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Tuesday 5 April 2011

Cooking with Nail Polish Remover

I'm doing a bit of a test today, so if you are short of time I wouldn't recommend reading this post - sometimes you have to cut corners. So this morning an exciting package arrived in the post, my mini trangia (see picture attached). This is going to be my cooker! I'm planning probably to eat most of the time in gas stations, supermarkets and maybe some 'all you can eat' restaurants. But I'm also looking forward to some nights in the wilderness with my stove, boiling some pasta, maybe some chili and the frying some sausages in the morning :)

As you can see from the photo cooking options are limited, it comes with one small pan for boiling and a very small frying pan. You can get just over half a litre in the pan, and a couple of sausages in the frying pan! The stove works by burning alcohol or methylated spirits as its called in the UK (the purple stuff). So this evening I was convinced I wanted to try it out by boiling our green beans for dinner. After two petrol stations and two supermarkets I reached a dead end, and so desperately started searching for an alternative - my genius plan of using nail polish remover. Now let it be said nail polish remover does burn, indeed it burns quite hot and boiled the water more quickly than I had seen with meths. However its a messy flame and does not burn cleanly (see marks on pan). By the time I'd located the nail polish remover Pam had resorted to using the cooker!!

I'll let you know how I get on in the wilderness :) The other reason for this post is to test blogging via email. I'm only taking my phone with me on the trip and so I want to be able to post via email rather than having to negotiate web pages on a small screen. So if your reading this we will know if it works or not! One last note on sponsorship, I've crossed the £500 mark, its a long way to £2000, but I am making steady progress, even if I have to pester a lot of friends on the way.

Saturday 2 April 2011

Bike Shop & Selection

Well its been a few weeks since I lasted posted anything on here and obviously the 9th of May is drawing closer. Since I have last blogged I've ran the Milton Keynes Half Marathon in a pretty nifty 1hr 32 mins. I promised Pam I'd run as fast as possible, so I did. The race went great until I reached the finish line where the woman I had been following for the last couple of miles broke down and had a fit, I think she was ok but the medics piled in. 

After completing the half marathon, I went for a week skiing followed by a long weekend in Switzerland for my friend Tim's 30th birthday. This pretty much subtracted all the healthy training carried out over the last couple of months. Lets just say doing the half pipe at 5am is rarely carried out sober. Good news was that no permanent injuries were sustained apart from to my wallet. Since my return I've finally finished my job so I am going through lots of applications and interviews to try and land a job before my departure, but good news is Pam has landed a job as a teacher, so a career as a house husband exists as a fall back.

Any enough waffling, you are probably reading this to hear about cycling so lets bring it back on track. I'd been wanting to talk a bit about my bike selection and bike shop. I decided that I'd buy the bike in Seattle, for two reasons: 1. the bike should be cheaper and 2. it'll be great to walk into a bike shop and ride out a brand new bike which has been setup for me rather than have to box one up and build it in the airport. As it turns our the prices really don't appear to be much cheaper in Seattle.. oh well!

So for my bike I've decided to opt for a Jamis Bosanova

I'd almost bought a Jamis a few years back, I turned up to do a test ride and the shop had just sold the model I was going to test ride! I ended up with a Trek Madone, but always thought that I'd want to get my hands on a Jamis later down the line. After reading a few reviews I settled on the Bosanova, I'd have liked to have got my hands on an Aurora but unfortunately budget constraints kicked in. One thing I'm really happy about is the fact I'm getting disc brakes. After riding my mountain bike with discs I had a hard time switching to a road bike with caliper brakes. Given I'm going to be weighing this bike down and zooming down mountains I'd like some stopping power! Its got a solid frame and a good upright position for longer mileages. I'll give you a full bike review once I have done some miles on it.

So now I'd selected the bike I needed to find somewhere to get one. A quick search on the Jamis website led me to Bikesport in Seattle. The guys there (Scott and James) have been more than helpful so far, despite their email system having a few bugs and I'm really looking forward to meeting them and wandering around the store. Hopefully they will have built the bike and fitted all my stuff by the 9th of May. One really important thing I need them to do is to swap the brakes round. American front brakes are on the left , I learnt this the hard way and I'm too hard wired to change now!

I'm planning to do another post prior to departure listing exactly all the kit I'm having fitted and the equipment I am taking. My next purchase is a Brooks saddle which I'll report back on shortly. Next week is packed with interviews and then Pam and I are off to Israel on holiday for a couple of weeks, so no training yet!! I better get some rides in at the end of April, thats what royal weekends are for :)

Anyway adios for now!