Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bloody Gears and Poppy Update!

" All I want is a red guitar, 3 chords and the truth!" - Bono once sang (Rattle & Hum Movie cover of All Along The Watchtower). All I want is my gears to work! After being unable to get my gears fixed on Saturday (see last blog) I went out Sunday morning at 7am with Carl for a 35 miler. Steady pace. The wind was phenominal - great when its behind you, evil from the side and damn near solid from infront! It made for a good work out as you have to work so much harder. We went through Whittington to Fradley where we stopped to tweak my gears to see if they could be temporarily improved. Unfortunately they couldn't be and so I had to ride on the big cog at the front and the 2nd 3rd and 4th cogs on the back. This allows for steady enough cycling but takes away the opportunity to properly belt it on a good downhill stretch and for some of the latter uphills against the wind I would have definitely dropped onto the small front cog. Overall it was great fun. Many improvements noted not least of which was my efforts to attack hills and maintain momentum rather than drop down through all the gears and slow right down. I cant give you the Garmin of the route which went from Fradley, through Coton in the Elms to Moira to Newton Regis to Shuttington and back through Tamworth because my computer at home is broke! It was 35 miles at an average of 14 mph which considering the gear issue and the wind I was happy with. Again a Snickers at the midway point proved a great fuel and is now definitely part of any distance ride. I felt good afterwards - no aches and pains other than a bit of back stuff but I know thats coming anyway. Dr to me circa 1987ish "the discs in your back haven't fused properly due to over activity so I'm sending you for physiotherapy and you need to refrain from all sporting activity for 3 months. Is that understood". Of course I understood but what could be the worst that could happen? I continued cycling 10 miles a day on my paper rounds (ironically cycling to the physio sessions too!), playing rugby 3/4 times a week, football etc etc Whilst the Deep Heat masked the pain the Dr wasn't fooled when I was discharged back to him with little improvement. He did then warn me that I can expect problems in later life and he certainly knew what he was on about!!
Anyway, Sunday went well so my bike was dropped in to the shop on Monday for my gears to be upgraded and sorted out. My plan has been finalised for IM training and a nice steady 3 mile run Tuesday lunchtime was fine apart from the fact I had mapped it mistakenly in km and so had to do 2 loops to run the necessary distance. Oh how I laughed. Legs felt good, running felt good. Picked my bike up Tuesday evening with ugraded shiny gears and upgraded front light.
Woke up this morning keen to get a 16.5 mile 1 hour blast in at 6am not afraid of the country lanes with new lights and new gears ready to be tested. Unfortunately the ride lasted 3.5 miles before being brought to a sudden stop. As I neared the top of Hints Hill (small cog) the gears started jumping so as I went over the brow and hit a slight downhill I went up to the big cog only for a lot of clanking and grinding to start. I tried to change gear in the hope a safe gear could be found when suddenly my back wheel locked, I skidded to a halt and narrowly avoided a comedy clipped in fall to my left. On inspection the hangy down bit of the gear thing at the back was upright above the gear thing and wedged solidly in my wheel!!
Its not supposed to be like that is it? All I could do was bend it back out of the wheel allowing me to roll the bike and trudge home on foot! I did get to coast back down Hints Hill but walking the rest of it in my cycling shoes was a shock to my calves! The bike is back in the shop to be sorted out. Bloody frustrating but better to happen now I suppose! I've told the guys to sort it and then use it overnight on a commute to test it. I need to have confidence in my gears which I currently don't have! I am doing this Ironman to raise money for Birmingham Childrens Hospital and specifically Dr Peets research and treatment of child brain tumours. Many of you follow the progress of my niece Poppy who has been battling a brain tumour since she was 14 months old. She is now 9. She had 2 brain operations when diagnosed but only 50% of the tumour could be removed safely. As a result of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy the tumour has broken into 3 but is still growing. The good news is that by breaking up the surgeons are now confident the whole tumour can be removed. The bad news is of course that a very aware and bright 9 year old has to face a 5-6 hour operation. It is likely to take place after a scan in March. I will keep you posted. I have been overwhelmed by the good luck messages passed to Poppy via me from loads of you on Twitter and FB. Thank you. donates straight to Birmingham Childrens Hospital as does texting RUNS99 £5 to 70070.

1 comment:

  1. Give my love and prayers to Poppy for me Sid,thoughts are with you all xx jenny