Monday, 29 September 2014

A quiet week

Monday 29th September

Last week was a write off for any outdoors stuff, my nasty cold saw to that and with 3 days Road Safety keeping me busy.

BUT! come the weekend .............

After a great Saturday with our grand daughter, sons and their families, down in Wimborne on a gloriously warm September day. Sunday I decided my cold had subsided enough to get out.

I over did it! 48 Miles across the levels at a good 15mph average. After 35 miles I felt very tired and it was very hard for the last miles. Jelly beans were my saviour. I had been going well and surprised myself. I think the last 3 hills before home are always a challenge, just more so this time. The weather was again excellent, and there was no wind !

Last night I also put my entry in for the Grizzly Cub run which is next March - they now do entry by lottery!!! because of over subscription, I have done it 3 out of the last 4 years, last year I didn't get in with the new entry system, we will see how we get on. The Cub Run is only 9 miles over a tough coastal off road run following much of the Grizzly route, the Grizzly itself is over 20 miles and a very tough run. Too far for me, but the Cub gives something to aim for in March next spring.

After a morning shop for shoes for Mrs B and a visit to B&Q for a new security light in Exeter this morning, I decided I needed to start my build up to the Exmoor run in 3 weeks, so did my Neroche woods run this afternoon, very warm so shorts and short sleeve T again. managed to do a comfortable 6.02 miles keeping my HR down to 139 average, the trails were very dry and very hard underfoot I was  quite pleased as I have not run for 2 weeks and had a hard ride yesterday. Will cycle tomorrow, with a short round town run on Wednesday. I have decided I need to pick up my pace on the short town runs as I find running fast quite difficult, must try to get in some hills as well. BUT! I don't want to do 'real training' the Exmoor 'Stumble' is 7 miles of moorland and woods basically 4 miles up and 3 miles down. I need to beat last years time of 1:13 but! I did come 3rd in the over 60 category!!

On my Blog list I have been looking at Sharkeys Dream

The photos of his Langdale walk were stunning, makes me feel I need to get out into the mountains again, not been since the spring!!! must check my diary for next couple of months!!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Colds urrgh!!!

Friday 26th September

Still struggling with the heavy cold, now turned into a cough, no running this week :( cold seems to have restarted with sneezing again this morning. 
Perhaps another day out with Bikeability will help, but I doubt it. I will also struggle now to get fit enough for the Exmoor Stumble in a couple of weeks as its now nearly 2 weeks without a run.
Not very happy today.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Nice weather, nice cycling and then!!  Atishoo!!  
Tuesday 23rd September
Got a really good start to the week last week with  3 cycle rides and a good run, then it went downhill when my throat was sore, legs ache etc!!! the dreaded common cold!!
I did a good 32 mile cycle ride in the week, 45 mile cycle ride on Saturday where seemed to be particularly strongly  and another 39 miles on the Sunday, 116 miles along with a record 6 mile time for my Neroche run last Monday.
The weather has been particularly warm with nice sunshine, yesterday [Monday] I was at a school in Bridgwater doing some road safety training with children as part of the Hinkley Point project with EDF in preparation for the heavy traffic for the new Nuclear Power station. It was very hot out on the roads. The children responded well. The weather was in contrast to my Bikeability course last Friday where we got very wet in the morning, fortunately it was warm and the children coped with conditions very well.

With the Stumble 7 miles run only a short time away I need to get out and run, sadly I have not run now for over a week. I always seem to suffer badly when I get a cold, I am reluctant to run or cycle seriously in case I make it worse. Hopefully I might get out again on Thursday. Having Bikeability again on Thursday and Friday will give me an outing, especially if I can cycle across a few miles.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

A trip to Norfolk and badgers at the window!

Two weeks from September 1st

It took me several days to recover from the ‘Beast run’ I was still disappointed with my time for the race, but I did manage two 3.1 mile runs round the town in the week, one at quite a fast pace 9.02 min miles. I have entered the Minehead Exmoor Stumble in October, I need to keep up the miles with more hills as the event is an up and down race.
That week I also managed a great day out with the Blackmore Vale CTC group, I met them at Mapperton Gardens for coffee and cake after a 15 mile ride down through Beaminster on a very misty morning, I did put my rear light on to ensure I was seen!!. The tea and coffee and walnut cake  went down well, the sun now putting in an appearance, burning off the mist, very nice tea gardens and well worth a visit. From there we made our way through the lanes to Axminster taking in Melplash, Salway Ash before several very steep hills around the great named villages of Whitchurch Canonicorum, and Wooten Fitzpaine these hills showed up on my Garmin as 18%. We picked up Cookes Lane that led us into Axminster where we had a very pleasant lunch in the ‘Arts Café’ garden.
The group the headed back towards Chard via Chardstock and a very ‘lumpy’ route back to Yeovil, I said goodbye at Chard to make my way home, I did 45 miles but the group did 65 miles, and many feet of climbing. A really good ride in great weather, really good views across Dorset on the quiet back roads.

Sunday the 7th saw us driving across the country to Norfolk for a few days away in the van. It is an area I had not visited before so we knew nothing of the area. We arrived in Cromer after a 300 mile 7 hour drive at the ‘Incleboro Fields’  caravan club site, it was very, very busy and we did struggle to find a decent pitch, and finally pitched in the trees, not the best of pitches but we decided we would look for a better pitch in the morning.
After finding a new pitch the next morning, more in the open, and  more level, we walked the couple of miles into Cromer, through the pretty village of East Runton,  with its typical Norfolk cottages, the front at Cromer with its pier was a wonderful example of a holiday resort, there were plenty of people around, enjoying a late break. We were able to climb the tower of Cromer Parish church 50 metres above the town, a very steep stone stair case with restricted passing places led to the top, providing stunning views of Cromer and the surrounding area, well worth the £1.50 entrance fee. The sunshine was warm, but a chill easterly breeze kept the temperature down.

View north from the church tower over Cromer

View South from the church tower over Cromer 

We spent the other days visiting Sheringham, Wells next the Sea, Great Yarmouth with its huge ‘fun parks’. We managed to catch the train from the West Runton, next to the campsite to Norwich, a very pleasant trip showing the best of the Norfolk countryside, the Broads, and showing its not quite as flat as I imagined. It was good to see the fields full of crops, compared to the fields around our home county, which are given over to raising cattle.
The site was a well laid out site on different levels,  with toilet blocks for each, spotlessly clean, the van was very comfortable and warm.
The four day trip passed all too quickly, and Thursday saw us driving back across country, calling at the ‘Shopping village at Bicester’ where there were crowds of people buying from the expensive designer outlets.
No running whilst away, even though I took my kit I decided to be lazy and give myself a rest.
We continued our ‘mini break’ with a usual run down to Sidmouth on the Friday, with a visit to the ‘White Horse café’, noticeably the wind was warmer and sitting on the beach with our coffee was very warm in the Autumn sunshine. Friday also saw me getting a few miles in [30 miles] on my bike.

Another first on Saturday was the visit by badgers in the evening  to our French window doors, eating cake we put out earlier. We had long seen evidence of badgers on the garden where they had foraged for worms and bugs by digging up my lawn [joining the squirrels] I put out a few peanuts and turned on the outside lights in case they returned, they did, two this time hoovering up the nuts I had put out, beautiful creatures so close.

Sunday the 14th September
A ‘Peleton’ of 4 set off on a circular  ride starting with the alpine like climb up through Yarcombe on a misty, damp, but warm morning. We met the A303 which for a Sunday was quite busy, before branching off towards Farway and the quieter lanes, it was nice riding along the ridge, good road surface gave us a chance to set a good pace. Great views either side of the ridge. We soon hit the A3052 and turned towards Beer/Seaton before turning to Colyton past Morgan Hayes caravan site. A really long descent took us down to Colyton, and chance for a snack whilst looking in Soans cycles shop window. Colyton is a busy little place with nice cottages etc. We were soon climbing the 15% hill to get over to Whitford, Andy struggled a little having not ridden for a while, at least he had gears this time, he normally rides single speed. The sun continued to try to break through the clouds without success, giving us a continuing dull but warm ride.
After Whitford we followed the River Axe for a short time before another 15% short sharp hill up to Kilmington and the busy A35 to Axminster. Up through Axminster, fighting with the traffic through the town before dropping down to Weycroft mill and a left turn through Smallridge and All Saints, we were glad to leave the traffic behind. A rolling route round the pleasant, but narrow lanes led us to a steep downhill with some large potholes, before the final steep last climb of the day up to Chardstock, another 15%+ climb. The lanes back through Hook and Burridge were quite, grass growing in the middle gives some idea of usage, open gates with newly mown hay or cereal crops were much in evidence.  Before finally getting to Chard, much to the relief of Andy – 39 miles covered with 3000ft of climbing, and over 2500 calories used.  A fantastic ride over some lovely countryside and through narrow lanes, mostly with good surfaces. Some good climbs that were not to challenging [except for Andy]. The sun finally came out when free wheeling back down the lane to home. Mrs B had been busy making some nice tomato and lentil soup and cheese muffins for lunch. The fine weather continues! great if it went on till the end of the month.
Back to Bikeability this week after the summer break, I think its forecast to rain on both days!!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Race day - the Beast 13 miles of off road running on the Dorset coast

Monday 1st September

The ‘Beast’ event.

 The run route
 View from the camp, Corfe Castle in the distance, Swanage Railway at the front
 My Van
 Close view of the castle near the start

I camped overnight just outside Corfe Castle, at the ‘Down Hayes campsite’ lovely level terraced pitches with great views, but! The facilities were lacking, the usual typical British campsite, the ‘facilities’ were inadequate for the numbers, and based in a converted ‘shed/barn’, maybe I have been spoilt by the French sites and the Caravan club sites, sadly, many people seem prepared to accept these poor standards, when I read reviews only one mentioned poor facilities!
However, it was a very quiet night and I was up very early, prepared my breakfast, and got my kit ready, the weather looked good, clear blue skies.
I drove down the road to the event car park and was the first one in the car park! so, ended up down the furthest end from the entrance, it’s a good job the fields were dry.
Time went quickly chatting to the van parked next to me and to my friend Ali from the Dorset Doddlers, the weather was warming up and by the time we were lined up on Corfe Common the sun was gaining strength.

We were off, over 430 runners, heading across the common, taking a few minutes before we were actually running. It was a rolling hilly start before hitting the first stile where we were held up for a good few minutes, several of these clearly impacted on my finish time. I was already feeling the heat!!
The first hill up to the B3069 was much single track, rocky and overgrown, we ascended in single file, much walking as slower runners blocked any overtaking. A drink station at the top was welcome, I was determined to drink as much as possible, even though I was carrying 500 ml of ISO drink. It was a lovely descent down through a valley before another stile, a chance to recover a little and a few more minutes wasted, it was then a climb up to Worth Matravers, it was very hot in the sheltered valley, another descent down to the coast before the hard work began, a sharp right turn took us onto the cliffs, fantastic views opened up, but there was little time to see them and take them in, the path on the cliff edge was very narrow,I had a gel at this time, thinking there was a lot of climbing ahead. We climbed to St Aldhems Head and the coast guard station, clear blue sky, hot sun and fabulous views continuing.
A couple of hundred metres on there was a very steep descent, the guy in front telling me there was 217 steps! Very steep, difficult in a line of runners, after the descent it was a very, very steep up with the equivalent steps, my calves were burning by this time and reduced to a slow walk/jog behind other runners. The heat was really creating a difficult run.
After a pleasant few hundred metres along the cliff, we again descended steeply West Hill before a gradual rise around a nice hill with a good singletrack path and then hitting the concrete track up to Kingsdon, approximately 1.5 miles. I walked/ran a lot of this as it was very hot, I had another gel, not really feeling the effects of the first one. Runners were now more scattered and I was pleased to see I wasn’t the only one walking, I did  run a few minutes and then walk in turn. The summit at Kingsdon was a welcome as I thought it was the last hill, I was wrong!! I was still ok, a little tired, but getting there.
Down through the woods, and then I met problems, climbing over 3 stiles clearly upset my calf muscles, as after the third one I had severe cramp in my right calf, disaster, I lost about 15 places here and another 5mins, even then my running was slower, trying not to aggravate the cramp, by now I had drunk my last ISO drink, I could have done with more! There was only about 2 miles to go, but I was slower and lost more places, it was also up hill over the common, eventually the finish was in site and I was pleased to cross the finish line with 2hrs 31 mins on the clock, a little disappointed, but when I thought about it, the stiles and the cramp cost me about 15 mins.
I collected a drink and my tee, happy to have finished, but very, very tired and very, very hot. It was a really nice route, fantastic views with over 1800ft of climbing.

Results: I came 313th out of 424 finishers the winner did 1 hr 24 mins!!!! The last person was 3h 26mins.

Always next year!!!! it was a great day out and really pleased I did it. A well organised event from Poole Athletic Club
Now to think ahead for the 'Exmoor Stumble' at Minehead and the Dorset 3 Peaks otherwise know as 'the Stickler' I did them both last year so know whats ahead, they are both at the end of October.