Friday, May 24, 2002

This whole week, apart from Monday, I have been off the bike. The first time this season I have had a break. After Sunday I should have realised how tired I was. Now my problem is I can't be sure when my HR is back to normal as drinking Tuesday, Wednesday and yesterday nights combined with little sleep has no doubt thrown my HR up. I also suspect my blood pressure is up, which is work-stress related. As in this crap project. It should be all up and running now but there are problems with the web-enabling stuff. I cant sort it, I don't have that level of technical skill.
Last night H came ! And a good night it was. Interesting talk about old schools. Harry H Corbett of Steptoe & Son went to Sharston Secondary School in Manchester, I always thought he was a cockney.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

So here I am sitting in a posh hotel, wearing designer punk gear. To wit Versace jeans, Levis jacket and a British designer shirt with the word 'destroy' written down each sleeve. Almost made the mistake of buying a nice black designer shirt yesterday. Untill I remembered I had a DKNY black shirt sittin in the wash basket at home. Which the lazy trout won't wash because the label says hand wash and I have to wash all my hand wash stuff myself. By hand. Would Hazel wash 'em for me ?
Tiredness really kicked in last night. Legs were so sore. Don't know if that was due to caving exploits or wandering around Selfridges ogling designer clothes for 2 hours.
Went to Solihull and swopped hire Vauxhall Vectra for trusty old Volvo. Getting to almost like the Volvo now.
Hazel was coming over but did'nt. Like last night. Not sure why not last night, but 2mrow she is off to Scotland so OK. If she would only be up front and admit she is tired/getting up early/just don't want to see me. Instead of which we go through an odd ritual of unanswered text mssgs, unanswered calls, cuttinmg me off when I get through and so on. I'm still trying to get an anti car-jacker thing. Worried now, well when I get my car back from repairers, will be. Lots of people driving nice cars have had their car stolen br car-jackers in Bolton & Manchester recently. If it does happen, lets hope that some of Hazels freinds can get my car back !

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Feeling sort of tired, and my resting pulse is 55. This means I'm probably not recovered from the weekend as yet. So, I think tonight will be rest and recreation. I know I lugged my bike up here, at least I did a little ride last night. That would help clear the toxins out of my system and my legs felt better. Clambering around inside a cave maybe was'nt a good idea. The weather forecast says rain this evening, which is a very good reason not to go out. Right, just glanced out of the window and the rain is coming down. Thats it, no training tonight. No press-ups/sit-ups either. I am going to take a trip to the Trafford centre and have a mooch around selfridges. I might get a store card and buy a Hugo Boss suit, as well as some Versace or similar label with a high posing quotient.
Just the thought of not training this evening makes me feel happy, and with the added excuse of rain !
Just think, driving back from Kettlewell last night first spits, then shower, then a complete deluge of rain. If that deluge had started when I was at the very end of Dow Cave, how long would it have taken for the water level to rise above the crawl, thus cutting me off ? Hmm, that would be interesting. I seem to remember the first time I went in this cave, in May or April 2000, after some quite heavy rain over the preceeding days, I did'nt get as far as the crawl, I think I stopped at the bit where the boulders have to be climbed. That time the air in the cave was very humid, I could'nt wear my specs and there was so much more water about.
Kettlewell. Good evening, are you well ? And how is your Kettle ? Is it well ? He he.
The weekend. Rode a horrible hilly, no mountainous race on sunday. Out of Bridgnorth, the 10 miles pretty well uphill over Brown Clee, down towards Ludlow, then ugh. Gradual climb, Angel Bank as yet unseen, but there somewhere. I took good advice and put it in a low gear on the gentler slopes. Sign for 14% gradient, then there it was stretching out in front of us. I did'nt really want to look. Riders dropped off like flies. Well not so much like flies, more like people going into reverse. Some fool started winding things up at the front. I pulled in great lungfulls at the start to ensure I did'nt go into oxygen debt and blow out when the gradient bit, which was working now the road was steep and things were being pushed. I kept in the first 15, but someone just in front eased off a tad in sight of the top of the hard slopes, so a gap opened and I just could'nt close it.
8 guys pulled away, there was the rest of us strung out in a line following each others wheels like nodding dogs. All I could hear was my rasping breath. Over the top, 6 of us got together and started a chase, with the leading group close catching them was possible. Then down the other side of the Clee, 50 mph and at the bend at the bottom I slowed, if I had'nt have chickened out I would have been on the leading group. Well, and plus the fact that as soon as I pushed my legs on the uphill they locked up with pain. Right down to my lowest gear and twiddled over the hill, got back on the remnants of the chasing group by giving it all over the top of this uphill. Legs were now beginning to act properly after a brief respite and got into a through and off rhythm on the long swoop down towards Cleobury. going down through Cleobury Mortimer I was having a swift drink when the queue of cars stopped. I nearly lost it here, I just managed to grind to a halt by hauling hard on my left brake, skid skiddly skid and putting my right foot down as a friction brake on the road. If I had been prepared I could have got up to the leaders through the slow-moving traffic. Thats something to remember for next time. I had hoped this slow traffic would allow me to leap-frog onto the leaders but no. They were about 2/300 m in front, just out of reach. Then after Cleobury it was a sort of roller-coaster road. Grind up, swoop down, up, down. I had forgotten how hard this last stretch was. Anyway, my legs were better and I worked hard and found my strength returning, enabling me to ride easily uphill where the others suffered, and we lost a few with the pace. some guy really rode hard on the flat and could go it downhill. Picked up a couple from the leaders, one went backwards very rapidly. Left onto the finish with such a feeling of joy now all those hills were behind us. 1 kilo to go, and it was uphill. So just rode hard. Then with 200m to go put it in a bigger gear and went for it, one little guy just pipped me. Result - 10th and 3rd B cat. Prizes for 1st 6 only, and 1st in each cat. Prizes were �20 first, �10 for each category. Not worth the effort really.
Now I'm beginning to remember a little more race tactics from 15 years back. Little things, like always keep near the front of the bunch. I'd been sitting on the back, maybe I was expecting an easy ride, but as the pace hots up, riders in front of me drop back and so I waste energy closiong gaps. Now I know I'm strong and fit enough to ride at the front, so there is no need to be a tail-end-charlie.

Gave Pete a lift back to Wythlall. Was going round mini island turning right, when a woman decided not to bother stopping. Result - my nice new 4WD Honda CR-V Sports had its front bumper ripped off, and jammed underneath. Oh joy. Used a couple of toestraps to lash it to the car and limped home. The rest of the weekend and early Monday morning was spent trying to sort this crap.
So eventually got a hire car and wended my happy way to the hotel. did a 15 mile easy plod around Rivington and Limbrick. Then part two of the plan for this week, go caving ! Went off to Kettlewell, pausing only to buy some back-up batteries. Parked. On with boots (ex-army dms) walked up to entrance of Dow Cave, a moderate grade iv cave. Down the boulders into the main passage, got the carbide lamp going and waded off for an adventure. walked, waded and crawled to the end. Squeezed a bit until I could'nt get any further. Took a few pics, but worried the water was getting into digital camera.
Retraced to the entrance. Climbed up on a ledge to avoid the last wade throgh the stream, but the ledge petered out. I did'nt want to climb down the same way, maybe a V. Diff grade ? So precariouly down-climbed back to a lower ledge to walk out to boulder climb to surface. Surprised by how light it still was at 8.20, and how much milder the air was out of the cave !
Part three of week plan - Get some Versace, yes, bought a pair of black jeans just then, now might go into Manchester and look for Versace shirt/tee-shirt or something similar. Well, I have to look cool to pose in hotel bars !
Bought Tighten Up vol 2 on CD. Not the same as the original, I think I've got the original vinyl somewhere, but has so many tracks ! Liquidator ! Live Injection ! Hurrah ! I think I'll wack on the earphones and take a listen now. Right, lets get my docs on. I wonder if Doc Martens go with Versace jeans ?