Tag Archives: Focus

Review and Renew

For my first post of the year I thought I’d follow an old routine and put 2010 to bed before waking up 2011 with a bucket of cold water and a strong slap around the chops.


So, how did I do?  Well, I registered one substantive Fail: the Great Manchester Run, which I didn’t do.  Running and me have decided that we don’t really get on, so we’ve parted company.  So I won’t be joining the triathletes among you.  Maybe I’ll do a duathlon one day if the swimming isn’t too bad (and if I get another bike).

On the plus side, there was much Win.  I completed the Manchester to Blackpool ride and was very happy with my (very mediocre) time.  This helped me to hit the 100 miles in that month’s challenge, which spurred me on to other months too.  Many of you joined me trying to amass 100 miles each month until the end of the year.  With your help (and I can’t say how much you helped me, you really did) I rode 628 miles last year.  My furthest ever, mostly to Littleborough and Hebden Bridge.

Raising £500 through the year for Springhill Hospice was fantastic.  To those of you who helped, I’m more grateful than you will ever know.  My Mum will be smiling on us from whichever afterlife you prefer to imagine – or if you don’t believe, then those who are spending time in that wonderful hospice will be grateful for the dignity and care that you’ve helped to support.

I’ve also made my life linger and happier with the fitness you’ve motivated me to maintain.  For this I am thankful, too.


Once again, I’m keeping my goals SMART* this year.  I’m focusing on a small number of them, as I have difficulty concentrating on more than one thing at a time.  I am a man and I make no excuses.

This year I shall try to:

  • Cycle 1,000 miles
  • Raise another £500.00 for Springhill Hospice

If you can help me achieve either of these, then I love you. But not in that way.

You can definitely help by joining our January 100 Mile Challenge and simply getting on your bike.  I will keep the link always on the right of this blog, in the little brown box.

* SMART = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed.

So What?

I realise that this post is mostly in the first person.  That’s because it’s about me.  But I hope you can identify with what’s happening, especially at this time of year.  Please join me on the challenges.  Please divert what money you can into a worthy charity for the sake of others.

Please have a fantastic year and lots of cheesy grins like this when you get home:

2011 - A Year For Grinning.

Chilly and Cheerful, 2011 The Year Of The Grin

I know: scary, but I’m having a great time.  Will you this year?

Christmas Haul

God Bless You, Santa Claus

I must have been a good boy in 2010.  Santa brought me pretty much everything I put on my list (what’s wrong with a letter to Santa if you’re 41 years old?) including some bike stuff.

Here’s the bike stuff I got, including a bunch from Secret Santa at work:

Bike stuff for Christmas

Cycling Santa Goodies

My favourite is, without doubt, the light.  It’s a 900 lumen job straight from China, as recommended by Jon.  It’s as bright as a really bright thing and seems very simple.  At £50, it’s excellent value without much weight and lot of seeing power.  I can’t wait to test it properly.

What did you get?  Call me nosy, I don’t care, I just want to know what you got…

Next Time…

…Some more news about the monthly cycling challenges for 2011.  I’ve only been out once in December thanks to the weather and a sore elbow, so I’m hoping to impress myself next year.  Watch this space.

Don’t forget to tell me about your Christmas Goodies 🙂

Spot The Difference Plus #Nov100 Update

November 100 Update

We’re halfway through the month now, and I’m amazed to have seen daily updates being put into the Nov100 spreadsheet.  Three people have already completed more than 100 leisure miles this month, and 23 people have logged some mileage. It’s awe-inspiring stuff, and without it I know I wouldn’t have gone out for 12 miles in the pouring rain a fortnight ago, nor would I be planning to get out into Rochdale’s darkness tonight.

Spare a though for Matt though, who took a tumble on a trip out and mashed his face quite badly.  Get better soon, mate.

Spot The Difference

I’ve not cycled for over a week.  A combination of bad weather (ok, it’s not the weather, it’s me being a big girl’s blouse) and too many things to do has kept me off the bike.

Thankfully though, Wiggle never sleeps.  I spent some money on a bit of bling for the Fat Boy and invested an hour in some minor upgrades.

I’ve got to be honest, that’s £50 I’ll never see again, but the fat Boy does look rather smart with his new accessories 🙂  I’ll review the gear when I’ve had a chance to test in properly on a ride.

So, if you haven’t done this on Twitter already, what differences can you spot?

Sorry …

I haven’t blogged enough. I’ve been very busy.

But today, you’ll be glad to know, I’m doing this…


Lovely, lovely tea.

So forgive me. I’ll start biggin us all up again soon, I promise.

How are you doing with your #Oct100 miles, you lot? 🙂

Wet and Wild Wales Weekend, Bouncing Boats In Bala

The weekend before last, we had FUN !

I turned 40 round about this time last year, give or take a week.  I know, you can’t believe it right? I don’t look a day over 50.  Aaaanyway, my Other Half invested in a Red Letter Day for me, white water rafting.  With this, I was very very happy 🙂

Last weekend was the day I chose to enjoy my experience.  The two of us packed up a bag each, a bike each and left our troubles at home on Saturday morning.  We drove to Bala, to find our B&B, Cwmtylo, about 3 miles outside Bala and within striking distance of the rafting centre.  Cwmtylo is a 400 year-old farmhouse and family home to Dylan and Craig.  I’ll be honest, it’s not the easiest place in the world to find, even by Welsh standards.  But it’s worth the drive and it’s only 10 minutes from the main A-road that passes Bala Lake – unless you take a wrong turn, in which case you’re way into murderer country (in your mind).  Cwmtylo is still a working farm.  In fact, Dylan only made the place into a B&B in response to the local tourist board’s appeal in 2009 for more B&B beds.

The Water Cycle

After leaving our bags at the B&B and enjoying Dylan’s cuppa with a nice cherry bakewell, we drove down to Bala Leisure Centre and parked the car for a few hours.  Unhooking the bikes, we got ourselves wrapped up against the Welsh wetness, which was drizzling slowly from the grey skies.  But, as Clive says, there’s no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothes.  We had the right clothes.

Eleven or so miles and some fantastic views later, we’d circumnavigated Bala Lake and we’d loved the undulations along the eastern bank.  From that side, away from the A-road which skirts the west side of the lake, the views of Snowdonia are simply stunning.  If you ever find yourself in Wales with an hour or two to kill, I recommend you try it.  It’s not a hard ride by any means, and if your legs aren’t up to a few little hills, they’re easily short enough to trudge up and roll down!

Dr Dre’s Place

Nobody was looking, so we got changed in the Leisure Centre car park.  A quick scoot into town and we found Plas-Y-Dre restaurant, which translates as Dr Dre’s Place. Coool!  We had a steak each and I treated myself to a cake of cheese for dessert, along with a nice pint of Brains.

Dr Dre didn’t put in an appearance, but I bet you never see Ramsay when you go to his restaurants either.

White Water Rafting

We slept like logs.  We got up when the alarm went off.  Dylan made us breakfast.  It was delicious. 🙂

Half an hour later, I was signing in at Canolfan Tryweryn, the UK’s first rafting centre.  The other red-letter-dayers and I stood out like buddhist monks at a beard & ponytail contest.  We congregated together for safety and to avoid being drawn into white water conversations we couldn’t hope to add value to.

Once the embarrassment of being the funny-looking normos out of our comfort zones wore off, the secondary embarrassment of borrowed wetsuits was foisted upon us.  But, then the fun started 🙂 !

To put it briefly, for your experience you get 4 runs down the white water in the space of 2 hours, interspersed with mini-bus trips back to the head of the run which is just down from a massive sluice gate from the local reservior.  The instructors are massively helpful – and I’m sure the ladies would find them massively handsome too.  You know, fit.

If you ever get the chance to do the rafting thing, just do it.  Don’t think about it.  The cycling was brilliant, too.  Happy days.

Tell ’em Phill sent you! 🙂

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