Sunday, February 01, 2009

Arbeit macht frei

Starting on a cheery note...

I watched a two hour doco on the story of Anne Frank t'other night. It was interesting, with interviews with many of the surviving protagonists, and predictably harrowing.

After Anne's family was arrested while hiding in Amsterdam in 1944, they were sent to various concentration camps. Poor old Anne and her sister Margot died of typhus, their mother starved to death, most of their friends died, but their father Otto managed to survive and eventually published Anne's famous diary.

The Nazis really had it in for the Jews, and just about everyone else. Glad they lost.

On the subject of harrowing experiences, I also went to Milton Keynes (via Birmingham of all places) during the week. It was for a worthy cause - a bike show - but all the same. We stayed in a weird place called Whittlebury Hall, about 15 minutes outside the city. It was modern trying to be historical and I found it rather unsettling.

Shopping at Morrisons on Saturday afternoons is not quite as harrowing, but it's up there. At least you can buy chocolate, beer and other essential comestibles.

Weather-wise, it's turning chilly again with Actual Snow(tm) predicted for the next couple of days. If it's any good I'll take pics. I doubt I'll be riding in it, although fresh snow is usually not too slippery. It's when it turns to ice that it gets tricky.

I managed a measly 1420km for January, a couple of hundred down on what I'd planned 'cos of ice/illness. Still, I'm faster than I was last January and that's what counts. I'm typically averaging 30-32km/h on my long rides: those sorts of speeds took me until July to get to last year. To do that when it's 2 degrees and there's an icy 30km/h nor'easter blowing is even better.

A handy discovery I've made and sort of known all along: Snickers bars rule for long rides. They're not pure carbohydrate, I know, but I find them much easier to stomach than muesli bars or other more designer things like Clif bars. Gels work but they cost too much. Snickers are nice 'n cheap. Today I did 4.5 hours on one Snickers and one Uncle Toby's chocolate oat bake. I should have just had two Snickers. As soon as I took a bite, the bitter wind didn't seem so bad so I was able to stupidly continue riding into it somewhere near Warminster.

Thinking back to Belgium, a lot of guys used to race on one Snickers and a couple of gels. Nothing for the first hour, Snickers for the second hour, gels for the final. That meant if you didn't make it into a decent group you wouldn't waste your gels :-)

The Chippenham club do last weekend was excellent. The club had nearly 440 members at the end of last year, making it the biggest real club in the UK (we reckon). 100-odd people turned up to the dinner, including the colourful cycling personalities David Duffield and Keith Butler. I don't quite know how it happened but we were all fairly merry before we'd even sat down to dinner. There were approx. 800 trophies to hand out and our table (Ben, Simon, Mark Hanby, Richard Farrow, Gary Walker, Chris Tweedie were all on it) ended up with a goodly proportion of them. I think we were all sat together near the front to save time.

I took home the club TT championship (might count that as win no. 16 in 2008), a couple of plates for breaking the 25 and 50 mile records, first in the West DC 25 mile teams championship and second in the evening 10 series. Ben won the road race championship, the evening 10 series, the club 25 and 50 mile championships and probably a bit more; Andy won the club best all rounder trophy, Richard and Simon won the lottery two-up. Etcetera, and so on.

Notable others: Chris Tweedie took home the gunner trophy because he was "gunna do this" but didn't. Ian Jacques took the half-wheel trophy for his performance on the club chain gang rides. And Gordon Scott won the dragon's tongue award for best story.

More pics here:

Right, back to work.


Anonymous said...

Ooh yeah, a Snickers in the back pocket when it's 30C and humid. What could possibly go wrong...

And just what is that brown muck all over your hands and bars?


Hugh Jones said...

" Arbeit macht frei" eh.
Luckily I've ever experienced this sort of freedom.

Jeff Jones said...

It'd be more like 30 degrees F at the moment.

I think freedom, a bit like tax, comes to us all eventually. Through arbeit oder nicht.