A very refreshing Easterly wind meant that today was probably the coldest pedal of the week, with the sun trying to put in an appearance behind some very thin clouds.
I had to make a slight detour on my usual route as there was a furniture removals van blocking a lane in the Hamlet of Holy Cross, but luckily I knew a few alternative routes. I actually had company this morning too, a Buzzard was fence post hopping with me along Hossil Lane, which is a single track bridleway. The Bird of Prey wouldn’t let me get close enough to photograph him though. But he did stay with me for about a mile! I wondered if he was an escapee from the local Falconry Centre, but I couldn’t see any leather straps around his feet.
The signage for Hossil Lane above, this was where my tame Buzzard left me to go hunting.
As there is no apparent rhyme or reason to when my knees give me trouble, it didn’t surprise me that today my knees, while hurting, were nowhere near as bad as yesterday. Quite bearable in fact.
I’m pretty busy with home and family stuff tomorrow, so it looks like there’ll be no pedal, but I will be putting finger to keyboard.
As part of the adjusted fitness regime, today was the first time I went on a Tuesday pedal. Which also meant it was consecutive days that I would be pedalling.
Sod’s Law also dictated that I had a terrible night with my arthritis in my knees. My right knee especially keeping me awake. So much so that I resorted to pain killers to enable me to sleep. It was that bad that occasionally I actually cried out in pain when I moved in bed.
But a new dawn, always in the words of the song, brings a new day. Although I wasn’t feeling that good, I got out on my pedal.
To help me beat my inner wimp, I always get everything ready to pedal the minute I get back in off the pedal I’ve just been on. My cycling kit is turned around and made ready to go. My bike is parked the right way round in the garage and my Camelbak is laid out in an easy place to pick up. This is so I have no excuse not to go out if there is any hitch in getting ready. Little things like this help enormously.
Just to add insult to injury, the arthritis in my big toe joints decided to come to the party today too. You’re welcome…
The photo above is me putting a brave face on things. My knees were in absolute bits. My theory is that the cycling will build up my leg muscles and help support the shot knees and cycling, although painful, will not make the condition any worse. That last bit is from my knee surgeon. My take on that is that the constant rotation of my knee joints will “wear” the arthritis in. Not sure if that is a thing though!
Now to crack on with my day, there’s washing to be done!
After a cracking weekend with Wifey out enjoying the best live stage show I’ve ever seen on Saturday night, that of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, it was back in the saddle this morning out on my ride.
A really clear still day for once, not too cold, with plenty of wild life on show. Buzzards, Bunnies, Squirrels and Foxes all wondering what the hell that fat bloke was doing pedalling through their neighbourhood!
After a weekend of rain the trails were even more cut up and even muddier, mainly due to the local Equine community out on hacks judging by the sign left on the ground.
I have been neglecting my bike maintenance, I WILL CLEAN IT AT THE WEEKEND!!!!
Just as an interest thing, I thought I’d show you what I carry in my Camelbak. I just carry the bare minimum. The Army teaching me not to load up too heavy. “If you want it along, you carry it!”
And the contents…
All of that kit goes in the bottom pouch, with the exception of the pump and light, which leaves the smaller top pouch free for a bit of scran or keys and wallet. Everything is packed tight and if necessary wrapped up, as anything rattling around is tactically unsound. Sorry, I mean annoying!
No program or process is ever linear. Or to use my favourite military quote “No plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.”
This is what has happened to me this week. My weight loss is static, still at 22 stones. I’m not too worried about that as I am doing everything right food wise, but I will reduce my portions even further.
It’s my fitness regime that I’m going to change. I am still failing to successfully carry out my home exercises purely because my strength doesn’t match my immense mass. They are not doing anything other than making me hurt and miserable. A very important principle of weight loss is to enjoy the process or you just won’t persist. To that end I’m stopping the home exercises from next week and replacing them with cycling everyday. I will restart them when my mass is reduced enough to carry them out.
Onto today’s pedal, very wet, very windy with the trails totally flooded.
As you can see, no solid ground was visible, just a constant flood to pedal on.
It was very dark too and my Magicshine front light battery pack has died. So I fitted my Lezyne front light which is just brilliant. I do like Lezyne kit. Well designed, engineered and manufactured kit.
The black tape around the light is not really necessary. It is covering the rubber bung that seals off the charging point. But my belt and braces approach to stuff made me do it!
I’m not sure if it was the wet, but the arthritis in my knees was really hurting today, so much so I considered stopping. But the practicalities of that were none existent. What was I going to do? Walk home? I can pedal better than I can walk! So I just got on with it.
It’s an entertainment & music filled couple of days to come. Off tonight to see my mate’s band Turned It To Stone (Don’t look at the initials too closely) at the Flapper pub in Birmingham. And tomorrow, me and Wifey are seeing the Rock Musical Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds at the Genting Arena in Brum. No one would have believed…
A very harsh lesson learned this morning. I struggled out of bed, got my kit on, a lot of it as it was wet and cold again, did my usual morning routine, that of getting a coffee, ensuring Dan is squared away for school, then I jump on my bike and pedal off into the metaphorical sunset.
With Dan sorted, as I said, off I went. At the end of the road I knew I was in trouble. Let me elaborate…
Since I have started this thing a few weeks ago, for reasons I am not going to analyse too closely, my usual 15 minutes of peacefulness sat on my porcelain sanctuary has changed from the morning to the evening. This morning I saw no reason that this should have changed. Until I got to the end of the road, where, for reasons not clear, my 15 minutes of sanctuary and peacefulness were demanding my time rather urgently!
With that very much to the front of my mind (and in other areas of my being) I decided that an hour on my new route would not be possible so I went on my old route, that 15 minutes would be crucial! The thought of going back home and de-kitting was just not an option, because I know I am still that mentally fragile that I would not have gone back out. 45 minutes of gritted teeth and a clenched glutes it was then!
As I knew it was going to be another very wet ride I fitted my Crud Guard to my bike to stop the wet back and arse syndrome.
My office for the day, the Clent Hills in the background shrouded by cloud.
The trails are just getting gloopier and really grabbing hold of your tyres making my progress even slower. But mud is an integral part of UK Winter Mountain Biking and you just have to get on with it!
My Cannondale is doing its job. This new cycle for weightloss program is really the first time I’ve used it in anger since I’ve had it, over a multitude of terrain and conditions. I have to say I’m very impressed with it. It’s the first time I’ve had a MTB that isn’t a 26″ wheeled bike. But the 27.5″ still retains the flickability of the 26″ bike and it’s still low enough for my short arse stature! I have ridden a 29er and it’s just too tall for me. As a personal thing, I love the Matt Black base colour, but I’m not in love with the Lime Green graphics, but that’s not important. But I would say it’s one of the best riding bikes I’ve ever had. Nearly up there with my old Orange P7! But it’s performing far better than it’s rider!
I will be back on my longer pedal on Friday as I will have taken into account of my body’s new routines! Home exercises tomorrow and the thrills and spills of cleaning the fridges and freezers in time for Christmas today. Rock and Roll eh!
Home exercises done, they’re not going well, but I’m getting them done. Which is the main thing.
It’s a glorious winter morning here, sharp frost & sunshine. Perfect pedalling weather. Hard trails, clear vistas. Which after yesterday’s Biblical downpour would have been ideal had I been out for a cycle! I’ve just checked the met for tomorrow. More Biblical rain!
Food intake is still on point which is still going ok.
Just remember, the real goal of fitness isn’t to look good now, which will happen, but to be able to get yourself off the toilet unaided when you’re 70!