Monday, 21 February 2011

Crossword clue: not the Last Post

So much to explain, so little space if the blog's going to be interesting!  The questions to explain:

- why am I blogging?
- what am going to blog about?
- what are the events I'm doing?
- what does the signature name mean?
- why should you care?
- who am I raising money for?

All will become clear over the next couple of weeks, as I try to answer the above, and weave in some progress reports about training and preparation for events over the next few months.

First question first: why am I blogging?  There are two answers really.  First, I've been inspired to by others - they've made me laugh, made me cry, fired my enthusiasm, and impressed me with their wit and urbaneness.  This, for example, is by Mendip Rouleur, a collaborator on a number of important missions:  I've not just chosen it because I feature from time-to-time (though under an alias, see if you can guess....), but it's of a standard to which I can only aspire - entertaining, learned, philosophical.  I fear mine will be far more prosaic, but I'll at least endeavour to find some other redeeming features.  And second, because if I'm asking folk for money for charitable causes, I want to make it a more engaging and ongoing experience than popping on to a charity website, leaving their credit card details, and wondering what the heck ever happened - did the sponsoree do the event?  Did they finish?  Was it windy?  Did they break a nail?  Just how much misery did my tenner buy? I'll aim to share all the detail, whether you want it or not.

I'll come to the events I'm doing next time around, but in essence I'm training for both cycling and running events, and a couple that combine the two.  I'm a cyclist by trade (actually I'm a project manager by trade, but this feels nearly as important), but this year - 2011 - I've added some running to the mix.  That was caused by a massive feeling of ennui at the last organised cycle event I did in 2010 - the Exmoor Beast at the end of October.  Nothing wrong with the event, but as I signed on for it the day before (at Pontins in Minehead - that probably didn't help the vibe) I just wasn't excited, or felt even particularly challenged.  Anyway, I couldn't give up cycling as I just love it too much, but I needed to branch out a bit.  A triathlon or two would have been nice, but as I can't stand swimming that was a non-starter.  Running, however, is something I've enjoyed for the last couple of cycling offseasons, so that was the problem solved.

Though as I was running up a hill in Macclesfield Forest in the wind on Saturday morning, as the precipitation that had been heavy rain at home turning to driving snow 400 feet higher, with my feet soaked and my knees throbbing, it didn't feel like a problem solved.  It felt like one created.  However, to talk about something that I suspect will become a recurring theme as these blogs progress, the pain and privations of training don't half make you appreciate common-or-garden things like muesli, a hot shower and dry clothes.  In retrospect, the 2 hours 8 minutes I spent out on Saturday morning running down inundated canal tow paths, up snow-packed hillsides and through reservoirs that had spilled onto roads, were possibly the best of the week.

I suspect that's quite enough for a first blog.  Don't want to scare the horses, they might not come back for more.  I've now got an image in my head of a horse sitting in a wing-backed armchair with a pair of reading glasses on the end of his ever-so-long nose, reading a book.  With a cravat.  The horse, not the book.  Enough already. 

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