Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Grizzly training or training for the Grizzly

25th January 2017
After my Thursday run and feeling very tired, Friday was a rest day, but! Saturday was another beautifully sunny but frosty day so I couldn’t resist getting out for a run, my 7.5 mile route I did on Thursday but, it’s incredible how the body and mind changes within the space of a day or so. I felt I ran really well, setting a good pace and finishing feeling good, much better than Thursday!!! What is it??? Food, rest, motivation, mental approach? Who knows?

Sunday looked a promising day, but the forecast was for severe frost, a quick text to cycling mate Mike that it would be slippery in the morning, but the afternoon was looking good. It dawned very cold and frosty, so me and Mrs IanB made a coffee, sorted some shortbread and headed down to Seaton for coffee on the front. The front was quite busy, many people enjoying the Winter/spring sunshine, now quite warm as there was no wind. Avocado, tomato and cheese toast  for lunch before kitting up for a ride out over the levels with Mike, the temperature according to the Garmin 5 degrees, but! As we got to about 3 miles from home the temperature started to fall and t was down to 2 degrees by the time I cycled into the drive. 31 miles covered on a cold, but dry afternoon. The roads were quite clean compared with ones of previous rides.

Monday was long run day, Quantocks or coast??? I went for the coast, I took the van as a changing room, it was frosty and sunshine as I left home, but as I got to Axminster the fog crept in, staying until I was parking up at Seaton, then it was a miracle, the mist started to lift as I kitted up and set my watch. By the time I left the van it was brilliant sunshine, but! Freezing cold as I jogged along the front, I started to climb out of Seaton over to Beer via Seaton Hole, It was quite warm in the sunshine, but as I hit the dips the temperature plummeted.
 View over a cloud lifting Seaton, frost on the grass from above Seaton Hole
 Seaton from Beer Head
 Half way up the Stair way to Heaven
 Branscombe from the school
 Shingle beach at Branscombe looking East
 Shingle beach at Branscombe looking west
 Looking up the Stair way to Heaven
looking down to the beach from Beer Head

 I walked up out of Seaton Hole, the views at the top of the cliffs stunning, down into Beer before climbing up again to Beer Head, views were outstanding, however, the ground surface across the fields was now melting making the running surface quite sticky. Over Beer Head to Branscombe down through ‘seaside’ before running up the Grizzly route up through the village. There was a large group of walkers, booting up as I got to the bottom of the climb to the school, I met these later on the cliffs, it was a very large group [more later] I walked up past the school, a handful of jelly babies’ as I went along with a  swig of my energy drink.

 On to Hole House before the steep path over to the Fountains Inn, now very muddy. Down to the Fountains before a slow plod up to the cliffs above Branscombe, here I met the large group! Lots of ‘excuse me’ as I ran past in the rough grass, it’s good to see people enjoying themselves out in the sunshine.
Down to the beach, time for more energy food as I walked along the shingle beach. I did run some of it!! Nice to get back on firm ground, even if it’s up hill, the shingle is like marbles!! The Stairway to Heaven was soon reached, a definite walk! The sunshine in the sheltered spots was quite hot, hopefully summers coming. Down the road over to Beer and the last climb back to Seaton, but there is a steep little path called ‘Clintons’ which at the end of the run does make the calf muscles  pull a little [a lot actually] last bit down the road and through the park 12.13 miles covered .

 A well-earned coffee, Christmas cake before changing and home to a sandwich lunch. The afternoon was spent driving off to Wellington to train a School Crossing Patrol.  A really good day, a good run, a sore toe and tired legs but I am 12 miles closer to the 19 miles needed to complete the Grizzly.

Wednesday was ‘Wobblies day’ a very frosty morning, with clear blue skies once again. We delayed the start to 9:30 hoping the temperatures would rise sufficiently to melt any frost on back roads. Five hardy souls headed down to Bridport and Washingpool Farm, as last week’s ride. The roads were dodgy as we cycled down to Winsham, but the sun was at least on some roads and making it much safer as we progressed. After Winsham, the roads were good, if wet and dirty, making cycling in line a dirty position to be catching the back wheel splatter. Washing Pool was the usual high standard, Dorset apple cake and tea again for me. After lots of banter we turned to head for home deviating through Shaves Cross and up the steep and long Bettiscombe Hill. We started to doubt our choice of route as the roads were plastered in mud and muddy water, bikes were taking a hammering!! The lanes back through Forton were also a challenge as there had been hedge cutting leaving lots of debris on the road, unfortunately one of the group succumbed to the ‘puncture fairy’ only 2 miles from home. A lovely ride out, weather wonderful again 32 miles covered. Just got to get 2 more runs in this week, but probably only 7 to 10 miles.

Grizzly number dropped through the letter box today 1816 !!! It’s getting closer.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

A sad week but the first lambs, daffs and snowdrops

Thursday 19/1/17
This week has been a hard week so far. But it’s now Thursday evening so the weekend is approaching fast and hopefully some of the gloom that has descended on me will clear over the weekend.

After my bike ride on Sunday it was down to the laptop to pull together the tribute I would have to read out at my cycling friend’s funeral on the Wednesday. I did 2 drafts before deciding to leave till Monday for another go. Each time I read it, it was hard to believe that Dave was no longer with us, the times we cycled together, shared a tent on stormy nights on Dartmoor, North wales and the Lake district, not to mention some hard Audax rides, when Dave always seemed the stronger rider at the end of the day. We even had the same frame as Dave was so impressed with my Qoroz titanium frame.

Monday I was awake and up very early, the tribute on my mind. So I worked on it some more getting it down to 6 to 10 minutes. Dave had done an awful lot in his lifetime. It was late afternoon I got out for a run to clear my head, it was cold and damp but I covered 5.5 miles at a good pace for me just over 9 minute miles.

Tuesday I had arranged to cycle over to the café at Goose Slades farm at East Coker to meet the Yeovil CC members to talk through their proposed cycle cavalcade to the Crematorium and also to share my tribute with them, to get their approval I wasn’t missing anything. Tues dawned very damp, very chilly and very dark with low cloud. I nearly decided to drive, but felt it wrong. I put on my new Paramo waterproof coat, and set off along the lanes vis Hinton St George where I saw my first daffodil blooms of the year, Merriot and West Chinnock, it was a head wind, the roads were really muddy, cold at 3.4 degrees and it was raining, so the 20 miles took longer than I thought and they were all halfway through their coffee and cake when I got there.

A cheery welcome, a pot of tea and large piece of Tiffin in the warm air of the café soon cheered me up, but I wasn’t looking forward to the journey home, another 20 miles in the cold and damp!!! We had a good old natter and shared memories of Dave around the table; I had full approval, except I had missed out that Dave had been on a cycle tour of Mongolia!!!
I set off back home in the company of the others, this time over Ham Hill, riders peeling off until I was left on my own with 17 miles of drizzle. I joined the ‘old Fosse way’ which was somewhat less hilly than my route of the morning. I dug in, and pedalled away just turning the pedals. I was pleased when I finally turned into my drive. Nice mug of steaming tea, dry clothes and an egg mayo sandwich followed by Christmas cake once again. 41 miles covered

Wednesday the ‘Wobblies’ had agreed to meet at 8:30 as several of the group were going to the funeral in the afternoon. Although it was frosty the roads were clear, the morning was bright blue skies and clear sunshine, a great day to send Dave off on his final journey and an excellent morning for a bike ride before suiting up for the afternoon.
The 10 of us made our way down through Winsham and Broadwindsor to Bridport, not West Bay today, we had coffee at Washing Pool Farm, an excellent farmshop/café, a large piece of Dorset apple cake for me, thick toast, and of course beans for others. Well-fed we went home the way we had come, as it’s a relatively quiet ‘B’ road it as quite clean, the sun was now on our backs, the down side there seemed more hills on the way home 32 excellent miles covered. Home for a shower and change into my suit for the afternoon.

We arrived quite early for the funeral, a nice celebration of his life. I did my tribute to Dave outlining his success cycle racing career and his other sporting achievements in running and triathlon as well as his travels around the world. I did have several moments of ‘wobbly’ voice as emotions got in the way. I survived, met loads of friends, lots of memories etc. It was good to meet Dave's family, he had a good send off with lots of friends around him; he was an outstanding cyclist and a genuine good bloke, sadly missed already by the cyclists in the area. The sunset was stunning and ‘Venus’ shone bright in the sky, or was it Dave looking down!!!!

Thursday was a contrast with my volunteer work at the primary school hearing children read, another beautiful day, but more frost. After lunch I fell asleep in the chair, the emotions of the week catching up with me and even though I had cycled 100 miles already in the week and run 5 miles I decided to get out and run as the weather was so nice, I intended to try for 8 or 9 miles. I set off round the town, up over Snowden Hill, by a steep muddy bridleway, by the time I had got to the top after 2 miles I knew I wasn’t up for it and decided to shortcut back home, I struggled on and finally managed 7 .5 miles, a hard 7.5 miles and I was pleased to get home. Just as I entered the lane I live I saw my first snowdrops of the year. I think I have overdone it this week and should not have run today. Think my next run will be on Sunday to give myself 2 days rest and try to catch up on sleep etc. the other downside is still am not losing weight despite all the exercise, I must be eating too much!!!

After a sad week it was good to see the beginnings of spring, the first Lambs at Hatch Beauchamp, the first Daffodils at Hinton St George and the Snowdrops in Chard. I know Dave would have enjoyed them!

Cycled 100 miles
Run 12.5 miles 

I have put a copy of my tribute to Dave in the 'other' list.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Weather, children and a bit of running

16th Jan 2017
Last week was a mish mash of lots of things happening, as well as still coming to terms with the loss of a dear friend.
Sunday I went out early to get a few miles in before the rain came 32miles covered round the lanes of Somerset, but time was spent after trying to wash the bike down, as well as noticing a very soft front tyre when I got home!!!

Monday was run day a steady 6.2 miles over Neroche Forest, I have not been there since the Herepath Half in October, lots of dog walkers out, fortunately, sensible ones that controlled their dogs. The running was really pleasant even though it started to rain after about 3 miles, it was good to have the wind and rain behind me as I returned to the car. It was nice to be running off road once again, I do notice it on my legs and feet, must be the soft mud!!

Tuesday was long miles day so 10.5 miles round the lanes late afternoon, now the evenings are starting to draw out. I found the first few miles quite hard but it seemed to get better after about 7 miles, which is unusual as I am normally tired by then!!

Wednesday saw us driving up the M5 at 5:30 am to look after grandchildren for a couple of days. Extra sleeping bags etc. were stored in the van in case the poor weather that was forecast was as bad as they said [ it wasn’t!!!]

Thursday night was cold on the site, but we were cosy in the van, the oil radiator nicely keeping the van toasty, and once in the sleeping bags we were very cosy. It did snow overnight so it was hard work walking round to the toilet block in Crocs for a wash in the morning. The temperature in the van said 4 degrees! Fortunately the roads were clear except the road where my son lives which was quite icy.

Friday driving back at teatime the traffic was quite good so we got home in good time, a great 3 days playing with grandchildren and watching the twins continue to develop.
Saturday was another run day, 7. 5 miles this time, quite a good run at a decent pace by the end, although starting off was hard after a large cheese pie and chip lunch at the Hungry Horse in Exmouth!!!

Yesterday [Sunday]The forecast was for poor weather again, but it never happened, I even went out early to miss the rain later, at least the weather has gone mild again, but that means wet and dirty roads, so more bike washing. But 28 miles covered and I even saw my first lambs of the year over at Hatch Beauchamp, strangely they were there last year as well!
Cycled 60 miles
 Run 24.2 miles

The Grizzly gets closer !!!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Good start to the year, but! Some sad news

8th January 2017

New Years day ended with the shock news that a very close friend Dave Pitman had died suddenly on New Years eve. Found at his home after failing to turn up for a group of friends for a walk on Exmoor.
I have known Dave for a number of years and we were planning to share a room on the CTC Manche to Med ride we had signed up for in June. I first came across Dave in the late 60s early 70s when He beat me by 2 seconds on the Monsal Hill, Hill climb! That’s when we both lived in the North, I didn’t know Dave in those days, he was in fact runner up in the National Hill climb twice, as well as being an accomplished road racer both in Britain and the continent. He was also a very good runner achieving high placings in races such as the Grizzly.  I have shared walks on Dartmoor and Exmoor preparing students for the Ten Tors event. I partnered him on several Polaris MTB Challenges in the Lakes and North Wales, he even built me an MTB frame [only 2 in the world]. Dave was a good engineer, a great wheel builder.
Recently I had shared cycle rides with him, and we rode a number of Audax events, which Dave particularly enjoyed. He did suffer a major accident a few years ago when he was in a coma for several weeks, this did affect him, but not his resolve to get out into the outdoors to walk and cycle, and above all enjoy his retirement. Dave will be missed by the cycle groups he was part of, the regular Tuesday coffee rides, the Sunday morning social rides, always taking his turn at the front.
RIP to a genuine bloke, who would help anyone out at anytime I hope he enjoys his ‘next great adventure’. I will certainly give Dave a few thoughts on my next adventure on the Manche to Med !

I was planning to cycle on Monday but, the weather was quite poor so a 10.2 mile run around the lanes, a good start to my Grizzly training. Tuesday was very cold and frosty, but lovely blue skies and sunshine, I waited till after lunch, before venturing out for a 22 mile ride on my bike, some of the lanes still had frost where water had run out of the fields. Wednesday was Wobblies day, a good turn out of ten of us heading out to complete 32 miles including a very nice coffee stop at the Community café in Seavington St Mary.

So round to Friday once more, Mrs Ian B was hairdressing so on a grey but mild morning I was in the car driving down to Seaton Hole to Park to run along the coast over to Fountain Inn outside Branscombe and back a total of 9.6 miles. The trail was quite dry, and there was a chilly wind as I reached Beer Head, I dropped down through ‘Seaside’ to Branscombe where I saw my first people 4 miles in up through the village on the Grizzly route, without the river crossing though, up past the school, climbing through fields before dropping down to the Fountain Inn, I walked up the other side  to reach the ridge. It was a lovely run, I felt ok, no niggles anywhere, I kept sipping from my bottle of ISO energy drink, but didn’t eat anything. I went back over ‘Seaside’ where walking was the order once again. I the views towards Portland Bill were stunning, the coastline, showing in varying shades of grey.  Down into Beer before the final climb over to the car parked at Seaton Hole, I still felt quite good, and reached the car for my coffee and Christmas cake 1600 ft climbed and 9.6 miles covered, my only injury seemed to be a sore big toe on my right foot!.

So a good end to the week

19.8 miles run and 52 miles cycled

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Last Post of 2016 and first of 2017

31st December 2016 and 1st January 2017

Christmas week has been very busy and wonderful with the family all visiting and spending time. My Daughter Ellie and our eldest son Richard came on Christmas day with his wife, Mother in Law and 2 dogs, Bramble and the very young pup, Scrumpy a springerlab! Somewhat excitable compared with the stately Bramble!!! Unfortunately Rich had to work on Boxing day keeping the National Trust going, down in Wimborne.  Lovely Christmas dinner, followed by present opening and a game of Trivial Pursuits finished off the day before we waved the Wimborne group  off, Ellie was able to stay over  and prepared for the next visitors on Boxing day, we were able to get out for a run round the local reservoir before they arrived 4 miles, a really nice run with my daughter. Tim and his wife with the three grandchildren and a very full car load.  The house soon filled and the two boys crawling round the house, Amy quickly demonstrating how to play the carrot game etc. a lovely Christmas lunch again followed by more present opening! Excited children being the quickest openers! Much time was spent over the next couple of days, playing the various games with granddaughter, chasing the twins around the house as well as a visit or two to the seaside. Sadly it came to an end on Thursday when we waved goodbye to them all, the car packed to the roof!!
Mrs Ian B and myself sat down to an empty house and had a quiet cup of tea and piece of Christmas cake. We were missing them already. I went for a run before tea, only 5 miles round town, but feeling the extra weight I had put on over Christmas!!
Friday was spent down at Sidmouth, thick fog enveloping the coastal cliffs, but clearing to give a warm and sunny morning, we had taken coffee with us so able to sit on the beach in the peace and tranquillity of the lapping tide with views down the coast, the mist now only sitting on the tops of the cliffs, the usual egg chips and peas in the White Horse café, very quiet this morning. The town was busy many seemingly on holiday. I finished the day with another run 6 miles this time, my last run of the year.

 view west at Sidmouth
  a cute 'Turnstone' lovely little bird
 View East at Sidmouth
View West at Sidmouth, mist just sitting on the cliffs, Ladram Bay sea stacks just showing in the mist

I needed to get another cycle ride in before the end of the year to reach my 3000 target. I met up with Mike after coffee in Lyme Regis for an afternoon 26 mile ride, the weather ideal for cycling, cool, but not cold, clear, with sunshine at times.
 View of the Cobb at Lyme Regis [West]
 View towards Charmouth [East]

Looking back over the year I have managed to run 862 miles compared to 603 last year, I have run more events this year including two 10k road events with my daughter Ellie a couple of extra off road events the Jurassic coast 10 k and the Drogo 10 a ten mile event on Dartmoor. This year I even managed to win my first trophy winning the over 65 category on the Exmoor Stumble event, 10k over the hills near Minehead. So a good years running, This new year I have already managed to get in the Grizzly again in March, so that’s a hard 19 miles across beaches, up hills, through bogs and through streams! Got to beat my 4hr and 6 min time this year, fortunately, again I will have my running mate, Rachel from up the lane once again to share the pain. I am even looking at doing the Exe to Axe run again 22 miles in early April, I did this event two years ago, it was the hardest event I have done and would like to improve my 5 hour time before I get too old!!!! I will decide nearer the time.
Cycling I have covered 3019 miles compared to 3370 in 2015,  a few miles down on last year, maybe the running has replaced some of those miles. I have not ridden as many Audax events this year as I would have liked but I think the dates always clashed with something else. The ‘Eroica’ event in Derbyshire was a highlight, 55 miles on my Gazelle bike from 1984!  We have decided not to enter this year as it’s too expensive and they have changed the venue. I look forward to this year with my cycling trip from Cherbourg on the English Channel down through France to the Mediterranean and Montpelier; my sons’ bought me new pannier bags for the trip for Christmas.  My plan is to focus on getting cycling fit for the trip after the ‘Grizzly’ in March [or Exe to Axe in April].
The Campervan has been in use all year with many trips to Gloucester, a couple of weeks in Pembroke etc but no trips abroad in the van this year, must rectify this in 2017. Not really managed any fell walking this year so must be high on my agenda for this coming year.

Father Christmas also brought me a new watch a Garmin 230 which seems to do everything but make the tea! [to be fair I did buy it a few weeks before Christmas but was told I couldn’t have it till Christmas day and was duly snatched and wrapped!] I have tried it a few times for running and seems very good, [my old Garmin 10 the strap is about to Part Company and is part of the main watch so unsure it can be renewed??] It tracks the number of steps, even transfers text messages from your phone, lots of variations for running heart rate, VO2 max of course it also measures, distance, time and pace, heart rate etc [I was pleased to see I was in the good range for this!!!] below is the ‘DC Rainmaker’ review which is usually a good indicator as whether it’s any good or not, the 230 comes out good in most reviews, I bought the 230 rather than 235 so using my old chest strap, which works fine. I am still finding out the various things it can do.

two reviews to save me trying to explain what it can do!!

So 2017 starts today, even though I wrote most of this yesterday!

I wish anyone who reads my Blog a healthy and peaceful New Year