Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Wansfell Fell Race

After the Christmas Day run and 65 miles on the bike on Boxing Day it was time for a race.
So Badger and I set off for Ambleside for the Wansfell Race. Yes a good way to just do a short race but we did a run after as well.
There was a good turnout for the registration at the Lakes Runner shop and at bang on 12 o clock we all set off up to Wansfell summit. No flat on this one, just straight up and down.
I climbed steady but could of done a little better. The descent was rapid. I was soon back down to the finish in a blur and it was all over.

So another race ticked off and the last one of the year.
It was a long way for such a short race but definatley worth it. 9th place. Rob Jebb won it on his first race back after injury.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone in Fellrunning land and the cycling world.

This morning we ran to Bramcote Trig for a early Christmas morning run of about 8 miles Nothing special really but it had to be done.

I have vowed to one day paint this trig point. I will run up with some paint and a little roller and do it.
Not sure whether Badger appreciated the tinsle on his collar.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Has he been

How may children have woken on Christmas morning and said those words " Has he been".
Well the clock is ticking down now and we are nearly there. For many adults of my age you tended to have a main present all those years ago. Parents would pay into a Xmas club fund all year at the local bike shop and come the 25th it would be sitting there at 4am all shining.
To aquire a Raleigh Bike was like entering a different would. You had arrived on the cycling scene. Your path would be set
Budgie,Grifter,Burner and then for some like me a racing bike such as an Arena.
Nowadays we pop down to Halfords and just buy one. But in those days the expectation lasted a whole year. Which model will I get.
Driving past the huge Raleigh factory was for me like an adventure. Who worked there???. How did they make such amazing bikes.
There will be thousands of bikes presented on Christmas morning. It doesnt get better than that.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Keswick Below

Why I do what I do

The latest trip up to the Lake District was pretty spectacular. Snow had been falling on the higher fells and in places running was tough going. A quick run up to Skiddaw Little man for a photo or two proved to be a good choice as the sky was clear and you could see for miles. I took a few pictures of some of the surrounding Fells in the distance.
One of the reasons why I run on the fells.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

So we came up with this

The first two pictures are what I see should be how womens cycling should be portrayed. Emma Pooley leading Marianne Vos in the Giro Donne ( the last big womens cycle race ). Two great athletes showing us how its done.

This is what I didnt want to see. The lads came up with it.
Enough said eh.
I was reading an article the other day about the difference in salaries in womens and mens racing. HUGE doesnt even come close.
Lets hope it changes

50 x 50

The sport of professional cycling is in a strange place right now. In the current climate teams are cutting back. The mens side of the sport seems to be okay but the womens side is starting to get hit. In my opinion things need to change. We need to start promoting womens cycling more, and in the right way.
With the likes of Cavendish and Wiggins now becoming household names there are more bikes being sold than ever. A new generation is now coming through and they are buying road bikes. To be fair I see a few women on road bikes in the Peak but I cannot help feeling that they are not represented correctly in our sport.
Okay yeah you can go into Evans and fair play to them get a decent womens bike but apart from that there are not many places to go. Okay Im rambling and thats just the bike buying side, but in general the sport has to wider gap between men and women.
Yesterday someone said to me that women cannot ride a roadbike. I was fuming, literally. I took this as ignorance simply because the person that said this to me doesnt know a household name.
Victoria Pendleton I said?????.
Yeah but thats on the track they replied.
I struggled and tried to present the argument.
Ive ridden with women that can match me, Ive been pushed to the limit down the A6 with some of the GB women.
We need more promotion of women on bikes( Simple).
SKY need to step in to be honest. Lets have a SKY womens cycling team to start with and move forward.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Before you go out

Like others when I am on my way home at night and its raining and its winter and its cold and its wet and its blowing and you really really are wanting a night off training I look for inspiration.
A little trick I have used for a few years especially midweek is to throw a little casserole together.
Put anything in it. And yes do afford yourself the luxury of a packet for the stock. ( I know of diehards that make this from scratch, but hey!!!.
Casseroles take 1 1/2 hrs to 2 hrs yeah.
Now the beauty is as you prepare it you cannot pick at anything because the stuff your throwing in are raw. Well okay you can nibble on a carrot but that's okay.
So you don't eat anything, Bonus yeah.
Now all you have to do is tell yourself this.
If I do an hours running I can get back and take a shower and it will be ready. If I do an hour and ten it will taste even better. If I do an hour and a half the meat will be even tenderer.
The thought of a nice tasty casserole bubbling away as I come over the hills back to the smell of it cooking away has been my saviour on many a winters night.
So get your crock pot out . You know the one your Grandma gave you in 1976 and get casseroling.
Now bet your all hungry.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Get ready for winter

Yep its officially arrived. My fingers will remain cold now until Feb/March and every time you set out it will be cold, damp or wet.
Snow I don't mind, in fact I love it, but the dark winter conditions are hard to get through. You have to just push through my fellow fellrunners and cyclists.
It will come. The sun will shine once more.
Set a goal for the new year. Get home from work and no matter what just jump into your kit and get out the door.
We all feel better when we have ( Done a bit) as I say.
The FRA calendar will drop through the door soon with all those events to pick out and dream of.
I keep that picture of Bernaud Hinault in my shed. Mind he got paid a serious amount of money to be out in that weather.
Happy training

Gravy Pud Fell Race

The Bulls Head Pub in Tintwistle is the start venue for the Gravy Pud Fell Race. This year I am told had a record turnout.
Its my first time doing this one as before I know it has clashed with the Tankies Trog race and other things.
The weather was not good en route to Tintwistle and coming over Woodhead the snow was starting to blow in and visibility was not the best. By the time I dropped down a little bit to the pub it was hammering it down with rain.
Quite a few team mates had dared to venture out on such a rough morning and we all had a chat before the start generally moaning about the weather and jokingly questioning why we do this on a Sunday morning.
But we do.
We all line up and co organiser Andi Jones gives us a little chat before sending us away up the fellside.
It took me a while to get in my stride up the incline and I was red lining a little to hold the pace. As it levelled out on the track the numbers thinned out and myself and a Saddleworth Runner kept together. He was strong on the downs and I was strong on the ups but on this day he was just a little faster than me and he would beat me at the finish to take third. The course was quite boggy after the initial climbs and the run back past the reservoir dragged on a bit. The rain was very heavy as I crossed the finish line and I can say that I would not have wanted it to have been any longer than what it was.
A good course though and possibly my last short race of the year.
I will be back for this one now I know the route.
Loads of cakes,tea,t shirts and prizes in the Pub.
Thanks to the Northern Boys Love Gravy guys. Andi and his team did a great job. if you want a look

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Full Tour of Pendle Fell Race

It was either going to be the Roaches fell race or the Tour of Pendle and I chose Pendle.
Barley is a lovely setting for a race and I signed on early on Saturday morning for the 18mile epic that covers Pendle. There are loads of checkpoints which see you transversing back and forward until you finally run back down into the village.
Its a tough race but apart from a couple of the steep climbs it was quite runnable. The race set off very quickly and I had in my mind that I wanted to be in the first group. I wasn't and settled in just behind the leaders who flew ahead.
I settled in after the first climb in a group of four and we didn't split until after checkpoint 3. Then it was two of us together until about checkpoint 8 and then I was on my own for the final part of the race.
All was going okay until the final drop back down into Barley and then bang for no reason I fell over quite badly. After a few seconds I got up and just carried on and finished the race with a graze or two.
4th place overall which was okay but I should of had an extra Gel or something on the second to last climb as I was feeling it near the end.
This race sees you pass by Judith's Cairn ( more of that in a later post). I donned my cycling cap in respect to Judith as I passed by which was in my mind since I had thought of doing the race.
Some terrific support en route with some good friends along the way.

Not the most straightforward route on the fellracing calendar.
The knees responded quite well to antiseptic wipes and a scrubbing brush. ( Ouch)
Great organisation from Keiron Carrs of Clayton Le Moors and all his team.
If your looking for a nice long race try it.

Monday, 14 November 2011

What I was thinking

I didnt feel quite right posting this on the Remembrance post but oddly as I ran off Gable I was humming this tune.
Ive no idea why but it just summed the day up.


3.25am Sunday Morning and finally the Fox came close to me and grabbed a dog biscuit.
Every time I have been up at 3 or 4 in the morning this litle fox has been snoopi around.
I left a few dog biscuits out before and each time the fox has taken them. But Sunday morning it came as close as ever and took the food as if it was a household pet.
No doubt people will say dont feed it but I did and it was a special moment.

A very special day

Sunday was an amazing day. The weather forecast was good for the Lake District and whilst there was a fell race or two knocking about it was time to go and pay my respects properly. I have wanted to climb up to Gable summit for years but never got around to it.
So early doors Sunday morning I left and headed north.
Seathwaite was very busy with lots of walkers heading up various routes to the summit ready for 11o clock to visit the Fell and Rock memorial that is placed n the top of Gable.
It was a strange feeling skipping past the walkers heading up. Many comments to be had. How do you run uphill, your making it look easy, will you carry our rucksack, and many more. Whilst we fellrunners cover the ground faster, walkers have one thing over us fellrunners. They see more.
But this day was to be amazing. Ace views over the whole of the Lake District. Fell Tops were picked out. BG summits could be traced and Tarns could be seen but remained unnamed as I had forgotten the names.
Just before 11 oclock a speech was made and hundreds of us stayed silent to remember.
It was so special just standing there. In silence. I will never forget it.
Soon after the run continued and another 90 minutes of fellrunning passed by before it was time to head back.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Shepherds Skyline Fell Race

Another new race for me and I was surprised how many runners arrived at the Shepherds Rest Inn. Easily over 300 started the race which made it a busy start. I kept well up on the first climb but paid the price a little bit on the top towards Stoodley Pike Monument. I pulled back a couple of runners on the second climb b couldnt quite hold them offgoing down the final descent back to the pub. There was at least half a dozen Wharfedale Harrier lads around me which made for a good battle all the way round.
Not many Pennine runners at this one but Mrs Noel claimed 2nd lady. I was happy with 12th position.

A fairly straight forward route this one and ideal for someone just coming into fellracing. Plenty of friendly people and brilliant junior races.
Todmorden Harriers do a fine job.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Passing Clouds Fell Race

A good race for me on Sunday. I like this route as it has some little technical parts which suits me.
I have done 73mins ish before and wanted to dive under that. I think I did just under.
I came in 2nd place after John Brown. John and Jack Ross went wrong slightly at the start and John managed to overtake me as I was leading the race. I couldnt match him but pulled back a little on the technical parts.
The weather stayed fine and it was fairly warm. The boggy sections was not to bad and the run over the Roaches and onto Hen Cloud was excellent. This is one of my favourite places to run down here.
A bit of film footage of the race.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

What do you remember

I wasasked last week what I remember most about my BG day. Lots of things really.
But I have been on a fair few attempts, recces and I just always remember the food.
Particulary Rice Pudding.

So to the local lad David who is thinking of joining a fell running club and looking at doing a BG one day. Just remember like Billy says. Its a long walk. But made much better with Rice Pudding.
Possibly the most eaten food on the Bob Graham. Unlike Bob who had boiled eggs.
Good luck to all those who are having a go next year.

This could be the answer

This week as the temp has dropped I can already feel pain and cold in my hands. For people like me that suffer in the cold months it can be really painfull. The previous two years have been horrible and at times I have been unable to even open the door after a run or do simple things like open my bumbag or even use my phone. So next week Im ordering a pair of these. Ive been told they are better than a lot of the others on the market.
Just thought I would post that for anyone else who has the same problem.
My current glove collection will be one pair bigger.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Dark Nights

Have arrived and I hate the first few weeks. Training in them becomes very hard for me. Ive known about his for many years. Not just training but other things as well. Its something to do with the dark I know that.
I suspect many others struggle with that getting out the front door feeling. Seasonal Disorder Ive been told. I have various theories on it but when it strikes it can be quite difficult.
For the last few days I have found running and cycling just a going through the motion thing.
Nothing more than that really.
Tough week so far.

Monday, 17 October 2011

FRA Relays Kettlewell

The village of Kettlewell was the venue for this years Relays and Pennine had four teams turning out. An Open, Ladies, Vets and a Vet 50 team.
Full results can be found on the FRA site.
Now I have turned 40 I was picked for the Vet team and was allocated Leg 4. Just a simple run up to Great Whernside summit via Hag Dyke scout camp. Easy really. No it was hard.
There was roughly 190 teams competing which means your going to come across some of the real class fellrunners.
I managed about 43minutes on my leg which gave 21st place on the day. Could I have pushed harder. Not really. Not sure what position I was in the Vets on the leg as I have not got around to that yet. Maybe 3rd or 4th, who knows.
We came 6th Vets team which was pretty good and id manage to overall a couple of teams which is always nice.
Hopefully I can continue to be a part of the relays for years to come.

The passing of a legend

The sport of fellruning has lost one of its true greats.
Bill Smith was a legend in our sport.

I only met him twice. Once whilst racing the Summit race when he was marshaling and gave me a shout of encouragement and I thanked him and introduced myself in the pub afterwards and realised who he actually was. The other time was just a simple hello at another race.
There isn't much more to be said than whats already been said about him so I will simply say
Rest In Peace Bill.

Thursday, 13 October 2011


A brave runner told me this week that injury had occurred. As runners we despair if we cannot run.
I must run, I must run we tell ourselves. The runner in our heads demands that we carry on regardless.
But when injury strikes, particularly if its a bad one that requires rest and rehabilitation we must stop.
Then we worry that our fitness will leave our bodies faster than a rocket. Its true we may lose fitness but to be honest this will return very quickly.
There is a runner I know who has ten weeks off a year and comes back better each time he starts back training.

Use the time out as a reflection on the big picture. Most runners will get an injury at some time in their careers. I cracked some ribs a good while back but came back stronger. I did too much one winter and had horrendous knee problems.
Both times after 1 day of not running I was panicking that I may never run again.

Let me reassure that this rarely happens.
Most runners I know when they are back have said the time off did me good.

Keep the faith, rest, try a bit of cross training, swimming, biking, even a pub quiz or two.
And before long you will be back clocking up the miles

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Langdale Fell Race

The Langdale Race started a bit slow for me. I struggled on the first climb up to Stickle Tarn. This happens to me in some races whereby I just find it difficult on the first climb. I know from experience it will pass though and I will get faster s the race goes on.
The run behind Pavey Ark towards Thunacar Knott went a bit better and by the time I was crossing the very boggy Martcrag Moor I was getting into my stride.
All seemed fine by the time I got to checkpoint 3 at Esk Hause but 5 minutes later I slipped badly on a slab of rock and cracked my head on it. Blood started pouring out and from this point on I would be in get round mode.
A couple of the usual lads checked me to see how I was but I waved them on. I latched onto the last two lads in the group and managed to bring myself around a bit as we trudged over Ore Gap and up to Bowfell Top.
On the run over to Long Top to checkpoint 5 I felt a bit better and the rain was washing the blood off my face which felt good. A jump down the Bad Step and then it was just a matter of Blisco Summit to reach and the long run back down to The Old Dungeon Ghyll.
An hour in First Aid to get patched up and someone told me I was 11th.
Just happy to be safe really.
I will be back to try for a top ten next year.

It was a nasty day and the race saw a few fallers on the route. I was lucky really

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Leg 4 Ian Hodgson Relay

Well the annual Ian Hodgson Relay had finally come round. I have lost count now of how many recces I had done. First one way then try a different line here or there just to make sure I had it right in my head. I did but then it got switched around to run clockwise instead of anticlockwise. Try running in the opposite direction and see how different it can be, and that's just on a clear day.
I was down to run the Leg with Ultra Fast Adam Perry. Adam is fast and I knew we would be a strong pairing
Our other six runners had given us a good position in the Mixed Team race. The problem being Bingley had two very quick runners on there Leg 4. Ian Holmes and Andy Peace no less. This would be tough and I knew it even before the relay had started in the morning. So it was up to Hartsop hall for the start. Claire and Steph flew in rapid and to be fair we only just was ready for them.
The run up was tough. I prefer steep and Adam prefers slightly less steep so he pulled me along the first part and I pulled him up to Hart Crag. I knew the Bingley lads would overtake us at some point and that we may have a chance to catch them on the descent from St Sunday Crag. A quick dib in at Hart Crag in thick mist and Adam led the way across Fairfield to Cofa Pike. He picked a dream line down the scree and then we cut around and dropped nicely into Deepdale Hause. We headed up the path to St Sunday Crag and topped out but found no dibbing point. Quickly realising that we had not topped out we ran a bit further to the actual summit which again was in thick mist. Adam after doing a recce the night before took us off the summit and down the grassy slope which picked up the main path which takes you to the final checkpoint at the gate on Thornhow End.
As we came back into clear weather I could make out the Bingley lads in the distance. We hammered it and started to gain time. I knew it would be close and Adam did as well. By the time we neared the gate to dib in I had seen Ian Holmes just nip through the gate. I dibbed in and we floored it down the steps gaining on the two in front very quickly. They only had about 20 mtrs on us going onto the road section at the end and as we sprinted through the field and into the finish funnel we were 7 seconds behind them.
What a finish.
Thats fellracing at its most thrilling. 4hrs 21minutes ish of racing and it came down to a second or two.
It wouldn't have been possible for Adam and me to even have that chance of going for the win without our other team mates
Leg 1 Lucy and Edie
Leg 2 Muir and Paul
Leg 3 Steph and Claire
So a big big thanks to them.
2nd place in the mixed was a great achievement.

St Sunday Crag from Fairfield Plateau

Thornhow End Checkpoint

Friday, 23 September 2011

Three Shires Fell Race

A trip up to the Lakes last week to do the Three Shires Race. Its a classic route taking in Wetherlam, Swirl How, Three Shires Stone, Pike O Blisco and then Lingmoor. It was very wet early on but 297 hardy fellrunners set off to do battle. I managed to keep fairly well up on the first climb which really set me well for the 2nd half of the race. I had a bit of a fall just after crossing Wrynose Pass when I fell on one of the flagstones early on the climb up to Blisco which put me off my stride a bit. I managed to run it off though and by Blea Tarn I was still feeling okay. Half Way up Lingmoor I realised I was having a strong run and would finish well. One thing that this year has taught me and the extra training that I have put in means I can finish races more stronger. This was always a problem I had before when I would struggle from about 3/4 of the way into a race. The descent off Lingmmor was rapid and I finished back at the pub in 6th place. A nice T shirt and some vouchers as a prize.

A brilliant Lakes race.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Graeme Obree

A quality night out to hear a talk from Graeme Obree. Ashfield Road club hosted it and I was impressed. All bikies know what Graeme achieved on a bike. Simply a class act. No one trained harder than Graeme and he defied the odds.
I quewed up to meet him and he gave everyone that asked him questions a good few minutes of his time.
He signed my copy of Rouleur. I asked him three questions and he answered them.

All in all a down to earth guy who has had his share of problems in his life. Battled through and come out the other side.
Turned his back on road cycling when told to comform to the correct preparation unlike some other high profile British Rider.
Much respect Graeme.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

My set up

This is my little set up. The posts on the Tour Of Britain show how much goes into running a top cycling team. The set up is now huge. The smaller teams like An Post, Sigma, Motorpoint, Endura are fairly big but then you look at the likes of Leopard Trek, Rabobank, Sky, Cervelo etc and you see an even bigger difference.
The mechanics still do basically what I do to my bike.
Service and clean it and make sure it runs pretty smooth.
A nice day out to see some of the giants of the sport.

Tour of Britain