Some Stuff About Me ......

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I live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with my wonderful wife and soul-mate Helen. I have two incredible sons - Evan and Matthew - who are occasionally show up at home, usually when they're hungry or need money. The three of them are the best thing that ever happened to me and I love them all. I spent over 24 years in the Royal Navy, but since I packed it all in and got a proper job my life has gone from strength to strength and I've never looked back. I am a die-hard soul music fan and this remains a serious passion, but in recent years my life has been dedicated to running on the fells and trails of Northern England, it's what I was made for. Please read about my adventures and experiences ...

Monday, 3 February 2014

Flogging a Dead Horse

We did Rombalds Stride on Saturday, this is a 22-mile* LDWA-like offroad event that starts and finishes in Guiseley (near Leeds) and describes a big circular route, taking in Baildon, Ilkley and Rombalds moors. Have packed in some reasonable training in lately, so was hoping to beat my course PB for this race as the time target was pretty soft, moreover I couldn't do much worse than last year when I wobbled home in 4:26, having just barely recovered from a nasty bout of 'flu. My "unspoken" target was to get under 4 hours .....

Anyhow, the torrential rains we had on Friday suggested it would be a quagmire, but the reality was somewhat different. The rain had stopped overnight and at the outset it was a bright, clear and cold morning with little wind - lovely weather for it really. So we stomped off and I could tell right away that we had moved up a gear, early on I was moving well but as the race progressed it did become a bit of a slog and I never really felt like I was giving it my best shot - not sure why, however I was sort of experimenting with a different fuelling strategy and that might have had something to do with it.

Had all gone to plan, I have no doubt that we ("we" being Helen and I) would have nailed that sub-4 time, however the icy slabs on Ilkley moor definitely slowed us down .... my footwear of choice was an old pair of Mudclaws, I knew this would be painful on the various road/path sections, but the amount of rain we'd had made it a sensible choice for the bulk of the course. Those bloody slabs - literally - were like a sheet of wet glass in places and very, very difficult to traverse in studs. Also, Bobs was having one of her Clumsy Days and took a couple of falls, the first just after Whetsone Gate (minor), however the second, not far beyond Rocky Valley, knocked the wind out of her good and proper.   Our running mate Emma scooted off here, but of course I stayed with her until she was firing on all cylinders again, much to my regret actually, because when we reached the bottom of the Chevin - the traditional Bonk Point in this event - she scooted off and left me! I was working hard, but I have to say she was climbing like a demon, I don't know if her new Fellraisers were anything to do with that, but my knackered old Mudclaws just weren't doing the job and I was not climbing as fast as I would like, despite passing several others. By the time we reached the top, she'd opened up a sizeable lead and from here it's downhill all the way. A mad dash down into Guiseley followed, I reckon I was making up a bit of time on her but the magic 4-hr barrier just ticked by me .... final result was 4:00:31 for her, 4:00:59 for me.

I shouldn't complain - this was a PB by about 12 minutes, it's just that I'm sick of not getting under "Hour Barriers" for races, something very similar happened last year at the Day In The Lakes triathlon and Lakeland 50. C 'est la vie, I suppose and it's a great race (controversial term, it's meant to be a "challenge" rather than a race), I enjoyed the day a lot. Pie and peas afterwards (I had two pies) and gossip with mates, it was pretty good.

Home to early PJs and settee/wine/fire, it makes it all seem worthwhile.


* allegedly 23 but I know different