Sunday 26 November 2023


What's the usual assumption when you hear fatigued? I bet it's physical exhaustion. I do feel this. But it's most likely, for me, to mean mental depletion. 

I know what causes it: monotony; every day seems the same, isolation; my life lacks face-to-face interaction, cold weather; the motivation to get out waines. 

All of this contributes to me doing less exercise. Which if I'm not careful causes a spiral that is progressively harder to break out of.

Lately I have been hit hard, and have modified my routine to cope.

I used to ride ten miles on the trainer after breakfast during the week. Using the social rides at the weekend to lift me. Gradually energy levels dropped, so I reduced the garage sessions to seven and sometimes five miles. I became concerned and added a lunchtime walk. But the temperature plummeted recently the weekend socials have been paused. A double whammy of demotivation. I can't do much to improve the chats without hastening the onset of spring. So I've added variety. Yesterday I went for a run. The last time I did this, it hurt. My non-cycling muscles and tendons objected in a big way. This time I had different new running shoes, which I think helped a lot. I returned without pain. Today my muscles were just a little tight, which is a good sign. It means they are adapting to new stimulus. 

And more importantly it's given me a lift.

I'll be running once a week to start. With a goal of doing a marathon to celebrate my 60th in a couple of years time. There; I've said it. Can't back out now.

Just writing this all down has also made me feel better. 

I've said it before, I hope my words help others. This blog helps me immensely too. It's a place to get my thoughts together, just like exercise does. Maybe also to hold myself to account. 

I don't know exactly what it does. I know that I want it to be a positive place. It should be an inspiration not a road map. You don't have to follow what I do. I may change my mind about some of it. 

If nothing else it should illustrate a scenario or process that made a difference to me.

Sunday 19 November 2023

Calories and mood

low mood depression low calories
I've recently had trouble maintaining my weight. You might think that would be great; not for me. I was already where I wanted to be. Looking for a reason for my low mood and motivation I considered the tough last few months and worsening weather.

I now realise it has more to do with calories than I appreciated. 

This will perhaps not come as a surprise to my family and friends. They have said for a long time that I was perhaps losing too much weight. I countered that I am the ideal BMI, and healthy. Society nowadays has accepted heavier than is healthy as normal. Having said that I don't want to cause myself any problems, or health issues.

Over the last couple of days I have increased my food intake, and it's made a difference. I do feel a little more positive; despite my situation not changing.

I've had variable endurance, especially on faster club rides. Reviewing my meal logs I can see that weeks where I was consistently not meeting my needs resulted in disappointing performance. 

Science, as I understand it, says lower intensity longer lasting exercise uses fat reserves and intervals of high load, carbohydrates. Well I don't carry much fat and so I must be using carbs to fuel most of my efforts. I'm also in danger of losing muscle mass; in addition to the amount lost due to advancing age.

I seem to sleep better when I eat more. It would be easy to just eat calorie dense foods, but that tends to be more processed than I like, and/or none vegan. I kid you not, some meals barely fit on my plate.

As always it's a work in progress, that I am now getting right more often. 

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Searching for Success


Being successful means the achievement of desired visions and planned goals.

For too many I think it's more about the trappings. They have a big house, an expensive car, lots of holidays. They are trapped into trying to maintain or improve these aspects. And comparing to others.

This is not for me.

How do I measure my achievements?

Looking at the above; I have a house, a car that fits my needs, holidays with my wife and on the bike. None of which I spend any time comparing to anyone.

I must have reached my goals; right?

I don't feel that I have. What am I missing?

I have other markers on my journey. Keep kit and healthy, look after my wife as best I can, be available to help family and friends, do well at work. I think and hope I'm on course for these.

So why is there a hole? Why do I feel unfulfilled? How many others feel this way?

I don't usually end a post with questions. But I don't have any answers.

Sunday 12 November 2023


cutty sark

Seasonal affective disorder. I suspect most experience it some degree at this time of year. It's cold and the view out of the window is dominated by wind and rain. With every passing day I fell lower. The session in the garage on the trainer keeps me active but it doesn't satisfy. Knowing the potential for the weekend weather to be bad makes it worse. But of course I'm getting very little natural light, a trigger for S.A.D. It means that Friday afternoon rides are harder to motivate for, even though they are vital for my mood. With this in mind I arranged to meet a good mate. He comes from north of the river so it seemed Greenwich with it's pedestrian tunnel under the Thames would be ideal location. As the day drew closer, and especially when I awoke to heavy rain I was close to cancelling. I knew I'd get a big boost, so I didn't. And as we sat outside a cafe on a quiet corner of the covered Greenwich Market it was the right decision, even though it rained for the first twenty minutes of my route.

The ride home was dry and warmer, I even made it before the rush hour became too intense.

I have doubts that without a coffee arranged I would have gotten out, and I'd have felt more depressed about that.

It was a similar experience on Saturday, it was cold by the club had a ride organised to a very nice cafe.

And Sunday was a ride to meet another good friend.

A positive weekend to end another tough week.

Sunday 5 November 2023


seedy spelt bread

You might be expecting cycling or photography content. Occasionally I'll write about depression. Very rarely you'll read about my cooking expertise.

I made bread.

It started badly. I wanted to produce a loaf quickly so chose a baking soda recipe. As I followed the instructions I hit a problem. For some reason I had changed my mind as I shopped for ingredients earlier in the week, and forgot that I bought yeast. I didn't have time to become a baker until this weekend. It was then that I discovered this deviation from the original path to bread.

A consequence was that it would take longer. Baking soda bread doesn't need time to rise before baking; damn.

I hadn't bought bread flour, nope I'd decided on spelt wholemeal.

Another sign of derring-do: I'd wanted a seedy loaf. So in went an amount of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Does this make me an artisan?

So with "he who dares Rodney" from a little voice in my head, (Only Fools and Horses), I pressed on.

Would it rise, how would it turn out? I'd have to wait a day to find out. The new instructions said to refrigerate the dough overnight after allowing to rise for three hours. 

I took it out of the fridge, placed in on a baking tray and left it to stand for 45 minutes. What I saw didn't fill me with much confidence. Should it look like this?

bread fresh from the fridge
fresh from the fridge

Twenty five minutes in the oven and it looked okayish. It certainly hadn't risen as expected. Tapping it produced a sort of hollow sound, which means it was done.

cooling bread

It felt very heavy and once it had cooled was tough to cut. The house wasn't filled with the smell of fresh bread, it's hard to describe aroma. A faint whiff of alcohol greated me. Maybe the yeast had gone wrong.
It didn't look like the pictures accompanying the steps I had followed. Maybe because I had used different flour, or something else wasn't right. Who knows.

The important thing was how it tasted. 

It tasted nice, with a great crunch as I bit into it. So I call that a success.

I'll try again next weekend. What other seeds etc can I add?