Run #EveryStreet – Mayrathon Challenge (Iain)

I took up the challenge of https://twinbikerun.com/2020/05/07/run-everystreet-may-andrew/ to run every street. I thought it would be easy as I live in small town. I was wrong!

I went out on my lunch break thinking I could do it in an hour and that it would be 10K at most.

90 minutes and 10 miles later I had to abort the run and head home otherwise I’d be late for a work meeting.

What I took from my attempt is that it’s very hard to do it without a map. I wanted to challenge myself by trying to find my own way around town rather than relying on technology. But the mental strain of trying to remember which roads to visit and where I’d been was hard. I haven’t concentrated that hard on a task since my school exams!

New build estates are a killer to run around. So many dead ends and identikit houses makes navigation a challenge.

I got some strange looks from locals when I did run down dead end streets especially if the street was only a couple of hundred metres long. The locals must have wondered why I was bothering.

Long streets with lots of roads running off it are also tricky. I couldn’t work out whether I was better running the street in one go and then coming back to do the turn offs or just do each turnoff as I came to it.

Its an interesting challenge a mixture of running and mind skills.

I’ll try again but give myself more time.

Celtman Training – April (Iain)

Despite lockdown, I managed more exercise this month than any other month this year. It’s just a pity Celtman isn’t on. I feel really fit!

Luckily, I live in a small town in the countryside. I have access to biking, trails and hills on my doorstep. I can leave the house and not see a soul for hours. I don’t need to practice social isolating. I’ve been doing it for years.

Here’s some things I’ve learnt this month.

I’ve learnt that I’m sports TV addict who is so desperate for sport to return I watched the wood chopping world championship.

I learnt that my Dad hasn’t mastered video calls but it was good to see his ear

I learnt that I could spend lock-down learning to bake, or work on art, or even learn a new language. I could do any of those things….or could use this time to get my favourite twitter account Grumpy Skeletor to insult a friend of mine. All it required was a three pound donation to Grumpy’s coffee fund. Money well spent.

I learnt that the most exciting day in lockdown other than Bin Day is Bin Day Eve. I’m never sure if I’ll be able to sleep due to the excitement of wondering whether the bin men will come.

I completed a Jigsaw! Now, a lot of haterz might say – what about the sky? That’s #fakejigsawnews from the #fakejigsawmedia The bits are all there! Do they report that? I’m the jigsawest jigsawer of all time. So there! Make jigsaws great again!

The letter below says that I am a key worker. No need to call me a hero or clap for me…oh ok then. You can clap a little. #humble #clap4todd



Here are a few pics from the month.

What to Watch During Lockdown (Iain)

Having more time at home means I get to spend quality time with my loved ones – the TV, the computer and the wife. That is not an order of preference. My wife reads this so I have to say that!

I don’t watch many TV shows. I’m about five years behind everyone else. I only recently started Game of Thrones. I love Sean Bean. I can’t wait to see how his character progresses over the seven seasons.

But because of lockdown, an abundance of free films, Theatre and YouTube videos have been made available to watch.

Here’s a selection of things I’ve seen.

TWIN https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000h3cm

Two twins – one more successful than the other, swap places after one dies in an accident.

This is a concept I can totally buy into. It’s factually correct. One twin is always more succesful than the other. Andrew – How did you get on at Norseman? Do you want to see what a finishers T-shirt looks like? Is it cold in my shadow?

The show is utterly preposterous but it has one redeeming feature. It is filmed in Lofoten. One of the most beautiful areas of Norway. Lofoten is somewhere I want to visit (as I love Norway) and hopefully do their triathlon https://www.thearctictriple.no/lofoten-triathlon/

GANGS OF LONDON

Gangs of London is the thickheaded more violent brother of Twin. It is even more preposterous and prone to extreme violence. It is well directed and acted but at the end my wife said “I’m not sure I could watch any more of that”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZRVEFtHaHc

Snowpiercer

A train circling the globe has the last reaming humans. The train is split into different classes from the poorest to the richest.

This films sounds stupider than Twin and Gangs of London combined but its actually great. Don’t learn anything about it in advance. Just watch it and enoy a smart sci fi premise done really well.

The director and writer went onto to win Oscar for this years Parasite. So it proves he knows what he is doing.

YOUTUBE

I’ve watched a lot of great YouTube videos. I’ve created a playlist of some of the best

I tried watching some live theatre – One Man, Two Guvnors starring James Cordon but after 30s of watching him, I wanted to lick a self service machine to try and get a dose of covid-19. Even that horrific illness must be more enjoyable than 2 hours of Cordon!

The Coronavirus Exercise Rules – Part 2 (Iain)

Andrew wrote a set of guidelines for exercising during lockdown. You can find them here: TheRules

He missed out some important rules.

  1. DON’T PUT YOUR RUN/BIKE ON STRAVA!!!

If you are lucky enough to be able to exercise freely outside then don’t show off about it. Have some respect for people who can’t. Keep you epic run or your 100 mile bike ride to yourself.

People are stuck at homes and can’t get out so don’t make their day worse by seeing how great your day was.

2. DON’T DO A MARATHON IN YOUR GARDEN

Why do that? The original marathon was a point to point run from point A to point B. You’ve gone from A, stayed in A and finished at A.

Why bother? Sit and have a beer instead. No-one cares you’ve gone around in circles more often than a wind mill.

3. DON’T DO ZWIFT RACES

Its not real! You’re all at home sweating on the carpet. The people you are racing are probably cheating just as much as you are. If you use Zwift then listen to a podcast or YouTube at the same time and forget about races. At least you’ll learn something whilst you are getting fit.

4. CHECK OUT STRAVA WANKERS

We’ve all made the mistakes this account highlights. So to paraphrase Andrews “Don’t be a dick” rule, my last rule is

5. DONT BE A WANKER (especially a Strava one)

My Time in the NHS (Iain)

My mum worked for the NHS for over 30 years. She was a receptionist at the Western Isles Hospital until she retired. Thankfully retired receptionists, unlike retired doctors, are not key NHS workers. She didn’t receive a letter from the government asking if she’d like to go back to work. If she had, she would have told them where to stick their phone.

Both Andrew and I worked for the NHS for short periods of time. We also played for the NHS football team. Does that make me an NHS hero? No – I was definitely in the work shy waster category!

The first bit of work I did was to re-design the health board travel request database. I was paid for eight weeks work but completed the task in two days. I asked the health board if I could do anything else but they said no. I asked them if I could go home. They said I could but they wouldn’t pay me if I did. So, I went to work for seven weeks to play a card game on my computer. It means I can legitimately say I worked in the NHS with patience… the card game not the ill kind.

My second bit of work for the NHS was as a mortuary cleaner. The mortuary and the hospital lab where in the same part of the hospital and I’d clean both parts.

No-one ever came to check on me. I’d be left on my own for the whole time I was working. Which sounds scary but it was great. I was paid for two hours work but it only took 30 minutes. I’d work and then sit in the lab staff room to read a book for 90 minutes before going home.

The mortuary was actually quite a nice room that you wouldn’t know was a mortuary until you noticed it had four small fridge-like doors in one wall. I just treated it as a room owned by someone who likes a lot of ice cream. Which wasn’t too far fetched an idea as, once a month, the lab would test the ice cream machines in town. The test only required a tiny amount of ice cream but the retailers would send big tubs. The guy in the lab who did the test would let me eat what they didn’t need. I told you it was a great job.

The other positive to the job was the mortuary contained the post mortem theatre. Which sounds scary but it was just a room that was always closed unless it was being used. I couldn’t see into it but if a post mortem was required, I’d be sent home as they didn’t want people in the vicinity of the room.

I was probably the only person reading the local paper who saw the phrase “suspicious death” and was happy. It meant I got the night off.

How to survive lockdown (Iain)

I’m not saying I’m a sports TV addict but due to the lack of mainstream sports taking place, I watched the wood chopping world championship.

The athletes compete in six different disciplines. Which included more chops than a butchers shop with names like the standing block chop and the underhand Chop. The underhand chop sounds like a secret sneaky attack on the wood.

Each discipline was quick, competitive and exciting. Perfect for television.

It opened up my eyes to a world of sports I would not normally watch.

Sports like chess boxing. The match starts with a four minute round of chess. The players then go into the ring for a three minute round of boxing before again returning to the chess board. The match ends when either player wins the chess match or boxing. It claims that the winner is the ultimate fighter because they are brainy and strong. I can’t help but think the truly intelligent wouldn’t get in the ring in the first place!

Then there is competitive sign spinning. Which implies there is also a non competitive sign spinning. Maybe done to music like some weird form of interpretative dance. Actually, now I think about it, that is a great idea. I’m off to film a video now!

And then there are some ports which make me think WTF – Stupid Robot Fighting League!

When the Lockdown is over, people will ask me what I did to pass the time? Did I use it as an opportunity to educate myself? Did I learn a musical instrument? Did I master a new skill?

And I’ll have to admit – I mostly watched YouTube.

Celtman Training – March (Iain)

It rained virtually every day in February. It was an awful, miserable month where training outside was almost impossible. At the end of February I thought, “surely March will be better?”

And then, March arrived. It’s fair to say that I am now looking back at February as a golden age of training.

At the start of the March, I worked in an office managing a team of eight. I’m now work at home wondering if any of my team are doing any work. My only interaction with them is via video conference calls. I now know more about the inside of their houses than I ever wanted to know.

At the start of the month, I was fit and healthy but most of this month has been spent ill. I picked up a flu bug that I found very difficult to shift. It left me run down for longer than usual. Thankfully, I feel much better now and I am nearly back to full health.

At the start of the month I bought a five player board game. It’s fair to say I won’t be playing it any time soon. Also my car’s MOT was due. I got it done the day before the government allowed a six month extension to all MOT’s expiring. D’oh!

At the start of the month, I was looking forward to race season. Now, I have no races. Every single event I had planned to do has been cancelled or postponed. Which in the great scheme of things doesn’t matter. It saves me from writing a Celtman training update every month.

Who knows what this month brings. All I can do is follow the government advice. Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives. Luckily I live out in the country so I have some great walks next to my house. I’ve already discovered lots of new routes on my doorstep.

I wish everyone good health and I look forward to getting back out training later in the year.

Some pics from March.

The secret to comedy is… (Iain)

The secret to comedy is… timing. Which is a load of baloney. My timing is amazing. I’m never late for meetings – but that has not made me funny.

I previously wrote about Andrew and I’s attempt at comedy: https://twinbikerun.com/2018/09/14/are-twins-psychic-iain/

It’s fair to see we were not very good as a double act. That did not stop either of us from trying to go solo. We are both believers in the adage – if at first you don’t succeed… fail in a whole new way instead.

I was terrible as a solo comic. I was wooden on stage, my jokes were bad and I struggled to enjoy it. I did a few five min spots in pubs and then gave in.

Andrew persevered and got to a point where he wasn’t bad but he wasn’t great either. Which is an achievement in itself considering how hard it is to stand in front of strangers and try to get laughs.

During one of his stand up performances, a journalist saw him telling some jokes about the independence referendum. That journalist knew a member of the Better Together campaign (the anti-independence group) and mentioned to them that he’d seen a comedian doing independence jokes.

The comment was well timed. Better Together were organising a comedy gig in Edinburgh starring Eddie Izzard but didn’t have anyone to support him. Every comedian in Scotland they’d asked had either said no or they supported independence. They must have realised it would be a bad career move to alienate half of Scotland.

So, in desperation they phoned Andrew! He had no comedy career so it made no difference if he alienated anyone. He said “yes” which is ironic for a ‘no’ gig

My role was to write jokes and get Andrew gig ready i.e drive him there and supply moral support.

We needed 10 minutes of material so we took what we’d written in the book https://twinbikerun.com/2020/03/30/the-fat-minister-iain/ and use the best (we thought) of it.

We were introduced to Eddie before the gig. He was quiet and seemed very guarded. He probably wondered what he was doing there too. I mentioned I was from Stornoway and that he’d done a gig there. He perked up a bit chatting about that. He remembered the local church had tried to ban him! I asked if he was ok if I took a photo. he said yes but only if he could check the camera afterwards and delete any pics he didn’t like!

Me and my showbiz chum Eddie.

We had our own changing room in the theatre. It had all the glamour of a cleaners cupboard. Which is propably what it was before the organisers put a note on the door saying “Support – Andrew Todd” It contained a bag of crisps and two bottles of beer. I had the beer. Andrew had the crisps.

We had to wait on the side of the stage before Andrew had to go on. I was extremely nervous before the gig. I was worried no-one would laugh at Andrew. I dread to think how nervous Andrew was. At least I wasn’t going on stage.

Waiting to go on

As Andrew walked on stage all I could think was “PLEASE LAUGH!”

He told his opening line. There was silence. OH GOD NO-ONE HAS LAUGHED!

The silence seemed to go on for ever. Andrew looked crushed. But then the audience laughed. It turned out the delay was due to the way sound travels in the theatre. You need to delay slightly after each line to give it time to reach the audience.

Thankfully the gig went OK. People laughed. Eddie said well done afterwards BUT the next day the Scotsman’s front page said “foul mouth’d comedian Andrew Todd shocked audiences at the anti independence gig”

Which is an impressive take on the event as Andrew doesn’t swear and the only shock was that people laughed.

Which just goes to show don’t believe anything you read in the papers! They will print what they want, not what happened.

Andrew learning his lines.

Celtman 2021 (Iain)

Recent weeks have been very surreal and life has changed in many ways. Shopping is much more exciting than it used to be. At the weekend I spotted some curly fries at an otherwise empty supermarket and nearly cried with joy.

I now work from home rather than in a university. It only took a day before my video conference meetings became a farce. Someone discovered how to add a virtual background to their image rather than have it display their room. Since then I’ve had a had a meeting with a person pretending to be on a tropical island, with a person who was in space, and another who seemed to live in a house designed by a blind interior design. Even Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen would have described the room background as a bit over the top. I worry that was a real house and not virtual.

But most of all I’ve learnt “Adversity reveals one’s true character.” And my true character is a chocolate biscuit hoarder who likes hiding from strangers.

Considering everything that is happening in the UK I wasn’t surprised to receive notification that Celtman is cancelled. Thankfully they have moved all this years athletes to next year. Which means I now have much longer to train. After three months in the house eating biscuits I’ll need all the time I can get.

The Idiot’s Guide to ZWIFT (Iain)

My local bike shop normally sells two turbo trainers a week. Last week they sold eight a day.

Normally, when I go on Zwift, I see 2,000 other riders logged on to a course. Last week I saw 17,000.

It’s fair to say once this crisis is over we will be a nation of very fit cyclists – unless we eat all the chocolate biscuits we are hoarding from the supermarket.

If you have not used Zwift then here is an idiot’s guide. That means a guide written by an idiot.

What is it?

It is a virtual cycling platform. You ride your bike on a turbo trainer at home and a Zwift virtual cyclist will ride in the virtual world.

What do you need?

A turbo trainer.

What’s a turbo trainer?

A device you attach your bike to that allows you to cycle without moving. The device applies resistance to your back wheel to simulate cycling and to get you to work harder.

Are there different types of turbo trainers?

A simple trainer

Dumb – This is your basic turbo. It doesn’t have any connectivity built into it so it won’t work with Zwift unless you get accessory. (see next question).

Image result for turbo trainer tacx
A more expensive trainer. Note the cable to control resistance.

Smart – This will work with Zwift. Normally, you connect it to your home wireless network. This needs to be the same network as whatever device you are using to run Zwift.

Tacx FLUX S Smart Turbo Trainer
Super quiet and super expensive

Direct drive – The most expensive option. It will be smart (see above) but instead of riding on your back wheel you attach a cassette to it and ride using that. Normally this is the quietest and has the most realistic road feel. If you can afford one then get one but it won’t make you any fitter than a basic model. You still have to train.

How do I make my dumb trainer smart?

You will need to get something to record the speed of your back wheel, like a Garmin or Wahoo speed sensor, and you need something to pick up the signal from that sensor.

The sensors work with two formats Bluetooth and ANT+. If you plan to use Zwift on a laptop then get a ANT+ dongle

https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/lifeline-ant-usb-stick/rp-prod155468

If you use it on your iPad or iPhone then use Bluetooth.

Now what?

Install the Zwift app on your laptop or iPad and create an account

And then?

Image result for zwift sensors

Zwift will try to find your turbo trainer. It should do this automatically but if it can’t find it then check your turbo is on the internet or your Bluetooth is connected to your iPad.

Where to start:

Don’t overthink Zwift. There’s loads of options, routes, training programs and races but choose “Just ride” to start with.

Image result for zwift menu just ride

This will drop you into a virtual world and you can start cycling immediately.

What next?

Download the companion app, enter races or do structured training programs but for now just ride your bike for fun and get used to a whole new world of indoor cycling!

Videos to watch next