Monthly Archives: March 2018

Forget the turbo and the gym, shovel s*** (snow)


The weather has continued to be a real pain – on Thursday night motorists were trapped overnight for 11 hours on a road about 12 miles (under 20 km) from here. My sympathy to everyone affected by the bad weather – wherever they might be.

It was back to the turbo on yesterday, made all the more bearable by the re-run of an old episode of the original Japanese ‘Ninja Warrior’ and then coverage of the World Track Cycling from Holland.

Although my legs were still protesting about the weights session on Wednesday, they behaved quite well on a what was a bit of a recovery ride of 42km (26 miles) in the hour.

Attaching the old bike computer to the turbo bike has been a very good idea. It has pushed me to increase my base pedalling speed and has harnessed my usual competitive instincts by posting measurable performances to beat on future rides.

It confirms what we used to say about incentive schemes during my working years ‘you get what you measure’ (or, more cynically, ‘ you get what you pay for’).

Today saw a rather different type of exercise as I spent an hour, with a few others, shovelling snow from the small hill in the village. To be honest, I think that hour was harder than the one spent in the gym on Wednesday or most spent on the turbo trainer.

Happily our efforts and the start of a thaw have worked wonders and the village is re-connected with the outside world.

I’m not sure that the outside world had noticed our absence, or cares about our presence.


The ‘Beast from the East’, Storm Emma and cheating in the gym


Not exactly outdoor cycling weather – not as severe as many folks face regularly … but we are so bad at dealing with it because it’s fairly rare

Another turbo session on Tuesday – a personal best 45.3 km (28.12miles) in an hour.

On Wednesday I joined the local gym, hurried along by the fact that if I’d have joined the following day the ‘no joining fee’ offer would have expired. On Thursday I did the induction session when they explained how not to kill myself on the machines (by mechanical accident, rather than over-exertion).

After that I did an hour on the weights – which I really enjoyed. I know I’ve got to be careful to make sure that the gym doesn’t hurt my cycling but I think the variation, some strength work and the fact that this is not exactly cycling weather will work in my favour.

The best news is that I’ve already learnt how to cheat on the weights! The leg press machine should be used with the board that you push with your feet pretty close when you start. Doing it that way I was operating with something under 100kg (220 pounds) but by sliding the seat further back I can press the machine’s maximum weight of 200kg.

I know that cheating isn’t very beneficial – but seeing the next user wonder how the rather scrawny old bloke who just got off the machine was pushing that weight is entertaining. Childish, I know, but you have to take your fun where you can.

One thing I see immediately is how the legs in particular get fatigued by the exercise – they would not thank me for a hard ride at the moment but I’m taking that with a pinch of salt. There is no doubt that the weights will have to be eased off well before any ‘serious’ cycling.

Since then we’ve been struggling under the ‘beast from the east’ weather coming over from Russia. It’s been snowing since Thursday night – no hot water for most of yesterday morning due to a frozen pipe, happily fixed now.

Driving back from Oxford last night took twice as long as normal, on completely ungritted roads. At the moment, we are might (just) be able to get out of the village, but matters are not helped by Storm Emma, with strong winds up to 40 mph (64kph) causing drifting.


Cold enough for the metal urn to be cracked – I guess by expansion of freezing water that hadn’t drained out of it

It looks like a turbo session tonight and the gym at the weekend, weather permitting.

The worst thing is that our sons were coming back from London tonight so we could all drive up to Lancashire tomorrow to take my father out for lunch. That’s simply not going to be possible, with more snow forecast, which is a real shame.