Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
After about a mile of sliding I realise that my Mudclaws would have probably been a better choice of shoe, the slush was overwhelming the trail shoes. It was generally runnable but even on the flat I struggled to get much above 12 minute mile in the slush I was sliding so much.
I had thought about doing a short low level run but once going headed up to the tower. Bit of a flat light day so not much stopping to take pictures, apart from this robin perched on a post. I was probably about a foot away from it but it only moved when the camera flash went off., even then only to a low branch close by.
The enforced slow pace was probably a good thing as I was feeling pretty unfit from not doing much earlier in the month. 7.5 miles in an hour and a half. It was good to get out.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
What seemed to be perfect conditions on our Christmas Day doddle were replaced by total slush at Rivington on Boxing Day. Setting off about noon onto rapidly thawing snow made for a short, slow but hard ride. We met up with a friend of Jez who was bringing his young lad out for his first MTB experience. Not the best day to pick but as young kids tend to do he kept going like a trooper.
We covered about 3.7 miles in 52 minutes (of moving time, lots of stoppage). It was just such hard work in the soft snow. However, I did enjoy most of it, it was certainly good for the old bike handling skills as the front and rear would slide away in various directions and as the time wore on and the snow got softer the rear would just spin out. Here is the evidence of snow on my tyres:
It started off pretty well then changed to an ice rink for quite a reasonable stretch. I was riding along, just thinking to myself that "this is going well" when the front wheel caught the edge of a lump, the front wheel went away and whoomf I was on the deck pretty much instantaneously. Jez's mate turned to check I was ok and of course he hit the deck too. The little lad sailed serenly between us and Jez had already successfully ridden it.
I was ok and more importantly no Paclite was harmed. I actually think I was lacking a little speed. In the end Jez was the only one not to fall off, I can't believe how hard a less than four mile ride was. I earned my pint! Not sure its really done anything for my phobia though.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I appear to have been hiding! Not been up to much at all this month, being ill then the snow has left me very demotivated and lethargic. I had lots of plans for December this year, normally I tend to take it easy for the month but with finishing work on the 21st I had hopes for lots of running and cycling to ward off the festive calories. Ah well, not to be.
I had two mileage goals for this year, the main one being to run 750 miles with a secondary goal of cycling 2000 miles which I didn't expect to reach due to marathon training. I passed the 750 running miles on the 18th December with a run on an ice covered St Annes beach. I'm pretty chuffed with that, so one goal reached.
I'm currently at 1929 bike miles for the year and I think its unlikely I'm going to get to 2000 due to the weather conditions and not taking bikes up to Scotland next week (no point) but I can't believe I have got so close. I have done over 500 miles more that last year and I didn't have a marathon getting in the way then.
So next year's plans.....I am currently planning on not having one event to train for and hoping to do lots of less committing stuff. Of course the danger is that I end up doing nothing at all.
So mileage targets for next year, which will be a stretch but hey:
700 running miles
2250 bike miles
Events? Not totally decided yet but have the Two Crosses in January which I am no way fit for, possibly the Whinlatter Enduro on the MTB and the Etape Caledonia on the road bike. Not sure yet....
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
7 slightly less easy miles, still all zipped up, feel slightly less fine this evening. I hate germs!
Jez is also ill too, enough to take a day off work which is exceptionally rare, though his appears to be gastric related rather than tight chest. Watch this space as I'll probably get it next.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
It's a complete no no trying to exercise if its "below the neck" isn't it? Pah.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I've another easy day tomorrow then hopefully will get out and do something on Saturday and race XC on Sunday. The Marl Pits XC course is supposed to be quite a good one so hopefully I will get there and not feel like death warmed up.
Both my running and cycling mileage targets for the year are tantalisingly close but a heavy cold or dose of swine flu could put them out of reach.
Anyway, off to make some home brew style lemsip.....I am amusing my colleagues with my little tubs of freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I had on fleecy tights, thermal undershorts, thermal top, Oz Pullover zipped almost right up, gloves (ok thin ones) and a buff on. The top and the Oz have handwarmer style thumb loops to cover part of the hand, I never took my thumb out of those loops at all or really unzipped the jacket, even during the intervals I was that cold and I wished I'd put my windproof hat on.
Anyway, 2.2 mile "warm" up, 6 x 800 metres done (was supposed to be 5 but I obviously set it up wrong), wind assisted which made me set off far too fast every single time but I still found the pace hard to maintain as I think my legs were just cold and clumsy. Then back to work, still haven't warmed up properly.
It was probably good for me after the written off weekend....
Haglofs Oz Pullover, fab, getting lots of use already but the flappy hood is getting annoying/may strangle me/ acts as a parachute in strong head winds.
New Mudclaws half a size smaller, didn't start bothering my feet until after 10 miles on initial run so hope there (just wondering what to do with hardly used size 6's...running in Sealskins is in my future I think).
Thermal Odlo poncetastic undershorts - I suffer from painful cold arse syndrome badly, they seem to help for running.
Waterproof shorts for cycling, caved and bought a pair as full trousers too much and to help in the battle against cycling cold arse.
So ready for winter, just as well as its here!
I have bought metres of paclite in the last twelve months....
Sunday, November 15, 2009
My Ti 456 - it seemed to fly along the singletrack, felt fantastic.
My singletrack riding, gained a lot of places on the bike leg.
The Altura trail - need to go back on a less busy day, the traffic sometimes made the technical bits difficult.
The organisation and encouraging marshalls.
The other competitors - everyone cheery, happy to pull over, etc.
The occasional stunning views.
Losing over 5 minutes in transition, partly due to big faff with my gloves.
Setting off on the second run still wearing my helmet! (A lovely marshall, held onto it for me until I came back, he already had someone else's).
My slow climbing - bike or run, always lets me down.
My front brake jamming on hard, thankfully loosened off but rode the last few sections using back brake only.
Not paying any attention at all to how long I had been out there.
Seeing the lead man out on the second run when I think I was about half way through the bike leg.
The peeing rain!
The guy going OTB in front of me on the bike leg, I stopped to make sure he was ok.
The guy sat at the side of the track on the second run in the throes of a complete bonk, gutted I had no gels on me to give him.
The second run in general, I was verging on bonking myself....which leads nicely onto:
Having a litre of energy drink to try to get through on the bike but have arrived home with....about a litre - I was saved by having a gel in transition.
Overall, I would do it again, but need to learn some lessons!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
However, occasionally a gorgeous day comes along and I can't wait to get down there, yesterday was one of those days. I then realise that I am actually very lucky to be able to get the chance to run on the beach at luchtime, I love the feeling of wide open space.
I had an interval session planned, 2 sets of 5 x 400 metres, 1 minute recovery. Before that I took it steady to the beach, then faffed around a bit taking in the sunshine before getting to the hard work. I have a new ickle bumbag which is to carry, gloves, tissues, lip balm 20p for the loos etc but also fits my camera in. Some jogging about taking photos before heading up onto the prom itself for the intervals. Not surprisingly there was a lot of people around but it just seemed to add to the good vibe.
The intervals went well, I did them at the correct pace, 4 out of 5 of the first set were at 1.49, the other was 1.48. I did have a slight muppet moment in that I thought I had longer to rest between the sets than I did and set off on the first one of the second set 40 seconds late......
The next 4 were all around 1.49 too. Legs felt good and I could have done more. I then tootled along the bottom of the sea wall for ages before realising that it was 1:40 pm and I really should drag myself away and get back to work.
My legs felt good all the way back to work so I think last week's rest has done them some good after all.
Monday, November 9, 2009
The course was laps around a sodden field, no real climbs or downs just constant shoe sucking mud and standing water. My feet were freezing from my short warm up and didn't warm up until I got in a hot shower at home.
Considering my legs had had most of the week off they didn't feel as sprightly as I thought they should, maybe the answer is to do a long MTB ride the day before? On the first lap I started suffering from a stitch, then I realised for reasons best known to myself that I had been practically holding my breath up the incline. Whoops.
3.5 miles in 31.01. I was totally covered in mud, I was less muddy the last time I fell in a bog.
The next XC is on the 21st of this month, however I have just realised I have races planned on the next three weekends which isn't going to leave me much time to do some miles, either bike or run. Depending on the weather I may not do the XC on the 21st.
I think I should stick a bottle cage and bottle on the on one (as fortunately it will take one, Titus will not) and put puncture stuff etc in a saddle pack so I can ditch a camelbak when riding, not have to wriggle it on/off. Jez reckons I should take a small back pack.
I have never tried to race on a bike before so any advice accepted.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I had a look back at what I have been up to over the last month, my rough goals are to do 200 miles of biking and 50 miles of running to keep on target for the year (2000 miles and 750 miles respectively). I did 239 bike miles and just squeaked in 50 running miles, not huge volume really.
I also had a good few days off here and there but the big change was the reintroduction of running speedwork, the dreaded intervals and tempo runs are back! I have done sets of 400's. 800's and 1600's (set off too fast and they so, so hurt)- forgot to do 1200's! Two miles worth of fast stuff, and two runs with 4 miles at 8:30 mm which is just slower than my 10K pace.
This is the only way I will keep running at lunchtimes over the winter, I have no real choice of route so I have to break the run up into chunks. Its been a big increase in intensity so I've backed off this week, quite a lot due to the blooming weather! Nothing more than four miles (if this rain ever stops).
Next week, start again with 400's and 2.5 miles of fast stuff. I am not looking forward to those mile ones again.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
My last Friday off tomorrow so......run or ride? Got stuff to do in the morning so won't be able to escape anywhere too far. I'm currently leaning towards local ride at the minute, am at the Velodrome all day Saturday for the track world champs and Sunday's weather looks stupidly windy.
As long as I do something!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I also managed to scare myself silly on the Aerial Assault course at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, only 10 minutes away from my folks. A video here, I was made to go first and my face was apparently just as much of a picture. I have to confess to having a raging hangover which really, really didn't help and also meant I didn't actually get any climbing in! However, I was getting vertigo just watching people climb, those walls are huge!
I would recommend it but not with a hangover, swinging around does nothing to settle the stomach.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Being such a crystal clear day I decided to head for Winter Hill and have an explore. I had a feeling my legs would be tired from this weeks riding/running so a run with lots of map faff would probably be just the ticket.
I know a couple of major tracks on Winter Hill from biking but that is about it so to give me an idea of where to explore I had a look at the checkpoints for the Winter Hill fell race and picked a couple of them to try to find (none of the ones that involve trekking up and down the steep side of the hill though, I'm not that daft!).
Final route I did is here. I started at the barn and ran clockwise. It was an enjoyable run, found lots of tracks which I've never run before. I wore my Mizuno Harriers as I know I can run a long time in them without them bothering my feet, I wasn't intending on running fast so a little bit of slipping around was no biggie. I also took out my new OMM Last Drop for a test, even though it was a beautiful day I still had some windproof cover and a pair of gloves. I had my compass with me to practice bearings too, camera, gels, phone etc.
I gradually picked my way up to the trig point, disappearing up over my ankles in slop twice jumping off stiles, to where lots of people were paragliding, it was quite busy up there. A stop for a gel, a good look at the map and to take in the view across to Great Hill, beautiful day:
On the other side of the road I can see the track that I ran along in the dusk, I can also see the where the bog I fell over in is (behind that first rise).
It was surprisingly busy up there, lots of paragliders having a great time. The wind was strong on that side of the hill and pretty cold. From the trig point I just headed off down Dean Ditch, following a path running alongside the wall ruins. I took an educated guess that at some point there would be a path branching off somewhere. It's not something I would have done on an unknown hill on a claggy day that's for sure!
Anyway some slip sliding in a generally downwards direction and eventually a path does branch off in the direction I wanted to go. It skirted round what looked like a reservoir then eventually joined back up with a track up Smithills Moor that I knew. Which was good as I was now starving due to not having eaten anything since breakfast (now after 3pm) and the stop/start was now taking its toll on my legs. It was easier to keep moving.
Trundled (slowly) up towards the masts, down the tarmac road which hurt, got fed up with that and decided to take my chances with a boggy path heading for the Pike.
A good decision it was much fun and easy on the legs. Up to the Pike then try to figure out the best way back to the top barn, being on foot meant all tracks were fair game. I found running on the hard cobble tracks quite painful after all the soft stuff and for the first time on the run nearly turned an ankle - on a tiny pebble on a flat piece of track.
Found a nice but convoluted route down through the gardens, nearly slipping on a greasy step. Got back to car, chucked stuff in, checked how much cash I had on me, not much. Drove from the top barn down to near the other barn and headed into the cafe to see what I could buy managing to stop myself diving face first into one of their large display cakes. Had a nice piece of shortcake to bring the sugar levels up.
Good run, nice to do some new stuff. The OMM sack was comfy, comfier than my little one. The trails shoes coped ok as things were still quite dry. I never took a single bearing, oops.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday 9th: Went climbing, the less said about that the better. Floundering around on 4's badly. On the plus side, the ability to string moves together increased after a few climbs. Conversely, strength disappeared, so I fell off the last climb trying to do a big move that I didn't have the strength to carry out!
Saturday 10th: Time for some running. Felt like heading off up Great Hill but would take it easy as just shaking off sinus trouble. I took a camera and faffed about but the climb was difficult, just no real strength. Had great fun running down the other side towards the A675 where it was still pretty dry, well apart from the odd section:
Won't be long til there is a lot more bog. Mudclaws were fab but again started to rub my right heel after about 5 miles. I got back near the car and almost headed out on another loop with a fair old climb but sense got in there as I was actually pretty tired.
With hindsight, some easy tarmac miles would have been a better choice! Will have to steam the heels of my Mudclaws to see if it helps.
Sunday 11th: Supposed to be an easy bimble around Gisburn with some novice friends but they cried off due to weather just as we were on the M65. Headed to Abbey Village instead, just as well as I forgot my helmet! A shortened ride, made shorter by the minging weather (my head was freezing as I had no buff either):
Took it easy on the descents due to being helmetless, almost got away with it until a tree lined trail with low branches and I got thwacked in the head three times. Ouch.
Monday 12th: The new week started with some running intervals, 2 sets of 4 x 400 metres to start things off. Seemed to go well and fairly consistent. Will start with two miles of fast stuff then increase to three (as that's how long the prom is!).
Tuesday/Wednesday: Riding to work - got towed in by Jez which was fun, made him work! Some offroad night riding fun on the Wednesday too.
Thursday: More running, this time two easy miles and two faster miles. In the evening I headed to the Chill Factore for some snowboarding......didn't go very well! I think I need to get right back to basics again.
Half way up the climb from the M65 roundabout over to Abbey Village I had to stop due to a very, very "bad" pain just above my left knee. I thought my ITB had gone, though I didn't say it out loud because that would make it seem true. It wasn't so bad if I stood up but seated climbing was very painful. I had been sort of aware of it at the end of Friday's ride too.
Anyway, we headed back so the ride was only about 20 miles long. My left leg was definitely not feeling right at all.
Later when tidying up my riding shoes I noticed my left cleat was in a bit of a bizarre position. The cleat was very loose and moving around all over the place, d'oh.
"How can you not notice these things?" asked a very exasperated Jez.
A few rest days and I think I got away with it.
Conditions were not as stodgy as last year but still soft. I expected to have heavy legs after the wet 30 miler on the MTB the day before but they were actually fine. I had a good run and managed to keep working hard til the end and was a bit quicker than last year. Really enjoyed it even though the saucer was a much longer hill than I remembered. I finished the just over 5k in 28:34, 8:36 mm pace. A minute a mile faster than the year before.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I set off from a grey, not very windy Lostock Hall for a local ride and arrived at the car park just off the A675 Tockholes turnoff to driving rain and gusting winds. Its a little exposed there. Anyway sat in my car for ages being not remotely tempted to get out:
Finally, wriggled into waterproofs before even stepping out of car and got ready. Hands were wet and freezing cold before I had even set off and trying to wrestle them into gloves resulted in a few choice words! Saddle very wet too but hey ho. Had a near off within three metres of the car as the front wheel slid along a piece of wet wood edging the track. Ignored the demons telling me to give up and headed out.
I had no plan other than a vague wish to ride over to Peel Tower. In the end I did manage it by making myself ride "just a little bit more" rather than think about the whole ride. I learned that trick from my Hebden Bridge ride. The final route is here.
I decided to do a bit of downhill in the woods first then head up to Darwen tower, a vain hope it would stop raining. Nope. I took the most sheltered way I could think of up to the tower and I was almost at it before I could actually see it:
I sheltered from the howling wind for ages and ate a bit of my first butty - only about two miles in! If I'd been riding with someone else and they had suggested heading back home I think I would have gone like a shot! As it was I had to head back past the car to go anywhere else so I put off the decision until that point. The clag got really bad for a while, just as well I know the hill:
So off towards the car, drop down off the moor and the combination of wind and descending speed meant the rain stung my face hard. At the decision point the wind was behind me so I thought I would continue up over the moor again, drop down to the A666 then pick up the Catherine Edge bridleway back to the car. I couldn't be bothered with the faff of trying to pack up in the rain quite yet really.
Up and over then a fast, wet descent down towards the A666 where the cloud lifted briefly and it seemed to be brightening up:
Cheered up by the thought I continued off down the hill, unfortunately the cloud had other ideas and chased me down the valley:
Once at the road I then had a decision to make, back to the car or onto Peel Tower. I was sheltered from the wind and the rain so decided to head to Peel Tower. Some fairly straightforward track and road riding led to the bridleway along Holcombe which I really enjoyed. A short but steep pull up then I was at Peel Tower:
The cloud had actually lifted quite a bit and I could see Ramsbottom below. I stopped for a proper butty stop and just as I was getting ready to ride the cloud closed in again.
I decided just to head back the way I came up rather than chance one of the paths across the top. Back along the bridleway back to the road. As I was rolling down to Edgworth the rain seemed to start in earnest. It was hard to see flying down the road and my waterproofs were beginning to get a little overfaced.
I found the Turton tower track (handily signposted) then made my way across the golf course to Egerton. I did think about heading up to the Pike as although I was cold and wet my legs would have probably made it. However, once through Egerton I picked up the road past Delph Res and the full force of the wind and the rain hit me.
I decided to just head back, the last three miles from Delph along the bridleway back to the car were just awful. There was nowhere to hide from the wind and rain and its a gradual climb. I was very cold and just wanted it to end. Once finished I think I just chucked everything in the car, got a towel on the seat and drove home with the heating on full blast.
As I got on the M65 the sun came out.......
Monday, October 12, 2009
It was still fast though and there is a promising looking track off to the right which needs some investigation. At the gate I was originally supposed to head straight down but a memory was dredged up from somewhere and I realised we normally head off left. Along and down another fun and rocky track which I really like. It finally pops out at a road and I have to get the map out to check how to get back on plan.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Some e-mails flying around ended up with just Stu and I out on a fantastic evening at Rivington. Dry trails again. Normally we would make our way out to Healey Nab first and then make our way up to the Pike but we decided to head up to the Pike first while I tell Stu the details of last Monday's run.
Gorgeous, clear view from the pike then we decide to head out to Anglezarke to ride the bit of track I had noted on the trail race.
Its pretty much all downhill to Anglezarke from the pike then along the cheeky track, which rides very well indeed! We then decide to head to Healey Nab and do the new bit of trail.
The rocks on the climb up to the start of the new trail in the Nab look bigger than normal but its the shadows cast by the lights. Onto the new trail and I start well by riding straight on where it turns right! I realised quickly as I got tangled up in a load of branches probably put there to stop people cutting the corner.
Back on and down the red route. As the trails are so dry everything looks the same and its hard to tell where the actual track really goes and once again I part company from it and have to shuffle back on. I'm not complaining about the dry track though. Some of the drops seem a lot bigger than they really are in the dark. We arrive at the track just after the drops (which we need to ride once again soon) to find the lower part "under construction". We respect the request to stay off it and roll down the bridleway then climb up to the little quarry.
I rekindle my love affair with the bush at the side of the step up on the track as I try to ride into three times and never clean the step. That old problem again! Stu has problems too but they are chain rather than ineptitude related.
Back over towards the Go Ape course then we decide to ride the reservoir track towards the castle, it definitely rides better coming the other way. A good evenings ride in almost perfect conditions.
Parking up and picking up timing chip was fairly painless and caffeine was thankfully well into my system when I realised that drinking so much digestive system accelerant so close to the start probably wasn't a good idea. I toddled up the hill to check out the start then back down to visit the ladies.
The cubicle door was really stiff and I gave it a big kick to shut it then thought perhaps that wasn't the most sensible idea. Sure enough I couldn't get the door back open again! After a minute or so of pulling on the little door catch I start to wonder about missing the start due to being stuck in a toilet. Luckily, being the ladies there was a queue outside and someone shoved it open from the other side.
I headed off to car got all my stuff on/off ,whatever, carefully keeping Garmin away from boot at all times. Head off up to the start, get up on the road to the start and realise I don't have my chip on, d'oh. Back to car, find it, put it on and get up to start a bit later than planned and find a few other harriers. It doesn't seem long til we're off.
The race starts with some easy running along the track I ran in the dark on the Monday where the gate never seemed to come. It still took ages in daylight, a right turn then up a way steeper than I was expecting track that joined up with the wide climb up to the pigeon tower. Its not too steep so running was ok on this. The climb doesn't go up too far before it heads down onto the "Commonwealth Down" (Polar Bear World) at the corner I fell out onto.
Its a fast descent but I have to say I think I ran it better in the dark (the threat of the Polar Bears no doubt). Once again past the start, out to the gate that never seems to appear then off towards Anglezarke reservoir via an empty field. I had never been on part of the track alongside the reservoir and made a note to come back on a night ride.
Up past the top end of the reservoir, up a steep flight of steps. I think it was about 7 miles ish as I took the opportunity to have a gel - wasn't sure if I needed it but decided to err on the side of caution. Soon running again on Heapey Fold Lane. About 9 miles or so my legs start to hurt a bit, mainly the quads which I put down to the extra biking lately. I wasn't that surprised to be honest, not run many long ones lately and none that haven't involved faffing about taking pictures or falling in bogs.
I seemed to be fine on the flat running, any climbs were beginning to hurt. Pass Trio and Ali on some steps that my legs were very unhappy about having to climb and back across the now not so empty field. Loads of cows (bullocks it turned out) had now moved up and across the track and they seemed a little frisky.
I and the woman running near me were a bit wary and were trying to decide which way to go when one of the little blighters charged at me, wah! I think I put my hand on its head in a vain attempt to stop it, stupid animal. I heard a bit of a yelp behind me and turned round to see one lad had been chased up onto a stile. Once through it was quite funny and the marshals were wading in to try to chase them off. Never expected to get charged by a cow on a race.
Legs were very unhappy on any climbs but still seemed up for it on the flat or downhill and they managed to run the last mile to the finish pretty well. I crossed the line in 2:08 eventually, not brilliant but not that bad either. Kate introduced herself to me at the line, then I was de-chipped and picked up the rather marvellous goody bag. I picked up a medium t-shirt after being advised that I was too fat for a small one! Hee hee, no unisex t-shirts here.
Met up with Trio and Ali and saw Jane and Vikki cross the line too. Plan were made to head for lunch, directions were given to me on how to get to the pub. After speaking to Jez I forgot the directions and set off on auto pilot back home, remembered where I was supposed to be going and somehow managed to find my way to the correct pub.
A fun race, enjoyable course and great to meet up with Trio, Ali, Kate, Vikki and Jane. Not forgetting Glyn and Flipper the dog!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
To sum up: running a trail half, meeting fellow bloggers, sore toe stops play (kicking a boulder in said trail half), night riding on dry dusty trails, a long day ride cut short due to dead legs, laziness, a fantastic run on the beach, a fast four mile run followed by a night ride in the rain and wind.....
I will post up shortly honest.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Trail were dry, just a few soft patches and it was a lovely evening for a ride. The On One front brake wasn't binding and only squeaked in use (it is a Hope brake), I was really chuffed and the bike felt fine on the uphills only my heavy legs holding me back.
I was coping well with riding with lights, normally it takes a couple of rides to adjust, probably because it was so dry. Right at the end I decided to have a silly off and land in some stodge, not sure what happened but I wasn't hurt and just for a bit of variety it was my hands that got covered in bog not my feet.
Just under 10 fast, dry and polar bear free miles.
I cycled in with very tired legs after Monday's rather eventful run, not surprising I suppose. The race schedule had them due to finish about 13:50 at the Sandcastle having come through a road about 2.5 miles from work.
After keeping an eye on the live tracking they were a bit behind schedule but I headed out there sometime after 1pm. It felt weird putting cycling shoes and helmet on and nipping out on the bike at lunchtime. A nice flat cycle and I stand on a large traffic island in the middle of the dual carriageway they would be coming down near the 4km from the finish sign, bit gloomy in Blackpool the sunshine was elsewhere.
The police as usual looked to be having far too much fun on their motorbikes with the rolling roadblock. Then the lead group appeared:
By the time the camera had finished whatever it was doing after the above picture they had flown past and the peloton was hot on their wheels:
vroom! They were flying.
After loads of cars and assorted hangers on were through, probably just in front of the broom wagon was a lone Garmin rider, struggling and way behind. There were few spectators on this part of the course but near me were a group of much older men and women and I could here them shouting at him: "go on sonny, keep going dear your nearly there". Which I thought was quite sweet really.
Quickly back to work then an easy spin home later.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Hee hee, giggling away, faffing, take a picture, realise I don't have time and get running again across to Belmont Road. Hard work running on the rough track, particularly as it was in shadow and I coudn't see a thing just had to hope I didn't turn an ankle and keep running. Lots of gorgeous reflections on the puddles but must not stop. It seems to take ages to get to the big left bend, get round it, where the hell is the pigeon tower? How can it be that far away still?
I've only biked around these trails and its a lot faster than on foot. Forgot track get really rough just before the pigeon tower, stumble a bit but get to tower. Think, what is the best way down as it is quite frankly dark, not dusk, its night, feck. Think, think, think. I have a map but its too dark to see it!
I realise I have no phone (charging elsewhere), no layers save a pair of thin armwarmers and no light. Decide to head for the Commonwealth Down, stay out of the trees as much as possible. So across where the cottage used to be down through a short pitch black tree section out into the clear then cut down to the track. I have biked the rutty/grassy track but couldn't make out any detail on it at all so was stumbling all over the place like a drunk. Then a couple of metres in front of me something bounds out of the gloom right across the track.....probably a fox.
Now, I'd been having a few axe murderer out to get me worries but had never thought about the wildlife. The anxiety level was raised a few notches then I fell out onto the big track at the switch back. I know its fine at the top but gets rough at the gate at the bottom. As its out of the trees I can make out a bit of the track but no real detail but it was a fun descent even so. Then two sheep shuffled out of the bushes at the side of the track, all I saw were two slightly glowing white blobs.....
..I though OMG Polar Bears! Wtf? Eh? Rivington, that well known Polar Bear habitat! I realise I am actually getting a bit
hysterical worried. I get to the gate turn right and head for the car. Again, I've only biked this flattish track so I was expecting the gate to come soon but it didn't.
I was feeling very disoriented, I was sure I was going the correct way but if I wasn't I couldn't see to go somewhere else. Then it appeared, could have hugged it! Next the wooden stumps.....they appeared. Oh the tracks going left, think, oh yes it does that keep going.
Almost fell down a big dip in the track but managed to stay upright then I saw car headlights where I'd parked, hurrah! Arrived at the parking but had to wait for another car to go past and use the light from its headlights to actually find mine.
Quick check of the Garmin 11.6 miles and 1:56 or running, what an eejit! I must have plucked the 8.5 miles figure out of the air.
The sunny weather seems to have ripened all the tomatoes and chillies I have all at once, I thought I was doomed to tonnes of green tomato chutney again, I needed to do something qith them quickly. Spent a lot of Saturday cooking, making damson vodka (farm shop selling them cheap), bisuits, roasting tomatoes and generally making a mess of the kitchen.
Sunday I did think about going out for a run but the mossery that passes for our back lawn was dry enough to walk on without turning it into the Somme so I cracked on with tidying the garden up ready for autumn though I have filled our garden waste bin to bursting and there is still more to do.
Bike maintenance next. I had to go back to basics with my rear derailleur, printed the Shimano instructions out, checked the stops, lubed the cables, faffed around for ages getting clockwise/anti mixed up and eventually the gears are pretty much sorted. Something that would have taken Jez about five minutes took, well a lot longer than that!
Also sorted the front brake out on the On One via application of a large flat bladed screwdriver, meant I got enough leverage to really force the pistons back. A bit of shimming and the disk was central, hopefully it will stay that way.
A timely thread on STW had me checking all my Eggbeaters for play, the Titus left pedal is starting to wobble so a rebuild kit for that then.
My bike shopping list consisted of:
New cables for Titus
New pistons and rebuild kit for On One front brake (rear done recently)
Egg beater rebuid kit
Utterly boring so to cheer myself up I have ordered some Salsa flip off skewers for the On One. Hate the skewers on there at the minute.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
A complete contrast to the last time I was over there, gorgeous sunshine and very little wind. My new Garmin had arrived on Thursday so route plotted on that and on a map, navigation simple again. Set off riding up the way I had descended last time at a nice easy pace. Had to stop to wait for some sheep to pass. At least I stopped, the two walkers I had just passed kept walking which only succeeded in chasing the sheep all the way back up. I'm sure the farmers were impressed.
Up onto Birkwith moor, a really nice track to ride in this direction and all the water splashes were back to normal and rideable. My legs were not particularly sprightly I have to say but fresh legs are a luxury (so I told myself) and just kept pedalling. I was slightly worried that I seemed to need my first butty after about 6 miles, quite early really as apart from waiting for the sheep I hadn't stopped. I obviously hadn't eaten enough after running the night before.
I had energy drink too but I really needed some solid food. It wasn't long before I was heading for Fleet Moss. I had taken the hardtail out as the Titus has been having all the fun lately...actually the gears are totally shot and I hadn't had time to sort them out. However, the front brake was playing up, has been for a while. It was giving its little chirp which is really annoying but I was also slowing down on any downhill sections rather than speeding up.
After the first steepish ramp after Oughtershaw I decided that climbing Fleet Moss with a partially applied front brake wasn't my idea of a great time. I pulled over into a large layby and had a serious look at the brake. Tried pushing pistons back though they seemed ok, it still touched the disk. I tried shimming it with the barest of shims but that pushed it too far over. After a good faff it had freed enough to continue (i.e. the fluid had cooled down).
The squeak came back eventually but I was quite near the top. I'm glad I've come down it as it's a deceptive sod, gets harder the further up you go, the last switchback I took wide! Cracking view down the valley though, so nice to be able to really appreciate it.
Across the top then down a bit towards the start of the offroad section of the Roman Road, passed a couple of recumbents climbing up as I was dropping. A bit of climbing first, actually a bit more than I thought, a bit of rolling along before the long, fast drop into Bainbridge.
Next the descent to Halton Gill which I have seen raved about. I wasn't that impressed to be honest. Ok it was fast but it only had a couple of lumpy corners for interest and it was over far too quickly. The Dales is packed with good fast descents that don't need an epic push to get to them. So I probably wouldn't bother again.
The bridleway along Pen-y-Ghent on the other hand was fantastic fun. The grassy slog of a climb was hard and my legs didn't want to ride it all but once onto the flatter bridleway with all the tricksy rock my legs suddenly kicked into life. I loved it, even the really boggy stuff had dried out enough that only a few sections were too soft to get through.
Time had seriously gotten away from me, the light was definitely changing, think it was getting on past five:
It wasn't as dark as that picture suggests but the light was changing. The July weather had made me forget that I didn't have July levels of daylight. As I got to the end of the fun track and joined up with the last wide track back to Horton my water ran out - timing. My forearms were feeling pretty sore from all the pushing probably so I did the last drop to the car pretty fast in an attempt to not use the brakes much. There were a couple of surprises I have to say but I got away with them.
The benefit of it being late on was that I only passed one walker the whole way down. Back to the car, clean bike, head home, order takeaway, fall asleep after managing to stay awake for Rebus. A longer day than I really thought, glad I didn't leave it much later in the year though I now have plans to do a Horton Bainbridge ride without the push up Horsehead.....
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Had a totally random moment on the way into the gym passing Roy Walker coming out.
I've cycled in today taking advantage of the sunshine, a bit of a parky start proper autumnal. I have realised the Garmin really still works and I can read my current speed in cycling mode but not a lot else. I can do basic things with it like stop/start/reset but that's about it but to be honest I'm not sure if I started it or not. Will find out when I try to download it later.
Monday, September 7, 2009
The registration was in town which was great for wandering round prior to race start. What wasn't so great was shutting the boot lid on my Garmin when getting ready to race, d'oh. Screen smashed and only top right hand corner readable:
A new one is on its way, sigh. I decided spending mega bucks on one of the newer models was folly given my track record....
Anyway, raced without it. Race went surprisingly well, I thought my lack of running would really tell but I think I got away with it, not sure I would've wanted to run for much longer though. I did the just under 9 miles ish in 1.29.
It was a really enjoyable course, the only bad bit was the bogs which weren't so much boggy as just shin deep water. My feet were like blocks of ice after wading through them, keeping running was difficult so I used the section to recover well and keep something in reserve for the descent. On a dryer day the climb should be pretty much all runnable, even by me.
The course is basically one big climb followed by one big descent (down Latrigg). I had an absolute whale of a time on the descent and made up a lot of time and did a lot of overtaking and even managed to hang on to all my gained places on the last run in to the finish. A great run, shame about the Garmin though.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
I've never ridden the permissive track but it was really nice a few steep sections, a bit of rolling along some rock steps, some I had to have two goes at but it was a nice track. It joined back up with the other bridleway just in time for a steep loose climb (I had hoped it would miss that) that I spun out on and couldn't restart. A short push then back on eventually reaching the road.
Some good riding on the bridleway to Baysbrown, I really enjoyed it, quite wet in places but any stream crossings were actually quite shallow. I actually decided against the bridleway up through the woods from Elterwater, I remembered it as steep an rooty and a bit of a push so I decided to take the road round thinking it would be more rideable and less steep, wrong on both counts!
Joined back up with some rideable stuff then headed down to the ford at Little Langdale, waterproof had gone back on at some point prior as it was cold again. Zoomed down the road towards the ford, passed a couple of MTBers going the other way then approached the ford. No intention of riding it as I knew it would be very full today but I hadn't bargained on the depth of the puddles just before it. The first one was fine, deepish but not too bad. Second one was a lot deeper and I had to give a big push to the pedals to keep from stopping.
The bridge is looking somewhat rickety I have to say! Then off towards Hodge Close. I set off on what I thought was the way but the Garmin told me I was off course. Thinking I was being daft as usual I rode back to the ford as a known point and got the map out, checked it, sure I was correct so headed off the same way again. Garmin told me I was off course again.
Maybe I had plotted it in wrong (unlikely) so I set off on the other choice of track but it got to tarmac which I knew wasn't right and the Garmin said I was off course again. So I'm wrong whichever way I go? I was in some tree cover so headed back to the ford, set off on the original choice again. It said I was off course, I ignored it and about a minute later it told me I had found the course again! Think the tree cover was upsetting it.
I was approaching one of my favourite little climbs in the Lakes, a short push up a slate covered track where the slate is almost musical as you go over it. Except I couldn't clean it, no matter what line I chose. Bah. It was a stream, lots of water running down it so no tinkly slate as the water muffled it and it has washed lots of big chunks down which I kept getting bogged down it. Its normall like the foreground section here, lots of small slate with the odd slightly thicker piece:
But it was a lot rougher than that, especially up near the wall. After three attempts and knowing I still had two tough climbs to come I pushed. Not a happy bunny, lots of big bits of slate though and lots of water:
Next, the pig of a climb up Arnside Intake, not a favourite as it hurts a lot but I usually clear it. Like a lot of the other tracks today it has had a lot of loose stuff washed down it and annoyingly I managed to climb until about a bike length away from where it eases off when my rear wheel spun out and I couldn't get it back. Pah. In order to get a good go at it again I would have to go down a fair way so just scootered up a bit and got going again - I'm not that annoyed at not cleaning it.
I had a butty break at Iron Keld then down towards Hawkshead ready for the worst climb of the day. I was actually feeling a little disappointed as I knew that once the climb was out the way I wasn't that far away from the car. Another bit of navigational faff but I got to where I should be then almost at the bridleway up from Colthouse the Garmin said I was off course. I didn't think I'd missed it as I knew I was looking for a big deer gate but I rolled back anyway.
It was wrong (more tree problems possibly), I was right and I got back on the bridleway. I knew this one was going to hurt, I knew I wouldn't ride it all but I had a go at it all. It was quite wet and very loose and very steep in parts. I had a couple of "regroups" on flatter bits. Pushed up a few short bits where I couldn't keep pedalling. My legs were really starting to feel it, I was suddenly pleased the car wasn't too far away!
I got really worried for a guy descending it on an MTB purely because he was riding so slow and nervously. This bridleway is part of the Hawkshead trail race (both as an up and down). I ran all of it as an ascent at the start of that race and I now fully understand why my legs died on me at Far Sawrey! Ouch.
The top finally came, a bit of forestry track then onto one of my favourite parts of Claife Heights, the open area with the tarns, lovely, the sun was out too:
Fast down to Far Sawrey, past the pub then brace for the loose climb to the gate.....which has been sanitised. A bit of a reprieve for my tired legs but now very boring. Soon at the top of the last descent of the day, one of my favourites and the reason I chose to do the ride this way.
Saddle down as it can have its moments, some slippy sections at speed and rode it much faster that was really sensible on my own, hee hee. I didn't have any skaty moments at all for a change, excellent fun all the way down. From there it is an easy undulating spin back to the car.
The water level of Windermere was very, very high. On the last section of track before the climb (I always forget that little climb) back up to the car the lake eventually was high enough to pour onto the track. A couple of very deep puddles to wash the bike off:
So whilst I didn't ride in Rydal Water I technically rode in Windermere. Hope noone wants to get in here soon:
Pack up, hose bike off. The bloke parked up next to me was absolutely fascinated by the Dirt Worker. A quick trip into Ambleside to visit Lakes Runner before getting a slice of Bath bun from the Apple Pie Shop - decided a whole apple pie was excessive. Then drove home.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Monday I made myself go for an offroad run, aiming for 10 miles but cut it to 7.5 when I just couldn't get into it. I just couldn't seem to take enough air in, it felt completely airless even though the wind was blowing a hoolie, more windburn. I then cycled over to my mates for tea and was half way there when the heavens opened and it lashed, luckily I had had the sense to put my waterproofs on but I had the lights switched on my bike at 6pm, bah! it was still raining by the time I made my way home.
Felt really out of sorts Tuesday to Thursday, work was busy so I couldn't even get away at lunchtime to get to the gym either. Some rest and extra sleep (and a lot of Tangfastics) and I felt much better for riding on Friday. The windburn stopped stinging on Thursday evening.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I pushed most of the rest, even on a less ferociously windy day it would be a challenge and some of the top section impossible with rocky steps and MotoX damage. Its one to be tried as a descent though, one day. Eventually I reached the top and joined up with the Roman Road. I took a leaf out of the walkers book and hid behind a wall for a food stop. Ominous black clouds were massing but I had been very lucky with the weather so far.