Blue Passports

Wendy casually asked if I’d still like to retire to Cornwall the other day. Being who I am that promoted the prospect from under the radar to most important thing ever that need to be resolved immediately. I started thrashing the internet, but it was instantly apparent that wasn’t happening. Even that houses that have got weird stuff in the walls and mining subsidence warnings so were ineligible for a mortgage were starting at £100K. And that would be cash.

I shifted my attention abroad. Relatives in Spain and Bulgaria seem to be doing fine. We could get a flat in Spain, or a mansion in Bulgaria. Yay! I was getting all excited, planning our best options. Then I thought I’d better see if Bozo had managed to finalise anything about Brexit. He has. Put the plebs right back in their place. The people who have already settled abroad can carry on as normal, us who would like to do the same can forget it. Now you have to apply for a long term visa, prove you’ve got €34K in savings, and pay for your own private healthcare. As a pensioner. Ha! This news following on the heels of someone trying to stop Bozo from scrapping holiday pay as he takes a blowtorch to worker’s rights and regulations. Super. Thanks Gammon Brexiteers.

I know a lot of younger people were misguided by the empty “Take Back Control” slogan and the “£350 million a week to the NHS” lies, but statistically it was pensioners who were most rabidly Brexit. I read that between the vote and the implementation so many of them had died that it wouldn’t have passed if it had been called then. I also know that all the people I know personally of that generation were Remain. (As far as I know.) The sad thing was there was little to get excited about the Remain campaign, but a vague, jingoistic, racist dog whistle of hope in Leave. There was a cartoon, a fat cat rich person with 19 cookies, pointing at the starving underclass person with one cookie and saying to the working class person “Look out, that immigrant is stealing your cookie”. Statistically though, it’s hard not to feel a tad bitter that another door has been slammed behind the Boomer generation. Affordable/ council housing, free education, student grants, a benefits system that worked, worker’s rights, the NHS, and now the right to work and retire abroad. Ho hum. I just wish there was some way to opt back in.

So that’s not happening. We are one month into Brexit and it’s already a disaster. The government have been advising companies to set up businesses in the EU to get around the restrictions that they have overseen. I say overseen, you can’t call saying “ner, ner, Johnny Foreigner, we’re not listening” negotiating.

But. Blue Passports.

Swings and roundabouts, innit?

In better news, several good things have happened. I got an email this morning saying the wide fit triathlon shoes I was after in December are finally back in stock. They only have one pair of each size ( I don’t suppose that many men with small, wide, feet who do triathlon) so I’ve bought two sizes. Whichever is wrong I’ll send back. I’m happy about that because this is the only stockist in the country. That’s why I’ve been waiting since December. When they arrive I can see about a proper bike fit, get the bike set up to my exact body size. Then I can get my body used to it, confident it’s the right position. If the pro bike fit place is open in lockdown. As soon as it is, then.

The other news, which is splendid beyond belief, is my swimming. I’ve really tried with this in the past and got nowhere. I was looking for coaching that wasn’t stupid expensive, no. I joined an improver class at the leisure centre and it was rubbish and no help. I joined a tri club and a swimming club but both just left me to figure it out for myself. Last night, in boredom, I started looking on youtube and stumbled across *another* video on “Five Common Mistakes” in your swimming. I’ve watched loads of these and they just don’t work (for me). This one is different. It’s like it was made for me. (Apart from the 5th mistake which I don’t think I do.)

And the brilliant thing is, it explains how to fix them. Properly! I was nodding along, and agreeing with every “if your doing it wrong this will happen”, and I understood and can do the fixes. For instance, high elbow. I’ve heard it before, but I thought that was just for the recovery arm, the one out of the water sweeping forwards. He shows you a simple drill that makes doing it wrong impossible. And losing power on a wasted stroke every time you breath. I’ve said about that before. One in four strokes are completely wasted, just flap about with no pull. Here’s the fix. Then not lifting your head to breathe, here are some great drills.

I am actually looking forward to the pools opening (and my shoulder being signed off as fit). If I can master the basics then I’ll be gliding along on the surface, my legs won’t sink with every breath, slowing me down, I’ll be on top of my breathing so can just keep going, and using my back muscles not just me feeble arms in a correct stroke. Less work, more speed.

With the realisation that sticking to a demanding training plan works (thanks Trainer Road) and a video that actually addresses all my swimming problems and fixes them, I could really be on for my sub 10 for next year!

Someone posted a twee but true thing the other day. “A goal without a plan is just a dream.” That’s where I was in the past. I thought if I just stuck at it somehow I’d get better. But same training in, same results out.

Trainer Road finally beat on Saturday. It was the same workout I just scraped through last week. 10 minutes at, or slightly under FTP, 1 minutes break, then another ten minutes. Times three. So an hour and a half workout, with an hour of it at FTP. Tough. This week though they added 4 spikes of 30 seconds at 110% FTP per 10 minute block. It doesn’t sound much but it floods your legs with lactic acid and overloads your breathing, then you have to try and continue at a smidge under your max. I made it to the final 10 minute section but I just couldn’t go on.

It’s the first one that’s beaten me. And proof they are not under training me.

They say that you should ride the bike leg of your triathlon (for me, with my goals) at 77% of FTP. That means keeping that power up for 5 hours 15 minutes. Yesterday Trainer Road set my long (2 hour) ride at 90% FTP for 3x 30 minutes! Small breaks in the 30 minutes mainly for psychological reasons, but still, 1½ hours at 90%. The second set looked easier, instead of one break after 15 minutes, they had 2 breaks after 10. Yay! Got to the break, 30 seconds. Thanks a lot. Fully refreshed now. It’s my rest day today, then a week of really easy, boring rides to refresh my legs for next week which is the start of the new training cycle FTP test. I should be able to raise the bar again on that. I checked it out and the last two cycles have been base fitness, next week I start a build phase. That sounds equally promising and terrifying. It doesn’t look that much different. I’ll have to see.

Lisa’s still not right. She thought she was well enough for work, but just hoovering and shopping put her back again. Her appointment with the specialist is only a few days away, hopefully they can fix her.

My shoulder is pretty good. Still a big lump, but I’m hoping it’s good enough. Assuming it’s OK, I have a few questions for the doctor. Is the join as strong as before? Will it snap if I lift weights, or just if I smack it again? Can I swim? As soon as I find those out I can crack on with a bunch of jobs.

Right, that’s it. Rant over. I was just miffed about Brexit and excited about fixing my swimming at last.