Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Sponsor.... and snow!!

Thanks to Ruth Lovett for her pledge.

As I write this it's snowing heavily - we had about 4 inches overnight and the roads here are looking particularly bad. It looks like being a white Christmas which is great, but no good at all for riding! - it's time to sit back, take stock and plan for the New Year.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A Christmas Card, a Donation and a Telephone Call

What a good day. I received an e mail from Paul with a link saying that we had our first donation on our 'Just Giving Web Site'. I looked it up straight away and saw that one of my oldest mates Bob Cottle had put in a pledge.
I have not seen Bob and his wife Sarah for a number of years since Sarah had got her dream job as head mistress of the only school on the Channel Island of Sark.
Val and I had just sent a Christmas Card to them with a note to google - PAULANDGARYAREMAD. Bob had looked it up and placed the donation. This prompted a much overdue phone call to him and a chance to catch up on how they were getting on. Thanks Bob and Sarah, it certainly seems that you have a great life over there.

Latest Sponsors...

Big thanks going out to our latest sponsors:
Robert Cottle and Asha Khosla

Thanks a lot - it all helps!

Monday, 20 December 2010


The weather conditions continue to hold us back!! - it really is frustrating; we are desperate to get out on the road but the 'big freeze' makes it too dangerous to seriously contemplate.

I did manage a couple of very short rides last week, the temperature rose briefly to around 3 degrees - I had invested a considerable amount of money on a really powerful front light and I wanted to give it a proper test - it worked fantastically well - I ventured out at 6.00am in the morning, pitch black, but the light illuminated the road and (just as important) the edges of the road - I felt safe and extremely visible!! - Can't wait to be able to get out regularly again.....

Last Friday we went to London to visit the Tate Modern, it was -6, we were amazed how many cyclists were zipping around London in shorts!!! - So much for 'southern softies'.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Thanks Tim....

My brother has emailed me from Hong Kong (where he's still wearing shorts!) to add himself to our sponsors list - thanks Tim

It's cold... and hard!

The arctic conditions of late had abated, just enough for us to feel that it would be fruitful to attempt a training run.

The landscape seems to have changed so much in the couple of weeks since we were out last. The trees and hedgerows are bare now leaving skeletons to pass through the winter months. Where these dividing lines and gracious monuments were opaque just weeks ago, with neighbours obscured and lanes darkened, they are frayed now and transparent. You can see through to a wider vista. I like the new lines and the bare trees standing stark against the sky, the light falling to the earth beneath them and it is good, at this time of year, to be requainted with the holly and ivy which stand steadfast and unchanged. The hollow winter sunshine flickered and reflected as we rode down quiet lanes with only a flurry of birds for company.

It felt good, at least at the beginning; being out in the fresh, clear air was uplifting and put a distinct smile on my face. After 25 miles that smile had turned to more of a grimace as the effects of two weeks of inactivity came home to roost. It seems that our hard-gained fitness is easily lost with a winter lay off, the fluidity and ease of movement that was so casually evident the last time we were out has now subsided into a struggle and an ache. Feet, hand and legs were feeling the effort.

As we passed through Market Bosworth and around the Yachting lake, through Far Coton we chanced upon a horserider, mounted and struggling to hold on to another horse which was riderless. It looked from a distance as though one rider had dismounted and taken to the hedgerow to answer the call of nature; as we got closer we realised it was something altogether more serious. What looked like a tree trunk lying half across the road was in fact a fallen rider. We stopped and offered assistance, a cell-phone if needed and anything else we could do. The fallen rider was a girl, maybe 12 or 13, apparently a pheasant had dashed out from the hedge and spooked the horse, resulting in the girl being thrown off. She lay there quite still, her face muddied and one of legs twisted awkwardly, she was holding her side and looked distinctly shaken. We soon established that she had not broken anything, she seemed shaken but not dizzy and was able to speak coherently - she had landed on her side and her hip felt sore but soon after she was on her feet. We again offered the use of a phone, maybe she wouldn't feel like climbing back onto the horse? - but no, she was okay, and we continued on having done our best.

The final ten miles felt tough, the cold was biting through gloves and socks and any hill seemed long and steep... It was a relief to get back home and reaquaint myself with the joy that is a woodburning stove.

42 miles today

Monday, 6 December 2010

No riding....

The leaves are down from the trees now, the light falling to earth for the first time in half a year. We have had frost, lots of snow, hail, sleet and thick fog - there is no denying it, winter is with us. For us, with ideas of 'the big ride' to come, this has meant a temporary halt to training - there's no conceivable way of venturing onto the roads at present - it is simply too dangerous, and definitely too cold. This morning it was -8 here in Leicestershire and whilst to look out from the sanctuary of a warm house and appreciate the beauty of the diamond bright landscape is one thing, actually becoming part of it and feeling those temperatures on hands and feet leave me thinking that a lay-off might not be such a bad thing. I can instead spend time dreaming and planning things in my mind - the new year is in sight and with it a bag full of resolutions, hopes and aspirations - targets to aim for and hopefully meet.

Last weekend the band I play in (Simply Crap) did a charity fundraising gig - the bike ride was mentioned and we managed to pick up some more sponsorship - so thank you, Katie & Dave, Stuart, and Mike Leyland - your donations are going to good causes.