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And so, the mileage has to increase.

Well, yesterday was interesting. The training plan for the ride had 30-40 miles down as the requirement this time.
Getting up, and looking out of the windows, I immediately knew that my hopes for safe roads was gone for a Burton, so plan B (the indoor cycling machine) was needed for the first time.

To date, the midweek runouts have been pretty short really (under an hour) and therefore not intimidating. The weekend ones (of 2 hours or so) have been time bound so I just get on with it. But now I had to go out for a specific, long, distance.

In the pub on Thursday (bar billiards league, not drinking!) I was reminiscing with a friend about my first summer job at Ford HQ in Warley, Brentwood. My parents lived in Loughton, and I was back from uni to work – so my route was from home to Ilford or Romford railway station by bike (about 10 miles), train to Brentwood, and then cycle the mile up the hill to the office. And the do it all in reverse in the evening. 22 miles (or so) a day, dressed in (albeit student standard) work clothes. No bib shorts with padding, no Camelbak to keep me hydrated, and (perhaps most significantly) no fear of busy London suburb traffic. But that was 31 years and another life ago.

In my second half century now, things are different and I got on the bike with trepidation. The anticipation of a counter that read 0.00 miles and knowing that it had to get to 30 before I could finish was not encouraging. But, having fought my way through the snow drifts (and the logs left behind from the abandoned due to bad weather tree trimming) to the barn where the machine is I started. I had chosen Pink Floyd to accompany me yesterday morning – I hope that the noisy Animals, The Wall, and The Final Cut would prove a sufficient distraction – with Pigs On The Wing Part 1 gently introducing one of favourite albums, from one of my favourite bands, I started.

And so they did distract.

Just over a couple of hours later, with a some refuelling breaks (I\’ve learned my lesson now of trying to do this sort of thing on just a bowl of cereal!) the counter reached 30.0 as Not Now John came to a finish.

To the more experienced cyclist this is probably pretty small beer. But to someone who\’s done little sport since an electrocution left him with a displaced vertebrae in the small of the back (with the consequential ever present back pain) it\’s pretty big beer.

For the first time since I signed up for this madness, I can see how I might actually achieve it. I have a very long way to go. The mileage yesterday would only get me a bit over halfway through day 1, and about halfway on any of the subsequent days. But the fact I didn\’t feel dead for the rest of the day is good.

Lessons learned?
– indoors is physically much easier without the lumps and bumps of the open road, traffic, and a headwind.
– the saddle on the indoor machine is rubbish
– music whilst you work is good!
– it\’s nice to cycle without 4 layers of clothing to keep you from freezing
– it\’s really *really* nice to know that 4 miles from home I can just stop and be there, rather than have those 4 miles to cycle (as has happened a couple of times before I started to take calories out with me!)
– I much prefer progress to be shown in 100ths of a mile instead of 10ths (once the mileage reaches 10 the counter goes to 1dp). As there is a sense of constant ticking over.

I spent the rest of the day well. Lunch was a lovely piece of rare to blue steak with some stir fried green veg (I tend not to cook steak at home as restaurants do it so well, but this time I did a half decent job although my judgement might have been skewed!).
England won a hard fought match against Italy in the snow and improved a bit on last week\’s win (more width in defence).

The day was wrapped up with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The 2011 film. I was troubled that this film was made, as I could not see how the BBC TV series could be bettered. But the loud praise could not be ignored. The film was done well, but…
– the “need to do some CGI” efforts to make it look 1973 were pretty poor in places. Notably the shot of the bridge and St Paul\’s Cathedral dome; and another of 2 characters walking through a gate with a clearly green screened background.
– it does help if the person who is watching it with you (and is not familiar with the premise and tale!) does not read the paper for the first 15 minutes and need a full debrief afterwards!!
But, it exceeded expectations, and the acting was good, and I was mostly able to forget the actors from 1979.

But that was yesterday. It\’ll need repeating (and more) over the coming weeks and months. But for now I bask in satisfaction and Marillion on the HiFi.

By P J Bryant

Ramblings of a freelance IT Consultant working for some nice SME's, large organisations, resellers and the usual friends and family! Bit of

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