Tuesday 24th 52-55F, 11-13C, light breeze, overcast. I managed 18 miles in the first hour with a gentle tailwind. It took me three hours to get back straight into the increasing wind! Though there was some shopping at three different supermarkets, browsing a village charity shop, exploring some new lanes and photography on the way home. The hip pain has moved back to my right buttock. Still waiting to hear the results of my blood tests, ultra-sound scans and x-rays. My shoulder has improved slightly. It is no longer agony to put my clothes on. Just painful. 40 miles.
Shopping gets ever more difficult. Edible organic bananas are getting very hard to find. They are either bashed to bits and black all over. Or bright green and hard inside. Cherry tomatoes are having to be carefully inspected to avoid rotten or overripe mush with water running in the bottom of the tray. Now the supermarket con is really coming home to roost. Not only do you have to walk round and select your produce in your own time but you have to inspect it for quality too. Then check the receipt to ensure you haven't been robbed yet again. Not a week passes without variance between the shelf pricing and the receipt.
The monopoly money supermarkets hope to avoid public embarrassment by making the checkout belts ever shorter, the staff ever younger and keeping the queues so long that everybody is too impatient to have time to read the receipt. The checkout operators now demand (with menaces) to know if you want a receipt to try and cut out the middle man. Then its have a nice day on autopilot without an ounce of sympathy for our plight as passive netizens of the Matrix. Those who refuse a receipt have a fool for a shopping client! 20 miles. Sometimes it seems all uphill. Have you ever noticed the similarity between's Marvin's head and a cycling helmet? <sigh> :-)
Thursday 26th 42-53F, 6-12C, cloud clearing after a rainy night. Should be a pleasant, sunny but cool day with lighter winds. A promised max of 53F/12C. Overdressing followed by overheating followed by undressing followed by a chill! It's that time of year again! Put too much effort into your ride and you end up standing at the checkout in just your bibbeys. Like some emaciated but sinewy Borat with squiggly veins struggling to prop up your obscenely muscular, but strangely undernourished calves. While you desperately try to avoid
The birds are misbehaving again! I blame the spraying. I suppose it's better than (a) silent spring. The spiders are huddled tightly into the window frames to avoid the marauding Blue tits. The Sparrows are busy probing the dormer roofs for overnight perches out of the rain and wind. The Blackbirds are squabbling as usual and the sky is full of circling Mink gulls. Probably looking for tricyclists to crap on. I kid you not!
For those unfamiliar with immigrant Danish wildlife; Mink gulls inhabit mink farms in vast numbers. Except when they are standing apart on a nearby field and burping fishily. Sadly there are no known predators of gulls except when they are nesting. I'm not sure I don't prefer ground rats to gull rats. At least the ground living rats are fairly quiet as they go about
They say that mink farming has never been more in demand since the Chinese new money decided to empower themselves by returning to caveman couture. With a nice edge of animal cruelty to spice up their purchase. It's probably only a desperate attempt to distance themselves from their muddy, peasant upbringing. Quite why raising mink is known as farming rather escapes me. Except for the foul stench more typical of their pig farming neighbours and/or owners. Burp!
I have made my first ever appointment with a physiotherapist. I haven't a clue what is involved. As usual I may have to pretend that I am from Mars. Which is more true this week (allegedly) than it ever has been. At least according to science it is. Though that is not remotely the point:
Living is a foreign land, with little direct contact with the natives, means that a new vocabulary has to be invented from the ground up for each new ritual. Each new experience lacks a comfortable, well-honed list of dos and don'ts and familiar expectations. In the total absence of tradition, learnt by rote during a long, insubordinate childhood, the simplest assumptions are either absent or quite simply false.
How one addresses another person can be a hurdle or a springboard into the complete unknown. A mere social faux pas from ignorance of norms? Or a cringing status violation unlikely to be easily forgiven? It all largely depends on the recipient of my polite but friendly greeting. Language skills, accomplished articulacy and a well polished vocabulary confirm status. Crass mistakes in sentence and even gender construction and major pronunciation malfunctions score low.
Yet we must forgive the political leader and royalty for their strange accent when they are tempted to abuse a foreign tongue with which we are already familiar. Their status demands automatic respect. Mine has to be earned the hard way. With few tools except a clumsy assault with a blunt instrument by way of my pidgin Danish. Or my last desperate; "Can you speak English" emblazoned on my verbal life saving ring. My language insecurity tends to produce this default behaviour as I roll on my semi-lingual back, show my teeth and pretend I am a harmless puppy to be baby talked.
No doubt her English was as good as mine though I did not want to spoil the occasion by being so rude as to test her skills with a local audience. If a person does not voluntarily sink to English by default then I tend not to push it. I left with my warm thanks for her kind assistance and she seemed pleased to have helped. While simultaneously polishing her skills at Danish in front of the home crowd. Meanwhile the local ladies remained obviously baffled by the entire proceedings.
It started spitting from a huge dark cloud as I left after coffee but it didn't amount to anything. Promised to be sunny later. It was, eventually. The roads were very wet in many places so I thanked the cycling gods for their kindness in keeping me mostly dry from the knees up. But if it should happen again I'd be grateful for being forewarned. So I could take a lighter pair of sunglasses to cope with the darker interludes. I tend to become inexplicably depressed when riding in dark sunglasses in anything but optimum lighting conditions. 20 hilly miles but going well. Now my hip is aching again.
Friday 27th 46F, 8C, quite still, high cloud. I have heard from the quack about my x-rays. Vitamins are normal but I have slight osteoporosis of the hip. A quick search shows that cycling is excellent for the heart and lungs but doesn't place enough stress on the bones to increase bone density. Tests have shown that serious cyclists suffer from bone calcium loss despite increased calcium intake over normal.
Walking is probably much better for the bones. Running risks overloading the joints from impact stresses. The problem may be exaggerated by my habit of spending most of my time off the trike on the computer. So I am going to add more walking to my activities. Further scans have been requested at the hospital so we'll see how that turns out. This is all very odd because I spent 11 hours a day on my feet constantly lifting weights until 3 years ago. I put the agonising pains in my hip and buttock (at the time) down to severely overloading my old bod!
The pains went away when I started cycling seriously but have recently come back again. I'm not just scribbling this for interest's sake. This information might be useful to other cyclists. If only as a warning to do some homework on the subject before they suffer from similar problems. It's not a matter of diet either. Our diet is far better than most with lots of organic fruit and veg, oily fish, seed, nuts, dried fruit and a good mix of roughage and dairy products with all the essential minerals and vitamins. Alcohol intake is also low and I have never touched Colas. Which are a known bone dissolver. Interestingly, dairy products are not particularly useful in increasing calcium uptake. Though I won't be removing them from my diet unless told to.
Saturday 28th 52-56F,11--13C, light winds building, sunny. 15 miles. No ill effects from yesterday's tromp across the fields. Except for the lingering guilt at having muddied the roads. I was chased for several miles by an elderly couple on a tandem. I was cheating by using a huge and very full shopping bag as a rear fairing. The UCI will be furious!
Sunday 29th 47-51F, 8-11C, cold, but breezy and sunny. Gusting to 10m/s/ 22mph later. The giant sprayers are out again for the second day in a row. The crops don't look any bigger than many lawns. What do the plants need so desperately which requires repeated spraying at such short intervals, onto almost bare earth, in such windy conditions?
It is surprising how small adjustments make a big difference on a trike. I noticed the tops of the handlebars were not level behind the levers. So I lifted them slightly and had instant comfort from the larger, level platform provided. I also straightened the saddle by a few millimetres at the nose and could feel the difference.
I lost, or had my wallet stolen in a local supermarket today. No money in there but I had to stop my bank card just in case. I went back an hour later and did the rounds trying to find it and asked the staff in the shop but no luck. I know I had it at the checkout because I took out my last note to pay for the goods. 21 miles.