Not my favourite day…

For me, Valentine’s Day = annual slap in the face!

I appreciate that if you’re in a relationship, it’s probably a great way to demonstrate your love to each other, but when you’ve been single for as long as I’ve been, the sheer amount of Valentine’s stuff that’s bombarded at you just really rubs it in.  I’m sure people would tell me not to take it seriously, and that it’s all a bit of fun, but I’m sure they’re people who’ve actually received a card at some time in their life!  I’ll admit that I’ve occasionally sent cards in the past, but obviously with me being the overly confident person that I am(!), I’ve never actually admitted to the girls I’ve sent them to that it’s me!

I know it’s probably really sad putting this all in a blog, but sometimes it’s easier to write this stuff down and throw it out there than to actually talk about it with anyone! I’d always thought that by this time of life, I’d be married with kids, and all that kind of stuff, but I guess I’m starting to accept that’s probably never going to happen. It doesn’t help that for years I was crazy about one girl, and wasted a load of time getting to know her better by spending time with her, and trying to do stuff that I thought she’d like (and other crap like that!)… and then trying to deal with it when she finally made it clear that she’d never be interested in someone like me, which has taken a lot longer for me to get out of my system than it should have done.  So now I’m the wrong side of 35, with no sign of anything in the distance, and obviously the older I get, it gets less and less likely that I’ll have kids of my own, which is pretty tough to be honest.

I’m sure there are other people who have similar issues, and struggle massively with the whole singleness thing, but often when you see so much focus on relationships around you, it’s hard.  As your mates get married, and then have kids, on one hand you’re really pleased for them, and you know it’s an amazing thing… but sometimes it’s really hard not to get jealous about it all, and ask yourself why they’ve got all that you’re desperate for as well. (I use the word ‘desperate’ in a way that hopefully doesn’t make make me look ‘desperate’!)

Wow – it’s a good job that Valentine’s Day is once a year… I wouldn’t want to be this honest on here too often!!

26 miles this week!

I’ve been cycling again this week – first off I did 10 miles at the gym, which took took me about 40 minutes, and although my legs were like jelly when I got off, I was pleased that later on, my legs weren’t aching at all.  Again, the only thing which I could feel was the negative effect of the saddle!

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Anyway, today we went back to the Upper Derwent Valley at the end of the Snake Pass, and did the same route as a couple of weeks ago.

I went with Dave again, and this time Rob came with us.  We started a lot earlier than last time because Rob needed to get back mid afternoon to travel down to a gig in Solihull, so we got to the visitors centre at Fairholmes at about 10.30am, and set off around the reservoirs just before 11 o’clock.

There was a lot less snow and ice this time round, although there were still a couple of places where a few small snow drifts are still hanging on in there.

I found the first 10 or so miles pretty alright, and was able to go much longer between breather stops than last time, and I managed some of the ‘hills’ that I struggled with before, although I did get off and push for a few of them still!  At about 13 or 14 miles, I started getting really tired, and unfortunately at that part of the route, there’s a bit of a stretch which has an incline, so I ended up doing that on foot!  Then I managed the last couple of miles back to the car park, where we managed to grab a hot drink which was very welcome!  Dave and Rob were really good too, because obviously I was slowing them down, but they kept pretty much at my pace, and when they did ride ahead, they’d always wait for me to catch up.

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I’m feeling totally knackered now, but it’s more of an overall tiredness rather than any aching legs or anything, which is good.  One thing I’m pretty sure of is that I’m going to get a good night’s sleep tonight!

I’ve added some photos of the day to my biking album here.

New blog – same news!

I’ve just spent the last few evenings converting my original blog to a new WordPress one.  Google announced this week that it’s getting rid of FTP functionality for its Blogger service, which I’ve been using since before Google had even thought of buying it up!

But basically, what Google’s announcement meant was that from next month, I wouldn’t be able to update my blog in its current form, without re-arranging the structure of my website, or hosting the actual blog on their servers.

So I was recommended WordPress which I installed and then had the fun of importing my original blog, and then reformatting it all so that it still looks right, and adapting a theme to be an evolution of what I had before.

It’s been interesting looking back at what I’ve written over the years – 168 blog posts since March 2002!  And however tempting it’s been at times, I haven’t deleted anything I’ve posted over those 8 years, even though with hindsight, some of the stuff is either a bit stupid or embarrassing!

But the upshot of it all is that it’s still business as usual, and at first glance the features provided by WordPress actually seem a lot better than Blogger!

Back on my bike

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Yesterday I went to the Upper Derwent Valley in the Peak District with Dave for a bit of a bike ride around the three reservoirs there.

I’d not ridden my bike since my holiday in Anglesey last year, and the last time I did this route was back in 2007 when I did my first ride in 16 years with Jamie Hill.

Anyway, back to yesterday, and we arrived at about 1.15pm and parked up, and set our bikes up before changing into our riding gear.  It was pretty cold, so I’d gone for a layers approach with t-shirt, hoody and coat, and tracksuit bottoms over some cycling shorts.  Dave being the crazy man that he is opted for a Villa top and shorts!

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I was really out of practice, but soon got into it, although I do find hills quite difficult.  Obviously I need to build up my strength and stamina, and if I can get rid of some weight over the next year it will really help as well.

There was quite a lot of ice and leftover snow around, which made a few sections quite interesting, but it was a bright, dry day which was good.  Although when we were in the shade it was absolutely freezing!

Dave was a really good bike partner to have, because I know he was riding a lot slower and took more breaks than he normally would do, but he was totally fine about it.  Hopefully the more riding I do, the better I will be with regard to that.

I got a couple of painful muscle twinges nearer the end of the ride, which is a bit concerning, but maybe that’s just down to me not being used to so much exercise!

We actually did 16 miles which is quite a lot really!  And to be honest my legs aren’t aching too much, although I have a really sore arse from my saddle!  Again, I assume that’s something which you don’t notice after a while!

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My goal with the whole biking thing is to be able to cycle long distances without too much pain (and to get much fitter in the process!)  Dave’s really keen on doing a Land’s End to John O’Groats ride next year sometime, and I’d really love to be able to join him on that, even though I know it would be the hardest thing I’d ever do!  As part of the build up to it, the plan is to look to do a Coast to Coast ride this year, with about 50 – 60 miles a day for about 4 – 5 days, so it could be achievable for me if I really work for it.  Hopefully me blogging about it might give me more of an incentive to really train for it, so that I can avoid the embarrassment of looking back at this in a couple of years time having not done it!

You can see the photos from the ride here.