Category: Uncategorized

Change and about.

It’s been a strange time. Work are introducing spy cameras into the trucks, against the express wish of every driver there. I got into a principled huff and have been looking for other jobs. I applied online to Royal Mail, Chorley, but didn’t make it past their online personality test thing. Then I saw two other jobs that looked OK. I applied for them, and got invitations to go further, but then I found reviews. It’s not just Amazon that do online reviews anymore. These were from actual drivers, past and present. The first job is a total lie, with terrible kit and long hours, being treated like dirt. The second, which looked on the advert to be local drops, loading and unloading your own trailer, good money, and most importantly only 8 hour shifts, was nothing of the sort. Long, long shifts, bullying culture, treated like crap, admittedly the money is still good. I was getting a bit low but I think I’m bouncing back. It’s not that my job is ideal, but it’s still SO much better than the alternatives. I’ll keep my eyes open, if Royal Mail, Warrington, advertise I’ll be all over that, but I’m not leaving my job for a worse one. I mentioned that I was looking for other work to a trainer at work today. Because of the spy cameras, but also because I never know when I’m going home. He had a good suggestion. Ask to be trained as a shunter. They are the drivers who stay in the yard all day, moving trailers around. A tedious job but one with fixed hours. I could be on the good money I am on now and know when I was going home. And it would remove the other, otherwise unavoidable, irritant in my job; traffic. It’s certainly worth an ask.   Another downer is my bike. I bought the red one because it did everything the black on did and had great bodywork so looked fantastic. I got to work a few days ago and noticed half of a fairing panel was missing. It’s completely inexplicable. If it had been a full panel I would have thought it had fallen off or been nicked, but half was left behind as though it had snapped off. but there were five bolts holding the snapped off bit in place. I haven’t crashed it or dropped it, there is no plastic debris at ours, so not kids vandalising it. It makes no sense. Gutted though. I spent hours searching for a replacement fairing panel. It’s a 24 year old bike, and apparently left hand side ones are most sought after from people getting it wrong with the sidestand and dropping it. Found one, tried to buy it but eBay said there was an error, so I went back and tried again but it had sold. I found another panel and bought that. Then eBay sent me an invoice for the first one. It was a glitch, […]

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Finally!

I don’t want to speak too soon, I’ve made several false starts recently, but I think I’m finally free of that bug. It’s taken forever. For the last 3 weeks I’ve thought I was over it, gone out for a few training sessions, then felt as weak as a Southerners cup of tea. It’s been dire. Also, there’s the knock on effect of losing your mojo. While you are training and pushing yourself you are determined to be better the next time. After you’ve spent a while being lazy you know how bad it’s going to be getting going again and you start avoiding it. After my last blog, lamenting how utterly terrible everything was, I’m back to optimistic today. I’ve had to switch off the 4DP setting on the Sufferfest (cycling training app thing) that is tailored to my exact strengths and weaknesses (well, weaknesses and slightly less weakness) until I can get my fitness back. It’s still set to my maximum sustainable effort, so it beasts me, just not quite as much.  Last week when I was feeling OK I did the longest session on there,1 hour 40 minutes of mixed sets. It was too much really, my knee felt like a balloon afterwards. Today I was cunning and just did a nice easy 45 minute session. Warm up, 1 minute hard, 1 minute rest. I can do this! Then again. By the third time I was thinking I was going to have to quit. But Sufferfest are sly. They give you just enough time to recover so you think ‘OK, I’ll just do one more’ and keep going. 11 of them. Half way through they said “This is one of the most intense workouts you can do, treat it as such”. Nice, easy, 45 minutes my fat, lazy arse! Then after the 11 sessions it got hard. 15 seconds of high revs, high power, sprint. Then 15 second rest. Times 20. It doesn’t sound much, but there is no time to recover. Again, they are cunning, you can just about stop gasping then the next 15 seconds starts and you think ‘Anyone can do 15 seconds!’ so you push it out, even though you are still dying. My admiration for the trainers at Sufferfest is total. They are evil,sadistic geniuses. The clue is in the name, I suppose. Their genius is in torturing you to the exact level where you push at your absolute maximum, but can finish without quitting. It really is where the Iron Crosses grow. So I slogged through that. And it was terrible. But I did it. Then I went out for a run. The last few weeks that has been slow and painful and maximum effort just to keep going. Today the first 4 miles were a joy. I just set my legs to running, and they kept it up, at a modest pace, with metronomic ease. That was a double joy as after the sufferfest being so hard I thought my […]

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Excuses, not results.

After my upbeat last post, it all went horribly wrong again. I started feeling weak again. I did some runs but I couldn’t maintain any sort of pace and it was so, so hard just to keep going. I endured it for a week, I did 3 runs, then decided I’d had enough. I wondered if it might be the anti-inflammatory pills the doctor gave me, so I stopped taking them. 2 days later my foot was hurting from the inflamed tendons again, so I knew the pills had rinsed out of my system. I tried to do the Sufferfest. As I’ve said, I had just really raised the bar, so all my workouts were a lot harder and they’d moved me on to endurance blocks because that’s my most glaring weakness. Then I was ghastly ill for 3 weeks and lost all my fitness. Before I was ill I was doing sprint workouts, which actually played to my ‘strength’ (such as it is). My sustainable limit is about 200 Watts. The sprint workouts would have you me riding for 20 seconds to 2 minutes at anything up to 320W, then easy for 30 seconds or whatever, then the next big one. I aced that on the fitness test just before I got ill, with them saying I have “exceptional” sprint to [utterly pitiful]sustainable level power. Rather than kill myself as I’m trying to make up for a lost month’s training, I decided to do the sprint workout again, rather than the endurance blocks. Ha! Sufferfest were on to me. I started the routine with a graded warm up, then in to the sprints, “hold 679W for 30 seconds” What?! Seriously, WHAT?! I didn’t have my glasses on so thought I must have misread it, my power being around 200W and all, but no, 679W. It looks like I’m going to have to build my fitness up on the other training thing, where it’s not tailored to you specifically, before I can start back properly. The long and short of it being I had to quit, wearing my lungs as scarf, halfway through the workout. I just couldn’t. To try and redeem myself a little I went out for a run. I was only going to do 6 miles, but after the first mile, on traumatised legs, at 8.20 I realised I had loads more in the tank, so I put it under 8 m/m and held it there, comfortably. (It’s a relative term. I mean I wasn’t having to claw back every mile from 8.30 or whatever, I just kept going and stayed under 8.) I was impressing myself after the last bunch of runs not even being able to stay at 8, so kept going for 5 miles, then turned around and smashed the negative split. 10 miles, on thrashed legs, after an 8.20 first mile, and I averaged 7.41. I’ll well take that. I was buzzing. I thought I was all well again and not too far […]

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All Coming Up Roses.

My last blog was all poorliness and bikes. I hit my nadir on Sunday morning when I had to admit defeat and not do the Manchester marathon. I hadn’t done any training at all for 3 weeks and I was still feeling weak. It started to clear on Sunday afternoon. Obviously. I went for a test run and managed to do 10 miles at a modest but forced pace. Even though I was still a bit ill, and it was so, so hard, it was a joy to be out doing a bit. I’d been going stir crazy doing nothing for 3 weeks. I got back on the pushbike torture training thing (The Sufferfest) the next day and didn’t die. So, I’m back in the game. Yay!   I took my bike to the garage as I said. I trust the mechanic as he’s always got too much work on so he doesn’t make up jobs to boost his money. A few times he’s told me what to do and sent me away to do it myself. Anyway, he took the bike for a test ride and said the engine was “sweet” and agreed it was a steal for the price. I got him to do the full service, down to the valve clearances. On another bike I’d probably have a go, but these have gear driven cams, so you have to get a series of cogs all meshed exactly right. Put one back slightly out of position and you’ve got a dead bike. Actually, I may have been fed a scare story, looking at it, I reckon that’s do-able. I might get a cheap engine and have a mooch. While I was looking for an example picture I came across a gear driven Ducati. That is art. Would not want to drop a cog and have to reset that! That’s all beside the point. I took it to the mechanic and got a proper job done. I picked it up today. He’s sorted out the front brake, changed the brake and clutch fluids, replaced 4 valve shims and done the valve clearances, apart from annual changing of oil and such, that’s me for 15,000 miles. On the ride home from buying it I was worried that my other bike was quicker to rev up and sprint off than this new one. On the ride home from the garage I nipped past some slow cars and hit the power band. Off like a scalded cat! That was a hoot. I’ve been waiting all week for some crash bungs to arrive so the mechanic could fit them. (These are crash bungs, by the way. Just to protect your fairings and engine from getting smashed to bits when you come off.) (Just rereading this before posting it. Other people might say “if” you come off, lol.) It’s not a big job, take your fairing off, mark them, drill a big hole in them, put them back and fit your crash bungs. It’s […]

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Bikes and poorliness.

That’s about all that’s going on right now. Luke was dying with a beastly cold that laid him up for weeks. He was bored of being ill at home so came around and gave it to Wendy and me. Which is nice. Wendy’s been off work for nearly two weeks with it. She’s gone back now but she’s still as rough as rats. I’ve not been so bad, just weak and feeling lousy. I did a 20 mile run 18 days ago, not done a hand’s turn of training since. I’ve got the Manchester marathon on Sunday. I’m doubtful I’ll even be starting.   The rest has all been about the bikes. I put my FireBlade up for sale on eBay. *sigh* It’s the most amazing bike I’ve ever ridden, but it’s just too, too much. 90mph in second gear (of 6.) You spend all your time struggling to stay out of automatic ban territory (100mph+), it takes all the fun out of it. In an amazing turn of events, I put the bike up for sale, 2 hours later it had sold! No hassle, no insulting offers! Unheard of. Also I’ve sold my saxes as part of my triathlon training. Cut out all distractions from your focus on your goal. While they were there I was always tempted to go back and waste more time on something I’m never going to be able to do. I’ve finally got on top of the crash damage on my winter bike. I had to strip and clean the carbs in my latest ordeal. But now it seems to be running OK, finally. Nothing but trouble, but I’ve got it sorted. Now I want shut. I was on the verge of buying an Suzuki SV650, a slow (123mph) naked (to slow me down some more) and cheap V twin, that also handles well and is great fun. So, a Harley.  But better in every way. And way cheaper. As I say I was on the verge of getting a really low mileage one for under £2K when I read a long term review of them. It seems they are all I thought, but built to a budget. The reason it’s all so shiny and pretty is because it’s not been ridden in winter. They are rustbuckets in waiting. No good for me. I want one bike, that’ll do everything, that I can ride all year. So I’ve bought another VFR750. Exactly the same as my winter bike, but not rusty and horrible.   It’s in the bike shop now having a once over to see that the engine is fine. If so I’m getting it a total service (big job, setting the valve clearances and shims, but once it’s done it’s good for 15,000 miles.) Then I’m getting the paint on the wheels re-done and redoing the forks myself. Then maybe a respray. That’s it then. One bike, all shiny and lovely, one set of bills, all year round useable and I have […]

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