Monday, 31 October 2011

Work loop

Went for a lunch time run today with a colleague who I know from our work mountain walking trips. To his benefit, he has the mentality of a member of the RAF reserve regiment, to his detriment, he had consumed 16 pints over the weekend. A great guy and a great run! I was buzzing afterwards - good old endorphins.

Having only started barefoot running 3 ish months ago, I am still convincing my body, that this is the way to go. The adjustment to the barefoot style has been a slow one, a process that has demanded as much patience as it has rest. After the first month of constantly pulled calf muscles and frustratingly short distances, (starting at a few hundred metres) more recently it has become easier. I am still taking it slowly though, having had experience of plenty of injuries solely the result of over eagerness and lack of rest. REMEMBER, you get fitter, whilst resting. [in simplistic terms]

Being happy that I was finally up to the level where I could run the 4-5 miles that I knew Dave was running, I finally submitted to the goads (apparently I am a ‘puddin’ – did I mention he was from Newcastle!) and took up the challenge to join him. We stretched, started off slow but really picked the pace up once warm.

What I can safely say is, (in line with expectation) that having predominantly been a cyclist, my Cardio vascular system is a hell of a long way ahead of my body when it comes to running! With extended distances I am limited by my muscle capability, which today, I have to say, was a really interesting thing to experience.

Another thing of note though, is that fantastically, unlike the days when I was a heel striker, I now, (touch wood) seem to be able to do both running and cycling simultaneously. As I pick up both the cycling miles and the running miles again, side by side, we shall see whether this injury free state remains. Here's hoping...


If you are a road rider and you can laugh at yourself, then you'll enjoy this! If you are not, then sure you'll enjoy anyway! Robin Moore is a genius!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Fossil Haul

Selection of fossils from Charmouth
 Cool, ay? My brother and his girlfriend came back from holiday the other day. There'd been mention of them stopping off at Lyme Regis on the way home, but I had no idea why. Turns out they went fossil hunting. Being in the middle of writing a post I reluctantly went to see their 'haul'. Turned out to be way more interesting than I thought and so I decided to share. The above is apparently an hour and a halfs combing on Charmouth beach.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Snowdonia experiences - Battered by wind

New post - Alpine experiences - Stage 1
Snowdonia Experiences - Time doesn't matter Wilderness
Snowdonia Experiences - "Best thing I've ever done" moments

Wake up >> un-tangle knot of body/sleeping bag/clothes >> unzip sleeping bag, then bivi >> put trousers socks and boots on >> stand up, put rest of gear on >> pack sleeping bag and bivi up >> re-pack bag >> eat trail mix for breakfast >>

>> head off up trail >> Round bend - get battered by the wind >> Struggle up mountain >> Take cover from rain storm >> curse the weather for needlessly having made you take cover from rain storm >> break cover >> Have oodles of fun running up and down a rock outcrop in the wind >>

>> Continue >> Get battered by sideways hail (Right in the face!!!) >> Continue >> Find old stone sheepfold >> Eat >> Take photos >>

Sheepfold near Melynllyn
>> Find path >> wade bog >> cross water course >> Find Tarn>>

Melynllyn Tarn
>> Walk the 'beach' >> Find sheltered spot >> build rock wall >> put stove on >> attempt solo skinny dip >> Fail (Really? yup...don't ask) >> clothes on >> Hot chocolate brew >> Pack up >> Descend >> Amazing!!!

New post - Alpine experiences - Stage 1
Snowdonia Experiences - Time doesn't matter Wilderness
Snowdonia Experiences - "Best thing I've ever done" moments

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Staying warm

First log fire tonight. Picked up some deadwood the other day. Thanks nature. Mesmerising watching fire isn't it, just as it is to listen to Richard Feynman talk about the science of fire. He just has a fantastically engaging way of simplifying physics so that mere mortals like me can understand. What a character!

Monday, 24 October 2011

head torch

So I just took delivery of an LED Lenser H7R. I did a fair bit of interweb research following the frustration of finding that my otherwise ideal Alpkit Gamma doesn't run with rechargeable batteries, which for those of us who use headtorches regularly (me for my cycle commute) is a bit limiting. [Come on alpkit, sort out a rechargeable version!]

Knowing that for the cost of replacement batteries I could justify spending a bit extra than the - otherwise amazing - £12 for the Gamma, gave me more options for a suitable headtorch. It came down to two in the end, the Lenser and the Petzl Myo xp and it was the former that seemed like the better value option at £44. Even for 4400 of her Majesties' pennies, I have to say that from a neccesity vs cost point of view, head torches are fantastic value when it comes to equipment for the outdoors. I can't be without one!

LED Lenser H7R

The (R) stands for rechargeable, meaning that the batteries are charged directly from the mains whilst in the battery unit. They are standard AAA rechargeables, so it is possible to use other batteries. I understood that use of rechargeables with the H7(not R) was also possible and I would probably have bought the non 'R' had I not found such a good deal. Since buying though, I am happy with my decision, because it seems that reviews more consistently quote the higher lumen measure of 170 when refering to the 'R', otherwise, for the H7, the figures were anywhere between 140-170. Furthermore reading that the 'R' models were only launched in March of 2011, gives me more confidence that they are more up-to-date tech wise.

Anyway, early impressions are good as I have only just taken delivery. The Cree LED technology seems fantastically bright, with a good quality white light and consistent spread, and despite my worries around stability without the second strap over the top of the head, it seems that the lightness of the whole unit, negates the requirement for this extra security. I shall report back on the strap issue, after some good commuting use and the proper tests - night time running and mtb. In researching, it seemed to me that the Lenser brand had many links with the fishing fraternity so I suppose it would have to be a pretty fighty carp for the user to require a top strap! Comfort seems good, again on initial impressions. The dimmer slider on the battery unit is useful and the focus slider below the lens is satisfyingly solid in action. All good so far!

Awesome brightness and spread of focused beam

I have to say I am very excited to use this torch for night time mountain biking. One of my Mtb buds and I were recently discussing light systems; bar mounted and head mounted combinations. This little head torch being so good, I could almost convince myself that I could do without a bar mounted unit altogether. Would certainly save me a bit of cash!

At the risk of overdoing this post, I have to make special mention of my old Petzl head torch which I have had for over 10 years now. I bought it for an expedition to Guyana (South America) with my school and it served me superbly over there. Having had to finally replace the bulb on the old timer, (with the 10 year old replacement bulb attached to the torch), you can barely call it a torch. Still, it valiantly tries to fight on - likeSir Richard the knight in 'Indiana Jones and The last Crusade'. I now have it by the back door should I need to go the shed or put the bins out... and I have mislayed the Gamma, or just feel a bit nostaglic. I am very fond of it!..and so I am going to do a bit of a headtorch comparison soon, as a bit of fun and out of interest. Watch this space!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Snowdonia experiences - Time doesn't matter Wilderness

New post - Alpine experiences - Stage 1Snowdonia experiences - Battered by wind
Snowdonia Experiences - "Best thing I've ever done" moments
As weeks go, the recent week in Snowdonia was right up there! Simple plan - mate and I were to go as basic as possible, climb some mountains do some running and bivi down whenever and wherever the mood took us.

If you're aiming for 'Wilderness' a dead end road is a good start and if it has gates, all the better!

So first evening, we found some good UK wilderness on a plateau of snowdonia around 600 vertical metres. We hiked for a bit and then bivi'd down. Mr Wind was being a bit playful, though strangely enough, one of the better sheltered spots was atop a rocky outcrop, which provided spectacular views in almost  every direction.

          East from plateau over North Wales                 Llyn Eigiau Reservoir                      
Come morning, Mr Wind had really got the bit between his teeth. We temporarily lost one roll mat and a water proof bag, but an intrepid 10 minute mission down hill and back up by my wilderness colleague, saw us retrieve that which we thought was lost. 

Pack up was a challenge, but moods couldn't have been better. Huge appreciation of total contrast between 9-5 London and time doesn't matter wilderness. Love it!
Out crop O' rock - home for first night

Friday, 21 October 2011

2nd post - 4 my 1st post...

For my first post, I considered outlining a possible subject for the blog. Obviously I didn’t do that!

The problem was, that I didn’t really know exactly how this was going to go.

…and I didn’t want to be unoriginal straight away, did I?- Not a good start!

So sticking to the less unoriginal, (no, not ‘more original’) here are links to two videos that I want to remember. Both of which are mountain biking related. One, impressive because of the cycling aspect [and the commentary] Danny Hart's downhill run and the other amazing because of everything but the cycling aspect Just trust me and watch this!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

So why blog?

I'm sure many bloggers have asked themselves the same question… actually, I'm certain many bloggers have asked themselves the same question, because in searching for 'reasons people blog' I found a page on blogger buzz, where this question was answered by many:-

“I started blogging because I loved my wedding and talking about weddings and my fiancĂ© didn't - I needed a community”

"Main reason: creative writing outlet. Aux reasons: counteract stereotypes/preconceived ideas abt Pakistan, Pakistanis, & Islam :)"

“I started blogging after a near death experience to create a legacy for my three young children”

“Started blogging to write about food and Flavor of Italy's culinary tourism business”

Now these are all no doubt very credible reasons to start a blog, the creative writing example itself, I can adopt as part of the reason (I think) I am going to start this, alongside:
1. investigation of social medias for work
2. mates’ suggestion and adoption of same idea
3. recent interest in Ultra marathon runners’ blogs
4. poor memory and requirement for a means of remembering and appreciating what I get up to.
5. discussion with others on subjects/experiences, both mine and theirs
6. generally expressing myself better in writing, as my mind is too slow for this speaking malarkey.

…but I think I am willing to admit something about the main reason I am starting a blog and actually the reason I do most things in life and for greater impact, I will finish my first post with an exclamation.

What about good old self gratification?!!