Archive for the ‘General’ Category

LEL 2022 – It could have been worse – Day 1

August 2022 came and at the start of it I packed all my riding gear and headed to England to participate in the LEL2022, I read many comments in the forums on what to bring with me and what to take on the ride and my head was so confused so I packed a lot of stuff.
One thing I did as a preventive measure was to not send any bottles or supplements, instead I ordered them from the UK provided I use and had it send to my friends house so I didn’t have to pay for shipping.
I started the morning of the weekend  by heading to the Airport and seeing the sunrise over the plane that will take me to the UK.

The flight went OK and I had a bit of a scare when the over-size baggage station in Heathrow airport was unmanned when I arrived and I feared that my bike was lost, It was only a short break the person took and when he came back he proceeded to bring out the bike case.
Breathing calmly now I made my way into London and once I got to my friends house I went on assembling the bike and making sure everything is ready for the event, I packed the items i wanted for the drop bags and made sure to go over the bags again to ensure I am not missing anything – as you can understand the paranoia of forgetting something was very high.

The next day I made my way to the registration ( also known as the start/end point) and followed the lines of the registration, it went smooth and I chatted with the other rides lined up with me.

When I got my card and number ( K34) I noticed some funny irregularities – on my Brevet card it listed my nationality correct, but on the bike registration card it stated I am from Ireland, I went to the organisers and thanked them for the “upgrade”.

I finished all my prep and headed back to my friends house to rest and get ready for the morning, I checked the time table for the DLR and Tube that will take me to the start and was relieved to see I will have plenty of time before set off.

Sunday Morning 
I woke up at 6 AM anxious and excited, decided to have my breakfast at Debden and went to the DLR station, only to find out that the information I was given was wrong – first train at my stop is not at 06:28, but 06:42 so now I  am  behind on my schedule.

The train arrived and i made the change in Stradford  running to catch the tube to Debden station only to find out i am on the wrong branch, so I had to wait at the platform for the right on which would arrive in 12 minutes .

I arrived at Debden station at 7:38 and my set-off time is 8 AM, I needed to rush to the start line (thankfully this section i was already on my bike and did not rely on anyone else) , so i got on the bike with other riders and we headed to the start.

We arrived at 07:55 and I had a choice between making my start time or breakfast …. I headed to the start and lined up in my group

We started on time and it felt like a valve opened, all the pent up anxiety and trepidation were out and only the excitement and desire to ride remained.

We started heading out to the hills surrounding Debden and formed into some smaller groups, as I did not come with a group and was riding “alone” I tried to draft one of the groups and get some help while making acquaintances, the pace that some of the riders set was brisk and in some segments too fast for me so I was dropped back to groups that started in time slots behind me, which didn’t bother me one bit, as I was “riding my numbers” – aiming to keep a 24km/h average.

The day got hotter as we progressed and once we were out of the London hills it became flat – The Ferns, a stretch of  about 80km of flat roads with almost no shade and a constant slight headwind, at about 80km from the start i had my first stop in a bus stop for some food and rest

Riders went by me as I enjoyed the short stroll and drink, the temp on the Garmin showed we had 31c, It felt a bit cooler, maybe due to the wind or the lack of humidity in that area. I climbed back on the bike and kept on my way to St. Ives , as we neared the control point the first of the de-tours would happen – turns out the road a head had an unplanned closure and we had to find an alternate route,  I joined a group and we explored back routes till we found our way back to the official route, ( I think we added another 5 k to the ride – thankfully no elevation ), and then we reached the 1st control point – 100 (official) km done (12:52). Looking at my times – I was bang on schedule – even a bit a head of my times, so I allowed my self a short food break, refilled the water bottles, stamped my brevet card and back on the bike we were – Next stop Boston ( the original – not the copy in the US).

This is when the rolling hills started to come, nothing too demanding but on-going for a long while, the scenery was beautiful and I stopped to take some pictures,

at one town along the way I stopped in a square under a tree to rest and drink, a lovely lady whose house was just beside the green saw me and offered a cold drink and to refill my bottles, I was so embarrassed by her generosity and  hospitality that I thanked her multiple times, and she said that I am welcome to stop and say hello on the way back. As i got on the bike I managed to latch on to a group that was riding my pace and we made it to the Boston Control point together , 189 (Official ) Km, Done. Again a quick food break, water filling, card stamping  (18:01 ) and off we were, we had 60km left on the first day’s agenda

The hills came much thicker and faster in this last planned section for this day and the legs started to complain: gels , energy and protein bars were the main source of food for the day and they proved to help even when the hills came on, at 20:35 darkness fell,

after the steepest climb of the day, me and many more riders resigned and walked up that hill , all joining the “not ashamed” club gleefully. Going down that hill into Louth is where it stared to get risky, the night was upon us, the route was under trees with no lighting ( we all had torches on the bikes but still ….) , I managed to miss a turn and had to climb back up a steep section to resume the route to the control point, and my legs were “hinting” that they wanted some rest.

At 21:43 I made it to the Louth control point, 242 (official ) km done – Garmin stated  248km. I parked the bike and settled for a night’s food and rest.

I wanted to have a solid night rest to be able to continue for the 2nd day tomorrow, so I asked for a 5 AM wake-up, I tried to ask about the other Israeli rider from the volunteer team, but was unable to get anything, once I charged my phone I got the sad news  that he had to abandon due to technical issue.

Breaking the 400km

It is Passover here in Israel and I have been adding more rides to my training, so much so that today I passed the 400 KM cumulative distance I rode this month and we are just about half way done, I don’t think I’ll put in another 200 KM this month, but give the sessions I do on the trainer and the rides with the group, I think there is a strong chance that I will break the 600 this month. Which will be a good distance for the training.

It is funny to think about it now but I have a sensation that after the LEL2022 I will not be able to look at my bike for along while, although I have been known to be wrong about these things in the past.

If you (whom ever you are that are reading this) want to keep up to date on my training, you can find it all on my Strava profile

Today’s training was a bit of a mistake, I planned on doing 70Km and ended doing 81.3km, I am not complaining but it just goes to show that sometime it is the small mistakes that help in gaining things, in the last several rides I find that my average speed is now 24km/h or 15mp/h which is much faster then I was 4 month ago (I was struggling to break the 23km/h or 13mp/h and the best thing about it is that I was able to maintain that speed for my long ride ( granted it was relatively flat), but still for my fitness, the fact that I am recovering from COVID and my general riding preference, it is a big thing.
I just hope I’ll keep improving so I can do the ride and complete it. Fingers crossed.

Kicking in to Gear

The LEL2022 is getting closer and with it my trepidation of not being up to the task, I partially blame COVID for it, being sick and off the bike for a period of 6 weeks obviously did not help my preparation efforts.
Last week I decided that I need to add in more long distance rides to get my body and mentality ready for the event, so I planned for a long ride on Saturday, the first one with Daylight saving time, which ended being also the first hot weekend of the spring.
Never the less I started the ride at first light and put in the miles:

I rode from home to the northern border (in the past you could have seen Lebanon, but the gate is now fenced as to not give possible shooters any visibility across the border.
On the way back I felt the heat draining me and I had to stop 30K away from home and my initial planned distance. I was drained to the point that I was unable to walk to the car when my friend came to pick me up (2 m from the bench I was sitting on), luckily there was a traffic jam so by the time I got home I recovered enough to be able to walk home.

I need to add such rides to my training for the time that I have left.
I need to hope for cooler days, but with the summer starting, this maybe a hard thing to expect.

Brevet Tel Aviv 200 – Just ??

Last Thursday I did the Tel Aviv Brevet which was a 200km night ride.
Let me reiterate this, this is a night ride in July  in Israel. If you think you have hot days, know that the months of July and August are considered the hottest here in the Middle East and to those countries that have a shore line, the average humidity is ~70%, so that night we had the “lovely, cool” evening that at 1AM got to 25C, the rest of the time it was closer to 29C.

The ride itself started in the North of Tel Aviv and headed south, it took me an hour to get out of the city due to traffic and traffic lights so I was already behind on the pace I wanted to keep.
By the time I reached the less crowded roads I felt as though I was under pacing myself and that I packed less nutrition items then I would need.
the route itself was fairly flat in this section, but i did not allow myself to be lolled by this as I knew the route is taking me to the region at the foot of the Jerusalem mountains, so it will be rolling hills to over come.
At the first checkpoint (46.8km )I refilled my drinking bottles and grabbed a 5 minute break and some food, it felt good to be off the saddle but also had the feeling of “I am wasting time”, so I activated a music app on my phone and resumed the ride..
The next 15k were nice as it was slight down hill and had a tailwind that pushed me and helped me recover some “lost time”, but as i went off the well lit roads it started to creep on me how perilous it was, Did I mention that I was doing this solo ?
Both of the next two checkpoints were well lit, one being a petrol station was a dead ringer, but when I started heading back, that is when the problem started, my rear light died.
Thankfully I anticipated that and brought a power pack with me and plugged it in to charge, problem is, it won’t work while being charged.
I said Ok, and rode on….After another 4 km, my headlight died.
This is more serious so I stopped at a bus stop unplugged the rear light and started charging the head light ( which also won’t work while being charged), having only one cable meant I was able to charge one of them so I alternated between them, some time going without rear light and some time without a headlight.
Thankfully I made it back to the petrol station and was able to purchase another cable and plug both devices to be charged while I rest my legs and replenish my drinks.
The next leg of the ride was by all accounts the easiest section from a pace point of view but also started to be saddle sore, so I tried to peddle as many sections as I can while standing and not sitting, I manged to get to the last checkpoint and noticed that I am more then 2 hours behind my initial ride estimate, so I shorted my needed stop, and got back on the bike with a minimal stop.
I kept on charging my head/read lights to make sure I have enough to be seen till I get back, of course 15 minutes after I resumed riding, Sunrise started …
I was still 45k from the end but for some reason it felt much easier doing those kilometres although I did do several stops to ease my backside.
As I was getting close to the centre, and the early hours of Friday there were more cycling groups on the road, some were polite and others not so much.
One of them encouraged me to take the wheel of the last of their team riders, they were going at about 38km and while I was maybe pushing 29km, obviously i was not able to gain the benefit to draft them.
Slow, tired but steadily I entered Tel Aviv and made my way back to the peer where I started, the place was packed with joggers and cyclists too and I looked at them with envy as they don’t have to do what i just went through.
As I looked at my phone I to stop the music, I saw that there is an invite from my cycling group for a training session happening right now, It took me less then a second to decline and head home.

Still in Covid days – turmoil all around

….So we are still stuck with the COVID-19 virus, Yay :-( !!
And to add insult to injury the kids have started the school summer break, Are you effing kidding me ? the school year was barely a 4 month of school and now they need 2 more month of not doing anything, that is just brilliant way to help this generation advancing their study.


Things are not changing much in my space, again a job change, this one of my design, I really liked the position and the impact I was having on the company, but there were 2 factors that “drove” me out:

  1. The company decided to move to a full work at the office ( 5 days a week), which for me was a big NO.
  2. The person I worked under was a micromanager, and was poor in listening – I tried to ask him for some training and push my ideas in our 1-on-1 meetings and for 4 month got no where. On month 9 of my work there I had a talk with HR and raised that issue, and all of a sudden he is willing to let me speak in meetings.

So after the 1st item came up I reached the conclusion that it is time to go,they hired another person and I went to work for a consulting company. They seem to like my services but they are doing thing in a very badly managed way.
Training is going slow – the heat is not conductive to training and the time in the morning is divided between kids and the new K9 – Shugi

He is a wonderful dog and very friendly.

The last thing that threw me to a spin was that my old company ( pre-Covid) started hiring for my old position, obviously I want back but now need to see how this will pan out.

Oh, and I started my PADI IDC course training ….


In case of Covid, break …

I am not sure if there is really anything left to say about the situation that hasn’t been said, 2020 started of bad and went worse every day since . Wild fires, floods, the Amazon burning, Covid are we withnessing a new version of the ten plagues with a combination of all the other natural disaters that are atttributed to Ming the Merciless.

Last week I learned that a person I knew died from Covid-19, granted he was 85 years old and not in the best of health, but he still he could have been around still if not for that virus, I try to keep the advice of the medical experts in order to keep my family safe and I get annoyed and fustrated when I see others the ignore the warning.

I started a new job at the end of June and I think I spent less then 20 days in total in the office, by choice, as there is the possibility to get a permit and come to the office, but i feel safer working from home and I can help (though not as much as I would like)  a bit with the kids while they have no school.

My daughter is starting her teen years and that is a new challange and I Know I am not doing a good job, but any approche I try I seem to do the wrong thing, so I am not sure if it is me or just the teen phase… Oh, well, I’ll just pay for the therapy in 10 years.

My writing venture has been put on hold, it seems that I needed the train commute to be creative and productive, but with the lockdown and the Covid-19 not letting go, I am not using the train so no writing.

To end on a good note, i lost 2.5Kg during the first lockdown, now lets see if i can keep that trend (doubt it) .


Job hunting & some cycling

Since the Covid-19 struck, I have been in turmoil both in the home front and the work side.

The company I worked for was involved in the public transport and as the world embraced the lockdown and physical distancing the public transport industry has gone to a forced hibernation, which in turn had many companies, including the one I worked for lay off personnel.

I have the misfortune to be one of these people that found themselves with out work and I have been interviewing and searching for more then 2 month now.

It gave me some time to study, but as the time to find a job is becoming longer my motivation to study and do things wains and I suspect the depression of not securing a job will come in soon.

Last week I interviewed for a company, and in the beginning I was hesitant about the position, but the more I delved into the details and it’s requirements the more intrigued I became in the job and I find myself anxious to here from them to see if I progressed to the next stages.

So, lets hope.


As a side note – since the lockdown put a serious hindrance to my training for the LEL2021 , I resumed my training three weeks ago with simple 30Km rides (with some moderate hills to see how I cope), which was ok, this weekend I tried to push myself and did a 30km lap of a route while pushing to shorten the time, I managed to shave 12 minutes from the lap I did with my ride partner, and then I added another 20km of slow ride just to put some more time in the saddle.

I am happy with the progression, but I have a L O N G  way ahead of me to be ready for next year. No rest for the foolish.

Covid-19 crazy ideas

The boredom  of staying at home with the kids has drove many of us to become creative with how to engage the kids and keep them occupied.

For some time we tried a “home made gym” and that worked well, until they broke the main component, then we tried cycling trainer with down hill videos but the novelty of if wore off when they started “competing” who won (of course the videos were random so the kids got frustrated soon).

Now we found a project that might be a three pronged attack, we are going to translate the English version of Harry Potter to Morse code, this has the benefit of a long project, improve her English reading, teach her  Morse code and allow us to spend time together,  we started with the 1st book and done the 1st sentence, I will post our progress here.


Harry potter and the philosopher Stone

Chapter one

– …. . -… — -.– .– …. — .-.. .. …- . -..

— .-. .- -. -.. — .-. … -.. ..- .-. … .-.. . -.– — ..-. -. ..- — -… . .-. ..-. — ..- .-. .–. .-. .. …- . – -.. .-. .. …- . .– . .-. . .–. .-. — ..- -.. – — … .- -.– – …. .- – – …. . -.– .– . .-. . .–. . .-. ..-. . -.-. – .-.. -.– -. — .-. — .- .-.. – …. .- -. -.- -.– — ..- …- . .-. -.– — ..- -.-. ….




Silly aspirations

For a long time I have been faffing about with the idea of writing something.

Back in the days of serious gaming I wrote some short stories, started a couple of book ideas, and even started writing some of my military service escapades ( till I realised what it should never be published and I made sure to get rid of it).

In the last five or six month I have been developing a script for a TV show, keeping it as a mental exercise and trying to get it to a point where I may try to send it out and see it might be picked.

I got most of the pilot sorted with regards to plot and where I want to take it, and I am about one third into the 1st episode, and the more I write the characters the more conflicted I am about if or how I can choose a main character from the collection I’ve created.

Keeping in the concept of the plot I do not want to have a specific person be the centre of the plot, I want this to be an ensemble progress, where everyone is as important to the story and the overall progress.

Harder to do then I imagined.

I may write about it here in the future, but don’t wait.

More likely I’ll upload some of my older stuff, based on some of my gaming characters… we’ll see.



That time again

It has been a year since I last posted here and SO much has happened I am not sure where I can start.

I’ll start with some good news, my bid to participate in the LEL2021 has been accepted and I am excited and nervous about it as it will be a ride like I’ve never done before, for the 2 of you that read this, follow the link and understand the madness of it.

In other stuff, Yum Kippur is nearly here again and I am planning to do another night ride where I collect discarded plastic bottles, drinking cans and Glass bottles from the side of the road in an attempt to make the roads cleaner and help keep our planet and environment habitable a little longer, and I managed to convince a friend to join me for both things.

The kids are growing up and that is wonderful/troublesome/frustrating/amazing ( take what you want) and each day is a new one with it’s little surprises and quirks, and by the end of it all i want to do is collapse and rest, but not every day I get to do that.

I had my Shinsa (martial arts exam) for Sho-dan ( first degree black belt ) in Aikido , that happened 2 weeks after I dislocated my knee, so the exam itself was shorter then planed as I had problems standing or walking or anything not involving sitting or laying down and I could not reschedule the exam due to out side factors. Well, all’s well that end’s well.

We had a trip to the New Forest in the south of England, and the kids were so happy, it felt like coming home in a way: running outside, playing, watching horses roam free in the towns and meadows, it made me miss our life in the UK even more.

I hope to resume writing here, or at least more frequently, now that I am going back on a training plan… time will tell.