Wednesday, 29 September 2010

This is Ben Nevis

This picture is for my Dad who cannot seem to fathom out where to see a good view of Ben Nevis from. Well this view was shown to me by someone else who found it and its very special indeed. You need a clear day mind which doesnt happen very often. Shame I cannot give the wherabouts away. Some things are just too special

Harvington to Hallam Hill

Ive been away for a few days FISHING, yes fishing but more of that in a later post. Today was the last day and I had decided to ride home back to Ilkeston. The lakes were I went fishing are at Harvington which is basically at Evesham just south of Stratford on Avon, hence Harvington to Hallam Hill. Harvington to Ilkeston didnt sound as good.
Well the trip down in the van was 77miles and I reckon the way back was about 82miles as I had to do a slightly longer route. A picture was taken and I set off.
Now 82miles isn't that far really but in bad weather it isnt easy.
Just my luck and 15 minutes after setting off the heavens opened and the torrential rain didnt stop all the way back.
I only had bibshorts on and no overtrousers or overshoes and I got absolutely drenched. No mudguards, I hate them. I came back via, Stratford, Warwick, Kenilworth, Coventry, Nuneaton, Swadlincote, Swarkestone, and home. So a proper start of winter ride.
The route is fairly flat but undulating in places so was glad of the 20mph average, especially in that weather.
A ride like that always makes me think of the proffesional roadman. Could I do that day in day out. Certainly not but I would have liked the chance.
So its time to get the winter cycling gear out ( officially).

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Royal Dungworth International Fell Race

I'm presuming this race is called the Royal Dungworth race because it's run from near the Royal pub. Not quite sure why it's international though. Well with a few hours to spare I decided to drive to Dungworth and try it for the second time. It's a very basic race which makes it a good one. Alan Yates basically takes a quid entry fee and you write your number on your hand in felt tip and then he gives a jovial speech and then shouts off.
All was going well and securely in 5fth position until the final few fields whereby the front lads decided to take a detour and have a look at the local herd of rare breed cows. I duly followed and within a few moments we all realized we had gone badly off route. The runner behind me who is a good friend shouted us back and we hot footed it back over the fields and leapt two walls to get back en route. Anyway I only lost two places and wasn't bothered.
It really is a lovely race . You won't find it well advertised but if you ask a Dark Peak runner , he or she will guide you in the right direction.

Some of Alan,s quotes in his pre start speech.

The course is marked with tape but I've been informed that cows have been seen eating it, I cannot be held responsible.

The route is shaped basically like a bent tennis racket.

The course conditions are truly sublime.

It's the only race I know where the entry fee is taken in a bras so tin with a slot in it.
Brilliant, that's what fell racing is all about.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Stanage Struggle Fell Race

Ive not done this race for a few years and was quite looking forward to it. I run the route a few times during the year if Im passing through Hathersage so I know it very well. It was a big field with loads of runners. I set off pretty quick but didnt go overboard on the climb as I knew the wind would be against us along the top to the trig point. At the top of the climb I was very fortunate to have Noel my teammate overtake me. He dragged me through the wind past the trig and onto the turning point for the return run. Now I can descend quickly if the terrain is right. If its rough and wet then I fly. Were you turn on the Stanage race is exactly that for a few minutes. I took a few risks and plunged down as fast as I could. Over the undulating section I had to work as hard as Ive worked in a race all year to hold off the runners that I passed on the descent. I collapsed at the end having come 7th place.

A brilliantly run race by the Fat Boys Running Club who organise it. I collected a T shirt at the finish but in the school playround was a guy who hadnt quite managed to come in the first 40 which automatically gets you a t shirt so I handed it him. He smiled and said thankyou your a gentleman. That made my day.
Once again thanks to Noel for dragging me along.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Chores of a roadman

Well all bikies at some stage have to do a bit of cleaning, maintenance,and general servicing to keep their bikes running well. Most people who know me laugh because I never wash my van yet I go overboard with my bikes. I prefer to do all the work myself. When your riding hundreds of miles a week you dont go long before things start to go wrong with your bike if you dont look after it.
Lots of riders panic when you mention touching a bike but really they are simple. With a few tools you can carry out virtually most of the work. Bike shops are starting to get very expensive nowadays with the boom in bikes.
Today was Bottom Bracket cleaning. I take my bottom brackets out regular as they get very dirty inside and on steel frames especially they can start to rust if they are not checked and cleaned often.

Ive had this bottom bracket out three times in a few short months and each time its been full of muck. It takes about 20 minutes to complete the job. I was quoted about £45.00 recently to do the job at my local bikeshop.

Spinning nicely again, plenty of water repellant grease

My toolbox. Bike tools are not cheap but once you have them the work is all free.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Chevin Fell race

David Denton was 70 years old on Mon and although I had done the Yorkshireman race the day before I thought it would be nice to go and support David. My legs didnt seem to bad and as the Chevin race is only about 4 something miles I intended to just plod round and have a drink in the Pub afterwards. Well I felt okay on the start and raced it. I came 4th and was 1st Vet 40.
David organisers loads of races every year and has devoted lots of his time over the years to the sport. Without people like him we would have no races to run, simple as that.
So I hope he carries on for many more years to come as his Fell Races are very special. Many Fell running first timers have come into the sport through either a Shining Cliffs, Chevin or a Bradbourne fell race.
Well done David and happy birthday.

Yorkshireman half marathon

Well its a few years since I did a half marathon but I did the Yorkshireman one last weekend. Starting at the school in Haworth its not your standard 13 miles and a bit but has 2 x extra miles added on just for good measure. I set off pretty quickly as I wanted to do a good time. Lots of mud but very runnable for most of the way which made it hard. A couple of wrong turns but nothing major on the way back and I managed to finish in 13th place, not to far behind the leader. So I was pleased with that.
Haworth is a lovely place with a nice steam train which could be heard just as you got near the finish and the final cobbled hill that has to be negotiated before you cross the line.
At £13 to enter and a quality t shirt thrown in. This has to be good value if not one of the most value for money races in the calendar. Thanks to Charlie the organiser and his large team of helpers. It runs alongside the full marathon which I def wasnt going to attempt after just a week of doing Ben Nevis. Maybe next year eh.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Ben Nevis Race

Well that soon came round. The Ben Nevis race is one of my favourites and although its a huge journey north to get there I dont mind it one bit. It takes about 6 hrs there and a bit longer back as your legs are aching and it takes three times as long to walk into the services and get your Starbucks. Race morning I had a lie in because the race doesnt start until 1.00pm so there's not the usual rush to get to the start.
I wandered into Claggan Park to the sound of the Pipe Band in the background and registered to get my summit tag and numbers. You have to put a number front and back for the Ben race. No shirtless running here.
I had a steady start and was determined to not go mad on the road. The climb as always goes on forever and my back was aching by the time I had a quick drink at the red burn. My plan was to use the scree on the way down to make a bit of time up and it worked because as soon as I handed my tag into the summit marshal I floored it back down. A few risks and I tried not to think about falling. Only once did I miss judge it and caught the inside of my left leg on a rock and to the shout of B.////.,cks I carried on withg my left leg in agony. The grassy bank slowed me down and I literally fell back into the burn and had another drink. Down the walkers path and dodging lots of tourists on the steps and down to the road which was the usual plod back to the playing field. The announcer shouted my name and I was sure I would beat my aim of sub 1hr 50. I class anyone who goes under this time as special. Everyone who completes the Ben is a top runner as running up 4406ft and back down is damm hard and you struggle to train for it unless you live near it. So just my luck I finished dead on 1 hr 50mins in 18th place. I was gutted to not go under as I could have pinched a few seconds for sure and I suppose if I had a stopwatch I would have pushed a bit harder but I wasnt moaning really. There's always next year.
A nice Steak after the race in great company and a couple of beers and I was ready for sleep. I collected my certificate and watched all the winners get their trophies. Other runners seemed to want to stay up all night but now Im a vet 40 those days have long gone. I had 2 x beers, some of the others had a few more with a few glasses of red wine thrown in.
So I think Ive done something like 1hr53, 1hr 52, 1hr 51, 1 hr 50 for this race. It really is a special one amd maybe who knows I might just reach 21 races and get a plaque.