Hand and a Half

Well, wouldn’t you look at that. Doesn’t the old nag scrub up well? I figured it was time to breathe some new life into this thing, so you can blame my spurious whims for the new format you’re all going to have to get used to. I was getting a bit tired of the old look, if I’m honest, and things just look a lot tidier with a proper URL in place; that said, do feel free to give me some constructive feedback if you have any. As with all things, if I’m going to commit to doing this, then I want to commit to doing it in a graceful and aesthetically pleasing manner. And I am definitely absolutely not getting that URL put on my new custom speedsuit that’s on the way. No sirree. Couldn’t possibly be that vain.

A few of the pages have had a bit of a renewal as well – some tidy up here and there, still finding spelling mistakes from last year. The most significant one is I’ve updated the Guest Blogs section with some pieces from the tail end of last year that went live while I was on writer’s hiatus, and have added Jo Scott-Dagliesh to my list of useful links. Jo is the latest addition to the crew of people I pay to help me act like a responsible adult/athlete – in this case very much both of these, while she tries to make me eat actual healthy sustaining food and not subsist on a diet of ice cream and cookies.

Other changes – I’m now also on Zwift! Finally, after threatening this for what seems like an eternity, I have made the plunge. If you happen to see a George Bright pottering around on an e-TT bike, it’s probably me. Do say hi, or hang on my wheel for a bit and then promptly and suddenly drop me, or whatever else the equivalent of saying ‘Hello’ is in Zwift. I’m still new enough to it that I don’t fully understand the social side yet. But I have climbed a mountain on a TT bike and not many people can say that, so I’m happy regardless. Besides which, the major big win is that it’s actually got me… enjoying the turbo? What strange hell is this?

Good lord. It couldn’t have come sooner.

oh hai there

There’s another three pages of this post written up about things that things that I Iearned and took from my Ironman experience last year, including a witty anecdote around a very embarrassing wardrobe malfunction while out cycling. I’m going to have to save that fun post though, because as the pic above demonstrates, life moves at a terrifying pace and there’s other developments to talk through. Hey, at least the fun and wise post is something to look forward too, right? Consider it my Easter gift to you, the gift of anticipation.

It’s inevitable, really, when you do all the sports and exercise that injury will occur. Or at least it’s inevitable to me, because I have a live-fast-die-young mentality to how I rag this carcass for all that it’s worth. It’s also inevitable, apparently, that every post this year with have some kind of running related humblebrag shoehorned in, so let’s get that one out of the way right now, shall we?

not be able to see it, but this is me being a tactical genius

I’m pretty sure I’ve espoused on the ridiculousness that is the SEAA Road Relays, otherwise known as oh-bloody-fuck-there’s-some-fast-people-in-the-world-and-now-I-feel-inadequate-day. To cut a long and lengthy story of some tactical prowess out, at the recent round of relays around three weeks ago, I was put as first runner in my team to lead us out over a 6.6km leg. I had a storming run, and over the first 5k of this leg ran my first sub-17 (16:56) 5k. This is something I’d been after for a while, and I finally achieved it in a manner so dramatic that it subsequently caused my Achilles to disintegrate and now I’m back at the physio and off running until next month BUT ANYWAY.

I’ll into my thoughts and feelings on that in the next post, because it ties in quite closely with something I was getting at, but yeah. Achilles done in. Last year the left one, this year, the right one. Endurance sports training is basically systematically breaking down your body so it regrows and adapts to become stronger, but clearly I’ve taken that concept and run (har) long and far with it.

As such my running (actually physical act, not metaphorical) has been cut for the time being, and I’ve had to regretfully withdraw from two of my upcoming races: the Tooting Aquathlon, which the Chasers are co-hosting and as Head of Triathlon I’ve had a hand in the organisation; and the Thames Turbo sprint triathlon, my yearly progress check, that I’ve also spent a lot of time coaching the Chasers novice triathletes for this year. Understandably, I hope, I’m a bit disappointed to drop these, but needs must – eyes on the prize, and the prize is 9 hours and just under 30 minutes of horrific pain and distress in Bavaria this July.

Head of the pack

While I can’t run, training wise I had just shifted my focus to extra swimming and cycling, including an awesome jaunt out to Brighton and back this Friday just gone – the longest day in the saddle I’ve done, both in miles and duration. Yes, longer than an Ironman cycle; by Edgelord Mk. 2’s reckoning (yes, I name my Garmin devices) I did around 115 miles in total that day. It also included my first experience with the joyous climb that is Ditchling Beacon, an experience so horrific that the next day this happened.

Ariadne from the Greek myth, Sanctaphrax from the Twig trilogy.

Meet the newest reason that I’m still single. I don’t have a name yet; I’m torn between Ariadne and Sanctaphrax. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to comment with your preference and why in the comments below. Please, save me from my own indecisiveness. It’s like flipping a coin, once it’s up in the air, that’s the moment you’ll know which side you want it to land on. Be the coin.

Make no mistake, The Normandy is not done with. It’s trusty workhorse nature means it will still have a place in my heart and garage as a commuter and winter steed. But I felt the need for something a little more nippy and responsive, something lighter to spanner up the climbs and lead the pack on. My cycling ambition is such that by this winter, I want to make the leap up to the top cycling group our group rides so I can bust a gut trying to keep up with the big guns, and I’m going to struggle to do that – maybe physically, maybe mentally – on an eight speed aluminium frame. If you’re interested, I can also list the 67 other reasons that aren’t really good enough reasons to warrant a new bike but I’m going to tell you they are anyway because I wanted it.

The plan was to get out on this new toy while I’m still recovering from my strained Achilles, in time for my comeback race which should, injury progressing well, now be the Monster Mojo middle distance triathlon in mid-May. That was the plan. I should never make plans because drunk George is a twat and will find ever creative ways to ruin them, which brings us nicely back to that bandaged hand above. You go to watch one local track cycling event and all hell breaks loose – that’s just how we live south of the river.

I woke up yesterday morning with a suitably banging headache and some pretty deep gouges to my right ring finger and thumb, that I’d clearly bandaged while still very drunk and decided that the safest way to make sure these bandages stay i place would be to wear a football sock on my hand. As mentioned: drunk George is a twat. The inquest into what actually happened is still ongoing, but suffice it to say, no swimming until open wounds are no longer open. Oh, and unless I find a new, creative, more flexible way to bandage myself, things like braking and gear changing are going to be tough, so road cycling is going to be very touch and go. Basically, I’m down to turboing for now. Typing is also a bitch with five good fingers and one, well, what might as well be a stump for all the dexterity I have in it right now. Actually pretty much everything has suddenly become 300% harder because I’m so right hand dominant. Shoelaces. Socks (on feet this time). Flies.

Alcohol’s a bitch, huh. I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with alcohol in the past, and I feel like I’m getting to the point again where it’s not working for me at the moment. Not just talking about the curious decision making process that drunk George falls afoul of when blackout drunk; these are pretty shameful in themselves. It’s the hangovers that really get me – not just the nausea or headaches, but something goes in my head and I can’t fight off the depression anymore. It’s not like I drink regularly anymore, but it becomes that bit harder to take each time, and I’m a little weary of it.

It probably didn’t help that I think my most major fuck up in all of this was that I couldn’t even turn up to the session I was meant to be coaching yesterday morning, an abject failure of a coach. I was too busy being not able to ride to Richmond Park, and stocking up on bandages in the local Superdrug. At least the cute sales girl found me trying to carry an aisle’s worth of first aid materials to the tills amusing, and she was dead impressed with my skills of one-handed self-first-aid (you can probably add my self-first-aid skills being one of the most impressive things about me as another reason why I’m still single).

I think I could handle it better if drunk George’s lack of good sense limited it’s spiral of ensuing woe to just drunk George and I. When it gets in the way of a service that I had committed to providing to people, that’s just awful. Not tolerable. On top of the impairment to my own training, and the terrible mental state I get left in, I think it’s probably getting to the time of year where I cut out the booze again. After all, Roth is just 12 weeks away now as someone oh so helpfully pointed out the other day, I have a club to try and lead into another season of races, and I still have to earn that coaching certificate. No panic, eh? For these 12 weeks, I think I just need to get my head straight and focused again.

Okay, okay. I promise next time will be a little more positive. And hopefully a lot quicker, because it’s already half written. Wow, things are looking up already!

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