Rain stop play

Not that I was even about to venture out on the bike this weekend and the rain is doing its best to scupper the best laid plans of Mrs AB and me.  The plan was to get up early this morning, hit the local garden centre to acquire some vitally needed supplies and then hit the allotment to plant out the next batch of crops and all before heading home for a “not for the faint hearted” appointment with te Giro d’Ialia.  However, as I sit here typing this, part one of the plan was delayed.  We have achieved part two of the plan and I never knew netting a) came in so many forms and b) was so costly. Part four is still booked in and I really do hope Dve Harmon was right yesterday and I don’t waste the afternoon in front of the magic box.  But part 3 has been postponed.  Much like a Test Match in England or Tennis at Wimbledon, allotment has been delayed by rain.  There seems to be a pattern to this weeks posts and probably gives you the impression I have an aversion to rain.  I could blame Mrs AB and say it is all her doing, but alas that is wrong and I too have some dislike for the wet, particularly when I know that it will involve mud which sticks to your boots worse than a Flanders field.  No, we are telling ourselves the Metcheck.com is correct and it is merely a delay of between a few hours and tomorrow morning.  And so to use the time both wisely and recreationally.  I’ve got my place booked on the sofa and Mrs AB is making us both what she describes as a lazy lunch (beans, scrambled egg and sausage on toast) – this is all good. The bit I need to do is stay relaxed and calm.  I’m not good at relaxing. I recognise this. Its something I need to conquer in a paradoxical way. So this is the opportunity and relaxation is now today’s challenge and I’m determined to win!

My Del Amitri moment

I was hoping for something a bit more Shed Seven but instead I ended up with Justin Currie’s lament to misfortune as the earworm for tonight’s trip around the lanes.  Credit where credit is due, as my counsellor has instilled in me that I do, I managed to get out on the bike this evening, which is a marked improvement in last week’s sorry excuses.  Yet in the time from getting home from work, having a quick snack, passing the time of day with Mrs AB (who is ecited about the Robin chicks in the shed) and change into my kit, the sky turned from overcast but bright to looming and grey.  Not to be defeated by acts of God I took the plunge (probably the wrong expression given what comes soon) and cycled off.  By Pattingham the view wasn’t promising and neither the Wrekin nor Brown Clee were visible in the distance.  Fearing the worst I took a change of route an edged along the incoming doom, hence the wish for the clouds to go and rain on some other sucker’s parade (or “training” ride).  My tactic paid off until a mile and a half from home – the heaven’s opened and I was soaked to the skin in less than a few pedal strokes.

But looking on the bright side, I got 16 miles under my belt and the rain is great for the allotment meaning I haven’t had to take the daily trip down there and the relay of trips to the stand pipe to fill copious water cans.  Every cloud as they say.  Next time I’ll be just like a man. (That’s it with the Del Amitri I promise.)

Behind every champion is a great trainer

Following my post last Wednesday about lack of motivation/commitment/dedication, I thought I’d post this link from the Tour of Japan.  It was filmed by my Tour Ride partner @leadout during his time out there with the Rapha-Condor-Sharp cycling team.  I’m not sure it is the motivational methods that other family members would have written about during their times at Loughborough University but it did strike a cord with the approach I might need.  The words of wisdom @raphaj has to offer would be greatly appreciated in my build up and John, if you are reading, do you fancy offering to run me over on 26th September in North Staffordshire.

Road to the stars

Well its official, summer is definitely here and the end of May is turning into a scorcher.  Yesterday it was 28 degrees and Mrs AB and I managed to spend much of it in Birmingham on a futile shopping trip.  The day was saved by lunch, coffee and a catch up with friends (Lauren and Leo) at Urban Coffee,drinks on the terrace with our neighbours and some stargazing with Mrs AB’s grandad’s telescope.  (If you’ve never looked at the moon through a telescope before you should – it is truly spectacular!).

So with the temperature threatening much of the same today it was up and out early this morning for a ride.  I’m pleased that I actually got on the bike, even more pleased that I did 28 miles and over the moon that I was back before coffee time.  I don’t hink I could have stood the heat as it is now.  It was a good ride, an undulating circuit around Codsall, Boscobel, Albrighton and Pattingham. I even felt good on the hills.

Passing what seemed like every Wolverhampton based cyclist on their respective ways out for the day reminded me of something else I love about not just cycling but walking too – the friendliness with which we greet one another.  Okay, there are a few miserable so and so’s who never say hello, but the majority do – and even to two chaps I passed on the hill towards Perton were cheery (I think) as the struggled up a nasty little incline.  Plenty of people have talked about the camaraderie of the cycling fraternity.  I know not on what it is based but it always feels nice to exchange a hello and a wave.  So for the couple of miseries I did pass, please take note – its a win-win situation for us all.

However, I do have to report two notable problems today.  The first is to the driver of the blue covertible “Mini” – when a cyclist waves to tell you not to pass it is for a reason not to be obstinate and obstructive.  In this case it was the presence of 3 oncoming vehicles which you could not see around the blind bend, particularly not at the speed with which you were approaching.  And the hand signals you used are not listed in the Highway Code.

The second is to Eurosport.  I was looking forward to a couple of hours watching today’s stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia – perhaps the definitive stage of the race finishing on the beast which is Mont Zoncolan.  Why then are you chosing not only to avoid live coverage replacing it with Formula 2 GP and the first round of the French Open tennis, but also cramming the action into a programme of less than one hour tonight (which no doubt in true Eurosport will be cut even further to show Darts on Ice from Helsinki)?  We are not amused.  Looks like its off to Sporza for a bit of Belgian coverage via the internet and my convoluted road to the stars.  In the meantime, off to check Mrs AB’s handworking painting the new shed.

The best laid plans

A very brief update to Wednesday’s post. I never made it out on my bike. The weather changed, it was over cast and the allotment beckoned instead.  Even the allotment wasn’t easy and Mrs AB did most of the work as I tinkered and pottered. 

Nevermind. Another day, another dollar as they say.  Yesterday was very productive and energy charged and even if the bike didn’t feature I met some more great Social Enterprise folk at the Social Enterprise Mentor Exchange coffee session at Urban Coffee in Birmingham (great coffee, excellent sandwiches and exceedingly good cakes). And today the new shed arrives.  All positives to take heart from.  The bike will get a look in this weekend, I promise. After all, the summer looks like it might be here (and I know my Tour Ride partner hasn’t seen his bike for at least 2 weeks now).