Tuesday, August 26, 2008

London to Paris - Training 09

Pump it up when you don't really need it.
Pump it up until you can feel it. *

We have been following the suggested training plan from The Stroke Association religiously thanks to Mary. Last Sunday morning before our BBQ we were out of the house at 07:40 to do 2 hours round Richmond Park before breakfast. Then the rides and gym during the week.

This weekend (Monday was a public holiday in the UK) we did 2, 3 and 5 hours - 30, 40 and 70 miles respectively. Cyling round the New Forest with fellow entrant Lynn it was a far more scenic ride that the environs of London. We were averaging 13-14 mph which we were pleased with, all the training has paid off. Honourable mention should go to Lynn who came with us on the latter two rides despite a raging sore throat which meant broken sleep and hardly any food.

A month back I treated us to a proper stirrup pump only to discover that my hand pumping had only inflated the tyres to about 3 bar (45 psi). At the recommended 6 bar (90 psi) for the hybrid it was like having cast iron tyres. You feel every bump and pot hole. On the road bike the pressure was 8 bar (120 psi)! Going over the cattle grid it was definitely as case of "Gentlemen please be upstanding" though Lynn said she quite enjoyed the rumble strips :-O

* Pump It Up - Elvis Costello

Saturday, August 16, 2008

London to Paris - Training 08

It's training Jim but not as we know it.

A small group of us met up for a drink in the Crusting Pipe in Covent Garden on Tuesday evening. John A Hartley, Bhav, Chris (mrtee), Chris (bluedee79), myself and Mary.

John and Bhav in the Crusting Pipe wine bar Chris (mrtee) and Chris (bluedee79) in the Crusting Pipe wine bar

We drank wine and talked of cycling stuff and a pleasant time was had by all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

London to Paris - Training 07

The training continues unabated according to the plan(-ish).

Saturday we drove down to Bob and Lynn's for a barbeque. On the way we stopped for an hour and a half loop up and down the Test Valley in the <expletive deleted> rain. A delightful circuit we will do again but hopefully in more clement conditions.

Sunday we met up with fellow L2P'er AlisonP at Brockenhurst and preceeded to do 3 ½ hours round the forest - ably navigated by Lynn.

AlisonP, Mary, Lynn and Mark in the New Forest 1/2
Lunch at The Compasses, Winsor - AlisonP, Mary, Lynn and Mark

We did 48 to 50 miles but four cyclo-computers could not agree on the exact mileage. Alison would have done it faster but she very graciously waited for us three to catch up at appropriate junctions.

AlisonP, Lynn and Mary in the New Forest 2/2
Consulting the map at Buckler's Hard (no tittering at the back there!)

Cycling round the Forest roads made a very pleasant change from London streets.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Kylie at the the O2

As previously mentioned ("Kylie Minogue in a Red Latex Dress") I was due to see Kylie *twice* at the O2.

The first time was a team outing where we met at a bar beforehand, had a boat ride to the O2, a rushed meal, the concert, more drinks and another ride back to Westminster pier. I may have had a glass or two of champagne (hic!)

The second time was a more subdued affair. A relaxed meal with Mary at Las Iguanas, the concert and tube and train home. I saw more that time because my eyes were better at focusing :-)

What can I say. A true professional. La la la!

kylie at the O2 1/3

kylie at the O2 2/3

kylie at the O2 3/3

Loads more photos at:

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

London to Paris - Training 06

The plan was good - a ride on Sunday with the CTC South West London District Association Cheam & Morden Section. A seventy (70) mile ride at a leisurely average of 11 mph with breaks for elevenses, lunch and afternoon tea. Not so much about upping the speed but improving our endurance.

Cheam & Morden CTC
CTC Cheam & Morden Section

Unfortunately Mary's body refused to cooperate. For reasons we have not fully fathomed she was simply unable to keep up the pace following a brisk take off. After a few miles we told the others to go on without us and we devised our own circular 40 mile tour of various parts of Surrey (Epsom, Effingham, Ockham, Stoke D'Abernon, Cobham and back to Cheam).

One theory is that the new lower gear, higher cadence technique recommended by her trainer was too much without more practice. Another is simply that Mary was not eating enough to provide the energy she needed. She has been following the Weightwatchers' regimen since November and lost an impressive 19.5 lb (8.8 kg).

Weightwatchers allow points for exercise to add to your daily allowance. The website says a maximum of 4 exercise points per day can be traded for food which has limited the compenstion for all the cycling. Now we learn that any amount can be traded. Since that ride alone counted as 11 points, never mind all the earlier training runs, that means she could have been eating more all through the week. So despite eating a substantial breakfast full of slow release carbs to give her the energy for the ride she was running with a shortage of fuel.

Conversely today I had a very light lunch and on this evening's ride of 20 miles I was really struggling to keep up with Speedy Gonzales - Mary was doing 17-18 mph when I was struggling to do 15-16 mph.

A bigger breakfast tomorrow for me!!

Update: 08-Aug-08
Yesterday we cycled to work and back then switched from hybrids to roadbikes and on to Richmond Park for a couple of cicuits. Thanks to a big pasta lunch and a cereal bar before I set off from work I was able to keep up with SWMBO. Bit of a relief that :-)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Dark Knight - a Haiku

Psycho Joker. Zap!
Conflicted hero. Kerpow!!
Greek tragedy. Oh.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A show packed with interest

Dad had several paintings in Yvonne Arnaud Art 2008. This is the write up in the local paper:

A show packed with interest

A new look Yvonne Arnaud Art 2008 is getting the Guildford Summer Festival off to a flying start.

Many of the artists and sculptors are exhibiting for the first time this year in the 200-strong show that continues until July 24. The show, sponsored by Baker Tilly, features some leading British talents and includes photography.

The most striking exhibit, a mighty mirror-polished stainless steel sculpture by prestigious Surrey sculptor William Pye, takes centre stage in the foyer of the Yvonne Arnaud.

An arching tubular construction that appears to flow up and over it was inspired by the Narcissus myth. The bright reflections and fluid movement conjure a sense of magical watery depths.

All the other exhibits are on show in The Mill Studio, where a smaller harp-like silver sculpture by Pye is also on display.

Nearly all this year's exhibitors are newcomers to the annual exhibition, although they are, on the whole, established artists.

One of the few 'regulars' is Judith Gardner, whose delicately executed atmospheric landscapes are among the most memorable exhibits.

Using sensitive flecks, dashes and washes of the brush and employing a sensuous appreciation of colour, she invests each composition with a slightly dream-like sense of heightened perception. A central radiance lifts her homely view of a garden chair in a thicket of vegetation to a higher level.

Altogether more surreal but imbued with a similarly gentle and dream-like atmosphere, are a series of mixed media paintings by David Brayne.

One of the most eye-catching is The Dressing Gown, in which a leaning figure adrift in a boat casts a sparkling fishing net.

Shades of Surrealism also give additional pictorial momentum to a group of oil paintings by Michael McLellan which inhabit a theatrical landscape dotted with dramatic cut outs.

Also noteworthy in a show packed with interest. is Paul Newland. His eagle-eyed and crisply painted watercolour and Gouache view across the roof-tops of London is beautifully executed.

The exhibition is open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 7.30 pm.

Beatrice Phillpotts
Surrey Advertiser 11 July 2008

See also http://www.michaelmclellan.com/

Friday, August 01, 2008

London to Paris - Training 05

The training regimen is struggling to kick in fully. Last Sunday we were due to do a 3 hour ride with a group starting from Redhill. The plan was then to pop over to my sister in Reigate for afternoon tea. We put the bikes on the roof rack and drove down. Only one other person turned up and she was not the tour leader so after half an hour we gave up and devised our own 2 hour ride ending up at my sister's for lunch. Mum and Dad were there so that was bonus.

Tuesday night I was at the Kylie concert so Mary did a long route home via Hammersmith. Wednesday night Mary was in Birmingham so I did a circuit round Richmond Park. Even so we are not getting in the distance rides we need.

Last Thursday I also suffered a mishap on the way home. Little girl on edge of cycle path turned wheel of scooter, Mary braked, me too close behind, emergency stop!! Over the handle bars and chinned the pavement. Off to our GP surgery, as we were nearly home, who sent me to A&E at St Georges where they glued the cut together - better than stitches apparently - and sent me home. So a wasted evening and we didn't get to eat till about 10:30 by which time Pizza Express was the only restaurant in Old York Road who's kitchen staff hadn't packed up for the evening.

A week later all was healing nicely apart from my right hand where the swelling hadn't gone down as much as the other lumps and it was painful to open things (jars and doors). So I spent 3 hours this lunchtime first at a walk-in center then Barts getting an x-ray confirmation that nothing was actually broken.

xray of my right hand

You can see the wider space between the index and middle finger bones in the main body of the hand. That is where the tender muscles and stuff are. So pop some Ibuprofen and let nature take its course.

It has to be said that there may have been over 6 hours of sitting about in waiting rooms but I paid not a penny for any of it. The NHS is a great thing and deserves all the support it can get and some more beside.