Friday, March 22, 2019

Training In The Real World...

So I braved the real world and ventured forth into the forest for a training run.... Just a 5km plod around the Sallowvellets Inclosure area but it was enjoyable enough and I didn't want to over do it what with tomorrow's Pen Cerrig Calch fell race - race number seven of the year. I finished off the training with a gentle 10km ride back in the safety of the #Zwift virtual world...

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

19 Kilometres per Hour...

On the treadmill. Yes, so fast I was overtaking the cyclists! Okay, one cyclist and only for 200m but heck, that's the fastest these old, lardy legs have gone in a long time.... I kind of made it up as I went along and it ended up being six 200m reps with an equal recovery at 14kph, 16kph x 3, 17.5kph and 19kph. I'm stating things in kph as it sounds more impressive... in reality it is a long way from what I could once do but it only took 30mins, including the warm up and cool down, and didn't bore me to death! I almost feel like I could find the motivation to fit in a few more sessions here and there. And now the bridge toll has been removed I really should try and work the flexi late shift - that's 10am to 6pm - in order to get across to Harriers training on a Tuesday and Thursday night....

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Short Blast Over the Hill

So I was intending to run on the treadmill after work today but having spent the entire day sat at my desk, my legs were really stiff and heavy. I tried a few strides and decided to do a short ride instead. That ended up being a single lap of the London Loop including the virtual Box Hill. 15km and 230m ascent. I took it steady and my legs felt a bit better afterwards than before. Interestingly it was my third fastest time up the hill and I wasn't really pushing at all.

The lesson of the day though, is that I really should get out of the seat for a stretch or two during the day.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A Bit Of Four Seasons...

for today's Tor y Foel fell race. Yes, we had sunshine, rain, hail and biting strong gusts - practically froze my face off along the top.

So as I suspected, my legs were heavy from yesterday's slightly fool hardy training. I did a little warm up beforehand in the hope that they'd feel less dead - it didn't work. Having said that, I had an okay run. Pants on the main climb - no surprise there - I fared a little better on the descent. I managed to collect about five or six places. I nearly went over a right purler on the section of the descent after the road but managed to 'ski' a couple of metres on one foot before getting back control.

I ran pretty well on the 'cobbles' but didn't enjoy it at all. Most uncomfortable but gained one more place before reaching the finish. Despite the cold and wet I enjoyed it so I'll be back for the next race in a weeks time...

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Probably Not Ideal Prep...

For tomorrow's Tor y Foel fell race. My legs are fair wobbly after today's race up the Alpe du Zwift. I should probably have chosen an easier ride. As it was I sat in and ground my way up the 12km, 1000m ascent - after the 15km lead in section. With the race finishing at the top, I decided to add another 13km of easy riding back down. Ride totals, 40km, 1220m ascent - and one set of wobbly legs. On the plus side, I claimed a PB up the climb by just over 2 minutes. Total ride time 1hr 51m. So that's me totally set for tomorrow's fell race....

Friday, March 15, 2019

Managed Something

So I felt a bit crook yesterday and overnight. Yesterdays training session didn't happen and despite not feeling completely topper I needed to do something today. I decided on a short group training session. Just about the right amount of effort. Hopefully I'll be totally back to 'normal' for the weekend and Sunday's Tor y Foel fell race.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Charging The Head Torch....

It's been a while since I've used it for running and I'm not sure how well the batteries will hold up - I guess we'll see at tomorrow's Blorenge Night Roundabout. I don't know much about the race other than the location of the race HQ - and the rogue that organises it. What's the worst that can happen?...

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Better Week Of Training

That's more like it. Despite not racing this weekend, it's still been a good week of training. Yesterday's marshalling felt like a race the way I had to push to get to the checkpoint in time for the first runner. My legs felt heavy before this afternoon's #Zwift Fondo and they're feeling even heavier now. 52km, 550m ascent.

It was a good session. Not a race. Who were we kidding, we were all racing it. I was in amongst some big groups for most of the ride but things broke up in the last 10km or so. The route they use for the bambino fondo suits me as it's a climbing finish and I was able grind out some good positional gains and to that end I moved up through the ride from around 500th at the start to 314 of 967 - but it wasn't a race.

My time was a couple of minutes down on last month but I had a much higher fatigue level going in to it this time - and I felt that throughout. Definitely been a good week's training and I'm feeling buoyed.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Well That Was Bloody Close....

I only just made it to my summit in time to marshal. I arrived at Cribyn a full sixty seconds before the first runner came through. Some might call it perfect timing - I'd call it, getting my timing slightly wrong...

So I arrived at Blaen y glyn car park with plenty of time to spare - in the pouring rain. Happy days, I thought to myself but by race time it had cleared up. I then proceeded to layer up as it was bloody windy, before heading out to get to Cribyn, with what I thought was about the right amount of time. With it being a biting cold wind I didn't want to get there miles too soon - but sixty seconds was definitely cutting it close.

It was unsurprisingly hard work into the the strong wind and as I started into the final section of my trek, the ascent of Cribyn itself, I realised it was going to be tight. I kept looking across to Fan y Big, as that was were the runner would be coming from. When I was about half way up the first, steeper section, I looked back to see them coming - shit, it's going to be close, I thought. I pushed on.

After clearing the steeper section, I pushed on along the final, gentler section to the summit. Looking back, as I was about half way along I spotted the first runner clearing the steeper section - not going to make it... I had to start telling myself, "come on, I can run this bit" - I wanted to slap myself for uttering those words, grrrhh. Eventually I made the summit, got out my phone to record the runners and got myself sat down just as the first runner came into view...

The return journey was less worrisome as I tracked the last runner home. It was pretty decent training. The outward journey was 5.75km with 650m ascent and the return, following the race route, 6km with 175m ascent.

Up tomorrow is the Zwift Fondo number five. Pretty sure it's going to the bambino, but maybe I'll feel refreshed enough for a crack at the medio.

Friday, March 08, 2019

I've Been Upgraded...

To Cribyn from Fan y Big, to a mountain from a hill. Yes, in a change to my recent return to running, I shall be marshalling at tomorrow's Tour of Torpantau fell race. But with Cribyn being the furthest point on the course, it means I won't be traversing much less distance than the runners. Need to make sure I get my timings correct in order to get to the checkpoint in time, especially if the cloud is down...... might take my GPS! 😉

Today, I took a chilled day off work - lots of time to use up or lose it. Put in a gentle tour round Innsbruck, with its 500m climb and 25k - I've only got another 14,000m of ascent to go before I hit the magic 50,000m mark and the reward of the virtual tron bike.... #Zwift.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

A Bit O' Racing

Spotted a 30k race going down and just managed to get myself to the saddle in time, #Zwift. There was just 55s to spare before the kickoff. And I'm glad I made it. It was a good effort. Not huge numbers but after the initial blast off phase, there were enough 'blips' head of me on the radar to spur me on. That spur pushed me to a decent power average, circa 190W. Still down on six months back but definitely creeping back...

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Legs A Bit Sore

I decided on a bike training session today, to avoid the impact. The triple bumps session, three sets of three power ramp ups. A decent workout and just about the right amount of stress for my sore legs...

Saturday, March 02, 2019

More Of A Trot Than A Canter...

but overcoming the strong wind, I got round and for a bonus point it didn't rain. All in all, a result.

At just 8km though, the Carding Mill Canter, was tougher than I was expecting. I struggled on the first climb and it took me a few minutes to get going once I got to the top but then from there I started to pick up the pace and enjoy it. As a bonus I gained a few places - especially on the rougher bits.

My legs were a bit broken after the descent back into the valley at the midway point and I doubly struggled on the north loop. The climb to the top broke into three sections and each one was hard going. The wind made it all the more tough. I was beginning to lose the will to live on the final climb, wind buffeting me sideways, but just managed to hold on and then descend to the finish.

Friday, March 01, 2019

A Sneak Peek...

at tomorrow's Carding Mill Canter. It has the same ascent as last weekend's Hatterall Sledge but crammed into 8-ish km instead of 12. A quick look on google maps shows some paths/trails/trods over most of the route so 'should' be pretty straight forward - and if all else fails I'll still have my GPS... just kidding. Map and compass for me.

The route starts at the lower (SE) car park and heads NW and around the bottom loop, anti-clockwise back around to near the start before heading east and up around the top loop to finish as the top car park - if that make sense....

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Nudging The Treadmill Speed Up...

So I decided, after my last treadmill session, to a) keep to the group runs for the motivation, b) set the target speed from the off and c) set the target speed a little faster each time - but maybe not ad infinitum. So it was 12.2kph tonight (for 5k). 12.5kph next time. It's a bit pathetic but pathetic is as pathetic does - not sure what the heck that means!

Up this weekend I'm travelling up north, Church Stretton, for the Carding Mill Canter on Saturday. The 'racing' continues...

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Recovery Day

I wanted to test how my left sole was going to take a run so I hit the treadmill for a 5k group run. Happily it felt fine. I was hoping to follow that with a group ride but didn't quite get across to the bike quickly enough and they left without me... So I cooled down with a steady 10k solo ride instead. All completed in #Zwift's virtual New York.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

That Was Hard Work

but I'm pleased with the effort. I'm aching a little. I started to cramp up coming into the penultimate field but managed to stave it off and although I didn't have any trouble during the race the sole of my left foot is aching big time. Won't be anything serious, just the after affects of a 70% increase in distance and ascent from the previous race.

The race itself was a proper race and definitely one to put in the diary - The Hatterall Sledge, make a note of it for next year.

Despite quite a lot on running on paths there was a nice little section across the nothing-ness and I took a pretty good line. Would be all the more challenging in the fog - so bring that on next year... I risked the brambles on corner cut towards the end and gained a couple of places. With a recce I reckon you could eek out a decent way through it.

Despite the increase in distance, I didn't fade too badly in the later stages and I generally picked up places after the first climb rather than drop them. All good. 12k, 560m ascent. Feeling a bit tired now though.

Well done Dan S, the marshals and the Old Pandy Inn for hosting.

Friday, February 22, 2019

It's The Big One Tomorrow...

Well it's all relative but tomorrow's fell race, the Hatterall Sledge, is going to be the most challenging for me so far. Back in the day it would be a short, at the moment it's going to feel like an ultra. Definitely going to take it steady on the 12km route with 600m ascent and I must remember to print off a map tomorrow as there is I thinks it's a bit off piste in places. Bring it on...

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Better Than Nothing

Got myself on the treadmill for an easy 5k. All very easy until the last 500m when a runner behind put in a real effort - and it made me do so too. The thing is when I upped the pace it didn't feel too much more effort. Next time I'm going to crank it up more from the start.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Unsurprisingly Sore Legs

So my quads are feeling it today and instead of feeling better through the day I've actually been going in reverse. At this rate I won't be able to walk tomorrow....

Rest day it is - I seem to take a few of those [winks to camera] and I'm going on the record so there'll be less chance of me backing out... To the end of April I have ten events planned, eight races and two marshalling.

The trouble with being a lazy bastard for years on end not running is you end up as a marshal... but that's okay. I won't be giving up marshalling. It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it. No marshals, no races and anyway, I actually enjoy it - as far as you can enjoy sitting at the top of a mountain in the wind, rain, snow, cold - and very occasionally - sunshine....

So anyway, the races are; Hatterall Sledge, Carding Mill Canter, Tor of Torpantau (Marshalling atop Fan y Big), Blorenge Night Race (work schedule permitting), Tor y Foel, Pen Cerrig Calch, Sugarloaf, Chedworth Roman Trail, Gilwern Grunt (Marshalling) and South Wales Mountain Trial...

That leaves two spare weekends. There's Llanbedr to Blaenavon on one of them but I'm not sure I'm up to doing that just yet - but you never know....

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Pen Tir Drop

Race number three complete. A little longer than the last one but not by much and a smidgen more ascent, but again, not by much. 7km, 350m ascent. Performance wise, it's always difficult to compare across fell races as they are all so different but I'm pleased with another increase in average pace, by a good 30s per kilometre. Probably a bit flattering compared to the last two races but it's going in the right direction.

For an out and back course I found it pretty enjoyable. I think that's because you are climbing pretty much all the way to the summit turn. Sometimes steeply, other times more gently but you are pretty much going up the entire way out. In my mind I just kept thinking about the lovely long descent - and it was a lovely long descent.

Up next week is the Hatterall Sledge. At 12km and 600m ascent it's going to be quite a step up....

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Pre-race Warm Up...

Yes, it's race number three tomorrow. Pen Tir Drop and it's the first of the Chepstow Harriers fell series (I think) and "A good intro to fell racing for beginners" - so should suit me then.... 😄

Nothing too ambitious for me today. A 5k run on the treadmill followed by 9k bike at medium effort. To be fair, it's not going to be anything too ambitious for me tomorrow either. I'll just be happy to be back on the start line for the aforementioned race number three.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


So I'm entering some races. If I enter, I will run....

And for inspiration I'm looking back over my past races and picking a few. First one, Chedworth Roman Trial in April - at 10 miles it's probably too far but the entry fee is paid - I'm running.... I'm also considering the Cleevewold 14 at the end of March. It's the day after Llanbedr-Blaenavon fell race and ten plus years ago I ran the pair back to back.... I'm so not ready for that just yet - and maybe never will be again - but maybe I should be mad enough to try........

More races to come.......

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Treading on the Mill

So I've been bad when it comes to running. With no races, I'm slipping. Fortunately there's a couple of races coming up in the next couple of weeks so things should back on track... Today was just a 5k group run on Zwift. My legs were a little achy from yesterday but feel all the better for having done it.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Fun Fondo

I started steady but I wasn't trying to go steady. The power was way down but it seemed hard work. Then it all started to come good. Gradually I started to loosen up and increase the power. I'm still down on where I have been but I finished strongly.

Coming to the end of the final climb to a summit finish and being just outside the top 200 I decided to really blast it in the final kilometre. My heart rate was up towards 180. With 300m to go I wasn't sure I wasn't going to die but with one final place needed, I made it on the line to finished 199th. 53km, 580m ascent. Good workout.

Friday, February 08, 2019

So I've...

...Entered my short term target race - the South Wales Mountain Trial and knowing the organiser, I'm sure it'll be a proper test...

Been a bit of a tiring week so far. Work days have been long with early starts and that has drained my energy levels but I feel like I'm recharging. Managed a decent half hour blast on the bike yesterday, although I had the settings wrong which meant I was spinning at higher rpm than I normal. Today my hamstrings are slightly sore which I don't fully understand but there it is.

Tomorrow is the next round of the Zwift Fondo's. I'm still going to have to do the bambino (52k) as I'm not ready for the medio (72k) or gran (98k). I definitely want to do a medio by the end of the series (April).

Sunday, February 03, 2019

It's Over

All nine stages of the Tour de #Zwift are now in the bag and it finished on one of my favourite courses, the Richmond UCI course. It was a much smaller field today than present during the main tour, riding two laps for 33k, 260m ascent. Despite the reduced number, circa 120, there was still some good group riding. In some ways it was more 'racey' - ooh, matron. Because it was a smaller field, I got to know who was riding with me and although the group changed as we caught and got caught, some of those riding with me at the start were still there at the end - not for want of trying to break them on the climbs at the end of the lap, mind. [winks to camera].

I think the three short, sharp undulations at the end of a mainly flat lap is part of the appeal for me. I can really push it into the red, knowing I don't have to hang on for long before hitting the flat and recovery.

And after the race - I mean ride - I treated myself to my one pot microwave macaroni cheese, now tweaked by soaking the pasta in the milk/water for a couple of hours before cooking! Yes, really!! Speeds up the microwaving and eliminates MBO - microwave boil over. Yum.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Almost There...

That's stage 3 of the Tour de #Zwift complete. Just stage 5 to complete tomorrow and then it'll be tour completed.

It was a good ride. I was in a small group throughout, although the group grew as we worked well together to catch several groups on the road ahead. My personal best bit was leading it out to bridge a big gap. I was up around 350W for what seemed like an entirety and the gap didn't look to be coming down quickly enough for me to survive but then the rest of the group pulled in and together we closed it down. I then had a few minutes on the back, to recover from the effort.

Once recovered, we cracked on before reaching the climb to the finish. From there the group spread out as it became every man - and woman - for themselves. Although the finish was at the top, I couldn't resist riding the decent as a warm down.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Last Stage of Tour de #Zwift...

but that's not me finished. As I've mention, I still have stages three and five to ride this weekend. I do find the official events give me an incentive to get on the saddle after a hard day at work. Which I think is why focusing on racing is going to help me get back into the running. Although I am struggling for a race this weekend - and no, don't mention the X word! The following weekend isn't much better. There is the Titterstone Clee but it's a 90 minute drive for a 4k race and then of course there's The Long Mynd Valley's Race the following day, which is the same 90 minute drive but for 18k of tough racing. It was my second ever fell race but I'm not sure I'd get past the pre-selection phase now it's gone all nobber on the entry system.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Ee Ba Gum That Wind Were Bloody Cold

There were a surprising amount of branches down along my route this morning - and feeling the strong wind chilling me to bone, I think there were probably more dropping all around me as I 'ran'. So yes, I did manage to get my arse out of bed and head out and I wasn't the only one out there in the cold either. I got overtaken on the climb and it's not often I come across anyone else following the convoluted routes I run in these parts. (Not to mention the fact that I haven't run much, decreasing the chances further).

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Golden Gate

Stage eight complete and I put down a bit more power than of late. Felt a bit pants at the start but pretty quickly found myself putting down decent power (for me). I think the London course helped as there are a few bumps on the flat section and I seem to find it easier to grind the power when ascending and struggle a bit on the flat as my legs won't fast enough! Grinding up Box Hill twice also helped... Enjoyed it.

Just stage nine of the Tour de Zwift to ride - and those two pesky stages I missed, which will be Saturday and Sunday next week. But before that, up tomorrow, I'm going to stay local and run my Longhope One and a Half Peaks loop, 9km and circa 300m ascent.

Today's ride with a few of the 900+ other riders

Tomorrow's planned run profile...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Stage Seven

So I'm just about keeping my hopes of completing the full tour alive - not that it means anything, but the goal definitely helps me keep the focus. I've missed two stages, 3 & 5, of the Tour de #Zwift which I can make up on the final weekend, when they re-run all the stages but if I miss another stage, it's game over. Must stay focused.

Tonight's stage was on the Innsbruck Short Course route, 24km, 500m ascent. I really like it but unfortunately doesn't get much airtime, which is a shame. I think this is the first time I've ridden it in a couple of months. Was nice to hit the 100 kph milestone, aided by the group draft.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Looking For Number Three...

So what do I do this weekend? Travelling north for the Ras Tarren Hendre Fell Race, a six hour round trip drive, seems a little excessive. Is there something closer? If not I might dress as a sheep and sneak along to the FoD Hatteral Hammer recce on Sunday...

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Not A Bad Weekend of Exercise

I finished off the weekends exercise with another stage of the Tour de #Zwift. 28km and a whopping 1200m of ascent on Zwift's answer to Alpe d'Huez, the Road to the Sky, Stage 6.

The route started with 16km of undulations as myself and fourteen hundred other virtual riders headed to the start of the beast. From there, for me, it was an hour and ten minutes of grind on the 12km climb at an unrelenting elevation of 10% pretty much the entire way with no sections of respite. 1000m of ascent later I reached the summit and the completion of a decent training session.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Back For More

As threatened, that's race number two bagged - and inside a week to boot. And it was quite an appropriate one, apparently Craig yr Allt Winter is a beginners fell race....

For a race on a relatively small hill it was actually a more interesting route than I was expecting, with a good amount of up and down crammed in to the 6.5km, roughly 350m ascent. I really enjoyed it. I was pretty crap again but, I think, slightly less crap than last week. This weeks race was 1.5km longer with 50m more ascent and I managed a slight average pace increase. I'm happy with that - for a beginner.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Been A Lazy Git This Week

But my excuse is a stressy week at work trying to bring a new control system online and failing. The battle will commence Monday...

Putting that to the back of my mind, tomorrow I continue the return with another race - it's going to be a bit like the buses. Nothing for two and a half years and then three come along together.... So Craig yr Allt fell race it is. I've never run it before. Bring it on.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Thought I'd Got Away With It...

But I was wrong. My legs, more specifically, my quads have got more and more sore throughout the day - I suppose that's what you get after your first race for two and a half years!!! Yes, I've worked out (I think) my last race before yesterday was Fan-y-Big, July 2016.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

I'm Back!

Yes, my first race in a long, long time is complete. The 5k, 300m ascent of the Mynydd Llangorse fell race and all the old racing feelings came flooding back. So I wasn't near the front - but I was far enough from the back that I was happy. Once the race was under way and after the initial argy-bargy was over, the race positions settled down and I began to start plotting when to work hard and when to ease back in order to keep ahead of the runner behind and capture the place ahead. It didn't matter that I was way back in the field. The important bit was beating the runner ahead... and then the next... and the next...

As expected I was bloody rubbish on the up. But I knew that would be the case and so I put in some effort along the first flat section before the main climb in order to gain a few places. Things were all pretty steady during the up and then came the down. I was nowhere near as reckless as once I could be but I still managed to pick up half a dozen places on the decent. I'll take that as a beginner!

So that's it. I'm back. Bring on the next one...

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Warming Up For Tomorrow...

So tomorrow it is. My first race, in god knows how long. It's certainly been well over a year. I'm not fit. I'm certainly not going to be fast but if I wait till either of those happen I don't think I'll ever 'race' again....

Today I warmed up with a 5k #Zwift and now I'm all set to trundle around Mynydd Llangorse tomorrow. Once more into the real world, dear friends, once more....

Friday, January 11, 2019

Oops, Where Did Stage 3 Go...

Yes, I missed it. I managed to crack on with Stage 4 of the Tour du #Zwift tonight though. I'll have to use one of the catch up days at the end to get Stage 3 ridden. Today's ride was pretty good. Not all out but a pretty steady, consistent effort throughout. 40km, 285m ascent. Job done and bring on the weekend as I could do with a bloody good lie in.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Stage Two

Thirty five kilometres around the virtual Central Park to complete Stage Two of the Tour du #Zwift. A medium to hard effort. With over 2000 riders there was plenty of scope for bridging to the next group up the road. I started off around 1500th place and slowly moved up to towards 900th place. That meant for lots of efforts throughout the entire hours ride. Good workout.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Let The Tour Du Zwift Begin...

Stage 1 of 9. A relatively gentle introduction, just 28km on the Jungle route. Riding with over 1000 other riders online it was an enjoyable 45 minutes. I set off steady, still feeling lacking in the power department. Once we hit the jungle loop I started to feel competitive though... From there I started picking up places and gained almost 100 places to move from just inside to the top 500 to just inside the top 400 by the end. I really enjoyed grinding out the hill - probably because that's where I really cut through the field.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

So The New Tack Began...

With a little jaunt around a small corner of the forest at the New Years Day Orienteering Score Event and in typical Creber style it had a few little surprises to set it apart from a normal score event... Not least of which was a fifty point bonus for those lucky enough to find - and then carry round the rest of the course - a small breeze-block. Bloody lucky them!

I had a pretty good outing and finished middle of the pack. I was happy with that as I wasn't expecting much. Could have been a top quarter finish if not for the second Creber surprise - roaming controls. After spending three or four minutes playing hide and seek with the sneaky Judith, aka the human tree, I decided I couldn't waste any more time trying to find the high point control and moved on. After that, I didn't bother with any more of the roaming controls and moved through the rest of the course to come home with just a minute to spare.

Good to be back...