Friday, 23 August 2019

A busy month was had in July part two!


Our busy month continued as the day after returning from Verona as we headed to Hull for Owen’s graduation, a brief stop in Rotherham to collect Nicole, his girlfriend from her home and we arrived and booked into our B and B, then all out for a meal.

The next day we were off to the Bonus Arena in the centre of Hull for the ceremony and of course the ritual of getting gown and mortar board and photographs, funny how somethings never change as it felt no different to my own graduation thirty seven years ago. 



Owen received his degree, a First Class Honours in Computer Science and then it was on to a reception held in the next door shopping centre... somewhat bizarre!




More photos around the City Centre and another family meal followed, this time it was Owen’s choice and we ended up in Weatherspoons! 

Actually the Three John Scotts in Hull was not at all bad and of course being “Spoons” was dirt cheap!

We left Owen and Nicole in Hull as he now has a job there and she was visiting for a few more days.

After the long trek back home (I have decided that Hull is definitely the end of the known world) preparations started for the next “adventure”.

Following my visit to Ragley Hall the previous week, I was off again this time with the 1090 loaded in the van (yes it can be made to fit). I set up camp on the Thursday soon meeting up with my friend Andy and an impromptu “Camp TRF” was established in the motorhomes field (the main camping being reserved for those arriving on their bikes). After unloading the bike I set about swapping the van around to become my camper for the weekend.



After that was done, I set off to inspect the course, now fully marked and signed up. 



All was well so after returning to the van and changing we headed off to the main marquee for the exhibitors dinner… free food and bar, what was there not to like!

Concious that I would be on the bike all day tomorrow I was suitably restrained on the free beer and managed not to have too late a night.

The next day saw a dampener to proceedings as a fellow TRF member had a bike stolen overnight and Patsy Quick from Desert Rose Racing lost five bikes! I was glad I had locked the 1090 securely: A large chain to one of the van wheels and through the frame, a disc lock and large steel tent pegs and ratchet straps holding the bike down, these were in case it got windy overnight and pushed the bike over and into the side of the van but had the added advantage of making it that much harder to remove. But of course all the stolen bikes had been locked too. It seemed the thefts were targeted, so I can only guess 1090 Rs were not on the shopping list 

The next three days were great fun, helping out on the adventure trail, with thankfully very few accidents and breakdowns, we had to do a few bits of rearranging as one very muddy section got progressively worse and one particular off camber descent through a gate saw a few casualties! We ended up having to transport straw bales on our bikes to make that a bit safer!


It got busy at times!

Someone even got a photo of me

Wayne and I play farmers

That's better!


Of course you could do the whole course on road tyres (actually he rode through he several more times with no trouble)



Josh Costa Sa showing how it's done on Dad Mario's bike

Although he didn't get it right every time!

All in all it went well and was deemed a great success by all involved, it was great to see so many smiling faces all weekend.

From my point of view it good have been a nightmare for the myasthenia but I was able to take plentiful rests, each lap stopping to check on various sections or to chat to marshals, medics and organisers as well as catching up with loads of friends I kept bumping into. That way I was I was able to keep the fatigue in check and keep going all weekend.

So a great weekend and we are hoping to build on the success for next year.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

A busy month was had in July!

As Grainne was leaving her current job for her new one in Oxford she had a few weeks of leave built up so I took a couple of weeks off too.

On the Monday I took the opportunity to ride to Leicestershire to start the planning for the next Rallymoto Adventure Cannonball. This was inspired by my role as Assistant Race Director of Britain’s largest (and arguably the best) international one day cycle race; the Rutland Melton International CiCle Classic. 



Although a traditional road race it is inspired by Continental events like the Paris – Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) and therefore makes use of rough back roads and unsurfaced highways. 

Over the 15 years I have worked on the race I have often thought of the potential for motorcycle events and this is the ideal opportunity. As well as several sections of the route both current and previously used, I discovered some ideal additional trails, too rough for bicycles but ideal for adventure bikes.

Two days later I was off to Ragley Hall in Warwickshire to inspect the proposed adventure trail for the Adventure Bike Rider Festival in two weeks time. Being run by the TRF I had been asked to take the role of Clerk of the Course. All was good and it was great fun riding the trail in the magnificent setting of the Hall's grounds.



After this it was off to Oxford for one of my regular visits to see my Neurologist, Dr Leite at the John Radcliffe Hospital. A quick dash down the M40 and I arrived in plenty of time although the heat and effort of riding were starting to take it's toll. 

Having been on the same dose of steroids for three months, I was hoping I’d be able to reduce further.  Whilst she was pleased with my progress, after the usual series of tests it was determined that my performance had declined slightly since my last visit so it was deemed necessary to remain on my current dose of 20 mg for another three months! It was felt that the fact it was hot with temperatures in the mid to high 20s might be a contributing factor as heat does exacerbate the symptoms of Myasthenia. Of course the fact I had spent a few hours riding the 1090 R off road most probably hadn't helped either!

The effect of heat on Myasthenia was something completely new to me as I didn’t develop the condition until September last year so hadn’t experienced last year’s heat wave. But it didn’t bode too well for the next few days.

As the next day and Grainne and I were off to Verona for a long weekend in the city that didn’t involve motorbikes but did involve a fantastic apartment through Air BnB, a lot of espresso, pasta, aperol spritz, opera and e-bikes. 



We had booked online to see Carmen at the amazing Arena di Verona, originally a Roman Amphitheatre. Having printed off our e-tickets I managed to leave them at home!

So on the Friday we walked into the city and visited the booking office to collect some “proper” tickets. Whilst we were there we enquired if there was any availability that night, which there was so we immediately booked to see Aida. After that it was time to find a bar and lunch (and a particularly fine Italian Craft beer for me and the aforementioned Aperol Spritz for Grainne).

Later that day we had hired e-bikes for 48 hours, a brilliant idea as even in the 35 degree heat you can wiz along with the minimum of effort as just turning the pedals (but not actually pushing on them) engages the motor and you instantly create your own cooling breeze, The fat tyres on our “cruiser” style bikes were perfect on the bumpy and often cobbled streets and our apartment had a handy courtyard to park them in.



Certainly a great way to get to and from the opera too!

We duly turned up around seven for the production at nine and of course brought a picnic, only to be told we couldn’t bring a (glass) bottle of prosecco in because of the security restrictions. 

No problem, we drank a 500ml (plastic) bottle of water and replaced the contents with prosecco! The extra we poured into our (plastic) glasses and walked in with them:

Team Ferrari 1 - Arena di Verona Security 0.

Unfortunately our plastic glasses looked so much like the real thing we then got asked no less than eight times if they were glass,,, argh!

Team Ferrari 1 - Arena di Verona Security 1.

It did of course mean we ran short on water by the end of the night as despite the sun going down, not only was the temperature still high we discovered the stones of the arena absorb heat during the day and turn into radiators at night… phew!

Aida was fantastic by the way.



On Saturday we toured the city and visited the Castel San Pietro, this would have been a daunting task on foot or on a conventional bike as it was part way up a very steep hill. But on our e-bikes it was easy, in fact despite taking a wrong turn and going to the very top of the hill, which did reveal fantastic views of Verona, it was no real effort. Grainne even found time for some shoe shopping, well a girl has to do what a girl has to do!



After returning to our thankfully air conditioned apartment for a shower and a change, it was off to the opera again.

After last night’s security problems we decanted a bottle of red wine into a 750ml plastic bottle to go with our picnic and also bought a 1.5 litre bottle of water only to fall foul of security again! Apparently you are not allowed any plastic bottles bigger than 500ml… FFS!

However the water obviously distracted them so they didn’t notice the wine being over 500ml as well. They said I could leave the water in a box just inside the security check and collect it later. So I duly crouched down by the box, waited until nobody was looking and slipped the water back into my bag….

Team Ferrari 2 - Arena di Verona security 1.

Carmen was good but I certainly think I preferred Aida of the two operas. Maybe it's the language? Opera sounds better in Italian than French to me.

Another fun ride back through the city in the early hours followed and back to air conditioned bliss.

The next day we toured round on our bikes and visited “Juliet’s tomb”. What the City of Verona cashing in on Shakespeare’s fictional story? Who’d have thought it! 



Later we returned our bikes and then explored a bit more of the city on foot, discovering just how hot and sticky it was.

Later that day we were treated to the most amazing hail storm....




So how did the Myasthenia stand up? Yes the heat certainly has an effect, everything is that little bit harder, the fatigue seemed to set in quicker and at times I felt like I was wading through treacle, not a pleasant experience but I coped.

The next day we flew home but our busy month was far from over….

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Wales 500 Part Two


The Sunday dawned dry but a bit overcast so looked good for day two of the Wales 500. Again an early start meant no breakfast at the hotel so we headed on down to the event site and availed ourselves of the services of the burger van.

The plan today was for me to head out to the furthest part of the course where we were to set up a checkpoint. I was introduced to fellow volunteer Rod Jones who was coming with me; we looked at each other and realized we already knew each other! Thirteen years ago we had worked together as cycle commissaires on the Trans-Wales MTB stage race. Rod had led the race on his Honda CRF230 and I had been the sweeper in my heavily modified Land Rover Discovery… small world indeed.

We set off for our checkpoint taking a direct route rather than following the course, to ensure we got there before the competitors. Taking the A4103 towards Hereford the ride started well until a few miles down the road it started to spit with rain, then the drizzle set in, then persistent rain and finally a monsoon like deluge!

This continued all the way to the BP Petrol Station at Ponterwyd on the A44 not far outside Aberystwth (yes we had just completely traversed Wales from East to West) where competitors had a fuel stop at the garage, whilst this might have seemed a perfect spot for our checkpoint with fuel, toilets, shelter from the rain, hot coffee and food it lacked one vital element…. A phone signal!

So our final destination was a remote car park at Llyn Pendam as despite being in the middle of nowhere it was high enough to have a signal but sadly no shelter, food or hot coffee and needless to say “toilet facilities” were of a very basic nature.

At the garage the first two competitors had just arrived as had the Course Openers, Jonny and Stuart and as we stopped for a hot drink, many more piled in and all seemed very reluctant to leave!

We set of up the hill to Llyn Pendam in conditions that were truly grim, the rain was still hammering down and the cloud had descended so visibility was only about 10 metres at times.


A great view... not!

 Arriving at the car park we set up shop to await the competitors, they were doing a loop to the north before passing us so we had some time to wait. After several hours without incident, well apart from a few competitors arriving from the wrong direction! The weather improved, the rain stopped and the sun even came out!


Rod waiting for the sun to appear


We were joined later by Rich from Extreme Medics


Now what was that bit in the briefing about keeping you number plate clean?


Yours truly... but still no sun!

We finally got the news that the course was clear as Jonny and Stuart had swept the loop so all four of us decided to set off to clear the final 200km of the course, including the Tarrenig and Radnor Forests. This was done "at pace" as we knew the course to be clear for some distance ahead of us. 

We had a great ride on forest trails and twisty back roads; I lost touch with the other three after I had to stop for an oncoming truck on a single track road section and soon after came across the last two competitors. They claimed not to have seen the other three but certain I was on the correct route I tailed them along the amazing road down the Elan Valley and eventually into Rhayader where I spotted the others, stopped for fuel. Rod headed for home from there and the three of us continued onwards picking up the final competitors again in the Radnor Forest. From here it was a tarmac only ride back to Malvern and a very welcome Paella from the caterers!

The evening was spent working out the results, awarding medals and having a debrief on what was a very successful event. 

I eventually left for home at around 11.00 pm and soon realized I should have included my heated jacket!

By now the fatigue from the day was setting in big time, with very severe pains in my neck, shoulders and back. By midnight I reached the M40 and realized I needed a stop, Starbucks at Warwick Services providing some much needed rest and caffeine. 

I eventually arrived home at 1.00 am, very pleased that the Monday was a Bank Holiday and I didn’t need to get up for work.

Mind you it was a satisfying feeling rolling up to work on the Tuesday with the bike still stickered and muddied up!



Friday, 21 June 2019

And so to the Wales 500….



So on the Friday afternoon I headed off to….

Malvern!

Yes I know that’s not in Wales but it is where the event is based out of, the Three Counties Showground to be exact.

Seeing as last year I had suggested having registration open on the Friday night to ease the queues on Saturday, I thought I really ought to turn up and help, so set off on Friday afternoon to take a direct cross country route to Malvern, via Buckingham, Aynho, Chipping Norton, Moreton in Marsh, Evesham and Pershore.

 I turned up about 20 minutes before registration started and we were swamped! It seem the majority of the 190 competitors decided to turn up that evening and by the time we closed at eight, 130 riders had signed on. 

The snack wagon had pretty much run out of everything except chips but at least the bar was still open. As I had been booked into a hotel in Great Malvern, I couldn’t really partake but had a good night chatting, then headed off to the hotel.

I was up at 07.00 although unfortunately the hotel didn’t start breakfast until 08.00, I headed to the showground on deserted roads ready for the day. Thankfully the snack wagon had restocked and I was able to grab a bacon roll and a cup of tea. 

After registering the rest of the riders and carrying out a briefing the riders set off on their short 106 km training route, that apart from a short off road section in the showground was all on tarmac. 

The concept of the Wales 500 over those at Kielder and on the Isle of Man being to make it more suitable for first timers. I left on the bike before them to ride to my static marshaling point, the idea was that I would check everyone past then move a short distance up the road to a petrol station where I’d see the riders pass me again on the return loop. Well that was the plan!



On the way out I’d passed signs saying “Long Delays” and a diversion. As it was the weekend, I ignored them and sure enough the roadworks were deserted and the road clear, so I didn’t think there’d be any issues. Having arrived at my marshaling point, I called back to event HQ only to discover that several riders had become confused by the diversion and followed it. Although they eventually got back on route, it was not good as the concept of the event is to stick as closely to the road book mileage as possible. 




I headed back, “making progress” on the narrow country lanes, which was fine until I started meeting competitors coming the other way!

Reaching the end of the diversion, I witnessed a group of riders heading in that way but they had clearly worked out how to get back on route as they were indicating to turn back onto the correct route. I rode round the diversion but didn’t see any more riders, getting to the start I parked up and directed traffic. Certainly a lot of riders were indicating to follow the diversion until I waved them to continue on route. I made a “modification” to the sign, Which was fortuitous as I then got a call to say the route was blocked ahead and a diversion of our own was required.


Again I had to make rapid progress on narrow roads but at least this time all the bike traffic was headed the same way. Arriving at the last turning before the closure, I directed all bikes to carry on as they would rejoin the route a short way ahead were I was assured a rider had stopped to redirect everyone.



After some time the last three riders on course arrived (the beauty of everyone being on live GPS trackers) and I led them off. Unfortunately the rider redirecting everyone had gone and we missed the turning back onto the route, so took a bit of a detour before catching up again at my original second marshaling point. After this I was able to tail the riders back to the finish.



That evening we had the fun job of sorting the results, as we deemed those who had arrived early and worked out a way round the road closure to be on the official mileage but also those who had been redirected would be too despite having done a shorter route. Obviously anyone deviating from the route elsewhere was penalised for it but we had to work out a penalty system to account for those riders who had done one of the two “official distances” so that riders who went wrong elsewhere didn’t appear above them if they just happened to get the correct distance. The competition being judged on route keeping accuracy as well as adhering as closely as possible to the official distance. We had previously discovered that you could take the wrong route but still get the “right” distance!

To mitigate this we had to visually check the track of every rider to verify the results from the tracking company but managed to do so before some excellent food from our evening caterers arrived. Sadly the bar didn’t fare so well and managed to run out of beer only twenty minutes later!!!

For some bizarre reason they had not thought to restock after Friday night. At least there was lots of free wine offered and when they eventually got some more beer delivered, free beer! This was good for me as I was leaving the bike at the showground and getting a lift back to the hotel with John. 

After some more good chat and a few beers, we headed the 10 minutes back to Great Malvern and our beds for the night.
To be continued….

Road books, bicycles and all things French...



On the biking front I planned out the second of my road book training events in the Peak District, essentially last years route in reverse with a few extra green roads thrown in. On Good Friday I headed up to the Peaks for a final recce and surprised myself by managing 10 hours riding on the day. Needless to say I wasn’t in a fit state for much at all on the Saturday!

The following weekend was my annual trip up to Leicestershire and Rutland to assist in the running of the Rutland-Melton International CiCle Classic, now Britain's biggest (and arguably the best) one day cycle race. Now this involves two days of setting out the course and usually involves knocking in dozens of wooden posts for direction signs, sponsors banners, rope and tape barriers etc. This is achieved with a slide hammer but was quite evidently an activity completely at odds with myasthenia! Repetitive muscle movements especially of the shoulders and arms bring on severe fatigue very rapidly so this task had to be left to others and I spent a lot of time driving the van, so at least I got spend a lot of time sitting down!

The race went well with a major change to the route this year that seemed to be a great success and certainly changed the character of the event. 

It also gave me the opportunity to recce some potential routes for the road book training event I have planned in this area for August.

I wasn’t able to take part in the Peak District road book event the next weekend myself as I was off on another holiday. Our friend Mike had arranged a surprise holiday at a friend’s villa near Carcassonne in South West France for his wife Linda and asked if we would like to come along?

Not only did Linda not know where she was going but she didn’t know we were coming too, in fact Mike only announced we had “offered” to drive them to Luton Airport to save the cost of a taxi on the morning we were leaving. We managed to keep the subterfuge going right up to the point we pulled our bags out the back of the van in the car park!

A very different holiday to Italy with relaxation very much the name of the game, lie ins, leisurely lunches, historical sites, picturesque villages and a drop of wine (or two) were the order of the week.


Carcassonne

Limoux

Etang de Bages

Abbaye de Fontfroide

Once back home again I started preparing for the Rallymoto Wales 500, a report on that will be appearing soon 



Thursday, 6 June 2019

Mountains, Myasthenia and Me



Yes it’s me again!

I can’t believe I’ve left it a whole two months (OK nearly three) to update the blog, so what’s been happening?

Last time you graced my blog with your presence, I was just starting to learn to snowboard in preparation for our holiday at Bormio in Italy with friends Jill and Andy at the end of March. 

Well it sort of went OK, a bruised coccyx on the second lesson was quite literally a pain in the arse! Thanks to co-codamol I was able to continue but it took several weeks to heal. Now I won’t say I was transformed into a snowboarding god but I gained just about enough confidence to get down the slope without falling over (too much). The three hour lessons at the snowzone were just about doable as the fatigue due to myasthenia generally kicked in big time at around two and half hours. So I knew how to pace myself when I got out on the real snow.

We arrived in Bormio, sorted out hire gear and were taken to our ski lodge, the Café Rhododendri by skidoo, all good fun! It was quite strange being “stranded” up at 2250 metres in the evenings as the only way in or out was on ski/snowboard or via skidoo. Or on a Piste groomer as it turned out later!


The next day dawned bright and sunny, the late season snow was a bit icy but there was still plenty of it. I headed down on my own to build up my confidence not wishing to have to try and keep up with anyone or hold them up. Jill and Andy (on skis) and Grainne (on her brand new snowboard) set off for Bormio 2000.



After bumbling around on the slope for a bit and getting a bit frustrated as I seemed to have lost the vast majority of my new found snowboarding skills, Andy caught up with me to say that Grainne had taken a tumble and hurt her shoulder but he thought she was OK.

Sad to say she turned out to be anything but OK; after a trip to the local hospital the diagnosis was a broken shoulder, An almost identical injury to that she suffered two years ago on her other shoulder!!!



To say she was gutted was a major understatement, first run of the first day and her holiday was effectively over. She had her essay to finish for her prescribers course so spent the rest of the week doing that, so at least had some lovely scenery and minimal distractions but not exactly what we’d planned!

I booked a couple of snowboard lessons and had to spend a lot of time on my own, punctuated of course by the occasional cappuccino of course. 



I can’t say my snowboarding improved by much and the fatigue was pretty bad at times. The altitude didn’t seem to help either. I think sleeping at 2250m was part of the problem, I remember from my mountaineering days that 2400m is the level at which altitude sickness can start to occur, so we were not too far off that. The Myasthenia has been pretty well controlled of late but I discovered the exertion of snowboarding was a real challenge.



One of the highlights of the week was getting a trip out on the Piste Bully’s grooming the slopes at night. The drivers stopped at the Café Rhododendri every night for their dinner break, so it’s a bit of an exclusive for residents only, Which on most nights was only the four of us!



After our return, life returned to normal for me and recuperation, fracture clinic and eventually physio started for Grainne.


Wednesday, 13 March 2019

So enough of all this World Domination rubbish....



So what's been happening in the rest of my world?

Yes how am I getting on with the Sixty by Sixty?

You can see if you check down the right hand side of the screen, except of course if you are viewing on the mobile version of the blog, when you won't see anything! You need to scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “View Web Version” to see it.

Those in red are yet to be done, those in amber have been booked and those in green have been done; yes not that many are there?

The first to be completed was No. 26 Taking part in the Ride to the Wall back in October:


No 46 Going on a Spa day was ticked off soon afterwards, with a visit to the Y Spa at Wyboston

Then we had a short break in Paris and did No. 8 A visit to the fascinating Pere Lachaise Cemetery.



And No 51, Visit the Sacre-Coeur (something I had somehow managed to miss on all my previous visits). 


We had planned to do the original No.7 too, a visit to the Klimt exhibition at the Attelier Lumiere but unfortunately it was fully booked. There could have been a lot more in Paris but I’m reluctant to add ideas that just happen and to be honest a lot of the things we did were not my first time

A day out in London saw us taking a trip on the London Eye complete with Champagne reception (No.1) 


And then an Interactive experience on the Golden Hinde, which was of course drinking Rum Cocktails whilst dressed as a Pirate! (No. 50).



Another (admittedly last minute) trip to London saw us at the O2 to see Michael MacIntyre, No 49 done and dusted!

In January I ticked of the replacement No. 7, compete in a Long Distance Trial when I entered the Clee Hill Trial and then backed this up with an entry in the Launceston Classic Trial in February.





The last one to be completed was No 25. Learn to Snowboard, when I took part in a day long course at the Snozone in Milton Keynes, still some work to be done there but I’ve made a start. This was part of a long standing deal with Grainne, I agreed to learn to Snowboard if she got her motorbike licence, as she passed her test in September 2017, I was lagging behind a bit but I got there eventually.


Yeah of course I can do this already!

I had my second lesson the other day and whilst I made some progress I think I need at least one more before hitting the slopes. Three hours of fairly intensive training was extremely fatiguing and my myasthenia kicked in big time! At least when we go away I can choose to take a break whenever I want to!

That leads us into those that are booked, the snowboarding training is of course in preparation for our holiday in Bormio, Italy in March (No 45).

No 2, A Hot Air Balloon has been paid for as I bought a pair of tickets for Grainne’s birthday last year, we just need to decide when and where and make the booking.

And finally riding the UK leg of the Trans Europe Trail (No. 47), If I go back over my 40 years of trail riding in the UK, it turns out that I have ridden a large proportion of the route at various times, just not necessarily in the right order! So I've definitely started, the challenge will be to fill in the gaps.


-----------------------

Of course my 60 by 60 list was created before either my diagnosis with Myasthenia Gravis or my Heart Attack, so I am in the process of reviewing some of the list to see if they are still possible.

The ones involving climbing mountains will be challenging but not impossible, although Snaefell on the Isle of Man will be OK as it has a railway to the top (I never said I had to walk).

The Lands End Trial may be a challenge because the ACU (Auto Cycle Union) are putting some pretty onerous requirements on me before they will renew my race licence. These will involve having to take a medical and successfully complete a stress echocardiogram, which will cost me over £500 with no guarantee that I’ll be able to reach the required level of fitness. 

At the moment the trials events I’m entering are organised under the auspices of the AMCA (Amateur Moto Cross Association) who have no licence requirement and merely require me to sign to declare I am medically fit to compete on the individual entry forms. The Lands' End however is an ACU sanctioned event, I have decided that the cost is not worth the effort for a few UK Rallies so have asked if the same requirements apply if I only take out a "trials registration" rather than an enduro licence.... watch this space!

The Hellas Rally is not affected as I don’t need a race licence for the class i'd enter but to be honest, whether I am fit enough to compete in a seven day rally again remains to be seen.

And the Lands’ End to John O’Groats combined with the four points of the compass by motorcycle may have to be reconsidered as to do it in one trip is a 2,250 mile ride. It might have to be broken down into three separate trips: 
1. Ardnurmurchan Point, Dunnets Head and John O’Groats. 
2. Lowestoft Ness and 
3. Lands’ End and The Lizard (although I have previously visited the Lizard by motorbike).

And finally a parachute jump might be problematic too as the BPA (British Parachute Association) medical declaration form asks you to confirm amongst a variety of conditions:

1. I am not receiving any regular, repeat medication (I am) 
2. I have never received prolonged courses of steroids or high dose steroid treatment (I do)
3. I have never had fractured or broken bones (I have) 
4. I have not had torn tendons, ligaments or cartilages (yes again) 
5. I do not have any form of heart disease (well clearly I do)
6. I have never had a heart attack (of course I have)
7. I do not have raised blood pressure or hypertension (I do, although it is controlled - see 1 above)



So that’s me potentially buggered on seven separate counts! Whilst it says that many of these conditions may be allowed following a medical assessment, it states that "Ischemic Heart Disease is an unacceptable risk factor". It seems this is not because of the parachute jump itself but the potential effects of flying at up to 15,000 feet without oxygen. Oh well back to the drawing board!