LIONS AND LAMBS

 

As we roll into March time to recall proverbs from English folklore and remember “In like a Lion out like a Lamb” or, vice versa, and up here at 7000′ in deepest Colorado the proverb is usually very much the vice versa variety.

Not been up there yet, but hopefully COMING SOON !

More often than not, and this year would seem to be no exception, the weather warms up, as it has this week, and then we are treated to “Bluebird Skiing Days” and warm 60+ spring like conditions through most of the month before a final snowstorm DUMP at the end of the calendar, usually in the last days of Spring Break.

Central Ave Dolores after a late March dump!!

A few “Lamb” days to start off the month and after being sidelined with cold and miserable conditions, not forgetting the bitter cold wind, I did manage to push on for a few more miles around the Equator.

How true !

So today, Sunday March 4th, we had a “forecast” Lion day and it really didn’t look that bad so I got a few more miles in although the wind was supposed to be gusting 35-50 mph. While I was out the cloud rolled in and it got colder and colder and of course the wind picked up.

Shortly after I got home the blizzard started and lasted a couple of hours and the temp shot down from 40 to 25F. Now early evening, temp down to 20F and the snow is settling. Score for the first 4 days of the month………..

3 Lambs, 1 Lion

Lets see what next week brings.

Monday, very much a “Lion” day, bitterly cold, with a nasty vicious blustery wind which nearly had me in hypothermia ….. and after 11.38 the body said this is ridiculous and we have had enough. It was so cold and windy it was blowing up my frock!

 

Tues-Thurs, 3 Lamb like days, still a bit of wind, but warm enough to get another 52 miles along the Equator without freezing  to the bars or pedals.

Friday and still windy but much warmer and the wind doesn’t feel as cold as it has been. Day off for me so a good lie in this morning then out there for a two part effort knocking up a pleasurable  39.32 on my giant circle ride of the Globe.

Still windy but doesn’t feel as cold

Saturday, a bit of a Northeasterly but I’m off to my 8 mile turn round point and well pleased with the ride until the last 3 miles where the wind hit me smack in the face. Never mind I make another 21.90 on the quest. The yearly total now stands at 605.41 so I’m 3 weeks ahead of last year’s tally but of course the weather could still shut me down at any time!

After the first 10 days of March the score is now Lambs 7 Lions 3 and on the Pool front a 1st at 9 ball and 3rd yesterday at 8 ball.

Sunday, clocks changed. Weather overcast with a threat of rain and not exactly warm at 38F. Don’t be a wimp!! Get out there and do something!

I did, despite being so cold and only 4 “lambish” days the week ground on and the yearly total climbed up to 707.65 in less than truly pleasant conditions. However, another 3rd place in 8 ball to wrap up the week.

Ides of March, gone, St Patrick’s Day, gone ……. and now another Lion rolls in with at least 4″ which is already on the rail!! ……… there will be NO CYCLING for the next couple of days but temps will be back up in the 50’s by mid week.

Final score Lambs going well with 2 weeks left

TONY DOWN

 

WHEN WILL THIS END ?

A very dismal week on the weather front, freezing cold, snow every day and bitter cold single digit nights …… all combined with that knife edged wind! Friday finishes up the working week with a little “sting in the tail” snowstorm for the last school run and the drive home.

What fun !

Homeward bound

Saturday morning, storm gone, bright and sunny, but only 15F. Should be back in the 40’s next week so maybe I can get going again on my Equator Quest. Another snow shower overnight and only 8F this morning, and of course the “nice” wind is still here although it is bright and sunny.

Time to get the wood stocked up as more snow is forecast for tonight and I won’t feel like swinging the axe after pool this afternoon.

At the ready

Something about a real log fire

I think not !

Tempting thoughts of a ride as temps crest 32F but as I pick up a load of fallen branches from the last 50 mph winds but then a couple of severe mind numbing gusts brings me back to reality.

Conversion sets for the NEW road bike shoes

Time to fit all the cleats to my new cycling shoes as its officially an inside day.

Mucho bling Gaernes

Works well and both sets fitted but as yet untried due to this windy cold weather.

Looks good

Thank goodness I had a better than average education!!

I recently bought a bicycle chain cleaning tool and eventually it arrived from China ! …….. along with the easy to follow instructions!

The pedals are waiting

 

TONY DOWN

 

ALL AHEAD STOP !

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ALL Ahead STOP

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So it starts snowing while we are playing pool on Saturday and here we are on Tuesday and the storm is still with us and looks like staying until Thursday …… so zero chance of getting the bike out or making any progress “Around the World”

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Here I am on Thursday, and the weather is still miserable with showers, melting snow, and a crisp cold wind …… not my kind of cycling conditions! Maybe tomorrow.

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Friday then, bloody cold, and its lunchtime and just made 30F so not a cycling day for me. Saturday, will I get a ride in at all this week?? Looks nice outside at the moment (0830) but the temp is only 13F. They say its going up to 47F so I’ll start thinking RIDE…… it all comes together, windy, so it feels colder than the 44F on the Bank’s sign but I struggle on and crack 20.13 before the afternoon pool where I manage 4th.

The weather once again has the upper hand, windy and then a lot of snow over the next few days and temps as low as 3F and not even reaching freezing as the daily high. A Sunday “hard effort” in high winds but 24.50 goes in the books creeps me up to 395.86 for this year.

Monday morning, President’s Day, and so far none of the forecast “doom & gloom” has arrived. At the moment still dark (0600) but temp at 32F, no overnight snow, and the severe wind is currently calm.

I venture out as wife looks on in disbelief ……… battle my way down to the school and get pelted by the first shower of hail …… up ahead its BLACK!  ….. VERY BLACK!!! …… the wind picks up and I realize  the futility of the mission and return chez moi !

I only need a mere 4 miles + to break 400 and ready myself to hit 500 by the end of the month if this weather will play ball. Maybe I’ll try again later if there is a break in the weather but the 55mph winds do nothing to encourage my enthusiasm. I know its madness even crazy some would say but I WANT that 400! Right now its as windy as hell and just started snowing again!!

TONY DOWN

19,000 TO GO

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What is this you ask?

No this isn’t another massive Chinese Take Away order, but the New overall target for my lifetime. Over the past two years, and following the awful bout of pneumonia and the pronouncement of the not unexpected Stage 3 COPD I’m moving on !

Stopping smoking, a year on nighttime oxygen, and a remarkable recovery to COPD Stage 1, I think I can say the persistence of cycling at 7000′ has paid off.

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Trolling through E-Bay I came across a rather nice wind stopper cycling jacket by Castelli with an appropriate logo, front and back, and that spurred on this article after assessing all the feasibilities of whether a non cyclist in his 70’s could achieve the following mission.

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Google informs me that the circumference of the Earth at the Equator is 24,902 miles so there will be a fair bit of pedaling to achieve this feat.

When I look at the distance I have already knocked up in the last 2 years, 5634, and subtract it from the 24,902 I’m down to 19,268 and I’ve already cycled 351 miles of this year’s goal of 4000 ….. looks like about 5 years to get “that” bottle of champers!!

This morning’s ride was bloody cold and seemed to get colder the further I went but I hit the desired 14.39 in the time available before our weekly pool adventure and once again Brenda got in the money with a fine 3rd place. I played well and got nowhere!!!

I have also found another couple of cycling items that could easily be with me in the near future.

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Nice World Team shirt by Reebok

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Matching shorts from a different seller

Returning from the morning run I could hardly speak as my lips would not work! The following caption says it all…….

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…… and some pool too

While we were at pool it snowed like crazy but at least my new bling shoes arrived

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Just hope they fit.

TONY DOWN

FEBRUARY YOU SAY ?

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Superbowl Sunday and things not going too well for my team so time to reflect over the rest of the weekend.

Saturday and while the weather holds its current trend of high 40’s I push on and get those miles in the book. 14.87 takes me up to 243.65 for the year and a quick “steal” on a pair of cycling shoes puts me in the mood for a fine 2nd place in the pool competition.

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Good steal on the Gaernes

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Good 2nd place at last!

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Sunday and I had visions of a two part ride with the hopes of close to thirty miles but it got so windy that I gave up at 17.74, came inside and sat down by the TV for the football.

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Oooops  …… or words to that effect

Monday my next pair of cycling shoes arrive and they fit! Mileage continues to rise and the total is now 278.67

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Tuesday and 0430 arrives along with a dusting of snow on the balcony rail. 0445 and its snowing “Resort Snow” in huge lumps …. ….. 0515 and the car is covered as are the roads!!

Home again and the sun is up and everything is melting. Will it dry up in time for a few miles? We will see. Up the road at our local resort, Telluride, 12″ in 12 hours so they are happy. Down here the temps just crest 35F and I take a very unwise 7.80 in the cold and wind.

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Hoping to get up to Telluride on Feb 19th, my next day off

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Here’s the “Real Deal”

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Just seen a beautiful bike at a ridiculous low price, could be a scam but I’ll watch with interest! Currently 2 bids, and only $404 with No reserve!

Friday morning, cold and bright but forecast to get up to 54F this afternoon. The bike I’m looking at has risen to $419 with 10 hours to go. Hoping to make 350 miles by the weekend although 70% chance of snow so riding may not happen!

The year’s target of 4000 still holds and a NEW overall mission will be to circle the globe around the Equator, a distance of 24,902 miles, and see if this can be achieved in my lifetime or if it kills me in the process.

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Another 4 years to go ?

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I think I can !

Currently  my totals are: 2016  = 2032,  2017 = 3602

So, only about 19,000 to go!!!

 

TONY DOWN

COLD AND COLDER

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Winter grinds on with very cold temps overnight but not too much of the white stuff! What we have had has mostly melted, apart from a few icy patches under big fir trees to catch out the intrepid cyclist on slick tires. Providing I can brave the cold in all my new thermals and keep the enthusiasm button lit, then I could bang in a few miles in the coming month.

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Right now I’m trying for my first target of 200 miles for January and the day starts on 128 so I would like to be over the 150 hurdle by close of play.

Its a cold Sunday, but he forges on and hits a very chilly 23.66 taking the year’s total to 151.81   …….. now, as they say “cold overnight and about 45-50F by day” it would seem likely that if I can stick with it I could make 200 by the 31st. Despite headwinds and the cold I make it to 202.08 for the month and that is all on the positive side as I didn’t push the bike out of the front door until February last year.

On the “Good News” personal front I’m hoping one of my new pairs of cycling shoes will arrive at lunchtime ….. and I have my fingers crossed that I can get my club feet into them.

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WE live in hope!

If they fit then I’ll put some cleat adapters on and stick with my MTB pedals. They arrived, and they FIT !! so now I’ll order the other pair I like from the same manufacturer.

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I love the look of these

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Good walking sole

These are MTB shoes and of course I’m hoping for another good fit here and if this all goes well then I’ll order a pair of Gaernes that are pretty with lots of bling.

Meanwhile as they are reviewing my best offer I’ll carry on for this weekend’s target of 250 by Sunday. Very cool bordering on bloody cold with a vicious bone marrow sapping wind! Only going for a top up 12 miles this morning. Firewood in at the ready for Superbowl and some serious snacks and beer swilling!

They accept my best offer, $20 under their “buy it now” so they will join my footwear collection which now has 3 new pairs for the same cost as the Sidis that didn’t fit!!

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The Gaerne  shoe coming from Puerto Rico with all the bling

I also have a cheapo helmet with visor coming from China not that my other helmets don’t fit.

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Might be good

I was planning for a before & after ride but the first one started well in zero wind conditions but then went downhill in a heartbeat! By the time I had knocked up 17.74 pre lunch the wind was getting beyond a joke and unless it abates bigtime I’ll be couch spudding   for the Superbowl

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

CYCLING WITH BIGFOOT

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The Maple Tree decs all boxed up

With the Christmas decorations all in their boxes, and NO garden work in the imminent future, time to look at Cycling once more. First up I want a NEW pair of cycling shoes to take over from my 18 year old pair of Sidis.

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Need bigger shoes!!

I ordered what I thought would be the perfect pair but on arrival they were too tight in the toe box area and had to be returned.

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Great shoes, but tight in the toe box

Sidi has always been my favorite option for cycling and motorcycling going all the way back to the early 70’s riding the Scottish Six Days Trial. I still have 2 pairs for trials in the workshop, and another 2 pairs for road motorcycling, and of course my current cycling pair, which were a good fit from the gitgo.

Seems I now need a pair in size MEGA and of course these can be hard to find unless you like Black!! After 30 years in the RAF black shoes have been on my feet enough and for cycling something a bit more colorful is my No1 choice. Blue/White is a good choice to go with the Roubaix, but any combo would be OK even with a splash of black . Here are some I like but of course most of them are not in the “mega” size.

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These are in my size and Mega! …. but they are overpriced and only take the expensive Speedplay Pedals

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Same shoe but not available in Mega!

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So far I haven’t seen this one in Mega

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Haven’t seen this one at all !

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Serious bling but not seen anywhere

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These are available in my size and mega

Never mind I’ll just keep looking and maybe I’ll get lucky with a last of the line close out deal.

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In the meantime the 2018 Target is 4000 miles @7000′ and despite the cold, 121 miles has been knocked off the total in last luster January conditions. This weekend the cold and snow is back!

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Serious snow and bloody cold!!

This morning 4″ on the rail, strong winds, and a high of 18F as we get to lunchtime …….. even worse tonight at 12F. The forecast 12 was 1F when I went out for my Monday morning drive and it never made freezing all day.

TONY DOWN

 

 

12TH NIGHT- GET YER’ DECS DOWN!

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The hectic rush to get all the Christmas Decorations up post the big Thanksgiving Holiday is now replaced by the even more hectic chaos of getting all those decorations down and put away for another year.

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Bye, bye to the cut Christmas trees and garlands

Thankfully the Christian church has a problem deciding whether the 12th Night is January the 5th or 6th ?      …….. well I started on the 5th and didn’t have any lights on, promise, and I’m still hard at it on the 6th.

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Good session completed Saturday morning and Scuffy is free of all its winter livery. Bearing in mind we are due for 1-3″ of snow tonight work continues and all the boxes are in the workshop so I’m not dealing with snow and slush in everything.

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A lot to get boxed up

The forecast was correct and just over 1 inch on the rail this morning and as the temperature is up everything is melting quickly. Time to get all the boxes, tree and figurines up in the loft. Done, now a quick dose of play off football and then a few more lights.

Everything on today’s agenda gets completed so just the Maple Tree to go. Monday and Tuesday at the Maple and all is good for another year ……. back to the cycling!

 

TONY DOWN

2018 BEGINS

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2018 begins and still another week to enjoy before dragging the big bus round again. Never mind this is the last year full time as I shall collect the bonus and then go back to being a substitute driver and working when I wish to.

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On the cycling front this year my total target will be 4000 miles and I should be able to knock a few of those off this week as there is no snow or rain in the forecast at all! Current totals were 2032 for 2016 and then 3602 for 2017 so 4000 seems reasonable for the 72 year old this year.

Right now as I get up at 0730 New Year’s Day the Christmas lights have been replaced by flashing ones? An ambulance is in the road outside the house and there are several police cars scattered about with their lights on too.

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What’s this extra Christmas lights ?

Seems a late Santa was on his way home, sometime after 4.30 this morning (you can imagine where he might have been) when sleep arrived, or maybe target fixation on the street light wreath, with all its pretty LED lights.

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He was heading out of town but drifted across the road, demolished the Armco barrier in one easy push and collided with the light pole inside the median barricade …….. the pole has snapped, some of it in his or her engine compartment and the rest lies in the road, air bag  deployed, ….. but the wreath Christmas lights are still on.

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Oooops!

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But the lights stayed on!

The noise must have been horrendous, but we slept on. I venture out in dressing gown armed with my trusty camera and speak to the local Sheriff who also believes that hooligan Jack Daniels may have been involved.

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Thanks Jack

0845 and the “wrecker” arrives and the car is hauled out of the Dolores (Bermuda Triangle) with severed Armco  barriers and power poles ……. and all this only yards away from Scuffy and my Maple Tree.

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With the car gone the Police and Fire Dept depart and the Electric Company arrive to replace the pole. We seem to have won the wreath and dead pole.

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Next

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The dead pole and wreath

Work continues most of the morning and a new pole is in and duly connected.

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I set off for my first ride since November 18 and knock 15.31 off this year’s target of 4000. Weather looks like it will hold for the rest of the week but common sense says we WILL get pounded in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, and a more windy day, and an early morning dumper reminds me that people really are “that” stupid especially after yesterday’s driving debacle.

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I honestly thought “they” couldn’t break this one

Now I need to fix the faucet which some idiot has turned and turned and turned until they broke the stop cock off!

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Unreal!!

Off I go in my thermals, A few miles to start the day, then pick up the new unit, replace it, and continue the rest of the ride. Knock up about 4 miles then notice the rear tire is going down. Quickly back to the house with Mister Softee and swap over to the MTB with its NEW tires and ride another 5 collecting the new part on the way round.

Fit the new part and in with another tube having checked the tire for anything poking through the cover…… all looks good, out I go again and another 6 is done then it starts to get hard work and sure enough, its going soft and so quickly that I’m forced to stop riding and walk home! 2 punctures in 2 years then 2 in one morning!!!!

Wednesday and its time for the Durango trip but first into town to get the application for property tax reduction, and as that’s beside my cycle shop some new tubes and a rear tire. They tell me for our roads I should come up from a 700 23 to 700 25 so I take their advice.

Off to Durango and some big boxes for all the extra decorations and a few extra shops where Brenda scores a “coup” on some pillows where she got to 75% off and then got it again!! even after asking and rechecking. Time for the arse measuring and despite the Google listing that they have the tool it seems they don’t! No matter I’m a 154 ? and I did try a Sidi mega shoe for width  which was good.Lunch at Steamworks and home again.

Thursday, mentally preparing for 12th Night and all the taking down of this year’s decorations but first sort out the new tire and tube and get a few miles in the book.

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New tire and tube and I’m off again

Tire goes on, and off I go at 1445 and knock another 17.26 off the 2018 target. It gets colder and colder as I go round and I’m quite pleased to get home and have a warm coffee.

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That’s about it for the first week and tomorrow is 12th night so the decs must come down!

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One last look before they are put away

TONY DOWN

NUMB BUM

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“The time has come” said the numb bum to the owner “and if you must persist with this cycling nonsense then “WE” are looking for a decent comfy saddle from Santa!”

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Well thanks to the time of the year and all the decorating my cycling stopped dead in its tracks at just over 3600 for 2017. That’s not say that I might get a few last rides BUT the snow arrived last night and now we are running up to Christmas and the New Year. However, as I’m sure we will be over in Durango in the new year I would like to get measured on the “Arsomometer” and see what sort of saddle I really need.

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assometer

Seems the two bones in your bum are the critical point of this operation and then some other measurements are calculated and then the machine tells you what should be ideal and finally if none of this works its the normal trial and error.

A few things to do before New Year, must get the Car sorted as it has had an annoying amber “Service Stability System” caption permanently on for the last few weeks so it needs a diagnostic on Thursday to see what that’s all about. It had an oil change yesterday so another chore out of the way.

Looks like I “could” get a few rides in, I do have all the “kit”, so no excuses, although the wind is still bloody cold! I think it will be lunchtimes onwards as the morning temps are still below freezing. I still have the mountain bike tires to change and fit the cleats to both pairs of new shoes.

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The cleats are on the cold weather cycling booties

That didn’t work out too well. I get the cleats on the cold weather shoes but……… it seems my feet are TOO wide for my NEW Sidis so the afternoon is spent talking to Backcountry who are very helpful.

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Too tight for my toes!

Looks like I can send them back are they will send a different Sidi shoe in Mega wide

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Not keen on black but the fit is more important

Next up will be this set but I don’t see me using them until at least April or maybe even later.

Thursday, and Brenda, who has been feeling very unwell is off to the doctor and hospital to get a series of tests done to see what is ailing her which is very concerning . Not helped by ridiculous people who through stupidity had denied her medical insurance. However, a lot of good news and she got everything done, although we still don’t know what is wrong.

The Cadi also goes in for service and it too gets loads of tests done and after an hour they tell me its the “Steering Wheel Sensor” but amazingly they have one, and after another hour, I’m back on the road minus the annoying  “Service Stability System” caption and of course $386 and absolutely NO wiser !

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Annoying amber caption …. gone!

By the time I’m home the return label is on the table and the dinky shoes are boxed up and sent back to Backcountry for the wider ones.

Saturday, time to get a few things done before Pool, and its the Championship today, so best foot forward. The new Neon lights are fitted and working and now time for the Mountain bike and those New tires.

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Tires are on and they look good but I might need a new rear brake cable next time I’m in town.

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Brenda in good form

Pool begins, normal practice and I’m really not seeing the angles, let’s hope this gets better! 18 out of the 27 qualified players turn up and the games begin. I get a lucky break in my first game when Tom, who was playing really well, takes a very ambitious shot on the black and dumps the white in the top pocket!

Round 2 and I’m playing Mike Nelson who is very good and frequently wins these competitions.  Once again he is playing well and a few balls ahead but then I start to find my form and I’m first to the black which I miss and it looks curtains for me as he clinically works his way through the last balls to the black. From what appears a simple shot the black comes to rest on the top cushion and the cue ball is in a perfect gift position. Second win, and with an opening “bye” I need one more win to get in the money!

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Thank you

Jerry is next and also playing well but I find a good rhythm and slip through 4 balls up. This one puts me in the money and of course being the season championship is going to be pretty good.

Now its the battle of the unbeaten players and I now face Nick who never ever seems to have a bad day. Once again he is clinically taking the balls off the table but can’t get one of his last two and lets me back on with 4 balls to go. I get the wake up call and sink two long shots to opposite ends of the table, and with some cue ball control bring my ball back on the opposite side of the table where my 4 and 6 ball are parked on the cushion just down from the black.

Do or die here so a reverse bank to the bottom for the 4 and I catch it just right and it is gone! The cue ball is back where it started so now I need to repeat the bank shot to the center, and leave the cue ball on that far cushion for the black. This one goes perfectly and I have the black to the corner …….. a nice stroke and the game is mine!!!

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PLOP!

I am now in the final and can not do worse than second.

Well that was my best game, we both play well but Nick takes it for a well deserved win. I still walk away with $116.00 and finish 2017 on a high.

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Still have a sore arse, and the visit to Durango is coming soon

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That wraps up 2017 ……. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE

 

TONY DOWN