Forgotten June

Had a great June, probably too busy cycling to write about it!  So this will be brief – normal service to be resumed at the end of July.

Still not 100% health wise. I’m having the odd bouts of dizziness and phlegm but thankfully it isn’t affecting my cycling.

So June… 481 miles!

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My best month of the year and it has catapulted me to be 248 miles ahead of pace.

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It moved me on to nearly 2,000 for the year.  I’ve also seen my fitness improve noticeably. Hills seem easier and dare I say it, enjoyable!

Progress:

  1. Mileage – 1,755 down, 1,245 to go. Looks like I might pass 3,000 sooner than I thought.
  2. Weight – Now 16st 8lbs. Need to think more about diet.
  3. Alcohol – Still not drinking much.

Well hopefully I’ll hit 2,000 in July (spoiler, it’s July now as I write this and I’ve passed 2,000 lol) and continue to get fitter.

Onwards!

Covid-19 – 3 Months On

Prior to Lockdown

On March 21st 2020, prior to England entering any sort of Covid-19 lockdown I wrote a blog post about my feelings that Boris Johnson was moving far too slowly with lockdown.

If I start venting on here about something it means I’m concerned. Now I was really concerned about Covid. Not many other people were, including our own Government.

Thankfully on the 23rd of March we entered into a light lockdown that limited our movements and shut down many businesses. Due to this a furlough scheme was introduced and as I write many people have still not gone back to work. The economy is in big trouble and in 9 days many more businesses, including pubs, will reopen to try and stimulate some kind of reversal to the impending recession.

Three months down the line it is obvious that the Government have really messed up with Covid. They did not heed the lessons from other countries and locked down far too late which has no doubt cost many thousands of lives. We have some of the worst excess death figures in the world, the worst figures in Europe and a Government that refuses to take any responsibility.

But let us not dwell on the past. All this will come out in the future public enquiry I will have these posts to refer to that it was me, in fact, the centre ground, evidence based Joe Bloggs who seemed to have a better understanding of Covid than the Government…

I said we were acting too slowly, we should lock down hard, that we should use the example of Italy who were two weeks ahead of us, but that was all ridiculed. Now in the UK we have 150+ deaths per day where some European countries are reporting single figure deaths.

Releasing Lockdown

We have opened up shops but the weekend of the 4th July will see pubs open. Initially we thought that pubs would reopen using beer gardens but they are fully opening as long as they can stick to social distancing measures.

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Shops are a risk but we’ve been shopping in supermarkets throughout so I’m not sure that this will cause Covid cases to rise but I am worried about pubs.

I’m not sure how sitting inside a small building with lots of other people who are drunk is a great idea. It seems like the last thing you’d want to do to slow the spread of an airborne virus. Then to open these premises on a SATURDAY when most people are off work and on the 4th July which is synonymous with independence and celebration just seems a little bit crazy. Just like it was when Boris said don’t go in pubs but didn’t close them, or when he gave them a few hours notice that they were closing that everyone used as an excuse for one last hurrah.  Like I say, crazy.

I hope I’m wrong, I really do, but I’m thinking that we’ll see cases rising by mid-August. And I also think that we may have to lock back down as the app-less track and trace system that the Government has created is not fit for purpose. But I hope I’m wrong.

Personally I don’t think I’ll be off to the pubs anytime soon. Maybe to the odd beer garden for a pint but not if it’s busy. I think it’s a bit reckless to be sat inside with a load of strangers for hours getting drunk whilst our daily death rate is so high, but that’s just me.

Cheers.

MayAsWell

Quite happy with May. I’ve this last week started to feel normal again but I’m getting fatter, I know I am, I’m eating chocolate like it’s going out of fashion as I’ve finally given up vaping.

I gave up on the 18th May as my chest was getting quite bad and it seemed very silly to keep vaping when I was so unwell. Anyway, two weeks later and despite it being hard AF it’s been worth it!!  But I’m eating more to make up for the nicotine.  I need to get to grips with this asap.

So, May, you say:

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371 miles this month! Again, another good mix of Zwift and real life miles aided by half a week off work. 371 miles has also put me back ahead of pace!

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And May also saw my best week so far:

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A very enjoyable and sunny 145 miles.

Progress:

  1. Mileage – 1,275 down, 1,725 to go. Now ahead of pace and increasing that margin weekly.
  2. Weight – Now 16st 12lbs. Piled it on. Disaster. Stopping vaping has not helped.
  3. Alcohol – Still not drinking much. It’s chocolate that’s the problem.

So it would seem that the mileage aspect is ticking over nicely, alcohol is really under control, I just need to stop eating shit. Giving up vaping is fantastic but I need to not get fatter or all this hard work is for nothing.

I’ve increased my weekly mileage target to 100 so hopefully that will take care of itself as the weather gets even better. And I’d like to get some miles in down Kent as soon as the Government allow us to stay away from home.

Until June!  On on!

April… Cool

April is a mixed but kinda successful bag. The illness that’s been dragging on didn’t want to shift so I finally called the doctor. Turns out I’ve had some kind of virus that ended up as a chest infection. Anyway, a course of antibiotics a couple of weeks into April sorted me right out and as I write I’m back up to 100%! Result!

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We had a great spell of sunny weather so I was able to get out for a few rides and test the newly healed lungs. It was nice to get back out round the local lanes and appreciate the countryside after been holed up inside due to feeling shite and the terrible weather.

It was so nice the summer wheels have come out to play…

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and as soon as I put them on the weather turned so it was back on Zwift. Hopefully out on them tomorrow. The winter Shimano RS170 wheel set have performed brilliantly for the short time I’ve used them but one thing I did notice when the Zipps went back on was how lighter the bike now feels. The RS170s are bullet proof but they are really heavy. Still, it’s all good for training isn’t it?

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Has a good mix of Zwift and outdoors ride this month racking up 324 miles.

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Last months target was to get ahead of pace but it’s harder than it sounds. Even with 324 miles I only managed to get down to 87 behind pace. Will try and get this down further in May.

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One great sign though is my mileage is back to a similar level to January and now Veloviewer has me on course to hit my 3,000 mile target for the year. Sweet.

Progress:

  1. Mileage – 904 down, 2,096 to go. A good boost in April but need to keep going in May.
  2. Weights – Now 16st 7.9lbs. A slight drop – hopefully this trend will continue.
  3. Alcohol – Getting better. Only drinking at Zoom meet-ups on the weekend.

So now I’m feeling a lot better I’m looking forward to May and pushing on in the Zwift Wahoo DBR League. I appreciate all this is boring so I might write about that next month.

Until June… Stay safe!

Virus-ridden March

So we started off with the best of intentions and then something a little bigger than cycling came along… COVID-19.

I started off March quite well having a 56 mile week 1 total but then I got ill again. I managed to cycle through the last cold but this one knocked me for six and as I write this (on the 3rd March) it’s only the last few days that I’ve felt any better.

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I was hoping to ride every week in 2020 but sadly it was not to be. Two weeks off with a bad chest BUT we did make some progress. Not much, but some.

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As of today my total has increased by 152 miles – I’m taking that as a success with two weeks out. This last week has helped (and I have strayed into April by 2 days) but work has been crazy so I couldn’t update on the 31st.

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It was nice in March to get out on the roads though. We had some nice weather but sadly the majority was when I was poorly! Still, managed to get outside 4 times and hoping to get out tomorrow as well.

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The winter wheels are performing well. I think I’ll leave them on for a bit longer whilst the wind is still up though. Zipps can come out to play in May.

Targets: 

  1. Mileage – 628 down, 2,372 to go. Thanks to my great January I’m not too far behind pace.
  2. Weights – Now 16st 10.7lbs – Now in the sixteens!!! Hopefully I can stay there!
  3. Alcohol – Again a couple of biggies but not much drunk whilst poorly. Still must do better.

As it stands I’m currently 142 miles behind pace. I’ll try in April to get ahead of pace again, just in time for the light nights and nice weather!

Until next time 👍🏻

Covid 19 is Fast – Boris is Slow

Readers, here is the problem. Covid 19 moves fast, fast like Bradley Wiggins on his Time Trial bike at the 2012 Olympics.

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Boris Johnson is slow, as are his reactions to the Coronavirus outbreak that has hit the UK since the end of January 2020.

Boris Johnson Launches London's First Cycle Superhighway

Now Boris has finally acted over the last week by initially advising people not to go to pubs (no one listened), people to limit social contact (no one listened) and then on Friday night ordered all the pubs to close (some pubs are still open). This he hopes, along with the maturity of the British people, will slow the virus and level the curve. This scary curve:

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Now call me an idiot but to me it looks like we are in the shit. Our little red line is steeper than Italy’s line. In fact it’s steeper than all of them apart from Spain. Spain have already locked their country down… I’m not sure why we haven’t yet?

Is it political? He can’t or doesn’t want to be seen as the Prime Minister who subjected his loyal citizens to a police enforced shutdown? Or is it he doesn’t want to be seen to follow Europe as we are now an ‘independent country’?

What he keeps telling us its science.  That’s right, science and in fact experts! The same experts he’s been slagging off for 3 years as experts know nothing and politicians know everything. How strange.

Personally I think it’s fear. No matter what he does this is going to be bad, and once it’s over and examined there will be things, probably quite a few things, that will make him look bad.

Now Boris and Rishi Sunak (my local MP) have put in place some staggering financial help for the economy, businesses and workers but there are some holes in this plan. We are yet to see a fair means of assistance for self employed people. Companies are still sacking staff. There are a lot of questions and not too many answers. I know these things can take time but the virus is fast – we need to be.

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On top of the virus and it’s inevitably increasing death toll we can’t get any food or supplies. Panic buying has swept the nation and in true British war time sprint we aren’t stopping any time soon. This is easily remedied by the Government. Just instruct that supermarkets unilaterally impose buying limits. It’s so simple. But he hasn’t and is replying on supermarkets themselves to do this. They slowly have, but the shelves have been like this for nearly 2 weeks!

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And then there is the queues. Now we all know the British like nothing better than politely queuing up for stuff but even this takes the biscuit. There is no social distancing here whatsoever. But we have another simple fix. You pop a few soldiers on the door and to manage the queue. No one is going to fuck with a soldier – we’ll queue up with 2 metres gap and go into the supermarket only 10 at a time if they tell us to do so… cos they have GUNS.

For the last 3 weeks every step that the Prime Minister has taken has been obvious and obviously too late. The media and public start calling for harsher measures and then 2-3 days later he finally plucks up the courage to do it. So that will put us around Tuesday or Wednesday when he’ll get round to locking down London a bit more. He won’t go the whole hog like he should, but he’ll maybe say stay at home. I really don’t think he has the balls to enforce a police lockdown.

So what do I want to see?

  • Full police enforced lockdown on the UK – only allowed out to work, shop or exercise
  • Security at the supermarkets
  • Full border lockdown apart from freight

In edition to the above we’ll need to plough billions into making ventilators and converting hotels into hospitals.

Boris, just get on and lock us down now.  Any delays will only cost lives. Don’t be Boris the Butcher. Please be Boris the Ballsy.

And to the public. Stay at home, don’t socialise outside of your family, wash your hands, and STAY AT HOME.

Fingers crossed I don’t die of this fucker just cos someone wanted to go for a pint on Friday night. I’m sure that selfish action will cost some their lives though unfortunately.

Stay safe kids x

February Disaster

Well having smashed January I had a rather large blip in February.  it would appear returning back to alcohol, holidays and illness aren’t good for training and weight loss!

The only good thing about February was my FTP increase 245 watts.

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As we can see here I have only added 109 miles to this years total.  Not good.  And why was this you ask?

February started off with a cold which kind of knocked me for six.  It took me about 10 days to get over it and then a week later I was off to Germany on a lads trip.  This then made me feel like shit for a whole week.  So that’s over half of the month gone.

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I’m now, as of the 2nd March, 32 miles behind pace.  And I still feel shitty.  Bummer.

Target time… 

  1. Mileage – 476 down, 2,524 to go.  Thanks to my great January I’m not too far behind pace.
  2. Weights – Now 17st 2.6lbs – gained 1.9 lbs but that’s understandable with the lack of activity.  Not the end of the world.
  3. Alcohol – Had a few big sessions but not drinking during the week.  Need to reduce it down at weekends to avoid it interfering with training.

So February was a bit of a let down.  But now is the time to go again, not dwell on failure.  March needs to be a good one.

January done!!!

Pretty pretty good as LD would say…

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So what do we have here?  This, dear readers, is an ‘Info Wheel’.  It’s a wheel with ‘info’ on it.  Info is short for ‘information’.  We good so far?

Right, what does the info wheel tell us?  It tells us that Joff rode 368 miles in January both on actual real life roads and virtual roads on the training platform Zwift.  Zwift?  What’s that you say?  Read on and discover…

Zwift is a programme on your computer, iPad or iPhone that you can link to your turbo trainer and it enables you to cycle on virtual roads all over the virtual Zwift platform.  It’s pretty popular and even professional riders use it.  Below is a photo of me riding with Geraint Thomas (he won the Tour de France).  I dropped a few Watt Bombs on him which will hopefully give him the motivation to train harder for this years Tour.

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That’s me sporting the very stylish Z Vetements jersey (sported by Greg Lemond – google him).

I’ve found Zwift a real help with the British January weather and also when I’m short of time.  I’m trying to get out on the road as much as I can but it’s hard in winter.  Are Zwift miles real miles you ask?  Well Strava says they are for your annual mileage total, so that’s good enough for me.  Actually I think a Zwift mile is harder than a ‘real’ mile as you can rarely freewheel but everyone has their own opinion on that.

So, them pesky targets.  How am I getting on?

  1. Mileage – 368 down, 2,632 to go.  Strava says I’m 106 miles ahead of pace.  Good stuff.
  2. Weights – Now 17st 0.7lbs – so lost nearly 11lbs.  17lbs left to go.  Good stuff.
  3. Alcohol – Completed Dry Jan.  Good stuff.

On to February!  I’ll be having a few beers this month for my birthday and a trip to Germany but hopefully not too many.  Hoping to continue with the cycling and get 300 miles in but with only 29 days that might be an ask.  We can only try!

Onwards!

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Goalz Bro, Goalz

Long time no speak!  I’ll be honest, I lost the love.  Injury, boozing too much, mates getting quicker than me, some mates not cycling any more – the list of excuses is endless! Look at these shit stats from 2019…

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A dreadful effort.  1,491 is my second worst annual total since I ‘properly’ started cycling back in 2013 – well third worst, but 2013 doesn’t count as I only stared half way through the year.  Even so, it’s pretty dreadful.

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As you can see from the image above I couldn’t even be bothered in January.  May & August had some potential but overall it was poor.

Not sure why either.  Just lost my mojo.  October was alcohol free and I had 12 active days but nothing too much of note.

So, what’s all this about?  Why am I bothering writing this blog again?  Well in 2020 I’m going to try and change the last few years of failure.  I’m going to drink less beer, cycle more, lose weight and get some GAINZ!

Targets for 2020

It’s always good to have some targets.  Usually I fail miserably when trying to achieve them but hey, we gotta try!

  1. Cycle 3,000 miles
  2. Lose 2 stone
  3. Reduce alcohol consumption by half

Now 1 & 2 are measurable, but 3 not so.  I am looking to have a few months off the drink so hopefully that will help.

Starting mileage is 0,000 so when I get to 3,000 all is good.  Starting weight is 17 stone 11.3 pounds.  So we need to get down to 15 stone 11 pounds.  I have not been in the 15’s since I was in my 20’s so that will be tough.

Let’s see how we get on!

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Hey Driver, Please Don’t Kill Me!

Went out for a ride last night after a little break on some quiet country roads around where I live.  Usually the drivers around Kirby Fleetham are pretty good, there are always cyclists about and drivers are usually very courteous but last night they must have taken an idiot pill.

First up was YL16 TZK.  A youngish woman driving along a single track lane who saw me in good time and decided to allow me no space whatsoever and shout abuse at me through her car window.  Lovely!

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As you can see, the driver didn’t even give me a metre.  I ask myself how hard it would have been for her to slow down and even at a push pull over?

As cyclists we are considered ‘Vulnerable Road Users’ in the Highway Code.  Rule 213 states:

“Cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces and obstacles such as drain covers or oily, wet or icy patches on the road. Give them plenty of room and pay particular attention to any sudden change of direction they may have to make.”

She did not give me plenty of room and forced me on to an uneven road surface that could have caused me to come off my bike.  What would the cost have been to her if she pulled over?  She would have got home 30 seconds later, that’s what, but instead she chose to put me in jeopardy and follow that up with verbal abuse.  Lovely lady.

Second up was BV60 XUS, a DFS delivery lorry.  He came up behind me at speed, proceeded to close pass me then have to brake to avoid cyclists coming in the opposite direction.

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As you can see from the photo the driver did not give me the required 2.25 metres from the edge of the road as advised by North Yorkshire Police.  He also was very close to the cyclists coming in the opposite direction who he can’t have seen as he had to brake.

Again, why couldn’t he just approach a little slower and then when safe to pass just give me a little more room?  But instead he speeds on past forcing me into the side of the road.

Drivers (of which I am also one), just be a little bit more considerate.  If I hit your car I’ll just bounce off and you’ll maybe have a scuff on your car, no biggy, but I might lose my life.  I have a family and I’m only just trying to enjoy my hobby (and lose a bit of timber) and really don’t want to end up in hospital or the cemetery just because you couldn’t hang on for 30 seconds.

Thanks for reading.