Sunday, November 23, 2014

Well That Was A Lesson In How Not To Orienteer...

That was, as they say, about as inauspicious as it gets. You know you're in for a bad day at the forest when you struggle to find control number one, a mere 100m from the start. I opted for the brown course, and despite my legs feeling a little heavy I felt I'd go okay. I'd already jogged a couple of km from where I parked the car and on arrival at the assembly I got straight to it.

The best thing I can say is that I never really got too far away from my chosen route plan but just struggled in a few places to find the control. By the mid way point tiredness started to kick in and the mental aspects of orienteering became a challenge. I never really lost control of position, even stopping at one point to indicate to a younger orienteer where he was on the map, he thanked me and headed off to his control.

A few controls later I came across him again, looking equally perplexed before asking for assistance - him not me - which again, I was able to provide. It was after my brain really began to creak and by the twenties I actually had to stop at each control to check what number it was supposed to be - gone was the ability to look at the map and recall instantly the control number.

My fatal error came at 25. I say fatal, but no one really died - other than my ego. I was spot on to it but 26 was close and as I came away from 25, I aligned my compass out of 26 towards 27 and well, the rest was history. I downloaded my dibber - ooh, behave - at the registration only to be told, "you didn't get 26", "yes I did", I replied while looking to the map.. "you're right, I didn't get 26", I added. I could instantly see what I'd done. It was a shame to DDTA but my time was slow, my hair was long, caught somewhere between a bad orienteer and a good, so there was no harm done.

After a quick chat I plodded back the couple of kilometres to the car and home for a much welcome shower to wash away the mud, sweat and tears that is orienteering...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Went Round The Loop

The Llyn y Fan fell race loop. Wasn't my fastest, that's 53 minutes but I was pleased to get under the hour in exactly 59 minutes. And for once it was a good turn out - helped in part, I'm sure, by being part of the series but it deserves to be well attended just for the views from the ridge alone - even if it was a little foggy today...

I took it out steady and followed the path and the ridge - there isn't a lot of choice until Fan Foel. The descent is cross fell back to the start. I decided to try something different this year and ran a bearing of about 295 to head back to the path just south of Nant Coch - mainly just so I could write the word Coch in the blog.

My real thinking was to reduce the rough stuff albeit at a cost of 150m distance. My sea legs aren't what they once were and I felt I could run the firmer footing of the path more quickly than the rough stuff.

In the end it didn't make a lot of difference as I remained pretty much where I was at the top, neither gaining nor losing position.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Slightly Lost The Plot...

It's only Thursday but yesterday I thought tomorrow was Friday - that was tomorrow based on yesterday being today - and that's in a week where I had a day off Monday... Confused? Join the club... It is Friday tomorrow isn't it?

Bike session tonight and maybe another lunch run tomorrow...

Up this weekend is the Llyn y Fan fell race in my favourite section of the Black Mountains. Sunday is the BOK Galoppen. Peep peep..

Oh, and night out Saturday - which might have a bearing on me getting to the Galoppen....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Can You Believe I Got Out For A Lunch Run?

No, neither can I! But it's true. Martin and I ran our first lunch run for, well, I can't actually remember the last time it's been so long. We only did the Malago loop, 5-6k, but that was enough for me. Next week, yes, next week we are hoping to get out for another run. Possibly Tuesday. Guess we'll see...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Double Fail..

That is, I didn't do the double in the end...

The day started at Usk with the Leisure Centre League Cross Country. It was, quite literally, running around a couple of muddy fields a few times - despite that, I quite enjoyed it! - Going to have to nip that in the bud sharpish...

Then, as soon as I finished I hopped in the car and drove to a layby off the A4067 for the Gyhirych Grind - ooh, matron. Turns out I didn't do the double after all. Instead, Andy B, a marshal down, I stepped into the frame, donned my marshal star and headed up to Fan Fraith.

It was proper good weather for it. The mist was down to 450m altitude. Wasn't so perfect for a marshal to find one of the most featureless summits in the world though. Despite being a short it would've been really fun to race it - but not for me today. My legs were dead on the climb so I'm quite glad I volunteered instead.

Half way up the climb to Fan Gyhirych, I began to think I might've left it too late to head to my marshalling point! With the race starting at 14:00 I eventually reached check-point one, FG trig-point, at 14:05. I knew I didn't have any faffing time in finding the indistinct summit of Fan Fraith.

As I headed across the ground between the track and the summit I made a change of route to ensure I hit the summit in one, I headed north for about 200-250m before resuming the bearing to hit the northern end of the summit 'plateau' and then followed it south and into the summit - and the five small pebbles that mark the spot... With visibility down to 50m I felt that was the safest way to guarantee I found it in one. Would've been pretty embarrassing for the summit marshal not to find the summit!

After counting 8 of the 11 runners through in under thirty minutes I began to worry a little by 45 minutes and then decided to abort at 55 minutes, with the assumption that anyone still out there was no longer going to attempt to continue the race and just head back instead. Not to mention I was beginning to get cold, stood in the middle of nowhere, in the drizzle for close to 45 minutes.

I soon warmed up and got back down without any issues and everyone was back down and safe. It's a shame only eleven turned up but I think people get put off when there's a requirement to use a map and compass - not just carry it for effect. For me that's what proper fell running is all about - using the compass not carrying it for effect - so I hope Andy holds the race again and I hope a few more people learn to use their compass and feel confident enough to use it. For certain you needed to know how to use it today... Good race.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Running Around In The Forest

And what a cracking autumnal day it was for it. As is the norm for me I ran to the event. I parked up near Hopewell Colliery and ran 5k over to Parkend for the orienteering training. It was quite misty but in a good way - fingers crossed it's misty tomorrow [wink].

I started with the 'paths removed' map. I made a few mistakes but overall I went pretty well. It's surprising how having no paths focuses the brain.

After that I went out on the short green (with the paths back on the map). What I found interesting was that on a few of the legs I found the paths a distraction! I found myself using just the paths and none of the map features. Once I switched back to the features I was okay. Good training. I feel I'm getting there - slowly. One of these days I'm going to storm it. Then I had the 5k run back to the car to finish. Covered about 17k in total.

Tomorrow I have the Usk cross country at 11am followed by the Ghyric Grind fell race at 2pm...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ready For The Night...

I am, of course, talking about tomorrow's RogueRuns night race at Mos Eisley, um, uh, I mean Moseley Green - and no, I won't be storming around the course... Should be fun.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Test...

Yes, I've been trialling a sourdough based panettone. I didn't go the whole hog and fully fruit up the bad boy. I wanted to see how it would work in a basic rich dough. It was a five feed process over a 48 hour period but it seemed to work pretty well. In fact, I think the dough was actually easier to handle than my normal yeasted version. Using the sourdough allowed the gluten strings to form and it was much less sticky than normal when I added the butter etc. (secret recipe and all that). I think I'll run a full trial run in a week or two....

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Back On With The Waders

I decided to abort my plan for a long run - yes, I was put off just a tad by the nastiness of the pouring rain. Of more concern though, was the ever rising water level. I determined I might need to don the waders and keep the brook clear. Turns out I was right and by midday I was thigh deep in the waters, clearing handful after handful of debris. Then as the rain started to abate, the wash from the field hit, forcing me to roll out the first of the seasons sandbags.

Managed to get out for an abridged run in the afternoon. The sun even made an appearance. Tomorrow looks better so I should get a proper run in, without the fear of what damage the rain might cause. Going to have to give some serious thought to designing and building a partial defence bund/wall...

An inch of water and rising...

A biggg puddle...

The run off from the field building up...

 Time to deploy the sandbags...

A four inch deep puddle in the field...
The other side of the fence
is a four inch deep puddle that is the back garden...

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Been A Bit Of A Quiet Week..

First off, I completely forgot the Chepstow bake off, Tuesday - and by forgot, I mean, it didn't even register on my radar this last few weeks until I saw the pics on FB. This week has just been a funny one. Been on fire at work and I think that's absorbed my energy. I'm going to sneak a look at the maps tomorrow though and come rain and even heavier rain Saturday, I'm going to run somewhere...

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Almost Killed Myself Yesterday..

The recce of Trellech was enjoyable but I did almost do myself in. There's been a lot of felling. A lot of bashings. At one point I slipped a right pearler. An inch thick branch, mere inches from being, well, pretty much what would've been game over. It's not often I don't adjust and stay on my feet...

Later on I looked down to see my leg red with blood. Wasn't a deep cut though. Six inches long, but not deep. Not sure I'm going to survive this orienteering planning lark...

Can I really be getting too old for this shit?...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Am I Ready To Plan?...

and more to the point, what have I let myself in for? I'm over to Trellech Common tomorrow for a bit of a run around. I have the O-map from 2012, a compass, it'll be warm and I'll be wearing underpants. Hit it.... I want to get over there while conditions should be similar to next November. Time is of the essence - I only have just over a year to plan it...

Up Sunday is the Bog Bryn thing from somewhere yonder. Should probably check out the details...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An Unwelcome First..

After another long day at work - seems to be becomming a habit I'd rather not have - I arrived home gone eight to a half eaten bat deposited in the middle of the bedroom floor. Yes a bloody bat! How the hell does a cat catch a god damn bat anyway? Yes, I know birds fly and cats catch plenty of them but come on, a bat? That is just not cricket Squeaker and I do not want a repeat.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Not A Bad Loaf..

Wasn't my fastest but then again it was a new route and about half a mile longer so was always going to be slower. It was more of a route variation than a complete redesign and on balance is a slight improvement, reducing the out and back section a little...

I actually quite surprised myself. I ran more of the up than I expected and descended more insanely than I've managed of late. Where I was a bit rubbish was the flat stuff. My leg speed is, well, non-existent.

I set off at the back of the pack. Not right at the back but nearer the back than the front - I'm probably over detailing this. I didn't expect to run the entirety of the first climb up the Deri - ooh, er misses - and, in fact, I didn't but I ran a lot more than I expected. I ran all the first road bit - yes, even that really steep bit at the corner. Dave the Power actually did a bit of overtaking at that point...

Once up onto the Deri I plodded across the level ground gaining a few places but not moving quite as quickly as I should be capable of. Onto the second climb I powered hard and ran at every point I could even if it was only for 10 metres - and it was in a few cases.

Finally to the summit of Sugarloaf I ran really well back down. I let the handbrake off and let my feet so the talking. I wasn't so good on the flat bit but the final climb back up to the Deri was solid before the drizzle came and fogged my glasses. That made for an interesting final descent because it's fairly stoney with tricky footing. Relying on the 'force' I managed to gain one more place but was glad to get to the finish as it wasn't entirely comfortable.

Overall, I went better and stronger than I was expecting. This racing regularly lark seems to be paying off. The grub in the pub at the end was welcome and it was nice to catch up with friends before the Landlord called time and we all went home.

Got home to find the sourdough loaf, proving ahead of the bake, had gone berserk. A rise that normally takes eight hours had gone supersonic. Fortunately, the structure held and I managed to get it into the oven without collapse. Disaster averted!