SUNDAY, JANUARY 10

A new beginning.

It took me a full week to get over the jetlag from a recent trip to San Francisco and the surrounding areas of North California, including Lake Tahoe, Truckee and Cameron Park.

What I found was the best mountain biking areas I've ever seen. Summer, up high around Lake Tahoe will be superb, and the riding carries on all year down in the foothills. And there's a couple of 24hr races in the local 100mile radius.

Hmmm.

Anyway, it's back to reality. As soon as I got over my jetlag and started feeling able to train properly; it snowed. It froze.

The country shut down, and it hasn't opened again yet.

That didn't stop me training, though. Kipper did.

I'd had a couple of good rides and training sessions, but one night when I got home Kipper had funny little speckles on his gums. Jo took him to the vet who immediately admitted him.

He was seriously ill with an auto-immune disease which left him at critical risk of haemmohraging internally. It was New Years Eve, icy and the world had given up on trying to transport itself around the country.

Two days later, his platelet count dropped to 1000 per unit. It should be 375,000 (within a fairly wide range of normalcy). His red blood cell count had also dropped by over 50%.

He was in trouble. The vet tried to hide the urgency, but the fact that she told us that they needed to do a blood transfusion within an hour, but there was no blood available anywhere, kind of impressed upon us the nature of the challenge before us.

The upshot of it was that we found a local dog, through the hydro pool that swims our other dog weekly, who was able to donate for us in the timescale required. We took Errin along with her mum to the vet and the miracle was carried through to fruition.

Kipper was out of danger.

The next day we went to visit Kipper, to find that my car had had it's window wipers bent and twisted by a member of the low life in the local area. I made it work by applying judicious bending and twisting, and we got to see our fella, Kipper.

He looked better.

Three days later and his red blood cell count had started to rise. In addition to this his platelet count was up to 300,000.

Woo hoo!

He's on large doses of immuno-suppressants and steriods and we hope that he will stabilise soon, so that these meds can be reduced. He's not out of the woods yet and Evans' Syndrome can be intractable. But we'll keep a close eye on him.

He's home now, and looking much more settled.

Fingers crossed.

It's been hard to do any training but I've gotten by on my treadmill and ergo. Short, sweet and high intensity.

Nice.

In other news, I'm nearly 40.

Jo asked me to come out with her to a work doo that she couldn't get out of.

As we got to our other car we noticed that some artistic scumbag had run a key down the full length of our brand new four-wheel drive. We weren't happy. We've put up with a good few woes lately, and gotten over them, but this was starting to feel like it pushed things too far.

We stomped around a bit, phoned the rozzers to report the crime (the 2nd car vandalism within less than a week) and then drove to Jo's doo.

Imagine my surprise when I turned up with Jo to see that I recognised some faces in a darkened restaurant. I stood there thinking, "That's Lou. What's she doing here? That's a bit of a coincidence!"

The lights came on and then they all started dinging "happy birthday" to me.

I only clicked then!

Jo had organised a surprise party for me in THE BAY LEAF restaurant in Whitchurch in Cardiff. Almost all of my closest biking friends in the Cardiff area were there.

We had a great night. The best night.

The day after a boozy and sociable night, Coach Chris has given me a load of Killer Turbo sessions for the period that the weather remains icy and snowy.

I'm fed up with my treadmill.
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