Do you ever want to scream? Today is one of those days. I live in a flat where I pay a communal charge and it has just been increased by 500% from around £90 to just under £430. Now this is clearly an error but it annoys me that it wasn’t spotted by the people who sent out the letter. That would be a steep increase for anyone’s budget, let alone mine as a modestly paid teacher. You could almost call it alpine. Which brings me to another steep increase; one shown in the graph. Not a cross-section of my trip as I cross the Alps, but the number of visitors to this site. You can’t miss the Mont Blanc peak towards the right. That was yesterday and I think I was under cyber attack from someone who lives in London. Repeated visits to the site within a matter of minutes. And then it happened later in the day. And again even later. Result, 256 visitors of which probably 200 were the same person. It is a bit like the cyber attack by the Russians upon Latvia a couple of years ago albeit on a very small scale. Very bizarre. The real Alps are on the right and as soon as I see them my serenity returns. One of those cyclists will be me in early August, worries about hideous communal charges and malevolent cyber attacks forgotten as my bike winds up the mountain passes of Switzerland. The picture, as you can see, is from the Macmillan Cancer Support website. I ripped out an advert from a free newspaper earlier in the week advertising the charity’s “Alps Cycling Challenge” from the 15th – 19th September 2010. I’m not sure that I will have recovered sufficiently by the middle of September to take part and I am certain my boss would raise an eyebrow if I wanted another few days off work to go cycling again but if you are free and fancy a challenge, more details are on their website.
Screaming and Climbing.
I just want to scream too. This morning I opened my Flat Rate Utility Bill for this year and saw an increase for 2010. Oh well ….
You may have well experienced a cyber attack but good old Windows Explorer 7 once in a blue moon will open multiple browser windows of the same web page. I do not know the reason for this but it occurred twice on my old computer. I had to shut down the computer to stop the ghost in the machine. Maybe one of your fans is having a similar experience.
I have read plenty of accounts of climbing while touring on a loaded bike. My heroes will climb 1800 metres in a day. Last summer I left camp and tackled a small 352 m pass on one of the hottest day of the year. I think the steepest grade was 5% but for a short distance.
That 18 kilometres took me four hours and led me to re-examine the day. Here are a few tips that I need to remember and follow since I retired from being Superman.
1. Avoid the heat of the day. Drink plenty of water. Siestas were invented for a reason.
2. Train more. “A busy life” is no excuse.
3. Lose weight. The extra fat I carry is the same as putting extra weight on the bike.
4. Eat foods that quickly convert to energy.
5. Be armed with good information so you know the profile of the climb. I climbed with no end in sight, this was demoralizing.
After all was said and done, I was glad for the experience. Next time I do a real mountain pass I will be better prepared. I know Italia will provide the mountains and hills. I have to do the rest.