Thursday, 11 August 2011

Summer of discontent.

Tenerife was frustrating on all levels. When we landed, I was visually impressed. I was harbouring thoughts that it was going to be decent.  I knew before I went that I wouldn’t have much in common with the people I was going with, but I think if I just stand back from the entire situation, I don’t really have much in common with anyone these days, never mind a bunch of student nurses, and a random south African called Stem.

 View from the roof of the hotel...the row of palm trees is where my wallet was taken...

 The 1st night pretty much set up the sentiments for the rest of the holiday. There was a host of drunken arguments in the first few days, and I ended up getting my wallet pick pocketed during one of the arguments; the Spanish police were utterly useless.  The resort of Playa De Las Americas was pretty grim. Think Blackpool with Palm Trees. People constantly hassling you into restaurants, and sell you shit sunglasses.   

Day two seen a long term ambition achieved; Going out sailing.  Unlucky for me; I was sea sick! On day three, I was close to booking a flight home; but was put off by the price. The Holiday rep was pretty understanding about the whole thing; and she kindly offered to let me tag along with all the Thomas Cook reps. I felt totally isolated from the people I was travelling with, so I decided to take the kind strangers offer.  I managed to let my hair down, and ended up having a decent night, although the ensuing drama returning home sort of cancelled it all out.   At one point I ended up going for a hill walk, which turned into some sort of team building exercise.  I had a lot of fun, and I can certainly see how team building exercises are used. 
 Views from the hill walk...
 Me, on the top of the hotel....
Asked the fellah how much the canary was to eat.....

 Walking down a street in Vilaflor
 Praying that the bus would turn up when leaving vilaflor
 Vilaflor again . . .
 Really loved the quirky little buildings...and glad I got to see the real Tenerife....
This is a view from Arona; the final destination of my ascent on the bike..

Some hippys, that live in tent/caves year round. 

 Then came the bike hire day, which was the 5thand definitely the best day of the trip. I’d intended to ride to Vilafor, but not long after beginning my ascent, it became apparent that the bike I’d hired wasn’t up to the task, and neither was my un-acclimatised body. See pics above, of Arona.

 Regardless of me leaving early, by 9.30, I was sweating profusely. When it’s economically viable, and I’ve lost a few more stone, I’m going to go on a full on cycling holiday, either in Tenerife, or possibly south france/northern spain. I don’t think there’s a better feeling than an hour and a half of sweating and pushing like hell and looking back down at all you’ve conquered.  Not one to be diverted from my goal, I made my descent back to the Hell hole that is “Playa De Las Americas” (Spicy Blackpool) after encountering the real Tenerife, a random chicken in the road, a nice restaurateur who could have ripped me off, but didn’t, some feral dogs, and a stricken lizard in a lolly ice wrapper that I saved; me, and Christine got on a bus (several), and headed up to Vilaflor which was truly an experience. You’re so high that you’re in the clouds. It’s madness that all this civilization exists so high up, and the buildings are rich in character! It was like a Ghost town when we arrived (Possibly during siesta) but we found a cafe next to the main square and tucked into some delicious Canarian cuisine. I’d tell you what it was like, but that would make me a big fat hypocrite, as I’m always sounding off about morons who watch cooking programmes and them being a total waste of time (the programmes and the watchers)  Anyway....Canarian potatoes. Yes! 
In hindsight, I did have a good time overall, despite what happened. I had serious blues for a week after!

 Two days after arriving back, I went out Birkenhead Victoria CC on a club run and I was not expecting it. I took water with me instead of my usual isotonic drinks, and was in for a serious eye opener as we rode to Llangollen. We ended up covering about 90 miles. I squashed a testicle going up the horseshoe pass, so I was off the bike for a good 5 minutes being sick at the side of the road. Stupid road pedals not clicking in! Then we made our way back from the Cafe at Llangollen; I was unprepared and unaware as to what was about to transpire; riding over “worlds end”. I’m not entirely sure of gradient, but I was dropped pretty much instantaneously and the ascent seemed to get steeper and steeper; then without warning, the mechanism that allows the wheel to turn after you pedal gave way; so I had to basically ride up this monster without any reprieve. It was nearly impossible to get the bike going again after stopping, something that was needed given the mechanical failures my bike had encountered. After getting over the top, my bike thankfully begun to work a little better, but I was shot to fuck. Lagging behind the rest of the bunch, I felt like such a letdown, after riding so well on my previous club run to Beeston; I was 3rd up the hills then and well pleased with how I was riding.  I put it down to the Tenerife ride, and the bike being fucked. I bought my old bike back of my mate; as my new Bianchi had failed me, and was getting fixed.

 The next club run was even more of a disappointment. We went to Llandudno at a pretty fast pace; and I decided to ride up the Great Orme.  Essentially my confidence was writing cheques that my ability couldn’t cash. I was trying out a new supplement to stop me from burning out that had been recommended to me by the cycling guru within the club I’m in....all sorts of jazzy electrolytes in it!  Now, I usually burn out at 70 miles, but managed to keep it going for 85, coupled with me riding up a stupidly steep hill, and yet more mechanical short comings, I ended up out the back of the group again. I ended up telling them to carry on. I disappointed myself. I soldiered on, and caught sight of them again close to the finishing point; which was a slight redeemer.

I opted out of this weekend’s club run, because my gears were bust, and I was a bit reluctant to be the anchor again. I stupidly went out drinking!  I’d be here all day expressing how pissed off I am at myself, but I’m not going to bother. Today, I shaved 2 minutes of my shockingly bad ten mile time; and I had a nice solo ride out to Holt...60 Miles in the bag.

I have an assessment later this month at Liverpool Community College. It’s pretty much all or nothing here. I’ve spent the last 3 and a half years working towards a goal. Getting in the Merchant Navy. Trying to lose weight, get fit, and get the qualifications and all that jazz. I’ve washed up with the idea of going in the RN, and I’ve also washed up with the idea of going in the RFA; they’ve had their budget slashed, they’re not taking on, plus, I hate rejection, and I’m not ready for another NO. I’ve encountered rejection, I’ve suffered, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve changed. The plan now, is to finish this job next week, and all being well, ace my 5 GCSE’s. Come January, I’ll be getting interviews for HNC places for next September. Sponsored Deck position in the Merchant Navy...age 28, finally settling down to a “career”.  So by 30, I’ll be up and running. This is of course pending the outcome of my assessment. I’m not going to talk about a contingency plan, because it’s first and foremost negative to do so, and secondly, and seriocomically I don’t have a plan B. All the metaphorical eggs are in one basket here.

Assessment on the 24th August, pay day on the 26th. I'm debating riding to Hereford, which is 100 miles from mine and staying at a B&B, then heading down to Cornwall, just with a back pack with minimal essentials. I keep thinking of mechanical failures, and my lack of mechanical knowledge though; so I may just take the dog, the tent, the car, and go "where ever"   In any case, I am looking forward to some splendid isolation at the end of August. If I come back and find I don't have a place on the and games beckon!