Saturday, 13 July 2019

Planning and Preparation – The sequel – This time it’s mental

Planning and preparation for what, dear reader?

I know I said I’d be here more often, I know I said I’d feed you little snippets regularly, but let’s face it, I lied.  I lied to you, and I lied to myself.  So let’s all get over it and just accept that these fleeting moments are all we have to keep us going.

In the last few months since I last posted my life has been generally based around continuing along the jagged edge of recovery with some ups and downs; working stupid hours (think 13 weeks of an average 55 hours per week, or 2 days overtime per week); and planning and preparing for next month’s escapade.

Today however I happen to be on the train to London, listening to the mouth breather opposite, while getting the secondary value of the crashes and bangs of the game on his mobile phone through his obviously poor quality shitty headphones.

But enough about me; now back to me and what I’m doing.

Recovery – blah, boring, no?
Well, yes and no.  In terms of the overall case, it’s gone like this.

  • Police wait until the last possible moment to bring charges against the woman who drove into me
  • I put in a victim statement to the court, I don’t need to attend the first hearing
  • She pleads guilty, gets convicted. I don’t get told the outcome.
  • Lawyers send a request to the wrong insurer to acknowledge my claim, wastes three weeks
  • Claim gets sent to correct insurer, now waiting another three weeks, by which time I’ll have not a care in the world as I’ll be on holiday
  • And the second case of the uninsured driver who went into the side of my car is also going to court next week.  If I wrote this as a work of fiction would it be more believable?

Recovery – physio sessions every 2 weeks until late May, he’s now effectively discharged me from regular care, it’s now a case of trying to self-manage, increase the exercise loading and call him in on an ad-hoc basis.  And, try and stay away from my lovely stash of codeine – shhhhh, don’t tell anyone.

Swimming is still working well for me, cycling is getting there, yoga is coming back, but running is the one thing that continues to elude me.  I had a ten week plan for a half-marathon on the first Saturday in August, predicated on an entry point of 8mile/13km long run capability as an entry point.  I’ve used it before and it is a good mix of speed and endurance work and gave me my last HM PB.  Back in October I was comfortably up to 11km, then the accident.  So far I’ve only managed to get up to 10km once since.  I started the plan, and the speed work was going well, better than I expected really, but the long runs were just not there and if I can’t comfortably be doing 15-16km, then there’s no way I could stretch to 21km.

The Islay HM has therefore been abandoned. 

Cycling however is going reasonably well.  Having got bored of the wait for the lawyers and insurers, I went ahead and bought the parts to rebuild the Cruzbike that was damaged, at my own cost at the moment – I expect to recover it, but so far with parts, physio, other costs I’m up to nearly £2000 out of pocket.

And here’s the resurrected beauty herself

Last week I had one of my regular 6-monthly appointments for diabetes car, and decided to ride there and then halfway back, to an intermediate railway station  - 50km there, 25km back. Took the recumbent down a route that 've only used on an upright previously, a bit on the gnarly side. 

So far so good

Cattle Grids Don's Stop Recumbents

But this lot might

When I got to the railway station there was another 45 minutes wait for the next train.  Choices, choices; either wait 45 minutes for a 15 min train ride and 15min ride home, or just ride the 25km home? You’ve guessed it, 25km it is.  98km for the day at something like 25km/h average, a good long-distance touring pace for me.

Only problem, it’s now midday, sunny, 25C and I’m running out of water. Tan lines? I’ll show you tan lines!

I’ve also joined an online TT league on the bike, a repeat 12mile/19km course every week. So far in three attempts I’ve taken my time down from 41:18 to 39:44.  My course is quite wind-exposed, so given a flat calm day and fitness improvements I think I can have that down nearer 39:00 in the next ten weeks.

Back to plans

Remember last year when I went up to Islay by ferry, and toured back down to my parent’s where I’d left my car.  Well I’m not doing that again – remember I said shoot me if I ever attempt that first leg again? Well, I mean it!

This year totally different.

  • Day 1 – Monday - Drive (note the use of a car) to the shores of Loch Lomond, camp overnight
  • Day 2 – Tuesday - drive to Oban, spend the day there, take the car ferry to Mull, camp
  • Day 3 – Wednesday - ride around Mull, visit Tobermory, drink whisky, eat well, camp
  • Day 4 – Thursday - ride around the other half of Mull, take a ferry back to the mainland, camp
  • Day 5 – Friday - early ferry to Islay, spend some time as a tourist looking at bits I didn’t have time for last year, hotel
  • Day 6 – Saturday – ferry to Jura, climb at least one of the Paps of Jura (this replaces the HM, and is something I didn’t have time for last year), hotel
  • Day 7 – Sunday Ride of the Falling Rain, 100miles around Islay, hotel
  • Day 8 – early ferry back to the mainland, drive home, bed.

There will be plenty more whisky drinking and buying than indicated above.

All those plans for camping have also induced a need for new kit, of course.  Most of my camping gear was 20+years old and on its last legs so no further excuse needed.

I’m going relatively minimalist, despite the car, and taking advantage of the light and summer warmth to go down the bivvy route.  Tarp shelter, bivvy bag and lightweight sleeping bag.

I tested all the kit in good old fashioned “let’s camp in the back garden” style, which pointed out in no uncertain terms that my feather sleeping bag, an old military version designed for arctic warfare, is way too hot for the UK in summer.  I’ve opted for a new, two seasons bag, lighter, more compact and with a built in mossie net against the Scottish midges that plague the highlands in summer. 

Audax accommodation with style

Other kit includes a micro portable stove, that uses solid or liquid fuel and can boil enough water for a brew on a few handfuls of finger-thick twigs in under 10 mins.  That coupled with a new camp-kettle will keep me going. 

I’ll take some food with me in a cool-box, but will also buy en-route and will take a rod with me to try my hand at fishing for mackerel. My luxury item (scotch whisky aside) will be my stove-top espresso pot, there is absolutely no purpose in avoiding good coffee.

All in all I should be set for an excellent holiday of camping and riding and am looking forward to a long deserved break.  This will be my first holiday since February.

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