I started writing this last week. Since then we have learned of the sad death of Susan Nelson. It makes my petty quibbles and issues seem just that, petty.
That a lady who we never met, never spoke to and only ever interacted with via a blog, could have touched our lives so deeply is a testament to their openness and honesty and to their desire to make a difference. I would like to thank Elden and Susan for letting us into their lives. Rest in peace Susan.
Back to our irregular programme...
Been a while since I've written anything, I've been busy with work and with after work. So an update is in order.
Firstly the tandem. We went in a week or so ago supposedly to check the work and pick a colour. Unfortunately, the builder (who doesn't usually do tandems) had not really understood my requirements re brakes. The triplet had the normal set of canti's plus an Arai drum on the front and a Hope mechanical disc rear. While it was a triplet, I had the front brakes and Jayne the rear. On the tandem we decided to run the front canti and rear disc from the captain as the normal operations. If we want to tour, we wanted an extra set of bosses to allow me to have both canti's from the front and Jayne to have the disc from the rear. This confused him no end, until we went in and marked boss positions on the tube.
We went again last Saturday to look at what he'd done and were pretty pleased with the results. He seems to have done a good job of understanding our requirements and getting good cable runs as well. This is always difficult on a tandem. He is going to put a couple of extra bosses on the gear run to add a bit of cable outer where it runs past the captain seat tube, to stop it rubbing.
We also picked the colour. We had decided on a deep metallic blue before we went. Paul Hewitt gave us a set of tubes painted up in the available colours. We decided the metallic blue was a little too light a shade. There was a very nice purple and a metallic burgundy colour. We went with the burgundy. Paul said that that came in as a very dark muddy brown. We reconsidered and went with the purple. Hopefully we'll get the finished frame back in a couple of weeks!
This Saturday evening was the Blackpool Rapha Nocturne. This is an evening criterium series in several different UK cities. As well as the elite race, there was a kids roller race, a Blackpool hoteliers race, with contestants having to wear their work uniforms, a amateur race, and a folding bike race, complete with shirts, ties and a le Man style start. Karl had some friends up fro Oxford way. We missed the first few races because we went to Ian's for a barbeque before hand. It was delicious. Anchovies and Beetroot, Parma ham and melon, beef tomato and mozzarella and really nice bread (and wine) to start, followed by barbequed lamb, roasted peppers, fennel and potato and bean mash. Desert was lemon tart, fresh strawberries and mascarpone. We stayed at Ian's, eating, drinking and playing with his Pugs for far longer than intended. Eventually we set off for Blackpool, heading down the newly constructed bike path along the sea wall. It was quite bracing in a stiff westerly wind. The race course was fairly well attended and we saw the end of the support race. We also bumped into several people from work and had a pleasant chat with an American guy on a Rodriguez 26" wheel tourer who was watching near us. Never got his name or where he was going. We admired his bike, he admired our collection of 4 fixies, the most he'd seen in the UK outside of London.
The racing was very good. I can't believe the speed or the skill at getting round the corners so quickly. Everything finished at 10ish, just after dark. We had a leisurely ride home only soured by it chucking it down with rain a mile or so from home.
For Sunday, we planned to take the Oxford contingent round the Trough. They were all fresh from a week in France, climbing Mont Ventoux several times, so our paltry 1 in 4's for a mile or two should have been nothing. The route was out to Beacon Fell, mostly flat but a stiff 1 in 4 to the visitors' centre, then undulating across the Bleasdale fells before the climb of Boundary hill. This is probably about 3 miles of mostly about 1 in 12, but there are two or three really steep pitches. We made it to the top and the scary fast narrow decent into Marshaw and on to Dunsop Bridge for lunch. The afternoon was a pleasant spin down the Ribble valley until roadworks forced us over another 1 in 4 up and over into Chipping. It was then a rolling 10 miles back to the Fylde plane and another 10 home. We were knackered. But it was a great ride, with great company. Highlight of the ride was Jemima and Graham trying to say 'ey up and 'ow do in their posh southern accents.
Out again today (Sunday a week later) and did 50+ miles. Flat out to Condar Green then a rolling 30 miles through the hills back home. My total miles for the year so far stand at 2032! That is over 100 more than last year's final total. I should be on to meet my 2500 mile target fairly easily and maybe even get over 3000 mile for the first time in about 5 years.