my brush with you know what…

There is only one word to describe Christmas and that is “ugh”.

As I whirred away pre-work on the turbo on the 23rd December what we thought was a head cold for my Wife ended up being a positive covid test and a sprint to a testing centre bundling the kids in the car. I did have time to change out of my bibshorts.

The positive was confirmed and with that our family were told to stay away over the festive period with portions of uncooked Christmas lunch left on the doorstep for each group of them to collect.

That was merely the start however with me starting to cough and splutter through Christmas Eve before the emergence of all of the symptoms I experience during my first vaccination (and you can read all about that day here). Shaking, shivering and sweating I went to bed Christmas night knowing that I also had covid 19. It was just awaiting the confirmation.

A trip to the test centre made it real it before on the 29th Decemeber my eldest daughter tested positive. Her case has also been confirmed with a second test.

As a family we have been super careful throughout the whole pandemic, home schooling, working from the house and not going out and about.

The loss of this Christmas feels a bitter blow to my Wife, my Daughters and I. Its also a tough one for the parents/grandparents to take.

But today. Day 5 of my journey I am starting to feel slightly more human, albeit still completely dependent on Lemsip blackcurrant.

Taking it back to cycling, this has put a massive dent in my plans for 2022 at the time of year when the best foundations for a good season are put in place. I know that’s now gone and there will be no way of chasing those miles to get them back.

The positive is that I have barely eaten and certainly not drunk anything alcoholic.

Ying and Yang.

I am left wondering if I need to change my diary for the upcoming year which had a first 10km running race along with a couple of lengthy sportives replacing the usual diet of club 10s with a rare open.

We shall see. I need to be back in the land of the living fully first and take it from there.

Stay safe.

My day of hell on Flanders Sunday…

I thought I would be different and breeze through my Covid vaccination without any interruption to my Easter weekend plans.

The reality was quite different and for those of you still to get the jab it might be worth remembering.

Saturday morning was normal with rugby training before heading to get my injection at 2pm.

As I had walked and not driven I was in and out in less than 5 minutes. The process was very effiicient.

For the remainder of the day I felt absolutely fine with no side effects or symptoms that the leaflet accompanying the Astra Zeneca jab suggested might be present.

Even Sunday morning I felt great and with it being the Ronde I wanted to head out for an hour or so before the action got going in Belgium.

There was definitely a feeling of some power lacking in my legs before I’d even reached the end of the street so I took note and agreed with myself to stay out a minimal amount of time.

This plan was working solidly until I realised I was about 13 miles from home (or anywhere) with a headwind to battle.

It was there that my arms and legs suddenly became super heavy and I literally couldn’t get out of the saddle to either increase or maintain speed.

Those last miles were among the worst I have ever spent on a bike. Mountains, snow, wind, cold, heat, cobbles… all of it. This was up there with it and it was on a reasonably smooth A road in the Lincolnshire fens.

I was travelling from the top of the map down into a south-westerly and you can see the impact in terms of speed from the Mywindsock report.

The blue is above average speed, reds below.

I spent the afternoon shifting between asleep and just about awake on the sofa before going to bed at 6pm.

I watched the last 70km of The Ronde on my laptop Monday morning.

It wasn’t the Belgian beer swilling, burger munching afternoon I had anticipated, but there is a bigger picture here and now that the side effects are gone the thought of being Covid protected means much more to me than one Sunday afternoon in front of the TV.

Stay safe.

British Cycling updates it Covid policy…

Click here to read the full release.

The gist is that despite the relaxing of government regulations allow groups of six people to meet outside, this isn’t especially practical when riding a bike keeping 2 metres away from each other, pedestrians and traffic without compromising safety.

So the current rules and regulations remain in place until July.

Whilst I understand the impatience of those who thrive on group rides and are desperate for racing to restart, it’s important that we are seen to be doing out bit and the right things.

It’s less than a month away now and if things keep moving in a positive direction, a return to group riding and competition will be worth the wait.

Lockdown life week 4

A fourth week in and the struggle is real.

Cycling and cyclists appear to be split into two camps here in the UK.

You have the group that are getting out and about on their bikes for hours at a time and packing in the sort of mileage that means when racing recommences there will be strong results and personal bests.

I am in the other group. Riding 5 out of 7 rides on the turbo, either in the garden or in the garage for early morning sessions and only riding on the roads for about an hour. I call our group “The Distancers”. When racing comes back we will be a long way behind.

As I am still working in a key industry for helping the country keep operable, I feel a responsibility to stay as close to home as possible and take as fewer health risks as possible to ensure I can still do my job.

A rare outside trip

You only need to read the internet news sites to see that there is an element of hostility towards people on bikes at the moment. One of the Lincolnshire road deaths last week was an elderly cyclist less than a mile from my home. Somehow that has been spun in the media as stressed drivers struggling to drive and hitting pedestrians and cyclists, as if its not their fault.

I don’t want a war with motorists.

I read some of the more militant cycling websites with real despair that these keyboard warriors represent a group and transport type.

We are all just trying to make our way through this and get out the other end alive.

I even read forums where some cyclists were criticising “new” or “lapsed” riders returning to the road for not riding as they would like them to.

It makes “Cyclists” as a group look hostile, unfriendly and unwilling to compromise and play their part in a joined up transport structure.

A truck driver was interviewed about the local deaths in my county and said that he felt some cyclists were so self involved (paraphrasing) with a few willing to pull over if it was difficult for him to pass.

Of course the comments were all about why cyclists should have to pull over etc. etc.

Whilst I am by no means perfect or the best road companion all of the time I’d like to think that on a narrow road or track (and there are plenty of those in the fens) if a fast moving vehicle is approaching I would look to let it pass when its safe by slowing and pulling to the side or pulling over where possible.

I might get a wave of thanks, I might not. However rather than inconveniencing their journey for minutes and making them angry, I have slowed us both down for seconds before we can carry on our days. It might make their decision at the next roundabout more cyclist friendly should that arise.

Food for thought.

Lockdown week 1 so far

I have long since stopped wondering about what the cycling season 2020 will hold for me and for the pro sport in general.

It’s about keeping fit and motivated in my garage and on the patio on the turbo trainer. Of course, there is still the option to ride outdoors in the UK but so far I have not felt like that would be the best course of action for me personally and have chosen to stay home.

Everyone is counting the cost of risk to health and lost jobs so cycling as a sport can be put into perspective. I have started to miss the sport and am sure that when it does return I will appreciate the racing and the scenery shown on TV even more.

Like many I am looking retrospectively at races from yesteryear using the gift of Youtube.

A lot of websites are doing reviews of old races and that might be something I pursue going forward.

If you are asking here is my favourite race of all time…

2015 Gent Wevelgem

So, enjoy and stay safe.