Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Delayed like last year, but here it is – a summary of my pathetic performance on the bike last year (at least in terms of mileage).

My total mileage in

  • 2010 : 2,266 km / 1,409 miles
  • 2011 : 3,796 km / 2,359 miles
  • 2012: 2,111 km / 1,312 miles

Month-wise Recap
2012 - Monthly Mileage

The few miles in Jan’12 were all on the rollers. Actually, it was exactly 6 sessions of 10km each on the rollers.

Feb was a quiet month, given the delayed cold wave and because I wanted to spend all spare time with girlfriend, who was going off for a month to Peru. It was also when I took a dip in the pool, and decided to stay – started properly learning swimming.

March was much better than usual. Signed up and rode 2 early season sportives – Burgess Hill Springtime Classic, which I barely managed to finish, and Evans Cycles’ Woking Ride It event, half of which I rode with a broken saddle. Topped off the month by riding the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) sportive, my first event on the continent. Unlike the two previous events this month, this one was a success. Managed to successfully finish the sportive, while riding up all but one climbs, while much fitter (looking) riders all around me faltered. Even made a few friends on the ride – couple of lads from the US, and two young brothers from Belgium. All in all, an ace month for riding.

April was washed out in getting married, and the subsequent (long) India trip.

May & June were regular early summer months with lots of rides, but not many long ones. Highlight of May was the half-loop of Evans Cycles’ King of Mountains sportive, which made me quickly realise how much fitness I’d lost over the previous month (and how much had I gorged on – weight had increased by 8 kgs!!) Highlight for the month of June was the BHF London-Brighton-London ride. While the ride to Brighton was slow (30,000+ riders on narrow country roads), the ride back was faster and easier. Best bits were climbing the Ditchling Beacon through those crowds, hi-fiving kids along the finishing straight, descending a steep South-Downs chalk-trail in cleats while carrying the bike, and riding the last 20 miles with a family of 3, 2 of whom were planning to ‘ride-ahead’ of le Tour a week later.

July was the highest intensity of riding, though it lasted just about a week. Here is how the stats for 1st 7 days of July read:

1-Jul-2012 Richmond Park Century 101.58
2-Jul-2012 Richmond Park Century 100.54
3-Jul-2012 Regent’s Park Century 101.83
4-Jul-2012 Richmond Park Half Century 50.80
5-Jul-2012 Richmond Park Century 100.71
6-Jul-2012 Regent’s Park Century 100.07
7-Jul-2012 Sutton – Brighton 82.49

Little did I then know that this flurry of rides were going to be my last good rides for the year! After getting drenched in 4 of those 7 rides, I decided to take a break from riding in the rain, which, given English weather, meant no cycling for a couple of weeks.

August was lost to a hiking trip to the Lake District. It is a beautiful country, great for cycling, but even better for hiking. I’m still in love ;)

September saw a new member join our young family. Our Labrador puppy, fondly referred to as Chewbacca, took up all our waking, non-working time in September, October & November. Out the window went all Cycling, Hiking, Swimming plans. Heck, even heading out for dinner to a diner around the corner became an exercise in advanced planning and quick gulping.

December should’ve seen some riding, but by now I was completely out of form, vastly overweight, and extremely lazy. The cold and non-stop rain and flooding didn’t help my enthusiasm either.

The chart below shows a comparison of rides over last two years, and starkly highlights how badly I dropped off the circuit in 2nd half of 2012. The graph in faded blue is 2011 mileage.

Cumulative Mileage - 2012 & 2011

Overall, my 3 highlights of biking in 2013 were:

  • Riding the cobbles (Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour of Flanders sportive)
  • Up the Beacon (London-Brighton-London, hadn’t ever ridden to Brighton before because I had a mental block about my ability to climb the Ditchling Beacon)
  • Century Week (1st week of July when I rode 5 century rides and 2 half-century rides, before being stopped by a lack of dry clothing, shoes & will power)
  • Successfully completing 30 days of ‘Ride-Everywhere’ in March

Looking back at the targets I’d set for myself for 2012, the performance was dismal:

  • 4000 miles of riding, all inclusive – Failed massively, riding about a 3rd of the distance
  • More sportives (attended only 2 this year) – A success, mainly due to the 3 sportives in March. Not by much though, given year’s total of 5
  • Lower HR – Very successful while I was still riding. Had seen a drop of about 20bpm in avg HR while increasing the speed. Will need to work it back again :(
  • Better Climbing (subjective, but important) – Subjective. Found the climbs in Ronde moderate but succumbed in King of the Downs
  • 100 50mile+ rides – Big Fail!
  • LEJOG / Cycling vacation in Lake District – Did have a vacation in Lake District, but wasn’t a cycling one. Went hiking.
  • Cycling vacation on the continent, preferably closer to the Alps – Didn’t happen, and unlikely to happen in near future while Chewbacca grows up.
  • Get Rags a road bike and get her riding hills with me :) – Biggest success of the year! For the latter half, she actually rode a lot more than me. And already has 3 rides logged in 2013 while I’m yet to get out.

Targets for 2013

Finally, coming to plans for 2013. They are simple (and likely too ambitious):

  • 2500 miles / 4000 km of riding, all inclusive
  • At least ONE ride in each month of the year
  • Lower HR
  • Better Climbing (planning to do Kingston gate – Robinhood gate reps in Richmond Park)
  • 50 30mile+ rides

Doable? We’ll know before long :)

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Posted: February 12, 2012 in Family, Heart, People
Tags: ,

This time, last year, I was on a plane half way to India to say good bye to grand dad. Hope the old bugger is doing well up there. Miss him loads :'(

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The year drew to a close while I was away in Tanzania, so never got to write my spurt of year end posts. This, is a short fill-in for one.

My total mileage in

  • 2010 : 2,266 km / 1,409 miles
  • 2011 : 3,796 km / 2,359 miles

Here’s the month-wise breakup:

Jan’11, I was just feeling the cold and being lazy. Nov & Dec were lost to walking / hiking in preparation for for the Kilimanjaro ascent (which I successfully did on 23rd Dec).

I missed my target of 3000 miles for the year by a big margin, still 2011 was a much better year for my cycling. Some of the milestones of 2011 were:

Finally, coming to plans for 2012. They are simple (and slightly repetitive):

  • 4000 miles of riding, all inclusive
  • More sportives (attended only 2 this year)
  • Lower HR
  • Better Climbing (subjective, but important)
  • 100 50mile+ rides
  • LEJOG / Cycling vacation in Lake District
  • Cycling vacation on the continent, preferably closer to the Alps
  • Get Rags a road bike and get her riding hills with me :)

Doable? Check back at end of year.

P.S.: While I missed my year end target of 3000 miles, Steve hit it with ease, finishing the year at 3,024 miles. His target, though, was 4000 miles. Good luck to him for 2012.

This is a guest post by Dan, whom I met on twitter long before I moved to the UK.

A brief intro: He’s a Stoke City supporter (my interest in the gritty, little club is all his doing), a #properfootball fan (smaller the club, the better), a fellow test cricket lover (or #propercricket as he calls it – dying breed we are), lives in the Midlands and works in PR (I think).

About 6 months after I moved to London (more than an year ago), he wrote this blog post for me. I lost it immediately in the crazy mess that my inbox is, only to discover it recently while cleaning the Inbox in search of that elusive Inbox Zero goal I’d set myself for the week.

Now, that I’ve rediscovered it, and enjoyed a re-reading myself, here it is for all 2 of my readers to read and share. Starting with his intro:

Okay.

A list of what I know about India. I eagerly await what you know about England : )

If facts about India were grains of sand on a beach my knowledge is the content of a sock after a brief stroll.


What I know about India

  • You woudn’t want to be an Indian cricketer if you lost to Pakistan.
  • Your parents would be planning your marriage before you were ten if you were a girl, a work colleague called Anuji assured me.
  • You wouldn’t want to be a regular commuter on the Bombay trains.
  • You wouldn’t want to say ‘Bombay’ to someone who knows it as Mumbai.
  • You wouldn’t want to be a blockage remover on the Bombay sewers. Or the Mumbai ones.
  • You wouldn’t want to be an Indian soldier at the cross border ceremony with a sore foot (there’s lots of stamping of feet.)
  • You’d love to see the sunset over the Gangees.
  • You’d love to drink Darjeeling in Darjeeling.
  • You’d love to while away a long train journey on an engine made in Stockton in 1883.
  • You’d be appaled at the squalor.
  • You wouldn’t want to sell goods on a train without a licence.
  • You wouldn’t want to hear my mate Steve from Northumberland tell the beggars to ‘go away’ when he was in India travelling.
  • You’d be in last chance saloon if you were an English lady who failed to find a husband on a visit to pre-war India.
  • You wouldn’t want to mess with a Sikh.
  • You wouldn’t want to mess with a Sikh with a gun.
  • You wouldn’t want to mess with a Sikh with or without a gun over the issue of the Amritsar massacre.
  • You’d be part of a vast army if you were an Indian graduate.
  • You’d have to learn about Eastenders if you worked in a calls centre.
  • You could have met my Grandpa who had just marched 1,000 miles through Burma if you were in Imphal in 1941.
  • You’d have to have been a crushing snob and mildly racist to have been an Englishman serving as a policeman in pre-Independence India.
  • You’d like to think if you were a Lancashire cotton worker you would have understood why Ghandi span his own cotton.
  • You’d be amazed at how few Stoke City fans there really are.
  • You’d be amazed at how good the curry is.
  • You’d be amazed that when English wicketkeeper toured India he took a suitcase of baked beans with him.
  • You’d love ‘Staying On’ by Paul Scott if you love India-set love stories about a couple who stayed on after Independence.
  • You’d love Bollywood films if you like dancing and singing.
  • You’d hate it if you didn’t like heat.
  • You’d love it if you’d like to experience different things.
  • You’d be amazed at the religions that stem from there.
  • You’d be amazed at how many soldiers fought for Britain in the last two wars.
  • You’d be ashamed if you knew how many were treated.
  • You wonder if it is the weather that brings Indians to Britain.
  • You’d be amazed at how Indians love cricket.
  • You’d be amazed at where Indians play cricket.
  • You’d wonder at how little I know of India and that what I know has come from books, cinema and telly.
  • And you’d not be surprised the furthest East I’ve been in the world is Switzerland.

(more…)

Strange Dream

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Dreams, Heart, People, Places
Tags: , , , ,

Robert Scoble appeared in my dream last night. And it wasn’t even in London.

I had moved back to my home town and he visited me there to interview about my new start-up!

Sadly, since the start-up was (is) in stealth mode, I couldn’t share any specifics with him. He wasn’t happy that he came so far only to get stonewalled but didn’t let that spoil the mood.

Later, I took him on a walk (or was it a photo-walk) around town and things got weirder. The town now had small hills and dense vegetation (IRL it is a dust bowl right in middle of north India’s wide open, super flat plains). We were walking on a trail through the undergrowth with the dark, hilly forest on one side and high back walls of some houses on the other, joking about the fauna of that region. Then we saw the gate to the park, which was now a national reserve. That’s when it went dark.

I can relate bits of it to real life. Been missing my home town, reading too much of Scobleizer, working towards a startup, and was walking through some dense growth yesterday on the Beverly brook walk, including a section that was suspiciously similar to section we walked in the dream.

Would’ve really liked to know how my start-up turned out :)

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P.S.: As a contrast, the dream night before was of two girls in love with me (and me loving them back) who turned out to be twins. They were both what I’d grown up dreaming ‘my girl’ to be – tall, dark, intelligent, athletic, confident-yet-not-abrasive, smile-a-lot kinds. Don’t know how that one ended either :(

All the best things: cycling, friends, life. (HT: @ishanidd)

A few quick thoughts on the mayhem after the Metallica concert in Delhi was cancelled postponed:

  1. Why was there no police or private security protecting the stage and equipment. From the video (embedded below), all I could see was a few spindly youth breaking all that equipment on stage – nothing that a dozen policemen and their canes couldn’t have controlled. More I think of it, more it sounds like someone – possibly a local politician or bureaucrat – wanted this to happen, and the police knew better than to interfere.
  2. Though I’m not a big music fan, I can understand what @b50 said:

    If I’d spent time, money and rock love to see this, there’s only one emotion – anger.

    What I can’t understand is why a country that prides itself for 5000 years of civilisation, hasn’t evolved a better method of channelling anger than violence? For a country that exported non-violence and yoga, aren’t these bouts of violence over smallest of issues becoming bit too frequent?

  3. Is the fact that violence broke out an outcome of our rotten legal system? In a functioning legal system, such an incident (last minute cancellation) would usually be countered with a class action suite, or similar. Is it that the common Indian has so little faith in the legal system that they prefer instant, violent justice rather than take the organisers to court?In fact this point works both ways. The people who broke that stage knew that the legal system is so weak that probability of them ever being prosecuted for it is remote, hence the cost of doing it so little to themselves.

Any more thoughts?