The last time I wrote a post..

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This monstrosity was being loudly trumpeted as ‘the next big thing‘. Or possibly the world’s most wobbly thing. Certainly it became the thing without the right number of bits, and the bits that did arrive shattered into a thousand eye piercing shards. A quick wiggle of the wingnut bars transferred the entire front end into a face wobbling case of simple harmonic motion, ending in a cry from Nic to ‘leave it alone, I’ve got to service that’.

What? Surely it’s been brought into the shop in some kind of amnesty having killed the previous ten owners, all of whom had tried something courageous like two or three pedal strokes. The only ‘service‘ a right thinking individual could perform on such a horror would be a quick exorcism, followed swiftly by a skip burial.

Having said all that, I’d absolutely love to see it ridden off road. Just not by anyone who owed me any money. My sensible hypothesis that this was clearly the last desperate throes of a Bakelite manufacturer in search of a market sector who’d already bought Sinclair C5s, were keen on the a-bike and could be simply grouped by the term ‘fucking idiots‘, But apparently not. Staggered isn’t the half of it.

Staggered is my primary emotion on finding myself at the end of another day having shown cosmic restraint when confronted with a project that has the momentum of an oil tanker heading into – say – Harrods with the crew covering their eyes while screaming ‘it’s all his fault‘. They may be pointing at me. I wouldn’t know being somewhat pre-occupied in wondering exactly how much damage an angry middle aged man could deliver with nothing more than an office stapler and a sharp pencil.

It’s not so much a project Al, more of a quest‘ so advises my rather sanguine business partner from a position of not having anything to do with it. He’s right tho, a quest with a full regalia of pointy weapons, knights riding on pointless look-at-me adventures, a cast of characters pulled straight of the Alice in Wonderland, and a deadline that generally has me running around the office shouting “82 days, 82 BLOODY DAYS, ask me again how much I care where the shredders go,.. go on ASK ME I dare you“.

Our little team now has a bingo sheet of standard responses to the latest crisis “It is what it is“, “We can’t give you a Wow factor, but you might get dial tone if you leave me alone” and “Don’t ask us about the Shredders”. And while things may be tense, the time has not yet come to “wave the lucky chicken”*.

Of course, it’s fine really. I just like pretending it’s not, although Carol has stopped asking me how my day has gone because she has much better things to do that listen to a spittle flecked incoherent rant at a volume and length which speaks of a man close to madness. Instead she uncorks my medicine and is very careful not to mention the “S” word.

Somewhere and somehow the longest day is coming and with it my absolute last ever race. Having been entered without my permission**, a sad ego-led dedication to secure 342nd place or whatever we’re aiming for has had me out on the bike during the occasional breaks between endless rain and sleet. Someone told me summer is three weeks away, but obviously I had them sectioned for their own good. Delusional maniacs.

Some rides have been dry, dusty and even warm, but these are tantalising small meteorological morsels slid between thick slices of shit weather guaranteeing the full ‘crack, back and rucksack‘ mud enema and the ongoing campaigning of winter gear. Conditions such as these have taken their toll on various bicycles in my ownership. Not the road bike since that’s not been ridden since October, and nothing short of biblical flooding is going to change that.

Mainly as the cross bike seems to work well when the apparently exhausted aquifers which are to be found around 4 inches above the local ground conditions. Until the mechanical disks needed careful adjustment. 30 minutes of watching videos and classic Al spanner incompetence inevitably gave way to a well aimed twat with the percussion tool of choice. Sure they still rub a bit, but I felt quite a lot better after smacking them around showing exactly who was the boss.

Also the Ugly Stick of Blind Carbon Forging received a fork service from my mechanically minded friend Matt. Somewhat timely based on our careful placement of the oil sump ready to catch 30ml of much needed lubrication oil. Not required. Forks as dry as East Anglia. Well apart from a bit of moist grease which yielded to Matt’s bespoke ‘snooker cue and sock‘ cleaning tool – the purpose of which had me properly worried until he shoved it in the fork orifice.

Tomorrow I shall go ride again in the cold rain, before steeling myself for another three days of crisis management best met with a stoical expression and a stern warning regarding any comments re: paper destruction appliances. Still when it’s 3am in a piss wet field under the Malvern hills, with my motivation at an all time low, the team merely needs to shout “Hey Al, what’s happening with the shredders mate?” and I’ll be out of that tent in a flash, pedalling like the madman I clearly am and wondering if somebody else has all my ‘normal

Life is definitely full right now. And a bit strange. And not a little stressful. And that’s before I commit to electronic paper the extensive weirdness of an ANIMÉ festival Abi dragged me round for her birthday. That was beyond bloody odd and well into parallel universe. More on that soon.

More likely, Soonish.

* this is something worthy of a post all of it’s own. A concept dreamt up at about 3am before a 9am go-live, and enacted with delicacies from KFC. It has – rightly – passed into legend and I may share the secret here one day.

** Either meaning in fine. Really. That’s how I feel about it. Violated 😉

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