After a day of chasing after a red leather ball at a beautiful ground in Cambridge, I was stiff. There is nothing like exonerating oneself in the field in an early season friendly to do that, particularly after prancing about like a 24 year pro without the skill or the speed. Unfortunately I didn’t showcase my limited batting ability and was caught out early on.

Clare College playing field. Wonderfully maintained but with massive boundaries

So after dropping the boys off at school yesterday, I parked at the club with the plan to attend training after work. I tried recover the legs with a smooth 9km spin to work for another busy day.

It rained in the afternoon so training was cancelled early. I couldn’t get out early enough to ride an extended route back so ran some errands back to the van to avoid driving any more than I have to in the weekend. Today legs still hurt and my knees are sore, a consequence of not doing enough weight based cardio.

And my back continues to ache, something that has gradually crept into my consciousness over the last 3 weeks. Presumably my tight hamstrings are a factor and I have been focussing on stretching them post ride as well as my back regularly. Dr Google has advised that doing this regularly helps prevent lower back pain but is not a cure as such. Apart from stretching, is there anything else can that I do? I am thinking of yoga. Your advice is greatly anticipated and warmly received.

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Yesterday was the usual park up in the supermarket car park close to school so that I could collect the boys for 3.30. It was cool but it’s my off road route. With repaired puncture(s) & a swapped over back tyre to the front & new one on the back, I ambled the route without much to note.

3 of these in my rear tube from Wednesday

Apart from chasing and not catching up with 3 hares. They’re fast, too fast for me. A work colleague rides around this way and always seems to spot wildlife-Muntjac, foxes, owls, birds of prey (even parakeets yesterday). No wonder she falls off a lot. Either I am not very mindful or she is full of embellishment. Or she goes slow enough to spot them…Anyway, the 3 hares were my lot even though I took the quiet route back.

Today is a novelty but hopefully a summer routine. I swapped my Wednesday commute for a midweek day off to play cricket so had a bit of time to kill. After the usual last minute pre school chaos, I did a short pre-match leg loosener around the forest and stopped for brekkie before heading home to mow the lawn and bed in the tomato plants.

Overnight oats with greek yoghurt and summer fruits

I hope that this is an insight into retirement except without the torture of getting master11 to understand the concept of time, responsibility and priorities.

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I had got up early to start an epic day an aim for some big miles. Big miles for me is anything over 20 per ride. I went out to the van to unload the 29er to find a rear puncture. It was finally time to get the crosser out of the shed to spin her into work. I had been thinking about it for a while but just didn’t fancy sticking to roads all of the time. It would be boring I thought and more of a close pass risk because I would only be on roads. Besides, I had more off road route options and had become used to the dilly dally of ambling around bridleways and feeling (if not always being) adventurous.

I decided to do a summer homeward route in reverse mainly because it was back roads and lanes through the countryside and also because it was 20 miles. Once I was out, I rediscovered that I could go much faster without trying, the set up, being completely different. I’d forgotten that. I kept up a good speed for about an hour until I hit Harlow and the early beginnings of rush hour. Then I wandered at a gentler pace along the uneven cycle tracks towards work. It was epic.

It was a strange ride home. I was expecting tailwind and there was of sorts. But the beginning lacked the rhythm that I wanted for another 20 miles. So I canned the route and just rode where the wheels took me. Once I decided that, it was epic. My average speed was similar but mainly because I put my head down and belted it for the last 3miles.

I think that I have accidently hit upon a winning formula. If I can go faster, I can travel further over similar times. The longer routes are perfect for this-quiet country lanes avoiding motor traffic.

Someone whom I follow on this platform is known to state, “if you want to be fast, you have to ride faster”. Thanks Jim, its all coming together for a great summer!

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I was woken this morning at stupid o’clock by Mrs B2W re-entering the bedroom after she had been downstairs and silenced the faulty cooker alarm. For some reason, it goes off at random times and the company info does not give much of a clue of how to rectify it. Switching it off at the wall is usually on my mental checklist but last night I was struggling with the back-to-school-the-night-before routine after a marvellous break from it all. Over indulging in beer and wine after Lent probably didn’t help either. The thing about drinking is that I now find it harder to go back to sleep when I am woken so it’s time to go back on the wagon again. I have more to lose than sleep if I don’t and it is now a habit of sorts not to drink.

So after 5 hours sleep, I hauled myself out of bed and planned an extended route from the park and ride in the cool spring air. I’m time pressured this week due to the onset of the junior cricket season and the need to ferry the boys about after work to matches. So my plan is to extend the commute routes as I’ll be missing a couple of rides to work.

Little did I know that the GPS signals for my Strava phone app would be poor. Strava is that is great most of the time for logging rides. But the damned thing also pauses when it loses a GPS signal which this morning lost me ~5km. My average speed was also inflated and apparently I can now max my speed at a shade under 51mph. Sitting upright, on a 16kg 29er (+ change) without even trying.

Move over Cav, I am ready๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

I did a bit of a read and reset my phone location services when I got to work. The ride back this afternoon shows that this worked. I’m now back down to my very average, average speed of 13mph. I wanted longer but wasn’t allowed to escape work any earlier. I always want longer when it’s mild and not windy.

I am aiming >100Km for a 16th week running of which is an ongoing B2W world record. This leaves tomorrow as the only real day that I can make a serious dent in the remaining 70Km. So it’s going to be 2 brutally long legs or 2 totally epic legs. I know which I prefer so it’s time to hit the sack…

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This is a Dutch Goes the Photo challenge for this week. I have spent the last 6 weeks attending the workers Mass in my parish during the Lent season. I have done it for 3 years now and has been a refreshing way to start a working day. Rather than a place to worship, for me church is a place to reflect on how I can be a better person than days past.

My parish Church at the waking day. A place of reflection

This week was the last before today, Good Friday. I had a BB King earworm buzzing inside my head throughout the warm sunny ride to the supermarket and back:

I was there when they crucified my Lord,

I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword,

I threw the dice as they pierced his side but I’ve seen love conquer the great divide.

It has warmed up nicely, enough for short sleeve top and shorts. Today all was splendour. Warmth, sunlit fields, bluebells. I sat in a field soaking in all of Gods glory when a stranger called Ian walked up with his bike and I invited him to join me. It turns out that he is from London visiting his parents for the Easter break and he sits in the spot that I was in when he comes visiting just to contemplate. He spoke of his recovery from a head injury and broken pelvis after he was hit by a car 4 years ago. Then 2 years ago was diagnosed with MS. Wow! But at least he is still on his bike and since the stem cell therapy and chemo is doing “OK”.

After a while we said our good-byes and I headed home, thankful of the life that I have, my health and Gods goodness.

I can never do bluebells justice, even with a filter. These are at or near their peak

All around the back lanes, rapeseed (or canola if you aren’t in the UK*)

A good spot to be thankful

* I prefer canola but the Brits don’t know what I am talking about.

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My legs gave me a stern telling off this morning but not because of the riding yesterday. My cricket legs were still cross at me for not stretching after the match on Sunday.

I woke early, loaded up the van, parked at the club and rode the easy way in to work along the river. It was cool but mild enough for the autumn jacket over the short sleeve summer top which covered my merino base layer. For the first time since Spring made a brief appearance in February I was in shorts.

The ride back to the club was sans jacket in 17ยฐC and the sun on my back. I got to the club warmed up for some fielding drills. For the American readers, we don’t use mitts in the field-we catch with 2 hands.

As the old saying goes, “2 hands are safer than 1”. Courtesy of http://www.india.com

There was a guy hitting high catches and someone else hitting short ones. I opted for the high catching group and dropped the 1st 3 that came to me. They were coming down from so high that they nearly had ice on them. The first hit me on the cheek after I broke the fall with my hand. I pretended that it didn’t hurt.

I ended up catching the next 10 so moved to the short catching group. As with the beginning of every preseason training, my hands are sore but at least I now have my eye in.

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It was the last workers Mass of the Lent season. It was cold and misty and a had my front light on full beam the whole way. I took the quiet bridleway route to work afterwards. It was peaceful save for the occasional busy crackling of the overhead power lines.

I managed to escape in the daylight, the hazy red sun looking over me from behind as I took the short route home. It wasn’t too late to be the subject of a close pass or 3 but that was OK today. For while the idiots enforced their own interpretation of the Highway Code in their shiny metal boxes, I was out in 15C fresh air enjoying Spring.

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