Where have I been?

Golden times 

On an afternoon in early 0ctober 2016, I was having lunch with my friends, George and Adrian when we came up with the idea of travelling to see one of cycling’s spring classics. We usually enjoy a ride together to coincide with the classics, the gather in the pub to watch the race, but venturing to mainland Europe to see one in person was new territory for me. By the time we’d emptied our plates the idea was gathering steam, so I booked a table in Blackfriars for that evening where we could have a planning session.

Later, gathered around a table by the window, we checked our calendars and quickly decided upon travelling to Maastricht for the weekend of the Amstel Gold Race. As quickly as the beers flowed that night, Operation: Amstel took shape.

I took an unlikely organisational role, setting up the Trello board and filling it with to-do’s and ideas as they came to mind, George booked the appropriate flights, and Adrian found us quality bars to visit and a place to stay on Air B&B in the days that followed.

In fact, the whole thing came together so quickly and was so far ahead of us that, over the winter, it was easy to forget that we’d be kicking off the spring in style.

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Spaced out

Earlier, whilst playing Elite: Dangerous, I got to enjoy one of the most surreal gaming experiences I’ve ever had, courtesy of a Red Cross chugger knocking the door in the early stages of an epic 28 jump journey.

When I got back to the controls, I activated the frame shift drive countdown to jump to the next system on the route and just as it engaged I looked at the fuel gauge in horror. I was supposed to stop in the current system to refuel and just had gone one more jump than I meant to.

As soon as I completed the jump I dropped out of super cruise and scanned the system. Yep, it was an empty, unpopulated system and I was kind of boned.

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Adding injury to injury

On the evening of February the 21st this year I suffered the misfortune of splitting my left elbow open whilst attempting a skateboarding trick. It stung at the time and, once my pads were off, I was horrified to see a gaping cut at my elbow joint.

Whenever I get hurt, I don’t really get fixated on the pain in the moment unless it’s excruciating. Usually my mind projects ahead, thinking about the near term impact the injury will have and I immediately begin working out when I can expect to recover. A couple of years back I had to make a calculated bail whilst skating in the same pool at the skatepark, landing awkwardly on my right heel (in a pair of Vans I never skated in again) and right from the moment of impact I thought; “Damn it! That’ll be two weeks at least.” I was wrong, it was closer to a month before I could walk properly on it again, but the instant self assessment is something of a gut reaction regardless of the accuracy.

When I saw my split elbow in the mirror and then the reaction of the guys at the reception in the skatepark as I was patched up, I tentatively figured I’d be out for two or three weeks at best whilst my body repaired itself. Unfortunately, a week later my arm had become painfully swollen and I was put on an emergency course of antibiotics, double the normal dose, to help fight off the aggressive infection that had taken hold.

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