A lot has happened since I returned from my last trip.. about 2 months after I returned I started to get stomach pains they gradually got worse until I was rushed into hospital. It turns out I had some blocked pipework and my Gall Bladder was pretty much shot.. Now I know what your thinking I carry a lot of spares so a simple swap out...
Well it turned out to be a little more serious.. for some reason my kidney and liver were affected and one of the more unpleasant side effects was bile salts having nowhere to go except getting dumped into my skin. This lead to sores and bleeding all over and 2 months off work, I had an operation to remove the offending organ, aparently it's non essential and I could do without it. I had my op and pretty soon my symptoms disapeared.
I was surprised at just how much this took it out of me, it's March now and I am just getting back on my bike. I am very very overweight probably the heaviest I have ever been my lung capacity seems to be zero so it's almost like starting from scratch.
I have booked onto this years Cycle Touring Festival again, theres three of us going as well as meeting some friends I met last year. I have a goal, so I am now looking forward to gradually building up. I have a long term trip planned but won't say anything about it until I know that my fitness will be up to it.
I learned so much on my last trip and I am so looking forward to putting it to good use on my next trip. For example, no more "expensive" cycling tops I found that by far the best approach on a long trip is to take two cheap cotton t shirts (loose) and when they are dirty/smelly pull into the nearest charity shop and donate them and then buy another one. You can tell when it's time because other people fall over when you aproach. Cyclists are always telling stories of the genorosity of people on the road and one of the nicest things that I found was in many charity shops when you suggest you are going to donate the T-Shirt you are wearing and you explain where you got it from they often insist you don't pay for the new one! If your on a tight budget I can imagine that would be welcome.
My bike is sat in the livingroom, I cleaned and oiled it before I put it away so it's all ready to go the tyres were almost up to full pressure! Ohh and the other great thing I learned from my trip was how well thinner tyres do no more 42c for me :-) Seriously I suggest experimenting with tyres to go as thin as possible.
Reflecting back the things that let me down most were "Giles Berthoud" mudguards, they did their job but after only one trip they were snapping in the centre from fatigue.. as soon as I can I am going to get a piece welded in to reinforce them. The most major let down and dissapointment was the cycling sandals, they were amazing to wear but started falling apart almost immediately 3 repairs later I gave in with them. I am going to buy some more for the summer - Keen Arroyo seem to be my choice at the moment.
Happy cycling everyone!