Phew!

Aug. 9th, 2012 06:25 pm
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Well, I opted for the mountain bike.  And I did about nine or ten miles.

The drawback was that I had to stay on at work for an extra twenty minutes to catch a train that stopped at the required station. But I must admit, a five mile cycle home ( with a couple of gratuitous sprints, just to turn the legs over, and give the cardiovascular system a bit of a work-out) is a pleasant jaunt, compared with a ten mile cycle home, which is just a bit too arduous to be much fun.

But I did miss that road bike.  If the weather stays like this, I might give it a go next week.

And now I'm wasted. And I've still got to type up a chapter and THEN go out to see J's daughter and granddaughter, and their two new kittens.

Which means plenty more energy will be expended providing a kitten entertainment service, which if you don't mind me saying so, is something I'm particularly good at.  Cat toys, pieces of string and scrunched up bits of paper, anyone???? 

[Dressage whips are, of course, a particularly delectable cat toy, as cat-owning horse-riders will no doubt be well aware. But fortunately my dressage whip will be spared a good chewing tonight as it will be staying safely in the car where it can be chewed by the stable cats instead next week!].
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I'm taking a break from Carcassone today so I can actually get stuff done!

We took the bikes out this morning, for the second time THIS YEAR!!!!!  This is truly shocking.  I knew I wasn't going to up to much - of course, my legs (being fairly seasoned cyclist's legs!!) got all excited to begin with and I just churned along happily.  The aim was to try and do a good robust ten mile run, rather than try and do fourteen or twenty miles and wilt halfway through.  The initial wave of enthusiasm soon got replaced with a dull grinding ache as the gradients went gently up (of course, I felt obliged to attack each slope, albeit in a mealy-mouthed pathetic kind of way!!)

I now feel like I've had a good workout.  I felt knackered when I got home, so must have judged the effort just right.  Yes, we did get overtaken, by a pair of local octagenarian supervets (one of whom is a former World Champion in ladies' cycling, so there's no shame there!) who called out as they sailed past, "Woo Hoo!  We caught the D's!!'

You will note, however, that any prestige in this situation comes from catching J, who's turned a mean wheel in the past.  I have always been a dumpling on the bike, and I guess I will always remain so!!

All I need to do now is repeat the exercise on a fairly regular basis (three or four times a week) for a month, while gently extending the distance each week.  Will this be possible in the Scottish summertime, and surviving on an archaeologist's diet of regular fieldwork?  Who knows? 

My poor baby plants aren't chuffed after yesterday's hail storm.  The lobelia look very miserable - I've now put them under a garden chair to protect them in case of another similar incident.  The fancy perlargoniums have got slightly burned leaves, and the begonia leaves have little splits, which may also be hail-related.  But work's progressing well in the garden.  The last overwintered begonia has been planted - I'd actually dismissed it as a dud, but it at last showed a bud - and I've planted my last seeds: nigella, and annual poppy 'Dawn Chorus'.

And now I've got a lot of stuff today for my writing, so goodbye!!
endlessrarities: (Default)
It was a bit drab and driech this morning, but not bad enough to not merit a bike ride, and by the time I'd had breakfast, I was actually looking forward to it!  It would only have been the second time out this YEAR, and well, it would have been lovely to get a bit of outdoor exercise.

Then the phone rang.  It was the FIL.  His heating had broken down, and he'd loaned his fan heater to a younger member of the family, who of course denied all knowledge (probably chucked it in the bin when she'd finished with it...) so could J possibly... 

When I chased J to the phone I found he'd already changed into the obligatory uniform of the Knights of The Road.  But, dutiful son that he is, he agreed to drop everything and drive to Comet to purchase a new heater.

Alas.  The moment had gone.  I don't know if it's because it's a throw-back to my years with the chain-gang, when I'd be out of the house at the crack of dawn, pedalling furiously to my rendezvous with the lads (who, week-in, week-out, would give me a complete drubbing on the back roads of Ayrshire).  Weekends then would be strictly compartmentalised: exercise, clean up, hearty lunch, and then the rest of the day is your own. 

So I was stuck in front of the telly with the work-out video yet again...

Okay, so I should maybe have gone out on my own, but somehow I've erred from the purer faith these days and I find it very hard to cycle alone.  Perhaps it's because I feel threatened in the roadside environment - I mean, who's going to scrape me off the tarmac if I get flattened by an insane motorist on the back roads?  Or more importantly, record the number plate so some manner of pathetic half-hearted vengeance can be meted out in my name should the worst happen?? 

Anyway, I didn't go, and if I wind up at Saint Andrews next week and in the Lakes the week after, that'll be a whole month when I didn't bestride a bicycle.  Which is a wee bit of a pity, though it is still winter, and it's not as if I'm not keeping fit in other ways.

Now I'm off to unravel everything with a mocha and a cake at the local cafe!!  Same destination, different means of transportation!!
endlessrarities: (Default)
It stopped raining for a couple of hours this morning, so we seized the initiative and got the bikes out for a birl down the cycle track.  Nineteen miles seemed like a good idea at the time - and with the weather forecast fluctuating between unpleasant and dire for the rest of the week, I think we were right to push on and get the miles in, sort of...

The day was not without incident.  Most of the people (and dogs!) we met were very pleasant and well-disposed towards the world.  We were passed early on by a dapper gentleman on a bicycle - not exactly a lycra-clad knight of the road, for he was in jeans and a very smart jacket and paired with an impeccably clean bike that looked like it had been lifted out of its box moments before (to be overtaken by HIM!  What is the world coming to???). He announced his presence by loudly clearing his throat, at which point we neatly singled out to let him through.

We met him later on.  We'd just passed a family out walking, and were chatting away, when there he was, coming along in the other direction.  J pulled back to give him room, but alas, we were too slow. As I cheerily greeted him, suspecting nothing, he rode straight at J and snapped, "Single file!".  J's barked response, was, I fear, unprintable....  And put it this way, J wasn't going to let any dapper gentleman on a bicycle intimidate him, so he swerved away at the very last moment...

God knows how our friend the dapper gentleman coped with the other denizens of the cycle-track.  Such as Quad-Bike girl, who ploughed towards us with blonde hair flying from beneath her helmet, a Jack Russell and a labrador bouncing along merrily beside her like a high-tech version of a certain Joseph Crawhall painting featuring a girl on a bicycle.  And the NitWit family, whom we had the misfortune to encounter later on.  There were five of them in all, of various ages, who included amongst their number a black retriever and a panda (Actually, it might on reflection have been a child in a panda hat...  Ah, guess who's paid a visit to Edinburgh zoo!  Hey, I'm doing better than Sherlock here!!).  The retriever was of course happily doing its own thing fifty feet away.  A mountain biker was approaching at full bore from the front, and we were catching up from the rear.  I called out a cheery 'Coming through!' and all five (including the panda...) dutifully filed to the side.

Leaving the dog beleaguered.  Not a word, not a single instruction.  The poor old mutt was left completely alone to dodge first the mountain biker (who was taking no prisoners) and then not one but two cyclists hammering down from the opposite direction.  It hadn't a clue where to turn, or what to do next.  Which might have been really funny, because its flustered and bewildered expression was rather comical but...  I really don't find it very amusing when a perfectly good dog is completely let down by the people who are SUPPOSED to be responsible for it.

J's response?  "Ah," quoth he, as we arrived home.  "Just another typical day on the cycle-track'.

And now I'm knackered.  But on the plus side...  We just had a male blackcap in the garden.  It's a definite sighting, and it's a first for me.  I've never had a blackcap here before, and I must admit that it's not a bird I've seen very often, full stop.  And you know what's stranger still?  It's meant to be a summer migrant.  This thing should be in North Africa, not hanging around in the West of Scotland.
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It wasn't raining this morning, so I took full advantage of the weather and took the bike out.

We did our usual twenty-miler, and for once I felt good.  So good, in fact, that I took on some poor unsuspecting girlie who had the misfortune to be riding just ahead of me.  She put the gas on when she realised she had someone behind her, so naturally I felt compelled to take her on.

She was pretty damned close as far as fitness levels were concerned, so it took a bit of tactical thinking to get past her.  When it comes to cycling, I'm more of a hound than a cheetah.  I can't zip past someone and leave them for dead.  Instead I have to stalk them for a while, checking for weakness, and deciding whether or not I want to attack.

She upped the speed once, and I still hung in there, then, at the very moment the pace dropped, I swept past.  That meant of course that I had to keep the gas on for a while, just to get some distance in between us.  It's all about appearance, you know, the art of conveying the impression that you're a lot stronger than you actually are.  But victory proved to be a bitter draught, for it meant I spent the next fourteen miles looking nervously over my shoulder fearing a revenge attack. 

It never happened. 

Okay, so it sounds slightly puerile, to be treating a Sunday morning run like a full-blown road race.  But I did get a damned good workout, because I was having to do slightly more than cruise along turning the pedals over and nothing more.  And what's more:  a normally tedious run was miraculously transformed into something almost exciting.  And, for once, I actually deserved my mocha and accompanying slice of lemon loaf!

J couldn't be bothered with any of this.  But as usual he kept pace throughout.  What feels like eyeballs-out-and-teeth-digging-into-the-handlebars stuff to me is little more than a stroll to him.  Even now, when he's hardly touched a bike in the last couple of months.

But then, he's a real cyclist.  I'm not.  I just play at it...
endlessrarities: (Default)
It wasn't raining this morning, so I took full advantage of the weather and took the bike out.

We did our usual twenty-miler, and for once I felt good.  So good, in fact, that I took on some poor unsuspecting girlie who had the misfortune to be riding just ahead of me.  She put the gas on when she realised she had someone behind her, so naturally I felt compelled to take her on.

She was pretty damned close as far as fitness levels were concerned, so it took a bit of tactical thinking to get past her.  When it comes to cycling, I'm more of a hound than a cheetah.  I can't zip past someone and leave them for dead.  Instead I have to stalk them for a while, checking for weakness, and deciding whether or not I want to attack.

She upped the speed once, and I still hung in there, then, at the very moment the pace dropped, I swept past.  That meant of course that I had to keep the gas on for a while, just to get some distance in between us.  It's all about appearance, you know, the art of conveying the impression that you're a lot stronger than you actually are.  But victory proved to be a bitter draught, for it meant I spent the next fourteen miles looking nervously over my shoulder fearing a revenge attack. 

It never happened. 

Okay, so it sounds slightly puerile, to be treating a Sunday morning run like a full-blown road race.  But I did get a damned good workout, because I was having to do slightly more than cruise along turning the pedals over and nothing more.  And what's more:  a normally tedious run was miraculously transformed into something almost exciting.  And, for once, I actually deserved my mocha and accompanying slice of lemon loaf!

J couldn't be bothered with any of this.  But as usual he kept pace throughout.  What feels like eyeballs-out-and-teeth-digging-into-the-handlebars stuff to me is little more than a stroll to him.  Even now, when he's hardly touched a bike in the last couple of months.

But then, he's a real cyclist.  I'm not.  I just play at it...

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