Monthly Archives: February 2011

End of the Month…

Monday again. They seem to be coming round with alarming speed now. A quick zip into work over the Beeches, nothing to report. Apart from a cheeky North headwind (cold).

I’m feeling ok and my leaden legs from last week seem to have appreciated the 3 days break.

A very good weekend of rugby in the 6 Nations. The games did go to form. Wales beat a workman like Italian side. What would the Italians give for a decent half back pairing eh? Totally clueless against an organised defence. But they had plenty of ball and did seem to be giving the Welsh a good game. But they were never in all reality going to win. The Welsh must be happy to have escaped from the Flaminio Stadium victorious. It was good to see Jamie Roberts get some form back and James Hook enjoyed his run out in what is in my opinion his strongest position. But I think Warren Gatland is being mischevious in the extreme by saying Wales can still win this years Championship. Only mathmatically Warren, only mathmatically!

Le Crunch lived up to its billing as the big game of the Championship so far. France came to Twickenham with the sole intent of beating the English up. Which to be honest they totally failed to do. To precis the game as quickly as possible: The English weathered the French onslaught in the first half, then changed the way they approached the breakdown in the second, scored a try and held on to win pretty comfortably in the end.

It was a proper test match, very intense, very physical and both teams went for it. A quick mention of Irish referee George Clancy. He has never been on my Christmas Card list to be fair, but credit where credit is due, he had a very good game, was consistent in his interpretation of the laws throughout the game, and what a shock, he actually refereed the scrums! Well done Mr Clancy.

Scotland v Ireland wasn’t the greatest advert for rugby, Ireland won, despite their best efforts to lose it. The game descended into a spectacle that resembled 2 sets of Old Age pensioners trying to mug each other. Not great. Andy Robinson and Declan Kidney have their work cut out to get some sort of performances from their respective teams.

The Championship now has a 2 week break, which hopefully will give the injured players time to recover.


Roman Holiday

Wifey decided we’d go to Wroxeter Roman City yesterday. We like our history and as we knew that as the site was out doors it’d give the kids a bit of freedom to race around exploring.

The idea to visit this place came on the back of the Channel 4 TV program Rome wasn’t built in a day.

We watched this series which was about modern day builders trying to construct a Roman Villa using only Roman building methods. If you ignore the little bits of “reality TV” staged conflict it was utterly fascinating. The technology was brilliantly effective and the learning curve for the modern day workers massive.

Anyway, Wroxeter is only 45 minutes away from us near Shrewsbury so we thought we’d check it out!

A few piccies of the visit:

The site run by English Heritage is not that big. There is a Roman ruin across the lane from the new Villa which is the remnants of the old Roman City. It would have been in modern terms a City the size of Sheffield and a vital commercial and economic centre. It is 5 minutes from the new A5 which is the old Roman Road called Watling Street and used to  go from Dover to Holyhead.

The place is now suddenly very busy and the staff are looking harrassed. The power of TV!

Dan used a bit of birthday money on this.

Just thought I’d throw this in. A metal Dragon sculpture we saw down the road outside of a caravan sales place. I thought it was brilliant!

The rest of the day was about the Rugby. I watched England beat France in the Dodford. Banter was outstanding, as was the game. More on the Rugby in a future post.

Usual busy Saturday

Hectic one today…for a change. Get over to Hagley to get Fay from yet another sleepover. Take the kids out, where to I don’t know yet. Then back for some rugby this afternoon!

Friday News flash!

It seems I’m rocking and rolling again, a step onto the instument of truth last night revealved a 6Ibs loss for the week, which while great, is an annoying 1Ib short of a 7 stones loss. Ah well next week eh?

I’m absolutely chuffed. After all weight loss is the name of my game. My cycling prowess seems to have levelled off with average speeds and times of journeys and such. But while that matters to some folks, it’s not the priority for me although as you know, I do love it!

I have been hyper strict since the chaos and madness of Christmas when I fell off the wagon big style. I’ve been nailing the food management, and pedalling as often as I can with the upper body and core stuff going on every day too. The food is still the drama though. My weight loss tailed off when I was eating at work. If 3 Shredded Wheat, or a bowl of soup or a bowl of porridge can be called eating. So I went back to what I did originally. Pedal in, pedal home, have a meal at home of an evening, but drink plenty of water during the day.

I’ll guarantee that people who know about such things will be about to put finger to keyboard to tell me that my eating nothing during the day isn’t what I should be doing. As someone who reads quite a bit about the subject, I’d agree. But, it doesn’t work for me. The figures prove it. I guess the “human factor” ie, everyone is different is to be applied to weight loss too. And apparently I am different!

Back to pedalling, we had an early visit from Spring yesterday. The sun was out, it was nice and warm and my pedal home was done with just an outer layer on for the first time this year. And very pleasant it was too! My averages and times were back up to where they normally are and I felt good. It seems the carnage of Wednesday’s pedal home was behind me. It must have been all those work meetings that day had sucked the life force from me!

I’m looking forward to a nice restful weekend now. Well, as restful as a Chapman weekend can be!

Body wreck and bad news.

Yesterday’s pedal home was the worst 50 minutes I’ve ever spent on a bike in my whole life. The minute I set off from work I knew I was in trouble. I was ball bagged 100 meters down the road and I just got worse. My legs wouldn’t rotate, my breathing was all over the shop and to top it all I was even saddle sore! God knows what the matter with me was! Maybe it was the bloody meetings I had at work yesterday had knocked the shite out of me with terminal boredom!

It really was a world of hurt. When I got in I collapsed into my chair and didn’t move for 15 minutes, I didn’t even do my upper body and core stuff last night. Everything was aching, nothing was working. It felt even worse than I did the first time I pedalled all the way home back in October 2009! But I suppose you could take the positive that I toughed it out and actually did it.

Here’s the elevation profile of my route home. Ok, it’s mainly uphill, but nothing too bad really.

That took me 50 minutes at a shockingly bad 10mph average.

This morning, everything is fine again. I felt good, did a pretty good time in, (not that I’m clock watching) and my average was up at 16mph.

As you can see from the photo taken this morning on arrival at work I have the beginnings of the dreaded helmet hair, looks like I’m due a haircut! On another plus, this was the first morning’s pedal this year that I didn’t deploy my headover (Buff) for toasty ears. It was pretty warm. Good news!

I hope I feel as good on  my way home as I did on the way in!

Finishing on a sad family note, I had a phone call last night off my cousin Ade, who’s in the Fleet Air Arm in the Royal Navy telling me his Mom had passed away. Pat was 71 and had suffered from manic depression all her life and hadn’t been functioning at all for the past few years. Ever since I’ve known her she has had this awful illness, but on a few rare occasions we did see the real her and a lovely person she was too.

Ade told me Doug his Dad is relieved it’s all over as is he. I can see where they’re coming from. We saw her last Autumn and she didn’t even acknowledge our presence even though Dan was kicking off all over their house as usual, much to Doug’s delight. He was hoping Dan would generate a spark in her. But sadly nothing.

I didn’t enjoy phoning my Mom & Dad and brother with the news last night. Sorry about the sombre finish.

Pump it up until you can feel it!

Now that was  a tad moist this morning. But, needs must etc. I had a bit of a tail wind helping me along to take the edge off the deluge, but hey ho, crack on! Annoyingly and unusually I had every traffic light on red and every junction I had to stop for traffic. So the whole pedal felt a bit stop start.

Yesterday’s pedal home went ok with absolutely nothing to report. The pre pedal check always done an hour before I set off from work could have gone better though. A flat front tyre, that was changed in record time, the puncture repaired and the spare tube fitted. I couldn’t find a sharp in the tyre either. I must at this point big up my pump. One of these.

Mine is the blue one, to go with my bike naturally, but these have tremendous pumping power, I got my front tyre to an acceptable pedalling pressure pretty quickly. Obviously they’re no track pump, but these are a quality engineered product. They feel quality and the operation is smooth as silk. Some nice touches are rubber covers on all the openings to keep crap out and a good bracket and strap to secure the thing to your bike. All in all the best mini pump I’ve ever had by a good long way, for road bike use with their smaller volume tyres you won’t be disappointed.

For MTBing go for one of these babies. As good as a track pump and eminently portable despite what some reviewers say!

Just for tidyness, I did my upper body stuff and the food management was spot on yesterday too.

Tuesday Tuesday, don’t need that day…

A tremendously hard fought battle with my inner wimp this morning. I awoke with a start (I hate that) at 0430hrs and unfortunately my bed felt just too warm and comfortable. I lay there for half an hour listening to the birds and trying to come up with any excuse not to get my fat lazy arse out of bed. I failed miserably and at 0458hrs I got up, abluted, got dressed, got on my bike and was away. Into thick fog.

The pedal over the Beeches was done in near invisibilty and accompanying foggy dampness. Luckily at that time, as well lit and hi vizzed up as I am I only saw 1 car who flashed his main beam at me, no doubt in protest at my very bright front light. Either that or he was showing solidarity for a fellow early riser.

Probably too much detail here, but my snot tap is working overtime at the moment, I seem to be constantly clearing my tubes and my gloves look like a troop of slugs have been crawling all over them for a week. I think it must be the remnants of the flu and chest infection buggering off. I’m still having coughing fits at the top of every climb even after all this time!

Yesterday’s commute home was a standard affair past the QE hospital and via the Bristol Road. I did battle with a number 63 bus from Selly Oak to Northfield, we played leapfrog at every bus stop along the way, but I won the race to the Black Horse Pub in Northfield.

Upper body and core excercises done as usual when I got in and the required food disciplne carried out too. All in all a standard day.