Or, A Year Of Madness
The sad tale of one man's - failed - bewildering attempt to get into the 1,200k endurance cycle event, from Paris to Brest and then back again, in August 2011. Oh, and walk 100 miles non-stop in May. And run a marathon - all in within 12 months. The marathon went OK, the walk was fine and the final qualifying ride was too close to the 100 mile walk. So the Pointless Project goes on for another four years untilk PBP comes round again in 2015.....
Monday, 3 March 2014
A bit of running, nothing more than four miles, and a three day trip to Salisbury with the bike to spend a bit of time pottering round the cathedral and learning how and why it was built. The pire was not part of the original plan and all 6,500 tons of stone in the spire was added afterwards with no work on the foundations so you can now see where the walls and bending and slowly collapsing under the weight - a trip up the tower will show you the remedial works with iron, wood and stone over the years. The Sunday february 9 - the Punchbowl marathon, a 20 mile walk and one of the Big Three I do every winter (the others being the Winter Tanners and the Gatliff Marathon). Once upon a time I used to do the 30 mile route, now I do the 20 miler. All good fund in good company. In the last week, a few four mile runs and a 16 mile walk in slippy mud with the London group of the Long Distance Walkers Association around a bit of East Susssex. A very good day out, despit the famous slippy mud of East Sussex.
Thursday, 23 January 2014
Fitness now falling away badly: nasty snuffly headcold after Christmas, then a few runs and the left knee all hurty. So I sat with big bag of frozen peas on my knee while imbibing Ibruprofen, red wine and cheese. Eventually, it seems to have cured itself. That ice does work wonders. Now it seems OK again, but I am giving it a day or to heal up before running. And the weather is still vile, well it is January I suppose. Planning is now quite intense: have finished finding places to stay, and ferries/timings/travel there and back, etc for the Hebrides trip for April, and much of the planning for Patagonia next January/February. The Fridays trip from Caen to Bordeaux in June is coming along, with plans for the reconnaissance in May well ahead - ferries, hotel and return flights booked and paid for.
Thursday, 16 January 2014
A long run was planned, on a route I know through Eridge woods - been there loads of times. Alas the Forestry Commission has done so much work that all the paths are different and often replaced by large tracks, and I became hopelessly lost - at one point I was wandering in circles. And of course, the mud was up to my calf muscles much of the time so it could hardly be described as a "run". More by luck than good judgment, I found a road, turned right and started running, and eventually wound up at home. So - 110 minutes and a paltry eight miles. The good news is that I felt fine and have obviously shaken off that cold. So planning now moves to Patagonia on the bike in January next year. And the trip across France from Caen to Bordeaux (with another chap on the recce in May and with about 20 others on The Real Thing with a cycling club in June). Oh - and the Outer Hebrides in April (which might be a bit "character-building").
Monday, 13 January 2014
The Winter Tanners Marathon is an annual fixture for me, and the long distance walkers association (Surrey branch) usually arranges a total mudbath in the cold, with lots of steep hills. This year was no exception. Although I had entered the 20 mile version rather than the 30 miler that my younger self used to enter, this was still a pretty hardish day out. A 6am alarm, drive to Leatherhead, start in the seemingly subzero temperatures before 8am, and a 4pm finish after going up lots of times and then (worse) downhill lots of times on slippy mud slopes, made it all a bit much. Still, a good day out. The next long distance challenge is the Punchbowl Marathon in February - a longer drive but more sandy terrain makes it a pleasant walk rather than a mudfest. And the good news is that I am now finished with the headcold and snuffly nose that plagued me for a few weeks after Christmas, so I might be able to get some running down soon. And if it ever stops raining I might go and see of the bike still works, or if it has rusted up in the shed over the winter.......... Finally, planning for the ride across Patagonia and the Andes next January has begun in (slightly) more serious manner. Hurrah!
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
The Gatliff Marathon, 35k walk from Edenbridge, on Sunday November 23. The aim is to finish inside 10 hours, I did it, as usual, in nine hours. Very muddy underfoot, nice and chilly day, all went well and we were back home in time for tea and medals.
Thursday, 7 November 2013
Briefly, because I don't think you want to read screeds, I went with Rob my mate, in his campervan across France (two days of driving) to a campsite in Saint Jean de Luz near Biarritz, by the Spanish border. We rose at 5am and rode across the border to the bus station at Irun, where we put the bikes on the coach and went to Madrid, where we changed at took another bus to Guadalajara, which is 20k to the east of Madrid. We didn't want to ride across Madrid - who would? After a night at Guadalajara, we rode to Siguenze, Almazan, Cervera del Rio Alhamba (I think), the Puente del Reine, then across Pamplona to cross the Pyrenees (in a torrential cold rainstorm) to the Basque town of Elizondo (arrived dripping wet) and then downhill and back to the van on the campsite. We had a couple of days lazing about then drove home, crossing the Channel on Sunday November 3. So, with the January trip, that is Spain done and dusted and I crossed France from south to north in 2011, so the next trip is across the north coast of France, from St Malo to Calais - that'll be two weeks in July. Before then, there is a week riding from Caen to Bordeaux in May, as a recce for the "proper" ride with The Fridays, a cycle club, in June. Also before then is a we in April in the Outer Herides, AKA the Western Isles. Er, that's it. I bashed my elbow on a farm gate in August and it hurts like hell even now - the doc says it's tenns elbow ad will get beter eventually. Typing makes it worse, so BYEEEE! ooops - nearly forgot http://www.flickr.com/photos/29651652@N06/sets/72157637272871686/ is a link to the videos and pix.
Friday, 6 September 2013
An excellent trip, I can't believe it went so well. The cyclepath alongside the Danube is reputed to be one of the most popular long-distance cycle touring routes in Europe, and I can see why. It is pan flat for the whole length, with just the occasional bump, there is lots to look at, loads of tourist facilities such as cafes, restaurants, campsites, hostels, guest houses, lots to visit. The weather was generally good - I wore shorts the whole time, the cost of living cheaper than in France and lots of people speak english. Flying home with easyjet was dead easy, we just bought a couple of dustsheets from a DIY store and a lot of parcel tape, and wrapped the bikes in that when we got to the airport. Apart from a puncture in the front tyre (I still can't see how that happened because the tyre was rock solid when we arrived at security, and they made us let the air out, which we did, and on arrival at Gatwick I couldn't get any air back into the front.) the bikes were handled faultlessly.