Saturday, August 30, 2014

Round Up from Bank Holiday Weekend

and link to more if it’s of interest Smile

Sunday Morning Run

Winter Hill-14-1


Winter Hill-17-2


Winter Hill-21-3


Winter Hill-31-4


Winter Hill-36-5

Afternoon at Bolton Steam Museum

Bolton Steam Museum-12-1


Bolton Steam Museum-13-2

Latchford Locks, Manchester Ship Canal, Bank Holiday Monday


Good Luck...

...on your St Begas Ultra today Ed! Hope it goes well.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Successful Grand Raid des Pyrenees

After most of the day recovering, I can report that I completed the GRP yesterday. It is definitely the hardest event I have ever completed. I had done a couple of recce runs on Tuesday and Thursday where I managed to complete 25km  of the course in 3 hrs 20, the outward 11k followed by a connecting run then the final section back to the finish, so had some idea that I may even better my target of 17 to 18 hours.on the basis that I'd run 20% including 20% of the ascent in 3 hours. How wrong could I be : it's not the climb that's the challenge but the sections with rocky boulder fields. Of the 937 starters on the 80k, I'd reached my first checkpoint at Restaurant Merlans well ahead of schedule, and in 572nd place, in fact ahead of a 16:20 schedule which would see me finish at dusk. The next section to Artigues had more downhill in it combined with rocky terrain, so I had lost 30 minutes on a daylight finish schedule and was now in 713th place. Approaching noon, it was also now quite hot.
After a nourishing ten minutes or so, it was a relatively easy climb to Pic du Midi, no rocky terrain to contend with, an initial steep bit by a waterfall and then a steady climb, just 1700m or about 5,700 feet in the next 10k and only one small stretch of ice to negotiate. It was only as I neared the summit that I realised I could have got a cable car up there (but I would also needed to find its starting point)..By now, despite having regained 50 places I was at nearly 10 hours, so would need to complete the second have in 6:20 to finish in daylight. The descent for me was fast, after the initial tricky bit, I was ably to get a reasonable speed going, By Turnaboup, I'd lost only about 20 places, which for me on a descent is good going and on the next section I seemed to fly past many who were walking on what I thought was excellent terrain for sub 10 minute miling.However, we were all heading back into the rocky terrain, so even though I was going as fast as anyone around me, the pace slowed drastically so the next 16k with about 4000 feet of climb, took the best part of 5 hours with the last hour in the dark, The final section from the checkpoint at Restaurant Merlans was fairly tricky in daylight but in the dark and previous week's damp weather made it treacherous umderfoot. The route I'd completed on Thursday in well under 2 hours took 3 hours 20. Finslly I was down in the village of Vignec with about 8 others who'd passed me on the last descent down a greasy version of Georges Lane, but narrower. Somehow, despite felling so dispirited for the past three hours, I summoned up some vitality and picked up the pace. After 80km and nearly 21 hours, I completed the final kilometre at about 7 minutes per mile, taking four minutes out of the group from Vignec..I wasn't surprised that Julie was no longer at the finish but she was there until 1.15a.m. so I only missed her by 25 minutes. She had been keeping track of me but we had no means of contact such is the vagary of Tesco Mobile.My final finishing time was 20:39:20, long day out but not as long as some, the final finisher taking over 26 hours. Of the 937 starters, 790 completed, my final position being 658th.Michelle also achieved her goal, 728th in 22:13:48 whilst Albert competed the full 160k Ultra, 154th in 38:39:55. As can be expected, there was a high attrition rate in the 160 with only 404 finishers of 658 starters.
Would I do it again? I doubt it. It is very demanding, I know I could be fitter, despite the improvement in the past few months and if I were 10 years younger, then maybe, However, I have to say it is probably the best organised race that I have ever competed in, It is not cheap to enter, but you do get so much back and the care taken by the organisers is immense, Veille Aure is smaller than Belmont, yet there are hundreds involved both in advance and during the 50+ hours that the races are on the go. I would highly recommend it.
(I'll add pics, links etc when I get home)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Back North

The Lord of Brentford and his Good Lady are pleased to announce that they have returned to the North of England and have taken up residence in Settle. They would be pleased to receive visitors and the fells look stunning. However, TLoB would be grateful if prospective visitors would wait until he has found the packing case which contain his running shoes!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Aversion Therapy

I think that TM is going t be a problem - she keeps wanting to do things other than meander gently round Winter Hill. Monday's outing pandered to her wanting to recce the Langdale Horseshoe race route. Being a weekday meant that there was a limited turnout:- two OAPs, one educationist and the instigator who is privileged to enjoy flexi working.

With the weather here at BL6 being very fine we set off in high spirits for the Old Dungeon Ghyll where the weather was equally promising. A little hesitation whilst we found our way out of the car park (always the most navigationally challenging aspect of any Lakeland outing) then it was out onto the fell.

The first climb is along the left bank of Stickle Ghyll, seen here in fine form, in sunlight and refreshed from recent rain. Then Angle Tarn...

...with Pavey Ark behind. Thunacar Knott was gained after a little more effort and as we left there, the incoming front became apparent (note the ubiquitous green shorts):-

In no time at all heavy cags were donned and we wondered why no-one had thought to bring gloves. This was the worst of the squalls that we encountered, but from that point on the weather was made up of cold showers interspersed with spells of sunshine. There was some deliberation over the best route to Angle Tarn; we opted to head slightly north of west, avoiding too much loss of height but adding on a little extra distance to the more direct route which would have taken us slightly south of west. Then over the Rossett ridge and down to Angle Tarn:-

We picnicked here in fine conditions before ascending once more into the clag and up to Esk Hause. From here our progress slowed significantly as we contoured below Esk Pike until Ore Gap indicated where we should turn for Bowfell Summit. The rocks were slippy and progress continued to be slow.

The weather cleared briefly and TM pretended to consider how we might proceed from Bowfell to the Crinkles - was she still looking at the Duddon Valley map?

A fine shot of the Scafells and Mickledore, where the guy in the foreground hopes to have his ashes scattered - hope you have better weather on that day, guys. A lot of discussion about the best route to the middle Crinkle, which was attained rather more directly than our navigation deserved. Then on to the (very) Bad Step - someone said not to mention the war Bad Step, so I won't.

From there we should have tackled Pike o' Blisco, but on crossing Browney Gill we voted and the sandwiches awaiting us down by the ODG won, and we headed for home. We were out significantly over 7 (yes 7!) hours - race record is 1:55 - say no more.

We'd had a great day out, and whilst the route was challenging and interesting, no-one fancied tackling it under race pressure - so we've got that one out of TM's system - next silly idea please.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The End of Summer? Saturday 16th August

A good outing with EtU and KLM covering eleven miles or so.  Out to the Trespass Stone (where else) and the path past the shooting hut to Winter Hill Summit.  Down to Georges Lane and then to Horderns before taking the diagonal to the fire road.  Then a great little path shown to us by KLM from the fire road beneath Spitlers which took us virtually in a straight line through the old ruined farmsteads to Wilcock’s Farm and then along the edge of Dean Wood and in.  A good test of my ankle which only complained on the descents towards the end.  A couple of pics here, but the best of the heather here Smile






Friday, August 15, 2014

Haute Ariege in the French Pyrenees

A few random pics from our week away, with a more structured set here.  Fantastic place to discover Smile


























Saturday 16th August

Fret not, Kev, I'm UTUPing on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Langdale Recce - Monday 18th August

A bit short notice but EtU, Steve Pearson and I are planning on doing a recce of Langdale this coming Monday.  Please let us know if you would like to join us so we know how many cars we will need and so we can make plans.



Monday, August 11, 2014


RO has emailed back to confirm that I did everything correctly (phew!). There was a failure on the part of the technology. Should give him something to think about for future events. I'll probably suggest that those with their own dibbers should hand over their race numbers on their return, especially if they don't complete the course.

The MRT call out was a separate issue relating to a competitor who'd strayed off the course route and was stuck in vegetation.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Coope's Dozen, Saturday 9th August 2014

Although none of the wfdbwgua squad opted for the Dozen on its traditional slot of the 'Saturday before Borrowdale', it was good to hear that FSS had maintained continuity, albeit with a solo run - well done that man!

My excuse is that I was in Spain at the time, what was yours?

Moving on; in preparation for the Bega's Ultra on 30th August, I had decided to go round once more, and was pleased that both TM and YJ had already offered support, with KLM also turning out, having recently returned from France:-

We set off, only a minute or two after the planned time of 9:00, and were soon on our way to Noon Hill. We had been warned to expect showers and the forecasters were proved correct, although these were light and had disappeared completely before we reached our first halt at Hordern Stoops.

Route choices to that halt indicated that Noon Hill to the Pike is best tackled by maintaining height, but for the Pike to Two Lads it is better to use Georges Lane to Pike Cottage. The escape from Egg Hillock to Counting Hill seems best by dropping directly into the valley, heading slightly south of west and then, after the seemingly interminable uphill fight against the bracken, striking north of west when most of the height has been gained. The 'grassy shute' connecting Shaley Dingle and Counting Hill being seriously 'brackened' when last explored.

Despite the bracken, we reached, and subsequently, after retrieving and consuming our stash of provisions, left, Hordern Stoops slightly ahead of schedules established earlier in the year and set off for Old Adam's Hill. At that point KLM, our main pacemaker, strayed from the route to keep an appointment with his barber - what is it that our orienteers have with this obsession with hair removal?

Although at this stage we remained ahead of schedule, we had already experienced difficulty with the state of the undergrowth, i.e. bracken and grassy tussocks, now, for the first time, we began to feel that it was getting increasingly difficult to maintain pace. However, we reached Spitlers, Great Hill and then Round Loaf without losing too much time. Then, on selecting one of the many paths radiating from this mysterious, mound, we realised that our route was not the best and we began to lose time. We lost several minutes on our way to Healey Nab and then more on our way back to the barn. Some of this could be attributed to the effort expended earlier coping with the vegetation, but to be realistic, possibly more could be attributed to yours truly having left too much on Winter Hill, earlier in the week - sorry team.

TM skipped along quite merrily back to the barn, whilst the Bros trailed in her wake. A good, but exhausting, day out. Thank you one and all.

PS - the OSH has already booked our 2015 Mediterranean holiday, and I am pleased to report that I'm clear to do the Dozen on its due date next year!
Tour of Bradwell Sat 9th Aug

As mentioned in my previous post this event was a test for the new Salomon Fellraisers. All going well until about 3hrs in when they started to perform as all my new shoes do, the cursed foot pain. Once it starts, there's nothing I can do to make it go away (other than take shoe off!) all I can do is manage with it as best I can. I'll cope with it for about an hour if the end is in sight.

But in this race the end was a further 5hrs+ on. I made the rare (for me)decision to voluntarily retire at the 7th CP. Approximaley 13m of the 33m route done and was one of the closest points to the finish, meaning I only had to walk about a 2m back to the finish.

Now this is when it gets interesting. I did what every good retiree does as required by FRA rules. I informed the CP Marshall's, I returned to the finish area and spoke to two event officials one of which was operating the lap top for the results. My dibber was connected to the download control box, and the chap operating the lap top tells me I've only been to 7 controls. So as far as I was concerned, the computer has recorded my return to the finish.

So why is it at 17:50pm I get a phone call from someone from the race asking if I'm OK!!! Looking at the race's website there's mention of MRT being called out.

I've sent an email apologising, but genuinely believe I did everything that was required of me. Because I was one of the small minority using their own dibber, they obviously had no visible proof that I'd returned, aside from the fact that the car was gone (car reg details recorded on the list at registration when I arrived). It does however highlight a flaw in the checking system.


Turner Landscape FR - Saturday 9th August

Out of sinc, but a couple of pics from a cracking day in the Duddon Valley  -  more here Smile





Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Saturday 9th August

Sorry if it's getting boring, but TM, YJ and I are planning to do CD again this coming Saturday.

I'll be at the UTUP and then will transfer to the Top Barn for a 9:00 a.m start.

Grateful for company.

Anyone wanting to get under way at 8:30 could head directly to any of the later tops and then head back to meet the later starters - just a thought.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Farleton Knott (Bofra race)

In my quest for an 'all round' shoe I have now come across these
The Salomon Fellraiser. I've got a pair of Salomon Speedcross 3's, and although I've found the grip on them good, some really good cushioning, the rise from forefoot to heel has been too much for my feet to cope with. After long runs in them I was developing early signs of the dreaded plantar fasciitis, due to the constant pounding my heels were getting. Essentially I run on the balls of my feet and my heels rarely come in to contact with the gound. In these shoes it felt like they were hitting the ground with every step. They've also developed a hole on one of the uppers already.
The Fellraiser seem a better prospect. Similar grip & cushioning, but a lot lower profile from toe to heel.
Their first proper test was yesterday at Farleton Knott. That's the big hill on the right just before Junction 36 of the M6. Race route for this Bofra race was to set off from a field at the foot of the hill, follow the path through the gorse and bracken around to the north side (reverse to Hutton Roof FR route) and then turn right and along to the cairn on the top, then drop straight down the scree (visible from M6) back to the path.
A short trip along the path, and then back up to the top again. Wander through the limestone, to eventually rejoin the contouring path again. Then back to the finish.
The weather was perfect - driving rain on/off just to make things nice and slippy. The steep grassy/scree slope tested them to the limit and although being a little cautious I was suitably impressed. Less impressed with my race time of 64mins, but can't have everything.
Their next outing will be a long one - The Tour of Bradwell on Saturday 9th. So this will test the cushioning out. I've also teamed them with a pair of 'drymax' socks which apparently all the ultrarunners swear by. Info on here I've got the 'Lite Trail' and 'Trail' 1/4 crew. I'll be taking both for next Saturday's run and will report back on how these go too.