Archive for the 'Paddy' Category

Jane Tomlinson : 1964-2007

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Once again, CCFC loses it’s irreverent tone when considering this unique woman. As you all know, Jane Tomlinson’s achievements over the past seven years have been remarkable not only through their magnitude, both in terms of tasks undertaken and funds raised, but in their intrinsic quality – a devotion to others in spite of her own fears, misgivings, pain and even outside criticism. It is a lasting testament to her strength of character that she defied her critics and illness alike for so long.

We know that to Mike another note of condolence will be one of very many, but to us, the pleasure and privilege of knowing Jane for a brief few weeks last year is something that will always be in our memories. Jane represented so many qualities of humanity that if everyone took away with them one thing that she had taught them, she will have a mark more enduring than any amount of money.

To Mike and the children, thank you for sharing Jane with us for a short while, it’s something we can’t begin to put a price on -

- The CCFC Riders

To learn more about Jane, visit Wikipedia and Jane’s Appeal.

For British Eyes Only: There and Back Again

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Ahhh, the final For British Eyes Only… It’s been emotional. If I could, I’d cry, but Jacob’s already covered that issue. Plus, I’m not a bender.

Every day, I receive hundreds of emails from well-wishers, supporters, groupies asking the same question: What is the allusion in ‘For British Eyes Only?’. Well, during WWII which the Americans won, the long standing SOE agents and liberating D-Day forces in France would often be required to search the Gallic boutiques for lurking Jerries. In the ‘Period of Nazi Collaboration’ (occasionally called the ‘Occupation of France’), the frogs’ lust for their weekly review of journals of the carnal arts were not stemmed even though the nation was unable to feed itself, and thus a fair amount of lewd material was to be found on shelves. This proved a deadly weapon in the hands of the Hun, who would open the magazine at the (in)appropriate page and show the Tommie. Reacting as every good Brit would, he shielded his eyes, leaving him open to attack, and the poor defenceless chap was riddled with bullets – a tactic later used by the Brits themselves in Operation Kratos. Thus, Churchill ordered the French President, Pepe Le Pew, to produce a special kind of sanitized filth dubbed ‘For British Eyes Only’, including such depravities as images of a ladies’ calf and ankle from 30ft, or a rather racy curving vase, and words like ‘mammary’ typed with only 2 letters replaced by an Asterix (another famous cheese eating surrender monkey). This proved successful, and allowed a safe conclusion to Operation Overlord. But enough history…

The final FBEO is composed on solid English soil. It’s overcast outside, and Michael Fish tells me there could be showers with intermittent sunshine. That’s the best kind, because I have to carry both wet and dry weather apparel. Huzzah!

Much as the US began to grate towards the end, I really can’t help feeling it could have been done better. Circumstances not withstanding, which did their best to get in our way, we reached the end, but the whole finale was thrown out of kilter. Without a support car, we entered a bit of a downward spiral, with no-one really sure what was going on, endless trivialities got in the way of key issues, and before we knew it, we had to leave. And then we were gone. Fin. An anticlimax if ever I saw one. Next time I vote we bring a German – one of those would never let things get so out of hand…

I feel sorry for the Hopkins and SKCCC chaps and chapesses who put on an excellent do for us, because we were so flustered we couldn’t settle into it. I blame Mercury for the car (the root of the issue), and lawsuits have been issued. I also feel sorry for me too. This morning a package arrived with a small sampler of the Italian and Spanish delights they sampled at Pazo, but it wasn’t the same (Air travel destroys food, fact.). I’d just like to say thanks for the turn out, and if I am ever in the area, can I take you up on that tour offer…?

The trip we took showed us a totally different view of America to what everyone sees, and what we expected. Putting the madness aside (concealed weapons in cars…), the US has alot going for it if you dare to venture more than 50 miles from the coastline or the major airport hubs (of 5,500 airports, over 90% is through 10 major hubs – thank you very much Smithsonian Air and Space Museum!). It’s perfectly possible to go where ever you want amongst some amazing terrain, and be totally free from the attachments of civilisation (which maybe integral or extraneous, depending on you standpoint). I would definitely say the Rocky Mountains are somewhere I would gladly visit again (but Kansas…? Corn is corn, get over it…) and have a world hidden away inside that is totally different from anything you could experience in the US, England or the world. Equally, the Red Canyon is something so alien to me, I would bare the heat to be back there, though I am sure I’ll regret saying that sometime soon.

Am I glad I did it? Yes, of course. I began to understand there is a limited amount of taxicab wisdom in Ezra’s maxim “Fun doesn’t have to be fun”. So what’s next? Stay out of the saddle for a while, and try to learn to love my old Ridgeback Velocity again. After that – true, we’d like to do something similar. England would be a walk in the park, plus cheap (Rah-hoo!). And then Scandinavia, what more can I say than Totty Allotment! (I hope Morgin doesn’t read this). Don’t worry, we’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…

Finally, what did I do with all that “wonderful time to think” that people saw as the major incentive to the trip? I squandered it. Just like every other commodity I’ve ever had.

Until next time: Pax ex, bellum in, PMG

Day 38: “For British Eyes Only III: The Final Countdown”

Friday, August 11th, 2006

Wednesday, August 9th. We are staying at John’s house in Granville, Ohio.

We earned it, and here it is: the double-A side, buy one get one free, patented two-in-one formula, Siamese conjoined-twin rest day! 48 wonderful hours of home cooked foods, real roofs, a pillow, showers and no cycling… Or is it?

Our delusions (rest day is such an ambiguous term) were shattered by John. He’d managed to get us permits to hold fundraisers in Granville, OH and Colombo, S.L.. Rah-Hoo! Not that we didn’t want to (though that was a major issue), it’s just I personally found the last few weeks just got a little to much. My anti-Yank injury heckling had no effect my ears, and my knees took the brunt of it. Pot, meet kettle… We tried to convince him to raise some money by selling the permits to a group that would never get the permission the honest way: KKK and Scientologists came to mind. Messieurs Bedford Forest and Hubbard were unavailable, so we stepped up to the plate, and got a newspaper article to boot.

Granville has been very kind to us. John’s mother is a demon in the kitchen – pancakes freshly made at brekkie, an endless supply of fresh fruit, homemade pizza coming out of your ears, and more coke than even I knew what to do with (Mama, take note. I’m coming home and if that’s where you want me to stay, you had better buck up your ideas young lady).

By my reckoning, it is a mere 5 more sleeps to go! A few hundred miles, and then our great ordeal will grind to a splashy halt in the Atlantic Ocean. After the formalities of dipping the wheels into the brine, it will all be over. I won’t pretend I’m not looking forward to the end of our little adventure, and there are definitely some unsavoury moments and people I would rather forget (anyone with a gun, anything that bites on command, anywhere hotter than the sun), but have no misgivings, friends. I would heartily recommend the journey to anyone inclined (though I should dare say not before we are all safely home behind our doors), and I can see myself doing the trip again. Under certain conditions…

1. No more than 40 per day (miles or Celsius).
2. More Cokes, less Pepsi.
3. Someone find that hallowed 96 oz soda.
4. Anyone inclined to stray from the prescribed path will be fitted with a ‘Battle Royale’-style collar – too far off course and it ceases to be our problem.
5. An armed escort.
6. Dog repellent. I hear chilli powder in a spare water bottle is effective. Or spreading their front legs, cracking their tiny weak rib cage. Apparently.

Until next time, my green and pleasant land,

Paddy

The Brits will return in…
For British Eyes Only IV – Never Say Never Repatriation Ceremony Again

Todays Numbers:

Miles Cycles: 0
Melons devoured: 5
Movies watched: 2.5 (telephone call from London)
Nice sleeps: 3

Day 23: For British Eyes Only II

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

For British Eyes Only II: A Letter From America

Today’s musing is the ‘American ego’. Apparently it is not something confined to the testosterone-fuelled American sports blockbuster where an utterance by Al Pacino causes a room full of footballers to start bashing their heads against one another. (By the by, that sport has neither foot-usage or proper balls.) No, this is indeed a trait that runs through the veins of all young Americans. Along with fluoride, it is a main additive in their fresh water supplies.

Everyday is a fresh education in America. Those little nuances of history that we missed in school (It totally passed me by that the US beat England in WWII), the subtle cultural mismatches (Wearing spandex counts as inciting a hate crime), and the finer points of dining out (Knife and fork? Anyone? At all?).

Our New World cousins are a fighting fit nation. 4 Americans on the trip. 3 Achilles injuries and 1 knee injury.

The British Response – Rational and Measured. Top tips include ice, compression, massage, and not cycling.
The American Response – Reject Colonial Propaganda. They’re weakening us for a snatch and grab. Push harder, cycle farther and faster, through the pain and currently accepted medical opinion… The very sovereignty of the United States may depend on it.
The Lauterbach Response – The Underdog always wins, 60% of the time. Rest until our largest climb is imminent, mount bike and tame the beast pre-breakfast. Phone ER for knee consult post-breakfast.

The American ‘take charge’, lead from the front, costly personal weekly life-coaching philosophy has its advantages. Patrick has drafted approximately 1047 of his 1300 miles ridden so far. Max’s own ego is kept suitably in check; he wears ear-plugs at night so his own weeping doesn’t keep him awake. The main disadvantage is we have had to dump food and water to make space for US casualties (and their musical therapeutics).

Weather excellent. Wish you were here.

Paddy and Max

Day 12 (rest day): For British Eyes Only

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Friday 8:10pm MST

For British Eyes Only: A Letter From America

Hello Mother, Hello Father,
We’ve had fun at Camp Nevada,
Life could be very entertaining
If the Clouds just gave it up and started raining…

Most of the posts have been rather, how should I put it: yankee-centric, and it is my duty to report home to England from this once distant tendril of the Empire. Jacob has been subdued and we have gleaned the access code to his computer to make this possible.

America, or the US of A, is like a larger version of Europe. We have so far passed through three states: First, California beaches in San Francisco were more like California Beaches in Norfolk. In November. The rest of the state mostly followed the pattern of South Downs for 100 miles, West London for another hundred, then imagine three scoops of the Peak District (with extra pines please, Mr Ginelli). Thus ends California.

Nevada [Neh-vah-dah] is something special. They have managed a system where the temperature can reach over 22°C, yet there is no national emergency, no suspiciously early morning strolls in the garden, and no one needs to spend a cold night at Her Majesty’s pleasure for watering the pansies.

Utah is something particularly special. Mockery aside, this is a fantastically beautiful state. The landscape is colourful even under the powerful Sun. Striking reds from the iron cliffs and greens from the trees carving a niche in a most inhospitable landscape. This is what I expected of the desert, a Martian vista. The shades have a vibrancy unfaded by thousands of years of exposure. And is truly is a view overlooking thousands of years, as you can see back through time along the many strata of the plunging cliffs. Incidentally, Utah is also home to my favourite dinosaur – the Utahsaurus, a larger cousin of the Velociraptor.

Mad dogs and English men – we are a little rosy I’m afraid.

Enjoy England, we miss it,

Paddy and Max

1st Oxford Bike-a-Thon Photos

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

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Ezra putting the hurt on his fixie under the Bridge of Sighs at Oxford. Two days until the 2nd Stationary Bike-a-Thon on June 10th- join us!

Photo credits: Colin Buck

Exeter College JCR

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

Exeter College CrestMany thanks to Exeter College JCR for passing the most valiant of motions last Sunday – to donate to Cross Country For Cancer’s cause! The generous Exonians forked out a healthy £300 for the Sidney Kimmel Centre! Thanks again! Will more colleges follow suit?