Category Archives: Cycling commute

Prince Goes Crazy?

I harvested the first successful courgettes I’ve grown in aeons last night (the past three years have been a write off for them – all have failed whatever I’ve done to encourage them) and tonight saw a request for JB to add one of them to the stir fry she was preparing for dinner. Since they’re of a yellow variety, the colour wouldn’t be out of place and they turned out to be a highlight; cooked just so they still had some texture, retained a little flavour and made me happy to have bothered growing them despite previous failures.

The downside was the incessant singing to nasty, nasty Prince songs driving me insane for an hour or so as the “Red Corvette” was replaced by “Red Courgette” despite mine being yellow (and the ones delivered in the veg. box being green. Courgette soup for a while, I fear!). Ah, well. A small price to pay.

The Juneathon effort today was brought to me by the conduit of a cycle to work (only one fresh dead rabbit) with a little detour thrown into the return journey by way of a mile or so loop of a local lane just to break the cycle. With only a day to go now, I thought I may as well throw something different into one of the legs at least and since it didn’t mean being late for work, that seemed the sensible option. More tomorrow? Probably not.

I had the little matter of a couple more miles to run to take my jogging total to 50, though, so despite shattered legs the calling of buying some milk from That Enterprising Social Conspiracy Office encouraged me to take a roundabout route to get there via the medium of running.

A slow plod was all I could manage, to be fair, with the first quarter of a mile being so wobbly I wondered if I’d make it all the way. As usual, however, I remembered what to do and a few minutes later I was at home in time to water the greenhouse and get this done before bed and sleep.

Nearly there…and how welcome a good rainstorm would be just as I’m about to leave tomorrow morning so i can justifiably take the car!

524.66 miles to go.

49.72 Juneathon running miles (just leaves enough to get a cycle out of my legs as the month closes, not too much to risk damaging the foot again).

614.87 Juneathon cycling miles.

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A ride, a pub, too little sleep and another ride

Sunday finished harmlessly enough as it turned out. A reasonably early night had a little sleep caught up on but Monday dawned earlier than my sand-encrusted eyes wanted, as usual. Nothing entirely unusual there, then.

The unusual bit was that the sun was up, the day was already hot and the sweat was dripping from my nose almost as soon as I’d crested the first rise a quarter of a mile from home. Fluids needed.

And that summed up the day. The ride in was ace – no wind, little traffic, many sheep and a smooth journey.

The ride home was a more unsettled affair – attempting to balance speed with effort having drunk as much as possible throughout the day, an evening in the pub was to be executed as can be seen from JogBlog‘s post, hence the further failure of Juneathon by not blogging yesterday. Getting home at past 6 o’clock, removing a sparrow from the house, getting showered, going to the pub, getting back and going to bed were prioritised…starting a wheezing, slow computer and putting in another rubbish blog about 31.5 miles cycling wasn’t.

And today, after far too little sleep (the house heated up to about a billion degrees yesterday without keeping the windows open through the cooler evening…I awoke bathed in sweat. Not a good look. Or feel.), the ride in was much the same as yesterday.

A little cooler, similar windless conditions but about 15 dead rabbits…odd, considering I was dodging rabbits all the way home last night on the roundabout route I selected (well…partly selected. Instead of returning home, a circuitous route of Romney Marsh was undertaken with many tight bends resulting in bunny suicide candidates at every corner). Maybe there was, indeed, something in the air!

So work was again done (a bad news day for continuity on site with the client unable to secure sales on units at the moment…fingers remain crossed) and as the wind picked up a bit, a battle was fought on the return leg into a continual breeze which wanted me to get home later than the vet appointment demanded. Drop bars were used more than normal, uphills were beaten (slower speed equals less wind equals more efficient gain in overall pace for similar effort, as I convinced myself when all I wanted to do was click down the gears and slow up even more) harder than usual and home was reached after the spending of much perspiration and many drips from nose and forehead.

Very nasty.

But another 31.5 miles to add to the total. I’m wondering when to do the final running outing. Whether to do two quick trips, finishing Juneathon with a short run, or leave the 2.5 miles until Thursday. With a 5k race on Friday (assuming I make it) I fancy the two trips. Tomorrow will tell.

559.52 miles to go.

47.57 Juneathon running miles.

582.16 Juneathon cycling miles. Which means that tomorrow will see (assuming no downpours as I leave in the morning) 600 cycling miles for the month. Crikey.

Anniversary

Many things occurred today, one of which was the marking of 1095 days since myself and JogBlog started going out as a couple. To celebrate such a momentous occasion, a restaurant table was booked in the village I used to live in and where our first proper date kicked off, presents were exchanged and a pleasant time was had (is indeed still being had…I’m blogging while a piss-poor soap opera is being caught up on by JB before I pop downstairs before bed). Apparently, however, an anniversary can easily be spoiled by careless words. Such words apparently include “no I haven’t got you a card yet; I’ve been busy and I’ll pop over the road and get you one while we’re in the pub before the meal”. Also “Oh, you’ve wrapped my presents…should I have done the same to yours?”. And when the love of your life utters the words “This dress makes me look fat” it seems the done thing isn’t to say “Yes, it does”. Certainly not on your anniversary.

I think I’ve got away with it, though. Fingers crossed.

Today’s Juneathon experience included the traditional cycling commute which was interspersed with joy that it was sunny and bright with little wind this morning as well as the joy of a little air punch (I was overtaking cars at the time) as I cycled through Rye on the way home and passed the 500 mile erm…milestone. 500 cycling miles this month so far. Phew.

The wind for the return leg had picked up a bit and was a three-quarter headwind but it didn’t seem to lower my spirits…just a shame that I’m so tired after a week of activity and a disturbed sleep last night that I hadn’t the fight in my legs to make the most of things as my direction changes made the wind an advantage.

But it was dry if less bright, so a fair outing.

A little run tomorrow, I feel and a race on Sunday – if the temperature picks up as the forecasters suggest it might, that may be a challenge in itself but the final weekend of Juneathon 2011 deserves to be seen out with a punch.

631.56 miles to go.

43.04 Juneathon running miles.

514.66 Juneathon cycling miles.

Edkisut

I don’t know if the title translates into anything in any language but inspiration for a title wasn’t forthcoming today and, what with the Juneathon activity being a cycle to and from work which wasn’t particularly thrilling in itself, the first letters that fell to fingers got hit and posted.

The evening has consisted of mowing the rear lawn in an odd fashion – instead of stripes along the length or across the width, I’ve taken the option of first going from kitchen to damson tree (the one in the far corner, not the centre right of the plot) on an oblique, then crossing through this from greenhouse to willow (the dead one for which I need the services of a tree surgeon – it’s too tall for me to risk doing myself a proper injury) before skirting the plum and shed corner to complete a lap. The difficulty is now tying in the fruit bush area of the garden having exhausted tidy possibilities by outing the bit by the silver birch too soon in the proceedings.

It looks odd with varied striping, but I quite like it and feel it needs a change from routine to avoid trenches being forged by the wheels hitting the same patch too often.

I’ll try to finish the job before the weekend and then come up with something different to do for the front.

694.78 miles to go.

43.04 Juneathon running miles.

451.44 Juneathon cycling miles.

Fresher than before

So I awoke this morning with hope that the deluge of the year wouldn’t be upon us for a third morning this month and my hope was upheld. Overcast and breezy but not wet. Damp on the ground but nothing falling.

Marvellous.

The best part of this wasn’t even, perhaps, that I could cycle to work. The best part was, I feel, that I didn’t have to drive the Vauxhall Vectra to work that’s standing in for my car while the headlights are being sorted. It really isn’t the nicest car I’ve ever driven. Not the worst, but not better than cycling on a June morning.

So I set off into a mildly irritating headwind thinking I’d simply grind out the miles when I realised I was actually enjoying them. Fresh legs do that to a commuting man. The bit through the woods was simply ace and the best start to a day a man can achieve on two wheels.

The drag along the flat straight bit was a bit nasty into what was developing into a stiff headwind but a few miles in the dropped bars and I was into the shelter of Rye and soon at work. And the drag was transformed into a breeze of a ride on the way home as the sun allowed me to race the clouds which were low enough to cast a decently sharp shadow across the road as they scudded past, something I was only too eager to chase and allow a decent speed home without thinking that my legs needed to be fresh in the morning if the wind didn’t ease.

But once home a recovery was allowed with some potatoes in a sauce for dinner before purchasing petrol for the lawnmower and a subsequent quick mile up the road and back to complete another Juneathon day.

And a nice one at that. Longest day  of the year and I’ve enjoyed most of it.

Smart.

726.37 miles to go.

43.04 Juneathon running miles.

419.85 Juneathon cycling miles.

It started dry…

When the house was disappearing behind me this morning I was a few seconds from having opened the greenhouse since despite the forecast, sunshine was bathing all in glorious warmth.

As I cleared the woodland section before Kenardington my view of the oncoming weather indicated that, while I should get to work in the dry, the weather wouldn’t hold forever. And as the ride wore on so the wind picked up in strength forcing much down-shifting of gears and gnashing of teeth.

But teeth that were dry.

Around 9 o’clock the rain started. And, apart from a little period around 3 this afternoon, has been pretty much non-stop since. Much needed for crops (which will probably be ruined by too much, too late!) and gardens (my water butt is all but full again), less welcome for cyclists.

Still, I donned my waterproof jacket and headed out at the usual 5ish to start my journey. A stream of cars were despatched on the downhill off the site (1 stream = 5 cars as of now…) due to the lead vehicle only wanting to crawl along but tired legs and lack of spirit made this the only swift part of the journey.

Steady but light rain leaving Rye was fine all across the marsh and as I climbed up the hill from Appledore the intensity grew with altitude. Wetter and wetter I got until the last section of underwear was soaked by mile 11. Some of this was undoubtedly wet from the inside out (the rucksack was dry inside still but my back bathed in sweat – breathable jackets clearly can’t cope with reasonable physical exertion quantities of moisture – never have, I doubt they ever will) but moist it still was. And as I again cleared the woods 3 miles from home, I was impressed by the intensity of the deluge. Absolutely soaking roads gave some distraction with my slick  tyres simply spraying the water everywhere instead of the old treaded things that typically spray it all up your back and into your face so small improvements over old were experienced but it was a joy to get home, dry off and have some food. The experience wasn’t too bad with little wind but gales included might have made me head for the train…fingers crossed June returns and pleasant riding conditions will return next week.

An early night is due to catch up on some energy and I won’t be lingering long before heading bedwards.

772.43 miles to go.

31.02 Juneathon running miles.

385.82 Juneathon cycling miles.

Today saw my cycling mileage for the year exceed 1000 so another benchmark reached in what will surely be a year of records (well, measured ones at least. No idea how many miles I used to run and ride when I didn’t measure it and used self-propelled transport for everything but I don’t think it was ever the intensity of this year so far. Maybe it will be a highest yearly mileage ever. I’ll take it, considering the current effort.)

An apple a day

I found myself a few rungs off the bottom of the ladder of despair today, seemingly not having enough time to do anything despite everything I’m doing being what I both need and want to. Work is the need, Juneathon is the want. How daft the (or my, anyway!) brain is that when we’ve not the time to do what we want a natural progression makes us unhappy about how it works.

Simply not being able to get everything done at work is dreadful when a true deadline looms – finishing houses for people to move in to (4 weeks flies by when you’ve given notice they’ll be done, solicitors are pressing for paperwork and idiots seem to think damage repairs itself) isn’t my cup of hot fat, to be fair, but I’ve a couple of years doing just that on this site so best I get used to it.

But finding myself in despair at my social schedule is just daft. The rotation of get up earlier than I want, cycle for an hour, work for 10 hours, cycle for an hour, recover, cook, eat, wash up, water the greenhouse, blog, go to bed is slightly draining.

The cycle to work this morning was difficult. A steady headwind made each pedal stroke a chore in two gears lower than is typical. Hard work. Today was particularly unproductive and heavy rain just before I was due to leave (along with 25mph winds just up the coast) made my mind do a little dance of despair.

A slow ride through the town with both wheels locking each time I applied the brakes for cars in front reminded me how slippery slick tyres on wet roads are before the journey along the canal (an owl heading for home this morning was the highlight of my route) made me wonder why I’m continuing to cycle in.

But then I stopped on the hill by the vineyard (8.5 miles from work, 7 miles still to go; one hill done, two to complete. It seems a pleasant “half the effort of the journey complete” place to pause), started eating my apple while crouching down to stretch my thighs out and found some happiness.

I simply contemplated that I’m doing lots of effort to achieve something that  is a true challenge and I’m not doing too badly at it. Finishing my apple I felt refreshed, invigorated and peaceful about the aches that are setting in. Getting home I cooked, ate, washed up and watered the greenhouse then decided enough grumbling about how tired I was already, so pulled on my running trainers and set off for a mile.

After I’d started I fancied much more than a mile, but am realistic that tomorrow sees another 30 miles target on the bike, so I came home as planned.

If I feel the same on Saturday, I may just plod for a decent-ish distance at slow speed and see how the contemplation works as I run some miles. A big if, but at least it’s there.

Over half way into June and not quite beaten yet. Close, but not quite.

Did someone say Friday?

803.99 miles to go.

31.02 Juneathon running miles.

354.26 Juneathon cycling miles.