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Now retired but busy still living..

Thursday 29 October 2009

Team 219 still training.

Although I am stuck at home for the time being with my various ailments- the Team 219 lads are managing to get out and about on their bikes.
John has sent me a picture of his 'Revolution' on the seafront at Swanage. As the weather was so good today he decided to ride our Studland/Corfe/Swanage training circuit. John tells me that he was feeling so good that after he had ridden the circuit once he then went round and did it all over again. This means he rode the 'hill of death' twice. John has really come on as a cyclist over the past two years and he has managed to lose two stone in weight as well. When he first started riding he only just managed to get to the top of the HOD now he can manage two ascents on the same ride. Well done John !
Dave (the broom wagon)Vaughan has sent me a picture of his new set of wheels parked up at the bridge at Wareham. Dave tells me that he completed the Studland/Corfe/Wareham training route but was beaten by the HOD. He managed to get two thirds of the way up before he had to dismount. I have no doubt that after more training Dave will beat the hill in the same way that John has done. A really great first attempt Dave !
I wish that I could be out riding with these guys and I aim to do just that as soon as my health issues are sorted.
John and I have already been discussing various rides that we plan on doing next year including a trip to Normandy in late spring/early summer and a charity ride for 'Help the Heroes'. I also plan on entering the Duncton Sportive with the aim of moving from bronze to silver and there is even talk of Cycling Across America in 2011.
I have worked out my training schedule (including my cancer treatment) and even if I dont regain the sight in my left eye - I will be riding next year....................!!

Friday 16 October 2009

The Journey Continues................

I thought that I would post an update from my last one on Monday.

Some good news was received on Tuesday concerning the Aorta problem. Apparently it is of a size that at this stage only requires an annual scan to monitor it. This news helped me in coming to terms with the earlier bad news concerning the cancer. Unfortunately on Wednesday evening something happened that sent me a few steps backwards.

Without going into all the details- I have lost the sight in my left eye. This is not connected with the cancer but seems most likely to be the failure of the warfarin that I am taking to control my blood clotting. During the Wednesday evening I had noticed that the sight in my left eye appeared to be getting slightly dimmer and then- wham-the centre of my vision in that eye seemed to be like looking at a huge pool of blood that obscured everything else.

Anne took me to A&E at Poole who after four hours sent us over to the Emergency Eye unit at Bournemouth Hospital. An Eye Consultant there did various tests and it would appear that I have a blood clot in the eye.(Something had burst) She told me that it is possible I will not regain the sight and all we can do for the next month is wait and see how much of the clot the body absorbs. After that it might be possible to try and clear it with laser treatment. What really caused me to go into panic mode was when she told me that there is a small chance that this could happen in my other eye as well........

Prior to my recent biopsy I had to stop taking the Warfarin-starting it again afterwards. However since that time my blood test readings have been all over the place and this appears to be the cause.

So- for the time being I cannot drive- I cannot ride my bikes- and I must not even indulge in any strenuous walking such as hillwalking or backpacking. This means that I am now unable to attend the BPC static meet at Tom's Field this weekend. I have spoken to Peter Calcutt who will now lead the walk and he should arrive at the site between 1900hrs and 2000hrs.

I have completed lots of difficult journeys over the years but this current one is testing me to my very limits ...!!

Monday 12 October 2009


Following my cycling accident in June I had a number of abnormal blood tests. These led on to me having various tests and scans the latest of which was a biopsy (pretty uncomfortable it was too).

About three weeks ago I was told by a junior doctor that the results 'appeared' to be negative. At that time I breathed a huge sigh of relief thankful that the big 'C' had passed me by.

Today I had a meeting with my consultant and he confirmed that of the eight biopsies that were taken -two were shown to be positive.

It all feels a bit like a psychological rollercoaster-initially feeling low then back up with relief and now back down again. It does focus one's thoughts somewhat.

To add to my concerns one of the scans has shown an enlarged Aorta (Aneurysm) and the risk of this bursting still needs to be assessed.

I have always kept myself fit and led an active life and looking on the positive side- it is only due to the cycling accident that these two potentially life threatening conditions have been found.

At the moment I do feel a bit like the picture shown above- trying to drag myself up and out of the depths. After a few days I will manage to drag myself out of the muddy depths and reach the grassy bank and at that time I will get on my bike and start fighting back but at the moment I am finding the mud pretty deep.....!!

Yes-I have had better days.....!!

Saturday 10 October 2009

Lessons in Travel - 1

It occurs to me that a little advice from others on the art of travel (and it is an art if done properly) is always welcome.

With this in mind I thought that over the forthcoming winter months I would post a few words every now and then as uttered by the wise and experienced.!!

To kick it off we have a quote on Travel Companions:-

The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
(Henry David Thoreau)

How true that comment is......
I recall a number of backpacking trips with someone who seemed to delight in having 'another ciggarette' before taking his tent down whilst everyone else was packed and ready for the off.

One of the great pleasures of solo backpacking (or any form of solo travel) is the freedom from others.

Friday 2 October 2009

Ian Heritage / LEJOG update.

I was speaking to Ian today about his cycle LEJOG attempt that unfortunately ended at Dumfries Medical Centre.

Apparently one of Ian's knees had been giving him problems as he was cycling up Shap in the Lake District- he carried on trying to cycle 'through' the pain. He managed to get to the top (shrouded in clouds at the time) and from there on it was a downhill ride for most of the distance to the border.

The picture shows Ian at the border near Gretna. He tried to get a Doctor to check out his leg there but the surgery was so busy that nobody could see him.

After spending a night in Gretna the brothers set off again but the pain was so bad that they only managed to cycle a further five miles. A visit to the Dumfries Medical Centre confirmed their worst fears and the LEJOG attempt had come to a premature end. The brothers were both devastated by the bad news. After managing to cycle the entire length of England the end had come just a few miles over the border in Scotland.

Ian told me today that he had really been looking forward to the Scottish section of the ride with the highlights of Loch Lomond and Glen Coe.

So what now?

Well -Ian does intend to complete the route.

By the time Ian's knee has healed it will be too late in the year to make a realistic attempt at the miles remaining so spring next year seems to be the most likely time to complete the LEJOG.

I think that this story goes to show how difficult these challenges can be and the stresses they put on the body are enormous. Ian and his brother have worked hard on this trip in their efforts to raise money for their chosen charity. If you would like to support their effort and their charity please go to www.justgiving.com/heritagecycle and find out more.

Six weeks off.

 The visit to see the Consultant went quite well really ...   My ' numbers' have started to creep up again so I am going to be given...