So what’s next – a new year begins

I have been asked this question quite a few times since completing the Haute Route Alps this last summer.  Is there more to do or should I hang up my cycling shoes and say I am done.  [Un]fortunately I am the sort of person that needs a purpose to motivate me so the prospect of me just calling it a day doesn’t really sit with me, I know that if it wasn’t a cycling challenge then it would be something else, I suppose I have somewhat of an obsessive personality.  I don’t like to do anything half-hearted.

One of the great things about cycling as a hobby is that there are so many different avenues to go into, whether that be road cycling, mountain biking, BMX, Cross, touring, racing, etc….    so there is always an option and plenty of challenges to take on.

So what about 2018, well for 2018 my attention turns to epic one day rides.   At the moment there are two earmarked on the calendar.

The first is the Mallorca 312 in April, traditionally this used to be a 312km race around the island of Mallorca but was changed a few years ago to a circuit of the Tarmuntana mountains with a loop to the south eastern coast before finishing back in Alcudia.  Still covering 312 km and over 5500m of climbing it will be a big day out for Scott and I.   

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The other epic day out will be the Vatternrundan in June,  a 300km circuit around Lake Vattern in Sweden with 23,000 other participants.   This one I am riding with a few friends from Rapha Cycling Club.

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map courtesy of Vatternrundan.se

So I am sticking to the road cycling for now and will focus on getting ready for long days in the saddle.

Here is a final look back at my statistics from 2017 and have a wonderful, safe & prosperous new year.

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One of 5 reasons to do the national 3 Peaks Challenge.

I have always enjoyed hiking in the hills since I went on a hike up Snowdon when I was 12 years old. It was another few years before I got the opportunity to walk the hills when I was serving a mission in Austria for the Church I belong to. On our days off we would take the opportunity to find the nearest hill, there are a few around in Austria and go and hike to the top.
Over the last few years walking trips have been restricted to the Southern Uplands when we have been visiting family in Scotland each Easter.

One of those things that I have always wanted to do is to complete the national 3 Peaks challenge. My brother did the challenge a couple of years ago with some of his friends from the forces.
This year a friend (Steve T) from our local church congregation suggested he would like to have another go at the challenge and I jumped at the chance. My son, Scott also proposed that he was capable of doing the challenge and so a plan was hatched. Two other like-minded individuals (John & Ian) from our local church volunteered and we had a team. It was quickly decided that for a successful challenge we would need someone who would take care of the driving (Steve G) and so with 5 walkers and a driver the team was complete.

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With Scott on the walking team it spawned the idea that with 5 walkers we could raise money for 5 charities Continue reading “One of 5 reasons to do the national 3 Peaks Challenge.”

It is possible…..

I began scuba diving in 2004 after my wife also a scuba diver suggested that I learn. I instantly got the bug and have enjoyed diving all around the UK, the middle east and off the western African seaboard. There are still plenty of places on this fantastic planet that I would like to visit & dive.

There is however one place that I have returned to every year since I took up a late minute space on a diving weekend in October in 2004 and it is the one place where I have found that it is possible to combine a successful family holiday & enjoy a traditionally non-family sport.

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As a family we started visiting Porthkerris Dive Centre on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall in May 2006 and there have been a number of changes over the years. Back then we pitched our tents on the hard gravel area that is now the BBQ area, having to secure our huge tent in gale winds with large redundant telegraph poles. Since then our tent has grown as has the family and we have moved from the hard gravel area to the newer shore dive camping ground, finally with the acquisition of our trailer tent onto the hard-stand electric hook up camping pitches closer to the dive centre & amenities.

Last year the portacabin office was replaced by the purpose built dive centre shop and lecture room making a huge difference to the look & feel of the beach area. This year the butty wagon has been replaced with a beach cafe open every day and the toilet & shower block has undergone some cosmetic yet useful improvements. Coming up in the next few years though are some major accommodation & dive centre improvements including training pool & self-catered diver accommodation that Mike & Jo took me for a tour around as the building takes shape. I can’t wait to see the finished outcome and make use of the facilities, we may even be tempted to leave the tent behind.

Over those same years the hard boat diving has also undergone some improvements. When I first dived off the Celtic Cat in 2004, I was diving with a single 12 litre cylinder & wetsuit, therefore it wasn’t so critical to me that I had to climb a ladder to get back into the boat or indeed that there were no kitting up benches on the boat.
I have since moved to diving with twinsets, stages & thankfully for UK diving a drysuit, mercifully it wasn’t too long before the Cat gained the daddy of all lifts, a two diver lift between the twin hulls and also the welcome addition of kitting up benches throughout the dive deck.

The rib also got a backbone aswell as the Celtic Kitten was introduced to the diving fleet. A hard boat shuttle with a loading ramp reminiscent of a mini beach landing craft. The rib is still there and means that a huge diving group like those we have been part of over the last few years (as many as 52 divers over 4 days) can all get a boat dive of one form or another on a dive trip.

So over the years we have been visiting, the dive centre has changed a little bit at a time, but why is it that as we pull away from the beach up that steep incline when I ask the children do you want to come back next year? The unequivocal response from the back seats is YES….

All of the improvements to the diving over the years are great for me and other divers but the kids love the beach, the sea, the rocks, the freedom…. and that is the beauty of Porthkerris Diving for us as a family. I haven’t even mentioned the actual diving locations, such as the manacles or the plethora of wrecks, or the beautiful house reef, drawna nor have I mentioned the friends we have made in returning year after year.

So it is possible I can enjoy going diving but not have to sacrifice precious holiday time with my family.

This weekend we came back from our 6th family trip to the beach at Porthkerris, as we pulled away from the single track farm road that leads up from the beach, I asked the children, so do you want to come back next year…… Guess what the answer was…….

See you on pitch number 1, the one behind the dive centre, one week in July 2012……

www.porthkerris.com or visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/porthkerris

Diving

My main hobby is Scuba Diving.  It was Lisa who introduced me to Scuba diving when we were dating, although I didn’t try it myself for another 6 years.   During the time we were dating Lisa went back to Bahrain for a couple of weeks with her Dad and during that time she went diving in Jeddah, they hired a camera and took a couple of shots that she brought back with her.  This was my first introduction to diving.  Continue reading “Diving”