Well, it's the 6th of April(!) I haven't posted in weeks and my mom has just sent me a note to see what's up, so I thought I'd better post. Well, I've been struggling to get a number of things sorted out at once. There was quite a lot of organising to do on the first team pumpernickle Dakar training session. Ben flew over from Washington DC just to experience the fun of falling off a wet dirtbike into a nice cushion of gooey Welsh mud. I joined him in muddiness (falling off four times in as many minutes) on the weekend of the 31st March. Actually, Ben did incredibly well - he had never gone off-road before, and he gobbled up all the challenges (including the river crossing that I missed) with elan. I've had years of mucking about in the dirt, so can't really claim any special credit for not falling off.
On one level, the weekend showed up a major flaw in our plan to race the Paris Dakar - my fitness level. I had been working out like a beast for two weeks running up to the weekend as I figured it would be a bit of a workout. It was so knackering, and I have so little 'core' strength that my body literally shut down on the second day. One minute I was motoring around no problem, and almost instantly I became unable of even standing up. I fell of in a muddy patch and couldn't even pick the bike up (these are wee 600cc things, half the weight of my usual bike, the r1150gs). I was helped up by the instructor and then proceeded to drop the thing again three times in rapid succession. Luckily, while it is very painful to have one's wimpyness shown off in front of a large group of people (including one tiny woman called Lisa who had the strength of an ox and had been picking her bike up no problem all day) it was luckily not physically damaging. At that point I abandoned my group and retreated to base camp - very disappointed, but without injury.
So I guess the moral of that story is that if Ben and I are going anywhere near the Dakar's 10 hour days, I am going to have to do some serious fitness work (am still working out every day at present).
Apart from thrashing other people's motorbikes, I've been sorting out the baby's room. Oh, and the hall and the living room and the kitchen as Nick and I have gone from doing nothing to the house to getting it entirely decorated in one go ;-)
Rather than do my usual of dragging sheets of mdf back to the house and then struggling with clamps and circular saw, I've designed all the furniture parts and am having them built by a guy called Luis who runs a little workshop up Brent Cross way. I just picked the first one up, the hifi cabinet - great workmanship from Luis, poor measurments from Dug (the amp doesn't fit ha ha ha). Nevertheless, it looks great and not at all 'studenty' so fingers crossed for the backroom closet and the hall bookshelves...
Apart from all that, I've been doing web stuff both business and personal and trying to take care of Nicki as best I can. Junior is going to be a big baby (there's a surprise) so much fun and games ;-) The baby is now due in about seven weeks (!) god - say it like that and it feels like the paint in the back room will still be wet!