Sunday, 24 May 2015

Lost in bike land

You know the joke about Moses being lost in the desert for forty years because he would not ask for directions?

Well, I was in a similar position yesterday.
Except I was on a bike.
On a group ride.
In the Surrey Hills.

The short version of the story goes like this:

  • lag behind
  • get dropped
  • lose sight of others
  • take scenic detour home

The long version is more akin to this:

  • join second (of four) group of riders
  • lag behind after 35km
  • get re-attached (courtesy group leader who upped my speed to 45kph merely by putting a hand on my back and pushing me whilst I pedalled like the energizer bunny)
  • fall back again during first climb on Newlands Corner
  • lose sight of the others
  • wait for next (third of four) group of riders
  • watch them whizz past
  • fail to catch them
  • lose sight of them too
  • proceed to seek own route to Leith Hill
  • fail
  • try to find route to Box Hill
  • fail
  • ride through Abinger, Effingham, East Horsley, West Horsley, Ripley
  • repeat
  • three times
  • with a variety of alterations including bastard hill, aka White Down Lane
  • swear at phone map which asks what method of transport am I using: bus, car or walking
  • watch battery reach 'critically low' level
  • wonder whether OH would mind collecting me in the car
  • decide I would never hear the end of it and hence veto
  • take many more wrong turns
  • finally recognise a familiar sight
  • get home after some six hours in the saddle and this:

Today my thighs feel like they have been injected with silicone cement and I have developed a particular hatred of the foam roller (ironically the best cure).

I am walking in a peculiar manner, but at least it is not the walk of shame. 
Just the walk of clueless navigation.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

How to just effing do it - a guide to saying ‘Yes’

A few things have struck me over the past couple of days:

  1. if I were paid my market rate for 'volunteer' hours to date, I could take the rest of the summer off
  2. if I said 'No' more often, I would have more time on my hands (but possibly less business ideas as a consequence)
  3. if good manners were a commodity, many many MANY people would be lacking

Any of this resonate with you too?

Let me explain. 

After a very thorough and exhausting process, we have finally appointed a new head teacher at the school where I am chair of governors. It is a huge relief and everybody is excited about the news. Some great teamwork, innumerable meetings, meticulous scheduling, detailed paperwork, consistent and constant revision and review of the input and output, and always retaining the 'vision' of what all interested parties - children, staff, parents and governors - held as important elements in our search.

I wish I had a pound for every occasion someone asked how much time I personally put into this. Instead, I did a rough - and very conservative - calculation of hours.


Yes, I didn't know that either when I signed up. But it's all good and has given me an insight regarding certain procedures and the follow-on business opportunity that exists. Never one to miss the bigger picture, I guess.

So the next question is why do some of us contribute so freely of our time and skills whereas others do not?

I have plenty of views, but not an all-encompassing answer. 
Let's just say that if more people helped out (in general), the "many hands..." saying would be repeated a lot less frequently. 

Which brings me to manners. Or lack of them.

Back in the 'real' (read: paid) business world, all semblance of people state - on their profiles or websites - to being the utmost professionals in terms of how they deal with enquiries, follow up with clients, engage with partners, etc etc etc.

Yet. The amount of downright rude fobbing off, from cack-handed email replies to a refusal to even schedule a phone call ("I am very busy..."), from pathetic excuses ("I am not based in London"... err, hello? Skype?) to total lack of engagement or even a courteous acknowledgement is, in all honesty, quite unbelievable.

How is it possible that even in the busiest of times I can make the effort to at least reply or return a phone call? Is this really such a Herculean effort on my behalf? I think not.

A word to the wise then - and all those who think they are above reproach:

"What goes around, comes around."

When, one day, you require business dealings with myself I will remind you that I forgive, but I do not forget.

Right. Where's my phone?



Sunday, 3 May 2015

Once more into the madness

And again we ventured into the mud. 

Because with the rugby season having finally ended, there was something amiss with my weekends, obviously. Not enough cold, wet, windy, miserable conditions to contend with. Insufficient pain and suffering. And no obstacles to impede progress (like young players scattering over the pitch when you are refereeing a match).

No, not at all. 
There was only one option: Tough Mudder 2015.

After last year's foray, I had conveniently forgotten a few things:
  1. training is a good idea, preferably beforehand;
  2. upper body strength helps, a lot;
  3. water is cold (I won't even mention Arctic Enema, actually I will: insanely f*cking freeeeezing);
  4. bruises;
  5. hills, non-stop;
  6. everything else
But we did it. Another great team effort, fantastic camaraderie and support, plenty of laughs and smiles over the finish line.

I have one thing to be grateful for: as a 'legionnaire' (aka TM 'veteran', get me) I was permitted to by-pass the Electroshock Therapy.

Damn shame, that.

And today I have a choice selection of bruises (again), aching joints (again), and rather sore muscles (again).

It was only when one of the team posted the following map that it dawned on me why I might be in such discomfort: 

So I took the only remedy I could think of.

I signed up again for next year.

(I know, I know, I need a life).


Yadda yadda yadda...