Back in the mists of time Scott and I started The Velocast and sent our voices out into the ether. We saw that folk were downloading the show around the world and the numbers were growing steadily. We were operating in a vacuum though, the show was the social equivalent of one hand clapping.
One day though a “bong” announced the arrival of an email.
The world had started to talk back!
The email had arrived from a native of Hawick, although he was now an ex-pat living in St Albans in deepest Englandshire.
A native of Hawick, 32 miles from Peebles. We’re downloaded worldwide and the first person we hear from was born 32 miles away???? I was slightly deflated.
I shouldn’t have been.
That email started a virtual friendship which has been a thread that has run through me learning to use social media and continues to the present day.
That email was from the legend that is Fun Run Robbie.
FRR is a podcast enthusiast.
The 2 John’s podcast and The Velo Club Don Logan ‘cast also received FRR’s enthusiastic mails as well as the wee surprises that arrive from FRR in the post. Mugs, customised to suit their recipient, badges, custom birthday cards etc all accompanied by notes that make you smile. I laughed aloud when the first parcel arrived, simply addressed to “John Galloway, The Fastest Postie in Peeblesshire”.
FRR just has a lust for life and can’t help sharing it.
That’s just background to this post though.
FRR and I are both what he likes to call “Big Boned Borderers“.
He’s being kind.
I like to call us “Formerly Very Fit Blokes Who Got Fat.”
Me? Raced bikes. Tolerable time-trialist but crap road racer. This was the result of an upper body that was a result of a decade of rock climbing and mountaineering. On the hill if we didn’t cut the guide book time for an approach to a route in half we weren’t trying. ;o)
FRR? Top end club runner, sub three hour marathon runner.
That’s Where the Similarities End
Some time ago, I think probably a year or so, FRR started exercising again. Now I still ride fairly often and I’ve toyed with the idea of getting properly fit again but it’s hard. When you’ve been good at something it’s hard to be inspired by aspirations to mediocrity. Hard to suffer so much to grind up climbs you used to fly up. Just plain demoralising. So, I’ve slunk back to my sofa and said “Next time”.
FRR though has stuck with it. From the initial “Soft shoe shuffle” runs to his epic battle with his own Moby Dick “The Dutchman” on his commute to his introduction to the fine art of time trialling he’s stuck with it and kept us all informed via Twitter.
This last weekend he traveled back to the place of his birth and tackled the 55 mile version of the Ken Laidlaw Sportive. 55 miles? Pah eh? These 55 miles have teeth though, particularly if you still have a few pounds to lose as FRR himself admits. Climbs in the Border country of Scotland that hurt like hell when I was race fit. Climbs that have featured in hilly time trials won by some of the greats of Scottish cycling.
FRR started way below ground zero compared to his peak fitness days. He stuck with it through all weathers and he achieved the goals he set himself.
Call him what you like.
Podcast groupie? ;o) Certainly.
Slightly bonkers? Undoubtedly.
I call him Stewart Barker though and he’s living proof that these relationships we build up via social media aren’t in some way fake or trivial.
I’m proud to call him friend.