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Andy

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(no subject) [Sep. 28th, 2008|06:40 pm]
Andy
Achtung was good, venue was a lot better than the QC for the cabaret and the change didn't seem to put anyone off coming along. Although as I don't drink much anymore I keep forgetting how much beer is these days!

Wandered to Hades afterwards, forgot how much of a little shithole it is until we stepped in there. Had a pint of coke as I didn't want any more alkinol but it made me feel a bit rank, think it was just mainly down to the amount of liquid I'd drank as I wasn't drunk.

Grabbed an obligitary kebab on the way home and didn't go to bed until 4am, feel shattered today. Hopefully sleep well and be awake for work in the morning though :)

I'll have the certificate for my new bike within the next week or so, so really need to shift my current one asap. I don't think I'll get the £200 I'd like for it, so may have to settle for lower (although ideally not less than £150). It's in perfect condition and has had some upgrades since it was bought, so it'd be a shame to have to give it away for next to nothing. So if you know anyone looking for a reasonable but cheap mountain bike, point them my way please!

Then I just need to keep up with the training for both the Norwich 100 next June and some of the races that I want to enter in Thetford in the new year. There's a nice 20 mile loop up Marriots way to Drayton then to Ringland and back via Costessey that I'm aiming to do atleast twice a week. Although it gets bloody dark so I'm waiting on a new front light that will actually let me see more than a couple of feet in front of me. Was a bit scary in a couple of places last time I did it, couldn't see the road markings properly by 8pm even with my curent light on.

Work is dull at the minute, there's virtually no work to do so the days just drag on and I feel more tired than when I've had a busy day, no idea why that is. The resource manager is back tomorrow though and will hopefully have some more work for me to do. We're also moving out to Broadland at some point in October so I'll have to cycle in to work each day. Only 6 miles each way so should only take me 30 minutes, but I think I'll be needing some waterproof trousers so that I don't end up as an icicle during the wet winter days!

This is also the time of the year when it gets very depressing being stuck in an office, when you don't get to see any daylight other than through the office windows!
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Anyone interested in buying.. [Aug. 27th, 2008|05:04 pm]
Andy
A mountain bike?

It's a Trek 4300 all stock parts such as:

Bontrager handlebars, stem, seatpost, rims, tyres
Shimano gears
V Brakes
RST Gila front suspension with adjustable preload

But I've upgraded the chainset to a Shimano Deore Hollowtech 2 system.

The bikes a year old, would suit anyone with an inside leg of atleast 31" (it's a 20" frame), was £300, would like £200 for it, but would consider sensible offers.

It's great for commuting and fantastic fun tearing around Thetford on it, the Trek frames are very good.

Need to make some space for when the new one I accidentally ordered through the Cycle2Work scheme arrives. So don't want rid of the bike just yet, but start of October.
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The trails [Aug. 27th, 2008|01:07 am]
Andy
These are the trails we rode in Wales, well, roughly, the GPS I was carrying isn't that accurate so there a bit misaligned. But you get the idea.

The Wall

Penhydd
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We nearly died this weekend.... [Aug. 26th, 2008|06:44 pm]
Andy
That's myself, tetsuko_ and robrob.

We'd been up to Thetford a few times doing some cycling around their mountain bike trails and thought it'd make a nice weekend to go somewhere with a bit more variation in terrain/scenery.

So, we decided to book some hire bikes and a tent pitch and head up to Afan Forest Valley in South Wales, just outside of Port Talbot.

It's home to a mountain bike centre (well, 2 if you count the one 6 miles up the road at Glyncorrwg) and several waymarked trails (Penhydd, The Wall, Skyline, The Whites and W2) with the first four being graded 'Red' and the latter 'Black'.

Now, we've cycled around Thetford a few times and can happily ride around their Black graded route with no real danger of any big crashes or injury to ourselves, so riding the Red routes here wouldn't be much different would it?

Well, turns out that yes, it can be a lot different.

The first trail we took on was Penhydd, we thought it might be easier as the signs were orange instead of Red. However, the start of the trail was a muscle tearing, spirit breaking climb. A 1000 foot ascent over 2 miles. My body did not cope at all well with this and I did have to get off and push at a couple of points. I was out of breath and feeling sick. I honestly thought I was going to have pushed myself too far and would just have to give up and head back down at one point, when thankfully the top was in sight.

The views from the top were fantastic, only a few scattered buildings in amongst seas of green for as far as we could see, absolutely breathtaking in places.

We set off again after a bit of a sit down on a well placed bench at the top of the climb and the first section was fine, nothing more than we would have seen around Thetford. Mainly consisting of fire-roads, so it was nice and wide and had a decent surface. Boosted my confidence a little thinking that the climb was the worst they would throw at us and everything was going to be fine here on in.

Then we hit the first descent of the day, the Hidden Valley, a rough muddy singletrack zig zagging it's way down the mountainside with sheer drops to one side of you and if you'd managed to miss one of the sharp U-turns I think it would have been an air-ambulance job!

Some smaller climbs and several singletrack descents and I was getting a feel for the bike (and trying to ignore the instant death just to the side of me) and we were nearly at the bottom.

There was one section of track that was marked as 'Rocky Rebellion' which wasn't on the map, but we thought we'd follow it anyway. Bad idea, was like trying to cycle over boulders. Ended up walking the last part of that as well, luckily it wasn't a long stretch.

Down the final sections of Bubble and Squeek and we were at the bottom. Muscles burning a bit, heart pounding from the adrenaline. An awesome ride.

We grabbed something to eat and decided (rather foolishly) to cycle up to the other MTB centre at Glyncorrwg, it was about 6 miles along a forest trail that had a very slight incline. About three quarters of the way there my legs started to burn, I was just glad that we were nearly there so I could have a bit of a rest. We sat around for 15 minutes and headed back the way we came, handed the bikes back to the rental place and headed to Tesco to grab some food.

The rain came Saturday night, pissed it down pretty much all night. Everything was soaked when I got up at around 7:30 and started a fire to cook the breakfast on. I was just thankfull that it wasn't still raining as we'd have gotten soaked riding the trails.

We set off to ride The Wall at around 10am, much nicer start than the Penhydd trail. The first section was a flat trail around to the other side of the river which lasted a couple of miles. We could see our campsite from the mountain opposite as we rode along and started the steady ascent up the mountain.

It was still hard work, but nowhere near as much hard work as the first day. The climb was spread out over nearly 8 miles, switching between fire-road and singletrack. Some nice fun sections on the way up and thankfully it was a fairly rocky track compared to Penhydd, so while everything was wet from the nights rain, it wasn't too muddy.

We stopped at a park bench near the top of the trail, just before we entered 'The Graveyard' section. Had something to eat, chatted to a couple of other riders (MTBers appear to be very friendly on the whole) and got a little worried about the section ahead. We'd been warned about it by several people both before we got to Wales and during the ride.

Following another riders advice, I dropped my saddle before setting off again as I'd be standing for most of the rest of the trip and we off we rolled.

The Graveyard didn't start off too bad, fast flowing single track, rocky sections dotted around and a few small drop offs, but nothing we couldn't handle. Well, until we got to the last stretch. I attempted to ride it, but chickened out of a couple of the bigger step downs and stopped and put my feet down in several places, just rolling my bike over it. Got my confidence up towards the end of the small rocky section, but it just wasn't worth taking any risks. The drop down the side of the track would mean you paid a hefty price for mistakes.

Made me feel a lot better when the next couple of riders along got off and either pushed or carried their bikes over sections, so wasn't just us that couldn't ride it.

The section after The Graveyard was the final descent of The Wall, named Zig Zag. A series of steep descents with tight U-turns every so often, winding it's way down the mountain back towards the fireroad that we'd come in on. It was pretty hard to go slow on this part as it was so wet that every time I applied my brakes the wheels just locked. There were a couple of places that I felt my back wheel slipping on the rocks.

Checking the GPS tracker showed that the course had climbed over 1000 foot over 8 miles and descended all the way back down again in 2.

Sections of both courses were absolutely terrifying, but exhilirating at the same time and the views from the mountains were breathtaking.

I'll upload some of the photo's that I took later on, but they just don't do it justice. I think there's definitely going to have to be a return visit at some point!
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Also [Aug. 7th, 2008|12:32 am]
Andy
Someone sent me the link to this:

http://mingle2.com/zombieharmony/free-dating-sites

Which made me chuckle.
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This might be a long one... [Aug. 6th, 2008|11:46 pm]
Andy
So, since I haven't updated for ages (again) this might turn out to be a long post...

Work

Is going well, no one seems to have noticed that I've just been blagging it since I started last October and my feedback from my peers and superiors is very good. So good in fact that I've been put forward for a promotion. One day they'll notice that I make it up as I go along and it'll all come crumbling down!

Sporty stuff

I used to be really enjoy cycling before I moved to Norwich, I had a lovely Ridgeback mountain bike that was great for tearing around the local woods. But there was no where to keep it when I came to uni and I hadn't touched a bike for years. But last year I got myself a new bike, a Trek 4300, just a basic entry level mountain bike. Been commuting into work on that (about 5.5 miles each way) and me and tetsuko_ have been hitting the trails at Thetford now and again, much prefer the mountain biking element rather than just cycling on the roads. We've also dragged RobRob along and he enjoyed it so much he wants to do it some more, hopefully we will avoid breaking ourselves.

So, in an effort to do something to get me (and keep me) fit, I've started taking the cycling a bit more seriously. Foolishly agreed to do the Norwich 100 mile ride next June, which might kill me in my present physical condition so it's a good incentive to get fit. Have also checked out the Bike-A-Thon which is in September and me, Marie and RobRob may be doing that, it's 26 miles so should be easily do-able.

I'm also seriously considering racing in atleast one round of the Marin Winter Series at Thetford, it's a 2 hour race usually comprising of around 6 mile laps, you complete as many as you can within 2 hours (you can take longer than 2 hours, but your last lap has to start before the end of the time limit). I know I could *do* it, but I'm not sure how well/badly I'll do.

Holiday!

I have a week off soon, ages since I've had time off work and it coincides with Marie finishing her work as well, we already have plans for some of it - We're heading up to Afan MTB Centre in the Brecon Beacons for some hardcore cycling action. A little worried that it might be a huge step up from what we've ridden at Thetford, but should be fun and I'm really looking forward to it. Just keeping our fingers crossed for the weather!

The rest of the week, dunno, pottering around Norfolk seeing things we haven't seen despite living here was Marie's suggestion and that sounds good to me :)

Leigh & Tammy's wedding

Leighs stag do is this weekend. Karting and paintballing through the day, followed by food and drink and ending up at a 'Gentlemans Club'. Not sure how much of the evening I'll end up staying for due to cash flow restrictions, but I'm also a lightweight now due to not drinking much so I might have to be the sensible one needed there to talk to the police when Paul inevitably misbehaves :)

Also have my suit now, have arranged transport with Toby and Kris for the wedding do and looking forward to it.

Games

Rock Band is awesome and since we've just acquired the System of a Down tracks there might have to be a night of rawk soon. I like hitting things with sticks best :D

Alone in the Dark is also pretty cool, haven't really played anything else lately.

Other stuff

My stepdad is quite ill at the moment, he's had to have brain surgery and it's looking like he'll be in hospital for a good few months yet and possibly not back at work until next year. There's not much anyone can say other than they're keeping him under observation and he's slowly improving. Although my Mum says that he's quite confused at the moment.

Also, my dog died on Saturday. He was old, nearly 16 and hasn't been very well for a while. But he couldn't stand up on Saturday and my Mum and brother had to take him to the vets to be put down. Quite upset about it really. Especially when I was talking to my mum and she was obviously upset about it. Bit weird knowing next time I go and visit he won't be there.

Right, need to have a quick bath now and then off to bed. It's already later than I thought it was! It was only 11 last time I looked at the clock damnit!
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My reptiles..... [May. 27th, 2008|10:08 pm]
Andy
Picture heavy so they're behind a cut.

A few of Xenu:Collapse )

And some of his Slithery friendCollapse )
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Reptiles [Apr. 30th, 2008|01:46 am]
Andy
When I was younger I always wanted either a Snake or a Lizard, was always fascinated by reptiles.

So tetsuko_ buying me my gorgeous little Xenu for my birthday was the most awesome present ever, but it has however reminded me just how great reptiles are.

So, now, I want one of these:



A baby Royal Python.. *want*
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(no subject) [Apr. 27th, 2008|11:51 am]
Andy
Is it wrong that seeing Xenu in full shed makes me want to peel him?
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(no subject) [Apr. 1st, 2008|08:13 pm]
Andy
You can see his markings a lot clearer here :)


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