Saturday, 23 December 2017

It's that Special Season again.....

No it's not a rave it's Eva in Seasonal Mode....
I know the above image breaks every photographic rule known to man but I rather like the effect.....
My daughter tells me that it looks like a rave but I can assure you all that is not what it is...

It is Eva the Eriba decked out in her seasonal finery...

***Wishing Everyone A Very Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year*** 


Monday, 18 December 2017

Disappointed.....

When I was undergoing treatment for cancer back in 2009/10 one of the things that gave me strength was the Lance Armstrong story.... (This of course was before the truth of his doping 
was confirmed.....)

I had read a couple of books about him and seen him ride and wanted to believe that he was riding clean... 
I wanted to believe the story of how after being diagnosed with cancer and suffering through all the treatment he went back to cycling even stronger and won the Tour de France multiple times....

As my own treatment progressed the Lance Armstrong story kept me going and helped me to see myself continue to ride when my own treatment finished..... 
I came up with some riding objectives to aim for and following treatment went on to do some great long distance rides....

When the truth about his doping finally came out I felt really badly let down....
I was really disappointed..... 

I know all the signs of possible doping had been there but as I have said I wanted to believe his story and with hindsight I am glad that I did because I gained a lot from it at a difficult personal time... 
But I was still very disappointed when the truth came out.....

As time moved along I was impressed by what Bradley Wiggins achieved on track and road.....
There then followed an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at British Cycling and Team Sky...

It was alleged that a package delivered to Bradley Wiggins at the Criterium du Dauphine in 2011 contained a banned substance. The doctor involved, Dr Richard Freeman, said that it was the legal decongestant Fluimucil. 

It appears that due to a 'lack of accurate medical records' held by British Cycling the contents of the package could not be proved and the case was dropped.

There has also been a lot of discussion regarding the fact that Bradley Wiggins had sought therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) to use the banned anti-inflammatory drug triamcinocione for allergies and respiratory issues before the 2011 and 2012 Tour de France and also the 2013 Giro d'Italia...
All of this was enough to create doubt in my mind and again I felt disappointed.

I have followed Chris Froome's career with great interest and have admired both his achievements and his cycling style. 
Watching him ride in this years Vuelta really blew me away... I was so impressed by his riding and I enjoyed that race even more that the TDF this year. 
But now news has broken that he had returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana.

The UCI has referred the case to the Legal Anti Doping Services....
Team Sky will need to explain (if they can) the reason for the elevated levels.... If they can't do that Chris Froome could face a 12 month ban and could possibly lose his Vuelta title for 2017.... 

.........and me....

I again feel disappointed !!!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Christmas Trees Galore......

Well it has certainly turned into winter now....
Most mornings over this past week we have woken up to find the car well covered in a very heavy frost.....
Most mornings covered in ice.

 Although as yet we have only had a light dusting of snow the possibility of icy conditions on the local lanes and roads is enough to send me back to the turbo....
A week ago I set Tiffany the Tifosi up on the turbo and for the next 2-3 months most of my riding will be carried out on this set up......
Back on the Turbo again...
 The risk of coming off in icy conditions is too much of a risk for me to take.....
When you are younger you can 'bounce' a bit better than you do at my age.... I have experienced hitting the tarmac in the past and it is not something that I wish to repeat so static cycling in a nice warm awning listening to music is a far better option.....

With the arrival of the wintry weather Anne and I have been filling our time with either walks on the moor or things that we find to do under cover.....

One thing that we did the other day was to visit the Tavistock Christmas Tree Festival which was held at the church of St Eustachius..

This is the ninth year that the festival has been held and over that time they have had over 450 trees displayed decorated by over 200 different local organisations.....
The Festivals have attracted over 70,000 visitors and raised lots of money.....

During the festival they have a programme of music in the church and the amount of work that goes into arranging the festival and decorating all the trees is quite something......

Interior view of Church....

Church interior with some of the Trees on display..

Tree Decorated by the Tavistock Physically Challenged Group
 One of my favourite trees was the one in the image above---it was decorated by members of the Tavistock Physically Challenged Group.....
Another of my favourites was the tree shown below... this one was decorated by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Group....
One of my favourite trees....
 After our time spent looking around all the lovely decorated trees in the church we really felt that we were getting into the Christmas spirit.... 
This past weekend most of the country seems to have been covered with at least some snow so everything is getting to look more and more like a scene from a Christmas Card......
A Wall of Trees in the Church....

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Bus to Bude.... a Pool... and the SWCP

A few weeks ago just before the weather started to turn more wintry Anne and I took a bus to Bude on the North Devon Coast.....
I hadn't been to Bude for a number of years...the last time was when I was backpacking along the South West Coast Path (SWCP) and that must be more than ten years ago....

Luckily Anne and I had some nice weather for our little day trip which meant that I was seeing it again in similar weather to my last visit.....

I like Bude.... 
It has some nice little independent shops and the town and the approach roads all seem to be kept neat and tidy as do the little parks and gardens and open areas.....
It doesn't have the tired and worn out look of so many of our small seaside towns and it seems a nice place to base yourself if you are keen on watersports or walking along the coast line and cliffs......

Talking about walking along the coast path.... I remember that when I completed the SWCP I always felt that most people missed the best and most dramatic scenery of the North Devon coast..... 
As I would approach a town like Bude I would meet day walkers about a mile or two from the town and again when I left the town day walkers would be around for a mile or two but then as the coastline became more dramatic and scenic I would find that I was in the most part walking on my own with just the occasional multi day walker or backpacker coming the other way.....

This always struck me as a great pity as I felt that the majority of people seemed to miss the best scenery that the coast had to offer......

Anyway...back to our little day trip to Bude....

We had decided to take the bus because it enables us both to enjoy the views as we travel through the countryside especially from the top deck.... It also makes life easier due to not having to find a parking space although I must say that would not be a problem in Bude as there appears to be lots of parking available....
Beach Huts at Bude..

Bude Coast and Beach...
 One of the things that has always attracted my interest at Bude is the Sea Pool.... 
This is a partially man-made tidal swimming pool or lido in the rocks at Summerleaze Beach....
It provides a haven for free and safe bathing and other water based activities and was built in 1930...
Although it costs over £40,000 every year to keep it open it remains free of any admission charge...... Over the course of a year over 60,000 people visit the pool and it seems to be a major visitor attraction for the town....

It is open every day, 24hrs a day although it is best to swim at low tide....
The pool is about 91m long and 45m wide and was created under the curve of the cliffs in a conservation area...
It provides the experience of being in or on the sea, close to the full force and ferocity of the Atlantic Ocean, but sheltered from it's extreme effects.....

There are a number of similar pools around the UK coast and I just love them...
On the left side of the image of the pool below you can just see a lone swimmer enjoying the experience.....
The Bude Sea Poole

A view along the coast path at Bude..
If you have never been to Bude it is certainly a nice little place to visit, but if you can, do it the proper way and make it one of the small towns that you drop into whilst walking the entire SWCP....

The full walk is 630 miles in total length and runs from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset which is the direction that I walked it as I was living near Poole at the time so it was 'just' walking back home for me...
It took me five weeks to complete it (avg 18 miles per day) so you will need to take a big chunk of your annual holiday allowance or be retired to have the time to give it a go in it's entirety......

It is not to be underestimated though....some of that glorious scenery along the north coast can be incredibly tough to walk with a backpack containing all your kit so ultralight is the way to travel...

The path keeps dropping from the top of the cliffs down to sea level and back up to the top of the cliffs continuously.....

Apparently the total elevation you will climb is 114,031ft (35,031m) and I know from first hand experience that your leg muscles will be reminding you of that fact  along every single mile....

Cabin Fever .......

 Sorry for this week's posting being three days late but like the rest of the UK last weekend saw the arrival of storm Ciara and our in...