Saturday, 25 May 2013

Headingley Test Match

The annual reunion at the Headingley Test Match went well. We convened at Phil's house on Thursday evening and went for a few quiet pints in Guiseley. We stumbled across a quiz in one place and came third. One of the questions was "If you flew in a straight line from Paris to Milan, which other country would you fly over?" If only the question had said "cycled" instead of "flew". I would have had a chance. The others had a few more drinks when they got back to Phil's house but I had a cup of tea and then went to bed.

Friday morning in the Leeds area was miserable and cloudy and the forecasts were grim so we set off expecting delays and interruptions. It was raining steadily when we arrived at the ground so we went in search of a sensible cup of tea until we knew what was going on. We called at the Original Oak in Headingley, a pub I first visited approximately 44 years ago. We resisted the temptation of an early beer and all had tea or coffee. The cricket coverage came on the TV and it was confirmed there would be no play for three or four hours. We did our best and made the tea last as long as possible but before long the inevitable occurred. The kitty was set up and seven pints of the delicious Leeds Pale were on the table and the banter was in full flow. The rain and banter continued and we supped and laughed all day, moving steadily Northwards up Otley Road. We eventually discovered at about 4 o'clock that play had been suspended for the day which  meant that we would receive a full refund.

We closed the evening with an Indian meal in Guiseley and again I resolutely had a cup of tea back at Phil's while the others hit the red wine. The weather was beautiful this morning and we enjoyed a bacon butty in the sunshine. I returned home early this afternoon and have been looking forward to my bed since I walked through the door.

Young Tom and other family members are running in the 10k in Manchester tomorrow morning so I will be there in a supporting role. Tomorrow afternoon will see me making most of the final arrangements for my own challenge.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Elderberry Arms

Darran's pop-up pub session went very well last night. I can honestly say his home brew was the best I've ever had and I've had some home brew over the years. We also had a fine selection of exotic cheeses, pasties and a scotch egg tasting session thrown in. We tried to sit outside and managed to last an hour but it just wasn't on. I felt suitably stuffed and can safely say it was a very successful and enjoyable weight-gaining enterprise. 

First thing this morning I was chasing invoices which is a bloody nuisance and shouldn't really be necessary but human nature is what it is. If you can't do anything about it you just have to put up with it. I then went to collect a T shirt or two from Joseph's grandparents. I went for the slimline L size as I will be losing a few pounds when the ride gets under way. Photos were taken and these may be viewed on the website sometime soon. 

I have booked my spot on the ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre. It leaves at 2300 on Wednesday so that leaves me plenty of time to get to Portsmouth from Frome. I will then set off from Le Havre at 0800 the next morning which is a nice early start. I hope to get a decent distance done on that first day and may get ahead of schedule. I have also been looking at the ferry from Ancona to Igoumenitsa which is quite a distance. Hopefully, departure will be on the afternoon of the 16th June with arrival in Greece early next morning so that will almost be like a rest day. That's a long way off and a lot can happen in between.    

I am now preparing for the trip to the test match at Leeds to meet up with mates from long ago. It will be good to meet up with the old Uni mates again. Back Saturday afternoon for final preparations.      

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Recent Training etc

For anybody wondering what this is all about I have copied the first ever post of this blog below. This was written on 8th November 2011. In those days I had the stamina to write something almost every day but nothing like the stamina of the unfortunate ones who read it. More recently I have tried to be kind by only writing about interesting things but that is debatable. 

"How did this all start?

Years of playing football Saturday and Sunday, together with a family history, left me with mild arthritis in both knees. The left is worse than the right, or should I say, the right is better than the left - more positive. I couldn't walk up hills in The Lakes, certainly couldn't jog, so I took up cycling. This happened about 4 years ago.
We have a small apartment in Turkey in the lovely little resort of Calis Beach near the town of Fethiye. We spend many holidays there and some family members also have apartments there.

It was at the last holiday in front of a number of witnesses, I jokingly announced that I was going to cycle over next time.

I later (sober) gave it some thought and it gradually dawned on me that I could actually do this and the more I thought about it the more I realised that it would be quite an adventure.
So I'm going to do it. Training is under way. Other arrangements are being made."

That is the past, this is the future. I have just about finished my bike training now with a blustery 25 miles up to near Preston and back. Other physical matters however need to be addressed. At my weight and speed I will be using approximately 600 calories per hour for 5 or 6 hours, a total of 3000 to 3600 calories per day. I will do my best but I doubt if I will be able to take in that amount of energy on the ride so I will spend the next few days increasing the size of my camel's hump which I have been cultivating on the front of my stomach since the end of last year's ride. 

The first opportunity for this most important "exercise" will take place tonight. I told my Thursday night pals last week that I wouldn't be able to make it this week and they decided to change their night out to Wednesday just so I would not miss out. I feel humble and hope to do them justice. It will not be a normal Thursday night despite the fact that it is a Wednesday. The event will take the form of a home brew tasting session at Darran's pop-up pub, The Elderberry Arms, ie his garage.   

The reason I couldn't be with the boys tomorrow is that I am off to Leeds on Thursday afternoon for the Test Match which starts on Friday. There will be a bit of drinking and eating involved and this should just put me straight. The sacrifices some people have to make! You just do not understand what I have to go through!