Saturday, 16 July 2011

Post-Alpine Hangover

I've been back in the country now for six days, after seven straight of days of charging down wonderfully crafted and sculpted trails in the French and Swiss alps. Each day of those seven, aside from the last, involved scaling the height of Mont Blanc via lifts, to descend the height of Mont Blanc while hanging off the back of a slightly dubious choice of bike. Of the two biking events, not really events but it'll do, that I've taking part in this year: a twelve hour pairs race and a week in the alps, I've been at the opposite ends of the bike choice spectrum. The Erlestoke 12 featured me on my trusty revamped Zesty, lightest tyre combo I had to hand along with the most air the rear shock has ever been stuffed with. Even then it was a fair agricultural choice of weapon, where exactly was my carbon swingarm and my 100gram pedals? Still, a strong finish of 11th (in truth I've more of less forgotten) showed quite clearly that it's far more about the riders than their bikes. The finishers above us were all much fitter, stronger and may even have committed some time to training. The Thursday before that race I think we may have been riding off things at Rogate instead of perfecting our spinning technique. Doing quite well on a bike that was clearly in the top 10% when it came to weight, was to me very much a conformation that I am, at times, quite good on a bike.

So a couple of months later, this time after some training involving riding off stuff, we set off for the bottom right corner of France. This time with the same bike but rolling on by far the heaviest tyres I've ever used, the strongest wheels, the biggest pedals and some enormous disc rotors. And it's the same thing here, but in reverse, riding unsuitable bikes for the opposite reasons. Here the same bike is not agricultural enough, the tyres aren't wide enough and the travel just isn't long enough. But after a few days, taking a look around at everyone else, they're really not that good either. There are people on better bikes struggling to ride the same trails, people on bigger bikes seemingly scared to do the same petite river jumps. So again it seems clear that I am, actually, quite good on a bike.

And now I've been home for a few days and it's time for a quick ride on a Wednesday evening. I haven't bothered to change the setup at all on my bike, the same big tyres, heavy wheels and saggy suspension are still in place. And suddenly it feels like I can't ride, these hills are too steep to ride up, they're not steep enough to ride down, these tyres are too slow, these brakes are too good. I'm actually not that good on a bike.

Friday, 24 June 2011


It's one week now until I engage in my first legitimate holiday in years. Quick ten hour drive to the bottom right of France, through Switzerland and then back into France. To be followed by a week of mincing around on mountain bikes. I need above all things: waterproof shorts. Getting old is a bitch.

Friday, 17 June 2011

One Year

It's not funny, funny or in any way linked to funny but it is one year now since I graduated. I think a brief term report is due, to start with dealing only in absolutes, number and truths. And here they follow:

160GB iPod 89 GB free
9 bike tyres
One pink UK driving license
~£7000 to my name
A monthly charitable contribution of £10 to Care International
Maybe that much again spent on "ChariSnacks"
10mg Loratadine tablets found to near enough useless
x unread books. More than 12
Two jobs
No more than 15 days of holiday taken
Lots of CDs. Enough to alphabetise? Not quite

So in one year, one year which has moved by at a fairly remarkable pace, I think I've spent time maybe as well as I could have done. I've ridden more, slept more, read more and worked harder than before. All of these are good things and things that I should take forward with me into this next year. It does feel as though everything previously has finally ended now that the majority of my friends have been shoehorned out of higher education. Or further education, I'm never really sure which it is/was.

Looking back at my last post, written when I was working shifts in a factory, I was preparing for my first and only graduate interview. Bizarrely that lead to the turn of events that have probably moved things in the most favourable direction. It must have come almost a month after my interview, when I was sure nothing had come of it, the news I in fact was being offered a job. This came a day after being interviewed in the loosest sense of the word for a position I currently slouch into every (week) day at 8:30. This has been wholly good news, for one thing, the improvement in my podiatric health has been a wonder.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

February. I just don't know.

I have an interview on Tuesday for a real, well paid job. It's my first of this kind and actually I'm more than a little nervous. As things have gone so far, it could be my only one this academic year and maybe the year after. I'm never sure if it's worth going through the application process for most things now, whether it is worth the time or the emotional energy. I might find on Tuesday that even if I do get interviews with the right people that I'm not good enough or quite what they're looking for. Substantial self doubt is not a positive here. Really need to pull this off. Really need to buy a belt.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Key points:

Teamwork: working with two other students to produce a greater quantity of better quality results. Using each persons knowledge to quickly understand the problems and the science behind them.

Organisation: With a year of laboratory time it was important to schedule time on different experiments and analysis methods.
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Friday, 7 January 2011

Why I'm your model rejection

I'm motivated by challenges and opportunities for me to apply my skills and knowledge. My current employment is draining through a combination of boredom at the incredible ease of the work and a severe lack of fulfilment in
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Wednesday, 29 December 2010


Calm down, this is only a test. I've been erring towards this day for years, where I discard myself to the scrapheap of the internet lonely hearts (yes, you there). I am at best morose and perpetually grieving for my lost youth and at times, youth I haven't yet lost. I've enjoyed the sweet pleasures of university tuition and found myself spat out into the real and ever so ugly world of work and sensible bed times.

Obviously my main problem is constantly exaggerating my plight to the point of tedium. I'm generally content with meandering into my twenties and working an awful job. I don't deal much in planning or spontaneity, I'm bad at lists (hit lists and shopping). I enjoy music (guitars, drums, other) while remaining totally inept at anything within such a creative sphere. I'm vaguely endearing and undoubtedly frustrating in my handling of any number of day to day situations.