Not a Race Report: London to Brighton, Fathers Day 2014

“I want to do a challenge this year”

“OK, sweetheart.  What do you fancy?”

“Not sure yet”

<2 days later>

“I’ve found it” (sobbing)

“Found what?”

“The Challenge” (sob)

“Ok… err, are you OK?”

“It’s London to Brighton, for the British Heart Foundation. I want to do it for you in memory of your Dad. On Fathers Day”

<Sob>

<Sob>

So that’s how it started over Christmas.  Since then, Mrs G has got a bike and the necessary kit. She’s trained hard every week since she anxiously signed up to this years ride.  She’s been soaked out in the pouring rain and been sunburnt by early morning rays.  And today she did it. And she raised hundreds of pounds. And she’s great!

But Clare can tell the story about what is was like for her.  I’ll write about what it was like for me.

My special wife has honoured the memory of my Dad in a very special way today.  Not only has she dedicated herself to an extremely stretching physical challenge.  She’s completed that challenge in a way that would do him proud.  Working hard.  Never giving up. Doing it with a smile on her face. But it’s about more than that.

As a family, we live a long way apart.  We’re 180 miles from my Mum and 130 miles away from my sister and we don’t see enough of each other.

But today my Mum enjoyed spending time looking after my kids.  My sisters house was close enough for me to drop around unexpectedly. I spent an hour driving with my niece and nephew, chatting and laughing the whole way. We all spent a morning together enjoying each others relaxed and easy company in a way that was entirely natural.  But that all happens far too seldom.

Today my wife was the focal point and she wanted to do something to celebrate our memory of my Dad.  We are all incredibly proud of her.  But rather than viewing today as an exercise in remembering my Dad I see it differently.

Today was a day when we lived life the way my Dad would be proud of – and Clare made that happen.  So this Fathers Day I’m not looking back at what I lost 20 years ago when my Dad passed away.  I’m looking forward.  I need to do more of what  he and Clare conspired to help me gain today. Maybe I need to behave a bit more like he would and work harder at pulling our family as close together as possible.  We should do more of this casual family stuff, it’s good.

Thanks Mrs G

Mr & Mrs G

Mr & Mrs G

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The blog of a bike maintenance failure

My new bike has Easton RT90 wheels on and a pair of huge 28mm tyres which I’m finding comfy but sluggish so, when I received my new Conti GP4000 tyres through the post a few days ago, I was eager to put them on my bike.

New Conti Rubber

New Conti Rubber

Setting off in to my cluttered garage I got ready to start work and dug out my handy little tyre levers after popping open a bottle of beer. I swiftly (but carefully) took the wheels off and sat down on an old dining chair to set to work.

And then I ran in to a problem.

The tyres wouldn’t come off. I couldn’t get any purchase on them to get the hooky part of the lever under the tyre. After about 20 frustrating minutes I decided You Tube was the answer having concluded that the tyres must be tubeless and stuck on.

Clearly I am one of the few people to have ever had trouble getting tubeless tyres off a road bike (are they stuck on??) as not even You Tube – the worlds second biggest search engine – had the answer.

Determinedly returning to my task I grabbed another cold beer and went back in to my humid garage. There was still not shifting them. The best I could do was get two tyre levers engaged at different ends of the wheel but couldn’t get the tyre off. In frustrated defeat I retired for the night, prowling the depths of You Tube to find a solution and ruing the loss of two tyre levers that has expired for the cause.

The Offending Articles

The Offending Articles

After cursing the invention of tubeless tyres whilst reading through countless accolades, I decided to take the offending items to my trusty local bike shop.

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Within 30 seconds the guy at the shop had frowned, mumbled something, fiddled with a tyre lever and released the first tyre from the wheel. It turns out that they’re just normal clinchers with tubes in so no glue, no new techniques needed, just good old technique and common sense …. both of which I am lacking in abundance. Then it was my turn to mumble something, buy a new set of tyre levers (to justify the trip) and scuttle out in embarrassment.

My New Tyre Levers

My New Tyre Levers

After kicking and cursing myself, but before closing the boot of the car, I had taken the tyre off the other wheel and drove back wondering what kind of meltdown I must have been having on Tuesday evening to get in such a pickle.

Just another one to add to the list of practical failures…..