Thursday, 29 March 2012

MTBO 2h Winter League - Linacre

Great event last weekend up at Linacre. This was in stark contrast to the last one I did up in Hayfield in the sleet which was horrifically cold. In contrast, I cycled up to this event from Belper (25 mile ish) on the first day of British Summer Time. It was a glorious ride up looking over to Crich stand sitting on top of the early morning mist in the valleys.

I was kinda obliged to do this one to get any sort of placing in the overall D&W league as Hayfield for me was a write off and I just needed one more decent score to count in the league. Killian had the league sewn up, so the battle was on for second.

Route Taken : 23,11,1,17,2,6,8,9,5,14,7,13,12,10,15,4,3,19,
very muddy to 30,29,28,27,26 (deliberately missing 24), 25
(then forgetting to go to 22!),21,18,20,16,Finish 2h1min.
The course was on two maps (1:25 and 1:50) so I quickly updated all the 1:25 checkpoints onto the 1:50 map so there was no faffing with turning maps over. Route seemed to be going very well with no obvious errors and legs felt good. I knew that the route from 19 to 30 was going to be very muddy and it was but couldn't see another option with the route I was doing. Couple of small overshoots but no more than 30secs - 1 min lost.

Lots of bridleways were brilliant fun to ride, although some of the better ones in the area were a little further north which was a pity. Overall, it was a joy to ride. Legs went well, old mapboard installed which was faultless, no stupid route choices, just a pity that Andy Douglas was riding better on the day. Hats off to the fella who cleared it with a couple of minutes spare. He was quicker on a few controls too which I did so nuff respect. Results are here.

Overall I think that leaves me 4th which to be fair is still one place better than I think I deserve ! Final standings not yet out but I think its Killian, Andy, Chris Harrop above me. Oli Holmes probably should have been above me but he'd not had enough decent results to pull him up overall. All good riders who always seem to do great route choices really really fast. Still - that's what it's all about.

Next D&W event - The White Peak Enduro late April which I loved soooo much last year.  Can't wait !

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Whitby Weekend

Seeing as Teresa was in Sedburgh for the weekend and I had Lewis, it seemed logical to use it as an excuse to take Mum away somewhere. Whitby ticked most boxes and all in was a lovely weekend. The Beach was top of the list for Lewis, followed by T shops, then walks. As you can see, we were very successful!
Whitby beach Saturday morning

Grosmont Art Cafe - HIGHLY recommended!

Newbridge Park - a brand new (PAYG) facility next to Pickering Castle

Pickering Castle

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Long Tour of Bradwell Reccie - A run of two halves

There's always one weekend a year where you think "yep that's it - winter's over now" and this weekend was definitely it.

This is despite yesterday morning having some of the worst conditions on the fells, I'd EVER experienced... I was about 6 miles into my training run on the Long Tour of Bradwell route when - heading up Ringing Roger - the winds got worse and worse.

It was bad running up to the first stile leaving the field out of Edale. Upon getting to the stile I was basically not moving - being pushed back by the wind heading from the N / NW. Heading up the zigzags got increasingly desperate. It seemed like every 10m of height gain was linked with a noticeable increase in wind speed. So much so, that by the time I was climbing up Ringing Roger, the wind was seemingly being funelled around the rocks making it nigh on impossible to get up the path. It actually entered my head (for a split second) that I would have to retreat.

That has never EVER entered my head on the fells before.

Thinking really quickly I realised what I needed to do - drop down the side that was sheltered from the wind. That solved the problem for a short while until I had to top out - upon summitting I was promptly nearly lifted off the mountain !

Being in the clouds, with no gloves, no hat and just a flapping hood I was quite glad to drop down to Edale YHA. Bit of a dodgy line but got there in the end. Running was best classed as 'relaxed' all the way to Win Hill then Ladybower and Yorkshire Bridge.

The Route for the Long Tour of Bradwell starts middle left - Bradwell

At this point, I knew I was halfway round and the legs just wanted to keep going faster. I knew that the main climb out of the 7 big climbs was just up ahead, so get the majority of that out the way then gradually wind it up ?

Well, in a nutshell let's just say I wish every run felt that good. In fact, I've never felt that good on a 30+ run even when I was running regularly 3+ years ago. Yeah, OK things are never that simple on an ultra and yes there were a couple of moments where I thought "Oh god, that's it now I've overcooked it" around Leadmill / bottom of Abney Clough, but a good dose of Jelly babies sorted me out.

The climb up Abney Clough was a pure pleasure. I was dreading this after the Xmas / NY mudfest but I needn't have worried. There was actually a path this time and my legs were just itching to go faster, so I wound it up little by little knowing that I still had the climb from Abney to the descent before Bradwell. I got faster all the way until the descent I'm pleased to say which is in stark contrast to the pre NY run !

If I never run this well again then I will still be happy as for an hour or two I had a feeling that I don't think I've ever felt before. I'd been running for ages, but yet my legs just felt solid and got faster and faster.

6h7m ish back in Bradwell and a dip in the stream was in order followed by Tea Shop then back home to meet up with Mum for a nice Mountaineering lecture on Tien Shan in the local village hall.

I've since checked my route with Saul who did the race last year and confirmed I stuck in a fair few wiggles around Ladybower that I didn't need to. That's pleasing considering my time and that I didn't race the first half. Knowing me though, I probably won't enter the race as it's in August !

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

MTBO 3hr Winter League, Hayfield

Yes, that's C.O.L.D. !
Chuffin 'eck, that was cold !

After a stunning week of weather, a lovely short sleeved Strava KOM ride yesterday tea time and stunning weather on the day after this event, Sunday was a blast from hell!!

I did however take a choice of gloves for the event - sadly the wrong choice - I took summer and spring gloves when I needed my full on winter mitts.

I couldn't find control 1, then it got colder and slower after that. 200 pts - lowest this season by around 100 pts. Killian got 265pts (hats off) and Nick Craig 300.

Dave gave me and Graham a lift, so it was good to hook up in the awesome Rosies Tea Shop before heading back. Lentil and Veg Soup, Raspberry Scone and a latte. At least that lot put a smile back on my face !

Results here

The big downside to this event is that after only gaining 66pts from this event (200 / 300) I now have to turn up to Linacre to keep my average score up which is I think mid 90's. Bugger.