Thursday, 22 December 2011

Looking back

It's probably a bit early for these musings but 2011 has been a fairly busy year.
I'd started the year still feeling weak, bone-healed, but not mentally healed from a broken back only 15months prior. However, i made a concious choice in Jan to start doing more and to push through the pain. It started off fairly slowly with swimming for three months and although this was good, it wasn't enough. So a fortuitous narrowboat holiday on a mates boat, which 'forced' running kit to be taken and provided flat-(ish) paths meant i had a reasonably gentle and good introduction back to running. This then lead into a new (to me) bike purchase, which seemed to provide an insanely good reason to do my first sprint triathlon. I finished 193 out of 254 males and 32 in category, not bad for a first go and for where i was. It also gave an excuse to give another go, so i booked in for one post an alpine holiday.
There was obviously a lot of running, swimming, biking during that time, two of which have dropped off, but i've kept up the running and will get back into the others again. In the mean time I had a fantastic return to the alps with some awesome adventures if insanely hard week of hard, hard graft but i don't think that's going to stop me going back for more! A week after that it was another sprint tri which i performed slightly better in.
Moving on, Sept was a good mileage month, 33 miles running to be precise, largest one so far (unless I can perform miracles this month) also good fun in the lakes with a nice bit of walking. After this it turned into Banding time, contests in Folkestone (1st in the 2nd section) and Leicester (7th in 4th section - go figure) plus friends birthdays. Then it was my turn and an awesome weekend in the peaks with a good lot of people and weather to enjoy it. December has so far seen a lakeland trip with a nice walk, xmas concert to spread the cheer quite a few carols and some shenanigans at work.
Also in the last few months I've joined the gym, started doing yoga and kept wifey company there. Speaking of whom, her year has also gone from strength to strength, also starting running, loosing a lot of weight and doing her first 5k and looking forward to a 10k at the end of march. Muchos impressed!
What does 2012 hold? More of the same I would suspect. First off is the arrival of my Nephew (imminent!) which may be in 2011. Early on in 2012 two mini-mountain marathons, then the 10k, band contest, font and probably a few triathlons.. who knows what else! More blogging certainly to follow - i've certainly a few more things pending in 2011 to write about....
Anyway wishing you a Merry Christmas and lots of cake to eat!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Pick and mix

Bit of an odd weekend, but certainly a busy one.
Had a night at home friday which was very much needed, as the next morning at an ungodly 4.30 i woke up to drive wifey to heathrow. Frostily but uneventfully i returned home to sleep after dropping her off (berlin, xmas markets, girly weekend). Then a few hours later was up again for wood collection, need more for the stove. After that it was tracking check for the car and over to reading to meet mate and buy new trail shoes..
After which it would have seemed a shame to do nothing, so i'd convinced him to plan a route and we went for a run. All 9.3 miles of it, cross country in the chiltern mud. Good job i had the trail shoes really! Was really, really good, just a bit harder than i thought it would be. Chris set off at a cracking pace, since it was a road and flat i followed and managed ok on flat/downhill, but uphill was a struggle! 1hr22 later we finished just as it was getting a little too dark to see. Back to his for a shower and tea, then off out for a curry, few beers and a catch up. Awesome day, run and and excellent pre-event training for the peak dark & white MMM coming up!
Sunday dawned to caroling in tescos Amersham. I had the early shift and played away, in fact was feeling so good i stuck round for some more so ended up doing some 4-5 hrs. But quite quickly noticed I was flagging, realised i'd had no food, so scarpered for home and got some nosh. Heard after that we raised £900 at tescos all for the local home hospice care charity.
Rest of the afternoon was chores, washing and feeling quite tired. Otherwise cracking weekend.
Shame to have work at the end of it, especially considering the joyus meeting i've just had - ho hum life goes on and on and on.

Friday, 16 December 2011

cold running

I was still feeling a little dizzy earlier this week, so didn't do too much early on. However, i was arm twisted for a work run wednesday with 2 colleagues, both of whom bailed on me.. I saw this as a free pass, so booted up and headed out. Trouble was the blue sky wasn't matching a warm temp, and shorts really didn't cut the mustard. I'd come prepared with a long sleeve thermal and the gilet off my cycling wind/waterproof -
(Which i'd discovered on the late night run i did at the end of nov. It looked pretty cold out, so in a flash of inspiration had unzipped the arms from this and used it running. It's pretty perfect, having a large mesh upper back and being really lightweight..)
But I still suffered, quite a few other runners out considering the time of year. Was a good time for me too, 3.8miles in 29m43s
Last night i was home alone as wifey was at a work leaving do. So i headed out for yoga on my tod, some really good stretchy stuff, a smaller class and will probably be smaller still next week!
Weekend involves: Wood collection, carols and a long run planned with mates over in reading (plus curry).. sounds good!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


with something, dunno what. I was off work all of last week with it and was still feeling a bit head fuzzy/dizzy from time to time still yesterday.
I got to rehearsal in the end (28th nov), but sensibly stayed home tuesday to do a spot of housework, pre packing and general tidying. Followed by more of that wed as no chance to do much else on thursday (1st dec). Did a quick ish run at work with two colleagues (not too much of a beasting for them). Then dash home after work, load up car, yoga and thence onto Warwick for a free narrowboat overnighter with Stig.
I think this was my downfall, it was a late one, and a bit chilly in bed. I then did the driving whilst wifey slept friday and got us to keswick for 2pm and a quick cafe stop/gear faff then onto the cottage. We've stayed there before and it's pretty special, being a carpenters 'show' place lots of bespoke furniture and stairs, floor, kitchen the works all in different types of wood..
Sat was a windy affair, but managed a nice walk up Great Borne (616) and Starling Dodd (633) then back along the side of Ennerdale Water. Which was good as the wind was a westerly, so there was a bit of push up the hill, and tree line to protect the walk back!
Sunday was less productive, we got up and down middle crag (484) and high tove (515) to the east of watendlath, but only just. It was gusting 60mph and just as we dropped out of the marshes it whited out. Would have been really interesting up there, it was already pretty interesting. Now i'm game enough and was doing ok, but somehow wifey struggled with the cold and wasn't warming up so it was good to call it a day.
Trouble was i think this was final nail in the coffin as I mooched to bed for an afternoon nap after and was utterely shattered and coldy from then in. Wifey did drive the home, which was good as i passed out for most of it. Then spent the rest of the week dazed and confused at home. Unfortunately forgot the camera for this, so no photo proof of the windswept madness!
Still excellent xmas concert again at the weekend with a few mate to come watch/listen/sing along a few more carols this week and then the big chill for xmas..

Monday, 28 November 2011

Weekend write up

Wifey was feeling distinctly tired and didn't fancy the gym. Since i'd come home and didn't fancy driving back out, as there was a xmas fest in the town centre so traffic was bad, I decided on a run instead. Time was a bit tighter that i'd have ideally wanted so only a relatively quick blast for ~8k/40mins. Better than i'd normally get at work, but still not the 10k+ i'd really wanted.
Saturday we both had a lie-in as we were feeling shattered from a busy week. We then pootled over to collect rings (one happy wifey) and on the way back had a small diversion to Welwyn for a spot of xmas shopping and other essentials for us - mostly clothing! Once back at home we felt shattered again so didn't get the gym in the end.
However, wifey managed an early morning session sunday before going into london to meet with a friend. Whilst I was collecting a cornet player and driving to Loughborough for the brass contest. We played pretty ok, but were a man down on the basses (not yet clear why). Nerves seemed to be ok as a whole throughout the band and i thought we'd played pretty well, but our position of 7th seemed somewhat low. Anyway it's all good experience for the areas in March. Back home and chill out till picking up wifey from train after a good session in london!
This week more of the same, rehearsal, gym, run, yoga.. but come friday we're off to the lakes for a quick get-away hill bashing! Oh and definitely some trail shoes to be bought. They need bedding in and i need the practice!

Friday, 25 November 2011

and streeetch

Yoga last night, once again the only bloke in the room, not that this is necesarrily a bad thing ;-).
Different instructor this time who was much quicker in giving instructions and getting you to do the movements. Also some very interesting twist and stretch exercises. There were also some more planky type things, downward dogs, eagles and as I call them 'chameleon' moves (opposite arm/legs) all good for the core.
It did feel a bit rushed through the session, but equally good for a change.
Run on wednesday was ok, again bit of a breeze for me, but was tasking the guy at work. Took it relatively easy on the way out and then ramped it up for the way back. He asked me to run out front and keep the pace up. Probably looked a bit weird, but if it's helping him why not? Just over 3.4 miles in 31:30.
Depending on wifey may/may not go to gym tonight. Would really like to, but if not will go tomorrow morning instead. Then after we're off to collect rings as they've been made up. Wifey is definately excited by that! Sunday i've then got an early start to Loughborough for this brass band contest, if there's time tonight/tomorrow i'll get some practice in but i think we're pretty square on this as a band.
In other random news..... I've signed up with a mate to do the peak dark & white mini-mountain marathons. One in Jan and Feb (we both couldn't do the nov one this weekend). Considering i've not really done many events these'll now be 3/4 and i'm thinking about the reading half in april too. I reckon these'll be fun, they're only 3 hrs but i think the time of year could add a certain factor. But will also mean for a spot of something else on the sat whilst we're up there.. yay!
expect brass competition write up next week, and some long distance runs to be squeezed in!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Birthday buzyness

Blimey a lot seems to have happened in the intervening week.


Tuesday night gym, just a short session as i went with wifey, who'd been sunday and swim mon. So didn't do too much, but again went round the resistance stuff and did reps.

Wednesday booooring work. All morning meeting and lots to do. Then a spectacular meal out in the eve with wifey and parentals.. Oh and did i mention it was my 30th? I think the maitre got it right with a '79 congac opened especially as it was the closest to my age... lovely!

Thursday the in-laws popped round and i think I was still super tired from a late night so after they left had a quick nap before going out to yoga. Which was excellent as it was quite a lot of leg stretches etc and mine were already super tight!

Friday dawned with packing, driving, and food shopping for a party weekend in the Peak. We also stopped in for a cuppa with a mate in Sheffield and did a quick gear faff. As yet again wifey is struggling with fitting clothes having lost a lot of weight so a quick outdoor shop. Then quick pint and burger before getting back to the bunkhouse and having everyone arrive.

Sat convoy over to South Curbar car park then walkers did a 7-8mile loop to the north, whilst us climbers went south to baslow edge. Had an awesome day, some good bouldering and top rope stuff. Highlight of the day for me was an E2 6a which i did sans rest. Evening was a wicked party, keggage, food and prezzies.

yup that's me climbing
Sunday dawned a bit later and then again partial convoy to Baslow. Climbers to birchen and walkers went south to Chatsworth house, 9-10 miles in all. At the end of the day collect up the sleepy straggler from the bunkhouse (oops - but not me) and head home for bath, food and sleep.

Absolutely shattered.. Still band last night as contest this coming weekend. Gym tonight and possibly something wed as wifey is out for a meal with friends. Although sleep could still be needed by then!

Nevermind drinking pub beer, what about the keg?

images courtesy of chris/claire

Monday, 14 November 2011


Yup, me down t'gym, i know unheard of! I got showed around the downstairs stuff quite quickly, then upstairs for the resistance stuff. After all that, i went back round everything doing 3 sets of 10-8 increasing the weight. I didn't overdo it, which was a good thing. It felt pretty weird, especially with the grunty fella in front of the mirror lifting something stupidly heavy. However, i'm not trying to BE that, but want a bit more power in the legs for biking/running/hillwalking plus a bit more in the shoulders for swimming.
I then had a run planned for thurs lunch with a colleague, but he was working from home, so got a free pass to blast the short route (been meaning to set a time for it). It wasn't the best of runs as i could really feel the weights in my legs. But I still managed some PB's for 1k, 1mile, 3mile and 3k. 25 min run overall. Thursday night was then yoga, in which i was surrounded by 20+ women, oh it's a hard life. First session of this, it was good fun but harder work than i thought. Although probably not helped by the weights/run combo, Shattered!
Friday wifey had off so she went to the gym whilst i went to work, then I collapsed on return home for sleeep. Weekend installing a new radiator in bathroom (successful) if longer job than expected. Mostly due to having to use resin for the bolts (2hr dry time). Which meant no gym/run/walk/activity sunday as I was still at it. grrrrr.
Still 3 day week, which might be due to a big-ish birthday coming up. Yay homebrew time!
which'll hopefully look like this.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Our anniversary

was yesterday and I was actually prepared for once. Flowers delivered to work, evening meal booked and card ready on the mantlepiece. All went down a treat and brownie points galore,, possibly apart from being out the night before with work at a comedy club near embankment. Monday night with work? Ouch i was shattered by the time i got home, which made for a hard day at work tues. Not helped by a royally ducked up install the night before in Spain and another scheduled for tues night with the same engineer, but that's enough about work!
Was also climbing last wednesday (ow fingers have suffered), running thursday (5k - 32min, pacing for a colleague) and then drove over to Clyro friday night. The weekend was spent with Bro and family, which mostly consisted of 'uncle dave' being employed as entertainment for my 3 yr old niece. I'm not complaining as it was excellent fun going swimming, but wow, she's got a lot of energy. Probably helped by napping, so i joined in with that too!
Anyhoo, gym tonight for induction then I'll have to see how I feel about some weights as i've got to add some power to my legs since i struggle with that on the bike.. Having said that i've not been for a ride for months, but it's prep for tri season next year. Running tomorrow lunch and then Yoga with wifey in the evening, first session, should be fun and hopefully will help keep my back and muscles nicely in order.
I've also taken some advice and am eating more, more i hear you say? Yup to help with muscle growth, so....... cake anyone? Fraid no picture tho, cause it's all gone!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Halloween and 5k run

but unfortunately not for me. Wifey has been doing a lot of training and over the past month i've been helping out with pacing and rhythm etc all with a grand plan of her doing a 5k run for charity. Well on sunday she ran round farmoor reservoir, oxford in a very respectable 34mins. A fantastic effort considering it was her first 5k event and she'd only done 40 mins on the wednesday. Something that was later blamed on darkness and being confident with covering the distance. Still awesome work for her and now just a matter of finding the next event, be it 5, 8 or 10k!
I wasn't allowed to enter, for fear of being shown up ;-) still I got to see the guy going past in sub 19 mins. Ouch! i might need to run a bit faster to keep up with that..
Saturday night was a more ghoulish affair a mixture of a fancy dress/30th birthday party in Reading. Good fun, some excellent costumes and a fair bit of beer for those not running the next day ;-)!

uuuurgh, tasty brains!

Climbing tonight, running tomorrow, swim (with niece in wales) at the weekend. I might try for a quick 400m or more if I can.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Being sensible

As those that know me, it's not something that i necessarily do well. However, over the weekend I was still suffering from a stupid cold so apart from going to sort out new rings (see: loss at bank hol) and popping in on the olds i didn't actually do anything much at the weekend apart from sleep lots! Mind you the work do thursday was slightly messy and i did end up sleeping at the office. Ok,, so perhaps i'm still not that sensible then? Still penthouse suite, views to Windsor castle, 2 showers, concierge, on site chef and restaurant... sounds pretty good doesn't it?
More rehearsal monday night, which with a slightly sore throat was harder work, but still enjoyable. Since the contest is over it's onto a few new pieces. Then a gentle 5km run wed with wifey in prep for her charity affair this weekend (poppy run in oxford). I then followed that up with a lunchtime thursday 6km+ in 29mins.. which, looking back, considering the past 6 runs were pacing for wifey and not at my pace was pretty darned good!
Weekend will be sorting out various car related stuff sat, then halloween party in the evening to which I am not driving! Sunday i'll be doing the whole support team effort for wifey so she can concentrate on her first 5km ever! I'm seriously impressed...

Thursday, 20 October 2011

No mountains

or much activity for that matter.

Had two 30th birthdays at the weekend, one in reading and one in london. Oddly I drove to/from both so was vaguely sober come the next morning (there's always a whiskey at home ;-)). Friends stayed round ours sat night for further natterage post party. So it was a bit of a lazy day sunday, but still managed a run and pancakes and huevos racheros and cake....

which probably looked a bit like these..
This plus band on monday proved to be a bit too much so have been feeling under par for the rest of the week. However, it's probably not helped by central heating pending engineer to come fix. Which means evenings have been spent stoking the wood stove. I did get out for a quick blast last thursday with wifey so her 5k training is coming along ok. She was even talking about a 10k next year..

Anyway beer and bowling with some work folk tonight. Possibly the only chance i'll get to use my summer sleeping bag for a while.

The weekend is looking fairly quiet so if i perk up and the weather plays ball i'll try to get out for something!

Oh and to continue the food theme i was munching on this the other day. As has been suggested, perhaps I need to change my blog title to 'band and cake' as i seem to talk a lot about these!

hmmm, chocolatey goodness!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Busy Banding

So this weekend was a hectic one filled with Brass, Friday was the sole evening at home which was spent chilled out and with fire lit.
Saturday, an early-ish start to return trophies for section 3 in Folkestone and the loiter round for the rest of the band to arrive. With all of us there and just enough time to spare we all went down to dress, prepare and relax as much as possible. Chivving people to get band cards, be in the right place at right time, fell to me, which oddly meant we were all where we needed to be. The piece was 'Music for a Festival' by Philip Sparke and it was over in a flash. It all sounded good from my perspective. However, I had to dash back to Thame for a 5pm so couldn't stick round for the results. These would have been worthwhile, as not only did we win (our first time in the 2nd section), but we picked up several other awards. Best percussion, best conductor, best soloist (horn) and best tenor horn section. All in all, a very good day.. the band trophy shelf has once again swelled!
What with the evening though it meant I wasn't home till gone 11pm.. A long day, with a fair bit of driving involved.
Sunday woke later still, went for a very gentle jog for 5km, food shop and lunch out. The afternoon was helping with setting up the stage. As it wasn't just a contest weekend, but a concert one too. It was locally at the Elgiva in Chesham after a afternoon rehearsal, with our soloist, choir backing (finale). It was all too soon that we cleared out, the 250 audience shimmyed in and we, plus choirs got on with showing our best. It was a fantastic night, the soloist, Andy Greenwood (principal trumpet, Wicked, west end) really showed his stuff and helped us to give a fantastic performance. Well worth the effort and certainly one to be repeated if at all possible.
I on the other hand was shattered and stumbled home for a well deserved beer and some much needed sleep.. and on to another week!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Pirate day

Last week was pretty quiet in and outside of work. But I did manage a very good run for me on Thursday, with a 6km run in 29mins. I was doing some interval stuff 2min fast, 4 slow - repeat. This made for a good outward time but my legs died for the return. It's still in the sub 30mins for this particular work run which i'm very pleased about. However, it was super hot out there ~25c so i took a good 30 mins to cool back down, even after a shower. Which is never good fun in the office!
Friday was going to be different as i needed to head for a small eye op to stoke mandeville. However, it left enough time for a morning run with wifey. She's in training for her first 5k at the end of this month (poppy run, Oxford) and has been working hard at it, considering it's not normally her thing. So I gave her some company and helped her to pace a bit better, plus have a feel for what it's like to have other people running beside you. She was mega appreciative, and wants to do it again (a good sign).
The eye op was a stupidly simple job, cyst removal, but still amazingly painful at the time. I'd say eye watering, but it was hard to tell amongst the local anaesthetic and other stuff.. I then got a patch for the rest of the day and a stinking headache. I holed up in bed as the bright sunlight wasn't helping, nor were the wearing off anaesthetics. Unfortunately i missed this by a few weeks:
The rest of the weekend was filled with some gardening work, cleaning, seeing my parents and another band rehearsal (this time in watford). The upcoming contest is Sat 8th down in Folkstone. We're up a section, having won in ours last year and want to do well. Plus we've then got a concert sunday in a theatre for 300. All in all, it'll be a busy one next weekend.

Monday, 26 September 2011


Norfolk really is quite flat y'know. Had a fairly chilled weekend. Didn't leave till after dinner friday which meant the traffic was a bit better than normal (but still an accident on M1). Arrived and said hello before passing out, i must have been more tired than I thought.

However, that wasn't going to stop me going for a run as I felt in need of one. I'd scoped out a route on an OS map that looked a good distance and thought it could either be one or two laps depending on how I was feeling. Thankfully I took the one loop option as it was quite long at 11.6k. I wouldn't say it was the most interesting of runs, dyke, endless fields, more fields. At one point the path disappeared and it was going to be a jump over a dyke.. Sensibly I backtracked and then had a long leg on the road. This added to the boredom, but at least there were then front gardens to peer into. 1hr5min in total which i'm happy with considering it's the first 10+k run i've done. Breakfast was well deserved after this.

hmm pancakes

Took MIL for a spin into King's Lynn for a mooch round the shops, it's amazing how most people are completely ignorant of wheelchair users and how some shops are excellent and others useless. Also, although pedestrianisation of high streets is great, but why do they generally insist on cobble effect (ok not quite as bumpy as the real stuff) it's hardly wheelchair friendly. After this it was going to be a scrabble rematch, but it quickly became apparent there were quite a few tiles missing.

Sunday was another, shorter, easier run, followed by sunday roast with some of the best yorkshires i've made in a long time. A short and brief visit, but one that probably did a world of good. Oh and guess what, more beetroot soup sunday night... Still at least it's super tasty!

soupy goodness

Friday, 23 September 2011

Not much to report..

The fire's now in use, seems it was in dire need of being swept said the sweep. I had a fairly below par run with a colleague who's getting back into it after 7months of non-running. It was a good improvement for him (no walking involved and 1 min faster for the distance), but I oddly felt like going out again, just not enough time in a lunchbreak. In the evening it was a pubbage trip to to meet up with friends for drinks, collect loaned climbing gear and talk about various adventures we'd all been having.
This morning was dentistry, no fillings for both of us just a check-up and clean but there's always that dreaded moment when they're umming and aahing whilst poking around. Also luckily the weather is very good, and looks good for the weekend so guttering folks cracked on mega early today and hopefully will have made some serious progress. They still need to make a return trip to finish off but hopefully it'll get sorted soon-ish.
Beetroot soup made tuesday and some frozen. Beetroot and chocolate cake made wednesday (wasn't allowed to make more soup). Beetroot and chocolate cake demolished thursday...... I did take it to work yet still managed to eat quite a lot of it myself.
Tonight it's a quick blat up to norfolk to see the in-laws as i didn't remember another birthday was this weekend. So i think more beetroot cake will be required! Hopefully will get a run of some distance tho, and since it's all flat up there it should be quite good!
have a good 'un

Monday, 19 September 2011

Chiltern hills

So finally a weekend at home, and boy was it needed. Friday we enjoyed a pub dinner out (a rare treat at home) with plans discussed for the weekend. Saturday woke lateish, began by watching the rugby, but soon progressed to awake and pottering. After ablutions we packed a small bag and drove out to low scrubs, nr Chequers for a relatively quick walk through the forests and up to the lofty heights of the Chilterns (257m), 7.5miles in 1hr 40. Really nice walk with acorns crunching underfoot, but we didn't get to see the Camerons. Back home and a monumental food shop on empty stomachs, which gave a late lunch ravenous status.
The afternoon was spent doing a few things in the garden (yet more damsons to pick up, we're jammed out and ginning up!) but mostly relaxing. Sunday was house clean and tidy up, the normal things for being at home. Grace is at home today for the chimney sweep to visit, which'll mean the fire can finally get into use, it's getting nippy at night. At the end of the week, weather permitting, the guttering folks are coming round as a job that's been put off far too long can get sorted. Which'll be one less thing to worry about, but does mean yet more money out.. Sometimes living in a cave would seem so much easier.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

In other news

There's been further running on thursdays, including an excellent fartlek session pre lakes. Plus an attempt at running in the lakes (it's hilly there..) and a vertitable explosion of river cottage home baking. Rhubard crumble, plum crumble, damson jam and gin soon to follow. Tomato soup (lots thereof) using onions and carrots from garden. Also banding on monday nights, when not in cornwall or lakes, plus trying to do practice at home.. This is due to an upcoming competition for which membership cards have been renewed, entry forms sent off and carnage round our house.

At some point soon i'm sure i'll get a free weekend..

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Lakeland rain

So in the intervening weeks I've been a bit busy.

After the Bank hol I had a manic 3 days at work, with three busy evenings, unpacking, washing, repacking and also a band rehearsal. Why you ask? Well cause on friday we went to the lakes with my MIL to stay in a nice cottage in Eskdale Green. It was a horrible drive, 8 hours in the end (yikes!) but we arrived and chilled out in a wicked little cottage. However, it was a very good job we'd taken food with us, as although the local store had some basics, there wasn't a lot about!

Over the course of the week, we were blasted by strong winds, rain, thunderstorms and the very occasional day of sunshine. However, much scrabble was played (i'm still not sure of the overall winner ;-) ), good food eaten and tea drunk, plus possibly some beer. On one of the good days Grace and I managed a good walk up Harter Fell from Dalegarth, although the paths were slightly wet*, but it had an excellent view from the top and it was a not so hard day out.

Yup, that's the path

The other, which started off rainy, was on Muncaster Fell. This was a very gentle amble from Irton road station back down the line to Muncaster station on mud fest, but it was another good walk with Grace and an excellent way to finish, by catching the train back to the car.

The 'River Irt' one of the many trains on the railway.

All in all, a very relaxing week, but somehow i'm yet again tired for work. Still French today, then possible a run and a swim tomorrow, I'm sure that'll help..

*some rivers don't run as deep as this.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Sun, sea, surf and climbing

Well ok if you count one route as climbing. However, it was an awesome route.. Little brown jug VS 5a. For those in the know, that's in cornwall.

Surprisingly cornwall wasn't completely full (considering aug bank hol weekend).. and luckily one of our party was down early to nab a field space in what turned out to be an excellent campsite (tower park, St Buryan if you're interested). After an early leave from work friday and stop-off in swindon to collect a friend we eventually arrived at a not-so-late time of 11pm. Pitching up the stars looked awesome and a beer in hand we passed away a few hours catching up before turning in to cosy sleeping bags.

Saturday awoke to surf of 5 foot, so beach day it was. I don't know why.. but i persist in trying to surf. It didn't go all that well as before i only get a foot (or two) on the board before falling off in ever increasingly fun ways. Surfacing barely able to breath before the next wave hits... However, an awesome day, and not too much sunburn ;-).

Sunday a long-ish walk from Porthcurno to Sennen, via lands end (urgh). Yet again another awesome day, and sun sun sun. It was a bit of a bummer we didn't go climbing this day, but it started a little wet and looked iffy. Only till we left the campsite did it clear up (always the way).

Hmm, granity goodness. Pic from stig camera (mark taking shot)

Finally monday and a blast round to Bosigran to find this 3 star gem. Stig got the first lead and I the harder second pitch. Which may have took me some time, especially without the crucial peg. But I held my nerve and completed in style. The other two thoroughly enjoyed following and apart from a minor slip arrived grinning and pumped.. but unfortunately time was tight and we had to mosey. So a quick munch of an awesome cornish pastie and back to the campsite we went.

This was where there was a slight downer on the weekend.. we discovered the loss of Grace's wedding rings.. No amount of searching found them and returning to beaches, lifeguards, metal detectors and police calls has so far resulted in nothing. Unfortunately it seems they're MIA.. So bummed by that we departed and will have to make a few phone calls to the insurance co.

However, apart from that a wicked weekend and just a crammed week before heading up to the lakes tomorrow. Yikes!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Carterton Triathlon 2011

Well that was yesterday and i'm sure feeling it today. Legs are even more wired, sleep is mostly caught up and food intake took a huuge boost yesterday.

I was feeling distinctly underprepared over the weekend, but was very glad for a swim friday. Not least because my goggles decided to break and first replacements bought were too small. However, the guy at the front desk swapped them for a more expensive pair (wider nose) free. Awesome! So I got back in the pool and blatted out a pair of 400m blocks to see if my entry time was right. Luckily I didn't seem to have lost the ability to float..

Having competed in my first tri only a month ago (Thame) I was feeling a bit more relaxed and i think because of minimal prep chilled out. Not that it stopped the nerves Sat night. However, the briefing, pre-race wait and poolside warm up were done with minimal fuss and oddly calm. In fact in no time at all I was in the pool then 10, 5, 3, 2, 1 GO! The swim was much better than before, I upped my pace this time and the improvement felt much better and certainly showed in the time recorded.

Out to T1 and the bike ride.. This again felt better but i still don't seem to be that fast. I'm overtaking some people, but more are overtaking me. OK it's the guys on full carbon, with aero wheels and bars (well ok amongst others) but it still feels like I'm standing still when they go by. Anyway the 2 lap route is good, meaning you see more of the competitors. However, dunce that I am, on the final leg to the sports centre, I take a wrong turn. Oops, anyway it's a quick turnabout and re-overtake the lady i'd just gone past, so not too much time lost.

T2 done quick and then the run. Yet again stitches for this, which force 3 walks, but i still plod on and eventually overtake some peeps (but waaay more have gone past me). Finally the last km up the pace and finish. Wooot!

Results i'll post up later as they're not yet officially available and i couldn't get a print out.
Of the more important note, is support team Grace. Food at venue, awesome driving home, food intake when we get there, nappage and then 3/4 of a rhubarb crumble plus custard (two very full bowls). On top of copious amounts of fruit and veg with dinner.
That and the packed lunch i've got for today. hmmmm, food!

Edit: results out. Very happy with swim and ok run. But definately need to work on bike.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Tri training

Of the non-existent variety..
So as mentioned before, i rather sensibly (i thought) entered a triathlon for this sunday, just before i left on the mammoth alps adventure. I only recently competed in my first just over a month ago, for which I trained fairly comprehensively.  But in the intervening weeks i've done a grand total of 1 run. Ok so i've done a lot of CV work, with a trip to the alps, north wales and canoeing.. but 1 run??? eeek! So tonight Grace has convinced me to join her for a swim to see if I can remember how to float..
Mind you lets not mention the blisters that are just about healing, the legs that still feel wired from last weeks pounding and the massive sleep i intend to get tonight to catch up.
Expect a tri write up come next week. that's if I finish. Still at least it's only a sprint distance (400m swim, 24km bike, 5km run). How hard can it be?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

alpine epics

So i returned sucessfully from the alps.. I was somewhat aprehensive about this trip (considering last time i was in the alps i broke my back - long story which I may tell later). But had saturday to chill, have a BBQ/party and send off a friend who's emigrating to NZ. That went fab, and collecting one of the army guys who I was going with from the park (where he'd bivived the night before) added a bit of spark to the evening and was a general all round good guy.

However, time was passing on and as other army chap, Jon, was seriously delayed we decided to get some kip. Around 2am he arrived, so we loaded up and got the hell out of dodge.. What followed was an epicly long drive down the length of France to get to Gran Paradiso in Italy for 9pm.. at which point we checked the forecast with the campsite owner and collapsed into our sleeping bags.

So begins the pain... Monday we woke to a great day, showers, brekky and a nice gentle walk into the hut. Oh no.. not when your with two army guys, one who trains the TA and the other a PTI (personal training instructor) the guide book time of 3hrs turned into an actual time of 2. By which time we were all sweating profusely and my boots had decided to strike and give me blisters (arse, RIGHT at the beggining of the trip!). Nevermind I had compeed, the wonder invention, and left the other 2 to recce the path and get some glacier practice. This was a good all round decision as I was a bit fresher and we knew where to go first thing for tues.

400m of ice? yes please..
Tuesday was a 3am start, a normal time for the alps but still lovely.. Brekky wolfed down and walk into the NW face of Gran Paradiso. I was a bit slower than i'd hoped but not all that bad and the compeed held up fine. We crossed the bergshrund and then began the 400m 50 deg ice slope. This was an ice climbers paradise and was front pointing all the way. I did about 100+m of this and enjoyed every min of it (well apart from the calf burn). But was totally bushed after and handed over to Jon who go us to the top of the slope in style. By this time we were the only ones on the mountain which probably meant we were a bit on the slow side! We then bagged the summit, said hello to the virgin mary and continued on the descent. Unfortunately we came down on the wrong side of the glacier and so missed the easy path back to the hut. Instead having hell with scree and loose mud at the base, before finally crossing over the river and to the chabod hut. So back where we started,, 15 hours later. A quick sprite and then a lovely little jaunt back to the valley in 3 hrs. Arriving there we grabbed some strange pitta/ham/cheese grub and then collapsed into bed for 12hrs.

Wednesday began with shower, brekky and more food. Over which we decided to move to Barre Des Ecrins and get that one underway. So jumped in the car and got going. What should have been a 3 hr drive turned into a mad one and we didn't get to Ailefroide till 7, a quick pizza and check with the hut that we'd still be ok to arrive late. Non? Whaddya mean NON! You'll wake the other guests... ARSE! So we decide a bivi is in order, grab the gear and start walking, 2hrs later and we're near the old hut so find a spot and bed down for some kip.
Barre des Ecrins, the final rocky bit, luckily without the crowds

Thursday - 3hrs later, 2am,, we wake and pack up the gear to leave there. On-y-va. Past the Glacier blanc hut, past the Ecrins hut (just when some people were leaving) and continue on. Dawn arrives and with it a veiw of a snake of people going up the mountain. Still at least we wont get lost! I'm suffering on this and have no power in legs. But on we plod and reach the col  (Dome de Neige to right) before the rocky ridge. It's carnage above us, with the amount of people. But leaving packs there we get going and shimmy past as best we can. This part takes a lot longer than expected, but the weather is awesome, if a bit windy, and so summit bagged, back down we go. By the time we've hit the col again the wind has picked up and clouds have come in. I'm on point and so slip and slide my way down the mountain barely able to see the path (joy). We hit the glacier with sounds of avalanches all around us and crack on. All of us are feeling it by now as we've been on the go for 15hrs ish but we plod on and follow the path through the glacier & crevasses. We get off the glacier and pass the Glacier blank hut just as sunset is past giving it's best show. But no time to stop we pick up our gear and then headtorches on stumble on down the path. By this time we're the walking dead. Concentrating on avoiding rocks, trying not to crash on feet crying out for it all to stop and get out of these dammed boots. We finally cross the bridge and have the last shimmy to the parking. No camping allowed, so we have a quick blast down the road until a opportune place and pitch up. It's midnight by now and sleep is all that matters. 21 hours on the go... by far and away the longest day i've ever had in the mountains and it felt like it too.

Friday is a well deserved rest day, food, food, showers, kit sort and relax. However, it's also time to think about the next route. Thankfully the info centre has guides (in French) but it produces a little gem: puiseaux pelvoux (Couloir Coolidge, PD). A lovely 3hr walk to hut and 4hr route.. Awesome that'll do nicely. So afternoon beer and then an early night.
Sunrise alpine style

Saturday is another 2am start, a quick pack up again, you have to pay the same for camping whether you're there or not. Then crack on. Not much to add on the ascent to the hut. But once there we're treated to an awesome sunrise and get some more grub in. The only way is up from here. Climbing and scree till you hit the glacier after the col. Then turn right and look up the couloir. That'll be it then, another awesome ice route but another knackered Dave. Still summited with sunshine and great views. Slide back to the top of the couloir and then have a decidely dodgy descent as by now it's fully in sun and slushy as anything. After a bit of a wobble we start pitching it which slows us down even more, but finally get to the bottom and pack up. Back onto the scree, hmmm lovely, short abseil onto more scree, joy. and blat away to the hut (don't feed the Marmots). Getting there by 7pm that's a mere ~15hrs of moving in the hills, but Mr proprietaire pops out, are you partie 3? Yup that's us, and knackered we are.. dinner? Yes please! He saw us coming and luckily although we were late it was all ready to go, lots of soup, lots of rice and Chamois bourguigon (a local type of mountain goat), peaches and chocolate followed by cheese.. wow we're stuffed and tumble into bed, after telling him about the piton found for the abseil.

Waking late for a hut, at 7.30 we grab some brekky, pack up our gear and head down the valley being followed by the storm clouds. 2hrs later we're there and showering feels like bliss. Gathering up all my gear i'm done. These two have more via ferratta and new people arriving, but i'm glad in a way i don't, my feet are mullered, i could sleep for a week and food is high on my priorities.

All that remains is 4hrs of travelling, flight, train, tube, Wifey taxi and bath, food and bed. Work monday was hard, my feet are still in peices and somehow, oddly, illogically, I entered for a traithlon this sunday. I SOOO hope my feet recover in time.

Climbing with two army guys (one trains TA peeps, the other is a personal training instructor) is hard, hard, work. Mind you even the PTI said, " The first 10-11 hrs of these apline days are enjoyable, after that it's just endurance" To which I kind of agree, but it's not going to stop me coming back for more!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Let it begin.

So welcome to my world.. This blog is going to be something of a diary for myself, training done, climbing weekends had (few and far between i suspect), mountain biking, canoeing, banding, beer and random musings. I hope those that come along stick around as i know i've picked up bloggage from my wanderings on the web and hope those that find this aren't put off.

I've been considering doing a blog for a while, but have often wondered what target audience i'd be going for. However, after a bit of an exchange from a friend I decided that why not!

I seem to be having quite a busy time of things at the moment so it should lead to a heathly choice of pickings for posts and I will try to make this a regular update. But, starting how I mean to go on am off to the Italian alps next week! So expect an update on that when i get back all euporic from the mountains again.

Afterall there is something about mountains that is food for the soul. So, let feeding commence!