One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 was to be less fat. I came up with the idea on New Year’s Day after two solid weeks of dinners and parties. Like many people, I have a habit of conveniently forgetting most of my good intentions by mid-January but I decided this was one I was going to stick to.
I’ve tried joining gyms before but it doesn’t really work well for me, so to keep myself motivated I decided to employ the services of a personal trainer. While there are plenty of people locally on the Isle of Man who could fit the bill, I decided I needed a step up from your run of the mill gym rat. Someone scary who would shout at me. A lot.
I eventually found a trainer based in Leeds and he agreed to build me a training programme as long as I agreed to fly over regularly for assessments. Were I being polite, I would describe this chap as “focused”. A more accurate description would be “animal”. Think of an ex-Yorkshire rugby player in his mid 40s built like a wall of muscle with a body fat measurement of 8% and you are starting to get the picture.
"This involved giving my medical history and a heap of tests for strength, fitness, endurance and fatness."
As part of the agreement, I had to go through an assessment so he could build me a programme. This involved giving my medical history and a heap of tests for strength, fitness, endurance and fatness. At one point I found myself running on a treadmill while he kept increasing the speed and incline while asking me how tired I felt. I couldn’t answer of course because my heart had exploded through my rib cage and it was as much as I could do not to fall off. Eventually he took pity on me and after removing a few pints of blood to check my cholesterol, blood sugar levels and a number of other things I still don’t understand he gave me my report. “You have a metabolic age of fifty and 27% body fat”, he told me. Could be worse I thought, until he explained that I was technically obese and his metabolic chart didn’t go any higher so things were probably a lot ghastlier. I wheezed my way back to the airport with a training programme and strict instructions to avoid million-calorie nachos and come back in three months for my next kicking.
On the face of it, things didn’t seem too bad. Buy some weights, work out three times a week and mix in aerobic exercise to get my resting heart rate down to something sensible. Since I’m allergic to running, I decided to buy a bike. It turns out that this wasn’t such a great move. The Isle of Man is very popular with cyclists because it is basically one big hill and as far as I can tell most of it points upwards. It’s part of the reason we have turned out cyclists like Kennaugh and Cavendish. It also turns out there are a number of middle aged men in lycra on the Island who like me are trying to be less fat and in many cases work in the gaming sector. It’s not uncommon to see a whole flock of us “MAMILS” romping around the Island early on a Sunday morning.
Unfortunately, many of these are far more accomplished cyclists than I am and as a result of trying to keep up I’ve had a number of accidents. By far and away the most memorable one happened a few weeks ago while I was training for an 85 mile charity bike ride. I shot down a hill like a lunatic while trying to hang on at the back, when I experienced something called a death wobble. This is just as hideous as it sounds and involves the front wheel shaking uncontrollably. This caused me to hit a wall at 42mph and manage something I’d only dreamed of when I had a BMX, a full somersault. The landing didn’t win any awards either and when I eventually hit the ground I parted company with my bike and landed unceremoniously in a gorse bush. My water bottle disappeared like an exorcet missile and it was only because I was wearing an iWatch that I managed to locate my iPhone. When the people I was racing with had finished laughing they scraped me out of the ditch and after I had patted myself down found I had escaped with a buckled back wheel and a slightly bruised ego. A quick trip to the local bike shop and we were on our way again.
"Looking back, the scary thing is I could have quite easily killed myself as I slithered across oncoming traffic, narrowly missing two lampposts."
Looking back, the scary thing is I could have quite easily killed myself as I slithered across oncoming traffic, narrowly missing two lampposts. Ten feet either way and I might not have been here writing this. This incident reminded me how important it is to plan for when things inevitably go wrong and the first thing I did when I got home was to check my life and medical cover was up to date, something I hadn’t thought about in quite a long while.
Disaster planning is equally as true at work. My business runs datacentres and we provide disaster recovery services to many gaming companies from our Isle of Man facility, the majority of who are based elsewhere. We are able to do this because of forward thinking regulation put in place by Government which means an operator is not required to take a gaming license to run disaster recovery infrastructure. My company, Domicilium, is licensed by the Isle of Man Government to provide these services and as long as an operator is licensed in another regulated jurisdiction then the process is easy and straightforward. I’ve just come back from a gaming conference in Malta where we have historically written significant disaster recovery business and this subject was a hot topic given the recent power blackouts there.
The message from this article? If you are reviewing your business continuity then the Isle of Man should be on your radar. So come and visit. If you’re a MAMIL you can borrow my bike.
Phil Adcock is the founder and chief technology officer of Domicilium Group, a leading data centre and network provider headquartered on the Isle of Man. He is a graduate of Lancaster University, UK, holding a Ph.D in computer science. Phil is a chartered fellow of the British Computing Society and a member of the Internet Society and Association of Computing Machinery.