Looking for the opportunity

Well, I hung on until the end in the hope that I was wrong, but no, I’m sacked. As that was what I was expecting I got on with the jobs I’d already considered. I won’t be able to afford to continue paying in to the share/save schemes so I cancelled the one that matures next year, and the one after that.

I’d read in the terms and conditions that you can carry on paying into the scheme if you no longer work for the company, and I have one that only has 3 more monthly payments until it matures. That one was looking at making a £1,700 profit, so I was keen to keep it going. I rang up to see how I could pay the final payments myself. I finally got an answer (cut off from the ‘phone after 20 minutes, twice from online chat after 30 minutes).



If you’ve been dismissed you are not able to continue payments.

3 payments short. If I’d have walked out on Friday I’d be making a £1,700 profit in March (share maturity.)

So gutted. I hadn’t even considered that. I thought I knew what was happening and didn’t think I had anything to lose by sticking it out in the hope I’d somehow, maybe, keep my job. Instead it feels like they are kicking me while I’m down.

I found that out yesterday, so I’ve had time to process it. The positive view is I don’t lose a penny, I’ll get all my savings back, just when I might end up needing them. And it’s good that we’ve accrued savings.

So, that part of my working life is over. Draw a line under it, have a bit of a sad face, move on.

I’ve applied for a 4 on 4 off job on containers at Manchester. I’ve worked for the company before on the agency. They have 5 shift jobs advertised as well, but they want you to max out your hours, so 4 days could be a 56 hours. I’d already applied to the one I really want, £17per hour, days, in Liverpool. Seen another Scouse job and applied for that. Those are full time jobs. I’ve also registered with two agencies.

In other positive news, I was suffering with saddle pain on long rides on my trainer. I happened across a review of a saddle, supposed to be the most comfortable saddle for triathlon and tucking into the aero position. OK, let me at it! I’ve been in so much pain at the end of the bike leg of a triathlon I felt like crying. Googled it, £160! For a saddle! No way. I looked on eBay and saw one for £90. Still steep but if it stops the misery… Then I saw another, £40! I put my bid sniper on, but no-one else bid. Got it for £40. Absolute steal.

Also training related, I’ve been struggling for 6 weeks trying to get my fancy pants trainer to link up properly with The Sufferfest. I’ve got it so it mostly works right, in one mode, but you still can’t do the fitness test on it (other mode). Then I heard about Trainer Road. It’s a boring version of Sufferfest. Do 10 minutes at X power/ rpm, then 5 minutes XX, one minute rest, 5 minutes XX, etc. But instead of the Sufferfest videos shouting, shaming and cajoling the last watt of power out of you, it’s just the block graph. 10min, 5 min, 1 min, 5 min. Do it or don’t.

What got me interested was a vlog by a skinny, full-on cyclist man who was coming in at 224W (Watts, obvs), did a plan with Trainer road for 3 months, tested at 288W! That is a huge gain. I was sticking with the Sufferfest because I like it, and I reckon it would be a long time before I max out it’s potential. But then I did another session and my trainer just wasn’t having it. Again. I couldn’t complete the workout and I was miffed. I googled it, the Sufferfest/Direto (my model of trainer) is know to be a bad match, with plenty of problems. When I googled Trainer Road/ Direto there was nothing.

I signed up yesterday. They don’t give a free trial period unfortunately, but I thought it was worth the £15 risk for the month. And I was feeling low, so setting it all up distracted me.

Anyway I tried it today. Perfect.

It. Just. Works.

I had to buy a separate power meter to get an accurate fitness test on the Sufferfest, and that wasn’t 100%. I did the fitness test on Trainer Road (just the trainer, without the separate power meter) and it was perfect. In both modes. Flawless.

There are a bunch of reviews on the site from professional athletes saying that the thousand plus training plans will make you faster. It looks like I’m a Trainer Road guy now. Not as much fun, but genuinely structured workout plans solely designed to make you stronger and faster. We’ll see. I’ve written down the result of my first fitness test on there today. Sadly, they say 172W (Sufferfest had me at 199 a few days ago). Assuming I can train around whatever my next job is, I’ll check back in 3 months.

The other, actually great news, is that even though I’ve carried on training, I’ve had a few days now with no plague weakness at all. That’s brilliant. Not because I’m fooling myself that it won’t come back, but because it disproves a direct correlation between exercise and weakness. I can keep training!

And, to top it all off, my foot is actually getting better. I’ve taken off the support tape for 24 hours, for the first time in months, and my foot isn’t hurting. It’s still twinging a tiny amount, but previously when I tried to take tape off it was throbbing by the end of the day. It’s still 3 weeks until my first test run (3 months no running!) but even if it that doesn’t do it, I’ve got strong hopes for the 6 month test.

Also good, in a slightly worrying way, I’ve just found out that although all the swimming baths are closed, you can still swim in Pickmere Lake. One of my Twitter chums is a keen outdoor swimmer and he was telling me the score. You just pop along in a big robe thing, get changed into your wetsuit under it, attach an inflatable float to your waist (which has a dry pouch for keys and ‘phone) and off you go. That sounds like ideal practice. And the float thing doubles as a life saver if you get cramp or too tired. I wish I’d have know about that last time I was doing lake and sea swims.

I don’t know when I’m going to get around to that. I need the practice, and it would be great to have no-one in my way, so I could learn the drills. But it’s going to be bracing even in a wetsuit. I should suck it up. Another Twitter person, a woman, was doing outdoor swims in just her swimming costume not long back. I need to try it out. Get over the many obstacles I’m putting in my way and just do it. Once I’ve done it once it’s just something I can do.

One other thing, I came across this Italian road on the Sufferfest, Colle Delle, apparently. Instantly wanted to ride it. It’s heading over the Alps to France. I asked Wendy if she fancied a French holiday next year, with a bit of cycling for me. Said we’d better learn some lingo. I told her about Duolingo but she was reluctant. I put the app on her ‘phone for her to give it a go. She’s missed a bunch of her programmes because she won’t put it down. Hahaha. That was an easy sell.

Here’s the road.

Another striking image is one I used to have on my ‘phone and have recently come across again.

In an effort to steal my thunder Dominic Cummings, the nazi spin doctor and Brexit strategist, got sacked slightly before me.

His puppet immediately went back into hiding.

Having cleared up that confusion Twitter sorted another thorny issue.

Before I threw in the towel with The Sufferfest I ordered this rather splendid T shirt.

And, my favourite, the Dinosaurs.

And a random dog.

Right, out of here.