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WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE. ALL MY LATEST NEWS IS RIGHT HERE ON THE HOME PAGE.
I intend to rebuild the website with a new focus on my art work and cycle touring. Please be patient as all this is taking place.
I am finally beginning to feel like my energy levels are returning to normal following the septicaemia, I can not believe just how much it took out of me. The fatigue has been overwhelming and a recurrence of a pericarditis made things worse.I have recently enjoyed a two week break from work and certainly made the most of it; riding in the Peaks, visits from family, D.I.Y. and gardening and, best of all, a trip to Fribourg, Switzerland, with the bike! So I must be getting back to my old self!I managed 4 days of riding despite having very little winter base in my legs. I was broken by the end of it though! Most definitely worth it; stunning views, beautiful weather and great hosts in Claire and Dave. I have posted just one of many amazing photos which gives just a brief taste of the breath taking scenery that we were riding in. A full album can be found here http://asbridge.me.uk/pages/view/showpage.html?user=david&name=tcfribourg&type=albumIt's back to work for me tomorrow, with lighter evenings I aim to build my cycling back up again while combining this with running too, a new goal on my part to run a 10k this year! :-) It's a quiet life for me now! Very little time to ride and even less to paint! It does make me question exactly why I do what I do, but I also know that thinking about things for too long is not healthy. What I am sure about is that I have ambitions for 2014 and I will achieve them! My start to the year wasn't great- 10 days in hospital with sepsis (more commonly known as septicaemia or bleodvergifting for the Flemish followers); naturally that wasn't part of my plan for 2014. I hope to keep a more regular BLOG again as I strive to regain a work-life balance and achieve a long list of things this year.Rather than ranting on here I will send you to a link with a recent article written by myself.http://www.bikeenvy.co.uk/article.php?id=645Enjoy and please come back- I promise some more regular updates that are cycling and art related!
Remedy to a DIY overdose; a roadtrip. I packed up the car and left my building site of a home behind, heading over the pond to my second home; Belgium. I had plans to tour with the bike into France or Germany and these plans were realised. In fact, I think I may need a holiday to get over my holiday!
Visits to friends sandwiched my cycle tour, I even convinced one of them to keep me company on the bike for the later part of the tour! Thanks Dieter, hope that you don't regret it! The tour took in the Ardennes, the Eifel, the Mosel and Hunsruck region ending up in Neustadt and der Wijn Strasse before heading back along a similar route; it's so beautiful there it's worth doing twice! There are so many little villages and towns in these areas that have so much character; Bad Bertrich, Bern Kastel-Kues, Schonberg and Mussbach were just a few that made an impression on me. I had some epic days with reserved hotels being shut, several diversions and one seriously heavy down pour, but luck was certainly on my side; not one mechanical or puncture for 900km, 9000m of climbing over 5 1/5 days. I can highly recommend the area for cycling; quite roads (use the minor ones) and drivers who have the patience of angels. Each time I tour I become more an more enthusiastic and adventureous; it's is the best way to travel by far.
I returned to England and took a couple of days of rest near Brighton but am now back on the building site which is actually no longer so bad; the hard work is beginning to pay off.
I look forward to a busy term of teaching and the opportunity to cram in as much as possible in the precious little time that I have. First job is to sort out all the prints and artwork ready for the Christmas build up. Cheltenham and County members will be in with a chance to win one of my paintings on 7th September but keep an eye out for opportunities to purchase prints too.
Enjoy the pictures:
Two of the three murals created in July in a community nursery.
Cycling along the banks of the Mosel, the steep banks are blanketed with vineyards.
Bern Kastel- Kues; more vineyards shadowing a characteristic town.
Frequently no cars for more than an hour, great surfaces and beautiful weather for 99% of the tour.
Four months; it’s far too long I know! I have not had much time to think in the last 4 months and have decided that it is time to do just that! Though not for too long; that would be bad for me! Since quitting full time riding and returning to the UK in September I have fitted in more than most would dare to attempt. The PGCE in itself was a huge undertaking. I am glad to say that it is over and I passed at a level that only I could settle for ;-) ! I am looking forward to my new job which will start in September. However, alongside the course I have managed to fit in a few other things. Prior to Christmas these things were all on the website; paintings of riders, delivery of one of these to Zdenek Stybar himself, a small operation to implant a monitoring device for my heart issues and a trip up to Yorkshire to visit family. So since Christmas what has there been? Work for the PGCE has dominated my life but I did manage to fit in buying and moving house (like you do)! I am now undertaking a huge amount of work on the house but enjoying making my mark on it! I am determined to do the vast majority of work myself but this is a mammoth task and I am feeling in need of a holiday! I recently volunteered to create a mural in a nursery for a housing charity last week too; a wonderful opportunity to fulfil the ethos of ‘Serve the City’ (http://www.servethecity.net) here in Cheltenham. I am now on Twitter and you can see the pictures of this mural by following me @CyclingSilvers .In between all of this I have managed to continue to ride; not to the level I would like, but I knew that something had to give! I did the best I could with the time that I had to build up to my first ever Gran Fondo; a great event in the Dolomites over 220km with 5200m of climbing. This was a fantastic experience and I was pleased to come in as 8th female and 1st in my age group! Who knows where I might get if I did a few more of these. Thanks to those kind people who continue to support my activities on the bike; naturally my team Paxx Global Cycling (http://www.paxx.stosiosport.be/) and also Shock Absorber (www.shockabsorber.co.uk). My strength in definitely in longer distance events and I hope to do some more Fondo’s in the coming years. Just before the Fondo a blood test diagnosed an underactive thyroid so I am currently experiencing some excessive tiredness and competing at a high level for the coming months is ruled out. Never write me off though! Lastly I should mention my cycling art! It is now featuring on an art website Etsy. The Cav ORIGINAL is available to buy here: http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/156054897/framed-original-cycling-artwork-another?ref=sr_gallery_2&ga_search_query=Mark+Cavendish&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=GB&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=Mark+Cavendish It went live last week so if you are interested get there quick! Since moving house I have resolved to sell a lot of originals; this includes the likes of Millar, Wiggins, Pantani.... if anything on the website takes your fancy please mail me; I may well sell it!I hope to head to my second home in the coming weeks; Belgium, watch out! With the RVV on the horizon I thought it an ideal time to bring some of my older paintings to the fore; lots of great ideas for gifts and 10% of all sales to Cancer Research UK.... Just mail me firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. The prints are fixed prices (see online shop) but the originals are open to bids! The originals are mounted and framed. The originals are below. Go to the online shop for signed prints of Merckx, Nuyens and another one of Devolder.
Devolder wins RVV 2008. Framed and signed by Stijn Devolder.
Eric signing the original below.
Eric Vanderaerden wins in 1985. Signed and framed.I'm Here!- 09.03.2013What has kept me away for so long? A full life I guess. The few times that I have had a moment to stop I have been physically and mentally incapable of doing anything remotely constructive! However, I am loving life (well, every aspect except the essay writing) and wouldn’t have it any other way. I have just begun a new placement which gives a real meaning to the word resilience; I am working at a Pupil Referral Unit in Gloucestershire. So away from work? Yes, of course I find time to ride my bike! Outdoors only ever on a weekend- I can normally fit in 3-4 hours on a Saturday and 5-6 on a Sunday; a nice base but not so useful if you take 5 rest days in between! However, I am slowly accepting that cycling ‘is not what I do anymore’, consequently, my expectations must be adjusted accordingly. I have certainly maintained a respectable condition and have my sights set on a goal of a Grand Fondo in late June in Italy. The club here is setting up a women’s section (see www.cc-cc.co.uk) which I also hope to help out with a little. My involvement with cycling is certainly is a huge part of my part, just no longer ‘my life’! I intend to pack a few events in during July and August- races, sportives and charity event with my team (http://www.paxx.stosiosport.be/). I have decided to build up a new bike (virtually from scratch!) for commuting and touring; something I have always wanted to do but just never got round to it. Thanks to kind donations of parts from friends (Paul and http://www.bourneclinics.com/) and the assistance of others, I hope to have this on the road pretty soon and perhaps doing it’s maiden voyage over Easter!!! Even in all this mayhem I have picked up a paint brush. The satisfaction I gain from painting hasn’t diminished, even if I did feel a little out of practice. I definitely hope to produce a few more of these murals over summer, so if anyone is interested please do make contact. The friends who asked me to paint Pooh and Piglet on the nursery wall absolutely love it! Remember, it’s unique, inexpensive and 100% personalised. I produced this one in one day so it’s even possible to have one done as a surprise if you get your ‘target’ to go away for a day or two.
Pooh and Piglet, for little Gilbert.
It’s been so long since the last update but, to me, that’s not really surprising. No one or nothing could have sufficiently pre-warned me about the sheer volume of work incorporated in the PGCE. During the last week at work I am not quite sure what kept me going; looking beyond the single hour that lay ahead of me was all that I would be capable of. I have finished my first placement on a high and been fortunate enough to experience several ‘rainbow’ moments (picture a classroom full of children and all of them engaged and enjoying the learning experience) to convince me that this is where I am meant to be, at least for the next few years. Those ‘magical rainbow moments’ rival winning a race; you put in so much hard graft to witness everything coming together to produce a result that you strive for on a daily basis.
But that is enough of real work, let me talk cycling. I sometimes wonder how I possibly managed to fit in cycling around all the work, but I also know that if I had not managed to keep on riding my bike I would have quit the course long ago! It keeps me sane, along with my friends and family. 10-11 hours a week has hopefully been sufficient to maintain a good base that I can continue to build upon throughout January and February. I have a break from work studies and work over Christmas and the New Year, though do have a research assignment for company to make sure that I do not forget how to work.
On top of all that I am happy to have completed and delivered one commission (since starting the course). I know that it was gratefully received, just as I was grateful of the very understanding customer who allowed me 3 months to complete his request, even though it should not have taken more than a week! Since it should now have been given as a gift I can display it here!
The first 4 days of my holiday were amazing, thanks to great friends I was so entertained and distracted that I did not once think about the looming assignment, or the past weeks of teaching. I fully appreciated the benefit of a change, rather than a rest. How exactly did I spend the last few days? I would like to say that what I did was immaterial, the company was the deciding factor. Within an hour of driving into Belgium I was meeting friends and didn’t stop until Friday evening, when I thoroughly enjoyed a homemade mince pie; no, not a Belgian speciality but a bonus if you have an English friend living in Belgium! After a solid sleep of 10 hours (I had almost forgotten how good that feels?!) I was ready for another fun packed day; my first ever experience of Cross in Belgium. I should add here that my day began on a high; coffee with a great friend and supporter in Tienen, thanks to them I slept like a princess on Saturday evening in Aulnenhof, near Landen, worth a stay if you are in the area. But back to my day. No, I wasn’t racing, though hats off to those riders in Essen; mud bath acquired another meaning for me on 22nd December! My purpose for being in Essen was not solely to see the Cross though (really, I could quite happily have swapped the persistent pouring rain, ankle deep sucking mud and alcohol intoxicated maniac crowds for a sofa, a coffee, a duvet and a flatscreen). But the reality was that I would go from the Cross to a warm restaurant in great company to meet, in my humble opinion, the best athlete at the race that day; Zdenek Stybar. The idea was born long ago (April to be precise) to present a painting of Zdenek to him in the presence of the whole ‘Stybi team’; verzorger, doctor, mechanics, sports psychologist, trainer... Fixing a date had proved very challenging but persistence paid off and we all thoroughly enjoyed a relaxing evening chatting about anything and everything; great to share thoughts and ideas with like-minded people.
My second memorable experience while in Belgium was another trip to the Cross, this time the World Cup in Namen. Thanks to more great friends I was saved from the mud fest and this time and could view things from the VIP tent :-)
My last day allowed me to visit even more people close to Tienen before heading to the hospital for a check up on the small USB implant that has now become a ‘normal addition’ to my body! ‘All okay, no irregularities observed in the last 2 months!’ :-)
Now I am back home with family in Yorkshire where I will remain until Friday. Happy Christmas and all the best for 2013 to everyone. x
With Zdenek and images of Annie Last.
It's been a REALLY busy week but I somehow managed to do two more paintings, my last for some time I think.
Wiggins bags the win
Vino framed ready for a happy customer!
Inspiration for one more remaining!