Thursday, July 17, 2008

Have I Told You Lately?

So here we are at Half-Way point of the Before40 project. Just eight (and a half) tasks complete out of forty. Not good progress is it. Just 20 % of the way there & should really be 50 %.
- So i got to thinking about this, & looking at some options my current thinking is:

1. Turn into maybe something more honest like 'before40 (+1)' & if all tasks still not completed by 2011 then maybe extend it again into 'Before40 (+2)'? - If you match the time taken to complete the eight tasks so far, it is more likely to be 'Before50'!! in the year 2020.!!
2. Change the tasks. This would be a slightly more controversial choice as the whole point in a "to Do" list was for me to complete the 40 things that I'd always wanted to do! - Some, however are proving just to difficult to plan & organise. For instance, will the England football team ever qualify for a Tournament? + Laurence Stone is improving impossible to track down.
However some tasks that i have achieved i would've never believed I'd have completed! - i.e. the London to Brighton & "Meet Francis Dunnery tasks". Now, After completing L2B twice(!) I have applied for the 2009 London Marathon via the The Children's Trust. I no longer desire to stay awake 24hrs. Not sure I even want to go to Glastonbury now.
3. Abandon, or put the site on hold?

So is the Mid-Life Crisis at an end? - YOU DECIDE!

Other Stuff:-

- In Feb I changed jobs after 17 years in the same company. I went back as a Manager to the place where i completed my engineering apprenticeship in 1990. I started back full of happiness & with a good feeling but after 1 month I started to get doubts. After two months I hated it. But leaving my previous employer made me (& them) appreciate each other more & has enabled me to gain a promotion back there that may never have existed otherwise! So now i just think of it as a 'Lost Weekend' or a Four Month holiday!

- I want a Nintendo Wii

- It Bites have a new album out! - First new release in 18 Years. MEGA!

- Sky+ is quite good innit

- Training for the marathon to begin in August. I now own a pair of Nike's for the first time in my life. That means i am taking it seriously!

- I intend to start a campaign to ensure that the BBC use Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" as the theme tune to their Formula 1 coverage that starts back again on the beeb in 2009. Remember when they tried to change the "Match of the Day" theme tune?

I'll post here again soon. Promise

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Tour De France

....(Or London TO Brighton to be exact)

After 6 months training on every Saturday Morning (bar 1 due to a serious hangover), and a grand total of over 900 miles cycled, 3 punctures, four inner tubes, 8lb weight loss, muscle/bottom toning, and a mass love handle reduction, i finally took part once again in the London To Brighton bike ride 2008.
As readers of the blog will know, 2007 was my first time at the event, and after that i said never again. But the truth is last year I was "Beaten by the Beacon"! - Yes I never recovered from the fact that I didn't cycle up Ditchling Beacon in one go, without stopping etc. I'd got about half way up before i almost passed out with exhaustion. (Please 'Google' DitchlingBeacon to see all about it - In summary it is hard enough to walk up, yet alone cycle. Harder still when you consdier it is located 46 miles from the start line of L2B, and only 6.5 miles of downhill/flat remain after it).
Back to the point, After much consideration I posted my "Priority" application back in December & was delighted? in March to receive a 06:00 start time for this years event.
Damn I trained hard for it this time. The highlight was completing a 100km ride around the IOW at the annual IOW Randonnee. which on the day totaled 81 miles as i'd cycled to the So'ton ferry & then home again after the ride was complete & the ferry had docked back at So'ton.
So all the preparation was done. I don't think infact i had been as fit in maybe 10 years.

To get over the mental, psychological side of cycling up Ditchling, I took the 'Clever' step of driving to the foot of the hill the day before L2B, I got the bike out of the car & then went for it.
- 9 Minutes later i was screaming with joy at the summit. I'd done it and celebrated by cycling down again in just over a minute! MAD!!!!!!!!!. Then i drove onto Brighton, parked up at the Marina & then cycled back into Brighton town Centre & caught the Train to London, Clapham.

I stayed in exactly the same place as last year, the Eurolodge, Clapham. Cheap, cheerful but right next to the start line. My Bike was kept in the courtyard & an early night was had ready for the 5:00AM start (Didn't really sleep as Clapham high street is incredibly noisey!).
I'd Got to the start line in good time and joined the first group, eager & ready to go. It is worth noting that the sort of people that start at this time know the score. They are serious cyclists, they know the streets will be empty & they are on a mission to get to the finish line ASAP!! That said there is still lots of banter & good fun to be had.

06:00hrs exactly & we're off! The weather was perfect & the pace was fast.

Through the whole London part i managed to get through every set of lights without stopping. Once I entered Surrey the roads became very empty & hardly a cyclist in sight - the fast ones had peddalled off into the distance, the slower ones left behind. No one really on the streets to wave us on at this time of the morning!

Turner's Hill is the first serious hill that comes along, but thanks to some great hill training throughout the Winter months it didn't pose me a problem at all.

- The ride did become quite lonely from here on. On the plus side I had the iPod on Shuffle and some great random 80's tunes were coming through the ear phones!

Two & A Half hours in, I still haven't stopped, my average speed was over 16 MPH and then there, lurking in the distance, was the grand sight of Ditchling Beacon.

Now it was 'Ditchling preparation time'. Get the energy snacks in, get the last bit of energy drink down whilst trying not to choke or crash. Catch my breath, slow the pace, only 1 mile to go before the foot of the hill. There is a deadly silence. We (total strangers!) all wish each over good luck. There are signs at the side of the road wishing us good luck. This is it. This is the moment. I have cycled 45 miles at an amazing pace without stopping & now I have slowed my pace to almost a crawl. I'm in the lowest gear at the lowest part of the hill. Only 1.5 miles to the top. No rush just make it up there without stopping.
I'm now Half way up. Some people are allready on foot, pushing their bikes, beaten, breathless & almost in tears. Not me. Me & my £300 bike from Halfords are as one, we're gonna do this.
Three quarters up. Nearly there, but it's tough. Tougher than last year. At this point I've allready made it much further than last year and now i'm struggling. The pace is slow & for the first time in ages i'm breathless. I'm high up a hill and i'm struggling. My body is seizing up. But come on, pull it together, it's not much further now surely?
I turn a corner, this hill has levelled off a bit. This is it, I'm almost there. I must be. It didn't seem this long yesterday?
I look up and i'm beaten. There is one last further incline. I'm drained. In cycling terms i've hit the "Bonk", "the wall". There is nothing left in me. It's either pass out or get off & push.
I'm off now on foot & pushing my bike the final 50 yards to the top. Angry & sad. For the second year running i'm beaten by the Beacon. I console myself in the fact that I did manage to cycle it the day before without stopping, but that was different, i'd had fresh legs.
No time to dwell on it. Back on the bike & now it's all down hill to the finsh. I manage an amazing 46 MPH going down the final hill into Brighton, THE ultimate buzz. Damn dangerous but great.
Then I join in with a group of Pro's and we sprint the last two miles into Brighton, through the town centre and onto the finish line.
It's now 09:19hrs & i've crossed the finish line. Total time of 3hrs and 19 minutes. There are crowds allready cheering us through & it feels great!
I've burned something like 150g of fat, 1800 calories and actually feel not too bad. There is free water to be drunk, and then a mile or so onto the Marina & find the car parked up from the day before (Thankfully no parking ticket!).
Yet to have breakfast, I find myself an hour later in a McDonalds off the A27 eating an egg McMuffin, and then it's home to enjoy what remains of a very different kind of Father's Day!
This year i made no demands on people for sponsorship. I have created an online sponsorship page, and if on reading this you feel inclinded to want to do a kind of 'post' sponsor type thing and give to a good cause (BHF), then here is the link to my online sponsorship page :-
Next post coming soon, and some good ideas about the damn tasks i've yet to complete!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Heart Will Go On

It's that time again.....

Click Here to see !

Current things happening:-
Training Hard in prep for L2B
My Broadband is back on (5 weeks on 56k is not good)
Exhausted with new job (but it's acually OK)
Played on a Wii for the first time (Good innit)

Current things not happening:-
tasks on


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Road To Nowhere

So here we go again, the early 'pre' application was succesful & training for the BHF London To Brighton Bike Ride 2008 has begun in earnest. Event date - Sunday 15th June 2008.

I was in two minds whether or not to go for it again after last year, but i just gotta "Beat The Beacon" & so will be focused not only on getting to the finish line, but also climbing the Mother of all hills, Ditchling beacon without stopping to get off & walk (It's very, very steep).

You may also note the ridiculously early start time this year. Those in the know however would say "Well Done" - No issues with traffic & bunching up at junctions etc. me thinks.

Talking of all things 'Bike', here's me from a 1982 local press cutting (I'm the one in the middle with the dodgy blonde hair)

The guy doing the "Bunny Hop" is none other than Andy Ruffell - BMX Freestyle champion of the 80's era, & in a later life, founder of the MoBo Awards no less.
See more about him here
So just when am i going to complete another task......................?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Motorcycle Emptiness

As is the norm at the moment, not much happening at Before40 towers in terms of tasks completed. No rush, I've still got 874 days to go = 1 task a month.
The new house decorating is progressing somewhat slowly, and has become my current distraction. Every room has it's own unique challenge. The living room is virtually done. Spotlights have been installed (12 in total; that gives you a rough idea just how god damn big the living room is!), just a fireplace to go in & a bit of sanding & polishing on the parquet flooring.
Whilst that is going on, the wallpaper is off on the hallway (Well the downstairs part anyhow). That in itself has allready presented problems. Underneath the anaglypta wallpaper is lining paper. Under that is a layer of paint that is flaking off, & all needs to be scraped off bit by bit. 6 months work to finish the hallway decor is my early guesstimation.

Want to know the Best 80's T.V. programme?
&, definately the best T.V. theme tune? (IMO):-

Nailbiting stuff:-

Let's celebrate! - Mercury is no longer in Retrograde! (Ended Feb 18th) - Bet you all feel better now? Maybe I'll be cursed now? - I broke the rule of this that says "Do Not sign Any Contracts". Oops. I also sarted a new project during retrograde. Double Oops!
Loving this blog by the super talented Jem (From the band Frost) - Why can't all bands do this sort of thing?
Finally, a Quick hello to my friends over at Go check 'em out.
I have now counted at least 40 x "Forty Before 40" lists/blogs on the net. Seems like Google loves me the best still though! - Type in "Forty Things to Do" or "Forty Before 40" or "The Big 40" or "40" & you'll find me there, right there waiting for you at the top of the listings. Go on, Come & find me!


Monday, February 11, 2008

I Predict A Riot

Well, if only i had a task as one of the 40 "Change my Job"!. After 17 and a bit long years i finally got out of the rut & got myself a new job. A big decision to make, but to move on & move forward definately the right one.
I'd been dreaming about handing my notice in for many months, and how i'd do it etc., but in the end once i'd received confirmation it was just a quick drive upto HO with a letter, a hastily arranged meeting with my boss, a quick explanation of why & where i'm off to & then drive back home. (Definately won't miss that horrible drive on the M3 & M25 motorway that's for sure.!)
I'd got an agreement/arangement that i would not announce the resignation until Tuesday 12th, as it would be best to announce it to all my reports (17 in all!) in one go.
So there is a prepared statement just waiting to be read.
The new job is back at the place where i started in 1986. Some say you should never go back, but 21 years on & now i go back as the big boss!
..........Just need to sort out this ridiculous 3 month notice period. I mean, just how do you keep focused in a job when your mind (& career) is somewhere else?