rode to Bordeaux, this was The Real Thing, a trip for a club I'm in. I'd recce'd the route last month and this time there were 23 of us altogether. There was a van to carry bags southwards and the bikes northwards, with riders getting the train northwards. The weather was warm and dry with a following wind. The logistics, which I sorted, were complicated and not helped by a French train strike that messed up some of the travelling arrangements on the last day. Everyone managed to get home OK, and it has taken only a few days to sort out the money and hand back to everyone the remnants of the kitty money. Planning now moves to the Saunders Mountain Marathon in late July, then a fortnight rising and camping across the north of France from St Malo to Calais, perhaps the Fresian Islands in September and maybe south of France or Spain in October.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Helping on the Hundred

A trip to south wales to help out on the annual 100 mile walk organised by the Long Distance Walkers' Association - they get 48 hours to walk 100 miles. i did it a few years ago and helping out is always good fun, although you don't get any sleep. It rained continuously this year and the retirement rate was 50 per cent, whereas in usual years it is 20 per cent, so you can see it was a harder year than most. I'm glad I was helping, not walking.

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Recce.........

A week riding from Caen in northern France to Bordeaux in the south: a reconnaissance for The Real Thing in June when 24 members of The Friday Night Ride to the Coast cycling club go on their annual jaunt. Four of us went on the recce, which is to ensure we have the route OK and the roads are suitable for that number of riders, plus we can find food shops and restaurants. They book their own hotels and contribute £100 each to the costs of a van that carries their luggage south and their bikes back northwards, while they take the train. Here, I hope, is a link to very bad film I made:.. http://youtu.be/3zEWSN_sphg

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Belgium, again...........

Another superb adventure courtesy of the Friday Night Ride to the Coast - train to Ashford, pick up a friend in his ar, through the Tunnel and drive to De Panne in Belgium, ride up the Belgian coast to Ostend and take the train into Brussels. A quick steak & chips in the Grand Place, a beautiful square in Brussels and we were escorted to the outskirts of the city by someone in the Fridays who lives there. Then the remaining seven of us hurtled through the flat countryside on perfect tarmac and cycle paths alongside canals to a small village outside Ghent where we arrived at 3.30am at a house where three generations of the family had got up to see us a provide a lavish meal. We wolfed the lot, donned an extra layer of clothing and set off again. We were often doing 20kph and rarely slower than 17kph. A quick stop for a drink of cold water from our bottles in Bruges and we arrived about 9am in Ostend and went to the same cafe as we used last year to eat a "petit dejeuner copious" for €15 and damned good value it was too. Then €2 each for the coast tram and €2 for my bike and 90 minutes later we arrive in De Panne. a short car journey later and we're on the Tunnel shuttle, and home by about 2.30pm. A brilliant trip, great cycling. Now - off to France on Friday for a week to recce the route for The Real Thing in June when 25 Fridays ride from Caen to Bordeaux. And the good news is that my hand is healing well after the operation and didn't hurt even in the cold night air. All good.

Monday, 28 April 2014

An even briefer update

On March 21 I had an operation on my right hand to remove something called a depuytren's contracture, which is growth of collagen on a tendon that bends the finger into itself so it cannot be used. i had the same thing done on my little finger on the left hand 10 years ago and now have had the right hand done. This is a highly complex and technical op, in which a cut is made half an inch deep and four inches long in the hand and the surplus tissue is then cut away. Obviously the hand is full of blood vessels, nerves, tendons, muscles, etc etc all in a very small space. So it's a bit tricky. The op went OK, but my hand is even now, five weeks afterwards, swollen a lot. I have a lot of scar tissue that has to be massaged five times a day to get rid of it, and I feel absolutely knackered. But things are going OK, and although I am not running or biking as much as I would like, there is light at the end of the tunnel and I can run a bit and ride a bit. I am still sleeping like a log as the body recovers. All I have done in the past few weeks has been a few short walks, and a few short rides. But the summer has two cross-France rides, another one across the north French coast, one in the Fresian Islands off the Netherlands, and it all begins this weekend with a trip to Brussels on Saturday and ride overnight to Ostend, followed by a trip on the world's longest tram and home to Dear Old Blighty on the Sunday. I rode overnight to Bognor with the FNRttC last Thursday and although the hand ached in the cold air, it was put-up-with-able (if that is a word). I made a short film thingy: here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOi04P_m-To In other news, I have bought a return ticket to Chile next January for the ride southwards and across Patagonia.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Brief update

A bit of running, nothing more than four miles, and a three day trip to Salisbury with the bike to spend a bit of time pottering round the cathedral and learning how and why it was built. The pire was not part of the original plan and all 6,500 tons of stone in the spire was added afterwards with no work on the foundations so you can now see where the walls and bending and slowly collapsing under the weight - a trip up the tower will show you the remedial works with iron, wood and stone over the years. The Sunday february 9 - the Punchbowl marathon, a 20 mile walk and one of the Big Three I do every winter (the others being the Winter Tanners and the Gatliff Marathon). Once upon a time I used to do the 30 mile route, now I do the 20 miler. All good fund in good company. In the last week, a few four mile runs and a 16 mile walk in slippy mud with the London group of the Long Distance Walkers Association around a bit of East Susssex. A very good day out, despit the famous slippy mud of East Sussex.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Of Ice, and knees...........

Fitness now falling away badly: nasty snuffly headcold after Christmas, then a few runs and the left knee all hurty. So I sat with big bag of frozen peas on my knee while imbibing Ibruprofen, red wine and cheese. Eventually, it seems to have cured itself. That ice does work wonders. Now it seems OK again, but I am giving it a day or to heal up before running. And the weather is still vile, well it is January I suppose. Planning is now quite intense: have finished finding places to stay, and ferries/timings/travel there and back, etc for the Hebrides trip for April, and much of the planning for Patagonia next January/February. The Fridays trip from Caen to Bordeaux in June is coming along, with plans for the reconnaissance in May well ahead - ferries, hotel and return flights booked and paid for.