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00:35 Monday 30 June 2014
18:46 Friday 27 June 2014
On Thursday the forecast for Friday didn't inspire me to cycle to Fowlmead again. By Friday morning the forecast had improved slightly but there was still likelihood I'd get wet. By the end of my shift the forecast for the afternoon said no rain until five pm, but by then I wasn't finding the prospect of cycling to Fowlmead appealing anyway.
This morning when I got up, and although I didn't feel as tired as the morning before (after cycling to Fowlmead Wednesday) I decided to skip breakfast in order to have more time for the ride to work. The morning felt definitely cooler and my legs felt not up to pushing for speed so I kept to a steady pace and for once barely broke out into a sweat (in comparison). I had the usual banana and snacks once at work.
By the time I'd left work I had decided to cycle down to Monkton via Cliffsend and Minster. The new-ish dual carriage way from the top side of Cliffsend down to Monkton runs parallel with the backroads, and in between these two routes are country lanes and bridleways which I would use to get some hill climbing in. They're not particularly steep or long hills however, and to top it all off, the wind assisted me up them all on this part of the route. Some of the bridleways I ended up climbing twice, once on the outbound to Monkton, and once on the return to Minster. One of the bridleways along there is unfortunately always overgrown and despite my hopes for it to be otherwise, today was no exception. My legs will be tingling from nettle rash for a day or so, and both times I had to stop at the end to pull dry wild oats out my socks and shoes and de-clog the rear cassette. On the second run the rear brake became clogged and it appeared as if the disc surface had corroded and braking using it sounded as if the rear pads had worn away to the metal. A couple of miles later it was fine however.
From Minster I took to the roads that would lead to the bridleway which ends at the top end of Shotendane road. From there travelled South-East and then North-East before heading West along the clifftops.
I haven't replaced my Bryton GPS computer which stopped working several months ago (which was a replacement under warantee for the one which got damp inside it and stopped working - this one does not locate satellites any more) so I didn't know how far I'd been and was eager to map it out on the computer using Viking GPS so I could get an idea of the distance.
I was expecting the route to look quite convoluted (imagination while cycling), as I had taken various detours to deliberately cycle off road and up hill. My second run up the bridleway climb out of Minster felt good as if it was doing something, but from there it was quite some miles before any further climb of any substance. I was pleased to find the second off road climb I took in Thanet also felt like it was doing something, but on the whole, there weren't any climbs in the ride which were as challenging as I need them to be.
Having drawn out the route I was also slightly disappointed to find it only twenty two miles, still, I rode twenty six miles on Wednesday from work to Fowlmead and back again, plus an estimate of eighteen miles while at Fowlmead, plus the week's commuting distance which leads me to believe I've cycled roughly one hundred and ten miles this week. Not bad, my legs acknowledge they've done something, but I want to do better in the weeks leading up to the Brighton Big Dog.
17:21 Friday 27 June 2014
A little over four weeks ago I was cycling home from work, in the rain, on my mountain bike when the front wheel slipped out from under me as I crossed a paved entrance to a cycle lane. As I landed I slammed my right hand to the deck, and with a little less force, the right side of my right knee.
I got up as quick as I could to show I was ok and look around. A few people walking along the street below were looking up. I paused for a few moments before getting back on my bike. Cycling home was painful. I wasn't able to put any power into pedalling and wasn't able to hold the handlebars with both hands. By the evening the hand was swollen.
I took the remaining three days of the week off work as my job involves using my hands. I returned to work the following week and explained I wouldn't be able to perform my usual duties. I worked for two days before taking the rest of the week off again as my hand was still painful and still a little swollen, and the back of my knee felt strained, and I felt work was making it worse.
I returned to work the following week without taking more time off. Cycling was getting easier, knee still painful but by end of week felt recovered. Thumb still painful. I'd made a few off road segments on my way home that week, without adding to journey length, but thumb felt worse for it. I'd get on my bike and think it felt ok but it kept feeling worse off afterwards.
The problem is I'll be entering a six hour mountain bike race early August and need to train for it. This week I've avoided off roading until Wednesday when I decided its time to take a visit to Fowlmead Country Park for a blast round some of the twistiest single track known to man (in this area at least).
After work finished at two O'clock in the afternoon I got changed and refilled my water bottle (a 1.5l squash bottle). Popped a couple more fig rolls down my throat and set off. Getting to Sandwich involved cycle paths and roads. From Sandwich I followed the toll road and continued alongside the golf course. Once in Deal, I know Fowlmead is on my right and that somewhere or other there is a bridleway or track leading to the rear entrance of the park. The last time I cycled there I ended up taking the wrong track and having to throw my bike, and then my bag, across a dyke, before attempting to leap across. Despite the heat and potentially cooling effect of the dyke water I didn't particularly want to repeat it.
Eventually after passing over a level crossing I saw a road sign pointing the way to enter Fowlmead via it's East entrance rather than the main West entrance.
I did three laps of the twisty singletrack. Fowlmead is not famed for its hills, it only has a handful of very short climbs and descents, the bulk of the singletrack twists through woodlands completely scrambling my sense of direction. While the overall gradient is flat, there are a lot of humps, lumps, and bumps which when combined with the almost relentless cornering provide your upper body with a very good workout shifting position on the bike when riding at pace to soak it all up.
By the end of my first lap I had decided that my training for the six hour race - Brighton Big Dog - should involve frequent trips to Fowlmead, ideally twice per week, though that will be made more difficult when I only have the morning to make the journey there and back and then start work.
The first two laps felt good. Halfway round the third I stopped for a coffee from the vending machine. A group of lads came along and hired mountain bikes. They obviously weren't cyclists, and were not keen to wear helmets.
It was a very hot day and I had drained my water bottle so refilled it before resuming my last lap. Paused at the exit gate feeling tired and ate a couple more fig rolls. Neck and shoulders felt tight, they weren't use to it. Rode home. Took parts of the ancient highway (a byway) through the golf course, avoiding the sandy track I took on the way. Wind was against me going past what was once Pfizer all the way along and up past the Viking ship.
To avoid Westwood Cross and traffic I took some farm tracks but not without stopping for a much needed rest feeling zonked. I hadn't tired myself this much for what seemed like a long time, but it was less than two months since I'd ridden the Pilgrims Hospice 78 mile charity ride. I Got home and ate some cucumber and an apple. Showered.
Ride time was four and a half hours. Route from work to Fowlmead was thirteen miles. I have an idea about doing it all over again on Friday, but maybe just one or at most two laps.
Sat at the computer in the evening I experienced cramp in my left leg. I stayed up to gone half past ten writing this, was eleven pm before I got into bed. I got up ten to five am. The commute to work was harder than it had been the morning before, I had my doubts about riding Fowlmead on Friday. My right hand and thumb felt painful again at times. I recalled how during the ride at Fowlmead I was almost convinced it was recovered and at other times realized it definitely still has some time to go.
I was delayed leaving work by half an hour for a meeting which I struggled to stay awake for. Was that early-shift tiredness catching up with me, suddenly hits me and my eyes just want to close. The meeting wasn't particularly interesting as usual.
Riding home was slower paced than usual not helped by the wind. Earlier in the year the wind was almost guaranteed to help on the way home, but not lately. I took some off-road sections in the second half of the ride home, probably less than a mile and a half, hand felt painful again, legs tired, not pushing for speed at all. The lumpiness of the local bridleways vibrate the handlebars a lot which I suspect is worse for my hand than Fowlmead where the lumps oscilate at a smoother lower frequency. Still had my doubts about making a trip there on Friday.
I waited ten days after the fall until visiting the doctor. Part of the delay due to having to register. Doctor felt my hand and suggested it was time I started living my life again. I wasn't convinced he really understood how much my work involves my hands or the stresses placed on them when cycling off road. To be honest it took this injury for me to realize. Perhaps I'll just do one lap at Fowlmead tomorrow, will see.
Before this injury I had been planning on taking off road routes to work and back every day. I had been looking forward to the early shift to do a speedy ride home and video it.was going to film my route home, which is more down than up, with a few small jumps/drops, and hopefully with a tail wind.
00:46 Wednesday 18 June 2014
A hole, perfect cube, in soil, a thin layer of tarmac. Volume one cubic foot. Within the hole lays a scrap of paper, within which is written: a theory for the simple minded for everything. The hand is scraggy biro.
Three feet away from the hole stands a man in his fifty's, semi bald, not quite greying hair. Spectacles wearing, white teeth, commanding attitude. He demands more, to whom cannot be seen.
He wants to know more about the theory for the simple minded. A theory of things complex, put simply.
I am pulse. Frequency modulation of pirate's speech. Put simply, a complex theory no two people will share in all neighbourhoods. Like. Control.
Behind the man is a plaque upon which it says "I am pulse". It feels like a key. It is attached on two creosoted wooden stakes about two and a half feet apart. The stakes are semi circular in profile and about four to five feet long and protrude vertically from the ground a good three feet.
Hanging beneath the plaque attached to it by one thread of 3 amp fuse wire and one length of lead free solder wire is a sheet of...
...A4 lined paper. Thin. The fuse wire and solder punctured it and the paper is dog eared and crumpled. On the paper is born the legend: "die egg dears, die eggs, die egg dears, we sell polycarbonate".
Truth be told, the legend actually read "Jemima Puddleduck beautifies the corpus of colloquial claptrap."
Nonsense of course I speak! The legend never said any such thing! Truth really be told I've forgotten now what it said as I feared I would when I thought of it but had not the time to write it until now.
But the part with the A4 paper and fuse wire and solder is all true. It hung there beneath the plaque with roughly four inches between plaque and A4 sheet. It's not really important what it said on the sheet; as in a dream, no one can really ever truly say with any certainty what a piece of writing which does not exist does in fact say.
Looking down from above, with one eye shut and the other open and exactly above the precise centre of the cube shaped hole, floating above it about six feet, stretched out horizontally as if in a vertical wind tunnel, you have to mind you don't kick Tupra in the head. Tupra is the name I shall give the rotund man. It is a name from a book I am reading. Tupra demands to know more especially when you are struggling to find more to tell.
Again, returning above the hole, we don't need to gain such height this time, perhaps only four feet, four feet above our hole is our eye ball, eyelid drawn back letting the light greet our pupil. This time our feet are on the ground, and we are bending over to look at the hole. If then we leave our body right there where it is, and allow our consciousness to rise above it we can see the tarmac forming a near-perfect circle around the hole. It extends between where our body stands and the man in front of the plaque.
If we align our vision so we can draw a straight horizontal line from the centre of the cube to our rotund friend named Tupra, we can relocate our body forty five degrees below the horinzontal. Tupra is now looking away from us his attention diverted by something at a forty seven degree angle above the horizontal.
At forty seven degrees above the horizontal line, let's sweep back down and stand upright, eighteen feet from the cube shaped hole is a dead tree, once well established. Now only the largest branches remain and hanging from each branch via braided steel rope - the steel rope may have been galvanised depending upon whom you speak - are 9lb cannon balls. There are seven in all. The purpose is purely decorative. It is a sculpture by an unknown artist and the age is unknown. Given the tree is dead and the branches appear to have grown around the braided steel rope, some idea of age can be gathered but I don't have the means at my disposal right now. If one floats one's consciousness above the tree by a height of two and a half metres (if such a non-action is quantifiable) The cannon balls form a seven pointed star with almost equi-distance between each arm, but the angle of branches is not trained into such pure geometry but allowed their normal natural growth patterns.
Beneath each cannonball is a bar of home made soap. The soap is replaced every year. Seven women are chosen every year, by election, and are given the task of making a single bar of hand made soap to place beneath a cannonball. The task is usually given to old women and never to the same woman twice, and never to a women of the same family as another woman who has placed a bar of soap in the previous ten years.
Mostly narcissi grow around the base of the tree, but a few dafodils can also be found, as well as crocus. A few scatterings of rabbit pellets litter the area seated in amongst moss and blades of grass.
Drawing a circle from the centre of the tree, a radius of sixty five feet, using blue sheet plastic as medium, is a blue sheet plastic wall tracing a circle with a one hundred and thirty foot diameter. The wall is 12 feet high. A slight humming noise is emmited from it. Any attempts to climb it fail as it is extremely slippery even to tiny insects. In addition or multiplication or subtraction or attempting to calculate the square root of minus one, in addition, any attempts to have out of body experiences fail near the plastic wall so nothing can ever be seen beyond it. The women who come with bars of soap, enter through a trap door near to the cubic hole. At least one of them trips in the hole every year as the tree is on the opposite side of the hole to the trapdoor. The trapdoor is just beyond the thin layer of tarmac. Eight women come, one to make sure the trap door stays open while the others place their bars of soap beneath the cannon balls. Some years the eight woman looses her concentration or arthritus strikes and the trap door closes. When this happens the women know they are trapped for good as it is customary they shall not be rescued. Unless of course the eighth woman was holding the trap door open from beneath in which case she recovers and reopens it.
On the other hand, the one where the eighth woman was holding the trap door open from inside the blue walled area on the wrong side of the trap door, then all the women take to eating the dafodil bulbs to quicken their demise rather than slightly longer more drawn out option of starving to death. But before they do so, they usually have the task of burying the dead of the previous year.
22:08 Thursday 12 June 2014
i embracingly cloud a great urge to announce a spout of nonsense to ye of lichen faced fuck witicism. friend or foe i denounce all your lice in turds of wheel, french like accordian swiss roll, chocolate or the peninsula, haxor on the interim of jellyfish bubblebath. bubbly bathy like swathes of newtonian guinea pigs feasting on firefighters. crack hip and nip, pop, swipe, and swine hurdled swindles in swansea or fever pitch knuckled like uncle richard fox-caspar-git-commit-m, it doesn't really matter with the witches of perfume freshened air inhabitations. the urge fulfilled now. there's nowhere else to go. just carry on writing disconnected sentences of limb fried cos lettuce, mixed with old lead pipe and tap fittings the colour of corroded copper. what a picture for the minds eye. limbaud? rim baud rate? limp bored like a crash test hedge hog brittle fish lady borg. encapsulate encrusted methods, jittery data particles, part e-coli, part discarded apple core. a mix of the two and three, rotated, enchanted by duodecimal cliches in maxi-scope telemetries (of course it would be telemetries - telemetries of thought thought once or twice before). now for the really clever bit, the twist in the capsicum of nettle rash flossed eye lids, twisted eyelids yanked out with pliars, eyes sockets filled with squirrel feces mixed with chopped ferret scrotums, steamed over an open fire like in the good old days. head crashed in with pillow cases filled with broken circuit boards. pumpkins filled with i-pods and i-pads, and cracked tablet touch screens wrenched from the hands of infantile but placid non-newtonian fluids gurgling the effects of metastasis. the never clever bit really arrived, compare it with flash roasted eyelids turned inwards, complain like a swordfish in the last days of eden, poaching rabbit hunters, it could be interminable.