#43 Is summer here?

While it was a cool morning yesterday, it was sunny. I dropped off the boys at school, parked at the local supermarket and got my 29er out as usual on a Monday and ran some errands. I didn’t really have a specific route planned so went to some of the usual off road places and eventually did a loop of back to town as I had forgotten a couple of things. It warmed up significantly which is to say that it hit double figures while being sunny at the same time. My merino base and thin long sleeve was just about overdressing but I would rather be too hot than too cold. I meandered here and there looking for reasons to stay out and eventually gave in to Father Time as I had Dad things to do as well as take the dog deer hunting in the forest. She is a greyhound/labrador cross so there is no holding her back when she spots land bound wildlife. They are too fast for her so I let her off the lead to have fun trying.

Dog walked, bed fixed, hoovering done and pasta bake cooked and cooling, I rode back to school to collect master14 from cricket training. It was too nice to take the short route so meandered around for more off road fun in the sun on an extended countryside trip. Then it was quickly home again, drop off, pack dinner for me and master11 and collect him from his school match to take him across the County to his evening club match. Yep, summer is here.

This morning, my legs moaned at me for doing too much yesterday. We negotiated a while and came to the conclusion that as events on the last 2 Tuesdays had curtailed my planned extended ride home, I would park up again at the supermarket and ride in to work from there. It is shorter but at least I got to play on the bridleways in the morning sun again. A pleasant tail-breeze helped me along and before I knew it, like a defiant child, my legs started complaining that they wanted MORE, not less. I wish that they would make up their mind…

The IT dept were migrating our MS Outlook to NHSmail today. None of our calendars have made it yet which helped make life chaotic. I spent 47 minutes on hold to IT to the tune of the same Kenny G song over and over to find out when we can get access. Like me, they didn’t know. I put on some music straight after my meeting afterwards to avoid the inevitable earworm later on my ride back.

A heavy blast of loud Foo Fighters did the trick. The speakers wired to the plasma teaching screen are a throwback to my late teens of the rack stereo system and very good. I was off road again on a slightly longer route back in the sun with the short sleeve top on with the buzz of Learning to Fly in my head. The North West cross breeze was cool on the arms but I was happy in my work re-exploring trails from last summer. I got back to the supermarket just in time to meet master14.

I dropped him home, showered and headed out to watch master11 play his match. Yep, summer is definitely here…

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I am becoming frustrated with the cool, grey mornings so far this May. I hopped on the crosser this morning but only to get back home quickly later. It hadn’t been a great start to the day being woken by a self limiting alarm from somewhere in the house at 4 a.m. I think that it is the smoke alarms so I disabled them but I wont be sure until they don’t wake us in the morning.

About 3/4 of the way to work and turning at some traffic lights, I took the middle of the road to pass a line of parked cars on a small rise. A car stopped at the end to let me through and I was about to wave my thanks when the driver flipped the bird at me with an angry look. Poor guy-I held him up a whole 5 seconds to get to that red light. A short while later another guy was loading up his 4×4 at the side of the road and proceeded to walk across the road in front of me. I just missed him and he called some obscenity out at me after I passed him. He didn’t look at the road before he crossed otherwise he would have seen me with my blinkie blinking coming towards him in the gloom. I saw him and because he was looking in my direction, assumed that he saw me too so didn’t think to ride defensively to avoid him. The shouting was likely due to surprise but the 2 incidents point to the kind of society we now live in which doesn’t feel very pleasant.

Work should have been quiet but wasn’t. I had a day of teaching planned with periods in between to clear away my rooms but these were taken up by visits from an architect and HoD to “understand” how my Dept works for a new building re-provision that needs to be up by the end of March next year. I know that I should be grateful to be included but why is everything so urgent all of a sudden especially when I need to escape before the rain?! Even the architect didn’t understand why until the beginning of this week we haven’t seen a building blueprint that he scripted 3 months ago (he is a private contractor so doesn’t truly understand the NHS). Knowing the person who is managing this project, I suspect that he wants to keep the costs to a minimum and didn’t want subject expertise input to interfere with specific luxury requests that might actually further enhance our work and reputation. Inevitably this included my “innovative” discussion relating to a secure, covered bicycle parking area…but hey, I won’t die wondering. I did suggest that it would encourage alternative modes if transport reducing the car parking burden which appeared to go down well.

In the end, I didn’t escape the rain but it was only a fine drizzle drifting into my face that lasted for 30 minutes. I packed my water proof for this eventuality and the slow small ring plod, while taking ages into the cool Nor Easter was bearable if only because it was Friday. I rode an extra 9km to spend my brown drinking voucher for weekend supplies (a £10 note).

I had time so stopped for an early weekend sup in peace and quiet while I took in the view of heavy skies. I then headed home to negotiate teenage demands for more autonomy to complete a rare imperial ton week for 2019.

Friday evening IPA recovery drink regime

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Trail brekkie

I had cricket yesterday so wasn’t at work. I prepared with a small leg loosener after the boys left for school. I have finally discovered the route builder on Strava. It shows all the of road trails! I plotted and planned and then gave up and went where the wheels wanted to go. I could waste so much time planning on routes that I already know instead of just riding.

It was gloriously sunny and mild. I wobbled along bone jarring, rutted byways and bumpy bridleways. There was still mud about. I stopped for brekkie and a stretch. I felt grateful for the solitude and wanted to stay forever. But after lazing about in the sun, I headed back home to do Dad things. Mowing the lawn has become another pre-match ritual.

Overnight oats mid ride-it’s the way forward

The morning commute replacement ride and lawn mowing does nothing for my batting form. So far with this routine, I have scored 13 runs in 2 innings. However, it’s not all gloom as I got a bowl yesterday and enjoyed a run around in the sun and all I need to do now is find another club to play at and find some form.

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It was cool again this morning at 5°C, but still, sunny and welcoming. Until I got to the big busy road but that’s the price to pay for saving on petrol. I went out on my clean crosser and her freshly indexed gears with the purpose of repeating last weeks hometime plan in the nearly perfect forecast sunny and mild conditions for riding. Like yesterday, after school cricket meant that I could take my time for a change.

Except that this week, it was master14’s match that was cancelled. So I made my way out 20min before home time. There was little else to do for work and there was no way that I was not going to make the most of summertime today. Living in England means that you have to make the most of the sun and warmth when it does eventually visit.

I was glad to have forgotten my short sleeve top for the return leg. The easterly wind cooled things off but the fleece lined long sleeve on it’s own was enough. My forearms felt cheated from lack of sun all the same. All the way, the moderate cross wind felt like a headwind on the winding country lanes. Thankfully the gears that I sorted out in the weekend helped me keep a rhythm in the small ring when it was needed which was often.

I ended up slogging through to make it home to a forensic head licking from our excited dog on my return home. She is always on duty, very thorough and given the amount that I sweat after exercise, there is always the chance for a second helping.

The signs are that summer is finally here…

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The weekend was spent running short errands on the 29er to rest my groin & I didn’t feel any twinges. I was a little disappointed not to be selected for the CupXI on Sunday but the younger guys who were, deserved their chance to play after training well and performing consistently at the end of last season.

Imagine my surprise when the captain dropped me a text on Saturday asking me to play after a late drop out. Yes! I eagerly replied only to be informed later that the captain had arranged for another player and that I was no longer required! I was furious and let him have it with both barrels but in a professional way to explain how I had changed my plans to make the match. I have since relinquished the captaincy of my side as I have been treated appallingly one time too many. I doubt that I will play for them again which is a terrible shame after my 16 years at the club.

At least I now had time to clean my crosser, sort out her gears and do the boys’ bikes as well. It was when I was out on an errand later, stopping for a bottle of beer to enjoy the lowering sun that I checked the scores. My side was rolled over for 92 (anything over 200 is respectable) and lost heavily. It is pretty doubtful whether I could have influenced this result had I played.

A bike ride and German pilsner. A perfect Schadenfreude accompaniment

As I watched the peaceful day end, I experienced more than a little pleasure at the thrashing. I haven’t experienced this much Schadenfreude since the silver van who close passed me last week was forced to stop at a red light some 20 seconds later.

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Yesterdday was another where things had to be planned around junior cricket and riding my bike. I parked up at the club and took the short river side route avoiding dogs, but mainly their mindless walkers.

I took leave for the evening to give me time to ride back so that I could manage master11’s cricket match. It rained and the match was cancelled before I was scheduled to leave work. Immediately I planned an extended ride back to the club to turn the 8km into something longer. I couldn’t decide on a route so went where the wheels would take me. There was a threat of showers but no more.

I headed towards the countryside and lost myself in my thoughts and the lush arable farmland. It wasn’t until I was 12km out, I realised that I shouldn’t be heading home (the direction that I was travelling in!). Should I continue on to home or double back to the club? The direction for either was roughly equidistant.

I opted for the club and I am glad that I did. For when I showered and headed out the door to take the pooch for her forest frolic, I noticed a sharp twinge in my groin. I didn’t ride to work today to rest it and imagine a ride to collect the van on the way to work to have injured it more.

When I got back home, I couldn’t resist a short frolic on the 29er around the forest. So far the groin has held up so maybe I should run some short errands over the weekend instead of a long one. But that’s for tomorrow. Right now I’m hoping that my need for fresh air and a pedal hasn’t made the situation worse.

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I love my sons. I love riding. I love cricket. Today was going to be an epic day when I could combine all three. The boys both had after school matches away at the same time so I wasn’t under the usual pressure to collect them when school finished. Cue bringing forward my 45km (or even 55km!) commute day forward a day-this would enable me to sit out tomorrow’s forecast all day heavy rain. Once the logistics of sorting out how the other one was going to get home from school, the plan was in place:

  • Ride to work early on a longer route
  • Leave work as usual and ride home on an even longer route
  • Collect master11 from his school match, wolf down dinner speeding en route to his club match afterwards.

What could go wrong?

Yesterday I was full MAMIL with a 30km Bank Holiday ride on the crosser. I was faster without trying. I took her out again this morning anticipating a nice long ride in the afternoon mild back home visiting last summers home time routes. It was cool (again) this morning necessitating gloves and 3 layers on top although it has to be said that they weren’t the full winter items of a month ago. I wore shorts if only to force summer a bit quicker. This morning wasn’t as fast on the crosser again but it was quiet along the country lanes. Without the big 29er tyres, the morning felt alive with birdsong and rabbits busily darted across fields. At least the wildlife know that summer should be approaching soon too.

Work was the usual post public holiday bedlam. As soon as master11 called to say that his school match was cancelled, my heart sank. I would have to speed home on the short route to collect him 90 min earlier than planned. There goes the even longer route. The busy road/close passing/aggressive driving short route. A bus decided to pass me too close. It seems that one has to stay in the lane to pass in opposing traffic instead of waiting until it is safe to do so. I have emailed the company to ask them to remind the driver of the road rules. They have thanked me for “reaching out” and will be in contact “soon”. We’ll see what happens…

But at least it was mild enough to work up a sweat in 2 top layers and I made it back to watch master11’s team being handed a colossal thumping by the group leaders. And I got to combine 3 of my loves in one day even though things didn’t quite go to plan.

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