Monday, June 30, 2008
I've struggled a little this month, I had a bit of a sniffle and no motivation in the week before Jez got back and had to can the Cuerden trail race again and I did very little on our week off. Though I think the rest probably did me good, I'm now feeling quite motivated to go out and do something again.
My original intention had been to head out for a steady 6 miles or so but as I was heading out the door I was reminded of my domestic responsibilities (i.e. to sort out the floor in the downstairs loo after our plumbing fiasco last week) and decided to just go out or half an hour or so. I decided to head out for 15 minutes then turn round and come back. My calves still feel a little tight from Friday I think but they eased off quickly and I had a similar sort of run to Friday, some sprints and recoveries but nothing formal. I need to reinstate my daily achilles and calf stretching routine, my left achilles in particular feels "sticky".
Time taken: 00:32:44
Average/Max Speed : 6.86mph / 10.85mph
Average/Min Pace : 00:08:44 / 00:05:31
Average/Max heart rate: 162/180
Calories used: 406
18:12:56 1.00m 00:08:41 6.90mph 8.33mph 151bpm 164bpm
18:22:04 1.00m 00:08:23 7.15mph 10.85mph 167bpm 180bpm
18:30:46 1.00m 00:09:00 6.66mph 9.11mph 167bpm 178bpm
18:40:03 0.74m 00:06:38 6.72mph 8.64mph 167bpm 173bpm
I felt completely out of it in the middle of June, particularly the week before Jez came back. I just felt wiped with no motivation to do anything, I think I had a bit of a cold or something but it didn't amount to much. In the past I have tried to push through that feeling but it only gets worse, this time (and last December) I just backed off and rested up. I did no running at all for two weeks and only one road ride and a couple of hill walks in those two weeks. I generally did nothing on our week off though as the weather wasn't brilliant this didn't bother me as much as it may have had the weather been good. Looking at my training diary May was a pretty hefty month for me running wise, a few races including a 10 mile road race and Garburn trail race. My running mileage was 94 but for the rest of the year it has been hovering around the 65 - 70 mark so that is quite a jump. I also ramped up the cycling quite a bit at the beginning of June so I think I just needed the break.
I have entered the Pendle Pedal and I am feeling motivated again with something new to aim for though my legs are complaining of the impact from running again. My training plan will need to be well though out (oops) to cope with the extra cycling miles but still fit in some running as I still have some, admittedly short, races to do. I also want to start commuting to and from running club and local races to offset some diesel costs and just enjoy some more time on the bike.
I wonder if I'll get this way again in December ?
Sunday 3rd of August
I'm looking to get round in about 5 hours, I have never spent that amount of time on my road bike, never. Oh dear, will put together a training plan for the month to get some bike miles in.
Saw my first multi-storey bike park! At Centraal Station in Amsterdam, there were just bikes as far as the eye could see. Everyone seems to cycle in Amsterdam, I had heard that but didn't really appreciate what it meant until I saw it with my own eyes. There were people whizzing around on bikes everywhere, just to get from A to B, no one was dressed up in "cycling clothes" and no-one was wearing a helmet, they were just wearing normal clothes. It obviously helps that there are no hills in Amsterdam.
The cycle lanes are fantastic and bikes just seem to have right of way everywhere, it was great. I have been inspired to try to use my bike(s) more for transport than I currently do, including cycling too and from running club and the night series races. It will take some extra planning but as Jez is going away (again!!!!!) I will be able to do it without feeling like I am spending all my time away doing something. Just need to sort out where I am going to leave my bike at the Cricket Club.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Short get back into it run after doing not very much at all for a fortnight. I had a touch of a sniffle before Jez came back and just rested up a bit but have rested up a bit more than I intended! Felt good to be out again but should have probably laid off the coffee a bit before headin out as I felt a touch hyper. I had no plan except to run for two miles then run back again to get my legs moving. My pace was all over the place but that was good, I did steady when I felt like it, sprinted up the embankments then had a sprint along the offroad track on the way back. I had to jog a bit to recover from this as it was a bit fast really, then steady back home.
I think legs will feel it tomorrow but nice to blow the cobwebs away before heading out to Amsterdam for the weekend.
Time taken: 00:35:15
Average/Max Speed : 6.91mph / 10.12mph
Average/Min Pace : 00:08:40 / 00:05:55
Average/Max heart rate: 167/182
Calories used: 440
11:03:51 1.00m 00:08:30 7.05mph 8.55mph 159bpm 169bpm
11:12:25 1.00m 00:08:24 7.13mph 8.94mph 169bpm 182bpm
11:20:50 1.00m 00:08:58 6.69mph 10.12mph 168bpm 181bpm
11:31:26 1.00m 00:08:48 6.81mph 7.77mph 173bpm 181bpm
11:41:01 0.06m 00:00:32 6.79mph 7.26mph 176bpm 177bpm
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Jez and I decided to go for a walk to test out his knee. Rather than do a long Lakes walk we decided to do something in the Dales, not very high or long. Jez fancied walking up the steep side of Pen-y-Ghent again, the last time we did it a few years ago it was completely covered in snow and a bit scary really, I had also hurt my right hand from (I think, memory hazy) falling off my bike on ice on the way to work, I trapped a couple of fingers under the bar when I fell and broke them. I wasn't able to hold on to the rock very well and that made me less than pleased.
We planned to walk from the layby from Horton-in-Ribblesdale up to Pen-y-Ghent by the steep side then descend back to Horton via the easier route. It is a stiff pull straight up from the car but it was nice to not have to wade through snow drifts. It is an easy path to the start of the steep path but this time the lack of snow made for fast progress, I wouldn't even describe it as a scramble really though there was a woman struggling a bit with it. We asked her if she was ok and she said she was fine, just a little slow. We got to the top fairly quickly and stopped for a brief time on a cairn. The last time we climbed up here we were chased down rapidly by the miserable weather. It was warm today, cloudy but at least no driving wind and snow.
As we'd got to the top quickly we decided to head over Plover Hill first and drop down to the bridleway that skirts the bottom. The walk over to Plover hill was on unsurfaced moorland track, thankfully it was generally dry with a few very boggy patches, best avoided in the wet. We were both getting peckish but hadn't bothered packing any food at all as we hadn't intended being out for that long (silly) but Jez found some fusty jelly babies in his bag, they took a bit of chewing but at least got the blood sugar up a bit. The descent off Plover Hill was entertainingly steep with a bit of a sheer drop at one point, I was glad it was dry as the limestone would have been pretty slippy in the wet. We picked up the bridleway which has been "improved" in places with a lot of surfacing. It would be a boggy mess otherwise though it still retains some interest and some damge from motocrossers as well. Jez and I both thought it would be good to take a bike along it at some point (some route planning needed to incorporate it into one of our other rides). It was an easy amble back down to H-i-R though we arrived back to find the caff closes for the day on a Tuesday. Typical!
We bought some emergency rations (pasties basically) from the former post office to stave off starvation.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Have been a little under the weather last week and did practically nothing. The original plan today was to go out on a morning road ride with Jez and head over to Blackburn to test out my new gear ratios on some hills. I have a triple 52, 42, 30 on the front and 11-23 on the rear and I occasionally find the gears too tall and I prefer spinning to grinding on climbs so I have decided to make it easier on myself and put a 12-27 on the rear! Unfortunately a plumbing emergency (downstairs loo blocked, urgh) put paid to that. By the time we had sorted a plumber out it was afternoon and Jez was due to be flying his models by then. I had been suffering the usual stomach cramps from start of TOTM so wasn't really feeling in the mood for anything, but as I'd done very little last week I got my kit on and took the road bike out for a little spin.
It was the usual Westerly and it was pretty strong so it would actually be a reasonable test of the new cassette as I often find I could do with an extra gear or so when heading into a strong wind. I wasn't feeling brilliant at all when I set off, my cramps were quite painful but I had decided just to do the loop that skirts below the masts and pop into see Jez at his flying field on the way back to the H & D, about 26 miles. I took it very easy through town and out past the Audi garage, I turned right towards Clifton and started to pick up the pace a little bit as I was now onto the quiet roads. I cruised past BNFL then turned left towards Treales at the H & D and straight into the wind, great. I got down on the drops and just pushed along, through Treales and out towards the M55, around here I started to feel much better and really got into it. My legs were feeling good after a very easy week so I wound it up a bit. I stopped on the M55 bridge for a gel then as I was feeling good headed out towards Elswick to ride round the top of the masts. I got myself into the drops generally and just pushed along enjoying myself.
Jez had mentioned he was going to be at the field until around 4pm, it was now after 15:30 as I was going through Roseacre so that spurred me on to pedal faster. I rode through Elswick and Inskip with the wind generally behind me but then turned into it again at the other Derby Arms outside Inskip. I pushed along on the drops ok then I was on H & D road again keeping an eye out for some model aircraft/helis scooting around. It wasn't long before I heard the distinctive whine and I turned down an unsurfaced farm track for a bit and headed for the parked cars. It was quite entertaining riding along the deep gritty stuff on skinny tyres. I stopped to have a chat to Jez and as I suspected he noticed my handiwork with the zip ties and the Garmin mount, hee hee. After a grumble about my bodging he tightened them up more and cut the ends off (and pressed the lap button too, hence the 0.69 lap reading). He said he was actually going to have to stay a bit longer than 16:00 now. I decided to head back home and slithered along the farm track and back onto tarmac. I kept pushing until I got to Lea Gate then just cruised the last 8 miles or so home through town. Avenham Park was busy so I was pretty slow going through there.
All in all an umpromising start to a great ride, really giving serious though to the Pendle Pedal now.....roadie! The new cassette does have some "gaps" in it which this predominantly flat ride did show up but they should help on the steeper climbs over towards Belmont way. Jez has put my old 11-23 block and the chain away together in case I decide I want to put those ratios back on.
Data from the Garmin, not sure how useful split data is from the bike but I'll keep it for now.
Time taken: 02:05:41
Average/Max Speed : 16.07mph / 25.18mph
Average/Min Pace : 00:03:44 / 00:02:22
Average/Max heart rate: 144/166
Calories used: 2108
14:24:17 1.00m 00:04:11 14.33mph 19.90mph 125bpm 146bpm
14:31:05 1.00m 00:03:20 17.99mph 21.25mph 139bpm 148bpm
14:34:26 1.00m 00:03:45 15.95mph 23.20mph 146bpm 161bpm
14:38:11 1.00m 00:03:38 16.49mph 19.75mph 151bpm 164bpm
14:41:49 1.00m 00:04:34 13.12mph 17.84mph 146bpm 163bpm
14:46:24 1.00m 00:03:37 16.54mph 18.73mph 155bpm 166bpm
14:50:02 1.00m 00:03:46 15.87mph 19.12mph 157bpm 166bpm
14:53:49 1.00m 00:04:24 13.59mph 18.90mph 134bpm 149bpm
14:58:24 1.00m 00:03:40 16.30mph 19.73mph 154bpm 160bpm
15:02:05 1.00m 00:03:40 16.36mph 20.57mph 148bpm 158bpm
15:06:13 1.00m 00:03:33 16.86mph 19.61mph 154bpm 159bpm
15:09:49 1.00m 00:03:28 17.26mph 22.38mph 156bpm 162bpm
15:13:17 1.00m 00:03:26 17.45mph 22.37mph 154bpm 159bpm
15:16:44 1.00m 00:03:37 16.52mph 21.49mph 127bpm 161bpm
15:24:42 1.00m 00:03:17 18.28mph 19.55mph 148bpm 159bpm
15:27:59 1.00m 00:03:26 17.40mph 20.15mph 158bpm 164bpm
15:31:26 1.00m 00:03:36 16.59mph 19.27mph 158bpm 163bpm
15:35:03 1.00m 00:03:10 18.93mph 22.30mph 148bpm 157bpm
15:38:13 1.00m 00:03:05 19.42mph 21.88mph 153bpm 159bpm
15:41:18 1.00m 00:03:15 18.42mph 22.08mph 144bpm 149bpm
15:44:34 1.00m 00:03:29 17.20mph 19.01mph 152bpm 157bpm
15:48:03 0.69m 00:03:44 11.07mph 18.23mph 123bpm 157bpm
15:53:56 1.00m 00:03:56 15.19mph 21.30mph 140bpm 159bpm
16:02:47 1.00m 00:03:31 17.05mph 22.12mph 147bpm 159bpm
16:06:21 1.00m 00:03:44 16.03mph 20.95mph 142bpm 157bpm
16:10:07 1.00m 00:03:05 19.36mph 25.18mph 140bpm 154bpm
16:13:34 1.00m 00:03:52 15.51mph 21.40mph 137bpm 158bpm
16:17:26 1.00m 00:03:01 19.80mph 23.16mph 142bpm 156bpm
16:20:28 1.00m 00:03:15 18.46mph 22.38mph 147bpm 156bpm
16:23:43 1.00m 00:04:53 12.25mph 20.81mph 124bpm 148bpm
16:28:54 1.00m 00:04:21 13.78mph 20.93mph 133bpm 150bpm
16:33:49 1.00m 00:03:47 15.83mph 21.73mph 142bpm 154bpm
16:37:40 1.00m 00:04:09 14.46mph 18.81mph 152bpm 163bpm
16:41:52 0.97m 00:04:08 13.97mph 18.57mph 138bpm 156bpm
Saturday, June 14, 2008
We decided to set off around 8am to miss the fuel protest and stay up in the Lakes all day to make sure we missed it all, if necessary have some retail therapy in Keswick to pass some time! As I hadn't been walking for some time it took a while to remember what kit I would need. I had checked the mountain forecast and it was for showers in the afternoon but temperatures on the summits would be around 5 or 6 degrees. I decided against my full waterproof trousers and chucked my wind proof ones in only but as usual took my GoreTex jacket and put it at the bottom of the bag. I also chucked in windproof gloves, some glove liners, a hat and my thin running gloves (I hate cold hands), I also put in a thin fleece. I would wear converta pants, a t-shirt and arm warmers and a gilet to set off and add take off layers as needed. I found the map for these mountains and realised it is the only Lakes map I haven't changed to the more durable laminated ones, it has been well used and promptly split down a fold when I put it in the map case, new map then. I put the compass and my camera in the hip pockets of the rucksack, once more check to see if I could think of anything else then went to bed.
In the morning I made up a bladder with two litres of water (which I drank b*gger all of, naughty) and four butties with peanut butter and jam, which sounds grim but is something I will eat even when tired. I've made up lots of interesting concoctions in the past with sensible things like chicken, salad, avocado etc but I always loose my appetite walking and can never face them, PB and jam seems to work for me though. I took some salted peanuts and a few nutrigrain bars too. As usual my rucksack felt lovely and light until I put the water in but its not too bad once actually on my back. I had a change of top and my Tevas to change into after walking. Pam picked me up, the drive was pretty uneventful, the motorway was very quiet even for that time in the morning, probably people avoiding the fuel protest. I was interested to find out what Honister pass was really like, it is a famous pass for torturing yourself on a bike and on the map it had double chevron sections, unlike Wrynose and Hardknott which has triple chevron sections. At the bottom of the pass there was a sign saying up to 25% but it seemed to be only a few short sections really, I didn't think it was too bad a hill but then I was in a car I'd probably be cursing it on a bike. We parked up at the slate mine as there was plenty of parking though 4.70 for all day parking was a bit eye-watering.
We got ready to walk, using the YHA loo which was open at that time (wasn't when we came back which was a bit traumatic!) then "relocated" a gentleman who hadn't taken the left turn at the bottom of the pass to Seathwaite, he hadn't realised he had climbed up to Honister though all was not lost as he just decided to do his planned walk in the opposite direction. We set off up a fairly direct and steep path to the first summit, Grey Knotts. There would be no navigational challenges at this stage of the walk, we just needed to follow the fence. Like Pam I prefer to have steep climbs and gradual descents, I'd rather get the bulk of the climbing out the way at the beginning of the walk and have a nice easy potter back at the end rather than taking a gradual climb and a quad destroying descent down. My legs were quite tired from last nights run so I just took it nice and easy, no point getting too far ahead anyway, may as well walk on my own if I did that. Pam had brought her Wainwright guide for this area and the summit of Grey Knotts was supposed to have good 360 degree views, which it most definitely did. I stood on a little outcrop of rock and got the camera out and took a 360 degree series of shots with the intention of stitching them together eventually to make a panorama. It was here I noticed how windy it actually was and how bloody cold that wind was, my hands were frozen by the time I'd finished and I had to dig out my thin gloves. We had a look at Wainwrights detailed description of the view and could pick out Hellvellyn, Dollywagon and lots of others. It was worth bringing the book for that alone as my mountain identification is pitiful.
It was pretty cloudy over towards the Gables and the wind was quite strong here so we did wonder how strong it was going to be at "Windy Gap", the pass between Green and Great Gable (answer: very). As I was getting quite cold (tshirt, arm warmers and gillet only at this point) we pressed onto the next "summit", Brandreth. AW was quite dismissive of this little lump and once we got there it was easy to see why, even though it was really close to Grey Knotts it afforded none of the excellent views of the former. We didn't stop and carried on towards Green Gable. it was here that I started to notice lots of little groups of fell-runners no more than about 4 or 5 people to each one, I decided early on they weren't in a race as a) They were all wearing too many clothes, not the regulation skimpy shorts and vest b) There were no numbers in evidence and c) They weren't travelling that quickly for fell-runners. On the walk between Brandreth and Green Gable we passed several of these groups. It was getting colder and windier as we were getting higher but at least the climb up onto Green Gable generated some heat and my fingers warmed up at last. We decided to press straight onto Great Gable and have some food once we summited.
We dropped down to Windy Gap and were suitably windswept when we started the climb up onto Gable itself. I don't know what I expected this "path" to be like, it was more of a scramble with lots of loose stone and people moving up and down (more little fell runner groups). I ended up putting my map away and felt happier being able to use both hands. The steepest section was over quite quickly then we headed to the summit. We sat down in the lee of the wind and had some food and got the Wainwright out again to check which mountains were which, though the cloud was annoyingly swirling around the Scafells. I took a picture or two and then noticed a very, very, very black cloud heading our way. I was also getting cold again so I took the opportunity to do a bit of a quick change, gillet off, fleece and Gore Tex on. It was a good decision as a minute or two later is started to hail - so much for showers in the afternoon. We decided to move before things got too wet as we had to drop back to Windy Gap. I left both hands free and descended not too badly though I am a bit out of practice at it. Another group of fell runners came down and we asked them what was going on - Bob Graham Round attempts! It was so obvious to me once he said it. The guy I was talking to was pacing this leg for the chap behind him. They "only" had to get to Honister then do DaleHead, Robinson and Hindscarth and it would be over. The guy behind him looked fresh as a daisy considering he'd been going since 6pm the night before. Apparently this is a popular BGR time due to it being near the longest day and there was also a full moon which made the night navigation sections easier. The pacer also told us that Ennerdale fell race was being held and we may see some of them as we descended Windy Gap. We wished them luck (don't think they really needed it) and started the descent down Windy Gap to see some fell runners take the steep direct line of Green Gable, an impressive sight.
The path down Windy Gap is steep and very loose, it took us a while to descend it as we were stopping frequently to let the runners slide past. It is definitely one of those paths that are best done at speed as we were having a lot more problems than they were trying to stay slow. As we hit the bottom of the loose stuff one guy stopped to empty his shoe of rock and we asked him how he was doing. He very chirpily replied that he was on the way back now, the race is 23 miles with about 7000ft of climbing with rather a lot of it still to come from what I could see (Kirk Fell and Pillar are not midgets). After finishing with his shoe, he stood up, did a few star jumps (as you do) then tore off towards the climb up Kirk Fell, we did give him a round of applause.
From there we just had a gradual descent down to the car though we did have some good views of Haystacks, Buttermere and Ennerdale which seemed to be permanently in sunshine today. We had been out for around 5 hours which was good considering it was such a slow pace, the guide time was 6. We headed into Keswick for a post walk pint (which went straight to my head, glad I wasn't driving), toilet stop then some shopping. I bought a new NW Lakes map and a lightweight waterproof jacket which would have been ideal today. Then we decided to have some fish and chips before setting off down the road.
The M6 was practically deserted on the way back. Need to plan another walk for when Jez and I are off next week.
Friday, June 13, 2008
As the Garburn race is out the way I had resolved to have a few weeks without doing long offroad runs with lots of up and down, instead I would take a map and camera and do some exploring and general faffing whilst covering about 6 to 7 miles in distance, including some climbing and descending but not enough to trouble my legs. I would start doing some more longer offroad runs again in July. I've ridden and run out of Abbey Village so many times in the last year that I have decided to do more runs out of White Coppice and eventually over Rivington way. I took all my kit to work with me so I could head out there directly after work rather than going home first then heading back out again.
I had decided to explore a track that follows around the base of the hill and heads towards Brinscall, the plan was to pick up one of the footpaths that headed up onto the moor and avoid the motorway path. I think I arrived around at White Coppice and parked up around17:10 ish and was running before 17:20 so not too much faff then. I walked to the Cricket Ground then broke into an easy run heading towards the path on the North ? side of the Goit rather than heading out straight up towards Great Hill. I picked up the track I had partially jogged along before and headed along it. It was lovely and dry and would make a good piece of biking singletrack, wholly cheeky though but I don't think it would be a complete loss in the wet. According to the map there were supposed to be some paths heading off from this one up onto the moor and there probably was, but I didn't see them! I think things have slightly changed forestry wise since the map was surveyed (my excuse anyway) but I found myself on a well surfaced forestry track that would bring me out on the road towards the motorway path up to Great Hill. I could see from the map that I should be able to head along some more footpath prior to the big track, it would join it eventually but I'd rather do the new stuff. The forestry track turned out to be a bit of a cheeky climb but I ran it ok and kept it steady. I popped out at the road and ran up it a short way and saw the stile that I could cross back onto the open access area.
The track followed a fence for a while, quite tussocky and there was a lot of marsh grass which means its probably best avoided in the wet. I noticed on the map that a footpath would soon come up from the right and I could follow this as it continued up onto the moor. I picked up the path and started to climb, again it was nice peaty moorland track and quite soon it started to level out a bit and I could see over to the Fylde and Blackpool, the sun was in the way though so I decided against taking any landscape type photos. I continued on the nice moorland track then popped out onto the motorway track and started running along there. I joined it a the long flat section before the ruin of Drinkwaters farm and noticed loads of what I assume are Grouse Shooting butts, all in a row. I've run this track several times before and never really noticed them but they are quite obviously not newly constructed.
The fireroad dropped me into LMC and I continued on until the picnic area at the edge of Anglezarke. There is a track that skirts the edge of the reservoir which I intended taking until the opposite end. It was tarmac initially, with some undulations but then changed to hardpack type trail, very runnable and pleasant on this sunny evening. At the end of the track I crossed over the road just before the Waterman's Cottage and took the low level track back to White Coppice. It was way later than I had realised, oops.
This is a good loop to do, some climbing and descending but nothing too extreme.
Time taken: 01:45:47
Average/Max Speed : 5.85mph / 9.64mph
Average/Min Pace : 00:10:15 / 00:06:13
Average/Max heart rate: 142/175
Calories used: 1072
17:31:36 1.00m 00:11:21 5.28mph 7.69mph 131bpm 164bpm
17:53:40 1.00m 00:11:43 5.12mph 8.07mph 136bpm 170bpm
18:18:42 1.00m 00:10:02 5.98mph 7.94mph 143bpm 164bpm
18:40:19 1.00m 00:10:57 5.47mph 7.01mph 153bpm 171bpm
18:59:56 1.00m 00:10:00 6.00mph 9.64mph 151bpm 175bpm
19:14:56 1.00m 00:09:13 6.50mph 8.89mph 139bpm 167bpm
19:30:55 1.00m 00:10:54 5.50mph 8.84mph 128bpm 159bpm
19:49:28 1.00m 00:08:47 6.82mph 8.77mph 144bpm 161bpm
20:01:34 1.00m 00:10:29 5.72mph 9.12mph 142bpm 166bpm
20:18:57 1.00m 00:09:29 6.32mph 8.29mph 157bpm 169bpm
20:29:36 0.31m 00:02:47 6.62mph 7.71mph 157bpm 165bpm
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I think it was probably under 5 miles or so tonight, didn't feel very long at all, though everything still feels short after Garburn.
I am planning an offroad run tomorrow though will decide how long once I find out how my legs are. Pam and I are planning a Lakes walk on Saturday too, looking forward to it.
Av Speed: 7.32 Max Speed: 27.15
Av Hr: 128 Max Hr: 176 (Not bad, even for the road hill, used to hit 186 on there)
This Wednesday I got out on the bike rather than running. I am having a week free of races!
I had intended to take the map out with me as there is a concessionary bridleway into WildersWood that I wanted to have a whizz down but of course I forgot to take it! Only Stu, Drew and myself were up for riding tonight. Drew and I arrived on time at 18:45 and did the usual faff and were pretty much ready to ride when my phone rang and I knew it was Stu to let us know he would be late, it was! Drew and I finished getting ready and headed out towards Healey Nab at a fairly steady pace and Stu would catch us up.
The trails were very dry and fast, I managed to ride straight through some nettles trying to stay out of the offcamber rut on the way down towards Anglezarke res which stung for quite a while. Stu caught us up on Heapey Fold Lane just as we were about to head into the Nab. We climbed up the short track which was actually not that skittish, all the loose stuff seems to have disappeared then we cut across to the gate. The bracken has really grown and give a completely different feel to this little bit of track, very pleasant. We climbed up towards the drops, the dry trails made it a really easy climb and did lull me into a false sense of my own ability when I arrived at the little rock step and nearly stalled completely, I forced my way up and over it in a very unstylish manner, completely getting in Drew's way. Once I'd cleared it I realised I was probably in too high a gear, oops.
When I ran round here I had spotted a couple of descent tracks just after the drops so I mentioned to the lads that once we did the drops that we didn't whizz off down the wide track as usual. We did the drops then spotted the tracks really easily, I think they have been doing even more work on them because it was quite obvious that these were deliberately built tracks rather than stuff created by walkers, probably part of the trail work that Tony has said would be taking place here. They did look steep but at least dry so I dropped my saddle and rode down the first one. They were pretty steep and tight and lumpy due to the plantation "bumps", the furrows that they'd created when planting the trees. I got to the bottom and there was a big log over the trail that seemed to have a large drop on the other side, a complete chainring grabber. We decided that that trail was a work in progress. We rode along the bottom track then turned back to ride back to the bottom of the drops. I had never really appreciated how steep this track was until I had to ride back up it, no wonder we fly down it!
We rode back up to tackle the second descent, again I dropped my saddle. I found this one slightly more technical than the other one, steeper and tighter but I managed to ride it all easily so I was pretty pleased really. Then we rode back along the track an picked up the concessionary bridleway again. I managed to ride up the steep rock step first go, though I did try and bring the bush with me again! We popped back out onto Heapey Fold Lane then headed for the long road climb. This wasn't too bad but I did try and ride as if I was on my hardtail and stand for a bit but I got fed up bouncing up and down and sat down, I felt reasonably strong on this though fell off a bit on the second part of the climb. We whizzed down Lead Mines then headed up the second short steep climb. Half way up this climb the muscle above my knees started burning, saddle too low then. Once I got to the top I raised the saddle a bit and caught up with the lads again.
We continued up to the Pike, the climb feeling better now I'd raised by saddle. Once we got to the Pike I suggested we look at the Wilders Wood descent as it had been recommended to be by a guy on our riding holiday in Spain. I took full advantage of being on the Titus and hooned down the cobbly path to the gate and I had to slow a bit for the corner, normally I don't bother as on the hardtail the roughness of the corner takes the speed off just fine. we found the start of the concessionary bridleway and flew off down it, it was fast and swoopy. The brideway should have taken us out at the back of a school on the same road that we normally pop out at but not having the map we missed the turn so had to climb all the way back up, though it proved the climb was easily rideable. We ended up taking a bit of a footpath that involved carrying bikes up and down some steps then rode along a lovely grassy path which took us pretty much back to the bottom of the Commonwealth Games descent.
We were back on the normal route and the woods section was lovely and dry, as was the track along the reservoir but the surfacing work they have done made things very skittish. A fast balst along the res then back to the car.
I had the Garmin with me and it had a bit of a wibble in the woody sections but not too bad, think it only lost about 3/4 mile.
Time taken: 02:01:30
Average/Max Speed : 7.32mph / 27.15mph
Average/Min Pace : 00:08:11 / 00:02:12
Average/Max heart rate: 128/176Calories used: 1524
19:03:05 1.00m 00:05:24 11.09mph 17.52mph 107bpm 143bpm
19:08:37 1.00m 00:06:48 8.82mph 27.15mph 135bpm 161bpm
19:15:47 1.00m 00:06:13 9.63mph 16.77mph 122bpm 148bpm
19:22:01 1.00m 00:09:22 6.40mph 12.24mph 119bpm 176bpm
19:39:07 1.00m 00:12:05 4.96mph 20.44mph 128bpm 171bpm
20:03:23 1.00m 00:08:48 6.81mph 25.19mph 142bpm 170bpm
20:12:12 1.00m 00:06:44 8.89mph 20.89mph 115bpm 172bpm
20:24:25 1.00m 00:08:00 7.50mph 16.89mph 132bpm 171bpm
20:34:00 1.00m 00:10:31 5.70mph 11.06mph 146bpm 164bpm
20:44:31 1.00m 00:10:28 5.73mph 26.25mph 128bpm 175bpm
21:05:19 1.00m 00:06:05 9.84mph 26.43mph 119bpm 155bpm
21:13:41 1.00m 00:09:30 6.31mph 21.26mph 133bpm 161bpm
21:24:07 1.00m 00:08:47 6.82mph 24.46mph 121bpm 162bpm
21:39:53 1.00m 00:05:42 10.50mph 15.41mph 133bpm 161bpm
21:45:36 0.83m 00:06:55 7.19mph 14.80mph 141bpm 168bpm
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Commute Home: Distance: 17.42 Time: 1:00:01 Av Speed: 17.42 Max Speed: 33.06
Av HR: 137 Max HR: 160
Bike: Ribble Roadie
Had planned to cycle commute, to get some more bike miles in and offset some fuel costs! Woke up to grey skies and a stronger wind than I would've liked, looked like a normal Westerly type so would be a headwind all the way in to work. Had a debate for 10 minutes or so but in the end got up and got dressed. I find getting all my kit ready the night before helps and I would definitely forget something crucial (like underwear) if I had to run around in the morning and sort it all out. Had a gel, filled water bottle then got bike out of garage. Tyres felt ok so locked garage and wheeled bike round the front of the house.
I attached the Polar and the Garmin (still haven't fitted the new sensor to the Polar, oops) then set off, it took me until I was on Heyhouses Lane and half a mile from wotk to notice that I hadn't actually started the Garmin and distance travelled was 0 feet. Not a great start. The ride itself was ok, the headwind slowing things down quite a bit, my legs were also a bit tired from the speed session but not sore like they can be after intervals I have done on my own, I put that down to the fact I was on a grass track rather than tarmac. There is no real data from the ride in but I think it took 1:06 total elapsed and it was nice to be out on the bike in the morning.
For the ride home I had made a note to start the Garmin. I left my desk just after 5pm and got changed and walked over to E block where the bike sheds now are, got all the kit on the bike and me and was just about to set off when I put my hands on the bars and realised I had no gloves on. A rummage in the bag and I realise I'd left them in the Ladies in R block. So I walk back through E block and was halfway to R block mithering to myelf about walking over there then having to walk back again when it dawned on me I should ride the bike over there as I have to pass it on my way out anyway. I turned round and walked back and got the bike and cycled over to R block then zoomed upstairs (well as fast as I could in bike shoes) and my gloves were lying on the floor of the cubicle I'd got changed in.
I set off and hit start on the Garmin timer and the Polar to check my cadence. I had entertained thoughts earlier in the day of extending the ride home and heading out through Kirkham to the masts but it would mean not getting home until after 7pm and I had stuff to do. I will be out every evening for the rest of the week so decided not to extend it but to push hard on the way home instead. I had the benefit of the wind I had fought in on the way to work to help me along. I was averaging over 20mph on the stretch between Warton and Lytham and along the Marsh Road. I rode in the drops all the way along the Marsh Road as well to start getting myself used to it, there was a noticeable speed gain into the wind on the way in this morning whenver I was in the drops. Once I got onto Strand Road I dropped to an easy cruise through the slow traffic section then bimbled along the tramway which was busy with lots of people so no point trying to hurry.
I pulled up at home and stopped the Garmin and put the road bike away. Once I downloaded the data I saw the time for my home commute was 1:00:01, I can't believe it, if I hadn't bimbled quite so much along the tramway I could've gotten in in under an hour. I've never really been that close to getting under the hour on the way home because the sections through Warton and Preston are busy with traffic and it really slows things down. Will need to have a go on the next strong tail wind day! Even pushing pretty hard my HR never got above 160, it never used to stay that low.
We warmed up at a nice pace round the playing fields, last time I made a speed session the warm up pace nearly killed me. The session was to be run in pairs (or as a three in my case) with 600 metre efforts and as long as it took the other person to run 600 metres for recovery, this would continue for 40 minutes. 600 metres didn't sound a lot until I tried to run it! My legs were pretty heavy from yesterdays MTB ride and I found it difficult to get them to turn over quickly, think they would've preferred pedalling. The track was grassy and really nice to run on actually, pretty smooth. I can't remember the last time I ran on any sort of running track, probably at school.
As I forgot my watch I didn't now what each rep was but I think I was reasonably consistent as I tried to run a pace I thought I could sustain for a while, though the heat and heavy legs helped keep things under control. Managed about 7 and a half in the 40 minutes.
7.5 x 600 metres: 4500 metres total
About 2.8 miles.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I have been poring over the West Pennine Moors OS map in conjunction with Lancashire County Councils Bridleway Strategy document for the last couple of weekends to find some new trails to ride and to link them in with our current trails around Rivi and Abbey Village. I had decided to investigate heading over to Turton Tower and coming back over Winter Hill and dropping down to Belmont, at that point I could make a decision to carry on out towards Lead Mines or to head back to Abbey Village along Catherine Edge. I had put an e-mail out on Wednesday asking if anyone was up for riding and Ed responded saying he was likely to be up for it and on Saturday night he rang to confirm. I suggested we do a bit of exploring and he was up for it, no-one else was interested so just having the two of us meant it would be perfect for exploring.
We had decided to try to get out earlyish as the forecast was for a warm one, Ed would pick me up from mine at 9am. I had gotten my Camelbak bladder organised the night before as I would be using the Torq energy drink (first time in anger really) and wanted to give it plenty of time to dissolve. I filled the bladder full, 3 litres and stuck it in the fridge over night. I was awake at 7am so had plenty of time to get my stuff together. As it was due to be hot and this was probably going to be the longest ride I had done for quite some time I was quite liberal with the Assos creme and the factor 30. I got the rest of my kit together, summer stuff only for a change. I took my Camelbak itself downstairs and put the bladder in and realised how bloody heavy it was, I haven't carried a full Camelbak for quite some time.
Ed arrived some time around nine and we loaded the Titus and other gubbins into his Audi then headed off for Abbey Village. It was warm stepping out of the car but there was at least a breeze
but this wasn't going to be a day for pushing hard. The usual olympic level of pre-ride faff was undertaken, putting bikes together, shoes on, helmet on, sunglasses etc etc. I had a major faff with the Garmin as I had managed to put it into auto multisport mode somehow, I pressed the buttons randomly for a while then it seemed to do what it was supposed to. After all that we were ready to ride, until I put my hands on the grips and realised that I hadn't put any gloves on, cue more faff while I found my short finger ones. Then we set off to do the Abbey Village loop in the usual direction.
The inital climb up through the woods was warm but not too bad due to the cover provided by the trees, which is now very dense indeed. We headed off along the fence track which was nice and dry (apart from the usual seepage bogs but even they were drier than usual) but the "log people" had been out in force again laying logs across the track, I'm assuming they want to make it difficult for bikers but it just adds to the technical challenge, one of the logs placed just before the first wooden bridge actually made it easier to get up onto it. We rode off to the steep bridleway which we managed to ride down with only one slowing down to pass a dog walker at the start of the cobbly section, which is a good place to pass people. The track across the field was fast and dry too then we were at the bottom of the climbs to the Tower. A couple of other bikers tried to encourage us up the steep climb but we declined for the longer climb as we still had a lot of miles to go and we would be riding into the breeze. It was a nice climb, made easier by the dryness of the trails and I didn't have any problems at all.
I flew along the top track to the Tower enjoying the fact I was on the Titus and it was letting me away with silly line choices, I normally ride the hardtail on these tracks. I built up some speed to attack the last short rocky section to the Tower, forgetting I wasn't on my hardtail, normally the rocks do a good job of scrubbing off the speed on the On-One but on the Titus I was still carrying loads of speed at the end of the section and nearly piled into the two lads we had spoken to earlier. Ed was caught out on his hardtail and went back to ride the section again then had a chat to the two lads, I enjoyed the view and took a picture of the Tower though it was the only time the camera came out on the ride.
We carried on the normal route round to the rutty track which was very fast and flowing due to being so dry, we popped back out onto the wide track but instead of climbing back up towards the tower we veered left and headed up to Darwen moor. There are two tracks across the top that I have run on several occasions, they do suffer from being wet and boggy but today they should be dry. We decided to go on the left track as that was the one I had run most recently so I knew what the conditions were like and there was also a group of mountain bikers heading along it already. It is quite a rutty track, vehicle tyre ruts so although it was dry still needed some concentration. I had warmed Ed there would be some unrideable stuff at the other end due to drainage ditches and so on. There were at least two wet feet moments as we had to get off and jump over bogs with the bikes, then a short ride to the end of the path. Our original intention had been to carry on down a descent which would drop us onto the Catherine Edge track, however the group in front of us headed off left over some more moorland track. A quick check of the map showed the track was part of the Witton Weavers Way (as would practically every other track seem to be) and headed to the A666 which was where we were headed anyway. The track started off as more grasy moorland path but then opened out into a very well surface track, much like Catherine Edge, basically all weather. We carried on down this quite quickly but then noticed that the other group were pushing their bikes up away from the track we were on. We carried on for a bit then had another map check, we could see the other group on a track, quickly descending, the track they were on dropped them down to the A666 but closer to the junction of Green Arms Road than we would be, a track that needs exploring on an evening. We arrived at the A666 then rode along, turning onto Green Arms Road. We road along here for about a mile and a half until we picked up the track I was looking for which would take us to the back of Turton Tower. It was another motorway wide track, not very challenging really but did have one fast lumpy downhill section that was fun. We rode past the Tower (probably, don't remember seeing it) and headed for Egerton. The tracks continued to be wide and easy going, this part of the ride was punctuated with lots of map checking which slows things down, but as it was so hot neither of us was bothered about hurrying, we also had a food break, the energy drink was working but my stomach felt empty and rumbly. Once through Egerton we had another few bits of motorway bridleway stuff then we got onto the road and started heading for Winter Hill.
The original plan was to pick up the access road to the masts and climb the hill that way, but as we were heading along the tarmac road to Holdens Farm we spotted a footpath that said "Winter Hill 2.25km", a quick check on the map showed that we could cut some of this road section out and it was another well surfaced track. We had planned to go back on the road but it looked more interesting to continue climbing on this track. It was worth riding it to find out whether it would be sensible to ride it in the wet or not. It was a fantastic track, one that needs to be ridden again as both a climb and a descent, I have also earmarked it for running. It would probably be not too bad in the winter too as the ground seemed pretty sandy and free draining. We climbed all the way to the masts then had to turn back a bit as they have a diversion in place whilst they upgrade the masts ready for digital in 2009. This diversion was very dry today but was obviously very prone to being wet and boggy normally. The diversion brought us to the top of the descent to Belmont.
It was quite an open track and it was possible to see a long way ahead on it. It had lots of water bars of varying heights, ruts, rocky sections and smoother grass sections. As I was on the Titus I set off first, as I had never ridden it before I was quite cautious going over the drops created by the water bars eroding. I couldn't see until I was on them what the trail was like at the foot of the drop but all apart from the largest one had good trail. As I was going over the largest one I noticed a large boulder at the foot that my front wheel was heading for so I had to loft the front a bit to get over it. The smoother sections really caused me to pick up speed that needed to be brought under control for the looser ruttier sections. After a while I could feel my quads burning, this was a long descent by local standards but all too soon it was over. I stopped and turned to look for Ed but no sign, after a while I was starting to get a bit worried (as I really didn't want to have to go back up there) when he rolled into view. He had stopped to put his saddle down as he was on his hardtail.
We dropped down to the A675 and decided to head back to Abbey Village, it was too hot to think about heading over to the Lead Mines and Healey Nab. We rolled into Belmont then headed off along Egerton road finally arriving at the steep bit of road climb that my legs always hate. At the start of the Catherine Edge track we stopped for a food break again. We had a bit of a headwind back towards Tockholes but it was just a slog back then the swoopy singletrack to the bottom of the loose climb, which seemed even looser today as I had a few wheelspinning moments, I hate what they have done to this track. That meant there was only the fast rocky descent left really, we set off down this past the "re-enacters" with their swords, tunics, shields and other historic paraphernalia (not what you expect to see in the woods on a hot sunny Sunday near Blackburn). This descent was quite interesting, surprisingly not too many people on it, but the dappled light made things a bit confusing. We decided to take the fence track back as it involved the lesser of the two potential climbs and annoyingly I managed to get caught out on one of the logs this time.
Then it was back to the car. Once I got home I dug the Camlebak out of my bag and found I only had about 250ml of water left, which I promply drank. I felt fine, not starving which I put down to the energy drink but I did have a few glasses of plain water. The taste of the Torq wasn't too bad really, it was sweet without being overpoweringly sickly and the Lemon Lime flavour gave it a nice tang. The electrolytes must have done something as normally after a long, hot ride I want salty food but I didn't have that craving this time.
Sunday: Long MTB Ride (Completed)
Monday: Speed session with Chorley Harriers
Tuesday: Cycle Commute with possible extension
Wednesday: Evening MTB ride, 12 miles or so
Thursday: Club Run
Friday: Off road evening run, up to 9 miles
Saturday: Potential Walk in the Lakes now
Friday, June 6, 2008
Nice to have a sociable run again, have possibly talked myself into attending speed training on Monday night, assuming my legs aren't destroyed by an MTB ride over the weekend.
Distance: approx 5 miles
Time: 52 minutes
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I was quite hungry before I set off so I took a gel and some water with me and would decide whether to have them or not after the warm up. I drove to the race venue with no incident this time, the advantage of knowing where I was going. I was still feeling a little weary but as I had my number already I got straight out of the car ready to start a slow warmup. I had to wait a bit for the Garmin to find itself then I set off into Astley Park. My legs were better than Monday but they still felt like the didn't belong to me. I jogged around for 10 minutes then started to head back, normally I would start speeding up to my intended race pace on the run back but my legs were having none of it, not a good sign.
Had a quick drink of water and the gel then headed off to the start, its a few minutes of downhill running to the start line and my legs were really not great on the downhill, they didn't seem to have the strength just to let go. I spoke to a few other Harriers on the start line then got ready to run. We started very quickly after being called to the line and I tried not to get chucked out the back straight away but at the same time not go off too fast, most of the first mile is uphill and it felt hard, my legs were struggling. Heading onto the downhill section I was actually slower than the last time as my legs just couldn't take running hard downhill, but after about a mile and a half I started to feel more into it.
On the second time on the climb my legs were feeling much better and I started to overtake people, I continued overtaking a few on the up then held on for the down. I still couldn't run very well downhill so couldn't capitalise where I normally would, I caught up to someone about two thirds of the way down but just didn't have the oomph to pass them, however I knew I would be able to pass them on the uphill section so I just hung back a bit to recover and pushed past them when the road kicked up again. I held on for the last climb which again seemed to go on forever then crossed the finish line. I checked the Garmin and I was at 31:37 so I managed to beat my last months time, just. I'll update with the official results time when they are posted.
Hopefully next month I'll feel as strong on the uphills as I did tonight but I'll also be able to fly downhill. My goal now is to break 31 minutes. I was more evenly paced than last time as well though I was quicker over the last mile last time.
19:29:32 1.00m 00:07:50 7.65mph 9.26mph 168bpm 177bpm
19:37:25 1.00m 00:07:55 7.56mph 9.28mph 174bpm 183bpm
19:45:21 1.00m 00:07:49 7.68mph 9.65mph 179bpm 183bpm
19:53:10 1.00m 00:07:56 7.55mph 9.55mph 180bpm 184bpm
20:01:07 0.01m 00:00:05 7.53mph 7.79mph 182bpm 182bpm
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I clipped the Garmin on and the Polar computer for the cadence (still need to put the sensor on for speed) and the handlebar area looked like a aircraft cockpit with all the displays and buttons. I had a couple of gels and armwarmers in my jersey pockets and I set off. After about 200 metres it was clear my legs were still tired so definitely a cadence rather than a speed session then. After a mile the Garmin gives out a weird chiming noise to let me know a mile had passed, it was much more annoying than the running one and I will switch it off for next time.
I cruised my way to Strand Road, straight into the wind and continued out of Preston past the Audi garage. I turned right towards Clifton after Lea Gate and was hoping for some shelter from teh wind but it didn't seem to be happening. I kept the cadence high and the gears and heart rate low and ignored the speed. I carried on to the Hand and Dagger where I dodged a flotilla of canoeists carrying their equipment to the canal, I've never seen so many canoes in one place. I turned left here and headed out to Treales, I was right into the wind at this point but spun along moving into the drops for a while. I turned right once through Treales heading towards the masts at Inskip, the wind was side on here so I picked up some speed and cruised nicely along until the bridge over the M55 where I stopped for a gel. I continued on until the junction I would normally take to head to Elswick instead I carried straight on and skirted round the bottom of the mast site. I arrived at the junction of Hand and Dagger road quite quickly and headed back towards the pub. I made good progress here again as it was a side wind really.
When I arrived at the H & D there were no canoeists, they were all paddling on the canal (yuck, rather them than me) but a couple of cyclists were sat outside having a pint or two, looked tempting. I carried on towards Clifton and the wind seemed to be in my face again for a while but then it seemed to be behind me again. Once I got back onto the cycle path into Preston I was flying as the wind was right behind me. The traffic section through town was quiet this time and I had an easy cruise back home. I did decide to ride along the path on the south side of the river bank thinking it would be quieter, it was but it was also bone shakingly rough so I won't do that again on this bike.
Distance: 26.64 Time: 1:41:06
Av Speed: 15.5 ok, considering how much of a plod it was at points
Av Hr: 132 (58%, nice and low)
Max Hr: 158 (Just pushing up the hill past Texaco)
Monday, June 2, 2008
Monday: Recovery run, 4 miles probably on road
Tuesday: Road ride, flat spin out onto the Fylde for two hours or so
Wednesday: Chorley Harriers 4 mile night series race 2
Thursday: Club Run
Friday: Either rest or 6/7 mile trail run out of White Coppice or ride to work
Weekend: MTB ride
By the time evening came round I really didn't feel in the mood for running and sitting in a traffic jam on the M6 on the way home did nothing to perk me up. I had toyed with the idea of going to White Coppice to do the low level paths but due to traffic I didn't get in until after 6pm and I CBA'd driving for 25 minutes or so to just run for three miles. I decided to go to Cuerden park and do some of the trails there.
It is only about 2 to 3 miles away really but as I only wanted a short run I didn't want to add on any more distance so I drove to the car park on the A49. I set off at a nice plod and my legs felt a little heavy but not sore.
I was supposed to be avoiding hills and had forgotten that the park is actually quite hilly unless you stick solely to the river banks, which are boring and busy. I explored some of the trails in the park which were undulating but I tried to run them slowly, which wasn't a problem initially but got more difficult as my legs woke up.
I quickly found myself on the road that splits the park in two and realised how close I was to Pam's, it was around the two mile mark at this point and I decided to head back as I didn't really know anything except the main bike trail in the other part of the park. I ran along the flat river bank dodging dogs, kids on bikes and four a breast walkers then up the hill out of the park. I pushed it a bit too much here but remembered and slowed myself down.
Felt loads better after my run, so worth it for that alone.
Distance: 3.4 Miles
Av. Speed: 10:27 nice and slow
Av. HR: 137 (not sure I've ever been that low)
Max: 168 - on the hill toward the end, but naughty should have walked it.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
So it finally rolled round. I have pretty much rested since Tuesday's short one due to miserable weather on Wednesday. A check of the weather forecast on Friday night finally sealed the decision to move to the earlier Challenge event rather than try my luck in the race, it was going to be hot with very little wind - I am rubbish in the heat, I can really struggle. The Challenge would be setting off at 9:30 am where as the race would be setting off at 11:30, decision made for me! I had checked the rules on the website and my time for the challenge would still count for the series as well.
The drive up was pretty painless, partly because Pam had picked me up at 8am and partly because we were only going as far as Staveley and nowhere near the Windermere or Ambleside traffic. We were parked quickly and as it was pretty warm when I got out the car - 16 degrees already at 8:40 am, it was definitely going to be warm - I got myself ready to run, there would be no danger of getting cold prior to the start. I had my club vest on which is quite light and cool to run in thankfully, I put my running cap on and Adidas sunglasses then headed off to the registration marquee to get myself changed to the Challenge event. Pam and I parted company as she had planned a walk to do whilst I was running and it headed off in the opposite direction from where I was going.
Just opposite the entrance to the field we were parked there was a race sign pointing down a footpath, I could see the registration marquee so I jogged down it as a bit of a "warm up", I didn't need to get warm as such I just wanted my legs moving and heart rate up a bit. It was a good path, well surfaced and nice and shady, it ended at a very narrow stile which I had to shimmy round, I gathered it was the path back into the finishing area so made a mental note of the stile, it wouldn't do to hit it at any sort of speed. I headed to the marquee to pick up my number and move from the Race to the Challenge, this was done with minimum fuss as these events are always superbly organised. Up to now I was feeling I was tight for time to do another short jog prior to the 9:30 am start but they announced that the start was delayed until 9:45 so I headed off for a short run, I was feeling pretty warm so I ran down a shady road for about 3 minutes then headed back and did a bit of stretching ready for the start. When we were called to the start line I headed right to the front row, normally I wouldn't be anywhere near here but the speedy people were all going to be in the next event and I wanted well away from the poles of the nordic walkers doing the event after a near trip on a woman's poles in the last race.
A few safety announcements from the organiser, a few mumbled words from the mayor of Staveley , a countdown and we were off. If it hadn't been for the cacophony of other people setting their watches off I would've forgotten to do mine, I hit the start button a few seconds away from the start line whilst berating myself for being a muppet. The first 2 to 3 miles were basically uphill, all runnable and with lots of shade but the temperature was definitely rising. My goal was to run it all until the bottom of the climb to the pass. The terrain was typical Lakes bridleway, rocky and dry and quite loose in places due to the fact it was so dry. There was a nice section across some fields where I had to pay attention to my footing as there were lumps and bumps hidden in the grass and baked hard, no give at all and I didn't want to turn an ankle. The first descent of note for the day and I pass a few people, it was quite rocky and uneven but good fun then it was down to some woods .
There weren't any insects around thankfully and my memory is a bit hazy but the first water station was around here somewhere, about 7km in. I had my own water, about a litre in a bladder on my back but I still had some from this station. I decided at this point to take a gel as my stomach was a little rumbly, I wasn't sure if I really needed it but I have learned from past experiences to have fuel sooner rather than later so I managed to get it down my neck with some water and threw the rest of the water onto my legs which felt to be the hottest part of me. The trail continued along through some more woods and there was another good descent then it popped out on the road towards the Kentmere Institute and the start of the climb to the pass. The organisers of the race had put a safety time cutoff at the Institute, if you were not through here at 1pm then they would disqualify you. This time cutoff also played a big part in my decision to drop to the Challenge as I wasn't sure I would make it in time if I did the main race starting at 11:30am, as it was I got there in just over an hour so I would've been fine. It had been generally undulating terrain until Kentmere but now the main climb was about to start, the profile of the race is below:
It is not obvious from the graph but Garburn pass is at approximately 1400 feet and the climb to it starts from about 500 feet so it is approx 800 - 900 feet of climb and it is steep, the top section in particular I know that there is no way I would be able to ride it, even in my granniest of MTB gears as it is so steep and rocky. I knew I would be walking that part for sure as if I can ride it I can generally run it.
It would have been getting on towards 11 am as I approached Kentmere and I was now running out in the open, on tarmac and uphill again. I really started to feel the heat, there was no wind, none at all, I was in the lee of it on this side of the pass and I wouldn't feel any breeze again until I got to the top. I continued running though until the water station at the very foot of the climb, I was now 11km in and had another drink of nice cold water. I could really feel the heat now and if I had been sensible I would've walked from this point but as I have ridden this track several times, albeit as a descent on the MTB I knew that I should have been able to run some of the bottom half of this climb, so I pushed on. The track was so dry and rubbly I was sliding around in it making no progress until I got onto a firm line, my legs felt good and my heart rate was ok for me then my head started spinning and I felt like I was overheating, so I changed to a walk. It took me quite a while to recover from this as I'd totally overdone it in the heat, what I needed to do was stop completely for a few minutes but as this was a race there was no way I was going to do that so I kept going, trying to get a good walking pace up but it took a while for my head to stop feeling like it was spinning. I got it together in time for a flattish section and started running again but this wasn't a sensible decision. I got away with it until the track kicked up again and I started feeling dizzy again.
It took me even longer to calm down this time and I was actually weaving about rather than walking in a straight line, the sun was relentless at this point and there is practically no shade on the climb. The path consists of quite pale coloured rock and I could feel the heat reflecting back off it. I staggered on and noticed a sign saying I was halfway up, didn't know whether to laugh or cry at that. There was another flattish section but there was no way I was going to run it, I walked it quite slowly and started to feel a little less ill and also took the opportunity to have another gel before the long downhill. I plodded on and as I passed the little sign telling me I was 3/4 way up it clouded over, at last. The cloud cover helped no end to cool me down and before I knew it I was cresting the top of the pass and there was a breeze, it was lovely and cool and it put a smile on my face again. I walked for a little bit more then I started to run for the descent.
I had been looking forward to this descent. I have climbed it on a bike and the gradient is not as steep as the other side which suits me for running down, the other side is better for riding down however. I started speeding up until the descent proper started then I just let gravity take me. I knew there were a couple of sketchy loose and rocky corners on this descent but I ran them well, not for the first time offroad running have I wished I was hooning down a trail on my Titus rather than on my own two feet but it was excellent fun just the same. It was over so quickly though, as a climb on the bike it seems to go on forever but I suppose that's the nature of these things. I passed about 4 people on the descent and an advantage of being in this event rather than the fast one was obvious here, I am quite near the front in this one and have a lot of space to run my own line whereas in the main race I would be near the back and in more of a crowd. I have a couple of race photos which were taken near the top of this descent and it shows the kind of rocky loose trails, typical of the Lakes, the race was full of, I was really starting to get into it here and closing on the two in front of me.
The terrain after this levels out a lot and eventually a girl I've overtaken on the descent comes back past me, she's a good strong runner on the flat whereas I lack speed on the flat. I kept her in sight for quite a while then the sun came out again, I was running in some walled lanes, there was no breeze and it was like running in a sauna. I was going far too fast for the temperature really but my legs felt so good I just wanted to keep pushing on. I was feeling a little demoralised here, I was having to walk on stuff I was most definitely capable of running up and the kilometre markers just didn't seem to be ascending quickly enough. I had a brief thought about just walking from now on but gave myself a talking to along the lines of "it'll take even longer if you walk you silly moo, shift it!" I got to the third water station around the 17km mark and had some more water and another gel to give myself a boost for the end and threw the remains of my water over my head for an icy shiver. I had also been sipping constantly at my own water for the whole event and by the way my rucksack was moving around I knew there wasn't much left in the bladder, I was glad there was "only" 6km to go.
Quite soon after the station I was directed off the wide bridleways, through a gate and over some fieldsl. The marshal said something to me which I only just heard, something about a bit of a rut in the second field over. The first field was quite short and it was a lovely springy track which ended at one of those step stiles where the steps are embedded into the dry stone wall, my legs were fine for running but trying to negotiate this stile really flummoxed them. I got safely over the other side and carried on running on another springy track. I was running and making decent progress here and enjoying the forgiving terrain when I sort of noticed the track had a dip in it. The marshal's warning of a rut came back, it wasn't a rut it was a stream/drainage type channel cutting through the field at least a foot and a half deep. I comprehended it in enough time to jump it, if I had been slightly less compos mentis I would've probably fallen into it before I noticed it.
There was some more entirely runnable undulating terrain, but the sun was out and I had gotten wise, I ran where I could but backed off quickly if I felt I was overheating and this meant my head didn't spin and my walking pace increased too. It was still frustrating the hell out of me that I was having to walk stuff I could run but I just got on with it then three things happened at once: my gel kicked in (it was caffeinated, yeeha!), I passed the 20km marker, it clouded over - running time! I ran the last few lumpy bits of track then up (yes up, at last) a lovely incline and through a gate where the marshal said "just over that rise is the descent to the village". Hooray, he better not be lying. I crest the rise and it is a descent.
It starts off lovely and springy on grass then rounds a bit of a headland and I think whoah that is quite steep! I hope my legs are up to this as the track changes from lovely grass to hard rocky trail again and my feet complain but my legs don't. Once again I try to let gravity take me as much as possible and not fight it, my legs hold up and I pass a couple of people who are fighting it too much. I get to the gate at the bottom which is being held open for me by a lovely marshal, which is just as well because if it wasn't I doubt I would've stopped in time. As I'm about to pass through the gate I hear "Come on Julie" and I see Pam standing there. I try to wave and say hello whilst simultaneously not falling flat on my face, not sure my hello comes out too well but her shout of "You're just about there" is definitely most welcome and puts a huge grin on my face. I drop down to a road for the last section back to the finish area.
My legs are still feeling good, I'm feeling hot but not completely wasted as I run a short section of tarmac. I overtake two people who look in considerably worse shape than I am, I look at the Garmin and I'm doing just over 8mm pace. I arrive at the short section of footpath I jogged down earlier with the silly stile, I continue at my current pace down that and slow down in plenty of time for the stile. It is just the last section back to the line now. I pass a sign saying 300m to go. I nearly crash into someone as I take the blind left hander into the field but unlike me they actually have their wits about them and jump out of the way and very nicely I thought give me some applause and encouragement as I hyperventilate past.
It seems to take ages to go round the outside of the field and as I look at the Garmin I'm now running 7:30 mm pace, where did that come from! One of the nice things about this event is that they have a race announcer with the number and name of everyone running and as you come over the line they announce your name. As I had changed to the Challenge I had a handwritten number on and he couldn't read it so he sticks the microphone out as I pass him and asks me my name and....I actually manage to respond and its intelligible! As I cross the line he re-announces my name in a slightly less breathless style than mine. I stop the Garmin as I walk through the finishing funnel then get straight over to the water stand for a nice drink as my water bladder is now empty.
I sit down for a bit and realise that I'm not actually utterly spent, I'm just hot! The finishing field is a bit of a sun trap really but I'm enjoying not moving. I start to get my bearings then spot that the little queue to my left is for race t-shirts and I've earned mine. At the last event there were no small t-shirts left by the time I got in but yet another advantage of the earlier event is that there are plenty left. Its a nice colour and I will wear it with pride. I also get given a meal ticket. Wilf's catering are onsite and the free meal is a bean and vegetable stew, pitta bread and a piece of cake. I'm so hot and just want to cool down and the last thing I want is hot food but I know I need something. Pam wanders over and is concerned I don't feel like eating but I decide I want an ice cream and a cold Coke. I have some recovery drink waiting to be made up in the car so I suggest we walk back to the car so I can have it and get my feet out of my running shoes into some sandals and I can change my top and wipe my face.
We decided not to take the footpath back to the car as the runners were coming in, we'd just get in the way so we walked the long way round. Several runners from the earlier event (with yellow numbers) that I was in passed us and we shouted encouragement to them, some really did look in pain. We were just about at the gate to the field when we hear very fast footsteps coming up behind us, my first thought is "they don't belong to someone wearing a yellow number" and I was right. I turned round just in time to see the lead man from the race come steaming past, faster than anyone who has just run the best part of 15 miles over a large hill has any right to be travelling. He won the race in a time of 1:25 which is just unbelievable, he also won the last event so two out of two for him so far. The first woman over the line was 1:51. I got changed and had my recovery drink and took the Garmin off my wrist, I hadn't had any wrist pain from it at all during the run and although there looked like the beginnings of a rub mark on the edge of my wrist it was basically trouble free. I will be leaving the velcro strap on.
We decided to move the car from the car park we were in to somewhere in the village (if we could find somewhere to park) as Pam realised the implications of being parked along a lane the runners had to come down to finish. We moved into the village and found a parking spot then repaired to Wilfs for some Ice Cream and cold Coke. I picked a seat out on the decking and realised that the path on the other side of the stream was the little footpath to the finishing field so we had a good view of the runners coming in, some were looking more comfortable than others but as this was still around the two hour mark they were all looking quick. The ice cream worked a treat, I felt like I was finally coolin down. The decking area has a stream running under it and next to it and the water was definitely cooling things down. I still didn't feel hungry but I wasn't unduly worried as I'd had my recovery drink and three gels during the run. We headed back down the M6 shortly afterwards, I was looking forward to a cool shower. One of these days I'll be organised enough to arrange to stay up in the Lakes so I can stick around for the after race presentations and stuff but Pam had hung around quite enough for me today and it was nice sitting in an air conned car.
Overall, I was frustrated by the heat but pleased I felt so strong at the end. In reality I would've probably only been minutes quicker but I didn't think this course was as tough as the Hawkshead one. Having an easy training week prior to this was definitely the correct decision and I will do the same for the three remaining Lakeland Trails races I have entered. I've been reading other people's race reports and most complained about the heat too. I've checked my stats briefly from the race and my heart rate never got above 181, it hit 188 in the 10 miler the weekend before and I never worked anywhere near as hard. The heat really did make things difficult, if I do it next year hopefully it will be cooler.
Will look at the data in Sporttracks at some point this week.