Monday, 30 November 2015

Oxford and a charity cycle ride

30th November 2015
After my lovely coastal run last Monday we had a couple of days in Oxford at the Travel Lodge at the Pear Tree exchange, great place to stay, cheap[voucher codes] and next to the park and ride so we can use our bus pass!!  We spent the time looking at the Bodlian, Ashmolian and generally absorbing the atmosphere of Oxford, even though it didn’t seem very Christmassy! Lunch and dinner courtesy of Green and whatsit in the Wig and Pen and the JD Weatherspoon Four Candles, lovely Thursday evening curry, we even managed a matinee of ‘Lady who lived in a van’ which was very good, well written by Alan Bennett, I liked the way he played two of himself! And talked about talking to oneself whilst writing, bit like writing a blog!
We also managed to get a look at Burford and the Burford Garden Centre which was lovely, very Cotswold like in buildings and the Garden centre very nice and Christmassy, but very expensive. The journey home was not pleasant getting stuck in traffic near to Stonehenge on the A303 with the ‘Londoners’ all heading west on Friday afternoon, to their  second homes I have no doubt .
 Saturday I managed a good road run around town with 9 miles completed, in what turned out to be the best weather of the weekend as the wind picked up, with the rain and it got worse, especially for the charity cycle ride on the Sunday, 25 brave souls turned out to support Spinal Research, most to do the 35 mile route, very, very windy and drizzle in the air as we set off uphill into the head wind, we soon split up and the first hill of the day Stoopers Hill out of Combe St Nicholas with a 15% gradient a sign of things to come! The lanes were very dirty making the downhill sections quite slippery and the uphills hard work, we eventually emerged after much up and down round Howley and Stockland out on the Membury to Axminster road to be greeted with hot coffee and cake by the organisers, mind, they seemed to have picked the windiest spot! On to Axminster and then following the road to Chard before turning uphill once more to Wndwhistle hill, very appropriate today and the descent from the summit down the A30 was a challenge, staying upright and pedalling hard to keep moving downhill, there had been constant drizzle all day, not enough to put a waterproof on but enough to be annoying, I had been on my own for the last 20 or so miles and I soon negotiated the lanes round Chaffcombe before  heading back to the finish at Tesco car park, cake and coffee again before heading home for lunch, a very hard route with over 4000ft of climbing, I clocked 36 miles the conditions were dreadful and I was glad to get in the shower and recover after with a nice warming bowl of soup. It was after the event I realised I had developed a sniffle! Start of a cold!!!!

Today [Monday] I was determined to get a short run in and did 4.9 miles before deciding I had had enough, the wind and rain once again, making it a miserable grey day. My cold doesn’t seem too bad, I hope it doesn’t develop further. Forecast for the rest of the week is still very poor so don’t think cycling is on the agenda, I haven’t cleaned my bike from Sunday yet! But, maybe I can get a run or two in. This along with Spinning and my Kettlebells should keep me ticking along with fitness before I have to think about the Grizzly in March next year.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Twins and a nice run

24th November 2015
After a week of wet, windy and dismal weather in which I managed to get out cycling twice for 30 miles+ and a 7 mile run the temperature plunged at the weekend, just in time as we were going to see our grandchildren, twin boys[TW]  and granddaughter [GD]. I even managed to mow the front and back lawns on the Friday, taking advantage of the petrol mower my son had given me, the petrol ran out just as I was finishing the last cut, so there is an unfinished stripe! But it all looks tidier, even vacuuming the leaves up at the same time.
It was a beautiful morning drive up the M5 but somewhat busy even for a Saturday morning, there seemed to be a lot of ‘rubbish’ drivers who either stayed in the middle lane even though there was nothing for them to overtake or drivers who decided to pull out in front of you without signalling  , making you take avoiding action, I am always amazes how there aren’t more accidents, this included a coach who pulled out at short notice without need and without signalling, so called ‘professional drivers’ !!!! rant over!
We had a lovely time visiting Barnwood Park in the sunshine, even if it was very cold with the stiff northerly breeze, the ducks and squirrels were keen on the nuts and seed GD had brought for them, not so in summer , when they couldn’t be bothered. The weekend ended all too soon, the TW are growing fast and can now recognise things, respond to movement etc. GD can now form letters, is ace on the ipad and has a very good imagination when we play at buses! Not bad at 3 years old.
Monday the weather stayed bright and as Mrs IanB was off to Yoga I decided to have a trip to Beer Head for a run. It was a beautiful morning, clear blue skies and chilly, but not too cold, but I did need hat and gloves to start with.
I was the only one in the car park as I lined the camper up for a nice view for coffee on my return.
Watch set I was off, a steady jog up to the old coast guard station on Beer Head, fabulous views spread out, the bay at Seaton looking very continental in the distance, the Isle of Portland was also clear today some 40 – 50 miles away. Strangely there were no dog walkers this morning, I headed over the top before descending to the pretty village of Branscombe, a steep descent, muddy and slippery in places, before a steep climb out of the valley up the other side to follow the coast path, I had to walk in places, but felt good, not sure whether it was psychological or not that kettlebells  had helped ! on to the Fountains Inn, following a nice path down through the woods that are covered in wild garlic in spring along with blue bells. I had not seen anyone since leaving the car, that’s 5miles! Down through the village back through Branscombe before picking up the undercliff path back to Beer Head, here I met a group [4] walking along, they were surprised to see me running as I passed them, not quite sure that they were all younger than me!!! It was a lovely run along the singletrack to the bottom of the ‘stair way to Heaven’, memories flooded back on the 4 times I have climbed this on the Grizzly Cub run and will of course run it again next March on the big Grizzly.
It didn’t seem a bad climb and didn’t feel too bad at the top, I stopped half way to admire the view back towards Sidmouth, again remembering the time in April when I ran the 22 miles from Exmouth to Seaton, a hard route that I would like to do again. After the top of the St to H it was an easy mile run back to the carpark, mid-morning walkers now appearing with big coats, hats and gloves, but! No dogs, very strange! Back at the van it was 6.8 miles in an hour and 21 minutes pleased with that as it was a pleasant run and I felt good on finishing. A towel down and change of clothes [advantages of a van] before a nice mug of coffee and a maple syrup cereal bar listening to some nice music and gazing over the bay at Seaton and beyond, life couldn’t get much better!!

The weekend ahead gives me a number of options, a charity 35 mile cycle ride with the Gym I attend, a 100k Audax over Exeter way or the 10mile Bicton Blister multi terrain run, shame they are all on the same day as I would like to do them all we will see the weather  nearer the day.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

herepath half video

The person who videod this came 33rd in 1hr 50mins as opposed to my 100 th in 2hrs 16mins
Shows a good view of the route

Friday, 13 November 2015

Wet and windy and a milestone passed

After my first kettlebells session last Wednesday I was surprised my arms didn’t ache, instead it was my ham strings the day after the day after!
Saturday dawned very wet and windy with the promise of better weather in the afternoon, it was the Christmas fair at Killerton House National Trust property near Exeter so we decided to go and have a look. There were lots of stalls, but nothing to tempt us! The gardens however looked very splendid in their autumn colours and by the time we got there the wind and rain had gone through and we were left with a bright sunny day.
Sunday I managed to get out with Mike for a 40 mile loop round Muchelney, starting off in reasonable weather but having to put coats on 5 miles from home, the roads were very muddy in places, Mike did struggle near the end and used a gel to get him over the final hills, lack of outings were telling on him.
I also heard that my friend Dave had had an accident  - apparently coming round a corner to be met by a rope over the road which I suspect was put there whilst the cows crossed the road, there was no warning and poor Dave came a cropper, falling heavily, putting him off his bike for a few weeks. Farmers round here have a habit of doing this and there are no warning signs or anyone supervising making it quite dangerous, good luck to Dave should he pursue the matter!!
Monday I decided I needed a longer run, the weather was good so no excuses, a nice 9 miles round the town and a little off road round the local reservoir path. My hamstrings had just about recovered, it is still very mild weather. Tuesday was a spinning session, always hard.
Wednesday Mrs IanB had to work so I managed a cycle ride, 28 miles this time through North Curry, again nice weather to start and then almost a the same spot as Sundays ride the heavens opened, I coated up! But still got very wet in the last few miles home. Wednesday also saw me back at Kettlebells, I enjoyed the session and ‘touch wood’ don’t seem too bad with aches from the session, although it was harder than the previous week, with the normal Instructor Liz. I think I need to get the techniques correct to make sure I get the best from it and also lessen the chance of injury.
Thursday was a milestone, I had been invited down to the surgery for an annual Flu injection, something apparently is offered to people my age! I must be on the radar at present after the invite to check my heart several weeks ago. I also received an invite to apply for my pension, so I went on line to register, but! The website wouldn’t let me so I phoned instead, and the woman on the other end was very nice taking my details and even talking about Bikeability etc. whilst she checked my details. I now know what and when I get my first pension payments next March.
I celebrated by going to my spinning session in the evening, a good session tonight, last week I seemed unable to get my heart rate up, but tonight we did climbs and then rests I was pleased to see my efforts on the 4 minute climbs at 85% dropping to 70% in the recovery minute, so pleased with that.

No after effects of the flu jab yet! Got a run planned with R up the lane later another club outing! For BLRCC.

Should give me 66 miles cycled and at least 15 miles running this week, my target for the winter weeks + of course my spinning and kettle bells sessions.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

A quiet week, a birthday and a visit from Grand Children


Mileage for October was good with 91 miles run and 122.5 miles cycled compared with last October when I ran 59 miles and cycled 118 miles I am also looking to exceed my running and cycling annual mileage which if I remember without looking it up was 500 running and 3000 cycling, with 2 months left I hope to beat that this year. Two successful running events last month the Stumble and the Herepath gave me a real target, my next target is the Long Grizzly 20 miles+ at the beginning of next March, so must try to keep some fitness through the winter and then build up from the new year, I expect it will soon be here!!!

Last week saw Mrs IanB celebrating another birthday and we had a lovely day out with our daughter in the city of Bath, the weather was really nice too which helped. Bath was very busy with tourists being half term, We had a booked a table at ‘Jamies’ for lunch so no scrabbling about finding somewhere to eat, a pleasant lunch in a very busy [and expensive] restaurant. I did manage to do a couple of 5 mile runs, but no cycling as each time I wanted to go out it seemed to tip it down!! I also did a Bikeability course at the school I volunteer to read at.

Saturday we had to re-arrange the house for the grand children to visit for the weekend and it was lovely to see them. The twins now gaining weight and being much more alert. It was even more pleasurable as my other son and his wife and of course Bramble the dog managed to get across for an evening meal of Lasagne etc. more gifts for Mrs IanB  for her birthday. Granddaughter [GD] had a lovely time with Bramble the brown Labrador. The twins were on form and managed to take it in turns to eat,sleep,wake,eat,sleep,wake……..! etc so gave us plenty of work to do.

Sunday was a visit to Seaton for a stroll along the front, the logistics of getting the twins and GD ready with all the kit needed for two, two month old babies and a three year old was enormous, but we made it and had a lovely walk on a warm but muggy morning, GD managed fish fingers and chips along with a chocolate ice cream cone. It was sad to wave them off in the afternoon.

Monday [2nd Nov]

I was determined to get out cycling or running today, as a few days of cake and fine eating was starting to show in my morning scales weigh! 7.3 miles run on a warm and muggy morning at a good pace 9.18 mins/mile. Tuesday another spinning session and the weather now seems to have settled into an unsettled period with regular heavy showers, long cycle rides seem out of the question [or am I a wimp!!].

Wednesday [4th] was a wet morning and we had a trip out down to Bridport and its local market, Bridport is the town where ‘Broadchurch’ was filmed, down by West Bay. We parked at Morrisons and walked in after coffee [and a dough nut!] long time since we have been to Bridport, now fast becoming ‘Battersea on Sea’ with incomers from the capital, certainly this is noticeable in the shops now available but not as bad as Lyme Regis !!! A very calorie laden lunch [970 Kcals] with a Wetherspoons small veggie breakfast had us both with ‘heavy tums’ to walk back to the car, but excellent value at £2.99 each! But I did manage to get out in the late afternoon for a pleasant cycle ride round the lanes of Hatch Beauchamp 26.9 miles covered, very warm and the roads were very dirty with tractors coming out of the fields, the leaves on the trees were fabulous now the beech trees are all turning.

Wednesday evening saw me attending my first ‘Kettlebells’ session, I decided  my spinning sessions were great for cardio but needed something to build up my muscles a little. I followed the instructor [who also takes the spinning class] and was fine until we got near the end when we had to lay on the floor and do sit ups with the Kettlebell above our heads, I found this really hard, and perhaps need to practice sit ups at home [urggh!]  a good session that should help and they do say that ‘older people’ should do some weight sessions, it was also good as Mrs IanB attends Pilates at the same time, so an evening out for us!!!

Weather forecast for next few days is poor with heavy rain showers so not sure I can get out and get a few miles in.