Posts Tagged ‘endpolionow’

Blimey, time seems to accelerate as you close in the target. In this case, the 550 miles I challenged myself to cycle from Hungerford to Ligueil and back to prove that ‘The Old Codger’ can and to prove that COPD need not stop me from doing what I like to do, while also helping others.

At my last checkup with the nurse my obstructive lung lung effectiveness was 48% while my restrictive lung effectiveness was 49%. Now looking at these figures, this suggests to me that i’m effectively operating on one lung, which isn’t that good. My understanding is also that while my restrictive effectiveness can be improved by losing a bit of weight (too much fat restricting the movement of the diaphragm is bad) the obstructive part will NOT improve. If that’s the case then, ooh err, I’m in for some bad times ahead.

A hint at the possible bad times ahead came to the fore last Sunday when I was out on my 74 mile epic. As I ‘pumped those pedals’ onwards and upwards my breathing would get harder, as for everybody else. In my case however I was breathing in vast amounts of air (well, I thought it was vast amounts anyway) but I seemed to breathing back out the same. It felt as though while I was breathing I wasn’t getting the oxygen: that, was scary. Obviously I was getting oxygen otherwise I would be here and you wouldn’t be reading these words 🙂

I have a checkup tomorrow followed by a lung function check the Thursday before I depart and I will be interested to see what the figures are. In the meantime, the next 15 days are all I have to prepare myself for the big challenge which will hopefully help others. Others such as those less mobile than myself and would welcome the opportunity to enjoy the nicer things in life just like those more mobile. In this case, it is enjoying some tranquil relax time on canal boats: Canal boats that have been specifically designed to accommodate wheel chair users, such as those operated by Bruce Trust Barges who rely on charitable donations to keep the boats operating and even acquiring new boats. Others that I hope to help are those still at risk of contracting Polio.

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease, and for as little as US$0.60, a child can be protected against the virus for life. If we don’t finish the fight right now, more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralyzed by polio in the next 40 years.

The above was taken from the End Polio Now web site. The site shows that we are so close to eliminating this disease. But my fear is that because we’re so close, there’s the danger that we may ‘take the foot off the pedal’ and relax. We must make sure we avoid this, we must keep going to totally eliminate Polio once and for all.  But this takes funds. This is why I’m riding my bike: To prove I can and to help others, so who will help me?

If you want to help me to help others then why not support me, and encourage me via my just giving page at

Now, I’m off for breakfast and to plan today’s training ride not sure how far yet but it will be less that 74 miles I do know that much 🙂

Go Podge, Go

How could anybody doubt that His Podgeness would not make the ride. He did but not without a couple of false starts as the trilogy of mishaps of the previous Sunday continued into a new Trilogy.

Having spent Saturday sprucing up his beloved Colnago and clearing all excess weight (Swiss Army Knife, scissors, the off multi tool, etc.), all was ready for the Sunday Training Ride. This was to be the biggest ride sol far with a massive from 40 to 50+ miles and so with some trepidation, His Podgeness along with Master Nicholas set off for the Library Car Park. As the rode in they espied Mike Howie (must get a better name for Mr Howie) whose initial greeting was hav you got an allan key? I’ve left mine at home and my saddle is at the wrong height. Master Nicholas was immediately despatched to source said tool to return with much haste. During this time Charles arrived and set up his 23 year old and looking all its age Peugeot mountain bike by which time Mr Howie was all set to go.

Just before the off however, His Podgeness did look down upon the Peugeot Mountain Bike and did decree that perhaps the steed was not really up to the job and suggested that perhaps a road bike, loaned from his own stable, would be more appropriate.

At the allotted time, the ‘famous’ four set off. “Arn’t we going the wrong way?” asked Mr Howie. “Don’t think so” said His Podgeness. Just then, there was a bang and the sound of escaping air emanating from one certain Colnago. With home being only half a mile away, they all set off to ‘Podge’s Towers’ to change the tube and set off again but then a brainwave was had. Why don’t we just change the back wheel altogether (just in case the wheel is at fault). Withe brainwave recognised, the wheel from the De Rosa was inserted into the Colnago and off they set: this time in the direction that Mr Howie believed to be the correct way.  But, the Colnago was slipping its gears and was unrideable and so after half a mile they returned to Podge’s Towers  to reinsert the back wheel back into the Tango and so, on the third attempt, they set off in the original direction which was as it happened the right direction.

After this series of false starts, all went well and although the Tango did occasionally clunk it’s gears, it was adequate for the day. The original intention was to head off through Little Bedwyn and then across to Kintbury, Newbury and then south to Whitchurch. Having lost 45 minutes through false starts though it was decided to just go for a ride and see where the roads went. Well, apart from looping around Newbury via Highclere, the ride went as planned. It was just after Highclere that the back wheel of Master Nicholas Colnago (yes, another Colnago) started to develop a horrid rattle although, while off putting didn’t ‘seem to affect’ the performance. And so, the four continued to a crossroads where Mr Howie said “here my friends, we turn right back on to the original route”. “Oh bother” said His Podgeness, “this takes up Watership”, “Yep” said My Howie, “but then, you did put it in the route Podge”. “Drat” said His Podgeness. And off they set, down then up, and up, and up and up until Hid Podgeness once again revised the ‘Push Bike’. Once at the top however, it was down hill virtually al the way to Whitchurch through some of the most amazing countryside. Then it was time to turn north and head for home towards the dreaded Faccombe Hill. This was where Mr Howie’s gears started to clunk and click whenever he needed to find just one more lower gear (his Podgeness had run out of gears well before 🙂 ). It was then that we realised and recognised the irony. On this ride were three state of the art bicycles made of the latest carbon fibre with the snazziest wheels and best indexed gears on the market and the only bike that was ‘sound as a pound’ was the 23 year old  Peugeot Mountain Bike.

Ando so, with pride just a little dented and newly found respect for the elder of the bike world, they all made their way to Downgate Club Hut for their well earned , now traditional, end of ride drink during which all carbon bikes were hidden, in shame, beneath the only bike that held out though the whole ride. But at least they all made the 52 miles.

Next week, who know but all did agree that the 16th would be the Great Western Sportive to which all would attend. Yeah.

Go Podge, Go

    Yesterday(Sunday 19th) brought with it the promise of afternoon yet, undaunted by pig headedness, the training ride for WheelsForRotary started off at the normal time with the intention of covering 40 miles to include Chute Causeway and Combe Gibbet. In the mind of Podge The Puffer (yours truly) both these were mountains, to many others they were just big hills.

    As we (Barry, Charles, Mike & Podge) set off the sky was clear though there were smatterings of clouds in the distance. Climbing out of Hungerford we very quickly warmed up, mainly because we had taken the precaution of wearing extra layers against the inevitable cold. After about 5 miles we were forced to start removing layers: clearly, today was going to be warmer then promised. But, the extra warmth seemed to have a positive effect on the little fat one at the back(me), as we were making good time with our average speed a good couple of miles above previous rides.

    The distant clouds rolled in and brought a slight drop in temperature plus a sudden head wind: uh oh thought Podge, there’s a front coming in: the rain must soon be arriving. But, undaunted we continued at a good pace and eventually reached the start of the climb up tp Chute Causeway. As we started to climb, the ‘front’ came and went, along with the clouds and the temperature went back up. And so, up we went, all the way to the top (the occasional stop to ‘admire the view’) before payback time with the drop down (14%) the other side.

    At the bottom we turned right to cycle a 4 mile flat road with the behind me. If anything, the road was slightly downhill. I’m telling you, His Podgeness was in seventh heaven and actually felt like a proper cyclist. After about a mile however, it all went a bit wrong. “oi Mike” says His Podgeness, “does my back tyre look a bit flat? The affirmative reply was not welcomed but expected. So, it’s all stop to change the tube (repairs are so last year), pump up with CO2 (much better than pumps), and back on the road. 50 yards, maybe 75 and swishhhhh, down goes the same tyre. Oh dear everybody thought! Let’s change the tube again. This time, let’s put loads of gas in to make nice and hard and so quicker to ride. Before we had finished however, BANG, the tyre springs off and the tube spills out in shreds. This is no longer funny. Between the four riders, there was only one tube left and one cylinder of gas. Fortunately both worked, but the tyre was less than hard enough so the ride onwards was slow.

    The long break to practice tyre changes also allowed everybody’s muscles to cool down from which no one really recovered and so the (optional) climb up to Facombe was dropped and instead went straight to Combe Gibbet. Earlier, His Podgeness was confident about climbing Combe but all the stops and soft tyre took its toll and the proverbial Push Bike lived up to its name. But, a ten minute rest at the top to enjoy the views, well worth the trip, and then it was all down hill to Downgate for a well deserved pint before the last mile, downhill again, to home.

    And that was this weeks 40 mile training ride and a good time was had by all. And better still, Podge lost 1.8 pounds in weight.

    Go Podge, Go.

The weekend just gone saw the 6th organised training ride as I prepare for the 550 mile cycle challenge from Hungerford to Ligueil and back from the 7th July this year. Starting in week 1 at just 14 miles, week 6 saw me doing 36 miles over some hilly terrain. Each week, the distance will increase to acclimatise me to the long distances required.

Now, as you read this, and having read some of my past adventures, you may be a little confused: after all, I’ve done some pretty significant rides in the past. So, why is it so different this time?

Well my last big ride saw my heart rate climb to 250+ and stay there for too long to be comfortable. In addition my breathing was getting more and more laboured. These two ‘issues’ took me off my bike for two years. Okay, I got out occasionally but always found it a struggle and suffered for a good 2 to 3 days after each ride.

Numerous hospital appointments decided that as far as my heart was concerned, although I had slight arrhythmia I was ok, phew. My breathing however was another issue with the diagnosis being COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or as I like to call it, Codgers Old Puffing Disease 🙂

Numerous test showed that my lungs were only 48% effective and I was told that they would not get better but they would deteriorate. Well, that was a pretty sobering thought and one that kind of concerned me a bit. But then I decided that these doctors know nothing 🙂 and I decided that I was going to prove them wrong. That is why I’m undertaking this challenge. And do you know what, it seems to be working. Where I was once laid up for 2 to 3 days after each ride I can now go for a ride the following day. And I’m getting stronger each week. Better still, the ride is for charity so other people benefit as well.

So, Codgers Old Puffing Disease I may, or may not, have but I will prove to myself that I can still ride a bike.

As the weeks progress, hopefully so will I. And, as the weeks progress, I’ll post such progress here.

In the mean time:

Go Podge, Go