Wednesday 20 February 2013

blasting away the cobwebs

Well, I went flying again yesterday, in my own aeroplane. Yes, after nearly 3 months of work and waiting she is back in the air and boy does it feel good.

My flying was terrible and the test yielded a couple of very minor issues, but I don't think I've felt such a huge relief and sheer joy in a very, very long time. There's definitely something comforting to the soul about seeing the vast expanse of blue sky rolled out below you!

Now I can look forward to really getting back in the saddle and preparing to start competing again (the first competition of the season is at the end of March and I need some serious practice). I've managed to build up a pretty reasonable base level of fitness and strength again over the past few months, and I will continue working hard on improving it further, but at least I'm in a very good position to gain as much as I possibly can from my flying and training.

Essentially I think that physical fitness, whilst on the face of it, not obviously all that essential for a competition flyer, makes a huge difference to performance. There are some huge forces involved when flying competition aeros - my body experiences forces that can vary very rapidly between +6g and -4g and this is hugely tiring. That coupled with the extreme levels of concentration and focus required for the entire flight duration really does make for a sport that takes a huge amount out of you. Last year I was climbing out of the aeroplane after a 10minute sortie feeling like I'd just run a marathon - no exaggeration. There may not be all that many calories burned, but the mental exertion is greater than anything else I've ever experienced.

Thus, the fitter I am, the better I can cope with the demands I place on myself during a flight, and the more quickly I recover afterwards - which in turn means I can manage to undertake more meaningful training in a day (of course at the moment the real show-stopper here is actually finance, but fingers crossed that's going to change soon). My gym obsession may well come into its own!

From this point on you'll most likely find me somewhere between praying for good weather, beasting myself in the gym, at the climbing wall or out on the trails, or back up in the sky with the biggest grin on my face :-)

Thursday 14 February 2013

new goals for me

Sat in the gym last night, panting and hallucinating mildly after pushing myself perhaps a tiny bit too hard for too long on the mountain bike 'simulator' (yes, really and it's actually really good to use - an exercise bike attached to a computer game!), a few thoughts swam across behind my eyes and I found myself wishing for a notepad. I didn't have one handy, so no doubt my hazy next day recollections of what I wanted to write down will be missing a few key bits but hey, that's life.

Basically as I sat there feeling absolutely exhausted and not a little bit sick, I remembered vaguely what it was like to once be really fit. That got me to thinking about this year and what I really want to do and achieve for myself. This morning I've been reading a few of my friend Lynne's recent blog posts about how her state of fitness and goals are coming along (have a look-see, she writes nicely! Seeing her looking stupendously slim and fit, and reading about her fantastic training regimes has helped me clarify a couple of my own aspirations, not just for the year but for however long they take. I'm sure as my postings go on, more bits will get added to the 'lists' too.

I figure that writing all of these down will somehow help to organise things in my mind, so forgive me if this all sounds a little odd or a bit dull.

Life in general

  • Gain a proper income again
  • Stop worrying about money
  • Learn to paraglide and take up paramotoring
  • Get fitter and regain 6-pack (lose the flab!)
  • Get back into mountain biking regularly
  • Buy a cyclocross bike and use it to go places
  • Use the car less
  • Get back into running regularly
  • Use the gym 3+ times per week, every week
  • Do at least 20 pull-ups each day
  • Go to the climbing wall at least once per week
  • Get back into lead climbing
  • Boulder consistent V4 again

  • Run a marathon
  • Continue getting fitter
  • Get another motorbike


  • Do my first displays and airshows
  • Compete in the British Nationals at Intermediate and claim my bursary
  • Learn to tumble
  • Do more flat spinning and inverted flat spinning
  • Learn to tailslide
  • Learn to do negative flick rolls
  • Go to more places just for the hell of it
  • Do some night flying
  • Do some instrument flying (IMC?)
  • Build up display business
  • Gain a CRI rating (become a Class Rating Instructor to be able to do tailwheel and aerobatic training for existing pilots)

More to come!