Thursday, 18 December 2014

Looking forward to 2015

I nearly always forget that pretty much the whole of December and much of November is spent planning for Christmas. Once Christmas is out the way then I start to wonder what we should do for new year, and then my birthday, and then....

This morning David wanted to know who wanted to see the velorution series at the lee valley velodrome. Sarah Storey is putting on a go at the hour record which should be good. I also suggested we should book in for the London Bike show as the brands we are both considering for new bicycles have stands there (to get hands on with their wares so to speak).

But what about me? What do I want to do in 2015?

2011 was LEJOG
2012  was my first bike tour and Bike to Bestival
2013 was the London Gypsy Orchestra and my first Dunwich Dynamo and a go on the Manchester Velodrome
2014 was my first time trial, duathlon and triathlon

2015 looks at the moment like it could be any number of things. At the moment I have the Cardiff  Velothon booked. I'd also like it to be the year I...

  1. Try an Audax event
  2. Try different night rides
  3. Join a cycle club
  4. Run a half marathon.
  5. Finish a triathlon in under 3 hours
I'm  hoping to find out whether I am allowed to take voluntary severance from my job tomorrow. If so then 2015 will be the year I start doing something different for a living... Finish saving for a deposit... buy a nice shiny new bike... who knows. Maybe even  get an interesting job.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Knee pain

I have been suffering from knee pain for the last few weeks. It is a weird pain inside the knee that only really hurts when I'm climbing a lot of stairs. This wouldn't be a problem but I live on the fifth floor and work on the fifth of another building. It didn't hurt to walk. It didn't hurt to run.

This Saturday I got out on the Kona for a brief ride to pick up some shopping and noticed immediately that my left knee hurt. I got off and checked the bike. The saddle was adjusted wrong and the seat post at the wrong height...

My Dad took the seat post out to get the bike in the car after the triathlon... I should perhaps have also made adjustments after changing the pedals.

Last night I lowered the saddle and moved it correctly in the clamp. Sat on it for a try. Lowered the bars by a few mm to compensate for lowering the seat and hey presto it felt fine.

I rode in to work today (in the dark!!) and guess what? Apart from residual soreness from... being sore... It felt fine.

Lesson learned?

Friday, 12 December 2014

Winter blues

After an autumn of relative inactivity (due to injury) and an almost unsurpassed selection of invites to parties, beer festivals, catch up drinks, gigs and general socialising; I am feeling extra sluggish as we head into the winter.

Despite some weight gains and a feeling that my heart maybe full of butter and cheese, I am keen to get back out there. I've recently started running again as I have been given the all clear on the broken metatarsal and it is an activity ideally suited to winter mornings. Running in the dark is nowhere near as scary as riding in the dark.

I have, as of this last weekend, broken out the 'windstopper' running tights which proved such a good buy last January. I am still running in a light windcheater and running vest at this point however and am saving the deep winter top for running in snow.

My life has taken an interesting turn in the last few weeks. I have worked at the  same place for 12 years and for the last 4 years have been aware that the department I work in will be restructured at some point. That point is now. The structure going forward seems ideally suited for me to take a promotion and to move on in the organisation. Had it happened 4 years ago I might have done just that.

I applied for an estimate on voluntary severance and it came back with a monetary figure that my employer thinks is worthy of my service so far. In the public sector you don't get pay rises based on work you do. There are no bonuses and there are no awards or presentations for long service. Just an amount when you finally get spat out of the machine.

I have decided to get out before I'm spat out. I'll leave local government... maybe for good while I'm still young enough to try something else. I may try contracting or I may get another job. My aim is to get a mortgage and buy somewhere to live. Once I have that sorted I'm going to work out what to do with the rest of my life.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Pistou - A veggie photo story

This weekend I made a big pan of pistou soup. It is very similar to minestrone soup with a fresh pesto type sauce dropped into the centre. After trying it at a friends we discovered the recipe was in a book we already owned by Rachel Khoo. The recipe is on  the BBC website here. I made a half quantity (which gave 3 big servings) and added a stick of celery that wasn't in the recipe.