Category Archives: Random stuff

How to Die in the Mountains

How to Die in the Mountains

So I was clearing through some of my things and came across this poem.  I must have scribbled it down whilst I was doing some course (I used to do a lot of mountain walking and navigation courses, back in the day).

Anyway, I share it now on my blog, so that I have a record of it.

Seek no wisdom, leave no word

Common sense is too absurd.

 

Take no extra food or gear,

You’ll not need them, have no fear.

 

Do not fret if you’ve got no skill,

People like you are hard to kill.

 

We beg of you, before you die,

Pick a place that’s not too high.

Lent – what are you going to give up?

Lent runs from Wednesday 1 March to Saturday 15 April this year (2017).   By observing Lent, Christians are remembering the sacrifice of Jesus, who withdrew into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days before his crucifixion.  Traditionally, people have given up certain luxuries as a form of penance.

So for me, I’m going to give up the luxury of sleeping in until at least 6.30am each morning and set my alarm for 5.00am instead (in effect, I am giving up 90 minutes of warm bed action).

Giving up some sleep for Lent

Added to that, I am going to drag my sorry butt out of the front door and ride up the local hill, all before I normally surface.  Hopefully, I will see some nice pre-dawn scenes and even some sunrises as we progress towards spring in the northern hemisphere.

Finally, I’m going to be doing all this early morning riding on my Brompton Bicycle – a bike that is one of my favourites and enjoys a mad challenge.

Thanks for reading.  If you would like to get in touch, please follow me on Twitter and contact me via this social media channel.  If I am mentioned in your Tweet, I will always get back to you.  Thank you for taking time out to read my post.


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That’s the way things have always been done around here!

Monkey and Banana

A colleague shared this with me.  I bet that you can relate to it in some way, either at work, home or even when training.

A group of scientists placed 5 monkeys in a cage, and in the middle they placed a ladder with bananas on top.

Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the remainder with ice cold water.

After a while, every time a monkey went up the ladder, the others beat that monkey up for going up the ladder.

After time, no monkey dare go up the ladder, regardless of the temptation of more bananas.

Scientists decided to substitute one of the monkeys and the first thing the new monkey did was go up the ladder. Immediately, the remaining monkeys beat him up.

After several more beatings, the new monkey learned not to climb the ladder, even though he never knew why.

A second monkey was substituted in and the same thing occurred. The first new monkey even participated in the beating of the second new monkey. A third new monkey was changed and the same process was repeated. The fourth was substituted in and the beating was repeated. Finally, the fifth and last remaining member of the original group of monkeys was replaced.

What was left was a group of 5 monkeys that even though they never received an ice cold shower, they continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder.

If it was possible to ask the monkeys why they would beat up all those who attempted to go up the ladder, their answer would probably be…..

I don’t know, that’s the way things have always been done round here….

 

 

The Uncertainty of the Poet by Wendy Copes

I love this poem – hope you do, too!

I am a poet.
I am very fond of bananas.

I am bananas.
I am very fond of a poet.

I am a poet of bananas.
I am very fond.

A fond poet of ‘I am, I am’-
Very bananas.

Fond of ‘Am I bananas?
Am I?’-a very poet.

Bananas of a poet!
Am I fond? Am I very?

Poet bananas! I am.
I am fond of a ‘very.’

I am of very fond bananas.
Am I a poet?

Chamber Rachet Multi-tool by Fabric – product review

Fabric Chamber Multi-Tool
Fabric Chamber Multi-Tool

I don’t think that I have done many product reviews, but this latest purchase is really rather clever and I thought that I’d share it with you.

So the product is the Chamber Rachet Multi-tool made by Fabric. I have to admit to liking clever design, and this ticks almost as many boxes as my Brompton Bicycle on the clever design front.

First off is the smooth finish of the Chamber itself….. this means that it will not snag on your expensive cycling clothing or equipment.

Smooth appearance.
Smooth appearance.

Second is the functionality. Not only does it contain a multi-tool with 13 functions, it builds into an efficient rachet T-bar head. Each of the tools also has 3 different grooves to locate it in the best position for the required job.

13 functions
13 functions
And 3 different positions for the rachet
And 3 different positions for the rachet

Lastly, its aluminium casing and overall look is just cool. Who could ask for more? And weighing in at 168g, the Chamber packs in a lot of functionality.

All weighing in at a respectable 168g
All weighing in at a respectable 168g

Fabric also produce a fixed, non rachet version, which is similar design and slightly cheaper.

List of tools/ functions:
2mm hex
2.5mm hex
3mm hex
4mm hex
5mm hex
6mm hex
8mm hex
SL3
SL5
PH1
PH2
T10
T25

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My Rules for 2016

I like to make up my own rules, so from this day onwards I am going to commit to the new fitandforty.org rules:

Exercise 5 days a week

Mountain summit

 

Take rest and recovery seriously

The 3rd Pillar of Health

 

Eat as healthy as possible, most of the time

Nutrition - the first pillar of health

 

Always spend less than I earn

Spend less than I earn.

Easy, how simple was that!

Have a great 2016.

If you would like to get in touch, please follow me on Twitter and contact me via this social media channel.  If I am mentioned in your Tweet, I will always get back to you.  Thank you.

 

My 2015 Strava Adventure

 

Strava have created really cool little animations of your year.  Here is mine:  My 2015 Strava Adventure

Thank you Strava.  See you out there in 2016.

Bike friends

In Paris!
In Paris!
Burning some matches on Alpe d'Huez in July 2015.
Burning some matches on Alpe d’Huez in July 2015.

Oxfordshire countryside in December

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) – part of my daily ritual

So for the last few years I have been using a pretty neat App, called Ithlete. Each morning I strap on my Heart Rate strap, connect it to my phone via Bluetooth and do about a minute of breathing in an out in time with the directions from the app. At the end of the monitoring, it gives me a Heart Rate Variability reading and more importantly a colour. I will be totally honest with you here, I run my training schedule based on these colours:

Green = Go to go. Can do hard session, intervals, smashfest etc.
Amber = Lower intensity, aerobic exercise, maybe a recovery ride, or some endurance miles, but nothing too taxing.
Red = Recovery day, very light intensity or rest, so maybe a gentle session on the rollers, or some stretching.

What I love about it is the simplicity. I am lucky that I can be fairly flexible in my approach to training. But if you accept that each week you are probably going to want to do a hard session or two, and a couple of easy rides, then I just do the hard stuff when I have a Green morning reading and save the easier stuff for Amber days.

Heart Rate Variability is a great way of determining your level of fatigue. It basically measures how much time there is between each of your heat beats. If you are fatigued, you will have a low HRV and the length of time between heartbeats is consistent (and will give a Red reading). When you are less fatigued, you will have a variation in time between heartbeats because the body is able to rapidly adjust to requirements for oxygen (high number and a Green reading). So by monitoring my HRV each morning, I am able to train accordingly.

The Daily Routine on Le Tour

0530 alarm. Get up. Get dressed into cycling gear (not forgetting the chamois and sun creams). Put luggage on truck.  Force down French breakfast.  Bus transfer to start. Ride bike (the simple bit). Stop and eat at well stocked feed stations along the way.  Finish.  Collect bag and room key.  Eat some more. Stretch. Shower. Blog, if wifi permits.  Speak to family. Snooze. Go down for supper. Eat more. Sleep. REPEAT until you get to Paris! Simple.

The Tour really is a travelling bubble. I don’t work on days of the week anymore, just what stage I am going to ride that day. I’m sharing this epic journey with some incredible people. A sense of humour really can get you through some potentially tough stages. This is a team effort, riders and support staff together, every kilometre, every col, (although we haven’t done too many of those yet but that is going to change imminently), every stage, all the way to Paris. I love it!

I wonder if Ed Stafford would approve – is it crazy enough?

Ed and Jerry
Ed and Jerry

As I am about to embark on my crazy ride around this year’s Tour de France route with the Tour de Force, I wonder if my old buddy, Ed Stafford would deem it suitably crazy?

He and I served together a long time ago, before he became a famous explorer.  I think that I will draw comfort from the fact that my little adventure will take 23 days compared to Ed’s 860 days, where he walked the entire length of the Amazon from its source to the sea.  Makes my trip sound like a micro adventure!  I will remind myself of that when I am feeling sluggish or tired and my mantra will be “Ed would eat this for breakfast”.

I, like Ed, am also doing my adventure to raise money for an awesome charity.  If you would like to donate, please follow this link to my donation page.  Thanks.