Saturday, April 02, 2022

A busy couple of weeks

Which has seen me cycling a LOT. Went up Coldharbour (the photo above) about five times. Mind you, I've now got some aches and pains, so I'll have to try and take it easy. 

And I've still been focused on emerging from a really tricky time, mentally. I'm not sure what it's been, but it has been a very difficult period. 

My apologies for not writing more. I'm going to try and address that, If I can.  

Monday, February 28, 2022

Sorting the Whip

 A little light fettling, as the summer season approaches. It's now *even* lighter! The crankset has changed from R8000 to Dura-Ace 9100. It's a compact, with 170mm cranks. took a while to find one at a decent price - everything is 172.5. Brakes - again, upgraded to Dura-Ace 9100. Shifters - yet another upgrade. They're now Dura-Ace 9050 Di2. A wireless unit has been added, so I can connect to my head unit. Wheels are back to the Mavic R-Sys, already super light at 1295g, but they're shod in Pirelli P-Zero Race tyres - nice and light, and fast. Inner tubes are Pirelli TPU, so they're light too. Overall, I reckon it's lost about 350g, maybe a little more.  Final weight for now - about 6.3kg. 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Time to change

 That's me, a few years ago. I like the photo, a lot - but it's also good that it's locked, somehow. Frozen in a moment in time. There's a sense that the person there, can stay there.  

So, I reckon the way out of the maze is to change. I'm at that point where I need to change. I'm not sure how, but I need to alter myself. Riding a bike has played a part in that: I'm fitter than I've been for decades. I'm a different shape. I feel different. Doing that was great - so why can't I continue the process? I need to explore ways of escaping old habits, and forging ahead, a little. First steps? Change the clothes I wear. 

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Finding a way out

 It's not easy, leaving the maze, but one sure way is to get on the bike. Of course, the bike doesn't actually move - but that's no real impediment to finding a path that'll lead me back to solid ground. The path I chose led me through Great Cheverell, and up to, and out of Worton. The land of my youth, this is where I used to live, in the depths of the Wiltshire countryside. It's 1981 and I'm sat on a bright red, 10-speed falcon Eddy Merckx. I've probably got an army surplus knapsack on my back, filled with vinyl. Taking records over to my friend Tim's place, to sit and listen to Punk Rock. 

And here I am again, riding the same road - it's on Bkool. As I turned left at the Black Dog crossroads, and headed up the slight rise, towards Worton, I will freely admit I had tears in my eyes.  I was crying for every single one of those forty years. but the oddest thing was that I wasn't sad for a youth that had passed, a life that had slipped through my fingers. Instead, I was just so happy to still be here, still tooling around the Wiltshire countryside on a bike, even though it was virtual. Still grounded in where I'd come from, the person I had been back then, the things I'd learned, and listened to.

I've been reading a lot of Herman Hesse recently - specifically Siddartha - and it's been a hugely important process, to deal with the idea that there is no time, as the river is in all places at once. It's at the mouth, at the sea, and it's in the waters that pass by, as you watch them. That's what it felt like, on this ride: to know that time was surrounding me, enveloping me. All that was, and all that is. The same feeling I got crossing Waterloo Bridge, a few months ago.  That path with no end is the only way out of the maze. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The maze.

 “Searching means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”

― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

I'm still holding. Circling the runway. I'm hurting a little, if I'm honest. I need to work out a path through the maze. 

Saturday, January 15, 2022

I'm not quite sure where a week went.

 I'm sorry.

Ah well.

Sometimes, it happens though. It's been a tough week, for me. not enough sleep, perhaps a little too much exertion on the bike, to compensate (though I really don't know how far down I would have gone, without it). But - a week has passed. Things have been pressing on my mind a little - I'm not really aware of an identifiable reason - just a miasma of worry, and anxiety. Like a snowball, gathering old leaves, and detritus, as it rolls downhill. Just....stuff. Stuck to the outside of more, that I need to shake off.

Sorry, again.

Friday, January 07, 2022

I'm not quite sure where forty years went.

 But that's what was filling my ears, forty years ago. It still sounds like the future. It still sounds just out of reach - nebulous. Like you can try and define it, but then it evades your grasp. 

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Looking at the Big Sky

 And the way that the lights of London twinkle over the Epsom Downs. Life's good, sometimes. 

I'm lucky in so many ways, but geography is definitely one of them: this is a great place to be. that sense of elevation (which happens in so many places, in Surrey) gives me a massive buzz. I love getting in the car and driving over the top of the Downs, past the racecourse, watching the whole of the city lie sprawling beneath me. 

There's a winter chill in the air, too. I think there's a cold snap coming. 

Monday, January 03, 2022

A woodland walk


Perfect, for a bank holiday, in winter. We went over to Abinger Roughs , just south of Ranmore, an absolutely idyllic place. I'm not normally the most "winter" of people, but there was something almost magical about the place, today. I absolutely loved it. A day of walking, not of cycling - a rest day from the bike. Hopefully back on it, tomorrow, though the car has to go in for a service tomorrow, which means I'll be walking back, which will use up valuable time. I'm hoping I can get onto Xert, sometime just before lunch.

Sound-wise, this has been filling my head, for the last couple of days:

I've been on a bit of a mission recently, off into the realms of the smaller, more boutique reggae labels - Micron, Advance, The Thing. there are some absolute belters, out there; I need to up my game, and increase my knowledge. 

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Another Year

 And I'm back out again. That's me at the top of Box Hill. A suitably storied location, for the dawning of another year. I've not been out on the road, for some time now. There was a sustained period of absolutely foul weather, then my illness. Was it Covid? I don't think I'll ever know, but I do have to ay, it looks like it could well have been. Ah well, I had a week of feeling particularly miserable, then at least I could get back on the bike. The indoor trainer has been a godsend, but there's no real substitute for getting onto the tarmac, and traversing the Surrey lanes I love so much. If the weather relents, over the next week, perhaps I'll get out to Ranmore. For now, Box Hill will most certainly do.

As I type this, like so many others, I'm reflecting on what has been, and what's coming. These last two years have increased the uncertainty to an almost unbelievable degree, but there's one thing that I'm completely certain of: tomorrow is another day. It always is. I'll see you all in that tomorrow. 

Friday, December 31, 2021

A look back at the year

 Well, that was....interesting, wasn't it? Another year of uncertainty, and drift. Stress levels off the charts, at points. It was one of those years that - while I wouldn't say "forget it" - I'd certainly just use it as a mere building block, for better things. Perhaps the best thing for me has been the advent of my training: properly organising my fitness levels, and structuring a way to maintain, and improve that fitness. It's kept me focused, and energised. It's given me a reason to get out there and cycle around this beautiful county. It's given me a way to sit on an indoor bike when the elements are fighting me just a little too hard.

And - the year has been marked by the return of my blog, for which I'm also very thankful. The page has been an anchor, at certain points over the last couple of decades, I'd like that to continue. 

It's been a year of some wonderful music, as well. There have been some years that have struggled to make an impact, musically: these have periodically popped up, since around the mid-2000s. But last year was another vintage crop.  I'll have a go at embedding a Spotify playlist in a blogger gadget, perhaps *sigh*

But I'd better head off - it's time to head up another hill - the last of the year. Take care, stay safe, I'll see you all on the other side x

A busy couple of weeks

Which has seen me cycling a LOT. Went up Coldharbour (the photo above) about five times. Mind you, I've now got some aches and pains, so...