I’ve been putting off writing this for a while because so much has been happening. New sponsors have arrived in the form of several major companies and they almost all apear on the ‘Thank you’ page now.

The main news is that I’ve ordered a new set of wheels for the Vitesse, having nearly worn out the Kinetix rims in just a few months. Sure I was a bit disappointed, but the weather was absolutely disgusting for over a month and the road conditions on the lanes where I live, totally hideous with cow dung, sheep shit, sticks, leaves, mud and water combining to make a really aggressive grinding paste. Brake blocks wore really quickly and thoughts moved to how many sets of these I could destroy in 4000 miles.

I always try to find the best solutions to this type of problem and with the help and advice of Andrew Fudge from Fudges Cycle Store, I have settled on a set of Sun rims with a Son Dynamo on the front to charge gadgets, and a Sram Dual-drive hub at the rear. These are dual wall BMX style rims, built up with double-butted Swiss spokes. They should have good endurance and the rest will last for years. This makes a big hole in my personal budget, but gives me a handbuilt set of quality wheels and peace of mind.

An amazing company has come in from the ‘States’. Arapahoe Outdoors make a bonded ‘all season’ Teepee style tent. It’s real quality and incredibly well designed by guys who live the outdoor life. It blows my mind that they are keen to be involved and gives me a lot of living space for a small weight trade-off, perfect. I already get lots of interest when I’m out with the folder and trailer and this will extend that interest onto the camping areas too.

On the training front, I’m actually doing a twelve week interval training package. I’ve adapted a schedule from ‘training4cyclist’ because the weather has been so foul and I didn’t want to be out for hours when I could do quality cycling work in a smaller period of time. I’m only on week 2 and I can feel the difference already. I don’t enjoy it, but it serves a purpose and improves my fitness level, strength and aerobic endurance. It will take me through the worst of the winter and then it will be time to tour. Ace.

As one of those people who hates to wear waterproof trousers, I’ve persevered with variations on the cycling leggings with fleece underneath or a good base layer. Seems to work well, and keep the legs toasty warm. I can’t say the same for my feet, that need the protection of overshoes throught the cold and wet. They were like little blocks of ice the last couple of long rides I’ve done. I decided that 55 miles in windy, wet and cold conditions had to be experienced once at least, but have backed off on building miles now with the short days and increased risk of injuries. I must be getting sensible in my old age.

Recovery has been aided by drinking part-milk Horlicks and chocolate straight after training ,with a carb/protein meal after that. it’s made a huge difference to how I feel 24 hours later. Another positive is that following the 5 years of hell I’ve been through, my cholesterol was bad. Changing my diet and taking much more care of myself has put this back in the really healthy section in 3 months. All in all, my mental state is relatively stable with just a few panics and tearful days although sleeping is still a problem in that when I do, nightmares plague me and if I don’t, I end up writing this blog at 2am like I am now!!!!!

Anyway, Happy Christmas and a great 2010. I know mine will be very exciting and full of suprises.