Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Then and Now

The other week I realised that it was twenty years since I was struck by a car and suffered a broken leg and some minor injuries. What followed was three days in hospital and thirteen weeks in a full leg length cast. As part of the ensuing legal process I visited a surgeon who recommended that, in his words, "I should seek work of a more sheltered nature". He reckoned ten years was my limit of physical work and outdoor activity. I was working as a dry stone waller at the time.  Eighteen months later, my "gap year" had actually spread out to seventeen, I began a computing degree course at Bangor University, eventually graduating with a 2:1.

This lead to a massive career change: from doing physical work on farms and building sites for fourteen years to thirteen years of writing software for consumer electronics. I figured that due to the lack of physical work I could transfer those ten years to extend my outdoor activities - it just about worked - I got to last year before things started going pear shaped.

Fast forward to last week and the recession finally caught up with me when the company I've been working for for six and a half years made 25% of the staff redundant. So with a sizeable payment I've now a bit of time on my hands :-) I've also a lot of options. In a way it's like being 21 again, I can continue in the same line of work or do something completely different. In the meantime I've a long list of jobs to do around the house from painting window cills to renovating the bathroom.

Biking wise, I've been trying to get fit again after my broken ankle and the bad weather. With some increasingly long rides I was just about fit enough for the West Riding Sportive last Saturday - 75 rather hilly miles from Clapham over to Dent, down To Horton in Ribblesdale then over to Halton Gill, Arncliffe, back over to Malham then Settle and back to Clapham. I'd done this two years ago and had to walk the climbs out of Arncliffe and Kirkby Malham. This time I rode them all even though I had a higher bottom gear so I must be a bit fitter. Still need to get stronger as I've the Etape du Dales ride in just under four weeks.