SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6

Relight My Fire!

Brecon steam railway. It gets it's coal from Russia now!

Well, things have been tough during this last few weeks. Let's just say that I don't bother shaking the Doctors' hand now. The only greeting he gets is me dropping my tweeds, because he's going to ask me to do that anyway!!

Medical tests are part of daily life, now and again, when you've had a complex little history going on in the background.

None of the tests are avoidable, really, as they have to be done.

They just get in the way.

I've not been comfortable on the bike for weeks, so have been doing some runs and cross training. On the back of this I even bought a pair of offroad running shoes, and Jo dragged me around the singletrack at Cwmcarn. I can blast around there, with my lungs hanging out, on my bike, in about 45 minutes or 58 minutes at 24hr pace. It took me an hour and a half to "run" around there and Jo was howling at me with laughter at the end- I hadn't run in years and it was quite unpleasant and painful.

Stupid idea.

The next three days were the most painful I can remember for years.

Jo kept laughing.

I hated her for a while.

I'm now on "Old Man" medicine for the next few weeks, and it's REALLY helping. So this weekend I trained properly.

It was brilliant!

On Saturday I drove up to Coed-Y-Brenin for the day to do a bit of Recce for "The Hobbits Tale" which will be ridden in 2010. It's going to be a bit special, I hope.

Once I'd done that an old friend, that I haven't seen in 7 1/2 years, came over for a wee ride.

Johnny T is a really important part of my history. He was there in the bad times, and helped me back to fitness. He was also the one that I did battle with in circuit training or out on the hill, for years, in between the times when we were training Prince's Trust students.

We have a bond, it's fair to say.

He's now a boss in an RAF Outdoor Centre and was a contestant on the original Gladiators TV show, too!

More importantly, he also let me drag him up some hard climbs, and then gave himelf a good thrashing trying to lead them himself. He trusted the climbing gear, sometimes to destruction. I still have pictures of him struggling on a short steep climb, seemingly throwing himself off every few seconds and falling on my new Camelot (a posh and expensive bit of kit designed to stop you falling to the ground). This man has no fear.

Or so I thought.

So he turns up with his 1993 Muddy Fox rigid mountain bike...

...and the biggest, daftest, strongest and best natured American Labrador you ever saw. He was attached to a lead, and at the other end was John, and his bike.

You know what's coming, don't you?

John's a big lad, but he's not big enough to stop a big doozer like this dog from pulling him ALL OVER THE PLACE. Shrieks of fear, disdain and resignation were the order of the day for next wee while as John rode along at an average 45 degree angle of lean with a taught lead stretching back towards a distant squirrel, rabbit or bit of stick.

Johns eyes were on stalks!

He feared for his life!!

I kept out of the way, and laughed myself silly. It was a picture of utter chaos, infront of me.

Jo and I will going back next week to do a bit of work around Machynlleth, so I hope to have another episode of entertainment.

A two minute gap in downpours allowed some hasty photos of the Beacons

So Sunday arrived and we glanced out of the bedroom window. You couldn't see anything due to the rain and leaves flying around. I went back to bed whilst Jo did a 2 hr run- weirdo.

Ponsticill Reservoir, pointy brick thing. What are these for?

She came back and I set off then to recce (well, to remind myself what it looked like) from my house up to the North, near Brecon, and then back home. This was the best ride I have had in a long time: actually since I peaked at Torq 12:12.

5 hrs of effortless, fast, riding in 'orrible weather.

It's going to be a good year. I'm on fire and ready to train hard.

Just need to get rid of the medicine.
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