Saturday, 30 July 2016

A visit, some cycling some running and some touristy stuff!

As I said in my last post my intention was to cycle on Friday, run on Saturday and cycle again on Sunday, which I did!!! What I havnt said before was that I didn’t do the Devon Delight Audax, unfortunately I couldn’t get my act together in time, I hear it was a good event with good route and weather, always next year.
It was a hot Friday afternoon,  so a leisurely cycle seemed a good idea, unfortunately I picked the only rain cloud within a 20 mile radius to cycle under so encountered a ‘wetting’  but enough to be annoying. 26 miles covered around the levels once again.
Saturday I managed a 5.2 mile run around the town, my Achilles’ tendon still feeling sore, but not too painful and didn’t seem to be getting any worse. It was a nice run under clear blue skies and a setting sun, evening runs are often really pleasant at this time of year be it on a Saturday night!!!
Sunday was looking good, no rain forecast so Mike and I agreed we needed a long ride today, 50 miles + but! A number of events and the weather had other thoughts.
The first event was I punctured my front tyre after about 3 miles, I couldn’t understand what had caused it so spent some time trying to find the cause in the tyre. I only found it was a ‘snake bite’ pinch puncture when mending it when I got home. My pump also decided to give up so had to borrow Mikes, after much messing we were back on our way towards Ilminster, Heading for Stoke Sub Hambdon, part way there I came across an ex work colleague building his own house so we stopped to natter to him, he was keen to pick Mikes brain as Mike is a builder, so more time passed and we had only done 16 miles. Just as we were pulling away and approaching Stoke Sub Hambdon  the skies darkened and the rain came down, so we sheltered under a large tree till it passed over a little, no rain was forecast!!! Neither of us had a jacket so got rather wet, but, it was very warm and the rain evaporated quickly, although the shower made the roads very wet, I had mudguards, Mike didn’t!!
By Martock  the rain had stopped, but as we were passing the centre we spotted an elderly lady slip on some very slippery paving slabs, we stopped to give her a hand, lifting her to her feet and ensuring she was ok before continuing on our ride,[ more time used up] it was good to see she was unhurt, but will be bruised later,  strangely the roads just outside Martock were dry, clearly no rain had fallen here.
By the time we reached the bridge at Muchelney for our snack time was pushing on, the skies were once again darkening. We decided to cut our losses and head home via Hambridge and Hatch Beauchamp rather than an extended ride round through Athelney and North Curry etc.
We were caught once again 5 miles from home with a fine drizzle, which got us wet enough once again to be annoying. but! Again by the time we were two miles from home and eventually home there was no sign of rain, difficult explain to our other halves that we did get soaked!! We still managed 46 miles though, so a decent ride after all and we had been ‘good Samaritans’ Plus I caught up with an old friend. So a good morning out.
Monday I was able to fit in another 26 mile cycle, I used my Gazelle vintage bike, which felt good, I am always surprised to find I don’t need the gears of my Qoroz Titanium bike!! this time without getting wet, perhaps it was because I took my jacket!!!!!
Tuesday saw us playing tourists as we drove the 12 miles down to Lyme Regis [Shepherds Bush on Sea!!!] our daughter had come across for a few days, so it’s nice to get out to local  attractions.

The picture shows the small beach, very busy!!! An expensive coffee and an expensive lunch a pleasant stroll along the famous Cobb and sea front .  Lyme has changed over the years from a small pretty fishing town on a hill with a good shopping area, Woolworths and grocery shops, bread shops etc.  To having Sea salt and Fat Face and Tesco [ where Woolworths was!]  as well as trendy cafes and gift shops, no Woolworths, no grocery shops!!!!
Tuesday  was also a  short slow run day, testing out my calf muscles and Achilles Tendon, only 4 miles covered at a very slow pace, but enough.
Wednesday  I did a shortened off road run up at Neroche Forest, again testing out my injuries, another 4 miles but it all felt OK. It was nice to get off road again, its been a long time since I had been running up at Neroche. We also had a trip out to Trago Mills at Newton Abbot, a very large interesting store with a ‘castle’ theme, complete with wild life and fairground rides and !! a steam train. Always worth a visit. On the way home we called at Darts Farm, the contrast between the haves and the have nots was noticeable!!
Interesting note: my daughter found a large bee on the lawn, looking decidedly weary and not very well at all, she had read somewhere that they need help and the best way is to give them a sugary solution to revive them, so we made up a solution and put it next to the bee, sure enough it started to take in the liquid, you could see it physically taking it in. it soon got up after a short time and flew away!!!! So I learned something today and will do the same again if I find a bee in distress!!!
Thursday we decided on a trip up to Bath, some 45 miles away, even though an early start [8:30] it was very busy on the roads, and we met an unexpected road closure before we got to Radstock, we ended up using a mobile phone Sat Nav to get round it as there didn’t appear any diversion signs.
The Odd Down Park n Ride was very busy, but at least they take our bus passes!!
A pleasant if busy day around Bath, both Mrs Ian B and our daughter went to University in Bath, Mrs Ian B in the 70’s and daughter of Ian B in the noughties!!!! It has changed considerably, [like Lyme] so a good lunch of Vegetarian fish and chips in the Saracens Head Pub [ deep fried Halloumi]
It was just as bad driving home, an hour journey turned into over an hour and a half.
Friday saw me up early [5:30] and driving down to West bay to run part of the Jurassic 10 k route.
The roads were clear on the drive down, and I was parked up by 6:50 am!! By the harbour in west Bay. I kitted up in a brisk but warmish westerly wind, the area was very quiet, the odd dog walker, but as I ran round the harbour to get to the coast path, the tide was in, the smell of fish from the boats and eventually  came to the start of the climbing, up West Cliff, my stride shortened, my breathing increased but I got to the top without walking, On I went passed the large caravan site, it was good to see so many people camped enjoying themselves, I descended down to Eype Mouth, jumping the small stream  before ascending once again up Thorncombe Beacon 155 metres, the second highest peak on the south coast. I admit I did walk a little near the top as it was very steep!!!!

Golden Cap from Thorncombe Beacon

     Looking back towards West Bay from Thorncombe beacon, you can just see the harbour sticking out into the sea.

The views from the top in all directions were fantastic, the sun came out as I topped out, I managed to get a picture of West Bay under the cloud shroud and Golden cap in the sunshine [showing why it’s called Golden Cap] only 5.2 miles covered and 742 ft of acsent.
When I got home [ by 8 am] after a shower and change as the weather was nice we jumped in the van and took coffee down to Seaton for coffee on the front, as we walked over the cliff we came across this moth/butterfly next to the path.

Saturday, Mrs Ian B suggested that we have a trip down to the market at Bridport! And then a visit to West Bay, I think my trip yesterday reminded her! It was a pleasant morning, traffic was busy as we got to the town and made our way to Morrisons to park for free and get coffee before visiting the street market with the stalls selling lots of antiques/second hand/vintage/tat/rubbish !!

A pleasant wander round the town before heading off down the road to West Bay [again] different to yesterday morning, today it was very, very busy!! And we did have trouble parking. We had a picnic lunch on the harbour side in the sunshine, loads of children ‘crabbing’ fishing etc. a good day out and a long time since we had visited Bridport market.

Taken from the harbour side at West Bay. Thorcombe Beacon is the large hill in the distance,[2.5 miles approx]  the race goes up the wide track up West Cliff, you can see and over to Thorncombe Beacon.

The cliffs on the east side of the harbour, the cliffs were made famous by Reggie Perin and recently in Broadchurch. lots of people on the beach today.
When we got home it was still pleasant and feeling keen I put on my trainers for a run. I went round the lanes heading up Snowden Hill [not that Snowdon] 6.72 miles covered pace of 9.53 and 540 ft climbed. It is sometime since I ran over 6 miles and felt quite good, the last mile or so at a fast pace [for me] of 8.22. So a good end to the day.

Sunday [Tomorrow ] will see me out on the bike again and Monday another trip to West Bay for a last run on the Jurassic route before next week end.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Hot and injury

22nd July 2016
After a great ride on Sunday last, when the weather was ‘proper biking weather’ short sleeve jersey and shorts, no need to carry windproof for once, warm and dry and no wind!! Mike and I did our Dunkeswell, Blackdown Hills ride, clocking up 48 miles with a good downhill run to Staple Fitzpaine of 45 mph!
It was a promising start to the week weather wise, hot and dry forcast, so I was up very early on Monday to get a run in early before it got too hot. I was planning a couple of runs in the week and then a practice run down the coast at West Bay for my Jurassic 10k in 2 weeks time.
As I set off for my early morning 5 miler, the weather was just right, cool, clear, the sun just rising and no wind, my right calf felt fine after trouble a couple of weeks ago, but my left calf/Achilles tendon felt a bit tight, I assumed this was just a little early morning stiffness, and continued, by the end of the run, it felt very stiff and sore. I did my stretches, hoping it would ease a little. After breakfast, I was hobbling around!! I did use some ibruprofen gel and  and tried some self-massage. Injury!! Where did that come from?? I did my usual pre run warm ups, bottom kicks, leg swings etc. what I can’t figure out is if it is Achilles trouble or calf strain?
After 5 days, it’s a lot better but feels particularly stiff when I get out of bed, I did wonder if changing shoes has had an effect? This week I have worn my sandals for the first time this year? I am now able to walk without limping, I should have run yesterday or today, but decided to give it an extra day, I will cycle today and perhaps run tomorrow evening, hoping with an off road coast run on Monday, but sadly this is going to affect my plans for my 10k in two weeks. I will make a decision next weekend.

Injury is a strange phenomenon, I have been doing my 5 mile runs a couple of times a week on road for a month or so, with no ill effects, warming up and stretching on finishing, so where do these ills come from?

Meanwhile we had a great day out at Exmouth on Tuesday, the sun shone, and clear blue skies, coffee on the seafront, very windy but very warm, the beaches soon filled up with families, despite it still being term time??
We also this week completed our mission to look after our grandsons, three days a week in Gloucester, a lovely time that has seen them grow and develop from sitting in their chairs to crawling and pulling themselves up, as well as becoming more alert. It was also a time to spend some time with our grand daughter when she came home from Nursery, especially as she starts school in September.
It has meant using our campervan each week, on the ‘Briarsfield’ campsite near Cheltenham, we have seen this site become busier over the last couple of weeks as it becomes a dropping in site for people heading for the South west for their holidays. The van continues to be comfortable and easy to set up and pack up, well insulated against sound and cold, although a couple of nights this week were a challenge when I noticed the temperature in the van was 30 degrees + .

So this week is a ‘see’ week, I will cycle today, run tomorrow, cycle Sunday and then see how I feel on Monday to risk an off road run in preparation for the race! At least the weather looks reasonable for the week.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Nice rides and catch up

7th July 2016
After a good ride on Sunday it was two days before we had to be anywhere for anyone!
It was 5:30 am on Monday, the sun was peeping through the clouds as I pressed my watch to start for an early morning run around the town. Some nice music playing in my ears I jogged down the footpath before turning to run up hill, I could feel that I hadn’t done much hill running lately, there was no wind, it was a lovely morning, short sleeve tee and three quarters tights. I was going well and started a downhill section before some nice flat bits to get the pace up. I was hot but comfortable, and the music giving me a real boost, that along with the lovely morning, peaceful and quiet with no traffic around. BUT! Coming past the recycling I was targeted by a rogue seagull, and felt under attack as it kept swooping down as well as dropping unmentionables! I looked around but wasn’t sure where the young ones were, he was clearly trying to protect. I was pleased to complete that section. I soon finished all my downs and the last couple of miles home is always uphill. I finally arrived home, bit breathless, rather hot, but feeling ok. 5.19 miles at a pace just over 9 minute miles – a really nice run and the first of two I planned for this week.
Monday also saw us visiting our favourite chippy in Sidmouth, the ‘Whitehorse café’ egg, chips and mushy peas  x 2, + 2 mugs of tea,  and change from a ten pound note. It was quite busy down on the coast with the tourist season in flow. Again it was nice to sit and while away time, looking out to sea and along the coast, even though the cloud was very low over the cliffs.
Tuesday the forecast was for a good weather day, M was hairdressing so I was able to spend the morning out cycling. With the forecast so good I opted for short sleeves and arm warmers. I took several snacks, expecting to do around the fifty mile mark.
I headed down to the cycle track once again and left at the bridge as before and headed through Dowlish Wake. I picked up the Roman Road the ‘Fosse way’ an ancient road running from Axmouth on the coast to Lincoln, a straight road!!! It was lovely descending down through Dinnington and the arrow straight road up to Lopen Head where an outstanding Roman Mosaic was discovered a couple of years ago. I went on through Stoke Sub Hambon, a village sitting underneath Ham Hill where much of the local Somerset cottages got the stone for building, turning right towards Martock I did my good cyclist bit and pulled over to let a coach get past, instead of having him on my tail for the next mile, However!! My good deed bit me as I pinch punctured after hitting a small pothole!!
I went on through Muchelney, and Drayton before turning off and the steep descent from the escarpment down to the levels and to Oath and Athelney, a stiff headwind hindered progress, but as I turned up through Athelney this became a tail wind and was much appreciated. I went through Stoke St Gregory and North curry before the zig zag descent down to Knapp and Ham.
As I got to the very busy duelled A358 Taunton Road I took care crossing as traffic was very fast, it was then a couple of miles climb up past Slough Green, a nice steady climb, the temperature was rising, and the sun was now shining, on through Curland and a lovely tail wind assisted ride along to Broadway before the 3 final climbs to reach home.
Over 2500 calories burnt, 48 miles covered at an approx. average of 14.5 mph. A lovely ride, roads relatively quiet given it was a working day, but the roads I use are the quiet back roads.
Wednesday saw us loading the van again for a three day visit to Gloucester, away by 5:30 am, the M5 was still relatively quiet, and the weather was good. Briarfields campsite was very busy, clearly holiday season has started. The twins were as lovely as ever as was grand daughter.

10th July 2016
After our return down the as usual busy M5 on Friday evening [traffic is bonkers past Bristol on a Friday for some reason, so if you are reading this and intend to drive down the M5 past Bristol on a Friday, beware its bonkers!!!] Saturday morning was a pleasant surprise to see a promising day weather wise. M met our daughter in Exeter so I was able to think about how to spend my day, cycling, running or DIY/gardening. No contest, cycle or run, very windy so cycling would be hard. Running? But where? Not been off road for some time, Neroche?,Quantocks? Coast ? perhaps an opportunity to test out the route for the 10k Jurassic coast run at West Bay? Or Beer Head? Not been there since the Grizzly.
I decided to go for Beer, As I drove down to the coast the cloud seemed to be sitting on all the hills and particularly the coast. I expected to be running in a damp but very warm atmosphere, even though it was also windy.
I parked up at Beer Head after struggling to get the ticket machine to accept my two one pound coins! Bum bag, packed, coat, drink, snack, gel and phone.
Door locked and it was away down the path towards Beer Head, it was late morning so the path was busier than I normally encounter, it was also clearly holiday season, I have run here over the winter and not met anyone in the 7 mile run. I set a good pace up to the ex coast guard station on the headland, the cloud was sitting quite low, but not too low to make it damp, I ran the length of the Head, very windy ‘off sea breeze’ and I didn’t see anyone until the gate above Branscombe where I met a large group of ‘older’ people walking group, It felt odd as I was sure I was older than them, and I thought they were surprised to see me, there were some comments that I didn’t quite hear, clearly aimed at me, good comments I am sure.
I descended down the steep hill to Branscombe, it was good to descend on dry grass, good downhill practice, I met a couple of women half way down, and we both commented, mine about not far to the top, theirs lucky thing going down!! I didn’t like to say I would be returning back to the top again later.
Branscombe was quite busy, people sat outside the café with their coffees, the café is normally closed when I go past. Then the steep climb up Branscombe cliffs, still a good pace, nice run along the top, quite overgrown in places with overhanging brambles and nettles. Down to the Fountain Inn to meet the road, the Fountain was one of the highlights of the Grizzly, with the crowds and live music and as we ran through the Beer Garden.
Down the road through the village, tourists dressed with ruc sacs and boots and of course the walking poles. It was a stiff climb up to the Caravan park before the climb up and down on the undercliff to the ‘stair way to heaven’. It was busy along the path and had to stop several times to let people pass, or pass other people, it was very dry today, but very hot and humid as it was sheltered from the wind. I soon reached the SW to H as usual a walk, at the top it was very windy, now just a mile or so back to the car park.
A lovely run today, 6.9 miles and 1200ft of climbing, weather was just right. I felt ok to say it was my first off road run for a couple of months. Only 1 hr 20 mins. A quick change, drink a handful of nuts and I was on my way home for a late lunch to spend the afternoon cleaning the top of the van as the skylight was looking decidedly green!!!
Sunday morning was a disappointment with very low cloud, murcky and damp, but warm!
My right leg calf muscle was quite sore, and pulled a little, it was to be a little tender for the rest of the day.
I was meeting Milke this morning and it was either Dunkeswell over the Blackdowns or down to West bay for coffee on the sea front, we opted for West Bay as the higher ground attracted the low cloud. As we cycled down through Winsham it was a head wind, the roads were quite wet, and the murcky conditions seemed to get worse as we cycled on through Broadwindsor and past Lewsdon Hill [hill fort] but once past there we could see we were now descending out of the cloud and by the time we got to Bridport the cloud had shifted and we were in clear conditions with occasional sun. On past the Sunday morning car boot sale [very quiet today??] continuing past the harbour and round to the harbour side huts selling coffee etc. We ordered coffee and tea and tempted by the carrot cake on the counter to replace the calories we burnt on the way down [ 17 miles worth]  
Pleasant sat in the sun, overlooking the harbour watching the world go by, discussing the developments in the Tour De France, Chris Froome had won the stage the day before!!!
It was soon time to turn for home, but we cycled to the sea front to look at the sea, the on shore wind causing quite a surf. It also gave me a chance to see the start of the hills for my Jurassic run in a months time.
We cycled back through Bridport before turning off at Broadoak to cycle back through the valley, past Shaves Cross and its haunted pub, stopping for an extra snack. We had expected it to be a tail wind, but as always, it was changing direction and the local hills causing it to move around, so not quite as good as we thought. We soon reached the 15% Bettiscombe hill, which we both sat in our lowest gear and took our time to the top. On over Sadbarrow and down past Ford Abbey and the Chard junction Creamery, now being demolished, this was one of the largest butter, cream, milk producers in the South West, now a half demolished shell, where have all the tankers gone too?? 40 miles I think to Bridgwater!!!.
We soon got home from there, 39 miles covered, 2181 calories burnt [ take off the carrot cake!] and 2746 feet climbed, bearing in mind we had to climb back up home from sea level.The wind had now increased, but at least the low cloud had now gone and there were glimpses of sunshine.

A fantastic ride, a good end to the weekend. Next weekend is the Devon Delight 100k Audax, we shall see in the week what the weather is doing and also whether we can enter late?

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Weather and other things

Sunday 3 July 2016
The TV weather broadcaster said on Friday that there was no sign of any settled weather over the next few weeks!! Given that this week seems to be very changeable, very dull, overcast and chilly when the sun is not shining and that seems to have been the pattern since early June, I am not sure all the expensive computers in Exeter are telling us much. So we have to put up with it, we can’t blame the EU, we can’t buy another model, we can’t switch it off or on. It’s a shame as its lovely running or cycling in the warm sunshine and the summer is so short anyway.
The Bikeability this week we managed to escape the heavy rain and only got slightly wet on day 2, the children always enjoy it when we are out in the rain, it’s just us Instructors that don’t like it! Must be an age thing! Or we have just got boring!!!
The Tour De France started yesterday with Mark Cavendish winning the stage and the yellow jersey, a good start to what looks like a good tour, I think there are a number of possibilities for a winner. Contador not looking to good after two crashes in two days!!
Yesterday was our Grand Daughters birthday party; she is now the grand age of 4!! Games, pass the parcel, musical statues  and ball pit, 14 other little people in attendance, party food, chocolate fingers, iced rings, sausages, pineapple and cheese etc. the twins also enjoyed the event, crawling around etc. AND! A bonus the M5 southbound was lovely and quiet  on the way home last night.
Two runs this week, 5 miles each so total 10 miles and today a good 32 mile cycle ride with Mike   today.
Total for the month of June was 35 miles run and 274 cycled, cycle miles down on the 300 last year,  but last year I didn’t run at all in June.
411 run  and 1678 cycled so far this year, so if I can do the same over the next 6 months I will have increased my mileages over last year.
I have now also entered a 10 k road run in Plymouth in October, so more training for running. October I now have 3 events . Only a month to the off road Jurassic 10 k at Bridport and in between the 100k Devon Delight Audax
Have done this before, quite tough ending though over Dartmoor.

Nice steady week ahead, no Bikeability, a little twin sitting and hopefully some running and a cycle ride.