Wednesday, December 31, 2008

First things first, just want to say a HUGE congratulations to my friend Darren Kenny who has finally made the New Years Honours list.

Darren is hoping to come to Beijing in January and set a New World Hour Record, based on the same rules as abled bodied cyclists.

I have to say, I'm not keen on saying that, for a start, Darren can whop many people around the world on a bike, as he is a very accomplished cyclist. So labelling isn't fair. If I was going to label him, I would have to say something like Great, Superb, Athlete, something that befits him.

So today comes the end of another year. If your year hasn't gone as planned as well as you would have like it, think about the achievements that have made, don't dwell on errors or misfortune.
Lets look positively towards tomorrow and next year, take everything in your stride, and set yourself small manageable goals.
Together we can make next year, a Great Year.

Till next year then, peace, and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

quickie update

Anyway, if you want to have a butchers at some photos, just glance slightly to your right, and you can see the slideshow (aptly named, Christmas 08)

Monday, December 29, 2008

not a lot

Well, haven't been up to much really. You all know how it goes this time of year, eat, drink and be merry.
The wife did have a brain stormer one evening, and decided that we should do an all-nighter at the Karaoke! I didn't get in till 7am, the wife though went straight back to the office. Hats off to her!

I haven't been up to much recently, apart from shaving my legs for todays' photo shoot :D (today)

One thing has been pointed out to me, about my spelling and grammar. Yeah I know it sucks, but I've lived away from home for 6 years, in a limbo of languages, so I'm allowed to waver a little.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Just a quick note to wish you happy holidays, which ever one you want to celebrate, from Christmastide to Sol Invictus, and all the others in between.

What ever you do, have fun, be safe, and I'll speak to you all in the near future.


Monday, December 22, 2008


Today was my first real session on the Turbo Trainer.  I've used them before, but not in the same way.
It hurt today, a good hurt as well, the pain that wasn't just in my mind, but was in my lungs and legs.

The hardest thing about TT is the mind set.  You are sat inside, pedalling, it is, one of the most hardest forms of torture known to man.  The problem is though, we do this by choice.
Some people can sit on it for hours, my longest time is 2 hours, then the movie is finished, along with my brain, which by then, has turned to some mush or other.

Today though, was different, in that I actually did a structured session and kept to it, and hurt.
It's a very good feeling when you have completed something like this.

I hope that this is the start of something good, outside is -12 (was today) tomorrow, it is going to be warmer (-9) and if there isn't any wind (as that adds about another -10 to it) I'm going to go and venture outside.
Even after today's success, I'm still prefer being outside.

Christmas is almost here, and it seems that everybody I know is working, so I have bought myself a wee dram of whiskey and plan to cycle to top of the local mountains, warm up my insides, and descend down.
Now don't worry, it's no more than a sip, I can't afford to be injured.
I'll take my camera, and hopefully we'll have a blue sky, freeze your butt off day, and I'll take some pics.

Hopefully, I'll speak to you before then.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

weekend ramblings

Yesterday, my mad Ozie friend and me went up to the local moungtains, average temperature was around 1c, which was quiet pleasant for the ride up.
We hammered it quite well for the weather, and only stopping once for a quick bite to eat.
It was the first time for a whie that my legs felt the strain of it all.
Today the weather has dropped, it is now -12c outside, which is okay, but the wind is just down right not fair.  It's so strong and blustery, that even walking in it, is just miserable.

So it's now a sunday afternoon, and I'm watching Far North, 

and drinking some copious amounts of red wine.

The film so far isn't bad, and if I can manage to stay coherent long enough, I'll try and report about the film later.
Ir I might just have to watch it again (without the bonus of red wine), so that I can get a true picture of the film.

Friday, December 19, 2008

winter wonderland

Well, not exactly Winter Wonderland, not like fellow blogger Jill, who really does live in Winter Wonderland.

Today did a nice 2 hour ride on the fixed gear, actually I've been having problems with my left crank, so I took it to my not so local bike store. Most people ha
ve a bike or one which is local to them, not me.
Mine is exactly 25.01km away from my house, involves me cycling passed Tian'an men square, China Military museum, and the Olympic Basketball, Baseball and MTB course (which is a driving centre, more about this another post)
I enjoy this ride, for one, it just means I get to ride at least 50km. Even with weather like today 3c and really, really windy, so windy, that I had to turn the volume up high on my mp3 player.
This then brings me nicely to my first ever product review.

Now I know I shouldn't ride whilst listening to music, because your riding does very to the tempo to which you are listening to.
I quite listening to the freebie downloads on itunes for spinning classes, anyway, it keeps me going, and with headwind like today, riding my fixed, turned into a spinning class anyway, you know, when you have to stand on the pedals, because the resistance is to hard, it's the only way to turn the pedals. Anyway, I digress, these headphones are designed for sport, coming from Nike, you wouldn't expect anything less than professional sport equipment, right?

I chose these earphones, as I had rather large ears (think FA cup, or wing nut for comparison), but my ear hole, seems to be small, so I have to use ear clasp earphones. Using them for a combination of both running and cycling, I can't use over the ear ones, as my helmet (whilst riding) will get in the way.

First problem, don't use white plastic products where sweat is concerned, it doesn't stay white for long, and realistically, who is going to wipe them down after a hard training session, it's good that they don't end up on the floor for an hour or so after whilst I catch my breath!

Secondly, who ever thought of having a screw joint on a headphone designed for sport use! It's so frustrating, the slightest little knock, and they come out of place, they just aren't stiff enough at all. Walking is fine, but then again, anything a dog can do, isn't a sport (football)

Thirdly, sound. Actually they aren't bad here, but I would prefer something with a little more bass noise to it, it would help drum out some of the hooting cars as they go past. Saying that, they are MP3 earphones, and MP3 sound quality isn't the best in the world.

Fourthly, plus point. I like the shorter cable it comes with, with an extension cord as well, this is good for putting your MP3 player up high, so it doesn't get knocked around, or that you cable gets twisted up in your handle bars, or arms whilst running.

Would I buy them again.
Probably not, the frustration of them being easily knocked out of alignment, position is bad enough. I am now looking for alternative options.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Are you stuck for what to get people for Christmas?


"In times of trouble, always look back at your best achievements" Chairman Mao.

This I think is one of the best quotes to come out this gentlemans little book.  I like it, I use it.
Today I managed to talk to one of my friends, we used to hang around together and get up to all sorts of mischief when we were like 18, so it's quite a few years ago.
He isn't often on IM so I was really pleased to catch up with him. We started reminising about the 'old' times we had together.
Most of the stories I couldn't indulge you with, it would make me laugh, but maybe you wouldn't see the funny side of it.
For example, one day I was teaching him how to drive, now, back in my hometown, where hills are hills, and learning to hill start is a must, otherwise you'd just roll down backwards.
My hometown is famous for a few things, one is the local girls school, which is private place, and expensive, very expensive.  Anyway, as we approached the traffic light in the town centre, (which is on a hill) lots of sixth formers walked pass, and being young stags in the hunting season, smiles, and looks where abound, we thought we were in for a chance, when all of a sudden, as the lights turned green.  He stalls.
This is so embarressing, the girls surrounded us, and laughed, I quietly slipped into the footwell.

See you had to be there, but for us, it was a good memory to recall.

The strange thing is, I was only thinking about him the other day, and some of the things we used to get up, it makes me smile even now.
Dread to think what my son would ever turn out like.

So lets hold on to those memories, rekindle them if you have to, have fun, play safe.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the reason why

This is one of the reasons why I cycle;

mmmmmm and totally worth it.

Good 3hr ride today to the Ming Tombs, the route, not technical, is a boring one, but one for MP3 players.
It follows the Beijing Olympic Road Race route, not the good steep part at the end, but the flat bit at the beginning.
It's my first long steady ride for some time, so I was very happy with it.

More later.... I've got a muffin and a coffee to finish first :D

Monday, December 15, 2008

do you relax?

Well, do you?
I don't think I do.
Before we got married last year, we discussed where we wanted to go on our Honeymoon, I wanted to cycle or go along the Karakum Pass in Pakistan.  H was thinking more of a beach.

Being Chinese, getting Visas for nice places can be quite difficult, so after a bit of researching I found that Chinese people don't need a visa for Mauritius (for up to 14 days)
So that is what we did, a beach Honeymoon.  I'd do it again, just to see H's face.
Now don't get me wrong, Mauritius is a very beautiful place, and it would have been very wrong of me to leave H alone whilst I went off riding around the island, wouldn't it?
H said that I needed to relax, I replied that I was relaxing.  She said not.
So we went to the beach, laid down on the recliners and I tried to relax.
Now, I have to admit, I don't do beach holidays, there is so much more to do.
H insisted that I try to relax, she told me to lie down, close my eyes, breathe deeply and slowly and fall asleep.
This I did, then I woke up a long time after, H said it was about 3 minutes, to me, it felt like hours.
It did take me a couple of days to learn to do nothing, then I found a sailing club, so went out sailing most days on a Lazer, this and my obligatory swim for a hour around the rock and back.
So I have trouble relaxing.
Today I polled my friends, and asked them what they did for relaxing, strangely enough the answer I got most was, what is relaxing?
Good point.
Quick search later I got this; which is what I do, on a 3 hour ride, or just riding with my friends.
So today, I was stuck in the middle.  
Meaning, this morning I did a nice core session and chest, arm workout.  That brought me to around 10.30am, this afternoon I had a 30min easy recovery spin on the Turbo Trainer.
I had lunch around 11.30, as I needed to eat within 2 hours, and I was also weary of this afternoons pending ride.
So this lunch/afternoon I became frustrated, I didn't know what to do, now when this happends, I tend to eat, so this I did.  Just little munching until 3.30, as at 4.30 I was going to sit on the TT.
From 3.30 I could focus my mind on what was coming up, so from 12 ish to 3.30 I was very frustrated, and everything was bothering especially the slow internet connect, and the cat, especially the cat.
On reflection, I should have relaxed, that hard to do, R word.
wikiHow has this to say.
Now I know what the problem is, I don't have a 27.  I am trying to change this, or I could just learn to Siesta, but 27 pays better, and I always thought the answer to everything was 42.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

finally made it

Yesterday I finally made it up to the local Hills.
This is monumental for me as it's been 6 weeks or so that I have been off the bike.

The foot didn't feel to bad, still had a little discomfort, but worst of all, was that in the back of my mind, I was frightened of falling.
Not actually falling, but more of the case of, if I did fall, I'd would have to make a drastic and probably aggressive manoeuvre with the foot, and probably end up striking it hard on the ground. This thought, the pain that would endure, frightened me.

So if it worries me so much, should I be cycling at all?

The weather yesterday was perfect for cycling, we had wonderful blue skies, the type of sky that entice you wrap up warm and go out, even though you know it's going to be cold.
My friends were keen and eager to go out to, although I did have to push one to come out, but she was happy that she did. Even though she did remark, on why they are called 'push bikes' :D I did my best with my brief and little knowledge behind the meaning.

The temperature was around 3c. Beijing is built on the Feng Shui 风水 (wind, water) principle, with Hills to the West, and Water to the East. The city of old was developed on this principle so therefore the wind whips through the city, keeping the air clean (before industrialisation.)

This makes winter, cold.

The temperature isn't that bad, yesterdays forecast threatened us with a low of -10c, this I can cope with, but when the wind starts to blow, that is a different kettle of fish.

I won't go out, just because I savour my lungs. The cold air rips apart my bronchial tubes with force, and leaves behind a green flem that must be outted in the typical Beijing manner.

So before the wind comes, which should be any day now, and the fact that I have been off the bike for 6 weeks, with blue skies above, and thought of Turbo Training daily in the near future, I had to escape.
To climb the hills, descend the ridge, ride to Grannies have the obligatory Instant Noodles and then descend, the best descent EVER.

This is why I had to cycle.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Get a Life

During the Olympics, I was very lucky to live with these Guys. I've never really admired someone or persons before, but their commitment was just unbelievable.
I suppose that is what the difference is between Pros and us mere mortals.

I am weak, that's it, I have said it.

When it comes to being outside on the bike or doing sports, I am strong, very strong willed and minded, but at home, I fail, succumb to all bad things around me (although the wife is not at all bad)
This includes and is not exhaustive to beer and snacks.

Last week at the Cyclo Cross, I was given several bottles of beer. Yippeee I thought (at the time), I even did an amazing job of being a domestique, carrying 8 bottles at once in my short sleeve cycling top.
Problem now being, I have a fridge full of beer, and this is were I am weak. Snacks in the cupboard, beer in the fridge, and freshly bought DVD, just equates to one thing.

I need more miles in the saddle.

I suppose I have always had a weakness for snacks, I even remember as a child, missing out on school lunches and eating snacks instead, it's no wonder that my teeth are aweful (but I put that down to too much Gatorade, and the odd crash into trees)

Being with the Guys for 10 days in a holding camp, north of Beijing taught me a lot, but now, I have slipped back into my old evil ways, and with the multitude of parties coming along, I can either be rude, a party pooper or just except that this is the way it is.

I don't have an excuse, I am not at a level were I can command an excuse of something along the lines of
"Sorry Mate, can't drink anymore, got Worlds to prepare for" If that was the case, the answer back would be,
"FFS, that's not until next October, get a life"

So I suppose there is only one way to go about it, enjoy, take the rough with the smooth, work hard and play harder.

First Day Back

It was the letter E that was missing, yeah I know I'm weird, but that can't be helped.
Today was my first day back on the bike, I know I've been out cycling to the Cyclo Cross, but that wasn't the same.  Well for a start today I was on my own.  Not that cycling on my own makes me a big boy, but I can go at a pace that I want, and not controlled by others.
Today, was also the first time I road my fixed gear bike.  I need to check what gear inches it is, because either it's a lot harder than what I am used to, or the fact that 6 weeks off the bike, has had a big impact.
Anyway, todays ride, in a temperature of -6c was only 40km, and took me 1 1/2 hours.  Yes it wasn't that quick, but with only a front brake, it's a little difficult to weave in and out of traffic.
I've decided to fix the rear brake back on, so that I can go faster.  Yes a rear brake will make me go faster, because I will have to confidence to stop quicker, and not just relying on back pushing on the pedals to slow down.
I have to say, I quite like using this website to log my miles and other training that I do, it's almost there, and if you train at all, check it out.  They also do Tri specific ones as well.
Tonight the wife is out Christmas partying it.  I'm not allowed to go, it's more of a thankyou for a huge group of secretarys that organise functions at the hotel.  So lots of girls.... wonder why she won't let me go, probably because I haven't shaven for a few days and look rather uncūth in my appereance :D

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I thought I'd try and carry on from my last post.
You know, I'm not that bright, but I do try and train my old noggin now and again. I try to hold an outlook that I could always try and fortify the old thing.
It is not always that smooth to do, and is oft painfull, a bit akin to scratching out this blog today. What I am trying to do is somewhat of various to my normal day to day posts.
I am wacky, so that I am original, and in that way, I am not. Also this post is fairly difficult to work out, but most of you, will spot that stuff is missing, I can only think of what it is?
Tomorrow is going to bring out a woman in I, tomorrow I am going shopping, how amazing is that? But it's not just normal shopping, this is what I was born to do, it is the sort of shopping that I and my companions so want to do, almost daily, almost? no, not almost, tomorrow I know, is a brilliant day :D
So, if you can't workout what is missing from todays post, I'm afraid you must wait until my following post, and I shall author what is was.


With the end of the year fast aproaching, I have to say that I am happy that I am not in the UK, because TV there is crap.
About this time of the year, they will be starting showing reruns, and then they start the anual recap of the year, best songs, best news story, most horrific crime, you know the stuff.
Between here and there, one similarity is that TV is bad everywhere, the difference though, is that this one is controlled by the Government, they say what gets aired, what the content is, what can't be shown. This we all accept, not that we like it, but we accept, and sometimes, it's not a bad thing. Sometimes the programs are of the lighter of heart affair, so it's okay.
Back in the UK though, where there is freedom of speech, freedom of press, TV is still crap. Nothing exciting or at this time of the year, nothing new.
One thing I do like about this time of year are the new words being used in the English language, and for those who know me, may find this very unusual, as because being an expat living abroad, and one who spends most of his talking time with his wife, whose second language is English, and have at some point taught English to lower level students, my own vocab, and grammar is sinking faster than the Titanic.
Most of the time these words are put together like a ham and cheese sandwich, without the pickle. This doesn't make me part of the sandwich generation, which I thought was a new term for threesomes, and if this was the case, I also missed out on this part as well.
One word that I have found more and more in usage, is the word über. Which I find 'cool'. Recently these have been used in these contexts (personally towards me) über horn, über Travis
Not that I don't mind to being referred to as Super (even though I did win a competition of this name, some many years ago. I am trying to find a picture of it for you) I just think that I haven't reached my peak yet. Although the dreaded four zero is fast approaching. At this rate, I may have to look at returnment finding a real job.


Just a note, this post was from another blog, that I tried to write.

Are you an Addict of any sort? I think I have many addictions, everyone has addictions of some sort, what would life be like if there was non at all?
I really can't imagine it, but I am trying to.
I think that would be a bit like life with no alcohol, betting, chocolate, red meat, and anything in life in which one over indulges. Yes ladies, even shopping!
With Christmas coming soon, these addictions can get in the way of some relaxing and pleasing lifestyles.
My wife thinks that I am addicted to just being on the go all the time, she asked me this morning, when was the last time I did nothing, when I replied, what do you mean nothing, she was more precise about her reply. That being of not doing any exercise, no sport. When was the last day that I didn't attend the gym, go running or go cycling.
Even after my feeble attempt at pleeding with her, saying that a 3km jog around a park is not in anyway sport related, and THAT WAS my day off, she still wouldn't have it.
Anyway so what I am trying to say, I have no idea, I'm just rattling on as usual, ah yes, go out, enjoy yourself, keep your addiction but keep it within the boundaries of keeping everyone happy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

2 day sesh on it's way :(

Yesterdays Cyclo Cross race was just excellent. There was a large group of us together, the usual group, for which a long time we haven't been together out on the bikes.

It was sweet to be with them again.

The racing in the Open cat. was just excellent, apart from some poor decisions, in like giving a second place spot to a guy that was lapped right on the very last corner! Oh well, kudos for me and my cheering, think everyone appreciated it :D

It's a shame that the season for it, started and ended so quickly, I know it's from Europe (well Belgium and France) but I think it would be the most excellent pre-season warm up, lots of speed work involved.

Tomorrow I have my good friend David coming up from Wuhan (武汉) so I am sure, a few beers or so, will sipped along for the next 2 days.
So that will make it 3 days in a row, of no training.... oh dear... what ever am I going to do??

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Before you read my post today, you have to read this post too, then you'll know where I am coming from.

It's been awhile since I have been out on the bike, now, it seems it's going to be even longer. The Beijing winter is settling in, temps of -5 are the norm at the moment, but it's the wind that's the stopper. It comes from Siberia, via Mongolia, and with no Treeline to protect Beijing anymore, it just whips around here like a sadistic S&M on a freebie whip out.

So when I do get back on the bike, I'm going to be at the back, someone is going to have to shepherd me, and the guys are going to be waiting for me, combing their hair, finishing their water bottles, and asking me, if I had a flat on the way up.
So not fair.

Another thing, which I'm all sure we've done at some point, is this;

I actually know of some friends of mine who would do that, right now, as I type :D

Also, a reminder that today, is the last Cyclocross race of the series, a series of which I am sadly disappointed to missed out on almost all of them, bar one, due to my foot.
You don't have to be a Superstar to take part, anyone can.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Free Thing

When something is bad, and is free, is it still bad?

A local bar is providing free beer for us on Friday, because they are sort of sponsoring the Cyclo Cross race. Sort of because Trek, the main sponsors are paying the bar bill.

Rather jolly of them, one does think.

So, the local brew, is well known for giving a headache, nothing to do with the quantities that maybe consumed, honest, I do hear that it is something they put inside beer in tropical places, to stop it fermenting. Anyway, it still leaves me feeling rather like a typical English day, cloudy and dull.
Or is that age? You know the older one gets, the longer it takes to recover from a hangover, or is it, that hangovers have become like an unwanted house guest, and just doesn't know when to leave?

Anyway, so, the beer is free, and being free, makes it somewhat easier to swallow

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


It is coming towards that time of the year, when the ~oholic takes over the better part of people. This maybe shop~, al~, choc~, Internet~ etc okay, now I am making it up, but you know my meaning. My wife has taken to Cranberry Breezer, now anyone who knows my wife, will find this very strange, as she doesn't drink. Period. Until now, at the moment life is stressful for us, so 1 bottle every couple of days, puts her into a deep sleep and she feels better in the morning. Now I know it's not good to use alcohol to get rid of stress, but it's not a lot, and she only drinks at home. If we go out with friends, she doesn't drink.

I have weakness for snack food, biscuits, crisps that sort of thing. I now ban them from the house, just because if it's there, I'll eat it. Which is not good for my preparations next year. I need to control and watch my weight.

January is fast approaching, and is very important for our household, not only because it's Spring Festival (major Chinese New Year) but also because I have some friends returning to Laoshan. This time I'll be a mechanic, although I have no skills apart from my ability to speak the local lingo. Can't wait.

In this country in the dismissal of beliefs in deities, commercialism is taking over. Christmas is fast approaching, and for the first time I cast my eyes on an Advent Calender. Of course, this is to help us count down the days to the Pagan festival so that we can pray for a good harvest next year.
Bowing to China's new found fondness of purchasing, I couldn't resist buying one myself. This is for 2 reasons.
1. So that I can teach my wife some of the fun things of this holiday.
2. I can have a daily dose of Choc~