Monthly Archives: December 2013

Where Eagles Dare – Breaking records, not Bones

I hoped to be bringing you news of a new speed record today but alas (poor Yorick) I failed miserably.  Maybe my record of 44mph over in the States last year will never be beat – in fact it is quite possible as we all know, America is the worlds best at everything.

Yesterday I went on a recce in the Sport.  I have been riding the ridges and valleys in and around Genoa since I got here, looking for something interesting to blitz.  So far, I have found little of interest.  Despite the terrain, the Italians have failed to grasp the potential of the great outdoors with one exception that I found last week, a ‘not very challenging’ ridge ride and drop into the valley. If they weren’t so busy baking bread and eating ice cream they would realise how much potential the hills surrounding Genoa have for outdoor adventure types like me and you.  If nothing else, the extra tourism would increase the sales of ice cream.

Last week, looking across the valley to the next peak, I noticed the scar of a road winding its way up the side of the mountain until it disappeared over the top and out of sight.  Looking at it, the climb was going to be a mofo but of course every cyclist knows, for every hill you climb, there is an equal descent.  In the Sport, I climbed into the clouds and out the top of them all in a matter of minutes.  In the cloud, plenty of understeer on the hairpins due to the moisture and also the constant passing of quarry trucks but something told me this had potential.  My altimeter suggested 2000 feet at the top and that was enough for me to set my alarm for 07:00 this morning.

Just after 9am, I was away, an easy warm up out towards the airport and then behind Ikea (where I also noticed a squash club) and then, the left hand turn off the main road left me facing directly at the hill I was about to climb, better still, those switchbacks were in front of me, calling me like a classic old italian movie.  I counted around a dozen before I made my first turn that put them out of sight behind me.

I can always measure the intensity of a route by the gears I need to use. Now, a hard run out with Brownie and Poopie Pants, I might occasionally grab the little gears on the front ring but mainly for off road climbs, a middle ring is the order of the day. Fast on road stuff is big ring only.  Within 10 minutes of turning off the main road, I was on the little gear and stayed that way for the next hour.  Looking up at the next 10 hairpins was a little disheartening but always being safe in the knowledge that I would soon be belting back down.

Near the summit, the road was still damp and slippery where the sun was trying to get to it, these bends would need maximum respect on my nobbly tyres especially as the Sport was sliding around the day before.  I made a mental note of the bends that were still wet so that I didn’t do anything stupid on the way into them.

At the top, a small pause for a pee, change into a dry shirt (nothing worse than wind chill in a sweat soaked shirt) and some gaitor aid to help replace those precious fluids, a few quick photos and then I gloved up, popped on my fluffy hat and sunnies and headed off.

Very quickly, I was thankful for the change into a dry shirt, the wind chill was 100% nipple.  The fluffy hat doing its job and I was peddling like a mentalist.  It wasn’t long before I was wishing for taller gearing and cursing that I was missing an opportunity to go faster but then, I hit the wet bends.  Not a weird sexual fetish you understand, but those extremely greasy bends I encountered the day before in the 4×4.

I survived thankfully, onto the switchbacks, fast descents and hard hairpins with convex mirror on their outer apex.  As my confidence grew, I started using the mirrors to get a view of the upcoming road, if I could see it was clear, I could use both lanes on the bend and carry more speed.  A little nervy even by my standards, barreling towards a hairpin with armco and a death drop on the other side and your focus is on a small convex mirror instead of your braking points – it just makes it a little more heart stopping and that is good if you are a forty something adrenaline junkie.

As fast as it was, it just wasn’t fast enough – my maximum speed of just 37mph (60kph) is still a solid 7mph off my record (FFS – I managed 32mph in the Forest in Brussels on the dirt). Some of you might be thinking ‘that’s fast enough old timer’ but I am thinking ‘maybe a road bike would be faster ?’

The problem being, straight sections not long enough between mentally tight hairpins means constant deceleration was damaging my speed record attempt. So I remain in search of a route (or bike) that will allow me to pass through the 45mph barrier and maybe into the 50’s. I do know of one in the Alps bu tit is a motorway, and I would need someone to drive my car behind me.

I took a couple of photos on the climb up, the switchbacks have to be seen.  I will add them to the photo section a little later this evening under ‘Sport d’Italia’  feel free to take a look.

The link below should take you to the runkeeper page


Congratulations to my older sister for completing a 5k race today – ‘it’s all for charity mate!’



By the light of the silvery moon

Last night, I watched two episodes of ‘Bottom’.  For the uninitiated, it is not porn but think back to the 90’s when a certain Richard Richard and Edward Hitler graced our screens and you have arrived.

After my double dose of Bottom, I had quite a scary dream where a certain Edward Hitler was in fact my Dentist but thankfully in his latter form as per his recent show ‘Ade in Britain’. He was showing me an X-ray of my pearlies and then started buzzing the drill – it was at that point my alarm woke me up!

Tonight, I had my penultimate Italian lesson of the year, I am actually looking forward to finishing school – I feel that very little has in fact sank in.  A little time off to re-group.  I have noticed a lot recently the sheer amount of people that have their faces buried in their phones while out and about.  What I find hugely annoying is the fuckers that don’t even look up as they walk and text and walk straight into you.  I am currently working on a new technique for this, something that I am calling ‘ a punch in the throat ™ ‘.  While they are laid out on the floor gasping for air, I can then kick the crap out of their phones. I am hoping this tactic will spread like the plague so that the streets can once again become free of these mongs.

I stood at the top of the scaffolding tonight – I know, scaffolding, such a glamorous life, selected my runkeeper walk option and had the music on random. Popped my earphones in and was greeted by a very pleasant tune by The Lemonheads.  I liked it a lot and was festively happy about my random music selection as I started out on my way to school.  It was then that I realised my schoolboy error.  The runkeeper was still set to run from this morning, I hadn’t changed it to walk.  I stopped it, deleted the current event and started again but was distraught not to hear The Lemonheads come back on.  Instead I had The Undertones telling me about how a Mars Bar helps you work, rest and play – classic stuff

The good news from that last paragraph is that I am again successfully running.  The problem with taking a week or so off running is that when you start again, it hurts like bloody hell. Tomorrow morning I will make run Nº 3 for this week, nothing major, just a quick 5k until the weekend when I can stretch out a little more maybe – it’s all good………..except,

Genoa is very dry, humidity wise.  So dry, I started to get some chapping on my thighs and love handles.  I found some Dove moisturiser to compliment the Dove soap that I always use and has it worked? Has it bollocks ! You chicks get sucked in by this shit all the time!  my chapping is still there but worse still, I thought I would do myself a favour and moisturise my face – I mean, what is the worst that could happen, my face wasn’t even chapped but I figured maybe a little softness might make the missus happy next time I see her.

Instead, this wonderful moisturiser has left my face looking more like that of a leper. dry and scabby with flaky skin that wasn’t there pre-moisturising.  The other thing is, it stings like bloody hell after you have put it on. Surely it’s not meant to be like this ?

Or have I been using Acetone instead?

Mugged twice in one week

I stepped out tonight with a bit of Biffy in my ear – I have to admit to liking their sound.  While on that subject, my breakfast TV this morning consisted of Duran Duran being interviewed and playing live – stunned to admit it, but they sounded good.  I had to double take to make sure they were playing live – and they were.

Thursday night last week, I was on a bit of a mission.  On Tuesday evening I ran 10k, Wednesday morning just under 5 k and on Thursday evening was going for  7k – all timed of course, with me competing against my nemesis – Me!  The Thursday run felt supremely good.  I felt strong, the pace was on for a quick time and I was running with the strength of a Stallion.  It wasn’t quite a gallop but certainly more than a trot.  Maybe one of my horsey type friends can tell me what that is – I was going to say canter but I am not too sure.  My legs were pulsing with energy and making good long strides. With about a kilometre and a half to go – I was feeling invincible.

A feeling of Invincibility is normally a falsehood, if not a warning sign. Of course, it was me against my nemesis so I wasn’t slowing – at least not until my left foot hit a pot hole and rolled inward making those poor tendons crack and groan under the strain.  The sound carried through my body and into my ears and completely drowned the Prodigy who were running with me at that time.

I knew I was done for.  It is funny how your mind works – I am still hopping to a stop and the first thought in my mind is that now, I am going to get cold.  It was around 4ºC outside and I was hot and sweaty – that wouldn’t last long.  When I finally got stopped, my thoughts then turned to how long I would be out of action for before I finally picked up my phone and called for someone to come and pick me up

I then entered the ‘fat footed twat’ era of my life.  A little like the ‘fat handed twat’ of old – the common denominator there being ‘twat’.  For two good days, I had a swollen foot that had a shape more like a half inflated condom.  Last night I managed my walk to Italian lessons without a worry and tonight, a speed walk for 45 minutes and it is feeling good – I must congratulate myself on a speedy recovery.  I will hold off the running until monday though, just to be sure.

Now the second mugging was one of those moments that you hope no-one was watching you.  The photo machine in the railway station was going to get the better of me.  After asking for directions from a policeman (all in Italian I might add), I found the machine and cursed when I saw the money slot was only for coins.  I begged some change from the café and headed for the machine. With a handful of coins I was quite spritely at feeding the damn thing but then the third coin was rejected.  I had enough time to think the words ‘what the’ before a small box popped out and landed at my feet.

Rubber Johnnies – what am I going to do with them I wondered.  Maybe I could half inflate one and stick it on my other foot so they both looked the same. Then I realised – not Johnnies but a Disney key ring with Daisy Duck on it.  I already have a use for it.

I cursed myself for a few seconds as I got in the booth and sat down, drew the curtain then realised that the money slot inside the booth also took 5 & 10 euro notes !!

Lastly, a quick hello to some old chums over in Oz – Chan, Emma & Sage.

%d bloggers like this: