Tuesday, 6 December 2011

December update...

As Christmas approaches and the weather has at last shifted to something more applicable for the time of year it seems a good time to reflect on our achievements. As I write this I am looking out at a sparkling frosty morning. The sun is reflecting on the icy deposits and there is a light breeze ruffling what leaves remain on the trees in my garden. We have had over 9000 'hits' on this blog since it started and each month seems to attract new visitors. Our fundraising has come to its end and the current total stands at £7018.52 - a truly worthwhile amount. There may be people who still want to add to our funds and we are keeping the links open for anyone who feels inclined to make a donation.

As for riding - we are still getting out as much as possible - this time of year inevitably means less opportunity but so far, with the fair weather, my mileage is considerably better than during the same period a year ago. We are still pondering a challenge for next year and no definite decisions have been made - I'll keep you updated once we've decided. I've just been reading about the 'Tour Divide' a 2,745mile journey from Banff in Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico which traces the continental divide down America. It's a 100 miles per day for 27 days and takes in 200,000 feet of climbing - that's almost seven Mount Everest's!. The organisers don't pull their punches: "How well do you suffer for days on end? Are you prone to depression? Can you sleep in the dirt all night in pouring rain?" - And that's before they mention the bears. This sounds like the hardest of hardcore - check it out at tourdivide.org

After clearing out my garage it might be possible to set up my turbo-trainer. I have to say I'm not a great fan of TT's - I know that they are a tried and tested method to keep training, especially in bad weather, but I just don't enjoy it - and we all know that if you don't enjoy something you tend to avoid it. I've decided to give it another try sometime soon - I can set up my old bike and leave it in there, plug in the iPod and try to get to grips with interval and heart rate monitors - it just doesn't attract me in the same way as being out on the roads does - we'll see. I'll keep you posted.

I have been ploughing my way through a host of cycling related books this year. I'll post a list at the end of the year. Currently I'm just finishing one about Fausto Coppi - he was the dominant international cyclist of the years each side of the second world war. His successes earned him the title 'Il Camionissimo - the champion of champions. He was an all-round racing cyclist: he excelled in both climbing and time trialing, and was also a great sprinter. He won the Giro de Italia five times, the Tour de France twice and the World Championship in 1953. Other notable results include winning the Giro de Lommbardia five times, the Milan-San Remo three times and setting the World Hour Record. He rode at a time when drug taking was the norm in cycling. The riders had to take some sort of stimulants merely to get through the incredible demands on their bodies - when asked about drug taking Coppi said he only took drugs when it was necessary - the interviewer asked him when it was necessary - "Almost always" was his reply. He died of malaria aged 40. The book is called Fallen Angel by William Fotheringham - an excellent and knowledgeable writer.

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