Friday, 31 July 2009

Another step to recovery.

Having said in my last posting earlier today that I had no real news to share with you- I was wrong. This afternoon I went out on my Revolution Country Traveller-the touring bike that I was riding when I had the accident. I achieved a distance of ten miles and still felt good at the end of the ride. How good? Well as I was heading back a young guy on his racer turned into the same road just behind me-I just knew that he was going to flash past me so that I could see how fast and what a good rider he was..!!!!! Well I couldn't have that could I? I allowed him to get a bit of distance on me -about 20seconds-and then I reeled him in and passed him at speed-about 28mph on the flat. He never did catch me. Silly stuff I know but it did me the world of good-not bad when you think that at about the same time six weeks ago I was falling off my bike and breaking collarbone and ribs etc..etc...

More pictures of the ACCR







While I am recovering from the accident that I had at the end of the ACCR I don't have much in the way of news to share with you all. However what I do have are some more general shots taken during the trip itself. Shown here we have a picture of Dave's tent with the temporary repair he made to it using a sheet of polythene. Dave had tested the waterproof properties of this tent before leaving home. He had climbed inside and got his other half to hose it down with the garden hosepipe. 'No water came in at all' he told us all. Pity then that as soon as this tent came in contact with French rain it all just poured in! In the end Dave was forced to buy another tent. You can see from the next picture how nice and uncrowded French camp sites can be in June. Everyone obviously knew that it was going to rain except us. Then we have a picture of John and Jason having a very 'rare' coffee stop-usually these guys would be hammering along eating up the miles-- or should that be kilometeres? The final picture here was taken from the Britanny Ferry at the very start of the trip. It shows the Studland chain ferry that we use when we head out on a training ride-not an angle that we normally would see it from.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Mountains....!

It was brilliant today to see Bradley Wiggins of Team Garmin-Slipstream hold on to his 4th place position in the general classification of The Tour de France as he climbed Mont Ventoux. On that mountain the race can be won or lost in one bad moment. After three weeks of racing with all the pressures and stress that the riders will have been under it was a cruel decision by the organisers to put that climb in at the last but one day-but what great cycling it made.
I climbed a mountain of my own today-I managed to get on my town bike and ride for ten minutes around the local streets. This was the first time since my accident 5 weeks ago that I have been on a bike-not perfect or pain free yet but it is a start. Not quite Mont Ventoux I know but just as tough for me right now.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Wet Weather.....!




Looking out of the window over the past couple of days and seeing some of the heavy rain we have had reminded me of some of the weather that we had on the ACCR. After last years LEJOG we expected that cycling south through France in June would almost guarantee us good weather. How wrong can you be?!! If any person from foreign shores ever makes comment to me about the bad weather that we have here in good old blighty I will let them know in no uncertain terms that in my experience it does in fact rain almost everywhere and at any time. Rumours of good weather in France during the summer are just that-Rumours. The last time I was camping in France was about ten years ago-again in June- and it rained heavily for most of the trip on that occasion.
The pictures today show one of our wet evening picnics and a wet scene in the local village.

Monday, 20 July 2009

More from the ACCR.




Just a couple more pictures from our recent ACCR both of these taken in the French section of the trip. Back on 1st July I posted a photo of Dave asleep in his hoody - Dave had told me the purpose of the hoody was to keep the light out of his eyes. Just to show how questionable that explanation really was, here we have another picture of Dave and his hoody-truth is that Dave has been working at the station here in Bournemouth for too long- he always thinks that he is working undercover trying to blend in with the passengers- you should see his Nike trainers to help complete the look. Another member of SWT staff from the infamous Revenue Protection Department is Inspector John Donoghue even in France he could not resist boarding a train / checking tickets and issuing penalty fares to passengers without tickets. The picture here shows John trying to entice passengers on to the train before serving them all with a penalty for not having a valid ticket-good old SWT training- it even comes in useful to make a few euros in the middle of an endurance cycle ride-mind you I think I am better out of it -I have now managed to go for ten weeks without a confrontation..........!!!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Incentive....!











My new bike has now been built up. I managed to get over to my Felt dealer for sizing/fitting and to take over my Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels which I intend to use with the bike. This bike is seriously lightweight-with a full carbon frame and the super lightweight wheelset. Even the bottle holders are made in super light carbon. All the components are Dura Ace 7900 series.The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that one of the pictures shows the bike indoors. Yes that's right I have brought the bike indoors so I can sit here and watch the Tour de France on TV and also look at my new bike. What greater incentive do I need to recover from my recent accident? Anne tells me she thinks that I am mad!!!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Making me happy.

Well the Tour de France is proving to be the exciting sporting occasion that it always is. Each year it manages to be unpredictable and delivers what is always a great sporting event. Team Astana is showing that it is a real force to reckon with and has ridden well each day. My favourite team Garmin has featured on the podium in 3 of the first 4 stages. Bradley Wiggins managed a 3rd place on stage 1-Tyler Farrar took 2nd on stage 2 and the team itself came 2nd in todays team time trial which was the 4th stage. Lance Armstrong (Astana) is cycling with a style and power that is truly amazing when you consider that he has been retired for the past four years and Mark Cavendish (Columbia) is showing us yet again that he is the fastest sprinter in the world right now. At the present time Garmin riders are in the overall placings at 6th(Bradley Wiggins) and 10th(David Miller). All of this makes me happy.--

Something else that has made me happy over the past couple of weeks is all the messages and calls I have received offering me support and best wishes following my accident. These have come from members of the Backpackers club and other areas of the outdoors scene as well as people that I have got to know in the cycling world. It makes me happy to realise how lucky I am to know such nice and thoughtful people. A big thank you to each and every one of you.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Latest Update.


This picture was taken just a couple of hours after we had arrived back in the UK at the end of our ACCR. It shows Jason and John with their bikes aboard the Starcross ferry. Little did we all know that about 30mins later our ride would come to an abrupt end when I had my accident. Exeter hospital was not where we had expected to be that evening. --In the past few days my situation has deteriorated. It would seem that after all the full on activity of the ride itself and then my left arm being totally immobile following the accident and the subsequent collarbone and multiple rib fractures I now have a Thrombosis in my left arm. I woke up on Friday morning and my left arm had blown up like the michelin man. It had grown so huge that it didn't look like my arm at all. In fact I am convinced it belongs to someone else. Anyway the upshot was that my GP had me down the hospital before my feet could touch the ground. I now have daily hospital visits while they try to establish the correct levels of warfarin that I need to be on in order to treat this condition-this situation could continue for a further six months which isn't a great prospect to look forward to. Anyway just before leaving home this morning for my hospital visit I had a phone call from John. John told me that he has decided to upgrade the wheels on his bike following all his broken spokes in France. Apparently he went to Bicycle World at Longham as I had recommended them. They are the Felt dealers who have my new bike in their store room awaiting my visit so they can build it up. They are going to build John a new set of wheels for his Revolution- as I said in a recent posting regarding John's wheels-it was only a matter of time ..!!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Good for a Laugh.

One of the good things about having someone like John on the team is that he is always ready to give us all a laugh. If he's not telling us one of his funny tales of the time he spent in the film industry he is cracking a joke or doing something that the rest of us find really humorous such as mentioned in yesterday's posting. One evening in France after a long and hot day the talk came around to the subject that is often on the minds of all long distance cyclists- that is the subject of CHAFING. Now chafing can be really painful especially as the temperture rises and the mileage mounts up. In order to help combat the problem most cyclists wear padded lycra shorts and a lot of us also use a cream that we apply either directly on the skin in those secret little places or else on the chamois pad of the shorts.During our evening discussion John told us that he wasn't using a chamois cream but he also let slip that he was wearing cotton underpants as well as his padded shorts. Now this is a total NO NO!! If you wear cotton underpants they will just absorb all your perspiration and all that dampness just helps to make you very sore indeed. The idea is to wear the padded chamois lycra shorts and NO underpants. Poor John - no wonder he had been suffering. When the rest of us had finished laughing (which took a good few minutes) John told us that he hadn't realised and that no one had explained this to him bearing in mind that he is not a cyclist as such. So between the bouts of laughter we explained to John all there is to know about the black art of wearing padded lycra shorts and the use of chamois cream. The following evening at the end of the day's ride we were suprised to see a large white greasy mark all over the rear end of John's shorts. When asked about it John explained that as he didn't have any chamios cream he had used baby nappy rash cream-more laughter. Unlike chamois cream the nappy rash cream is oily and is not absorbed by the pad in the same way that proper chamois cream is. By the end of the trip Jason and I could tell how far we had all cycled that day just by looking at the size of John's oily patch. The bigger the patch the further we had travelled. This proved almost as accurate as the bike computers. As I said at the beginning -you can always rely on John to give you a good laugh....!!!!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Broken Spokes.

When we were on the ACCT we all felt the frustration that John was feeling due to the high number of broken spokes that he suffered. This led us to the spectacle one afternoon of John in the main square of the village of St Emilion on his mobile phone to The Edinburgh Bicycle CoOperative telling them about the problems he was having. We heard him come out with phrases like 'What can you do to help me?' and 'Can we come to some arrangement?' Now I have always found the EBC to be most helpful but quite what John expected from them when they were nearly 1000miles away is difficult to understand. Anyway the final outcome was that on John's return to the UK he would return the wheel to them for checking and testing and they would either repair -rebuild or replace depending on what they found. I bet the poor guy at EBC had a red hot ear when he finally got to put the phone down that afternoon. Now to follow on from that- we had only been off the ferry for a few minutes on our return to good old blighty and had just passed through customs when John is straight on the phone to EBC again. Again I have no idea what he was hoping to achieve with yet another phone call to them but the final outcome of this call was the same as the previous one-he was to send the wheel off to them on the Monday and they would take it from there. Now that was two weeks ago. Did John send his wheel back to them? NO!!. After one very expensive mobile phone call from France and a second call the moment we got back to the UK he has not done anything about it. If he had sent it back on the Monday as agreed he would probably have a replacement by now- and he can't say that it would have meant his bike being off the road for a couple of weeks because he didn't ride his bike again until yesterday. MOST BIZARRE !!! The guy that repaired his wheel on the last occasion in France told him that the wheel was in desperate need of a rebuild so I will keep you informed of further developments on this story because it is only a matter of time.......................

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

First words of advice from the cycling oracle.


Here is a picture (apologies for poor quality) of Dave our broom wagon and support driver as mentioned in yesterday's posting. The photo was taken on board the ferry on our return trip from Spain. Dave had settled down for the night in his recliner-quite what the hoody is all about I am not sure although Dave did tell me it was to keep the light out of his eyes. Now I have to ask you-WOULD YOU TAKE CYCLING ADVICE FROM THIS MAN? Since his MBK hit the roads yesterday he is now known as the team's 'Cycling Oracle' and his first words of advice to me were to invest in a set of stabilisers for my bike- probably good advice considering recent events...!!

A step closer to what is normal........

Over this past week our campsite has taken a step closer to what we think of as normality...  The sign that was put out at the entrance to ...