Thursday, October 15, 2009


If I were a dwarf, that's who I'd be. And I use the word 'dwarf' as in the 'Snow White and the Seven...' variety, not in some modern un PC way to describe a person of limited stature.

Whatever. If I were one of the seven dwarves I'd be Grumpy.

I'm grumpy now, having had to write that first explanatory paragraph.

Why am I grumpy?

I'm grumpy because I feel like I've swallowed a hair shirt and its currently residing somewhere between my lungs and my tonsils. So far I've avoided going to the docs, preferring instead to swallow copious amounts of some dubious quack medicine called 'Gloop' or 'Contain' or 'Oil' or something or other. All I know is that it's brown and sweet and what I imagine molasses to taste like.

I'm grumpy because I've lost my Garmin and its £ 250 or so to buy a new one. Don't ask me where I lost it or how I lost it because... as my dad is always fond of saying... if I knew that, it wouldn't be lost, would it.

I'm grumpy because I've managed to mess up my daughter's lap top and now I need to go to the Apple genius bar to go have it fixed. No matter how much I tell myself I shouldn't fiddle with the internal workings of those infernal machines, I always succcumb to their 'fiddle with me, I'm easy to manipulate' charms. In a technical and no other sense, I'm a man who should keep his hands to himself.

I'm grumpy because I'm close to finishing the first draft of my first book. Why is this not a cause for great celebration? Well, because anybody who's ever written anything will tell you that when you get this close to finishing you are overcome by a lethargy and desire to stop right where you are. Something misfires in the synapses of your brain and you tell yourself that what you have been crafting for the past months is, quite simply, the biggest pile of doggy doo that's ever been committed to paper. Or, as it stands at the moment, committed to a machine's memory.

As my good buddy Jonny Kurzman told me though... that's why they invented the re-write.

Which is something else that makes me grumpy. The bloody re-write. Why do we have to re-write? Why can't this draft just be perfect and ready to go to a dozen publishers, all of whom make me stratospheric financial offers?

I'm grumpy because I've no shape to my training and consequently more shape than I'd like to my body. Frankly, I feel fat. I know that a. I'm not fat and b. this is to be expected and that I can't maintain Ironman training for a whole year, lest my legs fall off and my inner organs spontaneously combust. But it doesn't stop me being grumpy.

I've caught up on a few movies this week, one of which also induced the grumps. DISTRICT 9 promised so much and delivered a second half of Hollywood chase movie after promising to re-define the sci-fi genre. Otherwise, I had two great experiences. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN - a Swedish vampire movie - was fantastic, and DEAN SPANLEY was quirky and plain weird. But that's okay. We like quirky and weird.

I had a lovely ride with Alice at the weekend on the Hackleton Roman Challenge mountain bike. This did not make me grumpy at all. In fact the only grumble I have about this is that I can't do things like this with my kids every day. Strike that. I can do things like this with my kids every day but, for some reason choose not to. This makes me grumpy and I resolve to do something about it.

I also had a great ride with Graham and my long lost buddy from Ironman Austria 2008, Rob Quantrell. We had a tough 72 miler around the rolling hills of Hertfordshire. It was great to see you again after all this time Rob and I look forward to seeing you over here for more of the same soon. Today's photo shows us post ride during the capuccino recovery phase. From left, Graham, me and Rob.

Okay, I must leave you. There aren't enough hours in the day.

And that makes me grumpy as hell.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Turbo or not Turbo...

... that is the question.

Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of an outrageous winter...

Or maybe the title should have read "Now is the Winter of our discontent..." to stay in the Shakespearian vein. Anyway, you get the drift. And if you don't, the drift is this:

Summer has gone.


No more.

Il a disparu.

So, let's move on. There's nothing we can do about it and whining about the cold and wet won't solve anything and will take up valuable training time and even more valuable mojo. Time to - as our American cousins might say - "winterise".

I've been through my changing room and carefully folded all my summer gear, putting it to the bottom of my storage boxes. Resting at the top now, ready for action, are a whole assortment of winter tops, head torches, high vis jackets, long bibs, woolen socks, overshoes and the like. In a kind of perverse way I'm looking forward to getting out there and mixing it up a bit in the winter elements.

I'll be turbo-ing too on the bike. I think there are some top sessions to be done on the old machine and I'm going to rig an old TV up in the garage to watch movies on whilst I grind out the hour(s).

I've renewed my annual membership to my local swimming pool, so the days of early morning swims are nearly back with us and the memory of refreshing dips in sun-drenched lakes are fast becoming a distant memory. I always liken the onset of winter to a tooth ache. Once it's with you it's impossible to remember life without it or imagine that it will ever leave.

What else? Well, not running is becoming a real drag. I'm desparate to get out there and start again but am going to give it another week and a half at least. I feel fat and lazy though and am going through serious withdrawal symptoms. I've managed to keep my hand in with some reasonably long bikes (I do a couple of 50 mile plus rides a week along with some shorter stuff) but even managed to perform my first over the handlebars crash at the weekend. It cost me a new saddle, a lot of road rash and a sore neck, but all told I and the bike can count ourselves lucky.

I managed to neatly sidestep the oncoming Range Rover issue by forking out nearly £ 500 on a couple of front tyres and MOT for my current car. I also figured I might as well invest another ton and get the thing professionally valeted. So, I've spent a few hundred but feel like I've got a new car, as opposed to spending £ 30k or so and actually getting one. That, I can tell you, I am happy about.

And so, my lovely bloggers, as the rain beats its steady tattoo on the full length windows of my office and I look out to see trees swaying in the heavy winds, it is here that I must leave you. I must write words in another application for another purpose.

Until we meet again, may the skin on your backside never line a banjo...

(Old Irish saying)