The Camera Never Lies

Well its been a better last week where training has been concerned. Training was interrupted by the Professional Rugby Players awards dinner on Wednesday evening at the Battersea Evolution in London. It was a great night that recognised the players past and present of the game. Jonny Wilkinson received a special award and what struck me was the humility of the man who has achieved so much throughout his career. A model professional and role model for all to follow. His appearance was upstaged by Matt Hampson.

Matt had a promising England career in front of him and had made it to the England under 21’s team where he was injured during an England training session. He was paralysed from the neck down and now breathes with the aid of a ventilator. He battled with his own situation and as a testament to his own character he set up the Matt Hampson Foundation to help others with catastrophic injuries. Hambo is an inspiration to others. Read his story and the great work that he does at

The ride and all the preparations are taking more and more time. If I’m to reach my goal of raising £10,000 for charity more people need to know what im doing so and choose to sponsor me.

With this in mind I thought I turned to master photographer Simon Fall-Taylor. Si loves his photography and like a true professional had it all worked out by the time I arrived for the “shoot”. He knew exactly the shots he was going to take, the poses that would get the best image, where he was going to sit , stand or kneel and of course which of his family of cameras he was going to use. I arrived with my bike any my cycling kit and like Kate Moss at modelling engagement I was encouraged to look in one direction then another, moving my chins (both of them) all in the pursuit of the perfect snap. After about 15 minutes we stopped to take stock. Si looked happy with how it was going and invited me to preview the images on the screen on the back of his camera.

Now for full effect you need to imagine the delivery of the next bit in a Brummie accent…………………. “ ‘kin Hell Si !” I exclaimed. Si thought it was a sheik of approval and a broad smile came across his face as he proudly inflated his chest to receive the apparent praise. “What’s happened to me bloody forehead…. I looks like it’s going all the way to the horizon”.

“Perhaps I’ve parted my hair in the wrong place” I offered, followed quickly by “haven’t you got software to cover it up?”

“Bert Reynolds style” Si enquired trying to bite his lip at the same time to stave of laughter. Si pointed out that he didn’t think that such software had been written yet. “Put your helmet on” he suggested. I’d forgotten it. “We’ll have to do it again from the other side – and this time I’ll hold my gut in too” (you try holding your gut in for quarter of an hour – it aint easy)!

This time I had problems with my quiff dropping at the wrong time – just like the chap in the hamlet advert – if you can remember that (well not quite that bad)!

You can tell we had a good laugh trying to cover up the obvious.

I was really pleased that “My Pal” was able to join me for a ride on Friday. Not phased by his condition he is hitting it head on. He’s now getting used to his 3 weekly cycle of chemo. Week one he’s washed out and not himself. By week 2 he’s getting back on form and by week 3 he feels normal. To his absolute credit he joined me for about 28 miles which was a great achievement.

I have a big weekend ahead of me where I plan to ride every day Thursday through to Monday cycling at least 50 miles each day. One thing I’ve got to get right is my saddle – I’m trying one out at the moment but its cutting me in half! more about that in my next update.

Sponsorship is also behind plan so if you are thinking about it – don’t delay and click today!

Many thanks


What a difference a week makes

So I’m 5 working days into my new adventure. It was a strange week last week; it was odd not to race around at a crazy pace going from one location or one meeting to the next. It was strange not to think about work and whilst friends refer to it feeling like a holiday its totally different. On holiday I’d forever be looking at my phone just to see what was going on, see who was after me and above all wondering what I’d be going back to. Like an idiot I even interrupted a holiday to fly back for something “important”. Never again.

So there’s been none of that stuff. Its mainly been about the ride albeit the start of the week was a bank holiday which meant time in the garden chopping stuff down and working on ensuring my lawn is significantly better than the neighbour from hells. He tries every year but his looks nothing like mine – bless him.

On Tuesday I went to collect the bike from Fred Williams cycles in Wolverhampton. Paying for my own petrol for the first time in 4 years was a shock! I’m really pleased and have had the first ride out on the bike – it great.

There was a problem though – my back. I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling as though a red hot poker was been pushed through my hip. There’s no way I could ride again – what is happening to me? You see my problem is that I still think I’m in my 20’s – its only my body that tells me that I’m not – so I spent the whole of Wednesday working out my routes see if you know anyone that can help validate this please ask them to get in touch. On Thursday, I turned to the cricket club physio Pete Boyle and an hour or so later I was back on form. Gardening was the problem – never again!

A short 25 mile ride followed – a longer ride cut short by monsoon conditions across Worcestershire. Friday was more like it. 53 miles around Breedon Hill again but this time with a good lunch at the Queen Elizabeth at Elmley Lovett. Its a lovely looking village where the pub and café are owned by 26 of the locals – great idea to keep the village pub open.

Myself, RJ, “My Pal” and Seb went to watch the mighty Warriors crush London Scottish on Friday night which was great followed by Military Fitness at 9am on Saturday morning (a great cure for “one beer too many” the night before). Saturday afternoon ended watching Lou play cricket albeit he was grumpy at just getting 21. Rugby reality dawns on Sunday – we now have to beat Bristol in the play offs.

Sunday afternoon was a short ride of about 11 miles with Seb (Buddha Wiggins) who had to be refuelled with an Oreo ice cream after 4 miles. He seems to really enjoy it

I’m feeling back on track now – just need to raise some money now – so don’t be shy!


Dr Chan has a lot to answer for

Sebbie was not an easy baby. Moan, moan, moan. Morning, noon and night. You name it – and he did it. He was the best form of contraception ever and the thought of a second Seb under the same roof was just too much to consider and as a consequence I ‘d started to think about finding a more permanent solution to the “breeding game”.

Off I toddled to see Dr Chan (name changed for fear of litigation!). Working in Financial Services I am no stranger to policies, procedures, regulations and laws. These are things we are obligated to do……but when it comes to medical matters, I’m a complete wimp. I just don’t do blood – the sight of my own sends me faint. Visiting a hospital sends shivers through me…. But I had a need so I took a few deep breaths and went to see Dr Chan. 

I explained what I was after and Dr Chan said he could help me. “Don’t tell me what is involved” I said. “Tell me the absolute minimum you need to, to discharge your responsibility and not one aspect more. I don’t want to know where the needle goes.” (At this point male readers will either break into a sweat or will be wincing at the thought).

The day of reckoning came. I remember that it was a lovely hot day and it had been for a while. As I lay on the operating table we discussed Dr Chans wilting plants and I recall laughing nervously just as Dr Chan was about to do his stuff. As the surgery commenced I passed out but woke a few hours later – permanent solution in place.

In my state of convenient deafness during the initial consultation I didnt hear some of the warnings……or if I did I probably thought it wouldn’t happen to me but unfortunately if does periodically. As a consequence sitting down has been a struggle this last week and sitting on the bike saddle has been totally out of the question. As a result I’ve not been on my bike for 8 days now. I’m even more behind as a consequence……… hence Dr Chan has a lot to answer for. But after 10 days of antibiotics I’ll be right as rain – unlike those that receive news that they have Cancer.

A former colleague has given me a different saddle to try and that has kept me occupied for most of the day. I can’t run the risk of this flaring up when I’m on the ride….that’s probably the biggest concern that I have right now.

I expect to ride every day this week. I really have got to get some miles in my legs. Hopefully I’ll pick up the new bike tomorrow!!