In all Seriousness

No funny caption - just a blatant promotion of worth-while-ness

No funny caption – just a blatant promotion of worth-while-ness


So that’s another week of my training gone. That’s means, unfortunately, another week of not doing as much as I wanted (whether that was in monitoring my food intake, getting into the gym or riding my bike). I need to get a grip because this is harder than I ever thought it would be (and I’ve only just started my training).

But this is not why we are here, today… Oh no, today is all about good positive stuff. It’s a ‘make you smile kinda thing’, a ‘wonder how you ever lived your life without this idiot scribbling crap down for your very enjoyment’ chapter of my blog…

I’m not even sure if that last paragraph actually made any sense at all but whatever.

Last week, Group Captain Rob (if you have read any of my previous blog entries you will know Rob is the dude, whose gig this is – hence the new nickname…) announced who we will be riding for when we start down south and, as the Jocks say, ‘head up the road’.

I mean obviously it would be a missed opportunity if we only put ourselves through all this for the sole sake of bragging rights. We have a chance here to raise some money for some very worthwhile charities. Luckily that won’t remove the opportunity of bragging about our achievement… and if I get all the way to John O’ Groats, then I am going to tell EVERYBODY.

‘So, what are the charities’, I hear you scream. Well that’s why we are here. It’s time to introduce you. Reader, meet the charities… Charities, don your best clobber and woo the potential donating masses.

There are two of ‘em. Meningitis Now and The LAM Foundation.

Meningitis Now – – Their mission statement = Our vision is a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.

The LAM Foundation – – Their mission statement = The LAM Foundation urgently seeks safe and effective treatments, and ultimately a cure, for lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) through advocacy and the funding of promising research. We are dedicated to serving the scientific, medical and patient communities by offering information, resources and a worldwide network of hope and support.

I was originally going to offer something informative about both of these charities but the web sites provide all the information and do so in a much more intelligent way than I could ever manage.

What I will say is both of these charities have personal meaning to the team with love ones affected by both diseases. We may be stupid enough to cycle from one end of the country to the other but we will do so with the drive of knowing we are helping good good causes.

I will post the link to the JUST GIVING PAGES once they have been set up (Hurry up Robbie Boy) and from here on in I will include the links on each and every blog post.

I would also like to just add that I know, in this age of social media, every man and his dog is out there looking for money for good causes. Even if you are not planning on donating please would you take a quick look at the charity pages. It would only take a couple of minutes and you may even learn something. LAM in particular may just appreciate the improved awareness.

Also, other friends / collegues may ask for support in the form of donations for their sponsored run etc but how many have a really cool, intelligent, funny yet thought provoking blog supporting all the prep work everyone is doing ready for the challenge of LEJOG (Lands End to John O’ Groats to the uninitiated… is that how you spell that?).

Hugs to all of you and thanks for your time… I will endeavour to return to funny yarns about my failings in training next week. I am also planning on introducing key players in this challenge and discussing more bikey stuff (If I can be arse to get on my bike for any decent period of time).


Come say hello to my little fwend!

Hards as nails this bike... I wouldnt want to carry me for 20 miles.

Hards as nails this bike… I wouldnt want to carry me for 20 miles.

It won’t take a genius to realise I have cracked the bike open and introduced it into my training regime.

I was originally planning two rides this weekend (one on Saturday and one on Sunday)… Yesterday, Saturday, was well windy (innit) and I really couldn’t drum up the enthusiasm to get out in such horrible conditions. I know, I know but it was really windy. Deflection was in the form of a jedi mind trick and with one swish of the hand Karen wouldn’t let me out in such dangerous conditions… These are not the droids you are looking for.

In all seriousness, Karen had nothing to do with my laziness, it was horrible yesterday so I didn’t ride – that’s all.

But I did ride today. I smacked out my 22 mile loop of Rutland Water. It’s my ‘little’ loop, not terribly hilly but good enough to start with. I know it’s not exactly LEJOG distances but I have to start somewhere and it was windier than a windy thing sat in a wind tunnel after eating beans and drinking Guiness.

And that’s what I really want to talk about here. My mate Rob (the idiot / good good friend / you decide) who bought up the subject of LEJOG is as fit as a butchers dog, he regularly goes on 100 mile rides. He loves it, he gets on his turbo trainer every day and smacks out, and I quote, ‘an hour or two’. Where he is with his personal fitness is miles away from where I am with mine.

It would be easy to become deflated. I’ll never get that fit, on a bike I’m nowhere near as good as him. He races… I eat cake. How on earth can I compete with that?

I don’t know about you but I’ve felt the same when entering a gym for the first time. I mean, you’re nervous anyway before you enter a place like that. And there they are, loads of ’em, lifting sh!t, running, rowing, cycling, checking out their bodies in the wall sized mirror. They’ve been doing this stuff for ages, all lean and confident and there you are waddling about. Old tracky bottoms that have seen better days and a baggy t-shirt that still rides up and shows off your hairy fat belly whenever you lift your arms above your head. And it’s these niggling little thoughts that can chip away at any confidence you have.

So here is my advice. Fuck ’em! This is not about anyone but you. Only you can do anything about that Pirelli you carry about day in, day out. If you’re struggling at whatever level you are, it’s not about the fit bloke bench pressing a small car over in the corner. It’s not about the gym bunny with her perfect hair and lycra clad peanut cracking buttocks. Stop deflecting, that will get you nowhere, this is about you and only you.

They all had to start somewhere. They just started years before you and showed enough resolve to persevere. They have progressed to a point you can count their abs under the designer Nike top. You’re months / years away from that. Yes, we would all love to fast forward to the point where lycra shows off the firm stuff and not the wobbly stuff. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out of this. Any trickery, easy win promises, super fad diets – it’s all smoke and mirrors. Sorry but it is. If you’re fat, only hard work and perseverance will get you in a smaller / fitter body.

Now it’s about here, I offer the obvious get out clause – this is my opinion nothing else, I am no doctor (my handwriting is perfectly legible, thank you very much).

Obviously if you enjoy how you put the work in (for me it’s riding my bike), then the success should be easier sought but make no bones about it – this is fooking hard, it takes commitment and lots have failed for every successful fatty to thinny story out there.

Your personal story if just that – yours. My story is my destiny and only mine. Yes, others can help but there isn’t anyone out there who could force me onto my bike. If I don’t want to ride, I dont care who you are I ain’t getting on that saddle and my size and stubbornness make me as immovable as the Incredible Hulk concentrating on having a poo.

This is up to us. You, me (them… everybody!!! Sorry, I grew up in the 80’s #LovetheBluesBrothers). Concentrate, Russell… where was I? Oh yeah, we take control. Our destiny = our path and we seek success in any small way we can get it. Unfortunately for me this week’s success involved sweating and panting and collapsing after 22 miles peddling against the ruddy wind…


Pt 3 of 3 (Gym… Not Gin)

Yep, all this has to either go or its coming with me up north...

Yep, all this has to either go or its coming with me up north…

The third and final approach I am championing in my quest to get my fat harris a little smaller is the introduction of a gym regime. I have also cut out the booze.

My place of work is away from where I live so I spend a majority of the working week away from my lovely partner (Karen – who you will be introduced to as we go along because I can’t see any way of completing this challenge without her support)… Right enough gushy, where was I? Oh yeah, I work away from home during the week but luckily the building I work in has a gym.

Last week I approached the gym instructor, Dominic, and asked for him to create a regime for me to follow that would complement my riding at the weekends. In particular I was looking at promoting the loss of weight, working on my overall fitness and building leg muscle. He was very good and we agreed an approach.

My regime will be;

  • Monday – Vipr class
  • Tuesday – Fitness and leg work
  • Wednesday – Spinning Class
  • Thursday – Fitness and leg work

We agreed I would start the following Monday (yesterday) and I was very excited this was all kicking off. I’m not sure if you know what Vipr classes are, I certainly didn’t know when I signed up. But regardless, this was all starting and life was a positive old bean. I was attempting something aggressive to ensure maximum possible chance of completing the LEJOG challenge I have set myself and anyway, how hard can it be?

That was yesterday, this is today and I swear to you here and now, this morning I felt like I wanted to die.

In my best whiny American accent, OH-MY-GOD!!!

And for reference, Vipr classes involve a circuit like approach with weighted tubes. Each exercise stage targets different parts of the body. There were three laps of the circuit. After the first of these I remember thinking, ‘huh, whats the big deal?’. After the third of the circuits, well I dont remember anything. And  I have no idea how much time each of these stages involved. The first couple seem to last about two minutes, the last couple seem to last about a week.

My back screamed, my legs buckled, my arms exploded and my lungs just gave up and walked home alone muttering something about not having to take this anymore.

So if I am stupid enough to ask how hard can it be. Well the answer is fooking hard.

I panted like a rabbid dog, I sweated like a 70s Top of The Pops presenter with the police at my door. It was so bad that I struggled to use the stairs afterwards. I died and just when I thought it was bad, I woke up this morning to a stiffness that is causing me all kinds of trouble at work (when I walk it looks like I’ve sh!t myself).

I know in my second entry in this blog (The Hardest Part of a Long Journey…) I bragged about how easy all this training was… Well I admit it now, I was an idiot. The training is difficult but to be fair there is a lot of work to do and it’s all part and parcel. If I don’t put the effort in then my challenge in September will be extremely difficult as opposed to just difficult.

Focus, fatty, focus!!!

Pt2 of 3 (Food, Glorious Food)

What do you mean I have to change my attitude?

What do you mean I have to change my attitude?

Now if ever this lad had a weekness, its food… and lazyness… why am i doing this again?

I do love a burger… and cakes… and… alright, I love food, big deal… Move on.

So by now you should be aware of my challenge (if not see the very first beardedmamil blog) and you will be aware I need to sort out my eating habits (i.e STOP EATING YOU LARDY BAR STEWARD!!!) The obvious reason for this surely has to be taking less weight on the bike journey (less wieght = less work).

We all know I am currently 21 stone and that I have 8 months to prepare for my Lands End to John O Groats bike ride. So I need to shed some of the winter coat.

We all know how demanding dieting can be (especially for us jaded, at risk of cat2 diebetes, lazy gits). So how am I going to promote wieght loss? Well a calorie controlled diet should be good for starters. I am also going to promote a healthier intake of calories and not rely solely on Big Macs and bacon butties.

Now I know this is going to be a challenge. I have dieted before and I am all too familiar with the concept of eating fooking lettuce til the end of days. I am not looking forward to this aspect of this challenge, I would rather go train my tits off that eat cherry tomatoes and celery.

But sacrifices are the order of the day so how can I ensure I keep to this?

Well I am going to use an app on my iphone. Ive used MyFitnessPal before and like it. All I have to do now is use the ruddy thing (I have been guilty of using it for a couple of days then quitting). My login on MyFitnessPal is devonbadger, come say hello and lets help each other lose this sh!t… LOL.

Pt1 of 3 (Cold Hard Miles under the belt)

Even the dog is wondering how long since I last used the bike

Even the dog is wondering how long since I last used the bike

So I have a three pronged attack planned for world domination.

The first and, to be honest, most obvious is getting back on the old steed (thats my bike if it wasnt clear enough). I need to start peddling for success – there is no way I can do this unless I get used to sitting in a saddle for hours on end.

So weekends will be predominantly be aimed at cracking out the skin tight cycling gear and doing my best to not look like the Mitchelin Man on two wheels. Saying that as long as I improve my weekly miles each week, el Mitchelino may just end up doing one (well thats the plan huh?)

And, to me at least, it’s clear as.

Thats the target, to improve the miles in the saddle each week / month. So, fook it, what we waiting for? (Oh yeah, the bikes at home – balls!!!)

I am also going to set myself the goal of riding a sportive every month. I think this will help because I mainly ride alone. The introduction of riding as part of a group may help fight off some of the solitude in wonewee old me cycling all awowne.

With the sportives I plan to use them to set myself monthly targets. As the months go by the mileage will go up until I reach June / July and I am hitting to 100+ mile rides.

I believe if I can get this fat harris to the point I am smacking out 100 mile rides by July then I am well on the way to John O’ Groats.

The list of Sportives and their dates are;

23/3/14 – Belvior Classic Sportive (34 miles or 62 miles – depending on the next couple of months training)

26/4/14 – Dare 2b Rutland CiCLE Tour (75 miles)

18/5/14 – 3rd Marholm Sportive (70 miles)

22/6/14 – Wiggle Flatout in the Fens (112 miles)

26/7/14 – Circuit of the Fens Grand Prix (this is the sportive where I am aiming to complete the 132 miles route)

So, there you have it, there is every chance I am all mouth and no trousers but we will see huh?

Now you will have to excuse me, I need to go buy a shoe horn and a tub of vaseline to help squeeze me back into my lycra.

Dont miss the next exciting installment – Pt2 of 3 (Food Glorious Food)

The Hardest Part of a Long Journey…

My last packet? I bloody well doubt it!!!

My last packet? I bloody well doubt it!!!

… Can be the very first step.

Or so they say. Well let’s hope that’s what they say because my first trip to the gym after agreeing to do LEJOG, was a relatively easy thing to do.

It must have been the guilt of that packet of Cheese and Onion and a Kitkat straight after lunch. Hmmm!!!

I only banged out a half hour on an exercise bike but I sweated like a b!tch. I also had a chat with the Gym Manager and have arranged the creation of a training plan to help me bag this baby.

If you add to this the calorie counting I’ve started today also then I’m quite chuffed with my Monday.

I know it’s day 1 but let me have this glory to bask in. No matter how small my first step is, it has been taken – so nerr!!!.

So let it begin…

He agreed to do what?

He agreed to do what?


I’m still wondering how this happened. How, after a weekend necking lager and Jack Daniels; a weekend of eating pizza, fry ups, crisps, burgers and chips; a weekend where the only exercise I did was to walk into town in time for the first 6 nations game on the tele. How on earth did I end up agreeing to a Lands End to John O’ Groats cycle ride.

My first problem is now I’ve said I’ll do it, I’m kind of committed.

My second problem is that the people I will be sharing this joyous adventure know an electric power assisted push bike when they see one. I just wouldn’t get away with that.

My third problem is I’m 21 stone. Yep, that’s right, 21 fooking stone. I know that because I’ve just dug out the scales. They groaned when I stood on them and shouted at me to ‘get off, you fat knacker’.

And I know what you’re thinking and you’re spot on. I am a fat b@$t@rd. How the heck am I going to pedal my fat harris the length of this great country we call home.

Well, I have absolutely no idea.

It’s fair to say that I’ve got some serious changes in lifestyle ahead of me. And these changes are going to require a certain positive attitude and hard work. I’m going to have to train my doodahs off. If I don’t commit to this fully I will fail. The changes are integral to success and huge and they must start now… Hang on, I’ve got one more mouthful of this chocolate muffin to finish… Mmm, lovely… Now, the changes start now. Buuurrp!!!