Saturday, 5 September 2009

Mrs Noel in Longshaw success

Today was Mrs Noel's race day - Longshaw sheepdog trials. She continued her recent run of winning something at every race she does by being first LV40, and 4th lady overall. She was actually 2nd LV40, but got a prize because first LV40 got a prize for being second lady (are you following this?). Mrs Noel's prize was a nice jar of greengage jam. As you can imagine, we were both very impressed and tried it once we got home. I've not tried this variety before - it's somewhere between plum and gooseberry.

Tapering? Surely running doesn't count. I got a bit bored of this whole tapering thing, so went for a run on Friday night. 5 miles, 1000 feet. I was quite good though. At no point did I do any quick bits, and I deliberately avoided my normal detour which takes in a good hill.

I'm eating pasta for England tonight ('and pear and chocolate pudding', says Mrs Noel, proudly). Did I mention I'm doing a long bike ride tomorrow?

Friday, 4 September 2009


Tapering - "in the context of sports, refers to the practice of reducing, or tapering off, exercise in the days just before an important competition" (source: Wikipedia)

Tapering should be a time for kicking back and feeling secure in the knowledge that all the hard training is behind you. A time to focus on the event and make sure all the mental and practical preparations are in place.

I'm not normally in this boat. Normally, like most people I guess, I haven't done enough training so am worried during the period when I should be tapering. This worry can lead to one of two outcomes: I either continue to train through the tapering period, in a desperate and counter-productive attempt to reach the overall mileage required; or I taper anyway when it's not really needed.

This time, I'm relatively confident that I'm not too far short of the amount of training required to keep up with my team-mates on a 90-mile (sorry erm... I mean 145km) bike ride. So last night I went out for a very gentle 1 hr ride before it got dark. This will be my final ride before Sunday's event. I just need to remember to eat a lot the night before and I should be fine. Is this a case of famous last words? Pride before a fall? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Jam (part 2)

It's raining tonight, so I'm happy to finish off the jam from yesterday. I've added loads of ginger to distinguish this batch from the previous batch made last week. I hope this lot should keep us in jam for the winter and allow the odd one to be given away.
In more interesting news. I've entered the Scafell Pike fell race. It's in about 3 weeks' time. I've been curious about this race for a while, as I like the idea of doing good hard Lakes races but don't like doing races longer than about 10 miles. So this race sounds ideal. It's very steep: 3000 feet, and it's not very long: 4.5 miles. I'm somehow masochistically curious as to what that immense height gain in such a short distance feels like.
I notice however that the ladies record time (which I normally use as a rough estimate of my time) is about 1 hour. I have also been told by a fell running friend that it's all on nasty scree-ey terrain, which I have little experience with from running mainly in the Peak District.
To jump topics again, it's only 4 sleeps to go until my longest ever bike ride - 145km. I like saying it in kilometres as it sounds more than 90 miles. There's something about doing more than 100 of anything that seems to add value.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Jam (part 1)

I've got a slightly sore calf today. I think it's something that I can run off when I next get out. So I decided not to do Eyam fell race tonight. Also it starts at 6:30, so I can only just make it, and it doesn't make for an enjoyable night's fell racing - dashing across the peak. I missed it by 2 minutes a few years ago. I was just getting out of the car when the whole field set off before I could even register.

So today, to fit with the 'random other stuff', I'm making jam. Plum, pear, apple and ginger. It's called High Dumpsie Dearie, for some unknown reason, in the WI book of unusual preserves that we have. I think since that booklet was first published (our copy was originally sold for 2 shillings!), it has now made it into the full WI jam book. I'm quite a fan of it.
I make it in the microwave these days, in small batches. It means I can mix a huge pot (see picture) without the fear that it will all boil over. Also, this way it never sticks to the bottom of the pan.
However, we also had the second half of a film to watch. 'I loved you so long', a French drama, is 'an intelligent, observant drama about dislocation, fragility and the inner pain of unshakeable memories' according to Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian. We thought it was erm... how should I put it... good but quite sad. I can see why he's a film critic and I'm not.
Getting back to Jam. I didn't have enough time to make the many batches of microwave jam that would have been required. So that will be tomorrow night's activity as well. I can see the hits to my blog breaking triple figures. So much jam-related promise.

Monday, 31 August 2009

First climb in years

Bank holiday (part 2)

After the long ride on Saturday, I ran up to the Roaches, where a few friends had gone climbing. I managed to find them and did my first climb in about 4 years. 'Lazarus Crack' it was called, and it was a hard severe. For those who don't know the climbing grading system, this isn't particularly hard, despite the name. I didn't lead it of course, but it still felt slightly strange to be on a rock face again. I think I've climbed it years ago, when I used to be quite into rock climbing.

Carol took a picture of me - I realise my blog needs more pictures. My calves have certainly got bigger since the days when I used to climb a lot and do no fell running. Then I ran back (about 7 miles in total) and cycled to the local ice-cream farm (2 miles), to meet the family. I don't think I can count 2 miles, mainly freewheeling as training.

Today, I persuaded another of our visitors to sample a tour of the local steepest hills. The first one is the old road from Gradbach up to Flash, which is hard work on my high-geared bike. The second is up from Meerbrook to Roach End. I've just checked on the map and they only get 1 arrow to show there's a steep bit. Interestingly, some of the other local 2 arrow bits don't seem as hard for me. I'll have to investigate this arrow business some more.

Friends to play with - part 1

We had friends over this weekend, so there was always someone doing something energetic and fun. On Friday night I went for a small run (4.3 miles, 1000 feet of ascent). It was largely nice, although we got rained on.

On Saturday, I went out for a road ride with Jez. He's just been cycling in the Lakes and had done 250 miles in the week. I'm not sure if that means he should have been beating me by miles, or if he should have been tired. Anyway, he didn't show me up. We did 43 miles (and 6000 feet of ascent), taking in the Roaches, Meerbrook, Wincle, the picturesque Goyt Valley, Axe Edge, Longnor and some horrible false summits from Longnor up to the Winking Man pub. Luckily, I had half a slab of marzipan to keep me going.