Today 15 Sep - DISASTER  After a good few days away, a stiff knee on the return flight has turned into a 'You have 2 chances of going on a weeks biking trip' from the Doc on Monday Afternoon - with no reason and so no easy cure.  But, the Physio has given me wonder blue lymphatic drain tape, I am confined to very light dutes and ice compress every 2 hours with the leg raised - and a Go / No Go Docs check on Thu at 14:30 .... So I have 4 options:

  • A full recovery for Thursday afternoon - currently 4/10 but improving

  • A gentle start with the bus to Bayonne instead of Bordeaux ...

  • A delayed start and fly to Pau/Biarritz and train to Pamplona and pick up the route from there.

  • Postpone it all!

I will keep you posted - but obviously its a balance between doing it and not coming back a cripple.


Off for another ice pack ....

12 Sep: A few days with work in Sicily and no bike to train with which has been tough. But less than a week to go and the chance of a ride on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday ...  And the tour tyres (Schwalbe Marthons) have arrived so, fingers crossed, thats about all the prep done.

8 Sep:  No update with a busy busy week, including a fantastic 'do' on Saturday (Ta Jo & Run Faster Now ) either side of a bike ride (80km+), York on Sunday, Blackpool today and now off to Sicily 'till Sunday (Sound good but ....).  So thats about it for training - wish me luck I am going to need it!

30 Aug:  21 Miles in Hitchin yesterday and a reminder of all the lessons learnt about Sat Nav, Waypoints, Batteries etc - Best I do some 'tidying up' of my routes so they are not just a set of meaningless WP numbers.  And then another 26 miles this morning on the Wasps Nest route  (3 via the shops for a sleeping mat and other bits) and the main 23 miles in 1:40 so 13.8 mph (22.2 kmh) so nearly double the target! And 2300 Calories so I've earnt my Sunday Lunch :)

And ....  So far just over £1700 in sponsorship (most from where I had not expected it).  Thank you all very very much it will provide the backbone and impetus I suspect I'll need and leaves me feeling just a little bit humbler and a lot more motivated (determined). 

27 Aug Update:  24.75 miles at an average (including stops) of 11.5 mph and 2000 calories with a 5mph wind via Wasps Nest.  ‘OK’  Hopefully some routes, pics etc to follow later.

Tuesday 25 Aug and the Previous Weekend.  Heading for crunch time but after 3 days in the Dales over the weekend I'm both happier and not ...  The hills were great in Swaledale and into Durham, and the training has paid off, but it does put the 1100km and the 3 mountain ranges into perspective!  A quick half hour to/from Richmond on Fri night was great, just over the ridge to the North to West Gilling and back - real hills and countryside too.  Saturday was Richmond along the back roads to Barnard Castle and then Bowes 22 miles and 2:15 (Gilling West, Hartforth, Washton, Kirby Hill, Gayles, Newsham, Barningham, Gret Bridge, Barnard Castle and then the A67 to Bowes and the route will be up once I can download and convert it).  Gorgeous though hard work - especially the run from Barnie to Bowes - 4 miles all uphill into the heart of the Penines and into wind :(  A real slog but no Granny Gear :) Sunday a run along the high road from Richmond to Reeth and back again.  Another 22 miles and the high road was great with a new top speed on my mountain bike, with panniers, of 40 mph - and a new low speed of 1.8 mph...  And it is true there is time to think on a bike - and on the killer hill half way to Reeth, in between deep panting, rasping breaths as my heart rate climbed to 180 plus and my speed dropped to below 2mph, while listening to the light thud of the sweat that had collected on my chin dripping regularly onto the tarmac the thoughts were simple:  If I stop peddling long enough to try to unclip will I fall over as I roll back down the hill before I can unclip my shoe or can I make it up the hill before I start rolling backwards fall over and am sick or will I just have to fall over anyway - And then how do I start off again ...  And the answer is - as you start to roll backwards and fall over you can unclip really really quickly!  And the cup of coffee (and chocolate bar) in Reeth after the 15 minute buzz down from the ridge to the North (Yeah Ha) was Oh so oh so good and maybe even earned.  The next 2 days just a bit of anaerobic work in the gym to improve my hill ‘attack’.  But with some hills done, and my blood pressure now certified under control, a great few days!  Only made even better by a small envelope with donations from fellow Freemen in Richmond - Thank you very much; your thoughts will, I am sure, add some much needed backbone when I need it!

16 Aug Update.  45km yesterday - into the wind, and a typical Lincolnshire late autumn day, overcast, drizzly and grey - really inspiring.  The only good bits being a sweet running bike and a very pleasant run from Wasps Nest (A small hamlet in the middle of an industrial scale farm in the fens) to the Water Rail Way (but even that was cross wind with a lean on).  And the really tight fitting cold weather gear works with a reported 7 Lb 'Water Loss' during the trip - No Pictures thankfully!  Arm still hurts so uphill even less pleasant than usual but otherwise still fit ....

12 Aug Update.  Bike back from its servicing with a new bottom bracket, new chain and new cassette (ouch) and a desire to engage on 'fit for purpose' as it is a bit like a car needing a new gearbox 'coz its been driven! That said, she's lovely and in great fettle, and I'm getting there (off the drugs - mostly) and with positive feedback from the Medics at Peterboro too.  In the weeds now and looking at the best way home, making sure I have all the right bits (folding tire) etc and starting to 'worry'.  Pass the word please.

9 Aug Update .... Elbow first as in France - Yes I know I should have landed elsewhere)  ...  A trip to A&E diagnosed 'extreme' bursitus and I still can't straighten it properly but at least I get to stop the horse pill antibiotics tomorrow which is a win - though how my body will cope without Ibroprufen is anyone's guess.  Can you get withdrawl symptons?  Nonetheless, and despite the Gypsy's warning I have managed to get back on the real bike with 40km on Friday, 55km on Saturday and a trip to the Bike Shop (Pre-departure servicing) today. My Pilgrim's passport has arrived and so I may get lodging at some of the refuges - but the Cyclists guide suggests I may not ... Never mind I am now the proud possesor a very lightweight 1 man tent so come rain or shine, accomodation or not, the adventure is on! Thanks BJ! And with a month, or just under, to go, if you could pass the word, spread the pain, tempt anyone to have a look etc I'd be really really grateful as the enormity is starting to sink in.  But at least Justgiving is accepting money.  (Hint Hint)

(4 Aug)  Back from  My Hols .. with a tale of woe (ish).... See here.

(22 July)  3 Hills and strong wind just to say a quick 'bye' to my lovely bike before a week on holiday without her.  And a late night email fest yesterday - Big and very heartfelt thanks to all who replied and supported so promptly.  Now a week on the comedy bike (see the Training Plan) ...And unlikely to be any updates 'til August - but please do pass the word - it does work and I'm already a bit humbled by the support. 

Old NEWS... JUSTGIVING are doing a 'revamp' and it really is still taking time ....But the links on this page work, money does go through and it is worth the effort...Please!  And I have my outbound ticket so there is no going back!  And my biggest ever donation - £250 from the Company of Grocers, Mercers & Haberdashers of Richmond, North Yorkshire.  So 'buns' to whomever suggested that 'Yorkshiremen are just Scotsmen with their heart removed."

(21 July)  4 Hills yesterday and just a bit of Farklet on the Cross Trainer today ... And thanks - we have cracked the first thousand (OK including gift aid) but that is still great - especially with 2 months to go! So once again big thanks, no going back now ...But please, don't force me to have another Cheese, Marmite, Peanut Butter & Taramasalata Sandwich - unless its worth it ....(Picture on the RAF BF page).

(18 Jul):  I hate the wind!  Really really really hate it!  It was 25 mph gusting 35 mph from the west today - so that made the return trip along the Water Railway really unpleasant.  Coupled with 'lethargy' from 50km, the gym and a 'Veggie Day' yesterday meant today's trip was 3 and a bit hours and 2400 Calories most of which was just a slog...

Todays Tip:  Eat!  50km burns 2000 Calories - which is a bit more than 2 espressos and an Alpen cereal bar has.

Today's tips.  Taking pictures while cycling is OK. Doing it of somthing behind you isn't!  And then when you are forced to hacksaw your way through your bike lock in the middle of Lincoln - be nice to everyone even the 'sharp' ones who ask "Is this your's or are you knicking it?"  And be even nicer to the local policemen who get fed up coming to see you!  Ho Hum - Thank goodness there are no pictures though!

Last week's tip.  Biking is not running!  So when you fail the lovely 'Bleep Test' this means a focus on running for a week and hang being 'bike fit'.  So - one step forward and one step back continues.  Ho Hum.  And Google Earth files for the route are on the 'Geekery' pages for download.  (GPX - Garmin format to follow).

Last Month's tip ...Don't fall over and sprain your ankle!  You can ride with it strapped up but there is no power, the case rubs on the crank, its really awkward and feels really unbalanced, you fall over again as you forget how much it hurts to unclip and it takes ages to heal!  But at least I now know I can continue if (when) this happens en rte.  No pictures as Mrs S refused to take part in the Trial.

Last month's top tip - don't do a 53km ride when the back half is into a 20km wind in in the rain!  (Training Routes Page to follow).

And hopefully some more updates will follow now the 'funny season' at work is suposedly over ....And maybe I get less 'winter sun' too.

 Last Update:

21 July - Bits ... Training Plan, GPs Files, Note 


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