The road to recovery.

After my bump two weeks ago I was not so good last week.

You have to have confidence you know what you are doing and a sense of what you can do. Like when you are in a car and doing a reverse manoeuvre and there is a post or low wall. You have to hold in your head where the back end of your car is, where it is going to go and where the object would be if you could still see it.

Of course it can be a tad trickier when you can’t see the whole side your 13 metre trailer, or the wall you are trying not to hit, and you have to judge the amount it is going to swing (without reference to the striking point or the point that could be struck).

You have to have confidence and competence. The two go hand in hand.

Look at the bay that I had to get on:


Actually, from that angle it looks easy. However, to  get in, (as it’s tight against the wall and there were other trucks parked in front of the bay, so I couldn’t pull forward and drive back in in a straight line) I had to go in at an angle. Which immediately blinds you to the side you need to see. The side that is going to hit the wall/barrier. So you have to look at the ‘safe’ side, unable to see the blind side or the wall and guess, basically.

Anyway, you only have to get it wrong once and suddenly it’s a big deal. And my confidence went.

Then they told me to get on that bay again on Friday. Not a happy bunny. I just took my time and made sure I got it right. Sod guessing, I kept getting out of the cab and having a look. It makes you look like a clueless newbie but not as much as crashing does.

I got on to the bay, had a quiet nervous breakdown, then the warehouse lad popped his head out and asked me to put it on a different (easy) bay. Grrrr.


Also on Friday they had a guest shunter in our yard. I think the regular bloke is on his holidays. She is obviously a massively competent driver as that’s what shunting is about; reversing trailers around the yard all day and putting them in whatever spot is available, however difficult. She is not good at organizing others though. She tried to have me take a different unit to the one I was issued with, then to take a trailer I wasn’t supposed to, then had me put a trailer in a tight spot to save her a job. Then she made the job loads worse by giving me direction. The wrong ones. Turn left, no turn your trailer to the left… Nightmare. Especially with someone watching me making me flap, then buggering up the instructions anyway. She left to harass someone else for a minute so I quickly parked the trailer while she was away. It didn’t help my confidence. Then when I came back into the yard at night a place was available in the same situation. I just reversed back into it. With no-one to hassle me it was relatively simple. That has given me a good weekend, knowing I did the crashy bay and the awkward reverse in the yard.


Also I think I cracked the 34 minute barrier on Friday night! Woo-hoo! Unfortunately it’s only ‘think’.

I set up the GPS function on Map My Ride on my ‘phone which is a faff, then plug in my headphones to the ‘phone and stash it in my waistband of my cycling shorts. Then get a foot clipped into the pedals, put my watch to stopwatch, set it running then set off. The first few hundred yards my legs were wrecked from the ride in and I wasn’t going for it. I always seem to set off late in the morning (surprise!) and it was quite windy so I’d knackered myself. After a few hundred yard my legs started to loosen a little and I noticed the wind had stopped so I went for it. I rode like a demon all the way home. A sloth demon, perhaps. I got to our house. Unclipped a pedal clicked the stop button on my watch and held it up to my headlight, 00.00 I’d not set it running! I double checked in despair, nothing. Then I remembered the ‘phone. I got it out, unlocked the screen and stopped Map My Ride, 34.24 seconds.  I reckon I can knock off 25 seconds for the faffing about at each end. I reckon but I can’t claim for sure. Bugger.


I went for a flat ten mile run on Saturday. That nearly killed me. My thighs were set like concrete. I just couldn’t get a ‘comfortable’ rhythm. Pure misery.And slow.


…Well, that was last week. I didn’t get to finish off whatever I was rambling about as I ran out of time at the night and there is never enough time to finish off during the week.

One thing from last week though; I ordered some trainers off t’internet. I don’t like doing it as you can’t try them on first, but no-one was stocking the ones I wanted. And they were a steal. Usually you are paying £80 or more for a good pair of trainers, these were just under £50. The thing is, because I over-pronate (roll my foot inwards as I run) I need specialist ‘support’ trainers to correct my gait. Otherwise you put undue strain on your joints and get shin splints and the like.

I ordered the trainers (from , if you are after a bargain) and set to waiting. On the Friday I got a note through the door saying the delivery guy had called, for a second time (!) and would try for a third and final time on Monday unless I contacted him.

It is a national delivery company the trainers shop had chosen, but it seems that company uses self employed couriers to deliver to the final destination. For reasons that will become apparent in a minute I can’t name the company, but it sounds  like Burmese.

Anyway, I rang the Burmese geezer over the weekend. Not even answering his ‘phone. So I waited in as late as possible, eschewing my pushbike so I could wait half an hour longer on Monday. No sign. I rang him at 11am  to say that I was leaving for work (he was still at home, so hadn’t started working by 11) and there would be no-one in until 4.30pm. He said he would be finished work by then. Quite when he actually worked was not made clear.

He asked me where I worked, I said ‘Irlam’, so he said I’d have to go past his house (off Cromwell Ave) on the way to work so I could pick it up. I was gobsmacked by the audacity so laughed and said “nice delivery service.”

He said “Fine. I’ll attempt my final delivery today then. Goodbye.”

Which he did. Knowing we were out.

I was going to ask him to leave it somewhere or come around on Wednesday when Wendy is off, but no. What a wanker.

I tried to email Burmese, but their website just directs complaints to those you ordered the goods off. I emailed them, saying what a disgrace that particular Burmese driver was, that I would like a refund and obviously wouldn’t be able to shop with them again as I couldn’t receive my goods. They got straight back to me saying they would raise my grievance with Burmese, how sorry they were (not their fault) and they would re-post my trainers, ‘expediated delivery’ (or some such) by Royal Mail, free of charge, as soon as they got them back. (The re-posting was free, not the trainers. They are good, but not that good!)

They finally arrived yesterday. So, good, Burmese bad.

In other, unrelated, news I have found out last week that the full-timers at my works have all been given 30 days notice. Which later was clarified as: just the full-timers on the contract that I work for. Which is to say, the parent company run several contracts out of the Irlam yard, the company I drive for has upped sticks and buggered off to Crewe. Where they already have drivers and warehousemen. All the warehouse people are gone, so far it seems all the drivers are joining them. Agency drivers don’t even rate a mention. I found out second hand.


So I’ve applied for that job I was after before. The trunking driver for Hermes.


As I said, totally unrelated news.

Next week (assuming they don’t google my blog and see through my cunning subterfuge) I should be having an induction.


Also this week I had my first crack at my ‘Ironlap’. It’s a route from our house (Warrington) to Bolton, then a lap of the Ironman bike route (you do three laps on the race) and back home.

As it’s a twisty course I spent ages working out how to plot it on my ‘phone. I sussed it using Google Maps. Then I spent even longer trying to get the satnav app (Google Navigation) to direct me around the route. In the end I settled for a cumbersome partial success. I can tell it to direct me to each major point on the course (there are 31 of them!) then when I arrive I have to stop, come out of Navigation, into maps, get the next point up, then tell it to guide me there via Navigation.

It’s a ballache, but if I was to write it out and try and navigate by directions it would be huge and I’d get utterly lost.

The problem with that (besides the hassle above) is being connected to a satellite and running the screen constantly, drains your battery from 100% to flat in about 3 hours. Not convenient for a long ride.

I thought I’d had a flash of genius when I thought of converting an old bottle dynamo (that old bikes used to use to power the bikes lights) to a ‘phone charger. They have been flogging them as ‘phone charger specific dynamos for years. Ah well, so much for that.

I bought one and installed it yesterday. £35! I need one for the Lands End to John O’Groats ride, so I didn’t begrudge it too much.

I went to install it on the front forks, as per instructions, only to find it would only fit on old fashioned, small, round tubes. Not the flattened, aerodynamic forks of a modern road bike. I improvised and stuck it on the rear wheel.

I set off to try out the Ironlap yesterday. I had no idea how many miles it was or how hard it was going to be, but what the hey! After about an hour and a half I decided to engage the dynamo (it has two positions, one pointing upright, the other at a steep angle with the wheel at its end jammed against the tyre, thus turning the dynamo.) Super. ‘Phone went “Beep beep” to indicate it was charging, all was well with the world. Except with the top at an angle into the tyre the bottom was at an angle pointing out. Right in the path of my heel. Within half an hour it was broken. the bottom had fallen off and was hanging by a wire. My battery was down to less than 10% and obviously I had no idea of the rest of the route. I had to switch off the Navigation and satnav and turn for home.

I got lost on the way out (before I thought to turn on voice Navigation) as I couldn’t see the screen in the bright sunlight, and I got hopelessly lost coming home trying to pick up road signs. I was out for 3hrs 35 and I reckon I did at least 50 miles but I couldn’t find a way to run Navigation at the same time as Map My Ride, so I couldn’t record my distance.

I managed to suss out how to repair the (brand new, £35, “durable construction”) dynamo when I got in, and have worked out how to mount it on the other side of the frame, furthest away from my feet, so with a lot of insulating tape it should work next time. Grrr.

This morning I did it the hard way, did a point by point route map on Gmaps Pedometer, and it turns out the full Ironlap is 76.6 miles long.

Here is the map, look at the elevation changes, particularly at 48 miles! Eek! 

A total of 4,304 feet elevation on the route. My poor little legs!

Still, if I do that once a week as well as the 21 ‘sprint’ miles a day commute, I should soon build up.


Oh, and to clarify, another week on, and I’m back in the swing with my driving. No problems. I had a moment there. I was all panicky and thought I’d lost it. Back on top again now.


The only other thing going on is my new vehicular plan. I’m not sure how I started thinking about it, but I suddenly realised I wanted a car that could comfortably fit a bike inside. Preferably one with enough room that I could doss down with my bike stood up, that way I could go for training sessions and be able to sleep over for races as well. After that hotel experience at the Outlaw (where I paid good money to be kept awake all night by pissheads) I had planned on camping next time. This would be even better, just turn up and doss down. Near some toilets or bushes.

I was looking at something cool last year, such as a VW camper van, but they are really dear. As I’ve been driving along I’ve been eyeing cars that might do the job. I saw the Ford C-max and S-Max. Again dear. Then the Vauxhall Zafira (ugly, Vauxhall.)

Then one of my chums on Twitter said about the Ford Galaxy she used to have and how the seats folded flat in it. A bit of googling later and I discovered the Ford Galaxy, Seat Alhambra and VW Sharan are basically the same car. Built to VW standards, using VW engines off the same production line. So for a fraction of the price of a VW I can get a Seat, which is basically a VW without the badge!  FTW!

It’s still an ugly, utilitarian, minibus, but it’s cheap, should be reliable, has a VW (diesel) engine  (should be bullet proof) and the winning-est part is; the back two rows of seats clip out, leaving a flat, massive surface! Epic FTW! 



Also, it would be big enough for an emergency doss down/ escape for me and Wendy when next door are having an all night coke party. Hopefully we wouldn’t need it except for a few nights a year, but at least Wendy could relax knowing we can get away to sleep. She has issues with next door.

I’ll be looking in to part exchanging the Ka in the very near future.

Oh, before I go, I did break the 34 minute barrier on three consecutive days! Go me!



PS, Just been for a trial run in my new trainers. It was a bit of testing the water, really. I set off on the harder of my 10  routes, but was prepared to turn around at any point. New trainers, especially Assics can rub your instep right off. Not too bad. Barely noticed for the first 4 miles, after that my right instep was burning but my left remained comfy as anything. I was setting a cracking pace (for me, post injury) with the first 2 miles at just over 7 minutes each. I started to tire by 5, but then, for the first time since before my injury, so late last year, my legs came back to me! Mile 7-8 suddenly I felt fresh and managed to up the pace!

I did the 10 miles in 1.17.30 which is 7.30 minute /miles. 30 seconds a mile quicker than my last run, itself a landmark in my recovery, and after a 50+ mile ride yesterday. *happy face* Finally moving in the right direction. Go me!