Just food discipline and life dramas…

So far this week my arthritis has been just awful. My knees have been in that much pain that I’ve been hobbling around like a 95 year old, who is feeling especially old and broken. I haven’t been sleeping and pedalling has sadly just not been an option.

This means that food discipline is vital. I have been totally on point (to use a modern phrase) and have been doing exactly what I should be intake wise. This as I know from past experience is the hardest part of any fitness/health regime.

It has been a very trying week in other areas too. Monday was a calamity for us. To cut a long story short, our big male Dog savaged our little female Lurcher nearly to death in a totally unprovoked and surprise attack out on a walk with Wifey. The end result was the impossibly hard decision to have him euthanised as he clearly was not to be trusted anymore, just think if it had been someone’s child. We then had little Tia go through major surgery to save her life. I won’t go into the financial repercussions of those procedures either.

The house has had a very different atmosphere without Benji and add on the constant second guessing as to whether we did the right thing and it’s been a tough time. But as John Lennon famously said “Life is what happens to you while you’re making plans…”

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Mud Fest

Just got back from a really hard pedal with Dan. We were out for nearly 2 hours for 12 miles. The trails after the rain this week were gloopier than a gloopy thing with an especially good reason to be gloopy. The trails were really grabbing at our tyres and doing their best to make us slower than usual. Well, I say us, I actually mean me, Dan was skipping along like the young Pup he is. He is really at one with his Kona now.

Splashdown!

Dan really enjoyed belting down the trail above Hagley and whacking through the puddles. It was at this point that I realised we may be in for a hard time on the wooded trails.

On the Cut.

After the cross country blast down from Stourbridge and the Roman Road, it was over to Whittington and a bit of towpath riding on the Stourbridge Canal.

NCR 54

It was nice to see that wise heads are starting to understand that the towpath is actually an ideal cycle route and this part of the canal is now a designated National Cycle Route, number 54.

Dan at Whittington Bridge.

The towpath up to Caunsall Bridge, our get off point is achingly pretty, just how you would imagine an English Canal to look.

Memorial Bench.

It was nice to see benches, like the one above memorialising the valuable volunteers who work so hard to keep the canals open.

Caunsall Bridge

The bridge above was our get off point, and having done a map recce, I knew the ride was now going to get hard.

Me and the Boy!

It was now a road climb to a trail I knew would bisect the route we did last week. While I knew it would be a climb, I wasn’t quite ready for the difficulty once we got off road onto the bridleway. Very steep, very muddy, very slippy. My knees really started giving me hell. But, as usual, the only way out was more pedalling. So from the canal, to the pub at Iverly was all uphill on mostly slippy mud. I won’t lie, I was officially knackered!

But, all rides eventually come to an end, after a last bit of mostly level trail we were soon relaxing pedalling back on Brake Lane. It was all downhill to home. Sitting here typing up this Blog, my knees are a bit of a distraction to say the least. I think I was a bit ambitious with my route choice considering the conditions. Oh well, lesson learned!

Gin clear…

Out at early O’clock again, only this time it was very clear, cold and frosty. So much so I was sliding around a bit on the side roads out to my route.

My knees were relatively ok, but I did feel a tad hungry yesterday, which is a first on this regime.

Dawn over Clent…

I caught the sun starting rise over the Clent Hills and thought it was worth a stop to photograph it.

Again, Bernard the Buzzard has stopped following me down Hossil Lane and he appears to wait for me in the big field at the end of the Lane. I did try stopping to photograph the blighter but he is still a bit camera shy!

Sign post…

The sign post gives you an idea of the locations on the back end of my route, very quiet country lanes to get me to the carnage of the main A456 by the Shell petrol station at Hagley.

I hop over the Worcester road by the petrol station, then ride through the Shell station to the main A456 and cross there into the cut out to my estate. This seems the least risky option in getting home! Although the slippyness of the side road roads were nearly as dodgy as the rush hour traffic on the A456!

Grey damp day…

This morning was probably the darkest it’s been since I set out on this latest weight loss thing. I left my house at 0740hrs and it was still pitch black and raining.

Crossing over the A456 I narrowly avoided death after a 4×4 nearly took me out by making a last minute turn at high speed up my side road after not bothering to indicate. Luckily I was a bit more aware than he was.

It’s pretty much all uphill until you get to Holy Cross and I’m finding I’m getting there quite untroubled now, which means I’m getting fitter. Progress is nice!

Hossil Lane
Me at Hossil Lane

Bernard the Buzzard was conspicuous by his absence today, normally he follows me all the way down Hossil Lane, but as I got to the end of the Lane to ride over the big field he put in an appearance and watched me pedal off from his perch in an Oak tree.

My knees were behaving today after a bad Sunday/Monday. I’m guessing that standing around of a Sunday morning watching Dan play his Rugby can’t be doing them any good.

Finally, apologies for the sameness of the photos, it’s a bit difficult to vary them and when you have as little creative skill as me it’s even harder!

Pedal out with Dan…

Before we get into the pedal, a weight update. I actually dropped 1 Ib over the Christmas period. I didn’t specifically miss stuff out, but I didn’t drink beer at home and I really cut down on bread. That and going out pedalling seemed to do the trick! Happy days!

Onto today’s pedal, as my knees seemed to be cooperating today, I thought we’d go a bit further afield, with a trip out to Turbine Cottage. It’s a route I’ve pedalled before, but I know Dan hasn’t. Obviously we started on ground he knew, but at the junction of the Roman Road, we carried on towards Stourbridge and a trip up towards a trail I thought would be relatively quiet. Wrong! Halfway up it a large group of MTBers were pedalling down, as it was a single track and we were in the minority, we pulled in to the hedgerow to let them pass, after about a dozen “Morning mate” and “Cheers pal!” we were back on our way.

At the end of this trail is a left turn towards Whittington and a bumpy but wide downhill to a country lane which connects us to the bridleway that leads to Turbine Cottage. After dodging a few Dogs and Dog walkers the bridleway was solitary bliss again.

It seems that Turbine Cottage has had a change of ownership, the few times I’ve pedalled past, there has been total silence. No cars or activity of any kind. But today, there were cars parked outside and a few Dogs kicking off in the garden. Normally I stop here for a drink break, but the canine commotion persuaded me and Dan to carry on to the top of the hill and stop there.

The view from the top.
Me and Dan!

Then it was bridleway blast all the way back to Hagley after one seriously tough Granny Ring slog up one particular trail. If I switch on my competitive Dad mode, I am glad to say I pedalled the slog without stopping but Dan didn’t! HA! One nil to age and experience over youth and enthusiasm! Competitive Dad mode off…

Dan really enjoyed the downhill with the steps added into the trail and was yahooing down the trail for all he was worth, it’s great to see. I’ve actually caught him watching MTB videos on Youtube, has the MTB bug bitten I wonder?

Back in Hagley we stopped off at the shop for Dan to get a snack as he was running on empty.

My Cannondale parked up

Dan’s Kona parked up.

After he’d scoffed his munchies, it was a swift street pedal home. A great morning out, with Dan suffering a slight case of trail pox.

Trail Pox

Have a good weekend folks!

Relatively pain free day…

Yesterday was a disaster in terms of the arthritis in my knees. I woke up after a bad night’s sleep because of the pain, stood up by my bed and promptly fell flat on my face as the pain properly hit.

It was a huge effort to stumble to the bathroom for my daily ablute and with that I realised that there wouldn’t be a pedal. Which gripped me to be honest as the weather looked ideal for cycling.

It was then a case of parking my arse on the sofa, necking the pain killers and getting to know a few Netflix series. I’m not a good binge TV watcher, so I also had a good Kindle and music day. Most importantly my food intake was totally weight loss friendly!

But this morning, the arthritis seemed to be behaving itself as I was only in minor pain, so I jumped on my bike as quickly as I could before it changed its mind!

A really good frosty morning’s pedal ensued around my usual route. The lubing of the bike also worked as my bike was creak free. I’m still being followed round by the local Buzzard, but he still won’t let me photograph him!

Hossil Lane towards Belbroughton

Hossil Lane towards Holy Cross.
Me!

Hmm, looking at that photo above of yours truly I can see the ever present feeling of the arthritis. That’s not my normal grin.

Have a good day folks!

Normal service is resumed…

It’s Monday the 7th of January and the kids have gone back to school today, everyone is back at work and the Christmas decorations are down. Life is back to normal.

With that in mind it’s back to pedalling my solitary routes without trying to chase Dan down and we’re back to our normal “non luxury” grub. Oh the traffic was a disaster on the A456 this morning. I’m glad I only cross it and not pedal on it.

I had the usual Buzzard for company down Hossil Lane, but he still won’t allow me to photograph him!

Usual photo spot…
Cannondale and fence…

On the way back through the Hamlet of Broome, my bike developed an annoying squeak. I gave the bike a once over and couldn’t see anything obvious, so I just gave it a good old lubing when I got back. As the actress said to the Vicar…

On the arthritis front, my knees seem to be cooperating today. Which is nice.