debbie

I know a lot of pretty hardcore people. In fact, I’m surrounded by them. My “social network” consists mainly of hard folk who regularly do Hard Things. The London Marathon. The Bob Graham. 24 hour solo bike racing. Three Peaks Cyclocross. The Grand Raid. Triathlons. Big hill running in Canada. Days-long expeditions in freezing weather. Races such as these are regular subjects of conversation on training rides, email and Internet forums. All tough undertakings, all with a capital “T”.

Debbie gave birth this evening to Eleanor. Not only did she manage this feat in less time than it takes to roast a medium sized chicken, she did it with only the relief of an almost-empty-N02 cylinder. We found out after the birth that the gas and air was pretty much just “air” and the pain relief offered was almost nil, due to the lack of nitrous oxide. Even though I almost passed out at one point, I can’t begin to imagine what she’s just been through. Hardship just seems to wash over her.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, is as nails hard as my missus.

156.jpg

kitchen sink

Many people who I ride with take the piss out of the vast contents of my Camelbak. I do carry a lot of kit – a bag of brake pads for 4 different types of brake, so I’m not having to remember which pads I need to take on a long ride depending on the bike I’m taking. A pair of pliers. A waterproof. Food. Tools. Tubes. Energy bars. Patch kit. Zip ties. First Aid kit (a little bag of plasters in reality). Shock pump. Tyre pump. Spare chain links. Camera. Lube. Tyre levers. LED backup lights. Spare battery for the HIDs on nightrides. Some gaffer tape.

Every now and then, some of this stuff comes in handy. Like the time I had to rebuild my front brake at the opposite end of the Mary Townley Loop. Or when I gave an energy bar to the bloke who was lying down at the side of the Penmachno trail, apparently dying of hunger. You’re better off with than without I reckon.

img_2899.jpg

This morning, I noticed a bubble on the sidewall of my rear tyre. The sidewall of the tyre had been ripped, exposing a bubble of inner tube that was slowly expanding in size. At first, I thought that I’d been hard done by – “I’ve only had it for 10 minutes” kind of thing. Then I remembered the abuse this tyre has had. Glentress, Innerleithen, Garburn Pass, Welsh slate, Pennine slabs…you name it, I’ve hit it at full pelt on the Patriot. Feeling better, I thought I’d better think about a bodge to get me home. Gaffer tape. I’ve got some 🙂

img_2900.jpg

I’m a feckin genius.

big fat belly

We went into Manchester the other night to meet up with Gaz and a few others. He’s back in the UK for a few days to see his poorly Dad. All that stress-free work, drinking coffee and walking about in A Nice Place is clearly taking it’s toll. I’ve never seen him so laid-back. Even though Garry’s been in Canada for 12 months, due to the Internet, it’s like he’s never been away.

This Indian we went to had a buffet – eat as much as you want for a tenner. I was trying to get myself banned (or put the place out of business). God knows how I made it to the car.

busy out

short (to medium) ride tonight on the SS, up to Hurst Wood, down to Outwood Park (still some tape left from the ‘cross race last weekend) and up and down some muddy stuff. There was a group of a dozen or so riders in the woods, all with mega bright and presumably very expensive lights. Presumably a bike shop marketing “try a set of lights” ride as none of them seemed to be talking or riding close together; like they were all punters who didn’t know each other in fact.

At a bridge, the leading riders had stopped and were counting the rest of them. I was in the middle of the group at this point (I even did a “on yer left” whilst overtaking one lad) and got counted! I was number 7 apparently. Obviously I explained I was a free man, and not a number….