Monday, 30 October 2017

Seasons End

She reminds me of someone famous...?
I've managed to tot up 40 miles running this week. I did the same the previous week. You also need to factor in the 3 hours of martial arts in there somewhere, so early days but goin alright. While there's no speed, there is some pavement pounding going on. It was a steady 12 miles yesterday, some of it in the woods with a small gang of oldsters from the club.

The cycling hill climb season came to an end yesterday with the Nationals being held up in Northumberland. The hill at the aptly named Hedley on the Hill attracted 240 starters, most of whom needed a good feed. There was a large vociferous crowd (at least on the second half of the course).

Full moon last night...?
I drove over and took the bike the two miles from Mickley to the start. The event was already well underway when I arrived. I walked the course and planted myself at the busiest bend, the final kick-up, and I have to say for the hour I was there, it was a hoot. I let my mind wander as I waited for each rider and thought I should have entered, but I did this course 3 years ago and it was longer and lumpier than I recall.  I didn't miss the heart rate shock and lactic acid paralysis not to mention the dry cough at the end. The stretch of road was closed so the spectators could take over the place. What a din there was at the end of the course. Pots n' pans, horns and cowbells. Great. One or two of the lads even got carried away!

There's a charity 12 mile time trial on just before Christmas. Its just a bit of fun, but I thought I might get Mrs Mac involved on the tandem. Fancy dress of course. The second hand Roberts frame I bought is away at Bob Jacksons in Leeds getting chopped down and re-sprayed and I'm still chewing over the choice of transfers. For the money they're charging, its gotta be right. A good while ago I had a frame I won at Meadowbank (back in the day) resprayed. The paint job was fine but the decals (transfers) they put on it ruined it, and I never rode the thing again. Sold it a couple of years ago.

The youngsters have been showing me up; The dark destroyer, fresh from her win at the Kielder marathon is cranking out about 100 a week and Speedy Joe is also flying at each weeks cross country' She is limiting herself to around a 70 mile week training around the parks and meanstreets of the Dear Green Place. Maybe I need to go north and have another go. My last run was at Eildon, and I struggled. I wasnt fit then and the recovery will need to be managed right. However, I noticed the Hawks are struggling for a masters team and maybe its time for a late season foray perhaps late November into some low profile affair or cross country.  Better get myself a set of spikes. After all , I have a £20 voucher sitting here. I'm fairly sure, however, I didn't win it this year...crumbs from the daughters table of plenty;  cheesey offcuts from their smorgasboard of victory!!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Tour Des Trossachs

It was a busy cycling sort of weekend. Saturday morning saw me drive the team car to the Wooler Wheel Sportive. Mrs Mac had challenged herself to the 35 mile affair, which some metric-gnome tells me is 50km. It was cool but dry and most of the 550 field were on the starting line as we arrived. Speedy Joe had agreed to chaperone her and her hybrid around the wee rolling lanes in deepest Northumberland. I said my farewells and, as I hadn't splashed out the £20 fee for the t-shirt and drinks stop and jelly babies took off without any further ado. Expensive jelly babies. I cracked on trying to catch and pass the happy sportivers and clocked up 25 miles before cutting back to the old auction mart and the car, pie and peas and a cuppa. Some time later, and I mean sometime, Mrs Mac made an appearance and managed the trip in after four and a half hours. She was tied but happy. Too much sugar from the Jelly Babies. Speedy Joe was losing the will to live. However, the sun had arrived and we sat outside and took in the rays with a slice of cake for a half hour before the trip up to Calendar.

We arrived at 5pm just to catch the town closing up. Its looking a wee bitty tired compared to the last time I was there. All cafe's and chintz. Half the shops closed for whatever. The B&B was fine and we were up in the loft. We had a quick bar meal at the Crown and then it was back to the room to crash.

Sunday was still and cool and we got to Aberfoyle by 9am. The Tour Des Trossachs has been going every year for around 60 years and has been won by the likes of Millar and Obree. I felt pretty good as I was up at 10:06 (no 6). The lad at no 4 was on a reclining bike and I thought that was pretty brave. I hit the Dukes pass after 3 minutes and it was 19 minutes before I got to the top. I was passed on the way going up. My lack of technique and swinging the bike from side to side was in total contrast to the smooth pedalling Ayr Roads lad who just sat there and ground it out. Over the top I tucked in, slapped it into the biggest gear I had and hammered down the hill trying to give chase, the roads greasy and grizzly. Rider no 9, a woman with triathlon sympathies and oozing determination and purpose passed me, but I wasn't having any of it and stayed close for 2 miles before the little rise at Brig O Turk took me to another place, an unwanted slow motion world. I was in treacle; but I recovered to pass the hinterland of Calendar and begin the last big dig up the final climb. Then at the top, it was all hands to the deck as I stuck my hand in my back pocket for something to give me speed; a handy sized, sub-atomic particle accelerator perhaps. Something that might whisk me and my particles to the finish.
I fought all the way to the line at Braeval and was exhilarated that I had managed to maintain my focus over the shortened 26 mile course. After a hot choc at McGregors café on the corner it was up to the Hall. The results were still coming in, but I was not too far away from nearly the bottom of the middle of the field. 47th out of 58 finishers and 1:18:53.
That's the racing over for the year, but I think I can improve on things and I might do a few more flattish time trials next year. Happy to get home and hit the sheets. zzzzz. 

Monday, 2 October 2017

Cleveland Wheelers Hill Climb 2017 and the 'poles

Roll up, roll up, read all about it. Man cycles up hill, is 10th last from a field of 45; claims small victory. Beats 14 year old by one second. Cause for celebration? 8mins 31secs. 35th out of 45 starters. The small victories are the precious ones. It was a much more disciplined ride yesterday at Claybank up the Jurassic scarp of the North York Moors. Off the seat for a full ride almost and just stared at the road until the end. In the rain. Like Pedro Delgado (only 30 years older).
I cannot recall if this is the 2nd time I've ridden the event or the 3rd, but I was surprised to see that the first time was 5 years ago. I didn't realise how long this sort of asinine stupidity had been going on.
Other than Sundays Tour De Trossachs (yes, a real event; a 28 mile hilly time trial that includes the Dukes Pass at Aberfoyle), I have no more two wheeled escapades planned for the year. I feel the need to dig out the trainers and get some more running done, now that the Achilles is sorted. There's a perfectly good cross country season out there.
The tadpoles are nearly gone. I've fed them and watered them most days from early June. Some (that are no size at all and look like a 'snotter' with legs) have insisted they leave the garden post hole a.k.a 'puddle' and forage around and about. I've even almost stood on a couple (or the same one). Since the sad demise of my old running partner, meg the dog, a month ago at the ripe old age of 15, we have had some cats prowling around. One has been in the house twice now, uninvited. Best keep the doors shut.
I have completed the 'Canticle for Liebowitz', a sci-fi classic and one of my dads favourite books. I have moved onto 'The Old Ways' by Robert McFarlane, a kind of travelogue. Halfway through, a steady read, not much going on, but very nice prose. Happy October!