AdamChamberlin.info

Welcome to the online playground of Adam Chamberlin. Head of digital development for Mackman Group.

Ken Chamberlin

I remember sitting in the back of a hot car having flown into Poitier international airport for the first time, looking out of the window at the countryside and being slightly confused.

You see, both Sean and I had recently surmised that our childhood had in part been the longest and best planned house hunt. A region by region tour of France, but with mum and dad’s future retirement plan in the back of their minds. Not that we were complaining, these were some of the best times of our lives.

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Looking to the future

It is hard to believe it has only been a year. So much has changed and yet so little at the same time. The New Year is the time that many sit and make resolutions and plan improvement for the coming year. Maybe it is time to reframe our thoughts and look at it differently this time around.

This time twelve months ago the first sightings of COVID-19 were appearing and it started changing the world, completely. There was a problem that affected everyone, we all had to start working together to fight an unseen foe. You see that is the thing about a global pandemic, it does not matter about your skin colour or your financial demographic, we are all in it together.

So now as we enter 2021 we can do all we want to put 2020 behind us but January the 1st is just another day. Don’t get wrong we should all celebrate and plan for the new year but the world won’t be fixed with one more sun rise.

If we truly want to make 2021 better we must learn from 2020 and your resolutions might not involve a gym membership or a new diet.

There might be vaccines in the works, there are talks to build new trade agreements with new markets, but one thing remains the same, the humans behind ever turn.

So my plan is not to put a magic fix on a resolution but to make the most of what I have. By being the best human I can and with a positive attitude I can make 2021 better. So I encourage you to do the same. Reframe your views on resolutions and make the most of what you already have. Be the best you can. Don’t judge those who think different or have a different outlook. We are all in the same boat and it is time to start bailing it out together.

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Vittoria Terreno Zero Review

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At first glance the Vittoria Terreno Zero looks like a lockdown love child of the Corsa road tyre and a Terreno cyclocross tyre. Has Vitoria found that sweet spot for fast gravel rides?

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Leaving Strava

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It was 2010 and I signed up for the latest web service but unlike most of the signups this did not offer 140 characters to express my feelings, it was a new service called Strava. Back then Strava was pretty new, having only emerged a few years prior but it was gaining traction in the fitness arena, in particular cycling.

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Getting my racing fix

2020 started off on the right trajectory. I had set myself some decent goals and spent a lot of the winter building my fitness towards some serious racing. An early race only went to prove this with a third place finish from a break.

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Howdy

You know that feeling, when you wake in the morning and that little thought pops into your head. “I had a blog, once”.

Yep. I can confirm that after an online search for my name it turns out I do indeed have a blog. It is still alive and has been sitting here collecting dust all this time.

Remember back when blogging was cool and everyone was creating custom WordPress themes every month? Those were the days, sat in front of the PowerMac with Coda open trying to think of a really cool design. So much has changed since then.

First and foremost I got old. Not really old just middle aged old. That said along with that I got a family; a real flesh and blood two children family. Unfortunately it also brought a mortgage and a lifetime of debt. Rough with the smooth I guess.

Honestly not sure what to do with this newly discovered platform. Pretty sure gone are the days of software releases or reviews of this new thing called Twitter. Maybe just use it as a release of mental overload. A place to gather words and share my thoughts. Can’t get any more overlooked than the last five years that’s for sure.

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So I found a lump

“Well, it all started when I found a lump” is a phrase I have been using quite a bit lately and it is surprising how those few words can totally change the tone of a conversation.
Luckily for me my lump was located on the flesh of my left buttock and after examination was diagnosed as a harmless lipoma.

When you recite that sentence; “I found a lump” you see the fear in faces and realise just how much more aware you should be of your health. Of course being a man after I found a lump I ignored it and actually booked myself on another cycling adventure. Don’t be a fool, get yourself checked out and if anything is out of the ordinary go have it looked at.

I was fortunate that my ‘lump’ was nothing a serious as cancer, but it still required going under the knife and I was admitted to hospital within weeks. I’m now sitting here recovering from surgery, banned from cycling for a month going out of my mind with boredom but quietly thankful for all I have.

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Every race is a lesson

Round four of Mud, Sweat and Gears was held at Ickworth Park in Bury St. Edmunds. It was a new course for me but I had been informed it would consist of a lot of grassy climbs.

With the sun shining we pack the car and head over there. After signing on I meet up with Tony and we head out for a sighting lap. Sure enough, first turn off the start/finish straight was a big grassy climb into a wooded area. Unfortunately the previous two days of torrential rain was still evident under the trees. It brought back memories of winter rides with Boxford Bike Club, slipping and sliding through the thick goo.

With a sighting lap complete there was some rumours of not riding but having paid my dues I hit the start line. Somehow I was gridded and found myself on the front row, up against the inside barrier.

Eyes down, wait for the whistle.
It was only as I entered the second wooded section I realised I was in the top three. Suddenly my race plan had gone from ‘just try to survive this round’ to ‘come on, we can have to have a crack at this’. Pressing on I stuck with second place through quarter of a lap, until on a climb he waved me through. As I passed I muttered that I did not want to lead but he claimed I had more firepower and to go for it. So I did. I put my head down, watched my heart rate rise and powered through two sticky laps.

On the final lap I realised I was on the limit and I needed to ease off the gas, but not knowing how far ahead I was meant I did not want to ease too much. Time to try and gage how much it too much but also too little.
Crossing the finish line in first place was amazing but also surreal; could or would I ever reproduce it.

Only two weeks later we head over towards Chelmsford and Radical Bikes for Round Five. The description was a flat course that would not be technical but provide plenty of overtaking and a grin factor of ten. It was a section of natural woodland interspersed by ponds and littered with shallow bomb holes. The sighting lap highlighted that the little the climbs out of the holes required full speed attacks into the holes. It was going to be a tough course for me.

Once again I’m sitting on the front of the grid waiting for the whistle. To calm my nerves I look around and try to size up my competition; the only person I recognise is second place rider from the last round.

The whistle blasts and we fire off. First lap of four was reduced to cut out a bottleneck at the first woodland section. So it was a mad dash to the second bit of single track and I lost track of my position.

My race plan was to sit with a group, conserve some energy and pick off places as I can. Unfortunately due to a slight spill by a rider further down the track I ended up on the front of a small group after lap two. This is not a good place for me, I really struggle with pace and this is exactly what they wanted. Hearing the bikes right behind me rattle over the roots made me push a bit harder, but all I did was tow my two passengers around for lap after lap.
Finally on the final lap by efforts gave out, I was forced into recovery mode and needed to back off. Nothing I could do but watch the two riders roll past me on into the distance. My only saving grace was I had put a gap on the next group so my reduced placing was safe. I pushed as hard as I could to the finish and crossed the line in sixth place.

Two races and two more experience lessons. It is clear I need to work on my pacing and being able to judge my efforts. More importantly I need to work on my mental race. Luckily I have July off to work on these, next race is in Thetford on the 3rd of August.

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So, I started racing

It is no secret I’m passionate about cycling, but the truth is I had never been handed a number and tried racing; until last year.
Since cycling kicked off for me back in 2006 I have completed a list of challenges, I’ve pushed myself with my own goals. However all my events have been team outings or lacked that competitive edge. It was not without temptation; members of Cycle Club Sudbury had always asked if I wanted to try their time trial series, but racing was always missing from my cycling requirements.

Roll on some seven odd years and I’m still just pootling about in my own little way. I’ve moved and joined Hadleigh Cycling Club, found some really great people to ride with and started doing a bit of off road riding.
Finally in April last year I succumbed to Tony’s suggestion of giving the Mud Sweat and Gears off road racing series a bash. My first ever race was at Codham Park in Braintree and it was a brilliant experience. So much so I continued to enter two more rounds last year and have taken part in two rounds this year.

Turns out I might just have a competitive streak in me after all.

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Nothing is permanent

You get up every morning.
You go to work every week day.
You think everything is good with the world.

That is until your boss tells you that there is no work to keep you employed and they can no longer keep your position open.
So now you come home and re-think what you want to do in life.
Redundancy does that to you.

Now let’s be honest, my job was SharePoint development and I have struggled for quite a while to come to terms with it. I have nothing against the platform or the product, it is an extremely powerful web application that helps no end of businesses the world over. My problem was with how everything to do with developing within SharePoint feels like swimming upstream, in a river of porridge, with your hands tied.

I love creating things, I love seeing some results and I get satisfaction when the project is moving along. Give me my laptop, a text editor and a few command prompts and I can start delivering. When it comes to developing for SharePoint I need a full ecosystem of multiple servers and agile working is just a pipe dream. It drove me round the bend.
Now it could well be that as a company we were just not doing it right. Maybe we were holding it wrong and that was our demise.

Now I’m at that cross-roads where I decide what to do.
My head is telling me to get back into front-facing client sites. I started off with php many years ago, I speak fluent html and css it makes sense to put these skills to use.
Until then I’m enjoying a few weeks of garden leave and spending time with my son, it’s going to be a wonderful change.

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