Monthly Archives: December 2009

Wetness

A manic week or so. Christmas is now behind us and New Year’s looms on the horizon. Thoughts are turning to next year, and what I plan to achieve. Is it time to make resolutions? Well, one of mine is of course to ride the bike as much as possible, but there are more fundamental things, like seeing my family more, as well as my own friends. For this, I need to plan more. I need to know my schedule more in advance and possibly book flights / tunnel / ferries a lot further out.

I will re-visit this at a later point.

The last few days has been spent with family. I have been also trying to get in some riding, but the weather here is just non-stop rain. For me, the rain isn’t something that actually puts me off riding, but it just makes the preparation last so much longer. You end up getting cold and wet while getting the bikes ready and that is hardly something that makes a ride attractive. Once you are actually riding though, it is okay. Then you arrive back home and promptly transfer all of that dirt and wetness into the house, have to wash everything, ensure you clean the bike before that goes away (or at least hose it down and use a water repelling spray on it) and then clean and feed yourself. It is all of this that takes massive amounts of time, and makes every ride a mission.

I was rather proud of myself though. I managed to get a ride in on Christmas day, as well as a swim. The swim is something we do each year, and it is a 15 mile ride from the house. Was great to stretch the legs on the fattest day of the year.

So…. rain…. perhaps I should get a home trainer?

Getting it wrong

There are so many mistakes that I have made as a rider over the years. Silly mistakes… stupid mistake…. costly mistakes. I thought it might be fun to list some of them, there are plenty more, but these are just a few of my favourites!

  • Seeing if it was possible to remove and refit the valve extender from a fitted tub, only to discover that it wasn’t possible to refit, causing me to have to unglue and reglue the tyre to the rim. Those of you who have never used tubs, this is not a fun job and means that the wheel cannot be used for 24hrs.
  • Not listening to what my body tells me – I wretched before the ride. I knew something was wrong during the morning ‘thinking time’ and yet I still got on the bike and did 40 miles off road. I even rode PAST my house about 30 miles in. That bloaty feeling didn’t leave though, and 10 miles from my house I hit the wall. Blood sugar crash, feeling sick, the works. I had to call a cab to take me home, and got him to stop twice on route to be sick. Food poisoning and no nutritian for the whole day had gone in.
  • Day before big race, I decide to drop the forks out of my race bike, only to have the headset disintegrate. I had to phone my bike shop, get them to stay late that day, drive there and have them fit a new one. Not ideal preperation.
  • Johny big potatoes -In Austria I rode past the same guy twice on a big climb.  The second time, he asked me where I had been.  I told him about a technical single-track that I take and often do.  He told me he knew it, but asked how I managed to ride it on my fully rigid bike.  He was riding a full suspension machine and had pads in his backpack.  I was wearing lycra.  I looked at him and said that it was simple, I just don’t crash, and if you don’t crash you don’t need all of that stuff.  I rode off downhill, first corner, fast, graceful.  Second corner, front tyre washes out and I go sliding across the fire road at 30mph.  I smashed myself up quite well, but jumped back on the bike and rode as fast as I could.  There was no way I wanted him to catch me.
  • Not me this one.  –  In Switzerland with a good friend of mine, he was showing me the local trials.  We were riding for a few hours by this point when we got to about 20 steps.  I hopped off and walked down them, but we claimed they were ridable.  This, I didn’t doubt, but I was not in my own country and had to fly the next day.  I didn’t want to risk it.  He set off riding the steps and half way down got it wrong.  He glanced the cliff wall, which put a 5 cm laceration in his calf muscle.  It took us another hour to reach the hospital, but fortunately we had a first aid kit with us.  The cut looked like it had been done with a knife.  At the hospital I was able to show them precisely what had happened.  I had recorded it as a video on my phone (unfortunately long lost).
  • Turning my bike around on a cattle grid.
  • Not listening to what my body tells me, II.  –  Last year in Germany, I simply didn’t drink enough.  It was a hot day, and I felt good riding.  But not enough fluid was consumed and my body shut down once I got home.  I was sick, and curled up on the bathroom floor, shivering and being sick for the next 3 hours.  Not nice.
  • Driving somewhere to go riding, and forgetting my shoes having to turn around and come home.

Just ride

Simetimes it is just about riding a bike. My plan is to become fitter than I have been for the last couple of years, that is no secret, but what normally happens is that the path there, the planning to achieve your aims can get in the way of the name of the game itself.

In order to be faster on the bike, at it’s most basic level, I need to ride my bike more. For the moment, this is what I am concentrating on. That means, If I think I can squeeze a ride in, if I have an hour in which to do some pedaling, then just do it. Truth of the matter is that while structured training, training plans and hours spent riding a day would see a lot more progress, opportunist training will also have an effect.

I think what I am saying is that anything is better than nothing.

My plan this week is to use the bike to commute. It is cold, it is miserable and it is dark. But, and this is the point, at least I have ridden.

Airlines and flying

Something I will update from time to time……

Hong Kong and Home

Wow, my head is full of fuzz.  Too many drinks, not enough sleep.  I need to stop and process the last few days… both in terms of work and personally.

I took advantage of my traveling freedom, so that on the way back from Taiwan, I stopped in Hong Kong for dinner.  I know people everywhere, partly because of studying languages, and partly because of having worked in translation.  It is one of the things that I value most in the whole world.  I love the mix of cultures and knowing people living all over the world, I can really submerse myself.  In Hong Kong I was visiting an ex-colleague and very good friend.

With languages one of the difficult things is knowing if you are coming across as the person that you really are.  No one, no matter how much they speak or use a language will ever be able to fully express themselves in a second language, being able to master the nuances of emotion.  I find it with German, and sometimes I worry that parts of my personality are lost.  Some might actually see that as an advantage.

I thought about this a lot last night…. Between the 18 beers and 8 glasses of white wine, or whatever we had.  The point is, I felt that I witnessed my friend for the first time.  I have never really been around her when she has been speaking Cantonese.  Last night, it was just like having her there, everything I like about her, but plus 20%.  I didn’t understand anything….  I didn’t get the in jokes, I didn’t know what was going on, and just let it all unfold in front of me.  Everyone was hugely welcoming, and I will return as soon as I can.  Her fiance, their friends, the whole night.  Even the dodgy karaoke (which didn’t have my karaoke song on it) was fun, taking place in her Fiance bar.…. Fun to the point of loosing my voice.

Bar Life in Privacy

I didn’t really get many photos, as I was only there for 12 hours.  It was about spending time with my friend, relating and relaxing.  We went out for some great food though.  In Taiwan, we spend most of our time eating Thai food, Japanese and Italian….  strange as local food is so good, but it seems to just be the way it it.  We went out though to a rather well known restaurant….

Dinner, at 1am.....

My friend told me that washing the implements in green tea to sterilize them was a custom.  Struck me as odd, but I think I have heard about it before…..

I went this morning to the airport without having slept.  It is not the best way to fly, and I insisted that if I was to stay out all night, then I wanted to have a shower.  A friend of my friend was getting married today, and was out drinking.  At 4 am they went to a hotel….. at 5am I was taken to their hotel room, where they were fast asleep.  I nipped into their bathroom, had a shower and then left them the following thank you note on the mirror.

I hope they appreciated it!

I hope they also took a photo….. I can imagine it becoming the thing of legend whenever they talk about their wedding…

Good day

Today was extremely positive and I now have more of an idea about what this show is about.  Actually, it is more like a series of meetings rather than a show, and perhaps that is why it is uninteresting for the press.  Everything is behind closed doors, but things actually seem to get done, rather than everything disappearing into the ‘glam’ of other, more public bike exhibitions.  There is a rumour that next year this will be a proper show, but at the moment it is spread across four hotels in Taichung.  Meetings take place in hired meeting rooms, or in hotel rooms.  There are bike people walking from room to room, and hotel to hotel.  Additionally there is a hotel out of town, which is a ‘product university’.  Manufacturers give presentations to a room of people about their products.  I have not been yet, but I think it could be worth doing for us too.

I have had a number of interesting meetings today.  I think some real progress has been made.  What is nice is that this is a lot more relaxed than any of the other shows.  It might be the lack of media here that does it, or the fact that it is a trade only event.  It means that people are willing to talk, and you know that what is said wont be repeated.  It is a code, of sorts.  The first rule of fight club…..

I did take a number of pictures today though as I walked around.  I can’t really comment on what I saw or was discussed, but I have convinced myself that I will return next December to extend our OEM business.

Art

Bike route?!

No Access

Too cool for school

No Access

Hmmmm?

It continues

Today I am sat in a Suite in the Tempus hotel in Taichung. I am on the 11th floor overlooking a frankly pretty ugly skyline. Below me I can see the swimming pool and spa area, which I plan to use in the coming days.  It is my first time in Taichung, and, so far, it feels pretty much like Taipei.  It looks similar too, although perhaps I am being unfair.  I have barely left the hotel.

This is a strange show.  It is strange because there is a ‘need to know’ air around it.  Products are being shown, but cameras are a no no.  Products are also behind closed doors.  I haven’t seen anything at all yet.  Nothing.  But I know.  I know but cannot tell!

SRAM are here, Shimano are milling around…. in fact someone from Shimano USA came looking for my friend Jeff today.  He isn’t here.  I asked though if there was anything interesting from them here.  He just smiled.  And that’s the point.  I don’t need to know.  I am not building a range of bikes, I don’t need to plan budgets and production runs.  I don’t need to co-ordinate just in time deliveries, and nor are you.

Tomorrow I plan to have a proper look about.  The show is spread across a number of hotels, and it would be good to be seen.  It would be good to just chat with industry people.

Sorry to disappoint Michele.