Saturday, 25 December 2010

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to anyone who chances upon my blog. I will spend the day with my head buried in a cycling book probably. Ive had a couple of good ones. The Spring Classics, Cycling's Golden Age, The Pioneer.
Oh and one called the Hills are stuffed with Swedish Girls.
So have a good day all and dont eat to much.

Fausto Coppi pranking about at a six day meeting. I must admit I laughed when I sa this picture this morning. Reminded me of the day I tried this very stunt on our street when I was young. All went well and I looked the part on my Raleigh Arena racing bike until I decided to go one step further and stand ( yes stand on the seat and try no hands). I ended up in a heap half way down the street in tears with my bike a bit messed up. This after being run over by a car just a few weeks earlier.

First part of a book this morning. Salvarini Rider the great Felice Giomondi.
Tour de France
World Road Race
Paris Roubaix

All that and he was riding for a kitchen manufacturing team. See Christmas day learns you a lot.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Badger on Win Hill

A nice picture here of Badger on Win Hill.
We had a lovely run that day with another fellrunner and Badger paced us up to the summit. A nice view of the ridge to Mam Tor in the distance.

Keep on rolling

You learn to ride rollers and away you go. Every year us roadies go through the ritual of riding either rollers or a turbo. I prefer rollers just because they are more traditional and I feel you get a better overall workout. You certainly keep your bike handling skills up to scratch.
They are hard to ride and normally it takes a few weeks to get into it. By then the good weather is back and its time for those rides back on the roads again.
I usually do between an hour and an hour and a half. If Im feeling really daft Ive been known to do two hours.
Riding in the big ring flat out for an hour takes it out of you but it just has to be done. My little shed is perfect as it keeps me cool but this year its been hard up to now with temps down to minus 10.
This picture was taken at Minus 7
So in sheds and garages all over the UK there are riders still training in even these conditions. One tip though, get a good selection of tunes on your I pod.

Jaques Anquetil

Somebody in the fellrunning world asked me the other day about cycling. I proceeded to start to tell them about the sport and its fascination for me and I had lost them within about two minutes. Its about the only side of me that has a regret in that I wished when I was young Id have given the sport a go. But when you ride a roadbike on a regular basis and have suffered on a bike you realise quickly that it really is a sport for really hard individuals. To become a champion at it, well I cannot imagine.
One of the all time greats was Anquetil. On a bike it was said there was no better. Eddy Mercyx won more but for style and sheer passion on a bike Anquetil was the real deal.
He was the first person to win 5 Tour of France races. I mean that alone is just mindblowing.
But his list of palmares is just frightening.
2 x Giro D italia
1 x Vuelta
4 x Super Prestige Pernod
9 x Grand Prix Des Nations
1 x Liege Baston Liege
1 x Gent Wegelem
1 x Bordeaux Paris
5 x Paris Nice
2 x Duaphine Libere
Tot that lot up and you realise how much of a champion he was.
He won much more including the hour record but the list would be huge.

Ive probably read more about Anquetil than any other roadman and given the amount of cycling books that i have thats a lot. He was a genius on the bike. Id class him as probably the most intelligent rider that ever graced the peloton. Outspoken when it came to the subject of doping, he always took a forthright view. " Leave me in peace, everyone takes dope" was one famous saying.
And he was right.
In an era when doping in the sport was taken for granted you still had to be one hell of a person to achieve what he did. Dope only did so much.
When he won the Dauphine race and them immediatley the morning after rode the Bordeaux Paris race he became immortal. Cycling will never see the likes of that again.
I often wonder what it must have taken to win the hard Dauphine Libere race and then go and ride the 600km Bordeaux Paris race and win that also. Some would say a lot od dope and maybe help from Tom Simpson but I say he still had to ride it.
An amazing athlete and as proffesional roadmen go, Anquetil was simply the Best.
See now the fellracing season has slowed up all I do is read cycling books.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

End of the season

Nearly well not quite. The Bolton by Bowland Fell race will probably be the last short flat out race of the season. It was tough in the snow and not so short really at 8 miles. It went off very quickly but the main steep climb soon brought reality back into the race. I had a good battle with a couple of runners most of the way round and managed to finish in 9th place at the end. The fields went on forever and the snow made getting in my stride difficult.

No Pennine vest for this one which is a first as it was in my broken down van. My new hat did the trick though and because of the extreme cold I donned a pair of cycling arm warmers which Ive taken to wearing in this winter weather that we are getting. It was minus 9 on the way to the race. A lovely set up with loads of prizes and a nice village hall that laid on hot pot and mince pies.
It took about 7.5 miles before my fingers warmed up. Not sure on how many races that is this year but I would say about 40 in total

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Yes it was this cold

Minus 14.5. Actually it did drop to Minus 16. The clock has not been altered yet though.
This was last Sunday morning on the way to the Grouse Fell race. The kind young girl in the Mcdonalds drive thru at Derby was frozen bless her as she handed over my Latte. I told her it was Minus 16. She just said I cannot feel my feet. I replied dont worry I cant feel my fingers.
Thats the coldest Ive known it.


Heavy Snow fell yesterday and the run over the hills was tough going for me. Badger was a good way up ahead and I noticed he had stopped with his nose in the ground. His flashing collar in the distance got brighter as I approached him and then he started barking. I got near him and I spotted an injured Gull on the ground with a broken wing. I scooped it up and put it in my bumbag and ran the 7 miles back home through the snow as gingerly as I could. We got home in blizzard conditions and put the little bird in a box with a dark sheet over it.
I dropped it off at the vets this morning. Maybe it will have a chance.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Famous Grouse Fell Race

Traditionally one of the last fell races of the year and a special one at that. Part of a group of races held in and around Hayfield it is an easy one in that you dont really need any navigational skills. The first climb from the Grouse pub is tough but then you are away. Ive ran up there dozens of times so I know exactly what pace to go at and also I had another new cap on so all would be okay.
When you get to the top of the climb you hang a left and run up to Big Stone then drop off and head to Peep O day before running along the valley and climbing back up to the track from hence you came. Flat out back down the track and you can then have some chips in the pub.
I had a good run after feeling ill all week. 3rd place and a prize so a good finish to the year.
Loads of Pennine runners out for this one and well done to Andy Howie and the many helpers who made it all happen.
Incidentally I recorded the temprature on my van computer at minus 16 on the way to Hayfield.
Now thats cold.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Okay I give in

Not being able to run because of being a little unwell has been hard enough for me, but for Badger its even harder. He has not stopped pacing around for two days. Last night's forecast was snow and I woke up to about two inches. There was no way we wasn't going for a run so we set off and because I still felt a bit off I was slow for most of the way round.
Badger on the other hand had different ideas and proceeded right from the off to go faster and faster. He kept looking back as If to say, god hurry up this is way tooo slow.
Anyway we got round eventually and I managed a couple of snaps. Great to be ut in the snow. It was bitter and my hands again struggled to function.

Look at his face as if to say, can we really be going this slow.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Thank god thats over

Ask a lot of Fellrunners as they run into the finish of a race and they will probably say never again, yet ten minutes later they will already be thinking hmmm just maybe I will do that one again and a further five minutes after that they will have convinced themselves they are coming back the following year. Last week at the Rivock Edge race I had a good run and another top ten finish and I thought this was my 200th fell race. I was wrong it was my 201st fellrace. So for 201 times I have thought never again yet most races Ive done more than once or twice. Some Ive done every year since I started fellracing.
Its that ability to forget the lows of a race and remember the highs. Hopefully I will experience it hundreds more times. I currently am blogging this whilst I have a fever. I wont say Manflu.
So its time for a few days off. Thats going to be hard. With Badger giving me that lets go for a run look every five minutes.

Great Whernside finish ( Never Again)
An hour after that I was thinking this is one of the best fellraces EVER

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Leg It Round Lathkill Fell Race

Wel after a few days on non stop rain and no dry fell shoes I ventured up to Over Haddon to do yet another new race. The Lathkill Hotel provides the start for the annual Leg It Round Lathkill Fell Race which takes you down the valley, along the river, up some steps, over some fields, down a track, back down the river, then finally up some steep climbs at the end. Not quite that simple and it was a really tough race and very fast. I gave it my all and finished well placed again but had to really work for it.
The Lathkill Hotel makes for a good registration venue and they had some nice cakes laid on at the finish. Normally I would have done the Roaches Fell Race but too many years doing the same ones have given me the urge to try and do as many new ones as possible.
The race reminded me of Sheldon with that steep descent at the start. Some said it was an upside down fell race, I just thought it was too damm fast.

A good race and I am starting to get to my goal of nearly completing all of the Peak District Fell Races.
Oh and I can recommend the onion soup in the Pub. It was a really cold day and yet again my hands suffered badly in the cold. Before the race I could hardly move them. Over the last 2 years they have become unbearable in the colder months. I know that in years to come I am going to suffer. Possibly to many years working with angle grinders or I may have Reynauds Sydrome.
Thank god for hand warmers
It seems I am going to have to visit my GP about my hands

Monday, 15 November 2010


Today a fellow work colleague asked me about running technique to get over the fells. My reply was I dont really think about it as I've done it for so long. We then proceeded to have a 40minute conversation about technique's for running uphill, down scree, down grass, over bogs, over slippy rocks, over cattle grids, over stiles, over farm gates (incidentally thats a special one shown to me by someone who is very bloody good at it and better than me at it as well),over slippy wooden bridges, through tussocks, the list goes on.
So technique we concluded is important, but I suspect like me many fellrunners just do it without thinking about it.
My reply to most of these apart from the gate was to just keep looking at the ground.
Views what views.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Cop Hill Fell Race

This race I had never even heard of never mind done before so I made the trip up to Meltham nr Holmfirth. A two lap affair and I think I came 6th. The start was ultra fast as every runner tried to get to the first stile at the front. This meant that loads of runners simply ran off to quick and were soon in oxygen debt up the first climb.
You basically run up to Cop Hill then back down to Meltham and do it all again. The second lap seemed easier simply because I knew what was coming and I had a good battle with the 1st lady who was a Holmfirth runner. I nearly went wrong running back up the track to the finish but finally made it. A good lungbuster of a race. Very quick and maybe not quite felly enough for a true fellrunner but there wasn,t much else on this week so Cop Hill it was.

Photos thanks to Flaming Photography, well done guys , good pictures and like I say I will purchase them for my scrapbook.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Great Whernside Fell Race

Yet another new race for me. Ive run the route three times but never raced it. So I made the trip up to the Yorkshire Dales to Kettlewell for the start. Pete Jebb organises this one and basically its a straight up and down course. A steep start for the first part but then it tapers out before going over Dow Crag and then on upside to the summit. I started steady and ran a good race to the top. Dont really remember a lot about the down as its just really a blur. I blasted down to the finish funnel and was told I was 6th place. Its a pity the descent isnt all rock mind.
But I was pleased with the result as Im still climbing well. Will certainly be back for this one again. A diet coke in the pub with a few of my mates from the world of fellrunning then straight back home. The scenery today was amazing. A clear day in the Dales. What more could anyone want

Kettlewell is a lovely village. The Racehorses Pub does good beer Im told and also excellent Steak.

Kilnsey Crag. Last time I passed this I was heading the other way on my bike to Grassington.

Flying to to the finish.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Dont ya wish your house was hot like this dont ya

Picture this
On the way up to Glencoe for the Ben Race and 2 x people look at this house and both agree that it would probably be the ultimate house for a fellruner to live in.
I will stop one day when I win the lottery and knock on the door and make them an offer they cannot refuse.
Bet they have a big freezer, haha.

My own wind monitor

How about this. Radcliffe Power Station on a rare day with no wind. If i jump on top of the shed I can tell how windy it is.
When you look out and see the steam rising vertically up from the cooling towers like this I am always going for a ride.
Sorry Badger but days like this are rare

Monday, 25 October 2010

Nightime in Langdale

At the Langdale Race I stayed overnight instead of driving home. My mind was a million miles away as I sat in the van and watched the sun go down over the Langdale Valley.
The races in the Lakes are only a small fraction of what makes it all so special.
I defy anyone to not be amazed by a sunset in the Lake District.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Passing the Clouds

Well last year I was ill when this race was on so I couldnt race it properly. This time around I had secretly been thinking that I would race it flat out. I decided to rest for two days and not run. On Friday night I cycled 52miles in double quick time and felt really good. A top runner once told me that once you come into form you should make good use of it as it wont last very long. So on the start line after a good pre race warm up I just thought go for it and see what happens. I have run around this area for years and know it very well so route choice wasnt going to affect me. Strange though as after a couple of minutes running I was slightly adrift of the front half dozen runners. But I knew the pace was fast and just kept at it. At the top of the first climb I had pulled a couple of runners back and could see the leaders in front quite a way ahead.
Now the dilema. I realised I was in third place which at this stage meant go for it or play the waiting game and go round with the others and help each other. The race isnt that far at just 10miles and I thought if I could get to the top of the Roaches on the second big climb I would be okay. I only looked back once at the trig point on the Roaches and saw nobody behind me. The technical downhill sections are my favourites and I blasted along the ridge and down to the gate and started the climb up to Hen Cloud. This took only a few minutes then all that was left to do was hot foot it back to base. I took a few risks on the descent off of CHICKEN HILL as a fellow fellrunner described it. CHICKEN HILL I kid you not. That made me laugh.
Yes I did fall but all too soon the finish appeared and I had come third. So I will take that one and hope the form last's a bit longer yet.
A great race. I love the Roaches.

The picture below is the climb up to Hen Cloud
Someone said it was called CHICKEN HILL. Does it look like a chicken ???

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Well Ive not posted many pictures of Badger lately so here are three. He continues to wear me out on our nightly runs. Winter is now upon us and I will try and get some night shots. Time to get out the headtorch and Badger's flashing collar and cowbell. Yes my Border Collie wears a cowbell. Clonk Clonk.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Langdale Horseshoe Fell Race

Okay back to Fellracing. Well I did do the Ian Hodgson Relays but cannot find my pictures. More on that later.
This week was the Langdale Horseshoe Race which is another lakeland classic race that I have never done. This was to be a special race but at the start due to various problems I just didnt have the head for it. You know one of thoise days when its so easy just to think, ah I will have a plod round.
The race is a simple affair. Blast up Stickle Ghyll, round to Thunacar Knott, down to Angle Tarn and up to Esk Hause shelter, over and up to Bowfell summit, dash down to Crinkle Crags and then over again to Pike O Blisco and back down to the Old Dungeon Ghyll hotel which is were you started. Oh and take in the bad step as well.

At the start it was a mad panic dash and I was slightly behind the usual suspects. This kicked me into gear and I ran most of the way up Stickle Ghyll apart from the top part. The run over to Thunacar Knott and down to Angle Tarn I know with my eyes shut. I ran up to Esk Hause shelter and started the traverse to the climb to Bowfell
when I turned my ankle and shouted a few choice words as the mistake was made because I looked up and tried to steal a view back towards the Langdales.The weather was sublime, clear and sunny and one of those very rare days that you sometimes get in the Lakes.
I topped out on Bowfell with a couple of other runners who I knew where more knowledgeable than myself for the next part of the route through to Crinkle Crags so I kept with them and they took some excellent lines, which shows you that recceing and local knowledge is a massive bonus in these mountains. I live to far away to recce each race so I will freely admit I sometimes have to follow a local. Its not easy though and sometimes if you blink they are gone. I did write down all the bearings and route information before the race but in the end didnt need them.
Now all was going well until we eventually arrived at the Bad Step. Safe to say I fell down it and landed very badly. God knows how but I suppose its all the falls that Ive taken over the years but I just shot up and carried on. My right foot was on fire but the finish wasnt to far away and well what else was the option, retiring, certainly not. It would take something serious for me to not finish a race.
I winced in pain as I climbed Pike O Blisco but all to soon that run down to this finish came and the clocked stopped at 2hrs 22mins. If I hadnt have fell I maybe could have done under 2hrs 20 but that will be a target for next year.
A brilliant race even if my right foot isnt good at the minute and my back is also aching from the fall. But hey the groin strain I had before the race seemed to wear off.
I stayed the night in my van in a layby below the Langdale Pikes under the stars watching the satelittes going across the sky. Oh and I managed Pie,Chips,Peas and Gravy from Ambleside.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Catching them is the easy part

Well the recent fishing trip went well. Yes not many fellrunners and bikie people do fishing but I occasionally do. In my younger days I was quite a good fisherman and as a junior won lots of matches. I dont fish much nowadays but the two trips with my father in law were good. We caught a few carp each.
He managed to take a picture of me but this carp wouldnt keep still. Or maybe I have just lost my touch.

Take 1, keep still

Take 2, try again

Take 3, thats better.