Sunday, 6 January 2013

100 up...

I've always admired (or is it thought slightly mad?) those hardy souls who do 100 mile time trials. I can't particularly see the fun in them, ploughing up and down a dual carriageway. And yet I fear that my small but dedicated band of readers have had to show the same levels of endurance and suffering to get to this, my 100th blog post. But onwards.....

I rode my bicycle today, just over 50 miles as it happens, and I shall return to the subject later on. I just didn't want you to think I was going to come over all self-indulgent when I start talking about last year, this year, and indeed the next couple of years.

2012 was a year when things influenced me, rather than the other way round. Some couldn't be helped, like getting sciatica for a while. Others I wouldn't have had any other way, like being around to provide what little assistance I could to Mrs Monmarduman as she nursed her mum through her final weeks during September and October, and spending more time with my kids than I thought was going to be possible. But there were others still which maybe I let influence me more than they should have - starting a new job for example. It's easy to think I didn't ride because of the travelling involved in the new job; the truth, I suspect, is that the travelling persuaded me to not enter events, and not entering events is a surefire way of me letting my training become erratic.

2013 will, I hope, be quite different. It's perhaps easy to say that when I haven't had to travel anywhere with work for nearly 4 weeks now, but I've resolved to make minor changes, like insisting on staying in hotels with a gym for example; it's not getting out on the road, but at least it's limiting the damage. But there are other reasons too, like....

Death. Cheerful, huh. I'm not sure whether I'm at that mid-life stage where it's inevitable that people you know directly or indirectly die, but there does seem to have been an awful lot of it around in recent times. I'm finding myself connected obliquely to it all the time. Today, for example, there was a news story about a Scottish guy who died yesterday when his parachute failed to open over Perthshire. I hadn't seen him for perhaps 3 years now, but 8 years ago I worked with him quite closely on a project. And last week, the Plymouth schoolboy who jumped off a ferry on new year's sister-in-law was on the ferry immediately behind, and he and my youngest had 17 Facebook friends in common (though I'm not sure that's saying a lot when all 16 year olds seem to have about 500 Facebook friends). Anyway, the point is there seem to be constant reminders about our fragile hold on existence. And in that light, and this isn't meant as flippantly as it sounds, it seems daft not to ride my bike as much as possible. It's what I like to do, after all.

2012 was, however, the year I discovered that running and cycling could co-exist peacefully, a revelation in my little mind akin to finding out that when humans aren't looking cats and dogs play scrabble together in a spirit of mutual admiration and co-operation. So it wasn't a complete write-off.

2013, however, is already shaping up to be better. I've resolved (again) to ride more with others this year, and have already entered 5 events with other people, starting with the Mere Two Hundred audax 3 weeks today (that's 200 km. Blimey. Better do some training). They may not all be big events, the Kidsgrove Loop De Loop at the start of March for example certainly isn't, but they will, I trust, be fun.

My biggest goal is now two and a half years away, and so within sight - Paris-Brest-Paris in 2015. I want to do it for a number of reasons. First, it's mental - 1200 km non-stop, or as non-stop as you can manage. Second, it's the oldest long distance cycle race in the world; older than everything, including the Tour de France, which gives it an alluring authenticity in my book. Third, it goes through parts of Brittany I'm now really familiar with (and love), and within 20 miles of our little cottage there. And finally - it's a great target to keep in your mind when you're slogging your guts out on the turbo trainer - under 1000 days to go.

And so it was that I took to the road today on another tiny step towards Paris, though the misty lanes of east Cheshire and north Staffordshire felt a world away today. They made for good riding though - my 50 miles had 3000 feet of climbing in them, which isn't astounding, but provided a bit of a test after a good few months mainly spent on the flatlands. In fact, I accidentally went up Mow Cop the difficult way - aka "The Killer Mile" - which isn't quite as difficult as folk make out when it's warm and you've got some fitness, but under-trained and in January, it's definitely a leg-warmer and chest-wheezer. Fun though.

And little cycling world was brightened this week when my tweet recommending The Cycling Anthology Volume 1 was re-tweeted by Lionel Birnie, one of the co-editors. I'm not sure how he managed to do it, as I didn't use a hashtag (I'm sure regular Twitter-ers could enlighten me), but do it he did. And he's now following me. Must be my wit and erudition innit.

I was hoping to squeeze in some Hasselhoff jokes having seen him in panto yesterday, but my energy is low and this is too long already. Oh yes it is.

1 comment:

  1. "For life is quite absurd
    And death's the final word
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.
    Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
    Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow"


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