Tag Archives: genoa

10k is the new 5k

I am almost home and dry, my watch will finish by 17:00 on Thursday 30th January and I am looking forward to my two months off (which ironically is also one of Underworlds greatest tracks). Will I miss Italy – not one bloody bit.

I have devised some plans that are guaranteed to piss of the Italians.

1.  Increase the tax on ice cream

2. Raise the price of fags by a euro

3. Enforce traffic laws

4. Make them all do ‘National Service’ in customer service jobs

5. Make them start and finish work on time


Of course, if any of those fail, we could always remind them that it was only a couple of generations ago that they stood shoulder to shoulder with the Nazis.

Why am I so annoyed with these muppets?  4 times now, I have come close to getting run over while on pedestrian crossings (with the green man lit) and when I say close, I mean ‘punching the bonnet’ close.  Two twisted ankles while running on the roads – for all the forest and cross country running I have covered, I have NEVER twisted an ankle – give me 3 months in Genoa and I get two. Contractors blatantly lying to me face to face, a lack of ability to achieve even the most simple task on time and/or to an acceptable level but most of all, their ability to make me feel like I need to apologise to them for their short comings.

So what next?  Egypt !  Seems to be a bit of a war zone at the minute but that has potential to turn into a huge adventure of getting out of a war torn country on foot, alive and sane.

Italy has provided me with some winning situations though.  I have broken my 10k record time twice now (once only 6 days after my 2nd twisted ankle) and yesterday I also beat my mountain bike top speed record and pushed the envelope (listen to my corporate speak) up to 44.3mph.  I also have 4 days left to break my 7k and 5k records which I fully intend to do unless I have another twist.

I gave a security guard a run for his money the other night, I came running in one of the exits to the shipyard and heard him get off his seat.  Next he was out of his gatehouse shouting at me to stop but I thought better of it.  I was against the clock and I was pretty certain he would be too lazy to actually give chase – and I was also hoping that if he decided to draw his gun, he would be as shit a shot as he was an athlete.  I never stopped, he never shot me, that has to be a win win situation.

Now, I have to get lucky again tomorrow night as I run the 5k and turn in past his gatehouse again I will be sprinting for almighty with plenty of Billy Big Steps – if nothing else, the incentive to dodge bullets should get me a good 5k time. As a minimum I will be running in a zig zag pattern until out of shooting range.

Come Friday morning, I will be road tripping again – Switzerland at first light and into the snowy Alps.  I will be trying very hard this time not to trip any speed cameras before hitting the dizzy heights of downtown Brussels and my first Belgian beer in 3 weeks.

I spotted 2 new adventures this week on the TV.   A 10 mile race up and then back down Snowdon and then a full marathon through Snowdonia.  I expect to be signed up for both of them before too long

Next race is scheduled for Saturday 8th February in Coventry as I hit the local Park Run again, Poopie Pants will be there, and so might my sister if she isn’t too busy looking into when she gets her pension book.



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.

I change the key form C to D you see to me its just a minor thing……

Most probably the longest title I have ever used, and that statement reminds me of the great Eddie Vedder introducing his song ‘Elderly woman behind the counter in a small town’.  Not that I am comparing my greatness to Mr Vedder but I am curious as to why, in the last 3 days I have had 79 hits form Cyprus to my humble site.

Also had some from Canada and the States too.

So how is Italy? Something of a cluster fuck if I am honest.  The Italian mentality is to flatly deny anything is wrong, and when it is wrong, if you delay long enough – maybe, just maybe the problem will go away on its own.  Now, call me stupid but I have never had a problem go away on its own.  To make matters worse, the boat is italian built so has a shit load of problems.  On top of that, the guy I took over from really hasn’t done much at all, documented even less and I honestly think that he doesn’t intend to return either – he was very keen to leave me his gate pass when he left.

But lets not dwell on that – on Saturday I took Dion the first officer out for a cycle ride.  It was one of those rides where your legs are cramping on the way back and every little hill feels like a mountain.  46 miles and over 8000 feet of climbing later, we got back to the boat.  I say we, I mean I got back here first, had a shower and a coffee, got a little concerned that Dion wasn’t back and headed out to find him.  Thankfully, all was well.  Genoa to Portofino return in just over 4 hours and 17 minutes

So what next – now I have just 4 working weeks left until I break for christmas, Friday 20th December I will jump in my car and head back to Brussels, a short stop for xbox, belgian beer and a run in the woods before I hot foot it to Florida for some winter sunshine courtesy of Virgin Airlines and then head back to Belgium for a week more of xbox, beer and running.

What I am really holding out for – is the end of January when I get February and March off with pay………..and that saddens me.  There used to be a time where I lived and breathed responsibility of keeping a boat alive but now I feel that is slipping and I may be turning into an also ran.



I don’t want to be an also ran

In the arse end of nowhere

I had a new Italian teacher last night, so that makes a total of two in two lessons.  Not that I am scaring them off but I have since figured out that it is one teacher for language, another teacher for hand gestures.

That aside, I also figured something else out today.  This morning over breakfast, I treated myself to a little Amy Winehouse from her time on Jools Holland.  Way back in 2004, she was quite sweet and innocent, tattoo free and a fuller figure – her voice, purely magical.  A couple of songs later and the year was 2006,  the tattoos started to appear, the weight dropping, that glazed unfocused stare and of course in the background the worthless shite of a boyfriend.

Then over lunch, I happened across a BeeGees in concert movie so I stuck that on and we got to talking about the two brothers that had died.  It then hit me – you can tell how old you are by how many dead artists you have in your music library. I bet everyone has a bit of Lou Reed right? Jimmi Hendrix, Beatles, Nirvana, Joplin, Marley,Presley,Bolan, Beastie Boys, Barry White,  they very quickly add up. I would like to tell you now just how many dead artists are in my library but fear of knowing the true figure stops me counting.

Of course, it got me thinking about Winehouse. Being a hard arse, I have little sympathy for her way of life but I do fully appreciate the staggering loss of talent when she departed. I also remember when Cobain decided to take his head off with a shot gun, I never understood why. I am sure that will remain eternally unanswered but then one night many years ago while in bed in Abbey Street I was listening to Radio 1, before it got shite.  Back in the day (at 44, I am old enough to use that phrase, not like some of the spotty teens on the streets)   the evening was filled with Bob Harris (deceased) Nicky Campbell and of course the late and very very great John Peel.  Peel was hosting a show on Cobain and finished off with words along the line of feeling like he could have helped, invited him into his house to be looked after and helped through their problems – and I can’t help but think Peel was right, better still, there are many of us that would have volunteered our services to help to keep such talent alive.

But enough of that crap

Lets talk about my friend Rupert – or ‘Poopie Pants’ as he is known in Portugal.  During a recent stay in England, I talked Poopie into doing the Park Run with me on saturday morning (thank you Horley for the tip off).  For those of you unfamiliar with the Park Run, it is a weekly event ran by volunteers across the UK and 7 other countries (including S.A. Lexa) where you can run a 5k track, be timed and have your times analysed and compared by world record times, age, sex etc.   While out on a run on the prior wednesday evening, I was accompanied by the aforementioned Poopie and as we got talking I suggested he do the Parkrun with me on Saturday.  He actually agreed, I was agast and he was regretful almost instantly.  Building up to the saturday, he started to look grumpy about doing it but I kept pushing him until at 9am on an autumnal Saturday morning, the flag was dropped and we were off.  My previous 3 runs had all been personal bests and I knew I would be pushing it if I were to to another.

I never of course, I posted my slowest time ever of 23:53 but was very impressed to see Poopie coming in around 1:15 seconds behind me as a first attempt.  Now I have to admit at the time it was a bit of an eye opener.  I run a lot and I was aware that I need to pick up my pace but seeing this fucker post a time like this with a complete lack of training gave me a kick in the nuts that I needed. I did take some comfort in the fact that despite all of his moaning and groaning about not being a competitive person before the event, he did actually really enjoy it.

Since then, I can see his Runkeeper times are very respectable and I have no doubt that Poopie will be busting his nuts to get a better time than me next time we go, so I am upping the ante and have pegged a 7km course here in Genoa to ‘train’ on for my next 5k.  First time out tonight was under 35 minutes with mild poo cramps toward the end but expect that time to tumble as I naturally get quicker and time my toilet drops to perfection

Road Trippin

That was a tough weekend. A 5k run on saturday morning followed by a 20 something k ride around Cannock Chase on sunday, I was completely worn out.  Worst of all, I posted my slowest 5k time on saturday and had a few moments on sunday where I couldn’t be arsed to keep ahead of poopie pants and steve-o. I think at 44, I am now officially getting old.

I do have some advice for you though.  When road tripping through Belgium and Luxemburg, don’t throw your litter out of the car window.  France is the next country you will pass though – throw it out there, they thoroughly deserve it !

I still got to thinking about the people of Luxemburg and what they are collectively called but it escapes me. Italy is full of Italians, The good people of Germany are Germans, Ireland Irish, Americans a pain in the arse etc etc but what about Luxemburg?  I really need to know, if you can help in any way – please do.

My new job started today, I arrived in Genoa, Italy at 09:30 this morning in the most torrential thunder storm I have seen in ages, even the Italians were slowing down in their cars because of poor visibility.  After a monster 12 hour + drive down from Burssels, I am now completely shattered.  Had a little walk around the old docks this evening to see what has changed since the last time I was here – not much if I am honest.  I was impressed with one of the local sculptures though, it looks like a colaboration of body parts form several of the Saw movies all stitched together in the wrong order.

I also managed to kurb one of my wheels in the downpour, happy now that I never had them painted when I bought it.

thats enough for now – more exploring tomorrow




Keep your little battifarra in your pants !

Where the hell have I been?

Frankly I am not sure.  Most recently, I sailed on one of the largest sailing yachts in the world, the Maltese Falcon to help deliver from Monaco to Athens.  I often wondered what this big bastard might sail like and I was surprised, it sailed well, although not hands on enough for my taste. www.symaltesefalcon.com

Then last week, I drove down to the South of France for a few days of interviews and dock walking. I had 3 interviews, all of which I thought would be good jobs, so good in fact that I actually took my bike and dive gear in the back of the car expecting to leave them on a boat as I had accepted their offers but as it turns out, I didn’t want any of the jobs.  1 of them, a 47 metre motor yacht ( I know – the dark side) was going to the Maldives and Seychelles for the winter which I really fancied.  Fortunately, when I met the outgoing engineer, I knew him, and he told me that the boat spends nearly all of its time at anchor and never goes to the dock – that for me was a no-no so I disappointed the captain the very next morning.

Nº 2 was equally weird, a South of France based boat paying strong money that sub contract all of the engineer work.  When I asked the captain what the engineer actually does, he couldn’t tell me anything.  Now call me old-fashioned but if I am being paid well, I expect to work for it, not sit around bored, twiddling my thumbs.

Nº 3 was an old shitter that I knew of from Mallorca, a Turkish built boat that was extended by 3 metres in the Spanish yard and took 3 years to complete.  The engineer on board didn’t know he was leaving but I wanted to see on board before making any committment.  The captain couldn’t arrange this though so I drew a blank straight away.

After finishing in France, I thought I would drive across to Italy and hit San Remo, Imperia and then Genoa – all proved fruitless on the face of it but who knows what might come of the visit in the future.

So now, I am sitting in Charleroi Airport in Belgium waiting to fly to Mallorca for a few days.  I am seeing a boat in the morning called Andromeda la Dea before flying to Valencia on Tuesday evening to meet an old gaff rigged schooner called Adix.  For the sailors among you, the gaff rig is a real hard-core sailing boat – you can take a look at the link below – it is a thing of beauty under full sail though, even I have to admit that.


Their summer programme for next year includes a circumnavigation of the UK, very exciting but also very chilly.

Driving up through Switzerland on the way from Genoa to Brussels is always a treat.  The temperature dropped to 3ºc at the entrance to the Gottard tunnel, increased to 26ºc in the middle of this 10 mile long tube and then at the exit, snow – it was epic.

I also managed to trigger 2 speed cameras in Switzerland, over there they flash red, then another just over the border in France.  My car was running so smoothly that I had to call Rue to see if his was as smooth as mine – it certainly was.  Just as I was explaining the 3 cameras that had caught me and we were both having a chuckle – FLASH! camera Nº 4 got me too.  Right now, I am thanking the Lord of Gatso that the UK currently has a non disclosure pact with the rest of europe – imagine, that could have been bye-bye licence all in one trip.

So now, Charleroi Airport and the tiresome wait for Ryanair.

I did notice a heavier than normal presence of the ‘Moron Shuffle’.  That walk in the airport where people with unfeasibly large bags, shuffle their feet at half a mile an hour with their jaw agape, blissfully unaware that other people exist or are trying to get around them.  They change direction or stop dead without thought for the carnage that they cause behind them, their fat bags tangling with everyone elses until they eventually decide to stop dead in the middle of the entrance to the passport check – not unsimilar to the Congo myth of Mokele Mbembe or roughly translated ‘one that blocks rivers’ these selfish mother fuckers can think only of themselves and see as far ahead as the end of their nose.

I wonder if the Belgians actually have on their national curriculum a lesson on anti spacial awareness and anti social behavioural techniques

Fuckwits – all of them

Anyway – an hour until lift off – I need to poo

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