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.