Believe or not completing this on the very last day of the month was according to plan. Since last weekend when it was clear that Spring was coming this week and that cycling was back on the cards I’d planned to do my 100K spin yesterday. However, a bit of over exuberance and lack of thought on route choices on Friday left me with a much bigger week than expected. This forced me to rearrange the weekend and make Saturday a recovery day.
As I said yesterday recovery rides are not my forte. I set out with the best of intentions but it usually ends up a normal ride, slightly slower and with my cadence on the higher side. My legs were tired and achy yesterday which forced me to focus on my form and actually resulted in a proper low power and heart rate spin at a higher cadence. As a result today felt great.
In Covid times I’m still not comfortable being very far from home so I chose to ride a similar route to last month. I shortened it slightly to give me 2 full laps of approx 37km plus a final shorter lap of approx 26km. I felt the meal break at 50km was too early last month but 75km turned out to be perfect today. It was nice to get back to the house, eat something proper and stretch out for a bit. Having a short lap to finish was also a nice mental boost to get going again.
The nicest part of the day was just under 5km from home. A little girl, about 7 years old, came along the pavement just as I was pulling away from traffic lights. She called out “I saw you this morning too”. She was absolutely delighted with herself and full of happiness. It put a big smile on my face that took me all the way home.
I’m heading back to work on Saturday and the weather is set to be good again all week. If all goes according to plan I hope to repeat this ride on Thursday 🤞
To put that in perspective I’ve cycled further in the last seven days than I did for either of the whole months of December (173km) and January (206km). The dramatic change is down to a big improvement in the weather. Spring (or is it “fool’s Spring“) finally arrived on Sunday and somehow managed to hang around all week. Tuesday was the only blip as another storm blew in but it was a price worth paying for the rest of the week.
It’s taken a toll though, going from virtually nothing to this level. Last night I was very tired. My legs were aching and this morning I had an annoying tightness in my calves. My original plan was to get my February Metric Challenge spin done today but yesterday’s spin, with a very tough climb in the middle, was the wrong preparation for that on top of the rest of the week.
I decided to switch my 100km plan to tomorrow and instead went for a 26km recovery spin this morning. My legs are so much happier this evening which should make tomorrow a lot more enjoyable.
I’ve managed to get a decent variety of spins too. Four of them were reasonably hilly varying from 32 to 62km on similar but slightly different routes, one was a cadence interval session on a flatter route and today was an active recovery on the same route.
The last two are something different for me. I’ve never really done a proper interval spin or recovery ride before. The cadence ride was a mix of low/high cadence to build power in my legs and today was a proper high cadence, low power/heart rate ride. Riding slow and easy is more difficult than you would think but I definitely needed it today and focused to make sure I did it properly.
I’ve also managed to keep up the walking. As the evenings are stretching out I’ve been able to get home, get cleaned and changed, eat and relax for at least an hour before going for a decent walk. The last few days though I’ve stopped carrying the additional weight as my legs have tired with the consecutive days of cycling.
photos from the week
The weather is set to continue with no rain forecast until Sunday next week and thankfully a respite from the pretty strong winds I fought for most of last week. I also got news that I’m needed back to work at the end of next week so I plan to make the most of this good spell and get March off to a good start while I have the time.
Magic and murder engulf the realm of Kelewan. Fierce warlords ignite a bitter blood feud to enslave the empire of Tsuranuanni. While in the opulent Imperial courts, assassins and spy-master plot cunning and devious intrigues against the rightful heir. Now Mara, a young, untested Ruling lady, is called upon to lead her people in a heroic struggle for survival. But first she must rally an army of rebel warriors, form a pact with the alien cho-ja, and marry the son of a hated enemy. Only then can Mara face her most dangerous foe of all–in his own impregnable stronghold. An epic tale of adventure and intrigue. Daughter of the Empire is fantasy of the highest order by two of the most talented writers in the field today.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
On my review of the final Liveship Traders book I said that it was one of the series of books that I read a long time ago but have always stuck with me. This is one of the others. I’d say this is definitely the third but possibly the fourth time I’ve read this brilliant series.
I’m a big fan of Feist and I’ve also enjoyed a couple of Wurts‘ books. This collaboration takes the best of both authors and combines them into a very original and fantastically complex story.
The story is completely set on the Tsurani world of Kelewan first introduced by Feist in the first Riftwar Saga Magician and runs at approximately the same timeline. The Tsurani live in a society dominated by honour and magic with families constantly in conflict in the political and deadly Game of the Council. The society and customs are clearly influenced by the eastern cultures of ancient Japan and China but with enough originality to make it feel alien.
This first book of the series builds the foundation of Mara as leader of one of the oldest families and how her life is turned upside down by the betrayal and murder of her father and brother. She is forced to turn her back on the religious life and take control of the family to prevent its total destruction by their enemies.
It is a refreshing change to see a strong female character at the heart of an old fantasy story. Feist has been criticised for his treatment of women during the Riftwar Saga but he very much overcomes that with the Empire Trilogy with obvious influences from Wurts.
It’s been a long time since I rode two days back to back. That was August last year when I was doing the 31 Days of Biking challenge. The majority of those were simple 25km 1 hour spins so it’s even longer since I did this kind of mileage over two consecutive days. It’s nothing ground breaking at just under 100km but considering how little I’ve been riding since the New Year I’m happy with that.
The big push to get out today is because we have yet another storm to hit overnight tonight and tomorrow with the whole country on yellow alert and some areas (not us thankfully!) on orange.
Today’s weather was pretty much like yesterday: mild, dry and windy. Again the wind was stronger than I was fully comfortable with but the day was too good to waste. Following a post from tempocyclist I’ve bought a little Bluetooth clicker and took the opportunity to do some posing also.
One of the best things about the last two days has been the ability to drop some of the winter gear. A layer has gone up top, the winter leggings are replaced by leg warmers, the shoe covers are gone and the gloves are now lightweight spring/autumn ones. After the storm the forecast for the rest of the week is looking good again so I’m hoping for a positive cycling finish to the month🤞
After all the rain and storms of the last couple of weeks today has seen a change. I’ve been watching the forecast all week hoping it wouldn’t change and despite it being a bit windier this morning than expected I finally got back out on the road bike. It’s been 11 days since my last ride and as that was on the MTB it’s 13 since I was on the road bike. Felt great to be back out today.
The sun was shining and despite a strong headwind (35-40km/hr) for most of the ride it was a really great day to be out. After all the rain the air was so clear and visibility was fantastic. On the top of the valley above Castlederg I could see as far as Errigal and Muckish and The Sperrins on the opposite side.
The route was a new one for me that I found using the Strava Routes option and modified very slightly. Some of it was familiar but the last time I rode the climb out of Clady was 2016! This is definitely a route I’ll ride again as it was a good mix of climbs with good road surfaces and as a bonus I didn’t have to climb the last bit to get home.
Tomorrow the Spring weather is to continue with a little less wind so today was only 30km to spin the legs back up for a longer ride tomorrow.
Investigating a plane crash in the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan discovers in a most disturbing way that the evidence doesn’t add up. Tripping over a coyote-chewed leg at the crash scene, she performs a little mental arithmetic and realizes that this victim wasn’t on the plane. Once again, Brennan’s high-tech DMORT snaps into action faster than you can say “Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team.” The author of <a href="http://cart2.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?isbn=0671011375 “>Death du Jour serves up another exquisite meal.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This was really good. The story switched from being based mostly in Montreal to North Carolina which broke the story nicely from the previous books. It also took in two different investigations that were nicely connected by Tempe’s involvement.
Both storylines were pretty unusual and I enjoyed them both but it was the detail provided on the air crash investigation that I found most interesting. The author provides details that I’ve never seen in a novel before that gave great insight without bogging the reader down with technical jargon or information overload.
I also enjoyed the character of the female Sheriff Crowe. A no-nonsense yet helpful and strong female character, she provided a nice counterpart to Tempe’s impulsiveness and sometimes flighty nature. I’d like to see more of her.
The only downside for me was the adolescent nature of the relationship between Tempe and Ryan. It jarred with the rest of the story and does nothing for Tempe’s character development. It makes her look weak especially alongside Crowe’s character. I hope the author can change that in later books or it could end up going the way of the Scarpetta books!
My last spin on the bike was a MTB recovery spin the day after my half marathon walk. That was Wednesday last week!
Since then there has been a series of nasty weather fronts that have crossed the country. Some of these have involved heavy spells of rain, we had one day of snow and virtually every day has been very windy or even stormy. We’ve had 4 yellow weather warnings and one of those was upgraded to orange for part of the day.
An often quoted phrase states “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes“. While I do agree with this to a certain extent I’m not a fan of cycling in extreme weather. Ice and thick fog are definite show stoppers for me but I tend not to go out in stormy weather either, especially if there is a risk of heavy rain. Stormy weather can be dangerous to ride in but for me it’s just not any fun!
I haven’t been sitting on my arse though. Over the last 8 days I’ve walked every day and twice on a couple of days. I’ve managed to rack up almost 63km over 10 walks. Only one was a short walk (2km) on Tuesday when I had a stomach bug. Despite pretty much hating cycling in wind and rain I somehow don’t mind walking in the same conditions.
From the dangerous world of the Demon Cycle comes the early adventures of Arlen, Peter V. Brett’s quintessential fantasy hero. These exciting origin tales follow Arlen as he learns to navigate a world where the elemental forces of evil conjure themselves from the earth each night.
Humanity has barely survived a demonic onslaught by using magical wards that protect their cities and homes. Only a handful of mercenaries and explorers risk traveling after the sun sets. Arlen, seeking adventure and fortune, is barely protected by the warded armor upon which he has inscribed intricate defensive runes. From a journey ferrying a wagonload of dynamite to a mountain stronghold, to a dangerous mission to recover desert treasures, Arlen faces friends and enemies with a strong arm and a cunning wit.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Two short stories set between the first and second books of the series. This is the first of three novellas published on a similar theme.
The first story is of Arlen on one of his early Messenger trips as an apprentice and is completely new to the overall series. The second details the interaction between Arlen and Abban after he has become Par’Chin to the Krasians. It explains how he received the map to the ancient city of Anoch Sun. This is referred to in the main series but never explained fully.
I really enjoyed these. They give a chance to return to the Demon Cycle Universe without rehashing the story and also add in details that enrich the main story. Highly recommended for anyone that has finished the main series or even part way through.
CARRYING REACHER DNA, CAMERON IS ON THE ROAD TO GET JACK REACHER.
Orphaned and alone, Cameron follows in his father’s footsteps until he is pitched neck-deep into a conspiracy that spans from Washington’s most secretive agency to the mountains of Wyoming.
Deep in Northern Wyoming, in the dead of winter, CIA Agent Alex Shepard is desperate. A few days ago, he sent an undercover agent to the Red Rain Indian Reservation. When his man was supposed to check-in, Shepard heard nothing. No report. No communication.
With a major snowstorm fast-approaching, Shepard’s secret mission is in peril. He thinks that his agent is dead. He has no time left. And lives are on the line.
Enter Cameron Reacher–Shepard’s one hope to recover his agent and stop an unthinkable terrorist plot.
Now Cameron will face the harsh, winter elements; a reluctant and beautiful tribal deputy; and a hidden enemy.
My Rating: ⭐⭐
This was a refreshing change for me as the last few books I’ve read have been quite complex in terms of both character and storyline. This certainly isn’t.
Saying that it’s quite poorly written with a weak and implausible storyline full of repetition and great leaps based on intuition more suited to an experienced adult than an 18 year old explained away as genetic memory from a father he never knew.
As with the first book in the series this was reissued a few years later with the adult Jack Widow character. I haven’t been able to get a download of that version but if my previous experience is carried through that may be a better read.
This is an easy read and reminds me of a cross between the 80s versions of The A Team and Magyver. Just forget about believability and quality and go with the flow and you will get the most out of it.
I came across this in a Bikepacking.com article. Although it’s a new phrase for me it’s definitely one I’ve experienced before!
Type 2 fun is miserable while it’s happening, but fun in retrospect. It usually begins with the best intentions, and then things get carried away. Riding your bicycle across the country. Doing an ultramarathon. Working out till you puke, and, usually, ice and alpine climbing. Also surely familiar to mothers, at least during childbirth and the dreaded teenage years.