Thursday, July 30, 2009


Yesterday got a bit worse for DK after I wrote my post because he had to have 2 vaccinations whilst he was at the doctors and that meant that he had a fever all night and was generally not too well. After plenty of panadol he slept most of the night and seemed to be in reasonable form again this morning. He will be going to the ear doctors again next week and I expect that he will have to have new drains put in pretty soon as we can see that his hearing has deteriorated again since the others fell out. I think it is like having water in your ears from swimming but it doesn't go away. Hopefully we will be able to look back in a year or so when he is walking and talking and this will all seem like ancient history. I really hope so.
I haven't mentioned my weight for a little while, but that doesn't mean that the diet is over. This morning I was 98.6kg and that was without the benefit of having exercised last night, I am still aiming for 95kg by my birthday and 90 by Christmas. It is actually harder to manage a gradual weight loss than the semi-crash diet approach I used in May and June because I seem to be something of an all or nothing guy with my rules. I am still avoiding sugar as much as I can (this is much easier since Dad left) and I am eating as much salad as I can manage along with limited starchy stuff. My favourite rule is don't eat anything white which works really well with sugar, cream, butter, ice cream, mayonnaise, white bread, pasta, rice etc but still couldn't get me out of eating MKs cauliflower surprise last night.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

DK medical update...

It seems that DK is in for another traumatic period in the coming months. This morning he had his 1 year check up and is generally doing fine, but the drains have fallen out of both of his ears and there is fluid in both of them. This means that he can't hear very well again and it is uncomfortable for him when he is trying to get to sleep.
So next up will be another trip to the ear doctor to get that sorted out and then he will have a first meeting with the doctor who needs to find his missing testicle later in August.
We have also now been told that his cleft palate operation will be on 9th September so we will be getting bonus points at the main hospital in Copenhagen this autumn.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Skins travel and recovery tights

Before we went to France I mentioned that I had bought some travel tights for the journey to France in an effort to stop my legs swelling before our first race.

I wore the tights for the 18 or so hours that we spent driving down through Germany, after each of the long races and on the way home again and was amazed at how well they worked.

Each time we stopped on the drive down I was surprised that when I got out of the car, my legs were not stiff or tired. I was also able to drive right through the night without any real difficulty in staying awake although part of that was attributable to the audio books that I had on my ipod. After the races, I squeezed myself into them and slept in them and was impressed that my legs didn't hurt too much the following morning.

The recovery aspect is a bit hard to evaluate because I don't know how I would expect to feel without the tights, but I am certain that they had a big effect during the journey and I am certainly going to use them again on long journeys especially long haul flights.

My next step will be to get some compression socks to wear after cycling on normal days because getting into the tights is a bit of a pain, but for long journeys, I will not hesitate to use them.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I took Dad to the airport this morning and we were all sad to see him going home again especially as he hasn't finished the kitchen cupboard doors ;-)

I was the first person in the office and am very please with myself for getting in without setting off the burglar alarm.

We haven't done much the last couple of days, the basement has flooded twice (I sorted that out in the end) and then we started sorting out the cupboard doors in the kitchen although there is still plenty of work to do before they are finished...

As promised, here are a few pictures

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Yesterday we had a trip to Orø to for a trip on the ferry and a fishy picnic by the sea. We were very lucky with the weather and had a really nice time including some kite flying and ice cream eating. I will post some pictures from the camera when I have a chance.
The weekend was also very nice messing around at home, visiting T&B and going to the pool. I didn't manage to get out on my bike which may prove to be a problem in a couple of weeks because I have finally taken the plunge and joined the local cycling club and applied for a racing licence. We are in the second half of the season, but having done my 45km loop with an average of 34kph on Thursday I think I can hang with the Category Ds (well I hope I can) and get a bit of a workout with a view to tackling a season a little more thoroughly next year.
My weight is hanging around 99kg at the moment which is fine, but I need to get back on the bike if I want to get down to the 90kg that I am aiming for by Christmas (it was by my birthday, but I think that is a bit crazy so it is 95kg by 01/10).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

News Flash

We bought J his first bike today and he was riding it within 5 minutes. Amazing! He was very happy about it and we had to go for a long ride in heavy rain to get the basics mastered.

He chose the mat black (oddly enough) I suppose that was because there wasn't a pink one or a purple one...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Marmotte - Victory of matter over mind

The second of the big races during our vacation was the Marmotte - the big one. There are about 7000 people in the race and it is a pretty big deal. When I first signed up for it in November, my hope was to finish fast enough to get the gold award meaning that I had 8:49 to get through the 175km and 5000m of climbing. Last time I did it in 2005 I took 9:54 so I knew back then that this was a tall order. In order to achieve this, I needed to train a lot and lose quite a bit of weight. I had managed some training and lost a bit of weight, but not enough of either.

I knew from the weekend before that I was slower than 2005 and I was not confident of finishing and even less sure of enjoying myself.

The first climb of the Col du Glandon went slowly and I watched in envy as one guy rolled back down the valley with a broken chain. I wished I had such a good excuse and seriously considered heading home for breakfast with the rest of the family. I kept plodding on and once I had crossed, the col and begun the descent, there was no going back so I got on with the business in hand. The ride along the valley to the Col du Telegraph is a steady gentle climb on busy roads and not much fun. A thermometer at the side of the road read 34C and I was feeling the heat. At the foot of the climb I drank a litre or so of water and refilled my bottles - this was going to be a sweat... The Telegraph was long and hot, but to my amazement I was not making bad time. I decided that I would almost certainly not finish the race but stop in Bourg d'Oisans at the bottom of the last climb and call for a lift at that point. Admitting defeat at such an early stage had two affects, firstly it made me feel better about what was ahead and secondly it made me slower because I was no longer racing to complete anything. I stopped at each of the aid stations for longer than I needed to and generally took it easy. I went very slowly and ground my way up over the Telegraph, down through Valloire and onto the Galibier.
The Galibier is one of the highest passes in Europe at 2645m high and it is a long, hard slog to the top. There were claps of thunder coming from the clouds overhead as we climbed and it was starting to get colder as we climbed. I was beginning to doubt the wisdom of having left my vest and arm warmers at home but thankfully the rain kept away and after a couple of hours of grinding away, I finally got over the top of the climb. I had remembered the warm sweet tea that they had up there last time and was happy again to have a bottle full to warm me up and give a little sugar back.

The descent to Bourg d'oisans is about 50km so your legs get to recover a bit and your clothes dry out, but it is hard on the back, arms and nerves to go fat downhill for almost at hour. I was happy though because I was going to stop at the bottom. Wasn't I?
Of course not. now that I felt I didn't have to ride up Alpe d'Huez, I didn't really mind doing it. I stopped at the bottom for some water and a bite to eat and then set off up the 21 hairpins and horrid gradient hoping that I may still get in under 10 hours.

I crawled up the first couple of steep pitches and then stopped for a couple of energy gels and some more water. I had had trouble all day getting enough fluids and I had not really paid enough attention to my food intake. At this point I realised that I needed a good dose of calories and the gels helped a lot. I passed a lot of people during the second half of the climb once I concentrated on the job at hand and stopped feeling sorry for myself. I finally finished in 10:16, it was slower than last time, but not as bad as I feared. BHP did a fantastic job to beat me by around 20 minutes I think including the time he spent fixing a flat tyre. Amazing for a 66 year old!

Since then I have realised that there are 2 main reasons that I did badly. The first is obvious that I needed to lose 8-10 kg more than I did and crash dieting for 6 weeks before the race was not the way to do this. BHP dieted for 6 months to lose (more than) the little he needed to shed and I should have followed his example. The second problem was in my head. Having been slower in the Vuajany masters, I wasn't expecting to be fast or to enjoy this ride so I went about it with a feeling of pessimism. Instead of attacking the ride, I just got through it without trying hard enough. I have learned from previous experience (mostly in triathlon) that to achieve your best in these endurance events you have to push yourself the whole way through it and that takes concentration and determination. Without them you just finish, you don't really take part.

Don't tell MK, but I'm going to do this again one day and I'll do better after learning these lessons...

Thursday, July 16, 2009


J and DK have shared bedrooms on both of our holidays this year and have surprised us by sleeping well in the same room. We decided that we would try giving ourselves a little extra space at home and some flexibility for guests by putting them together at home as well. On Sunday we moved J's bed into DK's room and they have both slept well in there since. Victory!

Tonight MK and the boys are off to a mothers group thing so I have the evening to myself to ride my bike and relax. I guess it will probably rain then...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Vaujany Masters (dummy free)

The house has now been dummy free for 3 nights and calm has been restored. DK actually slept from 7 last night until about 4:30 when he wanted his bottle and then he slept again until nearly 8 when I went to work. It looks like the worst is over and there was really only 1 night of pain. I have cleaned my bike thoroughly and it is ready for some action again tonight and hopefully tomorrow when MK and the boys are off to a mothers group thingy.

I thought I would write a short review of the races that we did in France. The first of them was the Vuajany Masters which was the Sunday morning after we arrived.

The race started at the bottom of the mountain valley that we were staying in so getting to the start line was simply a matter of rolling down the hill for 10 minutes or so. The race started early in the morning and begins with about 20km down the valley towards Grenoble, I know the road well and it was simply a matter of following the crowds and getting psyched up for the climbing ahead. The first climb is the Alpe du Grande Serre, it is getting on for 10km long and goes up about 700m from what I can see above and it is nice way to get the legs working and reassure yourself that you can still climb long hills on a bike. I took it pretty easy and enjoyed the ride. The descent is nothing scary and I soon found myself working up the col d'Ornon which is also a steady climb though by this stage it was pretty hot and the fatigue was starting to settle in. I rode with a few others on and off, a Dutch guy who I would meet several times during the week and some Danish guys who came from Roskilde! This next descent is long, fairly fast and winding and I really enjoyed it. The views are great and you really get the sense that you are in the mountains. There was of course the unpleasant knowledge of what was to come lurking in my mind, but I tried to ignore it, enjoy the ride and catch up on eating and drinking. At the bottom of the valley we headed back towards te start and a splitting point where a shorter ride returns back to the village that we stayed in for the finish and the idiots head off for another brutal climb. I was with the idiots and so we began the climb to Villard Reculas.
I was really wishing that I could just take the shorted climb back to the finish of the 109km race, but pride, stupidity and having signed for the longer race kept me going up the hill. This is a long, steep boring climb, it was very hot and really not much fun at all. It was one of those times that you hope your chain will break or something will give you a good excuse to just stop and call it a day. no excuses came along so I just kept crawling slowly up, through the village and on towards Alpe d'Huez heading towards the feed station there. When I got to the feed station, I had a little bit to eat, drank some more water and then headed for the worst part of the ride - the Col de Sarenne. This is a horrible climb on a very poor road with big drainage channels cut across it every 500m or so. THis make both the short descent and long climb pretty unpleasant and there is no shade whatsoever so you are grinding away up the steep hill wishing you were anywhere else but still getting somehow closer to the finish. By the time you get to the top, you know there is just one obstacle left to face.
The descent is really hard work because the road twists tightly down the mountainside like a clinical diagram of a small intestine and the road surface isn't much easier to handle either. On the way down you are rewarded with some great views and then get to ride 10 or 15km into the wind back to the start of the final climb of the day. The finish line is in Vuajany where we had started the day, the climb is only 4.5km long, but it is about 10-11% for about the first 3km and at this stage of the day, that is pretty hard to manage. I ground my way slowly up through the hairpin bends knowing the climb fairly well and was happy not to have to stop for a rest despite being very dehydrated and totally cooked.

In the end I crossed the line after 8 hours and 44 minutes which is not really very good given that i did it in 8 hours and 12 minutes in 2005 but I suppose that is the cost of being a fat Dad!

The final conclusion was that I don't want to do this ride again, the short one would be really nice, but the last climb is too much, the road too bad and the descent no fun at all. I also learned that a black jersey is a bad idea when there is little shade and it is very hot. Who knew?

I enjoyed the race a great deal and once I had recovered, of course had a great feeling of accomplishment and more than a little anxiety about the Marmotte coming at the end of the week...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Holiday snaps

As usual, the photography was sporadic and of variable quality during our holiday, but here are a few of the better ones that I managed to find on the cameras:

MK and DK by the pool (she may not be happy at being published in a bikini, but I think she looked great in it :-))

Lars working his way up to Alpe d'Huez

The team at the end of the Marmotte.

J running through the streets of Briancon - shirtless and carefree

DK enjoying some Mormor time in Briancon as well

Now it's back to work and trying to find the motivation to stay on the straight and narrow nutritionally. For a start I am going to get a racing licence and try to do a few bike races until the season ends at the end of September...

Monday, July 13, 2009

So much to tell you about...

We're back from our pilgrimage to the mountains and all doing fine.

I'll write up some more detailed accounts of various parts of the trip over the coming days, but We can start at the end and work back through the trip.

We left Vaujany just before 11 and drove over the Col du Glandon that Bent and I had cycled past on Friday. Everyone fell asleep and we got to Annecy for our picnic lunch in the sun at about 1. After lunch we had a quick stop at the supermarket and then headed for home. We stopped in Rhienfelden in Switzerland for supper at a nice bar on the river that I used to use when I worked down there.

We got to the ferry at 7 on Sunday morning and were home in time for brunch. The hardest part of the day was, however, yet to come. We chose this as the day to take DK's and J's dummies off them. J was fine with it, but DK cried a lot. He cried for an hour before he went to sleep and then woke at 11 and cried for another 1½ hours until finally giving in to tiredness and sleeping again. This has been rather hard on all of us, but DK had to get rid of the dummy (pacifier) before he has his cleft palate operation in September.

My weight during the holiday seems to have held stable with all of the cycling and French food so this morning I weighed 99.4kg but I am hopeful that there is some more muscle in that than there used to be. I even have brown legs now with some added macho scrapes from a small climbing accident last week (on a kiddies climbing wall!)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

All well

BHP and I have completed our tough bike races and are safe and sound. BHP got his gold award time and I was just happy to finnish on such a hot day. Now I'm going to sleep