Good morning folks
I trust this finds you in finest fettle.
In a week which saw the Queen 90, Prince dead, an earthquake in Ecuador and 30 years since Chernobyl, here is my Lima round-up.
A weekly mixture of mumbling, grumbling, stumbling, rambling, musing and happenings in the ciudad de caos.
(Image courtesy of lima42k.com)
My good mate James B lent me a book entitled “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll which has had me gripped. My staple reading material usually involves intrepid 2-wheeled adventures on underpowered Clunks, a subject I never tire of.
Now running has been a big part of my life (although not as much over the last year, but more of that in a minute), but reading about it? Not really. Don’t get me wrong, there are some incredible running books, Joss Naylor’s book and Boff Whalley’s outstanding Run Wild are two of my favourites, but these are exceptions (for me personally, as they are about the breed of the sport I love; fellrunning). So why is this Rich Roll’s read so riveting?
(Image courtesy of Amazon.com)
Basically Mr Rolls is a guy who was a potential World Class swimmer as a teenager, who found the booze and drank himself into the ground, got to middle age, struggled to climb the stairs and started training to do an Ultraman triathlon (6 miles swim, 171 mile pushbike ride and then a double marathon!) A big ask and I won’t give the story away. It made me get my trainers out.
I’d done pretty much nothing for a year. I ran the Lima marathon last May, as a means to an end. It was quicker to run across town from the umpteen jobs I was juggling than to get the bus. I trained every day for 6 weeks and lumbered round in an average time, but it never really inspired me in a big way. The streets of Lima are a busy old concrete Megatropolopolis. I looked further afield for something off-road, but all the events were a weekend away and work schedules just didn’t let it work/happen. I’m not over-keen on tarmac, my knees don’t like it and I would prefer a frozen Ilkley Moor, a windswept Pennine bog or a storm in the Lakes any day of the week, but beggars can’t be choosers. A road marathon (for me) is running purgatory. It is all about the time you run.
I ran my first road marathon (Manchester 2001, it wasn’t a short course then). I ran my most brainless race ever, but ran a time I’ll probably never beat. I was working at the British Library and running was my life, I was pretty much a full-time athlete. Times have changed and now and I need a kick up the backside. The Lima marathon is very close (to where I live) and it gave me a goal, so in a moment of unoriginality, I’ve entered again, which gives me 3 weeks to get fit, so I’d best pull my finger out! (I’ve had a week under my belt, so 4 weeks will have to do). Watch this space…
Dad’s New Clunk!
My Dad has got himself a new set of wheels. A BSA Bantam. Looks a beauty. Hope to have a spin on it one day
Close shave I
(Image courtesy of telegraph.com)
I promised not to moan about traffic, I’m going to break that promise for one paragraph…
Every day I have at least one near-miss. On a Clunk (or in Lima in general) you can’t ride carefully/defensively (someone just fills the gap), you can’t ride too aggressively (as a car/bus/truck will always win). People don’t look, full-stop. Getting cut-up, pulled out on, sandwiched are daily occurrences, you never get used to it, it’s just a case of trying to get to the front at the lights and keeping out of the scrum. It is a war basically and that is no overstatement. It’s a mobile mental institution and I’m part of it.
On Thursday I had my closest shave yet, the nearest I’ve been to being on the deck and it shook me up. I was negotiating the “Trebol” meat-grinder; a series of 3 dicey loops connecting 3 separate highways. The designers were on Crystal Meth when they cooked it up.
When Lima’s trafico is moving freely (infrequent) it is manageable. When it is stopped dead (frequent) it is negotiable, but when it is s-l-o-w-l-y moving it is at its most hairy. Punters have no patience here (ever) and do unpredictable, erratic things.
(Image courtesy of Amazon.com)
I was on the inside (nearest the kerb) filtering steadily, it was tight but doable. A 4×4 violently (more sudden than suddenly) lurched right (despite signalling left. Indicators mean nothing here and hazard lights normally mean that the driver is about to try something extra crazy). The foot wide strip of tarmac I had suddenly closed, disappeared and evaporated. I had nowhere to go but it was too late to stop. 3rd party insurance is all that 90% of punters have here. My battered old Honda Vs. a new Land Cruiser type. I was already cutting it fine for work and couldn’t get caught up in a blame squabble. (It would have been his fault, but I’d have crashed into the back of him).
Up the kerb! It was the only way, I’d done it countless times, an escape route. As Joe Simpson said “You gotta make decisions. You gotta keep making decisions, even if they’re wrong decisions”. This was a duffer of a decision. As I was parallel to the kerb, the kerb was painted in shiny paint, the paint was extra slippery, my front tyre is a knobbly and the kerb was a kind of chopped-off affair, it just didn’t work. I felt it slip, I tried to rev out of it, which made it worse and I felt the Clunk falling. It is an awful feeling. I’ve never dropped a bike on the road (almost) but you get to a point where gravity is against you. I didn’t have my Clunkboots on, just my work shoes and my ankle crunched on the kerb. If I’d gone down I’d have been squashed by the Combi sniffing my backside, somehow I kept it up and ankle throbbing got out of there. Close call.
Close shave II
I rely on my mirrors. Most other motorcyclists take them off (narrower machine and no interest in whatever is going on behind). I like to see what is appertaining in the rear view.
Now looking in both mirrors is not something you normally do, but sat waiting/melting at the lights I glanced rear left and rear light. The battered Tico Taxi behind me looked really close in my right mirror, but miles away in my left. I glanced back and it was a normal distance (ie, sat on my back rack, but not quite in my back pocket). I’d had the Clunk mirror replaced by a local “Vidreria” for £1.20 after a spill-in-the-hills. The glue started melting immediately once it got round to noon and appeared to have been secured by honey. It also seems that they have used an enlarging mirror. Things in the rear view may appear closer than they actually are indeed!
The Queen had her 90th birthday. Now I’m not much of a Royalist, so when I won a prize to go to a special party at the Ambassador’s house I didn’t know what to do, but with a bit of shift-tinkering I managed to get away from work a bit earlier, dash home, pick up Lina and sprint/limp across town to a rather swanky neighbourhood and possibly the poshest Do I have ever been to.
The Ambassador gave a speech in faultless Spanish and after other dignitaries said a few words, there was a slap-up buffet; Fish and chips, curry, Cornish pasties and more. Plus, a free bar!
On the dawn shift at 7am I really couldn’t get dragged into it and resisted. Good to see my Britanico drinking partners in crime. No ale until after the Marathon for me.
We were invited to the Ambassador’s Christmas Party (through work). The man is a Star!
A real Gentleman, very, very funny and (given his position) very down to earth.
Exam time (again).
This will I will be mostly using red pen!
It’s the end of cycle again and it’s a mad one. 50 exams on Saturday and another 120 on Wednesday. I’m teaching more hours per week than I used to work at the Brewery (not including marking and lesson plans). I’ll be honest, I’m French Connection UKed, frazzled. The Nipper is still not sleeping. It’s an early start, late finish and trying to shoehorn a run in the middle. Living on 5hrs kip, I’m ageing. (I’ll put my violin away now!)
Back in Blighty I’d knock back Berocca by the pint. I can’t find it for love nor money here, but Lina has got into her healthfoods and recently brought home a mystery bag of what a lot of folk are calling “the most nutritious food on the planet”. A Holland’s Meat and Potato pie? (or for when I get to Darwin one day, a mighty Tommo’s!)
(Image courtesy of the mighty NT Piemasters Tommo’s Pies)
Apparently it is something called Spirulina! Wikipedia informs me that it is a blue-green algae (which is bad news for fish in a pond). It is ridiculously pricey. Over a Tenner for a bag. It’d probably be cheaper to sprinkle Colombian marching powder in my porridge. Add a daily pill of Super-Maca and I’m just hoping I don’t get tested at the Lima Marathon!
History is in the making and some of my Dixie Chicken Bus colleagues are making it!
Imagine riding a Monkey Bike around the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains…
Adventurists Adventure #10 is AWAY and they are some of the pioneers of the first run.
(Pics courtesy of The Adventurists, Mr Buddy & Mr Tom on the recce).
Monkey Bikes are not the most common of Clunks, but I do see the odd one around Lima.
Diddy doesn’t even come close. 50cc of eye-popping power. Tailor made for mischief. The heart of a SuperClunk (Cub) inside a bike for a bairn. What is a Monkey Bike? more HERE.
This epic VIDEO was made when Mr. Tom and Mr. Buddy did a test run.
I would swim to Algiers from here to be involved in this outing, it will be stupendously good fun!
Curious? Sign up HERE
That’s all for now folks.
Have yourself a week overflowing with awesomeness.
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper