Category Archives: Mountainbiking

Still doing stuff

Honest, I’m still alive!
An absence of ability to upload stats to Running Free has lead to me just doing stuff on my own, enjoying it and getting on with things, really.
I finished last year with an detached run distance of just over 6 miles which, combined with only 3 runs being over 7 miles and no runs after April of under 6 miles means, yep, I just about ran a while year of 6 mile jogs.
This year I’ve already mixed it up more with a couple of hilly interval repeats, a 7 miles outing and some shorter distance cross-country jogs, which I’m enjoying.
Also finished the year and am carrying on with some more upper body strength work, plus some bmx and mountain-bike fun.
So yes, active, just not involved!
But enjoying things.


Ah, yes. I partook in a mountainbike ride, as I like to most Fridays. 16 miles this time, with the wrong chain (snapped mine last time out, awaiting replacement. Chain Reaction Cycles used to have fantastic customer service. Nowadays it’s shit) but apart from rubbing the front mech a bit, I can confirm 9speed chains work on 10speed rings and cassettes without loss of performance as an emergency measure, at least.
Good fun ride, slow with it being greasy after rain showers, but better than jogging non-stop.
And my ribs just ache when going is hard now, so nearly mended.
All good.

Wet and windy

Friday is, of late, mountainbike riding night. Usually around from Folkestone to Saltwood through Hythe and back, around 15miles.
Last week was hugely wet and sticky then yesterday, having been saturated all day as site flooded (puddles on sloping fields? Really?) we (tubbsontwowheels and I) decided a road ride might be a better option.
Only I hate road rides when there’s no destination. Love riding somewhere, just not around and about. I don’t find it relaxing.
So tonight, heading into a 30 odd mph headwind up a main road in the dark as it started raining, I wasn’t smiling.
But as I accepted my fate, it became bearable.
Then, as headwind became tailwind (after nearly being blown off the road a few times and while blind every time a light shone on my rain coated glasses), I actually enjoyed it.
Something about spinning out in top gear on the way home that soothed my worries.
Now I’ve the same wind to anticipate for tomorrow’s run. Let’s see if I can make that enjoyable.

Mountainbike and mud

So in the interests of having fun and preserving my hips, today saw a mountainbike outing around the North Downs.
Folkestone past Cheriton over to Saltwood through Hythe and Sandgate to return.
One stream crossing, a few bridges, a lot of mud and several smiles.
The wet bits were properly wet though so the winter pause in off-road riding may be about to strike if the rain doesn’t hold up.
Makes a change to not be ruining myself through over running already though.

A flourish to finish?

The month has had ups and downs, for sure. The weather has suited me quite well compared to previous years, my energy levels occasionally less so.
But it’s nice to report that, having uploaded to Running Free for the first time since the 11th, I’m now on 95 point something running miles with 2 outings to go. That’ll see me nicely past 100, then, even if Spencer does bring his kit in on Monday and we only go 2 miles – he’s not a runner, to be fair, but company is always good and he does try.
A quick 5 miles on the bike into town today added to a short 10 mile mountainbike loop on Thursday, so even my biking isn’t abysmal.
Roll on July and shorter mileage but speedwork instead ready for the holiday in August.
79, 56, 31

Ride of the year

Only the usual route, too.
Just one of those rides where the ground was dry but not hard so grip was good (mind you, the dust coating it now would give lie to that), where energy map high enough to enjoy it all, where it was hot but not too muggy to enjoy.
Ban I order a few more of those, please?
92, 58, 34

Might yet run…

But might not!
Had planned on getting out for a quick mile around lunch, but it was one of those days when it didn’t happen.
So the mountainbike ride has so far been it.
A normal route of a loop of the Folkestone hills followed by a loop of Saltwood and a trip around Sandgate. Mostly off road, just tarmac links.
Superbly grippy considering the mid-week rain but mainly just excellent fun. And about the right distance at 15 miles.
If I jog later now, it’ll be a miracle.
97, 59, 36

Almost missed it!

The usual Friday panic prohibited even a small run-ette from site yesterday and rushing around to get out on time to meet the boys (including Steve for a ride) made things worse.

The ride itself was horrible. Mud sums it up.
To be expected this time of year but it was relentless and vile. My home-made bodge mudguards were superb (even if a little impromptu lie-down following a slide on an exposed pipe did fracture the seat mounted one) and my face at least stayed clean. I put one on Steve’s bike but he had put a balloon tyre on the front (he’s had zero grip for about a month of rides now and, instead of putting mud tyres on he opted to leave the back as-was and put a balloon tyre between his forks) and it clogged and stopped him about a mile into the first mud. To be fair to the guard, I’ve a bike which boast enormous mud clearance and my swingarm clogged solid on the same bit. Still cut the guard off though. And smiled everytime I saw his muddy face. The mud was followed by mud, then mud, then mud. Then Steve also got a puncture.
It’s a shame really because the riding weather was perfect. Cool, dry and clear.
Just muddy.
I’ll be awaiting drier times before the next outing. Or a seriously altered route. On tarmac. Or skatepark.
The biggest pain was that the ride took hours. And since I’m quickly typing this out from work before my air-test, getting home at 8.30 and then eating then emptying the car of bike and bits meant I was never going to run.
Still – I’m off the mark for target cycle outings for the year.
141, 97, 49.

Oddities keep life interesting. Or something.

I’d like to have a regular training schedule update to be able to proudly proclaim is doing me wonders in my preparation for the Bupa Great South Run but I’d be lying. A bit.
I haven’t been truly convinced I’ll be running, I guess, but I’ve been preparing anyway in a roundabout fashion. My mid-week runs have continued, one hilly and one undulating but a little quicker. My weekend runs have extended to 10 miles and a few have now been logged (including the laps of the local field from another post). But it hasn’t been straightforward.
A couple of weeks ago, following the Nuts Challenge, I opted to plod around the roads since rain in the days before turned the local trails to a slippery slimebath. It was a dull outing, but did the job – roads seem to lost some allure after the summer of cross country. And my legs felt the impact, as well.
After a recovery run on Tuesday (albeit on the hills; can’t be allowed to recover fully, after all!), Thursday was knocked on the head due to sore calves despite copious stretching and massage. Then, on Saturday, a more interesting 10 mile loop had me suddenly sat at the side of the road with 3 miles to go and no option of a short-cut with my right calf going into spasm, halfway between what felt like a tear and cramp.
With no option but to get home, I massaged some life in to it, started off with a very short gentle stride and managed a mile before a brief massage saw me continue the change in style to the front door. Not a catastrophe, but a concern.
Which demanded rest, which was booked for Sunday watching Cathy complete the London Duathlon.
Which turned into such a disappointment, it’s frustrating. The decent weather of the morning ran away for the Super Sprint category (5k run, 11k cycle, 5k run) so it was to be wind and rain for the three laps of Richmond Park. Even the deer gave little rise to the spirits. And, without music to run to (it’s in the rules), Cathy was disheartened enough that she was going to pull out after the cycle bit. It was a lonely race, with groups of 20 or so started in waves to avoid carnage at transition from cycle to run; the problem was that everyone was alone on a course with no spectators and little in the way of inspiration. Except the marshals, who were absolutely fantastic.
I know this for a fact. Because I couldn’t let Cathy pull out, so ran the last 5k with her. Complete with damaged leg. In jeans. And jacket. With wallet and phone and keys bouncing around.
And I could see how she’d become dispirited. But the finish was excellent and my leg seemed ok, so I was happy enough.
Until yesterday when my calves were, again, as stiff as anything. Not sure what’s going on, but today I decided to run to music. I haven’t really been upping my pace and fear I’ll be slower than last year around Portsmouth and the calf issue is a concern. So I selected Audiofuel’s Thru The Gears (a 15 minute fun interval session, I guess – never particularly fast but it keeps your feet to the beat and focuses the mind when the legs are a worry!) and loved it. Only 4 miles total (I did it twice as an out and back route) but the pace was good, I wasn’t fatigued at all and am fresh for an outing tomorrow.
I’m going to sort my legs and report back shortly.
And I will beat 1.09.53 for the 10 miles. 1.09.52 will do, despite earlier hopes for something altogether more impressive!
The only spanner in the works might be the new push bike I’ve just purchased…

Quietly progressing

Life has been busy of late, even to the point of prioritising proper life (doing stuff, enjoying spare time and that), over Juneathon and the last week.

But exercise has been continuing.

I’ve missed out two weekends of long runs, though. One because of time, the other a combined problem of that and – at last – warm weather. I don’t perform well when the temperature exceeds 21C and yesterday was well above that, so a trip to the seaside combined with stripping the suspension on the mountainbike filled the day without a jog.

Still did weights in the evening, though, as a warm-down routine ready for the week ahead at work.

Runs have been good in the week, though. After work mileage has gradually increased so that, while I’m still only out twice the distance is ok. Monday saw 5.8 very hilly miles in a scenic route around the hills. Tuesday was weights in the conservatory. Wednesday was a mountainbike ride on the jumps and berms around Seabrook in preparation for the trip to Morzine in two weeks, Thursday was an interval session of 6.25 miles around Paddlesworth; it’s hilly and scenic and the splits were slow, what with uphill gradients in all the intervals at some points (the worst was 0.4 miles up a vile hill towards Etchinghill, averaging 7.15/mile – more average flat pace than interval!) but my breathing was pushed, so hopefully they’re keeping me fit. Friday was 15 mile mountainbike ride night, again on some superb hills – the climbing was rotten but the descents more than made up for them.

So the summer is here, I’m enjoying the weather and keeping fit without feeling a slave to running. It feels good for a change.

And this time last year was a few very easy runs following my broken ribs, so all in all I’m in a much better state than then. If I do enter any races as the year wears on, hopefully I won’t disgrace myself completely.

Roll on France…hopefully nothing will break but occasional online videos of the terrain and speed keep reminding me I’ll need to be on decent form while out there.

I’ve a little plan for a jog while in the Alps, too…