Friday, August 28, 2009

Bit wet and windy in the Dales today!

I am on call this weekend so today was my only real chance of getting away somewhere and I wasn't going to let a bit of wind and rain stop me! I did a 30 mile loop in the Dales from Horton over to Hawes and back again.

Even with getting blown sideways more times than I can count, even with "riding" (that will be pushing actually) on the bridleway out of Burtersett that I wasn't supposed to take, even with the headwind/crosswind from hell , getting blown right across the road in a most terrifying manner when coming down Fleet Moss, almost falling off in deep river crossings where there should be shallow fords, rivers for trails and wet limestone as slippy as ice I had a great ride.

More later.

I think I love my waterproofs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My biomechanics

Back in the gym yesterday lunchtime taking advantage of the rubbish weather. I decided to change my leg weights exercises to pretty much all single leg stuff. The upshot:

Leg press: Leg leg much weaker and wobblier than the right, no surprise.

Hamstring Curl: Left ham about the same as the right, slightly surprising thought it was much weaker.

Split Squat: Left leg wobblier at the top but more in control pushing back up from the bottom, right leg complete opposite.

Calf Raise: Left calf stronger than the right one.

Biomechanical mess, that's me!

Giving Blood???

I gave blood for the first time about two years ago and haven't since (I am ashamed to admit). The actual donation was fine, even for someone not best fond of needles and I felt ok on the evening afterwards. The next day I spent the afternoon lying on my bed feeling like death warmed up and it has put me off. I also felt like I was missing a lung for about two weeks afterwards which had a bit of an impact on cycling etc.

I did have a very little to eat or drink the next morning and spent the best part of three hours stood still (chopping loads of green tomatoes for chutney of all things) so I know I didn't help myself! Once the Rivi trail half is out of the way I should really go donate again but I'm a bit worried the same will happen but on the other hand what is a bit of discomfort if it saves someones life.

Someone tell me to HTFU and use it as an excuse to rest up and pig out on dark chocolate for a weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hill Reps and a sunny commute

Did some hill reps on Monday, ouch. Found a shortish hill near Tockholes, as opposed to the kilometre long one I last used but a bit steeper to offset the drop in distance. A two mile easy warmup before dropping down to the bottom of "the hill". I had grand plans for 6 reps, revised that down to 4 after the first one.

It was a bit steeper than I thought and held the steepness for longer that I thought it would too. As it eased off slightly before 400 metres I kept going until the 400 metre mark then jogged slowly down. My legs were burning by the end of the third one and the jog down was slightly wobbly at the start. I decided to really give it my all on the fourth one to make up for not doing six reps and was seeing stars at the end of it. I found the longer hill easier as it only kicked up at the end.

It took a big mental effort not to head straight back to the car which was about half a mile away all down hill. Instead I headed up the slight climb to the moor (legs complaining every step of the way) and ran on some of the flatter tracks to ease them out a bit before heading back to the car. Another two miles of easing down which I think was a good idea as my legs didn't stiffen up later.

So times were all around the 3 minute mark for the reps which I was surprised about as the track was quite loose and slippy and I never took exactly the same line twice.

3.04, 3.03, 3.00, 2.56

Depressingly even walking the first part then jogging the rest I still descended in about three minutes too. Which doesn't say much for my running up hill prowess.

Tuesday and I had a lovely spin both too and from work. I managed to take it quite easy on the way in and home but still make good time. The new handlebars still feel great and after putting some air in the tyres the bike didn't feel sluggish like Saturday (oops). My times for both in and out are very similar at the moment which has a lot to do with lower traffic volumes. School holidays will soon be over though...

Monday, August 24, 2009


...went my quad on Sunday morning kicking the duvet off. How can you hurt yourself getting out of bed? As if I need any more persuasion to stay under the duvet.

On Saturday Jez and I did a bit of a road ride to get out as MTBing is out of the question for him at the moment. He managed ok as the road shifters don't need thumbs and its his left hand anyway so he left it in middle ring. We rode out at a nice leisurely pace onto the Fylde to where he does a lot of his model flying. I left him there and did a quick circuit of the Inskip masts before heading back.

It was also the first ride out on my new bars, I have fitted a set of Bontrager Fit Vr ones which shorten the reach on the top of the drop and generally lift it up a bit. They felt amazingly comfy on both the top and in the drops and I don't feel my neck is craning to see. I have probably lost a little in aerodynamicness (is that a word) as I felt a little slow but no stiff neck, I'll take that trade off. Just need to plan a longer ride on it.

I could have done with heading out a bit further afield as there was much faffing before we headed back home via a pub for lunch. His hand was a little sore once we got back but otherwise ok. I then took my road bike over to Ribble's warehouse to ask them about their winter frames, the geometry is quite different from my ickle 44cm sloping frame.

Anyway the helpful lad in the shop did some measuring and comparing of frames and due to the very long top tube on the winter frame a 46cm is probably best. I am doomed to dinky frames! Will order it online in the next day or so to get discounts on it, the bike won't get rebuilt until end of September anyway.

I had planned to get out for a good run on Sunday morning but twanging my leg put paid to that. It was better by the afternoon but then the weather closed in for a while. In the end I headed over to Witton Park with Jez for a bit of a walk (and to visit more model flyers!). He had been cooped up in the house all day so decided to forgo my run and keep him company. He's disappearing off to Oz again on Thursday so I'll get plenty of time to run then anyway.

We found some interesting tracks and trails around the park and due to it being in a bit of a bowl it was pretty sheltered from the strong wind. Just as we got to the flying field the heavens opened and it lashed. We got soaked getting back to the car but I was at least saved from being up on the moor when the heavens opened.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The "What If ?" Run

I finally got out for a run and boy did I need it, trying to offset wine calories consumed this week notwithstanding.

Jez and I spent a few fun filled hours at Chorley A & E on Thursday evening due to Jez having a thumb and propellor interface. The propellor would have appeared to have come off worst however his thumb was bit of a mess with 5 deep cuts across it but apparently no other damage.

He has been a very, very lucky boy and appears to have got away with the lapse in attentiveness that allowed it all to happen. The engine attached to the propellor is very powerful and it could so easily have been much worse, he could have damaged or lost the thumb altogether. Actually, having had a full description of what actually happened from the other people that were there the what ifs are many and horrible.

So I headed off up to Tockholes to pound out some miles on some hills and mud and play through the what ifs going round my head and get rid of them. Running is better for this than biking, too much concentration required for biking.

I had my new Wave Harriers to try out and off I went. The first couple of miles were mentally hard but physically good, some climbing to get the stress out and get the endorphins flowing. By the time I was leaving Catherine Edge to head up onto Darwen moor my clenched fists had relaxed and the what ifs were gone.

I was treated to a fantastic flying display by two birds of prey (no idea what they were) then a short heavy shower just to wash the stress away completely. A fantastic run over the top where I was soon dry again and the heather was positively glowing in its purpleness (though sadly this means autumn is coming). My running was relaxed and I had shaken off the heavy legs of not doing much. I was grinning like a loon by the time I got to the Tower.

I got cuaght in another heavy shower on the last 1/3 of a mile down to the car but even that couldn't stop me smiling. Just under 7 stress busting miles. I needed that.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A bit of a "low volume" week

I'm off work this week and expected to be having a "low volume" week, though its been lower than even I thought. Mainly due to whizzing about catching up with friends in various places and drinking imprudent quantities of wine and/or beer.

On Tuesday night we visited some friends who have bought some land in the Lakes and camped there with them. It's a gorgeous location near the Dunnerdale fells and they have been gradually sorting it out for camping purposes. We had lots of fun playing with fire sticks and am debating whether to buy some...

After lots of fresh air, a late night and a lot few glasses of wine I was expecting to sleep like a log. Except unseen in the long grass we had pitched the tent on was a large rock that lucky me got to sleep on.

I woke up after a couple of hours with stupidly sore back and I just couldn't get comfy. Lots of mutterings about buying a Fat Airic and getting rid of this 3/4 Thermarest (which I don't like due to length but has always been comfy enough) I finally realised I must be lying on something.

I managed to doze off a bit lying on my left side but no decent sleep. Once the tent was packed up I had a look at a rather large rock that I had been lying on. It meant my shoulders were lower than my pelvis but because there was bit of a slope my feet were also lower than my pelvis. No wonder my back was sore (still after a Fat Airic though).

We were due to be riding at Gisburn forest in the afternoon in an attempt to stave off blobbydom.

I was utterly shattered when we got there, I could have quite happily crawled off my bike on the first fire road and gone to sleep inhe long grass. Luckily the new trails have got enough interest to keep anyone awake so I actually enjoyed the ride. Any fire road section was an invitation to doze though. It should be good fun at night.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ooh me legs...

Well Friday's run killed my legs totally, they seized up big time over the weekend. Mainly the VMO muscles on both knees, everything else was not too bad, it was a hard workout for them it would seem.

This morning they have pretty much come back to me so I rode into work to spin them out. They felt a little heavy but Friday's run was quite a big effort I suppose, I hadn't done any run longer than 7 miles since the marathon.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Kentmere Horseshoe

I had planned to do this walk last year but never did it. The mountain forecast for Friday was sunny, clear and warm. That forecast and a route coupled with easy navigation meant I was happy tackling the route on my own. In fact I decided to try running some of it if I could, this meant a bit of thought about what to take as sunny day or not I needed some layers and food.

My normal running sack would be too small with two litres of water in and my walking one too big and bulky so I settled on my old Salomon sack which is used as a commuting bag these days. I know it doesn't really tighten up enough and it was still a little big but it was worth a go. (My cat is drawing me daggers as he has just been shooed out of an irresistible open bag):

So I had two litres of water, my featherlite jacket and longs, a gilet, my very thin running gloves, a buff, jelly babies, gels, a couple of bars in case I really needed extra food, phone, compass, map (which I tried hard to leave), Garmin, camera etc. The bag was definitely too big, the other too small without ramming it full and making it uncomfortable to wear.

Earlyish start to get to Kentmere, a couple of free spaces next to the Institute but pretty full there by the time I got there. A couple of MTBers headed off somewhere but everyone else around headed off up the Garburn Pass. I wondered how I would get on with it this time as it was another warm day.

Bottom section fine if steeper and looser than I remember it. I ran most of it, stopped briefly to dip my buff in the stream before putting it back on my head which was nice. The gates were closed and stopping to open them made for natural breather points which helped. I had to walk when it steepened up on one of the switchbacks and when the track changed to embedded rocks as it was hard to keep a smooth stride. I was quite happy with that and as I had a long way to go didn't think it was sensible to be pasting myself on the first climb of the day.

The bag was annoying me a bit as I couldn't get it to sit comfortably, swishing around a lot and as it was too big for what I was carrying all the weight was at the bottom. Wasn't a show stopper though.

I have hurtled down this track several times on an MTB at a fair old barely in control clip, a couple of times on that climb I did wonder what the hell I was thinking as it was so loose and rocky but when I looked back down it strangely didn't look as bad ? I ran over the top and a walker held the gate open for me, noooo. He did say "I bet you wanted to stop" and I nodded.

I deviated from my original plan to take the main path and took a much more interesting grassy track up towards Yoke instead. A bit of bog hopping to liven it up then it was back onto the main motorway track towards the summit. It was very warm, I kept running until it got uncomfortable (rather than until I almost died) then changed to a fast walk for the rest of the climb.

At the top I made a point to look around, have some jelly babies or a gel and have a drink. This was the plan for every summit to keep fuelling ticking along. As it was a horseshoe I could see exactly how far I had to go. It was a nice view back to Windermere. Unfortunately the "improved" paths are a bit of an abomination.

I resisted the temptation to go really hard down the other side, I really needed to spare my legs as much as possible. I ended up doing a lot of effectively jumping in the air in an attempt to take it easy but not brake too much with my legs. Not sure how successful it was but it was fun, beats trying to walk down that's for sure.

Next stop Ill Bell summit followed by the steepest and most interesting descent of the day. Lots of loose stuff which would be best slightly wet but lots of big slabs/rocks that were best as dry as they were. I was sensible here as a fall would have been nasty, even the slow jog I was doing was better than trying to do a controlled walk.

Next summits visited on the Kentmere motorway were Froswick and Thornthwaite, with a whopping huge cairn on it. Next stop High Street, the highest point on the route. Onto the bridleway for a bit then off onto a more forgiving grassy track as the bridleway doesn't actually visit High Street summit. This is a side of the Lakes I've never really seen before, the visibility was so good, such a rare thing when I visit the Lakes.

Back onto the main track again towards Mardale Ill Bell and Nan Bield Pass. My feet were hurting a bit here, stepped on a few sharp rocks which had me convinced my shoes are on the way out then I told myself to HTFU! I remembered to look behind from whence I had came, the tops on the western side:

The eastern side was much rounder and grassier. It was easy running over towards Mardale Ill Bell, the views to Haweswater really opening up and I stopped quite a few times to look at them. As I said above I've never really seen this side of the Lakes. This pair kept moving into shot and just looked at me when I shooed them:

From there down to Nan Bield Pass on some huge rocks they have stuck in for a path, bet they are fun when its wet. This was my "get out" option, I could take the bridleway down from here if I was to tired to contemplate any more up. As I'd gone round that far I might as well carry on and it would still take a good while to get to the car anyway.

The drop to Nan Bield is quite deceptive, a lot of height is lost which meant a good climb up to Harter Fell, runnable even by me at first but soon steep and twisty so more fast walking. The walking had been going well, the gym work is starting to pay off because my knees felt very stable on step ups, in the past they can wobble when tired.

My bag was annoying me, it had lost ome bulk due to drinking some water and the shoulder straps kept loosening off. I realised the waist band and the end of the shoulder strap were coming into contact as I had to tighten everything up so much. The waist band was managing to loosen the shoulder strap off.

After a good fuel break on Harter Fell it was off towards Kentmere Pike on some nice grassy path, no motorway over here it would seem. I really enjoyed the run, though I could tell my legs were starting to hurt as I tried to avoid hard track as much as possible.

Over Kentmere Pike, a very large jelly baby break as I bribe my legs into making the long descent back to the car. The route was planned to head towards the track at Stile End rather than the more direct route, thought it would spare tired legs a bit. I'm not sure if that is true and I found myself heading towards the more obvious track towards Withered How. I yomped over some tussocks to correct this and got back on track.

Final stretch of descent to the Stile End track was interesting, a bit of scrambling down before arriving at the track. I had a seat at a nice flat rock and shook my legs out a bit. The original plan was to head down Stile End and pick up the road back to Kentmere which would be fine walking but I didn't fancy running on tarmac much so was eyeing up the grassy footpath off to my left. A map check showed it would get me down so I thought I would take that one.

I'd run out of water on Kentmere Pike and I was in need of a good feed as my mental faculties were going slightly. I took my Garmin off briefly then put it on the wrong way, display upside down (and didn't notice for a while). There was a sign on the gate that said "Grazing Livestock" which I misread as "Blazing Livers", it was faded but even so. Time to get to Wilf's!

The grassy track started well but then got quite contoury and boggy so a few slips to challenge the ankles. I saw a deer bounding up the hill and stopped to watch it thinking aww. Then I thought it was a bit of random place to see a deer. Into the next field with lots of cows and calves and I notice the colour of some of the calves....not a deer then, d'oh. One of the big cows started trotting behind me, which was worrying. I wasn't near any calves. I was almost out of the field when I came across a large group of cows and calves lying around the track between me and the gate.

As one of the big 'uns started moving as if to get up I thought better of running between them all and gave them a wide berth, in a bog, they didn't move. I got to the gate to see a woman walking up with a dog, so I gave her a warning about the cows and calves. Dog was on a lead but a little excitable. The track steepened up for the last bit which hurt. Through Kentmere onto another steep footpath down to the road.

I walked back to the car from there before heading to Wilf's for a good feed.

I was out in total for about 4:20, my Garmin had about 2:59 as moving time but I know it stopped recording on some of the climby bits so something over 3 hours and 13.45 miles according to Bike Hike. So much for short runs and I need another running sack, about 12 litres in capacity.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A lunchtime run to the beach for an ice cream

Wanted to cycle in today but I have a chiro appointment at 6pm so I would never have enough time. I want to run tomorrow but felt like doing something today and decided on an easy run.

Sun was out and it was very warm setting off, when I got to the beach it was heaving around the prom so I ran on the sand facing the breeze. It was a bit of an adventure course trying not to fall down dug holes, trip over sandcastles and get hit by the myriad of balls flying around but it was great to see so many people out having fun.

After passing loads of people eating ice cream I decided it was only fair I had one and had luckily been to the cashpoint on the way. I nipped to one of the kiosks near the pier then I sat on the beach for ages eating ice cream and wishing I had a bucket and spade to play with like all the kids. There was something really satisfying about briefly escaping work to sit on the beach and eat ice cream.

The run back wasn't too bad either, thought I'd feel sick but no. Five, sunshiney and ice cream flavoured easy miles.

The puddles of doom are breeding

Originally uploaded by julie.lundrigan.t21

Why when my front wheel drops into stuff like that do I go over the handlebars????? That is going to be fun to negotiate in the dark and wet of winter, at least we normally climb it so won't be travelling fast.

There used to only be one real PoD on this ride, there are now at least four.

On last nights ride I'd taken the slightly drier line to the right but still almost came off as what I thought was a grassy bank was just some grass hiding a ditch. The stench from the bog was foul.

A good short evening spin, just Ed and I out which made sure I didn't dawdle, quite enjoyed pushing hard up a climb to see if I could make my head spin.

Back etc ok, I was early and spent a while riding up and down setting saddle height etc to be good for both legs, noticed my left leg wants to splay out slightly if I don't concentrate on it, could do with my foot moving in a bit perhaps.

An investigation of the cleats revealed (when I scraped all the mud out anyway) some room for maneouvre. Unfortunately bolts are quite stuck and I stopped trying to adjust it before I completely rounded them off. Will scoosh some WD40 around the bolts to see if it helps, I did grease them before I put them in.

The long motorwayed drag up/down to the tower was fun to fly down and is slowly but surely getting some character (i.e. erosion), this winter will liven it up again.

After getting my eyeballs rattled out on the descent to Tockholes I need to make time to check the settings on my forks and possibly get them serviced, to be fair they are definitely due one.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Inov8 Mudclaw 330's

I was given a pair of them for my birthday way back in March but shamefully they have never been allowed out due to me not running offroad much during mara training. On Monday night I decided it was time to remedy that and go find some mud to cover them in.

As I have heard various stories of people not getting on with Inov8's I was originally only going to do a short low level run but after a frustrating day at work I decided running up a windswept hill was in order. So off to Abbey Village with plans to run up to Great Hill, down to the road on what should hopefully be a pretty muddy descent then back to Abbey Village, taking in one of my least favourite tracks to run down but I'd worry about that later. So 7 milesish.

Up past the sawmill on what is usually a reliably boggy field to find it surprisingly bone dry, ah well. It was quite dry until heading across towards Brinscall where I found some proper bog, enough to almost suck the right shoe off. Even though I always think my laces are tight when I set off I always have to tighten them up after a while.

Up the hard pack path to the top of Great Hill where they were squirming a bit, not surprisingly. The wind was really strong and in my face but it was quite invigorating after being on a PC all day. Up onto the top and I could feel a little hotspot on my right heel. My sock was bunched up in the shoe so I pulled it out and straightened it, hopefully it was that that was causing it.

Down towards the Belmont road and some proper stodge. They were pretty confidence inspiring though the thick stodge though this descent was still really quite dry compared to what its like in the winter. They felt a lot better than the Mizuno's. After that it was down Mill Lane which I always pick my way down slowly but I actually ran it the best I ever have. Not sure it was anything to do with the shoes as I certainly had a few slips on the greasy rocks but my head seemed to be up for it. Then a couple of miles down through the woods and back to the car.

I really enjoyed myself, all cobwebs blown away. I have a pair of respectably muddy shoes and a little blister on my right heel, fingers crossed it was the sock as these should be excellent in the winter.

Glentress Red

I headed up to Scotland for a family/friends visit last Thursday. I took my On One (as Titus not rebuilt) and my road bike on the chance that I could get some time riding. I knew my best chance was to get to GT on Thursday on the way up though.

I calculated that if I was away by 4pm, 3 hours to get there and get riding by 7:15 I should have enough time for a couple of hours with the extra Scottish daylight. I didn't leave work until 4:40, d'oh. As it was such a nice evening I still headed over there seemingly forgetting its still a long way from Moffat over to Peebles once off the M74.

I think I started riding at about 7:45, oops needed not to faff then did precisely that all the way up to Spooky Wood! Partly I had lowered my saddle quite a bit to see it it made any difference to my left piriformis (for it is that that was causing the problems in Switzerland) but that just made for hard work pedalling and seemed to aggravate it more? It ended up back up to a more normal height for the climb.

I had my Shuffle with me but was quite frankly dawdling and feeling a little drained, I almost came to a standstill on one of the switchbacks I was so dozy, I was also singing at one point though I don't think any one heard me. There were still quite a few people out and about in there. A bit of a foodstop at the top of the Spooky Wood climb, such a nice evening. Along to Spooky Wood and had great fun on the berms and I only got badly buckaroo'd on one tabletop (I can't/won't jump).

It was a little gloomy in the trees as I worked my way down. I decided against the Pie Run shortcut as I'd done that last time. The tree cover seems to get more dense towards the bottom and I ended up putting my saddle down a bit because I couldn't make out trail detail very well in the rapidly fading light and it gave me a chance to throw my weight back when I hit something.

The very last section before the car park was very black, sometimes I really couldn't see anything and just had to hope as I fell into dips and bounced off roots. It was still excellent fun if a little silly.

As I rolled back into the car park the light had seriously faded and the moon was up properly. I hurried to pack the car up as I had about a 35-40 minute drive to get to my folks. I finally rocked up there at 10:30 pm to a worried mother (sorry mum).

As it turned out I didn't get the chance to get out for any more riding so I was so pleased I had made the effort to go.