Sunday, 7 September 2008
Felt inspired enough to go to the Beacon afterwards. Spent ages gassing to Keith & Ray, did some bouldering, got arm pump very quickly. haven't worked out yet if that's the nature of the sport or if I'm doing it all wrong. Better than watching telly though :)
Friday, 5 September 2008
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
Went out on the road bikes on the Sunday - Beddgelert, Nantmor, Pen y Pass. Nice circuit marred slightly by a puncture. Time to replace those bag o'shite Michelin Lithions I think. I offered them to Wendy, but she didn't want them...
Last Thursday night I went up Snowdon with Alun. Fanbleedintastic! Up & down the Llanberis path, 2 hours to the summit where it was thick cloud and a bit parky. Alun donned his full body armour gimpsuit and flew down the descent while I didn't really bother trying to keep with him. If there's a better descent in the UK I want to hear about it!
Got up early saturday and took the road bike out for a scenic ride to Bangor via the surge Pools and Bethesda. Met Sue at the Station, sent her off to Manchester and drove home for DIY fun.
Sunday morning Matt came over and we ran up Moel Elio, back via lower Cefn Du. First half decent run for a while and I'm pleased to say it felt fine.
Tuesday night I went out and ran some hill reps on the road. It hurt.
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Saturday I was chez Stricklands at 7am for a ride with Matt and Gary to check out the local downhill track. Rain was threatening but didn't really happen, but I did manage to be sick near the top of the downhill. Weird. Felt pretty lousy the rest of the day.
Sunday - took Pippa for a 30 min run over the soggy slopes of Cefn du.
Monday - as Sunday.
Tuesday - as Monday.
The Valley is flooded. IT IS FUCKING AUGUST FOR FUCK'S SAKE!
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
Had a couple of beers and went to bed about 1am.
It pissed it down for much of saturday morning, which didn't bode well, so I opted to use the back-up bike - Surly Karate Monkey (singlespeed being suposedly mud-proof). I started the race with the run and was near enough to the front to not get too badly held up at the first bit of singletrack and by the time I got to the 2nd bit of woods there wasn't really any hold ups at all. First lap in just under an hour and all seemed OK. 2nd lap was different though, the course was much more churned up now and the going was a bit slower. Washing out in the first bombhole didn't help (twisting the bars in the process) then the back wheel stopped turning while pushing up a hill - time to de-clag the sticky mud. Lap 3 was crash-free and I started to carry instead of push through the worst mud, picking mud off the bike as I walked. Then Emily went out for 3 laps and there was more rain.
It was 9.30 when I went out again and the course had deteriorated massively. good job I'd put a skinny CCX tyre on the back. Maybe. After walking virtually all the singletrack - which was now covered in about 4" of peanut butter mud - I got half way around in an hour. This was the opposite of fun and I was reconsidering the 3 lap strategy. After a load more walking I was thinking "fuck this!". Riding bikes is good, endurance events are good, I'll quite happily take myself into a world of pain and exhaustion either on foot or on a bike. Note the 'or' in that last sentance. Bikes are for riding, I have next to no interest in pushing bikes unless there's a reward for the misery (e.g. Snowdon). And while I'm here, I'd like to add that running or riding myself into the ground in Wales, Scotland, Yorkshire, the Alps or Colorado beats the shit out of truding across potato fields in middle englandshire where the views extend to the gravel pits, the container distribution centre and the power station. This was the kind of conclusion I reached in these 2 hours. Can't say I reached a low point or anything, I just decided I couldn't be arsed with such an unsatisying venture. So I finished that lap and had a beer. It was bad. I think I must have passed about 30 people with bikes in various states of fuckedness - most geared bikes seemed to be dying. I heard later that the Shimano boys were fitting 15 rear mechs an hour - which is bonkers.
Emily took it all with good grace and resolved that she'd go out for some laps in the morning. I took a cold shower and downed some more beers with Mel, Shaggy, Steve, Chris and Schali and gave encouragement to Jac in her solo effort.
Had breakfast with Schali, Chipps & Emily and eventually Emily went out for some laps. At this point I had no interest in going out again, but guilt got the better of me and after emily's 2nd lap I went out at 12.30 for another (final) lap. Got back in about 15 mins before the 2pm cut off and Emily took the glory lap, which was fine with me.
So, after taking 10 hours off, we finished 5th! I think a lot of people just quit altogether - broken bikes would have accounted for a lot of riders. Don't think I'll be back to 'ride' it again. Courses like that don't stand up in the wet. In the UK it tends to rain quite often. I'll took for more intersting events next year.
Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Went to the Marin trail on sunday to beast myself, which worked a treat. did the loop in 1h43, so there's the target for next time. think I made the Dragon's back in 57 mins.
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Cheered more people on the descent - Espana, Italia, Scotland, Eryri - got sore hands from clapping so much. Saw Iain, Sarah, Hannah and Schalli come past and then started to make my way down. I could run faster than the competitors by now, which made me feel a tad guilty, but i figured at least I wasn't in their way.
Found a guy who'd taken a fall and bust his finger pretty badly, some German tourists were already on the phone to mountain rescue when I got there, trying to get a helicopter for him! Luckily broken finger man didn't need too much persuading to walk himself off the hill. The nice but dim tourists then wanted to bandage it up for him, which seemed pretty pointless as by the time they'd done that he could have walked himself to an ambulance in Llanberis. I think it shows a certain mental weakness to call out a helicopter for a broken finger, with that attitude it's not hard to see why they lost 2 world wars ;-)
Anyway, John (broken finger man), whilst clearly shaken up, could see the sense in getting himself back to Llanberis ASAP so I walked down with him, partly to make sure he was Ok and partly to rescue him from the Germans :) Fair play to him, he was determined to finish the race because he'd been sponsered and once we got to the tarmac he jogged back to the finish.
I nordic ranwalked back home and got quite sweaty.
A much anticipated stage that was sure to see some changes in the GC. Before a pedal had been turned though, the news was all about more riders abandoning – following the sacking of their young rider Tom Carter the entire Team Egniol withdrew, which immediately raised questions about some of their recent impressive performances.
The EA team leader Matt Strickland and super-domestique James Camis also failed to make the start line, saying that "with the GC out of reach we're pulling out now to focus on the BBQ, hopefully we can come away from that with a big haul of medallions".
With points available at intermediate sprint stages (30mph signs) it was pretty frantic from the off, Guy bagging the first points at Deiniolen and again at Mynedd Llandegai (even though he didn't even notice that one). Ali pulled back some points at Bethesda as Guy had by this point completely forgotten about the sprints, but was still leading by 5 points as they approached the mountains. A vicious headwind on the climb up the Col d'Ogwen made it difficult for any attacks to go clear, but Ali and Guy worked together to isolate and then drop Craig the only surviving member of the EA team. Ali took the first KOM points and the bunch regrouped for the descent to Capel Curig.
Guy attacked early on the approach to Capel and bagged another 5 points before the feedzone at Plas y Brenin. At the foot of the hors categorie Courmet de Pen y Pass Ali road away from the groupetto to take the second summit of the stage and secure the KOM jersey. He stayed clear on the descent to take the sprint points at Nant Peris but the group reformed on the valley road, before Guy burst away again to easily win the Llanberis sprint. Showing Cavendish-like dominance Guy took the final points at Clwt-y-bont too, the NHS rider winning the green jersey by a massive 15 point margin.
Great BBQ too, thanks to Matt & Asa.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Saturday I took myself up & down Telegraph Valley, good climb but i still don't rate it as a descent, but everywhere else was a watery soggy mess. Ho hum.
Sunday I hit the road with Mark and his carbon Cervello. Pen y Pass, Nantgwynant, Nantmor, Beddgelert. A fairly relaxed 35ish miles apart from the idiot in the 4WD blasting his horn and gesticulating as he overtook us by Rhyd Ddu. Some car drivers seem to get very offended when you cycle 2 abreast - if we were slowing them down I could understand them getting pissed off, but the road is narrow on that stretch, there's no way that a car can pass a single cyclist without crossing the centre line (or killing the cyclist I suppose, which I think would be their prefered option). If they need to cross the centre line to get past a single cyclist it's the same as passing 2 cyclists riding side by side (or indeed a horse, I hope the twats don't drive like that when they encounter horses). So it pissed me off. So much that I put the hammer down in the hope that the road works were still going on down the road and he'd have to wait at a red light where I could have given him a few stern words, but no such luck. It makes me angry though, I don't like self-righteous stupidity at the best of times, when it's twats in 4WDs being aggressive to people riding push bikes it makes my blood boil.
Legs are feeling OK though :)
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Hamstrings still quite stiff and lower back feeling really stiff tonight. More stretching, less blogging.
Went to the Beacon Sunday night with Matt & Asa to further my fear of heights desensitization program. Had 2 “trips to the vet” (i.e., I was shit scared – inspired by Pippa) while doing some 5a/5b sport routes, but I did them. Yay me!
Legs stiff as a board, but no knee pain, so it seems that I’ve got the pain on the run.
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Friday, 11 July 2008
Knees have been playing up since I did that road ride around the 3 peaks. Turned out my saddle was too high, which could obviously cause a problem (bike unpacked from france in a slightly dazed state, sloppily rebuilt, chucked in van, driven to Bentham, ridden without checking saddle height - doh!). So, bad knees ensued. And they didn't get better, for like, ages. So I belatedly went to see Zac at sportsresource.org who's wisdom could be summarised thus: "your knees are fine, your posture rubbish, you have zero flexability in all your muscles, stretch or die!".
And that's how I got switched on to Yoga.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
Still, I'm getting over it. Jogged over t'Beacon tonight and met Matt there for some climbing/ddringo/bouldering (haven't learnt the welsh for that yet). That was fun, plus I got some useful tips on all the stuff I'm doing wrong :)
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Went to Bentham at the weekend for what would have been Dad’s birthday, popped out on the road bike for a couple of hours – 58km.
Spent Sunday morning driving home listening to Humphrey Littleton tributes on radio 4. Managed to get to the Beacon for about 90 mins of bouldering fun on the greens and blues. Knees don’t feel right, probably need to stretch more/differently.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
Any road, took Pippa for a power walk up Cefn Du tonight - me with walking poles, powering along in a Nordic style, yes? Pippa didn't really embrace the whole Nordic mood, but seemed to have fun in her own way. Wasn't really paying attention, but it was proably about 45 mins. Surprised at how fast you move (compared to say, walking) and it felt like a reasonable workout for someone that didn't feel like running and can't take the dog for a bike ride.
Monday, 9 June 2008
Weather forcast was looking good - barely any wind, 17°C with broken cloud at 900m. It felt pretty hot when we set off from Abergwyngregan at 9.30am and I was sweating more than you'd want to, despite starting out at a very steady pace. Got to the sheepfold above the falls and was dissapointed to see a line of people heading up the gully that I'd found with Justin and Emlyn a few weeks before - that was meant to be my secret route. Approaching Bera Bach it was apparent that the cloud was down to about 800m, which made navigation interesting/pot-luck. I found myself approaching the main path north of Garnedd Uchaf, which meant I'd gone too far west. I doubled back a bit to contour around the peak and with a bit of luck found my way to Foel Grach, despite a few anxious "where the **** am I?" moments. Celebrated with a chocolate brioche and pushed on to the first control on Carnedd Llewelyn.
I'm sure I stayed too high and missed the best line on the approach to Carnedd Dafydd, fumbling across the rocks where I'm sure there was a faster route a bit further south. It's all well and good going out to recce the route on a clear day, but it all goes to pot in the mist. Nevermind.
Coming off Dafydd I stayed high on a nice trod path and then cut straight down to the checkpoint at the wall, the marshalls there thought my route choice was bobbins, but what do they know, eh?
Grabbed a couple of Jelly babies at the unofficial feed station at Llyn Llugwy and had a couple of cups of juice at Ogwen before the slog up again. I could see Emlyn Roberts about a minute ahead of me but I couldn't close the gap and as I got further up Nicky Spinks and then Hannah Toberman passed me. I took solace in another brioche and plodded on.
Felt vaguely guilty about passing Hannah on the way down the hideous Miners track towards Pen y Gwryd, but felt good to be running instead of hobbling like last year.
I was feeling OK at Pen y Pass and as we headed up the Pyg track I had a Power gel and actually passed someone! I could see I was gaining on Emlyn too and passed him before the Crib Goch turn. Obviously the place was full of oblivious walkers and I soon got bored of being polite - saying "Excuse me" just seemed to provoke them to startled and irrational movements so I took to just nipping past them where I could. That bloody Hannah passed me again before the finger stone though. I was strugling to run up any incline now, but I could still manage a bit of speed coming off Garnedd Ugain and tried to run the final ascent to Yr Yddfa, couldn't quite pull it off though.
It was nice to finish and I could still speak, unlike last year. Shared congratulations with Hannah and Emlyn and got off the summit sharpish as it was too cold to hang around.
5:14:17 - I said at the start that an optimistic goal was 5:15 and I made it, so was happy with that. 46 mins quicker than last year - and I gained one place (33rd instead of 34th!).
Went for a short ride on Cefn Du the next day, legs felt OK but reactions and coordination had completely deserted me. Tiredness will do that.
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
1250m - 2100m, 1h45.
So, for the afternoon's fun I went out on the bike with Wendy to go to la Poste in Bourg d'Oisans. A nice easy spin on the way down and on the way back - until you get to Allemont where it all gets a bit steep for the last 6km or so - steeper than Alpe d'Huez, but a lot shorter. 2 hour round trip and home for tea and cake :)
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Decided there was no point trying to ride it together so we just went at our own pace. Had my picture taken twice - the photographers then run after you and stuff a business card in your back pocket! also saw the Francais des Jeux pro team out training - they were coming down as we were going up. Have to say that it wasn't very painful, just about 80 mins of riding uphill, but it's not very steep. Faffed around a bit at the top then came back along the balcony road via Villard Reculas to Allemont, which was a great way to descend.
Had a monster baguette when we got back and then I went out and spent about an hour playing on the Vaujany climbing wall.
A pretty good day (again).
Monday, 2 June 2008
Mass start, 900 riders, lead-out car, motor cyclists, it's quite a spectacle. Macpuppy skids on some gravel but keeps upright and we settle into the first climb of the day. It's long and steady. Very long and steady. Back tyre feels a bit soft- PUNCTURE! Tant pis!
Those new tyres I fitted are tough to get off the rim, but eventually I get the tube changed, why won't it inflate though? Can't figure out what's going on, decide to take the new tube out to sort it out. This takes some time - did I mention that the tyre was a bit tight? - but I now see that the valve is kaput. So, patch the original tube put it back in, wrestle the tyre back on (this time it took 2 pairs of hands - a cycle tourist had stopped to watch the comedy) and I'm back on the bike. This whole episode took about 50 - 55 mins. That's right. I am now the 'lantern rouge' and am praying that they haven't packed up the first feed station by the time I get there. They haven't and I grab some sausicon, cake and brioche and get going. Still haven't passed any riders, it's going to be a lonely ride.
Over the first Col and down the other side, I've passed about 3 riders but there's no one else in sight. At the 2nd revaitailment there's maybe 6 riders hanging around, I just grab food and get going, to see if I can catch up with Wendy and macpuppy (or, indeed, anyone). After Villard de Rouset the signs tell me it's 12km to the Col, and once it starts to ramp up I start to catch a few stragglers. At the turn off for the 173km route I'm way after the cut-off time and anyway I couldn't face the thought of another puncture with no-one to hear me scream, so it's now a 70km time trial back to Autrans. At the 100km mark I think I spy Wendy ahead, yay! Macpuppy's not too much further up the road so for the next 10 km we sort of ride together, regrouping at the top of each climb. There's a fantastic gorge, the rock overhanging the road and raining water down on us, then with 10 km to go Macpuppy starts to fly. I try to stick with him but I can't and the gap opens up - with 5km to go he must be a good 200m ahead of me but I get a second wind and stamp on the pedals to see if I can reel him back. No chance!
Finished in just under 6 hours, the GPS says less than 5 hours riding.
483rd out of 500. It's a different story in France. It's not that the hills are tougher, I mean they go on a bit, but there was nothing very steep, it's just that people seem to take it much more seriously and the general standard of riders is much higher than the UK. The standard of the feed stations is incredible too. Bravo!
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Tuesday night race series tonight with a new race from Llanberis, no idea if it has a name yet, but it went to the Helfa Fawr bunkhouse and was probably 3 and a bit miles with some ascent. I was still feeling pretty tired, but didn't run too badly, finished in 27:53, position unknown, but I beat Emlyn for a change, so that was nice.
Sunday, 25 May 2008
1 clif bar
1 sausage butty
1 power gel
average windspeed: 192 mph
rain: yes, that too.
The first 90km was quite good. Managed to chain gang across to Ysbty Ifan into a nasty headwind, which was good. Long section from Plas y Brenin where I was on my own pretty much until Maentwrog. After Trawsfynydd it went gruesome, special mention should go to the 4 mile climb into a bastard headwind just as it started raining.
Probably not the most fun I've ever had on a bike, but it's good to do these things. Isn't it?
Saturday, 24 May 2008
Completed my intro course at the Beacon Wall, which was all good fun. Then went over to Llanberris with Sue, via the cheeky DPC backdoor and paid a visit to the lovely people at Joe Browns. Tried on about 6 pairs of climbing shoes and Sue bought me the best ones.
Pretty good day.
Friday, 23 May 2008
In no particular order then:
SSUK at Drumlanrig - brilliant! Fell out of love with my Karate Monkey, got well beaten up trying to work it around the trails and trying to keep up with Biff. I lost. Made up with the Monkey the day after though.
Paddy Buckley recces: no, I'm not doing it, but I did a couple of days in the hills with Phil from Tod who's aiming to do the round later in the year. Interesting to see how doable 20 miles is when you walk the climbs!
Anglesey century: took advantage of a rare weather window a couple of weeks back and churned out 100 miles on the surprisingly hilly Anglesey. Out for 8 hours, averaged 15 mph while riding, 1800+m ascent, all good.
1000m Peaks recce: did the Aber - Ogwen section with Emlyn & Justin in a leaisurely 3 and a bit hours. good visibility, handy iawn.
Snowdon bike: hiked up the miners track, pinned it down the Llanberis path. The best descent in the UK? I should coco.
Promise to be more regular in future.
Monday, 24 March 2008
Sunday - did a mini audax with Sue down Lon Eifion cycle path, with plans to go to Porthmadog. Innevitably set off too late and ended up turning back well before Porthmadog, stopped at Inigo Jones for scrambled eggs (yum!). Got hailed on and snowed on coming back through Rosgadfan.
Monday - Went for a run from Y Fron down to Nantlle and Talysarn, 73 mins.
Friday, 21 March 2008
Went for a couple of dog walks today and did some yoga positions in the loft while fitting a switch for the boiler. Is that a rest day then?
Monday, 17 March 2008
Saturday, 15 March 2008
Thursday, 13 March 2008
Tuesday, 11 March 2008
Saturday, 8 March 2008
Sunday, 2 March 2008
Saturday, 1 March 2008
So, I fell into agreeing to some stupid challenge to ride atleast an hour a day for 30 consectutive days. March is going to be an interesting month.
Today was Day 1, met papa Makin, 360, Benji, and The Midget at Llanrwst for Midget's birthday ride. Did the Marin + Deviations to take in little lakes and Green Gulley - 2 1/2 hours of much fun. 1 down, 29 to go.