The BlogPosted by Paul Webb Sat, October 26, 2013 07:41:20
Cyclists guide to Cyprus!
Rules of the road
(From the perspective of the Cypriot)
In Cyprus we drive in the left.... But we reserve the right to alternate ( randomly).
When you approach a roundabout creep out in to the roundabout slowly until the traffic cannot navigate you, give a hard stare if someone looks at you!
Signs and lines and junctions are just a guide..... Sneak forward until the traffic cannot navigate you and apply hard stare.
When stopped at a junction and a cyclist is approaching make eye contact so the cyclist knows that you have seen him, however under no circumstance should this prevent you from pulling out in front of him, if the cyclist should remonstrate give him the hard stare.
Opening car doors see above ....
We own the road! Except that pothole that we are forcing you to ride into.... U can have that.
We also don't own the road when it comes to repair them .... Them the EEC owns it.
Our motorway signs are green and the rural roads are blue.
The motorways RULE we will get u on to them even though you are not allowed!
It is illegal to drive in Cyprus without a phone plastered to your ear..... The only exception to this is of course when you are texting, emailing or checking your Facebook status, you must not let road safety interfere with your communication as a Cypriot everything you have to say is invaluable.
White line in the middle of the road is advisory, try to go over re other side as much as possible when these are present
If I indicate this just means that the bulb is working..... Not that I intend to turn that way..... Silly
Headlights, we are saving the bulbs for a special occasion, darkness ain't it!
When it's dangerous to overtake a cyclist always give it a go, sometimes it's safer to go into that tiny gap a lot faster than Normal .... For safety's sake!
If u are going to overtake give 4 LOUD beeps on the horn to make them aware you are going to pass whatever happens so F@CK u
If a cyclist looks lost intimidate him by driving extra close to wake him up!
Red lights are optional (see t junctions)
Double yellow lines are just opportunities to park ... They are nice and clear!
Parking should be carried out in a way to be as dangerous as possible to cyclists..... Keep them on there toes
If you are not lost at the moment don't worry you will be in 30 seconds as the signposts we have are hopeless we will also use shapes for letters and use them interchangeably whenever we f@cking feel like it.
If you are a farmer there are no rules we are the backbone of the Cyprus economy
If you are a coach driver the rules don't apply to you as we are the backbone of the economy ( delivering pukers and pikeys to the Butlin style 1950 booze holes / vomitariuns we call tourists resorts
Police .... We cannot afford them and even if we could they would be to busy playing cards in their mates cafe!
Don't be surprised if the road just ends .... We ran out of money when the Russians shafted us!
We celebrate Garmins inability to map Cyprus correctly, just because the Turkish invades in 74 and there are Army bases.... I don't think Garmins refusal to map the island is going to get rid of the Army or the Turks!
Don't let this put you off though the island has some great roads and a fantastic climate, thank you people of Cyprus it's been FAB
The BlogPosted by Paul Webb Fri, June 28, 2013 19:14:36
Exercise Strategies for Weight loss
What should you eat if your strategy is for losing body fat? for this strategy you can skip pre-exercise carbohydrates, the reason for this is if you supply carbohydrates your body will burn this and store fat and indeed not burn your already ample fat stores. however you cannot run empty of carbs as your energy systems need this to burn fat so you need to ensure you have adequate glycogen levels.
Strategy 1 Fat Burning
Exercise in the lower zones 2 - 3 for longer, skip pre exercise carbs, Skip Breakfast and start eating after 1 hour of exercise, You will need some carbs if your are training for longer but keep this to a minimum its a matter of practice and feel.
Cycling in these Zones also provide great base training which recruits more mitochondria and makes your muscles more efficient.
This strategy is very suitable for returners or those that have not reached the level of fitness where Burst Training can be used.
Strategy 2 Burst Training
Recent research has found that "Burst Training" or "Intervals" are also a great way of burning fat.
Burst training is short bursts of exercise Usually less than 2 minutes but exercising in zones 5 - 6.
Burst training produces a hormone response that burns fat during the exercise but also long after the exercise has finished up to 48 hours!
Burst training is obviously shorter and more convenient way to exercise but you should leave 48 hours between sessions (you will have to if you are doing them properly)
Strategy 3 Resistance Training
Weight Training or resistance training is a great way to lose weight, this is the method I have found the most useful.
Weight Training not only strengthens your core it can also be a massive aid to losing weight, the reason for this is that resistance training speeds up your thermo genic rate which basically means you are burning calories for longer, similar to burst training.
* Decide what your strategy is for the Day, Week, Month before you decide what to eat
* Use one of the above strategies
* The Strategies can be mixed, you can alternate Burst Training / Intervals with Weights
Next Blog: What about that Protein stuff?
The BlogPosted by Paul Webb Sun, June 16, 2013 18:09:53
Before you decide what you should eat before exercise you need to decide what strategy you are on?
What do I mean by strategy?
For example are you eating for
* Weight loss
All 3 of these strategies require different food intakes.
Performance assumes that you need to be at your Max for Glycogen and Protein levels, this means in effect you will have to consider your intake of food (mainly carbs) some time before your event, if the event is an endurance event at Zones 4 - 5 (up to 2 hours in duration) you will need to ensure that your Glycogen levels are fully topped up as the likelihood that your body will be using Glycogen as its major energy source.
If you are taking part in an endurance event over 2 hours at a lower zone 2 - 4 for the most part you still want to begin with full Glycogen levels but will need to have a strategy for your carbohydrate intake during the event.
In effect this will be the same strategy for Maintenance, Maintenance being a high consideration when taking part in multi day events or multi discipline events or if you are training every day for a period of time.
So eating for Performance can begin many days before the event depending on how efficient your body is at restoring your Glycogen levels, this is something that you will learn about your body over time, in fact it can take some people up to 7 days to fully replenish your Glycogen levels.
What are my current Glycogen levels?
You can establish how much Glycogen that you have in your system by weighing yourself, the average dude carry's about 500G of Glycogen and a similar amount of water, this is the first thing to deplete during a 2 - 4 hour exercise period, this is the weight you will need to replace, its not an exact science but you will get a feel for it.
A good start is to assume that you need a couple of days input of carbs to begin with to top up your Glycogen levels, in this instance you will need to begin by eating LOW GI foods, as you get nearer to the beginning of the event start to look at foods that have a high energy content KC per gram, for example an 5 apples will have a very high carbohydrate value but also has a high fibre content, in other words a pure apple juice will be much easier to consume than a litre of apple juice, a similar pattern can be seen with fresh apricots and grapes, high carbs and high fibres, dried fruit and apricots same Carbohydrate value but much easier to eat due to lower fibre.
Most studies recommend that you intake 1 gram of carbohydrate for every KG of weight, if you weigh 50KG then 50G of carbohydrate is required, this is best taken as a small meal 1 hour before exercise begins, again this should be LOW GI foods.
Low GI foods digest much more slowly and therefore release slowly over time during the exercise therefore providing a source of food for longer (however modern studies have found little proof of this helping except to make the athlete feel fuller for longer).
If you prefer to have a large meal prior to exercising then you should wait 2-4 hours before exercising and this food should be LOW GI.
You will be advised to experiment during training to find out what works out best for you!
More importantly what do I need to eat during endurance exercise as if your event is non endurance and you are performing at zone 4 - 5 you will primarily be using Glycogen and probably have enough to last if you start fully topped up and you are not doing multiple days of this, however Gels and power bars may help along with Carb drinks.
Its is recommended that you eat between 50 - 60 grams of Carbohydrate per hour during exercise, (if you have a Garmin set an alert for every hour) these carbs should be MEDIUM to HIGH GI foods that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream, Gels, Power bars and sports drinks being the obvious candidates.
Don't close your eyes to more natural foods such as dried fruit, Soreen etc, look through the GI food chart and be creative, once again look for the most bang for your buck, eat high KC (energy values) for each gram dried fruit being a great example.
Its is recommended that you begin eating 30 minutes into an exercise and then at hourly intervals, this ties in with the maximum amount of of Glycogen that the muscles can absorb.
In fact you can begin eating HIGH GI foods 15 minutes before you begin exercising as its unlikely in that period you will get an insulin spike dud to the time it takes to ingest.
Don't forget that recovery begins during the current exercise, the more you are able to keep your Glycogen levels up the better shape you will be in for the next days exercise as always recovery for tomorrow begins NOW!
Eating After Exercise
Its generally accepted that 60g - 100 grams of carbohydrates are required very quickly after exercise as your body is at its most receptive to replenishment (the 2 hour post exercise window) approx. 150% higher this then rapidly decreases to only 4 times the normal rate. This is due to an insulin release and the fact that during this window muscle membrane is more permeable and can take in more glucose than normal.
The amount you need to eat is dependent on the following factors:
* How depleted your Glycogen stores are
* The extent of your muscle damage
* The amount and the timing of the carbohydrates you eat
* Your training and fitness levels.
Weight Training for example has a high impact on your muscle and fibre damage therefore your glycogen replenishment could take up to 7 - 10 days.
1 Gram for every KG you weigh in the first 2 hours then every 2 hours until your next main meal, try to make these carbs full of goodness also grains and minerals.
HIGH - MEDIUM GI foods in order to speed absorption, mix these carbs with protein where possible (see blog on proteins).
Plan your meals and snacks accordingly for recovery!
If you train daily your carbohydrate intake will need to be high, in the region 500 - 600grams per day, failure to do this will result in an inability to train hard to your potential and a depletion of Glycogen.
1Gram of Carbohydrate for every KG you weigh
Post exercise window is 2 - 6 hours 1 G for every KG every hour HI GI Foods
50 - 60 grams per hour during exercise of HI GI foods
50 - 100G of LOW GI foods prior to exercise
50 - 100G of LOW GI foods post exercise (depending on muscle damage and intensity)
LOW GI Foods in between Workouts
Once you have exhausted the 6 hour post workout window you should switch back to slow burning low GI foods, these foods will help you stay feeling full and prevent you from snacking unnecessarily.
See blog on how much carbohydrate you should eat per day.
Timings put simply!
> 2 Hours Prior to exercise = Low GI Foods
> 15 Minutes Prior to exercise = HI GI foods can be eaten as there is not enough time for an Insulin Release
>< During Exercise = HI GI and MED GI foods
2 < After exercise = HI GI
2-6 <After Exercise = HI GI Eat in 50 - 60 g portions
6 < After Exercise = LOW GI FOODS
Next Blog: Strategy for Weight Loss
The BlogPosted by Paul Webb Wed, May 29, 2013 19:35:57
We can just think of our Energy systems as a furnace, we produce energy by producing Heat, but in fact we have 3 energy systems that work in tandem.
The ATP-PC system (Phosphagen) system is the first system used in any exercise routine, it is used for Maximal Burst of Strength and Speed, it utilises Phosphagen and no Oxygen, this system is very quick indeed and only 3 - 4 seconds. This is an evolution of the "Flight or Fight Response".
2) Anaerobic Glycotic System
As soon as exercise is started and for events up to 90 seconds 60% of the Energy will come from this source dropping to around 35% after 2 minutes.
As an energy source this uses only Glycogen, this energy system has a rapide build up of Lactic Acid and pain is felt through the build up of Hydrogen.
3) Aerobic System
This system generates ATP from FAT (Lipolysis), this system cannot produce ATP as quick as the other two systems but can produce larger amounts and for longer.
This system also uses Muscle Glycogen and Glucose from the bloodstream.
After 2 hous exercise at greater than 70% VO2 Max all muscle Glycogen is depleted.
The Aerobic Energy system is 20 times more efficient as it uses both Glycogen and Fat.
It can be seen that its possible all 3 of these energy systems will be used in order during an exercise session.
How does the Body decide whether to burn Fat or Carbs?
* Intensity of Exercise
* Duration of Exercise
* Your Fitness Level
* Pre exercise Diet
The Good News is as you get fitter your body becomes better at burning FAT as exercising produces more Mitochondria which are used for Oxidising.
Next Blog "Eating Before Exercise"
The BlogPosted by Paul Webb Sat, May 25, 2013 22:22:00
Ever wondered how we create energy and whats really going on inside our little furnaces?
We have four sources of energy to choose from:
All of these sources have to be converted into Adenosine Tri Phosphate (ATP) before it can be used.
ATP is a small molecule consisting of an Adenosine backbone and three Phosphate Groups attatched. The Backbone of the ATP molecule is split and this releases the energy.
This in turn produces Adenosine Di Phosphate which in turn is converted back into ATP.
Energy is ultimately given off from the body as heat and is measured in Heat:
Joule = small unit
cal = small unit
Cal = KiloCal
KJ = KiloJoule to convert into KiloCalories times by 4.2
1 Joule is the amount of energy used to to move a weight of 1 kg 1 Newton (N) meter.
1 cal is defined as the amount of heat required to increase 1 gram (g) of water by 1 degree centigrade.
Energy Values of the four sources of energy:
* Carbohydrates = 4 Kcal; (17KJ)
* Protein = 4 Kcal (17KJ)
* Fat = 9 Kcal (38 KJ)
* Alcohol 7 Kcal (29KJ)
As you can see that fat is the best value fuel however it takes longer to produce and is only available at certain levels of effort < 70% V02MAX, however there is an almost unlimited supply!
How much of these sources do i have stored?
Your body stores fat as adipose tissue, its is stored under the skin and is packed for padding around the organs, and in the muscles. Men tend to store fat around the belly (Apple Shape) Women tend to store it around the Hips, and thighs (Pear Shape).
300 - 400g in muscles (intra muscular) 10 - 15KG fat around the organs
400g -500g = 1600 - 2000 Kc stored as Glycogen in the Muscles with about 3 times its own weight in water, Liver, this is why people on a low carb diet tend to lose a lot of weight initially!
Stored as Muscle which can be broken down and used as energy (catabolism which tends to happen at the end of prolonged exercise).
Stored in the Liver
See next topic "Our Little Furnaces" the Energy Systems"
The BlogPosted by Paul Webb Tue, April 30, 2013 19:36:37
When asked if the dress makes Her look Fat the Husband replies "It's not the Dress that makes you look Fat.... It's the Fat".
This was a post on Facebook of the things a husband should never say to his Wife!
Funny as this is it got me to thinking how we bury our heads to the big picture on weight!
Whenever I ride in a large group of riders I am inevitably asked by someone how I diet or how I keep so thin (having lost a stone or two over the last couple of years).
So I thought I would put something together on what has worked for me, notice I have said what has worked for me, if the science isn't right or is old fashioned I am more than happy to be put right, it's all learning after all!
1) The Battle is won in the Head
As is true with most battles the battle for weight loss is mostly won in the head, if you get this right then you are set.
It's not a Diet that you are undertaking its a new "Healthy way of Life" , you are going to live healthy and the weight coming off will be a bi product of this new healthy lifestyle.
Your body is passive in the dieting process, it simply obeys instructions from the head and does an amazing job!
The best dieters or converters to a healthy lifestyle are cancer or heart attack survivors don't wait for this make the commitment now today!
2) Don't eat ANY PROCESSED food, no turkey twizzlers no mince, sausages, beef burgers, pies or pastries, these products are poison to you, you will find alternatives, veggie sausages, Fish, Chicken, Tuna.
Processes foods are designed to smell good and feel good in the mouth and are addictive but after a while of not eating them you will not even like the smell
3) Eat a FAT FREE DIET there is a clue in the word FAT, your body can only store FAT it cannot store carbs ( except as glycogen in small amounts).
The bodies preferred energy source is carbs. Which means if its burning carbs then its storing fat!
You do need some fat to survive but you can get this from fish. Nuts, avacados or omega supplements.
Skimmed milks or almond and soya milks.
You will of course not be able to have a totally fat free diet nor is it desirable, if you did have a fat free diet your body would indeed try to turn some of your excess carbs into fat (as your body is clever and realises that you need some fat).
4) AVOID SUGAR, sugar is in everything, seek it out and eradicate this from your diet, Cereals being a prime source of sugar, soft drinks, white bread all contain vast amounts of sugar, you are addicted to sugar right now but in fact this is destroying your taste buds, a few months of no sugar and you will be surprised how good the natural things like fruit and veg begin to taste! Avoid Sugar
Sugar brings about a rush of insulin into your body which switches your body into FAT STORAGE MODE which means you will burn carbs and store fat, not what you want at all, especially just before you exercise and want to burn fat.
5) Throw away the scales but buy a full length mirror, get the tape measure out and measure the major body parts and make a note,waist,chest,thighs,biceps etc make regular checks and enjoy the improvement, if you are combining a new lifestyle with and increase in exercise you will not notice a drop in weight as your blood volume and muscles increase, but your body will begin to change shape!
Check out the changes and give yourself a pat on the back.
6) obey the 90% Rule, very few people can eat healthily all the time, aim for 90% but be aware that it is taking a step backwards when you stray from the path and initially I would try to stay 100%
7) Be Prepared, if you know that you are going to be in the situation where healthy food is in short supply then think about what the healthy alternatives are for you, it will become second nature, take fruit, dried fruit, nuts etc as snacks, the longer you are eating healthy the better the natural foods begin to taste!
8) stick to low or medium GI foods (Glycemic Index) these foods will not produce an insulin rush and are invaluable guide to eating healthy!
9) Think yourself into a healthy lifestyle, it's a well known fact that you get results from positive thoughts, think UP the Healthy foods, Think DOWN the bad foods, get to love fresh vegetables and salads!
10) Reward yourself when you have made progress, not with bad foods but with new clothes or sporting equipment etc, we always forget to pay ourselves on the back!
Spend sometime at the end of the day to review the positive progress that you have made!
Next Blog see "All Hail to the Energy Sources"
The BlogPosted by Paul Webb Wed, April 03, 2013 20:42:37
We have been on our travels again. We usually scoot off on the Thursday before Easter to get 10 days holiday for the price of 5 taking advantage of the bank holidays! We made our way to my old Dads (near Poitier) to check him out after his hip replacement op, he is doing surprisingly well!
We were hoping to see some sunshine as its been the worst of weather at home, imagine my surprise and disappointment when I opened the curtains on Friday morning to see a thick covering of Snow!
The bad weather had followed us down, the snow turned to thick rain and stayed for 2 days, these 2 Days spent in front of the log fire chatting with the old fella, eventually the rain gave in and I managed to get out on the bike, I managed a 100k headed for the Mervent Forest , I am still very weak though from the kidney infection. Route 1 Route 2
The next day was better good sunshine and went for a repeat of Mervent route with Wendy, still freezing cold though which was disappointing to say the least!
We left Dads on the Monday heading for the Pyrenees to stay with Martyn at Le Petit Verger in Puivert. The minute we hit Bordeaux the rain started and I mean rain! We did this last year and thought this was unlucky, but in truth our weather has changed and if we want warmth we must change too ..... so next year Easter in Spain, and the Pyrenees later i the year!
Luckily the rain had all but cleared by mid-day. Martyn had arranged got us all to go on a group ride that day. Route 1 Route 2
Day 1 He sent me out for 45 K to start with taking in the Col de Teil 500M and then the Col de Croix de Morts 849M with a wicked descent back into Puivert to meet the rest of the group!
The group made up of Paul (English) Thierry (French) Martin, Wendy and myself. We headed off to pick up some more riders, meanwhile Martyn broke a spoke and made his way back home leaving just the 4 of us.
These Guys took us on a route which includes several small Cols which consisted of me assisting Wendy up them as best I could! The views were fantastic, generally when I come to the Pyrenees I make for the huge climbs, but this route was stunning, Cyprus trees, roads lined with Plantation trees just fabulous, the weather was kind to us except the odd hail storm which is the Pyrenees way of reminding you that she is in charge.
Here I am riding a Col talking to a Frenchman (in French) I could get used to this! Thierry claiming a mileage of 2000K every 3 months, it showed he was as strong as an Ox! And Paul informing me that he has just started a Micro Brewery selling English beer to the French! A big day for Wendy whose new Garmin Edge 810 showed 3000FT of climbing for the day! My old Fashioned Garmin giving me 2000M.
Day 2 Martyn had planned a ride with just the 4 of us, Wendy, Martyn Ann and myself.
The Route was to be a Scenic route to Foix for Lunch and a different scenic route back with a detour for me up the Col de Monsegur 1049M.
It was a stunning ride, the Pyrenees is so beautiful.
On the Drive back to the Ferry we decided to take a route through Volcano Country as its the last Region for Wendy to explore, it was amazing, not a place to be a cyclist very bleak.
There is no flat in the Auvergne just up or down, we had targeted ourselves to drive over the Col de Puy de Maury but were disapointed to see it was closed due to snow, in fact it was snowing as we arrived.
What a fabulous region, we must go back to stay, the peaks were fantastic!
The BlogPosted by Paul Webb Tue, March 19, 2013 19:44:38
The good news is ive lost 6lbs
The bad news is ive gotta a Kidney Infection!
It seems to me that i have had a lot of ilness's this year sinec the end of last Summer, when you get thoughts like this its a good idea to apply some examination to it.
Hell if didnt learn the lessons we would still be in the Primordial Swamp!
So what are the influences in this.
* Diet - Am I Eating correctly?
* Training - Am I training too Hard?
* Recovery - Am I recovering properly
* Sleep - How much is enough?
* Rest - do I get enough rest (tottally different from Recovery)
* Stress - Am I in more of s Stressfull situation than last year?
* Age - Are my expectations too high for a 50 plusser?
My Diet is better than it ever has been I have loads of energy and my weight has been stable for over a year with a very low BMI Well Done Me
Training, I have been training hard and the Weather Conditions i think are worse than last year, in fact we have been training too hard, i set a new MAXHR during a Winter Club run this Winter! So its possible I have been training too hard ... a Little, I have just recently also started Interval training once a week until the build up to twice a week, but yes maybe a little to hard Try Harder to temper my enthusiasm
Recovery, i do make sure that my weights sessions are 48 hours apart, I have a protien and Carb Shake, If I Ride 100K on Sat and Sunday I actively Recover and plan time for it. Well Done Me
Sleep I am getting between 7- 8 hours per night depending on if im going to the Gym or not, I think thats enough and i dont wake up feeling really tired, I must keep Vigilant.Well Done Me
Rest, Im not very good at this, generally im not relaxing im usually beavering away at something, hell I should be resting now! Must try Harder
Age, Jo Friels study shows that as long as you adapt your training as you age you should not see any serious drop off in Triathalon Performance until you reach 75
Stress, I am in a LOT more stressful situation than I was last year, I need to find some better coping mechanisms.
After doing this I began to wonder if there were any Formulas knocking around for this kind of thing to help me measure my rest vs training..
And there is a simple formula to work to:
1.Performance improves when recovery > training load
2.Performance stagnates when recovery = training load
3.Performance regresses when training load > recovery
I would even go as far as to add aother lines for the Formula
4. Performance regresses when Enthusiasm> Your Bodies capabilities
Great Resource on Over Reaching
The BlogPosted by Paul Webb Fri, March 01, 2013 17:42:24
I have visited my old Mum and Dad in Alicante to catch up and get some miles in!Route 1 - Cabezo de Plata - GarochelleRoute 2 - Cabezo de Plata - Garochelle in reverse
Every year (rather foolishly in Feb or March) in an attempt to use up my Holiday before year end I visit my Mum and Stepfather at their home in Alicante.
The act of visiting my Mother in itself is not foolish as they treat me very well and its always a lot if fun, in fact it's like a full - Board situation where I go to bed late and and don't extricate myself from my steaming pit until I really must!
No indeed the foolish bit is that it is by far the worst time of year weather wise in that region! Generally the sight of me turning up with my Bike box is enough for all the neighbours to roll their eyes take in the washing pack away any outside furniture ( some have even been known to throw the odd insult over the wall such as " here is that wanker with the bike again, shame we have been having such a good winter").
Well my visit in March 2013 was not to be any different, although I was fleeing sub zero temperatures in blighty (indeed i recently rode the sportive The Hell Of Ashdown in temperatures that felt like - 5).
As soon as I touched down at Murcia Airport the cloud found me and it started to drizzle!
I have pictorial evidence in this blog that clouds do indeed follow me around!
It's agonising when my Mum and John meet me, they are already apologising for the weather ( bless their hearts). I brush it off with stuff like don't worry I'm just pleases to see you ( which I am) or I know what to expect it will be fun just to see some blue skies......
You know I'm not going to get it all my own way!
I had a plan to do 100 km a day for 4 days, Mum had another plan and decided that this was going to be 3 days as I simply must try the Menu Del Dia in the village on Sunday, (this consisted if sitting in a restaurant with M & J and 2 friends John and Paul Sykes (affectionately known as Psycho), we have met before and I knew what was coming 2 hours of John and Paul competing for attention whilst simoultaneously trying to prove the other wrong and defend there own position on any given subject which it would seem we're always diametrically opposed, couple this with the hot debate as to why Rugby is better than Cycling in all ways possible, slip in a bit of one upmanship on ilness's and diseases and I think I have given you the picture!
I did manage to do a bit if one-up-man ship myself by trumping them with a look at my shoulder! They were a bit green about the gills it was a nice touch to do this just before the puddings arrive ( thanks Psycho for the trifle Sherry you couldn't manage).
All the while I am thinking how much John is morphing into a hybrid of Ronnie Corbett and Elton John..... I make it sound like a chore but it really wasn't because they are good Guys and it pleases my Mother to see me endure the torture with the good grace and the manners that she taught me! And Mum enjoys the sport!
So after catching up with the olds, being fed like a horse (as I'm sooo skinny it's painful), Mum and John produced my list if work for the week!
If it had a plug on it I had to fix it, configure it, install it, download it, write a pictorial user guide, wireless it ....... You gotta love em still doing this stuff in their mid 70's.
Despite this worrying workload I was able to get a good nights sleep after thermals places in, hot water bottles in the bed, woollies socks ....... Spanish property is designed to lose heat! FACT.
That night the rain came and brought with it it's old mate snow, Spain was covered anywhere over a 900 metres. It made for a very picturesque ride!
It was pissing down so I waited for it to clear up a little and started to work my way through Mums list.
It did clear up a bit but knowing that I had my rides cut down by a day I knew I had to bite the bullet and move off.
I dressed like a snowman with lots if warm gear , wearing the fine Rapha gilet for only the second time ( for the first time my clothes were worth more than my bike) I'm pretty sure I know what that says about me! ATGNI.
I had planned a route with about 1500 metres if climbing in it (route 1) and started off hoping I would not get too wet! Yeah right how stupid.
The route includes a town called Torremendo and a mountain range called the Cabezo de Plata one of my favourite routes in the area!
[annoyingly my parents house is just too far from the huge Sierra de Espuna and the Col de Rates etc in the north, how selfish of them]
Around about 15 K into the ride the rain started,I hadn't reached the mountains yet, this is the time to make the decision to cut the ride short, I didn't ..... Stupidly didn't!
When I reached the mountain a I was warm and still relatively dry, however the first of the mountains put paid to that, I was freezing and now completely soaked leg, hands, feet wise my upper body was still warm! My waterproof sealskins socks dutifully proving how waterproof they are by filling up and not letting any out! It was warm and wet I imagine what it would feel like if I had pissed in them!
Descending the first climb was painful my hands were freezing and u could hardly pull the brakes, pulling the brakes being a futile act in itself as they stopped working when the rain started.
I looked forward to a long stretch of false flat in order to warm up, however I couldn't feel my legs so this didn't happen.
There was no shortcut home now, it was back over the Cabezo de Plata and another agonising descent to follow. By this time car drivers are actually taking time out to shout LOCO at me...... From the dry car cabins.
My front wheel rims having now feasted themselves on a nice lunch of Campag brake blocks descending started to get silly, i am now considering pissing on my hands!
The brake blocks disintegrating through the very gritty water coming off the road!
I'm at the bottom if the Cabezo now and I am actually scared to look at the Garmin to see the bad news that is the distance remaining.
I needed a break! At last the rain stopped with about 20 k to go its plain sailing from here on in!
When I looked ( in embarrasment( at my Garmin figures that night I could see that the temperature of the ride was only 1 degree higher than the extremely cold Hell if Ashdown the previous week!
When I managed to open the gate at Mums house (which was no mean feat as my fingers had stopped working 2 hours ago) Mum and John greeted me with did you have a nice ride? ( they had been out for a menu del Dia a carafe of wine then came home to sleep it off! Very sensible.
I replied that it was a nice ride, and on reflection it was enjoyable, in a Sado Masochistic kind of way, the fact I survived and made the most of it ...... hell a bad day on the bike is better than a good day in the office anytime!
I was blessed with two fantastic days of weather the days following where I was able to do the reverse i of the route in the sunshine (notwithstanding the clouds following me just to let me know who is boss).
The lesson to learn is that it's not nice in Spain in Feb and March! Same time next year then?
Big thanks to Mum and John for having me stay