After a late night on Sunday (and a glass or two of wine) I feared the gym on Monday was going to be a disaster but I managed all the routine with the normal weights, if rather slowly.
There were just two others in the gym – clearly, people were not rushing to get their last sessions in before it shuts as part of the new lockdown on Thursday.
I spent Tuesday morning at the cycle park barrowing concrete as we set up the pretty hefty bases for some exercise machines at the side of the track. The idea is that they might induce parents to exercise when they bring their children to cycle training.
The park is looking very good – trees have been planted, we have a small dirt course for younger children and are developing a more demanding downhill course through the adjoining wood. The whole thing is quite a success – the charity we set up alongside the cycle club has won local recognition for its work and has been put forward for national awards, something to be really proud of.
It was a tough few hours and, coupled with bringing in a significant number of large pot plants from the garden in the afternoon (our first frost was forecast and duly arrived Tuesday night), I decided that it exempted me from the turbo trainer in the evening.
Working on the Joni Mitchell principle “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” I went to the gym again on Wednesday before we drove up to London for a meal that we had booked a few weeks ago. We took separate cars and I delivered one to our older son so he and his girlfriend could get to the house in Bournemouth before the lockdown started, rather than having to see it out in his flat.
I decided to run back across London from his flat to ours – from a South East postcode to West postcode. The road junctions and pedestrians (and the morning’s gym session) all took their toll but once I crossed Vauxhall Bridge and got onto the Chelsea Embankment alongside the Thames it was glorious – cool but sunny.
I think part of the extra enjoyment is something I discovered when I cycled out to the alps in 2018 – a ‘ride’ has the normal benefits of exercise and pleasure but a ‘journey’ has the added benefit of purpose. The same seems to be true of running. In all, it was a journey of 11.7 km (7.3 miles) at 5m 35 per km. A bit fast for me, like my last run in London – and my right Achilles is complaining about it.
The evening meal was excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed our last opportunity to eat out for a while. Back to Oxfordshire and we woke on Thursday to the country’s second lockdown. Our thoughts are with those who will suffer so much worse than we will. I got on the turbo Thursday evening for something a little more gentle than recent efforts – 45 minutes, for 22.77 km @30.36kph (14 miles @18.9mph).
No exercise on Friday but I ran with my wife on a chilly Saturday – 7km (4.3 miles) before accepting a couple of bikes to be fixed for the charitable pop-up cycle shop that is popping up again in the run up to Christmas (cycle shops are exempt from the lockdown closures).
Another run with my wife on Sunday – 6.53km (just over 4 miles) and then hedge trimming to look forward to – it’s a rock and roll lifestyle.
Tour de France 2021
The route for the 2021 Tour de France has been released and has the good news/bad news for me.
One stage goes up the Cote de Mont-Saxonnex, Col de Romme and Col de la Colombière (all climbs we have done from the apartment) and finishes in Le Grand-Bornand which we have cycled through a few times over the years. The following stage starts in Cluses which is even closer.
That looks like it is easy to decide when my annual cycling trip out to the alps should take place next year (Covid willing) but the bad news is that those two stages are on 3rd and 4th of July … and my ultra marathon is on the 11th. I’d anticipated that I’d be going out after the ultra.
I wonder how good cycling up mountains is as ultra marathon training?
Interesting stuff this week
1. African wise words: ‘Put down the meat’ is an order the dog cannot obey
2. BBC News website: Lockdown: Andrex maker has ‘100 million toilet rolls standing by’
When the pandemic struck in March, shoppers reported difficulty in finding toilet paper after panic-buying emptied supermarket shelves. But this time, Kimberly-Clark said it was fully ready.
But that’s still only about 1.5 rolls per person and the virus is very scary
3. BBC News website: After the unhappy libel case heard in London where Johnny Depp sued one of our national newspapers, I was reminded of a (very) old defamation case where a claimant brought an action over an allegation that he was a highwayman. Evidence emerging at the trial proved that he was indeed a highwayman. The claimant was arrested and subsequently hanged.
4. BBC News website: ‘Angels released from Africa’ to help Trump win
US President Donald Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White-Cain says “angels have been released” from Africa and South America to help him win. “They’re coming here in the name of Jesus… angelic reinforcements,” she says.
Often (but I am prepared to make exceptions) I admire people who believe things that I can’t – but why have they been ‘released’ – has someone been holding them against their will? And aren’t there any angels in the USA? I’d have thought Africa and S America could find good work for their own angels to do at home.
5. BBC News website: Mugabe/Trump comparison riles many
Some people have taken umbrage against a tweet by a former US official comparing President Donald Trump to Zimbabwe’s late leader Robert Mugabe, over his comments alleging fraud, without evidence,
Q. Were the objections that the comparison:
- portrayed election fraud as a uniquely African phenomenon
- was unfair to President Trump
- was unfair to Robert Mugabe
(this is just a – poor – attempt at a joke and I would have said the same if the story had been about Biden … this is a non-political blog!)