My New Things

So, I’ve been busy.

Instead of concocting these inane ramblings I’ve been spending my non-working time browsing and researching.

After cycling the North Coast 500 route (well, the Locharron to Wick section of it at least) over five days last summer, I was left wanting a bit more. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing fun — despite the best efforts of the Scottish weather over the first couple of days).

Which has led me to Bikepacking and searching out ultralight gear.

Eventually, I want to go on longer adventures and be more self-supporting. However, situation as it is, I’m making do with shorter micro-adventures and S24Os (sub-24 hour overnighters in the lingo).

I’d also like to build up to more endurance kind of events. I actually really enjoyed the 330km jaunt down to Carlisle and back for Ride to the Sun last year but having read Jenny Tough’s latest epic I think it might take me a while.

I’ve got the big stuff covered off: something to sleep in, on and under as well as something to carry it all in. I’ve also been gradually building up other bits and pieces, like a cook kit and a lighter spork (a 9g 7075-T6 hard anodised aluminium Sea to Summit Alphalite in case you were wondering).

Sol Invictus

Due to an annoying scheduling clash, I had to give this years Ride to the Sun a miss, having ridden the first year out of curiosity. I then returned with friends for an enjoyable down-and-back route last year due to increased interest in the event and the ever-present difficulty of getting more than one bike on a train in the UK.

It’s very much a “because it’s there” type of event; the only things that you’re racing are your bike light’s batteries and the sunrise at Cramond — there’s a great camaraderie in the shared adventure. The route is relatively flat with only one climb to speak of (the fantastically-named Devil’s Beef Tub — just after Moffat and the chip shop stop).

All being well, I’ll be back for 2018.

Time off

As I think I may have previously mentioned, I’ve taken the next week-and-a-bit off work to (hopefully) finish Christmas shopping and relax a bit as I unwind toward the extended Festive period and parties.

I tend to forget about taking holidays during the year which usually leaves me with something of a glut around about now. In fact, I actually have just over a fortnight to finish polishing a few things off at work before getting back underway properly in early 2017.

It also means I’ve only a few days to think of a what to do as a challenge in December.

Know yourself

I’m a regular platelet donor and try to get along to the blood donor centre once a month. I say “try to” as I’m sometimes forced to take a break for a few months due to my iron levels being ever so slightly too low. This has happened a few times now and has been puzzling me for a while.

I eat my greens, red meat, eggs, drink red wine and — on my mother’s insistence — have been known to take iron supplements. All of this has been to no avail.

After the last occurrence back in August, I did some extra research. It turns out that caffeine can inhibit the body’s absorption of iron so I’ve reduced my intake since September’s monthly challenge to cut it out completely.

It looks like this has done the trick. My iron count before this evening’s donation was the highest it’s been for a long time. I had a chat with the staff about this and they also mentioned that taking vitamin C with a meal can help absorb the iron in food.

Hopefully this knowledge means that I can get back to an uninterrupted schedule of giving.