Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yearly Totals

Well I thought I would sum up the year in numbers and pictures.

Paddles, about two or three !


From MapsNstuff

Total distance run 399.67 Km
Total time 39hrs 54min
Calories Burnt 29,557

From MapsNstuff

Total distance run 1,188.13 Km
Total time57 hrs 53min
Calories Burnt 48,691

Fun ie Trail riding not included unless a first time visit where I would sometimes wear the GPS.

That's me checking out for this year. Off for a glass of wine and maybe an Indian for dinner....

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Boxing Day Bash

We decided to go on a wee cycle with some people who really know what they are doing.

Team Fyrish

These guys have a winning reputation just look what they achieved last year.
Quads@ 10 Under the Ben '08
Quads@ Dawn Raid '08
Quads@ 10 at Kirroughtree '08
Quads@ 10 More in Moray '08
Quite stunning.

Gordy Mac has written a wee bit about the cycle which I will link to. Save to say that there was an abundance of skill on show, none of it coming from me !

Pic by Gordy.

I did have an early (sideways) dismount and a couple of walks.
I also had a problem with my chain when one of the links was badly twisted. Gordy rescued me with a new one. We made it to the top for cookies cake and whisky.

Pic by Gordy.

The descent was different too with a range of terra or should that be terror to deal with.
I had my usual puncture and David gave me his pump when my old one disintegrated before our eyes.

Pic by Gordy.

I was having an interesting day which was capped off by a stunning "somersault and roll down the hill" crash on Fridge Ridge.

Pic by Gordy.

What a great day out. Many thanks to Fyrishbikes and all the best for 2009.
See Gordy's report and read more about Team Fyrish.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Perhaps The Craziest Thing I have Ever Done.

We have had a wee run of nasty weather recently. This week we've had snow which is sttill present on the hills around us. Last week we had rain and gales, this lasted for the whole of the 'tatty holidays' the last week I was off work but did almost nothing because of the dire conditions.

On Saturday 25th I did do something, something I will remember for a long time and something for which my body is still hurting.

The Charmer

Saunders decided we were entering several months ago, as it is a two person relay I decided to go first as I am the slower one.

The 4 mile downhill run, 4 mile cycle and 4 mile run back up look like this with just the cycle gradient shown.

From Charmer2008-10-25

Lets get the nitty gritty out of the way first. I finished a disgusting 151st out of 182. Saunders had a respectable 44th which gave our team a 47th out of 91.

The first thing I must say about race day was that the wind was quite strong. Here is an extract from the official race day report:

"Winds in excess of 120 mph on Cairngorm did not deter a record number of 91 teams (out of a total of 105 who had pre-entered) turning up for the second staging of the Cairngorm Charmer ...
which is a challenging enough route even without the 120 mph winds thrown in!"

In fact the wind was so bad that:

"a number of broken car windscreens which had been damaged by the wind"
It was blowing in the windows in cars !

It was chilly at the start and I was glad to be going first.

From Charmer2008-10-25

I was off downhill with my starting group of five. We went five at a time at one minute intervals.

From Charmer2008-10-25

Down we go...

From Charmer2008-10-25

Look at the heart rate data for running downhill, it should be quite low but when the 'run' is actually someone trying not to be blown over it's a different story.

From Charmer2008-10-25

The cycle was quite easy although some of it was into the wind so at 4 mph !

After the cycle it was time to run back up the hill. I don't look well :)

From Charmer2008-10-25

I did make it back up, having to walk the last 2 miles into the wind.

Saunders made it too in a much more respectable time.

From Charmer2008-10-25

We received a goody bag at the end and in light of the exceptional circumstanes they included a printout from the Cairngorm Weather Station's annemometer.

From Charmer2008-10-25

I will actaully be doing this again next year just because it was so crazy. Hoping for a lot of snow next year, we only missed it by a couple of days this time.

Oh, once again BIG thanks to the support team of Karen, Jean, Sol, Molly and Hollie.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The CAT. I paddled !

The CAT is the Cairngorm Adventure Triathlon.
3k paddle, 20k cycle and a 5k run.
It's another thing that seemed like a good idea at the time. Once again I have been quite busy and unable to donate enough time to training. Although I have paddled a wee bit over the last few years I have never set foot in an open canoe.

The day started off dry but cold and windy. We were to set off in four groups, me and Todd were in the third group so we had to hang about until 1130 hrs. We drank and ate.

From CAT

As the start time approached the wind increased and it began to rain !

We ran from the start point and jumped into the boats, it was a hectic start with plenty of collisions and water pouring in and on. That was the exciting bit, the rest of the paddle was a shock. We simply could not get the thing to track straight, the 3Km paddle was probably 5 or 6km for us. I was in the back desperately trying to paddle forward but could only manage three strokes before having to rudder.

From CAT

The rain came down.

We got around in under 50 mins and ran up the the transition. Changed into dry socks and cycling shoes and sped off. We had a wee hill to start us off and I tackled it at a moderate speed so that Todd would keep up but he wasn't having it. I waited at the top but when a couple of other cyclist apeeared I assumed Todd had punctured or given up, I took off.

The conditions were very wet and slippy and a marshall warned us of the descent from an slugan down to croftmore. The cycle was very nice though and I enjoyed it. I managed to overtake six people on the cycle and was not passed.

From CAT

From CAT

Cycle over, and it was 26Km according to my GPS ! My wife and kids were at the transition and helped me pull off one of my top layers which was soaked. The soaking cycle shoes and socks came off too in favour of some trainers.

I started the run. I immediately got cramp so cut the pace back a wee bit. I got the cramp under control and ran by three other competitors who looked like they had cramp too.

I pushed a wee bit more with a Kilometre to go and the lurking cramp came back. I crossed the line in 82nd place !

From CAT

Todd arrived soon after in 117 th.

From CAT

I would consider doing it again next year but I would need more open canoe practice.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Guy From The Sports Shop

Haa, I found a photo of myself on the 360 Sportive !
Found on the MFCC website I am behind the guy from the sports shop from whom I bought my running shoes.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cycle Sportif

I had never heard of a Cyclosportif or Cycle Sportif, hell I don't even know the correct name for it.

Saunders and Jean pointed me in the direction of the Loch Ness 360 website as they were doing the 360 MTB and the 180 MTB, I then saw the bit about the road cycle and decided I wanted to do it.

I wish I had taken my camera but I didn't want to carry any more weight than I had to.

All I can say is that it was an amazing experience for me. I had done a few 10 mile time trials years ago but had never ridden in a group of riders. The first 2 miles were in a neutralised zone as we were led through Inverness by a 'pace' car.
I soon noticed cyclists in front of me pointing this way and that and soon realised that they were pointing out drains, hydrant covers and pot-holes. When we reached the Holme roundabout the horn sounded and we were racing. Well some were racing I was just trying to keep pedalling !

I spotted someone in front of me and decided it would be easier to be with someone else rather than alone. I caught up and realised that this was the guy who had sold me a pair of running shoes in a shop in Inverness a month earlier, small world eh ?

We soon caught someone else and became three, then four. We continued 'chaining' along for about 20 kilometres. We then joined another group who then speeded up and our wee group got strung out, I was alone again. I then knocked my pump of when returing my water bottle and had to go back for it.

At 33km in there was a short hill climb and at 40Km a nice big downhill I reached speeds of 73.7 kph ( 46 mph )

I felt great at Fort Augustus but when we turned around and I started to climb back up the hill that old devil called cramp came a calling. I had to dismount. I had several attempts at climbing but the cramp wouldn't go away. I eventually topped out but I had wasted valuable time, I still felt great though.

So here we go. I got down to Fort Augustus in 01:44 but it took me 02:33 to get back with my crampy legs.

Important bits are as follows
Dist 94.15Km
Time 04:17:04
Av Spd 21.9 Kph
Av HR 80%
Max Hr 101% Ouch
Calories 3609
Total Ascent 2063.5m

Oh and here's the profile with that scary hill.

More strength training needed for next year !

Monday, August 04, 2008

7 Stanes Tour 08. Glentress.

Glentress please please us !

Oh boy, the 7 stanes hadn't set the heather on fire yet and this was going to be our last chance to get a buzz.

Sol, Saunders and I had a go at the shortened blue route and I was immediately aware that these trails were a considerable cut above the other two.

The Blue trail had switchbacks, something they forgot about on the Ae blue, and jumps BLOODY loads of jumps. Sol was very impressed.

Things were looking good for when Saunders and I returned to do the Red the next day.

Well they've done it. The trail seemed to have everything but the kitchen sink, two features I didn't even do, a nasty root section and a big chute. The Glentress Red route beats Golspies Red for shear scale and variety, oh and nice views

The highlight would probably have to be the Spooky Wood. You can tell something good is going to happen with everyone congregating at the top and savouring the building excitement of what is to follow.

Oh yes we shall return, but only to Glentress to do the Black, and Red and the Blue. OK we'll do the Green too !

It was a bit messy though.

Glentress only 9/10 because I'm saving that extra point for when I go back.

7 Stanes Tour 08. Ae.

The next Trail centre we tried was Ae.

All the kids went with us on this one so we had a go at the Green route. It was very nice and all the kids seemed to enjoy it. Sol also got to go on the Blue route with Saunders, Jean and I but as explained on the website it's just the green route with some forestry road added in, very disappointing.

Saunders and I had a go at the Red route, at 24 Km with lots of ups and downs it was quite demanding, but it was also quite boring and annoying.
No section of the trail got a laugh out of me like many other parts of other trails have. A lot of the trail, in particular Granny Green Luv, is extremely rough aggregate in a twisty line through the woods and that's it !

There were detour signs which took us up through a barely walkable and extremely muddy hillside.

The occassional nice view.

An more mechanical mishaps when my crank fell off, probably due to the annoying trail surface.

We eventually reached a massive heed which was quite impressive and then entered Omega Man which was supposed to be good but was too little too late.

Ae gets 5/10

7 Stanes Tour 08. Mabie.

Well, three out of seven ain't bad ! It was wet wet wet.

We arrived on the Wednesday and stayed at Barnsould farm. On Thursday we went to Mabie and did the red route.

I'll cut right to the chase and tell you that the trail was instantly forgettable apart from the tyre split.

I got my first puncture on my way to a wee bridge across a burn. Conditions were almost tropical.

Less than fifteen minutes later I had another one on a fairly innocuous stretch of track, and it was loud. Something wasn't right and a closer inspection by Saunders found that problem.

This later photo shows the cause. A split tyre.

Well we were deep in the tropical Mabie forest and needed a fix to get us home. I suggested a wrapper of some kind and Saunders said he had a Gel, so we scoffed it and patched the tyre.

When we got back to the van we decided that we had to go to the skills area in order to get some excitement out of the day. That's when we had our another memorable moment. Saunders chain snapped.

So all in all the fairly forgettable Mabie gets 4/10.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Laggan Wolftrax

We went down the road at the weekend and camped in Aviemore.

On the Saturday, Saunders and I drove along to Laggan Wolftrax.

This is so far the most southerly trail centre we have tried. We started out on the red route, shortly after the top I got a puncture ! The slime was in tube on the other bike not this one !

The rest of the route was quite nice, oh Air's Rock I hear you say. Well my advice is to do what we did. DO NOT STOP AT THE TOP. Keep rolling and you will do it no bother.
We did it once and then cycled back up and did that whole section again, this time we filmed ourselves going down the slab.

We then had a spot of lunch at the cafe topped up the fluids and cycled back up the to the top.

This time we descended the black route. Wow there's a lot of stone features on this one. POP another puncture for me.
A lot of warning signs before each part but the only one I saw was a skull and crossbones one near the bottom. Saunders tackled everything I think whereas I missed a few jumps on the start of the red as the bike felt funny ( the tyre was rapidly deflating ). I also missed a small part of a section on the black route as I had stopped at the top of it.

There is a good section of 'north shore' through the woods which leads to the Fun Park section with berms and tabletops a nice fast section which takes you back to the start point.

All in all quite a good trail centre, I would definitely go back again.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Picture Paints A Thousand Words.

Yes, we forgot our cameras today.

Here's the data.

Fort Augustus To Inverness On The Great Glen Way.

61.62 Km.

03:56 plus a stop for lunch.

1272 metres total ascent.

Thigh busting climbs and excellent views of Loch Ness.

From Fort Augustus To Inverness

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Paddling Is In The Doldrums

I have definitely put paddling on the backburner recently. For several reasons.

The Fear Factor:
First of all I'm not to keen paddling in the firth next to my house because Invergordon is a very busy port and I have had close encounters of the big boat kind.
I'm not too keen on going solo anymore as I have a better understanding of the dangers and first hand experience of being caught out.

Getting Fit:
Some friend s of mine had recently discovered cycling and bought some bikes, I believe it was after going to spin classes. Jean and Saunders invited me out on a cycle one weekend. I used to cycle a bit before the kids arrived in 1998 and so thought it would be like riding a bike !

That night I decided I needed to get fit.

On November 1st 2007 I had my last cigarette ! Yes, that's right. My name is Muzz and I am a smoker. I was smoking up to 50 ciggys a week and decided enough was enough.

I steadily built up my cycling and also started running again. I am not a good runner and only ever ran for about a year in the past, this was in preparation for the 1998 Highland Cross.

So, at the moment I am having a day off from running and cycling but that means a bit of maintenance work on the bikes.

Paddling Difficulties:
My paddling remains in the Doldrums as I'm not finding the time for group paddling. My wife is working up north today so this evenings club rolling and rescue session looks doubtful unless I get someone to look after the kids. I work shifts so that has ruled me out of the weekend trips I wanted to go on. Others are possibly beyond my capabilities but it's difficult for me to gain the necessary skills for the afore mentioned reasons.

The Faff Factor:
The preparation and cleanup involved in Paddling is another consideration in my time strapped life. Packing the gear and kayaks into and onto the car ( forgetting stuff ). Driving to the paddling location unpacking, doing a couple of hours paddling and then undoing it all. Driving home unpacking, hosing the gear putting the boat away, drying the gear.
At worst cycling is putting the helmet, gloves and water bottle in the car and the bike on the back, some scoff or energy bars if you want. A forty minute drive will take me to the Wildcat or Learnie. Come home wash water bottle and throw top and shorts into the wash.

Or no driving at all, hit the hills near my house on the mountain bike, a big loop on the road bike or go for a run !

The Way Ahead:
I want to keep my fitness program going and in order to keep me honest I have entered some events. The Glencalvie challenge has been and gone but coming up I have.

Loch Ness Cycle Sportif

Cairngorm Adventure Triathlon

The Charmer

That's August to October taken care of. In July we'll be hitting the south, spending a week doing the mountain bike trails near Dumfries and Peebles.

I am sad that Kayaking isn't getting much of a look in at the moment but this year I am putting family and fitness first. I have even got the wife running, she can do 20 minutes non stop at the moment. I see a marathon on the horizon LOL.

Keep Running, Cycling, Paddling...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Glencalvie Challenge 2008

Well since we have been doing a bit of cycling lately I decided to enter a wee race for charity, the Glencalvie Challenge

This event allows you to either walk, run or cycle 17.5 miles through amazing countryside from Black Bridge to Glencalvie. Black bridge is on the way to Ullapool just before Loch Glascarnoch.

I went along with Jean and Saunders with whom I have cycled on numerous occasions .We arrived before 0900hrs and were soon joined by the other competitors.

The hooter went and we sped off. Saunders didn't waste any time heading to the front, I thought 'What The Hell' and overtook the wee group ahead and slotted into second place. I could see Saunders disappearing over the tops of the upcoming hills as sooked in the air and tried to keep the legs turning at a decent pace.

The road was quite undulating and I tried to rest a wee bit before every approaching hill. Thanks to my FR305 I had recently discovered that 'knocking your pan in' on the climbs doesn't actually nock that much time off so I gave a measured effort here and tried to make time on the flat and downhill.

The speed graph and corresponding data table tell the story.

Although I was delivering a measured response to the trail, this was a challenge and I wanted to see how fast I could go. Staying in specified HR zones was out, I was just trying to maintain a decent average speed. The HR graph and table were a bit of a shock to me when I viewed them. It appears I was 'Knocking my pan in' after all :)

The mile markers rolled by and I grabbed the cups of water at the feeding stations and poured them over my head !

Saunders was out of sight after the first 7Km and uncatchable. I rolled over the finish line in second place !
Saunders posted a time of 1hr 9 mins and I got 1hr 13mins. Saunders wife Jean finished as fastest lady with a time of 1hr 27min.

The organisation for the event was really good. Regular stations along the route, mile markers stress free start and helpful encouragement by all support staff along the route.

I think we may go back next year.