I just read through my last post. When I wrote that, I was sick as a dog and not running…..hmmmm, something of a theme developing here then.
To keep a long story long, on Wednesday last week, I went to Cannock Chase with Poopie Pants and my mountain bikes. After suffering a binding front brake on all of the climbs, I finally stopped to release some hydraulic fluid and stop the bind.
It needed to be done, I had struggled to climb at the same pace as poopie, in fact, there were a couple of places that I got left behind – and as you might guess, that right pissed me off – the only person that is allowed to get left behind at Cannock is Steve Brown, because he is old and slow.
So, with some hydraulic pressure released and my front wheel now spinning free as a bird, we sat at the entrance to the only big downhill section that was open that day. I told poopie that as this section was fast and technical, I would put my crash helmet back on. Normally I get too hot on the climbs to keep it on and generally our uphill speeds are much safer than our downhill stuff.
Helmet on and I lead the way. It is fair to say that all of my uphill frustration was now manifesting itself as pure leg power mixed with brain out bravery. Like a man possessed, I took off. I have to say at this point that Mr. Brown who we would normally consider the downhill master, would have been left in my wake. I was on a mighty mission. The Specialized was absorbing the bumps as if they were mere pebbles. Jumps were fluid, air time was abundant, the landings – like a boss. In short – I was a World Champion, flying like a recently released Banshee.
Just one little mistake and 20mph in the forest on a downhill track can suddenly appear to be a tad too fast.
I couldn’t hear Rupert behind me, he hadn’t stayed anywhere near on pace. I hit a jump with my left foot slightly out of position on the pedal which then caused the bike to veer slightly to the right from the top of the jump.
The 200 year old tree loomed in front of me. You don’t need to be a Rocket Scientist to know that mountain bike brakes and steering have little if no effect when airborne. Instantly I knew I was in trouble. I wasn’t going to be in the air all the way to the tree, that was obvious enough but at the side of the cycle track, at the base of the tree was the root system of the 200 year old beast. Now I say root system but to accurately describe it I need to use a word that rarely comes out of my vocabulary locker.
These roots were gnarly roots – yep, gnarly mother fu**ers. Polished and shining at the side of the track and standing maybe half a metre above the ground and I was heading straight at them at almost 20mph. At this point, my life didn’t flash before my eyes but instead a quiet calmness reminded be about the physics (gyroscopic effect) of a spinning wheel. The best chance I had of survival was to continue at full speed directly at them and let the bike ‘do the work’ as it floats across the top.
For anyone that rides, drives, runs, skates, skis etc you will be aware of this theory – keep up the speed and you will be ok. The problem is, as your brain very quickly makes the association between your speed, the obstacle in front of you and a great deal of pain when it all goes wrong. It wants to slow down as it quite rightly makes the calculation of ‘less speed = less pain’ which is of course true but it doesn’t take into account the greater possibility of clearing the obstacle at the higher speed and thus, no pain.
There is another part of the physics equation that I either forgot about or just didn’t have time to compute after landing very close to those gnarly mother fu**er roots. The bunny hop. The simple thing here was that those roots stood at around half a metre or 50cm, whereas my front axle stands around 36 or 37cm. For the mass of my flying body and bike to have any chance of going up and over the roots, my axle (or to be more scientific, what would soon be my ‘Pivot Point’) needed to be above the gnarly mofo root height. Without the hop, it wasn’t.
My Runkeeper GPS showed and initial speed of just under 20mph before coming to a complete and abrupt stop using only the hard forest floor as cushioning. I remember hitting the roots, then seeing the track fast approaching my face as my arms naturally stretched out to break my fall. Then, I thought it was over as I lay in the dirt until my bike came crashing in on top of me in some sick kind of comedy fashion.
Laying on the floor like a stale sack of potatoes, I went through my self checks. Hole in my knee, very pale skin, some blood. Right forearm light scratching, right hand, light scratching, left foot – big toe very painful. Moaning from the shock, I continued self checks and was still in one piece. About 15 seconds later – Poopie caught up, slowed as he negotiated the new obstacle in the middle of the track and then called out ‘Looks like I will beat you to the bottom this time’ as he released his brakes and pedaled on – the wanker! Never even stopped to see if I was OK. I later found out that this was because he was afraid of finding broken bones poking out of skin and general bloodiness.
Thankfully, the bike survived without damage. I can’t say without a scratch because it is already full of them, I wouldn’t notice a new one. It does mean however that since Wednesday last week, I haven’t been able to keep up with my run training. I am hoping to get out again tomorrow.
Eating on a budget is where this all started. I was in Sainsbury’s yesterday and looking for some baked beans. I had a flashback to a TV program some time ago where they compared own brand foods to big label stuff. One thing that had stuck in my mind was their baked bean experiment. I decided to give it a go for myself.
Heinz baked beans – the main stay of any childs diet that liked to fart. I found many variants of these on the shelf, 90p per can. I looked around and found a Sainers own brand for 40p and then looking even further, found another Sainers own brand for just 25p. Sneaky I thought. But what is the nutritional comparison? Well, this is where I got a shock. Both the cheaper brands were lower in Sugar and Salt – that has to be a winner right?
The taste test needed to be completed so this morning I had beans on toast. I bought a can of each of the own brands to see what the difference was. This morning I opted for the 25p can. No ‘easy open’ lid so I had to get the can opener out but let me tell you – these were good. They did in fact taste a bit sweeter than how I remember Heinz but for almost a quarter of the price, I had a healthier option.
So a can of beans for 25p, three slices of bread from my fresh loaf that cost £1 (I reckon that’s 10p a slice), a smidge of Lurpak Spreadable 5p and not including the electricity for cooking, I reckon I had a champions breakfast this morning for around 60 pence.
I ROCK !!!
This post is dedicated to Amy Horne of Leamington Spa – who despite her flatulence problem, is still brave enough to be seen in public.