Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Well that is day two of Marcothon 2012 done and dusted.  Second day of running my 3.2 mile Royal Troon circuit before the rain (and snow) set in. Tomorrow London. This is the 3rd year and it comes at just the right time to kick start my training again. I was down to 8 miles a couple of times a week and a 9 or 12 mile circuit of Glen Afton with Reiver every other weekend.

Friday, 5 October 2012

A Bike Reborn

I have three bikes; a Specialized Hardrock for the hills, a Bianchi C2C Via Nirone 7 Alu Hydro for the roads and an old MBK Tracker. I've had the MBK since the early 1990s when Sandra bought it for me as a birthday present.  Oddly it was my first bike as an adult.  I spent my life as a kid on two wheels on a series of single speed Raleighs but stopped cycling in my early teens.  Stuart, Sandra's brother, who in those days worked in a bike shop, built it.  I am also sure that he also selected the fairly muted colour scheme of greys. Since then I have learned that many of the MBK colour schemes were pretty acid!

We lived at the foot of the Ochils which I knew like the back of my hand from years of walking and soon I was quartering them on the bike sometimes with Stuart who introduced me to downhilling with some style.  Posted to the south the bike came with me and did miles off road on Salisbury plain.  It seems a heavy beast now but the gears seemed amazing and I've done hills all over the UK.  Back in Scotland I commuted back and forward daily on it and still got the occasional hill in.

Children came along and a child seat was attached.  It has to be said that some of my best memories on that bike came from those days out as a family and then when we moved down to the Ayrshire coast and the kids got their own bikes.  By that time I was commuting on it again and the effects of the west coast salt and its age began to tell a touch.  I learnt bike maintenance on it at a cracking course at the Edinburgh Bike Coop and never stopped  using it even when I got a more modern bike for the hills and finally a road bike of what seemed incredible lightness!  Its final retirement from any notion of hills was the fitting of a sprung Brooks saddle and a pannier rack.

This year I finally got round to a project I've had in mind for a while.  I stripped off as many components as I could manage and had the rest removed by Alpine Bikes at George's Cross in Glasgow.  The frame and forks went to Shand Cycles ( http://www.shandcycles.com ) in Livingston giving me an excuse to nosey in their magical workshop.  A couple of weeks later they returned a frame to me that looked better than new.  Heavy it might be but it is beautiful work now in a dark green.  In the meanwhile I had cleaned off all the components and resprayed the handlebars adding new grips.  Alpine Bikes did the rebuild and I now have a gleaming town bike that is a cracking ride. Weirdly it is the last bike that I would give up despite my love of the hills and the thousands of miles I've done on my Bianchi.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Ben Nevis Race 2012

Well this year's Ben Nevis was every bit as challenging weather wise as last year.  Fine lower down but luckily we were warned that it had turned bad at the top. Time for a quick change into a long sleeved Merino top.  What a cracking bit of kit.  Good run to the top although the sight of  Jon Hart from Lochaber MRT with a handful of Jelly Babies was very welcome indeed.  Downhill as ever was not as good and I lost a good number of places pussy footing around.  Took 6 minutes off last year's time though.  Sandra and Alison were at the finish which was a good thing as I got massive cramps which Sandra managed to release.  By the time we hit the Real Food Cafe the endorphins had really kicked in.  A really enjoyable day!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Carnethy 5 2012

Every year seems to bring different weather for the Carnethy 5, traditionally the first big race of the season. I trotted up to the start today as I never like the buses and it is as good a way as any to warm up. Met up with Davie and Christine and we walked up to the col. By the time the race started it had got colder and there was cloud on the tops. The usual charge across the field was less vital this time as there is a new gate and it was open. A good climb to the 1st top and the running thereafter pretty good. Ground was frozen hard with a skin of thawed mud which made the downhilling entertaining. Final climb up Carnethy a bit of a slog but a fairly good downhill and a canter back across the mud! Ran back to the car and then back for a welcome shower. A cracking day out.

Friday, 20 January 2012

50 Days of running

I've just completed 50 days of running under Marcothon rules. The Marcothon is a challenge to run every day in December; a run being 3 miles or 25 minutes. I completed December and was feeling strong on it so decided to have a play and see day by day how long I could keep going. I was also taking "rest days" once or twice a week when I'd do the three miles very slowly and, where possible on easy terrain like the golf courses. I promised that the first sign of injury would mark the end. Well the day before yesterday I gave my right Grascilis a bit of a tweak at the top of Dumyat. Yesterday it felt fine (am I protesting too much here?) and I was due for a 7.5 mile circuit with hill reps. Instead I decided on a steady and fairly slow 8 miles without the hill reps. It proved to be something of a mistake as the Grascilis started to pull across the knee. Popped into "The Ferry" on the Broomielaw who kindly and without comment supplied me with a bag of ice. That notwithstanding I was hobbling embarrassingly by the time I got the train. So, long story short, that's that experiment at an end. On the plus side I'm feeling very strong and it has given a real kick start to the season, also my leg and knee have eased up completely this morning. On the negative side; running every day with no real recovery is, as I knew all along, a bit daft!

Friday, 6 January 2012

1st Dumyat Run of 2012 and Reiver's Trophy.

Good run up Dumyat at lunch today. Reiver and I went up the front between the southern buttresses and from the top did a long loop north and west before returning down the front. It's a steep and entertaining descent and was further enlivened by Reiver's discovery of a sheep's skull. It was half his size and he was very pleased with it. It remains on the hill! I am not popular. Light drizzle and little wind.

Thursday, 5 January 2012


A cracking run today. 8.2 miles of the Anniesland Cross circuit. Up to Great Western Road from the office. GWR cleared of fallen trees, masonry and signs that punctuated yesterday's run. Turned down the Crow Road at Anniesland Cross and made my way down to Glasgow Harbour flats and back into the Broomielaw along the river. So sunny that I had to take of my waterproof for the first time in months. Running felt fast and easy but didn't have my watch on so don't know my actual times. Magic.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Barefooting in the gale

Well I delayed my run today as Prestwick was reading a steady 55mph, gusting to 84mph. Call me a wimp but there was sheet steel flying about out there. Benefit was that once it had died down to a mere gale there was no one golfing on Royal Troon. Gave me a chance to barefoot properly. Felt very good but the learning point is that bare soles are not as grippy as shoes even if toes uphill give cracking traction. Nearly went down on a long slick section of fairway. Lots of different surfaces including cinder track and paths through gorse. All fine but I'm still not running on paths and roads without some kind of protection! I confess it was warmer putting on socks and the Merrells once I got back to tarmac. Feet feel great although I did give them a pretty good scrub and a slaver of petroleum jelly.