Sunday 16 September 2012

Idiot Cyclist Abroad

Twenty Five years ago on the 12th September my wife and I got married. Now after 25 years of marriage my wife told me that this yorkshireman must finally put his hand in his pocket and take her away somewhere nice to celebrate.  With our two sons in tow (James 20 and Alex 18) we decided to visit Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo, a small but very beautiful Maldivian island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  This island is just 280 metres wide and 300 metres long, has nothing but sand, sea, boats and an occasional sea plane ferrying people to and from the airport at the capital Male which is 42 kilometers away.

We have snorkelled with fish on the local reef, I was attacked by a trigger fish that has given me a memorable bite on my ankle, swam with sting rays and the largest selection of tropical fish I have ever seen. We are blessed to visit what I can only describe as paradise on earth.  The people are friendly, cannot do enough for you and the all inclusive food and drink are about the best I have tasted anywhere.

I am now laid on my sun bed writing this blog post about my training update for my up and coming cycling ride in October.  Less than a month away now, I  decided that as well as enjoying my holiday, it was important that I didn't lose my fitness that have acquired thus far (not that its that great yet but enough to miss it if I lose it).  The resort is lucky enough to have a huge fully equipped gym complete with treadmills, recumbant bikes, spinning bikes, cross trainers and more weight machines than I have ever seen.  What's more, every time I have been there I have rarely seen anyone else.

Today, for instance, I did 30 miles on a combination of bike and recumbant bike.  During this time, one lady entered and hit the treadmill,  she was quite a large lady and in broken English she informed me that she needed to work off her breakfast.  To be honest, looking at her, it was far more than breakfast that could have done with being worked off! Following her 30 minutes on the treadmill, she then laid on the floor next to where the bikes were and began to do a series of floor exercises, at first reminding me of a turtle I had seen the day before, but at the end being more like the cockroach that was stuck on its back with its legs in the air stranded in the toilets and couldn't right itself.

Also, a German guy entered who I have seen in there before.  He spends twenty minutes doing weights, but his technique is not one I have seen before.  He puts the highest weight possible on each machine and spends 2 or 3 minutes trying to lift it before moving on to the next.  I don't see any repetitions, or to that matter, weights actually moving, but he does make some very interesting sounds in the process.

At this point I hit the incline on the bike and cycling gets a little tougher, so I lose concentration on my fitness buddies, put my head down and push through the discomfort. The training is also very good preparation for London in October, especially the 35 degree heat that I am hoping Mid October in London will match (only here its in celcius and there it will be farenheight). I guess the only incline I am going to see here is the electronically generated one on the fitness bike,  the islands are barely above see level so there's no hills.  I am sure I read somewhere that the highest natural point across all of the islands was only 7 metres above see level, although I believe Male has a few buildings a little bigger.

Its at this point that the hotel gym trainer walks over to me, sees the sweat pouring down my face and turns on the air conditioning.  I was just waiting for the old wheezer statement to be mentioned again, but at least this time my bike can't be insulted as its sat patiently in my shed waiting for me to come home.   I mention to him how quiet the gym is, and he points out in broken English that most people come here to enjoy their holiday and that it doesn't include stupid exercise in this heat, not a great advert for his excellent equipped gym. There's also Tennis, squash and table tennis too, but for those I think it is a little too hot. It did make me wonder how such a magnificent gym could be provided for just a few idiots like me but I'm glad it was.

It also seems that I miss the really interesting things whilst I am at the gym, like my wife donning her red T-shirt so she doesn't get sun burnt, and then being chased in the shallows by a reef shark that was imitating a bull and chasing her red top.  Apparently it was nearly three foot long so could probably have managed to suck her big toe if it caught her.  It was also funny to watch apparently,  especially as some brave Germans stood on the wall by the beach shouting "shark" causing my wife to swim faster.

Mr Motivator Himself
She said she had had a full gym workout including swimming in world record time, hurdles as she ran up the steps and the high jump as she cleared the wall.  I have decided to name the shark Mr Motivator in honor of its workout training regime which seems much more effective than my own training programme.

There are also a couple of German guys wearing speedo's, of which one guys consists of fishnet except for a pouch at the front leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination and in a country where nudity is outlawed.  My son has the cheek to complain about my Lycra back home, I feel positively over dressed when I'm cycling.

To be honest though, this is one of the most amazing places on earth and an idiot like me can still hit the gym with Hans and Helga from time to time as well. Helga was an inspiration of just how much damage a single breakfast can do. I am really glad to be trying to keep my diet as healthy as possible.

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