Trail running at night 

I’ve been trail running for just over a year now, I found that running on roads is to be honest fairly boring / monotone to say the least

After the Paris Marathon in 2015, I wanted to keep running as for the moment I’ve seem to have lost interest in biking, be it MTB or my singlespeed

Running on roads is for me monotone and to linear,  also tiring ( in comparison of trail running for the same distance), probably due to the fact that I still don’t have the right shoes for road running. I’ve been using a pair of Merrel’s – Lantern Silver, a minimalist running shoe with a 0mm drop, No wonder my legs hurt during the Marathon training and the Marathon ……


Merrel – Lantern Silver

Maybe if I change for some real road shoes I’ll think differently but doubt it….

So back to my trail running.  I tried a first trail run in September 2015 , I’m lucky I’ve only  500m of road from my gate and I can then dive in the forest around my home. I ran a trail that I  had been doing regularly on my MTB for the last couple of years so knew it well. It can be anything from 5km to 15km depending on the turns I take.

The first time only did around 7km, But I loved it, its like being on the mountain bike but running, you need to look and suss out the ground before you, otherwise, rabbit holes, fallen branches, tree roots are all there to make you trip over or fall.

One week later I did it again, this time it had been raining and on the last leg home, slipped on a muddy patch and hurt my calf trying to keep my balance, so once home and jumped onto the web read several forums for a while, emailed a friend who I knew ran trails and a couple of hours later ordered my first pair of real trail shoes. A pair of Salomon LabSpeed’s expensive but the critics were good and I liked the look of them


Salomon LabSpeed

The shoes arrived a couple of days later so on my feet they went, and off I went again, Oh boy was this a change from minimalist shoes, I gained a 4mm drop, a sole that was more rigid and treads like on my winter MTB tyres, whow I was blown away,  a totaly different feel with the ground.

The shoes though far slimmer than my Merrels, felt good on the foot (though I would prefer just a little wider) they gripped the foot well in fact very well, their lacing technique (quicklace)  is great, far better than standard laces

One year later :

With these shoes I’ve done around 600 plus kms, I mostly run 10 to 15 kms on Sunday mornings and sometimes a quick 5km run before my personal coach (that sounds so snob) on Saturday morning,   the rest of my time is either at the gym or Crossfit box

A couple of months ago I had a hole that appeared on the top of the shoe where the foot bends, A quick mail to the website here in France where I bought them from and they were replaced immediately, Salomon have a two-year guarantee, so well done Salomon, I’ve got a brand new pair again.

Last month there was a local  night trail run of 15km, but a night trail, to be honest  I wasn’t going to do it having doubts about running at night especially in forested areas, I don’t like the dark, being a little scaredy cat, but a friend wanted to do it so I said yes, I just needed to buy a headlamp (a frontal in French) as is my style, a couple of hours on the web, and I bought a Petzl Reactik+, of course not the cheapest of models, I wanted POWER, I wanted to light up the forest ……300 lumens.


Reactik +

So now I’m equipped to run in the dark, I tried it as soon as it arrived and once fully charged, ran down the path in the field by the house, whow it’s like driving my car with headlights on, you can see almost everything for about 50 / 80m in front of you, at one time I stopped and turned it of, I could barely see my hand in front of my face, once back on could make out most details in front of me, but its a weird sensation, left and right is dark, turn your head to the right, you see the right but no longer in front of you, so strange.

Up came the Saturday for the night trail, over 150 runners, at first I was rather apprehensive but with people all around me the trail  was lit up like a Xmas tree and by the time there were fewer people around me, either because they were far in front or far behind I’d already gotten used to having just my own light lighting up the trail, at one moment I was deep in the forest on a singletrack that I know from biking, with no one in front or behind and finally not even scared, WHOW 🙂

1h25 mins later I’d run the race, even finished 2nd in my category, (I’m 58, 59 end of this month) though that was just luck or maybe there were only two runners in my category (as said my wife)

Things that change in night running is the perspective, you have no real idea of your speed or the distance as your view is limited to a patch of light in front of you, a bit like running in a tunnel, you tend to place your feet / footing a little differently although the ground is lit up, it’s not daylight, and you easily miss things that may trip you up or over.

 My Garmin Forerunner was a great help, giving me an idea of distant ran to be run.

Anyway I loved it :

So yesterday the first of December 2016 instead of going to the gym, I went for a solo night run. I started of on a large path in the middle of some fields, this being around 5km  long (round trip) but when done I wanted more as my legs felt good, the  weather was cold being  minus 4°, but all felt great, so I ran on a very quiet country road for about 1km, this is not very wise as dressed mostly in black any car coming from behind wouldn’t see me, but I was lucky no cars during this stretch on the road, after this stretch I dived into the local forest, now this is where it’s really fun, in the middle of nowhere, your on your own, the only noises were birds taking of from the trees above me, but the imagination starts to work over time ….. every little noise had me looking all over the place. Been watching too many scary films…

The sensation of freedom, light only in front of you, your peripheral vision totally changed almost nonexistent, the sounds or rather lack of sounds, all this is something special,  I finished my run 10 kms in all, at just under 1 hour,

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Creating a Playlist on the Fiio X3 player

How to create a playlist using just Notepad or any simple text program for your music player, This works for my Fiio X3 player, it’s probably the same for any other player as well;, maybe with just some small modifications.

I use a Fiio X3 in my gym at home or when I’m travelling or on holidays etc.

For the travelling or my holidays where I’l lazing on the beach I just set the player to shuffle and let it choose, easy…..

When I’m working out at my home gym, I prefer the music a little ‘heavier’ and with music that keeps me going while I’m working out, so I use a playlist

When looking around how to make playlist I found a couple of posts , they seemed over complicated and or needed programs to make one.

So I decided to write this post so that you can make your playlist just using the a standard text application like NotePad on your PC

What is a playlist ?

A playlist is just a simple text file named ‘XXX.m3u8’

The XXX being the name that you give your playlist and the .m3u8 being the extension rather than .txt.

Mine is named WOD.m3u8. WOD as I do WOD workouts from Crossfit, but it could be ‘GYM’, ‘Running….’ whatever you like.

On the Fiio X3, this Playlist file must be placed on the SD Flash (not in any folder, just on the SD) that you use probably where you stock your music being that the internal drive is so so small.

On the SD Flash I  have a folder named ‘Trev’s Music‘ and in this folder I have a folder per group, and if need be a folder per album.

On the internal drive I have a folder named ‘Music

So here’s the easy part to making a playlist :

On your PC create a new text file that you will name ‘my playlist name’.txt (after, once finished and saved and xith the file saved and closed, just rename the .txt to .m3u8, do this on your PC and then copy the renamed file to your SD flash.

So while on the PC , in this new text file add a first line #EXTM3U  (including the #)

Use a bog standard text program such as : bloc notes, Ultraedit, Notepad++

After this line, you can start adding your tracks to your  playlist (see my example below) one line per music track

All you have to do is just to save the exact address of the track that you want to add to this playlist, with my Fiio X3 plugged in to your computer this is easy to do as you can see the exact address . Normally when you click on the track that you want to be on your playlist you will see the ‘address’ at the top of the PC window.

Copy the exact address to your text file, once copied just delete the computers drive letter at the from of the title

Example :

‘I:\Trev’s Music\Death in Vegas\Satan’s Circus\09. Anita Berber.flac’

The title of the track ’09. Anita Berber.flac’ needs to be added after your copy the address in blue on my screen shot, when you click in the address  section and don’t forget to add the \ before.

Another option, right click on the title you want, properties and copy the address, again you’ll need to add the title of the track at the end of the copied line

A tip : for the track title, rather than typing (in my exemple ’09. Anita…..’) just do a right click to the track, choose the rename option, then you can copy the complete title (of course don’t rename it) this eliminating all possibilities of making an error when re typing.

‘I:\Trev’s music\Death in Vegas\Satan’s Circus’ the add’\’ then ’09. Anita Berber.flac’, easy peasy …..

(I :  being the letter that is giving by my PC for my Fiio SD Flash, this can be different depending on you PC : D, F, G for instance), but if you leave the letter I:\ (which is given, by your PC) when the Fiio tries to read your playlist it it won’t understand the I:\ so just delete it, giving you this on your text file

‘Trev’s Music\Death in Vegas\Satan’s Circus\09. Anita Berber.flac’

adresse music

My Fiio connected to my PC

This breaks down to (the anti slash telling the machine to go down a folder, Fiio X3 doesn’t attribute a letter to the SD Flash, probably being that the Playlist is on the SD Flash itself) but it does attribute à letter to it’s internal drive, that being ‘a’

SD Flash :

First folder : Trev’s Music

Sub folder : Marc Almond (group/artist)

Sub folder : Stranger Things (album name)

Track : 01. Glorious.flac (notice you must copy the full track name including the extension, I only use Flac not mp3)

So basically your text file should look like this :

Trev’s music\Marc Almond\Stranger Things\01. Glorious.flac
Trev’s music\Leftfield\Stealth Remixes\01. Phat Planet (Dave Clarke Remix).flac
Trev’s music\Lemon Jelly\’64-’95\02. ’88 aka Come Down On Me.flac
Trev’s music\Thirty Seconds to Mars\Love Lust Faith + Dreams\07. Pyres of Varanasi.flac
Trev’s music\Death in Vegas\Satan’s Circus\09. Anita Berber.flac

a:\Music\Odds & ends\06. Rewind.flac

These tracks all ‘point’ to my ‘Trev’s music‘ folder on my SD flash (there is no drive letter for the SD flash), except the last line

The last line  in the example above  a:\ points to the internal drive rather than the SD (if you  want  to add some music to your Fiio’s internal drive, you will need to add at the beginning of the line ‘a:\’) this telling the Fiio to go and ‘see’ the internal drive rather then the SD flash drive

The Fiio’s Internal drive :

a:\Music\Odds & ends\06. Rewind.flac

a:\ (points to the internal Fiio X3 drive

First folder : Music

Sub folder : Odds & ends

Track : 06. Rewind.flac

There you go a simple text file, save on your PC, rename the extension from .txt to .m3u8 and it becomes a playlist for your Fiio walkman, copy it to the SD card on your Fiio X3 not the internal drive

Hope this all makes sense, any questions please contact me by leaving a comment. Also living in France for so long I forget my English so forgive any phrases / words that aren’t quite right


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Salomon Agile 7 Backpack – Hydration pack

I don’t think I’ve ever written a post on accessories for the sports that I do, I normally only write about my bikes or gadgets etc. This time as having some time on my hands I thought that I would try my hand or rather my keyboard on a Salomon hydration back pack that I’ve just bought,  the Agile 7.

I already have three different Camelbaks for my bike rides, from very small to quite large, but as I’m more into running or rather trail running these days and as sometimes the little water bottle that I carry is to small and can be a pain having it your hand of an hour or two I looked around and bought a Solomon Agile 7 back / hydration pack as I saw an articles in a magazine

IMG_20160531_104917I chose the Agile 7 as it’s the second smallest of several Agiles packs from Salomon. I received it this morning  and at the same time the water pack that fits in it, strangely  the hydration pack / reservoir is not sold with it and so needs to be purchased apart …

The pack is just one big space with a separating piece of nylon between the reservoir section and the storage space. What’s immediately oblivious and missing is a pocket or two to store smallish items such as a phone, GPS device or keys. To be honest who doesn’t walk / hike or run without one these days. (I do for two reasons, sometimes just to take some photos, though mostly to let my wife know that I running late (get the play with words ) or just plain lost and therefore late…..) so unless I can make one and pin it to the nylon center piece it means the my phone will just be lying at the bottom of the sac, not clever.

The placement for the reservoir pack is good, it holds 1.5L which for me is more than enough, I’m used to running with a 500 ml bottle which is ok for 10 km runs but not enough for longer runs, it’s the right width and length and with a piece of ribbon that attached to the top of the reservoir so that it will stay put at the top and not fall to the bottom of the pack, simple and clever


Fixing the hydration reservoir so that doesn’t ‘slip’ down




The storage space is large, far larger than I thought when ordering it, it can store easily a light weight wind stopper, head warmer and plenty of other odds and ends at the same time, as I said earlier just a shame its one biggish storage space, with no pockets for a phone, keys etc, they will all have to be bundled together, I’m used to Camelbaks for my bike rides, these always have a least one pocket, so this is a design let down from Salomon


section for the reservoir and inside storage section

On the outside, at both sides  there two  small mesh pockets that sit snugly on your hips. These could be useful to place food bars or gels, but they cannot be closed so not useful for anything valuable, and they are actually quite big (er did I say smallish mesh pockets …..) enough to place around several food bars or gels quite easily per pocket, or a neck warmer,  gloves… for quick access



You can see the two mesh side pockets

I haven’t yet had to time try the back pack while running, though I’ve already tried it on and ajusted it. It sits comfortably on my back, The shoulder straps can be adjusted to hug nicely and the chest strap offers four different height levels so that it fits perfectly over your chest, I’ve yet to see if it gets in the way of my heart monitor strap but I doubt it


Four clips for attaching the chest strap so it fits nicely height wise

Conclusions, OK I haven’t run with it yet, so no comment on its sitting on my back with a liter of water in while I’m running or biking, but I’ve been using CamelBaks for around 20 years now, so have a fairly good idea about them, its seems well made, its light , it has plenty of space, even too much if just for a 15 / 25 km run, basically you don’t need hundreds of bars or gels, just a phone, keys, and some water and a vest for the rain or  cold, I’m going to add an emergency blanket as you never know when you or someone may need one. I’m also going to start some home to work running so maybe the extra space will be useful to take a sandwich and such like.

My real gripe is just no special storage space, this wouldn’t have added any weight and it would have been real useful.

They do this backpack in several colours, I like this bright green useful if on a road and makes a nice change from black  or other boring colours. Oh it comes with a whistle, whoopi but I suppose it could be useful so I’ll leave it attached. There are several elastique straps for walking poles, but I’m not ready for this sport yet so cannot say if useful or not.

Salomon : Please think about a couple of pockets ideally zippable / closable (not sure those two words really exist…)  for a phone, wallet, keys for the house or car, key card for the hotel when I’m away, nothing fancy just plain useful and plain sense.

Update : Have run several  trails,  from 10km to 15km, the agile sits nicely on your back, it doesn’t move around, drinking from it is easy, like any Camelbak.  Each time I filled the reservoir with about 1 liter of water.
The side pockets are easy to get to while the pack is on your back, perfect for a food bar,  inside I had my phone, an emergency blanket and my light wind jacket that I’d stuffed inside after being to warm while running a while.

So a great back pack for running except for the phone lying at the bottom rather than being stored correctly

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57 years old and doing Crossfit – They call me Papy at my club.

Crossfit, why it’s so good….

I’m 57 years old,  58 in December 2015 and I’m the oldest guy in town, well okay at the Crossfit club where I’m a  member. many call me Papy (granddad in French) and I’m loving it

For almost a year now I been doing Crossfit in a club (here’s where I’m so so lucky) that is underneath my office on the ground floor.

Sometimes I wish I ‘d never gone there to try it, it’s just to good, far better than my local gym where I’ve been a member for the last three years and before would work out there three or four times a week (now if it’s once or twice a week ….)

Crossfit is everything that you could wish for, and more, it works just about every muscle in your body and doesn’t just give you bigger muscles that gym workouts tend to do for you. For me it goes far beyond working out at a gym.

Don’t get me wrong I still like going to the gym when I feel the need to work out a particular part of my body, as I can do for instance a hour’s session on my chest or arms, that one doesn’t normally do in Crossfit.

Its hard work, but so gratifying when at the end of the WOD  (workout of the day) you finish, gasping for breath, moaning, ’cause you hurt all over, especially when doing burpees, tractions, wall balls, handstand push ups etc.

Working out often with another members, or as a couple or in a group, this is about comradeship working with other members from the same or opposite sex, stronger or weaker than you, with age differences that can be important,  at the gym you tend to be on your own, even if you train with a friend or friends, it’s not quite the same.

Some WODs you do on your own, trying to better the others, or just to finish, sometimes in small groups or in pairs, normally sessions are limited to about twelve persons, and even when you finished your WOD you encourage the others to finish, (or be encouraged) again comradeship, so rare these days. Its nice and you feel better when helping or being helped to finish a session.

Certain movements / exercises in Crossfit I’m unable to do correctly, weightlifting movements such as snatch and clean and jerks are more than difficult, back and shoulders just not supple enough any more. Kipping and Butterflies (chin ups with a difference) elude me completely, but this is where Crossfit is better than most  gyms, the coaches are always there to watch and correct your movements and all know that I’m weaker than others in certain areas and so they adapt some sessions for me (and others if need be).

So here am I, doing two or three sessions  per week, Its keeping me fit, even at my age I can and sometimes beat some that are half my age. The other free days are spent at the gym,  running or biking

So finally : DON’T try Crossfit, otherwise you may never do anything else, it’s better than : gym, riding or running (I know, I still do some of all) as it’s a mix of everything and more still.

As usual my article is in English, this is the link to my club, here in France where I live :

Please feel free to leave a reply, I welcome them


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Updating the Bios on your Zotac computer when you only have a linux OS installed

Updating the Bios on your Zotac computer when you only have a Linux OS installed

Having just bought a Zotac EI730 to be my home media center and installing KodiBuntu (Linux + Kodi media center software) on it I wanted to see if I could update the bios as there was a later version available on the Zotac site

From Zotac you can easily check and download the latest bios version. Sadly the bios on Zotac doesn’t allow an update by itself, (telling the bios to update itself from a certain file, while in bios), and if you are like me you are only running Linux and like me know next to nothing about linux then updating the bios via Linux OS is just plain impossible.

So I ran a couple of Google checks and found next to nothing on how to update, and many people asking this question, ‘Not running Windows, how do I update my bios. ???????

Funny enough looking at the PDF that is supplied with bios download from Zotac tells you how to get around this problem

It’s as clear as mud and is slightly wrong, but after a second attempt sussed it and updated my bios in less than five minutes.

So I thought I’d try to explain making hopefully things more clear, so here’s how

Firstly you need to create a DOS (my that’s old) bootable USB , you can do this from here I already had this in my cupboard.

Here another version this one is really easy to use.

Once this Boot USB is done, download the correct bios file from Zotac for your PC and just unzip and drop all the files onto the USB, my file contained (at the time of writing)


Reading the PDF from Zotac (the last page) firstly it states ‘Boot up from MS-DOS without autoexec.bat and config.sys’ but there are no files named like this. So except the PDF file which I knew that I didn’t need I just dropped all the other onto the USB, (only two of all these names will be needed to be typed into the following DOS screen when you boot up later)

Once all files are copied onto the USB just boot the Zotac with USB plugged in, keep on pressing on the F11 at boot (this could be different depending on the model) you should then have a screen with a choice of boot options, your HD, USB etc so just choose the USB using you keyboard.
Attention the second time I tried updating my Bios,  buggered if I could get it to boot using F11,  so hit the ESC  button and boot in the Bios setup,  change the boot sequence so that it boots in priority from the USB,  do a F10 to save this and it will now reboot using the USB,  obviously later change the sequence back your hard disk.

All being well after the boot you should tnow have a black screen with some white writing similar to the below PDF and screen shot

After the C:\> you will now need to type the following, please use my screen shot as the example and not the Zotac PDF as it’s not quite right


1 : C:\>afu303.exe (if your yours is not quite the same you type exactly the same name as what you copied onto the USB, probably only the number will change) don’t hit Enter yet.

2 : C:\>afu303.exe B2250723.bin (again exactly the same as the name of the file copied on your USB, again the number can change depending on the version) don’t hit Enter yet.

3: C:\>afu303.exe B2250723.bin /p /n /b /r  (note there is a space after each /). Now if your are sure that you have typed that two file names correctly now hit ENTER (and pray …..) (I always pray when updating a bios, because if it goes wrong, power cut for instance you are in the shit …)

You can see in my screen shot how I typed all in, there is a space between the file names and before each slash

and you should have the ‘done’ at the end of each line and an empty C:\ you can now turn of the Zotac, unplug your USB and restart.

2015-08-08 16.56.59

When you reboot, if you boot into the bios (delete or supp button) you should see that your bios has changed, mine was B225P011 and it went to B225P012.

To make things difficult Zotac don’t use the same names in the bios and on their site. Mine on the site was B2250723.bin and on their bios its B22P012 , making it hard to really know if the bios installed and on their site is the same or newer, Why make things difficult ……

Notice that on the Zotac PDF they explain one way and show you another, most confusing

Hope this all helps. Also living in France for so long I forget my English so forgive any phrases / words that aren’t quite right, so please do or hesitate to leave reply or ask a question.

PS : on the Zotac PDF it suggests that you backup your old rom first, although I didn’t bother doing this, it could be wise.

Zotac update bios2015-08-08 17.01.14

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Updating KodiBuntu


(If you don’t want to read all my blathering why I chose Kodi, jump down about a page to get directly into how to update it)

For the last couple of years I’ve been using Western Digital TV Hub to watch films, TV shows and listen to my 1000 odd CDs ripped in Flac on my HiFi when I can’t be bothered to grab a CD or a LP

This machine is easy to use just created a couple of folders on the internal HD then copy my files from my PC to the WD, this is useful as it means I have a separate backup, especially of my 1000 plus CD collection as this takes forever if you have to re rip them (been there , done that, don’t wan’t to do it again)

The only problem with the WD is that it is so so slow, changing screens from the music library to the video, or just changing folder takes far to long and I can no longer stand this, also there seems to be no more firmware updates and so I finally decided to sit down and see what else is available on the market. We are July 2015

After a couple of hours googling around I came across Plex

I downloaded and installed on my PC (I was running the beta windows 10 setup) It’s easy to install, the interface is clean , refreshing and easy to understand. basically you just choose to add some folders or files to it, under the TV, Movies or Music selection, point and click to where they are stored on your PC it will just ‘broadcast’ these to your TV (if your TV has DNLA )

In minutes I was able to watching a TV episode and listening to some of my music, pretty cool, extremely quick

Although this was pretty clever not being able to ‘remote control’ all from the sitting room with the PC being in the bedroom (you can stop, start, fast forward using the TV ‘s controller but not much else and this wasn’t enough for me

Also if I replaced the WD I want a separate box for my backups? I’m old school, the PC is for games, working etc not for films or music, so I again started to look around for a replacement of the WD box, there isn’t much on the market and my searches kept coming back to Zotac barebone computers running Kodi or Plex.

So I took a look at their site. Confusing to say the least, there are many different models and I didn’t have clue which one to buy. I ended up choosing a middle / upper range  model the EI730, there are two versions as nearly all the Zotac barebone, either an  ’empty’ model having no HD or memory, or a version with a HD and memory. I like building my own PCs so the options choosing my own HD and memory was for me a better option. I choose a  HD WD WD10SPCX 1T 5400T SATA 7MM 8MB and memory GSKILL SODIMM 8GB F3-1600C11S-8GRSL . I never have enough memory so I bought two sticks, giving me 16gb in all, a overkill, but who cares.

Receiving all the parts in a couple of days, adding the memory sticks and HD took all of 5 mins. The Zotac is clean and well thought out and adding the hardware is a piece of cake.

Adding a computer screen, keyboard and mouse to do the setup, plugged in a USB stick with KodiBuntu on it, (you will need to create a ‘USB startup’ using Linuxlive USB creator, which is dead easy) I didn’t want to waste a windows 7 or 10 key as the Zotac will solely be for music and video using Kodi. (if need be, you can boot into the Linux setup and be used as a normal computer)  The Zotac booted from the USB key and in less than 10mins the version Helix 14 was installed. (Helix 14 being the ‘latest’ version of KodiBuntu available on download from their site (this at the time of writing)

After the install had finished and booted into Kodi, there was a RSS feed on the bottom of the screen  saying latest version Isengard 15.0 had been released, so why did I only have version  Helix 14 installed  ? a quick browsing on the forums I found that there wouldn’t be a download for this version, and you have to update it yourself, mmmmm clever non ???

Maybe it was me but couldn’t find out how to update it to the latest version through the Kodi interface. As I like playing with things I decided to search a little in the Linux part of KodiBuntu (this means booting into the Linux desktop mode that is ‘hidden’ (I had chosen when installing Kodi to boot automatically into the Kodi interface)

This is not as difficult as it sounds, though I had already noticed many questions on how to update Kodi on the web, and  as usual the answers although correct will be pure gibberish for most, you will get answers such as do a  ‘sudo update’ etc etc , from where, how, these answers sadly don’t mean a thing to most people, being a little to complicated, never very clear and specific only to Linux utilisateurs

So after playing and fucking up the first install (trying to do a sudo update ….) and reinstalling again, here are I hope, some clear instructions to update to the latest version of Kodi.

Though being out of England for around 30 years now, some my English is as clear as mud, doh…

Updating Kodibunti

This is for those who run Kodi on a Linux setup : Kodibunti

When you are in Kodi on the bottom left of the screen the is the logout button, note that in the Jarvis update or maybe it’s just latest skin that I’ve installed,  the icon is no longer at the bottom of the screen, so just chose POWER from the menu bar and chose Exit, the this will take you to the login window where you can then choose to boot into the Linux desktop mode, so that you can do the update.

on off

Bottom of the screen power button

Once ‘Exit’ has been pressed


When you Exit Kodi

Ok, So I pinched this image from the Kodi site August  2016, just goes to show how out of date they are showing xbmc rather than Kodi

So when you are here. Top right chose Lubuntu and type in your password and hit Log in, this will now boot you into Linux

Once  booted in the standard Linux screen, choose the bottom left icon, and then choose the System tools / Synaptic manager, this will then take you into a new window.

Firstly top left click the Reload button so that it updates the package manager (you are connected to the web, arn’t you ???). You then choose  from the left frame ‘Installed’ and then slightly higher up click on ‘Mark all Upgrades’, then click on the button next right ‘Apply’ Then if all goes well …. just hit the ‘close’ button when all updates have been installed (follow the images from left to right)

All being well you have now updated Kodi to the latest version and your Linux / Ubuntu as well.

I hit the logout button after this, as I thought that this would reboot me into Kodi as normal but it only rebooted back in Ubuntu so if this happens to you, you need to go up to the top right of your screen and choose Kodi from the popup menu, then when you reboot you will reboot into Kodi, checking system info will then show you that you are running V15 (V15 being the latest version at the time of writing))

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I’m new to all this Kodi stuff, and haven’t played with Linux in years. I just found that it was far from obvious to update it, so I hope that this information helps you update your Kodi to the latest version.

Update : am now running the latest Jarvis version 16.1, all is just fine.


Zotac computer running Ubuntu

Everything on the Zotac is basically standard stuff, USB, DVI, optical outputs etc Except the ‘Display ports’ not having a clue what they were and of course cables are not supplied, so I used the DVI adaptor to connect the TV using a HDMI cable to start with

Since then have checked and need to order a cable such as this I’ve ordered but not yet received. The Displayport looks like a HDMI plus but not quite ….

The sound was connected to my Rotel RSP 1098 amp using a digital optical cable, the Rotel doesn’t accept HDMI as its to old , but there is no way I’m going to change it as its to good. shame is that Kodi doesn’t seem able to route sound to two ports at the same time, so I have to use my amp even when watching a film on the TV

Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong or if I’ve written something stupid, or if you have any questions. Also living in France for so long I forget my English so forgive any phrases / words that aren’t quite right.


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Getting ’round to writing again ….

I’ve been offline for far too long….

My left eye is screwed up by the laser / lasik operation in October 2014 making it difficult to use a screen as I can’t focus correctly.

But today I’ve some time,  and my eye is playing less than usual, so I thought that I get a post written and up on this blog.

Not that many people read it and when they do, it’s mostly my biking posts that get read, but shit who cares, just writing stuff down makes a nice change for me and makes me feel good.

2015 is a particularly difficult year, business wise, The latest French government thinks that businesses should just pay, pay, and pay again, making life unbearable and extremely difficult, luckily I’ll be retiring in the next three years or so, Phew

End of 2014 I was 57, Over the last couple of years I’ve been taking care of myself more and more, what a shame I didn’t do this earlier in my life

Health wise its a little complicated due mostly to stress, again thanks Mr Hollande and the way he is running this country. and also due to a Cretin that almost killed me with his van while on my push-bike January 2014, the left shoulder is still weaker and less mobile than the right side.

Apart from these problems the rest is pretty good, Diet wise, I still watching what I eat and drink, I’ve changed nothing over the last three years or or have a ‘clean’ life though as I’ve previously stated this doesn’t stop me from enjoying my self, eating wrong foods, too much sometimes and even getting drunk from time to time.

I’m pretty careful what I eat, trying to be good most of the time, I now have a tendency to weight my foods, which I didn’t at first, but when, you are serious about either losing weight, working out or keeping body fat low, you need to. It’s actually quite easy to do though a little time-consuming but very useful, especially when eating foods such as high carb foods, pasta, rice etc , it’s so easy to eat too much., so weighing these foods does help you stay on track,

So now here in May 2015 I weigh in at around 76 kilos , my body fat is around the 10% to 12%, this hasn’t changed much in the last two years,

I still workout  at the gym two times a week (was four), and for the last six months or so have been doing some Crossfit, normally two times a week as well, leaving me Sundays for riding one of my bikes, this leaving me with two days of rest from sport in the week. I also now have a small gym at home in the basement, with a F**king brilliant Hi-Fi that I can wind up, and my wife can only just hear it upstairs, I mostly do boxing in my gym having a punching bag hung there, I love this, its works off my stress and keeps the cardio running…. (well until I drop dead, anyway)

October 2014 after doing the Roc d’Azur I decided to take a break from biking, with the winter period coming and started running as I wanted to train for the Paris marathon in April 2015. So for nearly 5 months did some jogging on top of the Crossfit and gym workouts, I actually hate running and looking at the photos and video of me running this shows that I’m not a natural or good runner, the proof was that I didn’t run as fast I was hoping for doing the marathon in 4h43mins where I was hoping for a 4h15mins time, a pretty poor time.

Anyway I got the medal and and have now hung up my running shoes, phew and have started re training on my bikes again. it’s so much easier, last weekend did a 100km ride on my Pompino singlespeed, far easier than running and its only may 5th workout this year.

Although I have a ‘real’ road bike I must admit I still prefer riding the singlespeed as this really does work the legs, and I love overtaking the roadies (only sometimes) while they are on their nice geared bikes and I leave them behind on my single geared bike and weighing in at over 10.5 kilos 🙂

The last 6 months or so I took some time off from the gym to some Crossfit, I love this as it’s a mix between working out with weights, fitness, cardio etc and so normally do twice a week and still twice a week at the gym

The Crossfit club that I’ve joined is just brilliant a French box off course, the atmosphere is really very good, far better that the gym where I go, the coachs take good care of us, making sure that we do all movements correctly, It more of a family atmosphere that at the gym. We all work together, I’ve made more friends in six months than the last three years at the gym. I’m loving it, maybe because I’m the oldest guy there and am still able to beat some of the youngsters, which is always good morale booster.

Anyway enough gibbering for the moment , time to AFK

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Randos VTT, Mareil en France, St Germain en Laye et La Rando des Renards

Cette année je n’ai pas eu beaucoup de temps à écrire dans mon blog, travail, santé et d’autres excuses (parfois totalement bidon) m’empêche de faire le moindre de post

Alors, voilà vite fait bien fait, (sauf les fautes en français), car je vais essayer de faire ce post complément en français au lieu d’en anglais, les corrections, sont le bienvenue, je les prends pas mal)

Le 31 octobre à Mareil en France, j’ai déjà fait ce  rando l’année dernière et en 2012. Le rando comme les années précédentes démarre par une trace en herbe longue et humide, je le déteste, mais après quelques kilomètres, le reste et soit les singletracks soit les chemins qui traversent les champs.

De mémoire il avait deux ravitos, correct et bien fournis, le rando est sympa et nous avons pu le faire en 3h avec moyen de 17km heure, il en avait 51 km et environ 700m de dénivelé

La semaine après, le 7 septembre, c’était le rando de St Germain en Laye, une fois de plus ce n’est pas la première fois que je fais ce Rando, je pense que c’est au moins la 4e fois. Cette fois-ci le rando était en sens inverse des années précédentes, Avec trois ravitos, (deux fois le même, pour ceux faisant les 50kmq). Au contraire de Mareil en France, St Germain est plus dure. J’admets, j’avais du mal au pattes cette fois-ci, beaucoup de ‘coup cul’ qui casse les bien les pattes, bien plus que singles que la semaine précédent, avec beaucoup de relances, petit critique, parfois le fléchage était au dernier moment, avec un virage et un ‘coup cul’ tout de suite après, ne donnent peu de temps à prévoir le changement les vitesses (c’est plus fun, mais quand on est fatigué ….)

Un très bon parcours,mais au contraire des années précédentes je l’ai trouvé difficile à la fin et j’étais totalement HS quand je suis arriver, A refaire quand je retrouve ma forme.

Je le fais en 3:44, pour un total de 57 km avec 850m de dénivelés, vitesse moyen 15.4km

Finalement, le 14 septembre j’ai fait, le Rando des Renards à Montigny le Bretonneux avec un copain que je n’avais plus vu depuis quelques années. Lui comme moi n’as pas beaucoup roulé cette année (personnellement je suis à peine a 1325 km au total et peu en VTT, la plupart sur la route avec mon singlespeed.  50 % de moins que le année précédente et 70 % de moins que 2011)  et avec ma performance minable de la semaine dernière, nous avons décidé de ne pas faire trop vite, surtout que nous avons décidé de faire le raid de 70kms avec 1300m de dénivelé prévu

Le seul critique est qu’ils ne donnent pas de gobelet au ravitos, il faut faire tout le parcours avec les gobelets en plastique dure, attaché a votre camelbak, ceinture etc. débile comme idée, j’ai vu plein sur le parcours un certain nombre tombé par terre, donc plus de déchets non biodégradable que s’ils avaient utilisé les gobelets au ravitos et les remasser par le suite

Trois ravitos, les premiers comme souvent, chocolats, oranges, pâtes de fruits etc, et le dernier salé, saucisson, fromage (bof … je ne suis pas fin)

Un parcours très très bien, beaucoup de singles comme celle St Germain, un bonheur, quelque bon cotes bien dur (certain, trop, à pied pour moi, le manque d’entrainement et l’âge me rattrape …) un parcours bien à refaire (comme St Germain, seulement s’il fait sec)

4:45h plus tard enfin arrivé, 1300m de dénivelé sur mon Garmin, un moyen de 14,7 km, j’avais prévu 15 km, mais le dernier 10 km j’ai senti les crampes me guetter, alors nous avons pris notre temps

Je vais les mettre ces trois parcours, en GPX sur Everytrail pour ceux qui voudraient les télécharger

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How to ruin your eyesight, your eye or eyes for the rest of your life

Refractive surgical eye treatment

In October 2012 I decided that I’d like to correct my Long-sightedness (hyperopia) by having refractive laser eye treatment, Unless I’ve got the term wrong ( I’ve been in France to long : presbytie ) Hyperopia means that I needed glasses to read a book, use the remote control or anything small and up close

This consisted of firstly have a battery of tests on both eyes, I think to see the form of the eye and the problems already installed, in my case Long-sightedness (hyperopia) so that they could correct the existing problem.

Then a couple of weeks later I went to the clinic for a 15 mins of laser treatment, this is painless and you just come away with a runny eye, no pain and  little discomfort

A couple of hours later I was even able to read a SMS from my wife asking if I was Ok, it was little blurry but before I would have needed to wear my reading glasses to read it.

Sadly the operation didn’t go to  well and I soon started have all the post operation side affects that can be found in various forums online :  here are a couple of site that explain the many problems, sadly I didn’t do any research before my operation  as was totaly unaware or if only I seen these, I’m sure I wouldn’t have taken the risk.

I have all the unwanted side effects that are possible : for info this post is written 10 months after my operation

I have a lot of difficultly getting the eye to focus on anything,  one eye now being shorted sighted and the other long sighted (the correction is only done on one eye) they now seem to be constantly fighting each other.

The eye sees troubled and most of the times double, this is not stable sometimes it seems Ok but sadly this rarely lasts, again a known problem : Fluctuating vision

I have also the impression that I have a fly in my eye, in French it’s called a DPV (haven’t found what its called in English yet) which is due to dirty eye liquid getting stuck behind the eye while they operate on it, no way of correcting this by the way, this gives you the impression that you have a fly or gnat in the eye and you see a dark shape zooming around as I move the eye.

I now need glasses so that I can drive and ride my bike safely as everything is slightly blurred, especially at night, street lights and car headlamps all have halos, (like driving in the pouring rain) I now rarely drive at night as it’s just to tiring and even dangerous

The eye is always extremely tired and often I find myself closing it when need to look at something or someone, the TV, a signpost or someone in the distance for instance

My work suffers as its extremely tiring using a computer, at the end of the day my eyes feel like that they are going to explode.

I can effectively read without glasses except that I get very tired very quickly and  I now need good light to read in, as normal room lighting is often not bright enough to read by.

The doctor of course just says that the operation was a success,

I’ve gone from only needing glasses sometimes to read, to all of the time : when driving or riding my bikes, walking in town.

Of course I would now NOT suggest laser treatment to anyone, if it goes wrong it can screw you and your eye or eyes for life, with a dicky eye, that is painful and tired all the time, even 10 months after the operation, even writing this blog is a pain, computer screens are by the far  hardest and most tiring thing to deal with.

I’ve paid the price of being vain by not wanting to wear glasses.

PS I’m so used to reading, thinking in French that I forget my English, there are probably many mistakes please do not hesitate to correct me using the comments section, I will not take it badly.


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2014 so much to say, so hard to say it

I haven’t done much writing on my blog lately, the last post was about dieting September 2013, so its time to get some more blah blah written down.

Since the last post in September 2013 many things have happened and as its holiday season here in France, and I have a little time, I thought that I’d get a post written and online.

Mountain biking

As with many previous years I finished my ‘sportive year’ doing the Roc d’Azur in October 2013, it went fairly well to begin with  but had a mechanical failure in the middle of the week as my pedal broke off, this causing me to come of the bike, three times in all …. a fractured rib, fractured coccyx and a banged up knee, still finished the week, though in a ‘little pain’

Didn’t really care much about the pain as I nearly always break a rib every year when I fall of my bike,  but boy did they take some time to get better, the coccyx was a right pain in the ass . Luckily when getting back home, near Paris the weather was so shitty that it gave me a good excuse to stop biking and go to the gym instead

How to fuck up your eye or eyes  for the rest of your life

A little after the Roc d’Azur I decided to have a laser operation on my left eye, so that I wouldn’t need reading glasses when reading.

This sadly didn’t go well, and I have all the unwanted side effects that are possible, I have now a lot of difficultly getting the eye to focus on anything,  the eye sees troubled and most of the times double, I have also the impression that I have a fly in my eye, I have a dark shape zooming around as I move the eye. Apparently nothing can be done to correct these problems so am stuck with them for the rest of my life. the worst is now I need glasses so that I can drive and ride my bike safely, I gone from only needing glasses sometime to read to nearly all of the time, with a dicky eye, that is painful and tired all the time, even 10 months after the operation

I’ve written a more detailed post here :

Biking 2014 

After a really shitty weather wise end of the year 2013 and the coccyx, knee and rib finally healed, I started to get out on the road bike to get some training in. Unlucky for me one of the first outings, on a nice dry day (so rare) in January I got hit by a large van coming in the opposite direction to me, even though I was wearing a yellow safety jacket and had a front light on and I was on my side of the road, a guy in a Renault Traffic tried to throw me off the bike by coming to close to me, his side mirror (they are big on the Traffic) crashed into my shoulder, I ripped of the whole of his mirror in the process, and somehow stayed on the bike, (I do a lot of core workouts at the gym, I think that this helped me to stay steady and not falling off)

Then he came back and threatened myself and the friend I was riding with a huge pipe spanner as he was ‘upset’ that I’d broke his mirror and he wanted me to pay for the damage, other wise ….

Finally he left us alone and drove of, I then spent the rest of the day in hospital, have Xrays and getting checked out, next day with the Police, and the rest of the week for some IRM and more Xrays, Lucky for me I’m well-built muscle wise (OK I say that myself but my doctor as well) the muscles protected my bones as otherwise my shoulder would have been broken in many places. 30cm more the left and I would have been like a fly on the windscreen

I still had three weeks of work with some physiotherapy get the shoulder mobile again and working correctly, we are now six months later and its fairly good, though certain movements I still can’t do. Of course this screwed up my biking start of the year,  7 months later and I’m still waiting on the police and French tribunal to deal with the driver, for aggression and causing an accident.

Working out – GYM 2014

Although it took a lot of time to get the shoulder and left arm working correctly again, I still worked out most days at the gym.

This year I’ve actually dropped the time at the gym to around a 1 hour workout rather than 90 mins to a 2 hour workout every time as I realised that it doesn’t make you any fitter or stronger, in fact it can actually be detrimental to your progression,

I normally workout Tuesdays Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (Saturdays when nice weather I’ll bike to the gym and home again) Sunday is for biking, either mountain biking when not muddy or road biking

Mondays and Thursdays as a rest days though often I use these to workout at home having  installed a small gym in the basement, just some weights, a step and a punching bag (I hate doing nothing at home, if I’m not working out I tend to sit in front of the TV and doing sod all)

Sundays are still my main biking days, though so so few this year, again because of the should injury and it rained, rained and rained again this year and of course nearly every weekend. As soon as I even hear  ‘pitter patter’ on the Velux I think sod the bike I’ll go to the gym and stay warm and dry.

In the gym I do nearly everything. I’ve learnt a lot in the last 30 months or so, I don’t do big and heavy weights, am only lifting for instance 60 kilos in a Bench press and am not really trying to lift more.

I workout most muscle groups mostly in order, back front, biceps, triceps etc. More often than not though I do the workouts any order so that my body doesn’t get used to a routine, but I do all, legs, arms, trunk, abs, shoulders, back, lower back  etc, working maybe a little more on the abs section (that’s often at home in front of the TV with a 5 kilos medicine ball) as I’m oldish and the skin is a little flabby with age (56 now), sadly no matter how much you works the muscles the skin rests the same flabby and old, sniff sniff

I still use Jefit which a smartphone application, and which is great as not only does it show you what to do and keep track on what I’ve done, it for instance has a report section with a pie chart so I know when I’m slacking an a certain area, or doing to much in another area.

Dieting 2014

I’ve been dieting like going to the gym for around 30 months now,

It’s not really dieting in the sense that I do not follow any particular diet, but I DO watch everything I eat, unless out on the town or invited somewhere, (you need to be able to switch of sometimes and eat what ever is on the plate and have a drink or two)

I still write down just about everything I eat using Myfitnesspal Android app,  (I can be found if you look for Minty95) I love counting calories and seeing how many carbs, fats or protein I intake per day, this is for myself and sometime just to annoy my wife 🙂 I keep my calorie intake to about 2000 per day, below what a man should intake (2500/2800 is the standard amount) but its enough for me except certain days when I go overboard on mountain biking ride for instance with the ride itself using 3000 / 4000 calories, then maybe I’ll eat more.

My wife thinks I’m crazy as I also like weighing what I eat, OK don’t get me wrong I don’t weigh everything, (yes you do, shit : stop listening to that voice in your head) mostly only things like meat, or the carbs, lentils, bread, pastas that I weigh, the rest is guessed, when I really weigh everything then its time to call in the white van with white wheels and guys in white coats.

Dieting is fairly easy and I still have a hard time wondering why people can’t lose weight, it’s just a matter of self-control and getting it right, not eating the wrong things, or rather eating the right things and often or not just cutting quantities etc.

I watched for a while the TV program called Secret Eaters where people were saying “I don’t understand, I eat well but I’m putting on weight” but they were pigging themselves eating in one meal what I would eat for a whole day, drinking gallons of fizzy drinks. I admit I’m careful what I eat, preferring chicken breasts (I’m a kinky guy and like breasts, OK … ) to pork chops or sausages. vegetables rather than chips. Again I admit I have a wonderful wife (Sophie) she loves cooking and cooking real meals with fresh and healthy food, we very rarely eat ready bought meals.

I never eat fast food, rarely eat chips or cakes, it’s just a question of getting into a certain habit and a life style, I’ll order a real burger in a restaurant if its home-made, I’ll just ask for no sauce, I’ll keep the cheese and bacon ’cause its to yummy and have a side salad instead of the chips. little things like that to keep the calorie count down

My weight is stable between 76 / 77 kilos.

Body fat has dropped from 19.5% in March 2012 (which for info is a normal ratio) to 10% and I’ve added over 3 kilos of muscle while loosing 5 kilos of weight 82 kilos minus 77 kilos

I use  Tanita scales so that I can check on my body fat, arms legs and trunk,  in other words lost around the 8 kilos of fat in total

The muscle added is of course due to going to the gym and working out, as they say in the gym “no pain, no gain”

Watching what you eat and doing some kind of sport is a great combination and the two work great together.

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Dieting : 18 months on and still going strong

I started my first diet blog around the month of July 2012 with the title : 2012 a bad year for biking. 2012 a great year for losing body fat and getting fitter

This was following changes from biking, biking and more biking to working out at the gym and still some biking

I then wrote another blog : 6 months later, 6 kilos less

We are now in the month of September 2013

This means that I’m about 18 months on since I decided to lose a little weight,

My weight is now fairly stable at the 75 kilos mark (was 82 kilos max January 2012), my body fat is around the 10% to 12% ( was 20%,), which means that I have lost more fat and gained more muscle, Note that 20% is  fairly normal for a guy of my height 1.77m & age 55

How : it’s quite easy, I am careful of what I eat, real foods, real cooking, little to none bought crap from the shops, better foods, ie : vegetables rather than pasta, potatoes, rice etc, whole bread and rice rather than white, porridge in the mornings rather than cereals, a little less booze, meat dishes with little or no sauce, nothing really difficult or complicated.

It’s sometime difficult to know what to eat and how much to consume so I’ve been using myfitnesspal for a while now, this is quite a good site and has a mobile version aplication, it really helps you keep an idea on the calories you consume, as sometimes when you check the amount of calories, fat, sugar, of certain foods it can be quite surprising. here is a link showing you all that I eat,

I still do a lot of sport, the gym three to four times a week mostly working on keeping my muscles trim and in shape, and biking for the cardio / heart, once or twice a week, either on my singlespeed, road bike or my mountain bike.

All goes to show that with some will power anyone can lose weight and get fit, no stupid diets or fads, just clean and healthy eating.

Ok this means that you can rarely eat fatty foods, cakes, pies, chocolates, pizzas,  fizzy drinks, but the upside is that you feel so so much better not carrying those kilos and look so much better in nice fitting clothes rather having to hide under baggy clothes to hide all that fat.

I watch Secret Eaters on the TV and am astonished by the people on it who complain that they are fat but think that they eat correctly, while when you watch this program they are shoveling food into the mouths as is if the stomachs were just garbage bins or dumpster bin, no wonder they are fat and unhealthy.

Eat properly do some sport and shed those kilos, and you will feel and look so much better.

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La Viking VTT – Bonnières sur Seine

My first mountain bike ride of the year 2013

Dimanche 28 avril 2013

I’m back – Having broken my Van Nicholas Ti frame last October 2012 and only receiving the replacement end of February 2013 and at the same time have an  operation middle of March 2013 for a hernia, all this meant that I’ve not been on  my bike for six months.

So with a little trepidation (its only six weeks since I’ve been operated on and the scar is still a little tender) I decided at the very last-minute, actually 6am in the morning to get on my new Tuareg and ride it for its / my first real ride.

The morning was chilly only 3° dégrees but dry, I had ridden this ‘rando’ last year but had few real memories of it except the start at the parking in the middle of the town center.

With my usual buddies we started at 9am and for 3 hours enjoyed a very good almost single track only 45 kms ride, The rando offered either a 45 km or 80 km option but I opted for the 45km (my friends did the 80km but told me after that it wasn’t very interesting)

Nothing overly difficult during the ride, only two downhills that I didn’t want to try, so walked down them, as usual I’m pretty useless when it comes to scary or technical downhill stuff.

The singletracks were good,  real singles where you can’t overtake, needing to wait to be able to zoom past the guy in front. The ground was slightly damp but not wet and so perfect for adherence, which was great as I was trying out a new tyre on the back, a Hutchinson Cobra which is only for dry riding. A shame that being still a little weak and not very fit, I couldn’t ride them faster or better, as cross-country is what I prefer and love.

No roads, no over wide tracks with no interest what so ever, little riding over fields, just forest  so in all a good ride. A good rando that was just perfect for a first ride after such a long break from biking.

SportTrack gives me a 44km ride for 1009 m ‘dénivelé’ (ascend/descent) this is about  the same my Garmin 705 gave me, the ride took us 3h exactly (plus 30 mins for eating and fixing a puncture, Emeric buy some decent tires ….) which I consider not to bad for a first ride, should be able to do it less though, maybe 2h45.

A good ‘rando’, a good ‘parcours’ perfect for those who love XC riding. A food break at the 20km mark, fruit, chocolate, cake and drinks, this ‘rando’ though is expensive as it was 9 euros to participate, which I find a little over the top. A decent amount of uphills to tire the legs, decent weather, a better than average Sunday ride.

le ‘parcours’ is available for download on Everytrail as usual

Sometimes I find that french words are better than English ones so :

Parcours = course or  itinerary

Rando = a bike ballad, not a race

Dénivelé = ascend/descent

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A week after a Hernia Inguinal operation

Written day nine after the operation

One Sunday after a morning at the gym I noticed that I had a bulge to the right and slightly higher than my right testicle, though it didn’t hurt it wasn’t normal, two days later it was diagnosed by my doctor as a Hernia Inguinal and that he wanted me to see a specialist, which I did five  days later.

He confirmed my doctors suspicion and booked me for an operation one week later at my local hospital.

I’m not going into what a hernia inguinal is, all that can be found on and and explain far better than I could.

I thought that I would just explain the ten days after my operation as I wasn’t able to get any real data on what to expect during or after the operation, which was a “open repair Lichtenstein” the most common, think of a piece of fencing needed to block a hole in  a hedge and you’ve got it and that the operation would be done under a spinal anaesthesia which suited me just fine as it less obtrusive than a full anaesthesia as I was hoping to be able to leave the hospital the same day.

As I live in France certain details might not be the same in other countries.

Sunday evening I ate my last meal around 20h and before going to bed I took a shower washing myself with a special antiseptic soap from head to toe.

Monday :

06:00 again another shower with the same soap and of course nothing to eat or drink, not even a glass of water or a coffee.

07:00 RV at the hospital and placed in a room only to learn that I was programmed for 13h (basically the hospital brings in everybody early at the time, (I think its to make sure that they don’t eat or drink before)

Around 12pm they came and got me from my room and got me ready for the operating table, of course your mostly stark naked and of course the nurses are mostly women, luckily I’m not modest, too old for that ….

The spinal anaesthesia went well but I was expecting something like a Dr House episode lying on my site, but you actually sit on the table head in a nurses arms while leaning forward and with your back rounded as much as possible, I didn’t really feel much, its just a big injection which takes a couple of minutes.

Then you are lain down on the operating table waiting for all the lower half of my body to go sleep, this took about 15 / 20 minutes

13:00 Hi doctor, here I am, I’m ready …. I was able to talk to the doctor while being operated on and even managed to watch most of what was going on (the place a curtain in front of your chest so that you can’t see), but by looking at the spotlight above his head which acted like a mirror I could see most of what was going on, Ok I’m not worried about seeing what is going on.  and the site of being cut open doesn’t worry me.

The operation lasted one hour exactly,what is strange is lying on a table and not been able to feel the lower half of your body, you  know that your bottom and legs are there but nothing can be felt or moved.

14:00 I was then taken into a recovery ward and placed in my bed. I straight away asked for a coffee and a glass of water (Nothing to drink since the past evening and no coffee this morning ….) but was refused as in the recovery ward you are not allowed to eat or drink anything until you are allowed to leave the ward.

I stayed in the ward for about 90 mins, waiting to recuperate some feeling in my legs, having just  dose of Paracetamol 1000gms for the pain, which to be honest is bearable and not excessive, but this also normal and the anaesthesia is still effective.

16:30 I was signed out of the recovery ward and taken to my room, where I was at last able to have a coffee and a bread roll with some jam, and as I knew that I would not get much to eat in the hospital (public) I had a packet of digestives stashed in my bag.

I was still unable to feel my legs correctly and so unable and not allowed to quit my bed and so continued to wait (again).

18:00 I could finally feel the bottom of the bed with my feet and was able to push against it and so asked the nurse who was in my room with the surgeon if I could try to stand up, no real problem I was able to stand and walk around my room, The doctor confirmed that if I was able to go the toilet I would be able to leave, as you need to be able to walk a little and pee before being discharged.

Going to the loo was harder than I thought, one because it was difficult to bend and therefore sit down (as the anaesthesia was wearing of, the pain was getting slightly worse, but again bearable) and because I still couldn’t feel my private parts and therefore had to wait for another 45 mins before I was able to PEE, even though it was very little.

19:00 I left the hospital with my wife, walking so so slowly and bent over like an old man, but managed to walk the 200 meters to the car.

20:00 at last at home and time to eat, as I was hungry (it was now 24 hours since I had a eaten a real meal) after  a meal, and some Paracetamol I went to bed for a good nights sleep. Pain killers had been prescribed Paracetamol  four  times a day 1000mgs and another one far stronger (containing opium) if needed, I took one when going to bed that night just in case. The end of a long day.


07:00 woke up stiff and sore and needed my wife to help me get out of my bed and go downstairs as I preferred to stay lying on the sofa rather than in bed , The pain is fairly acute (I give it a 5/10) and so took the Paracetamols all day while watching TV, to be honest you can walk a little, bathroom, kitchen etc but you really do walk like an old stooped man, unable to sit you have to spend the day lying down, and just lying down, getting up is difficult, rating on the sofa (propped up with pillows) I took another opium based pain-killer before going to bed, but I didn’t really need it.


07:00 again up early and same as Tuesday a day doing nothing, walking a little, I had still not been able to go to the loo for a ‘number two’, this is for me the main problem with the a spinal anaesthesia it really does send everything to sleep and certain parts take a real long time to wake up and become active, also you will find that you are totally unable to ‘push’ even if you feel that you might be able to do something, one because it hurts and two you get the impression that you going to rip open the stitches  its then that you realise how fragile / difficult this area is, you cannot push, cough, laugh and cross your fingers that you don’t sneeze, I had stopped taking the pain killers this morning not really needing them.

In the evening I had a problem, I had the impression that I had a red-hot poker be placed on my thigh, this was excruciating, a real 10/10 of pain, checking the forums this can be normal or not…, it could be due to something touching a nerve, or just due to the swelling near my thigh, but also could be a nerve that has been touched during the operation,  I went to bed worried and hurting.


I had taken one pain-killer with breakfast as a little sore but last nights poker pain seemed to have gone away, during the day I started to feel the need to go to the loo, but impossible to do anything, as the day went on it got worse and worse, I was trying to go to the loo every 30 minutes and spending up to 15 minutes on it, but you just can’t ‘push’, I was having the shakes, cramps in the stomach as if I was having a baby, it was worse and worse, speaking to my wife, she picked up some suppositories on the way home and in less than one hour the problem was solved, the end of a very bad day.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday

I’m starting to feel better, able to get out of bed and walk downstairs by myself, needing again only about one paracetamol per day but the days as the previous ones are spent lying down, sitting at the computer trying to answer some e-mails is hard work, and can only be done for a couple of minutes at the very most.

Tuesday 8 days later

I was able to drive to work, which is only a twenty-minute drive away, stayed an hour and then back home to relax, the evening for the first time ate with my wife at table.


The operation isn’t anything major but it’s in an area that is used for everything, sitting is impossible  coughing or trying push while going to the loo, is more than difficult, walking is a pain, getting out of bed or of the canopy is complicated.

What I learnt is that the pain is OK, not much worse (ok a white lie here) that some of my bad mountain bike accidents that I have had (now you know what outdoor sport I do when not in the gym).

Eat foods that will help you go to the loo, I had taken a laxative and eaten some prunes after the operation, but you need more than just that  and I think you should start two or three days before the operation.

If you need to work like me, a tablet or a portable computer  is more than just a luxury, you will not be able to sit and work at your computer.

For the first week, it’s impossible to sleep on your side (as I normally do) it’s on your back, back and only your back, the first two or three days it’s not to bad as you will be tired, and if like me sleep straight way, but the last three or four days it’s a pain, and as I snore slightly which  of course is worse when you sleep on your back, so a second room for yourself or your wife is useful. I was able to sleep more or less on my left side after seven days and a couple more days later  on my right side.

The swelling / bruising was fairly limited, which is unusal for me as I bruise easily, and by day 10 is nearly back to normal.

The doctor gave me  three weeks off work (which to be honest I can see why and is standard procédure here in France), but I will go back after two weeks, you cannot do it in less, and no  sport for four weeks as the patch inside need’s to healed completely before you can start ‘working’ this area, which for me is the most difficult , I’m normally at the gym four times a week and on my bike once or twice a week.

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Van Nicholas Tuareg 650b – 27.5″ mountain bike

It’s finished – 26/05/2013

Following my last post concerning the Van Nicholas Tuareg frame build, this is just is a quick post with just the finished bike and list of components without going into all the details

For complete build details :


Build finally finished 26/05/2013

Frame : Van Nicholas Tuareg Ti, weight 1.76 kilos

Fork : Magura TS8 R100, weight 1, 57 kilos (update June 2014 : fitted with new stanchions that give  more clearance for the tyres and the new 15mm axle)

Wheels : Handbuilt NoTubes Crest, Duke King Kong Hubs, with CxRay sapin spokes & DT prolock hexa nipples, weight  1.38 kilos the pair

Brakes : Hope Tech X2, 180cm front, 160cm back with Hope matchmakers

Gears : 10 speed, XTR : derailleur and shifters

Drive train : Sram XO 26/39 and Sram cassette XG1099, chain XTR

Components : Race Face seat post, stem and handlebars, Chris King headset, XTR pedals

Tyres : Front : Rocket Ron, Back : Rubena Scylla

Saddle : Italia SLR flow 160 gms

Total  weight with pedals 10,44 kilos

March / April : Have been operated on for a hernia inguinal I’m unable to do any sport for some weeks, so tests and observations to come later and some slight modifs will be made once I can ride again.

First ride : Photo – only 13km just to test if all OK and am not up to a real ride yet. (handlbars, rear dérailleur & saddle changed since)

Update : Have now managed to get a couple of rides on the bike, can I really notice anything different from the 26″ version, I’m not really sure, I feel its faster on the flats, (but then the wheels are so so smooth) I’ve managed to do some technical downs, that I normally do on foot (the bike or in my mind / head ? that is the question)

August 2014 : Have sadly ridden very little this year, as got knocked of my road bike in January, as this took some time to heal, then with the bad weather, and other lousy excuses, biking has sadly taken a back seat, all being well will be riding again in the 2014 edition of the Roc d’Azur, for some serious MTBing

DSCN1624 DSCN1615 DSCN1612 DSCN1613


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Van Nicholas Tuareg 650b – 27.5″ Ti Frame

Here we are in 2013 and at last I have something to write about

………Psssss if you don’t want to read all my blah blah and just want to see the finished setup, jump to

Otherwise please read on and enjoy

Last year my favourite mountain bike of all times a Van Nicholas Tuareg frame broke (, the frame cracked and so I ended my biking year riding only my road bikes, luckily for me it was a shitty end of year weather wise and so didn’t worry me to much, except that I missed doing the Roc d’Azur, France’s (and probably Europe’s) biggest and best mountain bikes race.

As Van Nicholas Ti frames carry a life time guarantee, I got in touch with Van Nicholas to see about getting the frame changed, this was in october 2012. My Tuareg frame was a 26″model and for the coming year 2013 they have gone over to the 27.5″ or if you prefer 650b new style frames, in which I think that they are right in doing so, but this meant that they had no frames left in stock and that I would have to wait untill 2013 to receive a new frame, as the Tuareg was and still is one of the best Hard Tail Ti frames around (especially now that it’s taken the 27.5 direction) I decided to wait for the new frame to arrive (though I didn’t really have a choice), even though this meant losing months of mountain bike riding and incurring new costs for the new components that would have to be bought.

Tuareg frame25 February 2013 : The frame has arrived, like my last one its good, nice welding, this one seems stronger than the older version, the drops at the back are smaller and seems thicker, The triangle behind the seat post has an extra piece welded to the post giving it extra strength, It weighs in at 1.76kilos

Impatient to get my frame and get some MTBing done, I’ve started buying the new equipment before the frame arrived, why ? because my existing components forks, wheels and headset will not fit the 27.5″ as they are for a 26″ frame, also to save some time, as soon as I get the frame I can build it up. This I knew when I accepted the offer for the exchange and am happy with (my wife, less  so) to buy new components.

Having received the frame, here are some technical details that are not shown on the Van Nicholas web site, the 17.5″ version is 1.76 kilos, it has a tapered headset, top 44 mm, bottom 49 mm, the bottom bracket is a press fit 89.5 mm and not 68 mm as shown on their site. The seat post is also a different size than their web site shows, it’s a 30.9 mm and not a 31.6 mm.

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Five years on a singlespeed bike

Pompino singlespeed
Semi retired…
err Re-active… 


I’ve ridden this Pompino singlespeed for a little over 18 months now, I ridden over 2200 kilometres on it. Well over half of my rides, are Sundays rides with friends, them on ‘real’ rode bikes with gears, mostly between 60 and 90 kms outings with an occasionally ride of over 90 kms, in fact even managed this summer a 111km outing, my legs were good that day …

Since the month of October I now have a ‘real’ road bike, which can be seen on my post so the long distance rides on the Pompino will be less, this keeping my mates happy, though not sure why as I’ve always managed to keep up with them distance wise, but not speed wise, on the downhills you just can’t go any faster ….. and some hills can be slow going …

The Pomino I’m keeping, it’s the ideal ride to work and back bike, no maintenance, just a quick wipe on the chain sometimes, and nothing else,  it’s not quite as fast as my Cannondale CAAD10 3 but its fun and keeps my legs in better shape.

Update 2016 : sold the Cannondale, now when on the road its always the singlespeed and the Pompino frame has been sold for the  newer version


So I sold the Cannondale, I don’t really need three bikes (as I ride less and less these days, between the seances of Crossfit, the gym and now a personal coach once a week, I just don’t have the time.

I sold the Pompino to re buy it, the latest version V4, always from also I went from a medium frame the large size, a little better suited to my size being 1.77m

I recuperated all the parts from the old frame except I changed the chain and main drive ring, see

The ride is the same as before though a little more stable as it’s bigger, when I’m riding roads the Pompino is still just great, I mostly ride on my own these days as most of my biking friends have moved on, I’m still riding anything from 50k to 100k rides,

Month of june 2016, a 100k ride, with around 1000m dénilvelé


New front ring, 44tooth

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Leuchtturn1917 or Moleskine Evernote notebook

The last two note books that I’ve used have been Leuchtturn1917 ones rather than the Moleskines.

To be honest there is very little difference between the two, they are almost the same size, about the same thickness, with little or nothing to tell them apart.

The new Moleskine Evernote version has icons embossed on the cover making it more attractive, for the moment the only cover colour is black ,  the Leuchtturn1917 has several colours available like a normal Moleskine but it’s cover is plain which is a shame, as the Evernote cover is rather nice.

Both have lined paper inside except the Evernote version has dotted lines rather than a straight lines, the difference is negligible. Here’s a link explaining why there is a Evernote version of the standard Moleskine

For those who have a Iphone and use Evernote this may make the Evernote more useful

The pages on the Leuchtturn1917 are numbered given it for me one of the main advantages over Moleskines,  normal or the Evernote version.

At the rear of the Leuchtturn1917 there are 8 pages that can be detached without having to rip them out,  so very useful when you need to jot something down to give to someone (I hate having to rip of pages, its so messy) this for me is the second main advantage over the Moleskines.

Both notebooks have a back pocket to hold slips of paper, a credit card or anything else that is not to fat.

For the moment the advantage for the Evernote version is not available for Android phones and so scanning the pages with an Android be it Evernote or Leuchtturn1917 is the same.

The paper quality is very similar, I use a Lamy 2000 fountain pen for my notes, no problem whatever notebook I use.

Update : After writing a couple of pages I’ve noticed that the writing on the other side of a page shows through more on the Moleskine, meaning that the paper must be slightly thinner and more transparent, nothing to important but again a reason to prefer the Leuchtturn1917.

The Leuchtturn1917 for me is a better notebook, better paper quality, better build quality, numbered and detachable pages all give it the edge, only the green elastic band fastener and embossed cover make the Evernote version look sexier.

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My waist was a 32′ now its a 29′

This is where all the hard work becomes gratifying.

Scales are not the only things that show you that you have lost weight.


For years, the last 10 at least , I’ve been a 32″ waist, now my second new pair of jeans in a month are a 29″ waist.

This is even more important than seeing the scales go down as at least you have something to really prove that all is going to plan.

Picture me going round and showing my bum to everybody, look look, I’m a 29′ waist now 🙂

Now who wants some second-hand Paul Smith jeans size 32″

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Cannondale CAAD10 3, road bike

The dark side of me is becoming darker still

I have been riding mountain biking for over 15 years now.

Two years ago in September 2010 I bought a singlespeed road bike to play with then three months later changed it for a another singlepeed

Since then I have rode over 3950 kilometers on these two singlespeed bikes, (and over 7350km  on my MTBs) but now its time for a change again

This weekend having just sold my Rocky Mountain MTB after four years of loyal service I went out and bought a real road bike, by real I mean with gears.

A brand new Cannondale CAAD10 3, model 2012, Aluminium frame, carbon fork, and with a compact pedalier 50/34 and a cassette 12/25. For the last two years I’ve been used to a pedalier with only 44 teeth and 16 tooth cog at the back.

So this Monday morning as its my rest day from the gym and mountain biking, instead of resting, I jumped on the bike and road to work to try it out .

Its stiff, stiffer than the Pompino, which has a steel frame, the Cannondale is a Alu frame, it flies along the road, far more reactive, it’s just given me the second fasted time ever from home to work, and on my first ride. This is to be expected though as  I have now have gears, so going down hill with the 50/12 is quite a change from the 44/17 (with my legs trying to turn faster than the bike itself) and this second best time without really knowing the bike, or its handling, or even riding to fast. again as I stated its meant to be my weekly rest day from sport.

I have to get used to the changing gears and they are nothing like the XTRs on my mountain bike and so feel quite strange for the moment, tonight should be a little better as of course  I have to ride back home and shall probably do the long way round, adding more kms to my ride and trying to get the feel of the beast.

In October I’m basically going to finish my MTB season, with a week at the Roc d’Azur (Europe’s biggest MTB race) I have two big rides during that week and a couple of days riding in Fréjus just before with friends who are going as well, and then after that things should slow down.

I’m feel that my future rides will be more and more on the Cannondale, especially if autumn and winter is as bad as last year, hence the title dark side of bike riding becoming darker still

I’m still going to keep and use the Pompino singlespeed, its ideal for to and  fro from work, only a round trip of about 38kms, and with the singlespeed there is no maintenance to be done, except for an occasional chain tightening, also singlepeeds are by far the best way of keep your thighs strong as they have to work far more than on a bike with gears.

Update 2016 : SOLD after a couple of years with it I’ve decided to stay with my singlepeed and so sold the Cannondale.

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6 months later, 6 kilos less

This is a follow-up to my previous blog : started in the previous post March 2012, but it’s now to long, so I am adding this update in a new post beginning September 2012, 6 months on.

Most of the details can be read on this previous post, this is just an update with the facts since I visited my nutritionist yesterday the 4th September 2012, showing to all that weight can be easily lost, fat can be transformed into muscle and one can have a figure that looks nice in good clothes and that you don’t have look like a heavy weight dancer.

To be honest the title is a little deceiving as I’ve lost 5.7 kilos since March, replaced 2.1 kilos of it by muscle (that’s the gym) and 3.6 kilos off the scales, as but it didn’t ring quite right in the title so I cheated a little and round it off to 6 kilos … (though if I take into account my weight beginning January 2012, I was 80.2 kilos, making it 7.1 kilos in all)

I wanted to say that in being careful what you eat, not even following  a ‘named’ diet, no Weight Watchers, no Jenny Craig, no Dash diet, no raw food diet, just plain sensible eating you can lose weight.

Fresh foods, mostly organic when possible, home cooking (thanks to my wife), less booze, things like : little or rather no white bread, replacing it with wholemeal bread, no sauces made with full fat cream, more vegetables, no snacking or when I snack, its dried mixed nuts, rather than crisps, cheese at lunch and rarely in the evenings, no sodas, not even the ‘light’ ones, in fact I rarely eat ‘light’ foods as I belive that they are bad for you, I’d rather eat a normal yoghurt that a light one for instance. So many things that can be done ,without having the impression of not being allowed or going without.

What I have noticed is that after a while certain things that you do without even noticing, like eating a slice of bread with you meal, well now I not only rarely do it but I don’t even miss it, Rather than a pie or cake (before with cream) for dessert, replace it with a compote (stewed fruit) now I find this more natural and even better.

I still do not and do not believe in counting calories and therefore have no idea how many calories I take in, it’s obviously less than I need, as it’s the secret to losing weight. (input les than output)

Participating in a sport, and at least twice a week : As I said sensible and healthy eating and working out a little.

2012 : March to September


  • March 6th : I weighed 78,8 kilos : 12,28 stones.
  • September 4th 2012 I now weigh 75.2 kilos : 11,81 stones
  • A weight loss of 3.6 kilos : 7.9 pounds


  • March 6th : My weight mass was 15,8 kilos : 2.78 stones.
  • September 4th 2012, this is now only 10.1 kilos : 1.59 stones
  • A fat loss of 5.70 kilos : 12.56 pounds


  • March 6th : My muscle weight was 63.0 kilos : 10,03 stones.
  • September 4th 2012, this is now 65.1 kilos : 10,25 stones
  • A muscle gain of 2.10 kilos : 4.6 pounds
  • The muscle gain is due to sport, there is no secret here, you need to get off your backside and run, bike, get to the gym : Just do something.

The perfect marriage : this is being sensible in what you are eating and doing a sport. The two together are like a perfect marriage.

Your health will be better, you will feel better, look better, not only do I physically feel and look better but also in ‘my head’ I feel better.

As Spock once said live long and prosperous (he just forgot to add eat well and do some sport)

I’ve added my weight and  body fat readings showing where  the weight loss and the fat loss has gone, proving that anyone can do this.

Date   March 6 September 4
Weight 78,8 75,2 -3,6 Kilos
BMI calcul standard 25,2 24,0
W (kg) / [H (m) x H (m)]
Scales, Tanita
% body fat 20,0 13,4 -6,6 %
fat body mass 15,8 10,1 -5,7 Kilos
lean body mass 63,0 65,1 2,1 Kilos
M. Hydrique 46,2 47,7 1,5 Kilos
Right leg
% body Fat 19,7 14,5 -5,2 %
fat body mass 2,5 1,8 -0,7 Kilos
lean body mass 10,1 10,4 0,3 Kilos
Estimation muscle mass 9,6 9,9 0,3 Kilos
Left leg
% body Fat 19,4 14,8 -4,6 %
fat body mass 2,4 1,8 -0,6 Kilos
lean body mass 10,0 10,1 0,1 Kilos
Estimation muscle mass 9,5 9,6 0,1 Kilos
Right arm
% body Fat 16,9 13,6 -3,3 %
fat body mass 0,7 0,6 -0,1 Kilos
lean body mass 3,7 3,8 0,1 Kilos
Estimation muscle mass 3,4 3,6 0,2 Kilos
Left arm
% body Fat 17,1 14,1 -3,0 %
fat body mass 0,8 0,6 -0,2 Kilos
lean body mass 3,6 3,8 0,2 Kilos
Estimation muscle mass 3,5 3,6 0,1 Kilos
% body Fat 20,9 12,6 -8,3 %
fat body mass 9,4 5,3 -4,1 Kilos
lean body mass 35,6 37,0 1,4 Kilos
Estimation muscle mass 34,2 35,5 1,3 Kilos
Weight loss (scales) -3,6 Kilos
Fat loss -5,7 Kilos
Lean body mass 2,1 Kilos

You might say not a huge weight loss, but then I wasn’t really in the need to lose weight anyway, for those that are in need and really are overwieght, the same applies, for me the nice things is that losing weight slowy means that your body gets used to it, people who lose too much too fast normally put it back on as the body doesn’t get time to ajust to the weight loss.

PS I’m not used to stones and pounds, as we use kilos here in France, so if any errors please let me know

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2012 a bad year for biking. 2012 a great year for losing body fat and getting fitter

Less biking … Oh no 

Less body fat … Oh yes

Less weight … Oh yes

Less BMI … Oh yes

Normally my sporting activities are biking, biking and more biking, either mountain biking or road riding on a singlespeed, last year 2011, I managed to top the 5000 kms. This year its a different matter. (only 1350 kms from January to mid July, so about 60% down on last year)


Firstly we had a very cold winter here in France, snow and ice for quite a while, so little or no chance to get on my bikes, eventually this weather disappeared, only to be replaced by rain, rain and more rain.

I’ve started this page the 13th of July, and again it’s raining, and its been raining every day of this week …

Before the end of the 2011, Olive and myself decided to join a Gym, to do some fitness training on top of the biking, as normally during the winter months we bike less, boy was it a good idea, instead of choosing between the road, trails or gym, it came down to gym, gym and more gym. OK sometimes the excuses Oh look its raining, hic drizzling …. let’s go to the gym (warm and dry) are true, but this year, the rain has been real and this trails have been pure mud baths and the road is just not fun while riding through puddles. (for example friends that rode two bike rides this month, ‘I wasn’t present’, abandoned them both because of the bad weather, normally they never do that)

Also as the gym is less than one kilometre from my office, so it’s easy to go to, its warm, it’s dry, I can have a shower and get home before lunch or diner, clean,  and I don’t get, “you’re not coming in to the house like that, strip of outside” …

So gym this year has become a must, in fact it’s taken over completely from biking, my doctor, my nutritionist and of course my wife all say that I do too much, as I’m now at the club four to fives days a week, and on the bike once a week, and if I’m not on the bike then its five, six and sometimes seven times a week.


All this has actually came together quite nicely, I needed or rather wanted to lose some weight this year, as I tipped the scales at 80.2 kilos the 2nd of January 2012, even if it did drop slightly the following weeks and into February. I’m 54 and measure 1m 77, so while not fat, I had a little too much flesh on me for my liking. This is where the nutritionist came in, so beginning of March 2012 I went to see her, asking her to help me lose some weight.

1rst visit to my nutritionist : 6th March : So I left her office with a list of what to eat and not to eat, and since then I’ve changed my eating habits completly, I’m not on a diet as such, I am aware that diets are not the answer, I don’t count calories either  I just needed a kick in the behind to change my habits, to change certain foods. For exemple :  little or none white bread, cow products replaced by goat, more vegetables, more fish, little or no pizzas, burger & chips etc., more stewed fruits (compotes)  rather than cakes or pies, cut down on the snacks between meals ( bye bye biscuits and crisps), to know when to stop eating and not ask for seconds, we stopped buying ready made meals  (too much salt,  sugar, coloring, additives and crap in them), I’m lucky as my wife loves to cook so this part was not a problem.

While at the nutritionist’s I got my BMI checked, this was all new to me, My global body BMI ( Body Mass Index ) was 25.2% (weight / height * height) , this is OK for my age but it shouldn’t be more, and my body fat percentage 20% (Calculated using some Tanita professional scales) again for my age this was OK, but it shouldn’t be more, so upon leaving. I bought a couple of fitness magazines to read up on BMI, how to reduce it and read up on body fat percentage and on the general health / fitness side as well.

At this time I was going to the gym about two or three times a week, mostly using the rowing, or elliptic machines for cardio, with some weight machines, little by little I started going more often, as at the same time I noticed that scales were indicating that I was losing if little some weight. In my head I want to get my weight down to about 75 kilos, a weight that I hadn’t been at for at least the last thirty years.

2nd visit to my nutritionist : 23rd April A quick jump to two months later, end of April : and back to the nutritionist, I learnt then that she thought that I was wasting her time at the first visit and that when I came for this second visit that the results would be the same, boy was she wrong …

Weight was down by about a 1.2 kilos, now at 77,6 kilos, I had reduced my BMI to 24.8 BUT my body fat percentage had dropped to 18% global, I had lost 1.8 kilos of fat and replaced it all with muscle. I came out of her office with such a big such a big smile on my face.

With this news it was and still is easy to keep on going, the gym sessions as I stated earlier are now four to five times  a week, all after work. Three sometimes four times a week and every Saturday morning, For the Saturday session I do 30 mins to one hour of cardio training then I do a ‘Body Balance’ session, which is a mixture of Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, in the week the sessions last from one to two hours with weights and cardio.

I do mostly  weight workouts finishing with nearly always 30 to 50 mins cardio), I’m no Schwarzenegger (and don’t intend to be), so not too many heavy weights, just enough to try to keep the flabby bits less flabby, my pecs are now firmer and flatter, triceps and biceps are far firmer as is the rest of my body. This is where losing body fat also helps, it sculpts the body as well. I work on everything, trying to change the muscle groups every day, a little on the arms, some on the lower and upper legs, the back and shoulders, my abs, though even if my belly has shrunken down, they still can’t be seen. I nearly always finish with at least 30 mins of cardio training at the end, either rowing, elliptic or bike.

Track Everything :

I keep a journal of my workouts using Jefit pro on my phone, synced to their website, I note the training done, the number of reps, the weight or the time, and as I’m alway a little in excess of what I do, I also keep a log of what I eat, is this just to annoy my wife and to show-of  to the nutritionist and my doctor ? I’m not 100% sure …. 🙂 but it helps me keep things in perspective. Below is shown a typical couple of days of eating :

Breakfast 2 slices of wholemeal bread with ewe cheese
Lunch Tomatoes
Steak grilled, potatoes sauté, vegetables
Fresh fruit
1 piece of white bread with cheese
2 glasses of red wine
Snack 2 small Italian cakes
Dîner Coleslaw
Chicken and rice
Stewed fruit
Breakfast 2 slices of wholemeal bread with ewe cheese
Lunch Grapefruit
1 slice of ham with peas
Yoghurt (cow)
Snack Yoghurt (goat’s)
Small handful of mixed nuts
Dîner Green pepper et half an avocado
1 slice of ham with sauté potatoes
3 glasses of red wine
Breakfast 2 slices of wholemeal bread with ewe cheese
Lunch Grapefruit
Breast of chicken with green beans
Stewed fruit
Snack Stewed fruit
Dîner Grison meat
Porc chop with  gratin de courgettes
Home made stewed fruit
Breakfast 2 slices of wholemeal bread with ewe cheese
Lunch Wholemeal bread with breast of chicken
Yoghurt (goat’s) and stewed fruit
Dîner Tomatoes and mozzeralla
Grilled steak with green beans
Yoghurt (goat’s) et melon

OK I know it’s half French half English, sorry.

I cheat sometimes :

I still eat certain products that I shouldn’t, like the Italian cakes brought back from my holiday in Sicily for instance, or the home-made macaroons, but this keeps life from being boring and monotone and anyway if you stick 100% to a real diet, you will crack one day, so from time to time I let off steam and eat certain foods that I shouldn’t. I still eat chocolate and other things that I shouldn’t,  though fast foods, pizzas etc. are nearly 100% banned.

You may notice that most ‘cow’ products have been replaced by goats or sheep products, so most of the yoghurt or cheese that I eat are either sheep or goats products, “Ewe cheese = fromage de brebis”, that most of bread intake which has been reduced is now whole grain bread or similar, little white bread these days. Nearly all vegetables are steamed or grilled, and nearly all are fresh from the market or the garden and organic where possible.

Still some wine with some of my meals, normally limited to one or two glasses per meal, before it would have been half a bottle …..

Juin 2012 : 3rd visit to my nutritionist : Weight is 77,4 kilos, My global BMI is now 24.7 (this will change little as it just a standard calculation, but my body fat percentage is down to 16.2%, this is by far the most important aspect for me., I’ve bought some semi pro scales to check on this when at home[showUid]=536&cHash=9d9f98071f, my weight is down to 76 – 77 kilos, my eating habits have now completely changed and have now become just a normal way of life.

I don’t ‘deprive’ myself, I still like to drink, mostly red wine, but sometimes a beer or two,  earlier this month in Sicily for a week’s holiday, though I watched what I ate and tried to choose between certain foods, I let myself live and ate well , drinking and eating what I felt like.

All in all I feel great, I’m as fit as the last couple of years, even with less biking this year, in fact I’ve never felt better, my body feels ‘drier’ ‘firmer’, not easy to describe (that’s the body fat percentage going down by almost 4%), I walk and stand better, I feel less ‘slobby’ (Ok I know that’s not in the dictionary). I just feel so good.

Dropped my jeans down a size, from 32 to a 30/31 waist, I feel good in tight T-Shirts or slim fit shirts, also I look better in the mirror, well for me anyway. I miss the biking but again the weather is just to bad, yesterday, the 12 of July, jumped on the singlespeed to go to work, it rained all the way home …

Weight & BMI and body fat percentage  chart from March 2012 to June 2012.

Measurements taken with professional Tanita scales, and so are exact.


6th of March

23rd of April

19th of June





IMC / BMI calcul standard BMI = Weight (kg) / [Height (m) x Height (m)]





% body Fat



16,2 %

fat body mass




lean body mass




Body water




Jambe droite / right leg

% Fat



15,0 %

fat body mass




lean body mass




Estimation muscle mass




Jambe gauche / left leg

% Fat



15,9 %

fat body mass




lean body mass




Estimation muscle mass




Bras droit .right arm

% Fat



15,4 %

fat body mass




lean body mass




Estimation muscle mass




Bras gauche / left arm

% Fat




fat body mass




lean body mass




Estimation muscle mass




Tronc / trunk

% Fat




fat body mass




lean body mass




Estimation muscle mass




This all goes to show that with some effort, everybody can lose weight and if they want can get fitter,  all without stupid diets or fads, that promise the world but often do more damage than good. I don’t count calories or anything stupid like that as that is probably the biggest waste of time and error around. I am just more careful about what I eat, what I have noticed is that people, including myself before, eat more than they really need, this I am now watching, saying no to seconds unless I really feel the need to eat more.

Friends :

The other day we had friends around for diner, a normal meal barbecued grilled steaks on, potatoes and greens, my friend asked me to pass her the bread, which I did and then I set the bread basket back down, she made a remark “maybe your wife would like some ….. ” I replied “no she is like me she doesn’t eat bread as there are potatoes with the meal” , ‘too many carbs when eating them both’ (you’ve guessed it, my wife also watch’s her weight) the worst thing is that my friend is overweight and try to watch her weight as well. A easy mistake that can easily be corrected in eating habits, you don’t need bread at table if other high carb foods are served, its one or the other but not both.

Eat correctly with fresh, healthy natural foods, learn to eat less and become slimmer, train and become fitter, put them both together, it’s even better.

Update 09 August : Weight is now steady between 75 and 76 kilos, My Tanita scales are showing me that my body fat is less that 14% which is just perfect, in fact better than I hoped for, but my next rendez-vous with my nutritionist isn’t until September and only then will I believe the readings as she has professional Tanita scales. This means that since January I’ve lost 5 kilos and another 3 kilos of fat that have been replaced my muscle, around 8 kilos in all, 10% of my original January body weight.

As I’m doing more and more training, four to five times a week (sometimes six) plus the biking on Sunday, in the gym, certain sessions are up to three hours (rather than between one or two hours) and the biking is nearly always three hours if not four, so I’ve started  taking a protein shake before and after the training sessions, (Impact Whey from until I see the nutritionist and get her advice on upping my intake levels a little if need be, as I’m aware that I train a little too much, but I’ve always been like that, before the gym it was the same with the biking, well according to my wife anyway 🙂

Update 05 September : Just back from the nutritionist, my results are far better than I hoped for, weight 75.2kilos and body fat down to 13.4%, as this post is rather long, I’ve started a new one at :

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GOD, got it all wrong, Paradise is not in heaven, it’s at the ‘Hotel Principe Di Fitalia’ in Sicily

GOD got it all wrong, Paradise is not in heaven it’s at the Hotel Principe Di Fitalia  Via Traversa Tonnara di Terrauzza, 38, 96100 Siracus in Sicily.

So why this phrase, well let me try and explain :,+38,+96100+Siracusa,+Sicilia+(Italia)+France

This year my wife and I decided to go to Italy, so we left Paris by plane by EasyJet, the vol, was about 06am. As usual this morning its raining, , 2012 has been a shitty year,  rain rain and more rain. one of the reasons why we wanted to go far south, in search of some sun.

We arrived at Catina about 10am to be greeted by 30 degrees and a blue cloudless sky, and when I say cloudless, I mean it, nothing to cloud the sun

A chauffeur was awaiting us,  because the hotel sends a car to pick you up if you ask them (cost about 60 euros)

One hour later we arrived at the Hotel Principe Di Fitalia. Straight away it strikes you as the perfect place,  sun shining,  green gardens, a beautiful building, a swimming pool ….

what you see when you arrive

We were received at the reception a pretty young woman with a lovely smile, also she spoke fairly good French and English, my Italian is pretty limited so phew …

As it was still early our room was not quite ready, so we decided to have a drink …. whoops rather a bottle of rosé on the terrace in front of the swimming pool to bide the time.

So to be able to sit down outside and have a drink at 11am with the sun shining at the temperature being about 29° it’s  so rare …

13pm, it’s time for lunch. We ordered a nice little salad and a glass of red wine, again a helpful waitress who spoke some English and  French and again so helpful and charming.

With lunch finished, it was  time to get burnt by the sun (well me at least) , so we settled in around the pool its time to relax as being a little tired, having to get up at 4am this morning.

The pool is next to the terrace

Later in the afternoon, I left my wife by the pool and went to try out the gym, as yes they even have a gym here, its pretty good, small but well equipped, and so spent an hour in it, though boy is it hot, as the walls are all ‘glassed’, like a veranda, so even though all the doors can be opened it does get hot ….

Time to work out

We ate dinner at the hotel , it was good, fish and more wine, and spent some time chatting with other people staying here, as most of them are friendly

We started our first full day here with a great breakfast, the choice is good, it’s a self-service, I mostly ate ham, cheese and nuts as watching my weight (forget the two bottles of wine I drunk yesterday), but their are cooked eggs, bacon, cakes, pies, fresh fruits, and many other foods, a great and varied choice

where all the food is served

So breakfast out-of-the-way, we were driven to the beach, as again, you just have to ask and they take you to a private beach, which is free for anyone staying at the hotel (it’s not really a beach, more of a ‘ponton’, with long chairs to lie down, and of course parasols, the ponton has steps that lead you directly into the sea),

Note that the hotel is in the middle of nowhere, so the idea that they taxi you arround is very useful, a must to be honest, if you do not have a car. We spent all morning on the beach and back to the hotel for lunch.

We spent most of this year’s holiday doing nothing, resting and sunbathing, we did visit Siracusa, Ortigia and Noto a couple of times.

This has to be the best hotel I / we’ve ever taken, this is due to the fact that not only is the hotel, very nice, pretty, very clean, well equipped, but also that the employees make your stay worth while. This for me is the ideal place to just do nothing, it’s not a hotel ideally suited for kids as they would get bored to quickly, for me its more the perfect place to relax and recharge the batteries.

For info we stayed 8 days, a lot of time doing nothing, just relaxing, reading by the pool, swimming in the sea.  Most years we spend our holidays doing either visiting, walking or biking (me for the biking part) so it was quite strange spending a whole week doing nothing.

I give a simple ten out of ten to the hotel and it’s staff, and look forward to returning some time in the near future.

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Bellefontaine 2012

Bellefontaine, Rando VTT 11/03/2012

Nous sommes le 11 mars 2012 et c’est ma 3e sortie de VTT cette année,  avec le hiver que nous avons eu,  le pluie,  la neige,  le froid je n’ai pas pu faire beaucoup de vélo,  ni VTT,  ni de la route.

Donc enfin me voilà,prêt à faire pas simplement une vraie sortie VTT, mais aussi une rando à Bellefontaine dans le 95. Nous avons eu de la chance,  la météo la semaine précédente n’était pas froid et surtout assez sec, comme aujourd’hui, donc le une journée idéale pour commencer à reprendre l’habitude à faire du vélo et de rouler.

Le terrain était presque parfait,  humide, et parfois collant,  mais pas trop gras,  je n’avais même pas besoin de me laver le vélo en rentrant. (ou plutôt j’ai le flegme)

Le parcours était bien fléché,  pas de route, très peu de grand chemins,  pas mal des singles,  tout en forêt bien entendu.

Les premiers 30kms sont très roulant,  et ils sont très bien,  malheureusement zéro technique, mais bien agréable quand même.

Puis après ça, ça se gat,  les derrières 20km ne sont que les bosses, avec un peu de technique, mais ça grimpe,  ça descend,  je dois admettre que je me suis fait avoir,  je suis parti trop vite au départ et les derniers 20kms m’as tué.

3 ravitos assez sommaires, mais suffisants,  un terrain bien,  un beu parcours,  voilà un dimanche bien agréable.

Pour faire ce parcours plus simple,  faites-le en sens inverse,  pour en finir avec le parti roulant.

Les stats :

Length: 48.9 km
Duration: 3 hours, 28 minutes, 39 seconds
Vertical up: 757.6 m
Vertical down: 748.5 m
Average Speed: 14.1 km/h avec les pauses
Sans les pauses 16.2 km/h

Si le parcours vous intéresse, vous pouvez le télécharger ici :


Comme vous pouvez constater je ne suis pas français, je ne l’ai pas appris à l’école. Les corrections sont les bienvenues, je ne les prendrais  pas mal, au contraire.

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eBook Sony PRS T1

My latest gadget is an e-book, the Sony PRS T1, bought the 29th December 2011

I already have an e-book, a Sony PRS 500 that I bought at least 4 or 5 years ago, but this model is unable to read epub books which seems to be the standard these days and also is also unable to connect with Windows 7, so it’s now become a paper weight collecting dust on my desk

I bought the Sony PRS T1 as it has a touch screen as well as buttons to turn the pages, the nearest competitor here in France is the Kindle (it can’t read epub books), and the touch screen version hasn’t arrived yet in France yet, the Nook is USA only, there are other models around but I found them of no interest to me.

Unwrapping the PRS T1 finds a nice looking reader, I bought the white one (it comes in white, red or black) I had read a couple of critics concerning the black version showing  up finger marks on the plastic frame,.

The frame as I said is plastic, rather than metal on the old PRS 500 (that I have but no longer use as it can’t read epub), not quite as nice but it’s OK, the ebooks sits nicely in one hand as it’s very light, 168 gms, the screen is very clear and pages are a joy to read, turning the pages are great, just a quick swipe of a thumb or finger on the screen and the pages turns all on its own, or of course you can use the physical buttons.

Its comes with two books installed, these are of little interest as they have fallen into the public domain and you have probably already read them.

I have an account with the Sony reader store because of the PRS 500, so once I found my password I reconnected, updated my account details and was ready to buy and download a book. For info the Sony site in France and other European countries is not up and running yet, they seem to be late in doing this, so I logged to the .com giving them a USA address, as I tend to still read in English this obviously is fine for me, but obviously not for a French person looking to read in his native language.

Using the wi-fi connexion with the T1, is easy and straight forward to set up, though it’s a little slow, but as you not using all the time, this is no big hassle, so I logged on to the reader site, found a book that I was looking for and downloaded it directly to the e-book, this is fast, probably taking about a minute or two in all, you can do this via the PC as well but I wanted to test the wi-fi download speed

The T1 is like the older PRS 500, you read, you turn it off, you come back, it remembers where you were, and if need be to you can mark the page so that you can switch books, come back to the older one and find the book mark, this is simple and works well.

Because of the touch screen you can highlight words that you don’t understand and look up them up in the dictionary, or look them up on Wikipedia, the dictionary works well, and there are many to choose from, English , American etc. Wikipedia works fine, but anything that is linked to the web is rather slow because  the wi-fi needs to reconnect (to save the  battery this disconnects after a pre-set time) web pages are quite slow in showing, this is of little interest to me so I rarely use it, I’ve read that most ebooks are slow when it concerns using the web, after all it’s not a tablet.

The Sony reader software for the PC works OK, as I have very few ebooks so far I’m unable to test it with many books, but so far so good, it lets you connect to their site to choose and download books via the PC if you prefer, again I haven’t really used it much yet, but the first test and the book that I downloaded worked fine.

There is a lot of talk about a free software called Calibre, I have downloaded it and am trying it, its seems to be very useful as you can use it to look for books and it will find all the sites that sell the ebook that you are looking for and show you the cheapest and also the version of the download, epub, kindle, nook etc, this is useful as certain sites sell the same e-book but double the price, so this is really useful and  I reckon that this can and will replace the Sony PC software in time.

When connecting the PRS T1 to the PC reader software by USB you will get a message tell you if there is a firmware update available, installing it is a piece of cake, just follow the on-screen instructions, the latest at the time of writing this is xxx.11140, which can be downloaded from®ion_id=1&tab=download#/downloadTab

The firmware update improved the flickering when connection to web sites, though there is still to much of this, but again I don’t use this reader to go online except to buy a e-book, so again I can live with this.

For the moment here are my first thoughts on the T1 reader, I like it, it’s light, easy to use, typically Sony which is sexy and built well, so far so good

Update 22 Febuary 2012

I have now read four books with the PRS T1, so far so good, the battery last for ever, in fact I have only charged it once since I bought it, I have no real gripes with it, except maybe I find that that leaving a page mark, by clicking on the upper right can sometimes turn a page rather than leaving the book mark,and going into menus is a little tiresome but thats about all. The screen is just great, which is to be honest the most important thing, its light and you don’t get tired while reading with. Only problem is maybe my wife, she keeps moaning as I’m reading more and so talking less to her , hehe ….

Update 25 July 2012

Still using the  Sony, it’s great ,went on holiday for a week, just loaded up a couple of books in it and just read on the beach and next to the pool, no weight in my bags (in comparison to having three paperbacks), the battery still lasts forever, the choice of ebooks around is great, and I can nearly always find what I’m looking for, Have read about twenty books now and have another six ready to be read and still loads of space on the Sony for more.

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Poissy VTT, l’escapade de petit prince 2011

Voilà une randonnée VTT que je n’avais jamais faite, et pourtant ce n’est pas loin de chez moi, à peine 30mins de voiture pour arriver à Poissy :

Parcours de 20, 30, 40 & 56 kms. Lolo un ami a pété son genou avec un accident de VTT  il y a peine six mois, donc nous avons décidé à faire que le 40 km pour voir comment son genou aller supporter sur le parcours et le retour sur son vélo.

Brouillard ce dimanche matin (un brouillard a l’Anglaise, a ‘real pea soup’) en plus  il ne faisait pas très chaud, je n’ai pas encore l’habitude à mettre les vêtements chauds, donc j’avais froid..

Une randonnée prévue pour environ 600 personnes, nous étions apparemment plus que mille ….. il en avait du monde ce matin-là ….

Un parcours bien, des single à gogo, une fois après les premiers 5 km, les petites bosses sans arrêt, rien de technique, rien de méchant, mais avec autant de monde de mal on a parfois doubler les gens, surtout dans les portions étroites, bien roulant (Martial la fait sur son VTT singlespeed, donc rien de trop raid, seulement une ou deux bosses ou il était obligé de monté à pied) voir trop, pas mal des single, peu de boulevards, pas de route)

Un seul ravito (deux pour les 56kms), tout à fait correct, une bonne ambiance, une randonnée comme j’aime, même si techniquement c’est un peu léger, avec environ 700m de dénivelé

Finalement un bon parcours, sans prétention, similaire à celle de St-Germain en Laye, à refaire

Voilà la trace de 40 km pour ceux qui souhaitent le faire ou refaire, nous l’avons faits cool, en 2h 30mins,  les 40 km peuvent être faits dans les 2 h à peine

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VTT, L’Auversoise 2011

Randonnée VTT à Auvers sur Oise.

C’est la première fois que je fais cette randonnée à Auvers, pourtant ce n’est pas loin de chez moi.

Dimanche matin, 8 h départ d’Hédouville avec Martial et Emeric en VTT, pour aller à Auvers pour un départ prévu 8 h 30, froid, très froid, gelé blanche et 1° (30° la semaine dernière a Fréjus, j’avais du mal …..) enfin, nous sommes arrivés pour trouver la bande de copains habituels.

Beaucoup de monde, je ne savais pas qu’il aurait autant de monde pour cette rando.

La rando et tranquille, soit 25km, soit 40km, soit 50km, en réalité c’est une rando facile, pour toute la famille, il n’y a pas de technique, pas de cotes, pas de grosses descends, avec très peu de route, les chemins étaient propre et super sec (en période de pluie ou hiver cela saura une autre histoire), la plupart des chemins, je les connaissais bien, encore plus agréable.

Ravitos, tout à fait correct, et fléchage correct aussi, mon seul critique, quelques passages ou il fallait traversé les routes, j’aurais préféré quelqu’un pour gérer la trafique, on ne sait jamais sur les routes de compagne, même s’ils sont très calmes habituellement.  Enfin …

Donc une rando facile , rapide, avec le soleil qui à pointé sa tête vers le 10 h, plus le terrain sec, c’était sympa et bien agréable.

51.80 pour 758m de dénivelé, nous l’avons fait en 2h41mins, avec un moyen de 19.3 (le départ était très, très slow à cause du froid, mais la fin était rapide)

Plus mes allez retours à Hédouville, une petite journée de 73km, it’s good for the legs

A refaire, car le circuit hors qu’il n’est pas technique est très bien pour l’entrainement

Parcours sur sous peu

PS : Comme vous pouvez constater, je ne suis pas français, donc il y a des fautes partout, je suis désolé, pour ceux qui ont le courage vous pouvez me mettre quelque corrections, ‘pas le post entier’ dans la boite de commentaire ci-dessous pour que je les corrige par la suite, je ne les prends pas mal, même au contraire

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Roc d’Azur 2011 – VTT

Me voilà à nouveau dans le sud de la France, nous sommes le dimanche 2 octobre, je suis prêt à faire le Roc d’Azur 2011.

Comme d’habitude, j’ai pris une semaine complète pour en profiter pleinement du sud de la France, en fin saison, c’est tellement agréable de voir et sentir le soleil, surtout quand à Paris il fait gris, aujourd’hui par exemple, il fait 29°,  J’ai passé l’après-midi à la plage, avec une bouteille de rosé, cool l’entrainement….. Je me trouve à Golfe-Juan, environ 30 km de Fréjus

Demain, lundi je vais tester le terrain à Fréjus.

Day 1, lundi : 30 degrés 45kms et 900 mètres de dénivelés, hard, very hard, avec la chaleur. Comme d’habitude j’ai démarré à partir du parking sur la base de Fréjus,
Le terrain est très sec, pas de ‘grip’ les pneus lâchent facilement, quelque nouveaux chemins cette année, certain trop technique pour moi, je me trouve comme d’habitude à les descends à pied. Par contre certaines ‘grimpettes’ je trouve plus faciles, suis-je en meilleur forme ?

Je n’ai fait que le parcours jusqu’au Col de Bougnon puis je suis entré par la route, demain je ferai le parcours à partir du camping jusqu’à la fin de parcours

Day 2, mardi : J’ai démarré à partir du camping, qui se trouve juste après le descend du fournel, car depuis ce matin nous louons un mobile home pour la semaine.
J’ai démarré ver 11 h, il faisait déjà chaud, j’ai fait une partie du parcours, fléché vert (tout n’était pas fléché), c’est le parcours Masters Roc, une grosse descend raid et technique au milieu puis le reste ce n’était pas trop difficile. Je suis arrivé vers la fin, à environ 10 kms de la base et donc j’ai commencé le départ comme pour la veille, pour atteint à nouveau le camping, faisant le parcours presque complet, mais avec un mélange de parcours de cette année et l’années précédents. Je suis arrivé vers 14 h avec 32kms au compteur et 1064 m de dénivelé,

Day 3, mercredi : Mes amis sont arrivés, nous avons fait le parcours de la course de vendredi a venir, Masters Roc, plus l’aller-retour vers la base, le total 68km et encore 1150 m de dénivelé.
Le parcours est plus dur que les années précédentes, dès le début. Il y a une sacrée ‘grimpette’ au niveau de centre de ski nautique, le reste après c’est plus au moins la même chose, jusqu’au vers la fin ou c’est réellement changer, une descend en zigzag dans les arbres, hard et pas fun, puis une monté en single au départ à pied, puis en vélo, super fun, puis la mer, avec la plage et le chemin de douaniers.

Une journée bien remplie avec une baignade dans la mer à la fin, puis quelque bières, super.


Day 4, jeudi, : repos, petit aller retour à la base, 25km, le salon, la mer et encore des bières bien fraîche.

Day 5, vendredi, la course Master Roc : pour du vrai, la journée démarre avec un très fort mistral, ça souffle, le vent est d’environ 100 km l’heure et elle faite froid, dans le box pour le départ, la chair de poule, le parcours le même que mercredi sauf la bosse au départ, que était changer pour quelque chose plus soft, je l’ai fini en 3 h 10, 5 minutes de plus que l’année précédente, mais avec le vent et la course qui était bien plus difficile, je ne suis pas déçu, et ma place était nettement mieux, 228e dans ma catégorie, et 417 en général (environ 1900 coureurs au total), contre 293 et 603e en 2010.

La trace est disponible sur


Day 6, samedi, Rando noire : Plus de mistral et le soleil de retour, phew, 52 km avec 1450 m de dénivelé, pas trop dur sauf ‘le Flûte’ c’est une putain bosse, et comme d’hab j’ai calé à 25 m de la fin, je n’arrive jamais à la faire, le reste, ça va, mon temps était minable, j’ai roulé avec un copain qui n’avait pas la pêche est nous avons trop trainer avec lui au départ, mais vu que c’était la rando, ce n’était pas très important.

La trace est disponible sur


Au total, de lundi au samedi, j’ai fait 304 km pour plus que 6500 m de dénivelés, donc une bonne semaine de vélo, et avec un bronzage, mais de VTTiste bien sûr…..

Comme les années précédentes, j’ai utilisé le Rocky Mountain Element pour ces parcours.

Le Roc pour moi est la fin d’une saison de VTT, c’est le meilleur moyen d’en finir avec le soleil, la mer, l’ambiance,  les compétiteurs (environ 16 000) les VTT et les VTTistes partout, les chemins différents de ma région.  Il me reste que 500 km à faire cette année pour atteint mon objectif de 5000kms 🙂 

Je remercie vivement tous les bénévoles du Roc, ainsi que les pompiers, car ils sont nombreux, aux carrefours, sur les routes, aux ravitos, pour nous aider, un grand merci.

PS : Comme vous pouvez constater, je ne suis pas français, donc il y a des fautes partout, je suis désolé, pour ceux qui ont le courage vous pouvez me mettre quelque corrections, ‘pas le post entier’ dans la boite de commentaire ci-dessous pour que je les corrige par la suite, je ne les prends pas mal, même au contraire

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Analog – Moleskine – Leuchtturm1917, pen and paper – Am I going back to the stone age……

Paper notebooks :
Moleskine, Leuchtturm1917, fountain pens and ink in a bottle …

I’m crazy, I’m mean we are living in electronic age, are we not …

I think that I can class myself as a techno geek, I rely  heavily on computers or electronics devices, I tend to buy most gadgets that are around, though mainly if I feel them useful, the latest GPS for my bikes, a new phone about every six months, in fact I’m writing this on my Motorola Milestone 2 and am awaiting for the Milestone 3  to come available here in France . Probably my next gadget shall be a tablet.

Update 2012 : The Motorola Milestone 3 or 4 never came to France, so now using a Sony Xperia S. (2014: its now a Nexus 5)

So anyway the other day I needed to buy a small notepad for when I’m out and about looking for geocaches and need to write something down, OK I could use the phone, but as the battery life on the phone is rather short, the less I use it, the better, try running a couple of geocaches in the sticks using non stop the compass and the GPS and you ‘ll know what I mean.

So there I was looking for a notebook, I’m a difficult / choosy bugger at the best of times, so of course a cheapo, any old notebook is not my style. So looking at all the models in the shop, I came across two very small notebooks made by Moleskine which seemed rather nice at just the right size, 6 x 10 cm, just right at the time for noting GPS position, cache details etc.

So I bought this notebook or rather these as they are sold in pairs, Each Moleskine notebook includes a short history of the legendary Moleskine notebook inserted inside the back cover, one was open so I read it, this helped me to buy then as I found it very  interesting, The cost was around 7 euros I think.

For more details check this link :

What pleased me about Moleskines straight away was the quality of the fabrication, the paper that is acid free, the ribbon that is used as a book mark and I loved the expandable inner pocket in the back cover that can used to keep/hide slips of paper even a credit card though for me I have a wallet for that, simplicity, also not to forget the leather cover and the elastic band that hold its closed. Quality has to be the word best describing these notebooks.

After buying these Moleskines and reading up about the name, the history, the buzz around it,  and other details on  forums, even if some of the posts are rather dated, and seeing that many people are tweeting about Moleskines ( how strange tweeting about paper notebooks, a contradiction, no ? ) I went out a bought a second model, this time the pocket size 9 x 14 cm, to see if writing in a note book was my style or rather that I could / would use.

Not for a blog, as WordPress for that is just perfect, not as an agenda as Google agenda and do this just fine and course they are synchronised with my phone. Just to jot things down, what I’m not sure yet.

I just wanted to see whether in this day and age and with 53 years behind me I and all the gadgets that I own would I use pen and paper, I feel as if I’m taking a step back into the stone age

I also bought or rather ordered a Moleskine pencil as they have a pen and pencil which are rather cleverly designed as the clip on the cap can be clipped to the edge of the notebook (sideways) rather than over the top.

The reason I like this is I find it difficult to have a notebook and a pen or pencil that is just clipped with a horrible clip to the top or just just lying around at the bottom of my bag, OK this paragraph make me sound a bit like ‘Rainman’, but I admit I can be slightly complicated.

So back to the first pocket-sized unlined notebook, I added a couple of printouts from my printer, for instance for the moment I getting some new biking clothes designed and made for myself and my team mates, so after each change I cut them out and glue them to the pages, scrapbooking …… also I’m started to write little things down, “picked up xx from the airport” or “started writing probably the biggest page in my blog that nobody will read …” nothing of importance but I admit I always have things floating around in my head, so why not try to jot them down.

Update 2012 : Scrapbooking I’ve left aside as no longer do it.

At the same time I’m writing down the things to do, OK I have that on my phone and on my computers, but I never use them as they just don’t work for me.

More time spent on the forums and I came across and an article or rather a couple concerning GTD (getting things done) planning using pens and paper, I tried  many planners in the past either on my phones or computers and again, never have I found one the works for me, so these articles were at least worth reading and trying out.

So I have just bought some more Moleskines ( now my wife is laughing at me) , all the same size pocket-size as they can be slipped into a back jean pocket. 1 with lines, 1 with blank pages, 1 with squares rather than lines.  This one I’m going to try using it a planner for my work, using some of the ideas taken from the above finds on the forums. I will try to post how and if later.

So I have now about four of these notebooks, a couple of pages have already been filled, dribble, useful (if so only to me but what the hell, when I pick up these notebooks I feel good, maybe it reminds me of a first days at school, though god only knows I didn’t go much, and what I do feel which is very strange is how to start writing something on such clean virgin pages, really weird.

I came across after spending some time on their site a  travel Moleskine notebook, the one that I purchased is for New York, the travel notebooks I think are great, it didn’t take me long to realise that they could be very useful and make  great presents, they have maps, underground guide, useful phone numbers, addresses and such and many other details that may be needed when on holiday somewhere. Now when I’m away from home in France I often use Yelp or Tripadvisor to find a good pub or restaurant, but the problem when in a foreign country data on the smartphones costs an arm and a leg, and free wi-fi is never available when you need it, so this travel notebook will be filled with many details that may need when we go to NY late this year and of course before I go.

Update : The New York notebooks was just great, I had written everything down that I wanted to do for our trip to the states, addresses, phone numbers, what to see etc. and it worked perfectly

Update : though the moleskine pencil in its form/shape is perfect, with a side fixing clip, the lead for me is to soft, it’s a 2b, so I’ve ordered their pen, which has the same form, now waiting for the delivery.

I’ve also ordered a Lamy2000 fountain pen (all the critics are very could) so does that mean that are not critics but ……..

I’m still awaiting the ballpoint pens from Moleskine, update received them, same shape as the pencils,very nice, they write OK, (these are for when I’m about and about and don’t want to carry my Lamy) so I bought some Faber-Castell PITT artist pens S, these are very fine tips 0.3 and am using them on my second moleskine for the time being though they will have to lie at the bottom of my bag 😦

At work I’ve always used a fountain pen to sign all documents and cheques, etc.  (I’m the boss) so I’d ordered a Lamy2000 for another notebook that I am going to use for my projects here at work, this notebook will stay at work most of the time so clipping it to it will not be a problem.

The Lamy 2000 has arrived and I must admit it’s completely different from my Parker sonnet, it is so smooth its unbelievable, it just slides over the paper, I wanted some Shaeffer blue-black ink to go with it but the shop got the order wrong and delivered black Lamy ink, but TBH it’s fine. the tip is the M size and it’s a little on the large size as I tend to write badly and smallish so I might change it for a F or VF size.

I bought this pen after reading so many good things about it on the forums, the photo pleased me and when receiving it I was not disappointed , it holds just right in the hand and feels just perfect posted or not posted, I love the Bauhaus look and feel.

I am continuing with this analog craze of mine, I bought some more notebooks yesterday except that I purchased two Leuchtturm1917 a small and a medium size, that have a couple of differences that seem to make them  better. The paper is slightly thicker as its 80 gms against 70 gms for the Moleskines, They have labels / stickers with them for archiving them nicely, the pages are numbered, this is nice in the medium size as I use it for planning / projects for my work, have started a GTD system afer reading many articles and so far so good

I also bought some ink yesterday as am awaiting a second Lamy2000 to arrive with a finer nib, I went mad and bought some Iroshizuku ink (now I have a notebook and ink with unpronounceable names … ) this ink cost me an arm & a leg as it’s over 30€ the bottle.

I also bought some J. Herbin ink to try, I bought the famous ‘Violette Pensée’ as this is a colour known to most French people (of a certain age) who used it at school, surprise when I showed it to my wife, “I want some” she said, So I going to have to buy her a pen as well …..

I will try these inks and notebooks later and add more info 🙂

I’m using four different notebooks now :

Small reporter notebook, this one is when I’m geocaching and need to scribble GPS coordinates down clues to find the next cache and such like. (update : used when out doing geocaching)

Small lined notebook, this I’m already writing one to two pages per day, anything and nothing, not dates or  meetings as these are on my agenda on my phone, just ideas / thoughts that may be useful at a later date  (update : used all the time, but mostly when at home)

Medium size squared paper, this is for work, ideas, planning, projects; Am working on a slightly modified GTD system, will when finished I’ll add details.  (update : used at work or in meetings)

Small blank page carnet, I’m ‘scrap booking’ images in this one , not sure if it will be continued but my wife laughs when she sees me gluing images in it, so when she laughs I’m happy UHU ……..  (update : used rarely, will not re-buy)

Update :  The Lamy2000 VF has arrived and is being used with Kon-Peki ink, a nice not to dark blue colour ink that cost me a arm and a leg (about 35€ a bottle), The M sized Lamy I gave to my wife with the Herbin violet ink, which she apparently uses at work)

What is amusing is the marketing around these notebooks, check twitter with Moleskine, its alive with tweets, check with Leuchtturm1917 and there’s nothing and yet TBH they are (to me anyway)  the same, both just notebooks, both coming from smallish but  decent company’s that aren’t multi national … MARKETING

I find that after years of not writing (just typing) hard too put things to paper, its strange to actually write and not just type even if the end result is the same.

example: I updated the bios on my MB, and so had written “updated my bios”, “ram setting to XXX”, etc. a week later crashed the system and of course couldn’t find the ram settings to reset them, so I just flipped back some pages and found the settings that I written down, OK I could have written these down in Evernote (which I use as well) but one the computer was down and two, it’s not normally the sort of details that I take time to : open the program, find the section that I’m going to use and then type it in, the notebook just sits on the table next to me in the sitting room and just gets jotted in when I think of something.

Update January 2012

I’m still using my notebooks, for work I use a medium size for taking notes for work, this is just perfect. I use a one ligne index to point me to the main page and then just jot down the things I need, if I run out of space I then go to the next free page, and this page number is written down the previous page used. It works well. GTD. When I get back to my office I transcribe the notes onto, a rather simple but very clever web site and at last the only one that suits my needs, almost perfectly (I have tried many in the last couple of years, this is by far the best), for an online GTD  /idea system

For my private notes I use a Leuchtturm1917 small notebook, olive’ish green colour, (now gone for the black colour) I find the build quality better than my first Moleskine (which I’ve filled up since starting this article)

I write something down nearly every day, “went to the gym”, “diner at so and so’s”, “doctor” etc. mostly rubbish of no interest to any one, at the end of the book, I have a small index, with one line max and the page number (another reason why I prefer Leuctthurn’s notebooks, their pages are numbered), so when I visited my Doctor : I note it with the treatment that I received, on the index page I note “Doctor –  ears, page xx”, simple and effective.

As for the pen the Lamy200 extra fine is just perfect and I’m still using the Kon-Peki ink as I love the colour, I had tried some Shaefer ink, it wrote finer than the Kon-Peki, and so after a page I went back to the Kon-Peki.

Update 2014

I’v gone back to the dark side? Iv’e been using Diaro on my phone and sometimes using their web site to note my thoughts and private diary

Its simple but easy to use, I like being able to add photos and go back and correct my spelling or add later thoughts, so the note books have been left on the shelf, when I write I still use the Lamy 2000 but am a little annoyed with it as its been sent back twice for repair, concerning leaking problems.

PS I still use the Moleskin NewYork notebook, we have been to NY 3 times in the last 2 years and every time I add addresses, things to see, notes etc as havinge a data connexion abroad costs a arm and a leg, so a paper notebook is very useful.

Minty95 @google+

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Maillot CD Mail – 2011

Cette année, comme il y a quelque années,

j’ai  fait faire un tenu pour moi et mes amis

Le voilà :

Le tenu CD Mail version 2012

Veste pro Windtex, manches longues

Jersey Pro road

Pro bib shorts avec bretelles

Fabriqué par Endura en angleterre

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Saillans, circuit #8

Avec Cyril, nous avons fait le circuit VTT #8, à partir de Saillans dans le Drome.

Le circuit est classé noir, de 42 km de long avec un dénivelé de 1100 mètres

Le circuit est assez bien fléché, mais parfois il faut bien regarder pour les voir.

Le circuit démarre par la route pendant quelque kilomètres, puis ça enchaine sur les chemins assez larges dans les collines.

Pendant 9 kilomètres ça grimpe avec un dénivelé d’environ 550 mètres, c’est dur, puis ça fatigue dès le départ en plus s’il fait chaud ….

La plupart de ce parcours se fait sur les grands chemins, en pierre, et un peu de route, heuresment il y a quelque single tracks en forêt, en plus avec un terrain sec, avec les roches ou les pierres, ces singles sont superbes, assez technique, car très étroit, un régal.

Le parcours était donné pour 6 h 30 sur les fiches que n’avons eu, mais nous l’avons fait en 3 h 45 plus 45mins de pause.

En pur technique, ce n’est pas trop difficile, mais le parcours est bien fatiguant, avec des vus magnifiques, un très bonne ballade à faire.

J’ai utilisé le Rocky Mountain pour cette ballade, avec un Rocket Ron avant et un Racing Ralph derrière,  les deux en tubeless ready, 2:10, parfait pour ce terrain.

Le GPX se trouve sur

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